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The WORST 4-Letter Word

Posted by on Jan 17, 2018 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

There’s a new 4-letter word these days: a word that causes chaos in checkout lines and rages at red lights, a word whose very syllable makes us cringe in horror. We hear – or experience – this word and our entire day can be ruined. That word?

Move small children away from the screen….

 

 

 

 

 

WAIT.

Mmmm-hmmm.

We used to have wait for stuff all the time. I waited for “Wizard of Oz” to come on TV (once a year, at Christmas, right after “Sound of Music”). I waited for cartoons on Saturday mornings. I waited to get my film developed to see what my pictures looked like. Later, I waited for Dave to get off the phone so I could get online. Then I waited for the dial-up internet to pop up on my huge desk top computer.

Waiting was part of life for millennia.

Not anymore, though. We – and by “we”, I mean “I” – no longer accept waiting. Food should be fast. Information should be faster. Want to watch “Wizard of Oz”? Sure! On your tablet, your phone, or your TV? And waiting for pics? What?! It’s actually kind of sad that we have no more terrible pictures floating around. Unless someone screen shots a Snap Chat…

I am a big fan of technology (she types on her blog, attached to her social media sites…), but I recognize that we have lost something precious as we have gained all these cool gadgets. We have lost the discipline of patience. We have lost the gift of a gentle and quiet spirit. We are so desperately trying to keep up with all the things we don’t have to wait for that we no longer have the ability to enjoy the silence (what is that??).

Patience is a virtue, it is a gift, it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. And patience is developed by *gulp* waiting. So don’t see it as a bad word or an inconvenience – waiting is an opportunity for God to speak to you, to be real to you, to develop patience in you. It really isn’t a 4-letter word. Except that it is. But you know what I mean.

So hurry up….and wait!

Change

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in Christ life, Stuff about Me | 3 comments

I hate change. And I’m not being dramatic or hyperbolic. I hate it. Passionately.

And yet…it is part of life. There is always change. Sometimes it’s change we choose, sometimes it’s change that’s forced on us. Whatever it is, change comes, like waves on the shore. And while some folks just jump over the waves or surf on top of them, I get knocked down and feel like I’m drowning.

I am in the middle of all kinds of change right now. The most difficult is the one happening today: My oldest is leaving for 5 months to serve with  YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Mexico. It’s a great thing – she has a passion for missions and ministry, a love for God’s word, and this opportunity allows her to pursue all of that. But it’s still hard. I have rarely been away from Emma, since that day in May 1998 when the pregnancy test announced she was on her way. She has been away from home before – at camp, or visiting family or friends. But she was away from home. This change means that, for the next few months, anyway, she is making her home somewhere else. Her closet is empty, her room is bare. I am going to bed tonight, and Emma won’t be home.  She will be settling into her new room in her new “home.” And as much as I have known that my kids are a gift, and my goal as a parent is to see them fulfill the purposes God has for them, the reality of that goal being reached is bittersweet. The waves of change are crashing.

There’s no easy way through this change, no easy way through any of it. I am not a surfer, I can’t ride the waves. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to do that. But for now, all I can do is tread water. Breathe. Remind myself of what is true: Life brings changes, but Jesus never changes. With Emma, I can trust that God loves her even more than I do, and He is right beside her. With other changes, not quite as pleasant, I can trust that same God to walk beside me, hold me, deal with my weakness, and eventually bring me back onto shore.

To Be Honest…

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This phrase has become very popular, tbh. And, yes, I know that every word that comes out of our mouths should be honest. And yet…it’s not. We’re not always honest. I’m not always honest.

I can blame growing up in the South or in theater, but I don’t always say what I really mean and I rarely share what I really think. If someone asks me, “How are you?” I answer, “Fine.” But the truth is that, most of last year, I was not fine. And that’s just for starters. I struggle to share my struggles. I want people to believe I’m great, we’re great, life is great. I want to be the “Super Christian” who rejoices in trials and sees every challenge as an opportunity for growth.Image result for to be honest

But here’s what I have learned: Wrapping myself up in the “I’m fine” cocoon is lonely. Isolating. And dangerous. When I keep my struggles to myself, they amplify. It’s like having a piece of gravel in your shoe. If you leave it in there, even though it’s small, it can push into your skin, make a home there. It becomes a painful infection. But if you just take it out when you first feel it, that gravel can have no effect on you whatsoever.

Sharing struggles is like that. Granted, the struggles don’t go away as easily as a piece of gravel. But their effects are minimized when we discuss them, honestly, with people who care. Paul tells us that when we we carry each other’s burdens, we fulfill the Law of Christ (Galatians 6). And most of us are great at being willing to carry other’s burdens. But the reverse…now that’s just hard. It takes humility and vulnerability, it risks rejection and exposure. And, certainly, we ought to be cautious about who we trust with our burdens. Sadly, some will take that honesty and use it as a club. And maybe that has happened to you, and so you hold tight in your cocoon so it won’t happen again. But that leaves you lonely, isolated, and infected.

This new year, make a commitment to be honest. Ask God for people you can share your burdens with. Seek to be someone with whom others can share their burdens. We are a body, a community. Our job is to love each other and help each other. We can’t be a true a community if we are all wrapped up in ourselves and our hurts and our fears. Break of out that, be free. And be honest.

Preparing for Battle

Posted by on Dec 27, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Sometimes, I repost blogs I’ve previously written. Usually, I just update them and don’t mention they’re a repost. This time, though, I am telling you because we are currently in the battle that I was preparing for here. And, I am happy to report, at least for now, that Thomas is listening to those lessons from the past!

From September 30, 2013

This is my son, Thomas. He is 10. He loves soccer, Big Macs, and potty humor.

ThomasHe does not, however, love girls.

Yet.

The other day, Thomas and I were talking, and we got on the subject of dating. I told him that someday, he was going to like girls. Really like them. “You’ll even want to kiss them.” I said.

His reply? “Now that’s just nasty!”

So I decided to write a blog about the conversation so I could remind him of it when the hormones begin to kick in.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

But it did give me an idea for this post. It reminded me that, though Thomas can’t imagine he’ll ever want to kiss girls, I know he will. Because I am older, I have lived longer, and I have observed the behavior of preteens and teens, I know what’s coming, even if he doesn’t. And my husband and I are trying to prepare Thomas for what’s coming, even if Thomas doesn’t see it and – most definitely – does not appreciate it.

I talk to Thomas about girls because, when those hormones hit and he sees some cute little girl across the schoolyard, I want him to be ready for the next thought that will come into his mind. And the one after that. I want him to battle thoughts that would dishonor God and disrespect that girl. I want him to control his impulses so that when God does bring “the one” into his life, he is ready for her.

God does the same thing for us. He teaches us through his word how to resist temptations, so that when we face them, we are ready. He teaches us through others – sometimes others who might be annoying or frustrating – to make us more patient. He teaches us through difficult circumstances so we can turn around and help others in the same situation. God brings us into and out of places for reasons that we don’t always see at the time, but reasons that are for our good, to help us become who he desires for us to become.

So listen to Him. The Heavenly Father knows best.

McGee Christmas Card

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

I have decided to go “paperless” this year with my Christmas card. (Because “paperless” sounds so much more respectable than “lazy”;))

Dave & Krista

This was a bittersweet year for us. We are raising our kids with the prayer they will be Christ-following adults who would leave the “nest” to serve Him. But now that the “nest leaving” is actually here, it’s tough! Exciting, yes, rewarding, certainly. But still tough. Also, as most of you know, 2017 brought in the unexpected, untimely, death of my mother. Having lost his mom four years ago, Dave well understood the range of emotions such a loss brings. He has been a great help as I navigate through this grief. Professionally, Dave and I love our jobs. Dave teaches high school Bible, and I teach high school English and Drama. We have great administrators, co-workers, and students, and we feel blessed to be here.

Emma

Emma graduated from high school in May. She takes her last final at San Diego Christian College tomorrow, and then she will take a semester off to pursue a desire God laid on her heart two years ago: Attending a five-month Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Ensenada, Mexico. There, she will learn more about God’s word, and she will be involved in compassion and outreach ministries in Central and South America. She plans to pursue a career as a Christian counselor, and so she will continue her education in the fall. She has been working at Panera for a year and a half and, along with saving up most of the money needed for YWAM, Emma also has quite a ministry among her co-workers.

Eliana

Ellie is a junior in high school. She loves volleyball, and was a captain on the Varsity volleyball team this year. She also plans to join the softball team in the spring. Along with being quite athletic, Ellie is a talented actress and singer. She was cast as the Stepmother in the spring musical, “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”. She works at Panera, as well, and is saving up her money to visit family and friends in Florida this summer. Ellie is fiercely loyal, deeply compassionate, and diligent. Ellie’s love for God is evident to all who know her. She is also, to Dave’s delight, an excellent cook. I try and let her take over that job as often as possible!

Thomas

Thomas is a freshman in high school. He is also, as of a month or so ago, the tallest in the family. He started 2017 somewhere around 5″6″, and he is now just about 6′ tall. He plays goalie for his club soccer team, and he is starting on the school’s varsity soccer team, playing in the field. Thomas plays the guitar for the youth group’s worship band, having taught himself the instrument (thanks, You Tube!). In his free time, Thomas enjoys playing video games and annoying his sisters. Thomas is funny, gregarious, and kind. He keeps our hearts full and our pantry empty.

What Mary Knew

Posted by on Dec 6, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Much has been written, discussed, sung, and speculated about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mainly because she was the mother of Jesus!Image result for mary and angel

I have been thinking about her more lately because I have been digging into the first chapter of Luke in my Quiet Time.  I realized that the “Christmas Story” had become too mundane, and I didn’t want that. This was the greatest event in human history! It isn’t just some cute wooden figures on my mantle or verses printed on a card.

I know Mary was exceptional – she had amazing faith, astounding humility. And, as the commentary pointed out, she knew scripture well. Pretty impressive for a teenage girl! The angel called her highly favored, and Christians for centuries past have honored her.

Image result for outcastHowever, as I was reading, it struck me that, in her own lifetime, she was likely shunned. We can infer that no one – other than Joseph, Elizabeth, and Zechariah – believed her story about an immaculate conception. And so, in this highly legalistic environment, she was most likely looked on as a pariah. She was probably not invited to “Mommy and Me” groups, probably not invited over to dinner with other families. If she attended synagogue, people likely put plenty of space between themselves and her. The religious leaders, confident that they would be the first to know when the Messiah arrived, may have been horrible to Mary. How dare she claim to know something they didn’t?

And yet, when faced with this news, Mary’s immediate response was to say, “I am the Lord’s servant.” She truly cared more about pleasing God than pleasing man. Her prayer in Luke 1:46-55 is filled with references from the Old Testament scriptures, and it is full of praise. Knowing she was facing “social suicide”, Mary chose to focus on the goodness of God, of His mercy and His promises.

As we enter this Christmas season, I want to follow Mary’s example. I want to be the Lord’s servant. I want to face difficulties with my focus – not on the difficulties – but on the goodness of God, of His mercy, and His promises. I want to say, with Mary, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Not Gonna Do It

Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I hate saying I’m wrong.

I’d rather take a semester of Calculus than say I’m wrong. I’d rather eat a bucket full of broccoli than say I’m wrong. I’d rather have a mouse run across my foot than say I’m wrong.

I wish this were one of those posts where I follow that up with something wonderful and mature, a life lesson that turned me around and made me joyful when given the opportunity to admit my mistakes.

Image result for not wrong

Sorry. Not gonna happen. Not yet, anyway. This is one of those posts where I admit I am still growing and falling and struggling. Do I think I am never wrong? No. I know I make mistakes. But saying it out loud? Ouch. That is so difficult. I’d rather act like the wrong never happened. Or, even better, justify why my wrong wasn’t nearly as bad as other people’s. I’m really good at that. I make excuses for my wrongs, I sugar coat them, I do anything – anything – rather than admitting them.

But – and here’s the lesson that God keeps trying to teach me and I keep remaining too hard-headed to totally learn – I am miserable when I refuse to admit I’m wrong. Making excuses and justifications, ignoring or blaming – those do not bring satisfaction. Being right all the time is exhausting! And it distances me from the One who knows the truth.

On those rare occasions that I actually do admit I’m wrong, it feels good. After I say it. Before I say it, my stomach is in knots, my tongue is tied. I have beautiful, long debates with myself about whether or not it’s really necessary – and, to be perfectly honest, the “you don’t need to say it” argument wins most of those.

Maybe other people don’t struggle with this. Maybe you’re reading this thinking I am crazy. You can say “Sorry” all day and not be bothered at all. Well, good for you. I bet you like broccoli, too, don’t you?

But this is where I am. Not finished, still in process. Still struggling with things that a two-year-old struggles with.

I am thankful for a God who doesn’t give up on people as pig-headed as me. I am thankful for a God who doesn’t just say, “Do whatever you want. It’s fine.” Because it isn’t fine! But a God who says, “You ARE wrong, but I love you enough to help make you right.”

Ruled by Rules

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

I like rules. I like boundaries and expectations. I like to-do lists. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I have completed an assigned task, according to the specific rules set in place for that task.Image result for rule follower

There are some good things about being a rule follower: I get things done, usually on time and usually according to the directions. I avoid doing “bad” things. Even in high school, I tended to avoid the parties and groups that encouraged lawless behavior. I learn from others who break rules, and I avoid the consequences I see them face.

There are some bad things about being a rule follower, too. Those of you who hate following rules already know these (and can probably add to them!): I can be very self-righteous when I see others breaking the rules. I can spot the hypocrisy in other rule followers, and it annoys the crap out of me (which is is hypocritical of me, I know). I can judge others, not based on their actual character, but based on how well they follow rules.

The worst, though, is that, along with being a rule follower, I can also be extremely prideful. So that, when people break rules and those broken rules affect me, I get very frustrated. But because I am also a people pleaser, I often keep that frustration to myself, letting it fester in my mind and take root and become bitterness. How DARE that person do that to ME?? Doesn’t he know the RULES? Hasn’t he read in the Bible where it says (fill-in-the-blank with whatever offense is gnawing away at me). Then, as you read in my previous post, when I can’t hold all that in anymore, I explode. And break all the rules.

Image result for christ sets free from lawHere’s the thing, though: The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was because man was completely incapable of rule-following his way into heaven. We can’t make ourselves righteous. We can’t make ourselves holy. In fact, when we try that, we get even farther from God, even farther from Truth.

Jesus came to abolish the Law. But not so we can just do whatever. It is not a freedom to sin. It is a freedom from sin. We honor God’s rules, not because we are trying to “earn” holiness, but because we have it – through Christ – and because His ways really are best. His boundaries are meant to protect us, to shepherd us. Sin – like pride and hypocrisy and unkind thoughts – stunts our growth, makes us miserable, weighs us down.

My biggest struggle is dealing with my own sins and releasing the sins of others – even the offenses – to God. I can’t make people “follow the rules”. I can’t convince or berate or “expose” them into doing what is right. I can’t change anyone. But, through the power of Christ, can change. I can follow his rule: To love God and love others. Instead of being ruled by rules, I can live in the glorious freedom of being ruled by Christ.

Shut Your Mouth!

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

I have several talents I am grateful for, that I hone and try to improve, that I practice alone and with groups. But I have one particular talent that brings me far more shame than pleasure: Speaking without thinking.

I have used this talent in far too many places with far too many people to far too disastrous results. It’s not always end-of-the-world stuff. But it is always annoying at best and damaging at worst.

When I was in college, my friends would laugh at me because, no matter what was being discussed, I’d have a story for it. Rather than listening to what others were saying, engaging them, asking them questions about their story, I sat waiting, mentally preparing for when I could speak and regale the group with my story. Looking back now, I realize how incredibly gracious my friends were with me. They just let me talk, rather than turning to walk away because – invariably – I would be telling a story they’d already heard.

And that’s a more positive example. Let’s not even talk about when I yelled at a good friend, calling her a selfish jerk in front of a whole crowd of our friends. Or when I told a young man, in a very unkind manner, that he was not worthy of the girl he was dating. Or when I completely lost it in front of the entire cast of a play I was directing (more than once, for more than one play).

In every case, I let my mouth run while my brain raced to catch up. By the time I realized how ridiculous, rude, and/or arrogant I had been, it was too late. The damage had been done. What I needed to do, in every case, was to just shut my mouth.

I am going to get frustrated, I am going to get angry, I am always going to think of stories I could tell. But that doesn’t mean that I need to say everything that pops into my head. I need to think over what I am going to say, I need to make sure that what I am saying is kind, beneficial, necessary. I need to guard my mouth so that what comes out builds people up and doesn’t tear them down.

“The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.” ~Psalm 37:30

Stop Trying So Hard

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace lately. It is a concept I have always struggled with. I mean, I know salvation is by grace…not by works lest any man should boast. (I grew up Southern Baptist, after all!) But I am constantly catching myself working. Do I read my Bible because I love God and want to know Him? Or because I think I am earning “points” with him? Do I treat people with kindness because that is how God treats me, or because I want people to like me? How seldom do I really just rest in the grace God gives me?

My pastor has been teaching from the book of Luke on Wednesdays, and last week he spoke on the parable of the prodigal son. He brought out something I have never considered: that when the son returned, the Father didn’t just let him in – the Father was waiting for him, watching for him. And when the Father saw his long lost son, He ran. Our pastor described the Father lifting his tunic so his feet were freer, racing down the lane, completely unconcerned that he might look foolish. His joy in seeing his lost son return home was greater than any concern he had about what others might think.

This is grace. This is how God sees us. How He sees me. The Father isn’t sitting in the house, considering whether or not I have been “good enough” to earn His attention or His love. He doesn’t meet me on the lane as I return and tell me all the ways I have failed. He doesn’t give me a “To Do” list that I need to complete to earn His favor. I have it. As a friend says, “I am God’s favorite!” And I am. So are you!

I know I spend WAY too much time trying WAY too hard. I get frustrated at myself because I don’t measure up. And I get frustrated with others because they don’t measure up, either.

How different would we be if we simply accepted the grace God offers us and lived in light of that? Loved in light of it? What would our relationship with God look like? Our relationship with others?

I don’t know about you, but I find it exhausting – all this working, all these unrealistic expectations. I want to do more than know about this grace. I want to walk in it – be embraced by it. I want to stop trying so hard to earn something that I have already have.