Sunday, June 12, 2016

No Soul Left Behind

Woke up this morning to the news of tragedy in Orlando.

We live in a world in desperate need of saving, my friends.

I literally just wrote in an (unrelated) blog this morning that there is so much beauty in this world in spite of all the tragedy... and there is so much tragedy in this world in spite of all the beauty.

Today I sit in one of the most peaceful places I know reading about tragedy that is so far from peace.  An emotional contradiction of dynamic measure.

It's hard.  We all live this daily.  You simply have to live and breathe to understand.

We can be caught up in the bliss of precious living one moment and all out brought to our knees by the evil around us in another.

Friends, the end days are truly upon us.

I don't say that in a creepy way.  It's just the truth. This deal can't keep going like this for long.

And the end days? The end days are only hopeful if you know where you will spend forever --- and that those you love will go with you.

We can only walk boldly and unapologetically in this world with eternal hope if we know the One who makes it possible.  We don't have to fear the evil we see plaguing our world when we know the One who has eternal victory over it all.

For me personally, I want everyone I know to be frequent flyers at my mansion. Okay? And I want your friends and family and THEIR friends and family to come by, too.

No soul left behind.  That is the goal.

When we know Jesus, it changes things.  The happenings on this side of heaven may ravage our hearts, but the evil one cannot take our internal joy that is far from circumstantial.

I want that for you.  I want that for my kids.  I want that for souls who saw too much and will be forever changed by last night.  I want it for their families that mourn such unfathomable losses today.

I want that for my country.

Today my prayer is that God pours an infusion of love where there is a deficit of it today.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will stir up so much overwhelming outreach that everyone sees the love of Christ over the conversations of hate.  I pray that those who have done these crimes will be brought to justice- and that the evil that exists in their sphere of influence will go back to hell where it came from.

Lord, this was finished at the cross. Let us all be reminded that evil has not won.

Yesterday.  Today.  Tomorrow.  All covered by the Savior who already paid the price for us.  May we choose Him.

❤️- Christie Aitken, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 


Salt, Son, and Rhythms of Grace

Each summer we venture to a little vacation spot that is what I call Mayberry at the Beach.  It's only 17 miles long.  That's it.  There are no traffic lights. It's simplicity, ease, and grace year round... and we need the time we spend here so much.  We always learn something about ourselves, others, and God's beautiful creation.

This year we met two beautiful families.

One family had nine kids ranging from 9 months old to 16 years old.  They were from Louisiana and the most delightful people.  The parents were calm and attentive.  Not once did they seem scattered or thrown off.  The children were engaged and having so much fun.   My little one instantly gravitated to them.   So did I.  There was something to be learned here.  Even though they traveled with only 7 kids on this day, they seemed so at peace and content.

One of the little girls came up to me and proudly proclaimed that she was the "*Jamie holder." (Jamie is the baby brother.) You could see in her sparkling eyes that she was being allowed to work in her area of gifting within the family, and she felt very important because of it.

There was the active, "watch this" kiddo.  He was the guy that loves wrestling and throwing sand occasionally.... just for the joy of being a boy outside by the ocean. 😊  My guy and him got along quite well.  They had the most fun, and I guarantee you left with the most beach in their hair and swimsuits by day's end.  His parents didn't hover over him, but let him be him until it was intrusive on another.  Mom walked by at one point and just casually said, "Hey, our boys are throwing sand at each other." (I saw them but was waiting to see if it was to be a fight or play time.)

Because of the calmness of their parenting, it was so nice to just walk into the sandstorm of our kids and lovingly redirect them to using their sand with a bit more intent on castles instead of each other. 😳😎

It was just so nice to see parents who expected their kids to be kids, but also expected the goodness in them.  They defaulted to good instead of looking for ways to find ouch moments.

The other family we met was a mom and so who traveled to the beach together while dad worked.  The son was 5 years old and fantastically spunky. He had emerging vocabulary, and was definitely leaning to use it well.  The cutest thing ever.  As my youngest and him played, his mom explained to me their journey of adoption.  They first received their son into their home and hearts at the age of 3 weeks. At age five, they are still waiting finalization of the adoption.  She explained that while the process was long and arduous, it was so worth is.... he had changed their lives.  They are seeking to adopt again, and I saw this Mama's eyes shine as she talked about the little one that is right now simply a dream in the heart of her family.  Simply beautiful.

There was one family that we did not meet, however.  They were at the beach a day before us, and they left their hearts on that beach.  The day before we went to the beach, a family lost their two year old there.  The undertow was simply too strong.

I didn't learn if this until the end of our time there, but it brought me to my knees.

I don't have any words to explain this.  It made me want to hold my kids so much closer.  To take them to the bayside where there is no undertow. Where there are no waves.  It made me want to tuck them away from life and keep them in the safeguard of all the safe places.  Never to see the places in life that might test their strength -- or mine.

My instincts were to take control of all of the variables... and it felt heavy, burdened, and scary. Such a far cry from where we had just been.

I prayed and God brought me this verse.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything
heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I will confess, this family's loss felt heavy. Ill fitting.  Just not okay.

It was too much for me, and I didn't even know them.

But God does.

So, I left this beach with a real life lesson on how to trust His hand in the lives of my kids.  This world in all of its beauty, has trouble.  And this world in all of its trouble has beauty.

Both ends of the spectrum are too much for me to carry on my own.  My mind can't comprehend it all.

God has offered to let me find rhythms of grace while He does the heavy lifting. He promises that regardless of what's going on around us, we can live freely and lightly.  I'm pretty sure that's the only way I can raise kids in this world.  With his help. With his strength. With his promise.

I ask that you pray for each of the families I've mentioned here.  Each with their own journeys.  So different, and yet so much the same.

And after that? I ask that you look around your world and pray specifically for families.  Pray for those you admire, and those you are in the trenches with.  Pray for those that you see struggling, and those with unthinkable burdens.

Pray for my family, if you will, too.

I'm definitely praying for yours.

We are in this together, friends.  Whether we are at Mayberry at the Beach, or the day to day life of our normal world.

Be salt.  Be light.  Be in this thing together.  God, first.  We follow.

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

I'm Praying For You

Teachers - I just want you to know I'm praying for you tonight.  I long for the day when each and every one of you can walk into your classes and teach to the heart and mind of the child in front of you.  No outside stresses.  Just teaching for the love of teaching.

I pray on the days when the stress creeps in that you will continue rising above it as only you can do in order to raise up life long learners.

I pray for simplistic days for your room full of intricate questions and joyful declarations from the most glorious of minds. Days where the love of learning shines brighter than any red tape that seeks to confine it.  Days when you walk out of your room and say, "Thank you, Lord, for picking me... and for letting me come back tomorrow to do it all again."

That's my prayer for you tonight.  More connecting.  Less constraints.  Simplicity.  Students who adore your love for them and seek the knowledge that flows freely from every moment that has you in it.  Thank you for who you are and Whose you are!

Parents- I'm praying for you.  All of you.  Your hearts and the dreams that you have for the kids that you love.

Tonight, I am particularly praying for those of you wrapping up year end plans for IEPs, 504s, transition years, and more.  I'm praying for people around you that see the child before the file that tells about the child.

I'm praying for your heart as you look at data and stats that tell you places of need for your child, and that you consider those-- but that you stare at the magnificence that is your child even more.

I'm praying that after the meeting you make a plan to take your child for ice cream or to play at the park.  That you take your teenager to Starbucks.  That you take yourself to a quiet place.

I'm praying that you take a minute to grieve what hurts when hurt rears its head, and that you step forward on the new ground of promise and hope for the child entrusted to your care... because His mercies are new every morning.  Even this one.

There is no cap on what your child can do, as they were created by the One who knows no limits.  He tells the ocean where to stop and start.  Surely He hasn't called us out into waters that He cannot control?  I'm believing for Red Sea moments for you.  Parted waters. Clear paths.  Confident hearts.

I'm praising with you and for you that He is enough, and that means we don't have to be.  I pray you lean in.  Hard and heavy.  Just lean.


Tonight I'm praying for your learners like I'm praying for mine.  That the scholars in your home feel a burning inside that calls them to their personal best and the Jeremiah 29:11 plan that God created them to fulfill!

May they learn to lead and follow with the wisdom of the One who will never lead them astray.

May they be drawn to those who call on You.

May they be those who do the same.

In Jesus' name- Amen

❤️ - Christie Aitken, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Daily Bread Style Vacation

Give us this day our DAILY bread.  That's what Jesus asked our Father to give him.  Just bread for THAT day.

Gotta be honest and tell you that this week we've had some needs that booted my prayer requests into the unknowns of next month instead of God's PROMISE for today.

Ever been there?

Shoulders in my ears.  Stressed to the hilt. Straight up worried about needs being met when I KNOW that my Daddy owns it all.

The devil likes to take us there.  He likes to KEEP us there.  And there will always be something to qualify a stay in the Land of Worry.

If we choose it, though, there is always rock solid PROOF to keep us in the joy and strength of the promise of THIS DAY.

The vacation is the day that we are already in.  How amazing is that!

