Monday, March 18, 2019

Holding Your Head up in Church When You Feel Like You’re Being judged





In my last post I talked about resolving to stay with my church, and that resolve was not without more times of testing and trials.  Testing comes in many forms.  Like when you feel like you’re being judged and you don’t really know how to handle it.   Not in a godly manner anyway.  Especially when you’re a new Christian or when you’ve just found the courage to walk into a church.   It’s the thing that keeps a lot of people from going to church in the first place.  “The church is full of hypocrites” or so I have heard.  I didn’t want anyone judging how I lived my life.   It was not until I truly saw my need for Jesus that I was able to get over that and go to church. 

When I was a new convert, only attending services for a couple of weeks, I wore a red skirt just above my knees, 3-inch red high heels, red sleeveless sweater and a red jacket.   It was near valentine’s day.   I thought I looked good.  This was an outfit that I wore regularly to work in a professional office.  My nails were long and painted red too.  I had been so happy to go to church that day! I wanted to be there with my girls in their dresses and my husband in his suit.  I was not trying to turn heads at all.   But I did, and it was mostly the “church women” who looked at me.  I saw them.  I saw their eyes.  I saw their little gasps.  I felt “dirty” somehow.    I wouldn’t talk to anybody. Not because I was new, but because I felt them staring.  I wouldn’t dare go up during the altar call that day.  I didn’t want to go back the next week either, but my husband talked me into it.   He said I looked good to him and that was all that mattered.   I don’t believe I ever wore that to church again.  I also didn’t think it was revealing.  Maybe it was just too red. 

Later that year, I had begun working in the nursery.  At the time, it was required of moms of babies to work one service per month. One Sunday morning when I was scheduled to work, a leader came up to me and gave me a hug. She openly, and loudly, smelled my hair.   She turned to the other leader and said, “I don’t smell it.”   I, being who I was, said “What the h---?”    They were so shocked by my response that they could hardly explain themselves!  Finally, one of them said, "we thought you’d been smoking."  The truth is I was still smoking.  I hadn’t been delivered from that yet. Honestly, at that time I was not trying to be.  God was working on so many things in my life that it just wasn’t an issue.  However, I wasn’t about to admit to them that I was still smoking.   Had I been approached in love, maybe I would have admitted, and then they could have prayed for me. I wanted to run out of there.  I worked that morning anyway but couldn’t wait to light up a cigarette on the way home! 

There are so many other instances I could tell you about.  But I think you get the idea from these two stories.  It just doesn’t matter to me anymore whether people are judging me or not. Maybe that comes with age, or with Jesus, or both.  Maybe there is truth to the “judging” or maybe not.  I just know that there is a tendency to feel judged.   It could be coming from people who think they have “arrived.”   On the other hand, it could be that God is dealing with sin, and in our little minds we think that “everyone knows.” We feel like we’re being judged when really it’s the conviction of the Holy Spirit and we should take heed.      

We must fight this feeling and not run out of the church.  We need to look at and judge the situation ourselves.  Is there a reason?  Is it founded? Are we still smoking? Either way we need to hold on.  Hold our head up and keep serving God.  Trust that he will bring us through.  If people are being judgmental then that is on them.  We correct what the Holy Spirit is calling to our attention and leave the rest alone.  We need to learn from it.  If we hold on and get rooted there will come a time when the Holy Spirit will have us bring something to the attention of someone else. We need to know how to do it.  We should be helping and not hurting each other.  "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.  But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." Galatians 6:1.  If we are to correct one another it should be done in love, so the other person does not feel judged, but rather led to go further into the Kingdom of Grace.  It isn’t easy.    

The point is, we all have judged (admit it) and been judged.  But Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 -2 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." The problem is, there are people in church.  People are made of flesh and the flesh is weak.  The solution is what we do with the problem. The last thing we want to do is get an attitude and leave!  Let God, through his Holy Spirit, change you and mold you into who he wants you to be.  Know that God can’t do that if we leave the place He has put us.

(I am happy to share that I was delivered from smoking cigarettes on August 1, 1997! I had smoked a half of a cigarette about a week later, because I thought I needed it.   I quickly realized I didn’t. I threw it, and the rest of the pack, out of the car window as I was driving.   To God be the Glory!)


Monday, March 11, 2019

Holding your head up in church when you feel shame



In my previous post I talked about resolving to stay with my church and serving God through that ministry.  That decision did not come without times of testing and trials.   Funny thing is when we are in a trial, we often don’t realize it until we are on the other side.  We just know that life is really hard at that moment.  Sometimes a more mature Christian will help us to realize and pray us through it.   I think that is one reason why God’s Word says to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatian 6:2, NKJV.   We can’t make it alone.  We would just as soon throw in the towel than go through some of this stuff.   Before we knew Jesus, we would have handled things very differently.   And not in good ways.   Just imagine yourself handling some of the rough spots of life without Jesus.  I for one would have gotten drunk to numb the reality only to have to deal with it later.   Whatever the “it” was.  I would have made decisions that I’m sure I would’ve regretted later.   One such a time for us was when we learned our daughter was pregnant.

