Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Change is in the Air

 By Jeannie Blackmer

            “Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.’” - Deuteronomy 2:2-3

Change is never easy. 

I’ve been experiencing significant changes in my life the past few years. It’s been a roller coaster ride ranging from a delight-filled journey to a difficult grind. I’ve had my ups and downs, experienced thrills and monotony and hope and discouragement. You know what I mean, right? 

One thing that is certain in life is we constantly experience change. 

Sometimes change feels like an assault, something we didn’t choose but have to deal with. Other times we create the change because we know we’re stuck and we want to move forward.

My husband and I chose to shake up our lives with choices we felt God was leading us to make. We had too much chaos, stress, and conflict. We knew we needed to simplify and focus on what matters most—relationships. Relationship with God and others. So, we sold our home, made career changes, launched our last child into the world, joined a small couples group from our church and had a few necessary surgeries. During this season we traveled and spent more time together and with friends. It’s been an adventure filled ride with both thrills and monotony. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it. In fact, these past few years have stretched me, sometimes painfully. But, ultimately for my good and growth.

That initial decision, a few years ago, to let go of the life we had, has caused me to trust God in a much more tangible way. Bolstered in my faith with this experience, I'm feeling confident God is directing my path. 

Now, I find myself asking, “What’s next?” Not with as much fear, as I used to feel when life was uncertain, but more with excitement and joyful anticipation.

I recently read this verse, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.’” Deuteronomy 2:2-3

You probably know the story about God miraculously freeing the Israelites from the tyranny of slavery in Egypt. Then, they wandered through the desert for 40 years because of their refusal to trust God fully with their lives.  After 40 years of desert-wandering, God told Moses it was time to stop and enter the Promised Land. BUT…before going forward, Moses wanted to remind them of how God had taken care of them in the desert and reminded them of a specific time they had wandered around the same mountain for far too long. Then God directed them to “turn north.” This pivotal moment eventually led them to their land of milk and honey.

From reading this I believe God is asking me to consider where I now need to “turn north” in my life. 

I don’t have to have my future all figured out because God already does. 

I just need to make a necessary "turn", or change, to go in the direction God is continually leading me. I don’t know exactly the answer yet, but I do wonder if I'll end up somewhere doing something I never would have expected. And I'm hopeful my destination will be much better than I imagined. I'm certain I'll experience more change, and this ride called "life" will be anything but boring as I follow the directions God gives me. 

⁕ How about you? Where is God telling you to “turn north?” (Think about where you feel stuck or aimless in your life.)

⁕ What “turn” or specific change can you make to get you back on track with God’s direction and desire for your life?

Speaking of change, Flatirons Community Church has decided to discontinue the Flatirons Women's Blog in its current format. We are truly thankful for all of you who faithfully read and share the content we've created here. Please keep an eye out for future content from our writers on the new Flatirons Resources page. 

May you continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Jeannie Blackmer is excited about her newest book, Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer, and hopes this book will ignite a desire for a deeper, more intimate prayer life for readers and help others see how relevant the Bible is today. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Zane, and their three sons. For more information visit

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Is Your Fear Keeping You Isolated?

A week ago, there was a snake in my garage. It was a big snake. It wasn’t like anaconda-sized or anything, but it was ew-ew-ew-ew-get-out-of-my-garage-sized. It wasn’t venomous, but it was gross. I know. Bull snakes are harmless, blah blah blah…

I still don’t want it in my garage. I don’t want to be surprised by it anywhere, and I really don’t want it to slither into my house. Most of all, I don’t want to carry around the fear that the snake is in my house/garage/basement/yard/car.

Because every time I go in the garage now, I am afraid I’m going to step on that snake. I’m afraid it’s going to slither over my feet. I’m afraid it’s going to wrap itself around something on the bottom of my car and slither in through the air vents like what happened to that one lady in Virginia. (

I’m afraid the snake is going to get in through the doggie door or through the back door when my kids leave it wide open again. I’m afraid I’m going to walk through the dark house at night on my way to the bathroom and step on it.

I’m afraid.
About six years ago, I made a super terrific awesome bestie best friend. We have always happened upon the same stages of life at almost exactly the same time. We share struggles. We share failures. We celebrate together. We bounce ideas off of each other. We call each other freaking out about whatever big life thing has us freaking out. When I’m alone and afraid and isolated for a while, I call her or go over to her house, and within minutes, she has encouraged and reminded me of who God says I am. She has been such a gift to me.

She is moving across the country in two weeks, and I am heartbroken. I am hurt. I am lonely, and I am afraid of what this life is going to look like without her living in the next town over.

I’m also over-the-moon excited for her because she has wanted this move for a long time. She is so ready for this move. I can’t wait to hear about her new adventures and new friends. I can’t wait to see her big beautiful smile on the beach with her kids. I am so thrilled that she is doing this thing she’s dreamt of for so long. I am weeping and rejoicing over the same solitary action. (Mamas who have sent/are sending your kids off to college know this feeling all too well, I’m sure.)
What’s your point, Em?  You’re talking about snakes and friends moving and fear, hurt, and rejoicing… Why are you telling us this?

I’m telling you this because Flatirons is starting this Groups thing where we sign up to hang out with people we don’t know once a week for 12 weeks. And people are scary. Going into a stranger’s home for the first time is terrifying. Signing up to commit to hanging out with people I don’t know for 12 weeks is… uncomfortable.  

Thinking about signing up for a group for weeks and weeks is a lot like walking into your garage and wondering if a snake is in there.

Knowing the pain of a friend leaving you behind is a very real deterrent for putting yourself out there again.

What happens if I show up to these groups and take out the trash that clutters up my head?  What happens if I’m vulnerable and open myself up and care about the lives of other people? What happens if I listen and someone listens to me? What happens if my feelings get validated and I learn more about Jesus? What happens if I show up?

I might make friends?
I might become less selfish?
I might learn how to love and serve without being bitter?
I might grow and learn?
I might be more like Jesus?
I might learn that other people care about me?
I might become a part of something bigger than my own wants and desires?
I might be better able to love God and others well?

But what if I get hurt, rejected, judged, criticized?

Well, the staff has prepared leaders to do their best to make these groups safe, welcoming places, but… there will be other humans who have lived on this planet making mistakes and getting hurt for years in these groups, so… you might get hurt.

But there’s probably not a snake in your garage. So, go ahead and sign up here for a group.

Emily Donehoo is the only female in a family of five. She is a former High School English Teacher and National Trainer for the College Board. These days, when she isn’t scrubbing toilets, administering timeouts, working at book fairs, attempting to tackle dinner, laundry, homework help, dishes, and a preschooler’s incessant questions, she writes authentically about the hard stuff that really matters, hoping to uncover the truth that God has for us whether it makes us cry from laughter, pain or both at the same time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

We're Not Meant to Live Life Alone

I have spent significant portions of my life trying to be perfect. The perfect daughter, the perfect friend, mom, sister, wife, employee… I mean, I really do want to please everyone and be everything to all the people I love, even those I don’t know. It is a pressure I put on myself. I’ve try to to keep all of the plates spinning and protect the perception I have it all together. I’ve been careful not to show weakness, sadness, pain, or fear.
What I’ve realized is it sometimes takes a tragedy, trauma or devastating circumstances to bring us to our knees and cry out for help. This is my story. It took my marriage being rocked to the very core for me to finally let go of my “perfect” self and allow God to begin to heal my heart and life.

I have spent the past six years trying to find my real self, and be vulnerable and transparent in my marriage and my relationships. Trust me, it has been a process learning to trust others again with my heart, my story, and my being. It has taken intentional action steps along the way.

Some ask me, “Why and how were you so quick to forgive and move forward?” Well ladies, I want freedom and joy and I know bitterness only holds me back and I don’t have time for that! Also, I am a mom with two daughters and a son and I am their example.
How did I move forward? First and foremost, I kept my eyes fixed on Jesus and accepted the precious gift of grace. A definite second to moving forward for me is the groups of women I am a part of who have linked arms with me and have said, “God sees you. We see you. You are loved and valuable.”

Being fully known and knowing others is truly beautiful. It is often messy and hard, but within that depth of friendship, exists freedom and joy. These women speak truth in my life, even when I don’t want to hear it. They love me, cry with me and celebrate with me. They know me.

I know it’s scary to share your real self and your story with others and this can be met with rejection, but for the past six years I’ve learned that doing real life with others allows me to become more like Jesus. The risk was worth it. And, if I am looking to Jesus as my example of how to do life, I see that Jesus did life with other people. He had 12 of his best friends who did life with him every day for three years. In fact, God has modeled this from the very beginning of time.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-4)

Then, God made Adam and declared, "It is not good for the man to be alone.” So even before the fall of man, God still chose to create a partner for Adam. (Genesis 2:18)

Fast forward to the life of Jesus. As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me," Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-22)  

Then, we see how the first church model groups. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need…. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” So, we see the first church learn and take in the Words of Jesus (the Apostle’s Teaching) in rows, just like our weekend experience in church, and then see growth, change, and connection happen in smaller circles (in houses, around tables) taking place outside of the weekend experience in every day life. (Acts 2:42-47)

So, if God has written the importance of groups into this world since the beginning of time, I think they MAY be an important tool for us to become more like him and to experience the abundant life he longs for us to live.  

Take a chance! Link arms with some other people. Help create a safe haven, a place to be vulnerable, a place of TRUTH and GRACE, so you can become more like Jesus with others desiring to do the same.

I’m still learning how to not pursue perfection but instead pursue authentic relationships, and have found that pursuit is so much more fulfilling.

*Some of the Open Groups will be present in the lobby at the Lafayette campus 8/25 and 8/26 after each service. Stop by to talk with the Leaders. Group Registration will be available online until September 10th.

Lara is the Women’s Ministry Director at Flatirons Community Church. Lara and her husband Eric have been married for 17 years and they are parents to three teenagers. As you can imagine life is busy at the Veve household, but they embrace the beautiful chaos of life during this season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Getting Back Into Friendships

By Rebecca Barnes

I don’t like many people.  

It’s really bringing down my social life. 

I think I’ve met too many people that are horrible and now I’m afraid of new people. I’m afraid of people I already know, too. I worry they don’t understand that I cannot possibly listen to their problems—big or small. I’m a crust of a person, who is still recovering from raising a traumatized child (and other heavy stuff). So I’m equally terrified people will submerge me in their heaviness or enrage me with their petty thoughts. 

So you can see how this is an issue—particularly now that the pressure is on for me to join a small group to further my way following Jesus. Flatirons wants all of us to get involved in a group.

But I am wary of awkward conversations. I’m terrified of angry people. I’m on the defensive against outspoken opinions. And I’m leery of weirdos. 

And there are other things: I resent people who don’t show up, because I work so hard to show up. I resent people who show up fake, or out of control (drunk, emotional, loud, grumpy, overly optimistic) because I work so hard to hold it together. I resent people who suck the life out of me with their drama. These people don’t seem to realize how bad life can actually be and what a waste of time it is to spend it complaining. 

All of this is madness. I realize that. I know that even if I can’t live with people, I also can’t live without them. And connecting with people brings joy. And while people can bring pain, so can loneliness. So, riding along with all this madness is the idea of good friends. These are the people who make me feel like I belong on this planet. 

But I’ve been doing without good friends for a long, dry season. It’s been a hard season too—which is sometimes the way things work. Tragedy strikes and most people back away, or I push them away with the fear that they won’t understand what’s going on with me. I try to back away from my own tragedy as well. I do that by turning inward.

It’s like the time I was shoved inside a locker in eighth grade. I needed someone to let me out. But at the same time it was embarrassing to be in there. And it was difficult to shout for help while I was sobbing.

In the thick of things around our house with our difficult kiddo it was hard to plan to be with people. It was challenging to schedule book club in between therapy sessions, court dates, and hospital visits. And even when I managed to show up to social gatherings, it was impossible to relate to women complaining about botched coffee orders.

So loneliness heaped on top of tragedy and trauma.

But now, things have shifted. Our trauma is moving behind us and in a post-apocalypse moment, I’m shuffling away from the smoldering wreckage and beginning to lift my dirty head and wonder if maybe I could make friends again. 

I’ve met tolerable humans before. So I know that most of my ideas about how awful people are, are really my problems. I have to get over that. I have to turn outward. I have to start shouting, now that my tears have stopped rolling. I have to find somebody who will let me out of this locker. I need to let go of the shame that surrounds the tragedies I’ve dealt with, and forgive others and myself in order to move on. Sometimes I need to be alone to heal, but maybe it’s time to open myself up to others knowing I can’t control their reactions or judgments, or even my own sometimes. Then I have to find some people I can hang with and get to know. I have to find people who seem safe enough to tell my stories to. I have to find people whose stories I can hear.


You've heard us say, "we learn in rows and grow in circles." Help us kick-off this brand new season here at Lafayette and all our campuses. If you missed the group sign up event in the backyard of the District in Lafayette last Sunday, that's okay because August 18/19 and August 25/26, we will have a opportunities to meet leaders and sign up in the Lobby with the groups that are not quite full after each service. Or click here!

Rebecca Barnes is married to an amazing man, who encourages her faith and listens to her typing a lot. She has three daughters and a son-in-law. She loves to cook for anyone who likes good food, and she feels competitive about weeding her flower garden. She lives in Old Town Lafayette because it’s a little eclectic, like her.