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Standing on the sidelines has always come across to me with a negative connotation. You are not participating in whatever is happening on the playing field. You are an onlooker merely watching events unfold before your eyes.

My husband, brother in laws and  friends recently participated in their first half marathon and I had the opportunity to be on the sidelines watching. Watching others running to the finish line. Watching as the runners heard the applause and encouragement from their loved ones on the sidelines. Claps and praises. And how their faces were instantly filled with smiles and appreciation and motivation to keep going.

So often we watch others as they achieve their goals and instead of encouraging, we try to tear them down - half heartily believing they can achieve the goal and in our hardest of hearts, even hope they fail.

Paul tells us in first Thessalonians to encourage one another and build each other up (5:11). To cheer each other on from the sidelines, building each other closer to God through words of encouragement.

It's about being the encourager in your marriage to your spouse. It's encouraging your children and friends and coworkers and pastors and baristas and gym buddies. It's witnessing what God is doing in their life by pointing it out and continuing to give God praises for working through them and pushing them closer to him because of it all.

It is encouraging each other in our faith daily from the minute to the grandiose things. From praying for each other to texting verses that God puts on your heart. From writing a simple note to a phone call. It is reflecting Jesus and listening to the truth of the Holy Spirit, who is constantly cheering us on for God's glory until we make it to Glory.

Praying that your words would give life to others as they run the race with perseverance. That your words would keep those around you running to the things of God. Praying that you would be the encourager that others need, always building up.

Praying that as you run the race that God would provide those around you to be the encourager that you need to keep pressing on and fulfilling the callings he has so intricately made you for. Praying that you would run with perseverance and when you find yourself on the sidelines that you would encourage those around you. That you would strengthen one another and be in unity.

Here's to sidelines and cheers and building up. 

Penny had fallen asleep in the car, so we transferred her straight to bed, without changing in to her jammies. When she woke to use the bathroom, she noticed and wanted to change and asked for help. Half way through, she had a change of heart and wanted no help. In her tired state of mind, she decided to do it by herself, putting back on the clothes from the day.

With frustration, she proceeded to put her shirt on upside down, inside out and backwards. As she cried, stating she needed no help and could do it herself, I waited.

And God reminded me of how often we say we will follow him and cast off our old selves, only to be held in bondage by the days past. How we willingly go back to our sin. We go back to trusting ourselves to knowing what is best for us, instead of trusting God; thus make a mess of things as we meander through it all. Instead of putting off the old self and the things that hinder, we hold them tighter and mix them up with things of God. For when we are in that place, we cannot hear wisdom or guidance from God or others. And in some cases, doing whatever we are doing all in the name of Jesus.

Penny proceeded to tell me to go away please, that she did not need me. I asked if she was sure. And she assured me she was, as she laid on the floor with a mess of clothes.

And like that, we tell God we don't need him either. He can go away because we are good. We are good doing our own thing. We don't need anyone to help. But we do. We need God. We need him to come in and show us how to let go. How to transform our old self in for his purposes and take our brokenness and use that for his glory. How to cast our cares to him and trust him. Truly trust him.

Cast Your Cares by Tim Timmons fits here. Have a listen.

I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You're good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Praying that you would fully cast your cares God. That you would cast off everything that hinders you and the sin that so easily entangles. Praying that instead of seeking self reliance that you would seek dependence on God. Praying that you would continue to be renewed and revitalized in your walk with Christ and not be held in bondage from the past. That you would seek the things of his kingdom and his teachings above the world.

Here's to casting off the old for new.  
Age is such a funny and fickle thing. A once in a lifetime opportunity. The numbers come and go, never to be returned to. My recent birthday left me forgetting how many years I had nestled in to this body, as I responded to the questioning of my age with an additional year added by accident.

I still see my nine year old self on the play ground walking with a friend sharing the excitement of becoming two full hands worth of years. Moving from one to two numbers to symbolize my age. An entire decade. And now, nearly two more have passed since. Two that saw the coming and going of sixteen leading in to eighteen, which inevitably escorted me in to twenty-one.

And now I sit with thirty approaching in two years. But that is all just math. Just the counting of my trips around the sun. And life is more than counting how many years everyone has accrued, though I used to think otherwise and always finding comfort in Paul's words to Timothy.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Someone always has to be older and someone has to be younger.

But how do you get there? When do you cross over from the young to the old? When does the transition and exchange change place? At the rate I am going, I do not foresee the moment occurring. And when I get there, I probably will not remember what number I have racked up. 

I love how Paul said not let anyone look down on him. Timothy had a choice. He could let others look down on him or choose to rise past that, following his calling and setting an example for those who had more trips around the sun. He was to be the model to his elders of how to act in Christ, which our calling today despite whatever our birthday says.

Praying that you would not push off the advice of the younger because they have not yet experienced life the way you have and perhaps appears green and wearing rose colored glasses. Praying that those rose colored glasses would shed new light because of their innocence and wisdom that God gives despite how old.

Praying that as you accrue more numbers that you would not just grow taller but that you would be filled with the Spirit and bend to the teachings of Christ. That you would be more open to hearing the truth and correction and not stuck in the ways of your youth. That you would be more apt to putting off the old for the new and following Christ whole heartily.

Here's to numbers and birthdays and examples. 

Usually my husband is the pancake flipper. Cooking breakfast (and any other meal) is one of his specialties, which works out perfectly with my affinity for home cooked meals. This day, however, I took on the role as pancake flipper and was on my way to pancake perfection when my three year old questioned my flipping procedure that she had witnessed so many times before.

Why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

They must cook on both sides, I responded.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

The batter only cooks on one side, so the other side has to cook, too. For the other side to cook, it must be flipped over, I reasoned with her.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

She obviously did not understand the concept, despite showing her the difference between the raw side and the cooked side. She just saw the flipping. And something about the flipping intrigued her, so much so she could not see past it this particular morning. After the tenth time, I assured her I just had to do it.


This word is intriguing. So much can come out of this three letter word. Why did he do that? Why did she have to go there? It can take you in to an analysis overload where questions outweigh reason and slightest look has you wrestling,

Why has been rolling around in my head lately. Why was the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden? Why was sin allowed to enter our bodies? And why is the wage of sin death? Why the family unit comes after the fall of man?

Somewhere, someone has some theological answers with some sort of biblical backing. But I like to think of some fun reasons, too. And in the wonder and questioning and lack of understanding, God reminds me to be still (Psalm 46:10). To praise him because I do not understand because I was not created to know everything.

He knows the path of thunder and shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb and made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness and fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place and said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38).

Because he is God. He knows. He is ways are not our ways. We do not understand why the flipping and cooking occur though we watch it before our eyes as the minutes turn to hours and days pass by.
God Moves in Mysterious Ways by Jeremy Riddle fits neatly here. Have a listen.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Praying that your whys or hows or whens would draw you nearer to God and that you would praise the Creator as you learn to trust him. That you would see glimpses of the bigger picture and stand in awe at the works of his hands. Praying that you would see the importance of the role that you play in His piece and how you have been created for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10).

Here's to questions that lead to worship and praise and admiration. 

The more I learn about God, the more I stand in awe. The more I am humbled at my finite self. As Easter is about to be celebrated this Sunday, I am even more amazed at God's plan of redemption and the beautiful symbolism that orchestrates it all.

How it starts with the Passover celebration and how Jesus makes his entry in to the city and the people shout hosanna to the Son of David (Matthew 21). How the lamb is chosen for the sacrifice. How the Passover commemorates the time of the Israelites leaving Egypt and their slavery behind and going in to a new place of freedom. How we are able to have freedom and a new life because of Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection. When God writes a story, there is nothing like it.

 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

With Penny getting older and more capable of understanding the true hope of Easter, we have been more mindful about the traditions that we instill. Last year, I wanted to find something that would be fun for her to do but meaningful, as well and came across this little example of how to put together resurrection eggs.

I went on a little scavenger hunt around the house searching for everything, which did not take too long but still had to hand write the inserts. This year, I wanted to make it a little neater and include the scriptures on the cards to make it a little easier and flow better. So, I whipped up this little printable based off of the resurrection eggs, though I simplified and changed some of verses so they would fit to the card (and I do not use facial sponges, so I used a q-tip instead). 

And a quick tip on numbering: I had written the numbers on the eggs with sharpie but it hardly lasted through dinner, so this year I used the paint Sharpie to write them with hopes of them lasting through.

Before eating Easter dinner, we took an egg and went around the table reading the story. It was really fun and interactive, as well as a great way to keep Jesus as the focus. Penny followed along and helped open the eggs. It would be fun to do as an egg hunt, too and then go through them accordingly. Whatever floats your boat.

Praying that as you celebrate Easter that your eyes would be opened to new aspects of the story despite how many times you have heard it in the past. Praying that you would see the beauty in the cross and the love that poured out and know just how much you are loved. Praying that you would seek to celebrate with traditions that glorify God and focus on Jesus, not the bunny, whatever that maybe for you.

And here is the two page printable. Click to download. 

Here's to a risen Savior and one amazing story.