Chronicling 40: Days 119-121


Over the past few days, I have been involved in judging some theatre competitions, which I absolutely love.  I get notice of the pieces so I can familiarize myself with any that I don’t know.  I enjoy watching the live performances, and on the scoring sheets we get an opportunity to share notes on the performance so that they can improve for future competitions.

This past weekend was for High School students.  It’s an interesting space to judge because they are old enough to be more frank and direct (especially the seniors heading to college), but I am often reminded that they are in fact students.  They’ve had maybe 1-2 teachers influencing them, probably not workshops on the weekends and intensives over the summer.

I’ve judged these competitions in various districts over the state, but this weekend was in a new district and I was eager to meet new faces (judges) and see a new group of students.  Hands down, every district I have attended has had some of the most friendly judges.  Those who have been doing it for a while are happy to help the newer judges through the process.  It’s always been a fun space to be apart of, people who are not just judging but really care about helping these students hone their craft.

This weekend, it was different.

I was the first judge there, sipping on my coffee.  When she entered the space, she walked with such confidence as if this was old hat to her.  To my surprise it was her first time judging this particular district.  She rattled off big, impressive words.  I’m not sure if the purpose was to qualify herself to me… or set the tone that she was a professional regardless of who I was.

The second judge entered, like a diva onto a stage.  She was a queen. She was running the show.  As we watched the performers, we were not allowed to speak to the performers, but in the technical portions we could.  Immediately it became time to impress the teachers, students, and parents in the space with their knowledge and expertise.  There I sat, just listening and looking.  One was intent on pointing out flaws.  The other was insistent about teaching from her experience.  Their questions to the students were set up to trip the student up and give the judge platform to teach versus to listen to how the student came to their conclusions and decisions.

It was interesting to me, as an observer of this.  If these were college students, or professionals entering some sort of competition, then you have an expectation of excellence … and certainly at this juncture you would want to share your experience and wisdom with them.  For a group of high school students, who many were 9th graders competing for the first time, there is a gentler approach.  Instead of shouting the wisdom of the sages at them, asking them the right questions to get their minds thinking is going to go much further.

I thought about this in relations to conferences and retreats.   Sometimes the speakers come in, and because they’ve been given the platform, they elevate themselves.  They use big words and concepts, trying to establish the providence that they deserve to be in that spot.  When sometimes, what they really need to do is speak plainly to the heart of those who are listening.  Jesus knew how to put His message to the crowds in terms they would understand, that they were familiar with.  They didn’t get hung up on fancy words or ideas, but rather could soak in the words that were plain and simple.

I think of the Pharisees with their long prayers set out to impress the people with their knowledge and godliness… that fell flat because of it’s lack of humility.

If God has given me a platform, I shouldn’t have to prove that I earned it.  Why?  Because I am there to give the spotlight to God, not myself.  I should have a willingness to share my vulnerabilities and iniquities as an evidence to a God who equips the called… and sometimes those he called are coming from a mess.  But what is seems like a hurdle today can be used for God’s glory tomorrow.  When I am willing to share my humbled self, God gets to be on full display.

When a woman comes to me for counsel, this is not the opportunity to puff myself up and make it appear like I have it all together.  An attempt to stand on a platform of the “Perfect Wife”, “Perfect Parent”, “Perfect Christian”, etc.; as if I am some sort of expert.  When instead of listening with the intent of figuring out how I am going to respond, advise, direct, or sell my own self… I should be listening to ask the questions that will cause them to think and come to answers on their own.  Advising and directing as God leads and prompts.



Chronicling 40: Day 118 of 365


Yesterday morning, I happened upon an interesting social media commentary.  There was a short video clip from a pretty big Christian women’s event.  Since these clips autoplay, it caught my attention.  It isn’t exactly something I would expect to see at an event of this type.  I’m not entirely sure who was in the clip (the video wasn’t super great) but obviously if not one of the speakers it was an emcee, or someone like that.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I started looking through the comments.

Equal parts of supporters and naysayers.

The supporters appeared to be women who were actually present, and put the video clip in context.  The naysayers were wagging their fingers at it, suggesting that it was an example of being worldly.  Noting that we are to be in the world, not of it.  And pointing out that when the church starts looking like the world, it’s now problematic.

And, if I were to be totally honest… I was catching myself in that latter category.  I was being pretty judgemental.  It wasn’t even like I had an issue with what I was seeing, but rather where I was seeing it take place.  Inappropriate were my thoughts.

I didn’t respond with my .02, but decided to think about it a bit.

Here is where I landed…

  1.  Context mattered.  Based on the explanations by the women who were in attendance, what I was actually watching was from an intermission.  The event had taken a break, and this was entertainment for the women who had chosen to stay at their seats. 
  2.  Content mattered.  Even though I had heard the song before, I didn’t know the lyrics very well.  Before I made a decision about whether or not a secular song was appropriate, I needed to be informed.  I took the time, looked up the lyrics, learned what I could about the artist who wrote them.
  3.  Community mattered.  In the end, the lyrics were fine… the dance moves were fun.  It was also something familiar to many, and it seemed from the video many women were participating in it.  It was connecting the women in a fun, light hearted way.

Perhaps being of the world but not in the world can include simply having fun with one another, smiling and laughing.  And if I can’t smile and laugh with a group of women, in between sessions of worship and teaching… I think the problem is me.

Chronicling 40: Day 117 of 365

Women Bow And Pray

Have you ever had a day that was so tough, you just wanted to go home and climb back into bed?  You were either seeking the comfort of your warm blankets and soft pillow, looking for a refuge to hide from the world, or perhaps you were looking for do over… a new beginning, a new start.

