Last week my wife and I moved our family from central Florida to the Tampa Bay area. In the process of moving we had to take apart pieces of furniture at our old home and then put them back together at our new home. One of these pieces of furniture is our daughter’s crib. Now, taking the crib apart is easy, but putting it back together is another story. I learned from our last move that keeping the directions handy is a must and you definitely need two people in order to hold some of the bigger pieces together. When I decided to embark on the process of putting the crib together at our new home, I was already in a bad mood. I’ve moved a few times in my life, but never with two kids, two dogs, and across the entire state of Florida. What seemed like an already daunting process turned into an on-edge, mood killing, stress filled experience. My wife, filled with the patience of GOD, always had a calming remark for me every time I tripped over a box or got irritated with one of the kids. This in turn made me more agitated. Ok, back to the crib. So, I got my tools, grabbed the directions, and sat down on my daughters floor, ALONE, to put together her crib. The first few pieces were easy, but as I started combining some of the bigger pieces together that hold the crib in place, I realized I was going to need a second set of hands. In my mind, I knew I needed help, but my attitude and pride refused to ask my wife for any. After about twenty minutes struggling with attaching the same two pieces, my wife walked into the room and calmly asked, “Do you want me to hold this side?” I grunted “no”, but she held it anyway and within about two minutes the entire crib was put together.
GOD showed me an amazing lesson in this story: We are built for relationships. Like it or not, you were not created to walk this world alone. Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” This scripture gets quoted a lot in premarital classes and at weddings, but it is more than just a marriage scripture, it is a way of life. GOD never intended His children to do anything alone. Whether we are celebrating or grieving, life should be lived together. GOD even promises in the book of Hebrews that He “will never leave you nor forsake you.” Why else would Jesus right before He is to be crucified tell the disciples that He is sending the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, helper, and guide. We were built for relationships. Relationship with GOD the Father and relationships with those around us. We can’t successfully fulfill the destiny that GOD has put on our life if we don’t interact or embrace the people that GOD has put around us.
When you become a new Christian, or even if you’ve been a Christian for a long time, relationships are vital to your Christian development and growth. GOD designed each one of us with attributes that can only be grown through interactions with others. Some relationships grow us spiritually and lead us closer to GOD. Others relationships, GOD uses to thicken our skin. What I mean by this is some relationships nurture and push us closer to GOD. That might be through prayer or meaningful conversation or even just someone who helps keep you accountable spiritually. Then there are those relationships that are meant to grow the thickness of your skin. Some people are strategically placed in your life to teach you grace, mercy, and unconditional love. Both types of relationships are necessary, but not always fun.
When I look back on my crib experience, it would have been much easier if I would have just asked for help from the beginning. In my stubbornness I wasted time trying to do something alone when in reality the job required two people. We all need relationships to accomplish the purposes that GOD has put before us. Even Jesus needed the 12 disciples the help fulfill His purpose of coming and dying on the cross for the entire world. Don’t let stubbornness or timidity keep you from experiencing the fullness of your calling by keeping you alone. We are built for relationships.
Over the next several weeks and months, Anchor Movement is going to focus on a series called “Back to the Basics” where we answer and define what it actually means to be a Christian. We want to answer some of the questions that new and old believers have in their walk of faith. Some examples include, “How to study the Bible,” and “Why should I go to church.” If you have a question you’d like us to answer or explore on the blog, go to our connect page and leave your response or visit our Instagram page here and leave your response in the comments.
My wife and I are very different when it comes to our personalities. She is extremely patient, I am not. She will face confrontation if need be, I am passive aggressive. She is very systematic and organized, my methods can sometimes be inefficient and messy. What makes us different makes our marriage work, but what I see in my daughter Brooklyn is a mix of both our personalities. Brooklyn is very passive aggressive when she plays with other children, but she likes her toys and books organized and in a certain order. When she smiles I see her mom and her love for music evokes memories of my own childhood growing up and listening to music. Brooklyn has the very nature of her mom and dad. You can easily see it when you spend time with her. GOD’s desire for His children is to emulate His nature in every area of life. Sometimes that’s the hardest when we have been hurt. Jesus knew we would face many different hurts and pains, but through them all He taught that our nature should match that of the children of GOD. In Luke 6:27-35, Jesus is teaching what we now call “The Sermon on the Mount:”
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise."
