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#whyiteach

 

Rachael_M_Colby_blogs_capecodonline_Tattoo_it_On_Your_Heart_ Remind_me_#whyiteach

 

I received the following messages from a friend who is a teacher. She wishes to remain anonymous.

TEACHER:   Texting you this… Need people to help remind me why I teach when I’m having bad days.

Teaching is one of the hardest jobs. You rarely ever get kudos. You mostly hear what you are doing wrong.

So, in those rare moments when the smoke clears, and you see what truly matters, and you see the little things you do, and the impact they can have, that is the gold you have to hold unto- or you will quit.

So Far Today:

I comforted and prayed with a teacher who just had a miscarriage.

I’m standing in the hallway welcoming students, hustling the stragglers to class. Glancing in my classroom, I realize one of my boys is crying. I motion him to come into the hall and he tells me his aunt died from a stroke last night. We talk, I give him a hug, and help him grieve.  He gives me permission to share with the class. His friends quickly change seats and circle him; No talking or touching; they are middle school boys after all. They support him by just being there. They take out paper and write notes of encouragement- without any prompting. #proud #whyiteach

All before 9:30am.

11:20am Update

Another student running up and down the hallway screaming and crying. Counselor trying to help. He refuses… I step into the hallway, take his hands, have him take deep breaths with me to calm him down so he can talk to the counselor without screaming. #whyiteach

Teaching is never about the subject you are teaching. It’s about showing compassion, how to grieve, process anger, express joy. So much emptiness and anger in my students- they just don’t know how to handle life. Happy that I can be here to help them.

Remind me of this when I’m having a really bad day.

Anyone who becomes a teacher because they want kids to learn a subject is missing a huge piece of teaching. I went into teaching because I want to teach children how to successfully live their lives, process emotion, and become productive people. The subject I teach has so little to do with what I really do.

“When will I use this?” they say.  (Algebra, science, etc..)

The answer is: “Who really cares? Will you remember that I taught you compassion when your classmate’s aunt died, that I held your hands when you just couldn’t take another step, that I told you I care about you?”

And yes, of course, I’ll give you another chance when you screwed up, yet again, in my class, because this is #whyiteach

Update 1:00 pm

Two boys try to fight in my classroom. Calmed them down and talked to them. One of the boys tells me he’s not really mad at the other kid. He just watched his dad get arrested and he’s really upset… Sigh.  #whyIteach

At lunch, the boy whose aunt died comes up to me. “I’m doing better,” he says quietly, and dashes away.

Last Block:

The boy who was crying and screaming in the hallway comes to class. He’s smiling now, and we’re just figuring it all out. It’s a good day. #whyiteach

I know I could get a job in a better district. My family asks me why I stay, all the time.

“Who’s going to teach them if I don’t?” I reply.

“Someone will,” they say.

“But will they care about them? Will they pray over their desks? Will they cry over them? Will they love them?”

I can’t walk away from these kids. Many of them don’t have adults that truly care. They are used to being thrown away, adults not sticking with them. I can’t be one of those people. Teaching is a calling, not a job. I have to teach them how to be cared for and to care for one another, to create community in the classroom. Once I’ve done this, and only then, can I actually teach them any academic content with success. This usually takes a few months to establish

I have to teach them, I don’t know if someone else will care for them like I do. #whyiteach

A Few Weeks Later:

TEACHER:   “Why do I teach again? My head hurts, my neck aches…”

RACHAEL:    Because it matters- maybe for eternity for some of your students. Even though you don’t see it now.

Because they need you even when they don’t want you.

Because you may be the only love, the only Jesus, some will see today and over the next few months

Because you have to. It’s your calling.  #makeadifference   #youmatter

Because it costs more to quit than to carry on. #whyyouteacTattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Ush

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength
is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

 © 2017 Rachael M Colby       Tattoo It On your Heart

Belonging

 

Angry faces. tattoo_it_on_your_heart_rachael_m_colby_belonging

Phone calls.

Angry words hurled in public places.               

“Get a *?#*!#! abortion!” they said.

“No!” she said.

She would not take the life of her child.

 

“I’m coming over to visit and I’m bringing my camera,” I said. “I’ll take some pictures of you and the baby. It will be my gift to you.”

