Happy Daughter’s Day!

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What’s an apple got to do with anything, much less Father’s Day?  It has everything to do with it.  And I do mean every thing.

God wrote this post on the tablet of my heart back in April, right about where I left off on the blog.  But I saved it for June.  I’ll cover May later, so in the meantime, can you walk backwards with me to April and beyond?  We won’t trip, I promise, as long as we’re both holding onto each other—and to Him.

I just recently shared with a group of ladies about my first Women’s Bible study I attended at my church over a decade ago.  I was a newlywed, married to the sweetest man on Earth (and the first kid I met when I moved to my hometown the summer after fifth grade).

I was clinging to the end of my 20’s, had been a Christian since the age of seven, but I was still broken.  By the end of the study, my leader gave me a porcelain apple that God told her to give to me, along with His words—that I was the apple of my Father’s eyes.

She had no way of knowing that I’d come from a broken home and still carried issues because of it.  But He did.  And yet—He called me daughter.  It’s just a small slice of what all God has done, but He used His Word and His women to be a healing place for a hurting girl.

We’ve been planted in that House ever since, over in neighboring Baton Rouge. But it’s growing about as fast as my girls outgrow shoes, so we’re planting a campus in our hometown of Denham Springs.

Fast forward to Easter weekend, when our church held its first service here at a local park.  A park that was this former Miss Denham Springs’ prior stomping ground and playground. My childhood home was to the left and across from the park, and the trailer we had to move to at the end of my senior year was just to the right of the park.

So on Easter Eve, early on Saturday morning before I went there to pray, I drove by both, with Jesus riding along.

And over twenty years later, I drove down Eden Church Road, turned onto Eve Street, passed up Genesis Street and Garden Street, and then stared at my old street sign.  I’d never thought about the name, yet there it was.  Apple Street. And that first Women’s Bible study came flooding back.

What a picture of God placing His church and His cross smack dab in the middle of our difficulties, and surrounding us with a Father’s unfailing love. 

And talk about timing. Just that week I’d been asked to lead the future Women’s Ministry.  So sitting there at the intersection of the past and the present, I could hear my stammering words flung up to God, “Are you suuure? I mean, if I were you, I’d pick the flawless, shiny one, without all the bruises and the mealy parts.  You know, the perfect one.”

But I knew the rebuttal.   He already picked The Perfect One, and when we trust in the tree of the cross, we don’t have to be.

“OK.  I get it.  Finally.  But what do I say?  What do I tell them, the women you lead me to lead?”

Then I looked up to Him and to the “sign” that He gave, and pictured the smile of a Father, and heard the soft whisper to my own apple cheeks, “You tell them everything.  Everything I’ve been to you.  Everything I am to you.  You just tell them about me.  Everything I am.  And Who I AM to them: a Father.  And who they are to me: daughters—who ARE EVERYTHING to me.”

So what’s an apple have to do with Father’s Day?  Absolutely EVERYTHING!

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8. 

Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Matt. 9:22 

And how I love being with fellow daughters and women—at the well.

For more Father’s Day/Daughter’s Day reading, check out last year’s post here: http://christiehughesatthewell.com/2014/06/16/hes-your-daddy/

I wrote it then, but I finally get it now. Happy Daughter’s Day!

Thank you for joining me here.  It would sure bless me if you’d subscribe to my blog, and I hope to bless you right back with a GIFT–a free printable. (Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  The free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.)

READ THE INSPIRATION FOR THE SUNSHINE BOX HERE:

http://christiehughesatthewell.com/2014/08/

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

Mirror, you’ve got to GO!

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I don’t care what you think, and I sure don’t care what I look like.  Hey, did that sound OK, or was it too harsh?  And tell me—is my lipstick smudged, any leftover spinach in my teeth, or dangling friends in my nose? Wait, I shouldn’t have asked that.  That was too much wasn’t it?

You get my point.  We women think too hard and care too much about the perceptions of others.  I say “we” because it just makes me feel better.  Is that OK?  Oops.  There I go again.

