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Tell me your story

Tell me your story.

I want to know.

Your life matters. Your experience matters. Your story has the power to change other’s lives.

Believe it or not, you are apart of an incredible story – the greatest story ever told – the story of God’s love for the world, and YOU are a major player.

We have a tendency to think that our stories aren’t important so we live like it. We live as if our small existence is meaningless, fleeting, and uninteresting. But the truth is, every moment, every encounter, and every thought matters. There is a ripple effect that happens in this universe. Science tells us, to every action there is a reaction. The more we understand about our lives and the experiences we’ve had, the more we can take action to change the patterns and the trajectory of our lives.

When we begin to understand the story of God’s love for the world, the place in history where we find ourselves, and the power of our unique stories to effect others, we can go from living a life full of hopelessness and obscurity to one of power and purpose.

Your story matters.

It matters that you see yourself as the Lord does – full of possibilities! When you were created, there were great plans and dreams meant for you to live out. The Master Creator never creates mediocrity. The Lord doesn’t look at you and think, “meh, nothing special.” God sees you and marvels,

WOW! Look at my child! So much inside! So much to release! WATCH WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER!”

I heard a friend tell of a vision they had. It was a glimpse into a moment as the Lord was handing out scrolls of purpose. Each scroll, on the outside, was beautifully ornate but exactly the same. While what was written on the inside was different, each carried the same weight and value.

Your story is not my story.

My story is not your story.

Each of our stories are indeed different tales, but all play vital parts in the greatest story ever told. Each story is a gift meant to be shared.

What would happen if you began to live a life well told? What if you believed that what  you say and do could be a beacon of hope, power, and love that has the power to reach far beyond your natural reach (Matt. 5:14-16)? What might happen if you agree with the Lord – that you’re meant to do greater things than him (John 12:12-14)?

What would it take to change the world around you? That’s a big question, and the answer can be found in the story of Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4:1-42)

She encountered Jesus.

She told her story.

Everything changed.

Your story matters. It’s that powerful. It needs to be told.

Tell me your story.

Joyfully,

Season

Uncategorized

Stop looking! Why searching for your calling is actually holding you back.

The wrestle.

The angst.

The deep search for IT.

“What am I supposed to do?”

The desire to find the zone – the sweet spot – the place you’re meant to be to accomplish what you’re put on this earth to do is a nagging one.

Have you ever felt that itch of discomfort? You know, the one that keeps you distracted and discontented? It’s reminds you that what you’re doing now isn’t what you’re “supposed” to be doing. It keeps you in a perpetual state of comparison, disappointment, and impatience. If you’re in this place in your life, I want to say this…..

STOP LOOKING FOR IT! Stop waiting for the heavens to part and the yellow brick road of your calling that leads to the emerald city of your purpose to appear. We spend our time dabbling in this or that, starting and stopping all kinds of things waiting for something to click. We become the great detective looking over here and over there. I’m here to tell you, your calling isn’t over there.

STOP LOOKING AT THEM! Too often we get stuck looking around at others who are “fulfilling their calling” and we think, if only we could find that for ourselves, then we’d be really living. If you’re looking around wishing you could do what they’re doing, I’m here to tell you that you are not going to do what they are doing.

STOP LOOKING AT YOURSELF! We love to assess ourselves or be evaluated and hold on tight to the results as a prescription for our future. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the tests: Enneagram, Meyers Briggs, DISC, Strength Finders, SDI, you name it, I’ve taken it. There is huge value to learning about your personality but that’s not where you find your calling and purpose!

Don’t you think that the WIN for the enemy is to convince you that you’re on the sidelines? To get you to believe that you aren’t useful until that fateful day when your purpose is found? The tactic is to distract you and confuse you. To keep you looking everywhere else but where you are. When you sit and stare at those around you and twiddle your thumbs with self-pity you are buying the lie that you are useless.

Let me tell you the truth. God isn’t waiting on you to find your purpose. He isn’t limited because you haven’t been given a job, a chance, or a platform. The Lord isn’t waiting around for everything to align so you can really be productive.

What all of this does is breed resentment for the place you are right now. And the place you are right now NEEDS YOU. And contrary to popular belief, YOU NEED the palace you’re in. It’s so easy to look to the future and resent the now. But God doesn’t waste anything. What you are learning and experiencing right now is all intended to help you succeed in the future.

I’ve been there! I know all too well the angst of WHAT?! WHERE? WHEN?!

