life

My iPod & God

“SIGGGGHHHH… Where in the name of all things covered in chocolate is my iPod?!?”

I have to be honest with you, dear readers. Usually I am pretty on top of things. Although my personality (sanguine) tends to be easily distracted by the bright and shiny, one of my spiritual gifts is administration, which helps me to be super organized. (Thanks for that divine, life-saving combo, Jesus!)

But occasionally, especially when I am tired or overly squirrelly, my sanguine brain reigns (say that five times fast) and I misplace things.

One of the most regularly misplaced items? My little iPod nano. Don’t get me wrong– three cheers to Apple for making such a tiny device that does so many cool things– but sometimes small + squirrel brain = misplaced iPod.

Such was the case yesterday as I was headed to the gym with my sweet mother-in-love Lex. (She is here to visit for the week– HI MAMA LEX!) Due to my SheSpeaks adventures, I hadn’t worked out for a few days with my iPod, but I was ready to get my sweat back on at the gym.

Time to gather my supplies, iPod included. I looked in my little gym bag. No iPod. Then I remembered: I took it with me to SheSpeaks on the off-chance that I would have time/energy/motivation to actually work out. (What can I say? I am sometimes a delusional optimist.) Suddenly, I remembered putting my iPod in purse… Dug through there– no luck.

My motivation to work out was quickly waning, so I gave up for the time being and headed to the gym with Lex iPod-less. (I survived, FYI.) As I was nearing the end of my workout, I starting thinking about my iPod situation again. I also started praying for God to direct me what to blog about for today. (My brain is still a little slow and foggy from the sleep deprivation/SheSpeaks adventures…)

Suddenly, He answered both my prayers at once. He reminded me that while in my hotel room at SheSpeaks, I had cleaned out my purse of all unnecessary things that didn’t need to be hauled around every day. An image of the bright yellow-gold gift bag from my friend Amy  flashed through my mind, and I realized that when I cleaned out my purse, all of my “unnecessary” items went into that bag. Then God spoke to my heart saying “I care about even the smallest things, my sweet daughter. Thanks for turning to me… You have the answer,  now go share this story.” 

Ok, Lord. You have my attention. I returned home, checked that yellow bag on my table and there it was– my iPod nestled under the lint roller, between an extra pack of gum, camera charger and Laffy Taffy.

So yes, my iPod was in this golden gift bag… Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!

So yes, my friends– God cares about the little things in our life– even if in the big picture it seems minor. The Lord knew how much that iPod meant to me as I listen to reflective Christian songs to relax, pump up songs to work out and Christian audio books to learn. (Plus I think He recognizes that I am working for Jesus dollars, so funds for a new iPod nano aren’t excessively abundant.)

What little things do you talk to God about in your everyday life? I love the wonderful conversations we have at this page– don’t be shy… Share your heart and leave a comment below!

God really does care about all of our “little” things in life… From the laundry and dishes, to grocery shopping, to locating your car keys. Today, let’s rejoice in the fact that we can listen to both an iPod AND God.

“Tuning” into Jesus,
SGK

“…God cares, cares right down to the last detail.” ~James 5:11 (MSG) 

Categories: life | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 1)

It has been one week of eating only eggs, chicken, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocado, and spinach. That’s right folks. I’m eating only 7 foods for thirty days.

If you missed last week’s entry about this fast, let me catch you up. (Or you can click here to read the entire post.) My beloved hubby and I are fasting for 30 days by only eating 7 different foods. Only water to drink. No seasonings other than salt, pepper, olive oil (sparingly) and cooking spray.  This concept is inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” In short, it has two main purposes: to seek after God at a deeper level and to restore a heart of gratitude for all the incredible choices we have in this world.

We started on June 4, so we are one week into our experience. In two words: EPIC. CHALLENGING.

The first two days kinda sucked. Like, a lot. My beloved and I both had a headache, which honestly was to be expected. We were no longer drinking any caffeine. Plus, I was probably going through sugar withdrawal.

