Weight-loss Arggggggg

January 2nd and I’m back on my weight loss plan for the 100th time. Losing weight and keeping it off, mostly keeping it off  has been a huge struggle of mine that started when I hit my late 20’s. Believe it or not until then my nickname was “String bean.”

I hardly gained any weight with all my pregnancies( only gained 3 pounds with my last one) but I would gain like crazy after. While pregnant I had to eat like a diabetic and with the last two of four pregnancies, I had to give myself shots in my stomach and thighs. So once off I went crazy to make up for lost time. The problem isn’t the food: the problem is I’m a pain eater.

I have been in pain since I started getting migraines at the age of 17; I’m 56 now. I actually pulled a muscle in my back at age 10 playing kickball and had back pains ever since. As the years have gone on, the pain in my body has increased. Not one day goes by that I’m not in pain. Everything hurts from my toes to my head.I don’t talk much about it (until today). I just live one day at a time. But because I keep it to myself, I eat my pain.

I’ve decided to use Medifast as my weight loss plan and have a group I’m part of…well off and on hahahahaha. Medifast has always worked for me in the losing of weight but I struggle in the maintenance part. By March of last year I was down 80 + pounds and decided to change to another plan. Bad decision! I need to learn to stay the coarse. I have a love/hate relationship with Medifast.

I also have an accountability partner, who I will be in contact with every day. We will be encouraging each other with what God give us each day in our daily devotions and setting weekly goals.

One of my favorite scripture is Psalms 81:10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
    Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.  I use it for everything from spiritual growth to weight loss.

Well today as I was reading it again the Lord prompted me to read on…….oh ouch! It kind of smarted a bit.
11“But My people would not listen to My voice,
And Israel did not [consent to] obey Me.
12 “So I gave them up to the stubbornness of their heart,
To walk in [the path of] their own counsel.

He was showing me how I allow food to counsel me in my pain rather then relying on His word to comfort me. He says if I open my mouth wide, He will fill it. He will fill it with His word. I need to feed on His word rather then food. I need to allow Him to kiss me with the kisses of His word (SOS chapter 1) because what he gives me is better then what the world has to offer.

Ps 81 goes on to say, “ 
13“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel (insert your own name) would walk in My ways!
14 “Then I would quickly subdue and humble their enemies
And turn My hand against their adversaries;

I’ve been relying on food for so long to ease my pain (really..it only adds to it). When my focus is on the Lord, over eating (my adversary, my enemy) is defeated. I always start my weight-loss strong and in the word but somewhere along the way…I lose myself and the patterns repeat. I need to keep listening even when I reach my goal because for me goal is just a beginning not an end. It’s just another beginning.

And finally
16“But I would feed Israel (insert your name) with the finest of the wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

That’s His promise! If I would listen and stay focused, He would be my comfort and even my healer. Wheat reminds me that he is the bread of life. John 6:35 Jesus replied to them, “I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].

Honey represents  what is happy, pleasant, and delightful. Everything I need  to cope and/feel better comes from Him, not man, not me.

So food you will no longer be my counselor! I’m moving on to better things!

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Planning For Your Fast

January is the month that most churches across the country begin 21 days of fasting and prayer  with a purposeful focus  on God. Some begin the first day of the year, and others choose a few days later or even a week after. Fasting and praying allows us the opportunity to humble ourselves before the Lord and seek what He wants for us personally and corporately as a church.

This is my favorite time of year to fast. I used to dread fasting but God took me on an amazing spiritual journey many years ago which changed my whole outlook on fasting. Now I look for opportunities to fast and pray!!! My church will begin our corporate fast on Jan 9th! Have you ever seen that commercial where the woman is standing outside the door of a store saying, “Open…open…open”? She can hardly wait to get inside and start shopping. Well that’s me right now. I’m so excited; I might have to start a little earlier!!!

In My book Breaking Through To Higher Places at the end of chapter four, I lay out 9 questions to help you prepare for your fast.

  1. What type of fast will you do?
  2. If you are eating things, what will those things be?
  3. How long will you be on your fast?
  4. What will you do when you get hungry?
  5. When will you spend time in the Word?
  6. What events are coming up that could be a hindrance to your plan?
  7. Write down how you will handle each of them?
  8. How will you handle your fast at meal times for those in your family who aren’t fasting with you?
  9. Name at least three people you can make yourself accountable to, to help you succeed.

I encourage you to write these down and answer them before going into your fast. You might even have questions you might want to add. Having a plan will help you succeed. When we make a plan and stick to it, then we are free to spend time with the Lord without things getting in the way. And trust me, distractions come in all forms!

I always plan out my fast because I am eagerly awaiting and encounter with God. With a plan in motion, I am free to taste and see that the Lord is good!

Tuesday I Became a Published Author….

You should never underestimate the life experiences that you go through and how God will use them. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever believed I would be looking at a published book that I wrote. Okay in my wildest dreams I did publish a book but to think it would become a reality is beyond words.

10 years ago I had an amazing experience with fasting. I journalled my whole experience and at the end of a 30 day fast, shared it with my husband who thought it was so good that he encouraged me to write a book. You can read the story in my book preview at Breaking Through to Higher Places.

My friends Sheryl and Brian Valloton opened up their cabin for me to write and another friend Shawn Lynch edited the first version for me. I bound it up myself and ended up giving 87 copies away and actually sold 13 of them at a conference.

After that my life was in chaos and I put the book on the shelf with hopes of publishing it “some day”. 10 years later I was sitting on my couch talking with my friend Linda Heard. Somehow we got on to the subject of fasting and I handed her my book. She loved it! She loved it so much that she encouraged me to pursue publishing it and she began a publishing fund for me.  She and a couple of her amazing friends, Marilyn, Rob and Ali raised two thirds of what I needed to go through a co publishing company. She spent hours and hours editing and advising this book for me. I reformatted it to a bible study but at the last moment I went back to the original manuscript and just put the questions at the end of each chapter.

I called Linda and told her I found a publishing company and that I change the format again. She told me to make sure I watched out for errors because she wasn’t going to read it again for the fifth time! We both got a good laugh at that one.

I chose to go through Authorhouse and they have given me the best experience ever! I think I was talking to them almost every day as the book progressed through each step. And then……………..

Tuesday I got the call that my book was finished!! I quickly rushed to the Authorhouse book store and there it was was…my very first book..I cried, I laughed, I jumped for joy. I was so excited that when my Point of Contact, Josh called me and asked if I had questions, I said no and hung up on him. A couple of days later he called me back and this time I did have questions. Funny how he would know that hahahaha.

Yesterday I got my free soft bound copy and today I should get my free hardbound copy. I cannot even begin to share the joy of holding that book in my hand. It’s so beautiful!

With the new year coming, it was a perfect time for my book to come out as many people will be fasting and some for the first time. My hopes and dreams are that this book would really encourage people to “want” to fast and instead of running away from it, they will choose to run to it!

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I have second book that is done well, I thought it was, but am rethinking the format for the 100th time. It’s a very transparent and vulnerable book on a crisis I went through 4 and 1/2 years ago. I know I was supposed to write it but not sure how the Lord wants me to do with it. It’s definitely  for a targeted audience. So for now it’s in a holding pattern. The good news though is I already have a title for my third, fourth, fifth, six etc….. one…I am feeling so inspired now to move forward!

The Job I didn’t ask for

The job I didn’t ask for became the biggest blessing in my life. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be cleaning houses for a living, I would have laughed in your face. I hate cleaning my own house. Why in the world would I clean other’s houses? Although in the past, I have always enjoyed cleaning other people’s houses…but as a career…naaaaaa.

Four years ago my neighbor opened up a Thrift Store and could no longer help a women she had been helping who was recovering from breast cancer. I had told my neighbor if she needed any help, I was looking for something to do. It’s very hard to get a job in a small town.

One day my neighbor called me over and asked if I would be interested in helping the woman she had been helping. I said sure and my unsolicited career in house cleaning began. After a month or two Julie (not her real name) recommended me to her cousin-in-law Susie (not her real name). Susie then recommended me to Jennifer (nhrn). Julie’s husband recommened me to the neighbors down the street who in turn recommended me to the couple around the corner and you guessed they recommended me to another couple who then recommended me to the neighbors on their street. Ha ha are you still following me?

Wednesday of this week I went to Julie’s house to clean for my last time. It was so hard telling her that this was my last time to clean her house. We are planning on moving back to the Tracy Ca. area to be closer to our church and children. Ok really to be closer to my grandchildren who are babies. Shhhh don’t tell my kids that. All my clients were notified a few months ago that as soon as we found a house we would be moving. I was planning on switching job careers but was trying to hold out for the move.

Every time I came to clean they would all ask if we found a house yet and when I would say, “no”. They would give a sigh of relief and say, “Good”. Have I told you yet how much I loved my clients? Unfortunately some physical issues have made it very hard for me to keep cleaning.  A few weeks ago my husband told me I should quit. He was seeing the pain I would be in after cleaning for 4 hours but I told him I couldn’t leave my clients. But lately the pain has moved into my arms which are a house-cleaners biggest tools.  On Tuesday night in tears, I told my husband I thought he was right and it was time for me to quit.We decided to let my body heal until we move and then I can look for a non physical job.

After seeing Julie’s face and the awkwardness of saying good-bye, I decided I needed to call all my clients instead of waiting. I wanted to give them time to roll it around in their heads before they saw me for the last time and I didn’t wan’t them to find out through the grapevine.

It was the hardest thing I had to do and after I hung up with the last one, I balled my eyes out. I have been so blessed and honored to work for these awesome, dear, wonderful people. They were all so supportive and just poured their love on me. They made me feel like family! I wasn’t just the cleaning lady but they let me be their friend too.

I will miss all our conversations, interactions, and sharing of pictures and life stories. I will miss blasting my music as I went around cleaning from room to room. Ha ha I’m sure they won’t miss that part. I mean who let’s you blast your music in THEIR house? I will miss Pebbles, Miss C and Sadie, Branson and Shasta my four footed dog friends who kept me company while I worked. And will surely miss the feeling of being loved and appreciated every time I stepped into each of their homes..crying as I write this. The last thing in the world I wanted to do brought me the most joy in my life and was one the greatest blessings God has given me. I will never forget my beautiful clients and will be able to keep in touch with most of them at their request!

Blessings do come in disguise. You just need to be open to see where they will lead you.

 

Watching My Children Having Children. Part Two: Beckie and Ryan

Beckie is my third born and has always been a mommy’s girl so when she and Ryan made the decision to not have anyone in the room when she gave birth…I was bummed. Very supportive but very bummed. There was one exception though and that was if Beckie needed her mommy, then mommy could come in. Beckie pretty much made it clear that she would probably need me. So there was this little spark of hope living inside of me.

I really did want to honor them though and I did understand how awesome birth was and how special it would be for them to do it together. When I gave birth to my four, there was a party in the room going on for each birth.  So this was going to be new for me.

Well the day came and the Nethaway and Ulricksen clan all headed to the hospital. And once again the father to be was sick (See part one: Noah and Tiffany). We were all allowed in until time for the birthing process. For the third time in my life, I became and accidental birth coach because Ryan was so sick. We ended up finding out that he had ulcers afterwards. Poor thing. I felt so bad for him.

Beckie and I began doing the breathing exercises together. After a while things were not progressing like they should and they began to prepare her for a c-section. Everything was moving fast and I was just so lost in the whole situation. I walked to the waiting room trying very hard to hold back my tears. I was both scared and disappointed. My daughter was about to be cut up and I wasn’t going to get to see my grandson be born.

As we were all sitting in the waiting room and everyone trying to console me, I received a text. “Mommy, are you ok?” Here she was getting ready to go into operation room and she was worried about me. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. Of coarse the tears I was trying to hold back came out like a flood then.

Kayson Ryan Ulricksen came into the world…PERFECT and mommy was doing great. The nurses let us all go into the room where they had him. Mom’s, Dad’s, Aunt’s and Uncles all taking turns looking at this beautiful baby boy who was only a few hours old. I was so shocked they let us see him before his mommy did but I sure wasn’t complaining.

Because Ryan was sick and had to go to the Dr,I got to spend the night in the hospital with Beckie and Kayson. I don’t think I slept much but I didn’t mind. I loved every moment!!!

Beckie recently gave birth to another beautiful boy named William. I got to help with the coaching this time as well. It was such and honor. She had to have another c-section again and I didn’t get to see him be born but I was more prepared. This time though she requested that no one see the baby before she did.

In a few weeks I will be welcoming my newest granddaughter into the world. Watching my children having children is by far the most exciting and rewarding experience I have ever had and I have two children who haven’t even started yet……

 

Watching My Children Having Children: Noah and Tiffany, Part One

I have 13 beautiful grandchildren! Until 2013 I had never been there for any of the births. Not for lack of invitation but lack of circumstances making it possible for me to go. I remember once when my step-daughter Shirley invited me but I couldn’t go and I cried when Greg left without me.

