Mentoring Matters :: Jesus Sees you

I have so many thoughts all the time. My mind is thinking, thinking, thinking all. the. time. So today I am peeling back the skin and letting you know one thing that is rolling around in my head.

 The idea of seeing others.

Really seeing into them and then speaking to them what you see
to bless and encourage.

As some of you know, I served part time on staff at our church as an Interim Co-Director of Ministry to Women.  Wow, what a mouthful.  But I do like the way we say it around here—-Ministry to Women.

One thing I learned while working there is the idea that we are all part of ministering to women.  

We are all a part in our conversations, in our actions, they way we invite women into friendships and how we encourage women with our words.  In fact that is one of the things I say to women:

“Wow, gal, you are doing the work of a minister to women.”

When I accepted the job last year, one of the reasons I said yes was, I wanted the Lord to use me to speak life into women who feel like they are not doing much or who think, “It doesn’t matter what I am doing.  What I do isn’t important.”

The women who faithfully serve behind the scenes by just getting up and                  taking care of their kids.

Or the gal who is loving her roommate or the people with whom she works.

Or women who read their Bible and try to put into practice, however imperfectly,    what they are learning.

I want to say, “Good Job!  I see you!  The Lord sees You and You are known.

Our world recognizes the big things- the BIG career woman who is CEO.

The woman who writes and speaks and has 10 books and a conference.

The gal who starts a non-profit in another country or maybe it is just the gal who does it all perfectly, or so it seems to us.

Jesus is pleased when we do the work He has called us to do right in our own sphere. The work we have right in front of us.  The daily things of living our life.

I am not saying don’t reach for big things and do them.  But remember the everydayness of life is more common.  It keeps coming at us.  It is in this common dailyness that I encourage you to be content. You are right where Jesus wants you.  The right now and here of life is part of His plan for you.

And, Jesus sees you in the everyday.  The common.  The daily things of  your life.

I am writing about this to remind ME, y’all.  I want the big, the exciting- and yet, I see in the word that it is in the small and daily that He works on our soul and our mind and heart.  This is where He sees us.  The hidden quiet places. The secret acts of worship we do.

I see this played out in the Old Testament when I read:

To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.  Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deuteronomy 10:14-15

God sees His people and He loves them.

Later when Jesus comes into the world, He sees all the people and talks with them and touches them, eats with them and heals them.  He asks them, “What do you want me to do for you?”  When the blind man standing outside of Jericho calls out to Jesus,  Jesus hears him and asks:

 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  Mark 10:51-52

 He is asking that of you, too. He sees YOU.  What do you want, daughter?  Are you telling Him what you want? Need?

He has this.  He sees you. And He loves you and calls you beloved.

We can do this, too. We can look at the people in our lives and speak life.  We can see our friend or spouse, our children and neighbors.  We can look and see and speak life to all of them.  We can tell them what we see and be an encouragement.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,  in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

This is the Sursee for today.  To see others and to speak love.

Who do you know that needs you to see them and speak love?  How are you going to do that today?

 

 

I love the word Lavish

When I taught high school English, I repeated over and over to my students, you need to use Strong Verbs in your writing.  We would count them and underline them to show how they make a difference.  In the editing process the weak verbs are tossed out and the strong verbs hustle in.  These hefty verbs we call strong verbs paint a picture and allow the reader to  enter your imagination and see what you see.

The Bible is full of strong verbs.  This morning I am thinking about this word:

lavished.

It has so much richness to it.  In the dictionary it means:

bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities upon..

or this

cover something thickly or liberally with.

 I think of the medieval court and the brocade, satin and pearl festooned dresses of the ladies in waiting.  Or I imagine the full bounty of a Tuscan table groaning under the weight of cheeses and meats and freshly baked breads set on a crisp, white linen tablecloth.  So many images dance across my imagination.

I spotted this word in the book of Ephesians this morning:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.
Ephesians 1:7,8

I love that we get to experience God lavishing His grace on us.  I want to roll around in that today.  This is what I want to think about and use to replace the lies rolling around in my head.

He lavishes us with His grace.

Recently a friend texted me after I won something,

So So So exciting to witness Jesus lavishing his love on you through this experience.

I loved that she used the word LAVISHING.  Felt like a little wink from the Lord to me.