I remember like it was yesterday, calling my pastor and having to tell him that my 15-year-old daughter was pregnant.  My husband and I were co-leading the Sunday School Ministry with another couple. We thought our Pastor was going to tell us we had to leave the church, or in the least step down from the ministry.   We also thought we would make it easier for him by just offering to leave.   In our minds, we would leave our beloved church with our heads down and tail between our legs.  What a shame we were, leading a children’s ministry and our very own child was pregnant at such a young age.   So that’s what we did, we called our pastor and told him we were sorry for being “’bad examples” and that we would not come back.    His response, in part was, “You will not!  Do not give the devil the victory by leaving the very place that God placed you!”   He didn’t even require us to step-down from co-leading the children’s ministry.  He showed us such mercy and grace.   


You may be scoffing or wondering why we would ever feel that way.  We were going to be first time grandparents after all!  Or maybe you’ve had something similar happen and you too felt like such a failure.   We felt like failures as parents, and ministry leaders.   The devil was quick to jump on our emotions and exploit them.   He caused us to feel shame for our situation.  We struggled with all of this for a short time, but after the initial tears were shed, and words were said, we prayed and let God rule.   He was still on the throne no matter our circumstance.   We loved our daughter in spite of what was happening.   She was 4 months along when we learned she was pregnant and delivered a short time later at just 7 months.  Our grandson was born weighing only 2 lbs 6 oz.  During what seemed like a “brief” pregnancy we held our heads up and went to church anyway.   We served God with an even greater zeal then before.  When we went to service, we lifted our hands high and praised God anyway.  We sat together as a family. We protected our daughter as best we could from hurtful words. It was hard when other Mom’s didn’t want their daughters hanging around ours anymore.   Yet God brought new friends into her life.   When we were working in ministry, we worked.  We knew that others were thinking the same thoughts we had had.  But we gave it our best to serve God and our church family with all we had to offer, anyway.    We stopped the “rumor mill” in its tracks by simply announcing it ourselves.  It was done, and it wasn’t changing.   God was holding our hands and completed a quick work of grace in our lives.  He had grace for us.  We had grace for our daughter.    God knew we were going to need our church family to pray and surround us with faith and love during this time.  And this unborn child?  Well he was a plan of God.    Jeremiah 1:5  says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”  There was absolutely no reason for us to feel “shame” except by the worlds standards and the enemies lies. 

“Don’t give the devil the victory by leaving the very place that God has placed you!”  These words from our Pastor have stuck with us through many trials.  The devil has and will probably continue to shoot his fiery darts at us.  We know he would like nothing more than to move us and you out of God’s will.   If you are out of his will then you can’t do anything to further the Kingdom of God.   You get wrapped up in you, your feelings, your self-pity and you can’t hear what God is saying to you.  Is this  the church God has put you?  He didn’t change his mind did he? Don’t let the devil make you think he did.   Hold your head up.   Go to church.   Lift your hands a little higher.  Praise a little louder.   Pray a little harder.   Serve as if your life depends on it, because it does.   God didn’t change his mind.   He puts us in places where we can be taught, if we’ll allow it.   Our first grandson just celebrated his 16th birthday, he is saved and serving God right along side of us, in this same church!  To God be the Praise! He is good, we just need to let him be God!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Holding your head up in church when…




It breaks my heart when I hear that someone has left my church.  I’m quick to say “oh no” but I no longer ask why.   Truth is I don’t want to know.  I know that there are many reasons for leaving a congregation. There are legitimate reasons and there are reasons that are just excuses. People move. People church hop. People don’t want to be rooted. Some are just looking for the next best thing. Some don’t want others to get too close for fear of exposure. Some are not letting God lead. Some have been hurt and think it’s beyond repair. There are those that leave because families have split up. Sometimes people have “fall outs” much like getting a divorce. Sometimes the Bible is not being preached and saved people are waking up to it. Some are just stubborn and stiff necked and won’t take correction. And others are just full of pride, letting their flesh decide.  There are more reasons than I can name. Whatever the reasons are, and whether they are “legit” or not, you decide.   But be sure to count the cost of leaving before you go.   It will disrupt, and in some cases destroy families. It will affect your children. It affects others in the church, especially new Christians.  You may not realize it but there are people that look up to you.  Where you go to church is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Even if you choose to not go to church. Not to say that you “have” to go to church to make heaven your eternal home. But as Christians, we’re supposed to be rooted. Church is where we learn and grow in all things spiritual.  Hebrews 10:25 KJV “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  When you’ve really given yourself to Jesus you want to be around other Christians, you want to know more, be more, experience more.  Your eternal destiny is at stake.