But once we made it through Monday and Tuesday? It has been epic. We are using the extra time that we would have normally spent grocery shopping/cooking/discussing what’s for supper to spend time in prayer and in the word.

Additionally, this has been awesome for our food budget. Great for our heart. And our physical bodies feel pretty incredible.

PLUS (yes, it goes on) God has brought out my hidden gift for creative and resourceful cooking. Seriously, I have created more shockingly tasty meals with limited foods than I have in my entire adult life. Here’s a brief glimpse of some of my creations:

Breakfast:

  • Power breakfast sandwich– egg, avocado, shredded chicken on toast
  • Eggs & toast
  • French toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Scromlet– scrambled eggs, spinach, shredded chicken
  • Fritatta– eggs baked with shredded chicken & spinach with avocado on top

Lunch/Supper:

  • Spinach salad including any/all of the following– shredded chicken, avocado, spinach, apple, hard boiled egg, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Sweet Potato Chicken soup– chicken stock, chicken, sweet potatoes, salt/pepper (BEST. INVENTION. EVER.)
  • Baked Chicken dredged in egg and coated in bread crumbs
  • Egg/chicken/avocado salad sandwich (It looks a little funny  but tastes fine)

Snacks:

  • Dried apple chips (homemade)
  • Toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Hard Boiled egg
  • Croutons (homemade)
  • Apple Leather (it’s like a fruit roll up, homemade out of applesauce put in the dehydrator)

My sweet potato chicken soup and spinach salad… with homemade croutons. Nutritious, colorful AND tasty. Thanks, Jesus!

God has really brought about a new, refreshed and grateful heart in the both of us. He has also revealed how I turn to food when I am stressed– but now I am turning to Him first. Here’s to returning to our First Love!

So in short, it’s going great. Definitely still challenging every time I pass by a Starbucks or see free oranges for the taking at the gym. (And don’t get me started on the Diet Dr. Pepper situation.) But guess what… I have one more surprise for you.

I am doing a giveaway at the end of this experience. The prize will be… well, a surprise. (But it won’t be lame. I promise.)

To enter, you can share this post via Facebook, Twitter, email etc. You can like my Facebook page if you haven’t already done so. But to make it an “official” entry, leave a comment below with your guess of how many eggs my husband and I will consume by the end of this fast. (Hint: We like eggs.)

Random, I know. But hey, don’t judge me– I haven’t had any sugar or caffeine for a week. 🙂 Plus, I think it is going to be eggstremely entertaining.

What do you think so far? We would love your feedback–leave a comment (and your eggsact guess) below.

Loving this Jesus eggsperience,
SGK

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” –John 6:35

Categories: blessing, budget, challenge, Christ, food, God, gratitude, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Sometimes Flat Isn’t All That

“Hey, what do you want to drink?”

“Hmm… I will take a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper.”

“Ok, coming up.”

“Thanks…(gulp) OH YUCK. IT’S FLAT.”

We’ve all been there. We wait in anticipation for our favorite carbonated beverage only to be disappointed to realize all the fizz has departed long ago. Blah. The same goes for stale chips or popcorn. What a let down. Sigh.

Is your faith fizzy or flat?

On one hand, flat can be a good thing– flat stomachs, beautiful flat prairie, a house built on a level and flat foundation. But much like the example of soda pop, sometimes flat isn’t all that.

Flat soda. Flat tires. Flat flavor.  Flat line. Flat out. Flat faith.

Many people in the world are living “flatly,” satisfied with the status quo and social norm. Why go above and beyond when “barely” works? Great theory, but very unfulfilling. As Christians– we aren’t called to be flat. We need to rediscover our fizz.

Living flat faith might look like this: go to church on Sunday, say that we believe in Christ if cornered. That’s it. While it’s a great start, that kind of faith isn’t going to inspire anyone to take another drink. We can live a fresh, fizzy life– through words and actions in our life.

Fizzy faith is going to involve living a flavorful life of love. We can be kind. Love others. Be generous. Seek to be like Christ.

Everything we do speaks to who we are. When someone meets you, what do you them to know about you as they walk away? That you are flat and unflavorful? Just kinda there?  Or do you want to infuse them with some of your fresh Jesus fizz with your words and actions.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live as if I am fresh can of soda, full of flavor and fizz… not a trace of flat.

Is your faith fizzy? Or has it gotten a little stale and flat lately? What do you think you could do to regain a fizzy faith that is encouraging and inspiring to those around you? I would love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below.

It might be time to check your fizzy faith factor. Ask the Lord to make your faith life flavorful again because let’s be honest– sometime flat isn’t all that.

Bubbling over,
SGK

“Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it’s useless, good for nothing. “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”‘ –Luke 14:34 MSG

Categories: faith, food, God, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Lifestyle Fashion Statement

Hmmm… Ok… Should I wear my favorite blue shirt? Or maybe the one with pink stripes? If I do, maybe I could go with the hoop earrings? Or should I be dressier? Ok, let’s do the blue shirt with silver dangly earrings and my cross necklace. There. Decision made.

Oh wait. My blue shirt is in the dirty laundry. Sigh. Let’s try this again.

I am certainly not the most fashionable person on the planet—far from it, actually. I dress decent enough to get by, and if I really need to, can groom and clean up reasonably well. I’m not a girl who has to wear make up every time I leave the house and if you see me at the gym wearing mascara, you can assume that it is leftover from an event earlier in the day.

 We all have different tastes, needs and functions for our wardrobe, fashion and appearance. But there is one thing we can always wear, every day.

 Jesus.

Yeah, I said it. Wear Jesus. It says in Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG) “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

But here’s the thing about wearing our Jesus wardrobe. It might not always be the most fashionable. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to fit very well. Our Jesus outfit might even be uncomfortable on occasion.

However, when we wear it, we sure do look purty. (Or pretty for all of my non-southern readers.)

Note: As hard as you try, duct tape accessories will never be a legitimate fashion statement. Jesus, on the other hand, is a whole different story.

Putting on Christ should be the first thing we do in the morning, right after our trip to el bano and brushing our teeth. I am sure each and every one of you have a different method to “wearing” Christ— perhaps you wear it formally or in a low-key casual or some combination of the two.

It will probably look a little different for compared to anyone else around you.  However, Jesus is one accessory we should all put on.

Here’s the best part: this incredible fashion statement goes with everything, never shrinks or tears, doesn’t fade and can be the most expensive and remarkable thing we wear in our entire lives.

If you looked at yourself in the mirror right now, would you say that you are “wearing” Jesus? What does that look like to you? I would love to hear your thoughts– leave a comment below! 🙂

So as you stare at your closet, accessories, and shoes, take one moment to think about The One “accessory” you can’t live without. Put Him on every single day and wear Christ with pride. Who knows—He might just be the next big thing. And what a way to make a permanent lifestyle fashion statement!

Making a daily fashion statement with Jesus,
SGK

“Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”–Romans 13:14 (MSG)

Categories: attitude, Christ, fashion, fresh start, God, life, Love | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

God Only Knows Where We’d Be

I was never a crier. I was the tough girl. I once went through an entire semester at college without crying.

And then I fell in love. With a soldier. And with Jesus.

At one point in my life, my heart was hardened. I was not compassionate and completely confident that I could make “it” on my own. Tears were not an issue. I had it together.

And then I feel in love. With a soldier. And with Jesus.

Today is Memorial Day. A day of tribute. A day of remembrance. I am forever thankful for our soldiers– and for Jesus.

Many people post tributes and touching pictures on Facebook in support of our troops. That’s great. But I have quite a different perspective. See, I am married to one of those soldiers. And not just married to him, but deeply in love with him.

My beloved has served overseas three times. He’s been shot at. He’s watched his battle buddies fall. All the while– he clung tight to Jesus. And led me into a relationship with Christ much deeper than I could have ever imagined.

As my relationship with my soldier and my Christ has deepened, my heart as been softened. I try to avoid “tearjerker” videos because I still don’t like to cry. But it is hard not to be overcome with emotion– primarily in the form of gratitude- when I stop to really consider what my beloved husband AND what Christ has done for us.

They both have willingly offered to DIE for me. Simply the thought of this type of love moves my heart.

The song “Soldiers and Jesus” by James Otto sums it up pretty well.

(If you couldn’t view the video in your email, click HERE to watch.)

Have you EVER really stopped to think about the sacrifice from Christ and our soldiers? How does it make you feel? How have you experienced life from another’s sacrificial love? Please don’t be shy… Share your comments below.

So today, lets take a moment to give thanks for those who have given us a hope and a future by laying down their lives. There’s only two people who have ever died for me… Soldiers and Jesus. Without them… God only knows where we’d be.

Thankful beyond measure,
SGK

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

Categories: army, blessing, Christ, cross, death, fight, freedom, glory, God, Jesus, life, sacrifice, soldier, Tribute | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Vanilla-Flavored Living

I’ve always heard that one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. However, due to the fact that I rarely purchase a whole “bunch” of apples, I have yet to experience this phenomenon. (Although I have dealt with this issue in the area of potatoes. One stinky potato can make the whole bunch yucky in a hurry. But I digress.)

This idea of one part ruining it all apparently pertains to vanilla flavoring.

I have recently learned (the hard way) that old or spoiled vanilla flavoring is rather, um, “ungoodly” for cooking stuff. I bake on occasion. I don’t bake a lot, only for other people. If I bake for myself, I end up eating whatever tasty, sugary delicacy I make. By myself. Which is really counter productive for my getting-into-shape-running-a-5k-while-enjoying-it mission.

Since I bake so infrequently, it takes me a while to use up baking supplies. In this case: vanilla flavoring.  My Mama was in town a couple weeks ago, and we were trying to whip up some cupcakes for my husband’s company of drill sergeants. (It’s a morale booster called Foxtrot Friday.) We thought we would be overachievers and make FILLED cupcakes.

Everything was going great until Mom tried to make the filling… She added the vanilla. And it refused to mix it with the other ingredients. She wrinkled her brow and sniffed the bowl. “Uh, Sharita… How long have you had this vanilla?”

I had no clue. That little container of flavoring had been in my possession for what we in the army family like to call “a hot minute.” As in, I couldn’t remember the last time I bought it. And based on how frequently I use it to bake… Probably a couple of years.

My bad. No wonder my vanilla-flavored protein shakes always tasted so… funky.

Needless to say, we trashed that batch and purchased a brand-spanking new container of vanilla within a few days. I cracked open the seal and it smelled… heavenly.  (And like magic, my shakes no longer tasted funky. Who knew, right?)

I couldn’t help but think about how just one tiny amount of an ingredient, aka a teaspoon of spoiled vanilla, can have such a profound impact on my recipe. I thought about how this holds true to our lives.

All it takes is one little “ingredient” in our heart, life or attitude to spoil the whole journey. Seriously, think about it. Consider those days when you are just in a “funk” because one little thing went wrong right when you hopped out of bed. Or if you are annoyed by something exceptionally small. Or you are holding onto a tiny seed of bitterness towards something or someone.

If you don’t ask God to correct the problem ASAP, that “spoiled ingredient” will spread throughout your day… then your week… then your life.

Do you have any parts of your attitude or heart that are spoiled? Have you ever experienced a “bad ingredient” in life? How did you deal with it? How did God help you through it? Be courageous and leave a comment below.

Today, I challenge you to take a good “whiff” of your life… Does it smell spoiled or funky? Or is in fact heavenly and beautiful-smelling? Some people say we need to live “colorful” lives… But in this case, I am all about fresh vanilla-flavored living.

From funky to fresh,
SGK

“God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.” –Psalm 145:14 (MSG)

Categories: attitude, challenge, faith, God, growth, Jesus, lessons, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Comfortably Close

Loose-fitting T-shirt? Check. Comfy black stretchy yoga pants? Check. Barefeet? Check. Perfect temperature? Check. Diet Dr. Pepper within reach? Check. Recliner engaged? Check.

Uh, yes please. Epitome of comfort. I want to go to there.

 Ahhhh… I love to be comfortable.  I am gonna take a guess that you do too. Take a moment to think about when you are most comfortable… Where are you? What are you wearing? What makes you comfortable? It is an INCREDIBLE feeling. What more could we ask for?

Believe it or not, we CAN ask for more… We can ask for God to make us uncomfortable. But that is really, really hard for us (ok, me) to swallow. Seriously, just the THOUGHT of being uncomfortable on purpose makes my stomach flop. Every inch of my flesh screams… Bu..Bu…But… Nooooo!!! I don’t wanna! (Insert two-year-old stomping tantrum here.) If I am comfortable, I would love nothing more than to stay like that—for as long as possible.

But staying comfortable sometimes leads to complacency. If we are comfortable and we don’t NEED anything else, why would we seek the Lord? We have it all handled and we feel fine right where we are. Pshaw. TOO. EASY.

A while back, I blogged about praying for faith like Abraham.  (Read the post “No More Cornflakes here for the full story.) This concept of praying to be uncomfortable is just as challenging as requesting faith as strong as Abraham. But when we are uncomfortable, whether that be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritual… THAT then when we have the greatest opportunity to be closest to God.

 When we are uncomfortable… we realize our weaknesses.

When we are uncomfortable… we seek the Lord more than before.

When we are uncomfortable… we understand God’s goodness and faithfulness at a deeper level.

When we are uncomfortable… we have an opportunity to glorify God.

Think about folks you might know who have answered an uncomfortable call to be obedient to Christ. I am sure that most missionaries, ministers or Christians don’t go where the Lord has called them expecting to be comfortable. (Although that would be a pretty sweet perk. And motivating.) But when we become uncomfortable—we discover that we can be oh-so-comfortably close to Christ.

Confession:  Sometimes, (ok, a lot of the time) I am uncomfortable in my role as a minister. As a writer. As an army wife. As a speaker. But it is in those moments when I feel closest to God.

When was the last time you were uncomfortable? What did God do for you in that season? I would LOVE to hear about it. Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Do you have the courage to pray for God to make you uncomfortable? Drop what you are doing right now and pray: “Lord… Please overcome my flesh-goal of maintaining comfort, and if it is Your Will, make me uncomfortable for Your Glory.” 

You don’t have to sell everything you own and move overseas. (Unless of course He tells you to.)  Comfort levels differ for everyone. Perhaps your level of comfort will simply be asking the cashier how you can pray for them today. Or maybe it is helping out a neighbor who is, uh, less than cooperative. Consider any opportunities that God might be calling you to step out and be uncomfortable.

One thing is for certain—no matter how uncomfortable The Call might make us or how far it takes us from our recliner, yoga pants and Diet Dr. Pepper… If we answer our call, it can make us more comfortably close to Christ than ever before.

Comforted by being uncomfortable,
SGK

“For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” –Matthew 11:30 (AMP)

Categories: adventure, attitude, call, Christ, Comfort, dependence, glory, God, life, Live | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Cruise Control with Jesus

As of late, I have been driving (and riding) in a car a lot more than normal. In fact, by the time this week is over, I will have logged three round trips to Atlanta (3 hours each) and two round trips to Fort Stewart. (Those are difficult– 8 hours in a car and back without ending up anywhere that involves sandy beaches.)

Driving (and riding) in the car is great “think” time for me. Actually, the car and the shower are my top two places for blog epiphanies.  As I was driving, I had one. Hence, today’s post.

When we drive, we are typically going somewhere. (Or at least I hope so.) And I don’t know about where YOU live, but traffic in these here parts can get a little… ridiculous. Apparently, speed limits are merely a suggestion. Pretty sure it is like that in most areas of the U.S.

Here’s my philosophy with speed limits. I like to hover right around the “5 mph over it” rule. Any less, I feel like I am going to get run over. Any more, I start seeing visions of triple digit speeding ticket fines. (Not from my experience. But you should ask my beloved about that one.)

Thus, I really love cruise control. I can set it at 75 and roll towards my destination. I once made the mistake of getting a rental car to drive from Jefferson City, MO to Wichita, KS that did not have cruise control. Bad idea. Longest. Trip. Ever.

I get in trouble when I don’t use cruise control on long, open stretches of highway. I start to go with the flow of traffic. Which can be very, very… fast. I am caught in the traffic flow, and before I know it, I am driving a good ten (or fifteen… or TWENTY) miles per hour over the speed limits. Sorry, officer.

Getting caught in the flow of traffic is a lot like living our lives with an earthly viewpoint. If we get right down to it, going over the speed limit is essentially breaking the law. And according to 1 John 3:4, sin is lawlessness. See the comparison? We live in a fallen world, one of sin, one where the people around us can influence us to “break the law” (aka sin) almost without our conscious knowledge.

But there is great news. We have God as our cruise control. He can be The One to set the pace. To direct our path. To bring us back when we are breaking the law. However, we need to remember that it is going to be difficult not to WANT to follow the flow of traffic. I tell you what– I get puh-lenty of dirty looks (and one-fingered waves) from driving only five over the speed limit from the speed racers that pass me by. The same is going to be true of those in our world who don’t understand how or why we would follow Christ.

The other positive point about Jesus Cruise Control? We don’t have to work as hard to maintain a constant speed. Sure, we still need to be conscious while driving, ready to stop or go at red lights, exits and bathroom breaks. But if we set our life cruise control with Jesus, He will help us avoid fluctuating speeds and arrive at our final destination in one piece–with minimal “traffic tickets.”

In what areas of your life do you struggle with not following the “flow of traffic?” Where are you challenged when it comes to following Jesus or following the world? I would love to hear from you. Comment below!

So the next time you are caught up in the flow of our worldly traffic, zig-zagging in and out of the lanes, ignoring that speed limit suggestion, tap your brake, slow down a smidge and set your cruise control with Jesus.

Cruising with Christ on the highway of life,
SGK

“Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.” ~1 John 3:4 (GNT) 

Categories: adventure, Christ, God, life, relax, release, sin, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

Up In Smoke

A little over a week ago, I had a moment. Here’s the back story…

Brandon and I both had a crazy week… my beloved was working ridiculous hours since it was his duty week as Senior Drill Sergeant (See: really early mornings, late/tiring nights) and I was running like a lunatic trying to keep up with more church activities/duties than anticipated.

Our backyard needed to be mowed. It is a small, little yard and we really can’t justify spending a couple-hundred bucks on buying a mower… If we play our cards right, we only need to mow about once a month anyways. When we have “time” we borrow a mower from our sweet neighbors.

However, our schedules didn’t allow for that and I didn’t want to make our neighbors do it for us. (They are busy people too.) So I contacted a small local business to do it. I’ve used them before and they do a great job. Just $10 to mow our yard. No biggie. (And still cheaper in the long run than if we actually bought a mower.)

Long story still long… I wasn’t going to be home when they were coming to mow on Saturday, so I agreed to “hide” the payment on the grill in our backyard.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to make it on their scheduled day. No biggie, right? They were going to come on Sunday. Worked for me. I left the envelope with cash in its hiding spot so I wouldn’t forget to put it back the next day  before they arrived.

Saturday evening, Brandon finished out his duty week and came home at a semi-decent time. (AKA in time for supper.) We hadn’t really gotten to spend any time with one another for the last week, and he had to work another 24 shift on Sunday. So we decided to cook supper together.

Preparations began. Suddenly, I heard Brandon call me from the backyard… “Uh, Sharita???”

Oh no. The grill.

Sure enough, I rounded the corner  just in time to see the faint resemblance of a 10 dollar bill turn to ash and be whisked away by the breeze.

Our money went up in smoke. Literally.

Brandon thought it was hilarious. (Cue deep belly laugh.) Me? Not so much. I was working really hard on keeping our budget in check… and my beloved simply didn’t understand that those tiny ashes could have  bought me two (maybe three) servings of Fro-Yo at Chill. Or two skinny mocha-lattes at Starbucks… Or, or, or…

What do you do when things go up in smoke?

It’s funny now. (Kinda. At least my bitterness for the situation is fading.) And I know you are laughing. But sometimes it isn’t funny when things go up in smoke… Like our plans. Like our dreams. Like our money. Like our relationships.

When those go up in smoke… it can be painful. But I have good news. Notice the keyword in all of those? OUR. Our plans. Our dreams… Not God’s. God’s plans never go up in smoke. God’s dreams for us never fail. God’s love for us never runs out.

Nobody can send God’s goodness up in smoke. Not even The Enemy.

Have you ever had something go up in smoke? How did you react?  How do you handle the disappointments in life? Don’t be shy… Share your thoughts here.

If you feel like your life right now is similar to that poor $10 bill on the grill, take heart. God has you covered. He has a fire extinguisher on hand. Submit to His plans, His dreams, His love… and He will save us from going up in smoke.

Beauty in the Ashes,
SGK

“The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” –Revelation 8:4

Categories: beauty, Christ, funny, glory, God, hope, Lesson, life, pain, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Bad things. Good People. Great God.

I have heard this phrase in many conversations. I have witnessed it on Facebook statuses. I have even seen it on a billboard.

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

That is a good question. And a tough one at that. I’m not gonna get all theological on you today (my brain isn’t quite up for that level of discussion) but I think that “Bad things” happen to “Good people” due to sin.

I don’t mean those folks who experience the “bad thing” have sinned. I mean, they have sinned… Shoot, we all have… but God doesn’t PUNISH us for things we do. That is what the cross is for. “Bad things” happen because we live in a fallen world. I would like to think that if Adam and Eve hadn’t messed it up for the rest of us, we wouldn’t have to deal with things like pain, sickness, loss, death, betrayal.

But let’s be honest. If it wasn’t Adam and Eve, I’m sure somebody else would have come along 15 seconds later and jacked it up for us. Sigh. Isn’t human nature (and Satan) frustrating?!!

Anyways, bad things happen to good people in this life. I’m willing to bet you are sitting there nodding your head thinking “Tell me about it, sista.”

But here’s the good news… Even though bad things happen to good people, we have a great God. The other night during prayer week at church, we were briefly looking at Job chapter 38. God is reminding Job that HE is bigger. HE is the creator. He is THE ONE.

As I sat there and mediated, God gave me these words:

“Only when we start from the bottom of the valley can we truly appreciate the mountaintop. When we experience how bad it can be, we can know how great God IS. He is above it all.” 

In essence, we have to go through the crappy (pardon my French) parts of life to TRULY experience the fullness of God’s love. Otherwise, what kind of heaven would we have to look forward to??

When your path seems uncertain... Know that the God of Love and Peace is guiding your footsteps!

In the last few months, I have encountered several good people going through some pretty “bad things” in life. My beloved boss and mentor dealing with the loss of her husband’s grandmother while BOTH of her parents battle cancer. A soldier who lost his wife and daughter, now a single father to his 11-year-old son. A close friend struggling an illness. Another friend questioning her purpose in life.

We’ve all been there. I don’t know where you find yourself today. Are you in the midst of a “bad thing?” Or coming out of it? Or perhaps facing it soon? Take heart. We have SUCH an incredible promise of a future world with no pain or heartache. And while we walk through our current “bad things,” God is walking with us. Daily. Know that while bad things might happen to good people… we can rely on an incredibly GREAT God.

Thankful to worship a kind, loving, merciful God,
SGK

“I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.” –Psalm 57:9 (MSG) 

Have you ever been through a “bad thing?” How did God see you through? (Or if you are going through a “bad thing” right now, leave a comment here and I will pray for you. Or you can email me via sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com.)

Categories: affirmation, challenge, Christ, cross, death, faith, God, Goodness, life, Live, mercy, pain, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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