I began the Fall in my year-long study on the life of Moses, trudging to the promise land.  And I began this year exclaiming and believing that I’d have an “Himpossible” year, where with God, all things are possible for those who believe. (Mark 9:23)

I’m still sinking my toes into the sand and sinking my teeth into His Word.  I haven’t yet made it to the milk and honey, but I’m chewing on a few things that may take me closer.

Several miles back, I encountered some women in Exodus who left a convicting taste in my mouth. I couldn’t miss them—standing there at the entrance to the tent of meeting.   Right outside the tabernacle that God directed His people to build.  Where His presence showed up.

The builders were hard at work, decking the place out just as God commanded.  When it came time to make the hand-washing, heart-cleansing basin—a pre-picture of what Christ does in us, here’s how it got done and here’s who God used to do it:

They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Exodus 38:8

There they stood—God-pleasing, people-loving women. 

As I eyed those old testament ladies, I couldn’t help but think about us faith-filled new testament women.  I can see the Sunday morning pearly smiles of those who greet at the entrance to the wide-open church doors.  And all of us who welcome those God’s placed in our lives and along our paths on all of the other days.

Here we stand, mirroring His Word, sharing His love, and reflecting the light of the world.  Positioned at The Door—which is Christ Himself. (John 10:9)

I just love that part.  But here’s the part I didn’t like about those forerunning greeters, yet it’s exactly what I need and precisely what He asks. They had to give up something.  Their valuables.  And not just any valuables.  Their mirrors!  Cringe.  Head shake. Tight grip.  Rewind. They didn’t have to.  They chose to.

As we share Him, and choose to transparently reveal what He’s done in us and through us—to fully be used by Him—we have to give up the need to care what we look like.  Sound like.  Act like.

I’m talking to you, but I’m preaching to me.  We have to be less concerned with saving face, and more concerned with reflecting His saving grace.

Not one of us has it all together.  Because if we did, we’d be altogether gone.  We’d already be with Him.

And if we’re actually going to make it to our own ‘personal promised lands’ here, there’s a stop we’ve got to make between believing and receiving.  It’s the place called surrendering.

It’s the place where I finally feel like flinging that mirror across the room (duck if you’re near me), but instead I’ll willingly, gulp, and prayerfully, hand it over. It won’t fit in my promised land luggage anyway.

It’s where we refuse: self-inspection, self-editing, perfection, pride, control, insecurity, fear and all of the primping and smoothing, and lip glossing of our lives.  It’s where we obey even if it hurts.  It’s where He’s made perfect in our weakness, as we reveal His likeness.

I hope you’ll join me with knees in the gritty sand so that fully surrendered we can stand, with spectacular views of the promised land.

One last thing.  I think you’re amazing and beautiful.  But who cares what I think.  HE made you, sees you, and knows that you ARE amazing, beautiful, and to die for.

It would sure bless me if you’d subscribe to my regular blog posts, and I hope to bless you right back with a GIFT–a free printable. (Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  The free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.)

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to “Treat” Single Friends on Valentine’s Day

How to “Treat” Single Friends on Valentine’s Day

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“This is the nicest gift anyone has ever given me. I even cried ugly tears in front of my co-workers!” my friend said with a grateful voice still quivering.

It was Valentine’s Day.  She felt loved, my job was done, and she sure deserved it.  I’d just dropped off a Valentine SONshine Box for her.  She was going through a tough time, and for a single woman, let’s face it, the onslaught of surrounding Hallmark moments can also get pretty nauseating.  (And all my single ladies said, “Amen!”)

I’ve never tried to play Cupid, but if I think about it, I guess I make a pretty good matchmaker for God, packaging and delivering His specialty—LOVE.  With words and gifts—inside and outside the box. And you can too.

If you’re thinking of a special friend who deserves to feel adored and valued this Valentine’s Day, then I’ve got the gift for you.  Below is a link to my original Sonshine Box post that explains how to put one together.  I’ve also posted pictures below of the contents of the Valentine SONshine Box I made.  They show coordinating bible verses that I attached to the gifts.

Who wouldn’t want to be treated with a week’s worth of gifts on a single day that represents a lifetime’s worth of God’s love for them?  Now THAT’S true love!

