Friday, April 26, 2013

Redeeming Broken Community {in(RL) Guest Post}

 Can you believe in(RL) starts this today? If you haven't registered yet there's still time to join this free women's conference that happens via meetups in communities all over the world. In honor of in(RL) I'm featuring a series of guest posts from some of my real life friends this week. Enjoy!

God in His very nature is triune - One who always has and always will exist in community. Being made in His image we live for this same purpose. First, for fellowship with the Lord. Second, for relationship with oth

But in our fallen world, community is often painful and hard. People get hurt - suffer.

Though there is a time to withdraw in order to recharge, grieve, or just because there are some paths we will need to navigate alone (as seen by Jesus on the cross), it is always for the purpose of living life together. This giving opportunity to live not for ourselves, but for others. To be spilled out even as He Himself was spilled out.

Real community isn’t possible without humility.
And humility isn’t outward, it’s inward - in the secret places of the heart where no one dare go. Where we don’t even dare to go, because the sinful nature knows nothing of this attribute.

Jesus showed the ultimate example of meekness in His death, revealing God’s heart for the redemption of broken community. This being the story woven throughout all of Scripture, teaching us how to live in relationship with God and in relationship with others.

And though there are many examples of humility in the Bible, I can’t help thinking about David on the run from Saul. In 1 Samuel 20, he confronts Saul’s son Jonathan in secret, asking what he’d done deserving of death. Jonathan is stunned. He’d been told by his father, “As the Lord lives, he (David) shall not be put to death,” (I Samuel 19:6).

But Saul had changed his mind and David is able to convince Jonathan to test Saul’s loyalty. When the truth of Saul’s hatred finally comes out, David must accept this as an assignment from God.

I love the example of both Jonathan and David in this chapter, because Saul had demonstrated enough inconsistent character for Jonathan to be suspicious, but Jonathan still trusted. This seeming naive, but really showing humility.

On the other hand, David could’ve rallied against Saul, seeking retaliation, but he also chose to trust. Both men believing in an all-powerful, almighty God, leaving Saul in His hands, never lifting a finger against him. For the next twenty years, David lived in hiding, proving his love for an undeserving man. A king meriting disloyalty. And Jonathan awaited the day that his friend would take his place on the throne, leading the kingdom that was lawfully his own.

I wonder if David and Jonathan show us something very significant about how to live in community. I wonder if we’ve ever been suspicious? Maybe, like Jonathan, we’ve had plenty of evidence about the wrongdoing of a person, but their words have expressed otherwise. Or maybe, like David, it’s been proven that a person is against us, and we’ve been tempted to take matters in our own hands?

When we look at the purpose of God for our lives, when we remember that we were made to be spilled out, not to defend or seek our own, but to pursue the interests of others, then don’t we give up the right of suspicion and the right to cast judgment?

Can we be like David, accepting our life as an assignment from God - even the wounds? Can we can trust His good purposes and allow Him to work His will in others? Can we pray for the one who hurt us? Can we ask for God’s kindness and blessing on them, following the footsteps of Jesus, putting on love?

Alan Redpath has said, A throne is God’s purpose for you; a cross is God’s path for you; faith is God’s plan for you.”

Herein lies the purpose of real life community and herein lies the redemption of its brokenness:


All of it resulting in joy, because for this we have been created. And by this we are being shaped into the very likeness of God.

I met Jacqui at Allume and truly believe she is a blessing from God. She is a wife and stay at home mama. She started her blog to share what God’s teaching her- how He’s changing her. It seems that most days she's a little messy and broken. (Aren't we all?) This is where she's finding petals of grace. Beauty from ashes. Join her at Faith and Simplicity.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

No Hurry {in(RL) Guest Post}

Can you believe in(RL) starts this tomorrow? If you haven't registered yet there's still time to join this free women's conference that happens via meetups in communities all over the world. In honor of in(RL) I'm featuring a series of guest posts from some of my real life friends this week. Enjoy!

Today I had one of those moments. The moment that you realize things are changing. It was a bitter sweet moment. I wasn't in a hurry for it.

I was making the bed and Drew came running in. He jumped up on the bed and was bouncing and doing somersaults. In a moment I caught a glint in his eye. It was a look that said, "I am not a baby any more, but mom I am still your baby." In an instant the look was gone. He was back to flipping and crawling under the sheets. I decided I was in no hurry.

I gave in and played with my baby while he wanted to and bounced on the bed with him. We wrestled and tickled. We laughed and giggled. Then we snuggled in the only way Drew knows how. I was in no hurry.

The bed still isn't finished being made. It might not get finished today. There have been other important things today, like sitting together and eating breakfast, playing on the porch, and watching the big trucks go by. There was no hurry.

