Tag Archives: acceptance

A Time to Love


I have a friend whose mom is dying. Another friend is in the fight of her life against cancer. I look at trials in my own life as means to strengthen my faith. I see them as opportunities to improve on myself and my character and my walk with Christ. However, when it comes to watching someone else go through life altering events, I never quite know what to say. Part of me wants to run to them and preach God’s word. I want to quote scripture and ask if they have Jesus. The other part just wants to love them.
While it’s true that we ALL need Jesus, I think a mistake that many Christians make in attempts to witness is choosing to sermonize at the wrong times. When I was thirteen and my mom was dying of cancer, I didn’t need to hear what a loving God we have. I didn’t need to hear that everything happens for a reason and I sure didn’t need to be reminded that if she weren’t saved then she would be spending eternity in hell. That was NOT the time for it. I didn’t need to hear that people were praying for me either. It didn’t matter if they were praying for me or not. This loving God that they wanted me to accept had seemed to of forgotten me my entire life (at least I thought so at the time) and then He had the audacity to take my mom away from me. Without realizing it, well intending Christians were helping to push me away from God because with every word they shared it hardened my heart.
Now as an adult when facing others with similar situations, I lose my ability to formulate the right words to share. I am always eager to let them know of the peace that I have about life; I want them to know Jesus because I want them to have the comfort of a loving God to turn to. Unfortunately, I always find that I’ve waited too late to witness. I should have been talking to them about Christ before the adversity began.
When I was a kid, after I found out that my mom had cancer, I entered some dark times. Fear, doubt, uncertainty, worthlessness were parts of my daily life. I never shared the details as they were happening but thankfully God placed people in my life that never had to know the details. They loved me anyway. By the time I entered Jr High School my life was so far beyond dysfunctional that I had no concept of what a normal life was. I rejected anyone who tried to tell me about Jesus. I pushed them away with a vengeance because there was no way God loved ME.
I thought of running away; thinking that just getting out of the home I was in would fix things but more so, I thought of taking my own life. More than once I contemplated just ending it all. At one point I went so far as to write the note that I would leave behind. Not because I was ready to carry out the deed but because, like now, I needed an outlet of writing for all of the things on my heart. By the time I was in 8th grade my world was bleak. I was miserable at home with my dad. My mom was dead. I was barely getting by in school. I was overweight with no direction and felt completely lost and alone. I hated my life, I hated myself; what was there to live for?
Looking back, I had a handful of friends. None that I completely shared my life with but some who knew more than others about what I was going through. One in particular always told me that God loved me and when she knew I wasn’t listening would simply resolve to love me. I never understood how much she cared about me until one morning at school she handed me something that I had never had before. She handed me something that would one day change my life. She handed me something that no one else had ever cared enough to give me…she handed me a bible.
Inside was a message from her reminding me of Christ’s love for me as well as hers. She told me to use my bible and use it “wisely.” She wasn’t shoving God at me. She wasn’t force feeding His word to me. She wasn’t condemning me to hell for not knowing Him in my greatest time of need. She simply loved me and doing so led her to share Him with me. I think she knew that day that she handed it to me that I was not ready to listen. I wasn’t seeking Him and closed the door to most anyone who presented Him to me. I do, however, think that she knew she was planting a seed that day and while it took months for me to open that bible, but when I finally did it changed me.
A few days ago my husband told me that I needed a new bible. I protested that MY bible was just fine. It’s been written in, highlighted more than my freshman biology book and the spine is almost completely shredded, the lettering is all but completely gone and it has paint scars from one of my daughter’s first Sunday school projects but I continue to use it every day. Why? Because the day that my friend handed it to me at school it saved my life. Not because I was ready to know what was in it but simply because I needed to know SOMEONE, ANYONE cared and she did. Those days passed and are long gone but some 20 years later, I still hold on to that bible to remind me of what I have been delivered from.

If you are going through a trial now, if you are facing obstacles that have no end or perhaps an inevitable end that you know will be painful. I don’t want to preach that you need Jesus but I do want to tell you that He’s there waiting for you when you’re ready and He can and will help you through whatever you’re facing. No pain is too deep for Him, no problem too big and He loves you with an ever-lasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 And if you’re a Christian with someone in your life that is facing difficulty maybe this is just your time to love them and let God demonstrate His love through you.
Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,


Lord, Please Don’t Call Us


“In that moment my husband and I both looked at each other with this knowing expression. At that instant we both knew that if called, we would go.” – KJ

After spending more than a year overseas our family is so thankful to be back in the United States. One of the things that we missed the most while living abroad was having a home church so when we returned, we were thrilled to find one that we easily fit into and are able to worship at. This morning, at our weekly service, our Pastor shared his vision for where the church will be headed in the coming years. Just a few days earlier in the week I gave my husband a list of places that I thought I wanted to visit for mission work (all were said in more of a flippant manner rather than a tone of seriousness). However, this morning as Pastor started discussing a plan for missions sponsored by our church he started naming places that he would like to see the church outreach to. My heart started to beat. Not in excitement but of almost dread. I could hardly shake the thought “Lord, please don’t call us. Please DON’T call us.” In that moment my husband and I both looked at each other with this knowing expression. At that instant we both knew that if called, we would go. It sent fear and anticipation through my body. For years I have lived by Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Except this time, I knew He might actually send ME and I wanted to scream “Oh noooooo!”  Then I thought “How long would He send us?”

“Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Really God? REALLY?? Basically you’re telling me that if you send us somewhere, you’ll decide where and we’ll stay until you tell us otherwise. This was not very comforting. I took a deep breath and realized that I was getting WAY ahead of myself. I had to remind myself that if God decides to use us, He’s going to not only use in a way that will glorify Him but also prepare us to do so and will equip us for the task ahead. Plus, He may not call us at all.

I have to admit that surrendering to a calling is not always easy; even when the calling may be something simple. A few years ago my daughter decided that she wanted to give soccer a try with a newly formed church league. I signed her up then waited for a call from the coach to know when practices would start. A week went by, then two then it was nearing the first game of the season but we still didn’t know who our team was. I called the church office and was told “Well, we have this one team for your daughter but we don’t have a coach.” I felt a sense of disappointment because I knew that meant that my daughter and five other kids wouldn’t be able to play ball for the summer. I said “I wish I knew something about soccer.” The secretary said “No experience required.”

It was as if God was taking away all of my excuses “And” she said “YOU set the practice times for when works best for you and the rest of the team.” Umm okay, this is giving me NO option to back out. I still reluctantly agreed though because I still knew NOTHING of the game except that players weren’t supposed to use their hands as they kicked a ball up and down a field. Still, having never played a soccer game or even seen a game other than occasional highlights on TV, I signed on to coach the team. Although saying “yes” was easy, I knew the job wouldn’t be. It meant no other plans for the following two months because of practice and game times. It meant dealing with parents, kids that I wasn’t used to, other teams, other coaches and more responsibility including the responsibility of actually teaching these kids something about the game that they wanted to play. Oh and did I mention that I was also responsible for leading their devotionals every week in hopes of teaching them more about Christ?

To most this may not sound like much. At the time, I was reeling from a bout of depression, had just begun working fulltime, we lived in a new town with new people and were building new lives and let us not forget, from a previous posting when I announced that, I was the fat kid. Yeah, the fat kid was now coaching soccer. THAT would facilitate confidence from players and parents. I was scared; about as scared as I was this morning at the thought of heading off to a third world country to witness to a people group whom I didn’t have the foggiest about. I had to step out on faith that if God called me to fulfill this role that He would also show me what I needed to do and how to do it. I spent the summer learning to play soccer via YouTube. Learning new self disciplines that I hadn’t been accustomed to, adapting to schedule changes and turning to God for continued strength. In the end, “my” kids pulled off a 5-0 season, built friendships that continued well after the season ended and taught me that some of God’s greatest challenges come in the smallest forms and can teach us so much. That summer, without a doubt, was one of the most difficult yet rewarding times of my life. Just as I know a mission trip would be.

It may not be easy to reply “Here am I, Lord.” When He asks “Whom shall I send?” But I can guarantee it’s worth the answer and remember when He calls you, He is also saying “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:19

Have you been called by Christ? Please feel free to share your story. 

Is He calling you now? Take a deep breath…the answer He is looking for is “Here am I.”