Confession: Church people freak me out a little bit.

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Photo credit: Lisa Snell Photography.

I use to think church people had their lives together.
So I stayed away from the church.

They few times I accidentally ended up in one I just smiled and kept my eyes from making real contact with anyone. I thought my clothes weren’t right and my kids weren’t lined up perfectly the way they were supposed to be.
I never spoke to anyone because I didn’t want them to find out what a mess my family was or that my marriage was a little out of whack…scratch that, a LOT out of whack.
I thought I needed to tame my hair, hide my tattoos, and buy nice church clothes in order to fit in.
I didn’t want to learn about Jesus because I thought he was for the good people, the ones that dressed right, acted right, lived clean lives, and knew all the verses in the bible. I didn’t want to be rejected by Jesus because I couldn’t get my life together.

Then I met a “church lady” and she was real with me. She sat me down one day and told me what a mess her house was, physically and emotionally. She was real and honest and showed me that you can be broken and Jesus still sees you. I love you for that, Barbara. You saved me.

So I took off my mask.
I realized I wasn’t made to fit in and that’s okay.

I often get asked why I tell my story, good and bad. I get asked if I worry about what people are going to think when they learn about where I’ve been and what I’ve done.
Nope. I sure don’t.
God already knows what I’ve done and what I’ve been through and he loves me anyways. He forgives me and adores me and that’s the beauty about following Jesus.
You can come to him frayed and stained and he opens his arms wide open.

I’ve learned how important it is to not pretend to be something that I’m not.
My kids will never be dressed in church clothes, whatever those are. On that note, I’ll always be the girl in church who makes people wonder what the hell I was thinking when I got dressed that morning.
I’ll always have a tattoo peeking out somewhere.
My house will never be clean, like never ever.
There will always be a wrinkle in my marriage.
I’ll always need forgiveness for something.
I’ll always need to forgive something.

But here’s the beauty of church.
It’s filled with messy church people.
It’s a place for the broken to gather.

If you’re showing up to church feeling like you need to fit in or put on your best face, let that lie go!.
The people on the outside looking in need to know how messy we are.
We need to set an example of brokenness.
We need to show that we are the hurting and Jesus is the healer.
We need to take our masks off for the sake of those who don’t know Jesus but are desperate for what he has to offer.

If you’re on the outside looking in let me tell you about the people inside.

The pastor is a sinner.
The youth leader sometimes wants to throat chop the teenagers.
The Sunday school teachers loves the little kids but doesn’t always like them.
The marriage counselor sometimes wonders why the hell they, themselves, ever got married in the first place.
The lady preaching to the women’s group cusses a little too much and enjoys adult beverages with dinner (sorry, that one’s me.)
Every person in the building has something they need to stop clinging to and hand over to Jesus.

To the people inside the church,
There’s a lady hiding in the back pew. She’s desperate for truth and honesty. Her marriage is a mess and she spanked her kids in the parking lot for not acting like humans. She needs you. She needs you to kneel next to her and say “We’re all jacked up in here. Sorry for pretending like we aren’t. You belong here. Our sweet Jesus loves you just the way you are. Welcome home.”

Be where you are right now. Letting go and being present.

 

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My daughter is probably going to get bullied when she starts middle school in 2 years. She has autism and is different from the other kids. The older they get the more obvious it becomes and middle school is a brutal time for any child.  I think about it all the time and am constantly trying to figure out how to prevent it, save her, change the challenges she faces.

My other daughter is a little over a year away from entering college. I lose sleep at night worrying about her leaving the nest and being on her own. I budget our entire lives every single night trying to figure out how we’re going to afford her school.

My son starts kindergarten in a few years and I can’t decide where he will go to school. Will we keep him in the school all of our other children have gone to or will we put him in the one that’s closer to home? I try to finalize our decision every time I pass the school that’s near us…and that’s every single day.

We have a life changing event headed our way, something that will completely change our family dynamics. The change is coming, it’s out of our control, but I’ve lost hours and hours of sleep wondering how we can stop it or change it. I will myself to travel back in time and fix the moment it was broken.

In the middle of a conversation about all the possibilities of what might or might not happen in the future, my sweet friend looked me in the eyes and said “Just be where you are right now. You can be somewhere else later.”

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I’m losing precious time.
I’m stealing my very own joy right out of my own hands.
I’m robbing my family of having their mom and wife be fully present.
When I take myself out of the now to worry about the maybe, I miss out on what I have right in front of me.

I’m changing my outlook today. I’m going to choose to be where I am right now. I’m going to have the courage and faith to let go and be present right now, where I am and with who I’m with .

I’m not going to let worry of the future steal the joy I have in the moments that are in my sight, in the air I’m currently filling my lungs with. I’m taking my peace back and I’m giving it to the people who are in my life right now and deserve to have the current me, not the one that’s stressing about what might be. I’m not going to miss out on the small moments that hold so much happiness. All the tiny moments combined are what form the most beautiful stained glass and I don’t want to miss a single piece of it.

We have a choice to be fully present.
We have a choice on what our attitude will reflect.
We can choose joy in the now or fear for the future.

I choose joy. 

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I have no idea what tomorrow holds but I know that from now on I will just be where I am right now. I can be somewhere else later.

 

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We must be aware and vigilant …. Hooters Girls are teaching our kids!!

I’m a Hooters girl!

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My Hooters tribe

Okay, I WAS a Hooters girl but we’re lifers, man.
I wore the panty hose, shorts, tank tops (that had to be tied up in the 90’s so your tummy would show) and tied a bandana around my waist (yes, it fit way back then). I was there for two years. I supported myself well, had a ton of fun and met amazing people. My customers there were far less inappropriate towards me than some of the customers I had at the “normal” chain restaurant where I worked for years. The men I worked with were more respectful than some of the men I worked with at my corporate sales job. My best and all time favorite customer was my 80 year old grandma who visited me once a week, always brought me a gift and had a plate full of mild wings. The managers were kind and caring and made sure we were always comfortable and respected.

I made solid friendships with some pretty amazing women who, at the time, were putting themselves through school, dating or married to super awesome men, mothers to the sweetest children and honest, loving friends to me which can be hard to find. Those same women are still my friends and are nurses (yes, they’re caring for you and your family members), teachers (yep, they’re out there educating your children),engineers,taxidermist (I know but she’s still cool), restaurant general managers, kick booty stay at home moms, business owners and so much more. They all have hearts of gold and always have. They’re all amazing women and always have been.

Parents/people are free to be offended by, well, everything these days and this post isn’t about them.

To the company and people who donated money and their time to an organization in an effort to do good and provide a great experience for a bunch of kids, a tip of the hat to you. To the women who spent their day off cheerfully doing projects with the kids (while wearing appropriate shorts, t-shirts, hoodies and hats), thank you for volunteering in your community and doing good in a time when we are seeing and hearing about so much hate and evil in the world. I’ll gladly read about your generosity over news about the lack of humanity and kindness that is spreading like wildfire around the world. Can’t we applaud the good for once. Hooters, you did a good thing and if I could squeeze my booty back into my uniform and cheer you on I would but come on, the shorts probably don’t fit over my ankle anymore. Good on you, Hooters, good on you.

When you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You’re a duck!

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20,000 ducks took the plunge into the beautiful river that flows through our downtown. We sat under an umbrella on the bank and watch them start to make their way downstream.

Our family had 12 ducks in the charity duck race that helps employee the homeless. We knew our chances of winning were slim but the excitement of watching the ducks and knowing that we were helping our homeless community was good enough for us.

Firemen stood at the drop site and gave the ducks a start by showering them with the powerful fire-hoses.

They were off!

I noticed that one little duck somehow got wedged under the rock of the river bank and couldn’t move with the rest of the racers.

One of the firefighters noticed too.

He put his hose on that little duck and would not give up. It seemed like it wasn’t going to budge, but neither was that firefighter. He was relentless and kept trying to free the stuck duck.

I wondered why he was wasting so much time on that one little duck. After all, 19,999 ducks made it and were on their way to the finish line.

He didn’t give up.

After most of the ducks had already finished the race that one little duck finally escaped the rocky bank and was on its way down the river.

He might not have been the duck that crossed the finish line first but he had someone who did not give up on getting him back in the race.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:4-7

Like the firefighter who refused to give up on the little duck stuck on the rocks, Your heavenly Father refuses to give up on you. Even as His children run towards the finish line singing His name in glory, if He has one child that is left behind He will go back for that child.

You’re His duck. He will never leave you wedged in a place that you can not escape from. He will rescue you. He will make sure that you are able to get in the race and head towards the finish line.

You are so worthy in His eyes that He could never abandon you in your time of need. That is when He focuses His eyes on you, points the powerful hose and relentlessly tries to free you from the river bank.

He will not leave you.
He will rescue you.
He will never give up on you.

You are His duck.

In the moments when we feel abandon we can always turn our eyes to our Lord and know that we are not alone.

Today you’re a duck.

Let’s pray

Heavenly Father thank you for your relentless quest for our love and safety. Help us rest in knowing that You will never leave us and that even in our deepest moments of despair You always have a plan for us that is more beautiful than anything we could ever dream of. Thank you for the cross. In Jesus name, amen.

None of our ducks won the great race but our girls had a blast and we enjoyed the day together as a family. What I didn’t enjoy was the duck noise makers that my husband proudly bought for the girls..

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Today is the day. I’m finally pushing my teenager off of a cliff!

When she was 5 years old I would drop her off early for school because I had to head to work. Her school was huge and it was usually dark when I dropped her off. She would fearlessly shut the car door behind her and I’d watch through the window as she made her way up the stairs to the cafeteria. Her backpack was bigger than she was and her pigtails would swing from side to side.

She was so proud of herself and had no idea that my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

I wanted to hold her hand and walk her up. I wanted to wait until the very last-minute, right before the tardy bell rang and then open the car door to send her on her way. I wanted to keep her home with me but I couldn’t, I had to let her go.

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When she was in 3rd grade we sent her to day camp. A bus would pick her up at church and drive her to a neighboring city where she would spend the day outside doing various camp activities and then the bus would bring her home that same night. I would wait in the parking lot of the church an hour before I knew the bus would be there. I wanted to be first in line.

The first day after camp she got in the car and announced that she had volunteered to say the prayer during lunch. My little 9-year-old daughter, who was in the youngest group at camp, confidently raised her hand to say the prayer for the hundreds of kids who were ready to chow down.

She was so proud of herself and had no idea that my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

I wanted to  make her hang out with me all day. I wanted to take her to the zoo and see a movie. I wanted to keep her home with me but I couldn’t, I had to let her go.

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When she was in 5th grade she got the lead role in the school play. She swelled with pride and spent hours going over her lines. She would come into our room and rehearse the entire play while my husband and I sat and listened.

The night of the play she proudly put on her costume, gave me a kiss and headed backstage. She didn’t miss a beat. She nailed the play. There was a standing ovation and she proudly took a bow.

She was so proud of herself and had no idea that my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

I didn’t want to send her backstage.  I was scared she would forget her lines. I was worried she might trip or fall or completely melt down. I wanted to keep her in the audience safe with me but I couldn’t, I had to let her go.

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The summer before her freshman year she started volleyball training with the high school girls. We woke up at the crack of dawn and I drove her to the new, gigantic high school to drop her off at camp. She pulled up her knee pad, threw her hair in a ponytail and hopped out of the car. With barely a wave she practically skipped to the gym.

She was fearless in that gym. She put everything she had into her game and never back down from the older and more experienced players. She played harder than she ever had and even though she was sore and pouring sweat, she competed like a champion.

She was so proud of herself and had no idea that my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

I wanted to home school her. I wanted to tell her to stay away from the older kids and to call me if she was scared. I wanted to tell her that it was okay to be the new guy. I wanted to keep her home with me but I couldn’t, I had to let her go.

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Today I’m dropping her off at church so she can go on her first mission trip with the high school group. They’re headed to New Orleans to spread the love of Jesus and be His hands and feet. They’re camping out at a church, sleeping on cots and being fed by the sweet people of the church. They’ll be painting, preaching and cleaning, not necessarily in that order.

