RE:FOCUS – Deep Breaths of Jesus

RE:FOCUS – Deep Breaths of Jesus

It’s Monday morning again. The Monday before Christmas. Life is crazy busy for all of us. No matter what is happening in our lives, we need to slow down and remember why we celebrate. We need to take some deep breaths and focus on Jesus… We need to take a deep breath of patience… when that energetic 4-year-old has worn us down to the point that our bodies feel numb. We need to take a deep breath of forgiveness… when our hearts go to the bitter places in our memories. We need to take a deep breath of worship… when we just need to be reminded that no matter what situation we are in, it is still well with our souls. We need to take a deep breath of peace… when our kids won’t stop fighting. We need to take a deep breath of kindness… when we feel overwhelmed by taking care of everyone. We need to take a deep breath of trust… when we can’t control or understand what’s going on in our lives. We need to take a deep breath of grace… when we are so angry and hurt that we can’t seem to find a way out of the darkness. We need to take a deep breath of love… when the day is hard and we have just forgotten how blessed we are… beyond measure. We need to take deep breaths of Jesus. Just let go and trust. During this Christmas week and in the coming weeks, may we take deep breaths of Jesus. May we remember why He was sent to us. May we remember how much we love...
RE:FOCUS – The Armored Home

RE:FOCUS – The Armored Home

  I wrote this a few years ago and realized this morning that it is an extension of last Monday’s post, so it’s time to share again. This is an area in which I (and I’m sure we all) need to revisit often. Satan is attacking our marriages and families HARD! Let’s keep each other accountable to protect the very gift that God has given each one of us. —————- Armored cars amaze me. How they make those vehicles to withstand bullets, explosions, accidents, etc. is beyond my realm of understanding. These specialized cars serve a purpose… to protect what’s inside. Our homes need to be built with specialized armor, as well, to protect the marriages inside. We live in a fallen, stressful world. Kids, money struggles, out-of-whack priorities, stress, and so many other day-to-day things distract us from ensuring that our Ephesians 6 armor is in place in our homes. But when we put that armor in place, it will change us. It will change our marriages. It will change our children. It will change our lives. So how can we establish this armor in our homes? Here are some practical tools for protection: Pray “without ceasing” for your marriage. Choose your words to each other carefully. Words hurt and can cause permanent damage. Date nights are a must, but so is “couch time” everyday. Carving out some time for each other everyday, just to talk, is imperative for a protected marriage… an armored home. Ask each other regularly, “What can I do to be a better wife/husband?” This opens up communication and gives more opportunities to meet each other’s...
RE:FOCUS – Just Call Me Clarkette

RE:FOCUS – Just Call Me Clarkette

I am the light person in the family. It’s always Mommy’s job to “hurry up” and get the lights on the tree so the rest of the family can jump in and decorate it. Just call me Clarkette Griswold. Well… last night turned into not an easy, calm stringing of the lights… but instead a wrestling match between the bulbs and me! It was just one of those whatever-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong type situations. First, as I walked around the tree stringing up the lights, somehow the plug got caught under the stand and twisted. Okay, back up and un-string. Let’s start again. Then it happened AGAIN! Seriously, I don’t think this has ever happened before. So after the screaming and falling on the floor trying to get the tangles undone, finally the lights were on the tree! Yay! Time to plug them in! So here’s where it got really interesting. The star at the top lit up, but not one of the 400 or so bulbs on the tree came on. But wait. I KNOW I TESTED THESE THINGS! From there, you know what I had to do. I checked each bulb, twisted some in tighter, tested other outlets, and finally got to a point where HALF of each of the two strands were lit. This is still a mystery to me. Now, if you were on Facebook last night, you probably saw my post about this craziness. But, as always, our lives on Facebook don’t tell the whole story. We paint ourselves to look pretty and perfect on social media. So you didn’t see the yelling I did, or the many times I threw...
RE:FOCUS – Clear the Mechanism

RE:FOCUS – Clear the Mechanism

Several years ago, we did an every-Monday blog series called RE:FOCUS that only lasted for about 5 weeks. I must have gotten sidetracked with something else, regrettably. So guess what? It’s time to start up again. As I grow older, I’m realizing more and more that going to church and having a regular quiet time are not the ONLY things that we need to be conscious of doing. Important, yes. But there is more. Life hits hard on Monday morning. When we hit the pavement, it’s essential that we have our focus correctly centered on Christ… and that we keep it there. Focus is a hard concept to master. One of my favorite expressions is “clear the mechanism.”  I love baseball and I love movies, so when the two of them meet, it is pretty incredible!  In For Love of the Game, Kevin Costner is a pitcher who has the ability and discipline to get to a place where everything around him is completely blocked out.  Anytime the voices, people, criticism, noise, or even OUTSIDE thoughts get in the way, he reminds himself to “clear the mechanism.”  In this movie, you even see visually how he truly gets to a place of complete tunnel vision. Check out the short scene:   In our lives, there are so many distractions.  Our jobs can be difficult and stressful.  Relationships with co-workers, friends, neighbors, family, etc. can be hard.  Even “good” things in our lives can distract us from the true main thing… Our spouses & kids can distract us.  Housework can distract us.  “Church” can even distract us.  TV, facebook, internet, sports, music…. Must I go...
Rediscovering Who I Am

Rediscovering Who I Am

You know the moment. You suddenly feel the world crumbling in on you and you feel completely alone. What do you do in that moment? Who hears from you? God has surrounded me with amazing friends and family who are there when I need them. But those wonderful people all too often become a crutch for me. A place to lean. Friends I can see. I can hear. I can touch. This causes me to often turn to them, not to God. The past few years have been a tough period for my family… filled with transition, pain, and working through thick strongholds that have felt smothering at times. In some of these times, I have felt completely alone. Many of the friends who so eagerly surrounded us before “seemed” to be non-existent. In this darkness, I’ve pushed away the very tools God has given me to express worship. I’ve left my guitar in its case, even with music being the gift that draws me to Him like no other. I’ve been inconsistent with running, the world where my head gets clear and I can focus on His strength in me. And my fingers have not been striking the keys on this macbook like they have in the past. The writing has been put on the back burner… the very thing that allows me to process life. I’ve been so distracted trying to fill the ache. Chasing after things that are just distracting me from the true calling in my life. The one I’ve known for a long time. Just feeling these words come off of my fingers and seeing them on the page...