Unrush Me (take 2)

Unrush me. What a novel concept in a world that has made us all believe that life is a one hundred yard dash rather than a marathon. Unrush me. Even though my plate is overflowing to the point that I cannot even imagine it ever being half full let alone empty. Unrush me. I cannot remember the last time my mind came to full state of relaxation because all my “yeses” have made my world so busy that even when I sleep my thoughts race. Unrush me. Because the hectic pace of life is overwhelming and it clouds my vision. In this sea of stress I miss the beauty that God has placed all around me. I cannot slow down long enough to notice or appreciate it. Unrush me Lord, so that I may be all that you have created me to be.

“When we live in the rhythm of rush the worst of who we are comes front and center”~ Lysa TerKeurst

I was only one in a crowd of eight hundred women but when those words left Lysa’s lips I knew she was talking to me. How did she know? It was almost like a “big brother is watching you” moment. I had just spent weeks living in the rhythm of rush and the consequences where evident. I couldn’t sleep, my nerves were on edge, I hadn’t been listening to my husband or my children when they spoke to me, I was irritable and frantic…the worst of who I was emerged, front and center. As I sat in the opening session of the She Speaks Conference I realized that while Lysa was speaking in the context of herself, she was really describing me. The doer in me rushed so much that I often forgot to look for God in my days…I rushed right passed Him. With every word spoken more wisdom poured out of Lysa TerKeurst’s mouth and God used every single word, every single story, every single scripture to remind me that He does not set the pace of our lives to rhythm of rush. In fact, the Bible points out that, by nature, God is not one to rush at all. I’m not sure how you do it (I’m actually hoping Lysa answers that question in her new book The Best Yes) all I know is I want to live unrushed…I want to be present and focused so that I can see God more clearly.

“Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these…and He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” ~ Mark 10: 14, 16

One thing that has always fascinated me in Scripture is the time that Jesus spent with people. I mean, His ministry started at 30 years of age and by 33 He was dead. Time was not on His side and He knew it…He is God after all. He knew how limited and precious His time was, yet throughout the Gospel’s we see stories of Jesus with people. He had friendships, Lazarus; He took the time to speak with people, the woman at the well; He dined with people, Matthew the tax collector turned apostle; He engaged with the misfits or the unwanted, the woman with the alabaster jar. He didn’t rush right by these people because He was too busy…no, He took the time to simply be with them in the moment, He was intentional and because of that people knew they mattered to Him. In His actions He was setting an example for us all to live by.

“Be still and know that I am God” ~ Psalm 46:10

It’s so funny. When I left Charlotte on Sunday morning I was bubbling over with blog ideas. The She Speaks Conference had poured so much of God’s truth into me that I couldn’t wait to come home to pour it out in my blog. However, somewhere between Charlotte and Detroit God had answered my prayers. Immediately upon waking up on Monday morning I was ready to fall back into the habit of rush. With bills to pay, a blog to write, ministry work to do…I woke with the need to go. But my go was soon halted. A horrible storm the night before had kicked all AT&T customers offline. For almost two days I couldn’t get on my computer. Instead of losing my mind over this loss, and believe me part of me wanted to, I decided to embrace what God might want to show me through this silly first world problem called an internet outage. In the still of being disconnected, God unrushed me. He showed me that when I am still, when I am focused on Him…I can be the best of who He created me to be. I hate to admit this, but for the first time in weeks I was fully engaged in my conversations, my mind wasn’t wandering, and I wasn’t thinking about all that I had to do.

Today I woke up feeling like I had been given a fresh pair of eyes. Eyes to see more clearly. Eyes to see that being a busy doer doesn’t make me more qualified for God’s calling on my life, in fact it’s often a source of distraction. Eyes to know that true fulfillment comes from being intentional in my relationships, with God and with people.

There is so much I want to share with you all from my experience at She Speaks but for now I’ll bask in this truth, God did not create us to be rushed. He created us to love one another, to take care of each other, and to share His love and grace through His Son Jesus Christ with the world. When we live at an unrushed pace we become more present in our relationships, more intentional in our interactions, and more focused on finding God in every moment of our day. When we live life at an unrushed pace we can live more fully for Him rather than being so focused on ourselves.

