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. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Hope You Need It, Too

Words matter.... in person and on paper.

Words matter. Even on social networking where we can opt for saying whatever comes to our minds (backed by lots of cheerleading, and cushioned by the ease of minimal immediate repercussions).

But hurt people hurt people.

And the "least of these" is very easily all of us on any given day.

We forget that last part, I think.

We forget that it's only by God's grace that any of us can lift our heads to type anything.

We forget that the One who "made mouths" thought it worthy to even give us one...

And as a result of such forgetting, we misuse our gift right and left.

So I ask, do we truly want to expend that God-given grace launching assaults and criticism on those just trying to get through life on this side of heaven in one piece, too?

Do we really want to reek of chaos when we were created for the consuming aroma of grace?

May we think - maybe even pray- before we assume, judge, or look down on another.

Chances are if we take it to the prayer level, judging won't ever take place ... because we will find too much compassion there.

We will find love so great that we cannot go down in the flames of the one that hates our souls enough to put us in places of emotional contention with one another.

We will see Jeremiah 29:11 plans for lives beyond our own. Never seeking to show how "bad" or quick witted we can be, but always seeking to show how GOOD our God is.

When we hit our knees, I believe we will find many logs to pull from our own eyes.
So many that we won't have time to worry about that speck in our neighbor's line of sight.

I believe introspection of self is called for long before pointing fingers at another, no matter where our chair is positioned in the room of life.

What I've written here.  Please know that it isn't me preaching to anything but the choir of my own heart.

This sinner saved by outrageous grace has seen a lot of hurt on display.  Up close and personal.
Recognized it. Felt it. Have been at the receiving end before.

But watching it play out in the life of another has reminded me.

As I watched I could taste the venom. Read the hate. Feel the knee jerk need to retaliate. All infectious in the worst way possible.

And  I cannot speak or write another day - not one more moment- without consulting the One who made this mouth and Who blessed me with these words.  I cannot remain quiet when all of hell is dancing as God's kids beat each other up.  Verbally. Emotionally. Physically.

Maybe it helps another. Maybe it's just for me.  Either way, this student has learned.  I can't walk with anything outside of grace. I'm just too human and need it too much.

I hope you need it, too.

Christie Aitken, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Joy That's Coming

You know those times something comes back around and you think "Really, Lord? I'm trying so hard to walk where you've called me."

Personally, I know God and I have had the Red Tape convo.

"Lord, I'm too tired for another pile of red tape. Will it always be this hard for Your will to be done on this side of heaven?"

Friends, let me just say that the answer He continues to give me is that the good to come far exceeds the opposition of today.

Why is there a continual push against walking in His will? A constant complication to doing good on this side of heaven?

Because all of hell wants us to cop out with an excuse.  

If we are too tired, they just don't understand, and it's just too hard (insert your excuse of choice here), we quit walking to the places to which God asks us to travel.

The hands and feet of the Almighty collapse into a pitiful little puddle, and the world doesn't hear the message of Ultimate Love and Amazing Grace.

Someone in your circle of influence won't hear the message that YOU have been specifically created to share.

Is that really an option?

No. No it's not.

So we continue in His good.  

Because we can do hard things with His help.

Jesus did hard things.  He did all of the hard things.

He met continual opposition, too.

See, for all who delighted in the reason for which God sent him, many more pushed against Him.

If He would just be quiet.  If He would just go with the flow of the day.  If He would just understand that what He's saying is a little wacky and out there.  :)

I imagine they said some of these things about Jesus.

Friend, He felt what we feel today and then some.

It's why He left us with the Holy Spirit, because He said we would do even greater things than He did... and He knew we couldn't do it alone.  We weren't made to do this life alone.

He knew the battle ahead and He had a plan for the opposition.

His yoke is EASY and His burden is LIGHT.  The hard things we face aren't as heavy when we hand them to Him to carry for us.  That's the critical piece of this deal.

Remember when He said, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do"?

That was for us. For when we need to forgive. For the days when we need forgiving.

So, dance in your calling.  Do the hard things with His help.  Forgive.  Love.  Forgive some more.

You were made for this.

Rejoice in the battles. They make it official that the beauty to come is more than you can ask for or imagine.

Cozy up by the fire. The fire refines.  It's not there to burn you. Just let it keep you warm.

You've been called to too much to melt now, my brothers and sisters.

Take all of the Jesus and hang on to none of the resistance.

The joy that's coming is going to sweep you off your feet.

I hope you are ready.  Buckle up and get ready. :)

❤️ - Christie Aitken, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We SHARE What Matters - #AutismMatters

I know everyone can't relate to autism... and that's okay. Let's use an example that resonates with 100% of the population.
A broken bone. Your child has a broken bone.
It hurts them so badly. But this is a type of break that only 1 in 68 people get.
It's different from the average break.

(That part's important.  Don't forget it.)

There is a fix for the broken arm, but insurance won't cover it because of the diagnosis code.

Your child is in pain daily. It can be treated, but it won't be. You hear them crying in bed. The school calls to tell you that the day is not going well. A great deal of excruciating pain.  24/7.  Pain.  Tears.  Coping.  Tears.  Tired.
You watch, try to help, and are as comforting and knowledgable as you can be--- but treatment isn't an option because ... because insurance.

The treatment is pricey. Beyond your family's reach. Estimated costs are upwards of $125 twice a week or more. And that's just for one treatment of this complex fracture. Others are needed.

Upset yet? Of course you are.

That broken bone matters. That child matters. The treatment is needed. It's medically necessary, no matter what we call this break or how we code it. Your baby needs help. NOW.

Now switch that broken bone to an autism diagnosis, friends. But do me a favor and keep your child's face on this mental picture....
You don't have to understand autism to understand the heart of a parent who simply wants treatment for their child.
You don't have to understand the logistics of diagnosis codes or insurance red tape to know that someone needs to make a change for people on the autism spectrum who are being denied services.

That parent crying into their pillow is you. That child is just like yours.

You don't have to understand anything beyond that to help bring awareness to the needs that exist.
Alabama is 1 of 7 states in the US where families are being denied coverage for needed autism services.
My prayer is that our state will TRULY seek to make it a requirement to "cover what matters" for EVERY family. In the gap, will you SHARE what matters? Your child matters. My child matters. Their child matters. #AutismMatters.

CLICK HERE to see how you can help: Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. BLOGGING LOVE: NON PROFIT LOVE: MINISTRY LOVE:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Talking about our Kids - God Style

Today when reading the One Year Bible, it struck me that God never talked down about his son or to His son. He affirmed Him and spoke highly of Him at every turn. A beautiful example is in Matthew 3:16-17.

"The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”

Delight of my life. Wow. You can FEEL the love in just those words alone, but God spoke so much more over Jesus. God spoke where others could hear Him- paying honor to His son, but also He spoke where HIS SON could hear Him- speaking straight to the heart of Jesus. He spoke LIFE at every turn.

Words matter. May we speak them into the lives of our sons and daughters with care, love, and thoughtfulness. May we speak LIFE over them at every turn.

Speak to their hearts.

Honor them among their peers.

Love, love, and then love some more.

Our Father set a beautiful example of how to love our children well. Let's walk it out.

Christie Aitken, 2016
Copyright © 2016 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved. BLOGGING LOVE: NON PROFIT LOVE: MINISTRY LOVE: