“Because you have made the Lord your safe place, and the Most High that place where you live, nothing will hurt you. No trouble will come near your tent.” Psalm 91:9-10
As an executive officer in my sorority, I am able to come in contact with women from all walks of life. Specifically, being the Director of Standards and Ethics gives me the opportunity to extend God's grace to those in need. What I have found out however, is that through this position, God has been extending grace to me.
As this semester started, I was already weighted down with stress. A tough major, job, sorority, and a bad break up had already started to work at my faith. If all this wasn't enough, I had to have a meeting with a member of my sorority who was suffering from an eating disorder. Talk about God giving me a mission...but of course, He always pulls through.
Although I wasn't able to relate to what this woman was going through, I was able to try my hand at some Godly wisdom. I told her that maybe God was using this struggle of hers to reveal himself to her. Sometimes God just knocks us down so hard, the only place we have to look is up. As the words came out of my mouth, God and I bumped knuckles. It happened. Really.
I realized that throughout all these problems I was having this semester, God has continuously been there waiting on me to realize that the reason why these issues were "problems", was because I wasn't going through them with Him. When we are walking with God, there is no such thing as a "problem", only a blessing in disguise. By trying to be obedient and reveal God's love to a fellow sister, God revealed His love and grace to me.
Pitching my tent with the Lord is the only way I have been able to weather college storms. And it’s the only way I ever will.
"Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it,"
When we began building our house, God made one thing very clear to me, it would be His house. He would graciously allow us to live in it; however, He would be the one to make the call as to how it would be used. I can still remember being so sure of His calling that one morning I spread the blueprints out on the breakfast room table and asked Him, “Lord, is this it? Is this how You want it to look?”
I really hate to admit this, but there have been more than a few times over the years that I
have lost sight of whose house it is. See, I pretty much knew from the get go that my door was to be opened to anyone He chose to send my way. I guess there were just a few things I didn’t realize.
I didn’t realize how often He would send and who he would send…or how old some of them would be.
I didn’t realize that purchasing a doorbell was a total waste of money.
I didn’t realize that my walls would have permanent handprints, my floors would be worn down to the bare wood, my furniture would be thread bare.
I didn’t realize that I would make tea by the gallons and yet never have any in the house.
I didn’t realize that one teenager could eat an entire bag of mints.
I didn’t realize that nights would be late – and loud.
I didn’t realize how much I could love one that I didn’t give birth to.
I didn’t realize how much I would miss all those sweet faces when they went off to college or
moved to another place.
But mostly, I didn’t realize how unimportant walls, and floors, and chairs, and tea, and
sleep really are.
It’s funny how God has so completely changed my heart. I always wanted that perfectly decorated house worthy of a Southern Living cameo. I liked an organized, clean, and orderly home…all that is gone. All the things that I once thought would bring me joy; all those things that I once took pride in just don’t matter anymore. Now I find that nothing thrills my heart more than seeing those precious faces of all ages coming around the corner into the kitchen or watching someone snuggle down into a well-worn chair and relax. I do sometimes find myself thinking that I would be even more joyful watching someone snuggle into a chair that didn’t have the cushion coming out of the fabric - but, oh well.
Back then, I just didn’t realize that surrendering all I once held dear and embracing my Father’s calling on my life could bring such joy. I do now.
"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at you right hand" -Psalms 16:11 (NIV)
When our children were growing up, everyday was an adventure. We were intentional to hunt African hippos in the woods beside our home and our sons just knew they were "born on a mountaintop in Tennessee" and would "kill them a b’ar when they were only three!" (To those of you who don’t know that song, just know Davy Crockett was an icon in the Kight household before "rap" was ever a song choice!) For our daughter, dressing up in my old bridesmaid dresses and playing "beauty shop" made her Cinderella dreams come true. (She, by the way, wore one of those old dresses to a college function just a few months ago and she still loves to have "beauty shop" days…now becoming a little more expensive, however, and being called "spa" days! Can any of you college moms relate? )
Anyway, as I was thinking about this today from a stage of life where those "intentional adventures" are just past memories and the house is way too quiet, I started wondering why Greg and I stopped making daily adventures. I think I stopped expecting them in the same form so I stopped asking God for them altogether. I guess I became complacent to accept "ordinary" and "familiar" when the children weren’t in the house anymore. So as I challenge myself I’m going to challenge you…let’s ask our Father to "delight us" as Louise blogged a few weeks ago but let’s also expect to go on an adventure with him every day. Let’s step out of what’s always familiar and safe to places that are OUTSIDE our comfort zone and ask for an adrenaline rush for Christ! What does that look like? Well, maybe it could be an international mission trip but it could also be saying "yes" to creating a website when you don’t know what "refresh" means! Ken, stop laughing! God says he uses unlikely people! (Ken is our webmaster and friend who has seen the miracle of bringing this website together and believe me when I say it has been a miracle!) I think it could also be baking a casserole for your elderly neighbor and just spending 30 minutes letting them have someone to talk to for the first time in weeks. Maybe it’s truly praying for those people you promised you would pray for then watching to see how God gives them their "parking spaces".
Adventures can be big but they can also just as easily be the small things of life. It’s all in how you look at it. SO HERE WE GO! Please join me today in intentionally asking for an adventure with Christ. I’m not kidding when I say I would LOVE to hear about your new "intentional adventures". Your comments really fuel our fire! So start asking and start writing! We are anxiously waiting to hear!
If you were encouraged by what you read please "like" our FB page in the upper right portion of the home page under the picture. Doing so enables us to reach more people with our parking space faith blogs. Thanks and remember to start looking for your next adventure!
May you see the world around you with your Father’s eyes.
May God raise up in you a mighty warrior for Himself – bold and courageous, yet full of mercy and compassion.
May you run the race set before you with such grace and beauty that others want to leave the sidelines and run with you.
And on your appointed day,may you stand before your Savior at Heaven’s gate and hear the words, "Well done my good and faithful daughter, enter into your Father’s glory!”
I wonder how many “parking spaces” I’ve missed in my life. Was I not looking? Was I too self-centered to see past myself? Probably “yes” to both. Recently I’ve tried to intentionally look for those “parking spaces” I may have missed before. It overwhelms me how often God acts in my life when I allow myself to tune in. My mom has been struggling with some health issues for a very long time. Some periods are certainly better than others are but still it’s been a struggle for her. I find myself trying so hard to remedy the problems myself … calling doctor friends, making my own diagnosis, reviewing her medicines, and making my recommendations to the experts. Isn’t that hilarious, a speech therapist and mom giving advice to the trained physician! The effort was based solely on “Carolyn power.” I will get her better; I will figure it out… I, I, I!
In a bible study yesterday, we were reminded that yes, God is able! Hear that? God is able…not Carolyn! And if God chooses not to carry out the plan Carolyn’s way, I need to be ready to follow him anyway. The outcome does not rest on my shoulders. That was the first part of the parking space. The second part was friend council. I tried to slip out of the door after the bible study unnoticed…I was tired and well, just not in a joyful, Christian acting mood. Has anybody else ever been there? But, you guessed it, my friends sensitively stopped my exit. Partially they just listened and partially they spoke truth to me. Busted! Yep, I was riding on my power and it was exhausting me… as they graciously pointed out! Thanks Louise and Lisa! I owe you! Seriously, though, they were so right. You see, in both of those moments God emphasized the same whisper…”Trust in Me, not in your own knowledge and power. Yes, I gave you a brain to use but ultimately your strength comes from Me and your mom’s strength comes from Me.”
He emphasized the whisper again that night. He allowed a new friendship to be sealed when my classmate, who I had talked to some but didn’t really know well, asked me to pray for a certain situation. The friend had realized just the day before that something she had wanted and fought for with all her heart was probably not going to be saved. She was trying to come to grips with the fact that no matter what she did she couldn’t make it any better. Ok, God, parking space number three on the same lesson! What I had learned earlier that day was now being shared so that my new friend could find her own parking space. Did I say “her” parking space? On the outside, that’s what it looked like but in reality it was definitely my blessing as well. We bonded in a way that’s hard to describe other than to say we bonded as Christian sisters both desperately looking for God’s presence.
I guess all this is to say: 1) I encourage you to look for your own parking spaces…through patterns of whispers, through bible study, through prayer, and through the wise words of Christian friends… it will change your life. 2) Don’t try to run on Carolyn power or any power other than God power because you’ll exhaust yourself! If you’re like me, outside forces exhaust me enough without me having to do it to myself!
Valentine’s Day is here again.