Keeping it Real…Bonus Thought


In light of yesterday’s post, I needed to share my devotion from this morning. As I opened the page and discovered this passage my heart was checked and then it soared. My God has seen my struggle and He pours His truth into me. He reminds me of who He is and who He has created me to be. We all long to know the purpose for our lives. The simplicity of this devotion reveals what our hearts long to know; we were created to glorify and serve Him. It’s not about our agendas or others people’s expectations; quite simply it is all about HIM!!
My greatest desire with this blog is to be authentic and transparent about my journey. I want to keep it real. This morning I was once again reminded that as long as I remain in Him it is impossible to be anything other than real. For our God is the most real and authentic part of who we are and who we will become.
If you are looking for a great devotional I highly recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Each day brings a new nugget of wisdom and truth that reminds me continually that our God is good, He is faithful, and His grace showers down upon us. Each morning brings a new opportunity to see the beauty of His handprint all around us. We just need to open our eyes and our hearts to Him. Can you think of a more beautiful way to start your day than at the feet of Jesus? I know I can’t. He always knows exactly what we need for the journey that lays ahead.

Keeping It Real

“Confession is good for the soul”

My name is Nikki and I am a recovering control freak.

In the Nikki Game of Life, I like to be in control and I like things to be completed exactly how I have envisioned them in my head.  Isn’t that how everyone lives?!?!  Okay, maybe not, but this how I lived for a long time.  Then about four years ago I discovered that this control thing I had going on…yeah, it’s called sin.  Oops…just lost a few of you.  Stay with me, I promise I will explain.

You see, from the time I was about 18 I struggled with intense fear and anxiety.  I even went through a period of my life where it was so debilitating that it paralyzed me in many aspects of my life.  But I’m not getting into that today, that’s a three-part blog  all on its own.  The point is, this had been an intense battle in my life for almost two decades before the root of the issue was revealed.  My fear and anxiety was not the result of any kind of phobia disorder, they were manifestations of a lack of trust.  Often over the last several years I would pray that God would reveal anything in my life that kept me separated from Him.  I wanted to know if there was any sin in my life that I was not recognizing, sin that was hindering my relationship with Him, sin that was holding me back from all that He had planned for my life.  One day God answered that prayer.

God:  “Yes Nikki, there is a sin issue we need to deal with.  You don’t trust me.”

Me:  “No God…I do trust you.”

God:  “If you truly trusted me you would not live in the prison of fear and anxiety.  You would know that the “what ifs” of life will only hold you back from all that I have prepared for you.

Me:  “No God…I do trust you.  I only have fear and anxiety about the big things in life; protection, safety, and security.”

God:  “Oh so you trust me, just not with the big stuff.  If you don’t trust me with the big stuff you don’t really trust me at all.”

Me:  “But what if something doesn’t go well or what if something bad happens?”

God:  “Ahhhhh…I understand.  You don’t trust me to get it right.”

With that truth I felt like a knife had pierced my heart and then sliced me into a thousand pieces.  My need to always been in control was really a lack of trust in God.  I didn’t trust God to get it right.  I didn’t trust Him to do things the way I thought they should be done.  Before I go any further, because I know some of you are wondering, no, this was not an audible conversation between God and myself.  This was the process of revelation, an innate understanding of the truth God wanted me to know.  In my quiet time of prayer He gave me the answers I had been seeking and I was faced with the grim reality that I did not fully trust the God I love.  As difficult as that was to discover, I like to think of that moment as my own personal Independence Day.  The truth had set me free, the chains of sin were falling off; I was on the road to freedom.  One by one my fears and anxieties began to dwindle as I fully surrender my life to God.  He was in control and I finally learned what living in the fullness of my salvation meant.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” ~ Ephesians 6: 10,11, 14-17

The history nerd in me cannot help but equate freedom with our own country’s fight for independence.  The colonists did not risk their lives to free themselves from England only to have momentary lapses of judgement where they would allow the British to rule over them again.  When Patrick Henry cried “Give me liberty or give me death” he meant it.  He was saying that death was preferrable to living under the tyranny of the British monarchy.   When the Declaration of Independence was signed and the war was won there was no turning back.  Their freedom came at a high cost so they treasured and protected it.  When Jesus died on the cross He did so to set us free from the oppression of sin.  God wanted to be reconciled with humanity and His Son’s death and resurrection were the means by which he accomplished it.  God did not saves us so that we would continue to live in the bondage of sin.  He saved us so we could be free…free to live the life He created us for.  So why do we turn back?  Why do we let the very things that God set us free from creep back in like a long-lost friend?  Our freedom from sin came at the highest cost should we not treasure and protect it?

