Fresh Watermelon, Delicious Cherries and The Fruits of the Spirit

My friend, her husband and their three girls stayed with me the other night as they were in town for a wedding. After the wedding and before coming back to my house, they went to the grocery story to pick up bedtime snacks for the girls. The youngest one chose watermelon. So when they left on Sunday morning, the leftover watermelon was left in my fridge. I have been enjoying that yummy watermelon all week. With the yummy watermelon, I have also been enjoying some delicious cherries. The cherries were expensive, but they have been worth every penny. As I have enjoyed the watermelon and the cherries, my mind has begun to reflect more on the fruits of the Spirit.

Then last night, I was reading the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. (I am reading the Bible along with my dear blog friend Wendy and many others). And there was fruit again. This apple is a different kind of fruit as it was the fruit that they were told not to eat. What caught my attention last night (and I don’t recall ever having caught my attention before that) was how the fruit in the book of Genesis is a foreshadowing of the fruits of the Spirit that we hear about in the book of Galatians. What if Eve had restrained self-control and didn’t eat of the tree? What if they had been faithful to God’s words to them?

“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against such things.”–Galatians 5:22-23 (New Revised Standard Version)

So often it seems that life gets in the way and we forget about these fruits of the Spirit. It is so easy for us to get greedy and totally throw self-control out the window. It is easy for impatience to creep in. I will admit that there are some days that I am more guilty of being impatient than I am of being patient. And it is easy for us to say we hate something or someone.But do we really mean those words? Or do we dislike–Hate is such a strong word– the sin and not the sinner?

I want to be a person that embodies the fruits of the Spirit. I want to show kindness to those that are different to me. I want to be gentle with myself and with all of God’s children. I want to exude joy…like children exude joy. I want to steward what God has given me and to be generous with my time, talents, and treasures. I want to show love to even the unlikeliest among us. Jesus was so good at that. Jesus was always eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was always turning the world upside down!

This past week, in the news headlines, many of us have heard the story of Bruce Jenner transitioning to a woman; to becoming Caitlyn Jenner. I understand that we are all going to come down on different sides of this issue. But I believe that even in our differences, we can agree to disagree and simply show God’s love to God’s children. I remember a seminary professor once saying, “When a line is drawn in the sand dividing sides and you believe Jesus is standing next to you, he is probably on the other side of the line.” We may not agree or understand the choices people make, but I believe God stills calls all of us “children of God.” And that my friends is enough because we are called and claimed by God!

The youngest of God’s children among us can teach us so much when it comes to living out the fruits of the spirit. I am reminded of a friend’s Facebook post from earlier this week. She shared about her son who is currently in a dance class. As they were getting ready for a big dance show, her son mentioned how he thought a lot of boys would be afraid to participate because they would be afraid of being made fun of. Her son then went on to share how he didn’t care because he likes doing this and was having so much fun! “And a little child shall lead them.”

God loves us! And when we forget who we are, God reminds us of who we are because God knows our stories. God knows who we are. And God will always be there to remind us of that. I am reminded of these lyrics from Jason Gray’s Song “Remind Me Who I Am.” “Tell me once again who I am to you, tell me lest I forget who I am to you, that I belong to you; When my heart is like a stone and I am running far from home, remind me who I am; When I can’t receive your love, afraid I’ll never be enough, remind me who I am; If I am your beloved, can you help me believe it.” (
Jason Gray Lyrics)

Can you help me believe it? Those words are so powerful because it is so easy for us to forget those words. But the truth is that God has the power and the love to always help us believe them. Because we are enough! God created us to be who we are and God’s spirit gifts us with the fruits of the Spirit.

I love how the Message translation translates these verses from the book of Galatians. “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Galatians 5:22-23) YES! AMEN! I believe these words are words for us to live by as we live out the fruits of the Spirit that God’s Spirit gifts us with!

(Check this out for a fun way to learn the fruits of the Spirit: Fruit of the Spirit by Uncle Charlie)

Today I am linking up with Holly for Testimony Tuesday, Kelly for the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee for Tell His Story, and Holley Gerth for Coffee for your Heart:


A Million, Million Doors for His Love To Walk Through (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Door.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

I have walked through many doors in my life. There was the door I walked  through in my daddy’s arms when my mom and him brought me home from the hospital. There is the door that walked through when I went to Kindergarten for the first time. There is the door I walked through to go to seminary. There is the door I walked to when I walked into my own house for the first time.

But, not only, have I walked through many doors, God has closed a few doors in my life too. God closed the door when I took a new call and moved from Fargo-Moorhead to Minot. There are the doors that shut when God opened another door for me. God has a way of doing that doesn’t he—shutting one door and opening another.

Most of all though, I believe, that God calls us to open the door for God’s love; for the world’s love. One of my all time favorite Christian artists is Jason Gray. Jason has a really cool song that makes me smile and think about the world in which we live. The words in the song are “God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through. One of those doors is you.” These words continually speak to me. Am I showing that love to the world around me? Are we showing that love to the world around us?

This week as I have watched the riots breaking out in Baltimore, I cannot help but think of the yuckiness; the ugliness that is happening in our world. What kind of world will our youth grow up in? Will we show them what God’s love will look like? And will they walk through those open doors showing God’s love to the world? I hope so…because I believe the world will be a kinder gentler place if they do!