Drew is leaving "Baby Drew" behind so fast and turning into "Little Boy Drew." Every day there is less and less of the baby in him. He is changing so fast. The days seem really long some times, but I know they are short. I know I don't have much time left with my "Baby Drew." Things are changing and I can't slow them down, but I don't want to rush it.There is no need to hurry.

Today, I am trying to remind myself that everything else can wait. We can go slow, because there is no hurry.

Molly is one the people I do most of my  real life living with. She is wife, mom, and most of all a sister in Christ. She loves books, Dr. Who, paleo, and Jesus. She doesn't always have time for Pinterest projects and her house (like most of us) isn't always perfect. But years from now she knows Drew will remember the time she spent playing on the floor with him more than how clean the floor was. She shares her life here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Calling All Christians for One Christian Calling: Siblings for Christ {in(RL) Guest Post}

Can you believe in(RL) starts this Friday, April 26th? If you haven't registered yet there's still time to join this free women's conference that happens via meetups in communities all over the world. In honor of in(RL) I'm featuring a series of guest posts from some of my real life friends this week. Enjoy!

Christians talk about hearing the call of God on their lives. There is the missionary call, the call to ministry, a call to stay at home, a call to a profession.

The longer I live and the more I read Scripture the clearer it is to me that God gives every Christian one call - the same exact call.

"For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters."
Romans 8:29, NIV

The Christian call is a call to become like Jesus Christ. That's it. Every other sense of call fits within the parameters of becoming more like Jesus. God has put us on a pathway, a pathway toward his son.

I can imagine Jesus sitting around with his father, in eternity past, saying, “Baba, it’s cool hanging out with you and the Spirit and all, but it would be nice to have some brothers and sisters around the stratosphere.”

That would be you and I.

Do you think of Jesus as a brother?

Can we conceive that God is populating heaven from different parts of the planet and various ethnicities to create one big replica-like family? Do we like the idea of a homogeneous family comprised of heterogeneous blood lines?

Like it or not, God's plan all along was to give Jesus siblings.

We may be too busy to think about our new and developing family. We've got people to save, budgets to build, and buildings to erect.

But how much effort do we put into our own personal and spiritual growth as we travel our diverse paths to the pearly gates?

We tend to focus on what distinguishes us while God tends to focus on what unites us: Jesus, and being like him.

We are not all ministers, missionaries, or moms managing the home. We are unique. Specially gifted. Finding our own way. All on the same road to Christ-likeness.

Our one true calling.

I’m grateful that I can participate in this calling of conformity because on my own I would choose a different path. I’d rather be a basketball star in the NBA or a famous writer who touches millions. But God had a better plan for me: to become like my brother, Jesus.

Does anything else matter?

This is the one calling that I am sure every brother and sister of Jesus has to agree with, has to go along with, has to have a hand in fulfilling. Is every one a missionary? No.

Pastor? No. 

Parent? No. 

Plumber? No. 

Church planter? No. 

Friend? No. 

Conformer to Christ? Yes.

We call it sanctification. God the Father calls it adoption. God the Spirit calls it a down payment that guarantees our inheritance. Jesus?

He calls me "bro".

Taking on mid-life with a coffee snob strategy, Brian enjoys basketball, social media and nature.  Brian lives in Orlando, Florida; calls Denver, Colorado home; grew up in Indiana; and considers himself a world citizen. Brian is married to a lovely wife and together they are raising three wonderful young men and longing for their daughter in heaven.  The Stankich family has lived and worked previously in Macedonia and Egypt. Follow Brian's insightful and practical writings here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Breaking Free {in(RL) Guest Post}

 Can you believe in(RL) starts this Friday, April 26th? If you haven't registered yet there's still time to join this free women's conference that happens via meetups in communities all over the world. In honor of in(RL) I'm featuring a series of guest posts from some of my real life friends this week. Enjoy!

Today my dad was released from jail. For the past five months he has been serving time for charges resulting from alcohol abuse. He has seen few glimpses of daylight since October, bound by the consequences of his choices-- and concrete walls. I glanced at the clock this morning, only an hour passed since he was dismissed from the Polk County Jail. I imagined him walking out of the jailhouse doors, closing his eyes, and tilting his face toward the sky, basking in new found freedom. No sooner than I finished this thought did I hear these words on the radio:

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

Can you imagine him choosing to stay in jail after being granted freedom? Walking back in and saying, "I choose to live a sub par life, eat cheap starchy food, and sleep on a cot in a four walled cell for the rest of my life. Freedom is mine, but I'll take this instead." No way! And yet we as Believers make said choice when we live in condemnation or continue to enslave ourselves to the desires of the flesh. To accept shackles and bondage, and failure as a way of life.

