Wednesday, January 30, 2013

(im)perfect wives

    Hebrews 13:5
    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 

God will never leave us, never forsake us. Ever. Whenever we feel that space between us and God, it is because we moved away from Him.  But like the sign I saw in a local store I wonder if I am presently unavailable or persistently unavailable?  

Some days are we also too available to the distractions that keep us from our time with God?  The phone, email, internet, social networking, chores, a novel or something else? Something sometimes darker and less easy to pull back from like addiction.  We have to keep trying.

When we embark on something that challenges us to come closer to God, you know who will try to come between.  The devil does not fear anything less than he fears a distracted Christian.  We are not praying, we are not fellow-shipping, we are not engaged in our faith and we are no threat to him.

However, that same believer who turns their face back to God, turns their hearts towards Him and the same believer who, even with one single word prays again becomes a HUGE threat.  A dangerous person who needs to be distracted and powerless again.  When we move back towards God we will be attacked. We will be distracted.

Don't give up. Don't stop praying. Don't stop working at the work God has put before you. Even when it seems like you are taking two steps forward and one step back.

I'm doing the Respect Dare again. Opening up the door to encourage and be encouraged. To respect, even when it is so very hard. And it is sometimes.  It is very different this time, and yet some things are not so different.

The devil still wants me to fail. He still distracts me through the places he knows I'm most vulnerable.  He will fail. Ultimately. But the small battles I lose to him seem like great victories and losses.  

Seeking to be a perfect wife and mother is not my battle.   Being okay with being (im)perfect is.  While I don't seek perfection, he delights in telling me how I fail anyway.  So even though I do not seek it - I'm constantly reminded I wouldn't be worthy even if I did.  It crushes me some days.  Almost.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Oh how that sneaky dark one tries to snare me. No in seeking perfection but in accepting I don't have to pursue it. By showing me I couldn't EVEN IF I WANTED TO!

So I made a decision.  I will keep trying. I will keep praying.  I will keep failing.  I will keep falling down and getting back up.  I have put my arms around the (im) and put some space between me and perfect.  

How about you?  What does the devil try to trip you up with?  Can we pray together over it?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Women and horses

They are all mares. Each is as different as you can possibly be and still be horses.

Tika, on the left, you can see is the cheeky one.  She likes who she likes, and lets you know it one way or the other.

Belle, her mama in the middle, is our son's horse. She is calm and stable, opinionated and reliable.

Lola, on the right, is working hard at being a house horse or a dog. Anything but a riding horse. She is stubborn and strong, gentle and able to be silly.

Could be a group shot of women though as well - but would we be so complimentary?

Tika - she has a big mouth, always talking talking talking.

Belle - her mother, can never make her shut up. She doesn't say anything.

Lola - she is too big, too bold, too much. Why can't she just tone it down?

What makes us so cruel to each other sisters?  What makes one woman feel the thorns while another smells the roses?

Some horses are tough, like our ranch horses. No cozy barns. No blankets. They also don't have stalls to confine them. They don't have arenas as their only place to move.  They have freedom to roam, to run, to play to be a bit wild.

Some horses are pampered. They live in a gilded barn. They have 'people for that' around them day and night.  They are not 'tough' like us but they are 'strong' in their own right. Many of them are athletes, therapy horses and performers with demanding lives.

Horses don't judge though.  You can take a show horse, a ranch horse and a pony. Once they know who is a dominant personality they are busy being horses - playing, grooming, snoozing.

People not so much. Women sometimes even less.

A horse who is scarred up, rough and not pretty can have an enormous heart and take you through any challenge.  A horse delicate and refined can be tough enough to cross a desert. We can't judge them by their appearance alone. Nor can we judge each other.

Ladies - sisters.  My pasture, your palace. My small family, your empty nest. My Mary, your Martha. In the end as different as we are, we are much the same! One is no better than the other for being different.  A homeless mother, a struggling gifted teen, a military Mama or a farming wife.

1 Corinthians 12:4
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Some horses are tough ranch horses, others talented athletes and there are as many others as there are people who love them.  Women are not so different, are we? Talented, unique, gifted by God with talents to build up, to bless, to encourage.