Who I Am

Today is a busy Sunday so I thought I’d keep it simple today.  I am a huge fan of Christian music. Jason Gray and Francesca Batestilli are two of my all time faves along with Jars of Clay. The first time I heard Jason Gray’s song “Remind Me Who I am”, I felt so many emotions. This song is about remembering who we are and who God has called us to be.  The video is such a beautiful reminder of this promise.

For me, I am called to be a Diaconal Minister, a granddaughter, a niece, a friend, a sister, and a daughter; a daughter of someone who daily lives and struggles with a mental illness. This song is a song I crank up the radio and belt out to because it is such a beautiful gift. In fact, in the midst of our brokenness, God says, “You are broken and loved….remember that I; that I will never leave you or forsake you.

And in the midst of this #write31 days challenge, I have found so many great blogs and posts. Today I would like to share just a few. My new friend TM is sharing about her own journey of depression. Her posts are so honest and vulnerable. I think many people will be blessed by her sharing. Check out her blog at Tales from a Southern Catholic Momma! And if you haven’t read this post (Hey Beautiful!) yet, YOU MUST!
Have a blessed Sunday my friends!
Click Here for all the 31 Day Posts

Praising Friday Five

Share with the group five favorite hymns or praise songs or songs that bring you
close to the Spirit (that’s a pretty wide net!) and why they are special to you.

(1) Ben Larson’s version of Psalm 30. This one is an easy one for me because it holds such a special place in my heart. When Ben died in the Haiti earthquake, I was in PA with the Diaconal Ministry Formation event serving as a small group leader. The morning of the earthquake we listened to one of Ben’s songs. Little did we know that later that same day he would lose his life in Haiti. My small group had been given the task of leading worship that next Thursday. The girls decided to play Ben’s version of Psalm 30 as people were entering the chapel. “Mourning may come for the night but joy comes with the morning.”

(2) Where Charity and Love Prevail. I’ve always loved that hymn. But its even more special knowing that more than likely it  was a verse from this song that Ben was singing when he took his last breath in Haiti.

(3) Go, My Children With My Blessing–I love this hymn. It was sung at my Consecration Service as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA.

(4) Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray LOVE!!! This song is one of my all time favorite Contemporary Christian songs. I love the message that this song portrays. May we always be reminded of who and whose we are!

(5) Working at Bible Camp for almost 7 summers, there are so many camp songs that hold a special place in my heart as well.

Joy Not Fear (Or The Head and the Heart Part 3)

Oh how easily fear sneaks in! It’s an emotion that we all struggle with. The other day I was working on my newsletter article where I wrote about joy not fear. I talked about how fear comes into each of our lives. Ever since writing that article, I’ve been thinking about fear. As many of you know from some previous posts, I yearn SOOOOO DEEEPLY to be a mom, to have a husband, etc. I wonder what God is calling me to do and be! Am I suppose to adopt and start my family on my own? Am I suppose to wait; wait for the day that God will bring Mr. Right into my life? So many questions….but not so many answers! 😛 I have been praying about this every day since I began having this conversation in my head. I am definetely not at peace and know that I will be when God shows me the answer to my prayer. However fear plays in to because I wonder how my family etc will feel if God is calling me to this adventure and this calling. For now, I am clinging to the joy I see when friends get married, friends start having families, etc! Joy not fear………..

My good friend Bryant introduced me to a new Christian artist Jason Gray. His words speak so deeply to him. The song “Remind Me Who I Am” is something that I am clinging to. Who am I? Who has God called me to be? Who am I in this world? WHO AM I? Again trying to cling to the joy of who I am rather than to the fear of clinging to Who I am not!


Who I Am?

Many who know me know that I love to listen to all types of music especially Christian music. I recently found myself driving home from work and listening to a new song that I never heard before. Something about this song caught me and I found myself really listen and reflecting on the words. I love it. The song is “Remind Me Who I Am” by the artist Jason Gray (The video is really powerful too!) Something about this song is so catchy and just really catches me. I downloaded it on my Itunes and onto my Iphone! I crank it everytime it comes on the radio or I’m listening to it on my phone. What is it about this song that is so beautiful….I think it’s the simple reminder for God to remind us who we are when we forget. The truth is we all are loved.

Recently I read a blog post titled “A Holy Tantrum” (If you haven’t read it, let me know and I’ll post the link for you) where the author was having a holy tantrum because of suicides etc that are happening due to bullying etc. The article that spawned this post was basically saying it was ok because these people chose their sexuality etc. It makes me angry. No matter where you are, these are people…someone’s sister, someone’s daughter or son, someone’s best friend, etc! The truth is we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made!” I wish people really believed that…but I know that’s not reality…and that hurts my heart.

Tonight the youth from church volunteered at a local food shelf. I’m so proud of them because in doing this service, I think they realize how lucky they are and realize what it means to see everyone as “fearfully and wonderfully made”; even those who don’t have a home or food upon their plate etc. We may not know what their stories are!

So this Jason Gray song is my new theme song. I think sometimes we all need to be reminded of who we are! I can get so caught up in the things I don’t have and yearn for; a husband, a family, etc but then I must realize what I do have.

“Tell me once again who I am, tell me lets not forget who I am to you, I am the one you love!”
 “I belong to you”