I’m Still a Recovering Pharisee

I’ve noticed something lately. I suppose it’s not a recent “thing” but it seems to be ramping up, or at least I’m just seeing it more.

NickMom calls it “Other Mothering.” Jon Acuff calls it Jesus Juke. I refer to myself as a recovering Pharisee. It takes on many forms and has been around since the dawn of man but I think that social media has propelled it to a whole new level.

It’s that attitude of needing to right all the wrongs (or in the Christian community-spiritualizing everything). It’s the desire to interject your opinion and make sure that others know how misled, misinformed or mistaken they are.

It’s as if Facebook has given us carte blanche to blurt, spew and puke our opinions out when we disagree with what someone says. It feels like we’ve become a world full of Lucy’s from the Peanuts cartoon. We’re the crabby, complaining know-it-alls putting up ‘The Doctor Is In’ sign and blurting our opinions out on flat screens around the world. It wouldn’t be so bad if we did it with the motive of actually helping or encouraging someone, but it appears to be more about attacking a different view than ours.

lucy-the-doctor-is-inDon’t get me wrong, I have no problem with dialogue of opposing ideas. I love it really. Let’s hash it out! I enjoy talking about the different ways we process life and what we believe. I am open to the discussion, but I want it to be a discussion, not an immature shouting match while hiding behind a computer screen. I think we’re a lot more gutsy behind the keyboard than across the table from one another, which doesn’t lead to connection, only division.

It feels fruitless and empty to me.

I shared a picture recently on Facebook of a deer that my Father-in-law shot. He was told just a few months ago that he may not ever walk again, but he is walking and he was able to go hunting with his son and shoot a trophy buck. I was so proud knowing that this was a big deal to him and what it represented in his life.

I posted a picture from my phone because I knew that so many of our family friends would be thrilled for him.

But.

Those who disagree with hunting felt it more important to share their opinions than allow me to celebrate this great moment. I was going to just ignore it until it got to the point that I knew when my hunting friends saw the comments they would rally back and a full-on argument would break out on a post that was supposed to be about my Father-in-law… so I pulled it down. I didn’t regret that I posted the picture or feel that I was wrong but I took it down because I was so irritated with those who high jacked my FB to tell the world their opinions.

I heard a conservative Christian leader say that we have to be extremely careful who we quote and make sure that we know that the person we are quoting is reputable and that we agree with everything they say or it will come back to bite us. I understand the philosophy behind his statement, but I disagree with him. Although I admit I have been bitten, especially when quoting someone like Oprah in the Christian community.

Why are we so afraid of different opinions?
I can remember when I was researching my challenged beliefs…I felt guilty for even questioning what I had been taught.

Rachel Held Evans, Elizabeth Esther, Rob Bell and Wayne Jacobsen are just a few who are stoking the fire and waking us up to conversations that we need to have. This doesn’t mean that I agree with everything they say, but I love the dialogue they are inspiring.

I can’t think of one person whom I agree with 100%. Does that mean I can’t listen to what they have to say? Does that mean I have to argue every point they make that I don’t like?  No. The Lord spoke though a rooster when he crowed 3 times but I don’t agree with everything roosters say. Same goes for donkeys.

I enjoy Beth Moore and Anne Lamott’s books. Quote either of them and you’re sure to tick someone off. Mother Teresa tends to be quite safe, and usually the Bible is too, but be careful with the Message translation because the King James Version only people are sure to let you know that you’re skating on thin ice.

Our world gets really small when we limit the voices around us. You don’t have to agree with everyone, and you don’t have to tell them when you don’t. But if you can further the conversation and be ok with not always coming to an agreed conclusion, than please do. I’ve found that the things I was once so belligerent about were usually based in my hope that the loudest voice wins. I was so wrong. But don’t be surprised if I blow it again…I’m still recovering.

Can we care about each other enough to listen?

 

You might like this one too…Is It Our Job to Point Out Sin.

Introducing An Online Study


This 6 week ONLINE study begins October 7, 2013…
Becoming Me copy

Do you ever struggle to know where you fit? 

Do you feel like your relationship with God is flat and you want more?

Are you tired of religion as you know it and ready for a deeper walk with God?

I want to invite you to join in an online study that I will be leading:

“Becoming Me Through Him”

Unashamedly waking up to the woman God created you to be.

I’ve shared this message for about 5 years at retreats (and I’ll be sharing it again this weekend), it’s based on the story of Rahab and woven with the stories of other women in the Bible. These women compel us to lean in and learn from their courage and tenacity to have more than a wallflower life.

In this study we will talk about labels , comparison and that we shouldn’t run from the past but instead let God redeem it and use it to bring a deeper understanding of the women He created us to be. We’ll explore how fear and anxiety set us off course and how living in a loving relationship with God will bring rest for our souls.

The entire study will be done on a Facebook group page. This is a new adventure for me so I’m not sure how it will all unfold but I’m planning on posting notes, videos and posts beginning on Oct. 7th. Your participation and comments will fuel the discussion and I encourage you to share your thoughts if you are comfortable! If you would rather just sit back and take it in, feel free. You are not required to do anything.

All women are welcome, (there is no cost and nothing to purchase) click here to join:
Becoming Me Through Him

Also…I’m just thrilled that my ministry partner Ronel Sidney will be flying in tonight from California to road trip with me to a retreat that I’m speaking at in Northern Michigan this weekend! Would you pray for us as we unpack not only our shoes, but also exciting new ideas for the future of Praise and Coffee?!

Keep up with our shenanigans at @PraiseAndCoffee and Ronel Sidney on Twitter.

Ladies, I hope you’ll join us on this study! I’m praying that it opens all of our hearts to a better understanding of the Father’s love and how living loved will change us and shape our journeys in ways we never imagined.

It certainly has for me!

Hold On To Hope, Even In The Deep Stuff


we are larger

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Hold on to hope, even in the deep stuff.

 

Your Life Is Waiting For You To Let It Happen

let go small

Why do we fight so hard to hold on to a life that is far less than what it could be?

Old customs, habits and relationships that are stagnant and lifeless, yet we cling to them like worn blankies because they are comfortable.

What are you clutching that needs to be released?

Is it ideas about what will make you happy, but have failed to for years?

Is it hope that the past could have been different?

How about today, you decide that even though the outside world hasn’t changed, you have, and you’re not staying in this puddle pretending it’s an ocean, any longer.

Your life is waiting for you to let it happen. Let go of what’s keeping you from it.

Overcoming Fear

take flight 2copy

How many decisions do we make based on fear?

What will they think?

What if I fail?

What if…?

There is only one solid way to overcome fear…

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
1 John 4:18

“…not yet fully formed in love”

That’s the key to finding freedom from fear.
Well formed love banishes fear.

When we live loved, knowing each day that no matter what, we are loved by the Father, we live differently. We are free.

Are there still repercussions from sin and poor choices? Absolutely. But even that does not change how much He loves us.

Dare to believe that He loves you right now today, before you change one thing. Live right there in that love.

And take flight.

The Summer 2013 Praise and Coffee Magazine, Our Last Issue

The Summer Praise and Coffee Magazine is here!

Click here to read: Summer 2013

It’s filled with great articles by amazing women. The topic is freedom, and we tackle it from all angles.

Freedom from our past, freedom to forgive, freedom from debt and more.cover summer 2013

Our last issue…

It was a little harder to press “publish” on this magazine. As you will read, it is the last magazine for an undecided amount of time. I tell you about the decision on the last pages of the magazine.

We’ve had three great years publishing this magazine! I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who submitted articles and poured their hearts out on the pages over the years. I’ve met some wonderful ladies along this journey and connected with women that have become friends in real life.

My focus is shifting and I have some other projects that have been calling for my attention for a long while and I’m hoping I can make some forward motion in those areas now.

The topic of “Freedom” was decided before I decided that this would be the last issue, but it is quite fitting. I don’t mean to say that I’m ‘free of the magazine’ because I’ve loved doing it. Loved it! But it is freeing to know that it’s ok to lay down something you love doing when you do it while trusting that God is leading you and has other things on the horizon.

It’s easy to go with the flow and once a system is started, just keep moving but the past few years I’ve learned to enjoy the fluidity of a relationship with Jesus. The message stays the same, but the vehicle changes. Freedom brings peace, but it often has to be fought for. We have to fight the voices and disappointments of others. Don’t expect everyone to love or understand the changes that God calls you to do.

But bravely step out, or step back, whichever you’re feeling the tug to do. Peace is the signature of a walk with God. I did not say quiet or calm or even easy, but I said peace, that inner sense that you’re on the right track and the contented rest that comes with trusting the Father’s love and leading.

I hope that even this move to stop publishing the magazine will encourage and inspire you to follow close to what God lays in your heart because His ways are always better than ours.

 

Here are some of the article pics if you would like to Pin them for us! And we would love it if you did!

diema freedom

espresso

farewell

forgive

freedome julie

grace

israel

mel capture melanie

tracee article

tricia capture

When bad Guys Change the Day

trust Him

What a beautiful awful mess of a world we live in.

A thousand miles away, bad guys change our day.

I learned of the terror walking into a restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday with our 8 year old. It was impromptu so our grown kids were not there. It was just the three of us, hoping for some great steak.

We watched the screens from our booth and the questions poured from Lauren’s quivering lips. We distracted as best we could, but our eyes were nervously drawn to the screens. A lump in my throat welled as I saw service men rush to the scene while others ran away. I jumped on Facebook to see if our friends in Boston we’re safe, a sigh of relief as we learned they were unharmed.

We asked Lauren about soccer and school, but her little eyes peaked up to see the bloody mess unfolding. Our nation was again under attack by an unknown enemy and our sinking hearts told us that we would never be the same.

Lauren leaned out of the booth to reach across and pick up a crayon when she fell to the ground. She was not hurt but burst into sobs and tears, reacting much deeper to the fear on the screens than the fall to the ground.

I stuff the pain and fear, I’ll be fine. I know that life will go on. That’s what I tell myself. It’s how we numb.

The raw reality is that we are all changed. We flinch faster.

I pray. I trust. Truly I do, but not naively.

I will not pretend that if we pray hard enough, terror will stop. There will be pain, there will be sorrow; we will hurt. But my faith in the fact that God is with me and will never leave me, keeps me from suffocating as I watch the images and hear the sirens.

Jesus never said that the world as a whole would be safer if we prayed longer and harder.

John 16:31-33
Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

This side of heaven we will have trouble, but He also promised that if we trust Him, we can be deeply at peace. If we let the noise of Korea, or the voices on the left and the right, dominate our minds, we will be shaken and live in a shallow place of terror.  Please don’t.

Yes, be alert, follow the leading He gives, but remember that we can live with unshakable peace if we trust that He is with us- He will not abandon us.

I do watch the news, I am vigilant, I am aware or the dangers, but I will not be a hostage to the fear.

I will choose to lean on the One who promised me peace. I pray that you do too. Religion won’t get you there. Following the rules alone will not bring you peace. If the ‘do’ing was enough, Jesus would not have chastised the religious leaders of the day. He came to reveal a relationship that was no longer about rituals and buildings made of stone, it is about relationship with a Father that loves us. It’s about orphans (you and I) finding forever homes.

It’s about finding peace in a world of chaos, terror and disorder.
It’s about recognizing that He love us, He is with us and will never leave us.

Only then can we see the beauty and miracles around us and let gratitude fill our wounded hearts and homes.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” Hebrews 11:1

Our lives are a reflection of who/what we trust.
Bad guys can change our day, but trusting in God makes life worth living.

The Tomb is Not Forever

Tomb not forever

The season is hard. You feel tired, empty, spent. Nothing is blooming; it is the winter of our hearts. You wander lost, wondering how you will go on.  A life that once seemed so full is now confused and broken.

Take heart. Like the day between Calvary and the resurrection, life is at a crossroad.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:3-4 NIV

Why did our dream have to die? What did we do wrong?

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
John 11:25

Maybe we did nothing wrong. Possibly, this was part of God’s plan all along.

A resurrection requires a death.

If you are in a season that feels desperate, alone and longing, don’t despair, trust.

Trust that the plan is larger than your eyes can see at this moment.

Believe that God is bigger than the current circumstances.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

And know that He has not left you, He will never leave you.

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”
Psalm 40:2

The tomb is not forever.

The Trap of Self Rejection

This quote is for all of us who have struggled with feeling unimportant and abandoned.
The sacred voice knows the truth. Hold on to it through every storm and sunny day.

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

We’ve Had Enough of the One Way Conversations

Women are hungry for more. We’re tired of sitting back and listening, we’re ready to lean forward and join the conversation.

It's time to lean in and add to the conversation.

It’s time to lean in and add to the conversation.

Learn more about starting a Praise and Coffee in your community.

Lean in ladies! You have so much to add to the conversation.

 

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