Your calling isn’t over thereit’s right here, right now.

Your calling isn’t what they are doingyou’re going to do what YOU’RE meant to do.

Your calling isn’t in youit’s a gift from the Lord. Look to him and find everything you need.

Your purpose doesn’t begin at the strike of midnight. When you stop LOOKING for it and start DOING whatever is right in front of you with all the passion, commitment and love you have to give, then you will be LIVING it.

God wants to take you deeper, higher, and farther than you can imagine. Trust that that is the plan and in the meantime make this your goal,

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.
Colossians 3:23 TPT

When you stop looking for IT and start living out your love for God in everything you do, you’ll find the real YOU – and that is your true calling.

Joyfully,

Season

joy, Uncategorized

JOY DOESN’T SINK

Click here to listen!

The attack was big – real big. It was the middle of the night in a hotel room in a different country. I was laying in the bed with my husband holding my body tight and close, praying over me. I was hysterical. Weeping. Sobbing. Broken.

So much pain and no where to go. Trapped by the choice to do the right thing. No reaction. No hatred. No defense. Just pain.

I felt myself sinking quickly into despair, surrounded by the hot breath of hopelessness and the silence of isolation. The light of grace and truth was barely a flicker. Time kept ticking and tears kept flowing. There was a choice to be made. Face to face with despair, I had to decide.

Am I who I say I am?

I am a Joy Bringer. I have been changed by the goodness, mercy and love of Jesus and I stand of the firm foundation of joy – and JOY DOESN’T SINK.

That’s the truth. Who Jesus is and what he’s done for me is the foundation on which my whole life is built. It’s not an option, nor is it circumstantial, it’s always true.

It was in this moment of revelation that I had the opportunity to practice what I preach.

Out loud, like a fool, I began to declare the truth. My husband probably thought I was nuts, but I didn’t care. It was a matter of the survival of my soul. Dramatic? Yes. And totally necessary.

It began with TRUTH.

Between the sobs, the coughing, and the snot filled breaths, I spoke the truth. It wasn’t what I felt, but it was what I believe.

Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus. I need you.

Jesus. You are here.

Jesus you are good.

Jesus you love me.

I kept going.

I began to repent and ask the Lord to highlight what I was responsible for. You see, in moments of strife and pain, we can’t control anything other than what we own. I find it WAY more productive to focus on what I can grow and learn from rather than the things that I cannot change – other people! What people think of me, the injustice of whatever is said, done or believed about me isn’t my problem. I have one problem – sin – and that problem is dealt with first and foremost with Jesus.

I allowed the kindness of the Lord to wash over me as I acknowledged what part I played, and that turned my mourning into gratitude.

Thank you.

Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you Lord for loving me.

Thank you for truth.

Thank you for grace!

Thank you that I will not sink!

As I thanked the Lord for everything around me, I began to come out of the deep and dark hole of despair. I became aware of my husband who was so lovingly interceding for me, beyond words and without judgement. I began to come back to the awareness that, while painful, my situation was not hopeless.

Then I began to REALLY see.

Beyond my failings. Beyond the humanity of people. Beyond my view of the situation in the natural, was the blatant and well crafted supernatural attack of the enemy.

There really was only one reason for all of it. The calling. The increase. The threat. The enemy HATES joy! He hates it because he knows that there isn’t anything he can do once we grab onto the truth that JOY NEVER SINKS! What Jesus has done for us and who he is is the foundation on which I stand. No matter what happens around me, I will never sink below that reality.

Don’t get it wrong, the blows of the enemy sometimes knock us off our feet. The attacks in life can hurt  – bad – and our emotional reactions aren’t wrong. But here’s the truth, even if we can’t stand, we can lay – face down – for as long as it takes. We can lay safely on the security of the love and victory we have in the presence of God. That’s hope. That’s joy.

And joy doesn’t sink.

Slowly, I began to rise up. Filled with truth, I saw the situation from a place of victory.  The pain was still there but I was stabilized by the joy of hope. Joy isn’t a feeling of happiness, it is a buoyant sense of well-being because of the love of God and power of the Holy Spirit.

Whether you are standing or laying face down, I bless you to grab hold of the joy in Jesus today. And for more encouragement, click here to read Psalm 71. It helped me and I hope it helps you to become joyfully buoyant.

Season

 

P.S. To find out more and stay connected, follow me on social media and enter your email address on my site. I am so grateful for you!

 

joy, Uncategorized

Joy Bringer or hypocrite?