I have a big week ahead of me which has involved intense preparations over the last several weeks.  As last week came to an end God gave me the  clarity and calm to know that I was fully prepared.  There is such a peace in knowing all outcomes are in His hands, I need only be obedient.  However, this morning I woke up a first class passenger on the hot mess express.  How’s that for waxing poetically?  Seriously, somewhere between church yesterday morning and the moment when the 2 x 4 hit me over the head several hours ago, the Nikki Show commenced.  Like a bolt of lightning out of nowhere yesterday evening, control freak Nikki reared her ugly head.  The work God had given me a peace about now seemed lacking or missing something. Frantically I sat at my keyboard typing just a little more to make it complete.  Writing and rewriting my words to feed that beast of perfectionism.  Reluctantly forcing myself to bed at midnight only to wake up and 7:00 am to immediately resume my writing.  I didn’t even pray, I didn’t even invite God into the work I was doing for Him.  In those moments I had lost my mind, I had gone back in time; it wasn’t about God it was all about me being in control.  When Matt tried to check me last night I politely told him I was all good and I would stop soon.  But I was so lost in control land that all I really wanted to say was “shut up and leave me alone, I have work that I need to finish.”  The final straw was at 7:30 this morning, I needed clothes to get to the dry cleaners stat because they have to be done tomorrow.  In my typing frenzy I couldn’t bear the thought of walking away from my computer.    “Matt what are you doing?”  I am such a genius, my husband is home, he can go for me.  Yeah, not so much.  Matt’s reply was that he needed to get a run in before starting his work day.  Get a run in…WHAT?!?!?!  I don’t have time for this.  I am leaving for my conference in two days you’re not running your marathon till October.  Let’s get our priorities straight.  Of course this whole dialogue occurred in my head.  My actual reply to Matt was a simple “fine.”  Men, if you don’t already know this, when your wife says the word “fine” the situation is really far from fine.  As my husband left for is run I begrudgingly gave him a kiss…didn’t he know he just bumped my control-freak happy.    I was preparing to shut my computer down and head to the dry cleaners when a moment of clarity hit me.  The words “what are you doing” flashed through my mind.  I stop dead in my tracks.  What was I doing?  I was frantic and frustrated, my thoughts were chaotic and all over the place.  In an instant I knew I had let the enemy enter the scene.  Immediately I stopped and prayed.

There is a reason why Paul tells us to put on the armor of God.  We have an enemy that wants to sidetrack us, derail us, and ultimately destroy us. He drags us into a battle that is far greater than our circumstances in order to hurt God by hurting us.  Satan knows how this battle ends…he loses and God wins.  Not a fan of this ending, Satan’s lashes out his anger at God on all of humanity.  But the enemy has no power or authority over us.  In his desperate attempt to trip us up he whispers lies and uses deception as a manipulator.  However,  when we belong to Jesus Christ we have all authority and power to shut the enemy down.  In Jesus name we have been given the right to cast the enemy out of any situation.  When we put our armor on daily…when we walk in truth, live in God’s ways, trust in faith, and live in and spread the peace of the Gospel …then we are prepared for the battles that lay ahead.

The moment the scales fell off my eyes this morning the deception was over.  The enemy had attacked and I walked right into it.  As I recollect my whole weekend I realize the attack had been brewing.  So many thoughts were swimming in my head that I couldn’t focus.  God had already told me I was done but I felt like I needed to do more.  In my quest to do more, I opened the door for the enemy to visit and he brought my old pal control with him.  In my brain, in my thoughts, that is where they camped yesterday and clearly we had a slumber party because they were still here when I woke up this morning.  Pushing me to do more because what I had completed was not “good enough” yet.  There it was, the lie I believed.  My work is not good enough; even though God had already told me it was, I didn’t believe Him, I didn’t trust Him.  Ouch…talk about the worst case of the Monday’s…EVER!!!!

