Lead from behind, but don’t forget to follow from in front!

I was running today and as I was running I was thinking about St. Patrick’s prayer

Christ be with me
Christ be before me 
Christ be behind me
Christ be within me

As I was thinking this, I thought about the miniature Jesus I used to imagine living in my heart when I was little and laughed at myself.   Then I imagined Jesus running in front of me and running behind me and thought to myself, what a beautiful circle that makes and isn’t it amazing that when Jesus is running behind me He wants me to follow Him!

I hear the saying and use the saying,  Lead from behind, a lot, but I don’t think I have ever heard someone say, Follow from in front.

I don’t think following from in front is easy, but I think it is extremely important.

Take a look at Jesus’ Warriors of Love, women in abusive relationships.  They are not considered leaders according to our man-made criteria, but we should see them as leaders in how to love others recklessly, how to love others as Jesus and God love us despite our flaws and terrible actions and treatment of others and ourselves.

Take a look at the slaves world wide.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders in resilience, strength and the faith as they go on living one more day with every dawn.

Take a look at the people of any third world country.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders.  They lead us daily in gratitude as they give praise for clean water to drink, a simple meal placed before them and whatever shelter God has provided for them.

Finally, take a look at the sweet and generous widow in the bible.  She was not considered a leader at that time.  She was seen as a quiet and small follower, barely noticed by the powerful leaders at that time, but Jesus saw her, talked about her, placed her in a position to lead from behind, reminding us yet again to Follow from in Front.

Mark 12:44
They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.

I think when the leaders and followers get mixed up as a lot of us are now, leaders, leading from in front and followers, following from behind, we very easily get lost and it becomes very hard to find God.

Let’s get out of the desert, let’s end this aimless wandering, let’s begin following the real leaders of our world.  The poor, the oppressed, and the children.  They have big things to teach us if we are willing to listen!

So many of us have been trying to lead from in front.  Jesus please help us to have faith and trust in You and our fellow brothers and sisters so that we can complete your circle and remember to follow from in front.

Saying “It is Our Best Life”…

I started saying “It is our best life” every morning and every night on Jan 23, 2012.  If you have read the background or the first post on this site, you already know that before this date I was saying “It is my best life” on a regular basis.

About a week before Jan 23, 2012, I posted a note on facebook for my friends.  In my note, I gave them the background and then challenged my friends to say “It is our best life” every morning and every night for a month.  What I didn’t tell anyone at that time was that I was scared to start my own challenge.

At that time, my life was good.  My husband had recently taken a new job that allowed him to be home more.  My girls were happy and healthy and attending a new school that we all loved.  Since moving to a new city, I had reconnected with a college friend who quickly became a best friend.  Life was good and I was scared to rock the boat.

The whole week before Jan 23, 2012, I stopped saying “It is my best life”, but I did not say “It is our best life” either.  I waited until the morning of Jan 23, 2012, but when I woke up that morning I whispered “It is our best life” and I meant it.

The fear of having opened a unwanted can of worms with my new mantra “It is our best life”, didn’t go away for a few weeks, but I kept saying it.  No worms showed up, no axe fell and by the end of the month, I had formed a habit and my old mantra “It is my best life” was gone.

The challenge for my friends came and went without much follow-up, but I was hooked and I kept on saying “It is our best life”.

By Easter 2012, I had found Jesus and come to the realization that I hadn’t known Him before despite having thought I knew Him.  I love Him so much!!!

Now as Easter 2013 approaches and over a year has passed since I started saying “It is our best life” and close to a year has passed since I truly fell in love with Jesus, I look at my life and I almost don’t recognize it.  I have never been more deeply in love with my husband!  I have never been in such awe of my girls and the amazing things they say and do.  I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed, as much fun or full of so much laughter with my family!  I know I have never in my life been full of so much gratitude.

Thank you Jesus for making all things possible!  I believe Our Best Life will only get better as more people believe it is Our Best Life!

Constant competition is exhausting…

I went to get my hair cut today.  I went to a new place and they had an opening for me.

The available stylist was very friendly and asked if I had children so we talked a bit about my girls.  Then she told me that she had a new granddaughter, and pulled out her phone to show me a photo. Just as she was holding it up for me to look at she said, “I’m sure my baby is prettier than all of yours.”