And there he stood, this giant, cradling the fragile frame of his infant daughter nestled contentedly in his arms.

Grace. Amazing grace.

“Tell him we need to cut the hospital band off; it’s getting too tight on her. He won’t let me take it off,” her mama said.

“Wait,” her daddy said. “Take a picture first. It shows we belong to each other.”

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written,The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalms 139:13-16 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

         © 2017 Rachael M Colby             Tattoo It On Your Heart

Help from Focus on the Family

If you find yourself in a crisis pregnancy situation, or have had an abortion and are seeking help, here are some links for counseling and resources from Focus on the Family.  

Need Help? Call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459)

Focus on the Family Free Counseling Line: 1-855-771-HELP (4357)

Operation Ultrasound:  1-800-232-6459 or 1-855-771-4357

Monday-Friday; 6am – 8pm (Mountain Time)

Helpful Articles and Resources:

As a pastor who regrets an abortion in my past, I want to say that there is hope for those who have participated in, or who have had an abortion…Continue reading this article by Pastor Shane Idleman here:  http://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/pre-born/my-child-would-have-been-22-this-year

Many women who choose abortion struggle with guilt – guilt that stops them from talking about it or getting the emotional help they deserve… Continue reading this article by Teri Reisser and Paul Reisser here:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/pre-born

Free downloadable Advocacy for Human Life Toolbox from Focus on the family.

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:18-19

 

Remind Me Who I Am

The following is a text message I received from a Christian friend and my response. I believe there are others who sometimes feel the same way. My hope in posting this is that perhaps my response will resonate with, and minister to someone else who needs a little encouragement on the journey to their destiny.

tattoo_it_on_your_heart_rachael_m_colby_remind-_me_of_who_i_am

Here- this is for you:

You are a beloved blood bought chosen and adopted child of the most high God, a friend of Jesus and a friend of many.

You bring glory to God as you use your talents, which are many, for Him. But He loves you just for you- not for what you can do.

You are an encourager, an inspiration to others, you help them find their gifts, themselves in Christ.

What are you doing here? What’s the use?

You are just passing through, this is just the road to where we are going. Heaven is our home and Jesus is our prize.

Satan is the accuser of the brethren, but we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Sometimes the road is rutted and foggy, and yes, we just have to hold on and carry on, knowing He will never leave or forsake us. He will see us through.

He made you for Himself, because He wanted you, and wants you to know Him and make Him known.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written,The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalms 139:16 (NKJV)

Thank you for the hundreds of  times you have encouraged and inspired me. You are loved.

~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~

Do you know Him? Knowing about Jesus isn’t the same as knowing and having a personal relationship with Him. If you would like to know the One you were made for, click here. I welcome questions and comments. God bless you.

Rachael.

© 2017 Rachael M Colby

 

A Brighter Day with Ben Laine

Congratulations, Ben, on your recent radio play on Christian radio station, 96.1 The Branch.

As of today, Ben has 5 songs on SoundCloud. You can check them out here:  https://soundcloud.com/ben-laine.rachael_m-colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_ben_laine_brighter_day

That’s quite an accomplishment at 17 years old. 

How many songs have you written?

Ben: I have written close to 100 songs in the last six years.

 

 

Born in Chicago and raised in Rochester New Hampshire, as the son of a pastor, contemporary Christian singer songwriter Ben Laine’s life has always centered around God. At just 5 years old, The Jackson 5 sparked his interest in music when Ben played a role in the church Christmas play. Ben took to singing, “Santa Claus is coming to town,” after he and his mom changed the lyrics to “Jesus Christ is coming to town,” for the play.  Influenced by his drummer father, Ben started playing the drums at 6 years old. He picked up the saxophone at 9 and piano at age 10. Since then, he has heavily focused on piano, singing and songwriting. Many of his songs are influenced by life struggles and his faith in God. Ben’s music is a pop/rock sound, with heavy piano and rhythmic parts. Through his music, Ben wants to reach out to the lost and give hope to a world in need.

rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_contemporary_christian_singer_songwriter_ben-_laine-_interviewTell us about your music journey, Ben.