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind me and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3: 12-14

Paul’s words remind me this morning of a very valuable lesson that we would all do well to remember…we have not arrived.  In this journey through life we are a work in progress. We will never get it right all the time; God doesn’t expect us to.  As long as we are human we will stumble and sometimes we even fall.  The beauty of our God is that, in His infinite grace, He picks us up and He dusts us off.  He doesn’t hold our mistakes against us and he doesn’t want us to dwell in them either.  When we fall short, all God desires is confession and repentance. We must recognize our mistakes for two reasons; 1) so that we may demonstrate an understanding that certain behaviors and attitudes are unpleasing to God and 2) so that we do not repeat them.  Confession is good for the soul because it is our key to freedom.  When we confess our sins to Almighty God they are gone, it is as if they never existed.  That my friends is forgiveness.  God forgives those who confess with a repentant heart and He grants us the freedom to continue forward. Never once does He make us turn around and look back at our mistakes.  As far as He is concerned they are gone.  The instant that I confessed my disobedience to God this morning it disappeared from His memory.  The moment I hit “publish” on this blog I will move forward from it too, moving onward toward my goal which is heavenward.






Prepare For Takeoff

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Georgia is the busiest airport in the United States.  Over 260,000 passengers pass through this airport…daily.  Last week I told you that my blog was going to offer complete transparency so let’s be honest. You all know that air travel brings out the crazy in a lot of people.  We rush to the airport three hours prior to departure in fear of long security lines, we rush to the gate just in case we miss something, when the flight attendant’s voice comes over the loud-speaker for boarding we rush to wait in line because we need to hurry on the plane.  We even get frustrated when our “zone” doesn’t board first.  My personal favorite is the look on people’s faces when the Sky Priority fliers, a.k.a. frequent fliers, waltz right up to their own separate, special line and board immediately.  That really boils the blood of a novice traveler.  I’m not going to lie…one of the perks of my husband traveling so much is that when I fly with him I get to be one of those special people…it really is a great feeling.  But I digress. The point is that the airport experience for most people is rush, rush, rush just to sit and wait.  I’ll never understand the people who are dying to board the plane first.  If you’re at the gate on time the plane won’t leave without you, why sit on a cramped plane any longer than you have to.  But still we rush to wait.  We wait for everyone else to board, we wait for the cabin to be secure, we wait for the plane to roll away from the gate, and we wait for take off.  Now because I live in the Metro Detroit area and Delta is a major carrier out of our airport we often have connecting flights through Atlanta, a Delta hub.  At most other airports as you begin to approach the runway you know that any minute the wait will be over and soon you will be airborne.  But not at Hartsfield. No, at Hartsfield you approach the runway and over the cabin speaker you hear this cheerful greeting “Good morning passengers, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard flight whatever the number.  Service from Atlanta to wherever.  We have sunny skies for our flight today and will be reaching a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.  We will be getting underway shortly.  We are number 75 for take off.  Thank you for flying Delta.”  Whoa, did I just hear him right?!?!  Did he say number 75??  Does that mean 75 other planes need to take off before we can go?  This might be a slight over exaggeration but you get the point…again we wait.

“We may impress people with our strengths… But we connect with people through weaknesses.” ~ Craig Groeschel

I hate to wait.  Impatience is one of my weaknesses.   If something is going to happen I want it to happen now.  If someone has news to share I want them to tell me now.  If something needs to be done let’s do it now.  That is me…I’m a doer.  I take the bull by the horns and dive right in.  Why wait?!  There is plenty of work that needs to be done now!  But what happens when God makes you wait?  Where do you go when you’ve rushed, rushed, rushed and all of a sudden God slams on the emergency brake and brings you to a screeching halt?  How does the impatient doer reconcile themselves to the season of waiting?

