As I sit on my bed this evening trying to put my thoughts into words all I can think of how to start this post is that honesty is always the best policy.

So, I'll be honest. The month of December was busy for me (as I'm sure it was for all of you) and as I was taking my time off from work, I found myself taking time off from my daily routine of being in the word of God. I love to read but I had no desire to pick up any book or devotional. You can call me a "spiritual slacker" if you will, and I'm not proud to admit that.

From my experience, my walk with Christ is like riding a bike up and down rolling hills. My journey starts out with strong legs pumping my bike up the first hill and my head speaks words of encouragement to my heart. I reach the top of that hill and I come to God in thanksgiving. Then, as I start the fast downhill spin I am just bursting with joy and a fresh spirit. But, as I continue to pedal up one hill after the next, it just gets harder for my head to tell my legs to move and for my heart to be willing to make the journey. At this point, I feel defeated and as though I will never get to my ultimate destination. So, I start to slow down. I might get off my bike and take a break, maybe walk the bike up the next hill to keep moving, but my direction is lost. I need help. So, when life gets to hard to stand, I kneel. In prayer, I cry out to God telling him that I can't do this any more, that I feel so defeated, so lost. I pray for Christ to point me in the right direction so I can reach my final destination. I ask Christ to provide me fellow travelers to help me make my journey. He whispers in my legs to get back on the bike. He takes control of my head and my heart just follows him to the finish line.

I find that the truly fulfilled people in life are the ones that have a personal relationship with Christ. Not people that claim to be spiritual, or even ones that call themselves Christians and state that they have been raised in the church. I mean people that learn that they can't do squat in life without Christ guiding their paths. Now, as illustrated above, that doesn't mean that everything is just rosy in that relationship. It's hard like any other relationships that we have. An effort has to be made on our end but the great thing about this relationship is the effort has, is, and will always be made by our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we engage in this relationship, we can't help but be fulfilled in life.

When our lives are fulfilled through Christ, we start to put that as the focus of everything that we do. I believe that this makes us better people and wonderful contributors to society. This does not mean we will always be the richest, the CEO's, or never get cancer but it does mean that we will be living our lives with the sole purpose of loving Christ and then loving others. When doing this, we start to see why we were put on this earth and how we can make the most of His purpose for our lives. We have His guidance, blessings, and love filling our spirit every single day.

I think it is easy to state that we all know people that don't have the best track record in life. People who drop out of school, don't get jobs, steal money from their friends, take advantage of their parents, have pre-marital sex only to get pregnant and then live off of baby daddy child support....the list can go on and on. We see our children, brothers, sisters, or friends making these mistakes and just watch them spiral down-hill. As a parent, I can only imagine how tough it would be to see your child go down a path of destruction. *In Exodus, chapter 34, the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. As he passed in front of Moses, he proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished." (Exodus 34:6-7)

**In this verse, a key phrase to focus on is "maintaining love to thousands." This word maintain can be translated to guard, to protect to keep. God is abounding in love for us and he shows this to us through blessings in our lives. God never withdraws his love from us but he does withdraw blessings when need be. Parents, if you are dealing with a disobedient child, the best thing you can do for your child is to withdraw the blessing but not the love. So often, we find ourselves feeding the beast. If you see your child making a bad decision, don't give them things (money, clothes, car, etc.) that can be fuel to the fire. Continue to give them your love, compassion, and grace. Try so hard to be like God and be slow to anger and to forgive them when they hurt you. It won't be easy but who said being a parent was easy?

As I close, I just want to encourage all of you to keep pedalling. If you have to walk your bike up the hill from time to time, know that you aren't walking alone. Life is hard and it is so easy for us to take an off-road path but I challenge all of us to stay on the path that Christ is guiding for our lives. I can't wait to meet y'all in heaven one day.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

*NIV Bible
**Beth Moore, Living Proof Live.
Memphis, TN. 2009.

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