Planted By God to Display His Glory -Isaiah 61:3

Posts tagged ‘courage’

Re-written in Red Ink: Jesus is the Game Changer

Sharing a devotion at Internet Cafe co-written with my daughter:

Much of my life over the last three years has been written in black ink…a dark script of pain, sorrow, loss and loneliness.

And yet, every day and every word of darkness God has edited, rewritten, crossed out, and written over in red ink.

Because…

Red-inked words of life rewritten over the black-inked script of our lives.

A truth so beautifully captured in a story my daughter wrote when she was just sixteen:


Checkers

Imagine an intense checkers game.

You’re the red pieces…and your opponent smiles menacingly as he sets up his black pieces. You start out feeling very confident, thinking that this game will be a breeze. But as the game goes on, red pieces start disappearing and black kings seem to be everywhere you try to go. Eventually the board is totally void of red pieces…except for one.

One tiny, pathetic little piece is cornered by all the black kings. Sweat pours down your face and you think that there is no way you could ever beat your opponent. On the other hand, he’s sitting across from you with glinting eyes and a devilish smile, showing confidence that makes you feel like he could jump up and smash you into the ground.

But then a shadow falls across the board. You both look up, and see a man standing there with a smile on his face. A patch on his shirt says “All-Time Checkers Champion, 33AD.” You look over at your opponent, only to see that his face has gone white. The man gently places his hand on your shoulder and says, “Well, how’s the game going?”  

“Not so well…” You reply. “I’m going to lose.”

The man quickly scans over the board and then looks back at you. “Doesn’t look too bad to me. Anyway, this isn’t your game…”

To read the rest of the devotion at Internet Cafe click here.

©Linda Crawford 2012, all rights reserved

Spend Yourself: How Helping Others Can Help You

Sharing at Internet Cafe Devotions today!

…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10 NIV


Helping OthersThis scripture hit me over the head like a two-by-four about ten years ago.
 I was grieving the recent loss of a dear family member and adjusting to a 6,000 mile move back to the U.S. after three years living abroad…then September 11, 2001 happened.

It was too much grief to bear and the darkness of it closed in upon me. To make matters worse, there was no “rewind” button to jump back into the friendships and church community I had left three years before. Things were different, I was different, and my old friends had moved on.

Except for the immediate family of my husband and daughter, I was desperately alone, and in emotional pain the likes of which I never imagined possible to live through.

I clung to my Bible for comfort to help me rest through the darkest hours of night and ransacked the pages during the day, desperately looking for crumbs of hope to live on.

It was on one of those desperate searches one day I found more than a crumb to live on—I found an endless feast of truth in Isaiah 58.

IF you spend yourself, THEN the light will enter your darkness…

Click here to read the rest of my story.

Have a blessed day spending away!  🙂

~Linda

Rewind 1 Year: Bad Days Happen

Bad Days Happen

(This was originally posted on February 8, 2011, and it’s an amazing thing that God led me back to it tonight, February 8, 2012. Tomorrow I am going in for knee surgery, another step toward my healing from the injury that has sidetracked my life for 2 1/2 years now. I needed to read this tonight. I need to keep my perspective on the right things–the things of God. May it bless you today, whether it’s your first or second time reading it. Tomorrow’s going to be a good day, I just know it!)

I had a good day last week. Followed by a bad day. Followed by a moderately bad day, which was followed by a moderately good day. None of which were caused by my choice to quit caffeine last week.

This is just how I rate my life these days. Good, bad, and the moderate ones in-between. It’s become a habit, and another one (like the caffeine) that I’d like to break. But it’s tough, because I’ve been at it for over a year now, ever since that one very bad day happened.

Have you experienced one of those? I bet you have, and whatever your story is, I pray for you…because I know the pain. Literally. For me it’s been coping with unrelenting physical pain, but I know for others it can be unrelenting emotional pain. And so we rate our days: good, bad, and in-between…

On the good days I will call you and chat and maybe even go to the movies. On the bad days you won’t see or hear from me. Only my family sees, but I even try to hide the pain from them. So they won’t start rating their days good or bad based upon mine.

What really got me thinking about how I rate my days was an article I read last week by my favorite writer called 8 ½ Steps to Make it Through the Moderately-Worst Day of Your Life. It made me laugh but also gave me a good dose of God’s grace and hope:

“Even on days when absolutely nothing is going your way, and you watched your toast walk off the plate and jump to the ground butter-side-down, there is something you can control. You. Your outlook, your attitude and your level of optimism.” 

Yup, I can control me. I can control what I choose to focus on and what I choose to believe. And when I make the right choices my best days are the ones when God gets the attention instead of the pain:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

“Give my attention to what God is doing right now”…right now. Today, this moment, and every moment, pain or no pain, God is working in me. Working good things. Things that can only be formed in the heat of the furnace of my pain. And I’m a better person because of that.

So I won’t give up. And neither should you:

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)

Not a day goes by… I’m going to endeavor to stop rating my days good or bad based on my pain, and instead rate them all good based on God’s unending grace and love, and His promise for the blessings of my future. Besides, as my favorite author says:

“Bad days happen, but after they are over–that’s just it. They are over. Don’t give a bad day more recognition than it deserves, because it doesn’t deserve any. Stupid bad days.”

Stupid bad days indeed.

Have a good day!   🙂

                   -Linda

By the way, in case you were wondering, my favorite author happens to be Sarah Elizabeth Crawford. Who, in addition to ministering to her Mom, speaks to teen girls through her articles in SUSIE magazine. And you betcha I think she is great!

Copyright Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled) 2012. All rights reserved.

The Red Shoe Revolution Has Begun!

Why red shoes?

They help me share real life, real love, and real hope with you because Jesus gave me my red shoes, and they set me free to be who God created me to be!

If you’ve been following this blog for the last year, you’ve read about my red shoes and how much they mean to me.

So why a red shoe revolution?

Once I started sharing my red shoe story, an amazing thing happened! First my daughter bought a pair of red shoes, then as more women read my story, or heard me share it, they were inspired to get their own red shoes! Now God’s using my little story to inspire girls and women across North America (and who knows where else) to put on their red shoes and step out in faith too!

It’s a revolution of sharing the love of Jesus with the world!

It’s not just about my story, it’s about sharing YOUR stories, so we can keep encouraging one another to step out in faith.

Amanda’s story is the first to be shared, and already (after one day) it’s been read by hundreds all over the world!

I’ve shared an excerpt here, but I hope you’ll click over to the red shoe revolution site to read her full story and then send in your own to share! Somebody needs to see YOUR red shoes! 🙂

Amanda’s Story

(Amanda is a red shoe sister from California. Her story is written by her Mom, Debbie Walker and was first shared on their church’s girls like me blog.)

I want to share with you a journey my daughter Amanda has been on since September of last year.  To those of you who don’t know Amanda, she is vibrant, talkative, bold, has a beautiful singing voice and a beautiful smile to match.  She sings occasionally on our worship team and people are naturally drawn to her.

This past September, the day before my wonderful granddaughter Selah was born; Amanda was afflicted with a condition known as Bell’s palsy.  Bell’s palsy is the result of a virus that attacks the nerves which are connected to the facial muscles.  It affects only one side of the face.  What that means is Amanda has been unable to smile, has had a difficult time talking, eating and even doing one of her favorite things … singing.

When it comes to this particular condition, science really doesn’t know a lot about it. The thing they do know is that it comes on suddenly; it seems to be connected to stress and that in about 85% of people it goes away just as mysteriously as it came.  The healing in most victims seems to progress gradually. Typically individuals have a complete recovery within three months.

In Amanda’s case, weeks were going by and she had no movement and no signs of any change.  She felt ugly.  She didn’t want to be around people.  She wanted to hide.  And she certainly didn’t want to sing.  She cried a lot of tears…

Click here to read the rest of Amanda’s story.

