Monday, July 20, 2015

I Need Water (A Woman at the Well Story)

I come to this well every day. Every day I wait until noon when no one else will see me. I pull my veil close, this veil of shame that covers me, smothers me. I am an outcast. But, I need water, so I keep coming back, drop the bucket down into the depths. Some days, I think of dropping myself into the cool darkness, letting the water cover me.
But, today, something was different…
I saw a man sitting here by the well, and froze in my tracks, thought of turning back. It is obvious he is a Jew and that may mean trouble (for Jews do not think highly of us), but I need water. I pull my veil closer, steeling myself for the words that will surely come. I avert my eyes hoping just to be ignored. And, then he speaks.
“Give me a drink.”
What? Did I hear him right?
I dare not look at his face, but I make some retort about being a Samaritan AND a woman, and why is he asking me this? Is he here only to torment me like so many others?
My thoughts drift back over my life and the failure of it all. So much rejection at the hands of men. I don’t even care anymore. It is hard to feel anything anymore. It is hard to keep going on, trudging through the pain. Is anything worth living for? I am not worth much I know, and I give myself away as if I am free.
My thoughts are interrupted as I hear him talking to me again and now he is saying something about having some sort of Living Water that I know not of and that I will never thirst again and that it will well up within me, continually flowing into eternal life and if I had only known who he was, I would have asked it of him...
What is he saying?
I finally glance up and am held by his gaze. Those eyes. A kind voice. Who IS this man? And, I’m not even sure I understand, but something is happening inside of me and I cannot help this longing that almost consumes me, so I blurt out,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty nor have to come to this well ever again!”
At this, he says,
“Go call your husband and come back here.”
My heart sinks. Ah, yes. Back to the reality of who I am.
Rejected. Worthless. Divorced.
The shame envelopes me again as I dejectedly answer,
“I have no husband.”
I hear him saying,
“Truly you have spoken, for you have had five husbands and the man you are living with now is not your husband.”
I glance up at him but I do not see judgment in his eyes. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I don’t want to disappoint him. I am still cautious and so I decide to test him a little,
“Well, Sir, I see that you are a prophet.”
I don’t stop there but ask a loaded question, hoping to change the subject from my relationship problems:
“Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you [Jews] say that Jerusalem is where it is proper to worship.
As he answers, he speaks of a time coming, and is now come when genuine worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth and that the Father is seeking those who will worship this way. I see that he is not waylaid by my impertinence, but that there seems to be a passion for what he speaks of.
I still don’t quite understand and I am becoming weary. I need to draw more water, so I say with resignation,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, He Who is called the Christ: and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us.”
And, then he says words that send shivers down my spine:
“I, Who now speak with you, am He.”
In that instant, I know. I know Who this man is!
So, I drop my pitcher and run.
I run from my old life and all of it's pain.
I tell all the people,
“Come meet the One who knows. He told me everything I ever did! Can this not be the Christ?”
And all the people are running.
And the tears of joy are running down my face as I finally know that I have found the One whom my soul was longing for.
I have finally encountered the One who would make me whole.
He had the water I needed all along.

~ christa jean

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Truth Really Does Set Us Free.

"I am a terrible Mother" flits through my mind, just as I am drifting off to sleep. Sigh.
Commence restless sleeping.

This was me last night.
I must say, it has been a looooooooong time since this has happened. Maybe even dating back to the last time I wrestled with accusing thoughts.

But, that wasn't the only thought in there. When I took the time to jot down my thoughts this morning, to expose them to The Light, I came up with a much longer list:

"I am an unloving Mother."

"I am a tyrant."

"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills."

"I feel like I'm repeatedly bashing my head against a wall in regards to teaching my kids how to be disciplined."

"I can't keep it all together."

"How can I possibly balance being a good wife, mother, daughter, friend, pastor, AND businesswoman?"

Now, normally, I would have just let that be it, and meditated on negativity, feasted on these lies.
But, not so today.

Instead, I decided to combat each of those statements with God's TRUTH.

This phrase has been resurfacing time and again in my head. I finally put it to paper...

Say it again. Say it out loud. Make it personal!
"For every LIE in my mind, there is a TRUTH in God's Word to counteract it."

So, this is what I did.
Underneath each of those lies, I wrote a truth from God's Word. It went something like this...