But in October of 2013 that was about to change. My 2nd born Noah and his wife were having a baby and not only was I invited to be there, my son made it very clear that I HAD TO BE THERE! I remember the day Tiff went into Labor. Moms, sisters, brothers and dads were all at the hospital. We filled up the whole waiting room.

During the early part of labor I asked Tiff if she and Noah had taken any classes and did any breathing exercises. The answer was no since she was getting an epidural. An alarm went off in my head and I got on Youtube and started looking up breathing exercises for birth. I had a friend go through labor many years ago and expected to get the epidural and because she had back problems, they wouldn’t give it to her and I accidentally became her birth coach. At that time I remembered my breathing exercises and was able to help her. I didn’t think I was ever going to have full use of my hand though as she would never let go of it. I couldn’t even leave her to use the restroom. It was like I became a part of her body.

Back to Tiff……..So here I am thinking should I start telling her some breathing exercises just in case? Well I didn’t want to come off as the bossy mother-in-law so I kept silent until………………………………they couldn’t find the anesthesiologist and birth pains were getting harder. My son was sick sitting in a chair and there I was thinking, “Ok,darn it I can’t just stand here and watch her be in pain.” So we started breathing together. It seemed to be helping and she was a great student.

The anesthesiologist finally arrived and she got her epidural. Whew! Until………………..it started wearing off on one side and the anesthesiologist was nowhere to be found again. This was harder. I jumped back in and we started breathing again together. I can remember at times getting so light headed but I couldn’t leave her. I was blowing right in her face and was so worried my breath might be killing her but when I asked she told me to stay in her face so I guess it wasn’t that bad hahaha.

There were times I had to turn my head away so she wouldn’t see my tears. It killed me to see her in so much pain. At one point I think I asked someone to take over and I ran into the bathroom and cried my eyes out. Got myself pulled together again and went back inside and continued once again to be an accidental birthing coach.

After many hours of labor and an epidural now working, (and a very happy mommy to be who was telling the anesthesiologist how much she loved him haha) we knew Mr Liam was not coming that night and all us girls laid on the floor and tried to sleep. It was a labor and delivery slumber party. I think there were about 6 of us sleeping on the floor. The nurses were so amazing by letting us stay there.

Liam didn’t decide to make his entry until 7:30 the following night. I had to jump back in before delivery with some more breathing and wet washcloths. Poor Noah was so sick. Tiffany was just so cute. Right before he came out she was apologizing to everyone for her behavior. We were all laughing. I love that girl!!!

And after a long time of pushing (an getting a little nervous) Liam came into the world. I cried! It was the most beautiful moment of my life other then when I was giving birth to my own children.

My son just became a daddy. We all left letting daddy and mommy be alone with their little bundle of joy. I wanted to hold him sooo bad but I knew my time would come so I left. At 1:00 in the morning I got call to come to the hospital and give Tiff some time to rest and shower. I didn’t see it til 3:00 am but called the hospital as soon as I did. I am not a morning person and I hate driving in the dark especially in the country but that morning………..I was wide awake. It took me 45 minutes to get there but it was so worth it. There I was holding this beautiful baby boy for the first time and it was just me and him all alone. And I cried again.

Next time: Ryan and Beckie

Peace, Focus, and Loyalty

Today has been a hard day….I watch the news and look on facebook and it’s just hate, hate, hate. Then there are people saying hateful things about the people hating. It has really grieved my heart to the point of exhaustion and tears. I finally had to shut off the news and put on Christmas movies.

As I was crying and praying though, my dog Jewels comes up to me and puts her head in my lap. As much as I wished it was for comfort, what she was really saying was, “Mom, I want to go outside.” Sigh. I got up put leashes on the dogs  and opened the door to the most amazing sight: there were about 11+ doves in my yard.

I love doves. To me they signify peace, focus and loyalty. I felt at that moment God was sending me a gift. He reminded me that He has given me peace. Not the peace that the world gives but his peace. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] AMP

He reminded me to keep my focus on Him not what is said, reasoned, surmised, predicted but on His heart and what His word tells me. Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. AMP

I read once that Doves mate for life. They are totally loyal and focused on  each other. In Song of Soloman 4:1 (reading as an allegory with the King representing the Lord and the maiden me, you, and/or the church as His bride) the kings says “How fair and beautiful you are, my darling,
How very beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are like those of a dove;

and verse 9 “You have ravished my heart and given me courage, my sister, my [promised] bride; You have ravished my heart and given me courage with a single glance of your eyes,AMP

What ever thoughts I have had or have been inclined to have the Lord was reminding me to: Ps 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.

