Give The Flowers.

Good afternoon beautiful people!

First off, you know what they say about the best-laid plans, right? Right?! Well that was me, last week. Had ideas for not one–but TWO posts. Set up an IG poll to decide which one to do first and everything. Then life got busy, and not only did I lose the chance to write on my normal schedule, I don’t even remember what prompted one of the titles that I had listed. Y’all forgive me–I need to start writing stuff down #notaprofessional

Image result for not a professional meme Anywho. I remember what prompted the other title, so here we go!

Recently, my eighth graders have been engaging in a process known as Passage Portfolio Presentations. Our school follows a curriculum known as EL, or Expeditionary Learning, and one common thread that runs among these schools is creating a space for students to share what they’ve learned in a way that is public and meaningful. At our school, that means that before eighth graders can move to the ninth grade, they must present both sixth and eighth grade work and talk about their work then, their work now, and how they both connect to how they’ll work in high school. This is a very big deal. Their Transitions teachers start preparing with them around February, completing reflections weekly for each subject and selecting work to represent those two subjects. The level of commitment and engagement varies, because some take the process seriously and others do not, but what (should) emerge(s) is a portfolio of work and reflective thinking that these kids basically defend–to family, administration, faculty–and to ensure an unbiased audience—complete strangers.

I’ve sat in 8 of these presentations so far, and though I thought I’d be an emotional wreck, I was actually far too amazed by them and nervous FOR them to cry. These kids are leaving me in 11 school days (hopefully–some of them are playing fast and loose with this promotion thing), and to compare what I see in front of me–these professionally dressed, articulate, composed and self aware eighth graders–with the rowdy, unpredictable, schoolwork-averse sixth graders that they were (and honestly still behave like sometimes) blows all the vestiges of my mind.

But this blog post isn’t about reflections, or passages, or panelists, per se…though it did come to mind sitting in one.

One of the last PPPs that I sat in was for my crew member A. This is her below, with identifying features concealed, since one can’t be too sure about you internet folks, sometimes:

IMG_3854 A little about A: She is a consistently excellent student. She is driven, focused, does her work, (mostly) stays far away from the drama and silliness that can be middle school aged girls, is goal oriented, and has a beautiful smile. She is in my Crew, and sometimes I think that I haven’t done the best by her that I could…and I regret that.

You may wonder why I feel that way. I am a darn good Crew leader–consistent, generous, available. It is something that I am pretty proud of, because Lord knows it ain’t easy. So why would I think that I have psuedo-failed A? It is because a lot of my Crew members require a…heavier touch…than A does. Being consistently excellent, I don’t need to confer with her teachers about her work nearly as often to make sure that it is being done, and being done correctly. Being consistently excellent, I don’t have to use up all my good daytime minutes (joke) to call her mother and beg, plead, wail, gnash my teeth, bargain, bribe or lowkey threaten her to connect with me and gather her child up. Being consistently excellent, I don’t have to hear her name ad infinitum over my walkie talkie or see it in my inbox because she has gotten into yet another altercation of her own creation with another kid. Being consistently excellent, A does her work–her lowest grade right now is a 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. That’s her LOWEST. She rolls with a great group of similarly focused girls. She has her sights set on the competitive high school that she got into. I never stopped to think about whether she truly feels like she has a school mom like some of the others do until recently. My sappy reflectiveness as this process ends has me overthinking a bit and wondering if she ever felt let down when I popped my head into one of her classes–but not to see her, but to G-check another Crew member who I’d just received a behavior write-up for minutes beforehand. I wonder if she ever felt discarded when I did grade check ins on Fridays and didn’t even bother to look hers up, knowing instinctively that they’d be solid? I certainly hope not. 

