I love to win! I am not a gracious winner because I like to celebrate to the point my opponent feels like I am rubbing it in. Sadly, I recently discovered something new about myself after my family acquired a pool table, I am TERRIBLE at pool, I need 2 or 3 “do overs” just to break the balls to start a game.
Sean and the boys picked up the game fairly quickly. Typically when we play I will still have 4 or 5 balls left on the table when the game is over. The other day we decided to have a tournament, the winner would continue to advance until there was a champion. To everyone's surprise, I made it to the third round, not because I suddenly became a pool shark, but because they kept scratching (hitting the white ball in) when they were attempting to win by sinking the eight ball.
I felt badly about my wins because it had nothing to do with my ability. So when Sean lost by scratching on the eight ball I said “Oopsie daisy, I won”. Sean looked at me and said “ ‘oopsie daisy’ and ‘I won’ don’t go together”. He is right they don’t, especially when those words are coming out of the mouth of a girl who loves to win.
We live in an “if, then” world don’t we? For example, if I am a terrible pool player then I shouldn’t win. If I don’t fill up my gas tank then my car will stop running. If I leave the cookies in the oven too long then they will burn, and so on.
Even as followers of Christ, if we are not careful, we can begin to think this is the way it works with God. So often this kind of thinking is evidenced in perfectionism. If I behave perfectly then I am acceptable, if I do all the right things then I will be worthy of God's love. If I am faithful enough, or pray enough, or if I read my Bible enough, if I minister to others enough, then God will approve of me.
The way I know I am slipping into this kind of thinking is by the way I respond when I mess up. When I ask for forgiveness can I move on knowing that I am truly forgiven? Or do I sit and stew about my mistake until I feel like a complete failure?
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast.”
The Kingdom of God is not an “if then” kind of world, it is a grace-filled world. A world where we receive the unearned, undeserved love and acceptance from a Heavenly Father who sacrificed His perfect Son to make me perfect in His sight. This is true and lasting perfection, the kind that fulfills the deep longing in my soul to be what I was meant to be before sin marred all creation. In this perfection I cannot boast because it is not my work, it is the perfection that gives God all the glory.
Weekly Memory Verse
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.