As I finish writing this blog I will endeavor to Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in (my) your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

I am thankful that God sent me a flock of Doves to remind me just how much He loves me and cares for my heart and calls me to come sit in His lap and trust Him with my prayers and to be encouraged because He has overcome the world! All I need to do is stay peaceful, remain loyal and live focused on Him and the impossibles that are possible to Him!!

My Stomach Affects My Mind

19 days ago I wrote only my second blog. I had great intentions of writing every day but the only thing on my mind was the election. I have never cried, prayed, travailed and cried out in any election as much as I did this one. It was so intense for me that I couldn’t even eat yesterday till midnight. My stomach has been tied up in knots for weeks.

I have incredible faith, in fact it’s one of my spiritual gifts. And I heard over and over, “Don’t worry God is still on the throne no matter what happens.” And although I believe that wholeheartedly. I also know that scripture says that if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” My hope and prayer was that we as God’s people were doing that very thing. Was it enough? What if there weren’t enough of us doing that? My thoughts kept going back to when God was going to destroy Sodom and how Abraham kept saying what if He found 50, then 45, then 30, then 20 and finally 10 righteous people would He spare the city. God ended up destroying Sodom because he couldn’t even find 10.

My mind was consumed and every time I tried to write, I would hit a wall and end up back in prayer, tears, and travailing. It was agonizing. But today I was able to breathe again and am ready to jump back into this blog with full force. I will remain though in an attitude and posture of prayer since I know this is never ending for me. I will not stop praying for our leadership and our country. I feel that God has awakened something deeper in me through this time that I have never experienced before.

I started researching writing prompts, quotes, sentence starters etc…..and today I created a box and filled it with all kinds of prompts for those days when nothing wants to come out of me.  So be warned…it may get a little crazy in here. I’m going to try and reach into that box every day and write something on that little piece of paper I pull out unless otherwise inspired. I need to practice to get better because I have dreamed of being a writer for many years. I know God has more books inside of me.

I am an “experience writer” not to be confused with “experienced writer”. I write from what I have gone through in my life and the lessons God has taught me through them. I’m not a theological genius so I steer very clear of that arena. I write from my heart, my joy, my pain and my triumph. And sometimes I can throw a little humor in there while I laugh at myself.

So beginning tomorrow. Lord willing….I’m going start writing about my life in pieces: one word at a time.

Sometimes Life is just hard…

I thought about only writing when I had something enlightening or profound to say but then I realized, I might not be able to write for weeks. And since this is My Life in Pieces well sometimes the pieces are hard. The last two days were hard. Wednesday I went to a client’s house to dust for her and there was this curio on the wall and I asked if she wanted me to dust it too and she said yes but to be careful with one of the figurines cause it was valuable. About two hours after dusting the other parts of her house I finally decided to tackle that curio. Ever so carefully I opened the doors and started taking out the figurines one by one. There was this beautiful pink egg that started to roll and as I reached to catch it, my arm bumped the nose of the valuable figurine and they both went tumbling to the floor. To say I had a meltdown was an understatement. Why that figurine? Well my client was very merciful and forgiving and as she left to go back to work she hugged me and told me we were good and that it was just a thing. Her words were comforting but I still felt miserable and like such a jerk. I cried for 45 minutes straight.

I went home just wanting to quit my housecleaning jobs because no matter how hard you try and how careful you are, chances are you are going to break something. I took my dogs out to the corral and let them stay out for about an hour and crashed on my couch in much physical pain. Cleaning houses really affects me physically and I hurt for days. The last two weeks I’ve been working 4 and 5 days a week and the pain has been excruciating but I thank God He gives me the will and stamina to go on. And I am thankful to have the clients and jobs I have.

I never planned on being a house cleaner. It just fell into my lap. My neighbor was working for a woman and she was opening her own store so asked if I was interested in taking over for this woman she was helping who had just gone through surgery from breast cancer. It progressed from there, one referral after another. And I couldn’t ask for more wonderful clients. They are all so amazing and loving and they let me blast my Christian music while I work. And I have been blessed to have some pretty amazing conversations with them.

So anyway I go out to get my dogs. I usually have to coax my boxer mix with a biscuit to get her to come to me immediately, but this time I didn’t have one but she came running anyway. I was so excited and as I got her leash ready, she ran right through me and up the hill to chase two chickens that belonged to the neighbor behind me. Cady my other boxer followed right behind. I’m yelling and screaming at them and when I finally catch up, they have this poor chicken pinned down. As far as I could see she only lost a bunch of feathers and I didn’t see any blood on her or my dogs. As I pulled Jewels off of her, she took of running and to this day I don’t know if they found her. I was so upset and immediately talked to the neighbors and all the man would say to me is, “Uh huh.”