That was never my intent, but I know full well the slight resentment that comes from doing well for so long that people assume that you always will, and don’t stop to pluck and give you the flowers that you DESERVE for doing the damn thing (yeah, I said it. Fight me.) Who don’t even stop running and tugging the recalcitrant long enough to believe you when you say that being excellent is an exhausting job sometimes, and frankly you are sick of it…but you won’t stop because it is what is expected. Who understand you when you say that you still need your flowers, even if it’s the fourth bouquet this week, because it will always be easier to sit on your porch than it will be to go out at sunrise and harvest what you’ve planted. We sow and water and sweat and harvest ultimately because we wanna eat, but the process is often arduous. Like I told her after her presentation during the questions-comments-compliments portion: “excellent people need to be told that they are excellent”.

Sean Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about giving people their flowers while they are here to appreciate them–flowers being, of course, the love/appreciation/gratitude/respect that people need to keep going. God’s Word, in 2 Samuel 2, in Ephesians 1, in 1 Corinthians 1 and more, consistently speaks of being grateful for people. At my old school, we used a socio-emotional curriculum known as Responsive Classroom, and one of my favorite of their tenets says that children flourish in a space where there is belonging, significance, and fun. (Some versions also add relevance, which I love as well). It is simple really–a kid who comes to school and feels like they are a part of the tapestry, who feels like they and what they bring to the table are vital to the success of the whole, and who has space to let their hair down and goof off will do well. But isn’t that the case for all of us? At work, at church, in our social circle, in school, wherever; we need to belong, we need to feel significant, and we need to enjoy it even on the hard days.

A deserves her flowers. She always has, and she always will. But sometimes, we (and by we, I mean me as well) get so caught up with all of the other things that need our attention that we forget to appreciate the goodness of the people in front of us.

A, I am going to spend the next 11 school days (or more, if you return after the promotion ceremony) giving you your flowers. I hope that you know just how much you bring me joy. I hope that my confidence in your success oozes from my every interaction with you. I hope that you know how 3 years of knowing you has prompted me to not only call out the excellence that I see in other behind the scenes superstars, but also to demand that recognition for myself. You see, I am excellent and deserve my flowers as well.

Thank you, beautiful. With all the gratitude in the world,

StephTheScribe.

 

Image result for flower bouquet black girl

#PhenomenalWomanWednesdays: The Art of Joy

Hello beautiful people!

I’m back at it again with another edition of Phenomenal Woman Wednesday. Have you ever had that friend where you couldn’t exactly remember the moment that started it all, but you realized that the intertwining of your life’s has changed the fabric of time? That sounds incredibly dramatic, but there are people who are movers and shakers, and there are others that are shifters. Joy SHIFTS. 

  
I met Joy through attending Destiny Harvest, and she quickly became irreplaceable. She has taught me how to love my heritage a bit more, speaks vision into my life, and encourages those giftings that God has placed on my life that were lying dormant beforehand—honestly, there might not be a Paper, Ink and Jesus if not for her. I have been writing since my early teens, and I went through a stage where my writing reflected my mindset. My poetry could be dark, angry, and sarcastic–it dealt with my fractured relationship with my dad, my singleness (and resulting lust), and my interactions with the public in unhealthy ways and became a tool for revenge moreso than an avenue for His peace….once I decided that I didn’t want to live like that anymore, I was at a loss–how was I supposed to use this really dynamic thing in a way to give God the glory? I stopped sharing and creating out of pure fear that my best wouldn’t be good enough. I stopped writing, and Joy was one of those God-sent agents of change that convinced me to start up again. She even took my stage name–Birthwrite–and refashioned it, because He makes all things new. 

  
Aside from that, though, one of the biggest lessons that I have taken from observing and just generally getting to know Joy is the transformative power of a crazy, bold faith. I’m not talking about crossing your fingers and hoping that life pans out in the way you hope for. Au contraire, mon frere. No, when I say big faith, I mean the kind that wills you to take huge steps because you have communed with God and you hear His voice, and though what He is saying doesn’t even fully make sense to you, you know that with His hand on it, the plan is infallible. So you go–and not begrudgingly either. You go expectantly, just waiting on Him to manifest Himself in people, situations, opportunities, God-moments, etc. And that is exactly what Joy has done. I won’t get into the nuts and bolts, because Joy has her own testimony to share. I know personally, I am going through a season where clarity is needed and vision is eagerly anticipated, so if you are at this crossroads of life, I trust that something that Joy has to say will speak to you as well. 