Click here to listen!

 

Is she a Joy Bringer or a hypocrite?

If you’ve ever had this thought, don’t worry, I’m not offended and frankly, I’m not surprised. It’s natural to wonder if someone who claims to be a Joy Bringer is really one who brings joy. So, which is it? Joy Bringer or hypocrite? Well, the answer is, yes.

I am very aware as the Lord extends my reach and I have the privilege to bring the truth of who Jesus is and the joy of the gospel to people, there will be many (both far and very close to me) who don’t buy it. And frankly I get it! It’s easier to write me off. It’s easier to deny the truth that joy is for you because of the Good News of the perfect love of Jesus, when it’s sent through a Joy Bringer, a mere human who isn’t perfect.

In the New Testament, angels brought “Good News of great joy” to the shepherds. It was pretty hard to ignore them! It was Jesus who revealed himself to Saul, the pharisee who was out to stop the spread of the Jesus movement at any cost. Okay, it took a few days of temporary blindness, but the Good News transformed him and changed his life and his name! But for many, even when they saw Jesus face to face, or the miracles of the apostles, they just didn’t receive it! There were those who walked with sinless and perfect Jesus, and still rejected him. If they did it to HIM, I don’t feel so bad!

The Good News is a gift. The truth of who Jesus is and the joy he brings isn’t forced on anyone. We have a choice to receive it! But watch out, once you receive, it will change your life!

That’s the issue here. The joy found in Jesus has the power to change your life. While some are ready for that change, many resist it and will do what it takes to defend that choice. It’s easier to find reasons to focus on the messenger and not the message, so we can continue to live in ways that are familiar and comfortable – even if it’s not good for us.

There are those who believe that I am not a Joy Bringer, rather, that I am a hypocrite. But are they right? Well, they’re not wrong. I’m going to use the words of Paul in Romans 7:15-20 to help explain what I mean.

I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 16 And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 17 And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. 18 For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but will-power is not enough to accomplish it. 19 My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. 20 So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am. – Romans 7:15-20 TPT

I want to get a few things straight. I am not THE Joy Bringer. I am a person who has been lovingly and powerfully changed by God and continues to grow everyday because of that love. I have not arrived. I am not perfect. That’s the hardest part. Sin hurts. I hate that! I hate that my choices and failings have caused pain and difficulty in others. The only thing I can do is keep pursuing Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate fruit in me. I deeply desire to be filled with the truth and love of the Lord so that everything that pours out of me is an overflow of that love and truth. And when what comes out of me isn’t that pure, fresh living water, I am grateful for the grace of God to cover all my sin.

While the voice of the enemy trying to stop me is loud, the voice of grace says, keep going!

Grace says, just look at Me.

Grace says, I will protect you.

Grace says, I love those around you even more then you do.

Grace says, I am sufficient to cover all sin.

Grace says, I love you.

Grace says, YES, I have called you to bring joy to the world.

It’s easy to be discouraged by the other voices, but Grace wins. While I can’t control what people think or if they receive the message, I will continue to be loved. I will continue to allow that love to motivate the message. I will continue to be a Joy Bringer, because that joy changed my life and I want it to change your life too.

So, I confess as Paul did, while I am doing my best to bring joy and love to everyone I encounter, I do not always succeed. For the moments that my sin has hurt you, or others, I am deeply sorry. For the times I’ve disappointed you, I am sorry. But the good news is, Jesus will never fail you. He is THE Joy Bringer. And while I continue to allow that Good News to transform me, I bless you to receive the joy that is for you from Jesus himself.

Joyfully a Joy Bringer,

Season

Uncategorized

An open apology letter to Peter

Dear Peter,

I realize you will not actually read this letter, but it’s with a sincere and humble heart that I write it anyway.

I have been arrogant, callous, and flat out rude!

It’s no secret that you liked to talk. In fact, you’re kind of known as one who speaks before they think (dare I use the term, blowhard?). We are very similar in that area. I know that your often misdirected or oblivious exuberance came from a place of excitement and passion. As I read the accounts of your experiences, I feel your pain! More often than I’d like to admit, I have spouted off with my words in excitement only to peddle back or be shut down.

While your faux pas are very clearly documented, so is the amazing growth and maturity journey you traveled. What an example of hope you are for those of us who have tried, with passion, and failed!