Vacation with me. Daily bread style. 😎⛱☀️

❤️- Christie Aitken, 2016
Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bare Stage Moments and Motion

We have students from all over Alabama traveling to various Church of the Highlands campuses for "Motion Night" this evening.

My son is among them, and I could not be more delighted.  This is the "youth group" I spent time on my knees praying for....

This is an amazing effort where once a month students and student leadership gather, and the love-language of a generation is spoken as God's word is relayed to them.

Lives are changing.  Students are growing.  Leaders are being created.

It's phenomenal.

This Mama has prayers for tonight.  Specifically for THIS night.  They are pretty simple, but I'd ask you to stand with me in praying them.

1- that our students and adults going tonight have safe passage from every corner of this state & back

2- that their hearts are brought closer to Jesus and the HOPE that is Christ will be on repeat

3- that each and every person there feel "part of" a family of believers invested in them personally

But EVEN MORE than each of these, I'm praying this.....

4- I pray that every person there feel accepted by the One who loves them when all of the crowds are gone.  I pray they feel DRAWN and HELD BY God himself.

I want them to walk out of these church campuses tonight feeling like they are divinely chosen for a purpose that only THEY can bring on this side of heaven... because the Creator of the Universe orchestrated it to be so.

I want them to have a longing to RUN to Jesus with every question, heart's desire, and more.

I want them to be connected in a way that they can't shake off....
When the LIKES on social media have diminished...
When the friends at school are nowhere to be found...
When no one is cheering their name....

I want them to have a bare stage moment.... 

and I want them to feel Jesus sitting in that chair beside them.

There's a Sandi Patty sound from MY youth that explains this "bare stage" concept perfectly.  

Pray for our kids, friends.  

Your kid.
My kid.
The kids of your friends.
That kid that hasn't made it to us, yet.   
ALL of the kids.
Pray for them.  All of them.

And cover the folks that lead them.... cover them in prayers of epic proportions.

This generation needs us, but they need our Jesus even more.
See, when WE are all gone-- when the stage is bare- HE will remain.

Hit your knees with me?

Christie Aitken

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Only Heaven Can Heal {{Suicide- Those Left Behind}}

Today I'm praying for people in a place that I remember far too well...

For a loss that most can't comprehend, and a pain that only Heaven can heal. 

The hugs today may feel like oxygen in some moments, and may smother in another. 

Hug anyway.

The tears today may cleanse in one moment, and sting in another.

Let them flow anyway.

People may say all the wrong things and stumble in their efforts to love today.

Love them anyway.

Today is hard. Crazy hard. Life will always be marked by what it looked like before this day and after this day.

I promise you, though, that it will be even more marked by the Grace that holds you today, the Promise that holds your gaze for every tomorrow, and the Hope that anchors you for eternity.

Praying for you all today. Family, friends, acquaintances. All of you. May you feel held by the only one who can heal this gaping heart hurt.

No matter how you get there today, just love on repeat. It will sustain you. #TheGreatestOfThese

Christie Aitken, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Like the Only Child He Has.... REST

Some days we need to step back from it all and do a little self care. Today's that day for me.

My oldest son is getting a "big sis" day complete with church, serving, and his small group. He's grown into quite the young man.  I love his heart.

My youngest is getting a movie and games day with a Just Mommy & Me small group at the house tonight. (Bible story of his choice with 8 zillion questions, I'm certain.)  His questions keep ME growing in God's emoticon

And me? I am soaking up all of the praise music I can while taking care of me. Sometimes we just need the quiet. God MADE US to crave those moments with Him. It's what allows us to give out of the overflow when life is wonderfully loud, full, and ninety to nothing.

I hope you hear this and hold it in your heart....

It's OKAY to slow down, my friends.

Do you ever get to remind yourself of that, too? smile emoticon

It's okay to slow down as long as we don't isolate and stay there alone. Because as much as we were created for the quiet places with Him, we were also created for relationships with His kids and the iron-sharpens-iron community of the local church.

It's a balance... and I pray to never forget it.

Church tonight online (we never have to miss a week, friends! - what a beautiful ministry are our online small groups, ministries, and services in ALL of our churches).

My schoolwork is done for this week, and graduation is almost here.  I can hardly believe how fast these times are flying by!

Coffee, prayers, and organizing in the now... because each make me smile. heart emotico Just for today, a Sabbath in my jeans, tee shirt, and ponytail. 

And I suppose that is my prayer for YOU....

Wherever you are having YOUR Sabbath day (a day of rest with God), I pray that it makes you smile and that you feel His presence there.

Let Him love on you like you're the only kid He has. His love is big enough for just that. heart emoticon I promise.

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved.