Tag Archives: Team Jesus

Boxes

Wednesday Wisdom 😊


Inspiration this week comes from a smattering of scriptures that help to remind me what “box” I belong in: Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, Psalms 37: 3-4 and 23-24, Jeremiah 29: 11-14 and John 13: 34-35


Karyn ran in her final cross country race last Friday at the Nebraska State Cross Country Championships, rocked her first half marathon Sunday morning in Lincoln, and then celebrated her 18th birthday on Monday! All of these things have me thinking of how much I love being a “mom”, and what I truly want my girls to understand as they step out into the world.

In the midst of the vast array of emotions that I have recently gone through, God has placed an important message on my heart to share. I’m going to put it in the form of a letter – from a veteran Mama – to her beautiful girls, the three that I was blessed to give birth to and also to the ones that God has brought into my life through church and athletics.


Dear Girls,

Years ago, I promised myself that I would help to teach you how to be strong and mighty young women. I felt in my heart the need to inspire you to be courageous, and to train you to persevere through Grace. I believe that your faith is like a muscle, the more you build it up – the stronger it is. As your Mama and your coach, I tried to teach you how to hope, how to sacrifice and serve, how to put in the work to build strength, and how to trust that the Lord loves you and has a plan for your life.

Although my mama’s heart sometimes wished that your path would be without potholes, deep down I knew that God used everything – both the smooth roads and the bumpy ones – to mold and shape you as His child. I also learned that I had no place trying to remove those obstacles, that wasn’t my job. My job was to trust God and to love you and support you as you navigated the hard things. Don’t worry! You will persevere ❀️

I know that you can do all things through Christ who brings you strength. That your courage is not only fueled by the love of Christ, but it is commanded by the heavenly Father who gave you life. I believe that when you trust in the Lord and let Him use you to do good works, that you will prosper. I also believe that as He moves in your heart, you will see the world through His eyes and want what He wants. Sometimes this hurts, but don’t lose heart as there is joy to be found even in the hardest of times. I hope that you truly understand how much God loves you, and recognize that He delights in the details of your life as He leads your steps. I pray that you live like you are forgiven, choosing to believe that you are beloved, and that you are enough.

Do you fully understand that God’s love is unconditional and He will never give up on you? God promises that if you wholeheartedly seek, you will find Him in every moment. You never walk alone.

Finally, please know that the world will try to put you in boxes as it attempts to define you by what you look like and the things that you do. This is a trap! Do not give into that temptation! Instead, remember that you are defined by the God who created you, the Redeemer who died for you, and the Spirit that lives in your heart as you go through each day. “Earthly boxes” limit the God who calls you His own, and place limits on what He can do through you. The only box that you are meant to fit in is labeled, BELOVED CHILD OF GOD.

The “box” labeled beloved child of God holds unconditional love, mercy, tenderhearted forgiveness and all of the fruits of the Spirit. It is a refuge, a stronghold, a safe place for you to rest. It is a place where you can trust that you are held in the arms of Jesus. It is a place where you are valued, treasured, and comforted. It is a place of fellowship with other beloved children of God where you can find encouragement, camaraderie, and acceptance.

Choose this box! And, let it fuel you and strengthen you for the journey. I love you. God loves you. And, I know that together we make this beautiful thing called “Team Jesus”. In it, we find our purpose for life 😊

Love,

Mama, Anne, Coach Anne, Miss Anne, Lieutenant Anne…

P.S. Look up the referenced scriptures!

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Together we can do hard things…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from Exodus 17: 11-13 as Israel defeated the Amalekites.

“As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.”


I got baptized last Sunday afternoon at Johnson Lake with our small group from church watching from the shoreline. Matt’s asked me a couple of times why a previously baptized and confirmed Episcopalian felt the need to be baptized by emersion at the age of 46 and 1/2? I figured the answer might make a decent blog post 😊

The short response is that I have recently felt God asking me to take this step of obedience. Each January for the past few years, God placed a word on my heart for me to pray about and focus on. I’ve never been much into setting New Year’s Resolutions, but He seems to be creating a tradition at the start of each year! It began with “love”, moved into “trust”, and evolved to “patience” and “perseverance”.

I think there is great significance in each word listed above. And, as each year evolved, I was able to see why God chose that one. Love and trust covered the time that Joseph lived with us. Patience and perseverance carried me through the physical struggle that began when I broke my leg, and then on through the pandemic. The word for 2021 was “glorify”.

The word glorify has several different secular definitions ranging from honor, praise or admiration to lighting up brilliantly. In terms of my faith, I believe that God is asking me to praise Him by openly and obediently trusting while also generously sharing His love in community. Being baptized by emersion does not offer me salvation, only Jesus does that as He lives in my heart. But, a baptism within my church family demonstrates my open acceptance that walking with Jesus involves living and serving in a spiritual family.


The Old Testament verses referenced above describe a time when Moses was asked to obediently follow God’s instructions. The “ask” from God was hard, and Moses was unable to complete it on his own. As I read the words, I can picture Moses sweating, straining, and butting up against failure as he earnestly tries to follow the Lord’s command. His heart was in the call, and he was giving it his all. But, “his all” wasn’t enough. The message is clear to me: Sometimes we have to come together to do hard things.Β 

Moses had a spiritual family. He had a team 😊 Perhaps God asked him to do something really, really hard to help Moses understand that he was not meant to work alone. This is such an important reminder for me. I am a work horse, and I love to serve with all my heart. But, sometimes life is hard and God’s asks seem exhaustive. During those times, it is easier to be brave when you have a team to come alongside and support you. Aaron and Hur stepped in to help carry Moses’ burden. They gave him a place to sit and rest, and held up his arms when his strength began to wane. They circled around him in support and together they found victory.

I used to think that I could walk with Jesus on my own. With each day that passes, I am realizing that I cannot fully glorify my Maker without a team – a community – a spiritual family. Sunday night I committed to that family.Β  As I did that, my heart truly accepted that Team Jesus was, in fact, a team. The hard things of this earthly life will continue to be hard, but I can draw strength and courage in the knowledge that I do not face those things alone. God will provide however many “Aarons” and “Hurs” are needed to find victory as we choose to answer the call together.

 

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Forgiveness is our Super-Power…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: 4: 1-3

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”


It’s been many years since the first time that I walked into Parkview Baptist Church. Ashley Grace attended Youth Group and Bible study there with a friend, and had recently begun to attend Sunday morning worship there as well. I was in the midst of a “rut” in terms of my own faith, and feeling a bit lost. My fourth decade on the earth was teaching me all of the things that I didn’t know, thereby eroding the confidence with which I was used to facing life. Amidst all of the unanswered questions, I knew in my heart that God was calling me to share faith with my girls. So, I followed the request of my oldest child and drove 15 miles down the road to Lexington, NE to see what she was inviting me into.

That first Sunday, I walked in the door with quite a lot of trepidation and absolutely no idea what to expect. My background in the Episcopal and Catholic churches did not offer me much of a window into the community of a Baptist church. Two very friendly and earnest gentlemen named George and Randy welcomed Matt and I at the door, and we found seats in the back of the church. I held Matt’s hand as we stood to worship and I spent some time wrapping my brain around a different type of church service. And then, a soft-spoken preacher named John Shields opened his Bible and started to read and share.

I had not spent significant time in my adulthood reading my Bible. It would be accurate to say that I’d done more wandering than journeying in terms of faith. I had gotten *stuck* dedicatedly working to try to earn my way instead of seeking to be in relationship with the Savior that humbly and steadfastly loved me. But, that day Jesus used Pastor John to begin to inspire me to dig into God’s Word to get to personally know the Trinity that was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And, praying over and thinking about the message shared each week on Sunday morning began to bring me back regularly until Parkview was not just Ashley Grace’s “home church” but it became mine and our entire family’s as well. For the first time in my life, I intentionally joined Jesus’ church and it changed my heart and my perspective.

I was blessed to be a part of more than five years of Pastor John’s ministry. I have many favorite sermons and hundreds of pages of notes. But, I think perhaps what I hold the most value in are the times spent watching John lead with a heart full of Jesus and a resulting agape love that marks him as Christ’s own. He is what Paul describes above in the passage from Ephesians: humble, gentle, patient, and compassionate. His actions initiate an inspired call for us to unite in the Spirit. One of my favorite “Pastor John” sayings is that forgiveness is our super-power.Β 


On Sunday, John preached his last sermon as head pastor of Parkview Baptist Church. He reminded us that Jesus is the cornerstone, and called us to steadfastly radiate His love as we share the Gospel. Our church family has shed many tears over the past month as we’ve prepared for John and his wife Julie’s 25-year ministry to draw to a close. Honestly, that kind of loving leadership is hard to let go. John now answers a new call to serve and mentor pastors all across Nebraska and Kansas. He and Julie leave a legacy of love, passion, and faithful obedience to Jesus for all of us in the Parkview family to tend and grow on into the future.

I will always carry with me John’s reminder to harness my super-power of forgiveness in order to honor the invitation that I accepted when I joined Team Jesus πŸ™‚ Thank you, John and Julie, for loving, guiding, and supporting our family as we journey in faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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