You are in such a unique position of vulnerability! With the invention of instant public information transfer, this generation of people is familiar with the idea of someone’s personal life put on blast, but really, nothing is quite as extreme as what you endure. I often wonder how it feels to have billions of people read about your life, interpret, judge, and be used as examples without much of your own defense. Of course, you aren’t personally effected, as you are too consumed with the glory and majesty of the presence of God. But the fact remains, it’s really unfair! And you’re not the only one! How about all the others in your company who have had tiny bits of their lives published and printed more times than any other in all the universe and entire conclusions made about them!

It must feel good to be beyond the touch of pain, frustration, and feelings of betrayal and hurt.

Back to my apology….see, I get carried away with words, too!

There is one particular detail of a story for which I have judged you harshly. I have arrogantly placed myself in your shoes and thought I would have done it different. I’m sure you remember it well. It’s not a moment one would easily forget, even when in heaven. The details are few, but this story is one that anchors and even examples the concept of faith.

Walking on water.

I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone else doing it. Only you.

Here’s what we know. Your words and personal experience are only recorded in Matt. 14:22-36, although the story of Jesus walking on water is told in Luke and Mark as well. It was late. It was dark. The wind and waves were chaotic and you saw, through the chaos, what looked to be a man walking on water. That’s pretty wild. I can imagine you were a bit confused and frightened!

He knew it. In true Jesus like fashion, he calmed your fears and gave you reason to have faith.

But then, you said it. The thing I have long ridiculed you for,

Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you walking on water.

For so many years I’ve thought this was the dumbest thing to say! Who else would it be!? And if you really wanted to go to him…just get out of the dang boat!

It’s not that I didn’t think it would be hard to get out of the boat. I get it! It must have been scary, but why ask him that question?! It always sounded to dumb to me! It was placed close to the top of the list of dumb things Peter said.

Please forgive me, sir.

I’m beginning to understand it now. You were so special. You saw Jesus doing something crazy, powerful, and unique, and instead of thinking that it was a great thing reserved for only him, you wanted to do it too! You wanted everything he had, and you knew that you were special enough to have it.

In fact, that’s the most important take away from this. You, me, and all of us are special enough to have it! But you were crazy enough in that moment to believe it and ask for it.

But there is more.

I was at a big church leaders event recently and I ran down front to worship. I felt the need to dive into the moment with no distractions. I was hungry for an encounter with the Lord. As I was engulfed in the moment I had a vision. I saw myself in that boat, as if I was you! I was looking out into the water and saw Jesus there, waking on the water. Before I could catch up to the moment, I saw and heard myself shout,

Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to get out of the boat!

I shocked myself! I couldn’t believe I said it! After so many years of judgement and shame! Immediately I understood. I knew the duality of confidence and fear, of faith and doubt. I knew that if Jesus told me personally what I already knew I would feel better about jumping out.

Peter, sir, you had the privilege of literally waking with Jesus on earth (and on water!). You were guided, taught, corrected, encouraged and loved by the Good Shepherd himself! He told you that you would do greater things than you saw him do. You knew the power and love of the Messiah and you called him, friend.

All of that, and you still asked him to call you out of the boat….and I now understand in a way I never could before.

Thank you, Peter for being a model of courage with a teachable spirit. Thank you for knowing you were special so we all could know our value. Thank you for failing so we can fail. Thank you for getting out of the dang boat so we can know it’s possible. And thank you for freaking out once you were walking on the water so that we can know Jesus will IMMEDIATELY catch us if we begin to sink.

Sir, I humbly apologize for being arrogant and rude. My prayer is that I will continue to follow Jesus, as you did, out of the boat. I’m grateful for your example.

Joyfully,

Season

Easter, Faith, healing, joy, Uncategorized

Propelled by joy

Everything felt strange. Nothing about today was ordinary. Nothing about today was going as she had thought it would, and with every passing hour things seemed only to get worse. An eerie quietness settled over her as she stood at the base of the hill, powerlessly watching Him suffer. It was all so surreal. Images of all they had shared flashed before her eyes: the miracles, the love and friendship, the words of life, the simple moments together. Present-moment reality rattled her with a cruel jolt.

Now Jesus, her Jesus, the man she knew and loved, was gone.

Keep moving she urged herself. She had to keep moving or else, fall apart, so she followed them to the tomb, watching as they laid Him to rest. The pain was unbearable, yet she clung desperately to every moment to be near His body.