When God puts you in a church, you know it. He doesn’t later change his mind as the enemy would have you believe. He knows where he wants to "plant" you so you can grow spiritually. Jeremiah 17:8 KJV  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not  fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” 

It is too easy these days to not get “planted.” Some people just keep themselves in a bucket and never put down roots.  There are churches on every corner, or so it seems. Just like gas stations and convenience stores. If you don’t like this one, go to another one. This one is offering free coffee with a fill up and that one you can have a donut and a coffee...and so it goes. It’s marketing. And we are caught in the middle. We can pick up our "bucket" and move it from place to place, get a little watering here and there but never get planted. We need to choose and stay with the one. The one that God has sent you to. The one that preaches truth, from the Word of God, where the leaders are open and honest and real people.   Test it.  Read your bible and listen to what the Pastors are preaching.   Does it line up? 




I had been saved and serving God in my church for more than a few years when someone very dear to me left.  Other people had come and gone during that time and I paid no mind to it.   This was someone to whom I looked up to during those formative years as a new Christian. I emulated her, I wanted to be “as Christian” as she was.  It broke my heart.   I just couldn’t understand.   And I found out she left through someone else.  I was devastated.  She didn’t even tell me!  I questioned my own attendance at this church.   I thought if she left, maybe I should I leave too.   It sounds almost as if I was making her my God.  I assure you I wasn’t.   I had just come from a place where I didn’t have Christian examples in my life and looked to her as a teacher.   I was just a new convert.   And to top it off when I asked her about it, she said “I can’t believe you don’t understand.” And then she said, “we can serve God anywhere.”  True, but it hurt.    And like I said earlier I questioned my own attendance at my church.   The church where I knew God put me and where I was first saved, baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.   The Holy Spirit.   That’s how I got through this confusing time.    God doesn’t bring confusion. The enemy does.   I knew I was where I was supposed to be and from that moment on, I decided that this was my church, I had no intentions of leaving, and was going to get involved and stay involved.    It was a resolve that I had to make.   Making that decision then is what helped me get through lots of trials.   It helped me to grow spiritually.  I have since learned that God doesn’t just place us in a congregation for our own good, but also for the good of someone else.  You don’t know who you are influencing, or who comes from afar and is encouraged because you’re still there.  And I can say I’m still resolved to stay.  I don’t have intentions of leaving.  I won’t say I’ll never leave, because we just don’t know what the future holds, but I don’t intend to leave.   I love my church and my church family. Since that time, God has brought many other strong Christian women into my life who I look up to. I am involved and plan on staying involved.   


In the following weeks I will be sharing stories of how I was able to “hold my head up at church” during the different trials we have been through.   God knows that I know, we are not done.   There will be more trials I’m sure.   But God is on my side.  My desire in sharing these stories is to help even just one, to have a change of heart, and not leave the church where God has put you. My intention is not to make anyone feel condemned or to stay in a place where they feel they are being abused in some way, but rather to see Christians grow and be strong and be who God has called them to be.

See Part 2 Holding Your Head up when you feel shame 
and Part 3 Holding Your Head up when you feel judged 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Something New is coming





Miss Jo's Shabby Life is turning a corner.  The content of my blog, and other social media platforms is changing but the name remains the same because it still fits.  My life is still shabby.  It’s worn, faded, imperfect, frayed in places and has lots of scratches and dents.  But more than that it’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s forgiving, filled with love, caring and most of all Grace.  His Grace. 

My hope is that you’ll stay with me as I find my writing voice, but if you chose not to that’s okay. God called me to Write.  I’ve been writing for myself all of my life.  It’s therapeutic.  Now I’m to share what I write with others.  I know my writing won’t resonate with all of you, but if just one person has a change of heart then it’s worth it.  What matters to me is that I am doing what I’m called to do.  Stay close.  In a few days I will share the first story in a series I’m calling “Holding Your Head Up” 

My blog is changing by adding to it and not necessarily taking anything away.   I will still occasionally post about my booth, treasure hunting and tea cups.   If you'd like to be notified of my future posts please follow my blog through my email list or bloglovin'.  You will find both on the right sidebar.    





Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spring 2018 Tea Cup Exchange Reveal!


I know I'm a bit late at sharing my reveal ~ please forgive me!  It seems that life has gotten the best of me lately.  I'll save all of the details for another post.  On top of it all I had gotten a new, upgraded everything, computer earlier this year and wasn't familiar with how to upload and download, etc.  I forgot about that until just the other day as I sat down to post this!  No wonder I stopped posting in February!  Technology!  

In the midst of all of my goings on I came home one day to find this beautiful package on my doorstep!  I was like a little girl at Christmas time and couldn't get the box opened fast enough!  



