The other morning I woke up, sat down, prayed that God would show me something in His word and then asked that He would tell me what to do with it... here it is.
I’m currently reading the book of John chapter 4, where John recalls Jesus declaring His Messiahship to the woman at the well. He begins describing this metaphor for living water and never thirsting again, but in this passage she just wasn't following Him. Jesus was trying to speak to her spiritual needs and when that didn’t work, He kind of called her out.
Now, I don’t want to make Jesus sound rude or insensitive, but He knows us, right? Sometimes (often times) we need to be told straight up, how things are in our lives. I am a real person and I need to be talked to in the same way. Too much fluff and flowers and you can lose my very direct, straight forward mind.
This woman at the well had been with several men and Jesus brought it up to her. She was at the well at a time when no one else was, due to what I imagine was great shame and shunning by her community. But Jesus met her there AND acknowledged her.
After talking with Jesus, the woman was so moved by her encounter with Him, the one who knew all of her sins and still offered her an eternal “well of life." He showed up and her shame left. Scripture says that she left her waterpot at the well and went straight to the townspeople in the city to tell them of her experience with this man called Jesus!
I have read this story before and I've heard this story told in sermons several times, but when I read it the other morning, it seemed different in some way.
The shameful woman at the well was no longer the focus in my mind.
Her sin was no longer the focus of this story for me.
It was her going immediately to the townspeople and telling them about her encounter with Jesus.
Here is this woman, who wouldn't even collect water at a well when others did, leaving her waterpot, and going to the townspeople to declare boldly about her meeting with this man who "told (her) all things that (she) ever did!"
For a woman with her reputation, bringing up past sin wouldn't normally be an encouraging thing (I mean, who would enjoy that?)...but it wasn't about her sin. It was that this man, Jesus, knew her sin and STILL HE MET WITH HER. Still He acknowledged her. Still He offered her what He knew she needed most.
When we encounter the LOVE of Jesus...the grace filled, forgiving LOVE of Jesus, we are compelled! We run! We share it! WE LOSE OUR SHAME.
Shame that keeps us hidden away, disconnected from loved ones, drowning our feelings of worthlessness or self pity in anything and everything. Sometimes it's substances and sometimes it's other relationships. Sometimes it's actions, things we do, and other times it's things we buy or partake in. But guess what? Typically those things create more shame or only a temporary haze to keep our shame just out of view for a little while. None of those things take it away though.
But here, in just a moment... it was gone. And as a result, she reached out to others who were then so moved by her words, her testimony, that they left the city and went to find Jesus.
How often do we let fear of others or influence of others keep us from sharing what God has done in our lives or better yet, BROUGHT US THROUGH? We've all done things, said things, experienced things that we are not proud of. That's called sin.
My name is Ashley, and I am a sinner. I sin. Every day. Major bummer.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, guess what?....
There is forgiveness for that, BUT....and it's a big one...there is also an undeniable influence in that! When we turn our shame into a testimony of what God has done, that brings Him GLORY! And glory is evidence of Him; it's showing the world that my God is real, and here's how...
"But I don't want to share this horrible thing with others!" ...no one is making you, but if you have come out of it, whatever situation "it" is or was, there is a story to tell. Maybe your ending was better than you could've imagined, or maybe it was worse than anything you've ever experienced...either way, don't let the shame keep you at the well by yourself.
Maybe you're there, at the well, pulling up your bucket and you don't even see Jesus anywhere, so how could you possibly hear from Him?
Ask Him to meet you at the well. Sitting by yourself with nothing but your shame, looking for something, anything, that will fill the longing you have. the thirst. the hunger.
He will meet you. But you've gotta be at the well...that place of humility where you know no one else is gonna show up and sit with you. It's gonna be hard. But if we don't all go there at some point, our shame will keep us so far from the one who takes away our sin. The one who breathes life and love back into us again.
I think that's why God gave me these words. Too many people I know are walking through tough things right now, but not sharing it with anyone because of their shame. Because of their concern with other people's perception of them or their situation.
Maybe you know someone who is walking through something right now. And man, it looks bad. It's covered in filth and what looks like a long road and so you've just checked out. You've left them in the middle of their shame, all for a little less "ick" and a lot more comfort on your end. I get it. I've been there before too. But maybe try and revisit that person or situation. Maybe it's only in prayer, but maybe it's also in person. There's nothing that says "I'm here for you" like a warm, living, breathing, body knocking on your door.
So I want to challenge you. I want you to think about your life, or maybe it's someone else's life that comes to mind, and I want you to pray and ask God to help you. Maybe helping you looks like bringing you to a place of humility, so that you can make your way to the well. Or maybe helping you looks like the Holy Spirit giving you courage and grace to step back into someone's life who could really use a friend...and if you have a box of donuts and a movie, those wouldn't hurt to carry on you either.