There were still things to be done before the sun set and Sabbath began. She knew she had to leave Him and run to the market to buy all the spices and oils necessary to honor Him, wanting nothing to delay her return to the tomb on Sunday morning. But leave him? How? Numbness, having replaced the pain, left her paralyzed. Her only consolation was the opportunity to care for Him in death as He had cared for her in life. That was all the fuel she needed. The tasks were accomplished in a determined haze, and now, if nothing else, she could provide a proper burial.

But first, the Sabbath.

How could she possibly rest with Jesus gone? It seemed almost impossible in this moment. A hot flood of memories washed over her again, as she recalled the example He’d set. She managed a half-smile through welled eyes, whispering ‘even now, He’s still caring for me.’ Jesus was her model and no matter what was going on in His ministry, He had known how to rest. She had learned so much from watching Him. He had shown her the freedom and joy found in obedience, in always living in response to the Father’s love. In humble determination to honor the Sabbath in order to honor her Lord, she yielded.
Oddly, the forced rest was good, giving them time to process and grieve. One emotion gave way to another. They were angry—He was innocent! They were confused—why didn’t He fight back? They were resolved—they must keep His ministry going. As they voiced their questions and reflected on all the things He said that hadn’t made sense in the moment, many of His words became chillingly clear. Hadn’t He told them this would happen?

No one slept much those two nights and the moment the sun began to rise on Sunday morning, they made their way back to where His body was lain. What started as a walk, quickly turned into a run. They were desperate to get to Him. Devotion and love carried them the whole way.

But as they approached the tomb, anticipation turned to fear. The ground began to shake; lightning and thunder stopped them in their tracks. They exchanged startled glances. The men who were guarding the tomb fell to the ground, unconscious, the stone pushed aside. The tomb was empty. Jesus was gone. Horror overcame her.

A man (or at least he looked like a man, yet so bright and blinding) appeared and began to speak. His words pierced into her soul. She was in shock but what she heard changed everything. “He’s not here. He’s alive. GO. TELL.” It made no sense but at the same time this was the truest thing her soul had ever heard.

The desperate ache within was telling her to stay—to stay where Jesus had been, but revelation was inviting her to go.

And so, she ran.

Even though she hadn’t seen Him yet, the truth that He was alive propelled her forward with a joy that overpowered her pain and fear. Tears streaming down her face, heart pounding, and her legs moving faster than ever before, she had one goal—find the rest to tell them He was alive! They needed to know. Everyone needed to know. But would they believe her?

She ran without care or concern for her dignity. None of it seemed to matter now that her Lord was alive. Her lungs burned but she kept running. And then, just there, ahead in the distance, she saw Him. She froze. Standing in the middle of the road they locked eyes, and even from afar, she knew it was Him.

Jesus.

Time stood still and nothing else existed in the brilliance of that moment.

She fell at His feet. Her tears soaked them as she poured out her love upon Him—it wasn’t the first time. This was a familiar posture. She didn’t know what to say to Him, her words meant nothing compared to how she felt.

Jesus had met her. He had come for her.

He had come for them and for us.

It was true. He’s alive. Go! Tell!

 

Joyfully,

Season

Published in Joyful Life magazine, Spring Edition 2019.

LISTEN TO THIS BLOG BY CLICKING HERE

Faith, friendship, joy, Uncategorized

The joy of FOMO

FOMO

Fear Of Missing Out.

It’s real. Have you ever experienced it? When all your friends are going somewhere great and you’re stuck at home with the sick kid, the big project due tomorrow, or without any money to put gas in your car. The isolation shouts, “They’re having fun without you!” FOMO happens even when things aren’t fun. When there is a tough moment and people bond around it, if you weren’t there, it feels like you missed out on something important. You are no longer on the inside and therefore you are out.

It’s why we are often glued to our phones for the latest update on social media, news stories, or why we keep one ear to the proverbial ground of happenings.

One day I was feeling particularly down, left out and isolated for one of the many seemingly silly reasons, and I thought to ask the Lord how he felt about my FOMO.

It may seem hyper spiritual or weird, but to me, I have learned to simply include the Lord in all my feelings, thoughts, and actions. Ok, when I say I include him in all, what I mean is, I intend to include the Lord in all – like right away. My intention and deep desire is to be aware of and include the Lord in every moment. But often, that looks more like swirling around the drain of some feeling or negative thought for a bit while experiencing all the pain, frustration, and other stuff associated with being human, and then going, “Oh wait! Lord, what do you have to say?!” Either way, no matter when I do it, it’s so helpful.

So, I was having this moment of FOMO and it was proving to not be life giving and producing joy in my heart, so I said to the Lord,

How do you feel about my FOMO?

To which he replied,

FOMO about them?! They should have FOMO about us!

Jesus cracks me up.

And he’s right! What the Lord and I have is awesome! I am not missing out on anything because what we have is EVERYTHING!

My attention was then turned to the very real presence of the Lord and I began to talk to him, laugh, discover, and adjust my awareness of the reality of my situation and life from God’s perspective. Suddenly it didn’t matter that I wasn’t with “them” and experiencing the latest and greatest thing. I was with HIM!

You may be thinking, what do they have that is worth FOMO? Well, when you spend time with your Creator, the one who loves you more than anyone ever could, the one who sees the best in you and believes the impossible for you, that time is far beyond what you could experience with anyone else.

But the good news is, you’re not actually missing out on what we have – you can have your own! God is always with you – yes, always. Even in the moments you think he wouldn’t or couldn’t be with you, he is. Even when you don’t feel him with you, he is. Even if you don’t believe it, he is. All you have to do is pay attention.

So what really causes that pain and fear of FOMO? Frankly, it’s when we place more weight on others than on the Lord. There is a more formal and ancient phrase used for this…. Idol worship. I know, just when you think you don’t have to worry about that commandment because you don’t have a literal shrine to a god in your home, I come along with this bomb.

However annoying, it’s still true. We hold people, things, and experiences in higher regard than the Lord. They become what we try to please, what we strive for, and what we long to have and suddenly our ladder of priorities has shifted.

FOMO has a way of revealing where our hearts have laid up treasure Matt. 6:19-20). We tend to be easily persuaded with our affections and therefore we get hurt. The Lord knows that what he offers is far greater than any earthly experience. The Lord will never quit on you. He will never disappoint you. He will never overlook you. He will never hurt you. He will far exceed all your expectations.

Your heart is safe with the Lord.

The fear of missing out is a tell. It will reveal to you what has a hold on your heart. I bless you to know that what you can have with the Lord is so good you’ll find joy in FOMO.

Joyfully,

Season

joy, radio, Uncategorized

The Best Day Ever Challenge

What do you do when your day just sucks? I’ll tell you what I want to do…NOTHING! I count the moments till I can be home with my husband and zone out on the couch with the current binge-watch of choice, and then sink deep into a sleep that will quicken the dawn of a new day – one that brings a fresh start and a pile of joy.

But that defeatist attitude doesn’t sound like one a daughter of the King who has the spirit of the victorious living God inside her should have – right?! So I tried something recently that shot me out of the crappy day funk.

The BEST DAY EVER CHALLENGE.

Joy99 FM is a radio station that I have the privilege to be on from 10am – 2pm Monday – Friday. The station is committed to encouraging lives and bringing JOY to west Michigan and beyond. They offer weekly challenges to the listeners to make it the Best Day Ever. The challenges include,

  • Tell your boss something nice about a co-worker
  • Pay for the person behind you in line
  • Tape a prepaid gas card to a pump
  • Tell your kids the story of their birth and then eat dessert to celebrate

The list goes on. In fact, there are 52 challenges – one for each week of the year. It may seem a bit obvious but the Best Day Ever serves a duel purpose, to do something nice for someone else to make their day better, and to shift your focus outward – towards the action of love, and help make your day the Best Day Ever.

That’s the trick! When your day feels like a tidal wave and you’re drowning in the chaos and pressure, turn the tide! Make it the Best Day Ever by intentionally choosing to shift the focus outward.

I have been in a season full of particularly difficult days. They aren’t bad, just complex and full of challenges. I feel like I am in a period of product testing….as a Joy Bringer who teaches all about joy as a consistent and powerful lifestyle, I better be able to defend it in all times! And I can.

The tools work, and you can be sure I’ve been using every one of them. Gratitude, forgiveness, flexibility, and rest are my go-tos…but I’ve added another one! The Best Day Ever challenge.

There is an assumption that we should always be looking to do something that blesses someone else, especially if you claim the title, Christian. Love is verb, and action word, right? Yes, but while that’s true, it isn’t our natural response. Life gets in the way. We narrow our focus and zoom in on what’s immediately in front of us, and unfortunately we loose sight of the real goal – to love God and love others as ourselves.

Live to serve others. Live with love as a priority. Live as one who is loved.