"I am an unloving Mother."
NO. "The love of God has been shed abroad in my heart." (Romans 5:5)

"I am a tyrant."
NO. "I am a Child of God." (1 John 3:2)

"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills."
NO. "God has given me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

"I feel like I'm repeatedly bashing my head against a wall in regards to teaching my kids how to be disciplined."
NO. "My children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be their peace." (Isaiah 54:13)

"I can't keep it all together."
NO. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

"There is no way I can possibly balance being a good wife, mother, daughter, friend, pastor, AND businesswoman."
NO. "He generously gives wisdom to those who ask of Him." (James 1:5)

These were the first verses to come to mind, but there are any number of verses that would fit in each slot.

I see two keys in learning to combat the lies:
The first key is: writing the truth, reciting the truth, meditating on the truth, and letting the "implanted Word save your soul." (James 1:21) Your soul, which houses your mind, your will, your emotions, yeah, it desperately needs the TRUTH.

The seond key is: finding a trusted sister to confess these thoughts to, and being vulnerable with her. "Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." (James 5:16) We really do need each other.

Lord, forgive me for entertaining these lies about myself even for a nanosecond. Let truth prevail in my life in every area.

Are you ready to counteract some of the lies you've been listening to?
Tell me what they are in the comments, I would love to pray for you!

~ christa jean

This post, The Truth Really Does Set Us Free, first appeared on Transforme.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chalk It Up.

I seem to like to go months between blogging.
I rationalize this with, "I have nothing that profound to say right now. Or, even if I did, I don't want to take the time to type it all up and make it look rad."
But, then I think, "So what! Do it anyway!" Besides, who would want to read a blog that's all heavy all the time? Not me, haha.

Here's a quick little project that I've been meaning to do for a long time and I finally got it done!

Enter IKEA 5 drawer storage unit (not sure if they still sell these).
It comes in this natural wood tone, which, when I bought it eons ago, I disliked and quickly painted it white.
 I like the natural quality now. Oh, how our tastes change!

Here it is partially white, partially painted. I grabbed a quart of chalkboard paint from Walmart for $9.99, I believe. Super easy to paint, and after 24 hours curing, you just "prime" it with a dusting of chalk.
Oh, how I love the feeling of smoothing paint on an item.

Here it is, all pretty like, in it's place on the desktop. Just a word of advice? Spell check yourself BEFORE you snap the picture. This version of "stationary" means "fixed in a position," which is NOT  "stationery: personalized writing materials." Haha

For all you Portlandia peeps, just put a bird on it.
Turquoise tray - Target, white tape dispenser - Walmart, and "Keep Calm" paper weight - World Market
(Also, ignore under the desk, haha)

And, there you have it! I just love when a space makes sense and is usable.
Now, to keep it clean...

~ christa jean

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When Your Best Efforts Seem to Fail.

Sometimes I think I measure my life by my failures. The moments I have failed add up to hours add up to days add up to weeks add up to months add up to years add up to a lifetime of despair and hopelessness. Sounds like a morbid existence to me.

An existence that is certainly fading into the past. 

A few months back, I had the opportunity to deliver a meal to a family who had just had a new baby. I had all the ingredients in my cart for a delicious four course dinner. Stroll through the checkout line. Panic because I can't find my wallet. Quickly recall my beloved toddler taking it out of my purse and bringing it to me on the couch. Yes, there it sits. I can see it in my mind's eye. Embarrassed. Drive away without my groceries, go find said wallet and drive back to the store. With five kids.

That is a small mistake, but one that would affect me as a failure anyway. It would add to the case built against me that I am a floundering, disorganized, chaotic mother who struggles. Who struggles keeping the laundry from looming like an unsurmountable peak. Who stomps her foot like a two year old. Who hollers. Who can't seem to blog to save her life (I know, epic world problems, y'all) and when she does try to blog, she ends up wasting half a day. Who looks forward to bedtime and sometimes rushes through it. Who pushes the snooze button too many times. Who can't seem to plan meals for more than a week and then goes to the store and can't stick within the budget allotted to her. Who goes to buy ingredients for a blessing meal and ends up spending $100 for just one meal?

Whoever built this case against me anyway? And why was it given any legal ground?

There is one who is named Accuser, Deceiver, Hater. He preys upon our minds when given an entrance.

Why do I even listen to him?
Oh, I know! He speaks in half truths. So, the thoughts seem to be true projections of what I really already am and what I am stuck being.

There was a moment of revelation that I had a while back. (Cue Lightning Bolt!) I was turning in to bed for the night and the thoughts of my day were passing through my head. Nay, they were the thoughts of every. single. thing I had done wrong that day. I realized in that moment, that I listened to these same thoughts just about every night. It was like scrolling down a list, "Did that wrong, check. Was too harsh there, yup. Missed that opportunity, gosh. Totally flipped out over that minuscule thing, dang it!"

My old pattern would have been to flow from these thoughts into hatred toward myself.
The thoughts of "I hate what I do" would very quickly morph into, "I hate who I am."

When I begin to hate who I am - my very existence - I begin to hate the I AM, who created my very existence.

Now, I am not saying that I should totally ignore these thoughts that come to me in the night, some of them did need my attention, some of them were real sins. Some needed attentive repentance. And, friends? Repentance in humility breaks the back of the enemy. That case will no longer have any legal grounds to torment you. "Father, forgive me, I did not treasure the gifts you have given me today. I did not love the least of these. I was self-serving. I repent..."

What I am saying is I must shut up the voice of the Accuser in my mind. Holy Spirit conviction is one thing, it leads to repentance. Condemnation is another thing, and it only leads to spiritual death.

The next day I woke up and decided that I needed to rehearse what GOOD things I have done during the day.
Here are a few of my recent ones:

~ Crafts done with my girls, check!
~ Letting the girls decorate for fall and not trying to CONTROL EVERYTHING!
~ Read books to the neglected four year old.
~ Took the time at bedtime with the one who always wants more time
~ I posted some of the girl's jewelry in our little shop
~ I actually encouraged someone today!

Even better? Rehearsing the good things HE does!

~ He sets the lonely in families... {Psalm 68:6}
~ He will be with us always, even to the end of the age... {Matt 28:20}
~ His desire is for NONE to perish... {2 Peter 3:9}
~ He loves to give good gifts... {James 1:16-18}
~ He does not leave us helpless... {Hebrews 13:5}

That list? Barely scratches the surface.

Phew. Take a breath. Breathe in His grace and mercy.

Have you been listening to the Accuser too? It's time to stop.

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
{Phil 4:8}

How do we overcome this venomous enemy? We listen to the truth. We wash our brains in the cleansing flow.

When you feel like a failure, fall into His arms. 
Take that list of wrongs done by you, repent for what you need to, forgive yourself, receive His forgiveness, command that evil voice to leave in Jesus name.

Christ-in-you-the-hope-of-glory? Yeah, He never lets go.

~ christa jean

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Would Carter Do?

Lately, I've found myself given over to lazy whims and desires.
Take tonight.
My husband is gone at rehearsal, I am alone with kids. The dishes are piled up, the laundry is piled up. What's a girl to do?
Avoid them like the plague.
Then, I got to thinking about my sweet husband and how servant-hearted he is. He does my dishes every night, people. And, if I'm upstairs folding laundry, he comes and helps me do that after the dishes are done.
There I was, standing in the kitchen and I thought, "What would Carter do?"
He would do the next thing.
I'd like to say that I did the next best thing and did the dishes to bless him.
But, honestly, and here's my grand excuse, I just wanted to crawl up in my bed after dealing with throw-up all afternoon, the stench of stomach acid still lingering in my nostrils.
I did however empty all the downstairs garbages, and sweep the floors. Hey, it was something!
Now, I'm resting in my bed, click-clacking away, while he is downstairs clanging pots and pans.
Ahhhhhh, tis a delightful sound! I'll thank him later. ;-)
My husband is someone I admire whole-heartedly. He encourages me, protects me (sometimes from my negative self-talk), spurs me on, loves me on bad hair days, never speaks a harsh word to me, he is always the first one to apologize, and makes me laugh daily. He is a man after God's own heart, he seeks Christ daily, he is a good daddy. I kinda like this guy God granted me. Even more, I kinda want to be like him.
{hubba hubba}
Words always have a way of toying with me. They stick there, in the forefront of my mind, like that proverbial piece of spinach lodged in the teeth. And I chew on them.
The following words have been chewed on quite a bit lately.
“The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains,
no matter where you are.
The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. 
He always plays it safe.
 Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ,
 he renounces nothing, gives up nothing,
will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires,
and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.”
{Soren Kierkegaard}
I think about how I know God is nudging me to reconstruct my life (get up earlier, exercise consistently, eat well, teach my children scripture) and how I keep shirking from it.
I think about what I know I need to give up (as I'm here munching on potato chips), not in some legalistic "deny myself everything pleasurable" insanity, but because, I know to Whom I belong, and I want closer, ever closer to His throne, and further, ever further from the trappings of this world.
How many times have I thanked and praised God for His awesomeness on Sunday morning, only to speak harshly and rudely to the awesome little child-miracles surrounding me that very night?
This is not a beat myself down session, it is a "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." {Psalm 139:23-24}
I no longer want to be an admirer. Only a follower.
My name means "Follower of Christ."
Thank you, Dad and Mom for the foresight to name me thus.
I aim to live it.
~ christa jean ~
P.S. Happy Birthday to our Angel baby, our sponsor child. She is ONE today! We found out that she is not an orphan, but her family is so poor they can hardly feed her. She has three older siblings, a set of four year old twins and a sister who is twelve. I pray for strength for her parents today, and favor. Lord, be the Provider of every need.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Baby Steppin'

I've fallen off the blog wagon, y'all.

This is my attempt at kicking my batookie back in the saddle again (help me to have discipline, Lord!).

Here's my issue (yes, I have issues! along with using too many exclaimation points when I type! see?!): I have found that if I can't perform or carry out a job/task/idea/discipline perfectly well, I get paralyzed and just do nothing.


See those five drawers that need to be organized/decluttered? I don't have the organizational supplies that I REALLY want (durn you Martha Stewart Living Office Supply line at Staples!), and so they just sit there half done or not at all.

See that jewelry business that will not promote itself? I don't have a suitable work space, all my supplies are in bins, and it's a pain to drag it all out, yada, yada, yada, whine, whine, whine.

See those children who need to learn something? How do I get them to conform to the way I want to conduct a school day and stay on track and still have a relatively cleanish home, oh, and then sit down to tea and a history lesson in the afternoon.

See that blog that sits blank for months at a time and only has 37 followers? (I love you my followers! Just stick with me, here!) I have grand ideas about blogging, at the very least once a week, on a certain day, and being a blessing to others (as I social network, ha ha ha).

Some of my issue stems from, I hate to say it...

I see another person's beautifully organized craft space and want...
I see another person's start-up business soar into success and wish...
I see another person's homeschool that seems to run so fluidly and wonder...
I see another person's blog touching thousands of lives and get wistful...

You see, comparison leads me to jealousy and envy and covetousness. Yuck!
Glass half empty anyone?

Now, let's turn this little post into a positive one!

I DO have five drawers and am making do with what supplies I DO have (shuffling it all about) and having fun with it.

I DO have a jewelry business that is currently being molded into something that, I think, hope, pray, will bless His heart more!

I DO have little children who ARE learning. Even if some days, it's just how to be kind and take care of a baby.

I DO have a happy little space on the interwebs, where I can prattle on about whatever I please if I so desire. Maybe someday I'll write a book. But, that day is not today. Whenst "that day" comes, it will be with white couches and nicely manicured nails and grandbabies running amok... on second thought, maybe I'll have white couches in Heaven. Today, is the day that I have babies and diapers and dishes and laundry and snuggles and THIS is the day that the Lord has made for me.

I am baby steppin' into a new season of my life. A season of thankFULLness. A season of giving and not consuming. A season of not taking things personally, or becoming easily offended. A season of seeking Him first. A season of newness. A season in which I desire for all that I am and all that I do, to please Him.

I finished the year 2012 in the first few chapters of an excellently thought provoking book.

I didn't really know how to download and process it all, nor how to apply it to my life.
I can't exactly say that it's changed everything, but I can say that it's changed small things that could very well turn into the big things that change everything.
Here's the proof:
  • Since the reading of it, I have loaded up bags of clothes and shoes and toys to take to a ministry in town that gives clothes away to those who are in need.
  • I have handed a man standing on the corner a hot roasted chicken from Costco with some cash (missed two other opportunities to give away food/money, and kicked myself, prayed that I'd notice more).
  • We've given away lots of money.
  • My desire to buy, buy, buy has lessened. Not totally disappeared as evidenced by my desire to buy office supplies in Tiffany blue.
  • Last night, out on date with hubs, he offers to go into Forever 21 with me to take a peek. WHAT?!!! Never before heard of! But, ya know what? I didn't really want to. I have so many clothes and shoes, I could clothe a small village in Africa. Period.
That's progress people!

