Growing up, I had believing parents who generously and consistently shared the gospel message with me. Most every day I read the monthly Portals of Prayer my church’s denomination published and always sensed that when I did, my day went better than when I didn’t. But other than looking up the Bible verses this devotional suggested, I didn’t rummage or search through Scripture much as a kiddo or young adult.
In my mid-twenties, God plopped one of the kindest, smartest friends in my path who clarified and colored in important things about Scripture for me (i.e. the difference in the Old and New Testaments). Jen never saw me as a project, just a person whom she could share Biblical truths about Jesus and how he was very much alive in her own story. She never walked ahead of me because she was so spiritually mature (although she was), rather she walked beside me, and I found her an easy person to confide in.
As a kid and teen, I was not a member of youth group or any kind of Christian campus organization, and I didn’t meet a lot of Christian lingo till my adult life. Since then, I’ve used a few of those well-meaning phrases to sound more holy when I’ve felt anything but. I know this about myself, and for a long time I’ve worked on taking a machete to the practice all while rolling my eyes at myself. Sometimes I just plain get on my own nerves.
On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore all the unrefined-ness that is me. I sometimes dine on secular things like fiction books, movies, and country music, and I love that these things don’t diminish my love for Jesus.
It’s my prayer I always keep it real for y’all, not pretending to have it together more than I do or be less of a hot mess than I am. I’m a work-in-progress same as anyone else. If you throw all my different personality components, quirks, and bents in a pot on the stove, I hope what boils out is anything that isn’t a part of what God designed in me and for me. Keeping my nose in the Word not only helps this happen, but it also serves to recalibrate my day so I keep my nose out of trouble.
“It is wonderful to study God’s truth, but it is far better to take that truth and dress up in it day after day; to work in it, play in it, sleep in it, party in it, and die nestled safely inside it.” ~ Barbara Duguid, Extravagant Grace
In my real, day-to-day life, dressing up in God’s truth isn’t doing my best to act super smart and holy. Dressing up in God’s truth looks like getting all the help I can to be a wife who doesn’t constantly complain to her husband, a mom who doesn’t endlessly screech at the kids, and a woman who isn’t complacent and selfish about her friendships. It looks like having Jesus kindly turn my face toward him so that, in the words of that same friend Jen, I see myself not overly important or underly valued, but in reality loved and known.
I need Jesus like I need fresh air and dinner. Without him, I would have lost my everlovin’ mind. Anything good found in me is because of the good he’s done for me. In the words of Chris Tomlin about our Father in heaven, “he knows the depths of my heart and loves me the same.”
Thank you and amen.
At Chasing Blue Skies, I write to offer fresh air encouragement to anyone needing it. Whether you’re spiritually mature or still figuring things out (aren’t we all to some degree?), I want to be for you what my friend Jen was (and is!) for me. This life is hard, y’all, and we need folks who share their warty, wobbly stories with us. We need folks who show us Christ alive in their being. We need folks who help us see ourselves as Jesus does. After all, he’s not nearly as hard on us as we are on ourselves.
I’m so glad you’re here with me. May the realest kind of encouragement be what moves from this screen to your heart–even if it is played to a mixed tape with plenty of Johnny Cash and Lady Antebellum.
So much love, dear ones. xo
Speaking of real deal Kristen, my book Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions offers straight up truths to anyone struggling with change, and the truths written in this book are pulled from Scripture and placed against the backdrop of my story and the change stories of other women. You can read more about it here.
Dear #2016changechallenge-ers, tomorrow will be our final blab chat! Join Crystal Stine, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Renee Swope and myself as we talk about practical ways you can adapt and thrive amidst change. If you would like to subscribe to this blab chat so you receive notifications when it goes live, simply click here. When it’s time for our blab to begin at noon EST tomorrow the 28th, the same link will take you right there. And if *you* would like to still participate in the change challenge but need to catch up, click here to view the first blab chat and see below to watch the second. Then you’ll be set to go for tomorrow! (Subscribers, click here to watch.)