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."
Did you see what Jesus said at the very end? He said your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. Check out how The Passion Translation puts it:
"You will receive a rich reward and you will be known as true children of the Most High God, having his same nature. For your Father is famous for his kindness to heal even the thankless and cruel. Show mercy and compassion for others, just as your heavenly Father overflows with mercy and compassion for all.”
The Greek word for reward is misthos and the literal definition is “pay for service or wages.” Jesus is saying if you take care of those who curse you, if you are generous without looking for anything in return, GOD will reward you. GOD will make sure that you are taken care of. I know it sounds counterintuitive to how we are feeling in the moment: In the moment we want to lash out, scream, punch, or tell someone how we really feel, but that is not what Jesus is calling us to do. When someone is mistreating us, or hurting us, our first thought is how can I get payback or justice, but Jesus blows those thoughts up. He says, “You go be generous to them. You find a way to bless them.” Maybe it’s a parent or a spouse who has caused deep pain and the thought of doing something nice can’t make it past the unforgiveness still locked in your heart. Maybe its a friend or sibling who left you when you needed them most and now they need a friend. Its your chance to reach out and be there for them when they weren’t there for you, but the memory and hurt is too fresh. We can either let that pain and hurt keep us locked in or we can step out and show others what true children of GOD look like. The characteristic of GOD is unconditional love and forgiveness and that same nature lives in each one of us. We have the ability to show others that even through our pain, disappointment, and grief we can still display the awesome love of GOD. The same hands that reached down to comfort us can now reach out to those who hurt us and comfort them. Our prayer is that GOD’s children will be so full of the goodness, love, and the favor of GOD that others around us will not be able to deny that we are the true children of GOD.
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For many, Mother’s day is a holiday filled with deep emotions, some wonderful and some heartbreaking. On July 20, 2015, my mom unexpectedly passed away and unfortunately, I remember that day perfectly. In my sudden grief, I fell to the floor in pain when my Grandma called my husband that day to deliver the news. I was 25, and never imagined living life without my mom. Losing her was, and still is, hard. I felt robbed. Robbed of time, robbed of memories, robbed of everything that could have been had she not died.
After going to multiple doctors and having various tests done - all to find out I had succumb to grief induced health issues - I knew this was going to be a long road ahead to recover from what should have been a joyous time in our lives. Drew and I were newly married, 2 months in, when our vows were standing the test of tragic loss and pain. Drew was my rock. Day in and day out he walked with me through my nightmare and never gave up on me. As time went on, I had to move forward as well. Time doesn’t stop and sometimes it seems like people are forgotten but thankfully the loss hasn’t been left behind. God see’s and doesn’t forget. He lifts us up even in the pit of despair to bring the comfort only He can.
John 14:27 NIV
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I can attest to not being healed by the peace the world gives because nothing anyone said seemed to make me feel better. I had to find that peace only Christ could give me to heal from such a loss. I had to surrender the grief, fear, pain and despair and trade it for a new joy. I felt guilty moving forward..would my happiness mean she’s forgotten? Would my mom think I didn’t love her any more? No, it meant scripture was being fulfilled and I could put on a garment of praise and thank God for the life I still had left to live despite my loss. I could continue to honor her by moving forward with my life.
I want to encourage those of you who’ve known loss in the same way, there’s so much ahead of you...so much you can’t see yet. God has a beautiful story He is writing and maybe yours can help someone else. If you’ve lost a loved one, I can guarantee they wouldn’t want you to trade in your life to be “dead” here on Earth. They would want you to prosper and find joy again. Your life is a beautiful gift that only you can choose to live. Dear son or daughter, no one else can be you. The world needs more of you. Sometimes we have to lay down our pain to take hold of His peace because it was never meant to be carried alone. It doesn’t mean you don’t still feel sad, it just means you can allow yourself to live again.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
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When I was growing up, my parents always gave my brother and I an Easter basket. It was usually filled with different candy and trinkets and we would use this basket to hunt for hidden Easter eggs in the house or backyard (depending on the weather). Now when I say “hidden” what I really mean is, “in plain sight.” My parents would never really hide the eggs but place them strategically out in the open so my brother and I would easily find them. Each egg was filled with something different: candy, a penny, and if you were lucky, maybe a dollar. Now that I am a dad I get to see the Easter egg hunt from a fathers perspective. We recently did an Easter egg hunt with my family, my brothers family, and my parents. As we pulled up to my parents house, you could see the “hidden” Easter eggs placed in plain sight. I stood behind my daughter as she ran to each egg, gave it a shake, and placed it in her bunny themed Easter basket. What a special moment to share with my entire family and invoke memories from my own childhood hunting for Easter eggs.