Wishing YOU the same. Happy Valentine’s Day!

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NLT)

*One of the enclosed gift items was an index card holder to place bible verses in, so I attached my individual verses to index cards that could be placed  in the holder.  However, you can download bible verse cards that I have attached to my blog subscription email to make it easier.  There are numerous verses that small gift items could be coordinated with.

FREE BIBLE VERSE GIFT CARDS SHOWN IN THE LINK BELOW:

http://christiehughesatthewell.com/2014/09/07/how-to-make-a-sonshine-box-and-a-free-printable/

Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  Then the free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

VALENTINE SONSHINE BOX:

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Praise the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits.  Psalm 103:2

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Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.  Such a high priest truly meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exhalted above the heavens.  (the true perfect man 🙂 Hebrews &:25-26

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I will put my laws on their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Heb. 8:10

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 The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  Isaiah 40:28-29

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How precious are your thoughts about me Oh God.  They cannot be numbered! Psalm 139:17

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Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

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I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.  Psalm 116:13

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And that’s a wrap!  Seven wrapped gift items in one love-filled box!

LINK TO THE ORIGINAL INSPIRATION FOR THE SONSHINE BOX:

http://christiehughesatthewell.com/2014/08/27/the-gift-of-friendship-and-sonshine-and-a-free-gift-for-you/

 

An HIMpossible Challenge for an HIMpossible Year: Get [Outside the Box!]

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I received my New Year’s Resolution two weeks late, but right on time. (Happy NEW Year Y’ALL, by the way!) Like a big ‘ole gift plopped right at my front door. And maybe you want the same one too.

Here it is—I resolve to have an HIMpossible year! Yep, that’s what I said. Not impossible. HIMpossible. Where ALL things really are possible—with Him.

I want to live a life reflective of the verse, “For ALL things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)

I don’t want to just read the words on a page.  I want to SEE and LIVE them in the flesh.  Inhaling and exhaling with every thought, word, and deed.

Where miracles—wait for it—REALLY happen in our lives. {Gasp!} You too?  Well, then here’s our first step:  We gotta open the box. And then live outside the box. I’m not talking about a ready-made “miracle-in-a-box,” though the pre-2015 Christie sure wished she had one.

I mean the box of limitations we all carry.  And even more, the box we put God in when we carry His Word and don’t live it out—when we don’t let Him out.

So forget that I said open the box.  What I meant to say was, allow the Holy Spirit to blow the lid off the box. Obliterate it and disintegrate it.  Send it packing, like swirling shrapnel soaring into oblivion NEVER to be put back on again!

Sounds pretty impossible, huh? It is—without Him.

Now I ain’t all that smart (see what I mean?).  But here’s what I’m smart enough to glean.  God’s Word doesn’t say SOME things are possible for those who believe.  Nope.  He says ALL things are possible. (Mark 9:23) No asterisks.*  (No parentheses).  No conditions.  No commentary.  No exceptions.  No doubts. No excuses. [No boxes.]

NO: It’s gotta be this way. Or that way.  He did it then, but not now. It was for them, but not us.  Don’t do that.  You gotta do this. If you do that, He can’t do this. Look what I do, it’s for me and not you.  Huh, well too bad this ain’t true.

What if instead WE READ His Word, and then we took Him at HIS WORD?

So why such a passionate resolution?  Because I’ve got some seemingly impossible situations in 2015.   You probably do too.  Perhaps there’s family issues or health issues.  Addictions. Depression. Lost loved ones.  And all the other HIMpossible “un’s.” The ones, the prayers, that you can barely believe because— “It would HAVE to take a miracle.”

We ALL have one.  We may even be—the one. So we turn to the miracle-working One who makes ALL things new. (Rev. 21:5)

While we’re at it, check out my front door. God showed me something easy to see, yet a little hard for me to grasp.  I really do still have big ‘ole boxes sitting there from CHRISTmas. Unopened. Just waiting on me.  And I ordered them. I asked for them. Believed for them–and received them. Yet I haven’t even taken the gifts out of the box.

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They do me no good inside the box. They’re useless, powerless, and I can’t even enjoy them or share them–until they come OUT of the box.

HE is SO GOOD y’all! I can barely contain it. So I WON’T.

Hurry up and duck—‘because the lid on this box is about to go flying!  Sweet friends, I’m believing for you and receiving WITH you in this miraculous 2015!

It would sure bless me if you’d subscribe to my regular blog posts, and I hope to bless you right back with a GIFT–a free printable. (Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  The free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.)

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

 

From Naughty to Nice

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I made the naughty list.  And I’m OK with that.  My five-year-old, on the other hand, is not.

I heard the squeak of the office door, a tale-tell and soon-to-be tattle-telling sign she was where she shouldn’t be—doing what she shouldn’t be doing. 

I caught her red-handed and covered in smudges of bold black ink, cold-busted holding a used ink cartridge she’d creatively used to decorate every visible area of skin on both her and her little sister (A.K.A. sneaky little accomplice).  There they stood, covered in soot from head to foot.

After yelling the ring leader’s first AND middle name (‘cause you know I mean business when I yank out the middle name card from my mean mama bag), I said, “Go get your little tail in the corner right now!”

Seconds later, the wailing ensued and the river of tears flowed.

The punishment fit the crime, but somehow the reaction didn’t.  For even greater infractions, I’d seen her react with utter nonchalance while choreographing a tap-dancing show in her time-out corner.

So I bent down to ask, “Why are you crying like that?”  She drenched my shoulder and hugged my neck, slobbering and blubbering, “I’m…I’m afraid I’m on the naughty list!” And then back to the ear-shaking, earth-quaking sobs she went.

“Ahhhhh!  I see,” I said as the lights twinkled on.  We’d just visited Santa who’d told her she “should” surely make the “Nice List” for behaving so well.

I tried to stifle my grin, before my own creative mind went to drawing.  I could sure milk (and Christmas cookie) this for all it was worth and for as long as it lasted.

All I had to do now was add the Naughty List to my bag of mama tricks each time she dared to make a bee-line for the naughty line.

Visions of obedient girls danced in my head as I nearly giggled with glee and shook my own bowl of jelly.  But as much as my head wanted to, my heart melted like cookie dough instead.

I saw myself in those same coal brown eyes and crocodile tears. At times weighing my good and my bad, thinking God was keeping a list and checking it twice, and hoping he was adding more checks than x’s.

And maybe I don’t do it for my ultimate salvation, but if I’m honest, I’ve done it for the gifts in between.  The peace.  The joy.  The blessing—even the healing.  Well, if I do more here, maybe He’ll bless me there.  Or, I haven’t done this, so He can’t do that. If I could only be good—enough.

Until He fixes my fuse and strings together truth, illuminating His Christmas tree of grace. Erected in love. Held together with nails on outstretched branches and dripping with ribbons of scarlet. Topped off with the crowning Star of David. The Son of man, born in a manger to die on a tree—and rise again for you and me.

Once and for all.  For all who would receive this priceless gift.  No strings attached.  Only believe. And receive. (John 1:12)

We won’t be, can’t be, and we don’t have to be good enough because He—is enough.

Grace is Him doing what we couldn’t and us getting what we shouldn’t.  He took the nails and the coals, and every bit of our naughty when all He had in Him was nice.  Removing our sin-filled smudges and soot from head to foot —with one swipe of grace, there’s not even a trace.  How can it be?  He leaves us as white as snow, spotless and free.

So my naughty little kids and their naughty big mama can celebrate the greatest gift exchange of all time.  Merry Christmas y’all! You betta be good for—well, you can scratch that.  Freely receive His gifts and embrace His grace this CHRISTmas season.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

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

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It would sure bless me if you’d subscribe to my regular blog posts, and I hope to bless you right back with a GIFT–a free printable. (Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  The free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.)

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

 

Why I loved NYC: Part 2 Unpacked

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It sure wasn’t this.

One month ago today I left my Guideposts weekend, and truth be told, I’m still unpacking my time in New York.  So while I’m truth telling, I might as well tell ya my suitcase is also still on the floor.  And there’s no better time than now to completely unpack it.