Last night we packed her bag. She eagerly threw clothes in my direction and I sorted through what she would and wouldn’t need. She laid a huge pile of toiletries on the bed and I put what she truly needed in a ziplock before packing it away. She added three pairs of shoes to the luggage and I removed two. Then she carefully placed her bible in her backpack, next to her snacks and phone.

She was so proud of herself and had no idea that my heart was breaking into a million pieces.

I want to tell her not to go. I want to remind her not to talk to strangers and always travel in groups. I want to write her name on the inside of everything she takes. I want to follow the bus to the edge of the city limits. I want to keep her home with me but I can’t, I have to let her go.

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Today I’m pushing my daughter off of a cliff and I can’t wait to watch her fly.

This is what God has called her to do.
This is her passion.
This is her mission

She is so proud of herself and has no idea that my heart is breaking into a million pieces.

She’s been preparing herself for this day for 15 years. I wish I would have done the same.

There goes my girl.

Please pray for her trip. Pray for safe travels, comfy cots, yummy food and open eyes. Pray for the people they meet and the projects they take on. Pray that they are able to be the hands and feet of Christ. Pray for the people they meet, that their hearts will be open to God’s word. Pray for the parents left behind whose hearts are breaking into a million pieces. 

The one and only true remedy for sleepless nights. Proven 100% effective.

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Losing Precious Time

My head hit the pillow at 8:24pm and I was sure to fall asleep instantly since I could hardly keep my eyes open since 5:30. Of course by 8:27 my eyes were wide open and my mind was going a thousand miles a minute.

What time does Stiles need to get to practice in the morning?

Did I brush my teeth?

Should I get up and pee now or chance it and try to make it until the morning?

I need to set a dentist appointment for our oldest daughter. Oh dang that reminds me, two of the triplets failed their vision test and need to go get an eye exam at the ophthalmologist. How are we going to pay for that?

How are we going to pay our mortgage, our bills, our child support, buy our groceries, buy the kids clothes, pay for gas?

Our fourth fundraiser packet just came home in the kids back packs. It’s school pictures time. Stiles needs a band shirt, a volleyball shirt, a student council shirt and a safety team shirt. How are we going to swing that.

I wonder if everyone can see my grey hairs? How much is it to color my hair? Should I just get one of those at home box colors?

How much does a tummy tuck cost these days?

I snap out of it and remind myself that I have to get up at 5:00am and need to shut down my brain and get some sleep. I take a peek at the clock. DANG IT! Did I really just lay here for 3 hours and worry about what I have to face tomorrow. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

I have to pee. I should have done it three hours ago.

Back to bed. Glance a the clock again. Serious, I now am four hours away from my alarm going off.

I finally crash.

After what seems like a few short minutes my alarm starts beeping. I cussed at it.

After thirty minutes of snoozing, I fell out of bed to face my day.

The Rising Of The Sun

Much to my surprise the sun came up. The weather was amazing. I stayed home with my daughters and we did crafts. My mom treated us to lunch. We took a walk. We went to church. We all attacked dad and fake karate chopped him. I pretended to be a blind monster and chased the girls around the house. I even got a little work in and paid a bill or two. We all went to sleep with tummies full of food and souls full of faith.

My sleepless dark night of fear was a waste of my time. God remained faithful to me with the rising of His Son.

He tells us flat-out not to worry. He’s got this covered. If He tells us that this is true then why do we do it anyway. Check out one of the most comforting verses.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25-28

Take a look at that last line again. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” .

Wasting Time

What a fool I was for wasting three hours of precious sleep time worrying about how I was going to provide. How my husband was going to provide.

Why didn’t I just remind myself that He provides. He takes care of me. He sent His son to walk before me.
I haven’t just lost sleep in my dark hours, I’ve lost days, weeks, months, years.

I’ve spent far too much time stuck in the dark, wondering what was going to happen to me. Wondering how I was going to make it. Stressing about who I was going to become. If I was ever going to amount to anything.

What an idiot.

I Have a Hero

I have a Savior! I have a Redeemer. I have a Caregiver, a Father, a Shepard and a King to walk me through my darkest hour. All I need to do is be still and have faith.

Are you losing sleep wondering what to do and how to do it? Are you losing days stressing about how you will provide? Are you losing years stuck in your darkest hour?

Be still. Have faith. Say prayers. Do not be anxious. Rest.

God’s got this.

Let’s Pray

“Faithful Father thank you for always providing for our needs. Help us to rest in You and have faith that you will take care of us. Let us not be anxious. Take away our fears and light our darkest hours. When we lay in bed at night losing sleep over things that we are afraid to face, gently remind us that You have already gone before us and have already taken care of it. In Jesus name, amen”.

I’m passing on the hair color and rocking the greys with confidence. My insurances will cover the doctors appointments. Our refrigerator is full of food. The bills are paid, not necessarily on time but paid none the less. Most important, my kids are happy and healthy and my marriage has never been better. I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.

A big thanks to Primary Graffiti

I want to thank Primary Graffiti for featuring me on one of their stories. Thank you for the acknowledgment and for the tweet! Head on over , check them out and follow them on twitter at @PrimaryGraffiti.

Here’s the link to their story page.

Primary Graffiti

 

 

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I’m Right and You’re Wrong.

 

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My sweet friend Lauren graciously wrote for us today. She’s on the mic today, show her some love.  Thank you Lauren!

 

I’m Right and You’re Wrong
There have been a lot opinions flying around my Facebook feeds, comments sections for blogs I follow, in line at Starbucks, and even at church. Not that opinions are anything new, but lately it just seems that there are a large percentage of people who don’t know how to keep their mouths shut. Let me tell you something about all these people around me – they are all wrong. That’s what I said – every single one. Oh, and I’m right. You read correctly. I’m right and you’re wrong. Now before you go and start sending hate mail and hurling your opinions at me, please keep reading to the end.
Everyone has an opinion. I like mac and cheese and the color green and hate the beach and am not super fond of pizza. Those are my opinions. I can still be your friend if you think pizza was God’s greatest gift to the world and the beach is your number one destination for fun. The world is full of differing opinions on politics and ice cream flavors and favorite actors and colors. You can’t escape them. God made each one of us unique, and, even in public school (again, hold the opinions on school) we all learn that everyone is different and unique and we should all get along and hold hands and sing Kum Ba Yah. Having an opinion is normal and 100% okay! I’m just saying there is a fine line between opinions and judgment.
Just for you visual learners out there, here are some examples:
Opinion: I like vanilla ice cream.
Judgment: I can’t believe you don’t like vanilla ice cream. That’s weird.
Opinion: Public schools are best.
Judgment: I feel so sorry for all of those home-school kids. They have no chance at success in life.
I could go on, but you’re smart people, I’m sure you get it. The Bible is full of verses about not being a judgmental ninny (my words, not the Bible). To name a few, Matthew 7:1-5 talks about not judging others who have a speck in their eye when you have a log in yours. John 8:3-11 is the account of when Jesus says the famous “If any one of you is without sin, cast the first stone.” James 4:12 says there is only one judge and, guess what? It isn’t you! Ephesians 4:29 says this: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
That one is my favorite. Allow me to paraphrase, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So stop being a Judge-y Jane (or Joe) and remember the difference between your opinions and judgment.
Remember, way up at the beginning I said that I was right and you were wrong. I’m serious about that. I already touched on the uniqueness of each one of us. I’m sure you are all familiar with Psalm 139: 13 and 14. That’s the one that says God knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb, he created our inmost being (which I am sure included our personalities and ice cream preferences) and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Some translations say remarkably and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t. Even when it seems like He is wrong, trust me, He is right. Not only are we each uniquely made, God has a plan for each of us. Another favorite verse of mine is Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Let me walk you through this.
1. God made each one of us unique
2. God has a plan for each one of us that looks totally different from the plan for anyone else because we are all different (see above)
3. If we are all unique and we each have our own plan laid out for us then the things I do are right for me and then things you do are right for you.
4. You shouldn’t pass judgment on God’s plan for someone else. You are basically telling God he is wrong or made a mistake.
So when you are furious that you are having to make alternative vacation plans because your new sister-in-law hates the beach – stop! God just made her like mountains. When you can’t figure out why none of your kids like sports when you were the star player in high school – stop! God may have given you a poet. And when you are sitting there telling someone who their kids are high maintenance through the anonymity of the online world – stop! They may seem high maintenance to you because they aren’t part of your plan. When you are laying into someone for homeschooling their kids – stop! Homeschooling isn’t for every family and I’m guessing if you are harping on them for choosing it for theirs, it isn’t part of your plan. Obviously, we can’t make the internet understand this concept and it is hard when you are dealing with the negativity and misery of some people. I think that is when we need to stop and pray for them that God moves in their hearts. You can’t change people, but you can change the way you think about others.
Lord, my prayer today is that you teach me to hold my tongue and still my typing fingers when I come across a situation that I am eager to pass judgment on. I thank you that you made me who I am and that you have a plan for me. Please help me to remember that my plan and opinion are unique to me and it is dishonoring to you to pass judgment on your plan for someone else. Amen.

