listen

The Voice that Matters

Voices. They are everywhere.

It’s the voice of your 7-month-old daughter as she practices her consonants saying “Mamamamama” while she clamors for you attention on the kitchen floor during supper preparation.

It’s the voice of your Beloved spouse saying he will/won’t be home tonight and needs you to please do this or that before that point.

It’s the voice of a friend who regales you with tales of her life as you smile and listen intently.

It’s the voice inside us that finds our flaws and tells us that the jeans are too tight or that she has prettier hair or a better marriage.

It’s the voice of the TV or radio advertisement saying “You will be happy when you have THIS.”

It’s the voice of Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest that makes you WANT what they have.

It’s the voice of the Enemy whispering you failed. You aren’t good enough. You shouldn’t even bother to try.

These voices cover the gamut of the good, the challenging, the encouraging and the downright disheartening.

But we are forgetting the voice that truly matters.

The voice of God.

God is always speaking to us– but if you are anything like me, you might not always listen. God isn’t a bully and He isn’t going to yell over these other things to get our attention. (Not very often, anyways.)

God’s words to us might be sweet, encouraging, challenging, enlightening or convicting. But ALL of His words are rooted in love.

See, that’s the difference between the voices of the world and the Enemy as opposed to God. Those other voice are not always sincere or coming from pure motives. But God’s are.

While the voices of the world can seem pretty loud sometimes, they typically aren’t bad news in themselves. However, I struggle most with recognizing then combating the voice of the Enemy.

And here’s how to tell a difference between Satan and God’s voice in our lives…

Satan brings on guilt… We feel like we failed, we are unworthy. God convicts, opening our heart to a mistake we made but provide an avenue of redemption.

Satan lies. God is truth.

Satan is sneaky. God is honest.

Satan will distract. God clarifies.

Satan brings chaos. God brings peace.

Satan destroys. God builds up.

Satan hates. God loves.

Satan kills. God gives life.

I recently read a phrase that really spoke to my heart…

“Satan calls you by your sin and forgets your name… Christ forgets your sin and calls you by name.”

Dearest friends, those voices can be overwhelming. The confusion, anxiety, suffocation you feel– that is not how God intended for us to live our lives. He died a criminal’s death to give us speak. He speaks love into our lives daily… We just have to be willing to listen.

So all of you that have ears to hear… Let’s tune in and really listen to The One True Voice that matters.

Listening for His Love,
SGK

“Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” ~Mark 4:9

Listen for His Love...

Listen for His Love…

Categories: listen | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Why there are Bookshelves in My Dining Room

I am so thankful for the wide variety of random gifts and talents God has so generously given me.

I can write. (Well, at least let’s hope, or this 400+ blogging website is a real issue.) I can sing-ish. And I can even auctioneer. (I’m serious. Maybe I will do a vlog of that someday just for fun?)

But one gift I do not possess? The gift of design when it comes to coordinating a room/decor.

Seriously, up until our current home, I called my design “randomly eclectic.”

I just threw things on the wall, sat furniture wherever I though it would function most productively and left it at that.

But this time, this house… it was going to be different.

And I have to say… I did put a lot more thought (and prayer) into how things were organized, what colors we painted some of the walls and where we hung our decor. But when you are in ministry, there’s usually not a lot of extra cash lying around to go all out and buy things that coordinate and look amazing.

I’m not complaining. I like our home. I really do. But when people come over, I think they are confused as to why there at bookshelves in the dining room.

bookshelves dining room 2

The placement of these shelves was (shockingly) unintentional, but has worked out in our favor. Although not necessarily as “Wow, those really bring the room a scholarly look” or “Oh hey, that is totally feng shui.”

Really, I just put them there because I didn’t want my husband to have to carry both huge shelves plus a couple dozen boxes of books upstairs. And we didn’t really have room in our office since it also doubles a guest room with a twin bed. And I was impatient and wanted to get it organized immediately upon our arrival so I chose a room that we weren’t going to paint.

However, God has really shown me that it WAS intentional on His part.

I am so thankful that these bookshelves are in my dining room, and wholeheartedly believe it was God’s idea. First, it’s a cool (albeit sneaky) witnessing/encouragement tool. People come over, see a book they would like and DING… They borrow it and get a little dose of Jesus.

Cool, right? It gets better.

Since these bookshelves are in my dining room, I walk by them dozens of times a day… And in the past couple months, many rather profound epiphanies have erupted from seemingly innocent books just chillin on the shelf.

Example: My husband and I were praying about leading a home group this semester for church and we wanted to use some challenging but unique curriculum. One day I’m walking by the shelves and BOOM… Out of nowhere, the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan catches my eye. I read it a couple years ago and it literally changed my life.

And guess what? We are now leading a home group studying “Crazy Love.”

On another occasion, my worn-out new mama self walked by and KA-CHOW! A book about sleep training that I had received from a good friend yet never read jumped out at me. Interestingly enough, just a couple of days before I was stressing about how to get baby girl to nap somewhere other than on me (or in someone’s arms) with a semi-predictable schedule.

Now baby girl has given this mama a new freedom of two semi-predictable daily nap times and a legit bedtime routine. Seriously changed my life. (Sidenote: Why had I never legitimately heard of sleep training before? For real, people.)

Anywho, here’s the moral of the story… I firmly believe that God can work through anything, anyone, anytime. It wasn’t just my lack of motivation that landed those bookshelves in my dining room. God knows that some of those books are incredible tools for my walk with Him and our life as a family. If they were hidden upstairs in the office, I would see them probably once a week, not dozens of times a day.

He is the one who prompted us to leave those bookshelves right where they landed, a couple of feet from out kitchen table, although we didn’t know it at the time. He had it planned from the start. He is a creative God who knows how we listen and how we learn.

And that, my friend, is why there are bookshelves in my dining room.

Reading and Succeeding (For Jesus),
SGK

“I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants…” ~Psalm 85:8

PS: How does God creatively speak to you or encourage you in your life? Be bold and comment below!

Bookshelves dining room 1

Categories: listen, little things | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Questions are ok… Sorta.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Are we there yet?

What’s gonna happen next?

What should I do?

Ahhh, yes…Everyday questions… Many of which lack solid answers. Kind of like a lot of the questions we have for God about our lives.

Question Marks

via

Somewhere in the journey to Jesus, we have created the idea that it is not OK to “question” God. I disagree with that statement. But before you think I’ve lost my mind and unsubscribe to my blog, hear me out.

I think it is ok to ASK God for stuff… and even ask ABOUT stuff, specifically for clarification on things. Asking “Why did this happen?” or “What do you want me to do?” isn’t wrong. We are supposed to talk and commune with the Lord. In fact, He loves when we talk (and listen) to Him.

We get in trouble when our questions turn from a guidance-seeking motive to essentially questioning God’s attributes. Our question of “Why did you do this?” can quickly turn into “Why did you do this, I thought you loved me?” which is questioning God’s power, plan, goodness or love.  That’s dangerous ground, my friend. Believe me. I know.

Crappy stuff happens in life. That’s why it’s called life, not heaven. (Is that too blunt?) And while I wish I had all of the answers, I have to remember: That’s not my job. I can ask God to share His plan with me. He might– and He might not. That’s where the TRUST factor comes in.

In our recent trials, (i.e. miscarriage, ranger school, drill sergeant stuff, ministry, etc) I have tried to frame my questions to the Lord like this: “Lord, I trust you and I love you. I know that you love us and won’t do anything to harm us. Why did you allow ______ to happen? What purpose does it hold in our life?” Sometimes He gives us an immediate answer. Other times, it’s been a hot minute. And yet on other occasions of questions to the Lord, we still have no answers… And might not til we see Him in Heaven.

And you can bet when I get there, I am going to have the heavenly equivalent of a Starbucks date with God to seek some clarification. 🙂

But in the meantime, I will continue to question God in a way that helps me to discover my purpose– specifically how I am to glorify Him through it all. If He gives me the answer, great. If not, that’s ok… because I trust Him. I KNOW He loves us. I KNOW His plan is perfect.