Anyone who knows me, knows I love animals and would never allow my dogs to hurt them on purpose. Before I let them out in the morning, I always check to make sure there are no turkeys in the yard. The one time I didn’t I had 20+ turkeys flying right at me with the dogs chasing behind them. I caught Jewels batting a mole around in the corral once and I couldn’t stand it and set her free, even though they are the worst animals to have in your yard. When I was about 10, I saved and nurtured a jackrabbit back to health when the neighbors cat got it. And much to my parents horror I used to bring home every stray animal I found… cats, dogs, lizards, bunnies, horned toads and even a snake once. I’m one of those people who watch movies and get mad if the animal is killed or hurt.

I got back to my house after looking for the poor chicken and all I could do was just cry again. I was shaking so bad for hours. When Greg came home, I poured out my story and broke down and cried again. I think I fractured my fingered a few months ago and after pulling Jewels off the chicken, I think I fractured it again.

Thursday I worked again with no incident and three and a half hours later., I got into my car and headed to our Awakening Prayer Service. What normally takes 55 minutes took 2 1/2 hours due to a major accident in Lathrop. By the time I got to prayer, every joint and muscle was in pain including my head. I was still able to get up and worship and sing and felt much better emotionally.

I always try to ask myself, ” What does God want me to learn from this?” and try to find a lesson in all the things I go through. So you ask what did I learn from this? Well, the jury is still out on that one.

Seven words that hurt…

There are seven words I have heard over and over in two different ways that really trouble me. They are, ” You can’t be a Christian if you….” and ” You can’t be a Christian and do..” Every time I hear these words said it breaks my heart and honestly frustrates me. By saying something like this aren’t we really saying, “Since you believe differently than me and I am a true Christian then if you believe differently, you can’t possibly be a Christian?” This is not pointed at anyone directly, in fact I haven’t heard or seen it from anyone I know. It’s just comments I have heard from other people or read in other people’s posts, tweets and blogs. It’s sad.

I was praying about this and the Lord reminded me of how he compares his people to trees. Like a tree there are different stages of growth as a Christian. There is the sapling or brand new baby Christian who is just developing. He or she is just learning about the bible and what it says. They are being nourished through one on one mentoring, church, small groups and bible study. They are young and should not be expected to have the maturity as those who are in a different stage of their life.

The second stage of a tree’s life is the juvenile stage. This is where the most rapid times of growth come. they are beginning to establish themselves in their surroundings. A juvenile Christian is forming his thoughts and learning and soaking up everything he or she can. Just like the tree they are strong but they can also be easily broken. When they are free to grow and not injured, they  will respond with rapid growth, be solidly established, and  found in good health.

The third stage of a tree is the prime of life or mature stage. Trees like a Christian in their prime of life will take care of themselves with little outside help.Growth continues at a slower, steady pace.Just like the branches of the tree that are strong so is the christian strong at this place, and their opinions are pretty formed.

The fourth stage of tree is the middle age or post mature. The tree may prune some of its unproductive branches. They are intolerant of disturbances. The tree’s energy reserves are good and balanced allowing it to fight diseases effectively.  Like the tree a Christian at this stage is growing up and has formed his or her opinions and is discovering what belief systems need to be eliminated as they are understanding the word and applying it to their life. They also can become intolerant of anything or anyone disagreeing with what they believe and are not afraid to stand up for that belief.

There are a couple more stages but I think you get my point by now.

What I’m trying to say is: people like tree grow in stages. It has nothing to do with age but with maturity in their walks. Their systems are being formed as they are nurtured and allowed to grow. We can all be at these stages in different things like politics, denominational beliefs, what we allow into our life, what we eat or drink, what we celebrate etc…So to say someone can’t be a christian if they……..is not allowing for stages of growth in that particular area and could be a bit judgmental if it is lacking in discernment and there is a difference……..maybe I’ll write about that at a different time.

It’s so important that we know the heart and maturity of people before we throw out random comments like that. Not that we should even throw out comments like that. I know some great Christian people in my life that think totally different then me but they are strong in their love, walk and belief in the Lord. It could be that I might not be at that stage of life yet…just a thought.