5 Ways to Practice Distraction-Free Worship (For The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Seasons of Life)

We need worship. I am convinced that worship is a gift. God does not rely on our worship to prop up his identity or stroke his ego. His glory is all-sufficient (which is why God is so worthy of our praise)!

In moments of rejoicing or times of anxiety, worship is Gods provisional avenue for us, his kids, to have joy and confidence in these days. The invitation to tell-God-how-good-He-is delivers us from self-centered thinking to freedom and joy. 

Like Peter, we navigate the stormy waves of our souls by keeping our eyes on Jesus. (Matthew 14) 

Worship is the corrective eye-glass that brings His image into focus when our eyes are dimmed and distracted by world-waves: despair, self-entitlement, fear, pride, consumerism, pain, bitterness. 
My family and church are entering a season of great potential for these world-waves to cloud our vision. Knowing these next months will tempt me to lose heart, I must proceed with holy intentionality. 


I have decided to choose worship over worry, to look at the healer instead of the wound, and to bask in his good light that leads rather than wallow in the valley of shadows. Perhaps you’d like to join me? 

Here are some practices to help: 
1. Make It Personal: Sometimes as we worship, we need to re-state a verse, a hymn, a song, or other truth that exposes Gods bigness, faithfulness, or goodness in a relatable way to our own souls. When we allow truth to impact with such intimacy, we respond with worship. 

In the last few years, I have sung the song “Oceans” a hundred times, at least. I have always appreciated the lyrics, however, only recently have I personally unpacked them. To me, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” was always about travel and missions. As I sang it recently, I realized that it’s less about “missions” and more about meekness. In other words, “I will submit to what you are doing even when I don’t understand. I will not put boundaries on your plan.” 

Contrary to my favorite Instagram accounts, the adventure isn’t in traveling beyond national borders, its in the advent of Jesus presence. When I think about his having come into to my mess to save me, I can’t help the shouts of exuberant gratitude. (Psalm 96 says sing to the Lord a new song!)

2. Go With The Crowd: Recently, Rend Collective delivered a foot stomping worship service that unleashed my inner wild-child [of God]. However, an unthinkable kill-joy snuck in during the concert: a couple who couldn’t be pulled away from their smartphones. They sat directly in front of us, completely disengaged from the atmosphere of joy and adoration. Every 45 seconds their screens changed from Facebook, to candy crush, to email. 

Discouraged and distracted, we abandoned our seats to stand closer to the stage where the audience was more engaged. (Ok, it was loud and rowdy and I loved it.) Turns out, expressed enthusiasm to praise Jesus can be contagious. Some of us need to make a move to be near it. (Practice a page from King Davids story in Samuel 6:12-23)

3. Call for Sanctuary: Some of us need the help of spacial and relational quietness to focus in worship. Sometimes, we embrace awkwardness and pour our offering to Jesus in public, like the woman with the perfume in Luke 7. Other times, we take our cue from Jesus himself and “go away to pray.” To be quiet and alone with God can be uncomfortable; however, to be alone with God is sometimes the only way we can truly be available. He can have our undivided attention when we silence the visual and audible noise. This often takes practice, but is so worth it. I am hoping to champion this habit more effectively in my own life this season. (See Luke 5:16 and Mark 1:35)

4. Clean House: Before we can lavish praise and odes of trust to our God, sometimes we need to first convey our doubt. In Christ, we are free, invited even, to express all the hurt, anger, disappointment, anxiety, exhaustion, weariness, confusion, and bitterness. God has proven he is big enough to handle our negativity. Hiding, swallowing, or denying the junky feelings in our souls not only hinders our worship, it inhibits our intimacy with God. 

Our Father beckons us to put aside the orphan mentality: the notion that I am acceptable as long as I am presentable. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself griping before the Lord. I then get annoyed with my tempter tantrum, and assume God feels the same way. But I must remember He is my daddy, and I am his girl. I am safe. My honest feelings are welcome. However, I don’t get stuck here. The emptying of my heart makes room for the filling of His joy. What follows is a natural and organic exaltation of my redeemer. (Psalm 31 displays this practice well)

5. Fake It Till You Make It: Say the words out loud. Raise your hands, or get on your knees. Let your actions convince your feelings, rather than your feelings define your actions. The times I am most likely to raise my hands in worship are often the times I feel most distracted or disengaged. Using nonverbal communication to express adoration, desperation, or surrender to Jesus can help liberate my actual feelings or words to agree. Our posture has power. (See Psalm 95:6-7)

Do you practice focused worship? Share your stories ’round the campfire by commenting below. 

A Faith-Leap for Team Rosty

Today, I am enjoying the view for a quiet moment while the kids sleep. 
I’ll admit, this view can’t be beat. From my front porch or living room window, I get to drink this in every day. Sometimes the fog rolls in over the mountains, tucking the hills in for a slumberous morning. Sometimes the sun bursts in and wakes up every leaf and blade of grass to sing praises with their colors.
And today, I appreciate the view so much more, even in the dull afternoon shade. I am soaking it up because it won’t be mine much longer. We are embarking on another adventure. 

Four years ago, we put shovels into dirt and began to build our home. Two years later, we filled this home with twice the energy a brand new baby provides. This home has been our sanctuary, our place of ministry, and our place to play. 
Tiny fingers learned to crawl on soft carpet here. Toddlers in footsie pajamas have padded through the hallway and ’round and ’round the kitchen wall here. Handprints on windows might as well be a permanent accessory here. A Christmas tree took up way too much space in the living room here. Our pup has indulged on often spilled Cheerios here. Our marriage has blossomed here, as we fell in love with each other all over again when we became parents. Our hearts have sunk low at times here, and overflowed with joy at others here, as we have walked weary roads with young people into the presence of God.  

Our adventure on this boulevard has been filling, exhausting, sanctifying, and exhilarating. Our home has been ground zero for petitioning prayers and party-zone for many BBQ’s. And now it is the launching pad for a new journey. 

God has once again directed our attention toward adoption. We strive to stay in-step with Jesus in this process, not rushing ahead and not dragging our feet. The first step is to find a little bit more space.  

And in the steady motion of obedience, Jesus keeps providing for the big and small things, like…

  • -Planting peace in my heart as we planted a For-Sale sign in our front yard this morning.
  • -Coffee and perspective-bringing conversation brought by a lovely friend.
  • -Just enough light shed on the next life-steps to keep us grasping tight to the hand of our Guide. 

I don’t know how, but my breath comes easy today, with the reminder that He is good. This view and these memories soothe my heart. Only Jesus can redeem what could be a season of anxiety and grasping for control, transforming it into a epoch of blessing through the nearness of His presence.


Thank you, family and friends for your prayers for clarity and dependence on God as we keep walking, and sometimes leaping, in faith. 

Pumpkin-Spice Quiet Time 

Pumpkin Spice Quiet Time: Delighting in Jesus in Response to His GoodnessThere is nothing like spending time with God in autumn.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
All around us, the world is preparing for cooler weather. However, as followers of Jesus, we must not let the migration indoors catalyze a hibernation of our hearts.
My suggestion: “Pumpkin-Spiced Quiet Times.”
In the wake of autumn, pumpkin-spice is returning to our favorite coffee shops and packaged food lines (pumpkin-spice Cheerios anyone?), and the fans are going crazy! The social media world has documented our delight over this fall-flavor for years. There is no doubt it–Pumpkin-Spice delights the masses.
I am reading Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman, which I highly recommend. This book challenges readers to have an intimate relationship with Christ–one which requires sacrifice, commitment, and a re-arrangement of the heart. Not just an excitement about Jesus kindred to our excitement about s’mores of pumpkin-spiced chai lattes. To be a Christian, Christ requires the Lordship of our lives, which means HE is in charge, not us.
Idleman repeatedly challenges the “Christian-culture” way of claiming Christianity. I agree, we need to stop being fans of Jesus and truly submit to Jesus as Lord.
However, I do think there is a place for the pumpkin-spice kind of delight we can receive from spending time in God’s Word.
Full disclosure here: I am DELIGHTED by Jesus! I am excited about Him, and IN LOVE with Him. Spending time with the letters of love and truth He wrote for us (Scripture), floods me with bliss. I cannot help but get giddy sometimes.
And you know what!? I actually really appreciate Instagram posts about someone else’s time with God too. Those pictures with the steaming cup of tea and the vase of flowers next to an open Bible… some may label them cliché or staged, but when I see them while scrolling, it’s like the mouth of my soul starts watering. Those posts stir my appetite for some intimate time with my Savior, much like a post about sweaters and s’mores makes me long for sometime cozied-up by the fire with a roasting stick in hand.
Maybe I am shallow (or perhaps I am just incredibly susceptible to advertising). However, I think there is value in the childlike delight over Gods Word that makes us want to document our time with Jesus and share it with others.
I think if king David could have downloaded a social media app, he would have occasionally posted something similar:

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.

 Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors.
I am NOT advocating for a self-centered, attention-seeking, find-what-feels-good kind of faith in Jesus. I am not suggesting our quiet times should revolve around how “Instagram-able” the setting is. Delight in our Savior should never replace submission to Him. Rather, delight is a beautiful response to humbly surrendering our wills to our KING!  (Need an example of this? The 2016 film Risen inspired and humbled me with its portrayal of the disciples’ giddy delight in knowing the risen Savior. View it and tell me what you think!)
There is no shame in wrapping up a comforter and sipping a steaming cuppa pumpkin-spice-something-or-another while reading your Bible. You have permission to ENJOY those cozy moments with Jesus this season, filling your soul with good old-fashioned comfort food for the spirit.
And if you feel like sharing, don’t hesitate to document it all on Instagram! Use #campfiregrace to stay connected.

Lame Church: What To Do When Your Teenager Thinks Church Is Less Than Appealing

Lame Church: What to do when your teenager thinks church is less than appealing

“It’s so BORING.”

“Why can’t I just sleep in?”

“But none of my friends go to youth group!”

“I don’t get anything out of the Bible study, what’s the point?”

“I have too much homework to go to small group tonight?”

“I would rather help in the nursery.”

“I forgot.”

Parents, we have heard it all (amirite)? Ok, my kids aren’t teenagers yet, but my husband is a youth pastor and I get the privilege to reach out to young people alongside him for the glory of God. And I too, have heard all of these statements about “lame church.”

I get it, personally even. I was the kid who “helped” in the nursery for countless Sunday’s because I didn’t want to sit through the sermon. As a teen, I didn’t go to youth group because I was the awkward homeschooled girl intimidated by my gorgeous older sister’s cool friends.

Statistics show us that at least half of students raised in a Christian home who at one point claim to have accepted Christ as Savior will turn away from the Christian faith after high school graduation. This number is not ok with me.

Thankfully, research shows us a significant factor for those that maintain their walk with God into adulthood: they have at least 5 Christian adults investing specifically in the student’s relationship with God. (source)

Churches used to employ the “bouncer” approach to youth–have one adult for every 5 kids at the pizza night. Now, we strive to connect every 1 student to 5 caring and Christ-centered adults who will walk the faith journey with them.

For example, Kadee’s 5 might be:

  1. Mom
  2. Grandpa
  3. Small group Leader
  4. Christian coach
  5. Youth pastor

And let me say, this is not easy. Especially when kids present the “lame church” excuses.

May I suggest that, often the kids who claim “church is lame” are truly “lame” themselves.

Hear me out. Mark 2:1-12  tells us the story of a lame man, stuck on his mat, unable to get to Jesus for healing and abundant life. Four friends were willing to hoist him on his bed, carry him through the city, dig a hole through a roof, attach some belay cables to the lame man’s bed and lower him down to Jesus. This was no small effort.

Adolescents are children moving toward adulthood. They haven’t arrived yet (have any of us?). However, they are still capable of a beautiful, intimate, world-changing relationship with God. But in order to get there, some teens will need a faithful 4 or 5 to help them get to Jesus. As a parent, you are the most influential one of those 5, and you have a significant amount of power in helping find the other 4.

Help for the Lame Teen

So how do you pry the video game controller from your teen’s “paralyzed” hands and usher her into a fighting chance at a relationship with Jesus? Here are a few practical ideas:

Pray:

I dare you to pray Ephesians 3:14-21, on your knees, every day for your teen, and see what God does.

Send a Message:

Does your teen see that YOU believe their faith is important? Do we encourage our daughters and sons to have a Bible study or time spent with God? Dowe sit down with them, not just to help with homework, but to unpack Gods word together? Have we put youth group on the calendar so we don’t forget, even when they claim they do?

Try it out! Ask your son or daughter the following question: “What do you think is the most important part of your life to me?… Why?”

If needed, adjust which priorities you promote for your child through conversation, social media posts, rules and expectations, or praise.

Model:

Make your own walk with God available for the watchful eyes of your kids. Our prayer times can be so intimate when we finally get a quiet, private moment. Unfortunately, our children cannot pick up on habits they have not seen in practice. They can only mirror or imitate what they have visual access too.

Phone a Friend:

Prayerfully invite 3 or 4 other faith-heroes to invest in the life of your teen. Look outside your own peer group. I have seen powerful life-changes through the relationships of senior women who disciple teen girls into Godly womanhood.

Shift the Power:

Is your teen still complaining about lame church? Place the power on their shoulders. One mom always reminded her teenage boys every Sunday night before youth group, “remember, it’s not fun unless YOU make it fun.”

It’s true, kids set the tone for “cool” long before the youth pastor can. And believe me, he is trying. But in the end, we are not here to entertain, we are here to facilitate closer relationships with the living and loving God.

So encourage your teen to be the one that “blows it up” by inviting friends, baking cookies, or simply just asking good questions. Remind them of their power and influence to make church “the” place to be. Encourage them to take ownership of their faith community and invest in it. We all need to remember: church is not for us, church is us.

I understand, no-where in the Bible does it say a student has to attend church or youth group to have a relationship with God. However, the Bible is clear that fellowship with God’s family is not only a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God, it is also a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God that lasts. If you think about it, it is easy to stray away when you are always on the fringes of community; however, it is more difficult to stray away when you’ve been sitting at the table of God’s family.

Ultimately, I am not suggesting you drag your teenager on his mattress to church this Sunday. And please don’t dig a hole in in the roof of the youth leaders house. But somehow consider how you might put in a lame-man’s-friend type of effort to escort your teenager to a closer walk with Jesus. For his sake, both now and for the next 10-50 years of his life.

What to Wear on Your First Day of School

It’s time for a little campfire confession. 


After 6 years out of the classroom, I enrolled in an exercise class at our local community college this semester. Last Monday, I got to experience all the excitement of a “first day of school” again. 

This shouldn’t mean much to a 28 year old momma of toddlers. However, after hanging out all summer with some adventurous middle- and high-school aged girls, I have caught on to the first-day-of-school energy. 

I got up, got dressed, prepped the twins to spend lunch time with their daddy (so much fun), and even got to class EARLY (big difference between 18 year old me and 28 year old me). I was ready to embrace all that God had for my first day of school. 

Unfortunately, all that positive energy shriveled away when I walked into the classroom. Replacing it was a familiar combination of feeling intimidated, self-conscious, and oddly uncomfortable in my own skin.

As many of us would, I found a coping mechanism to deal with my anxiety: comparison. 

I scanned the room for someone who appeared less fit, less stylish, less something than I was hoping to appear. My superficial perspective gave me artificial confidence about my own impressiveness. 

I did not ask this girl about her day. I did not compliment her cute hair or comment on her tenacity in the class. To be honest, her courage to take the course inspired me, but I kept that to myself.  

I missed a beautiful opportunity to get to know a lovely image bearer of the most high God because I was too concerned with my own status. 

The irony is, I had consciously chosen to “dress down” to appear less-than-concerned with my appearance that morning (insert dramatic eye roll here). 

I spent more time in that class in comparison trap than in SYMOTA (set your mind on things above). My concern for self-preservation was out-shining my usual tendency to share God’s love. The biggest stranger I encountered in that room was myself. 

Had I set my mind on the way God sees me, and my classmates for that matter, I would have recalled this verse that I had once memorized:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 

Friend, I suspect you have had a similar experience. Whether you are a freshman in high school or a fresh new mommy at a park play-date, you have probably faced a similar temptation on your first day. We want to appear confident, cool, collected, but we leverage other people’s flaws to do so. 

Ironically, at the foundation of compassion for others is a settled and confident spirit. I don’t think one can show compassion without confidence. Rather than putting others down to appear that we have it all together, what if we dealt with our insecurities through Jesus Christ’s faithful love for us? This kind of love fills every void and bubbles over into compassion for others. 

What could happen if we found room for kindness in our daily display choices?

What if we primped our hearts with a readiness to be humble and selfless instead of self-conscious?

What if we concerned ourselves with the impact we could make on others instead of whether or not they make us feel good about ourselves? 

What if we dressed to bless, instead of dressing to impress?

Whether you face your first day of class, work, cross fit, or the senior center, I challenge you to learn from my embarrassing first day blunders. Let’s make room for some Christlike compassion in our concern for great first impressions. 

P.S. I am profoundly grateful for 20+ weeks of class to see how Gods grace provides a do-over for compassion. 

SUP Lovin’

I ❤️ SUP!

In the last year, I have discoveredthat one of my Life-givers is the water. (Lifegiver=a unique visual, companion, or activity that God uses to simultaneously energize and relax you, make you feel more like yourself, and draw you back to joy). 

Be it a brook or the seaside, water is something that just fills me up deep in my soul. 

This summer, thanks to a friend who has graciously introduced me to the sport, I have found a new favorite way to explore this passion. 

Today, stand up paddle boarding gave me some quiet space for my Jesus-focused yoga practice, a unique perspective of perseverance (post downdog failure), and much needed mindfulness of the vast beauty of God and his creation, of which I am a part of.
 I also got to float around with my two-year old son, searching for driftwood. To him, it’s a pirate ship, but to me, it’s a simple gift… 

So here is your campfire check-in for the day: What is your life-giver? 

Find me on Instagram @campfiregrace for more life-giving updates!

A Send-Off Prayer for a Friend

This is my friend, Christa.She is about to begin a new chapter in her life. 


Our friendship began a short few months ago. In that time she has become a kindred spirit. 

Christa provided a bright spot in a spiritually lonely time in my journey as a new mom. I met her at MOPS. Her presence quickly helped me see God’s faithfulness to see even the small details of my heart’s cry for friendship. 

Our staccato conversations, interrupted by toddler squeals begging for discipline, have become a collective life-giver to my soul. Her kids befriended my kids, and the rare gift of having children of similar age play together blessed me tremendously. 

She helped me re-organize my perspective of motherhood to be more kind and less self-critical. Her own vulnerability became an unexpected balm to my weary spirit. That, and we both find potatoes hilarious. 

And now she is moving to a new city, 6 hours away. With littles in tow, 6 hours might as well be across the country. I will miss her greatly, but I have great hope for all that God has in store for her family. 

As her new chapter begins, I would like to send her off with a heartfelt prayer…
Lord, 

Thank you for friendship. For creating me with a need and desire for it, and for meeting that need, in part, with such a beautiful soul. 

I praise you for the work you have done in her family, for guiding her husband into godly leadership of their home, to build a life that glorifies you. May he always lead with such Christlike direction. 

Father, give them so much joy in this transition. Provide in my friend that Proverbs 31:18 sense “that her gain is good:” that she is a good mom, regardless of a perfectly executed Pinterest project or an epic parenting fail. She is a good mom because You are a good, good Father, who gave us access to perfection through the cross of your Son. 

Protect her children and her marriage. Bind up any force of evil that might influence their life. I pray against any form of depression, anxiety, addiction, manipulation, selfishness, pride, or bitterness that looks for a way to take root in her heart, or the hearts of her husband and sons. Bring each family member friends, mentors, and other life-givers to help each of them flourish in the way You uniquely designed them to. 

And prepare your church in their new city, Lord, to welcome and embrace this lovely family. Ready the hearts of everyone in their neighborhood and nearby parks to be impacted by the enriching joy that this family offers. 

As I trust my friend into Your hands, I trust my own heart to your plans. Your ability to WOW me never fails. As I wait, help me to be a similar life-giving friend to those around me. 

To exemplify such fierce love and devotion.

To drench my surroundings with such hope that spills over from a truth-soaked soul. 

To abundantly bless in all that I do.

By your will, and through your grace I pray,

Amen 

Do you have a friend who could use a similar prayer? Copy the link to share this post through a personal text or message, or tag a friend in social media comments on Facebook or Instagram. 