  
1. Jump in, Jump out…introduce yourself! What are three things that we don’t know about you?

Hello beautiful! My name is Joy and I’ve known Steph for three years. Honestly, I don’t remember how we met but life is full of pleasant surprises and Steph is one of my favorites. I do remember where though, church–probably because I needed a ride home. Anyway, it’s one of those “right on time” sisterhoods because God knew that I needed it BADLY. I’m so grateful to have her in my tribe.

As tiny as I am, I love food and I’m a serial snacker. My guilty pleasure is online window shopping and my browser is full of open tabs of clothing that I like but never buy. There’s a special place in my heart for classic (read: old) movies. Casablanca and Gone with the Wind are my favorites. I can watch them over and over again and I have.

2. What would you say is your biggest testimony right now?

Graduating from graduate school! Columbia was the last school that I applied to AND it was after I had received rejection letters from all the other schools that I applied to. Columbia was also far better than the other schools that I applied to so I was prepared for yet another “we appreciate your application” letter. Somehow they said yes and I ended up in NYC. It was and still is a revelation of “seek first the Kingdom and all things will be added” (Matthew 6:33). I’m still learning that God puts me in places that I am undeserving of and dare I say unqualified for simply because I have my eyes fixed on Him. What an incredible privilege that is. What tends to be overlooked is this tricky space between the seeking and addition called waiting. Ah, that’s the rub! 
However, God’s timing is perfection (yes, the noun). Well, duh! It’s takes a lot to say it and then a whole lot more to believe it. Borrowed words of wisdom: “God is not slow to act, He is slow to anger.” I’m more than grateful for the second part because I’m a struggle at times and God has been more than gracious because I can get a bit foolish. But the former refutes our frustration! His timing is perfect. We live life forward but understand in hindsight. On our timeline it looks like He’s slow or even withholding which is so unlike His nature (He’s the giver of all things-Romans 8:28). I consistently have “ohhh” moments when I realize how perfectly God has orchestrated the events in my life and those around me (Jeremiah 29:11). Simply being in NYC at this time required some God time-warping (and favor). I’m understanding that this particular time and place was molded to have me in it meaning that God thought of me before the beginning of time. Nuts! So God is in no way slow. He’s a master planner so just relax and let Him lead.
3. What is your favorite Bible verse and why? 
There are so many gems in Romans but Romans 8:19 has been my daily mantra. I’ve had this verse stuck in my mind since my move to NYC and the funny thing is I can never remember the reference (unless prompted) but the idea is permanently engrained– “all of creation is eagerly awaiting the reveal of God’s sons and daughters.” Creation has been waiting for me (and you)! I want to serve others, restore hope in those that were hopeless, feeling unworthy, forgotten and unheard but most importantly, I want to do what God has sent me on this earth to do–bring His children home. There is no one else that can do it the way I do. No one else with my gifts and experiences. It’s the ultimate locker room pep talk.
4. What is life teaching you right now?
Life is teaching me how to dream and know that God goes beyond my wildest dreams. There are so many things that I have prayed for that I’m living in now and other things that I’m glad were rejected. My reality is so different and so much better than what I planned for myself. Trading my life for LIFE has been an incredible upgrade.
5. What does being a Christian woman mean to you?
Being a Christian woman means that I strive to be an embodiment of God’s beauty so much so that others are encouraged to participate. It’s experiencing the freedom that comes with choosing and knowing Jesus. It’s making the gospel the obsession of my heart and living it out.
Isn’t she fantastic? Hope that this resonated with you somehow, and I’m looking forward to stories of your own crazy faith steps! 

Be blessed!
StephTheScribe

I Dare YOU

Hello beautiful people!

I would like to start this post off by saying that I think that I am a loving person. I have gotten this far into my twenties and deep into some really awesome sister circles by following the Golden Rule that we all were overexposed to during childhood, probably on at least one Garfield poster:

 

garfieldIronic that Garfield is being used as the moral authority.

 

The rule, otherwise known as the ethic of reciprocity, is simply to treat others the way that you want to be treated. The hard truth, however, is that people are fickle. We have the best of intentions (sometimes), but we are only human, and we battle against things such as anger, resentment, jealousy, busyness, pride, and so much more. The hard truth is that sometimes we come across someone who challenges the freeness and openness with which we thought we loved. This person may be a friend who loves you with all of your heart. It may be a spouse or significant other who arouses all of that JUNK in you, the not feeling good enough, the wanting to know their every waking move for fear that they’ve found a better option–all those things that you thought that you were done with and healed from. Whoever it is, use them when they are presented. Use them as an opportunity to refine your love and make it more Christlike. I dare you.

For me, my person is my mentee. This is us:

sisses.jpg Check out my expression. I am IMPOSSIBLY cool.

Like I said before, I would consider myself, for lack of a more adult adjective: NICE. I think I am generous. I believe deeply in family and in friendships that value quality over quantity. I was never that girl that needed everyone to know her name. I prefer meaningful interactions, heartfelt words, and creative gestures. I revel in the random and the just because. Mentee here has often been the recipient of that. Everything that I have learned in 29 years, I pour into her 20 so that she hopefully can skip some of my aches and pains.

That girl up there? She is warm, and she is funny with an infectious laugh. She is principled, and she is open hearted. She is smart.

But does she challenge the way I love? Absolutely.

She does things that leave me scratching my head. She gives people a 1000th chance who have messed her over 999 times. She makes decisions that I honestly don’t follow. And lately, this relationship has been the one that challenges my insecurity, with whispers along the lines of ‘girl, you thought you were doing something? Pssh. You’ve made no difference whatsoever.’ And its times like that where my love for her can be misconstrued and filtered through all of the crap that she has had to deal with and it comes out feeling to her like she is being attacked and judged and put down. It is then that I have to take a deep breath, step back, normally cry to my own mentors, and…inevitably, I square back up. I rejoin the fight. I remember that when I did the foolishness that I did, God welcomed me back and He didn’t even ask for an explanation of my stupidity. I show her grace, and I do so remembering that there is no way and no minion in hell that can keep me from loving her. It reminds me of a post I saw on Facebook that I related to my students at first:

kidslove

We all need to be loved. The strength and the ferocity of that love might differ from person to person, but the Bible clearly states that we are in need of some love that manifests in the fruits of the spirit.

This week, I dare you to be reckless with your love. I dare you to love on somebody that is making it increasingly difficult and to stick with them through their storm if for no other reason than the fact that Christ loved us at our most unloveable  and we can come to Him time and time again bruised, broken down and dirty from the weight of the sins that we still choose to partake in while claiming to love Him–and in return, He offers us redeeming love. Grace.

I dare you to go out of your way for somebody. To love on someone that can’t offer anything in return, not even their heart. Love on someone who is so downtrodden that love itself sometimes seems like the most hopeless of causes, and feel free to come looking for me if the very power of your reckless love doesn’t make them bloom, however slowly.

I dare you to love using the fruits of the Spirit:

I dare you to be JOYFUL.

I dare you to be PEACEFUL right in the middle of an emotional Nor’Easter.

I dare you to show FORBEARANCE–in other words, be patient when they resist. And they WILL resist. Its what hurt people do.

I dare you to be KIND and GOOD to people this week.

I dare you to be FAITHFUL and stay in those trenches when everyone else has said “this is too much” and leaves shaking their head.

I dare you to be GENTLE–with both the person you are loving on AND with yourself. Baby, you deserve to be loved and understood with just as much of a soft touch as they do.

And I dare you to exercise some SELF CONTROL–to not snap when they snap at you, to not give up on them when things look grim, and to wait for the glorious unfolding that happens when someone feels secure in the calm waters of you.

Let me know how it goes, darlings. I’ll be waiting.

