Tell Me Another - from Kaley Rhea

I don’t tend to get attached to things. My nostalgia-o-meter may be broken.

Seriously I’m over here like, First grade macaroni art? That was years ago; let’s let this go. Backyard clubhouse my dad built? This thing is a rotting deathtrap; burn it. A great, great aunt’s collection of fabric scraps? Why do we even have this?

Somebody—I hope—is reading this and nodding with me, thinking Yes, girl. Same. But I know some of you are reading this and going You cold-hearted monster. Okay, I’ll own that.

But lemme tell you a story. My sister Allie has a one-year-old little girl named Emerson. Emerson and I, not to brag, are buddies. So because we’re buddies, not long ago I sat on the floor with her while we watched a kiddie program. As we sat, I found myself getting pulled into this show. I don’t know how it happened.

There was a princess, and she was still learning how to be a princess, and in her moment of victory, I found myself getting choked up. Like I had to pause and take a moment. The emotions in a preschool animated musical got to be too much, and I had to pull up and do some focused breathing. Me. The unsentimentalist.

My buddy, Emerson. Seen here probably making a wise observation about life.

You know who made fun of me in that moment? My grown adult mom and sister. And do you know who else? Nobody else, because Emerson is an emotional person and showed a mature amount of empathy.

All right, it was super funny.

It occurred to me (and Emerson, probably) that I did not become affected when I saw a picture of that animated princess. My eyes didn’t well up when I read the show’s description. Or when I learned her name. Nothing about that silly show came anywhere close to touching me on a deep level until I learned her story. Until I saw her struggle. Until I knew her kind little princess heart.

I do not connect very well or very often to things. But I can connect to a story.

Do you wonder sometimes about the different ways God could’ve chosen to relate to us?

  • ·         He could have said “I am God, and you are human. Worship me.” And that would’ve been right and just. But we wouldn’t have known Him.
  • ·         He could have said, “If you possess this amulet or such and such trinket, or say these words to this statue, you may know My favor.”
  • ·         He could’ve looked at us and been altogether like, “Nah.” But He didn’t.

He gave us His story.

From the beginning of time, through the Old Testament, to the cross, the resurrection, to the revelation, He loves us so much, has such a desire to connect with us, He wrote it down. The places. The people. The evidence. The truth. Does that blow your mind? That blows my mind!

Sometimes I get so caught up in mining the Bible for “What is right in this situation?” and “How does this apply to my life?” that I miss the joy of being swept up by God’s own history. I forget to marvel over and revel in the God who is present in every page, in every story, in every moment He chose specially to preserve for millennia so my human tinymind could process even a fraction of an understanding of who Jesus Christ is. Deep breath.

Am I getting emotional now? Emerson, get the tissues!

Wonder at these things with me:

  • ·         What we have is not a religion of relics we have to search out.
  • ·         What we have is not a boss wearing a nametag or a lord bearing a title instead of providing an introduction.
  • ·         We have a God who gave us His stories.
  • ·         We have a Friend who invites us to know Him.
  • ·         We have a Father who proves He has known us since before we knew anything.

All that gets to this cold-hearted monster’s heart every time.

“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18-22

Livin' in Crazy-Town

Crazy Town. Population: ME.

Don’t worry, it’s a happy place. If you received the first in the revamped Rhonda Rhea newsletter, you might think I was all over the map there. Was I really sharing about three or four different books in one newsletter? Seriously. Who does that? So all over the map, sure, and that map still leads to Crazy Town.

I wanted to share a little bit of what was going on in several ministry projects in that first newsletter. I’m hoping you, my friends, will pray big. And maybe even pray sort of CRAZY. I do have a God who can do the impossible. What seems like Crazy Town to the world can actually be our sweet spot. It can be that place of blessed calling. Our real, Home Sweet Home–but only as we lean in to His power. Oh my. There’s no, no, NO PLACE like home!

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV).

Brainy-thinks from Kaley Rhea

In Messy to Meaningful, my co-authors and I spent some fun (horrifying?) time sorting through our respective junk drawers and relating some of the items we found there to truths of God’s Word.

The junk drawer is quite the adventure. Today I’m thinking about my junk BRAIN.

I’m pretty sure about 78% of my personality is just commercial jingles and irrelevant 90s pop culture references.

It’s so funny to me how my brain is wired to recall the most random,

useless, tidbits of nothing at the drop of a hat. And THOSE are the things that’ll play on a loop in my mind for hours. Like why at any given time am I reciting a pro-thesaurus after-school PSA or rapping all of “Turtle Power” by Partners in Kryme or Duh-doo-da-doodoo-duh-doo-doo-ing the clarinet intro to Diagnosis Murder? (What even was my life in the 90s?) And you know I’ve probably already forgotten what I just said to you, but you can bet I will mentally perform all of Fievel Goes West for NO REASON. (Even while writing this, my brain is just “Give ’em the laaaaazzzzy eye.”)

Yep. I store up a bunch of junk in the ol’ brain bank. My mind is a complicated, disorganized mess of keywords and unknown passphrases that connect to random facts and memories and out-of-context quotes and feelings and snippets.

And I kinda love that. Because sometimes that’s exactly what God uses.

It’s so important in my life that I spend time in the Word. That I get that input. Often. Habitually. That those words–the powerful Words of my Father–stream through my brain. Because those are the words that have the ability to shape and change and sustain. When I’m down or in danger or need to make a decision–or even when I’m just doodling or driving or doing whatev–I need those words playing in my head like a song. I need the Holy Spirit to weave them throughout the chaos in my brain so that each new circumstance or conversation connects in my mind to unshakable and unmistakable truth.