3 Tips For Planning a Christ-Centered Bachelorette Party

bachelorette party

I am getting a new sister-in-law in less than 10 days! I am thrilled to celebrate the wedding of Shane’s brother Brandon to his high-school sweetheart Taylor. But I have a strange confession: I might be even more pumped for her bachelorette party!

A bride may have many types of pre-wedding parties to celebrate the coming marriage. However, a bachelorette party is rather unique:

The way I see it, a bridal shower sets a bride up for success in the kitchen; a bachelorette party sets a bride up for success in the bedroom (or kitchen, depending how adventurous she wants to be).

Warning: adult content ahead (it totally glorifies Jesus, but it’s not for little readers).

The bachelorette party is my favorite party, in part because we get to celebrate God’s awesome gift to a married woman: sex. It can be a commemoration of purity (or renewed purity) and a launching point for a holy anticipation of pleasure. That’s right, I said a holy anticipation of romantic and sexual pleasure. I believe it is holy, or set apart, because sex within marriage is God’s idea, His gift. When celebrated and promoted in the beautiful boundary of marriage, it is holy and honorable and right, and oh so good. It is worship.

A vulnerability with one another on the wedding night represents the intimacy that Jesus Christ longs to bring His own bride into. Naked intimacy requires trust, as does our relationship with Christ. (Read Ephesians 5 for more on this comparison).

With that in mind, here are 3 tips to planning a bachelorette party for your friend or sister that will make God and the bride smile from ear to ear.

Tip 1: Check in your Bashful Badge:

An appropriate amount of modesty should be applied to the topic of sex in many situations… except the bachelorette party! Now is the time to talk about God’s plan for marriage and sexuality as good, exciting, and worth celebrating!

I believe it is, in fact, a Biblical idea. The first few verses in Song of Solomon 1 is a conversation between Solomon’s bride and her friends. They celebrate the woman’s love for Solomon:

“We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.” SoS 1:4

In my opinion, they were throwing bachelorette parties long before the 80’s made them popular (and raunchy, and embarrassing, and uncomfortable [Check out this article for more on the history of Bachelor parties]).

So bake that anatomy-shaped cake if you want. Play silly games and blush and giggle. Ask attendees to bring the bride-to-be some fancy lingerie. Just keep in mind tip #2:

Tip 2: Consult the Bride, not Pop Culture.

I highly advise anyone planning a bachelorette party to figure out what the bride finds to be fun. Pop culture has an idea about bachelorette parties that does not glorify Jesus, much less the coming marriage.

Remember, the friends of Solomon’s bride said we will praise your love MORE than wine. Be careful to keep the bride in focus. Before you roll out the shot glasses and male strippers because “it’s how it’s always been done,” take a party-planning-second to use your own creativity and imagination. Ask:

  • What are some Life-Givers for our friend (the bride)?
  • How can we highlight this night as a celebration of womanhood, fierce feminity, and all things _________________[name of bride]?
  • How can we help the bride feel more excited, comfortable, and supported to start (or re-begin) her God-given sexual journey in marriage?

My friends asked those questions and planned the most spectacular event for my bachelorette party. We called it the Mighty Mountain Women Weekend. It featured cabin-camping, hiking, hot-tubbing, movies, lingerie-gifting and of course S’MORES. There was also a late night activity to help me make something special for my husband-to-be. I felt supported and I had a blast! (Thanks Andy)

Tip 3: Feature a Short Bible Study.

Bibles and bachelorette parties may not seem a likely pair, but I guarantee God has awesome things in mind for the bride’s sexuality and the celebration thereof. Why not invite God’s perspective into the party? Ask an older sister, friend, or mentor-of-honor to give a short but sweet commemoration of God’s good gift.

Look to Song of Solomon, Ephesians 5, even Genesis 1 for ideas on how God sees marriage and sexuality. Take time to pray over the bride-to-be regarding this specific area of her marriage.

smores

I plan to thoroughly enjoy my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. In addition to a thrilling lake day and delectable treats from her chef-cousin, I think the bride is such a worthy reason to celebrate lavishly under the broad smile of our Savior.