Sisters I challenge you to embrace the unique in ours sisters, and to encourage them to use the gifts that God has blessed them with.


My dear friend Nina Roesner, from Greater Impact which many of you know from doing or hearing about The Respect Dare, is sharing on women and horses as well. She has amazing insight and is a wonderful spirit filled daughter of God.  Stop over and see what she has to share today as well in our first linked posts...Women and Horses!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Matthew 18:15 beating

Matthew 18: 15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Have you been beaten up by these verses?  Have you used them like a bludgeon?  

It has happened to me.  It hurt. Bad. Really bad. It blindsided me.  One even skipped part one totally.  But it wasn't that they thought I needed rebuking or correction that truly hurt.

It as that they misunderstood what Jesus meant by saying, "treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

That does NOT mean shutting that person out. It does NOT mean ejecting them from your fellowship.  It means to pursue them, to bring them back to the fold in GRACE.

No one did that.  We too often forget that last part about God wanting to reconcile us to Him.  We are supposed to be bringing people back.  The people Jesus came to save. He came to save us. You and me. At our worst. At our 'trying our best and failing'. Our 'misunderstood'. Us. 

2 Corinthians 5:11  Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Confront if you must. But prayerfully. Gently. With the goal of reconciliation.

Not one of us is righteous enough to beat another person with the Bible. No one deserves to be beaten with any verse, book or commandment.  Not a sister or brother in Christ. Not an unbeliever. Not one.  The only one who could chose instead to die for us.  The only one who could have, justly, made us pay did the exact opposite. He paid for us. In blood.

The next time you see someone facing a challenge, be kind.  The next time you see someone who appears to need correction, pray before speaking.  Seek correction prayerfully and with an eye to reconciliation.  Show grace.

People will screw up. We make a mess of things.

People will try too hard. And will be misunderstood.

People will hurt you. Show grace.

People will accuse you wrongly. Let God speak for you.

People will be people. Pray for them.

If you are struggling with whether or not someone needs correction, as prescribed above, ask yourself two questions: am I seeking reconciliation? am I showing grace?

Are you? If you are, and you have prayed about it, seek Godly counsel and proceed.  


The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


Luke 15:7
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Get out of the Boat

Dear readers, this is a combined repost, with an update here in pretty italics. I continue to be inspired by my brothers and sisters in Christ. I. also, continue to despair for them as well. We need to encourage each other, we need, let me reemphasize that WE NEED to encourage each other. When someone is walking out on faith whether they are doing something for their marriage like The Respect Dare or as a parent like All-Pro Dad or doing church from home via internet (Save The Cowboy) - encourage them. We don't need the details of someone's walk, we just need to know they are walking. And we need to encourage them. So, inspired by a Dare in The Respect Dare and by my desire to intentionally encourage people (Encourage Sisters) I invite you to enjoy this post, and the poem that goes with it. Bright blessings, Shanyn

Sailing Lessons

A while back I wrote a poem called Get Out of The Boat on my poetry blog. 

I am still working on it, this getting out of the boat and walking with Jesus on the water.

It isn't easy.  The boat is filled with well meaning people who offer all sorts of seemingly sound advice.  They may even offer their prayers.  But what they are not offering is a hand to walk out in faith,.

Why?  Why?


I wish I knew.  Maybe their own doubts hold them back and that encourages them to hold everyone else back?  Maybe their desire to be safe is greater than their fear of the water?

What God has been impressing upon my heart lately though is this:

Get Out Of The Boat!

You know the story, right?  If not, refresh yourself here at Matthew 14:22-33

A friend of mine wrote a book, against a lot of advice from people in her church, advice that would have denied a lot of people access to God's wisdom spoken through her.

A number of acquaintances are seeking to find truth in strange places while they stay safe on the boat.  You can, for example, read all the Amish books you want.  You can simplify your life.  It will not make you Amish.    They too, are people seeking God.  In their own way.  But God`s way for them may not be God`s way for you.

You may try to appear in a certain way.  Speaking in a certain fashion, perhaps.  This helps you appear wise.  Calm.  Godly.  Passionless.  Dead.  

SAFE on the BOAT!

Lukewarm on the boat.  In the middle rows.  Not at the helm, not working the mast.  Not on the rudder or rowing. Sitting and watching some fool stepping over the side. 

Brothers and sisters...can I ask you for something...

When someone gets out of the boat, even starts talking about it, cheer them on!

Shout some prayers of encouragement!

Remind them to focus on the face of Jesus across the waves.

It isn`t our job to keep them in the boat when God calls them out of it!

I would love to hear your stories of getting out of the boat...share them with us in the comments.


Get Out Of The Boat

Inspired by Matthew 14:22-33.  Please feel free to read before, or after! 
Reach Your hand to me, oh Lord.
Touch me so that I won’t sink in.
Raise my face to Your eyes.
Touch my spirit so I can rise!

Walk me across the water, oh Lord!
Blind me to all but Your hand.
Watch my steps, let me falter not.
Blind me to all but each step ahead!

Lord, before all of that, please God.
Let me hear Your voice calling me.
Lord, draw me to You, wherever.
Lord, tell me, “Get out of the boat!”

Jesus, You never fail us. We fail us.
God, Your promises never break.
People, we fail, we break, we sink too.
We can’t walk on the water unless we
get out of the boat!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

At lo levad

At lo levad

"In Hebrew, my native language it means 'You are not alone' meaning that it is personal language. Said with love and care, concern. You are not alone in anything you do, for I am always concerned. I have your back. I will protect you no matter what. It is what close persons say to each other." Feli from Yahoo! Answers

Do you wish you had someone whom you could trust like this?

Someone who always has your back?

Someone who loves you.

Someone who is concerned for you.

Someone who stays close.

Someone who will protect you.

What if I told you that you do?

We all do!

Someone who always sees the big picture.  Someone who can always give us time.

Do you know who I am talking about?  

Isaiah did. So very long before He appeared in the flesh.

Isaiah 12:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

We are not alone. Ever.  As close as our breath and as big as creation. Jesus loves each one of us completely. With an unwavering strength, loyalty, concern and passion.

Does that take your breath away?  It should!

Does that humble you?  IT SHOULD!

Remember John 3:16?  Do you really? I mean REALLY remember it?    

Next time you feel like you need someone to have your back, remember Someone already does. Someone always has.

Care to share how God has shown you how He has your back lately?  

On a recent episode of NCIS Tony whispered this to Ziva as she returned to Israel.  I had to look it up.  At lo levad. Amazing promise friend to friend, more amazing to know God feels the same!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Dive


Dive into change.
Dive into faith.
Dive into a better marriage.
Dive into being the Mama.
Dive into being me.
Dive into a new house.
Dive into laughter.
Dive into silly.
Dive into what God moves us to.

Dive down past the fear.
Dive down past the doubts.
Dive down past the broken hope.
Dive down through it all.
Dive down to the bottom.
Dive down to where God waits for us.

Dive towards hope.
Dive towards promise.
Dive towards that which you are floating above.
Dive towards what we long for most.
Dive towards life promised eternal.
Dive towards the Holy Spirit.

Dive. Dive. Dive.

Linking up with Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday, her word Dive and my five minutes of poetry. Just write for five minutes and then stop. No fussing. No going back. Just write and stop. Post and share. Be sure to leave some love for all those you visit on this Friday.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Encourage Sisters

My word for this year is encourage.

My ministry, emerging into the light, is Encourage Sisters. Intentional encouragement. Godly encouragement.

1 Thessalonians 5:14
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

and more than this.  Not just the disheartened. But those who are angry. Those who are hurt. Those who feel alone. 

Encouraging someone can be an easy greeting card act to someone who will appreciate it.  I want more. I want intentional encouragement when it is hard. Super hard. When you know yours could be the only good words they hear all day.  Finding those words.  Choosing not to encourage behaviour which is hurtful.  Choosing to encourage to good. Encouraging seeking God.

I invite you to follow us at our blog, and on Facebook.  Be patient, and encourage one another.