Tag Archives: humility

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. 

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Am I a Good Mom? Confessions of a Mama of Twin Toddlers

am I a good momI wake up with a jolt. My husband is already up and in the shower and I ignored my alarm again. With less than 2 hours till the twins wake up (let’s be honest, they are probably already awake), I need to capitalize on these morning moments.

I struggle to slow down enough to stretch tired muscles before checking off a brief cardio session. I mean 10 minutes, my friends. “Ten has got to be better than nothing, right?” I think. “Am I any good at this mom thing?”

Aware of my weakness, I get on my knees desperate for Gods power today.

  • Power to say no to temptation, to my insatiable appetite for control.
  • Courage to choose to be present.
  • Self-control to refuse food as my comfort.
  • Physical strength to carry my bruiser of a son without redefining the alignment of my skeleton.

I beg for God to be strong in my weak areas as a wife, mentor, sister, and friend.

Coffee percolates, and I rush through a hot shower, wearing my retainer for the first time in months. Will my kids need orthodontic work like I did, I wonder. Trying not to add up the worrisome financial numbers, I tell myself “lets just get through teething first.”

And realistically, “get though” is all we can do. Pacifiers are a dentists nightmare, but right now, they are a family’s sanity saver. Not sure if this is a move in the “good mom” direction or not, but today will not be the day we quit the pacis. But it will be a day we fire on all other cylinders.

With my self-applied pep-talk hitting the spot, I intend to start the twins’ day with physical and spiritual nourishment. Groggy kids wake up to a feast of potato and spinach omelettes, whole-grain toast, oranges and bananas… and bit of Bible reading at breakfast to sustain our souls for the day as well.

  I snap a pic of this ambitious venture. These days, my Instagram posts are much different from the polished journal entries and pretty Bible-next-to-coffee set up. However, I must admit, I get as much truth from the Rhyme Bible as I do a daily devotional by a favorite author.

I barely get my first bite of breakfast in, much less two words from our Bible story, and the kids are giving me the “all done” sign. Food flies as 2 toddlers wave their hands frantically, exclaiming their discontentment.

Abandoning my hot eggs, I scoop toddler A out of his chair, wipe banana slime from little pink fingers, and plop his tush in the living room for some quiet playtime. Repeat for toddler B.

Trying not to be exasperated by the untouched orange slices and unread storybook Bible, I wonder again, am I a good mom?

And the Holy Spirit whispers to my striving soul, “you are asking the wrong question, Becky.”

This great God, having bent low not only to save me through Jesus on the cross, but also to breathe life and liberation to my mothering in this moment… This sweet Savior invites me to ask a different question: “is God a good Father?”

I start seeing the events of the day though the lenses of this new question. Each failure of this day is a canvas on which God paints his grace. Each achievement is a snapshot of His provision.

No longer concerned with my own ability to be good, I start to I notice His goodness over the next few hours:

In a moment of sweet-hearted kindness, Evi finds her brother’s lost pacifier and races it to plug his fit-throwing lips. (This molar cutting business is high class drama).

Becalmed for the moment, Titus drags his feet to my side at the couch, to which I have migrated with my half-eaten breakfast. He proceeds to demand and munch down my leftovers, sprinkling crumbs across the carpet like a farmer sowing seeds. At least he does so with a smile.

“Good Father,” I pray, “help Titus grow up to be a man who scatters spiritual seeds of truth and grace and Your great love for all mankind.”

Titus not so subtly reminds me that, right now, he is stubborn limit-tester, who hoards crackers and sippy-cups in the bottom of the blanket bin. So I pray he has the same kind of tenacity hide Gods word in His heart someday.

We have a dance party. I show Evi how to feed her baby doll a bottle. She lines up all 4 of her dolls and feeds them one at a time. I give Titus a light-saber tutorial. The kids read books, throw fits, trip over invisible obstacles and cry because it hurts to fall down. I put down my phone I’ve been staring at for far too long and kiss the invisible bruises.

My daughter brings me her baby doll for wardrobe assistance. I cram in a bite of room temperature eggs and adjust the doll’s hat. Snatching her from my hands, Evi swoops the doll in for an affectionate squeeze and a knowing look back at me.

“You are a good mommy, Sweetie,” I whisper in her ear. And I realize that Jesus is saying the same thing to me.

I have spent almost an hour writing these short, rambling paragraphs, fitting in the dictation between sharing lessons and rescue missions from the black hole in our home called a toy box.

