Browsing Category

No Words Before His Word Challenge

Simply...Living For Him

The Beauty of a Stinky Barn

I spent a good part of the afternoon with my little farmer boy cleaning out the goat pens. What a job! Phew. Not only is it smelly and gross, but it is also HARD work. I haven’t done this job before, but he sure has. As we shoveled and made trips back and forth with the wheelbarrow, he looked over at me with a grin ear to ear and said, “I LOVE this job.”

As I was knee high in hay and goat “stuff” I wasn’t so sure that was how I would describe my feelings at the moment 😉 but then as I looked around…and took it all in…yeah, I could say that I loved it too.

Now, I didn’t enjoy the stink or the scraping “stuff” off the floor, or the heavy lifting of every load into the wheelbarrow, but yes…spending time with my little one and realizing, this is truly his passion. He loves these animals. He loves taking care of them. He loves hard work. 

What could be better?

So, yes, our classroom today was a stinky barn. But the lessons inside there were beautiful:

  • Hard work
  • Togetherness
  • Doing a job and doing it well
  • Caring for God’s creatures
  • Diligence
  • Having fun while working
  • Humility and serving
  • …and the list goes on!

In an age of screens and a culture of self-centeredness and always choosing the quick and easy…I’ll take these lessons any day.

I love this simple life. Stinky barns and all…

Oh, and one more lesson...we now have a goat in heat. Um, don’t ask me how I know…but I do. So there was that discussion. That’s a whole other blog post for another day! 😉  

Simply...Living For Him

Choose The Gospel Over Gossip

I have been writing about living out real and authentic relationships with other sisters in Christ as we work on our SLFH #No Filter Women’s Events. I have talked about getting offline and spending face to face time with others, and today I want to address another topic that may be difficult, but necessary.

Gossip.

I wrote about this recently on Facebook:

What’s worse than gossiping with your friends?
Gossiping with your husband.
What’s worse than gossiping with your husband?
Gossiping with your kids.
We may not realize it, but just because it’s in private with our family doesn’t mean it’s ok. We are raising the next generation. Be role models who walk the walk. Gossip does not bring glory to God. It doesn’t consider others above ourselves (as the Bible tells us to do.)
Gossip also makes us lose our integrity. It automatically makes someone distrust you. Because if you’re talking with someone about others, chances are you will talk ABOUT that someone with OTHERS. When I hear someone gossiping, I wonder what they are saying about me when I’m not around.
Everyone talks about the culture going downhill and the generations we are raising being doomed. I say NO. We can change the culture and the generations to come by standing up for Truth, living differently, living with love, honor, respect, and integrity. We can truly care for others above ourselves. And if we do that, why would we want to speak negatively about others? Our intentions should be for their well being. Too often our own well being comes first and we put others down to make ourselves feel better.

And please don’t think I’m immune. I’ve struggled with this area. Quite a bit! It’s too “normal” for our culture to engage in this behavior. But I’ve made it a point to steer my conversations, especially those within the walls of my home with my family, down a path that is honorable to God and others. It takes work and intention. But it is necessary.
I told a story recently about many years ago how I found myself in an awful situation all because of my words. My ugly self was clear for all to see and since then I have always remembered, my thoughts dictate my behavior. Want to stop gossip? Start with having good thoughts about others.

Want to share something with others? Share the Gospel. Not gossip. You just might change the world! 💫

Really, if we want to build strong Christian friendships- the kind that I think can change the culture- we need to purposely and intentionally eliminate gossip.

Because friendship can never develop true trust otherwise. Let me explain.

If I have a deep dark struggle or an issue that I want to confide in with someone, it becomes extremely difficult to do so when I haven’t developed mutual trust. And it is really hard to trust someone when I see them talking (gossiping) about others. 

I remember many years ago mentioning to another sister in Christ that I had some difficult past issues. Her response as her eyes lit up was, “Do tell…” like it was some sort of juicy detail that she wanted to be dished out. I didn’t tell.

In fact, I sat in my shame longer. I had observed the way this person talked about others when they weren’t around and it assured me that my struggle and issue I wanted to confide in someone, could not be her, because her behavior led me to believe that I could become the object of a juicy conversation with others. 

Because if someone is talking about others with you, chances are they are talking about you with others.

Do you see what I mean? It isn’t just the negative aspect of gossiping in itself that I am talking about. It is the consequences. You lose your integrity. Your trustworthiness. And a friendship that could have bloomed may never get off the ground because friendships need to be built on a rock solid foundation of trust- better yet, they need to be built on the Rock– Jesus. He should be the foundation of our friendships and how we behave.

So I challenge you this week- be a trustworthy friend. Build friendships that can share the deepest and even darkest feelings in confidence. Never ever break that confidence. We all struggle with this (myself included!) which is why I want to talk about it- the darkness flees when we bring it to Light. So, yes, it is a struggle, but admitting it and calling it out is the first step! 

Sisters that want to live out the Gospel have integrity. They are trustworthy. And they truly do consider another sister’s needs above their own.

I believe if we can build these kinds of godly friendships, we can change the culture. It sure needs it.

Want to bring a SLFH #No Filter Women’s event to your area? These day events are meant to equip and inspire as we live as true sisters in Christ. We share in each others’ joys and lift each other in hardship.
Contact me for more info
karen@simplylivingforhim.com

 

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.