I started off in church concert scenes. Then in 6th grade I won the talent show. In 7th grade, I got the chance to play at my middle school assembly for veterans, with almost 2000 in attendance. The following year I wrote my song, Would You Do the Same? for that very assembly.

Ever since, I have played at the Apple Harvest Festival in October where the streets of Dover are closed down and thousands come to welcome the autumn season. Other places have included local restaurants and a music festival in Rochester.

I’m not exactly sure what genre I like writing. I really enjoy writing music that touches people-  reaches them in a way that other music doesn’t, whether it be about God or just life in general, but mostly God

What instruments do you play?

I play piano, drums, harmonica, guitar, bass and a few others. I also play saxophone in the school band.

What’s your process for creating a song? What comes first- lyrics, or music?

It’s never the same. Sometimes a melody comes to my head, sometimes lyrics, sometimes both.

What are some of your other interests?

I’m in the drama club. I’m playing the part of the beast in this years production of Beauty and the Beast. I run varsity track and cross country. I love summer, anything involving the beach, and any type of outdoor activity, including hiking new Hampshire’s Mountains.

I want to know if you have the goods before I recommend you to my church or my kid. Expand on what you see as problems in today’s culture, the need and the remedy for, “the lost world.” Who is Jesus to you?

Our culture has lost a certain respect for God. I feel as if basic values are also in jeopardy. The Bible says in the end times good will be traded for evil and the other way around.

I feel like love has truly been twisted in today’s society; it barely has any meaning. People use it like it’s just another word; it has lost it worth among many.

Honesty is diminishing. People say the exact opposite of what they believe or do.

Tolerance is also a huge problem as far as the mentality of, “I believe everyone is equal, except for people who don’t agree with my views.”

There are many, many people searching for hope in a world full of war and hate. The only hope you can find is in Jesus. A life in Him is a life full of hope and joy.  People are lost because they do not truly know God.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23 NKJV

Jesus died on the cross so that we can be saved from our sins and set free. All you need to do is give your heart to Him. Jesus is the only way, the remedy for this lost world.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 NKJV

Jesus to me is a merciful savior. God is so incredible and in no other religion did their god come down and give his life for his people. Christ has really shown me recently the incredible mercy He has on His children. He has given me a revelation of the true love He has for us and nothing can ever persuade me to believe otherwise.

“I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see”

Some will oppose you and challenge why you want to put your music out there. They will say things like:

“He just wants to promote himself and make money. He should keep his music in his local church instead of trying to become a professional musician. He could get caught up in that and lose the Gospel’s primary focus of preaching.” What’s your answer to this?

I want to put my music out there because God has given me a gift and I want to use it for His name and glory.

God has a plan for everyone. As long as I stay close to God and His will, what he has planned for me will come to pass. As of right now, I really feel that music is a large part of that plan.

Where God takes me, is his choice

It is interesting how some who oppose Christians producing and performing music professionally, still listen to their music. It’s also interesting how some believe if you are talented at a particular thing, it’s okay to pursue a career in some fields, but not in others, even if there is nothing morally wrong with that pursuit.

I’m not undermining the potential temptations in a music career, but people succumb to temptations every day in all sorts of traditional careers.

tattoo_it_on_your_heart_rachael_m_colby_words_wrapped_in-_musicMusic is powerful; it is spiritual. The question is, what spirit is behind it. I hear people complaining about a lack of good Christian music. I don’t believe this is true. I think some are just too lazy to spend the time discovering Christian music that appeals to them. Some seem comfortable with, or unaware that they are filling their minds and hearts with music which promotes promiscuity, violence, drugs, hate, discontent, or is just plain drivel. Some say, “I don’t listen to the lyrics; I just listen to the music.” Well, I believe that is even scarier, as then they are absorbing those messages without exercising sound judgement as to what is truth and wholesome in the content. The heart, mind and soul feeds on music. We must be careful what we feed it, as what we listen to influences our mind and alters our hearts.

There is no shortage of musicians using their abilities to evangelize the hearts of many with harmful propaganda, which is why I believe it’s crucial that Christians use their musical abilities not only to worship God, but as a tool to influence by ministering truth.

We need dedicated Christian musicians who hone their craft and  keep their relationship with Jesus current; ones who refuse to prostitute the talent God has given them by selling out to the highest bidder, but rather, are willing to pay the price to impact people with hope and an eternal directive, even though it’s easier, more popular and more financially lucrative to appeal to secular interest. By investing our talents in serving God and people, we store up eternal treasure in Heaven.

Sadly, some Christian artists do get caught up in secular allure, yield to the pressure and water down the message. Many put the Gospel on the back burner, or they let celebrity status inflate their ego, even walk away from their faith. How do you plan to avoid the pitfalls of secularism, worldliness?

To avoid these pitfalls I will stay connected, close to church. I will stay connected with followers of Christ who also live clean lives. Reading the Bible and praying everyday will also ensure that Godly Wisdom will help me through these hard times.

Oh, so when someone asks Jesus in their heart, they don’t get an endless flow of happy juice and their life is perfect thereafter?

God does not promise a perfect life when you  ask Him into your heart. But he does promise direction and blessing through times of hardship. Ask and you shall receive, knock on the door will be opened. God is the answer and we can always turn to Him.

Who inspires you musically?  Any favorite bands/ artists?

Growing up listening to oldies like Hall and Oates has influenced my music to be very drum related and syncopated. Today, musically, I really look up to Matthew West. His lyrics have great meaning and he writes his own songs which really stands out to me.

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Who is the  greatest influence, inspiration in your life?               God is my greatest influence and inspiration when it comes to music and life.

I believe true hope and blessings comes from God. I have seen incredible things done by Him and would like others to experience the same life that I have.

rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_two-things_there_is_no_-substitute_for

Ben, I wrote this for my son and another good friend of mine who is a musician. Remember this. Always. I’m praying for you.

Here’s the link to check out Ben’s 5 songs on SoundCloud. (More to come.)   https://soundcloud.com/ben-laine

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(Y’all feel free to start sending Ben offers for a recording contract now!)

ben_laine_soundcloud_brighter_day

 

Built to Last- Not a Hollywood Romance

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The plan was for me to read the scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, at my brother’s wedding, and sit back down. But that’s not what happened. I finished writing their card as we pulled into the church parking lot. With less than ten minutes before the wedding started, I ran inside to find the pastor, introduced myself, and handed him the card. “Pastor,” I said, “I was writing a card for Paul and Melissa and, well, I think maybe what I wrote isn’t just for them. May I please read it when I read the scripture?” I was terrified. Sometimes this is what happens when I put pen to paper and God starts speaking; sometimes this is what happens when you give me a microphone.

The following is taken from the aforementioned card, with some additions and revisions:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NLT)

You will notice the scripture doesn’t say, “love is a feeling.” That’s because it isn’t. Love has feelings, but it is a choice and an action. Love is first a proper noun, because God is love. but then Love became a verb, an action.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. I John 4:16 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life John 3:16 (NKJV)

Marriage is about dying to self and giving oneself to their spouse. It’s about learning to serve with your heart, not just in actions to benefit ourselves. Love can be quite inconvenient. It’s about God using two selfish people to work His holiness in them and make them one.

Feelings will ebb and flow in the covenant of marriage but it’s your commitment to your vows, with the help of Jesus, that will make it last. It’s the actions love takes, the demonstration of it, which will rekindle those wonderful feelings again, and again, over the years.

Love is patient and kind.

Love listens. Love hears with the heart. Because sometimes what we say and how we act isn’t really indicative of what’s bothering us.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

Love is not jealous.

Love does not envy the other’s good circumstances, blessings, gifts or station in life, but rejoices at the other’s good fortune and chooses to be content.

Love is not boastful or proud.

Love promotes, edifies, lifts up, the other person, their achievements, goals, their well being, above their own.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)

Humility is a bridge to grace and restored relationship. It is an attribute of Jesus, the King of kings.

Love is not rude. Love is not irritable.

It’s been said that familiarity breeds contempt. It is not okay with God when we treat strangers better than we treat our spouse. Sometimes we treat those closest to us carelessly because we take them for granted, or because we think they will understand and we can’t lose them. Marriages are perishable, but Jesus is the life preserver. Don’t spend so much of yourself on the world, others, and your own pursuits that you have nothing left to give your spouse. The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver, and I believe that principle also applies to giving of ourselves: our time, putting the other’s needs above our rights and preferences, giving our heart.

Love does not demand its own way.

Love doesn’t demand its own way, and it also looks out for the other’s best interest and for the good of the marriage over its own self interest. God’s will for a husband and wife is to become one flesh, not only physically, but to function as a unit, to operate as a team going in one direction. We are to become fused, like the process of melding metal together, a process which involves fire, pressure, and forming by the Maker. We are not intended to work separately, but to be of one mind in Christ.

From the forthcoming book, The Two Shall Become One, by Dr Greg and Suzanne Winslow:

“Faith is agreement or unity with what God has said. Unity speaks and acts the same way…When it’s all about you division is right behind…Marriage is for givers, not takers….It’s in giving that we receive, even in marriage.”

“I want unity with God. The Bible says, faith without works is dead. He said the two shall become one. God, help me.”

Love thinks no evil.

Love chooses to think well of the other, to dwell on their good traits and actions. Love chooses to give the other the benefit of the doubt. It does not assume. Jumping to assumptions is one of the greatest reasons for conflict in relationships, when people judge another’s intentions, their hearts, instead of taking the time to communicate and understand where the other is coming from.

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. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

Love keeps no record of being wronged. 

Unforgiveness is a dark dwelling, an isolating place. Anger thrashes the heart, and bitterness is a life sucking parasite. I must extend forgiveness if I want to be forgiven, even if the other person is wrong and unrepentant.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”  Mark 11:25 (NLT)

Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love rejoices when right comes out right, even if it means having to admit you are wrong.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love never fails. We only fail if we choose to cease to love. It’s the practicing of love, over and over again, even when we don’t feel like it, that produces the feelings of love. Love is a doing thing that has feelings.

 “God, this is hard; it’s hard work and sometimes it hurts.”

Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NASB)

Do not waste time bothering with whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets.When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8 (NKJV)

Notice the word endures. Marriage is like a marathon, a long exhilarating, sometimes exhausting race. It requires endurance, pacing yourself and the determination not to quit. But it’s worth the effort for the prize in the end. This is all above our nature, our human ability, but that is where Jesus comes in. He is our creator and savior. God is Love and the author of marriage.

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NKJV)

        ~~~*~~~

“So, are you the romantic type?” someone asked me recently.

Romance, for me, may look a little different than the picture culture and Hollywood paints. Here are some things that spell love and romance to me:

Walk with me. Listen. See the need. I agree with God; He says dwell with your wife with understanding. Take the time to know me- what makes me tick- or not. Jesus is a shepherd, not a cowboy; I really do want to be led.

Rote gifts given at designated obligatory times don’t necessarily impress me. The thought that went into the gift is what qualifies it. Being thought of when culture isn’t screaming that it’s time to do something is impressive.

One of my favorite gifts from my husband sits on my dresser. He remembered overhearing, me muttering about my too small mirror. A larger mirror from the local Dollar Store would have sufficed and been appreciated, but he surprised me with a beautiful antique sterling silver one. Score! :)

Finding the book, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers on my husband’s nightstand, him loving and leading our children in God’s way, makes me very happy.

A cup of clam chowder, a blanket, and a moon rise on White Crest beach, beats a candlelit restaurant every time. I designed the tie tac pictured above and had it made for my husband. It was inspired by those moon rise dates.

     ~~~*~~~

A Story

The fury of the snowy night downed power lines and enveloped all. They settled into the couch as the story played across the screen. Winter’s icy fingers pressed against the window panes, pried at the doors.

“I’m worried,” he said, speaking of their not so little one. “Let’s pray for her,” he said as he reached for his wife’s hand.

The wind sauntered across the roof, clambered up, and thrust its face over the chimney’s edge, as the smoke rushed up with a puff, sending it away and curling into the night sky.

The movie ended. The fire in the cast iron stove crackled and popped, the flames whirled and danced as the couple sat, hands still clasped from their prayer. The man and his wife were alone. Sweet.

     ~~~*~~~

Some quotes from people I admire:

In response to my interview question, “What Keeps you going?”