Speaking of Africa, we have finally decided on the child we want to sponsor! After thinking for years that we would sponsor a child with Compassion International (yet never able to figure out how to budget it in) we decided to sponsor through a ministry that rescues and cares for orphans in Uganda, called Return Ministries International. If you follow me on Instagram (my mini blog), you'll know that my girls were selling jewelry to earn money to sponsor a child. Their dream is becoming reality! They want to go beyond sponsoring and adopt her, bless their hearts. You will want to adopt her too, when you see her little face.

The face of an angel.

{Namaganda Angel will be one year old on March 21st}
One thing I know for certain...
Baby steps are a precursor to walking strong, then running.
Let's do this!

~ christa jean ~

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gift Guide 2012

Welcome to my 2012 Gift Guide!
If you are planning on doing any shopping this month, please consider supporting handmade!
Speaking of! If you'll scroll down a bit, you'll see that I have items in my shop. Finally! I opened it in January, and there it has sat allllllll year, sadly empty.

My girls have a booming little business of their own on Instagram, all in the hopes that they can help sponsor a child through Compassion International. They are soooo close to having the funds for the first month. I decided I would put some of their earrings in the shop to see what would happen. Then, in January, I will launch a new Spring/Summer line of my own. Wish us success!

Look under the section:

Whirly Girls

Below you will find all sorts of lovely sellers and their shops. Most of them are "friends" I've made on Instagram. Happy Shopping!

Etsy Artisans:


Christmas Gift .. Personalized Hand stamped rustic hammered sterling silver Grandma Necklace. Antiqued distressed hand stamped jewelry.
Audrey Necklace
Mint and Soft Pink Sorbet, A Shabby Chic Rosette Bridesmaid Necklace, sale, Black Friday
leather cuff says "twirl"
necklace benefiting HOPE 4 SUDAN - clear mint 26.5"
THELMA - Aqua Chandelier Style Dangle Earrings- Family Pictures, Stocking Stuffer or Bridesmaid Gifts
Brass Tribal Arrowhead Earrings
Peridot Quartz & Gold Leather Wrap Bracelet
Button Ring (grey chevron)
Scissor Happy Necklace Scissors  with a Green Rose Option to add a Bow
Chandelier Earrings with Turquoise and Rhinestone- Tribal Earrings- Southwest Earrings
On SALE- Vintage Beauty Bauble Ring
Large clear crystals bracelet
Chandelier drop earring

Christian Art - I Am With You and Will Keep You - 8x10 Giclee Print - Scripture Art, Mint , Hand Typography, Encouragement
Rivers of Joy 8x10 Print
Gold and Neon Celebrate Design Platter
Two are Better than One - in Brown with Orange and Green Birds 20x20 GALLERY WRAP CANVAS
Oh Deer Wooden Sign
She Turned Her Can'ts Into Cans and Her Dreams Into Plans, Kobi Yamada Graduation Gift, Illustration, Inspiring Quote, 8 x 10 Art Print
As the Deer - Psalm 42:1 - Printed on Kraft Paper - Illustrated Print by Mandipidy

{paper goods/crafty items}
Jesus Loves You 8x10 Puffy Heart Print- 3 color choices
11x17 Deer Silhouette Taxidermy print
handmade fabric tape in greens made from vintage linens - for craft wrap packaging wedding supply
A6 Blue Ombre Notecards (12 count)
8x10 "I love vintage" Fine Art Print vintage coffee mug and mosaic tile
SALE vintage BOY SINGING WITH BIRD framed print SALE

{sewn/knit/crochet/embroidered goodies}
CROCHET PATTERN Fingerless Gloves/Mitts with PomPoms
Personalized Bubblegum Pink and Blue Zipper Pouch
playtime  - iPad sleeve
Beautiful lot of 5 clips/headbands
Market Tote - Veggies
Vintage Hanky Pillow Covers- RESERVED for Amy
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bow Gold
Jewelry Designers:
Norah Earrings {Mint}
Image of chevron rose thumbprint earrings
Image of Swarovski Large Circle Necklace
gold chevron necklace
Aqua Lace
The Chunkster Bracelet
Image of Antique Bronze Arrow

Home Decor/Art/Signs:
Petite European Red Striped Grain Sack Christmas Stockings
Winter Cheer
Choose Joy

Paper Goods/Christmas Cards/Planners, etc:
image of Calligraphy Ombre Note Cards - Blues
Image of Family Tree Using Names
Thank You
for supporting the Mom Shops!
Do all that you do and give all that you give
 in love.
~ christa jean ~