YES! But if that is the goal, we need to make some intentional choices in our days to live it out. I want to challenge you to intentionally place the Best Day Ever challenge (or something like it) into your week. If you’re anything like me I have a lot of great intentions to do things, but if it doesn’t make it onto my weekly to-do list, it wont get done.

Here is a link to the Joy99 Best Day Ever challenge calendar if you want to check it out. Use this one or create your own with your family! Imagine the ripple effect!

Make it the Best Day Ever!

Joyfully,

Season

Uncategorized

Why I don’t let my husband do anything

Yup, you read that right. I don’t let my husband do anything. Before you think I’m the world’s worst wife who has a slave instead of a husband, you need to hear the inflection.

I’m not saying, I don’t let my husband do ANYTHING

I mean, I don’t LET my husband do anything.

I don’t let him do anything because he’s a grown man who can choose to do anything he wants!

I think we get it all wrong. Commitment in marriage has been twisted to insinuate a sort of obligation against one’s will, especially the husband’s.

Ball and chain

Happy wife happy life

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy

If this is the truth about marriage, why would a man want to get married?! What about the husband?! The reason there is a lopsidedness to this idea is that we have a wrong view of love.

Love is a selfless act. Love is a choice. Love is a gift. Love is a willingness to serve.

Love is not a threat. It’s not fueled by fear. Love does not manipulate. Love doesn’t hold back. It does not force or intimidate.

Love is free and yet it costs you everything.

I don’t let my husband do anything because I love him and honor his choices.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I’ve been unhappy with his choices. And subsequently, there have been times when he’s been unhappy with mine. The truth is, our choices have consequences – both good and bad. The key to a happy marriage is to choose the person wisely, be confident and not controlling, and love freely… Meaning love both generously and with freedom.

So what happens if and when your spouse makes poor choices that cause hurt or frustration?

The answer is simple and yet proves to be the number one issue in marriage. Communication. The solution to the problem of hurtful choices is to communicate your feelings and what you need. Communication with clarity, respect, and love is key.

  • CLARITY – Start by understanding your own feelings. If you don’t know how you feel and why, then you can’t articulate it to the other person and they can’t respond. It’s not productive to just emote all over your spouse.
  • RESPECT – It begins with understanding. You must understand that, for the most part, your spouse isn’t trying to hurt you. Most of the time, people are doing the best they can with what they have. To respect your spouse, you must trust that they do indeed care about your feelings and give them have a chance to respond to your needs.
  • LOVE – Love bares fruit….joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Before you communicate your feelings or needs, do the fruit test to be sure that what and how you are going to communicate is delivered in a fruit basket.

Let me give you an example.

My husband loves to push his body and challenge himself. Right now it looks like racing mountain bikes and training jiu jitsu. Not only does he love these things, he also needs the physical and emotional release. He is very in tune to his needs and he knows what to do to manage himself well. HOWEVER, he is aware and so am I, that these things can very easily take priority and severely cut into time at home. Because he loves what he does he doesn’t notice the impact.

I love this part about my husband. It’s one of the things I’m attracted to! He’s so passionate and committed to the challenge of growing and pushing himself. But, I also love spending time with him. I love our life together and I made the choice to get married to do live with someone, not do it solo.

I am told that the other guys he rides or trains with often tell him,

“dude, you’re so lucky your wife let’s you ride/train all the time!’

But that’s where they’re wrong. I don’t let him. He makes the choice. He’s free to make that choice.

I would be lying to say that I don’t care or am not affected by his choices. I certainly am! His passion and commitment went from something that I thought was sexy and compelling, to a source of building resentment and bitterness towards him.

So what did I do? Well, I didn’t tell him what he could do. I examined my feelings. I recognized that my husband dearly loves me and our family. I sifted through my own feelings to identify the root and I told him the state of my heart and my needs. I included that I understood his love and passion and that I never wanted to squash those things in him. I simply asked him to examine if his time was reflecting his true priorities and if he felt that there was room to adjust them accordingly.

The outcome was peaceful and loving. He simply honored my feelings and needs and examined his time. Because his heart is for me and our family, he adjusted his weekly schedule to be more attentive to when we are all home and adjust his riding or training to honor his first love, us.

I see such a change in him! He is still riding and training a lot, but he does it with an awareness of us. He chooses love.

Too often we think that we need to control others in order to be loved or get what we want. We are afraid that if we let go and relax into it, it won’t happen. But the truth is, it’s already happening. God loves you so much and there is nothing you can do to control it, earn it, manipulate it, or stop it. You are just simply and totally loved. Breathe it in. Sink deep into that truth. Receive it and let it fill you. You can loosen your grip on fear. The demand on others and constant disappointment will subside when you are filled with the all sufficient love of the Lord.

My goal for our marriage, and yours (if you’re married!) is that your home is motivated by love. That you give it and receive it freely. Let go of the control and LET YOURSELF BE LOVED.

Joyfully,

Season

joy, love, sex, and marriage, Uncategorized

The sexiest thing about him

Let me begin by stating that my husband is not perfect. You might read this and think, “He’s amazing! Is he for real?” Let me assure you, he’s real. I know I won a prize. And trust me, I’ve been on the other side so I appreciate the gift of an amazing man! However, he’s not perfect. I am totally over the moon for my husband, but I am also a normal woman in a very real marriage to a normal man. I have experienced first hand the ease in which we can go from totally in love, to annoyed, over it, and even disgusted by our mate. I’ve experienced the moments where only complaints, negative thoughts, and snarky words come to mind and sometimes out of my mouth (more times than I’m proud to admit).

But, I’ve also seen what these thoughts and feelings can breed if left unchecked. My first husband told me in the first month of our marriage that he wasn’t attracted to me (well, he first told me that when we were dating but then brought it up again one month into our marriage….then why did he marry me, you ask? Good question). He told me it was up to me to fix this issue. He would tell me that if I just lost weight, if I acted like someone else (you know, since I was a professional actor I should be able to do that). Eventually it became, if I would enter into the swinger lifestyle or sleep with someone else, then maybe he’d find me attractive. He was so deep in his tainted perspective of me that he couldn’t see me any other way.

I learned through that experience that what we focus on when we look at our mate has everything to do with how we feel about them. Our feelings toward our spouses are a choice. Yes, I have a freaking hot husband, but let me tell you what the absolute sexiest things about him are….

His worship – my man is a worshiper. He is sold out, passionate, and worships with total abandon.

His prayer life – my husband is in the closet. No! Not that that closet! His prayer closet, silly! It’s pretty much his favorite place in the world and he’ll lose hours in there.

His daddy-of-three-daughters skills – he can do hair, pick out a fabulous outfit, and out shop all of us. Nothing sexier than when he loves them well.

His confidence – there is something about my husband that will make you ask the question, is he confident or cocky? It’s sexy! He almost gives off that bad boy vibe, until you realize he’s actually humble, never foul with his words, and ALWAYS respectful.

His humility – under the confident exterior, there is a spirit of of real humility. He really does want to be molded to be more like Jesus everyday, and he’s not afraid of the process.

His desire to grow – never have I met someone with such a desire to learn and grow. He’s never done. Always pressing into learn more about the Lord, or whatever thing he’s into…it usually involves sweating a lot and pushing his body to the limits, or competing.

His creativity – I love watching him get an idea and see it to completion. One of my favorite dates is a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot! He’s got a real gift, and whether it’s something we’re doing together or a piece of art he’s creating in his garage/studio, I love seeing him create! He’s a project finisher and I’m so inspired by him. http://www.facebook.com/theartofalionbykrisbowers

His commitment to me – my husband is a transparent and honest man. I trust him. I really trust him. He loves to be with me, and the way he desires to protect what we have makes me feel cherished.

His humor – he’s a nut. He knows when to laugh and doesn’t let any of his girls get too far down the rabbit hole of drama before he has us giggling, usually in some sort of jiu jitsu choke hold.

His muscles – yup, I said it. But it’s low on the list! I don’t just love the way they look, I LOVE how safe he makes me feel. He’s always alert and aware of his surroundings so I can walk with my head in the clouds and not fall off the curb. When I’m with him, I’m untouchable.

The list goes on, but I’ll spare you. My husband isn’t perfect, but he loves Jesus more than he loves me. I’m not perfect, but I love Jesus more than I love my husband. I believe this is the glue that makes us stick. It also is the lens though which we see each other. The moment where the enemy wants to get me to grumble and complain about my husband, I choose to focus on what I love about him. Instead of cursing him, I bless him, and bless him, and bless him!

If you’re married, I pray that you will join me in focusing on the qualities unique to your spouse. The Lord has designed them and crafted them with shiny and priceless qualities, and you get to help polish those gems! What an honor! The things that make your spouse who they are, are purposeful! Enjoy them, celebrate them, and see how it changes your perspective!

Joyful and hot for my husband,

Season