“The encouragement of my greatest earthly gift, my precious wife.” – Pastor, author and artist, Dr Bill Nichols

In response to my interview question, “What is your favorite thing about being a Pastor’s wife?”

Being married to my husband. -Kerry

“The Pastor.” -Donna

Author Jerry B Jenkins speaks of when he first met his wife to whom he has been married for 45 years here, and in the comment under that post you will see him speaking of his wife again.

My young friend, Ben Laine’s Tweet about his parents.

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 Benjamin‏@BenLaine05   Feb 4

Get yourself a girl who looks at you the way my mom looks at my dad while he’s preaching.

 

( You’ll be hearing more about Ben soon in an upcoming blog post.) 🙂

Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. Luke 6:47- 48 NKJV

A friend once told me that the greatest romance, the greatest love story ever written, is in the Bible. I found that to be Truth. Here’s my post entitled, Romancing the Rock.

*Special thanks to my husband, Roy, for entitling this post.

      © 2017 Rachael M Colby       Tattoo It On your Heart

Resources on Marriage & Family:

Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas

Cherish, by Gary Thomas

Healthyfaith, by Dr. Bill Nichols, PhD

Jerry B Jenkins on marriage:

      Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It

Rekindled (with Pat and Jill Williams)

      Still the One: Loving Thoughts From a Loving Spouse

DR. Kevin Lehman’s books

Marriage by Design, by Eric A Disney

Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family/ National Institute for Marriage 

Family Life

Between the Sun

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Pale winter sky stretched above the glittering snow covered field. Sunlight streamed through trees, warming my upturned face as I prayed. Suddenly, I shivered. A cloud had drifted overhead, separating me from the sun. The sun was still there, but now I was subject to the chill around me, instead of warmed in spite of it.

When there is something between us and God, intimacy is hindered and our heart becomes cold. The same is true with all our relationships. Just as my relationship with God affects my relationships with those around me, so too, my relationship with others, how I treat them, react, or respond to them, affects my relationship with God.

God is never the problem; I am. He is still there, but I need to remove, or ask God to remove whatever is blocking His light from my life.

Building relationship requires the investment of time. If I put nothing in, or all I do is withdraw, eventually I will come up empty.

Distraction, busyness, will block my view of Christ if I let them. I must be intentional about setting time with God as priority. It’s easy to get caught up, even in good things, substituting service to God and others in place of spending time with Him. Prayer is talking, waiting on, and listening to God, not just hurling hurried words at Him.

The same principles apply to my relationship with others. I can be physically present but have a deaf ear and an absent heart.

I must not allow the cares and stress of this world to eclipse God’s hand and promise of provision, protection and direction for my life.

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalms 55:22 (NKJV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

Unforgiveness is a dark dwelling, an isolating place. Anger thrashes the heart, and bitterness is a life sucking parasite. I must extend forgiveness if I want to be forgiven, even if the other person is wrong and unrepentant.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25 (NKJV)

Other people’s actions are no excuse for my wrong reactions, but sometimes it is beyond my natural ability to do as I should, and keep a right heart. But that’s what grace is for. It’s there for the asking.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Sometimes It’s myself I need to forgive. Sin which is repented of is forgiven, I am saved by grace, but sometimes I hold onto my past which God has chosen to forget. Why do I let condemnation imprison me when Jesus already purchased my pardon? Perhaps it’s because I sometimes mistakenly view God’s ability to forgive through the tainted lens of my sinful human ability, my faulty, reluctant heart. Jesus is willing and able to utterly forgive and save to the uttermost.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

tattoo_it_on_your_heart_rachael_m_colby_why-_do_we_fear_the_fireGod can’t accept sin in his presence, but I can’t hide it from Him either. I can put on a good show for the world, but I can’t fool God; He sees all and He judges actions by the intent of the heart. We all have blind spots which prevent us from seeing ourselves clearly. If I want to be pure and become who God wants me to be, I must be honest and open my heart and mind to the light of God’s Word, and let His spirit expose my my sin and refine my life.  

 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalms 139:23 (NKJV)

Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalms 139:24 (NKJV)

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalms 51:10 (NKJV)

Pride puts self above others. It separates and eventually severs relationship if it isn’t cast off. Pride is often the sin behind the sins we commit.