I just laughed inside, smiled, took a look at the photo and truthfully told her that her granddaughter was indeed beautiful!  The remainder of the appointment was nice and she did a great job trimming my hair and adding some shape back into it.

I didn’t really think about her comment again until later, but when I did it truly exhausted me.  I was momentarily stunned all over again to realize that this lady I had never met was wanting to compete with me over something that is completely impossible to compete at.

Then in the next instant I was overwhelmed with memories of myself attempting to compete over ridiculous things throughout my life. How exhausting?  How pointless? How annoying for other people… sorry about that. 🙂

Jesus… thank you for opening my eyes today even if only for a moment.  Thank you for the reminder that I want to live Our Best Life and in Our Best Life there is no need to compare or compete because we are all seen with Your eyes of love!

Mirrors!

I think we all want others to see the good in us, or to let Jesus shine through as some of us would say!

How can you help everyone see Jesus within you without ruining the good intentions of an action and even running the risk of taking Jesus out of the action entirely by worrying that others see it, notice it, acknowledge it, pat you on the back for it?

I know I am not the first to say this and I am definitely not very good at doing this, but we will not help Him shine through by focusing on ourselves or our good deeds and actions.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Now imagine that you are a mirror.

  1. What is your sole purpose in life if you are a mirror?  To reflect what you see.
  2. Can you as a mirror be good or bad?  No.
  3. If you are a mirror and have a soul, does this change whether you can be good or bad? No.
  4. If you are a mirror and have a soul, would you have a preference regarding whether you reflect good or bad? Yes, I would prefer to reflect good.

Therefore as a mirror with a soul, I am still bound by the sole purpose of a mirror which is to reflect what I see, but if I desire to reflect only good then the only way this is possible is to see the good in everything!

I think the only way to truly help Jesus shine through ourselves is to focus on finding Him in others and then be their mirror!  The more light of Jesus you find in others, the more light of Jesus your mirror can then reflect back on everyone!

Can you see it?  A world full of mirrors constantly reflecting the light/love of Jesus!  It would be blinding, it would be beautiful, there would be rainbows everywhere!

It is Our Best Life… Jesus please help us to find the good in everything so that our mirrors will be full of Your light!

Can our children see the Banner of Love?

I heard the song Banner of Love by Luminate today.  I love this song and started singing to myself, but I am notorious for getting the words wrong when singing a song.

The actual lyrics are below

I hear You calling me
To raise a banner of love
Up high in the city streets
One hope for all the world to see

But I accidently changed them to

I hear You calling me
To raise a banner of love
Up high in the city streets
Down low for the kids to see

I am not trying to change this song.  I love it just as it is, but when I realized I was making such a big mistake with the words, I started wondering where my rewrite came from.  I am still not sure on that, but I do think we need to be a Banner of Love for all of the children in our lives.

Thinking about a Banner of Love for the children reminded me of Joel Osteen’s sermon, The Power of I Am.  In his sermon he tells us to build ourselves up, not to bring ourselves down through “I Am”.  Such as saying to ourselves I am smart, I am strong, I am beautiful instead of I am stupid, I am weak or I am ugly.

I completely agree that we should all do this, but why are we not doing this already?  We weren’t taught to do this at an early age.

I am going to raise a tiny banner of love down low for my girls to see!  I am going to teach them to praise themselves in the mirror after brushing their teeth at night.

I believe they are Awesome, Wonderful, and Amazing!
I believe they are Loved!
I believe they are Love!

I want them to believe it too!

It is Our Best Life!  If you already believe it, then let’s start trying to help everyone else see it!  Raise your Banner of Love!

Thank You!

I am so filled with gratitude and joy this morning… all I can do is cry out, thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You!

Thank you for reading, loving, dreaming, sharing, praying and so many other wonderful things full of good that you do!

Sending out prayers full of love and dreams of Our Best Life!

A new friend!

I haven’t always been a runner, but I have started running lately since I really haven’t felt like joining a gym and I live in a place with beautiful weather.

I am not really an outgoing person and some of my favorite days and nights are just sitting home with my family playing, working on my projects, listening to some music, or watching a good movie.  However I do need people and I have noticed that when I run if someone waves at me or smiles I get a jolt for a few min and forget that I was tired or out of breath and run with renewed strength.

After noticing this I have started waving at everyone I run by (drivers, runners, walkers) and for the runners and walkers I take the extra step of taking off my headphones to say good morning as I run by.  This morning one of the walkers I said good morning to, waved back and said, “Good morning my friend!”.   He is living Our Best Life even if he doesn’t call it this and I was overjoyed to meet him if only for a moment!

Jesus thank you for my new friend!  Please help me be a friend to everyone I encounter just as you are a friend to all of us!

My friends, It is Our Best life… someday we will all be friends!

Warriors of Love!

I heard the song His Kind of Love by Group 1 Crew today on KSBJ in Houston (my favorite station)!  I am sure I have heard it many times, but I was planning to run today and the great beat struck me.  I drove home from dropping the girls off, bought it for my i-pod, put it on repeat, and ran out the door.

The song got me really pumped up for a run, and as I running I was really listening to the words and feeling His love, praying for understanding His love, and wanting to share His love.  I made it home and as I was stepping into the house I was listening to the line in the song, “Is reckless for us” and do you know who I thought of?  I thought of women in abusive relationships and marriages.

I thought to myself these women understand reckless love.  They stay with their partner or husband through the beatings, through the verbal abuse, through the humiliation.  They love their partners and they wait out the bad times and hope for the good times to return. They haven’t forgotten the glimmer of Jesus that they saw in their spouses eyes when they first met and they probably see Jesus again every morning after the storm in the apologies, hugs, kisses and promises that it will never happen again.  They lose friends and family who don’t understand why they won’t leave.  In the end others give up on them or even start to hate them for their weakness for staying… just as Jesus was despised by so many.  The bruises, scars, and pain are their battles wounds showing us that they know a lot about loving as Jesus loves.  They know about Reckless Love.

I am in no way suggesting these women stay in these relationships or continue to put up with abuse. I don’t want that for them or anyone!

However since realizing this, I will never again look upon these women with pity.  I will see them as Warriors of Love!  I will want to kiss their battle wounds and pray for a quick recovery.  I will want to ask how to help them and not take the assumption that I know how to help them.  I will want to thank them for showing me that it is possible in our world to love recklessly as Jesus loves us.  I will want to ask them how they do it (not as a put down or to embarrass them, but as a student would ask a teacher)  so that I can humbly try to spread the love that they are spreading through this one lost individual that they have been appointed to care for, teach and love!

Jesus please help us to love as these women love and help us to change our perspective and see these women as You want them to be seen, as Your Warriors of Love!

I Believe!

I just heard the song I Believe by Chris August!  This is the first time I have heard it and I love it and wanted to share it with you!

At one point in the song he sings…

If you had some heartache that made you cry a thousand tears
Then let me tell you now I know just how you feel

When I heard this I thought, I have never experienced this heartache and would not be able to tell someone that I know how they feel, but I then thought of a dear friend who has experienced this heartache.  I had this image for a moment of how treasured, loved and special she is and that we are so blessed that Jesus has been carrying her through these difficult times.

I believe and carry a hope in my heart that she is nearing the end of these trials.  Every now and then I think I see Jesus put her down for a day or two so that she can begin taking her baby steps while still holding His hand.

Thank you Jesus for loving my dear, sweet friend so much and carrying her through so many difficult times!

I believe it is Our Best Life!

Sending my love to all of you!

I watched the PBS documentary, The Mystery of Love, this evening.

At one point the documentary was discussing loving the whole world and it was mentioned that the Buddhists all say that during their wedding ceremonies the bride and the groom should marry the whole world, through this one person, and that rabbis have a similar expression that the whole world is a huppa or the whole world is a wedding canopy.

On the morning of his wedding, Ketsu Norman Fisher, a Zen master wrote this poem.

Of all the women in all the world
Delicate in their various encasings of body, of mind;
This one, bent asleep before me, in the bed,
Is the one through whom all must be loved,
As I have promised.

I thought this was beautiful and I had this moment of truly feeling loved and honored  by this man who I have never met, but knows that I am delicate.  What a blessing!!!

In Our Best Life I know that I truly love all of you and since I want to live Our Best Life now, I am going to begin intentionally trying to love the whole world!  I pray to be able to truly love everyone who is put in my path and I pray to send YOU my love by loving everyone who is put in my path.

Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself.   It is Our Best Life, let’s LIVE it!