And He’s really good at it.

“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:10-11

“Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16

“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads.” Deuteronomy 11:18

No-regrets decisions...I want those

Regrets. I've had a few. But then again...

No wait. That's a song, not a truth. The real truth is that the times I regret most are the times I did it MY WAY. Focusing in on doing life God's way--oh how much MESSY that sorts out of life.

Monica Schmelter talks about "no-regret decisions" in the little vid, Will it come back in style?

I so appreciate her insights. This is the stuff of life--the stuff that will make the journey sweeter. In each and every byway.

 

Lord, may we lean into Your way of living, intentionally grabbing onto everything You desire for us. We trust You. Not tradition, not man's philosophy, certainly not "our way" in our flesh. We trust Your truth. We trust YOU to take even the messiest and bring about Your great and beautiful purpose.

(Side note, you can find out more about the Messy to Meaningful book here --and about the pre-launch package that's available just a few more days! Plus, you can still get in on some freebie resources and gifts.)

 

 

Rhonda Rhea: How to seek the Lord--Messy to Meaningful

Kaley (daughter and writer-bud) mentioned in our Messy to Meaningful launch team’s Facebook group the other day something about our “Portable Junk Drawer” as women—otherwise known as “The Purse.” It reminded me of part of Chapter 2 in Messy to Meaningful, since I had been rummaging around in my purse and found something I’m pretty sure was chocolate. Found it, so I ate it. Hey, don’t judge. It was chocolate. It wasn’t what I’d been searching for. But again…chocolate. Probably.

I was rummaging around in Scripture too—an entirely different kind of rummage, by the way—and the word “seek” caught my attention. “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4). No search is as vital as this one. It’s a three-pronged search that I never, ever want to overlook. We’re told to:

*seek the Lord,

*seek His strength and

*seek His presence.

And we’re told to do this searching “continually.” It’s a high search. To seek the Lord is to actively desire a connection with Him. It happens through reading His Word, through talking and listening to Him through prayer, through giving Him attention through worship—and through keeping fervent our desire to know Him more and more.

I want to keep my searches ever-inside His will for me.

… And okay, on a different level, I want to keep my “probably chocolate” ever-inside its wrappers.

 

 

 

Rhonda Rhea on Lessons from the Junk Drawer– Lord, grow my faith.

That junk drawer. Most of us have stuffed pieces of our past in that thing. Items we can’t seem to let go of—some we hold onto for absolutely no good reason—and items we think we might need later. The funny thing is, you hardly ever plan a junk drawer. Want it or not, that junk collection is happening.

The collection happens in our lives too. As a matter of fact, we can hold on to so much junk that it becomes tough to fit in the good things the Lord is calling us to.

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Father, teach us to get rid of the junk we don’t need. Build our faith, teach us to trust You to bring meaning and purpose from our messes. May we lean ever harder into Your grace. All through, and for, and because of…JESUS, amen.

Rhonda Rhea on Monica Schmelter, the Personality

Because life gets messy, we all need a reminder that even the mess can have meaning. And it's launch time! If you want to join the team comment below or inbox me.

Reminded often. I’m reminded often of the redemptive power of my heavenly Father. Not only have I seen Him take messy people and create beauty and purpose, but I’ve experienced it firsthand myself.

Monica Schmelter, TV personality and General Manager of Christian Television Network’s WHTN in Nashville, tells that story too–and tells it beautifully.

The truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17 is earth-shaking, life-impacting–glorious! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (ESV).

I can’t begin to tell you how tickled my daughter and writer-buddy, Kaley Rhea, and I have been to get to team up with Monica Schmelter on the book project, Messy to Meaningful, with TV goodies coming soon as well. God’s redemptive power? We’re finding we get as excited about reminding others of that power as we do experiencing it. Go figure!

Monica Schmelter on Holding On & Letting Go

Just one look at my junk drawer and you’ll see that I clearly have a problem with letting go.

This tendency to hold on started in childhood. I didn’t want to discard old toys, even if pieces were missing. I had hopes I would find those missing pieces someday. You just never know.

In adulthood, that tendency to hold on presents certain complexities. For my junk drawer, it means I have trouble closing it completely. In my personal life, it means my head and heart overflow with strong and often contradictory emotions and thoughts.

Here are some of the signs I encounter when it’s time to declutter my life:

  • I am upset, but I can’t pinpoint why.
  • I am easily irritated.
  • I am grouchy.

Actually, the list is much longer than that, but I will spare you those details. The whole holding and letting go dance is just one of the reasons I joined up with mother-daughter writing duo (Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea) to write the book, Messy to Meaningful. We all shared the struggle of “messy” and the desire to sort through life and find the meaningful.

That struggle is not unique. Life comes at all of us at a frantic pace. We juggle car pools, school, work, life groups, church and — well, you fill in the next blank because the list is endless.

With all that juggling, of course, we drop a few balls. We get thrown a few curve balls. It’s not easy. It can be messy. With God’s help and a community of supportive friends, we find can perspective and meaning.

I put together a 7-Day Declutter Your Life Challenge to help us get started on our Messy to Meaningful journey. The challenge is easy to follow and understand. It’s also my gift to you.

Let’s get started on this challenge. I’d love to hear how the challenge goes for you. What day was your favorite part of the challenge and why?

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