Sometimes we need those too.
With love & laughter,
1st Photo by Qang Jaka on Unsplash
2nd Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash
3rd Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash
I married on April 12, 2014, for the first time, at the age of 46. This is also my husband’s first marriage, and we both were beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen for us. It wasn’t my choice to be single for that long. Each passing year watching my girlfriends find “Mr. Right,” get married and start families, just seemed to make the ache of loneliness grow even deeper. I couldn’t understand why I had such a deep desire for marriage if God was never going to fulfill it. I learned a lot in those years. A lot about God’s faithfulness, my strength, His character, and my faith. Honestly, I could have married a couple of times. I was engaged in my early 20’s and made the very difficult decision to break off the engagement. I knew it wasn’t a solid relationship and doubtful that it would stand the test of time. Most of my friends and family didn’t understand my decision, but I knew God was telling me “no.” It was a very lonely time for me. After that relationship, I dated several other wonderful guys over the years. Guys who would make great husbands. But in time, we or I realized they just weren’t going to be the “right” husbands for me. Most people did not understand. I was called “picky”......A LOT! Haha!
After the death of our spouses, God brought Tom and me together. We shared the most beautiful, God-filled marriage you could ever imagine. My heart is totally broken over his passing but I know that our love will live on in my heart forever. God was the master designer of our relationship and precious love for each other. I am so thankful that God loved us both so much. That's what made our life together so abundantly happy. Without a close relationship with our Lord and Savior, you will never experience the pure joy of love with your spouse. The deeper the grief, the closer The Lord. He holds my hand everyday.
We'd like to thank Jackie for sharing her story with us. We all have stories. When we are willing to share them, we are able to touch the lives of others and encourage them in their walk. If you have a story to share, please click the "share" button at the bottom of our home page.
I know this is something that we have all shared about before but I have really been pondering this lately. Dickie Jones, our Sunday school teacher, has taught a few lessons on this topic for the last couple of weeks and it got me to thinking. I do think we should share our stories with each other, sometimes our failures are much easier to share because who wants to sound “braggy” with our successes? As a body of believers, we should be there to build up each other in failures and also celebrate our victories. How will we know what’s going on if we don’t “post it”, “pin it”, or “pass it on”? It’s all about making connections just as Jesus did when He shared His stories and parables. So, if we are to be like Jesus… it’s all about our relationships and making connections with other people. The Lord has blessed each of us with a story to tell; He gives us all different experiences to share. Then when we go out, like the disciples, we try to make our connections. We glean something from each story that is shared and then we pass that on to someone else. All of this to build our Christ community and to be His hands, feet, and voice to everyone we meet.
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great peace shall be the peace of your children”. – Isaiah 54:13
Last Sunday was Father’s Day and as on very rare occasions these days; all of our grown children were home at once! Moms and Dads of married and college aged children, can you FEEL what I mean by that? Contentment, happiness, joy, and even anxiousness to breathe in every word and moment filled our precious time!
One of the things we love to do as a family is to sit under the shade of an old river birch tree planted when they were little and either fish or just talk. We reminisce about fun times jumping off the paddle boat with friends, church parties when everyone ended up wet, and of course, the time when my daughter was very young and went ballistic because her Daddy threw back the fish she wanted to eat! So many fun times on that old pond!
Now the dog and cat bring us our amusement as Greg and I sit under the river birch tree. The deer eating our garden and the state of our lawn health fuel our conversations. At times it seems strange and kinda sad to not have those three Kight goof balls doing unsafe bicycle flips off a homemade ramp into the water or running toward a slippy slide headed down the hill, but at other times it’s ok just to remember…
God gave us children for a reason … to raise and enjoy for a season. Ultimately though they are His. We, as parents, are expected to raise them to be independent and go out into the world as adults who love the Lord and are striving to serve Him above all else. I’m not saying we did a perfect job, we would be the first to admit our shortcomings in the parenting realm, but we did always try to keep our focus on the end result … the place we are right now … the place of letting go and handing them back over to their Heavenly Father.
We will soon be seeing a whole new generation of Kight children as our son and daughter-in-law bring our first grandchild into the world in December (move over grandanimals … sorry). One thing I know for sure, Brendan and Lauren will be fantastic parents … not because of us or Lauren’s parents, but because the Lord has them by the hand. This is our goal, moms and dads, not to make our children the “most popular” in school, not to have them be a star athlete, and not to have them be the valedictorian (although these are all worthy accomplishments) but to have them walking with the Lord as we let go of their hand to place it in hand of God.
I look forward to this grandchild and hopefully many more to come. It’s a new generation and a new God given opportunity to start anew and laugh under the shade of the old river birch tree…
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"
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