Summer Movie Messages: Finding Dory Vs. Me before You  

 

“Becky is eating a cup!”
I am pretty sure this is going to be the running joke for my name for the rest of the summer, thanks to Finding Dory. Truth be told, my husband cracked up every time Marlin or Nemo made a reference to the squawky, wacky-eyed loon.
I think I relate to bird-Becky more than I’d like to admit. I have a similar distractible affinity for popcorn… and s’mores… and, well, food in general. However, I appreciated the role that Disney and Pixar wrote for the awkwardly frazzled bird. She came through for the helpless fish, despite her obvious disabilities, and was a crucial part in bringing about the happy ending.
This is in sharp contrast to the “hero” of Me before You. I have to admit, I wanted to see it. The romantic previews for this film had me, and all my gal-pals, ga-ga to see it. But after reading Plugged In’s perspective of the film, I became sick to my stomach, I decided not to support it in theaters. (Spoiler: the disabled man and romantic interest commits suicide in the end).
This article also addressed the controversial issue of Hollywood’s highlighting assisted suicide for the disabled. Both articles’ opinions on the subject gave voice to my own, which hits somewhat close to home.
Two years ago, I watched as a close family member endured a horrific accident. By God’s grace, he miraculously recovered. And yet, he has had to learn to live with disabilities.
And we thank every day he chooses to say YES to life, to his family, to God’s plan. Because of their situation, he and his wife have shared the gospel many times with others with disabilities and chronic pain. This man has learned to thank God for his accident because it has given him a platform to share HOPE!
What faith! What courage!
This is why, in a world where assisted suicide for the disabled is glorified as heroic, I appreciate the message Pixar promotes: it is the mentally disabled Dory, and even “Becky,” that prove their value by saving the day.
If choice is the word for the day, then may we all choose to see the image bearers of God in each wheelchair, assisted living center, or socially awkward situation, like the ones this Becky gets herself into far too often when cups of popcorn are involved.

How God Calls The EXTROVERT Out Of Her Comfort Zone 

blowing bubbles

Dare. That was point number 5 of the sermon my husband preached this past Sunday: 6 Tips for Entering the Promise Land.

““Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” Joshua‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

As he spoke about living life abundantly (or living in the promised land), Shane confessed his sometimes-struggle with social anxiety.

  As an introvert, for Shane to be strong and courageous means leaving the security of solitude behind. To open up. To construct conversation instead of walls of comfort. It’s a dare.

However, I am the opposite. Talking with people does not require courage for me. Public speaking comes naturally. Being the center of attention, and using it to point people to Jesus, gives me an absolute thrill.
No. My Dare is something different entirely. Becky’s “strong and courageous” is to embrace the mundanity of motherhood.

  • At home.
  • With the same 2 people.
  • Building blocks instead of conversation.
  • Sounding out consonants instead of discussing complex ideas.
  • Introducing myself to Gigi the Giraffe instead of new people in our community.

Being at home is absolutely, without a doubt, NOT my comfort zone. And yet, it is ABSOLUTELY my calling right now.

I have two gorgeous spaghetti-smeared faces that confirm that calling daily.

Mothers Day 2016

I could let my personal bent as a social-butterfly define how I spend my energy. But that would greatly infringe the opportunity to teach, guide, and play with my kids, where my presence and ATTENTION is paramount.

It’s no secret that the vacating of comfort can drain us. Shane sometimes gets depleted when he extroverts with people all day. I too feel I have nothing left after introverting all day.

Here is the beautiful part:

This draining is good. 

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:30‬

When we don our brave and walk boldly into our calling, especially when that calling clashes with our natural tendencies, we can identify with Christ.

This is how God calls an extrovert out of her comfort-zone: He gives her twins to raise. This task forces me to rely on His grace, guidance, and Presence with me every day. It is sanctifying and redemptive and fulfilling and exhausting.

It is also a unique avenue for gospel-sharing, by reflecting Christ both to my family, and this world.

Christ was the first to deny his personal bent. Although inclined to glory, Lordship, and omnipotence…

“He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”‭‭ (Philippians‬ ‭2:7-8‬)

So we could be saved. 

That He would give me a chance to reflect this comfort-zone denial astounds me.

I still make a weekly effort for heart-care. I get out of the house, meet with people, and dig deep into Scripture. That is just wise emotional health attention.

However, it is the out-of-my-comfort-zone routine and solitude that ushers me further into this abundant life with Christ.

And that, ironically, is a comforting thought.