Eat, Sleep and Breathe

Eat, Sleep and Breathe

I am not the biggest of football fans. I grew up in Nebraska; yes, amid cornfields and football. But throughout my first 21 years of life there, I never fully become a football fan. My father was a crop scientist and my mother a musician… so football games were never on our television at home. Instead, my family and I listened to music, watched musicals, spent a ton of time playing outdoors or followed our father in the cornfields while he gathered crop data.

But, if you live in Nebraska, football is unavoidable. Most everyone in our small town was of the philosophy that you would eat, sleep and breathe football. People could easily turn on you (and put you in your place) if you didn’t know a little about the sport. And so, my surroundings forced me to learn. 


No one ever sat me down and gave me a play by play. I learned by watching and listening to the conversations that happened around me ALL THE TIME. And years later, I was Co-Captain of the cheer squad and was leading our town’s high school football fans in chants and cheers. I even became a quarterback for our Powder Puff team. But, I still never quite understood the DRAW of being a football fan.


Now, I cheer for the Huskers (they’re my home state team… what can I say?) as well as for the Razorbacks. I realize that I never studied football… like ACTUALLY studied it. As I mentioned earlier, no one ever gave me a play by play or showed me a playbook. Which is probably why I’m not a die-hard football fan. I don’t eat, sleep or breathe football… ever. Occasionally, I will cheer loudly when the team is doing awesome and get frustrated when a referree makes a wrong call. But daily? Nope.


Now, back to the reason I’m actually writing this post. I started thinking about this tonight as I prepared to teach our church’s bible class called Thrive University. How can you worship something you don’t understand? I don’t think its possible. And here’s where I’m gonna lean in a little.

Joshua 1:8

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

We find over and over in Scripture how our God is seeking after us, desiring for us to know Him and love Him. But, we find every excuse to not open our Bibles or even talk about who our God is:

  • Work has been insane this week.
  • I need a night off.
  • We’re having a family night.
  • Our kids have a lot of homework/soccer games; I can’t make it.
  • I need to make dinner for my family.
  • I’m going through something terrible and just need space.

Here’s the deal- I’ve used these exact same excuses before… and here’s where God has convicted my own heart.

Psalm 1:2-3

But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Now, back to the reason I’m actually writing this post. I started thinking about this tonight as I prepared to teach our church’s bible class called Thrive University. How can you worship something you don’t understand? I don’t think its possible. And here’s where I’m gonna lean in a little.

Joshua 1:8

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

We find over and over in Scripture how our God is seeking after us, desiring for us to know Him and love Him. But, we find every excuse to not open our Bibles or even talk about who our God is:

  • Work has been insane this week.
  • I need a night off.
  • We’re having a family night.
  • Our kids have a lot of homework/soccer games; I can’t make it.
  • I need to make dinner for my family.
  • I’m going through something terrible and just need space.

Here’s the deal- I’ve used these exact same excuses before… and here’s where God has convicted my own heart.

Psalm 1:2-3

But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Here's the Deal...

I’ve used these exact same excuses before… and here’s where God has convicted my own heart.

Conviction is Funny

He’s whispered, “How can you worship a God you never study? How can you take communion when you’ve never looked up the words of Jesus and cried when you realize the amount of sacrifice he gave? How can you repeatedly not show up to bible study or small group… and yet make sure to show up to the church’s carnival night or Trunk or Treat? Because, let me tell you, Meg…

  • You cannot worship a God that you don’t open your Bible to learn about.
  • You cannot take communion when you have no idea what it’s about.
  • You cannot understand God when you choose surface-level fellowship versus digging into the Word with other Jesus followers.”


How to Become Sold-Out

Here’s what I’ve come away with: It’s only possible to become a sold-out fan when you study God’s Word. In knowing who He is, you won’t just cheer or worship when things are going well. You’ll have joy when there is sorrow… when no one else is in the stands with you… or when you don’t quite understand why God made a call the way He did. But in those times, you’ll know where to go to find the answers in the Bible.

So, choose to learn about Him today. Choose Him over your busyness, your tiredness, and your excuses.

Begin learning today. Stop choosing to miss out on opportunities to get to know Him. And maybe, soon, you’ll eat, sleep and breathe with the breath of God upon you.

The Kingdom of God: Here and Now… and Someday

We slipped and slid through the mud of the back alleys on the “small town” metropolis, where I had spent my summer teaching English in China. One of the school staff had promised to take us to a church service, and after waiting many weeks, we were packed into three vehicles and then dropped off in a muddy alley, right after a downpour. It was almost noon. Church supposedly started at 9:30. 

After dropping the twelve of us college students, with our team leader and translator, hiked up and through several alleys and back streets, winding our way to where the driver had pointed us to. It felt like miles.  As the sun began to beat through the clouds, our brows began to sweat.

We found ourselves walking through a doorway, into an enclosed patio area, where speakers hung on nearby houses that surrounded where we were. The senior minister and his family were still at the church- and they bowed and shook our hands, with tears in their eyes. Our translator told us repeatedly how privileged they were to have us visit them at their church and they were embarrassed that the service had already ended. We asked how many attended their service. They said something to the translator, who then told us, “300…. No wait- sorry. 3,000.” We stood flabbergasted as she translated from the minister’s son that people sat on the rooftops and in the streets surrounding the small church, listening to the message and hymns being piped out from the speakers. Unreal.

We, of course, felt terrible for arriving so late and so we found ourselves, two parties from opposite sides of the world, apologizing over and over to each other. They ushered us into the church, where benches were lined together each other, so tightly, we could barely slide in between to sit. The minister thanked us again, and his daughter began to play the one instrument in the room, a piano. Hymns began to ring out and soon, we all recognized one. One by one- we began to sing… and then the minister and his family began singing along with us in Mandarin. I closed my eyes, and at that moment, I felt the Kingdom. Even though I had never met these people, they were my brothers and sisters in Christ. We had a bond that transcended words or understanding. And as we left that place, with tears in our eyes and hugs all around, I knew I would never forget them and the taste of the Kingdom that they gave us.


So, what does the Kingdom

look like now? 

Well, we know (as I went over in the last post) that the Kingdom is expanding. How does it expand? We tell people about it. We share about who Jesus is. We tell stories of how Jesus has loved us… what He did upon the cross for us. It starts small when we share. But can you imagine if each of us just shared the Gospel with two people in our lifetimes? And they in turn, told two more? That small contribution creates a butterfly effect that can affect an entire nation in a matter of a year… decade… And before you know it… something resembling a tree appears in front of you.

Jesus, in Matthew 13, compares the Kingdom to yeast that grows 3 parts of flour (22 kilos worth! Enough to feed 300 people!) He also described it like a person finding a hidden treasure in a field. They immediately sold everything to buy the entire field, just to have the treasure. Sounds like, when you find the Kingdom, you’ll do anything to keep experiencing it!


Where is it?

Look for God’s Presence

In Scripture, we see moments of the Kingdom when Jesus heals… when his followers follow him… when the poor and meek are blessed… when the dead are raised… and when He sacrifices himself for the benefit of those who believe in Him.

In the Beginning

When Jesus talked about Kingdom life, he somehow seemed to bring Creation language into the mix. He was questioned about divorce (Mark 10:6-10) and Jesus replies,

But from the beginning, God created male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his parents and be wedded to his wife. And the husband and wife will be joined as one flesh, and after that, they no longer exist as two, but one flesh. So there you have it. What God has joined together, no one has the right to split apart.” 

Bring on the Kiddos

Later, Jesus chastises his disciples when they scolded people for bringing their children to him (Mark 10: 14B-16).

“Let all the little children come to me and never hinder them! Don’t you know that God’s kingdom realm exists for such as these?  Listen to the truth I speak: Whoever does not open their arms to receive God’s kingdom like a teachable child will never enter it.” Then he embraced each child, and laying his hands on them, he lovingly blessed each one.”

Leave the World Behind

Mark records a moment when a young, rich man asks Jesus what he needs to do to receive eternal life. Jesus responds for him to sell all his possessions, pick up his cross, and follow Him. The young man couldn’t walk away from his wealth. Jesus says to his disciples, “… it is next to impossible for those who trust in their riches to find their way into God’s kingdom realm.” This frightened the disciples… they began to wonder who could ever be saved! That’s when Jesus made the statement that has been etched upon peoples’ walls, bumper stickers, and thrown out as a verbal answer for everything. 

