Friday, January 9, 2015

When Mean Girls Grow Up

We've all know at least one.

Maybe we've even been one.

You know the one.

The Mean Girl.

No matter what you do, you're not cool enough, you'll never have it as together as her and you

certainly can't sit with her at the lunch table because you just aren't quite up to her caliber.

We blame it on childhood. On adolescences.

But, I've noticed a very real phenomenon of Mean Girls growing up to become Mean Women.

One of the worst aspects is that they tend to do their cutting down with a smile on their face.

And if they are a believer in Christ, chances are their knife is one hand and their Bible in the other.


Oh the Mean Girls may have grown up and now know that looking someone in the face and

making fun of them is unacceptable behavior, so now they've become passive aggressive Mean

Women.

____________________________


Recently on Facebook I watched a Great Grandmother and Grandmother-a mother/daughter team in

 their 60's and 40's respectively, out and out make fun of someone growing through a difficult season,

 'Because she brought it on herself'.

Can I just be very honest and frank here?

 *Most of the troubles and trails I've had in my life, I brought on myself.  And I thank God everyday

for friends and family that loved and supported me anyway.

* These women quote Scripture, Homeschool, talk about what Bible Study they are doing. They
should be different.

Yet, it's as if none of it matters.

In response to what I saw and some other things I've witnessed recently, I posted this on

Facebook.


"When I see grown women, mothers, grandmothers, great grandmother's being passive aggressive snarky and hateful on fb my judgmental side can raise its ugly head and make me want to smack some Jesus right into them.
And makes me as hateful as them.
Women's ministry is my passion, my calling. Watching women be plain out mean then put 'lol' like it's no big deal, makes me angry then breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. Girls we are all called for so much more than this. So much more.
If you know someone is hurting why Why WHY would you be snarky about it?? Girls who claim to know and love Jesus, can we love each other fully, deeply flaws and all? Isn't that the mark of Christ-"they will know us by our love"? Let's be grace bearers, mercy givers-until it hurts. Until we've given all we can and only Jesus can fill us up to give more.
Let's show the world that Jesus really does make a difference in our lives."


________________________________



Why is this so difficult for us as women?  Perhaps I am generalizing, but I've seen enough examples

to think that I am not generalizing by much.

And the example I despise the most? The one starring back at me the mirror.


Do not mistake my passion on this subject as perfection.

Oh no, I have a long way to go.

I am not perfect, but I am prayerful.



Prayerful that my life would be marked by love and grace and compassion.  Yes, even for those

who I believe may have invited the drama into their lives.

I pray that mercy would flow, even when it's difficult or inconvenient.  Even when I've given and 

given and been stretched and pulled and just don't think I have one more ounce to give.

Because, that's when Jesus meets us both there.  If it was easy to do these things, let's face it, we all 

would.  But, when it becomes draining and time consuming and we are vexed down to our core about

how we could possibly be called on one more time to help this wounded soul, that's when Jesus 

shows up and shows off.  That's when I am reminded that never once has He told me 'I've helped 

you enough, I have nothing left to give.'  Never have I shown up and poured my heart out to him for 

10th time and He has said 'your chances are up. I am through with you.'  I've never been to broken,

battered or flat out crazy and He's written me off and just replaced me with someone else.


I've never been to much of a mess for Jesus.

So, that's how I pray I will love.

___________________________________

But, here's where it becomes tricky. When we pray those prayers,  God's going to believe  we  mean

them. He's going to give us opportunities to practice.

So, let's do it.  Let's practice together.  

Especially, if we say we know Jesus. Let's practice love. Grace. Mercy. Peace and Compassion.

All those things we say we love, that give deep meaning to our faith.

In all areas and people groups of our lives.  Not just our church friends, our Bible study girls . . .the 

'cool girls'.

__________________________

Jesus doesn't have a 'cool table'.  He has a feast.  And I can guarantee you the one He's inviting to sit

next to Him is a mess.  Oh how Jesus loves a mess of a person.  Even ones who make the messes

themselves.  (just read about a few a favorites in Scripture: Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, Mary 

Magdalen, Peter, Paul-ALL messes at some point.  All used by God.)

It's time for us to grow up.  Put the Mean Girls to rest, leave a legacy of kindness for our daughters.

Live a life marked by extravagant, unearned love.


Ephesians 5:1 - 2 MSG
Wake Up from Your Sleep Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.


Let this be the year that we cast the Mean Women inside of each of us aside.

Let this be the year we chose love over judgment and envy.

Let this be the year our Bible study and church attendance marks a visible difference in our lives.

Not so we can have any credit at all.  

But, so we can loudly proclaim "It's all because of Jesus!" !




Practicing with you and Praying for us all on this journey,


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Waving Goodbye

We all blinked and 2014 is about to be nothing but a memory.

You hear it all your life. . .about how time fly's, but you absolutely do not understand until you are a

grown up.

2014 has over all been a good year to the Wilkinson 5.

We've laughed some, cried some, yelled some, taken leaps of faith, tripped over baby steps and

learned along the way.   Some days we loved each other more, others we weren't sure what

we were doing and why we were doing it together.  But, everyday God was there.



Jerry and I celebrated twenty-two years of marriage.  It hasn't all been sunshine and roses, romance

and candlelight, but grace has flowed and God's been patient with us - and we even survived our

first ever major house remodeling project as we gutted our hall bathroom.  We laugh more than we

cried and we loved more than we were angry. I call that a success.


This year we crossed some thresholds has parents.


Chose a new school path for our oldest-who also had the audacity to turn 16- which hasn't been easy

but has been very rewarding.  Saw that same kiddo through a major eye surgery.  And let him set

out on a grand adventure with his friends were he spent six days canoeing in the remote Boundary

Waters of Minnesota.


Our Middle is stepping his toe into the Tween/Teen years, and we are gearing up to hang on.

Watching him become a man of prayer and a loving friend and big brother has inspired me on

many difficult days.  He also pushes me and makes me think which often leaves me tired and worn

out-but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  He recently finished up playing one of the main characters

in the school Christmas program. . .something so far out of his comfort zone, but he did it and did it

well.  I want to be as brave as him when I grow up.  And if I could just siphon off some of that energy

--well, I'd be rich.



Our precious baby girl, isn't a baby anymore.  She's eight and growing into a beautiful, smart, fun

young lady.  I see the 'mean girl' thing beginning to creep into her peer group at school -and oh if

I could I would shield her from every hurt.  But that is a mother's heartbreak, we can't protect them

from everything. So we teach, and love and listen.  As I watch her discovering who she is and

watch her gifts unfold, I marvel at how I could be this fantastic person's mother.




Personally, this has been a somewhat difficult year for me.  I've struggled with some health issues that

landed me in the hospital in March and still are giving me the business.  I've taken on more hours at

my children's school, which while a blessing, has also been an adjustment. I've lost a friendship

along the way that has still left me somewhat broken.

But, each step, God has been there.

I was blessed to be apart of the launch team for Beth Moore's newest Bible study, Children of the Day

and speak at a few churches and ladies groups-which I pray I never take for granted.  Women's

Ministry, and doing it well, burns deep in my bones.  The blog is like a faithful friend, even when

neglected it's still there waiting for me and I've been blessed to have several new readers and

encouragers this year, which I do not take lightly. The fact that people would take their precious time

and read my words and then comment or share them with others is a wonder and a blessing to me

each and every time.  So, thank you Dear Readers, you are more precious to me than you know.


2015 is a blank slate.  Just waiting there for us to put our stamp upon it.

Dreams and passions to pursue.  Goals to conquer.  Laundry to fold, bathrooms to clean,  groceries to

be bought--


 and grace to find in the everyday and ordinary.

What will this year bring?  I don't know. But,  I know who goes before and I know He has a plan, for

me and for you too.

Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.



Blessings to you, My Friends, in this new year to come.  As you wave goodbye to 2014 I would

love to hear some highlights and how you saw God at work there.


Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of All the Places in All the World

Christmastime is here.

Homes are decorated, city governments even have trees and decorations throughout, Linus and

Charlie Brown are on TV,  churches are filled with  music and candles-there is no denying it

we are in the throws of the season that means everything to many of us.


Each year I like to ponder and mull over a particular part of the Nativity story.

God poured so much detail into every aspect of that Holy Night, if we're not careful we'll miss it. . .

after all this is a story most of us have heard since childhood and could recite backward

and forward.


This year I've been thinking quite a bit about the Place where it all happened.

Bethlehem.

A town, full of sheep and shepherds and a harried inn keeper.

Bethlehem, 30 miles from Jerusalem -but it might have just as well been 3,000.

That little seemingly insignificant dot on the map of Israel, but where God chose to

give us Hope wrapped in clothes and laying a feeding trough.


As I've been pondering Bethlehem  I think the thing that has struck me the most is it's

seemingly insignificance to those around it.

Although, it did have a claim to fame in being the hometown of Israel's greatest king and poet, David,

those years had come and gone.

The word that keeps circulating though my mind when I think of how those who lived and worked in

Bethlehem during that time is --insignificant.

Insignificant place full of insignificant people-at least to those who didn't know better.



And as a person who has been able to recite Luke 2 since I was 5 years old this thought has struck

me in a fresh and powerful way this Christmas time.

Maybe because I found myself in what to the outside world looks like some pretty insignificant

places.

Home with babies, folding laundry and cleaning bathrooms.  Trying to stretch a dollar farther

and farther at the grocery store.  Wonder how all of 'this' could matter to the kingdom.

Perhaps you work in what my Sweet Momma has termed a 'cube farm' and you wonder how

what you do and who you are could possible matter to anything in the light of eternity.

Single, Widowed, Divorced, New Mom who hasn't figured out how to a get a shower in every day.

Sure others are doing big things for God, but you? You find yourself in the most insignificant place

you can think of.

Oh! How I love that about God! How He bends down to the most insignificant places and changes

everything.



On that night, so very long ago when the world changed forever, God sent his son, Jesus 'The Bread

of Life', to  be born in the little insignificant town of Bethlehem 'The House of Bread'.

Thirty miles away from royalty -both of kings and religion.  But, God chose that places to cradle

and care for his one and only son.

Maybe no one else-not even can you-can understand how the place you're in now can be one  of

any significance for the kingdom.  It doesn't matter.

God is writing his story.  His story that includes you.  And He knows.  He's always known.

Just like he knew Bethlehem would be the birthplace of his son--

Micah 5:2a The Lord says, “Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. 



He knows where you are, He sees you.  There is not one place that is insignificant to Him.

Be on the lookout-just like that night so long ago-He might just be ready to change everything.

Now, to the those rulers in Jerusalem  or the farmers near by, nothing physical about Bethlehem 

might have changed, but those who saw and believed -they knew-OH how they knew-everything

had changed.

God might never pick us up and physically move us. Our outside position may never change, others 

might always see where we are what we do as insignificant, but we know Who has come and the 

work He  is doing.

So, change those diapers, cook those meals, file those forms, do what you do and know that

no where is insignificant if Jesus is there.


Peace,
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Deep Waters

My oldest son  and I have adopted this song as our theme for the current school year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

If you spend anytime at listening to Christian radio I'm sure you've heard it as it's become an anthem

for many of us.

But, as I was listening the other day the line that struck me as a fresh word was

  " Your grace abounds in deepest water". . .


I've been thinking about that deep ocean water.

Deep ocean water is uncomfortable and can be scary.  Often times it can even hide the beauty of the

ocean because you become so  focused on survival -especially if you're not a strong swimmer.

The shore, ankle deep that's comfy.  That's doable for just about everyone.

I'm not keeping my eye out for the lifeguard when I'm ankle deep.


I might be able to swim or tread the deep water for awhile, but after a time it will be become

to difficult to handle alone.

There has been some deep deep water in my life: some I've drifted into, sometimes waves have

swept me into them, other times I've jumped in with both feet. . .but I'm not sure I've prayed to swim

in those deep waters.

As I thought these past two weeks about that specific phrase,  it has been proven true in my life over

and over again. The deeper the water, the bigger the grace appears.

Don't get me wrong, there's grace along the shore line too.  There's grace ankle deep or even shoulder

deep, I just tend to not notice it as much, because I can handle most of the swimming there myself.

Am I alone in this?

But Oh! How I need that grace in the deep murky waters.  The waters that terrify me the most. The

waters full of unknown things.

Yet in the middle of all those scary, unknown things-- Grace surrounds me, and when I clearly focus

on the Grace Giver  and not those deep waters, instead of swimming in them I find myself walking on

the waves that once threatened to pull me under.



Choosing not to be scared of the ocean is a daily battle for this momma, because of course I'm not

swimming alone, I've got three little ones (well they're not so little anymore but they'll always be my

babies) swimming out behind me.  And as much as I'd like to keep them on the shore their whole

lives, deep waters come whether we want them to or not.   How I would much rather have them

see the beauty and grace in them than be terrified of those deep waters.

How about you?  Have you found yourself in the deep water recently? Are you currently trying to

tread water or are you swimming beautifully through the grace that abounds there, or have you even

found the courage to stand and walk on them toward the Grace Giver?

If you find yourself in any of those three categories know that I'm right there swimming along side

you-one moment  treading -sometimes even feeling like I might be sinking, other times swimming

like I'm Michael Phelps-even daring to try and stand and walk.   But, no matter what phase each of us

is in there is comfort in knowing the Holy Lifeguard-the Keeper of the Waters is making sure the

waves that threaten to overtake us never do.

Yes, I believe it. . .His grace does abound in the deepest waters.


Swimming in the deep with you,


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thank You Note

Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come to him with songs of joy.
I want you to realize that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him.
We are his people.
    We are the sheep belonging to his flock.
Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
    Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
    It will last for all time to come.
Psalm 100





We are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder.
 Hebrews 12:28




Happy Thanksgiving Dear Friends!

In this world of turmoil and chaos sometimes it is easy to forget how truly blessed we are.

So while I'm counting my blessings today I want you to know that I count  YOU among my blessings.

Thank you for each time you read, each comment you leave (the life blood of a blogger) each kind word on Facebook and each time you share a post.

I write to encourage -yet I am always the one who is the most encouraged.

We serve a great God.  I pray you feel Him near you during this holiday season.  
Remember, He is always at work around us-even in the aisle of the grocery store.


Blessing  upon Blessing to each of you,




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scars

I have had three babies.

Two of them were C-Sections which has left me with a lovely scar across my body.


Typically, it doesn't bother me but there are times when it pulls at my skin or itches and basically

becomes annoying.

Now don't get me wrong, my ugly scar is there for two beautiful reasons.  And when it's annoying

the heck out of me, I think of these two . . .and well it reminds what beauty came from that ugly scar.




But, as beautiful and full of every good gift I could ever imagine-the fact remains that

a scar was left in their wake.



I have some soul scars as well.  And they don't bother me all the time either, but every once in awhile

something will trigger them and they will begin pulling and tugging, and places that I thought were

long healed over begin to ache once more.  It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it does still 

happen.

Some of those soul scars were put there by others, some of them I willingly inflicted upon myself.

But, no matter why or how they got there, they still tug and cause me pain.


Perhaps I am the only one, but the more time I spend on this  spinning rock, the more I'm convinced 

I'm not.

And really how could deep cuts that left us wounded and spilled out, limping along for months-

perhaps years at a time, how could they be easily forgotten?

But, heres what I do know.  There is  Hope that lets me know the deep, mortal wounding  pain doesn't 

last forever.

If I have a scar-that means my wound has healed.


The days after my c-sections left me in pain,  giant metal staples imbedded in my flesh, required high   

 dosed of medication, both for pain and to prevent infections and brought about a recovery time that 

left me needing help for the most basic of things.

But, those trying difficult moments have long passed, now when my scar bothers me it just reminds 

me of those two beauties. . .and something else it does is remind me of the outpouring of love  and  

grace during those trying days.

My  physical scar-the thing that has brought me the most physical pain in my life- shows me I've 

healed and reminds me of beauty, love and grace.



My soul scars can do the same things.

You and I both know that soul scars can cut deeper and hurt longer than even the worst physical 

scars--

But, if we let the same God who healed the scars remind us of the healing --OH! what a beautiful 

thing that can be.

The problem comes when we realize we haven't let him heal those wounds.  We're walking around

wounded-either from others or ourselves -and those wounds somehow become more sacred to us

than the healing.

We have got to stop wearing our bloody bandages  and showing them to anyone who will take a

look.

It's time to take them to the only one who can heal them, the only true Healer and Great Physician 

let him bind them up and yes over time those wounds will become scars.

Sacred Scars. 

 Scars that show where you've come from and how you've been healed.

Scars that give you the opportunity to tell everyone about your Healer.

It would be nice to make it through this life without any scars-physcial or soul, but that just

isn't going to happen.  So, we have a choice to make when we look at our scars, do we tear them

up and reopen them or do we remember where are healing come from and the beauty that come from

those scars.


Healing with you,





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dusty Heart- A Veteran's Day Story From Long Ago

This was originally published on Veteran's Day of 2010. 
I wanted to share this again today in honor of my Hero Dad and all the other hero's we honor today.


I found it in a cardboard box long long ago on some childhood exploration.
A small black box, very unadorned.

I opened it up and looked inside.
And there settled in white silk was a ribbon and a heart.
Shiny and purple there it gleamed with the face of a man looking out at me.


I gasped in delight and was so excited.
To my little girl eyes it looked just like jewelry.
So off to Momma I ran.
Can I wear this?, I eagerly inquired?

Oh no she said with a look in her eyes I did not recognize.
For that belongs to Daddy

Where did it come from I wanted to know.

Go and ask she replied,
So he can tell you his story.

To his lap I ran
Tell me Daddy, Where did your pretty heart come from?

Silence followed for quite awhile and then he said
Now listen honey, I fought in a jungle far away so you could always be free.
I got hurt and so they gave this to me.

Oh Daddy you're so brave, my little girl heart swelled.

Daddy, I asked, Can we take your pretty heart out and put on display for all to see?

Little One, he said, Let's keep it tucked away
There were others who gave their lives in that jungle, they gave so much more than me and promise me you'll never forget all that was sacrificed for you.

You're my hero I said.
I'm no hero, I was just a boy doing what I was asked to do.

But, my little girl heart somehow knew My daddy was a hero even if he let his purple heart grow dusty.


Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13