Why Submission is Good for Your Soul

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

28722113_10154992503166511_700561667_nWe recently took in two new foster dogs.  They are ten year old, Chihuahua siblings named Bandit and Sophie.  Having been in one home their entire lives, my household has been a culture shock to them.  Both little guys are “typical Chihuahuas” in that they are nippy and snappy, but as they have adjusted to our family, they have become more at ease.  We are seeing less bared teeth and are receiving more snuggles.  (Y’all, they are a hoot – especially when trying to convince our three Golden Retrievers that they are as big as they are.  Our Goldens roll their eyes at the display and go lay down.)  When we approach the Chihuahuas to pick them up, they are quick to roll over on their back.  In dog speak this means, “We surrender.  We submit.  We trust that you will not harm us.  We are not a threat to you.”  They communicate this by exposing their most vulnerable places (for a dog that is the neck and belly).

Humans have a harder time learning to submit than dogs do.  We tend to want to be the one in control, the one calling the shots.  We think of submission and surrendering as weakness, but God calls us to do both.  One of the most loved scriptures (also one of my personal favorites) is found in Proverbs 3:5-6.  It reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Though this verse is often quoted, how often is it lived?

In 1913, William Borden abandoned his family’s fortune to become a missionary.  Having given his life to God under the teachings of D.L. Moody, he became impassioned for the lost.  Against the will of his father, he left behind his Yale education and headed East.  His goal was to work with Muslims in China.  Before arriving in China, he boarded with a Syrian family in Cairo to study Islam and learn Arabic.  During that time he contracted cerebral meningitis.  He died before he ever reached China.  When his belongings were returned to his mother, she found written in his Bible three simple phrases:  No Reserves (with a date written when he renounced his fortune), No Retreats (with a date written after his father told him he would never hold a place in the family business), No Regrets (with a date written shortly before his death).

  • No Reserves – I have decided to follow Jesus.
  • No Retreats – Though none go with me, still I will follow.
  • No Regrets – The world behind me, the cross before me.

William Borden surrendered his life to the call of Christ.  He trusted God and made himself vulnerable by denying wealth, comfort, and position.  And he submitted to God by saying, “Not my will but your will be done.”Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation of such a life.

Luke 9:23-24 reads, “Jesus said, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”  It was engraved on William Borden’s grave, “Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation of such a life.”  I would hope at the end of my life, the same could be said for me.  What about you?

Father, help each of us to yield our lives to you daily.  Help us to fully submit to your will, and to trust in your plans.  Help us surrender all.  In Jesus name, amen.

Have a blessed week, y’all!



Confessed Hot Mess

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

Jesus loves this hot mess!-2In an effort to “keep it real”, I have a confession to make.  I am a mess, y’all.  Not just a little mess, but a full on, bona fide, hot mess.  The list of things that qualify me as a hot mess is long.  It is filled with unfulfilled expectations that others have of me and that I have of myself.  There are things like my house never being clean.  There is clutter everywhere.  Blame it on the effects of a big family in a small house, but at the end of the day, there is junk everywhere.  (It drives me bonkers, y’all.)

Other things that make me a hot mess…

  • I second guess everything when it comes to making a decision.  It doesn’t matter how inconsequential said decision is, I always feel like I somehow make the wrong choice.
  • I constantly wonder if I’m one bad parenting mistake away from a guest spot on Dr. Phil.  Having four kids is a constant balancing act to make sure everyone feels equal and important while each of the four also gets the one on one time with me that they need and crave.
  • I am not always the best or most attentive friend.  My closest friends know that I am loyal to a fault, but because I have so many balls in the air, I’m not always as available to them as I wish to be.  I also am painfully shy and awkward when meeting people, so I do not have a lot of close friends.
  • I struggle to make ends meet.  This has always been an issue but now with a kid in college, oh my goodness!  Do y’all know what they charge for car insurance for teenage drivers?  Any guesses on how many times we’ve been to the emergency room in the past year?  Cars break down.  Roofs leak.  Life happens.  The cost of living goes up, but the paycheck remains the same.
  • I could write a book on body image but will keep it to a paragraph here.  It’s no secret that I struggle with my weight.  This isn’t one of those things that I can hide as well as some of the other items on my hot mess list.  It’s all out there for the world to see.  Most of the time I feel like people see what I look like and never go beyond that to find out who I am.
  • Then there’s the “f” bomb that dictates and controls my life.  Fibromyalgia.  There isn’t anything I can do about it, but it sure does cause me to miss out on a lot and leaves me feeling inadequate, forgotten, and alone.

Y’all, I am a hot mess.  My life isn’t perfect.  I’m not perfect.  The Apostle Paul could relate.  He wrote in Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT), “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Paul also understood what it meant to not feel worthy of the calling he had received.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NLT), “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

Jesus loves this hot mess!

I’m guessing that you probably have a list of perceived disappointments and failures in your life too.  I would like to remind you that God is still working on you (Philippians 1:6) and His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

There’s still good news, y’all.  We don’t have to be perfect.  We serve a God who is.

Have a blessed week, y’all!



In it to End It!

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

IMG_2285I guess for years I lived life blind to the fact that human trafficking exists in this world we live in today.  I did not realize how much of an issue it is until the 2008 Liam Neeson blockbuster “Taken” tackled the theme.  I remember seeing previews for “Taken” that drew me in and made me want to watch the movie.  As someone whose heart has been touched by childhood sexual abuse cases, I still couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie.  Eventually curiosity and friends reviews gave way.  I watched the movie.   When it ended, my heart was crushed.

A myriad of questions crossed my mind.  Don’t we live in the 21st century?  How could anyone be capable of allowing such a thing to happen?  Haven’t humans evolved? Don’t we understand right from wrong?  When it comes to human trafficking, how could the lines ever be blurred?  Why isn’t anyone talking about this?  Why did it take a movie to bring awareness to the issue?  What can I do in Smalltown, USA to make any difference at all?

Most of these questions remain unanswered.

I do know that the key to any revolution begins with education.  We must educate ourselves on the facts of human trafficking.  Facts like – there are 30 million sex slaves around the world today.  Facts like – this is happening in our own backyards (yes, even in Smalltown, USA!).  Facts like – for it to end, we have to care enough to get involved.

So how do we get involved?

▪Learn more about the issue.  This goes back to educating yourself.

▪Be aware of your surroundings.  If something doesn’t seem right, ask more questions.

▪Don’t be afraid to do the right thing.

▪Partner with an organization that is already established to bring awareness to this cause.

▪Use your talents – write, draw, speak, etc….  Whatever you do, use it to shine the light on this topic.

3adb62458565e775daf44731fabf2b92Today is SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY.  Today a simple way to bring attention to this issue is to draw a red “X” on your hand.  When someone asks what it is for, share the facts of human trafficking with them.  Help make others aware and together we can put an end to the sex slave trade.

For more information on human trafficking or to learn how you can make a difference, visit these websites: www.hopeforjustice.org or www.freeinternational.org.

Don’t be guilty of being the person who says, “Someone should do something about that.”  Be the person that says, “Whatever it takes, I’m going to do something.”  Matthew 25:36-40 reads, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Have a blessed week, y’all!


Serenading God

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

There aint nothing I wouldnt do...Lots of nights when I am having difficulty falling asleep, my loving husband will stroke my hair and begin singing to me. His song of choice is usually “To Make You Feel My Love”  by Garth Brooks.  As he sings it I feel admired, adored, at peace, and am calmed. Most nights I am soothed to sleep. I know the words he sings are true. Tommy would go to any depth to show his love for me.

This is what praise and worship is to God. It shows Him our love and admiration. It shows Him our heart and our heart’s desire.  Jesus said in John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

Webster’s defines the word “worship” as:  “A feeling or expression of reverence and/or adoration.”  When we worship our Lord and Creator, we are showing honor for Him. When we worship together in church, even though it is heart felt, it is to a degree expected because it is part of the service.  When we choose to worship God even though life seems to be caving in around us, even when we are worn and tired, or even when we feel we cannot go on another minute, it becomes sacrifice.  It is in those times that our worship truly comes from our heart and it brings God honor as we express our love to Him.

Of course, worship is not always defined by the songs we sing or even music in general.  There are many other ways to worship God.  We worship God when we tend to the needs of others, when we pray, when we are obedient to God, and when we spend time basking in the glory of His presence.  Mary of Bethany knew what it meant to worship.  She delighted in sitting and listening to Jesus, and she wasn’t afraid of making a spectacle of herself when she washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  Mary-Washes-Jesus-s-Feet-jesus-11078625-500-354

Christ expressed His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. We should live daily to express our love for Him through our actions, through our words, and in our lives. When we do this worshipping God becomes meaningful.  Praising Him becomes a lifestyle. The songs we sing become more than pretty words. They become our heart-felt response to His love for us.

Have a blessed week, y’all!