Monthly Archives: July 2015

Being Vulnerable and Growing with Your Tribe

Young Women's Bible Study

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” Brene’ Brown

My friend Christina was trying to get to know me a bit when we first moved to South Texas. “Are you easy to get to know or more private?” “Oh, I’m an open book,” I said with pride. I’ve always thought I was an open book. But as the years go by, I realize that I am an extrovert with introvert qualities. And I’m harder to get to know than I once thought.

I like to be home. I like to do my thing. I will share with you something that only a few people know about me- I don’t like to talk on the phone and I actually have had some serious phone anxieties in the past. Once I’m on the phone, I’m fine. I feel like I’m doing so much better with it now, but still have a ways to go. But I could go forever before I called someone back. I know…it’s terrible. And it’s mainly with people far away or that I don’t see anymore. Text me and we’re good. I’ve avoided Skype and Facetime because it made me feel awkward and I felt like I needed to be more put together than I was.

And in the past I’ve missed different events or outings because I didn’t feel comfortable or like I needed to be there. I just wanted to stay home and hide. It feels safe when I’m at home. Messy hair, don’t care, pjs on and no drama. And that’s good to have a place of safety and refuge- but I know I can’t stay here all the time. I know I’ve been called to be a light and so have you. What I have to remember is that when I call people or go hang out with people, that I’m needed. I know that might sound weird, but you and I are needed! The Lord wants to use us to encourage others and build relationships. I know I can’t exactly do that hiding behind my keyboard (or whatever that thing is for you that it’s so easy to hide behind).

 “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” Brene’ Brown

At the end of the day, we’re all a little awkward, a little inward, but mostly we’re all perfectly imperfect… together. Every time I’ve done something that I almost missed because I was going to stay home, I come home feeling filled up, blessed and thankful for those experiences. And I tell my husband, “We need to that more often!” We were meant for fellowship, whether phone or in person, this I know. I think that’s why the enemy loves to give so many people anxieties in this area, because the enemy wants us to isolate ourselves. I have a lot of friends that are dealing with anxiety and it’s very isolating. The one thing I know that I have going for me is that I really love people. Like really. I’ve said it before after meeting up with someone at Starbucks or talking with a good friend I haven’t talked to in a while- I love people. And the other irony is that I’m called to be a speaker, so there’s that.

We have a friend who’s moving and the one thing I noticed about her (and I told her this) was that from the moment she got here, she gave it all and held nothing back. I admired the way she jumped into friendships and did life with people. She will be so very missed because she gave people the most precious thing she had, time.

I want to encourage you, as I take my own advice, to not let this year get by without digging your roots in a little deeper. I’ve been so blessed to do several girl getaways this year. I always come back with a deep love and respect for each of those ladies, as we’ve been able to peel away our masks and just be us… real. We laugh together, see our no-make-up self’s, and share personal stories that make us who we are today. There’s something to be said about not only getting to know them, but it feels good letting them get to know parts of me too.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene’ Brown

So be sensitive to God, what He’s calling you to do in this next season, the people He wants you to reach out to, the relationships that are important to you that you need to continue to invest in, the people you haven’t called in a while (just do it!), and perhaps the places that He will call you to go that you might not always ‘feel’ like going, but you’ll always be glad you went!  Look for opportunities to grow, serve, and be apart of what God is doing and build your community- because your community, your tribe, that’s where the good stuff grows, amen.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

Fill Up Your Spiritual Tank

Alps travel

A few weeks ago we went on this crazy, fun road trip to see my brother get married in California. The drive from Brownsville, Texas to Roseville, California is 2,025 miles. We broke the trip up into drivable days and a mix between cheap hotels, friends and family, and camping. It was such a fun adventure!

There are 3 things we always try to do when we make a stop- bathroom, gas, and food. If we don’t get food, at some point we all start to get hungry and cranky. And we need gas of course! I remember at one point in our trip where the gas was incredibly low and we were literally in the middle of nowhere. Not a gas station (or anything else for that matter) in sight. When you drive across Texas there are patches where there’s no food and gas for literally hours. It’s so important when we travel on road trips like this that we fill up at the gas station when we can. My gaslight was on and it felt like forever before we finally found a gas station. I was imagining what would happen if we ran out of gas in what felt like the desert, and it would not be good!

Life can be compared to a long road trip. We have places to go and people to see. We’re going to go through patches in our lives that are dry and desolate and suck the very life out of us. It is so important to fill up your spiritual gas tank everyday, because it’s a scary thing when we start to run on fumes. We get cranky, we’re short with people, and exhaustion is just miles away.

Fill up! God’s Word is life giving- it renews us, it refreshes us, and it equips us for the journey. So the next time you find yourself running out of gas, pull over, fill up your tank with God’s Word, and get back on the road! And Enjoy the journey!

Romans 15:4- For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

1 Timothy 4:13- Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Psalms 119:105- Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Joshua 1:8- This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Church- It’s Not Just About Me

Good ShepherdPhoto credit: @Good Shepherd Community Church

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts 20:28

This past weekend was 4th of July weekend. We went out to South Padre Island to spend time with family and watch the fireworks. We talked, we ate S’mores, some of the cousins played kickball, we prayed together, and then we were prayed for. I love our family and the way we all love each other. They prayed for us, as we are about to start Kids Camp tomorrow. There were some words spoken over our family and for the future of Big Red Ministries. It was refreshing and uplifting. We needed it. Then we drove home- it normally takes about 45 minutes to get home, but because of the holiday traffic it took 2 hours! I know. I know.

We got in around 1:30am and we were all so very tired on Sunday morning. I knew that I was going to need to wake my kids up in order to make it to church on time (on time for us). There was a struggle in my body that morning. Yes, the struggle was real. I was just exhausted. I knew I could just stay home with the kids and we could read the Bible together and the Lord would still love me. 😉 But something in me felt like I needed to be there. I can’t explain it other than the Holy Spirit. I made a decision that we were going to church, regardless of my tired man inside.

I woke the kids up and of course there was some resistance. My daughter said, “Mom, we’re all tired, right?” “Let’s just stay home today.” And thankfully I had already made up my mind or I would have been easily swayed. “Nope, we’re going,” I said.

I was running late but I learned a long time ago that God’s timing is perfect- as it was perfect on this particular morning. We rushed in, and thankfully I didn’t rush in too quick, as a woman was standing off to the left, next to the coffee, and she looked intently at me. “Celeste, right?” she said nervously.

She pulled me aside and we talked for a while. She was really struggling and I was able to speak into that thing and then pray over her. I felt His presence as we prayed. I quickly realized that this was exactly why I was supposed to be there and that this was why the enemy was trying to keep me from going to church. Which by the way, the enemy is really good at using our feelings to deceive us (just a side note).

The Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that when I come to church it’s for me, but it’s not just for me. He has a plan that is so far beyond us just hearing hearing a good sermon (although we do get to hear some great messages). Sometimes people church hop because they’re looking for the perfect church that will meet their every need (by the way, only God does that). Some people want to sit in the pew, hear a feel good sermon, and then move on. Church is messy, imperfect, and beautiful.

If we’re only going to see what we can get out of it, then we are totally missing what church was meant to be.

And yes, I know, we are the church.

He rocked me yesterday morning, realizing that I am guilty of this very thing- sometimes I just want to get in and out. And what’s for lunch? Lord, forgive me. The very thing that the church is meant to be, connection with God and connection with others, and learning to use our gifts to serve, is exactly what we miss when we’re so focused on us and how we’re feeling.

I want to challenge you today, as I was challenged, to go to church not only to learn and grow, but with intention. Ask the Lord to lead you to someone that might need prayer, even if you are not comfortable praying with people (He will give you the words). Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to someone that just might need a hug or an encouraging word.

We need each other.

May we not be so focused on the next thing that we miss the main thing! Amen! (click to tweet)