The land in between is a weird place to be.  I should know, I have been living here since October.  To the outside world it doesn’t look like your moving forward in fact it just looks like you’re standing still.  I have a deep struggle with standing still.  My husband will be the first to tell you I don’t know how to relax.  I multi-task even in my down time.  I mean I read a book and watch T.V. at the same time for goodness sakes.  So entering this new season of my life, the waiting period, was beyond difficult.  Self-doubt started to settle in, a lie that the enemy was all too happy to fuel and perpetuate.   But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back the story up so you can understand a little better.  Almost 4 years ago I felt God’s calling on my life.  I had persevered through some trials and I felt that He wanted me to share my experiences in order to help others through life’s journey.  I assumed He wanted me to be a counselor of some sort so back to school I went.  Very quickly into my schooling God made it abundantly clear counseling was not His path for me.  He had wired me with a heart that beats for discipleship and a passion to teach His truth.  I knew that He wanted me to use my life experiences not as basis to counsel people but as a tool for discipling them.  Having walked a deep valley becomes a great source of credibility when you are teaching Scripture like James 1 and telling people to rejoice in their trials. People want to know why they should believe that. When we can be vulnerable enough to share how God has worked in our lives His truth is no longer just words on a page…we become a living testament to His promises and faithfulness.  So I refocused my energies to ministry…that is what God has called me to.  I wasn’t really sure what that would look like but I knew that was where He was leading me.  Of course the impatient doer in me was not going to do this school thing at a leisurely pace…there was kingdom work to be done and I had to get moving so I could join the game.  Almost 3 years to the day that I started school, I finished it.  October 11, 2013, my husband’s birthday.  Believe me, my completing school was the BEST birthday gift I have ever given my husband.  By then he was OVER it…he wanted his wife back.  Interestingly enough I, like the impatient traveler, rushed only to wait.  God didn’t roll out the red carpet on October 12th and send an angel to deliver my divine appointment.  There was no ministry job awaiting me…in fact October 12th was just a typical, run of the mill Saturday at our house.  The only unique thing that happened on that day was that I took up residence in the land in between.  I was in between what had been accomplished and what was coming next.  There was nothing left for me to do but wait.  I was plane number 75 in line for take off…

“There is a big difference between waiting and trusting patiently by faith.  One usually leaves you frustrated and upset; the other makes you feel closer to Jesus.” ~ Christine Caine

How true these words are.  If I can be completely honest, my biggest struggle in the wait was not actually waiting.  I knew with all my heart that God had stilled my forward momentum for a purpose.  He wanted to pour into me.  No, my problem with the wait was people and what they thought.  I was a 37-year-old wife and mother who just spent three years in school and now I was doing nothing.  No job and no real sense of direction. I began to dread the question “what are you going to do now?”   The answer to that question was so complex yet so simple.  “I am not going to do anything because God has told me to be still.”  Every time I gave that answer I felt like I had to validate my call because in my mind I decided that everyone must have thought I was crazy.  I mean, I had just gone to school for three years to do exactly what I had been doing before so what was the point.  God had told me to be still and it didn’t matter if it made sense, I wanted to be obedient.  But living in obedience didn’t make that truth any less difficult for the doer in me to embrace.  With the difficulty came the comparison and the self-doubt.  My mind was a battlefield that wrestled with ideas of being unworthy of God’s calling to thinking I was flat-out delusional to think God had called me in the first place.  Who was I?  I certainly wasn’t good enough to serve God in a life of ministry.  But all of the self-doubt and comparisons were lies.  Lies whispered by the enemy in an attempt to paralyze me.  I thank God for the godly people in my life who helped me to see those lies for what they were.  When I did, that was the moment when waiting turned into trusting patiently by faith.  Just when I was on the brink of frustration Jesus pulled me away from the ledge and reminded me what this journey was all about.  Tucked deep in my heart I knew what God had called me to, I just needed to be confident in it.  I needed to understand that in kingdom work what I was doing only had to make sense to the One who had called me, not to the masses.  That simple truth ushered in the understanding that this wasn’t a season of just waiting, this was season of maturing and pruning.  This was the season where the apprentice learns to be more like the master so that the workmanship is of Him and not of me.  Do you know how much freedom there is in that revelation?  It’s not about me and what I am doing.  It is about God and what He wants to do in and through me.  All I need to do is be available and obedient.  Ministry is not about getting a paycheck from a church.  Ministry is about being the hands, the feet, the eyes, the mouth, and the heart of Jesus Christ to people who need Him and are longing for Him.  The kingdom work that I rushed through school to start…I was already doing it.