Roll Up The Window

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Funky Feathers and Bulky Beaks

Right outside the city where I live is a wildlife ranch. You can drive your car through the ranch and let the animals come right up to your car so that you can feed them. I think it might be around 7 to 10 miles through the ranch but I honestly do really know.

I used to take my niece there all of the time. It was our favorite thing to do together.

Over the years we had many animal mishaps.
A goat once ate her dress.
A zebra bit my boyfriends arm almost to the point of drawing blood.
One of us may or may not have had an emergency bathroom stop out in the middle of the wildlife.
A longhorn put a dent in the side of my car in an attempt to get food out of our hands.

There is one thing at the ranch that truly terrifies me.

The Ostriches.

To start with, I really don’t like any kind of bird large or small. The way their feathers attach to their skin completely grosses me out. Ostriches are the worst. Their feathers are huge and very spread out so that you can see their skin. EEWW!

That’s not the worst part.

When you drive through the area with the Ostriches they chase you and poke their huge heads into the car. They literally take the entire bag of animal food right out of your hands. They will also peck your head with their huge nasty beaks.

We scream and laugh and then scream some more while we drive through their area. It happens every single time we go. A bag of food gets stolen, someone gets pecked with a beak and I am seriously terrified.

Why didn’t we just roll up the window?

Was it the thrill of the adventure?
Was it the adrenalin rush?
Was it a dare devil move?

I have no idea why we left the windows down.

Roll Up The Window

I put myself through the same feelings over and over in life.

I get stuck in the middle of something that isn’t healthy for me but I can’t seem to just get out.
Why don’t I just roll up the windows?

Dead end job.
Quit and find a new one.

Roll up the window.

Unhealthy relationship with a boyfriend.
Walk away and be single.

Roll up the window.

Mean friends.
Find new ones.

Roll up the window.

Harassing texts.
Block the number.

Roll up the window.

Clothes getting too tight.
Eat healthy, hit the gym

Roll up the window.

Broken spirit.
Face up to heaven.

Roll up the window.

Lost.
Pray.

Roll up the window.

If you’re stuck there’s a way out.
If there is something in your life that you want to change, talk to God. Ask Him for a way, His way. He has it taken care of for you. He’s just waiting for you to roll up the window and trust in Him.

The wind in your hair might not be worth the peck on the head by a giant Ostrich.

Roll up the window.

Let’s pray

Almighty Father thank you for the blanket of protection that you put on us each day. Help us to recognize the things in our lives that do not bring us closer to you and help us to let them go. Teach us how to stand strong  in your great name when the devil tries to take us down.  In Jesus name, amen.

One of my cousins got brave enough to drive through the wildlife ranch with me. He didn’t know about my secret weapon. As I drove through the Ostrich part I rolled down his window, rolled up mine and locked them. It was a long slow ride full of nasty feathers and ugly beaks for him. It was belly laughs for me.