Amazingly, I have almost finished a whole cup of coffee too. If the rest of the day doesn’t prove it, that cup of coffee reminds me that God is a good, good Father.

Humility helped me choose to notice His goodness today, and record it here to celebrate it again tomorrow. I’ll need these sweet memories to muse over my cold eggs next week.

Campfire Check-In:

Do you ask yourself the “good mom”, “good wife”, “good _________” question? How do you see God’s goodness setting you free from impossible standards in your life?

The High School girls’ Bible study I am leading, #joiedevivrebiblestudy, is currently accepting the #solongselfiechallenge in effort to recognize and celebrate God’s goodness instead of our own. Follow me on Instagram for more information: @campfiregrace.

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All about the Bride

Spring is here and wedding season is upon us!

How exciting for the moms and dads who finally get to see their daughters off…

What a dream for all the friends who get to witness and support the love and commitment between the bride and groom….

How blessed the pastors who happen to be the last detail on the bride’s to-do list, right after “call florist,” and “purchase dog-friendly ring-bearer materials for Fido.”

Ok, lets face reality……you are probably reading this because you, your very self, are a bride!!!

all about brideWhile weddings can be fun for everyone else involved, the big day is really all about you.

After all…

  • You’ve concentrated 10+ years dreaming about it,
  • YOU have been officially planning on Pinterest for at least a year or more,
  • It’s your dress, your pictures, YOUR fairy tale come to life!

Right?

Maybe….. or maybe each wedding magazine, all the Bridal Blogs, and every “going to the chapel”-related episode on TLC have missed the point.

Maybe it’s not all about the bride.

Before you get angry and punch your computer screen, remember you’ll need it later to check “The Knot” for your wedding check-list…. also, save the steam coming out of your ears to press your gown for the big day (it’ll save you some cash for the honeymoon).

If you are still here, allow me to comfort you in saying that your wedding is mostly about you, just not completely.

If you are a Christian, then you have become a child of God. As a daughter of the King of kings, you are His beautiful princess. On so many levels, you should be celebrated!!! Also, this event which unites two people in covenant should be commemorated and recognized in a way that says “this matters!!!”

Unfortunately, many weddings are planned in a way that ignores the One who makes it all matter. So many brides fail to fill out an invitation for the King of kings.

Even if God is invited to a wedding, does He take center stage? Does His goodness receive as much honor as the wedding cake?

I’m not suggesting you hang a big poster of John 3:16 above the alter; I’m just asking where God’s place is in your wedding. Have you have intentionally included the Savior Who intentionally included you in His wedding ceremony?

(see Ephesians 5; more on this later.)

As you begin to plan your wedding, make a point to put this command at the top of your goals list:

“So whether you eat or drink (or have an indoor or outdoor wedding), or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31

 

With all the overwhelming wedding planning information out there, can the daughters of God change the Top Wedding Trends list of 2014 to include “Glorify God”?

But HOW does a bride do this? Here are some helpful questions to get you started:

  • When you look at your wedding plans, who or what is center stage?
  • How can you honor God privately (in your personal walk with Him) in this time of planning your wedding and marriage?
  • How can you honor God publicly in this time of planning? How about at the wedding ceremony?

Join the conversation here as we unfold what a Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding looks like. (scroll through the “Marriage” tab to “Going to the Chapel.”

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The No-show Blues: leading a Bible study when only 1 person shows up

adult-bible-study2Ministering to college students includes a unique factor of epic inconsistency in numbers. Particularly for those of us in small-town ministries, most pastors and Bible study leaders have experienced the night when only 1 person shows up. Our experience typically follows a strict schedule of worry, insecurity, then eventual trust in God.

Within the first 1/2 hour ministry is supposed to begin, I will have gone through the following thinking process:

  1. Is this the right evening?
  2. Was there a major car accident blocking the road?
  3. Did everyone collaborate to go bowling and forgot to inform the one person who came to Bible study?
  4. Is my teaching/leading really that bad?
  5. I wonder if I should text all of them.
  6. I worked so hard on this lesson, should I save it for a larger group next week, or share it with just one person?

5824After making it through issues of personal insecurity presumed to be dealt with in my high-school years, I realize I need to cut the mental break-down and the small talk. This one person showed up to meet with God; it is my job to actually engage him/her* in some meaningful conversation.