I am getting ready to start a Bible study with some ladies from church- Beth Moore's well known study, Breaking Free. Timing happenstance? I think not. It's totally like God to orchestrate such an effective illustration and invitation, really, of what He desires for me. I don't have a taboo stronghold...I'm thankfully not an addict; I don't habitually lie, cheat, or steal.  I do, however, struggle with other things, like respecting my husband, promoting peace in my home, etc. I continually and daily need His grace. It is my prayer that over the course of this study He would reveal to me areas of perpetual struggle, such as these, where I am not walking in His freedom. The jailhouse doors are open, and I do not want to remain an inmate!

God, thank you for this picture! Your love for me is amazing. I am utterly overwhelmed that you would be mindful of me, have even a simple thought of me, let alone, come to earth in the flesh, die a gruesome death to pay my sin debt, and free me from eternal death! You walked up to my cell, called me by name, unlocked the chains that bound me, and set me free. As if that is not enough, you have committed yourself to sanctifying me so I can be more like your Son. Wow.

Originally published January 22, 2013.

I've know Emily since the 5th grade and ours is a relationship that has weathered much. She is a wife and mommy, figuring things out along the way and loving every minute of the journey. She loves teaching and learning- one equally as much as the other. She's been upended by God's grace and aim for her crazy and abundant life to be wholly His! She blogs here

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In Honor of #(in)RL: A Series from My Real Life Friends


(in)RL is less than a week away. If you haven't signed up yet there's still time. This week in honor of (in)RL I'll be featuring posts from some of my real life friends. Thanks in advance to Brian, Molly, Emily, and Jacqui.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When You Feel Alone

In an instant everything can change. And suddenly we’re thinking about Boston and Gosnell. And scheduled posts get put on hold. We find ourselves asking questions about mourning, grief, depression, anxiety, emmotions, and how to make life go on?

If you’re feeling alone today join us here. Our online community of woman is holding each other’s arms up in prayer today. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Here (Five Minute Friday)

So I have a dumb phone. Or shall I say had. Yup. Yesterday, I broke the phone I’ve had since 2008. I had no intention of giving up my safe dumb phone. But it’s dead and I have to choose something new. And this choice, friends, is bringing out my fears…

You see I’m a high “S” on the DISC. S’s like making the “right” decision and do that just fine. Excepy when the right way isn’t clear. And in the face of grey, we panic. And so last night at the Verizon store that’s just what I did and I’ve been doing it ever since…

And who knew that wrestling with the albeit minor decision of dumb versus smart (phones that is) would open up a pathway for me to explore my fears? Of change. Of uncertainty. Of grey. And sometimes I make too much of the here and now. Unlike others who long to live in the moment I can get stuck in the details. And they can make me a slave.

So I will choose a new phone. And I will learn that in the long run I may not remember these moments of seemingly silly fear and self doubt. And maybe, hopefully, I’ll also learn to not let the greatness of the future God’s given me be overshadowed by the momentary struggles and details.

And maybe I can be free and still live in the here and now?

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

#inRL Meetups and (in)courage Giveaway


Can you believe (in)RL is only 17 days away? If you're new here and you haven't heard about (in)RL you can read about it here or watch the video here. In short (in)RL is a FREE woman's conference that brings woman in the same communities together in real life.

You can register here and join a meetup here. Orlando locals, I'd love you to join my meetup here.

Today only, (in)courage is giving away special (in)RL sets of the gorgeous Lisa Leonard necklace and the inspiring (in)RL print full of words of community pictured above to 50 people who have joined a meetup!

Let me know in the comments below if you're planning to attend (in)RL and what you're most excited about.

Monday, April 1, 2013

When Easter is Broken

My holidays seem to be perpetually broken. I spent most of Easter weekend doing nothing at all as I fought an unexpected Spring cold. Sure on Sunday I went to Easter brunch and church in the evening but now I’m paying for it. It’s Easter Monday and I’m still sick. Home from work.  Stuck on the couch. Surrounded by a home that makes me feel more like drowning than living.

We’re in this season of life where good things are happening but amidst those good things there are still holes in our heart. Right now we’re being swallowed up by busyness and we’re not entirely shore where it’s come from. But what we do know is something has to change. We’re not doing the things we need to do and we’re confused about the things we want to do. 

What we really need is a break. A respite from the things that pull us in ten million different directions. If I’m honest though I hear the word “perfect” being whispered somewhere in the dark of my heart. That is the hanging chad, the lofty goal I dream about but can never get right. I know it’s unrealistic. And at the beginning of the year I thought I had a pretty good perspective on it. But it’s only the first of April and I seem to have come a long way from a prayer for imperfection.

But isn’t that what Easter is all about? Without Jesus being broken for my sins, your sins, we would never be able to experience the victory of a resurrected Christ made whole. Without Jesus literally drowning we would have no hand to hold when we feel like we’re drowning. So on this Easter Monday I try to remember that our troubles are both light and momentary. This season of life will be over before I know it. But I can always look on Jesus who was broken so that in all of this I can be made whole.