Share your story by sending it to: theredshoerevolution@gmail.com

~Linda

A New Adventure: Do It Afraid

In my last post I shared that I was ready for the new adventures God had for me this year…and now I’m headed off on one!

I’ve started a new blog titled “Do It Afraid.”

Do It Afraid is the message God has been trying to teach me all my life, but I only figured it out a year ago! It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I’ve been that slow to catch on (yes, I hit the side of my head with my right palm and exclaimed “I could have had a V-8”), but I’m so grateful for the healing that God is working in my life as a result of him giving me my “aha” moment.

Today I’ve put up my first post on the Do It Afraid site and I hope you’ll take the time to join me there and read a little more of my journey walking out of a life of fear and stepping forward in faith. I’ll still be sharing here at sunny side up, trying to keep the lighter side perspective on life, but I hope you are also blessed by the deeper sharing on Do It Afraid.

Here is an excerpt of today’s post: The Faces of Fear: Shame

Click here or on the photo to read more.

Shame.

 It’s a face of fear that I’m afraid to even talk about.

I’m afraid because I’ll have to make myself vulnerable to you, and share how painful and destructive shame has been in my own life.

I’d rather hide, like Adam and Eve in the garden, than show you the nakedness of my imperfections.

I’d rather live with my pretty make up on, so you never see the mask of shame that lies hidden just below.

But I’m going to share, because the fear of shame has ruled my life for far too long and hiding it was little by little killing me off inside.

The problem is, God did not create me to hide from life, he created me to live life to the fullest. Hiding from God and from you, living life constantly wearing make-up, trying to be perfect at everything, is incredibly painful. And destructive.

Because the face of the fear of shame is driven by perfectionism.

Research in human behavior confirms that perfectionism can lead us down the path of depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis:

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment and blame.” –Brene Brown

We know it’s true, but why are we women so consumed with trying to be perfect? And why is it so difficult for us to admit that we live and act out of our feelings of shame? That we are constantly battling the voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough?

…To keep reading click here.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with me!

~Linda

Have you read about my red shoes yet? Join the red shoe revolution and step out in faith to spread the love of Jesus!

Copyright 2012, Linda Crawford, sunny side up. All right reserved.

Ready for New Adventures

I wish I were as young (and pretty) as the girl in this picture is. But today, in my 50-something heart, I am this girl, only better.

When I was her age this picture would be of me getting ready to run away from everything I knew. At the time I resented familiar. Small town life bored me. Being known as the “good girl” in my family constrained me. Something inside wanted out. It wasn’t just a rebellious streak, it was a rebellious identity crisis. There was a risk-taking, little bit crazy, fun-loving, courageous and intensely curious person who wanted a chance at life.

Too bad it would take that girl years to figure out where she really wanted to go and who she really was.

But that’s the beauty and the adventure of a journey isn’t it? We never really know what’s going to happen or how it will change us. As Robert Frost said in his famous poem, The Road Not Taken: “I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”

I ran away from familiar, and it was precisely because of that choice that I eventually ran smack into God. Without Him on the journey with me these last twenty-some years, I would still be out there desperately looking for the real me.

It’s a road that’s been full of potholes, yet it’s led me to sweeping scenic vistas. I’ve littered it with tears, laughter and some words I wish I could have back. I’ve put my red shoes on and danced for joy. Then headed off in directions I wished I had not. At times I’ve wanted to turn back, and at times I’ve stopped, paralyzed by fear.

“Do it afraid,” God whispered in my ear.

“I will,” I answered back.

My suitcase is packed and ready to head out with God on new adventures for 2012. I don’t have a clue where I’m going, but I know I’m not running away this time. Familiar doesn’t trap me and life is not boring. Yet there is still something inside that wants out–the full expression of the real me. The risk-taking, little bit crazy, fun-loving, courageous, intensely curious, I-want-to-live-and-breathe-and-have-my-being-in-Jesus me!