What made this Easter so different was now I am on the giving end of the Easter basket instead of the receiving. My perspective is that of the father, not the child. What my daughters experienced during that Easter celebration was the love from her parents and grandparents and memories that can never be taken away. I think what made the day even more special was that I got a small glimpse into what the Father’s love for me is like. Scripture articulates GOD’s love in the most straightforward fashion:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
For GOD so loved that He gave. He gave His everything, His one and only Son. Sometimes love doesn’t feel like love. Even with spouses or children there are moments where we don’t feel love for that person, but feelings are fleeting and roots don’t grow deep because a tree feels like a tree. Roots grow deep because a tree grows into a tree. Actions produce love and love is produced by actions. C.S Lewis is his book Mere Christianity ends his chapter on Charity with this statement: “But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifferences; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” GOD’s love for us costs Him everything. Jesus came to this Earth, lived a sinless life, and died a criminals death on the cross so that we could have a relationship with Him forever. GOD’s love was displayed in the gift of Jesus. It wasn’t just the feelings of love or the words of love, GOD displayed his love with His actions. There is no questioning the love that GOD has for you and for me. How can there be? Someone might tell my wife that I don’t love her, but she sees me everyday cleaning up the dishes, helping her fold laundry, and going to work to provide for our family. She doesn’t need to hear me say, “I love you” (Although I would encourage every husband to do this on a daily and even hourly basis) to know that I love her. She sees my love. We see GOD’s love in the Easter story in the fact that He gave Jesus. He doesn’t need to say anything else. The gift has been given for you and for me. Now, I’ll bet, if you would sit quietly, turn off your cell phone, and come to a place where all you can hear is yourself breathing, GOD will meet you in that moment and you will hear Him whisper, “I love you.” GOD loves you today, tomorrow, and forever.
He is Risen! Happy Easter!
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“It’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference.” How many times have you heard that statement ? I think it holds true in many aspects of life but especially now that I’m a stay at home Mom. I’ve learned consistency on a regular basis with the little things make a world of difference.
Upon arrival of our second daughter, I realized some things were going to be changing -and my firstborn may or may not adjust well to some of those changes. My biggest concern was nap time! It may seem trivial to some but all the parents out there know nap time is essential to “survival” on the day to day. Am I right ?!
This pic was from the first day home alone with my babies after Drew went back to work. I got both kids to nap at the same time 🤗😅 I cried. (I give partial credit to the pregnancy hormones butttt) I thought about how good God has been to me- not just in the big highlights of life but on the day to day. Now, I know this may not happen every day, but I felt like this was a little love sent down to encourage this mama.
Sometimes our problems, decisions, life events, etc seem too small for such a big God. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s all the little things in our life that are the stepping stones to the bigger picture and destiny we’ve been called to and He cares about them!
It may feel weird asking God to help you out when it seems like such a little thing or even funny talking to Him about a basic task. Not going to lie, when I was praying about nap time, I thought, “okay there’s bigger problems out there like world hunger, but if You can help us out here, I’d be forever grateful God!” Thankfully we don’t have to bargain with GOD to care about our lives, He’s always waiting to help, lead, guide, and direct our paths. Matthew 6:25-33 says “ Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?”. Basically, we learn that if God is spending time making sure the birds are getting what they need, then why wouldn’t He take care of our needs and concerns as well?
I say, bother God with the little things. He wants to be a part of the day to day aspects of our lives. The more we are in communication with Him, the more we build our relationship and can understand the direction the Holy Spirit is leading us. Some “little things” you can do are spend quiet time daily with God (reading the Bible, listening to praise and worship/podcasts, praying etc) and speak to Him about life happenings (big or small).
We live in a generation where we are searching for the next big thing, the next step, the next life altering experience, or the next big rush! But it’s the little things that lead us to that next BIG thing and He wants to be on that journey with you.