What It Means to be New

New LifeAfter months of cold and ice (and more cold, and more ice) we are finally experiencing a full-fledged Spring day. The sun is shining in the bright, clear day, though the breeze still carries a bite of chill warding off any early ideas of summer. The birds are happily settling into their newly built nests and the blooms are starting to open to the sun’s gentle warmth. In my estimation, it is a perfect day.

But this perfect day is harshly contrasted with day five of my husband dealing with…well, in all honesty, we don’t exactly know what he’s dealing with, but it’s miserable. It’s that unknown which causes anxiety and worry. Then the added gift of Google is the gift of hypochondria and increased concern.

It’s easy to become consumed in worry. Whether it is due to the sickness with no diagnosis, or the stress that comes from your job, or the never-ending bills that just. keep. coming.

Worry blinds us to the beauty of the promises that should be dictating our lives.

Instead of trusting we worry.

Instead of believing the best, we presume the worst.

Instead of resting, we fret and question.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

The peace of God is an amazing gift that I feel we often neglect. We think we’re surrendering our problems, when in fact we continue to mull over possible solutions or even worse outcomes. And in doing so, we become our own worst enemy, not allowing the Spirit to offer the peace that is rightfully ours to claim in Christ Jesus.

That’s the beauty of a relationship with God, through Jesus. We have been given a new life, a new purpose apart from the anxiety of everyday life.

The idea of “being born again” is strange to be sure. But it’s used over and over again to describe the process of allowing Jesus to change us from the inside out. We are to lay aside our old selves and take on the new. We are a new creation through Jesus. We have been given a new life.

In the most simple terms, it is a change of heart and a change of mindset. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we don’t continue to wallow in the poor choices we made prior to that decision. We don’t continue to use the same language or exercise the same responses. Sometimes it requires a complete overhaul from the company we keep to the lifestyles we chose to live. But we are assured that not only have we been given a brand new life, but we’ve been given a brand new future–we have something to live for besides ourselves and our own selfish ambitions!

1 Peter says,

Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven– and the future starts now! (1 Peter 1:3-4, MSG)

The ESV describes that “new life” as: “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.”

Spring is that visual demonstration of something that has died and been made new. Each year, as the seasons change, God demonstrates this process to us in all of its beauty and wonder. Seeds that are planted have to literally die and crack open in order to allow new growth–new life–to come out.

Are you fighting that process today? Are you standing there, withering and essentially dead, but unwilling to fully let go (die to self) and allow God to nurture that new growth? Are you allowing the stress and anxiety of the day-to-day to defile that future that is waiting for you?

As my family and I continue to search for an answer to what is plaguing my husband, the idea of a life that is imperishable and undefiled sounds extremely appealing.

Our hope, our future, is found in an eternity in heaven with God. Our purpose is built in the promises of that future. Our very identity cannot be separated from the truth of our purpose because our identity cannot be separated from our Creator. 

Who we are is buried in Whose we are.

Are you allowing your identity in God to change you from the inside out?

I pray that this spring will be a time of renewal for you and this season of your life.

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Purpose and Passion–A snapshot from the Pink WILD retreat

This weekend I am at a retreat in east Texas for WILD (Women in leadership development). It is an awesome program and curriculum created and presented by Pink at Gateway. The entire focus for the weekend is identifying your passions and purpose. It’s all about stirring up the pot of who God has made you to be and revealing those little gems that make you you!

I promised myself that I would disconnect this weekend. No Facebook updates, no posting pictures on Instagram, no witty tweets on Twitter. Even email is off limits. So far, so good–except this post. Whoops 🙂 I can’t help myself. I’m taking my free time this weekend to write and I just want to pose a couple questions to each of you for a bit of thought and reflection. Just two things to ask God, I promise. You ready? Okay, here we go:

  1. Show me who you are.
  2. Show me who I am.

That’s it. (I’m kind of laughing at that sentence just because the depth of those two points is rocking my world right now.)

But in all seriousness, take some time in prayer. Approach the throne of grace and ask God to reveal Himself to you. It has the potential to change everything.

The life of a rose

my sister and I cutting roses with Mama Ruthie (my great grandmother)

my sister and I cutting roses with Mama Ruthie (my great grandmother)

I realize that I have gained quite a few new followers as of late. I’m ecstatic to grow that “following” (I don’t actually know what to call it. Fan base is the other phrasing but it’s weird to think of having fans.) But as the readership grows, I recognize that many of you know little to nothing about me. Of course, I recommend going to my about page, but I want to share a little of my heart with all of you.

My dream is to be an author and speaker. While my first book is in it’s final design phase (SUPER exciting BTW), the speaker thing is still in it’s infancy. As a mother of two young girls, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is a lot going on but I will welcome the opportunities when they do come to fruition. Within both of those realms, one thing that I never want to loose is the genuine sincerity that I feel toward the things that I write about and the topics I speak on. When I write and when I speak, I ask God to reveal himself through my words. That’s the goal. In everything I say, whether through the written word or spoken, I want to bring God glory.

So I view my life kind of like a rose bush. You see, when you first come upon a rose bush it is–for all intensive purposes–a thorn bush. People are put off by it. No one particularly goes out of their way to buy, let alone plant a thorn bush in their yards and gardens. But then as it begins to mature, buds begin to develop. When they first reveal themselves, they are often muted in color but precious and beautiful. They can be perceived as innocent and untouched. Then the excitement really sets in as they open up into a mature rose. Colors radiate and astonish, varying in degrees of pinks, reds, purples, oranges, yellows, and white. The smells are unique to the variety and almost intoxicating. But I especially love as they continue in their maturity, just before they begin to wilt.

My great-grandmother loved roses. She had a rose garden on the side of her home, in full view from the Florida room so they could be enjoyed no matter the weather. Because of this, she often had roses in different vases and dishes throughout her home. A few were still just buds, but what I remember seeing the most were the ones who had been cut and initially displayed at the peak of their maturity. Though, as time passed, they continued to mature and open to that point just before wilting and eventually browning. The color wasn’t as vibrant as it once was. You can see where insects or frost have damaged some of the petals. But in that state, open to the world, there is a genuine peace that is displayed. The rose has grown, matured and fully blossomed. It’s as if it is saying, I’ve fulfilled my purpose and I am completely satisfied in the life I’ve lived.

This is how I understand my life. When I was born, I was born into a world of thorn bushes. We all were (are) a little rough around the edges and if handled incorrectly, we won’t hesitate to prick you. But when I accepted Jesus as my Savior and began to mature, innocent and precious buds began to form. They brought excitement and energy–there’s hope for her after all! But what I am so excited about is that while I am no longer a rose bud, I know that I still have yet to show the true brilliance of colors that God has designed for me. The unique fragrance of my passions and dreams. They splendor that is shown when opened up to the world at just the right moment. Even beyond that, what I look forward to is in the years to come, long after that splendor fades. I look forward to those moments, like my great-grandmother’s roses, when I have matured and allowed God to utilize me for His glory. I look forward to resting peacefully in that satisfaction that while I may have some bruises and signs of wear and tear, I have done what God has called me to do to the very best of my ability.

So as I continue on this journey, and as I invite you to come along with me, know that my desire is to be real, genuine, and sincere. Sometimes that shows itself through my thorns and for that I apologize up front (kind of–depends on what it’s about). But I want you to know that I am so grateful to have people to journey with.