I’m ready to be real, live real and love real.

I’m standing in front of familiar, I’ve got my favorite dress and red shoes on, my old suitcase in hand and I’m ready for the road less traveled Lord!

Time to step out on new adventures!

Won’t you join me?

~ Linda

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2012

Thanks so much to Elisabeth at Elisabeth Anna Photography for allowing me to use her amazing photo! What an amazing talent you have girl!

And a shout out to the Girls Like Me at the Sanctuary Church in Santa Clarita, California! Stepping out with you and into all that God has for us this year!

Walking it Out in My Red Shoes

I used to hide from you.

Why?

I didn’t want you to see me. The REAL me. Not just the morning hair, dark circles and messy house me. The me that had a messy past. The me that was not the perfect Christian. The me you might not like.

So I hid from you. I was afraid of any relationship beyond “How are you…I’m fine.”

I wore black, brown, and boring so you wouldn’t notice me.

It didn’t work. I wanted it to, but even black and boring is visible! So I worked out a plan of operation to show only the “pretty parts” of me. You know, the “good Christian girl” bits, wrapped up with a pretty bow without all the messy stuff from my past and present.

Living life with a script, I was an actress in the story of my own life. A lonely girl, then woman, who thought life would be safer hiding in the dark corners.

It wasn’t. It was painful. And joy-less.

Until the day I put on a pair of red shoes.

Noticeable red shoes. Shoes the Lord used to set the hidden me free.

Free to be ME. The real me. The one that was finally willing to put God on display through all the messy bits that He had transformed for His glory.

What a victory…except… it wasn’t a perfect happy-ever-after ending. Because later I hid the red shoes, and hid me for about eighteen months. I’d suffered an injury and was in a lot of physical pain. So I put on my black slippers and suffered in a dark corner, steadily losing hope for healing and for ever being useful to God again.

I gave up on April 6th of this year and told God I was done. Done with anything connected to sharing my life because I knew I was useless to Him.

On April 7th Debbie sent me an email. She had read a story I had written years before about my red shoes and how they had set me free. She was so moved by it she created a red shoe theme for the entire year for her women’s ministry.  She wanted to thank me and let me know how the story was inspiring the women of her church.

First I cried. (Messy snot crying) Then I went to my closet, dug out my red shoes, and went to physical therapy. I told my therapist I was going to believe for my healing. Even though I was still in pain, and even though a walk through the grocery store would put me in bed for 2 days, with my red shoes on I was able to believe.

Debbie gave me my red shoes back.

And I began walking into healing and into the future God has for me. The future He has for the REAL me. Not some polished up version I put on display for you so you can think I’m better than I am. Because…

God wants to use every part of my life for his glory – not just the pretty parts.

Once and for all, I’m done hiding. I’m walking into a miraculous healing and I’m walking into the future God has for me willing to share all the good, bad, the painful, and the ugly to bring Him glory. I’m truly free to be me.

In my red shoes.

And not alone! I’m walking it out with a whole bunch of amazing girls like me who are done hiding too!

Why? Because…hear me on this one…

Red shoes are our courage shoes, girls.

They helped me stop in the middle of the Denver airport last weekend to pray for a woman I just met on the shuttle bus. (It was “Tebow-ing,” girl-style!) They helped me share my story with the women at Debbie’s church as the REAL me, not some polished up version of me. They are helping me write and trust that God can use my story to inspire others. They help me to have the courage to be visible with my faith and “sparkle” for Jesus.

Are you willing to make your faith visible too? Are you ready to stop hiding and be real?

It’s time for us girls—girls of all ages—to put on our red shoes and walk it out for Jesus!

Me, and the Girls Like Me from California are doing it!

Won’t you join us?

  ~Linda

(That’s the amazing red-shoe Debbie!)

© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011.  All rights reserved.

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