So I move forward with the lesson. God planned it for this night for a reason, even if only for one person. We go deeper personally into the word, talking together about how it impacts each of us. There is more feedback and intimacy–not what I was expecting for the material. Eventually, we get to the topic of salvation. Turns out, this one person has never heard the gospel explained. Thinking themselves as a Christian by default, (s)he kept coming to Bible study.

I share my testimony, read truth from John and Romans, and wait for a response. The individual says thank you for sharing and promised to think hard about it. While (s)he hasn’t accepted Christ yet, (s)he keeps coming to Bible study (and, for the record, so does the rest of the group).

Regardless, this moment reminded me of my insecurity. With all my planning and organization, I am insufficient; I recall my great need to rely on the Holy Spirit. I rearrange the importance of salvation conversations in my mind. He gives me courage to hope for a 1-person Bible study more often.Young Adults

From now on in my study preparations, I pray to be faithful and reliant on Him for whatever opportunity He brings.

*name and gender withheld for confidential reasons

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Much needed Musings

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During the Christmas season, I got out of the habit of my daily morning time with the Lord.
Actually, I took a break from all good habits. I greatly anticipated the newness of that number “13” tacked on to the back of our millennium… it is motivating, refreshing, encouraging really.

So here I am, enjoying some egg casserole and a cup of African Solstice tea. The sunshine and my teacup coordinated today, reminding me to shine forth in the joy of the Lord.

The last few weeks, I have been determined to finish writing my book. The final two chapters of Delight: a Joyful Journey toward Biblical Womanhood are “Humility” and “Trust.” Humility and trust just happen to be the two details of my humanity that I struggle with most. Just thinking about writing these concepts make me want to shrink down and crawl inside my tea cup, not shine forth. In a word, I am intimidated.

Every chapter I’ve written, I encountered a dramatic meeting with my own depravity. Chapter 1 dealt with being a woman of Decision… so I went through a month-long process of truly defining my decision to follow Christ: when did it start, where are the roots? Would I choose to follow Christ if it didn’t fit with my culture, my family? Was it too easy for me? Does that decision to follow Christ really define the rest of me?

Chapter 2, on Excellence, presented a greater challenge to face my own laziness and people-pleaseing problem. The following chapters on love, integrity, and gentleness all presented further opportunities to grapple with my selfish nature.

Still, nothing compares to the grinding sift that is writing about humility.

Here are my musings on the subject… what God is teaching me today during my Breakfast with Him:

Z110/155: LM of amoeba proteus "walking"My Pride is like a great amoeba blob of selfishness contained by a thick lining of insecurity. I think that in times my pride is “hurt,” a better picture is that my pride is “squished.” Because if I am humbled in one area, I ensure my pride is elevated in another. I do anything I can to keep the general mass of my pride from being depleted. When one lump is pushed down, another puffs up.

For instance, I was running late for a meeting Shane and I had with a friend. I have been working on “being on-time” all year: but this day, alas, I was not.

Recognizing my short-coming in this area, I immediately started spouting off about all the things I did well that day: shoveling the walk, cleaning, etc… I told Shane, “I need to outweigh my incompetence with a few successful moments, so I don’t feel like a complete failure at life.”

Really all I was doing was allowing a cushion for my pride. I may be brought low in this area, but look how great I am in a different one.

Reasoning this way brought me back to face my greatest fear: being a failure. This fear is directly rooted in pride and some form of false self-preservation.  A woman of humility doesn’t care if she fails; true perspective is she will always fail! Only Christ’s work remains, the rest just falls useless and redundant.

My fear of failure dissipates when I return to the cross. The Word of God pierces through the wall of insecurity, draining my self-filled amoeba of all my pride. My Savior, hanging on a cross for me–it takes me to my knees in humility. Undeserving wretched woman that I am, He still loves me!

That is what having Breakfast with Jesus does to me: reminds me of my own personal insignificance and the great significance of Jesus Christ. I remember that I am loved, and that being loved by the Holy God is far greater than being continually successful. My pride no longer matters.

The work is done. I will work on the chapter later, but for now, I am going to sip my tea, munch on a few leftover spritz Christmas cookies, and spend some much-needed time musing on this great God I find myself having breakfast with. Then forward, to shine bright His light, sharing the hope as a woman of humility, in progress.

(Join me in this Joyful Discovery of Biblical Womanhood at delightbiblestudy.wordpress.com, and read more about what God is teaching me about humility.)

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