“But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

What if we lived our lives focused on the truth of Isaiah’s words.  Those who “wait upon the Lord.”  Those who relinquish control, those who live a life of total surrender, those who are desperately dependent on God… will have the freedom to be all that God created them to be, will live a life of obedience even when obedience doesn’t make sense, will remember that regardless of what season of life they find themselves in God will use them for His kingdom right where they are, and they will remember that their worthiness comes not from a title or a position but rather by the fact that they are so precious to God the Father that He sent His Son to die for us.  When we fully realize that… THEN we will soar, then we will be the best we can be.

Today I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter if I am plane number 75 or plane number 1 in order for takeoff.  What matters is that I am prepared to takeoff.  As we walk through our journey with Christ we must make sure we are always ready to be used.  Sometimes Christ does not use us simply because we do not make ourselves available to Him.  We are distracted, discontented, disobedient, etc. and we miss the opportunities He lays before us.  Sometimes along the way we need that gentle reminder that it is never about our satisfaction and always about His glory.  When we forget that we take our eyes off of Him.  In the briefest shifting of our eyes the circumstances of our lives begin to overwhelm us leading to frustration.  Jesus is not likely to call on a frustrated servant and we find ourselves sidelined.  Ahhhhh…but it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact God has given us, through the Holy Spirit, the tools not to live that way.  Those tools are called the fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23 check them out.  You see when we live life in total surrender to God we find that His Spirit begins to transform us to look more like our Savior, to take on His attributes.  That is what the fruits of the Spirit are…attributes of Christ that can be manifested in us when we live according to God’s ways.  And wouldn’t you know it, surprise surprise…patience is one of those attributes.

What is the value of living in the land in between?  The value is the lessons God will teach you when you allow Him to stretch you beyond who you think you are and allow Him to mold and transform you into who He wants you to become.  It’s about God chipping you away so that all that is left is the image of His Son in you.   I’m not sure how long my stay in the land in between will last.  It might be a few more days or it could last a few more years.  Regardless, God’s call on my life has not changed, in that I remain confident.  In my spirit I feel like God is starting to move and I have seen signs of forward momentum.  But in the end I trust that God will move me when the time is perfect for Him.  As long as my eyes stay focused on Him I will be ready when He says “all clear for takeoff.”






Master Class

“Everybody has a story and there is something to be learned from every experience…use your life as a class.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

In my people pleasing head I can hear the collective gasps of the people who are shocked (some, even appalled) that I would choose to start my journey as a blogger with a quote from Oprah.    Quite honestly, I am bit shocked myself.  However, I must admit Oprah’s Master Class has quickly become my favorite show on television.  Why?  Because people fascinate me.  Not just the ones that look like me, think like me, and believe like me…all people.  If you have never watched the show let me give you a brief description.  The premise is to simply use life as a class.  To learn about the obstacles and opportunities others have faced on their pathway to success.  These are transparent stories that speak to the good, the bad, and the ugly that we will all inevitably face on this journey called life.  It is the ultimate showcase of the human experience.  Of course everyone featured has risen to some form of celebrity status.  Whether it is Condeleeza Rice, Diane Sawyer, Justin Timberlake, or Sydney Portier…it is a colorful collection of people sharing their talent, abilities, successes, victories, shortcomings, setbacks, weaknesses, tragedies, and failures. The show is best summarized by Jon Bon Jovi who states that “Each step along the way is just another life lesson.”  Yes, people fascinate me and not just celebrities. Why?  Because  we all have a story to tell that is unique…every single one of our lives is a Master Class in progress.  Every person has a story that might just help someone else on their journey.  Little nuggets of knowledge to pass down that can educate and empower the next generation.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” ~ Genesis 1:27