“With people it is impossible, but not with God—God makes all things possible!”

Mark 10:27

Picture of the Kingdom

Here’s what I see when I’m reading through Scripture. In Matthew 5-7, we have an account of the Sermon on the Mount, one of Jesus’ famous sermons.


  • He speaks of gentleness living inside you.
  • Craving righteousness.
  • Demonstrating mercy.
  • Purity in your heart.
  • Making peace with people.
  • Bearing wounds of persecution.
  • Obeying and teaching God’s commands to others.
  • Running from anger and apologizing to those you have offended.
  • Refraining from lust.
  • Keeping your vows to God.
  • Loving your enemies.
  • Giving with pure motives and without drawing attention to yourself.
  • Praying and fasting with a sincere heart.
  • Stockpiling heavenly treasures… not hoarding material wealth.
  • Don’t worry but remember that God will provide.
  • Don’t judge others.
  • Ask from God and you’ll receive, seek and you’ll find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Could this be what the Kingdom looks like? If everyone tried to aim for this… our world would look drastically different. And I’m sure you’ve experienced little pieces of the Kingdom throughout your life when you’ve seen a stranger pay for someone’s meal, a judge giving mercy, and people seeking forgiveness and peace.

So, if this is what the Kingdom looks like today, then keep your eyes peeled for these moments.


The Kingdom of God is where:

  • You see disciples making disciples.
  • Loving and serving others is the norm
  • People are using their spiritual gifts for the advancement of the Kingdom (not just hiding in the pews.)
  • It’s where you see people denying themselves to follow Jesus
  • Good overcomes bad
  • People are healed
  • Lives that were torn apart are put back together
  • People worship the Creator and the Savior without worshipping themselves
  • Children are taught about Jesus by their families, not just the church
  • People are listening to the Holy Spirit daily instead of only listening when it benefits themselves
  • God’s truth is preached in fullness- nothing is left out
  • People give generously so that there is no need in their churches

And if there’s a Kingdom… then who’s the King?

That’s coming up next!

Honor: The Relationship Giver

Michael and I sat across from each other during a weirdly strange cool July morning, on the back deck off of our master bedroom. We had come a long way the past couple of weeks, as we had been fighting miscommunication, frustration, and dysfunction. (Yep- even pastors and their wives struggle occasionally.) 

As we sat squinting at Michael’s laptop, we listened as our long-time marriage counselor and friend, Matthew LaGrange, imparted some crazy, awesome wisdom that we wished we had known 17 years ago. (Just a heads up- I’ve taken liberty with Matthew’s quotes as I’m horrible at remembering things verbatim. Sorry Matthew!)

He said, “Here’s the deal. When discussing relationships, a lot of people talk about love and respect.”

(Yep- we’ve done that before in several marriage studies and in ministry marriage counseling sessions…)  

“The problem with respect…,” he continued, “is that it has to be earned. Well… what happens when respect is not earned?”



I felt like my brain was starting to combust. Why would we ask people to just be respectful to each other (even in regards to our own relationship) if they weren’t earning respect? Over the years, Michael and I have mentored couples to love and respect each other. But when one spouse was not acting respectful or worthy of respect, it left us a little conflicted. We usually just responded with, “Well… you just have to keep being respectful and pray that they’ll come around someday.” It left Michael and I feeling like we weren’t effective in our marriage mentorships. 

Matthew leaned in closer. “So… I started thinking about honor. Honor can never be earned. It is only given.”



We’ve all heard the word. In fact, if you’re married, you might have used the word “honor” in your wedding vow to your spouse. But it seems that we’ve skipped over that short word. We hinge on “in sickness and in health… ‘til death do us part…” and forget that one small word that may seem insignificant.

But- it’s definitely not.

Honor is defined as high respect or esteem. But when honor is a verb (as in I “honor” you…), it becomes so much more. It means to regard someone with great respect and to fulfill an obligation or to keep an agreement. According to our U.S. Army, “Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do…”

As humans, we are imperfect. Far from good at times… and tend to border on selfishness- quite frequently. So, what happens when two imperfect people come together and experience conflict? What can happen to those butterfly feelings… that sense of overwhelming love that you had for the other person… and your heart racing in your chest every time they touch you?

It can vanish… just as suddenly as it started.


The World We Live In

We live in a pretty fickle world right now. There are slogans about “The Next Best Thing,” “Keep Up with the Jones’” and “The Grass is Greener” mentalities all around us. So- what happens when we are no longer feeling that overwhelming “love and affection” towards our spouse?

We can choose disrespect. Throw hand grenades of conflict triggers. Isolate and distance ourselves until our relationship grows chilly. Ignore the conflict and/or problems and pretend like nothing is wrong, while it builds and festers under your skin… just waiting for the right condition and irrational moment to arrive and EXPLODE into a nightmare of a life.

And then we wonder why we’re acting like roommates, don’t recognize our spouse any more, wander into emotional affairs, or teeter on the edge of a divorce.

Problem with Respect in Relationships

See, here’s the thing. Respect can only get you so far in a relationship. And here’s what I mean by far–

  • when both people are 100% generous and constantly loving to each other
  • when respect has been earned… all the time… every day…
  • when those people are robots and only treat each other with kindness
  • when a person has gone above and beyond (every single day) to build the other person up to where there’s no doubt that the world revolves around them

Welp. That’s kinda unattainable.

Whereas, honor is a choice. (Notice how the trend of this series of blog posts lands on our choice?) Honor is a gift to the other person whether they deserve it or not. It’s very similar to love… it’s unconditional. Honor and love must go hand in hand in order for a relationship to work effectively.


Honor in Scripture

I’m sure most of us have all heard the commandment, “Honor thy Father and Mother…” and Scripture points to honor between employer/employee relationships. The apostle Peter used the word, “honor” regularly in his books, as we see here when he was writing to the scattered Church in modern day Turkey:

1 Peter 2:17

 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Here’s where translation is so important. Some translations (yes- even my favorite one) translates the word “honor” here into respect. And as I mentioned earlier- that doesn’t quite hit the mark. When we translate the word, honor, it deepens the meaning of that verse. Not only is Peter asking the Church to honor people- he’s asking us to honor ALL people.  Even the king. Even when they don’t deserve our honor.

But that’s not the Honor situation I’m going to focus on today. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5 about love and marriage, and here’s where I’m gonna narrow it down.


Honor in Marriage

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:25-33 (ESV)

Does it seem as though Paul is trying to hit men between the eyes here? I’m pretty sure it’s intentional. The apostle Peter (who was married when he began following Jesus) goes even further in regard to honor in marriage:

And now let me speak to the wives. Be devoted to your own husbands, so that even if some of them do not obey the Word of God, your kind conduct may win them over without you saying a thing. For when they observe your pure, godly life before God, it will impact them deeply…. (7) Husbands, you in turn must treat your wives with tenderness, viewing them as feminine partners who deserve to be honored, for they are co-heirs with you of the “divine grace of life,” so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

1 Peter 3:1-2,7

Peter is calling wives whose husbands don’t follow Christ, to stay devoted to them. Continue to honor them. He then calls husbands to honor their wives… noting that if they choose not to honor them, their prayers will be hindered.

Holy cow. That’s intense. Honoring our spouses and those we love is a game-changer.

If we choose to honor each other above all else… we can move into a healthier, grace-giving relationship where honor and love go hand in hand.

The Kingdom of God: Part One

I sat, criss-cross applesauce, amidst other 1st graders, at our non-denominational church in the chilly basement in Small Town, Nebraska. The other kids whispered quietly to each other, while my good friend, Michael, joked loudly with his cousin, Nick. I stared at my brand-new penny loafers, while my favorite Sunday School teacher bent down to pull the flannelgraph out from underneath the cabinet. Kendra, my best friend throughout my childhood, leaned over and whispered, “Yes! She’s pulling out the flannelgraph!” Her platinum blond bangs were curled and fluffed and her blue eyes lit up. We both loved paper dolls… hence, our love for flannelgraph was up there too. 