I did, however, pause to take a picture so all could see how carefully and beautifully wrapped everything in the abundant package was!  But let me stop right here and say a HEARTFELT Thank You Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose  for taking the time to organize such a wonderful international event!  


I received my package from Michele at The Nest at Finch Rest and she took such care to wrap everything, it was wonderful to open such a package.  


And just look at all of the beautiful gifts she sent me!  My, my, my, I feel so spoiled.  Michele must have read through my blog to know that I love roses, pinks, and vintage linens! 


I just adore this beautiful pink tea cup - which came from her personal collection.   I love the gilding on it, it is just striking with the pink!


And this oh so gorgeous snack plate.  What a beauty!  

This cute little teapot tack pin I've already worn on my jacket lapel and the teapot charm will be a fun addition to my bracelet.   The pewter shoe though!  How adorable is that?  It will, for the most part, be perched on the shelf in my office, but I couldn't help but use it not too long ago as a game piece when playing monopoly with my Grands!  LOL!  Why not?  




Michele also gave me a book to read "Tea Shop Folly,"  beautiful napkins, and notecards.  


There was also a tin of Sweet Rose tea, a candle, a beautiful bar of soap, and her handmade cards with a sweet note to me, whew!   See why I felt so spoiled?


I just had to show you this embroidered linen table runner close up - isn't it just charming!


I recently hosted a tea party for one of my 5 (soon to be 6) granddaughters and we used the napkins that Michele sent!  They matched perfectly with the butterfly plates we had!



The recipient of my package was Kitty at  Kitty's Kozy Kitchen.   I had such fun putting this together for her and then she turned around and sent me a thank you gift of her handmade Lavender Soap!  It smells so good, I've only been using it sparingly so it will last longer!  Thank you Kitty!  You are too sweet! 





Saturday, February 10, 2018

All dressed up for Valentine's 2018

Come on in!  I'm so glad you were able to stop by my blog today.  
Let me show you around my "tea" room and specifically how it's decorated for Valentine's Day. 
This little bear was a gift from my SW (Sweet William - my honey) some years ago.  The bear is pretty much a fixture on the this shelf.  Right now he's in charge of holding that Valentine card. 
These sweet heart shaped plates with cherubs are always on display in here.   Cupid comes out after Christmas.   I have been known to leave him on display for months after Valentines.  It's the romantic in me! 


My SW finds the prettiest cards for me and I do save them all.  He writes such sweet sentiments in them.  I cherish each and every one.  These two love bird angels are actually a vase, for a start or single flower.  I've not used it for such yet.  Maybe some day. 

I've tucked away several cards in this metal envelope.   It is all so sweet.   

Some have told me that my tea room always reminds them of Valentine's Day.  It's not a bad thing I hope.  I really am a Romantic and love all things soft, lacy, and lovely.  It's a good thing my SW doesn't mind.  


I do put away all of the Valentine cards every year.  I get to enjoy them all over again when decorating my tea room.  

I felt like this post wouldn't be complete without sharing a Valentine Tea!  What fun is this little find?   I just recently found the teapot at the Goodwill.  I've had the cups for several years.  The red matches so perfectly.   How about some sweet cinnamon tea? 

And look at this sweet little card I found at World Market.   I love the cut out it is so delicate.  

So the pillows aren't really Valentine's and neither are the paper roses but they are looking so pretty in my sunroom right now I had to share.  Let's sit awhile and enjoy some tea here. 





I'll be heading over to Jan Olson's
to check out all of the other Valentine's Day Décor.  


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Black Tea Cup Collection


There's more to my life than tea cups ... really.  Someday I'll show you.  But right now I really want to share these beautiful black tea cups with you.  Do you have black tea cups?  Do you like them?




This Royal Albert was the first black tea cup I ever saw.  I found it an Antique store in Seattle, Washington more then a few years ago. I was just in awe of it and it started my search for more.  Of course, I can find them online.  But I can't afford the asking price! I did make a bid for one at Goodwill Auction online once.  My little bid was $45.00, which was making very uncomfortable but I wanted that cup. I had to let it go though, it eventually sold for over $250.00! Wow!



So naturally, I was delighted to find these Johnson Brothers for, ahem, .49 cents a piece!  More my speed. 


This hand-painted jaw dropper was found at an antique store in Florence, Colorado.  The tea set was a local Goodwill find.  All of it for under $20.00.   I love to put the black pieces all together. It makes a striking display - do you think? 


I also have these.  They are all Royal Albert and the one in the middle is the same one you see in the second picture. I have not used all of these, yet.  I think I used the one from Seattle once.  I've used the tea pot.  I will eventually use the others, I believe we should use the pretty things and enjoy them, don't you?  Tea tastes soooo much better in a fine china cup and makes you feel special while using it.  Or is that just me?

Today I'm joining these parties:
Share Your Cup
Home Sweet Home 



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