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Simply…Living For Him

Simply...Living For Him

We’ve Made Our World Smaller, But We Are Further Apart

It’s a paradox. We have made our world smaller in the age of social media. We can connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time. In any given moment, we can know what is going on thousands of miles away. I recently had my kids in awe when I told them about the newspapers growing up…the morning and evening news. We needed both because news changed during the day, so the later edition kept up with that. But the irony is, that 100 years before then you were happy to get news from around the world in a few days time, let alone morning to evening. That seemed like lightning speed!

It’s all relative I guess. When you can get the world news right as it happens these days.

Yet, here we are with the world at our fingertips (literally) and with connections to people instantaneous. And at times it can be a beautiful thing.

I have found, though, that even though the world has become smaller, we are further apart. Because I can communicate via sentences or even a few words (or abbreviations!) I have no need to go out and spend time with a friend. I can shoot them a text. A praying emoji. A thumbs up…

While it is a blessing to have communication so accessible and fast, it does bring a few hindrances.

For example:

~I can quickly type, “Praying for you…” Or I can meet up with a friend, grab hold of their hand, and pray with them.
~I can type, “Hey, how are you?” Or I can stop over my friend’s house to see how they really are.
~I can comment on a facebook post about a controversial subject and get all flustered. Or I can civilly discuss the issues in real life, hear them out, eye to eye, heart to heart and perhaps find some common ground. And if not, at least we heard each other out.
~I can send an emoji or I can give a hug, kiss, wink, or whatever it is in REAL life!

Do you see what I mean?

Relationships have become one-dimensional. We are losing the tone of voice, depth of heart, and face to face. We are often losing the intention behind words. We are losing depth of soul in relationships for a quick and easy connection.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore social media. The countless connections I have made online due to my media presence is exceptional. I am forever grateful, yet there’s a place for it. We can’t leave our connections in a digital world. It needs to be carried into our real world. And for the times that isn’t possible, then digital is grand. But don’t let it replace the times when it is possible.

Some of the best conversations take place around the kitchen table. Not on instant messenger. The original group chat was a coffee klatch! 

Let’s go back to the way generations before lived out a community.

The world is changing, and not for the better. We are becoming divided and bitter and introverted.

But I believe we can change the world from the inside out if we were to really go back to a community that is built on relationships the way God intended.

Living life together. In real life. Sharing each other’s joys and struggles. Walking together.

We just might understand each other better. We will get a FULL picture of someone else’s life. Not just a one-dimensional view. We hear the tone, we hear where they are coming from, we see the look in their eyes. It all matters.

 

I encourage you to go out of your comfort zone and get offline and in real LIFE.

Invite someone over. Stop by a friend’s house. Meet up for coffee, break bread together, laugh, cry, and linger. Build relationships. Say words, don’t just type them. Be a listener, not just a reader. Let’s do this!

SLFH #NoFilter Women’s Day Events are coming to foster just this idea. If you are interested in bringing an event to your church, women’s group, or wherever you need…please contact me at karen@simplylivingforhim.com. We want to provide an event to encourage your women to live with No Filters and live in REAL life as true sisters in Christ. We want to equip you to then lead the women in your life to continue meeting together, living together, and loving Jesus together!

 

Simply...Living For Him

The Power of One

We can never underestimate one single detail of our lives. Truly. We have no idea what one small step or decision can make to affect the future exponentially.

Let me explain.

22 Years Ago

About 22 years ago, as I was coming out of the pit of despair that I had lived in up until I met Steve.  I had moved out of my apartment above the deli and into a much better place. I had found a job in a health spa. Now, even those details are crazy. Because I didn’t like the job. I was there because it was the only job I could get with my nutrition degree at the time. And every day I almost quit.

Until one day, while I was there, I met “an angel.” A young woman just about my age was hired around the same time that I had been hired. I had never in my life met anyone like her. She radiated something that was different. I know now that it was Christ’s love, but then, all I saw was something that truly drew me to her.

The details of this are quite unreal. Had I met her a year or two before, I probably would have been more repelled than drawn into her spirit…but just before I met her, my life had hit rock bottom, and I cried out to (an unknown) God at the time, because I didn’t want to live the life I was living anymore the way I was living it. I didn’t really know God but I was desperate for relief, so I cried out to him. Shortly after, I met Steve and I also started to attend church again. I had gone as a child/teen and I wanted to find my way back. And then I met her…

I Was Ready

God knew I was ready and sent this angel at the right time.

So here she was, a beautiful woman, who just exuded joy. In everything she spoke about, Jesus always came up. She had this contagious joy. A glow about her.

When I heard her talk about God, I mentioned that I had just started attending church again and was trying to get my life back on track. She spoke to me about Jesus and invited me to her home to share the Bible with me. That led to many Friday nights either visiting her church (which was quite different than any church I had known 😉 ) or she would invite several of the young twenty-somethings from work over on Friday nights to her home after work to read the Bible. And we all actually chose that over the bars and clubs! She would pray for me right there at work. She would pray for clients right there in the middle of the spa. Or co-workers. She was always talking about Jesus!

I’ll never forget when she visited my apartment one evening and Steve was in the other room. Right there in the midst of our conversation, she broke out into a hymn. Steve peered around the corner like, “What on earth is going on?” Ha! Oh, but there was something about this JOY she had.

One day I mentioned that I really liked the dress she was wearing. The next day she appeared at my door with a pile of clothes that she no longer wanted and the dress was right there on top. That’s the way she was!

She took the time to really get to know me. She invested in me. She asked questions about who I was and where I had been. I asked her to sing at my wedding and as we would get together weeks before the wedding and chat, one of those conversations really got deep. I told her I didn’t deserve to have this wedding to this man who was so good to me. I told her (without too many details) of the horrific things I had done and how much utter darkness I had lived in before. She explained that is why Jesus came. If we truly believe that He is the Son of God and we repent from our sins and want to be saved, we are born again. He gives us a brand new life.

My reply was, “That’s a good story but it is too good to be true. You don’t know the things I have done. Forgiveness can’t be for me.”

She assured me that it was. And she left it at that.  She never “preached” or forced anything or dispelled my skewed beliefs at the time. She simply loved me and spoke the truth. And pointed me to the Word. She left the rest to God. He is the One who ultimately woke me up. But He used her to share the truth.

Eventully I was married and had my first baby and Steve and I really started to study the Bible and got involved in a solid Bible-believing church. Our faith grew as did our family. More children were born. We moved.  This young woman and I eventually went from a weekly phone call to a monthly call, to none at all. I believe she moved at one point and I never got her new information. And eventually, we lost touch. I even tried to find her on facebook but to no avail.

The Impact of ONE

But, here’s the thing. And hear me on this loud and clear. Do you see the impact this ONE woman had on many? Not only did she change the trajectory of my life, but I then went on to raise my children to know Jesus. Years later, here I am with an active and thriving ministry reaching thousands of people online every week, and speaking around the country meeting hundreds of people a year…to point them to Jesus.  And who knows how many people those people will affect!

And my kids will go on to have kids...and their kids, and their kids and so on. All being taught the truth of Jesus.

In the end, can you even imagine how many lives will know Jesus all because of this ONE person?

All because of one person. Taking one step. To share the love of God. Naturally. And truly.

This woman shared it with me because it flowed out from her and you can tell there was no stopping it or even forcing it out. It was just there, naturally emanating from her being.

If we all could only do that. Live our lives for JESUS. Oh, the impact we would make. Forgetting what others think. Not getting caught up in the details. But living and loving like Jesus. Because we can’t help ourselves! 

If I never do find her here on earth, we sure have some big celebrating to do when we get to Heaven. And I can’t wait.

Simply...Living For Him

Sheltering

We have a garden greenhouse. Last year Steve ordered seeds and began the little seedlings inside in their little pods. He waited for the day to be able to put them outside into the big garden. But it was a process.

He would have me check the temperature of the greenhouse and make sure the conditions were not too harsh. He cared for those seedlings carefully and intentionally. They certainly weren’t ready for the ground as seeds, and as seedlings, they needed to be strong enough to be transplanted. And even within the greenhouse, they needed to be kept at the perfect conditions to strengthen them.

They were taken outside into the sunshine during the day but were taken back into the protection of the greenhouse at night. They were given doses of the outside with just the right amount of protection until they were ready.

If we had tried to transplant those seedlings into the big garden right away, they would have shriveled and died. They wouldn’t have been prepared and their roots were not strong enough. They would not have survived extremes in weather or unexpected conditions.

But then the day came. Once they were ready…they were taken from the protective greenhouse and planted into the garden and we watched them thrive.

They grew. They produced. They did what God created them to do.

And just like my children…they are seedlings in the greenhouse that will one day be transplanted when they are ready.

For the age-old argument that homeschool is sheltering- yes, in a sense it is. Who wouldn’t protect their kids from what they were not prepared for? In a way, our homeschool and our home have been that greenhouse. We’ve exposed them bits at a time without putting them into that garden permanently until they weren’t ready.

But here we are, getting ready to transplant the first seedling this year. She will be graduating homeschool and I am more than confident that she is prepared for life.

I patiently wait for the day when we will transplant that seedling into the big garden. Ready to plant those roots down firmly in the soil and grow. And grow tall. Reaping a harvest. And thriving as God intended.

 

Simply...Living For Him

It is All Fading

A few days before Christmas we were out shopping– the stores were packed, the shelves were packed, and people were all striving to find those last minute perfect gifts. Everything looked so shiny and inviting. Each aisle promised excitement and satisfaction. It was easy to give in to the temptation to spend and to buy. Everything in sight held the promise of enjoyment.

At that moment the energy was high, it was palpable in every store. The excitement of the sparkly items was evident.

 

A few days after Christmas, we walked into those very same stores. The very same aisles. I was taken aback by the stark contrast. Just days before, what was so alluring and pretty was now a disheveled, hollow, and stark space. Most of the shelves were empty, but what was left was a mess…and those sparkly shiny objects? Now they looked different. They no longer held the promise of must-haves, but they were marked down to 90% off just to get rid of them. No one was interested in them anymore. They didn’t seem so exciting. Many were now broken and tattered.

A stark contrast indeed.

Isn’t’ that the irony of this world? We want and want. Things clamor for our attention. They seem so inviting and so alluring. And so quickly, what captivated us at first, fades away and becomes old in an instant. What was so coveted becomes a throwaway item just like that. The anticipation, the joy, the excitement of the pre-holiday rush melted into a heap of exhaustion or relief that it was over.

It’s like the white glistening of a fresh snowfall. We marvel in its beauty and sparkle and pure whiteness, and just days later we trudge through the brown slush. Everything on this earth fades. We can never hold onto it. Whether it is a new gift, fresh snow, or even a feeling at the beginning of something new. It all fades. The very things we anticipate so fully pass by so quickly and are just memories.

We simply can not hold onto things of this life. We can’t hold onto things that aren’t permanent. We are always moving forward away from this earth and toward the one thing that will never fade- eternity.

As we go into the new year, my prayer is to live like Jesus. To seek after things that matter. To let Him use each moment of my life for His glory and His purposes.

May I not get caught up in the shiny objects of the here and now, but keep my eyes fixed on the one thing that will remain long after all else has faded.