We Choose Joy!

A word from, Cindy Morrone

I am so excited to share with you all, this year’s Sisterhood Sunday Video Series!! We Choose JOY!! We will start off with a post from one of WAHD’s own, Doretta Zinck! Full of wisdom, she shares with us what joy is, and what it is not. We will observe a memoire of someone who exemplified joy to everyone she met. There are interviews lined-up with amazing woman who live joy-filled, despite life’s circumstances.

We Choose JOY!! A WAHD video series coming soon!!


Written by: Doretta Zinck

Greetings!

When’s the last time you jumped for joy? Really and truly did the dance? Maybe you won something, got that promotion or reached a hard- to- attain goal?

Congratulations on your accomplishment…but while you feel great happiness as you’re jumping and screaming remember, it is not joy. At least not the joy the Bible talks about finding as a strength and foundation for our daily lives.

Romans 15:13 (NIV) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you my overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

Happiness is not an emotion that we learn; we get it right away! Joy is an emotion we must develop and teach ourselves to intentionally choose every day. It’s like exercising a muscle, it takes time and endurance training to have the strength to call on when needed.

Being happy as a result of good circumstances taking place is like walking on shifting sand, we can’t rely on having good things happening all the time. Happiness is fleeting while joy is a staying power inside of us, part of who we are as Christ followers.

In the western world our search for contentment has been skewed by the pursuit of mountains of material goods and wealth or success and fame. Some tend to settle for a second rate happiness that “stuff” gives. The feeling passes and we’re on to the next item or acknowledgement. This can become a lifestyle and grow into an addictive behaviour pattern. But joy runs much deeper than that, deeper than wealth or fame ever could, for joy is that steady under current that exists without being influenced by the temporal highs and lows of everyday life.

Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”.

Training ourselves to choose this joy is a gift we can give ourselves, and releasing the idea that we can experience joy in and through every situation or circumstance is freedom. We begin to comprehend the spiritual truth that nothing trumps the joy of knowing that we are in perfect standing with God because of Jesus.

Lovely One, you have a choice to live joyfully regardless of your circumstances. Sound idealistic? Sound impossible? Things can happen around us that may rattle us but not destroy us, sadden us but not crush our spirit. Life may present challenges that test us in a situation but we can choose joy, knowing that though all around may fail He will never leave us or forsake us. Now that is a reason to dance, yes, dance for joy!!!

Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!!!

 

Friendship

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

It’s Valentine’s week . The week for friendship and love, and if there is one thing I am thankful for while living in Honduras, it is the friendships that my children have with their peers.  It makes my heart happy.  You see, Honduras is not like Canada in that they have the freedom just to walk where they want or take a bus to the mall or a friend’s house to hang out. It simply would not be safe to do so, especially being white and young . After a while that can grate on your nerves and it can sort of feel like you are in prison. Bars on the windows, serpentine wire on the walls and you can’t go anywhere alone. You have to stay in the house where you are safe.  It’s not the kind of place where people are in the area and just stop by for no reason.  Honestly that is one thing that Dale and I miss. Unless we are expecting someone, we generally don’t answer if someone is banging on our gate outside.

Yet, my kids are a part of an amazing youth group. There are quite a few of them and they are a close knit, tight group. They get together often.  They encourage one another. Pray for one another. They are friends. They love one another and they love the Lord. One time we had about twenty of them over to our house for pizza and games, (supervised) while the parents went out to a new pizza restaurant. It was a great night for the youth and the parents who also got to enjoy friendship and camaraderie. It was needed, and for sure we will do it again sometime.

Heb 10:24

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Our family is also part of a fellowship group with four other families that meet each Thursday night. This group is not just for adults like most home groups….it’s for the youth too. They have a voice and it is great to see them opening up and sharing their thoughts and hearing their hearts.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Gal 6:2 Share each other’s burdens , and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Being so far from “home,” I never would have imagined that my children would have the closeness with their peers that they do here.  They could be hanging out with the wrong crowd, with people who would want to influence them in the ways of the world, but they aren’t.  It is a huge blessing from the Lord. I’m thankful they have a support system and people their age they can rely on, talk to, pray with and be themselves.

Gal 6:2 Share each other’s  burdens , and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Proverbs 12:26 The godly give good advice to their friends, the wicked lead them astray.

Finding The Gold: “Made For Great Things”

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Last week on the blog I wrote part one of a three part series that I feel God has laid on my heart to share. If you’re just joining us today, I asked a group of people the question; “What top three words would you use to describe how YOU see YOURSELF?

We concluded that when people believe that because of Christ, above all else, they are redeemed, forgiven, loved, valued and free—they live their lives this way…knowing that along the way their imperfect human nature will cause them to stumble sometimes—but their stumbling will not define who they are. Their position in Christ remains the source of their identity. They have found the gold, they have uncovered what so many of us keep hidden.

The second question I asked in my short survey was:
“When someone tells you, “You were made for great things”, how does that make you feel?”

Much the same as the diversity discovered in the first batch of answers, were the results from question number two. Many said that having these words spoken over their lives would leave them feeling anxious, unprepared and stressed. Others, felt the complete opposite. They felt that having these words spoken over their lives would fill them with passion, give them hope and a renewed sense of purpose.

While I believe we were all designed and created for greatness, I am fully aware we have all fallen short of who we were intended to be by fault our sinful nature.
“For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”—Romans 3:23

But that doesn’t leave us without hope for doing good and living out the will of God with greatness.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” —Ephesians 2:8-9

As I encouraged you last week to view your identity through the lens of Christ instead of through your own eyes (which are sure to betray you!), I would like to similarly encourage you this week to view your purpose through the lens of Christ.

God has a purpose for all of us. Those of us who fervently seek to live our lives modelled after Christ and His biblical example will be those of us who live that purpose to it’s fullest potential. However, when we truly reach that point, our goal will not be greatness as the world see’s greatness. Greatness will be a means to measure the capacity in which we allowed God to use us to fulfill His will in our present circumstances.

Perhaps if your reaction to the question was feelings of anxiety, stress and unpreparedness you could break out of your restrictive box and take a bold step forward in the plans that God has for you. This action which will require you to intentionally view your purpose from His perspective.

Take a few moments and ask God now if you’re living out the purposes He has for you, and if you’re not, ask Him to reveal those to you.

Transformed Rust-Buckets, Roll Out!

Written by: Conny Varga

On Sunday, as I was sitting in church, a question popped up in my head: “Why am I here? Why are we all here?” As I was contemplating this, I found myself comparing my life to owning a car. I know, odd thought process! But in a way, there are quite a few parallels between the two.

If you own a car, you purchased it for a purpose. You use it to get to work, to do your shopping, visit your friends, and do road trips. You use it to get your plans accomplished. To make sure it gets you from point A to point B, you keep up its maintenance, from tire rotations to oil changes. When something is broken, you take it to a mechanic. When it’s low on fuel, you gas up. In short, you don’t own a car to have it sit in your driveway – you own it to do things with it. And you expect it to work when you need it to work. Nothing is more frustrating than a car that won’t start when you need it most!

Let’s switch over to how it relates to our lives as followers of Jesus. Why are we here? When we were saved, our ownership was transferred from Satan to our Redeemer. He paid an outrageously high price for us, and in addition, He decided to give us a complete overhaul and makeover. We were transformed from an old rust-bucket into a beautifully restored, shiny creation. We are God’s, and He purchased us for a purpose. And that purpose is NOT to sit under a tarp all week, just to be buffed and polished for our grand appearance at the Sunday morning show.

Yet I fear that too often, we are content to just sit in our driveways. We are content to just look good, but we are not putting ourselves to good use for His Kingdom. Jesus wants us to be the vehicle to clothe the naked, visit the sick, help the needy, bring hope to the hopeless, and love the unlovable but instead we just idle in our own front yard. He sees the maintenance that needs to be done, He wants to work on us, but we are happy with old oil and worn tires. We need fuel, but we just don’t take the time to be filled up again by spending time in His word and in prayer. Things are broken but we refuse to let Him bring healing and instead, we sputter and stall everywhere we go. And quite often, when He wants to use us to get His plans accomplished, we just refuse to go. How frustrating that must be for Him!

We must re-prioritize our lives! Let’s start by “giving our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word”, like the apostles did in Acts 6. Let’s allow Jesus to fill us with “living water” (John 4) that will then overflow into the world around us. And let’s be available and ready to go and “be His witnesses” (Acts 1), whether into our neighbourhood, our city, province, or all the world.

We are meant to be out there, running His errands, doing His work, delivering His message. Not so people can look at how great we are, but so they can admire the One whose infinite love and creative hands have made us into who we are. And so that other “rust-buckets” can be purchased and transformed into beautiful creations of His as well.

We have a mission to accomplish! Transformation and reconciliation is the goal, no cost is too great, and no matter who we are – junkers and clunkers – we can all be part of it. So to paraphrase the famous words of Optimus Prime: “Transformed Rust-Buckets, Roll Out!”

A Look at Love

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

I have to admit, I really love Valentine’s Day.  I am a hopeless romantic at heart and this particular observance lets me show my “sappy” side.  The cliché love notes and cards and chocolates and roses and stuffed toys and jewelry…I love it all!  The classic dinner date, complete with dress up clothes and fancy food, yes please!  My husband knows full well that he will be in the “dog house” if he is remiss in the romance department on this special day!

In fact, looking back over time, I have always loved Valentine’s Day.  Each year in elementary school, I looked forward to decorating my brown paper bag with all things red, purple and pink in expectation of it being filled with valentines from my classmates.  I loved writing out personalized expressions to each of my friends in return.  The classroom Valentine’s Day parties were the best with their white cupcakes sprinkled with red and pink, red party punch, chocolates, cinnamon hearts and candies with love messages.  Prizes for the most festive red, white and pink outfit was the height of the celebration!

Reflecting more closely, I think my love for Valentine’s Day comes from my father’s equal love for its celebration.  Growing up, my Dad was a very loving and sentimental man, showing his love for his wife and children daily.  He loved extravagantly through his words of encouragement, his thoughtful actions, his warm embraces, his silly antics, his shared wisdom, his fierce protection, his time spent and heartfelt “I love you’s.”  We always felt safe with him at the helm of our family ship and prized above everyone else.

But, on Valentine’s Day his love for his three girls went over the top!  We would wake to a beautiful card with personal message and a box of chocolates on our dresser.  He would pick us up from school so we would not have to walk home.  He would bless my mother with a dozen red roses and my sister and I with one long stemmed rose each.  He would take us all out for dinner using the utmost of gentlemanly manners.  It was his way to celebrate the loves of his life and outwardly express his devotion to us.  He knew how to do Valentine’s Day very well!

Today, I shower my menfolk with the same amount of blessing that my father showered on his three ladies.  Since the early years of our dating relationship to present day, I have taken the time and effort to express my love to my husband in tangible ways daily and to commemorate what we have together on Valentine’s Day.  As a natural extension of this I have enjoyed being creative in how I reach my two boys on the mushiest day of the year.  They look forward to their “Lovebug” filled with sentiments from their Mommy dearest, even at 18 and 16 years of age, and still enjoy their daily dose of snuggles though emphatically denied!

When I take a look at love, I recognize that in this life I have been loved well by the humans closest to me and for that I am very thankful.  I realize that my experience is in the minority, in relation to that of the larger collective, and this saddens me.  Many individuals, in fact most, do not regard Valentine’s Day in a positive light due to past hurts, loss or love never realized.  Due to the imperfection of our fallen world, love has been corrupted and falls short of its divine purpose.

But, there is hope!  In the same way that my father loved me, and I in turn love my sons, God loves ALL of His children. (1 John 3:1) He looks down at our world, warped by sin, seeing all our imperfections and failures, and loves us all despite.  His love goes far beyond our human expressions ever could, because His love is perfect and never fails.  His love is enough and satisfies our deepest longings.  His love brings peace and leads us to salvation through His son Jesus. (John 3:16-17) God is love! (1 John 4:8)

To sum up, the greatest Valentine’s Day card we could ever receive is the Bible itself.  The most touching and meaningful of all love letters sent direct from our Creator Himself pointing us to our Bridegroom Jesus.  I will leave you with one of my favourite scriptures.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

I’ll Pray For You

Written by: Jody Mugford

We’ve all been there. You are having a conversation with a friend and they are sharing with you the challenge they are experiencing – sickness, financial stress, loss of a loved one, etc. Sometimes the pain they are experiencing is so overwhelming that you just don’t know what to say. No words of comfort or advice seem appropriate at the time and there is little you feel you can do to soothe their aching heart. Oh, how we wish we had the right sentiment or message to bring them peace! And how those precious words often elude us! But there is something we can do! We can pray for them. We can bring their needs before God and believe for miracles. So we do our best to give them love and support and we promise to pray. Lately, however, I have felt the Holy Spirit asking me very specifically, “ Jody, when you offer to pray for someone, to incorporate them into your daily prayer time, do you do it?”. Ouch…

I will be the first to step up and admit my failures in this area. For years I was the queen of good intentions and poor follow through. My desires to offer help to my sorrowful loved ones were genuine but my follow through in my private prayer life was less than desired. I might pray a few words or thoughts about them that day and maybe a couple more words the next day but then, I’m sad to say, the effort would often trail off. There are many reasons for this, I’m sure, but none that really seem sufficient, in hindsight. In my recent years, I have had the experience of being the one that desperately needed others to pray for me. I know what it is to be so overwhelmed with your problem and pain that you can’t seem to pull yourself out of that deep pit of despair. I know what it is like to be so exhausted and drained that you don’t have any stamina left to even call out to God. Your words and mental capacity have become so weak that you feel any effort of praying barely even reaches the ceiling, let alone the heavens. In those times, I NEEDED praying people like I needed air. In fact, at times, they WERE my air.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:3-5

These are just a few verses in the bible that address the need to pray for others – for our fellow believers, for those that don’t yet know Christ, for our government, for all people. The apostle Paul repeatedly implored believers to pray for him and for each other. Jesus is our ultimate model for prayer. He prioritized time with the Father in prayer, before anything else He did in His earthly ministry. He prayed the most amazing prayer for us in John 17, that richly demonstrates His passion and love for us and our wellbeing. With these as our examples to follow, how can we do any less for each other?

So, how do we remember to pray for those needs? In the midst of skating lessons, supper prep, bedtime chaos and everything in between, how do we find the time? This is a work in progress for me but here are some thoughts:

~ Pray as soon as the Holy Spirit prompts you. Don’t say, “Oh I’ll pray for that this evening”. Stop, take a moment and pray now. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you more. He will!
~ Use a calendar in an easy to see place, like your fridge. Write down a person to pray for each day and during that day bring them before God repeatedly.
~ Use that calendar to write down specific events that are happening, like surgeries, tests, etc. and pray for them when most needed.
~ Involve your family! When you hear of someone that needs prayer or feel prompted to pray, include your spouse or children. Have them stop what they’re doing and pray with you. This will do amazing things to develop an active prayer life in your children.

We desperately need to pray for each other, to join together and bring needs before our loving Father. God wants to hear from us! He wants us to unite with our family in Christ and petition Him through prayer. I can’t say this enough…prayer changes things! Prayer works! Let’s determine to be renewed people of prayer for those around us. Let’s be examples of Christ’s love and compassion and do the absolute best thing we can do when our loved ones are hurting – PRAY!

Love and blessings,

Jody

WIRED FOR RELATIONSHIPS

Written by: Christianne Williams

I’m a communicator.  That’s my love language.  I ask my husband and my kids hundreds of questions to try to spark conversation and I usually end up with one-word answers.  You wouldn’t think it if you met my husband because he really can talk, but he has a quiet side and that’s usually what shows up at home.  Now, if you met my two oldest boys you’d quickly see that what I say is true.  They’re great kids, and can have really intelligent dialogue when they’re in the right mood, but most days they aren’t and all I can squeeze out are answers like ‘fine’ and ‘good’ to ‘how was your day?’  This also extends to texting.  I send long, detailed texts, explaining the finer details of everything, leaving nothing out only to receive something like ‘nice’ in return.

My two youngest, now they’re a different story.  They chatter all day long.  From the time their eyes open in the morning to the time they go to bed at night, and sometimes the occasional sleep talking session occurs.  It’s nice that half the family takes after me and half after their Dad.  Don’t get me wrong, we have healthy relationships with each other, we just aren’t all talkers.  I have found that the quiet tribe in our household listen well, they hear what’s being said, they are involved in life, just not commenting on everything as I am.

What I noticed while having a coffee break at a local restaurant the other day has got me thinking though.  How ‘present’ are we in every day conversations with people we come in contact with?  I was sitting there, on my phone checking emails, when I noticed a young family not too far away.  There were three young children with their Mom and Dad, and they were waiting for their food.  As the children were chatting and asking questions, it was apparent that the parents were caught up in the world through the window of their phones and were not hearing what the kids were saying to them.

That night when I got home I sat down in my chair to relax, with my phone, and started browsing Facebook, looked for bunkbeds on Kijiji, checked in with Instagram to see what was going on with friends, and pinned a few things on Pintrest that I would likely never again look at.  And then I looked up.  And it hit me.  We were all in the living room together, but that’s where it ended.  Each of us was giving full attention to the technology in our hands and no awareness of the moments were missing with each other.

I look and see how quickly my children are growing, how they’re changing and how their view of life is being formed.  I don’t want to lose my influence with them.  We were “wired” for relationships, first with our Heavenly Father, but then with the family we have been given.  What’s replacing that though is the constant access we have to everything else, things that distract us from what really important and moments that make a difference.  I started thinking, ‘Am I really training up these children in the way they should go?’  or am I lost in my own cyber world leaving them to find their own way?

I know that all the advancements in technology has not made life worse, but I do believe we need to be aware of the moments we may be missing if we get our priorities mixed up.  I made a decision:  I will make sure my relationship with God is first and then I will make sure I’m not just asking questions to create meaningless conversation, but I will allow God to show me what questions to ask to bring us closer into relationship with Him and with each other.

 

Take Care

Written by: Cindy Morrone

If we could sit across from one another, sipping our favourite beverages, the first thing I’d like to ask you is, “How are you?”

I would expect a curt answer at first.  My prayer would be that as our drinks dwindled and our conversation deepened, we could share more honestly.

If you’d let me, I would be honoured to listen to your heart.

And I’d pray again, that you’d be willing to hear mine, without judgement or condemnation.

As I shared with you how I can become burdened in the everyday, how I worry about my loved ones, how lonely I am sometimes and how I just can’t meal plan, I’d so appreciate you earnestly encouraging me to take care.

We’d remember the importance of the analogy drawn from the flight attendant’s instruction, in case of emergency, of first putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

And we’d wonder out loud why we don’t do that as we should and then find ourselves depleted, worn-out and without joy.

We’d lament about how long it’s been since we’d laughed, read a book, tobogganed, danced in the kitchen with our precious ones, or dated our husbands.

Together, it would slowly dawn on us, because we both know the Word and are attuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that we’ve tried to do it all on our own; in our own way and in our own strength….  Like we could.

We haven’t taken care.

Like a confirmation explosion, we’d recall, Jesus’ second commandment with the first being loving our God with all we got, found in Mark 12:31, “The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love……yourself.

With empty cups, our disclosing would end with each encouraging the other to take care and we’d set our next coffee date, knowing full well that such a friendship is part of loving oneself.

Our Provider —Part Two

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

Does God really care about every detail of our lives? Even the ones that seem small and insignificant, the mundane?

To that question, I would say yes! God created us. He loves us.  He knows us and knows how we are wired, what makes us tick. He knows our likes and dislikes, the things that bring us sorrow and joy.  And He cares.

The Bible tells us in Luke 12: 6,7 “What is the price of five sparrows…two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So, don´t be afraid. You are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. “

There are many stories I could share but I want to share a couple that happened recently.

Recently we had a cold snap here in Honduras. I was freezing! I didn’t seem to have enough “warm” clothes. I know it might be hard to believe but it does get cold here. When the temperature drops to 12° and you have no way to heat your cinder block home with ceramic tile and windows that are not air tight…that’s cold.  Especially when the wind blows.  Even our dog was shivering!  We bundled up with quilts and blankets…so thankful to have them!  I commented to my husband that I needed to buy a long sleeved shirt because I had none.

The next day I was at a ladies Bible study when my friend, who hosts the study in her home brought out  a long sleeved t shirt that had been a gift to her daughter for Christmas.  However it wasn’t her style and her daughter didn’t really like it. It was the perfect size and she gave it to me. I now have a long sleeved shirt and it didn’t cost me anything.

And then there is my friend Debi Cowan’s story. She is a missionary in Roatan. Below is her story that she shared on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Lately we have been bringing our lunch to the shop and today I forgot it at home. Bob said, “Don’t worry honey, God will provide.” Since I am not eating wheat or anything fried that pretty much cuts out street food.  I admit I looked at him with some skepticism!!

I said to Bob “I didn’t eat enough for breakfast I am going out to find a banana”. I checked 2 pulperias but no success!! After about an hour there was a guy on a bike selling fruit and I excitedly ran outside but nope, no bananas!! The vendor said there wasn’t any bananas on the island!! I know!!! Boo hoo! 

At the time there was a family in the shop and they overheard me talking to Bob about the banana dilemma and my growing hunger. Suddenly the man walked up to me and handed me a banana. A beautiful, non -bruised, almost perfect banana!!!  His wife said they brought one banana off the ship and nothing else. A Royal Caribbean!!!

Even as she threw it in her beach bag she thought “Why am I taking this?! We probably won’t eat it”. She laughed and said “I guess it was for you!” I smiled and looked at the lovely banana and said “Look it has my name on it”. The little girl looked and I jokingly said, “See, it’s right there!!!”

Does He provide? Yes you just never know right? A banana miracle? Indeed!!!

Matthew 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Finding the Gold: This Is Me

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

“That’s why I refuse to believe that there are ‘special people’ in this world. I think that everybody has special value. Our problem is that we don’t have enough time to find out what is too often hidden.”Carl Lentz, Own The Moment, pg. 74

Over the next three weeks I want to dive into some thoughts the Lord has laid on my heart in response to a few questions I’ve asked a very diverse group of people. We will start with the first question and apply biblical principles while we unpack some of the things I have learned from my friends honest answers. I will share my answers to these questions each week as well. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Question number one:
What top three words would you use to describe how YOU see YOURSELF?

When asking myself this question, I have come up with a few sets of answers that are dependant on which perspective I am looking through. If I am considering how I would describe myself through the lens of Jesus Christ, I may use words such as: loved, forgiven, and free. When looking at myself through the bare eyes of my own heart, my answers are much different.
When we accept Jesus as our personal saviour He hands us the most precious gift: a pair of corrective lenses. These lenses give us the ability to see us as He sees us. The unfortunate part is that the majority of us don’t use these lenses at all. We have full access to them, but we choose to keep looking through the blind eyes we were born with.

Of the twenty people I invited to take my survey, the following are their responses.
Failure, organized, caring, optimist, nice, short, strong, caring, peaceful, strong, beautiful, spiritual, dedicated, loving, uncertain, thoughtful, generous, compassionate, struggling, trying, confused, brave, strong, fun, encourager, Jesus-follower, servant, confident, dependable, honest, redeemed, loved, valued, strong-willed, determined, broken, passionate, busy, loving, compassionate, loyal, independent, christian, father, grandfather, courteous, impulsive, busy, head-strong, traditional, reserved, overweight, shy, unfashionable.

As you can see I have bolded three of the fifty-seven words that came in. Of the twenty people surveyed, only ONE person responded with words intentionally describing who they are through the lens of Jesus Christ. (My personal answers: creative, insecure, trustworthy). For the most part the words my friends used to describe themselves are great words. There is nothing wrong with being generous, loving, loyal or caring—those are all really great things. However, if the words we choose to BEST describe who we are are not viewed through those corrective lenses…then we will offer nothing more than who we were before Christ to our lives and the people around us. It is important to know who we are in Christ and then live that way.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”1 Peter 2:9

Some of my very favourite Christian heroes are those who are confident in who they are in Christ. These people believe that because of Christ, above all else, they are redeemed, forgiven, loved, valued and free. They live their lives this way…knowing that along the way their imperfect human nature will cause them to stumble sometimes—but their stumbling will not define who they are. Their position in Christ remains the source of their identity. They have found the gold, they have uncovered what so many of us keep hidden. Their example pushes me to want a better way of thinking for myself…and it makes me want to be that same example for those people in my life.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”Romans 15:7

Let’s work on living our lives they way Jesus intended.