Because exactly two years ago today, I left life as I knew it when Mom left here for Heaven at 57.  My hospital suitcase remained cemented on the floor then too for weeks—and weeks.  Until in a desperate dialogue with God—in one of those “fist-shaking, life-quaking” moments—I implored, “WHY’d you let it happen like that? Just her and me.  With futile blows of air, to no avail. And WHAT am I supposed to do now?”

I begged for an answer, sitting on the cold tile floor, head hunched over, hugging my knees and rock bottom, tunneling through my own ground zero.

And then my eyes shot across the floor to my suitcase, before my hands followed suit.  I flipped it open to find my journal.  Lost and abandoned. Now found.  I’d been looking for it from day one to let my pen and my heart scream out.  And now a soft banner flew across my mind, as I read the rippling words and listened to the whisper: “Just write.”  Not in the darkness of a bed-side drawer, but with the light of the world—and the Word.

God used the Guideposts selection as a sweet affirmation of those words.  But it’s what He did after the mansion and in the city that grabbed my attention and stole my heart.  

It wasn’t the high rise corner suite with sweeping views of Central Park. And it sure wasn’t my man and me being picked out of a crowd for front row seats at Letterman.  It wasn’t even the highlight of getting up close and personal with Lady Liberty on her birthday.

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It wasn’t this.

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Or even this.

Instead, it was God taking me from the top and letting me see—and love—those scraping the bottom.  My first chance came as we exited a church across from Ground Zero.  We took off down the sidewalk at a New Yorker pace, and then noticed the turned heads, the double takes, the slow glances of fellow passerbys before discomfort and conscience sped up their feet.

My eyes locked in on what caught their attention and scared them away.  She was in her 20’s, sitting on a cold cement slab, head hunched over, hugging her knees and her own rock bottom, across from Ground Zero.  Holding a sign: Homeless. Hungry.  Maybe for food.  Maybe for drugs.  But no doubt for LOVE.

What am I supposed to do now? I thought, as I passed her up too, right after dispensing my own uncomfortable glance. That was just before the whisper and the rippling banner that turned me around:  “Go tell her I love her.”

Right now?  With all these people? But my doubts couldn’t stand up under the heavy weight of love. So I earned my way in with a few dollar bills, but I didn’t get her ears or her eyes until I said, “Don’t let the lipstick and the jewelry fool you.  I’m really no different from you.”

Her grey-blue eyes, the color of my daughter’s, rolled up and away in disbelief.  So I kneeled down beside her and told her my story.  And God’s.  I got her ears and her eyes—right before her heart.

And then I loved her, and I hugged her, as I inhaled the smell of months on the streets and the timeless scent of  grace.

I felt God breathe new life into both of us, rebuilding beauty from ashes and replacing broken pieces as I unpacked His truths.

After three life-changing, God-orchestrated encounters with women along the streets and the subway, God reminded me why I’m here—why we’re here.  Maybe to write. Maybe to speak.  But no doubt—to LOVE.

And to top off the three, he gave me one more.  Over and above, like only God does.  Just as we made our way through the subway, I followed the sound, to a girl and her bagpipe, playing God’s tune—Amazing Grace.  How sweet the sound.  Reminding me that my purpose was once lost, but now it’s found.

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The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3

Thanks for reading along and allowing me to share my time in New York and even my luggage with you.

It would sure bless me if you’d subscribe to my regular blog posts, and I hope to bless you right back with a free printable. (Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  The free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.)

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

What I learned in New York: Part 1

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The “front yard”

Here’s what I learned in New York:  You can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you just can’t take the trailer out of the girl!

I had the time of my life in New York during my writing training for Guideposts.  It really was a dream come true, as my last post declared.

But it didn’t start out that way.  Naturally, I was a bundle of knotted nerves as I walked into the New York mansion where we were to stay and train all week.  I’d quickly bonded with those who had arrived with me, but then it was time to meet and greet with everyone, including the Guideposts staff who would teach us all week.

I’ve always had this slight teacher/student intimidation.  Silly, but true. And I kinda felt like a little leaguer amidst all the Ivy Leaguers.

So it sent me right back to the age I was in the story I submitted. Still just a kid at eighteen.  Back when we were ousted from the four bedroom family home straight into a trailer with my newly single mom.

The coming of age story, Guideposts called it.  And as I recall it, the coming of faith story.

Just like then, I carried in uncertainty and timidity, but then fully covered them up by plopping a big ‘ole Louisiana smile on top.

And picture this.  I’m standing on wobbly legs in a formal library, the kind right out of a movie set—or a real live game of Who Done It.  Complete with dimmed lights, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and brooding portraits staring down upon us.

There’s light and jovial talk, including, “Did you bring us some beignets and coffee?  We sure thought you would,”  to which I inwardly sighed and then mentally chastised myself, “Dang! I knew I should’ve brought ‘em with me!”

Then the sinking feeling travels up to my brain and then flips up the switch of revelation.  “So thaaat’s why they picked me.  For the coffee.  It all makes sense now.”

So there I stood, knees locked, fighting with my indecisive, fumbling fingers.  Do I keep them clasped, or stuff them in my pocket?  In and out they went, as I clumsily stepped in and out of polite conversations and listened to commonalities of our stories being tossed about.

I can’t remember them all, but there’s one I won’t forget. It was innocently lobbed right at me, no time to duck, so I turned and caught it quick with my right ear, before it lodged in deep.

“Oh yeah, your story had the trailer park in it.  I remember now.”  I forced the super-glued smile to stay put, and then tried to soothe the red on my cheeks and the embarrassed kid within me, thinking, so it was the trailer park that was memorable?

Isn’t it something how a simple, harmless observation can still create a not-so-simple internal response? And it wasn’t them.  It was me.  Twenty years later, cloaked in a grown-up’s grin on the outside, but lugging around a fear-fighting kid on the inside.

At least for a while. Until I slipped into the comfort of the crisp night air, and called home like a blubbering teenager, stammering between breaths, “I don’t know why I’m here. I have no idea why in the world they picked me.  Well, I do, it’s ‘cause I’m the trailer park girl.  And I hail from the land of Duck Dynasty.  That’s gotta be why…and because they just knew I’d bring chicory coffee, but I didn’t, and I should’ve…”

“Christie, do you hear yourself?” my husband said as he cut me off and hushed me up.

“Calm down.  You know that’s not true.  And you need to remember who picked you first.  God chose you long before you ever made this trip.  He has a purpose for you and this.  Don’t forget that.  Now go be you.”

So I hung up the phone, muzzled my inner critic, and then fell in love with every single soul all week. Time and again, the Holy Spirit reminded me of who I was—who we are—to Him.  Chosen and loved.

And really, we’re all just insecure kids walking around in big people’s britches.  All longing for love and assurance, as a Heavenly father longs to hear us cry out to him so that He can lift us up. And cover us in confidence and grace that could only come from Him.

Throughout the week, we spent hours (and hours) transparently sharing our stories—and our stuff—and laughing so hard I cried a couples times, and yep, even snort-laughed.  Which I normally exclusively reserve for just close friends and family.

On the last day, the nerves and locked knees were long gone, although I still had tears and was still standing.  But this time, I stood amazed that I could come so far, across the country,  to meet so many authentic, down-home writing friends who felt just like family.  And I’m still smiling—for real—about the fact that I could so quickly love so many—so much.

That’s God y’all, and my week with Guideposts was a blessing straight from Heaven.  I’m still unpacking and processing what God did in the Big Apple after I left the big mansion, so stay tuned for Part 2.

How to Make a Sonshine Box

How to Make a Sonshine Box

Thank you for walking and flying along with me in faith.  It would sure bless me if you’d subscribe to my weekly emailed blog posts, and I’ll bless you right back with a free printable, free encouragement, and possibly a few free giggles. (Just scroll to the bottom or hop over to the sidebar to subscribe.  The free printable for a Sonshine Box will be in the confirmation email.)

Oh, just the backyard view

Oh, just the backyard view

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The famous library (thuh lyyybrary)

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Guideposts family pic

Hallelujah! We won the writing lotto!

Hallelujah! We won the writing lotto!