The Life Of Party


You know the type, they walk into a room full of strangers with a smile. For them, this is a chance to make 100 new besties.

Yeah that’s not me.

I am friendly but I am not the life of the party. Even as a kid I would select a friend or two to play with. I wasn’t aloof, I joined clubs, participated in school plays but you’d never see me as the actor. I’d be narrator or the director off to the side.

Some filter this behavior as anti-social and therefore label it as stuck up. It isn’t stuck up at all though. I am just not the life of the party. I am an observer. I am the one who if I am having a dinner party, I cheat and stack the deck. I invite those who will carry the conversation along. In other words, I invite the host or hostess to my party and make sure they have everything they need.

These days it’s my friend Vikki. Vikki will talk to anyone. She and her husband Alec will mingle and make sure everyone has a touch. Vikki will also entertain me by coming around and making comments to me like she’s talking about someone else. For example, Vikki will say: “Whew! Vikki is sweating over here.” or “Vikki thinks you should have served more fruit.” She says it in a sing/song voice which always makes me laugh so in essence she even hosts me at my own party. It works.

I will, on the other hand, find that one person sitting alone and go make a conversation. I’m good at the one on one.

The stretch for me is walking into a crowd and going and shaking hands and introducing myself and making small talk. So now picture my life. I’m on staff as a pastor at a church with about 250 people each Sunday on average. This is where I found myself in a lesson last week.

My devotional that week was this scripture:

Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

So the question becomes what do you do when you’re called out of your comfort zone and don’t have the tools? You trust Jesus and stretch and go to work. I can teach a class, I can lead a meeting but it’s not natural. It’s the 10,000 hours that you put in to a skill to have mastery. It’s not that you’re that good, it’s that you’ve practiced enough to make it.

I Changed My Mind


My husband and I took a drive to the beach to sit on the sand, enjoy the sun and read a book on our day off. It was a hot day and there were children playing in the waves of all ages. As I glanced at them I noticed something. Each child had a personal lifeguard. There were blankets on the beach and coolers and bags but they were empty because all of the caretakers were on duty. I saw mostly mommies but there were dads and grandparents as well.

Such a strange dichotomy between that scene and a 20/20 episode I watched recently about moms moving out and choosing to be non-custodial parents click here. One mother said she didn’t want to to do the bath and bedtime routine. One mother moved states away and Skyped in to speak to her children. Her middle child, a daughter, took care of feeding and getting her little down syndrome brother ready for school. Dad was there and the family was coping. At first I went into judgment mode, “What?!! Who does this?!!” Then I stopped and thought, she is doing what fathers have been doing for decades. I am outraged either way, maybe I understand it less because I am a mother or a woman I don’t know but I do know that it seems incomprehensible for a parent to leave their child.

The mothers were in new relationships, didn’t know if they had ever really wanted children, but knew they didn’t want the daily interaction of it. I get that actually. I remember once in a particularly frustrating day I announced, “That’s it, I’m running away from home.” Casey who was 4 at the time said, “Wait, mommy! Let me get my shoes on, I’ll run away with you.” I laughed and went on with my day. But what if I had been serious as apparently these mothers were?

The women made the argument that men had been doing it forever and they wouldn’t be judged as harshly as the women were. I just can’t go there. Children need their parents mother and father. They don’t get to change their mind.

One mother when asked if she loved her children more than herself answered, “Should a mother love her children more than herself?” I guess I think we should.



Maybe only some really feel regret for the hell they gave their mother (and father) and maybe that’s because only a few ever really rebel.

ME: “Geez Mom, just think if someone would have told you when I was 16 that I’d turn out to be your good kid.”

Mom: Laughing, “I’d have said, ‘Just shoot me now’.”

We had a great laugh over that one. Her heart has been restored towards me. Not that she ever turned from me, just that I deeply disappointed her in those, “I know more than you do years”.

On Mother’s Day as my kids checked in, I was happy to hear from them. We went to church in the morning, my oldest child preached a great word where his sermon confessed to the whole church that I spanked him with a shoe when he was six,( it’s a Latina thing, don’t judge).  We came home had lunch, watched TV and dozed and then the kids were on their way home.

I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw that Eminem had released an apology to his mother in a new video called Headlights. I don’t know why I clicked but I did, not sure what to expect. When I watched it and listened to the words, I wept. Wept for the times I disappointed my mother, wept for the times I disappointed my children, wept for children who are estranged from their family and who are wasting valuable time being angry. I wept for the single moms who have to work so super hard to be a mother and a father. Her children carry hero worship of a father who vanishes, takes no responsibility, but steps up to take credit, and whose love and acceptance her children desperately yearn for. It’s easy to beat up the one who is your constant, she’s usually a safe bet. She’ll love you anyway. I wept because her children don’t know her pain. They don’t understand the mistakes she’s made and the way she beats herself up. I don’t judge those women who turn to drugs and drinking really. They are masking their pain and sometimes there are things so deeply painful that they don’t always recover. I do understand the pain it causes her children.

I watched the video as his mother tried to drive up to his house to see him and how she was refused and how deeply saddened she must have felt, and although I don’t pretend to know their history or story that prompted that video, I heard the regret of a son. I’ve never seen the movie 8 Mile, I have heard the song Cleaning Out My Closet. I felt their pain in that scene. In our youth we say such foolish things that we often regret later, we do such crazy things that sometimes we don’t get to recover from. Imperfect parents create that.

So tonight as I pray, I pray for recovery. I pray for reconciliation. I pray for sooner rather than later. I pray for time, that it not be too late. I pray for parents everywhere and their children. It seems according to the video I saw today that Eminem was loved as best as a mother who couldn’t fully love. I saw his realization of that. It wasn’t enough then. It isn’t enough now, I only hope they are able to reconcile and that they can build a beautiful life together with what is left. I won’t post the video here, nor the lyrics, it has very strong language which may offend some readers, so I warn you of that in advance. I overlooked that to hear his heart and it broke mine. Sometimes lessons and blog posts come from unexpected places.

Look Up


When you can’t see another horizon you settle for current conditions. ~ Rick Hawkins

Why dear one are you starving? Lost in your depressed living under circumstances you were never born to be under? Have you forgotten the will of your Father that you are more than a conqueror, that you command angels who ascend and descend with prayers and petitions and answers and responses upon Jacob’s ladder, the one and only Jesus Christ?

Why are you beneath your circumstances once again oh Church of the Most High King, when Jesus clearly stated that the gates of hell would never prevail against His church? Yes, you were told that you would be persecuted and suffer but what has got you down? Did you forget that you are told you would never be abandoned? Have you forgotten the words of your Father?

Oh, I know what ails you today. Judah plows the ground in which the seed of promise is sown. You’ve not worshiped with anointing and intensity. You’ve not sought out your deliverer. You say you know where your help comes from, yet you persist to try to make it work by your own hand. Some things are better fought through the praise of the present help in times of trouble.

Look up dear one, there is provision coming. It will look like a battle but don’t grow weary because you will succeed.

Numbers 23:24 Look, a people rises like a lioness, And lifts itself up like a lion; It shall not lie down until it devours the prey, And drinks the blood of the slain.”

A lioness works in a team, with eyes that light up the darkest night and she successfully devours her prey and brings the spoils home to her den. Sometimes when it seems as if there is no provision it is merely lurking in the tall grass. Stop grasping at what you think should be coming your way and free your hands, still your mind, and look out into the darkness for provision is coming but you will have to move from your current state of depression.

Deuteronomy 20:3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; 4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

You are made strong in your weakness when you have decided to relinquish what you thought you’d captured on your own because you see, it has merely captured you. A mirage, it looked like an answer in the middle of the desert, but it only proved to ensnare you in the trap of a gerbil wheel.

Look up to the horizon. It is fresh everyday and with it comes new challenges, yes, but also new blessings. Free yourself of the entanglement that the world tells you need and refuse to settle for anything less that what has been promised. Awaken from your deep slumber, awaken and look around. There is much awaiting you. Although right now it looks like a little cloud off in the distance that will not yield much, it is more than enough to water the seed of praise in your heart and to break every chain of bondage over your life.

2 Corinthians 4: 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–

We will prevail.



Rights and Responsibilities

Luke 17: 21 nor will

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.” —John Milton

John Milton was on to something with this thought process. So often in our attempt to control and manipulate we think we know what we really don’t know. This is nothing new, it’s been this way since the beginning of time.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

You were made in the image of God so why are you struggling with the opinion of man? I never see God struggle with the opinion of man. God knows he’s God. You were created in His image. You are the manifestation of that image on the earth. We are kings of a King.

Yet, there is this allowance of opinion that infiltrates our mind, causing such an uproar to our lives. Often times, religious types are quick to judge that which they haven’t yet accepted authority over as a fact in their own life, thereby projecting their fear on us. Only we must remember that we were made in the image of God. I don’t see where God worried, or feared anything. Instead he took charge over it. Hell was not ever breaking loose in God’s realm and neither does it have authority in our realm. Unless we give it room to play. Why do we believe the opinion of man when it doesn’t mirror the opinion of God? Because we haven’t yet consulted our owner’s manual to find out how things work.

If you live for the approval of others you will die by their rejection. ~ Rick Warren

The kingdom of Heaven is not something that we are waiting for. It is something within you that is creating positive changes in your environment. It should be bearing fruit. So often there are hearers of the word of God who run around telling others how to live their lives but because they lack the ability to be doers of the word, there is nothing solid on which to build a foundation. When you listen to a voice who tells you are doing things wrong, first check to see if their lives are bearing the fruit of the word?

I know people who say they are followers of Christ but they have a bad reputation among the people. My husband is from Louisiana so he’s says things in a southern way, he says, “broke, busted, and can’t be trusted.” They talk a good game but it avails them nothing as there is no fruit that is worth eating on their tree. They are in violation of the third commandment of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Yet, they project their fears and ungodly opinions on others. What makes us take their word as having any value at all?

I know others who quietly live out their faith in little acts of authority and obedience that produce great results of winning others to God. They took their commission seriously and are making disciples. Want to know their secret? They are disciples. You can’t lead someone to discipleship if you refuse to be a disciple.

So what are your rights and responsibilities as kings of a King? You have a right to live freely among men and you have a responsibility to represent your King admirably, allowing his definition of you be the last word. You have a right to bind those things on earth that are not of God and you have a responsibility to loose those things on earth that produce kingdom results.

The Bull In The China Shop


I posted on this blog about not thinking bossy was a bad word here. One of the questions I was asked about was when I used the phrase, Bull In A China Shop, to describe a person who isn’t a boss but tries to act like one. This isn’t some medical term or anything, it’s just what I see in my mind’s eye when I see this character arrive on the scene. Here are their characteristics:

1. They are emotional. Easily angered, which masks their insecurities, they are fueled and run by their emotions. They are the leaders who humiliate to get what they want. One moment you are the star of their team and the next moment you’ve done nothing right. This isn’t leadership from a Christian perspective this is leadership from a fear tactic. From this pool is where you get your tyrants from. Unfortunately, it’s their way or the highway and they do not take input well.

2. They drive people. In ministry you quickly learn that a Shepherd leads their flock they don’t drive it. Human beings are made in the image of God and therefore do not do well when they are controlled as we are not supposed to control others. The God given dominion we were given was over the earth not over each other. When you assume that each person under your care is there to be controlled you create a hostile work environment, one in which the people are tired, afraid of the next blow, and always looking over their shoulder. They will not create anything because in this sphere of authority they never know what the outcome will be. It may be received well or it may be looked on as an attempt to a coup, so they quit trying because the end result is so risky.

And if those two main points aren’t enough, people aren’t happy to be in their presence. They front for the higher ups, but they are one way in the presence of one group and another way in the presence of the next group. Nothing is ever level or real.

It’s not always from a place of evil, although the world has certainly seen their share of evil leaders, most often it’s from a place of ignorance, a place where leadership skills have not been defined and where training has not taken place. It’s foolish but it isn’t always evil. I liken it to the kid who realized that if he throws a fit in the store, his parents quickly give him what he wants so that he’ll behave. The Bull in the China Shop has done the same thing. They have figured out that fits make people move and they stopped there. They realized that it worked and frankly they were too lazy and self involved to get some training in front of some leaders who had cohesive working teams and actual skills of leading. They didn’t read or apply what they learned about leadership.