Let’s remind each other of this truth today.  He lavishes us with His grace.  A great Sursee for us all.  Let’s roll around in the grace He lavishes on us and then lavish others with it. I need the reminders, you?

August is the New January

August is the new January.

Are you with me?  Does August bring a spring to your step as you think about new possibilities and starting over as summer comes to a blistering halt and the first puff of Fall comes?

I remember when Craig and I were first married and working with the high school kids at our church, we chaperoned a Labor Day getaway to the Frio River.  That Saturday night a storm blew in and cooled us off and blew the last vestiges of summer away.  What a weekend.  What a great start to Fall!

I feel the freshness of a new year in August with back to school sales and the starting of the school year.  New Bible studies begin, classes start everywhere as people come back from mountain retreats and lake house porches to start a new year.  Kids have grown up over the summer and enter new grades and life begins with a new rhythm, leaving the lazy dog days of summer behind.

Fall brings new smells and  the promise of new beginnings.  Something about those back to school sales and rows and rows of supplies all standing like little soldiers in the aisles of Target make me happy and ready to go!

Sometimes I like to call August  the new January.  As you know I love New Year”s Resolutions, but I am not always the best at keeping them.  But I do like making them.  This year my main resolution was to Rest and Receive, and I think I have been doing a pretty good job of that.  I finished up my year commitment on staff in Ministry to Women at my church and have had a pretty free July and August.  We have spent sometime in the mountains, and I have enjoyed sweet time with our grown kids.  I’ve been doodling and journaling and thinking and praying about all the ideas He has put on my heart.

We are now a little more than halfway through 2017, but I feel like it is a new year with new beginnings.   What kind of beginnings are you thinking and dreaming about?  Do you feel it in the air like me?

Maybe you are going to take a new class.  I am thinking about taking this class.  Doesn’t that look fun?  Wanna join me?

Maybe you are going to start a new Bible study or small group.  Maybe you are heading out on the adventure of homeschooling or another year of the same old, but your kids are entering a new era—a new school- a fresh middle school- the first of high school- or could it be sending your first off to college?

I think it is nice to take this time to check on our goals or dreams.  What kind of adventures do you want for the second half of 2017?

Where do you want to grow?

What did you say you were going to be doing back in January and how are you doing with that goal?

Can you find a friend and share with them where you are and where you want to be?  Accountability does wonders for keeping those dreams alive.

I am thinking through all sorts of plans, schemes and dreams.  It feels fresh and new right now, and I embrace it all.  A time for looking for Sursees.

A new school year, a new beginning for us all.  Share what you are about to start or where you want to grow here in the comments or with your people. Here’s to August being the new January! xoxo

What I Keep Asking

As I am studying the book of Ephesians, I ask the Lord for a verse. A verse to rest my mind on and stay my thoughts. I feel like sometimes I am going a little crazy and so I think, I need a verse.

I read in other’s writings how the Lord gives them a verse during a season, and I think, I want that, too.

So as I dance around in Ephesians and make my little verse cards printed in colorful Flair pens with doodles and scrolls, and I keep asking for a verse. A verse that would center and hold me during this season of change and transition. These are two words that I fight and run from. Not really my cup of tea to change…or transition.

As I meet with my mentor this week and write down the encouragement I receive, I write down what she says.

Start at the right place.

We keep talking and she asks me what was that verse I shared with her last month?  The one that really encouraged me.   I look it up because of course it has flown out of my head.

“Oh, it’s Ephesians 1:17.”

And I write the words down in my notebook.

Start at the right place
Ephesians 1:17

All of a sudden there it is- I see it in my own handwriting, right under my nose. As if God had written it for me. And I feel a deep sense of His presence and love for me. Something I have been asking for and praying into, He answers.

So this is what I keep asking. Straight from Ephesians 1:17.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

 

It is all right there.  Ask Him.  He will give.  Not more things, but a spirit of wisdom… a spirit of revelation.  WHY?  So you and I can know him better.

Isn’t that what I have been asking him for?  Yes, it is.

Is this what you might be asking for?  Do  you want to know him better and wonder how to do that?  I do.  And I see in Ephesians 1:17 all I need to do is, Keep Asking.  Keep Asking.  Keep Asking. He will give.  He will give.  He will give.

Let’s ask together.  That would encourage me.  How about you?

Happy August and Back to School Planning

I was thinking about y’all and remembering that August is a great time to plan for the new school year.  I have some ideas for you whether you homeschool or send those kiddos off.  Check it out on this post for some great ideas.  Happy August, y’all. xoxo

New Year’s Resolution Thinking

New Year's Resolution

I love New Year’s Resolutions.  Do I keep them? Well, maybe. Kind of.

This year when I was searching for 2016’s Resolutions, I discovered something terrible–

I make the same New Year’s Resolutions.  Every year.  And I never keep them because they go outta sight, outta mind, around February 1st.

I write them in different notebooks every year, in a rush to get them down and set.  Then I set that very same notebook down and can’t find it/remember where it is/ lose it.  Ack.  I am a mostly organized person so this drives me crazy.

One year I talked a friend into doing this Setting Goals System on Steroids curriculum.  Not the real name…will protect that company.  We ordered our pages and set our goals after hours of pinning interest boards and listing our good, bad and ugly to prepare for the monthly inventory.  This notebook was intense.  It had each week of the month sectioned off into tiny little squares where you had to put an X if you had completed that days specific goals.  So really 5 x 5 Xs.  Oh, my.  I gave up after about a month. I just couldn’t keep up.

Now I appreciate what she was trying to do. You have to review your goals.  They need to be measurable, etc.  And you have to basically remember from day to day what those goals are.

Ha.  I realized on Dec 24th this past year that I can’t even remember what my Word was for 2016.  Then my sweet daughter-in-law pointed out my cute chalkboard with the word WRITE on it.  “Isn’t that your word, Leslie?”, she gently asks.

“Oh, yes, I think it is,” as I hang my head in shame because it was sitting right there at my sink.  All Year.

Remembering is important when you are trying to keep a goal. Pretty basic.  So how do you remember?  I think one way is write it down.  In a book that you keep all those type things in. And then maybe you write it down in your To-Do list every day.  And maybe you tell people, because maybe they will remember and keep you accountable.  That is what I am counting on for 2017.

Having Time to do your new goal is also super important! I realized that I don’t carve out time to do my goals.  I write the same goal down and then don’t adjust my schedule to help me keep that goal. For example, I noticed in December when I started this process I found several notebooks.  Each notebook represented a year of goals and I saw that I wrote down “Read More” each year.

But did I actually read more? Well kind of, but not like I would have liked to.  I realized that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is also the definition of insanity. I know that I am not insane.  But obviously in this area, I am insane.

So in 2017 I have been working on this goal setting a little differently.  I decided that I needed to actually  schedule a time each day to read.  It was going to take a little work on my part.

I like to read at night.

I like to go to bed at the same time each night. We decided 10:00 pm was a good time to turn out the lights.

It takes me about 20 min to get ready for bed.

I realized I just puttered around each night up until said bedtime and then rushed to get into bed, but then there would be no time to read.  SO- A lightbulb flashed, and I came up with this brilliant idea.

I would start getting ready for bed at 9:00 pm.  Everything would stop at 9:00, no matter what I was working on, and I would get ready for bed.  Then I would have 30–40 minutes each night to read and also accomplish 10:00 pm lights out.

Brilliant!

And guess what? It is working!

Some nights it is super hard to not do one more thing- one more email.  One more text or check on something or throw something in the laundry or do one more to-do because you know, “it won’t take long.”

Now I put it all down because I have a SURSEE waiting.  30-40 minutes to READ.  Yippeeeeeeee!

But, it is work. It takes saying no. Now you might be thinking, hello? That is not that hard to figure out, but for me?  Well, it was a little hard.  The idea that I had to say no to somethings, to say yes to, reading, that was a hard concept.  I think I can keep packing the stuff in on top of other stuff and get it all done.  But my end of the year realization was, I had spent another year trying this stacking and packing, and it didn’t accomplish my reading goal.

This year is different.  I am getting ready for bed a little earlier and letting somethings go at night.  And I finished my first book of 2017 two nights ago.

What about you?  What New Year’s resolutions are you making and what are you letting go of or changing in order to accomplish your goals? Do tell.

#RestandReceive is also going well.  I am practicing resting in His word and His truth and receiving so much goodness. This “Read More” goal is also a subset of the Rest and Receive.  I have a few more resolutions that I will spill out over the next few weeks.  Sursees Galore. Plus I will share with you some of the books that I am enjoying as a result of carving out time.  Cheers to you whether you make goals or not.

xo

How to Pray for the Ones You Love

flowers for friends

Hey gals,

Wanted to share a little Sursee here today about prayer.  One thing I have learned from others is that praying actual scripture is a great way to pray for someone.  I was reminded of this  as I was praying for one of our sons, and I thought, ” I will just pray Ephesians 3:14-21 for him.”