A time for love, hugs, kisses and CHOCOLATE!
I am once again reminded of the precious gift the Lord has blessed me with my husband. I just love reminiscing about our courting days. He was THE ONE, my Prince Charming! Who but a Prince would take his true love, on their first date, deer shining? We would also take long romantic drives through the countryside, mud slinging in his huge black truck with tires taller than me. On special nights we would sometimes drive through the drive- in and get a coke with ice and a straw. Good Times, Good Times!! I was truly smitten and in love. Imagine my surprise when looking back on these fond memories with the Love of my life and finding out that what I had seen as innovative, and romantic outings; my husband recalled them as being cheap dates thought we really loved spending time together: he was thinking, we can’t really afford to go anywhere.
Over the next 26 years we have, on occasion, seen a few other things from differing points of view. But, we have also learned that seeing eye to eye on everything is really very boring. In 1st Corinthians 13 the love chapter God says love is patient and kind, it is not self-seeking, nor easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs (I have trouble with that), Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always endures, even after 26 years! What a beautiful picture of His love the Lord has given me in my spouse. Not a Fairy Tale feely kind of love but a deep down committed, always kind of love.
Sooo, in keeping with the Valentine’s Day tradition, give your special someone a sweet treat. In a clear gift bag place a plastic wine or champagne glass (dollar tree, my early dates taught me to be thrifty). Inside the glass put several chocolate kisses (jewelry or gift cards fit nicely, along with chocolate of course). Next, place a cutie for your cutie (tangerine), tie with pretty ribbon and add a bottle of your favorite Sparkling Grape Juice! Save a plastic glass for yourself and enjoy a romantic and thrifty date night!!
1 Corinthians 13:13 "Love never fails"
How do you respond when your world gets rocked…really rocked? Me… not so well at times. To say that I have been known to come completely unglued would be putting it mildly. I have this tendency to react first, and then seek God’s perspective on whatever has done the rocking to my world. Responding in this order has never worked well for me.
The writer of Proverbs suggests a better way. He says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Sometimes, directing my path involves directing my thoughts.
The times I get rocked the hardest are the times I approach the crisis from my perspective. I usually start with the question, “Is this what I want?” The further the situation is from being what I want, the more unglued I tend to become. I wrestle with it, I get angry, and I try to figure out how to fix it. It doesn’t take long before I am completely exhausted and have made things worse than they were when it all started.
But, over the years, God has been teaching me a different way. I have not been the fastest learner, but still, I am learning. Instead of sizing up a crisis through my limited human understanding, I have started trying to train myself to say, “God, direct my thoughts. Help me to see this as You see it. Give me Your understanding.”
Sometimes He responds fairly quickly. I might discover that God is having to administer some discipline in my life. I really hate being disciplined. Didn’t like it as a child, don’t like it as an adult. Sometimes, God has His pruning shears out. Not real fond of that either. Then there are times when I find that the rocking was simply to change my life’s course to fall in line with His sovereign plan for my life… still hard. If I’m being honest, sometimes, no matter how hard I try to find His perspective, I just can’t; at least not for a while.
Either way, here is where the “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” part comes in. Do I trust Him when He says that nothing touches my life without His permission, and if He gives permission, it is for my good? Do I trust that when He bends me, He will not let me break? Do I trust that He knows what is best for my life – even more than I do?
When I find myself struggling to answer all those questions with a confident “Yes,” I turn and look back over the course of my life. Every single time I do this, I realize that He has never failed me, not even once.
If you find your world rocking right now, consider asking your Father to substitute your understanding of what is happening with His perspective. Then trust Him with all your heart.
In our family, the last several years has brought about a lot of change... High School and college graduations, a marriage, an engagement, an empty nest, and parents with health issues....
It's been ALOT just like with many of you. My husband and I started to question if we had gotten it all right. When you know you've given every ounce of love you had and poured your heart and soul into every moment that's a hard question to really put a microscope to. So if this is a place in your life where peace has not come yet let me share this with you…
During a sermon one Sunday our pastor said this "My next step is to allow those I love to take their next step". It became apparent to me in that moment I needed to let go of trying to keep them all close and protected so we ALL could " take our next step". That was a freeing revelation! Didn't I know that already? Obviously not! This is so simple but yet so difficult to do as a parent. You know the saying " the hardest part of parenting is letting go!"... no truer words were ever spoken! Thanks Clay for the wisdom this mom needed to hear! If you know of a parent who is struggling to "let go" please share this with them.
