Tag: love God


Taking Time to Enjoy Life

Most days are busy. Recently, there was one that made me stop to think. It isn’t as though it was a different day. Just a typical busy day: Kids to school, busy day at the office (yes, pastors do work on days other than Sunday), errands to run, after school practices for the kids, rush home to do homework, and then realize everyone is starving – but I hadn’t been to the store and it was 6:45, so we decided to eat out. We all loaded up in the car to head to a restaurant. This was the first time I had stopped all day long. Bryan was driving so I was just enjoying sitting while Disney radio blared in the car and the kids sang along. I looked out at the horizon, and realized how beautiful the sunset was. I turned the music down to tell everyone in the car, “Isn’t the sunset beautiful tonight?” The kids agreed with my statement, and we continued the drive.

I sat there and pondered my statement. I had to ask myself, “When was the last sunset I took time to enjoy?” In thinking about it, I couldn’t recall the last time I sat down to enjoy a sunset. I could remember lots of Instagram posts of people’s pictures of sunsets recently, but none that I had personally experienced in a long time.

It wasn’t that that particular sunset was any more beautiful. It was just that I finally took time to enjoy it.

 Psalms 90:12 “Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.”

 Life has a way of sweeping us up and making us go at a pace that, honestly, we were never made to enjoy. In the meantime, sunsets are happening every night, your kids are getting bigger everyday, and life is passing you by. If you haven’t seen the beauty in your life in a while, may I ask: when is the last time you took the time to really look?

 Lately, I have been making more time to enjoy sunsets. I don’t do it every night, but I do it more than I did. I hope you do too.


Hide & Seek

“Hide and go seek” is one of the most basic of children’s games. I don’t remember ever teaching my children the rules of the game; they just seem to know. It is almost as though every child is born with an innate desire to find people that are hidden in obscure locations. It is funny to watch the joy that comes over the child who is “IT” as they are looking and find their friends all around the house.

I love the passage in John 20:15. After Jesus’ death and burial, He finds Mary crying in the garden. She had just discovered that His body was missing from the tomb. He then asked Mary, “For whom are you looking, Mary?”
I love this because Jesus didn’t ask her WHAT she was looking for that led to her sadness. He asked her WHO she was looking for that led to her sadness.

Might I suggest that the sadness we experience isn’t because we don’t have the WHAT that we are desiring — the job, house, car, boyfriend etc. Rather the sadness we are experiencing in our lives often comes from the WHO that is missing in our life.


Is Jesus BIG Enough?

Summer goes by so fast. Throughout the summer my kids live in flip flops and, for some reason, since their little feet aren’t contained in shoes, they get plenty of sunshine and grow quickly over the summer. When it gets close to the start of school, I take them school shopping, which always results in us going to buy new shoes for their first day at school.

This year was no different. The salesperson working in the shoe section asked their shoe size and I told her. She looked at my kid’s feet and asked, “Do you want me to measure their foot?” My reply was, “No, I am sure that is still their size,” so she went to get shoes in the size I told her. To my dismay, they didn’t fit at all. Then she asked again, “Do you want me to measure their foot?” Brailey’s foot didn’t grow just A size, but 3 sizes! The lady looked at me in disgust and said, “She has been wearing shoes 3 sizes too small!” (She clearly doesn’t have kids, because she didn’t know that summer sunshine makes feet grow quickly! Ha!) I left the shoe store in disbelief that my child had gotten so big during the summer, and also a little troubled that I got scolded by the shoe sales lady.

Colossians 1:20  So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in Him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of His death, His blood that poured down from the cross.

I was thinking about this encounter, and realized that this is how many people think when it comes to church. We have the idea that we will come in and “shoe” a vulnerable part of our life to someone in church, and they will be in total disgust as they tell us that it is bigger than what we thought and that it just doesn’t fit the way we thought it would.

I want to ask a question: Is the gospel we preach big enough? Is it big enough to cover the alcoholic? The drug addict? The person who got an abortion? It is almost as though people in the church have become like this shoe sales lady. Instead of being thankful that you came in, they are critical and judgmental about your condition. Let’s be a people that declares that God’s grace is big enough to cover every sin. Let’s be the one that tells people that there is nothing too big for God; nothing for us to be ashamed of or leave feeling like we are less than human.

-Crystal Sparks


Never Run the Same

I was never an athlete growing up. I think I still hold the record at my middle school for the most hurdles successfully knocked down consecutively during one run. I was never what you would call graceful at all. I was 5’10” by the time I was 12 so I was lanky and awkward most the time. A few years back, I was driving and saw a lady running. Her running looked more like a speed walk. I was laughing in my mind thinking, “Just go home! You aren’t even running!” I came home and, laughingly, told Bryan that I wasn’t sure what she thought she was accomplishing.

Some time went by, and I got this urge to go run. Bryan laughed at my idea, but was supportive for me to go and attempt to be a runner. I started out on my first run. At first it was amazing. Wind blowing through my hair. I had a great pace. I felt like someone from a Nike commercial. This is awesome. I go to check my phone to see how far I had gone at my lightning pace: .1 mile! WHAT???   My prideful stride went to a comfortable jog and then to a labored run. All of a sudden, the picture of the lady flashed through my mind from just a few months before. I realized that other people were looking at me as they drove by, unsure if they should stop to help me or if they should just keep going. I realized this is a lot harder than what it looks.

I have never looked at runners the same since.

It is amazing how easy something is when you are watching, yet how much harder it is when you are doing it. In life, it is so easy to become critical and judgmental when it isn’t something you are personally going through.

Now, when I see people struggling while running, I want to cheer them on, roll down my windows and blare out the “Rocky” music theme song to keep them going.

Let’s be that way when people are going through struggles and difficulties. Let’s be the voice that is cheering them on and not the voice that is keeping them from succeeding! You don’t know the difficulties they are facing. It may be taking every ounce of strength they have to even get up and go to work. Let’s be the voice that gives hope, strength and courage!

John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”