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,  to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

When I woke up today, I thought I need to share this Sursee with y’all.  Maybe someone out there might be encouraged by this.  This is why we need girlfriends and conversation and community. When we share what we are learning or discovering or trying in our lives, we spark ideas in one another.  You tell me something you are learning, and it spurs me on to love and good deeds.  Then I share something I am learning to encourage you.   Yay! for girlfriends.

So here is your Sursee for today: Use Scripture to pray for your kids.

I even made a printable so you could print it out and put it in your scripture journal or send in a card to a friend or tape to your mirror.  The possibilities are endless.

Here is to praying through scripture.  Cheers!

Two Words that Help any Conversation

be curious

In our society today, we are not very civil in our conversations.  If I have a different idea or opinion from you, I shudder to express it.  We struggle listening and hearing what the other is saying.

A friend shared with me the other day what another friend shared with her about how to handle a difficult conversation using two words.

Now you don’t actually use these words, you think them in your head.   When someone is dumping their diatribe on you or expressing an opinion that might not match yours you think:

BE CURIOUS

What,  you might ask, do I mean?   When you are in a conversation, I want you to remember to BE CURIOUS.  When I am curious or even say, “Tell me more about that”, my face doesn’t look shocked or anguished or mad-mad.  Instead I have an open, questioning, friendly look on my face.

When we are curious, we are open to listening and finding out more.  We aren’t usually trying to think of what we are going to say to rebut the argument or thought.

When we are curious, our faces say, tell me more.  We think of questions to ask and we lean into the conversation.

I am trying this now when I get into a difficult conversation where I might not agree or where I don’t know what to say.

I think, Be Curious, Leslie.

I think just those two words make all the difference in how I listen and respond.

I also see how this could help when talking to our kids.

Be Curious, Mom.  Be Curious, Dad.  

Your teenager has all kinds of ideas in his head  and when we have the look of curiosity on our face, I think more words will be spoken and conversations will happen.  The mantra, Be Curious helps me to listen well.

So where can you be curious today?  With whom do you need to adopt a look of curiosity on your face and remind yourself in your head to

Be Curious.

Do tell.

 

 

 

Mentoring Moment :: Embrace the Children God Gave You

Mentoring Moment embrace the children God gave you

 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children

Titus 2:4

  In Titus, the older women are encouraged to remind the younger women to love their husband and love their children.  We all need that reminder.

So here it is—-Love your kids.  Embrace them.  That word EMBRACE  is a word I have latched onto in life.  EMBRACE

Isn’t it beautiful and cozy?  In the dictionary Embrace is defined like this:

1.  hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection.

or
2.  accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.
To hold closely.  To accept.  To support.  Willingly and enthusiastically.  Argh.
Embracing our kids is pretty easy when they are all cuddly and newborn and their breath smells delicious. But what about when they are an obstinate 2 year old?

A mischievous 4 year old?

A bossy and loud 6 year old?  And on and on.

Embrace the way God made them.  Love your children.

Embrace that they are the ones for you and your husband.  God picked you to be their parents.

Receive them as the gift that they are with all their warts and quirks.  Receive.

Embrace.  God created your kids with gifts and talents and warts and quirks.

Become a student of your child and Embrace him.  Embrace how God made her.  Stop kicking against the goads, resisting the gift that they are.

I had a friend challenge me once asking me if  I was receiving one of my kids as a gift or was I trying to change him?

Hmmm.  Busted.  I realized I was I was trying to change him and not embrace the way God created him.

Another time I was standing in the shower and was lamenting a time in one of our kid’s early high school years.  I remember crying out to the Lord to change the situation.  Take it away.  I was refusing the gift that it was.  The gift that this son was.  I wanted it to be easy. And neat.  And clean.  I was turning away from the challenge.

I heard the Lord whispering,  Embrace it, Leslie.

What, Lord?  Embrace? Oh, yuck-ola, not this.

Yes, Leslie, this.  Embrace it.  Receive it.

This, Lord?  I think have a better idea of how this should go down.

Again, gently He asked me to embrace and receive this challenge  as a gift.