The teacher lined up a cutout of Jesus on the flannelgraph… some angels…. a couple harps… and clouds. Lots of clouds. 

“Oooo…” I whispered back to Kendra. “I think we’re talking about heaven today…” She nodded. The teacher began to motion us closer to the flannel graph, and we scraped our knees on the carpet to get as close as possible. 

“Okay, kids,” the teacher began. “Today we’re going to talk about the Kingdom of God.”

And that’s where it begins.

At least for me, that’s where I learned that heaven and the Kingdom are the same thing. I think most people, at least most people in the American Church, think of the Kingdom of God as heaven. At least that’s what I thought for most of my life. And that’s not exactly wrong. But it’s not exactly right either.

I think we miss so much of the grandness of the Kingdom if we limit it to what we’ve pictured heaven to be like since we were small children.


What does the Bible say about the Kingdom of God?

Here’s where we have to do a little bit of background. Like all the way back to the beginning of the Hebrew Scriptures. 

At the beginning of our universe… time… creation… God was able to walk with man and woman in the Garden of Eden. God’s Realm was able to overlap the Human Realm.  Now before you go thinking that I’m quoting fairy tales… there’s not a better way to explain it. The Bible Project has an amazing visual (link here) and I’ve recreated one here as well.

In the beginning of humankind’s entrance to this world, God allowed Our Realm and His Realm to overlap, which is why God could walk with humans in the Garden. At this time, it was possible because there was no sin… no death… no decay. God could walk with them. And then as suddenly as it was there… it was gone with humans’ choice to choose what they thought was good for them.  God’s Realm had to pull away from our Realm due to human’s darkness (selfishness, idolatry, disobedience) in their hearts. God could not be around our choosing of sin over Him. (And yet… He still pursues us as we see through the rest of the story.)

Here’s another way to look at it: God’s rule overarched everything; God ruled over all things in this earthly realm, at the beginning of creation. He then gave us (humankind) the responsibility to rule over our world, this creation. However, when sin entered through choices that humankind made, God’s rule was unable to continue to reside everywhere without nullifying his dominion or power.  

Okay- let’s stop right here… I’m gonna give you an action item before you continue. Please find your Bible or pull out the YouVersion app and read Genesis 1 and 2. Slowly. Don’t just skim through it. Take your time… come back to this when you’re done.

God’s Rule and the Garden

But through this entire story cast from the beginning until now, He has continued to pursue after us and restore us back to the Garden once again. He wants to be able to walk with us again. We can trace God’s hand in trying to restore us back to the Garden over and over through Scripture. On the last day of this world as we know it, Christ will come and once again God’s rule will reign over all things and his Will will continuously once again be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

Let’s look at the times where there are narratives relating to Gardens or garden imagery.

Genesis 2:15

Then the Lord God took the human and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 

Essentially, humans were “planted” in the Garden to take care of it. 


Garden Language

As you skim through the Bible, right smack dab in the middle, you’ll find the book of Song of Songs. Now… most of us have giggled as children as we’ve read the erotic and vivid language. However, let’s be adults for a second and look at the insane amount of garden imagery that is SHOUTING from the pages of this book. As you read, notice that the lovers find themselves surrounded by images of the garden. The language found here is a mirror image of the creation of the garden language. (See a passage to the right for an example of this.) Later on in the book, you’ll see the creation story played out in a sense, leading to a restored creation. (Read more about this at Bible Project’s Song of Songs and A Return to the Garden.)

The Tabernacle and Temple Design

When Moses led the Israelite nation out of Egypt, they soon realized that they needed a place while they travelled (or wandered) to worship and meet with God. Moses was given specific instructions by God and it essentially was a large tent teeming with garden images woven into its walls and furniture that were made to look like trees/flowers in a garden.

Later, as the Temple was built, we realize if we look at how they designed and decorated it, that they were modeling it after the Garden of Eden. Essentially by this correlation, we realize that the Israelites saw the Garden of Eden as the original “Temple” place. A place where they were planted and could be with God. 

300 Years Later… Here Comes the Kingdom!

When Jesus appeared on the scene, there had been 300 years of silence from God. No prophets speaking. No audible words from heaven. And then suddenly… there was a man in the desert preaching about repentance, baptism and the coming of the King.

Next, the latest gossip is that this carpenter turned Rabbi from Nazareth was preaching about the Kingdom of God. And not just about it- that it was coming… at hand… present… but not quite yet. (Side note- this would have been a red flag to the present Roman empire… someone’s preaching about another Kingdom that’s coming?) Jesus started by preaching in the book of Mark,

Mark 1:15

“The Kingdom of God is at hand.” 


The Shulamite

As the king surrounded me at his table,
the sweet fragrance of my praise perfume
awakened the night.
A sachet of myrrh is my lover,
like a tied-up bundle of myrrh resting over my heart.
 He is like a bouquet of henna blossoms—
henna plucked near the vines at the fountain of the Lamb.
I will hold him and never let him part.

The Shepherd-King

Look at you, my dearest darling,
you are so lovely!
You are beauty itself to me.
Your passionate eyes are like gentle doves.

The Shulamite

My beloved one,
both handsome and winsome,
you are pleasing beyond words.
Our resting place is anointed and flourishing,
like a green forest meadow bathed in light.
 Rafters of cedar branches are over our heads
and balconies of pleasant-smelling pines.

Song of Songs 1:12-17

This was the first thing that Jesus preached about (he talked about it over 100 times over his ministry that are recorded… so… may have been his favorite!) but it was also the last thing he preached on after his resurrection. He single-handedly taught his disciples about the intricacies of the Kingdom in his last days on Earth.

New Kingdom = New Creation

In fact, those same disciples (and later Paul, the apostle) wrote about a new creation coming… (doesn’t that sound like another garden?)  They wrote over and over about new things that came with Christ, and how a new heaven and a new earth would be established.

The new Creation? It’s the same thing as the Kingdom. The disciple, John, wrote in the final book of our Bibles about what the final commencement of this New Kingdom would look like.

Revelation 21:1-27

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” …

So- this picture shows us the future fulfillment of the Kingdom. But how does that help us picture what the Kingdom looks like for us today?

What Does the Kingdom Look Like Today?

If we think about the Kingdom, like it’s already here but not yet completely fulfilled… we can picture it almost “advancing.” As if the spread of the Kingdom, the rise of a new King… is on it’s way. (More on the King in the next post.) Here’s something else to help with that picture of what the Kingdom looks like for us today.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Here’s the thing, when we decide that the King of this new Kingdom (this New Creation) is the King of our lives, we become a New Creation ourselves. Like we are mini-New Creations running around and spreading the Kingdom news to everyone and anyone we come into contact with. We get to show others what Kingdom Life is like: living full of grace, peace, love and faith in God. We get to experience unity with God within ourselves (this brings the Holy Spirit into play). We get to walk and talk with God every single moment of our day.

And if we don’t understand this- if we don’t understand the Kingdom of God- we don’t understand the first part of the Gospel that Jesus preached on.

So, what did Jesus define the Kingdom as?

More on that to come! (Kinda like the Kingdom…)

Stay tuned for Part Two of The Kingdom of God

Finding the Kingdom During Covid 19

Finding the Kingdom During Covid 19

March 2020

I sat with a towel twisting my wet hair up on our bed, back in our master, while our worship pastor, our children’s director and my husband sat no more than 10 yards away and I listened to their honest, pure, worship. Tears began to fill behind my eyes and threatened to stream down my face. The words that rang throughout my house were, “You are making all things new…” And yet, as I sat in bed with a fever and a desperation to heal quicker, I knew and loved that my church was still being a church.

In the Confusion

This time with the craziness of Covid-19 has been a whirlwind or as some have referred to as being like the movie, Groundhog’s Day… over and over. Social media has gone RIDICULOUS with people now having free time to spout off their thoughts and ideas about the situation (I’ve seen an immense amount of good come out of our situations) but this morning… I could just be… and listen… and softly sing to my King while no one watched. Honestly, I could barely get the words out. Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to amidst all of this chaos and disorder:

  • I’ve found peace where once my heart was jumbled and stressed.
  • I’ve been able to breathe, really breathe in, and experience pure joy with my kids daily.
  • I’ve been able to dig into Scripture and geek out to the possibilities I find there.
  • I’ve been able to worship with no one watching.
  • I’ve been able to spend time reaching out to my church family more regularly to ask for or pray for them.
  • I’ve watched my kids settle in and just be… without the crazy amount of time constraints they used to have.
  • I’ve been able to see all of my church family’s faces via Zoom and laugh with them.
  • I’ve watched our church family come together in a tighter knit community to support and love on each other even virtually.

Chaos and the Church

It’s not the same… we can’t meet together collectively. It’s not normal… we aren’t allowed to worship together in the same room anymore. It’s not even similar… we are spending church virtually instead of spending next to flesh and blood. But here’s the thing… we are meeting separately… but we are together in spirit.

We’ve got to let go our our stubbornness… our resentment for how things were handled… our need to want things our way… and move into a time of healing, rest, and thankfulness that we live in a time and age where we can still meet- even if virtually.

I think back to one of the first Sunday’s after Jesus’ death. We find the disciples and Jesus’s followers spread out all over the city of Jerusalem… hiding. Some followers had even left the city and were headed home to Emmaus. But when Jesus finally appears to them in Luke 24, they think he’s a ghost. They can’t even believe he’s back!

The Kingdom they thought was coming… didn’t.

The life they thought Jesus had alluded to- was completely upside down.

I mean- the guy they’d been following around had been preaching of a new Kingdom… and then, whelp, he was killed. And now, they were huddled in a house, just waiting for something and thinking that there was no way this Kingdom was going to happen anymore.

“Then he said to them, “Don’t you remember the words that I spoke to you when I was still with you? I told you that everything written about me would be fulfilled, including all the prophecies from the law of Moses through the Psalms and the writings of the prophets—that they would all find their fulfillment.”  He supernaturally unlocked their understanding to receive the revelation of the Scriptures,  then said to them, “Everything that has happened fulfills what was prophesied of me. Christ, the Messiah, was destined to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.  Now you must go into all the nations and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins so that they will turn to me. Start right here in Jerusalem.  For you are my witnesses and have seen for yourselves all that has transpired. And I will send the fulfillment of the Father’s promise to you. So stay here in the city until the mighty power of heaven falls upon you and wraps around you.”

Here’s what’s crazy about us humans: we think we’re soooo smart. The disciples thought it was all over when their Savior was killed (and who’s to say we wouldn’t have thought the same?) They thought the Kingdom that Jesus preached, would never rise up. And yet, it did.

The Kingdom is happening around us. I’m seeing it in the faces of people who are selflessly dropping off food on our porch so that my husband doesn’t have to scramble to make dinner for all of us after taking care of us all day. I hear it in the voices worshipping from my living room. I receive it from the texts and social media messages that encourage and build me up with promises of prayer and healing. I read about it through the words of my King in scripture. I feel the Kingdom when I pray while weeping when no one is watching. It is all around us. God is with us.. even when we feel like church isn’t normal. The Kingdom is here… do you feel it?

The Limits of Meg

The Limits of Meg

I am not perfect.

Ha!!  The fact that I even have to write this sentence down- for some reason just makes me laugh.  I think it’s hilarious that many people assume that because I am married to a minister that I’ve got my act together.  So FUNNY!  I do not- and don’t know if I ever will have my act together.  I sometimes go weeks thinking… wow! I’m doing great as an adult/mom/wife/friend/daughter and then WHAMMMMMMOOOO! My imperfection is made blatently clear. I double book myself and my family; I miss appointments; I forget to call a friend; I forget to plan my kid’s birthday party (not to mention I never send b-day or anniversary cards. If you ever get one from me— feel super blessed!); our laundry is NEVER COMPLETED… EVER; I tend to get absorbed into a tv show… and then become depressed (slightly) when it ends; I let my house stay messy for too long; I allow my kids to get away with stuff; I stay up too late; I forget to read my Bible…. the lists of my imperfection just goes on and on…

I struggle with being a good wife and mother… every day.

The struggle is real, y’all.  I did not embrace that phrase fully until I moved to Arkansas… and I now have ownership of it.  After our 3rd boy was born, I struggled for months with postpartum depression.  It wore me down emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s been a long healing process… but the first step was acknowledging that it wasn’t just the blues.

My boys keep me on my toes… and they are all completely different. Different personalities, temperaments, reasons they get excited or angry… all DIFFERENT. Trying to stay on top of their differences; trying to maintain fairness (which isn’t equal) and at the same time, trying to teach them about the love of Christ… wowzers!

Not to mention making sure I am supporting my husband, his dreams and desires, as well as keeping my dreams and desires a reality as well! It’s such a balancing game… that I can’t quite seem to get my balance on yet (not sure I ever will!) Being a good wife means making sure I’m not grouchy with my husband when I’m in a bad mood… trying to have some semblance of dinner plans on the horizon so that he’s not having to hear his stomach growl…

I cannot be close friends with everyone (I can’t even be friends with everyone…)

This is hard for me– as deep in my soul, I want to be friends with everyone.

As a CPW, you are almost required to be friendly with everyone you meet. As believers, we are called to be a light to everyone we meet. That includes people who walk through the doors of your church.  Not to mention, if people think the minister’s wife is a snot– welp!– they may not come back.  HOWEVER, we cannot be close relationally to everyone in our church. This is hard for women– we want to be accepted. We want to have friends.  We want people to like us.  BUT… we can’t.  We are wired up to be friends with a few or friends to many. Each of us has our limit.  I’ve learned that I can be friends with many, but only close to a few at a time.  Those close friends have changed for me over the years- as we’ve moved states a few times since our marriage. It usually takes a few years to find new friends that I can trust to have my back (even when I’m being silly or irrational… or just plain loser’esque.)

After 3 years of church planting, I have had to choose which people to surround myself with in regards to close friendships.  Church planting is hard, so I’ve chosen people who pray for me, uplift and encourage me and push me to follow Christ with more passion. I have had to distance myself from those who don’t understand (and refuse to try to understand) why we’ve planted, those who choose to gossip about others and those who are divisive towards the Church (any church.) These could be people inside your church- don’t ignore them. Continue to pray for them; be a friend. Just put up boundaries when it comes to being dragged down. It’s a hard battle.

I need alone time

Working in a church, for any role, can be time consuming. Not to mention being married to a social butterfly who gets his energy from hanging out with people… non-stop. I LOVE being with people (I need people to keep me sane) however… I also need re-charging time. My husband (after 13 years of marriage) has finally come to understand and respect my need for a re-charge from time to time. So, if I decline an invite out (after a week of non-stop church events/meetings/bible studies/church work/worship practice/foster care prep… you get the picture), it has nothing to do with you. It literally is me- just re-charging so that I can smile on Sunday mornings (and not look like I have a migraine… or sick.)

I need help with things in the church.

I may look like I can handle a lot of responsibility– and I can- for the most part. But I do need help with many things in the church. I cannot run our church’s outreach to women by myself. I cannot clean the entire church weekly by myself. I cannot see all the gaps that our service flow has by myself. I cannot solely plan and roll-out a women’s event by myself.

I have known this since we started Thrive. And luckily, thanks to God, many awesome and amazing people serve alongside me. I’ve given the reins over to many trusted volunteers. But know, that I always need help somewhere. Give me an idea of something you could and would like to help with– and we can go from there!

I fail a lot in my relationship with Christ

I am a sinner… and fall short. Every day. I choose to do things (like write in my blog) before finishing my bible reading for the day. I find myself doubting God, frequently. I tend to think I can figure things out on my own. I sometimes go a whole day and purposely don’t talk to Jesus because I’m scared of what He’s gonna say to me. Or how much I’ll cry when I finally turn to Him…

But I do know this: every time I run… He seeks me out. When I am running scared; I realize that He’s been my jogging partner the whole trek, just waiting for me to turn and tell Him how out of breath I am. And so, when I finally push through my stubbornness and realize my pain could be alleviated by just turning to Him, I do… with my face pressed into the carpet. And every time, He hears me. He takes it.