What do you mean, Christian?

I cannot talk about myself and what I think, feel, and experience without referring to the fact that I’m a Christian. The title “Christian” is a very loaded word. In truth, it means different things to different people…everything from “I go to church on Sundays” to “I believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible”.

So when I say I’m a Christian and that will affect what I write some may think, “I’ll see things her way” and some “She’s judgmental and narrow-minded”. The term can no longer stand on it’s own. When the term was first used with the early church, it meant “those are the people who love each other so much all they want to do is spend time together and pray for and take care of people.” Yes, they believed God created the universe and Jesus was His begotten son, but even demons proclaimed Jesus was the son of God (Luke 4:41). It was the people who acted as Jesus did who were called the Christ-ones.

I believe the most outstanding characteristic of God (and Jesus) is love. I try to read my Bible often to see what it says about God’s love and how I should express love. And throughout the Bible, God included information about love in every relationship: with God and believers, God and unbelievers, between parents and children, employees and employer, between friends, between enemies, within families, with strangers, with the Godly and the ungodly, with neighbors, with the world.

It has taken me a long time to understand and walk out what I’ve learned about love from God. And there is so much I still have to learn. Calling myself a Christian in no way means I think I know everything about the Jesus I follow. God is other. He is part of a spiritual realm that is mainly a mystery to us until we get to the other side. I could learn tomorrow that I’m wrong about something I believe today.

As I’ve mentioned, the first C in Circle Sisters stands for Christian Living. Put another way, I’m going to share how I live as a Christian. You don’t have to take what I share as gospel (see what I did there?), but I’d like you to hear me out whether you see things as I do or not. And if you comment, we can dialog about it.

What goes around comes around…

Years ago I started a little group of women who came together to be creative and encourage each other in our Christian walk. The group disbanded after a time, but the name lived on in my mind. In my over forty years of ministry I’ve wanted to create a space where women could receive help in Christianity, inspiration, relationships, creativity, leadership, and encouragement…and that spells CIRCLE. We create a circle when we pass around to others all that God has taught us.

Each post will be a way of my giving to you; spurring you on toward good works (as the Bible puts it). I hope whatever you glean will be passed along, and that you will post comments–your way of giving back to me and in effect, closing the circle.

On my desk sits a framed quote from Cyril Connolly. Better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self. My writing has always reflected this. I stay true to myself and who I believe God has called me to be, and that includes anything I write. So when I say something here, you can count it being what I truly think. I might not say everything perfectly, but it will be from my heart.

I have engaged in many types of writing over the decades, some published, some not. This is a new endeavor in writing for me. I share a love/hate relationship with technology so I’m on a learning curve with how to set up and maintain a website and blog. I hope to post twice weekly. I hope to keep to a Tuesday-Friday schedule, but as today’s date will show, sometimes my tech abilities don’t cooperate. I hope to prove you’re never too old to learn a new skill.

I invite you on this journey with me. I invite you to try something new in your own life. Be brave. Be bold. For The Lord Our God is with us. Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its own purpose. Proverbs 16:3-4

Thanks everyone.

Sunday’s Coming

Tony Campolo made popular the phrase “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!” The Bible points out that while Christ was in the tomb, his spirit went to Hell to set the captives free and take back the keys of the kingdom from Satan. He was there for three days before the Resurrection. He wasn’t idle. He wasn’t chilling out. He wasn’t even biding His time before the moment He would rise again. He was accomplishing His purpose. He was continuing to do what He started out to do on earth–giving sinners access to the Heavenly realm. Those 3 days were important to the Father’s plan. Jesus was not sad. Jesus was not worried. Jesus was being the person He said He was.

Those same 3 days were darkness, confusion, lament, grief, disruption, and paralyzing for the disciples. Though it shouldn’t have been. Jesus spent three years telling them what was going to happen. His whole life was explaining how it was Friday, but Sunday’s coming. Good news is coming. Resurrection is coming. The promise is coming. The answer is coming.

We may experience many Fridays in waiting out the Corona virus, but Sunday will come and we will walk out our doors again into our busy lives. As Jesus said, I want to be about my Father’s business, and no less during these days of darkness and confusion, than when the light of the Resurrection comes.

I pray this Easter is personally meaningful for all of us.

Next week I will finally explain why this site is called Circle Sisters.

7 Lists to Make When You Feel Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed can creep up on you when you’ve had a few days of putting out one fire after another. Or the feeling suddenly hits after streaming through news reports on this crisis. Either way, when I get overwhelmed, here are 7 lists I make to help me feel better.

  1. Gratitude list. Listing everything from having my favorite coffee (or plenty of toilet paper) to knowing my family members are staying safe makes me realize my life isn’t as bad as I thought.
  2. Three quick chores I can knock out. When I feel overwhelmed, I generally think I’m spinning my wheels. Choosing to make my bed (2 minutes), clear off a kitchen counter (3 minutes), and pay one bill (5 minutes) and bam–ten minutes later I feel productive and ready to see what else I can get done.
  3. Name 5 people I enjoy talking to on a post-it near my phone.  Talking to that one person who makes me laugh lightens my load just enough to keep going. Calling up that old friend instead of punching the like button on a post can change everything about my day.
  4. Write down on my family calendar the 5 easiest meals I can make or order. No, these aren’t the healthiest meals, but the fastest ones. Pizza-Grilled Cheese-Canned Pasta–Burgers and fries get written into the calendar, and I’ve gained five days of freedom from supper planning and cooking. Some weeks the mental health is more important than the physical health.
  5. Ten fun things I can do in ten minutes of free time. No, I can’t binge watch a show when I’m overwhelmed, but I can watch cat videos, work on a puzzle, read, take a quick nap or a hot shower as a reward once or twice during a tough day. Writing those things on my To Do List will make me smile.
  6. The Everything List. Sometimes that feeling comes from having a running list filling up and spilling over in my brain. If I stop and write down every single thing I think I have to do, or think I want to do in a given day I realize how ridiculous I’m being and give myself a break.
  7. Write down the 1 Bible quote that makes me feel better right now on as many post-its as I have rooms and put one in every room. God has an encouraging word or promise for everything I’m feeling. Some days I have little time to pray or read my Bible, but I can read 1 verse, and ask God for that 1 verse, and that’s enough to see me through.

There you have it. Some practical. Some simple. Some supernatural. Try them, and tell me what works for you.

Life changing ways to survive Corona Virus 2020

I have been waiting weeks…no months…no years…to write my first blog post. When did I finally find the time? During these weeks of shelter in place in the spring of 2020. We will remember this year, won’t we?

I know my daughters will. My Texas rose will remember losing her management job at a high-end hotel. She is grateful to have more time at home with her three teenagers, but has cried tears over the many many friends losing jobs in the hospitality industry. Her faith in God makes her an inspiration to them all. My Georgia peach will remember homeschooling two daughters while caring for her other two preschoolers and trying to run a business online–without ever being able to get away with friends, or even take the girls out somewhere to play. Almost daily she posts encouragements to friends on Facebook.

I will remember deepening my prayer life, finally getting procrastinated projects done, delving into art and reading, and oh, yes…finally getting around to starting my blog to encourage Christian women to allow God into their lives a little more, inspire them to be their true selves, help them form healthy relationships, coax them into creative expression, and build their leadership skills.

I am praying for the sick and the well right now to get through this time of crisis. I am praying for our government leaders and our health care personnel. I am praying for God’s grace on our country, and for anyone afraid to be comforted by the Great Comforter.