Life

I Picked You, Remain In Me

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 ESV

The Tomato.

I am not a sower. I know nothing about gardening. I feel like I blindly planted a tomato plant and it has taken most of the season for the plant to produce a couple of small green tomatoes.  Now with fall underway I worry for my tomatoes. I worry for one in particular. This tomato was my first to grow. I watched this particular tomato very closely during the summer and no into fall.  This tomato took its time.  It started so small and then plumped up bigger each day.  Now it fits in my hand and bends the vine to the ground with its weight. Everyday I check the vine and my beloved tomato.  I check the weather for a coming frost. When do I pick them? Should I let them ripen on their own? Off the vine? However off the vine there is a chance it will never grow to its full potential.

The Teacher.

I am a teacher. I know the talents God has placed on my life. I can take a lesson or story and adapted it to my audience.  I can speak and hold their attention. I am teacher. I felt a calling for children and women.  My heart breaks for the broken. I chose a safe profession that used my gifts.  But the truth is I wanted to teach about Jesus. I wanted to encourage others.  My profession has been fine. I have been fine. It has been enough to teach at church on the side of my profession that gets the majority of my time. However the season has shifted and I can feel the change in my spirit. The need for more and the weight of profession that isn’t my true calling.  The weight of the conditions and circumstances have taken the joy out of being a teacher.  Now conditions and circumstance impact my calling.  My need to teach about Jesus is choked out by my profession.  I don’t want to teach at church, because I am drained from my professtion and I just need to be fed from the week.  I’m starving and in need of the Father every day. I love my kids, but my soul yearns for more.

In the dark of night, with stars as my light.  I sit at my Fathers feet. “God I am your teacher. I don’t know what to do. I am not quitter, but I know that I am being called to something else I can’t see. I need you.” I go silent. I sit at His feet. I stop talking because I have prayed the same prayer many times.  He knows me better than I know myself. Peace fills me. Because I know that He is closer now then in my victories.  My eyes fall upon The Tomato vine. It is being choked by sweet potato vines. I haven’t  looked at my tomatoes in about week. I bend down and take my beloved tomato into my hands. This is you, my beloved.

I look at the vine that was healthy enough, but for some reason my tomato hasn’t changed. It hasn’t made any growth for a month now.

I picked it.  I took it from the vine.

The Father and The Sower.

The sower is eager.

The sower kneels down.

Takes the tomato in His hands.

It is so cold.

He picks it.

Holds it.

Takes both his hands and warms it.

He takes it in and begins to let it ripen.

You are mine.

 

I picked you. You are my beloved. Now matter your choice, you will be in my hands. I choose you and I have plans for you. 

Life

Dream Confetti

I love the Notes app from Apple.  It stores my crazy ideas and thoughts.  It saves things I want to remember or even holds many of my list of to dos.  I have countless notes of great ideas.  Ideas that I have never seen played out.  Lists of creative ideas that are tied to another list of excuses of why I haven’t completed that list. Why?

Why keep all these ideas and goals if I never plan to do them? Or maybe thats all they were just an idea?  What if the crazy ideas you think you wish you could do, were sparks of your potential!  A peek of a passion that God sprinkled during a season in your life. What if each hidden Note you stored is a little taste of something God thinks you could do.  A sprinkle of Dream Confetti from God above!

Our God is the greatest creator and visionary! He is the ultimate Dream weaver, and I can’t help but think that He is tied to many list on my Notes.  You saved and created that certain note for a reason.  That Note sparked something did down that made you dream and plan for something more.

I challenge you today to open your Notes app, your journal, that place you hid those “sprinkles” of ideas and complete one. Find one you could do today!  The ones that seem to big or scary I ask that you pray over them.  That you will take courage and believe in your potential!  God takes ordinary things that nobody wants and makes beautiful and extraordinary things.

Go on… open that app.

 

Identity · Life

Motivation

I am emotional and I tend to take things to heart.  My feelings get in the way of my potential. Knowing this should make things easier, but it doesn’t.  My main goal entering this school year as a PreK Teacher and wife was simple; Be better than the day beforeEat better, Love better, Use my time better, Lead better.  The better is hard when you don’t feel like it. It is only Labor Day and I already feel beaten by looming high expectations and no time.  My Motivation for being better seises to exist.  Three weeks into a new school year I already feel like I lost my inspiration.  I already feel like I failed.

Feel. Right there is my problem. My emotions are impacting my motivation.  Reading John C. Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, Helped me realize something about my personal motivation and how I keep it tied to my feelings. Motivation can’t be tied to emotions or it will never be consistent.  Motivation is a lot like love and happiness. No one can force it upon you and it won’t magically happen.  Motivation is just something you have to do, and once you start doing it you find that your more motivated to do it.  In Maxwell’s book he states that Motivation is a by-product.

Qoute Jerome Bruner

Ignore how you feel and just do what you believe will make difference.  Because it is right; and soon, when you keep doing whats right, that old feeling of inspiration will find you and push you further towards your goal.

 

God, I pray that anyone that reads this will find motivation not based on emotions but based on doing what is right.  Doing something that will make a difference.  I pray you give them strength and control over their own emotions. Help them be better than the day before. Amen. 

Book For More about Growth: Read John C. Maxwell Book

 

 

Identity · Life

Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

“God, Why me?”  A question we often ask ourselves.  A question I used to hate God over. “Why God? Why did I have to go through that?”  The thought that God is all powerful and all knowing yet, He won’t save a child from a terrible situation.  This turns most away from God.  However, in my case, it was the cornerstone that brought me to God.  I want to share with you my answer.

“Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”

First of all, you are not a good person.  We have all fallen short from the glory of God.  We are all sinners, and we were born into sin.  We are all “bad” people.  The Kindergarten teacher in me would like to change this to say; Our flesh is weak, and we make some bad choices.  So lets change the question;

“Why do bad things happen to people?” 

I don’t know.  I  can’t give you the exact answer.  I have had this question so many times: Why did my grandma have to die so young?  Why did that boy forced himself on me?  Why did they leave me?  Why was horrible sexual acts done to me when I was a child?  I don’t know all the answers to even my questions.  I know this is not the answer you wanted to hear, but this is the only answer anyone can give thats not God.  However I do know that all of these horrible things led me to where I am now.  All of these horrible things made me who I am.  These things are the very things that have grown my faith and brought me to know the love of God.

God did not do these awful things, but yes he could have intervened.  He could have sent legions of angels down to protect me from that boy.  He could have healed my grandma on her death bed.  He could have protected me when I was child.  Yes, I know who God is and I know he could have done miraculous things to get me out of EVERY circumstance.  But as my Father, he knew I would have to overcome those battle to win my future battles.  The not knowing and thinking God did this to us is one of hardest things for many to overcome.  I have heard it before, “If your God is God then why would he do this?”  I know.  I have asked him many times myself, but what I have come to realize is that we won’t ever see the victory from the battle, if we get stuck in the battlefield.  The battlefield is this victim mentality of the “whys” and “hows”.  Stop.  Nothing can change what has happened.  I wish I could change it for you and myself, but I can’t.  Yes, this world is awful and full of sin with sinful and bad people and ultimately bad things will happen.  However,  the bad things were NOT put on you by God.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father,”  Pain, circumstance, problems, trouble is not from God.  God is good and perfect and only brings good gifts. We may not see or understand what he is up too but, He has a plan for your battles.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty.  But it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”      – Isaiah 55: 8-11

“I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.    -Jeremiah 29:11-14

Have hope in yours battles. Get up and walk off the battlefield.  God has a bigger and greater story planed for you.  You are chosen and precious child of God.  You are victorious!

Life

The Call

The enemy will tell you what can’t be done, and all the reasons why you can’t do them.  The fact is: God used unqualified people to do extraordinary things. 

What if the desire to accomplish something bigger than ourselves was put there by God.  The stirring for more was placed to drive us forward into a deeper and wider relationship with God.  That crazy seed of thought that was bigger than yourself… What if that was God?  

The what if is what keeps your feet firmly planted where they always have been.  The fact is: all the what ifs do not accomplish anything.  They keep you grounded to the world.  “I don’t have money, social status, influence, I am a woman.”  The list of lies goes on and one.  They are lies to keep you in a box of small.  Do not let seeds of doubt grow over the seeds that God has placed in you and for you. We spend so much time trying to discern the things God has for us that we get stuck waiting and missing the very things that God has planned for us.  Maybe all we have to do is be obedient with what God has already given us.  Obey and let God worry about all the details.

 

 

Life

Soul Detox: Its All In My Mind

The last time I wrote I left you with a challenge;  To examine your heart and body and fully reject what is interrupting the life you want to live.  Since I last wrote, I have lost 6 of the 15 pounds I have gained during my vacation.  The first 5 is always pretty easy,  but this is where the hard part begins.  On my diet I gave up what was easy for me.  I chose to not eat out and planned healthier meals at home.  Decrease my carb and sugar intake.  The normal diet things.  However  I have let my mind ruin my results.  