Interestingly enough, Ms. Winfrey in all her media mogul genius is ultimately not the author or the originator of the Master Class concept.  Not even close. No, this idea was born at the dawn of creation.  As God began His creative mission the greatest story ever told began to unfold.  In fact the colorful collection of people you can see showcased every Sunday night on the OWN Network remind me of another group of people…an underscored group of celebrities if you will.  Some successful, some epic failures, all as equally human as the ones we see today. Just as susceptible to make bad choices in a moment of weakness and just as likely to rise above the circumstances of their lives in moments of strength and clarity.  Of whom am I speaking?  The Master Class: Ancient World Edition.  This is not a Oprah production this is a God production.  It is the greatest Master Class ever known.  Shepherd’s become kings and slaves rise to power.  Queen’s save their people and persecutors become saints.  However, God’s Master Class is radically different from anything we see on television today.  The Master Class that flows through the pages of the Bible is one that always points to one main ingredient…it is the key ingredient that takes a good story and turns it into a great story, an eternal story.  God’s grace fully realized in Jesus Christ!  Why do people fascinate me?  Because we were all created in the image of God and I choose to look for God’s  beauty in all that He has created.  We were all created in the image of God and therefore we all have the opportunity to take our story from good one to a great one.  That is never more evident than on the pages of the Bible.

“We are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole.” ~ Jane Fonda

Ahhhh…good ole Jane.  There is not much of Ms. Fonda’s platform that I personally agree with but I do love this quote.  I think what draws me to it is that I actually find it to be both true and false.  If we go all the way back to the beginning…Garden of Eden beginning…you will discover that her statement is actually false.  We actually were meant to be perfect.  We were meant to live in perfect communion with each other, all of Creation, and God Himself.  However it only took Adam and Eve all of three chapters to royally mess that up.  So from Genesis chapter 3 on her statement becomes true.  When sin entered into the world we become separated from God.  That very separation caused an emptiness…a longing in our soul for what is missing.  Many will journey through this life never finding what their soul is longing for.  So often times we try to fill that void with wealth, power, ambition, prestige, success, and material possessions.  Ultimately none of those things will ever make us whole.  The soul can never be satisfied with things of this world…we were created for far better things.  If sin stole our wholeness by fracturing our relationship with God is Jane’s statement even possible?  I am not sure even she realizes the enormity of her words but yes it is very possible.  In fact the reason Jesus came to this earth was to make it possible. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them…” ~ 2 Corinthians 17-19  Wholeness for each person comes the very moment we fully surrender our lives to the One who created us and the One who died for us.

“We all have the ability to put forth the best of ourselves.” ~ Goldie Hawn

Why do people fascinate me?  Because we are created in the image of God who has bestowed to us all gifts, talents, abilities, and resources.  I find the wonders of God’s creative hand so evident in the genius and ingenuity of man.  The way an artist can use his mind,  hands, and paint to create a masterpiece leaves me in awe of what my God can do.  The beautiful music and melodies that comes from the mouths of singers leaves me longing to hear the choir of angels in heaven.  The way an athlete can push his body, or a mathematician can use his brain leaves me speechless at the attention to detail that God uses when He created each and every one of us uniquely. I am always interested to see how man chooses to use all that God has given to him.  I agree with Goldie, we do have the ability to put forth the best of ourselves.  I believe the best of ourselves always comes when we are walking in God’s ways and living in His will.  Then and only then can we truly live out His purpose for our lives…to glorify Him in all that we say and do.  This blog will be my opportunity to put forth the best of myself.  It will be my Master Class if you will.  A place to share my story and experiences as I continue on my journey home.  This will not be a highlight reel but rather transparent behind the scenes.  We have so much that we can we learn from each other…that is the very reason I look forward to Sunday evenings.  I recognize that while my beliefs do not align with most of the people featured on the show Master Class there is still a commonality in the human experience that allows us to see people differently when we hear about their journey.  Are we not called to love one another?  How can we if we never listen to each other. Why do people fascinate me?  Because I love God and He loves people.  People matter to Him so they matter to me.  Not just the people I like or the ones who look like me, think like me, or believe like me…He loves us all and desires for all to know His Son.  My prayer is that the love, hope, and peace that is found in Christ will be evidenced in the words shared in this blog.

In His Love,