What questions have you asked God lately?  Are you waiting on answers? I would love to pray for you! Leave your comment here.

Shrugging my shoulders and looking towards heaven,
SGK

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.” –Psalm 17:6

I’m linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today… Pop over, check ’em out and leave a few comments 🙂

Categories: God, listen, patience, peace | 7 Comments

Coping with a Rather Loud Crowd (Five Minute Friday)

A few reasons to rejoice today, world… 1) IT’S FRIDAY! (That should be enough to put a smile on your face, eh?) 2) In this blogger’s world, Friday means it is finger sprinting time… Great training for my mind/body/heart. Hope I am all warmed up.

On Fridays, I link up with The Gypsy Mama. She gives us a one word prompt, then we write. For five minutes flat. No over-thinking. No editing. Just writing. Literally just going with the flow (of words, that is.)

Thus on that note, I do believe it’s go time. Todays prompt: LOUD.

Ready?

GO! 

“Why didn’t you… I think you should have… the only way is… but what happens if…” 

I am an optimist by nature. (Granted, being an army wife has made more of a realist some days.) However, I attempt to look at the bright side of things. I try (key word: try) to live my life according to God’s voice. However…

There are a lot of folks in my life-crowd who seems to be rather loud. I have heard that “the early bird gets the worm” but apparently we live in a world where “He who is the loudest and makes the biggest scene gets the attention.”

Sometimes, I just want to thump those distracting naysayers in the nose. For real. Let Jesus and I do our thing, please and thank you. But I also have to remember that God made us to live in community, so my job is to be on guard (gentle guard of course) against those less than productive seed-planters in my life.

So how can we cope with a rather loud crowd? The whole world is hollering “Do this, do that, yadda, yadda, yadda” while our gentle and loving God is nudging us and whispering in our hearts.

The answer is simple… but hard at the same time. We have to listen. We have to spend time with Him daily. We have to love on those in the crowd, but we don’t necessarily need to BELIEVE every single word that they say.

As I write this, I can’t help but smile at the irony. My husband is up, getting ready to go to his job as a drill sergeant today. I am in my zone, concentrating. But the LOUDNESS and noise from the kitchen (shutting of cabinets, buzz of protein drink mixer, clank of spoon on the counter– men sure are noisy!) is throwing off my Jesus mojo a bit. Kind of like that rather loud crowd we deal with daily.

But the great news is with just a little focus, a lotta love and perhaps a hypothetical remote controlled mute button, we can live for Jesus… And cope with that rather loud crowd by tuning into Him.

STOP

All right, world… It’s time for me to face the noise of today from that rather loud crowd… but the protein drink mixer has stopped, so I do believe it’s time for a little hour-long time with the quiet lover of my soul.

Thankful for the noise– and the quiet,

SGK

“Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”– Mark 5:36 MSG

Categories: Comfort, faith, Five Minute Friday, God, listen | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

No Bull Rule

Sometimes profound revelations come from the most unexpected places.

Like over a plate of lasagna, caprese and chocolate avocado mousse. (Not mixed together of course.)

Last week, I was having supper with my friend Kim. For those of you who have met Kim, you know she is 1) Hilarious 2) Nearly as loud and excitable as me <which is a feat in itself> and 3) Sings like Martina McBride. For those of you who don’t know her… now you do. Ish.

Anywho, we were having a deeply profound (ok, rather squirrelly and passionate) discussion over an amazing meal in my living room. We covered topics including Georgia culture, army logistics, and quantum physics. (Ok, maybe we only talked about a couple of those.)

Soon the conversation moved to life and Jesus. As aforementioned, we are both easily excited… and needless to say, these two topics fire us up. We began to rapidly talk about those “life moments” when you are kind of in a waiting or holding period. Just praying and twiddling your thumbs, asking God for answers on what decision to make or what to do next… But He seems to remain silent.

“People always tell me to just buck up and make a decision while I am waiting,” Kim said. “They say to just ‘take the bull by the horns, but it is really hard to take the bull by the horns…'”

“WHEN THERE IS NO BULL!!” (We said this last part in unison. It would have been awkward. Except we are cool. So we giggled and chalked it us up to being on the same squirrelly wavelength.)

So yeah… but how in the name of chocolate avocado mousse are we supposed to take the bull by the horns when there seems to be no bull to begin with? We have to live by the No Bull Rule.

The No Bull Rule is a weird and sometimes challenging combination of patience, listening, perseverance and faith. It’s that time in life when God isn’t telling us a clear answer for some reason… so we have to be patient and wait for Him to say GO before we act.

I don’t know about you, but in the past, I have been guilty of creating a “bull” when there is none. I talk myself into making a decision that is not ordained by God. I create this bull, take it by the horns… then soon find myself bucked off, trampled, smooshed into the ground,  and limping back to the gate to start my over.

Our God is a God we can trust– with EVERYTHING. From family decisions, to career choices, to church activities and even subjects to blog about. When we try to force a decision upon ourselves, we violate the “No Bull Rule” and usually things end up in a big ol’ pile of bull… manure.

So if you are in that awkward waiting period, live by the No Bull Rule. God hasn’t given you a bull to take by the horns yet, so just pull up a chair, sit, wait and listen. When it’s time to act, God will give you the signal to take the correct bull by the horns and make it happen for His glory.

And when He does give you the right steps to take, act knowing that the guidance He is giving you is true, trustworthy and genuine. Because when it comes to God’s faithfulness, THAT my friends, is No Bull.

That’s no bull-oney,

SGK

“Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!” –Psalm 131:3

Categories: be still, faith, God, hurry, listen, living, patience, trust | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Red Light, Green Light… Yellow Light

Isn’t it funny how things in adult life can bring you back to the departed days of youth?

Ok, that sounded a little deeper than I originally intended. (Don’t worry this post isn’t going to be that deep, I promise. We are on leave from the army for the holiday. As is my brain.)

Events of last week led me back to my youth, the days of games on the playground and in our backyard. Ever play the game of “red light green light?” It was one of my sister and I’s favorites, ranking right up there with hide-n-seek. It’s a pretty simple game, kind of like Simon Says… One person is it, and they direct the other players to run or stop by saying red light or green light. Just like traffic lights. Easy. But the heifer I was when I was younger, I would sometimes toss in a yellow light just to confuse everyone. (Playing fair is so overrated when you are eight years old.)

Anyway, I was rushing around last week trying to lay the smack down on my to do list. Run run run… I caught myself hurrying for essentially no reason last Monday night in the Walmart parking lot. My husband was working overnight duty and I had no reason to rush home, other than to get a bath and go to sleep… And it wasn’t even THAT late. When I made this realization I literally stopped in my tracks in the middle of the parking lot and said “Girl, slow down!” (I got a funny look from the dude behind me, but oh well.)

Funny how we have been conditioned to hurry hurry hurry with everything we do. Fast food. Instant download. Express mail. Hey, I love efficiency as much as the next person… But sometimes we just need to chill out!

So the week progressed and I was making the necessary preparations to depart for two weeks of holiday block leave. Brandon was working overnight again on Thursday so I found myself super charged running around Columbus like a two year old snarfing down cookies. Christmas letter written. Stamps purchased. Frozen yogurt date with my boss. Final blog giveaway prize book purchased. Christmas letters stuffed and stamped. Check, check, check, check, check!

My time in Columbus was dwindling (my pulse rate was increasing) I needed (wanted) to make it back to the post office to finish up my checklist for the day… So off I raced.

Oh wait. Timeout. Did I fail to mention that Columbus was crazy that day? It was a Thursday afternoon, but it might have well been Black Friday, which I avoid like the black plague. Traffic was ridiculous and it was swamped. Utter chaos. And against my better judgement, I joined right in.

So I get to the post office… The lines are out the door. Honestly, I didn’t mind much since my in-town list was essentially done… By the time I got done and headed back onto the crazy streets, traffic had reached a new level of insanity. Apparently it was “national drive like an uncourteous aggressive person” day. Long story short, everyone was so busy that no one would let me over so I could exit back onto the interstate to get home. What should have taken about 30 seconds to get on the right path homeward bound took about 20 minutes.

After doubling back a few times and thinking some not-so-nice things in my head about some of the other drivers, I made it back to the interstate. I started to breath again. And I felt a nudging from God.

“Sharita… Find your yellow light. Slow down.”

“Ah. Um, but I still have more things on my home to do list. How I’ll I get it all done?”

“Trust me, daughter. You will accomplish what you need. Take some time for you and me tonight.”

So I did. I went home and instead of logging backing my computer to start my next project, I showered and changed into comfy clothes. I poured myself a glass of wine. I left the TV off. I sat down in my red recliner and opened the window. (It was 70+ degrees that day. Awesome!) I picked up my iPad, launched Pandora, and grabbed a handful of mint chococlate truffle kisses.

I sat there for about 3 hrs, reading a great e-book, relaxing… Breathing… Enjoying my yellow light… Enjoying my God.

Is God giving you a holiday yellow light? If so, don’t ignore it. Embrace it. Embrace HIM. He isn’t being like my younger heiferish self trying to confused you. He is allowing you time to rest. Recharge. Relax.

Oh, and in case you are wondering… I got my to do list completely done on Friday. And even had time to enjoy another holiday Yellow light at the movie theater later that afternoon.

Everyone says that Christmas colors are red and green.

I say this years holiday color is yellow.

Recharged and loving it,

SGK

“All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.” Isaiah 14:7 

Categories: Christmas, hurry, list, listen, relax, rest | 1 Comment

Army of God: "Frago"

“Yeah that sounds great… Do you still want to meet at the mall? <ssrrrrtttpppp> Wait are you there? <psssrrrrrrrrkkkkktttt> Can you hear me? <ttttsssssssffffff> Hello? Hello? HELLO? <beep beep… call dropped.>

Sigh. Just typing that one-sided conversation above raises my blood pressure a bit. But we’ve all be there– we have plans, think we know what is going on, then beep, beep, call dropped. Were our plans staying the same or was our compadre on the other end about to share a new idea with us? OR someone calls very last minute and either cancels or completely changes the game plan. Frustrating, huh?

So today’s dropped cell phone conversation and change of plans is brought to you by the word “Frago.” It means “Fragmentation order” which essentially deals with a last minute change of plans (aka breaking original orders)  especially when carrying out an operation or previously determined path. (If you get nothing else from today’s post, you at least have a cool word to say… seriously, pronounce it outloud… FRAGO. Funny.

As a drill sergeant’s wife, we have a lot of “frago” in our house sometimes. In the army… and with God.

Frago follows right along with the other discussions we have been having this week about obedience and trust. Now we add change into the mix. If you would have asked me about my original plans five years ago, I can guarantee it wouldn’t have sounded like this:

“In five years, I will be married to a soldier and working in ministry. We will live in Georgia and have a puppy. Oh, and I will have gotten my masters and my husband will be an Iowa boy who currently serves as a drill sergeant and plans to make a career out of the military.”

Uh, yeah, no.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful for the path God has put me on to get me here. As much as a joke about the military, I really do love our life. We are blessed. But honestly,  I feel like our lives are one big “Frago.”

Is your life a little frago too? I am going to guess the answer is probably yes. You had ideas of where you wanted to go and how you wanted to get there, then our Upstairs Commander put the whoa on that and took you in a completely different direction. Change of plans. See? Frago!

Maybe you are in the middle of a big Frago or your life (like mine) is a bunch of little fragos all jumbled together… you might be wondering what in the name of chocolate cake God is going to do with you. Maybe your communication with Him is a little fuzzy and you can’t quite make that “cell phone” connection clear.

Don’t fret, dear reader. Every change you experience in life is all part of “THE PLAN.” No, we don’t have the notes or the completely order of operations in front of us. But we do have an awesome God that we can trust with all our heart.

So don’t fear frago… feed off it!

Changed by God,

SGK

“He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”– Daniel 2:21

Categories: challenge, change, listen, obedience, trust | Leave a comment

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