“Thought is the sculptor who can create the person

you want to be.” – Henry David Thoreau

My mind has controlled my success.  I lay in bed looking at the pile of workout clothes I laid out the night before.  I already made the plan in my mind that I would wake up early and go to the gym.  But as I lay in bed my mind begins its deceit.  “You can just walk Bella instead.”,  “Just go back to bed, you can just work around the house today.”  These thoughts do not seem bad, but they are twisting my good plan for myself.  The one that will help take off the 9 pounds I have let.

How many times does are own thoughts destroy and or impact the good things God has in store for us?

“For as [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.””  – Jeremiah 17: 9-10

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life” – Proverbs 4:23

As a christian I am fully aware of the battle between flesh (earthy desires) and spirit (heavenly desires).  But I believe I have become lazy in my everyday thoughts.  What if the everyday little things I do impacts this “battle” the bible refers too.  What if  by not taking control of my everyday thoughts I am allowing the “flesh” to grow stronger, and inturn I  am allowing the enemy of my soul to have control over the little everyday things which can lead to big things?  What if one negative thought can plant a seed that impacts the very plan God has for me?

What if controlling my mind to do something small like working out, overtime impacts the big plans God has for me.

“One who is faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large  ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”  – Luke 16:10 

God, help me have control over the little.  My mind is weak and it impacts my heart.  I want the everyday little things to glorify you.  I want to be faithful in the little.  God I want to know your thoughts of me.  Help me this week gain control over my mind.  May this word bless me, but another to grow closer in you.  Amen. 

 

Soul Detox

Life

Body & Soul Detox

I just got back from my first cruise on the Carnival Breeze.  I went to three different countries; Grand Cayman Islands, Mexico, and Jamaica. Processed with VSCO with a5 preset Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever see an ocean so blue, vast, and never ending.  I snorkeled  with stingrays at Grand Cayman,  saw the diversity of Jamaica, and laid on the beach in Cozumel.  The excursions were wonderful!  The cruise itself had an amazing view, service, shows, activities, and food.  Overall I loved my first cruise experience all but the motion sickness and the 15 pounds I gained.  Ahh!  Yes, you heard me, 15 pounds!  Usually on vacation I am used to gaining a couple pounds give or take, but I have never gained this much so fast.  At 28, I find I gain weight quicker and it is getting harder and harder to lose.  It is time for some serious DETOX!

 

Detox by definition, is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.  I need this, but not just a detox of my body, but in my soul.  I feel the older I get the harder it is to change unhealthy behaviors and or habits.  It is easier to feel stuck and stagnant with myself and the Godly relationship I crave.  I want to be better, healthier.  I want to detox my life.   I know I am not the only one that feels this way.  Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves.  No one wants to be over weight or feel stagnant in their relationships, or even feel stuck in unhealthy habits that you always want to change but never do.   I’m convinced that no one wants to feel trapped by an unhealthy lifestyle that has the potential to harm themselves and those they love most.  However like myself,  I can physically see that my body needs to change,  but what of my spiritual healthy?  I want this passionate and consistant relationship with God.  I want to please him, and I believe in him, but there is something amiss that I can’t put my finger on.  Maybe, I need to detox my body and soul.

 

Day 1: Cleaning Out  IMG_2386

  • Whats holding me back from reaching this pinnacle relationship with God?
  • Whats is hurting my personal relationships? 
  • What is holding me back from losing weight? 

Its hard that the answer to all of these is myself.  I am selfish, lazy, and I am filled with excuses.  We live in a culture that focuses on I, that we lose sight of Him.  “We become scarred and desensitized to whats right and wrong, good and evil, life-giving and life-draining, we lose sight of our first love.” (Groeschel, 2012, p.13).   Everything matters.  Everything we do, everywhere we go, Everything we say should reflect our love and commitment to Christ.  Everything matters, just like a physical diet.  What we put in our bodies reflects what comes out.  Everything we allow our minds to think and see and how we focus our time effects our heart and our lives.  Everything matters and impacts the growth we so desperately want.

Now what?

When I start a diet I have to rid myself and cleanse my body of harmful toxins that will effect my cravings.  I started my physical diet Monday.  I started clean eating.  I started clean myself of all the crap I’ve put into my body during that amazing vacation.  The same needs to be done with my soul.  I don’t like what Ive been putting into my mind, heart, and life and it has effected my relationship with my first love, and my second.  I want to be better.  I want a better relationship with God.  I want more.  The more I yearn for as always been God and can only be filled by God.

Only God can restore and detoxify our soul.  I most start with repentance.

 

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me

Amen.

-Psalm 51:2, 7, 10, 12

 

Don’t stop until you are who you want to be.

Love, Caitlyn

 

Soul Detox  The Challenge : Join me in reading

Soul Detox by Criag Groeschel