That word again.  Embrace.  So snuggly.  Warm.  But this was not a warm, snuggly event.  It had pokey edges that felt sharp and uncomfortable.  But at that point I realized that was what I was called to do, by FAITH.

Embrace and receive.

Your children are a gift from the LORD.  A gift.

Rest in who they are.

They are a masterpiece that is not yet finished, but hey, you are not either, are you?

Embrace the season they are in …..whatever season that is…it will be over soon.

Embrace the children God gave you.

Embrace the snuggles. Embrace the trials.

This idea of embracing the children God gave you is something you can discuss with  a mentor.  You know I love the idea of mentoring.  Your mentor can encourage you to see the long term, and have faith in what you can’t see.

Also, she can encourage you to trust the Father with your children and she will remind you of the truth that you know.  She can encourage you to have faith..and remember what faith is…

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

Things hoped for.  Things not seen.

A mentor helps put it in perspective.  God’s word puts it in perspective.

So today, can you wrap your arms around your kids, embrace them and receive the gifts that they are with open hands?   Embrace them, love your children- warts and all.  Do tell how you do this at your house.  I love hearing from you.  And could you pass this on to a mom that needs to be reminded? xo

 

Scripture Journal :: One Way I Battle the Negs

 

 

Scripture Journal 2

Yesterday I wrote about an idea for a Scripture Journal that has helped me spend time with the Lord when I feel out of sorts or just need an easy way to get into the Word of God.  Today I want to share some of the verses I use in the journal to battle when my mind starts talking crazy.  You know those lies and negative self-talky stuff that starts happening.  Battling the Negs. Ugh.

To start with, I believe that God’s word is powerful and life changing and so meditating on it and memorizing it and going back to it really changes me and my thought patterns. In Hebrews 4:12 it says that the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  

This tells me that God’s word can help me discern what is truth and what is a lie. Yay!

So how do I battle negative self-talk?  Here goes.

  1. I start with remembering who God is when I am battling negative self-talk. I do this in the morning because scripture has that pattern.

Psalm 92:1-2 It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O most High, to proclaim you love in the morning and faithfulness at night.

Psalm 90:14 O satisfy us in the morning with thy lovingkindness, that we may sing of joy and be glad all our days.

2. Find verses that name your identity and describe who you are.  Meditate on your identity In Christ. Good, good medicine.  You find your own scripture, what speaks to you, gal.  Here is one that I have written down since I love singing…

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

3. Next, I remember that it is a battle for my mind.  A battle, gals.

Ephesians 6:10-17 says  10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

I need armor and protection. Put on, take up– these are action words.  I see in this verse that this  putting on the armor helps me stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  I also need to protect my mind and thought life through meditating on the Word and my salvation or identity.  See it again here:

taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Our sword is the word of God. Awesome.

4.  We are active in this process.

II Corinthians 10:5   We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Do you see in this verse we are destroying speculations.  We are taking every thought captive; those negative thoughts, that is what we need to capture.

5.  I can’t be lazy.

I Peter 1:13  Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I am to prepare my mind for action.  Not going to be lazy and let any and all thoughts in.  I am to be fixing my hope on GRACE and Jesus.  Yes.

 6. Next I see this little pattern. Don’t be anxious+Pray+Be Thankful= Peace of God guarding my HEART and my Mind.

Philippians 4:6,7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

One of my mentors this past summer, flat out told me I worried too much. She reminded me of this verse and told me the Hebrew word for Guard is like the word for a sentinel on the top of a castle wall, walking back and forth, back and forth.  Constantly guarding.  Guarding my Heart.  And my mind.  I need that!

And lastly I read a little further in Philippians and see that:

 6.  I am to replace my thoughts with His thoughts.  

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8,9

I love thinking about this verse and thinking of things in my life that I know are true, honorable, right pure, lovely, good repute, excellent, worthy of praise.  Those are the things on which I am to fix my mind.  Remember too, gals, we don’t have to go it alone.  We depend on Him to help us, guide us.  We need Him- can’t do this without Him. And He is faithful to walk through this life with us. Amen.

So those are  a few of the verses that I use to battle that cray-cray  negative thinking in my head.  And the verses are written down in my Scripture Journal.  Do you have a verse you go to when you start that talk? Have you found a journal to start writing the verses that speak life to you?  Do tell. xo