It's About Time to Find Joy Amid the Holiday Stress and Distractions!

Today's message is for those of you beating yourself up already with the holiday season coming and everything you have to do that you haven't gotten done. Sit back. Relax. Take a breathe and watch.

Mini Pep Talk Time: If you are stressed this holiday season, do this: Stop and focus on the fact that Jesus is about to be born instead of all this: where you are lacking, or should-ing on yourself, or torturing yourself with self-imposed expectations, or obsessing about your to-do list or making yourself feel guilty. Christmas is a season of joy that we get to enjoy. Don't let it pass you by!

Here are the verses I mentioned that you can look up:

Galatians 6:4 NLT "Pay careful attention to your own work for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else."

Romans 8:1-4 NLT "So now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit."  

Psalm 51:2 NLT, "Wash my clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin."

Here's a little prayer I wrote when preparing this message that I want to share with you if it will help...

God forgive me for my inability to see myself as you see me. Forgive me for my weakness of wanting to control, and wanting to condemn myself for not being able to control. Remind me that my human expectations are limited and unrealistic. Fill me with your supernatural grace to get done what you want me to get done this holiday season, without feeling guilty for what I haven’t done yet. Remind me that I am your child and that I am blessed beyond measure this Christmas season and every season. In Jesus name. Amen.

Here's a song to remind you of the joy in this season

7 Tips to Help You Navigate the Turkey Day Triggers

Hello all! Happy almost Thanksgiving! Today's message is for all of you who will have some aspect of your day tomorrow that is triggering to you. It can really stink when one of these grabs us because it can take us for a ride that has us drowning ourselves in food or self-pity. I don't want that for you. That's why I put together a list of things you can do as soon as you recognize those triggers. Just so you know, I'll probably be using them too because you gotta practice what you preach!

Identify the Trigger

Definition: anything that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.

Is it the food staring at you? Is it your crazy aunt or annoying family member? Is it old feelings coming up about something? Is it a whirlwind of emotions that have you missing your loved one who has passed every five minutes? Or is it your insecurities that so easily pop up around family? Or is that sweet little Unhealthy Voice that made you go lurk on Facebook and now you have lost it because you saw something that triggered you that someone has or did? 

Triggered? Call it out. Point it out. Write it out. Whatever you need to do to get it out.

Do Something with It

#1. Give yourself a time out. Step away from the reaction internally, or walk away if you have to.

#2. Do a gratitude check. Where are you at with recognizing the good in this day? Or are you totally focusing on the trigger and letting it ruin your day?

#3. Give thanks to God. Sometimes when we're fighting the hardest inside, the best thing we can do is praise God in the storm and trust that He is carrying is through it.

#4. Practice Acceptance. Just say to yourself the world acceptance and it will force you to recognize everything about the person or situation you cannot change.

#5. Remember, this too shall pass. Enough said.

#6. Set some boundaries. Let other people keep their messy platters of issues. You got enough of your own and don't need to dive into theirs!

#7. Pray AHEAD of time. Don't wait till you are in the middle of it. Pray for God to guide you through the day and ask him to help you!

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For You Who Struggles Extra This Thanksgiving Holiday

The table you are invited to that I mentioned in the video is God's table. When all those triggers don't make us feel loved, or we feel just plain alone we have to remember that there IS a table we are invited to and the Bible shows us that in Matthew 9:9-12:

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

See, it's not the people who think they belong at the table that Jesus came to save. It's the people who had messed up and didn't believe Jesus wanted anything to do with them. So if you on this holiday feel that way, Jesus wants you to come to the table. And if you need a little bit more to convince you, listen to this song and see what I mean. Sit down, close your eyes and listen to these lyrics.

 

 

How Getting to the Root of our Pain Helps Us Gain Deeper Healing

Today's message is a reflection on a constant theme in my life - getting to the root. It always has something to teach me, whatever aspect of life it's taking me. The most recent journey of getting to the root was a physical one, where many in the past have been emotional, mental and spiritual. In this message I want to show you from that recent experience, how God gets us to the root if we have the willingness to go a little deeper. 

By the way I forgot to tell you the good that came out of getting to the root with this surgery! He found the endometriosis at the Stage II level and was able to remove all of it. He also found a blocked fallopian tube from that endometriosis and was able to open it. So grateful to God!!!

Endometriosis Facts: Go to Endometriosis Association.org, by clicking here. The book I'm reading right now that has been helpful to me in understanding the condition from every aspect is called: "Endometriosis: A Key to Healing and Fertility Through Nutrition," and you can purchase it here.

Also if you want to know how I found this specialist, it was through a holistic doctor friend of mine. But she sent me to look up The Creighton Method and something called NaProTECHNOLOGY for the surgery. There are specialists around the country, and thank God we had one at our local hospital here. So I didn't have to go far at all. But if you, or your daughter is having bad cramps check it out, or if you want to get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant, it's a great program. You will learn a ton. 

On the trauma, there is a LOT of information on this. But if you are interested in learning a bit more, the book I mentioned is called, "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma." There is also a website called "Aces Too High" where you can learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and even take a test. 

The Verses I Shared:

James 4:8 ESV "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."

Psalm 147: 3 NIV "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Psalm 34:18 NIV "He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit."

2 Corinthians 1:3-8 NIV "He is the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we receive from God."

Matthew 11:30 NIV "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

 

 

Navigating Election 2016: 5 Suggestions for Finding Peace by Swimming Upstream

Today's message is about finding peace in the big change of the election coming next week. I mention 5 things we have to remember as well as some verses. Godspeed everyone! Get out there and vote and keep your peace!

 

5 Things You Can do to connect to your peace: 1) Pray for God's will, 2) Accept that someone is going to win, 3) Trust God's got this, 4) Refocus from the distractions, 5) Remember how we've come together as a nation before.

Here are the verses I mentioned: 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 4:7-10, 18-19,1 Peter 2:13-17 (MSG). Go read them when you have a second.

Here is the article I read about those salmon swimming upstream that I liked since it talked about the metaphor: "The Courage to Swim Upstream Back Home."  

One more thing. I'm giving you a song. It came on the radio last week and I just thought it was perfect for this week's message because we so often forget who is King and this is just a good reminder. If you listen, you can insert the word "We." We try to keep God in a box and out of politics but He's right there and He's in charge. It's a good song for reflection, whether it's about the election or another area of your life.

How You Can Face Your Fears and Walk Through Them in Faith

Feelings of fear. We fear rejection. We fear a scary situation we're going to have to walk through. We fear other people's reactions. We fear abandonment. We fear judgement. We fear failure or success. We fear defeat. We want to stuff those fears and run from those fears when I think God wants us to feel the fear and show up anyway. What fears are you holding onto that you don't want to walk through? Reach out. God's there ready to take you. Watch today's video and see what you think...I hope it helps.

 

Here are the 5 things I mentioned that fear makes us do so you can check in with yourself: 1) Hide, 2) Isolate, 3) Run, 4) Stuff down, 5) Numb. Which of these might you be doing? Watch the video and get a better idea so you can call out those things your fear makes you do and take it's power away!!

Here are the passages I mentioned (italics emphasis, mine):

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." - Proverbs 9:10

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand...For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." - Isaiah 41:10, 13

"...Do not fear, or I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." - Isaiah 43:1-2

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Psalm 56:3

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." - Matthew 6:34

Which of these quotes may help you walk through that fear?

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less." - Marie Curie

“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.” Charles Stanley

“To fight fear, act. To increase fear - wait, put off postpone.” David Joseph Schwartz

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” - Henry Ford

“Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it.” - Salvador Dali

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is madeup this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” - Rosa Parks

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

“I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate it. You embrace it.” - Kobe Bryant

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” - Babe Ruth

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” - Unknown

And one last thing for those of you who need a song. This is a GOOD one. So psyched, have good ones coming to you in the next few weeks too!  This one's lyrics are pretty powerful. Always always a good song to listen to!!

Beauty in the Brokenness: Hope and Resources for Children of Divorce

This week's message is one of hope for those who've navigated the path of being children of divorce. I hope it provides you with some peace and/or clarity or someone you love....

Hi! Today I delivered a message to deliver hope to children of divorce (of all ages) and their loved ones. There is not a lot of truth spoken except for what Hollywood and popular culture tries to tell us, and a lot of that is not very helpful. All you need to see is how the Brad and Angelina divorce is being covered. It's all about the drama, and that's not what people need - especially not the kids. So I've delivered a video (that I'm still trying to get posted on here), and compiled a list of tips and resources for you. If you'd like to watch it, jump on over to my Facebook page here to today October 19th.

3 Ways I mentioned we have to close the gap: 1) Encourage kids to find a faith that works and be okay with the fact that it might not look like ours, 2) Don't force them to believe, especially if they are harboring anger. It will push them further away. Show them by your walk, 3) Find your own relationship with God so they can learn from you, how you depended on your faith in the hard times.

3 Scriptures to share with kids who may be struggling with one of these three things. 1) If they feel broken, share with them Psalm 34:18. Show them that their brokenness is exactly why Jesus came, 2) If they feel alone, share with them Psalm 68:5-6 so they can learn about how God is Father to the fatherless and sets the lonely in families, 3) When they feel abandoned, show them God will never abandon them with Deuteronomy 31:6.

A final note for the parents I mentioned to help you out so you aren't blaming yourself or trying to fix your kids (I know hard to do) but here goes:

Don't beat yourself up. Best thing you can do is work on you. Get your own help. Don't try to fix your kids. You can't. They will have to work through it themselves, just like you. It's a gaping wound that can't be fixed with a band-aid But give them (and yourself) permission to do these things: to feel it, to talk about it, to be angry about it, and to find someone who gets it so you don't have to walk it alone.

Here's a little excerpt from the movie Moneyball. I forgot to mention it, but the song, "Enjoy the Show" is one I think many children of divorce relate to because it talks about being caught in the middle. Ironically it's with the guy who is going through one of the biggest Hollywood divorces.

Here is the link to the children of divorce statistics I mentioned..50% of North American kids will witness the divorce of their parents and 50% will experience their parents divorce before the age of 18.

Here are the books:

1) "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce," by Elizabeth Marquardt

2) Smart Stepfamilies is the ministry of Ron Deal who has got various books on his website including ones for the Stepmom and Stepdad.

3) "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study" by Judith S. Wallerstein

Here is the Washington Post article from September 27th, 2016 I mentioned. It's called, "How Decades of Divorce Helped Erode Religion," by Julie Zauzmer. 

The song I mentioned I'd share that goes with the verse about "father to the fatherless."

Why You Don't Have to Feel Ashamed About the Weight You Carry

Today I'm talking about weight and shame, and the fear attached to it that can keep us hiding behind the weight instead of feeling free to be who God created us to be. 

If you are someone that's always focusing on your flaws - on fixing them, obsessing over them, or hiding them - the enemy is distracting you. Take a listen and see what I'm talking about.

Verses:

WEAKNESS and THORN IN THE FLESH. All of 2 Corinthians 12.

DON'T HIDE. Psalm 32:7, "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

SEEK THE LORD. Psalm 34:4-5, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."

BELIEVE. Isaiah 61:7, "Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. An so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours."

STUDY the WORD. Proverbs 4: 20-23, "My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body. Above all else guard your heart because everything you do flows from it."

Quote: "The devil tempts us to bring out the worst in us but the father tests us to bring out the best in us." Warren Wiersbe

Books: 

"Anatomy of a Food Addiction: The Brain Chemistry of Overeating,"  by Anne Katherine, M.A.

"Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food," by Lysa Terkeurst

"Good health, Good Life: 12 Keys to Enjoying Physical and Spiritual Wellness," By Joyce Meyer.

For those of you who need to remember that you don't have to be a slave to your fear...

For those of you struggling deeply with an addiction to food, this video is for you...

Finally, just in case you missed my Facebook post of the clip from This Is Us, here it is: