Monthly Archives: February 2016

What If?

What If

Last week I had a humbling experience. And while I would like to keep it to myself and not admit my weakness, I feel like we can learn from each other’s mistakes…so why not start with making an example of myself.

This online world can be a tough one to navigate, especially as women.

Take a moment and scroll through Facebook or Instagram and you will likely find someone who seems to have it more put together than you. Perfect kids, happy family, no worries, making money from blogging….it’s all there in some way, shape or form.

And if you are someone like me and struggle with feelings of self-worth and doubt, those “have it all people” can stir feelings of jealousy and envy.

I’d like to say that I didn’t get there but I did. And when we are filled with those negative feelings, we run the risk of pouring out the bad onto others. And that is what I did.

A blogger that I have followed since 2007 posted recently about taking a blogging break. I think that’s great and there have been times here that I have been quiet because I haven’t felt called to share anything.

This blogger started out a lot like me, wadding the waters of this online space in those early years, sharing her life and her family, making memories. But somewhere along the way she started getting opportunities to review products, to work with brands and make an income off of her time spent in the online space.

I have seen it all over, except in my little corner of the www. My numbers haven’t grown, I don’t make a dime off of blogging and really I am ok with that. But at the same time I was jealous of those that did. Hypocrite much?!

So when this blogger posted about her break I commented that I supported it. And then I followed up that support with a bunch of word-vomit that I was tired of sponsored posts and how I wanted to go back to the good-ol’ days of blogging where people just shared their faith and family and didn’t work so hard to promote themselves.

In my prideful mind I thought that maybe my comment would encourage her to come back and stop working with brands, stop making income. Because if I couldn’t, why should she. (Ouch I know!!)

I forgot about my comment until late that same night. I happened back over to her site and saw she had responded. She was gracious with her comment but when I read my own again I realized how hurtful it was. And I was ashamed.

We need to work at building one another up, not tearing each other down.

I was so convicted that I sent her an apology email. I confessed that my comment was spurred by jealousy, plain and simple. As difficult as it was to write and send that email, I knew that it was a character building opportunity and so I humbly apologized.

She responded a few days later, once again gracious. God allows us to be taught in these moments in life if we are just open enough to hear His voice and follow His leading. It isn’t always easy, but it is necessary work in this faith walk.

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And then last night we spent some time in our bible study talking about jealousy, shame and judgement.

We’ve all done it. Looked at someone and the way they are living their lives and judged something about it. I judged that blogger for how she was choosing to make a living for her family. Who am I to do that?!

It happens more often than we like to admit. One of the women shared how she felt judged about the choices one of her children made. We all assured her that it wasn’t a reflection of her – but the truth is when you are living in those moments it does feel like it is a reflection of you.

And as a church body (and I am talking all religions here…not a specific church) we have failed one another.

Jesus taught by example, He is the very measure of what grace should look like.  And if I am being honest, often times I am willing to give grace when and to whom I feel “deserve” it instead of giving grace freely.

Once again I was humbled by the discussion and challenged to do something different.

What if we started showing love to those around us, even if they are making choices we don’t agree with?

What if we came alongside a young, teenage mother and encouraged her, encouraged her family?

What if we had a baby shower for a unwed mother, choosing to celebrate the new life instead of condemning the choices she had made?

What if we became a safe place for women to grieve the loss of a baby or a pregnancy – not dictating a time table of when they should be “over it”?

What if we stopped being so afraid of finding the right words to say and just admitted we don’t know what to say but we are praying?

What if we started being real and honest with one another so that the walls of perceived perfection would crumble and we could use our difficulties to shine Christ’s redemption?

What if?

I get up every Sunday and I get ready for church. I doubt that I will ever feel comfortable going without makeup or fixing my hair. Vain, yes but it is my reality. But don’t let the nice outfit or “put together” appearance fool you.

I am a sinner saved by grace.

I likely yelled at my kids on the way to church or got frustrated with the dog before we left. I walk in the doors and want you to believe something about me that really isn’t true. I don’t have it all together and I never will.

And that’s ok.

What if instead of judging what we think we know about someone, we start getting brave and start working to really connect with those in our church, our community?

What if when people asked us how we were, we responded in truth instead of just “I’m fine”?

And what if we got over being uncomfortable with this new reality and embraced it as an opportunity to come alongside a fellow believer that is hurting?

I am tired of being “fine” and ready to be real. Because when I am “fine” I start believing that I have it all under control and God is the first thing to go when I’ve got the reins.

We have an opportunity friends to be the church, be Jesus to a lost and hurting people. Some of those people are in your workplace, your community, your church body. Some of those people need to know that they don’t have to have it all together to be accepted by God. Maybe you, maybe I,  am just the person that can be the one to be real, and by doing so, will open the door to a relationship with God.

What if?

An Unlikely Bunch – The Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

I’ll just start out by being really honest with you. I didn’t want to be a part of their “group”. When Dominic “recommended” that I go to the new bible study meeting at church I was less than enthused.

There were several times over the course of the past 4 years that I wanted to participate in one of the bible studies, but there never seemed to be time. But now it was HIS idea so somehow it was a priority. And I didn’t want to go.

You see we were really struggling, no…I was really struggling. My attitude and behavior were less than ideal and I was creating waves in our marriage that were drowning us both. I needed something, I knew it…but I didn’t want it to be something he recommended. Admitting this was a good thing was also an admission that I needed help and I wasn’t ready for that.

I can be a bit overreactive and emotional if you couldn’t tell….

A small piece of me knew that if I didn’t go to this study, I may ruin future opportunities…so that first Monday I got in my car and drove to church. It is a 15 minute drive and I fought with God the entire way. “I DON’T want to be doing this Lord. I know that I need something, but I don’t want it to be the something he recommended. I know I am being terrible right now, so please Lord would you give me even one thing at this study tonight that I could take home with me?”

In my time of desperation, when I called out to God, He heard and He answered.

We are an unlikely bunch. The women in my bible study come from all different places. Some of us are mothers, others grandmas. Some of us are moms of teens and others MOPS. Each of us have a different story to tell. Hurts that have cut us deep and shaped who we are today. Struggles with finances and marriages and freedom from the lies of the enemy.

None of us the same and yet each of us are connected in unity with one goal in mind.

We are seeking a God that loves the very broken women that we are and we are working towards knowing Him more. Becoming a light to those around us, sharing our hurts and our hopes in order to lift one another up.

If you were there with us, you would be warmly welcomed. We don’t have all the answers so we search the God that does. We fail in our jobs and our homes and then we come and share our stories of imperfection. It is a safe place that we can be real and yet walk away lavished in the truth of who we are in Christ.

It was not at all what I expected and exactly what I needed.

I don’t know where you find yourself today. Maybe you have been hurt by the church, or by women…I know it happens and can I just say that I am sorry! I know that I have been that judgmental woman myself, believing that I wouldn’t fit in with “that group.” But boy when I prayed that simple prayer for God to give me one thing I could take home, He gave me an unlikely group of women that have become friends. And I am so grateful.

It is my prayer that we can continue to be that gift to more women that join us…that His love would spread into our homes and our workplaces and communities. That by gathering together as imperfect women, seeking God, we will be able to then be a blessing to someone else who really needs it.

I think that is exactly why God gave us friendships, and today I celebrate that!  Celebrating the friendships that give life today and celebrating the launch of this new book. The Gift of Friendship – Stories that Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments by Dawn Camp is available for sale now. A beautiful book filled with stories from women who are doing life with friends. The hard, the wonderful, the scary moments that happen in friendship are all shared in this book. A perfect gift for the friends in your life!

Who We Are In Christ

Identity in Christ

The office of my old high school was a wall of windows and gave those that passed by a glimpse to what was happening inside. And no day was more full of activity than Valentine’s Day. Flowers lined the desk and balloons swayed back and forth, the colors and fragrances beckoned all who walked by.

If you were one of the lucky recipients, the office staff would announce your name over the loud speaker so you would know there was something for you to pick up. As a teenager I wanted nothing more than to have my name called. Because those flowers and such were an indication that you meant something to someone else.

When the call didn’t come for me I translated it to mean that I didn’t have any value at all. Period.

Big leap I know, but it was one that I made time and time again.

Not invited to the party, can’t make the cheerleading squad, don’t have a boyfriend…all signs to me that I was a failure and I didn’t fit in.

I have shared here before that I have carried those lies and misperceptions about myself around with me for years. It is hard to walk in the dreams that God has for me when I can’t see myself for anything more than a continual failure.

I hadn’t realized just how much those lies I had believed had followed me into adulthood. How they had blanketed me with shame and kept me bound in fear. I had played the role of victim for so many years, believing I wasn’t good enough for God.

But friends, I need you to hear me on this…it isn’t true. And this is not the way that God wants us to live!

Shrouded in fear and failure…that isn’t abundant living!

I am sharing more about all God is teaching me over at God-sized Dreams today – will you join me?!

 

Original Photo Credit: via modified for GSD

Three Truths Experiment

ThreeTruthsExperiment

There seems to be something changing in our family. A few weeks ago we started naming truths about our kids and they are claiming them for their own. It has been incredible to watch them step into a belief of who they are in Christ instead of falling to the whispers that they are not good enough, or bad.

I am challenged by what I have seen, especially with Elijah, and want to start claiming some truths for myself.

I am 41 years young. I have spent the majority of my almost 15,000 days on this earth believing more often that I lack value, than days standing firm on who I am in God.

When my daughter cried that she was a terrible person I rebelled at the notion for her, but when I really think about it, I know I have claimed that for my own life time and time again.

Well it is time for a change and so I have decided to do a “Three Truths Experiment.”

I am going to choose 3 character traits that I believe God has created me with and I am going to start living in those truths. Looking for ways to use His gifts to be a blessing to others.

I was asked by a friend how we chose the three truths for our kids. It all started with Elijah. He had received a note home from a teacher saying how kind and compassionate he was. I knew that about him but this solidified it for him too. We added brave because I told him it takes bravery to keep making good choices, to be kind to those who may not be kind back.

After naming Elijah’s, we moved on to Karlena. Elijah was very helpful in picking out good qualities in his siblings.  And so adventurous, kind and brave were named for our girl.

Gabriel was given hard-working, caring and generous and Isaac – funny, helpful and creative. I loved that the younger kids wanted to help in choosing positive truths for their older brothers!

We told our kids that these three truths aren’t the only things that we believe they are gifted with…but 10 truths per child for me to remember was going to be too much! 🙂 As I shared already, Elijah has added helpful to his list on his own. He is starting too see these positive traits in himself and others and is owning them!

Isn’t that the whole point?

Recognizing the positive things about ourselves and walking in those truths instead of being weighed down by lies that we aren’t good enough, we are failures etc.

So I am going to do this little experiment myself, and I’d love for you to join me.

Will you join me in establishing three truths for your life and then start walking through each day in full acceptance of those truths?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if we do this we will start to see a change. A change in how we see ourselves, how we see others and interact with our fellow man.

I have seen it in my son. Especially in those difficult moments. He is still six, he too can be selfish and sneaky, naughty even. But recognizing the truth of who God created him to be has changed how quickly those negative moments turn to good.

I want the freedom that he has, I want to walk in truth instead of being weighed down by lies. I know that God created each of us for a specific purpose, it’s high time we start living into that calling.

I will be praying over my words and will be back soon to share what my three truths are.

Are you in?!

“I’m a Terrible Person!”

Broken Chains

She came in the door sobbing. The kind of cry that would make one think something must be broken.

“I’m a terrible person”, “I’m a terrible person” she yelled in between sobs.

I grabbed her close and asked her why she would even say that.

She is 5. Oh how I don’t want this for her. This naming and claiming of lies.

Apparently something had happened as she and her brothers came back home from a friend’s house. I don’t know if she fell, or if she intentionally did it…but somehow snow got inside the barrel of one of Gabriel’s nerf guns that she was carrying.  In response, one of the neighbor kids told her she was naughty.

She was almost inconsolable. And while I know that my girl can be naughty at times, there is no doubt, I wanted to get at the heart of what she was saying.

I grabbed onto her hands and made her look me in the eyes.

I reminded her of the three truths we had given to her. Elijah had helped choose words for his sister after we picked his.  Karlena is Adventurous, Kind and Brave.

As I held her hands I repeated those three words over and over.

“Karlena, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave, do you remember that?’

“God made you with those special qualities, look at me Miss…do you remember?”

“Adventurous, Kind and Brave”

She was still crying, but the intensity with which she was, had decreased.

Truth, she needs truth at this moment.

“You are NOT a terrible person, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”

And then we talked about how sometimes even filled with our God-given attributes, we make mistakes.

“Mommy makes mistakes, Daddy, Elijah and Gabriel…even Isaac off at college. None of us is perfect.”

“But we can’t let those mistakes define who we are. Not when you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”

We talked about forgiveness, about saying we were sorry if we had hurt someone/something…even if unintentionally. I encouraged her to tell her brother that she was sorry and promised her that he would offer forgiveness.

She said sorry with big, fat tears in her eyes but the second Gabriel said he forgave her she ran and gave him the biggest hug.

And as quickly as the storm had come in, it had left.

I am 41 years young 😉 and at times I still walk around reminding myself that “I’m a Terrible Person.”

I could make a list of all the reasons that would support my claim. But is that what God wants for us?

Yes it is necessary for us to take responsibility for our actions, and sometimes that means saying we are sorry and asking for forgiveness. Hopefully as we mature (and I am not quite there yet, trust me) we learn from our mistakes and turn from those choices to better ones.

I can’t expect perfection from my kids. I won’t.

I do pray that they start to embrace the amazing truths about who they are so that even when they do make a mistake they are so firm in who God made them, that they can weather the storm, the lies that will come at them.

This isn’t a parenting “fix” so that our kids will be appropriately behaved.

No, instead this has been an opportunity for growth in our home. A naming and claiming of the truth and a stomping out of the lies.

It is easy for me to start down the path of “why didn’t I do this sooner…” But I can’t stay there. I have an incredible opportunity to change the path we have been on. Less good versus bad and more truth to overcome the lies.

I start to get a little excited when I think of the freedom that will come of this…Chains are breaking friends, can you hear it?!

Have you given yourself or your kids three truths? I so encourage you to try it and then watch what happens as a result…I’d love to hear your stories as they happen, because I am confident they will blow you away!

Original Photo Credit: via

Empowered to Choose

Choose Elijah

I shared last week about how I had given my kids 3 words. Words that might encourage them to see how God created them. Words that would inspire them to be a blessing to others. I saw it working right away…it is pretty amazing actually and I only wish I had figured this out years ago.

I guess it has been born of my own recent self discovery.

I have been stuck for so long in a place where I felt defined by my failures, where I wanted to be defined by my accomplishments, seeking man’s approval and not considering how I was created in the image of God.

I have walked through life making choices, having responses, laying blame and not taking responsibility for who I was because I wasn’t able to see who I was in Christ. Yes I committed my life to Him and believed I was saved, but I always saw myself as the messy sinner that I was.

I thought I had an understanding of grace, but never really for myself.

But I am realizing that living in this way, full of lies and weighed down by past sins isn’t the life giving freedom that God wants us to walk in, through Him. It is exactly why He sacrificed His son…so we didn’t have to live this way.

I see my own kids responding to life in many of the ways that I have, and I wanted it to change. Yes they would continue to make mistakes, we all do, but what if they could fill their minds and hearts with truth instead? Would it make a difference?

It has and it does.

Elijah has been the most impacted. He held the door again after school for his classmates. He apparently volunteered in the classroom when his teacher was out for the day and his substitute sent a note home and said he was her hero.

Do you know what it does to a young child to be called a hero?!

This morning we were talking on the way to school and he said he wanted to add a 4th word to his list! He called himself helpful. Then he proceeded to name some strengths he saw in me.

He is looking for the good in others and then telling them. He is six. Imagine what a lifetime of hearing and affirming the truth about who God created him to be will do?!

In choosing 3 simple words for my son he is now empowered to choose more truths for himself and others.

He is choosing to see that God created him for good. At six he has a purpose, he believes these truths about himself. He won’t always get it right, but he is embracing the positive instead of believing the negative lies.

Oh how I want everyone to be transformed in the way my son has. We need to start claiming the truths of who God created us to be. Stop believing the lies that you are too dirty, too broken, too sin-filled to be used by God.

Name 3 truths about who God created you to be and start walking in them today. {<====Click to Tweet}

I have maybe shared this song with you already, but it is such a powerful song that I wanted to share it today. It is called Clean by Natalie Grant and the words so speak to who I have seen myself to be, and the the reality of who I am in Christ.

God is restoring my heart and my life piece by piece. I can see it in even the smallest of ways and I am just humbled by His grace in my life.

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