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One of the reasons I resisted the Gospel when I first heard it was because I didn’t want to call what God called sin, sin. Not agreeing with God, exalting our will above God’s way, is pride. It is what got Satan kicked out of Heaven. I wanted to believe my sin was okay with God. I had my own nice sounding names and excuses for my unrighteous decisions. I feared if I admitted I was wrong, all I would be left with was regret and failure. But when I lay down my sin, my way, my pride, and and followed Christ, I found freedom; I found grace. I found Love. He made me new again when I became Born Again.

Humility is a bridge to grace and restored relationship. It is an attribute of Jesus, the King of kings.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 (NKJV)

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 (NKJV)

Even in a winter season, you can have springtime and summer in your soul, if Jesus has access to your heart. He is my first love, my enabler. He is life giving warmth and light in a cold, dark world.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

                         © 2017 Rachael M Colby         Tattoo It On Your Heart 

 

Finding My Voice, Seeing God’s Hand

 

 

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January 21st, 2017

I needed to mail a document to Pastor and author Michael Duncan, one of my interviewees from my Pastor Appreciation Month series. I decided to use the opportunity to share some of my writing with him and his wife. As I packaged my selections, I pondered the words of my poem, Finding My Voice, one of the pieces I chose to send. Here it is:

Finding My Voice

I looked in the mirror and found my voice.

This is my voice:

It’s me becoming broken.

It’s me bleeding all over the pages.

Can’t you see my words are borne on tears?

Do you think I borrowed my words, the words God gave me?

Did you think they came cheap?

No, they are costly, because this world has a way of banging up a human heart;

But that’s OK because Jesus has a way of restoring it.

Welcome to my life. Welcome to my vulnerability.

This is raw; this is live.

Welcome to my funeral and resurrection.

You are invited to watch me die, and live again in Christ.

                           ~~~*~~~

 

As I pondered the words in my poem, they evoked new revelation, and I responded with this:

 

I must be careful of what I write.

It’s often truer than I know.

These prophesies, my story, like a scroll slowly unrolled.

One step, one day, one prayer, at a time, revealing.

“Dear Lord; I’m frightened.

Hold me.

I will rest, trust in You.

Thy will, Lord. Have your way in me.”

 

Afterwards, I had this feeling I should go and check the dates of when I wrote and posted Finding My Voice, originally a response to New York Times bestselling author, Jerry Jenkins, on his blog. I was able to track the dates through my emails I received about his classes and by his blog posts. Look:

 

racahael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_hope   Rachael M Colbya year ago    (January 2016)                                                                                        

Are you there Jerry? Can you hear me?

Finding My Voice 

I looked in the mirror and found my voice…

 

And I may as well go for it and post this here too;)

The Why of Why I Write

Why do I breathe?

Inhale…   

 

Jerry responded to my comment above on January 17th, 2016 on his blog post, http://www.jerryjenkins.com/unique-writing-voice/

                                                                                                                                                                              jerry_jenkins_-com_tone_in_writing

Jerry B Jenkins ➝ ⃕Rachael M Colbya year ago

I’m here, Rachael, and I think you’re going to be very interested in the announcement we’re making tomorrow–as well as the free webinar I’m hosting Thursday. It would be good to have you join us.

                                    ~~~*~~~

Jerry encourages writers to join a local writer’s group, preferably one led by a published author. So, I called my library and asked if they had such a group. “Yes,” the librarian said. “We have one hosted by local published author, Jack Sheedy.” The first meeting of the newly formed writer’s group was on Thursday January 21st, 2016, the night the webinar Jerry spoke of aired. Desperate to not miss anything, I watched Jerry’s webinar with one earbud in as I attended my first writer’s group. I read Finding My Voice, and The Why of Why I Write, to the group, and decided to join Jerry’s guild that night. I wrote my response to Finding my Voice, one year to the day later, the anniversary of my deciding to stop hiding, commit to writing, and place myself under the leadership of writers who could guide me on my journey.

Jesus is a master weaver. He is the lover of my soul and He remembers our anniversaries. I am honored to write for Him. 🙂