Sometimes the intent of another is not to wound us but rather to prevent us from hurting ourselves. In Proverbs 27:5-6, King Solomon, known for his wisdom, wrote, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”(NIV) The New American reads, “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”
So what does that mean? It means that maybe our thinking is all wrong. We think that a true friend is one who always says nice things to us, and tells us how wonderful we are, and of course, always takes our side when we are, in our opinion, being treated unjustly. But the writer of Proverbs says, “Nope!”
Here’s the truth girls: If someone doesn’t love us enough to speak truth to us, they don’t love us enough.
A true friend, a faithful friend, will not sit by and watch us make a mess of our lives. But let me tell you, an unfaithful friend, like an enemy, will tickle our ears. She is not interested in correcting or rebuking us because truthfully, she is more interested in the relationship benefiting her. Of course, it might also be because she is not willing to deal with the way we might respond…which is understandable what with the way some of us are prone to respond when confronted! Who wants that kind of trauma?
On the other hand, if we have a friend who loves us enough to speak truth to us, hunker down, and ride out the storm, we have a gift that is more precious than gold.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” What this means to me is that when two hard headed, Jesus loving girls butt heads over scripture centered correcting and rebuking, after the dust cloud clears, they will immerge sharper, wiser, and battle ready.
Though we all like to surround ourselves with people who will say nice things to us and tell us how wonderful we are, it is so important to have people in our lives that are committed to an “iron sharpening iron” relationship. When it comes to those “friends” who tickle our ears, let me remind you that Judas greeted Jesus with a kiss – the night he betrayed Him.
From the Bible Study, “Walking Wounded.”
Are you blessed to have an “iron sharpening iron” friend in your life? We would love to hear about it. Please let us know by clicking here or share with us on our Facebook page.
And by the way, you might want to let her know her value…maybe even buy her a cup of coffee!
My youngest son was trying out for the school baseball team last week. Each day players were cut as the coaches tried to build their team. On Wednesday, Sam got into the car after practice and I could tell he was becoming pretty anxious. “Well, I made it one more day,” he informed me with a deep sigh.
On Thursday when I arrived to pick him up, he was already in the parking lot heading my way. I checked the time, but I wasn’t late. I looked over by the field. All the boys were there getting their things together. As he got into the car I was afraid that he was going to tell me he had been cut. I held my breath.
“Well?” I asked.
“Not yet,” he said.
When I asked him why he was in the parking lot so early he cut his eyes my direction, like he does when he’s up to something, and said, “I figured out that after practice when we are getting our things together, the coach comes up to a player and puts his arm around him and walks off. That’s when the coach tells him he didn’t make the team. So…” Sam shrugged his shoulders.
“So,” I continued for him, “You figured if the coach can’t catch you, he can’t cut you, huh?”
He cut his eyes back and me again. I nodded my head, “Quick thinking.”
Friday was the last day of cuts. As I drove in front of the school, I had this vision of Sam’s coach chasing him down the road as Sam, running as fast as he could, yelled over his shoulder, “If you want to cut me, you are going to have to catch me first!”
The thought made me laugh, but as I continued to play that scenario over in my mind, I realized that I am sometimes just like Sam when it comes to God. I think we all are, especially when we sense God telling us to do something we don’t want to do or when we know we are not abiding in His will. Like Sam, we have this way of pretending we don’t hear God or feel His tugging on our hearts.
Though Sam’s idea seemed pretty smart at the time, the problem with it was that eventually, he would have to face his coach. Same with us. We can try running from God and what He is telling us to do, like Jonah, only to find ourselves in the belly of a whale…that’s not a great option. Or, we can try to ignore God’s plan for our lives because it’s not what we want, like the children of Israel did. Unfortunately, that option isn’t great either because we will only find ourselves wandering around in the desert -miserable…maybe even for 40 years.
So, as I sat in the parking lot waiting for tryouts to end, I realized how foolish it is to try to outrun or ignore my Coach. I also realized that, unlike Sam, I don’t have to worry about being cut because I’m not good enough. The day I said yes to Jesus, I made the team. I will never have to worry about being cut, or traded, or forced to retire because someone better than me comes along!
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