This is how I feel about the Word.  When my day is wearing, I run to it. Looking for a word that comforts my pain.  A refuge and shelter from the storms of the world.  It gives me a fresh perspective, fresh outlook, a new beginning to tackle the coming day.  There is a comfort and peace in the pages that unfold His promises to us.

To find the comfort, I need to return home, and pull back the covers.

To find peace, I need to return to His presence, and turn open the cover of The Word.



Chronicling 40: Day 116 of 365


Do you have ever those days where you are just begging for Jesus to come already.  You are weary.  You are tired of the fight.  You are ready for peace.  You just want the King to come and restore everything to how it should be.

That is how it was before Jesus came.  They were watching for a Messiah who was going to come and establish His kingdom.  They would be out of bondage, restored.  However, their vision of what their King would look like and what arrived was very different.  They were awaiting on conquering King not a swaddled baby.  Not a man nailed to a cross.

They were watching for the Son, but couldn’t see Him… even when He stood right in front of their faces.

In the last 40 years, I have learned through hindsight how present God was in every step of the way.  In the days where I didn’t know Him yet, unable to recognize His face.  He was there.  In the days where I longed to feel His presence because He felt so far.  He was there.  In the days when He doesn’t show up in the ways I expect, but none the less He is there.

All of this has brought me to a place where now even when I can’t… I know.  I know He is there, present, listening, watching, working, moving, guiding.  I seek Him differently, because I am so confidence of His presence in the first place.  Like a child looking for her father’s hand in a dark room… when the days are long and weary, I watch for Him.  I reach for him.

While I may still yearn for Jesus to return and put an end to the turmoil on this earth, I also find comfort in knowing that He dwells within me and the hearts of those whom He calls His own.  And in the struggle… I find peace.  My King has already come, victory is already His.

Chronicling 40: Days 113-115 of 365


The past few days have been a distraction with a mixture of struggle.  Big things are happening, lots of things being added to the calendar … and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Even though these are all good things, they are a lot… and some are big steps for my ministry work.  Add in the pending holidays and I wonder… can I really do all of this?  Am I taking on too much?

In my devotion a few days ago, the main point of the passage was that even there, in the hardest or most difficult times God can do miraculous things in you, and through you, for His glory.

I’ve been clinging to that each day.  His timing and purposes are always right and as long as I’m in alignment with His will… I can do hard things.  I can do big things.  I can do intimidating things.

I can because HE can.  He loves me, and you, so much.  Why would I doubt His ability to carry me though what ever it is He has laid before me?  Why would I doubt His provision, when I answered the call … “Who will go…”?

If it is in His will… then it is in His strength.  His provision.  His power.  His timing.  His pathway.  I know He will steer me in the right direction, because He is right and good.  If God is within me, I shall not fall.

Chronicling 40: Day 112 of 365

EMTodayIt’s crazy to me, to think that I have finished writing a book.  Sure, it could use some finessing before it’s actually published… but I did it.  Completed.  Done.

I have over 20 years of experience, knowledge, leadership, and wisdom poured into these pages.

But, before I could pour out myself onto these pages for others to read…

Someone had to pour into me.

Leaders who invested time in teaching me, guiding me, and setting an example for me.  Teachers who spent time talking me through topics, pointing me toward resources, and preparing me for days I never knew were coming.

Twenty years ago, through even the more recent days, these influential people wouldn’t have known where their gifts to me would have ended up.  They gave none the less.  They taught, led, guided, advised, and shared with me anyway.

Their gifts were not in vane, or wasted, even if they will never know what became of them.

Do not ever discount the gift that your experience, wisdom, and talent can be for someone else.  You may never see the harvest of the seed you planted, but if you are sowing wisely… it does not wither and die.  Instead it grows, matures, produces good fruit, and drops seeds along the new way.  The harvest begets a new harvest.

I was invested in, and now I invest in others.

Chronicling 40: Day 111 of 365


I’m going to share a little secret with you, I love to talk about things.  All sorts of things.  Because of my personality type, I find conversation invigorating.  I love hearing other people’s perspective, being challenged about my own thoughts, and learning new things.  However, on social media this can get me in hot water.

What I see as an engaging conversation, others receive as a heated debate.

What I consider just a quick answer, others take as a curt response.

What I view as a follow up response or further thought, others consider being argumentative or trying to prove my point (or be right).

I’ve written in the past about how I believe conversation for the sake of conversation is a lost art… or how some people seek to be offended.  I even sided in agreement with those who have said that I’m responsible for what I say, not how others receive it.

I’m not so sure I agree with that last statement, entirely, anymore.  If we are friends, I should be more in tune with your sensitivities… and how to engage you in conversation better.  Even more so on social media platforms where you tend to know people a little more superficially than those you are connecting with in every day life.  I’ve failed miserably in that area.  Ultimately what I was considering as a healthy, on going, conversation has been received as being argumentative (and stubbornness, and I’ve even been called a bully).

I have to take some ownership in that.  If I’m lacking the where-with-all to recognize the conversation is taking a wrong turn, or that the tone of the conversation is changing, then I’m not being responsible for my words & contribution.

So I have decided on my new social media rule of 3, when it comes to posts about current events, opinions, controversial topics, etc.

  1.  I will wait 3 minutes before responding to anything on social media.  In other words, I am choosing to not react immediately with the reply button.  I will take 3 minutes to consider if I add value to the conversation, am I just talking to talk, or should I step away.
  2.  I will not reply more then 3 times, unless specifically asked a direct question.  Which means I will need to choose my responses wisely.
  3.  I will not engage in hot button topics with people I have known for less than 3 months.