What kind of RIDER have you given God?

When we get saved, we give everything to the Lord. We are just so grateful to be in His presence that we are completely surrendered.

But as time goes on we sometimes start to believe in the power of our own might. We forget the joy of our salvation, of completely laying everything down at the foot of the cross and letting go of everything that we once thought mattered.

Quite simply, we pick stuff back up.

Whether it’s people or things, we have a tendency to push God down on our list of priorities and elevate others.

We act as lost people do and give God conditions that He must meet for us to serve Him.

Celebrity singers are notorious for their ridiculous tour riders.

Once grateful to just have fans, they now have demands that must be met in order to perform.

Some highlights:

Beyoncé demands her dressing room be kept at 78 degrees and asks for chicken legs “HEAVILY SEASONED” with cayenne pepper and rose-scented candles.

Adele requires 1 Small plate of assorted freshly made, individually wrapped sandwiches, to include chicken salad. Sandwiches must NOT contain tomatoes, vinegar, chili or citrus fruit.

Rihanna  insists on adequate lighting for a “relaxed atmosphere.”

Katy Perry must have an arrangement of pink fresh flowers. White and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies. If not available, seasonal white flowers to include white orchids–ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.

Madonna will not trvel unless she can bring a 200-person entourage, have access to 2o international phone lines, and her backstage room must look exactly like her own home.

This is just a line or two of lengthy riders from just a handful of performers. The lists are longer as are the singers who require them. While they might seem absurd, it is apparently a common practice in the music biz.

And sadly, in Christian walks as well.

Like Rihanna, we will only serve God if He maintains a relaxed atmosphere for us.

Like Adele, we have specific desires with limitations. I will go anywhere you want me to, Lord. Except another country, the Midwest, or a big city.

Or like Madonna, we will serve God but only if the entire family can have a place of equal importance in our lives.

And we sorrowfully turn away.

Because with God, there are no riders.

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20


Molehills Don’t Become Mountains Without Help

Driving home from the store this morning I heard an old favorite on the radio. There are many things in life that take me back to childhood and this song was one of them.

“Good Ole Boys” was the theme song to The Dukes of Hazzard. I loved the song, hated the show. At least that’s what I thought.

I’ve spent all these years thinking I hated certain things BECAUSE my sister loved them. In addition to the Dukes, there was Flash Gordon, climbing trees, and hamburgers.

I assumed that some intense sibling rivalry led me to dislike those things as much as she despised pizza, musicals, and chocolate.

But the truth was, we just had different tastes.

I’ve never been a big fan of red meat, action films, and outdoor life though I have enjoyed all three at times. It is a preference and I don’t think that would’ve changed even if I’d been an only child.

Yet all these years I’d been convinced otherwise.

I’d unknowingly and unnecessarily made a rift wider than it should’ve been. I’d made a mountain out of a molehill.

The truth was, we had more common ground than differences. We liked a lot of the same things and even now we will call each other when something reminds us of our childhood. Just yesterday I sent her a picture of my microwaved sandwich with the slightly overcooked cheese because it looked like our after-school, latchkey grilled cheese snacks of the 80’s.

And we did compromise over our differences. I can still do the GO FLASH GO dance because I watched it with her so many times. I used to could do the Bo Duke slide across the hood of a car. She can still reenact my beautifully choreographed If Momma Was Married act from Gypsy if we drag out Mom’s old piano bench and imitate Ariel’s goofy scream from the dance scene at the end of Footloose.

So, why on earth have I believed for so many years that my tastes were solely vindictive ones?

Pride, I suppose. And jealousy.

She and my dad had similar interests as did my mom and I. Neither of them loved us any less than we loved either of them.

I’m not sure why that took almost 40 years to see.

What a waste of time!

Don’t make mountains out of molehills. (Allowing Satan to whisper lies about your siblings=dirt. Unforgiveness=dirt. Pride=dirt. Miscommunication=dirt.)

John 10:10 says, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Abundant life starts at home!

mom dad me and sherri

She Set Out on a Life-Changing Journey. My Life was Transformed As Well.

My youngest daughter Kaden spent last summer in Europe on what I lovingly dubbed her globetrotting, backpacking- through-Europe Find Yourself tour. What I didn’t realize is that I’d find myself as well.

I stayed updated through her texts, FaceTime calls, and Facebook posts. She visited Paris, Rome, and Venice and I got to see the photos and hear the descriptions along the way. It was incredible to experience places I’d only read about in books, even if it was just vicariously through my child.

It was exciting.

But it was the lesson she learned that meant the most. A lesson I learned through her.

After graduating from high school, Kaden wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do. A good student, I encouraged college. “I’m not that smart,” she’d tell me.

I was not only her mother but her 7th grade teacher. I knew better. But I also knew that going to college when you weren’t ready left you with a GPA that was hard to raise once you were. So I didn’t push it.

A few minimum wage jobs later, she knew that life held something more for her and jumped at the chance to visit her friend Begona in Spain. BB, as we loving called her, spent a year in America when the girls were in high school and they became fast friends. Post-graduation, BB returned to the United States for a fun sightseeing visit and they began planning Kaden’s trip to do the same in her country.

A trip to Spain became an entire European excursion and she visited France, Austria, Italy, and Hungary as well. They spent their days seeing popular tourist destinations as well as little-known local favorites. Her oldest sister was even able to join her for a couple of weeks getting some amazing photos, like the ones featured here. Callie is a professional photographer and graphic designer and she captured the very essence of Kaden’s journey: finding joy in life.

Because, in Europe, she learned what very few Americans do. You work to live; you don’t live to work. Europeans go to work, as we as all do, but when they get off…they’re off. They get out and do things. They see things.

And they WALK. Everywhere.

Kaden’s two biggest complaints were the walking and the lack of red meat. She couldn’t wait to come back home for a giant cheeseburger! So, of course, we all had to eat steak and burgers when she’d FaceTime. After all, what are families for?!

But the trade-off was worth it. She felt healthy. She felt happy. And she found out that every moment of life didn’t have to be scheduled to be lived. In fact, it COULDN’T be planned to live fully.

That realization hit ME the hardest.

I am a planner. I have a calendar on my desk, in my phone, and in my head. To-do lists take up valuable head space and a trip is never planned last-minute.

The latter caused some trouble early in my marriage.

My husband thought packing was all one needed to do prior to taking a trip. You drive until you get tired, get a room, leave out the next morning.

I needed to have a map, decide how far we’d get on the first day, and reserve the room for that night, preferably somewhere with breakfast but if not, somewhere near a restaurant. The thought of not being able to find a room bothered me.

The thought of stopping and losing drive time before he was ready bothered him as much as having to drive tired just to get to a reserved room bothered him.

Years later we still approach trips in a similar way though traveling without kids has made me more flexible and getting older has made him appreciate dependability.

But I still forget sometimes to live.

I do, I go, I work…I’m a 100% give-it-your-all kind of gal. It’s the passionate force that breeds success in my life, I firmly believe. But is it…hurting me?

Based on my daughter’s trip to Europe, I knew it wasn’t helping. I looked around at all the people I’d begun neglecting as I ironically tried to help others. I even had to look at how my relationship with the Lord was on the back burner as I was telling others about Him.

I wasn’t living my life fully. I was… doing. I wasn’t… being. I was a Martha when I needed to be a Mary. (Luke 10:41-42)

In true Gigi fashion, I initially tried to “schedule” some downtime. Eventually, though, I just played it by ear. I’ve gone to a lot more movies, taken trips to the parks, walked on the beach, visited with friends…

I’ve listened to my daughter and really learned how to just LIVE…