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe

 

Between The Rock and a Hard Place

It occurred to me twice this week
that I ran my hand along the bottom hem of old shirts and found
a hole.
Nothing major, worth concern
Except that it was…see I’d managed to put holes in my clothes
From pathologically tugging and pulling
trying to become unseen.

We all have those things that we do without even trying
Some twist hair into intricate curlicues
Some “…like…” and “…um..”
During conversations formal and non
Not because they don’t know answers
but rather because the world taught them that to be
a woman self assured was to be dangerous.
I…I’ve tugged  on shirts and sweaters
Rarely in the past did I like the way I wore them
Clothes were nothing but a draping on a body
that I fed in shame, sadness, and boredom
Unable to speak my feelings, so I baked them away
In midnight hours
Cooking major meals thirty minutes before bed
Knowing that a healthy cutoff was 3 hours and
just as many self deprecating thoughts ago.

I stopped with the realization of how far I’d come
How much I’d come to love me since I came to love the Son
Still on this journey
Call this stuck between The Rock and a hard place
A glance backward at the hate
A look forward at how His love erases shame
There isn’t a mistake that I can make
Or a pound that I can gain
That can overshadow his Calvary
That can mimic His pain
You mean to tell me Lord
That when you hung you did so
So I’d never have to question my creation again?

What has had you stuck?
Between self harm and healing
Between subjugation and victory
Between hiding your face behind your hair and showing your face for all to see?
Is your hard place regret
Is it racing to stay so busy that you forget that you aren’t married yet?
Is it questioning His judgement
Is it doubting how much He cares
Is it getting frustrated and not stopping for prayer
Because you really don’t get why He hasn’t intervened if He’s there?
Let me remind you that THE ROCK is waiting for you
From Him comes your help
You weren’t made then forgotten
You weren’t destined for the shelf.

OH….How He loves you.

So now, if I come across a shirt
With the tiniest of holes in the hem across the bottom
They serve as reminders that the Lord of all is
sovereign over my insecurities
Not the destruction of cotton
Rest assured that whatever your hard place
The Rock is able and He got them….

Psalm 139:14

The Presence of Presents

Talent

Hey beautiful people!

I looked and realized that I have been on this blog journey for just over two months now…and I’ve been supported in a major way by friends, family, and complete strangers, receiving messages from people saying that a post resonated with them; there have been almost 150 visitors and over 200 views, and I really am humbled by the love. I remember when I first started this site, though, I mentioned that I’d put poetry on here. I haven’t yet, so that will be the next post!

 A little history: I have been writing poetry since the age of 14 (so almost 15 years). It started out with me, a pencil, and a composition book and eventually I got the chance to perform at hometown open mics and still do occasionally. Here’s the thing though: God will show you your gift, and then there is a process of figuring out, at least in my case, how that gift can be used for the glory of God. Because I started writing at a time when I wasn’t particularly close to God, a lot of my earlier work reflected that. There was a lot of lust, a lot of anger, a lot of longing (for various things) and a whoooooooole lot of profanity. I published online and wound up authoring two books of poetry: Far Above Rubies  and The Love Lessons. The second was less gritty than the first, but what they both had in common was that God was making brief appearances rather than being allowed to run the whole show. Eventually, I stopped writing for awhile altogether because people were complimenting my poetry and I had learned the art of cadence so that important thoughts took center stage, but I was being confronted with the enormous responsibility of a platform and was too afraid to say something that wouldn’t make God proud. It was the love of a friend (and a really pretty journal) that brought me back, and now I know that I’m not just writing some stuff on a page for a reaction, but I am walking in my gift. If you have no idea what you were created for, or even if you KNOW that you can write or sing or paint or dance but you think that you are doing it for the wrong reasons, I encourage you to:

Consider your SHAPE: Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has been quoted as saying that a person’s shape: their Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences—are the group of things that God has given you that sets you apart. My church has a Spiritual gifts assessment, but in lieu of that, find a trusted, Godly mentor…they have a way of teasing out our destinies when we’ve let life get in the way. Another way that I have heard this stated is once you figure out what bugs you the most about the human condition, you’ve figured out your calling. In my case, my love of writing also branches out into a desire to help people learn to write effectively and passionately…nothing worse than a piece where you can’t get engaged because the message isn’t transmitted clearly.

soulonfire

Read Gods view on gifts: 1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV says that we are “managers of the gifts that God has given” us…and that “they may be great or small” in our eyes but “they matter to God”. How humbling and cool is that?! The gifts that we have are not really ours. Think of the manager of a store. They may have the keys, they may hire and fire, and they may hold a fair amount of authority, but at the end of the day, that Rite Aid, Radio Shack, or Forever 21 doesn’t belong to them,…however, they were put in authority by a higher power to make sure things stay shipshape, and they are responsible if something goes wrong. You were put in place to steward your gift and you will answer to a higher authority if it isn’t taken care of, but your name is NOT on the deed to that house, honey! You are merely a renter.

flowerleo

Not be discouraged:  The above verse says that our gifts may be great or small in our eyes. We have a way as humans of being our own worst critics and because of that we act as roadblocks that stick out as God is desperately trying to curate our gifts of be of use to a broken world. Move out of His way….I don’t care if your gift is beatboxing, plate painting, math or making diminutive nativity scenes out of shoeboxes and toothpicks…God can use it somewhere.

Let Him work, y’all. Stand and watch as your muse and your ministry connect and ignite a passion that you didn’t even know you had. I look forward to hearing about your gifts!

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe

What God Can Do With A Mason Jar

Before I write anything else, inspiration for this post goes to two special  women: Derricka and Krystal. You remind me daily that my mason jar has purpose.

Hello beautiful people!

It has been quite the weekend! Chilly, but I feel inexplicably warm inside.

Inexplicable? What am I talking about? Of course I can explain why I have been smiling all day long. It’s because, once again, God showed up and showed out and is taking up residence in a human heart.

Yesterday, I went to help at setup for church. My church is portable takes place inside of a high school, so every weekend requires us to build our service experiences from the ground up. Being a part of setup gives you such a deep respect for the care and intentionality that goes into making sure that everything is excellent, by the way. But I digress.

I am positioning pipe-and-drape in one of the classrooms that the Children’s Team uses for Destiny Kidz when I hear my sisterfriend Derricka calling my name. I meet her in the hallway and she hands me a card. “OK, read it now!”, she said, so I pulled it out of the envelope as I headed back towards the classroom. I pull it out of the envelope and I see this:

IMG_7882

Derricka, who has SUCH a way with words (one of the many reasons that I love her), used this image on the front to equate her life to this mason jar: something that at first resembled a castaway and thought to have no worth becoming repurposed by placing both something beautiful and a means to nourish it.  She wrote something along the lines of God using me (me?) as those flowers and us both being not just sustained but relivened and revitalized by the living water that is Jesus.

And I cried. Well, not full on cried, but I definitely teared up and have without fail every time I read back over this card. Which has been about 5 or 6 times since last night. (I really love heartfelt cards, y’all. Is Hallmark/Papyrus/Mahogany/a piece of notebook paper with some lovin’ on it a love language? Somebody call Gary Chapman!)

It’s been somewhere along the lines of three years since I joined my church. I wasn’t outwardly broken into pieces, but inside, I was the perfect storm of reasons why people stray away from God or from the church. Growing up, I can’t honestly say I had any close friends in church…so there is a lack of connection. I didn’t feel like anyone explained the meaning behind some of the things that we just categorically do as Christians, and so I went through the motions…so lack of growth. Finally, generally, I grew up witnessing some meeeean folk in church–no joy, no life, just sarcasm and what seemed like a lot of hurt. The 28 year old me now knows to study people, ask for Holy Spirit guidance and see the why behind their what…but the teenage me was disillusioned, confused, and ready to go.

And I did. As soon as I got old enough, I left that church and never looked back. I tried other denominations and churches, feeling like the Goldilocks of congregation searching: Some were too large and others too small. Some were too loud, some were too quiet, and some felt like they were exactly what I was running from. Eventually, I adopted an “I don’t need church to have God” mentality. I was making my way in the adult world, dealing with father hurt, heartbreak, fake friends and more without the benefit of a church home to shelter, stretch and soothe me. By the time I made it to Destiny Harvest, I was in a holding pattern of defeat and moreover, insanity—doing the same thing and expecting a difference.

But what a difference a few years makes.

DHC has been like the baby bear of church homes–just right. I receive teaching as well as preaching, I have been drawn to heal friendships and familial relationships that were long dormant, I found purpose and friends and pure, “so intense it don’t make sense” kind of love. Best of all, my mason jar–this life of mine that I wasn’t altogether sure what to do with–has had some pretty spectacular flowers place in it. And just when I think that my jar is completely refurbished, some more living water is added, and I see a spot in need of His love…this process in incredible. It’s funny though. You get so busy watching God own and polish your mason jar that you forget how He’s using you to majorly affect other people’s jars as well.

I think about my sister–we aren’t actually related by blood, but she has been in my life since she was a pre-teen through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MD. They officially dismissed us from the program just over two years ago because she aged out, but I told her long ago that I am here for as long as she wants me to be. Her mason jar has looked a lot like mine. Cracked, discarded, smudged, and more but guess what God can do?

IMG_7874 He can wash it clean and make it new.

Having God repurpose my mason jar and having her around for the process–as I pray first and pursue opportunities, as I ended a relationship with a man that she knew that I wanted to be with for the rest of my life because he didn’t submit to God, as I form and refine life giving friendships with strong, whole people that are also chasing God and whose lives are conspicuously absent of all of the hurt and drama and pain and anger that comes from an uneven yoke, and most recently, as I refuse to let her go, refuse to let her twist in the wind when she does things that don’t make sense–as I do these things, she is learning a little more about God. She is knowing who He is, and better yet, how He can change her life.

My sister got baptized today, y’all. I’ve been so busy asking God what He is going to do with my mason jar that I failed to realize how much He has already done.

So what can God do with YOUR mason jar? He can:

M- Move: God has a knack for showing up in our lives and taking us and our purpose places that we never thought we’d go. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has a plan for us to give us hope and a future. Often, that hope takes place in miraculous ways.

A- Answer: He will place people and situations into your mason jar, into your life that answer questions that you had about your purpose, your destiny that you hadn’t even thought to answer yet. Habakkuk 2:3 says that there is a vision–for an appointed time.

S- Save: This seems pretty much like a no-brainer–of course God is mighty to save and offers to make us as clean as driven snow. But you’d be surprised just how much else God has saved or is currently saving us from besides Hell. I’m talking doubt, sadness, fear, insecurity, isolation, lust, anger, chaos, the concept of “luck”, empty relationships, broken hearts, and the list just keeps on going. You’d be unwise to sleep on that good of a Savior. Isaiah 61:3 says that he is trading us an oil of joy for our mourning.

O- Overwhelm: Because of how He moves and How he answers and the extent to which He saves, it is quite easy if you don’t remain in a place of intentional gratitude to take all of what He does for granted. Like, no, homie. This is the God of Zion–the God that brought the persecuted out of persecution. He made science and religion connect–look at the Golden ratio. He made stars–and He made you.  And He sustains you. We SHOULD be overwhelmed. Jeremiah 10:12 says that by His understanding, He stretched out the Heavens. That’s a big God.

N- Nurture: He loves us. And those you love, quite frankly, you love ON. That takes different forms for different people, but the nexus of it all is that it is human nature to spoil the ones that you care about. Why would the same not be true for God? He desires to literally take our breath away and heal us from our broken. He heals us from the cracks and the crevices that come with a life lived searching for something greater. He is definitely a restorer. Joel 2:25-26 promises that God will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.

Darling, I promise you that when you grasp the idea of what He has done with your mason jar, it gives you a much deeper appreciation of what He is planning to do with other people’s. It promises to be amazing

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe