Christine Shuey

Christine is passionate about seeing God glorified at all times, even in most painful and confusing times of life. She is currently pursuing her Child Life Certification, with hopes of working in a hospital with children someday. Christine is committed to seeing God's Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven and loves sharing the glimpses of where she sees that happening. She and her husband Elliott live in Northern New Jersey.

Leading

During college I had the opportunity to teach a dance class for pre-schoolers and throughout that experience I observed that each one of my students fell into a certain category when it came to receiving instruction. It struck me that many of their attitudes are similar to how we react to God’s discipline and guidance.

1. The Wanderer: This child never stays in line, continually ignores  redirection, apologizes but then just continues to deviate.

2. The Follower: Always looking to others in the class to mimic their actions and appears to lack confidence in their own skill.

3. The Defiant one: The one who says “No, I don’t want to do that!” to every. single. request.

4. The Kiss up: The one who can be found saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s all about them and they take pride in doing things well when they are seen by others.

5. The Hungry one: Watches the teacher, listens to the teacher, copies the teacher and is grateful for the teacher’s instruction.

Are you catching where I am going with this?

The last two examples remind me of a biblical story in Luke 10 where two women are both wanting to serve their Teacher but the attitude of their heart is reflected in their actions.

 “38 “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman      named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

41 ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ “

Was Martha seeking praise from Jesus? Was Martha looking for compliments? Was she a kiss up? We don’t know what was exactly going on in her heart, but we do know that she was focused on valuable things instead of the valuable One.

We have this great Teacher who is available to us at anytime and anywhere. He will guide us in decisions, teach us, counsel us in time of need, show us new and exciting things and correct when we need it so that we grow. In this passage, Jesus challenges us that our hearts would not be found by him to be wandering, defiant, following others or trying to receive accolades from Him and others.

This story, especially during the Christmas season, reminds us of what Jesus sees as most important. Jesus is clearly telling us that Mary has chosen wiser. She has chosen to listen to Him and receive His instruction with gladness and gratefulness.

In response to God’s teaching, which attitude do you relate to most? Are you defiant? Following others’ teaching? Are you hungry like Mary? Maybe it’s none of these observed five but my prayer is that we all would become hungrier for God’s teaching and we would be found living like Him as we take time to learn at His feet.

lens

I’ve really bonded with my two-year old friend, Regan, as I’ve cared for her and her brother this past year. Our conversations make me love her even more and usually I’ll come home at the end of the day eager to share one of them, yet the majority of the time no one else finds them funny but me!

And every so often, God uses her in my life to teach me lessons that I need to be taught.

We were playing in the sand box and I began to build a sand “mountain”. She was enthralled in her project but had looked over to see what I was building. She asked, “How did you do that, Christine?” So I proceeded to show her and give her simple instructions. She replied, “Oh no, I can’t build that.” I asked her why and she just shook her head saying, “I can’t build that. Regan’s not good enough.”

It broke my heart.

More than anything I wanted to grab her arms, shake her and say yes you are good enough! And then I remembered– she is two. But what I found so interesting is that at two years old, she has this ability and tendency to compare herself to someone else. She has this innate compulsion to look away from her own mission and parallel it with what other people are doing. And then proceeds to make assumptions about her own performance.

I do this all the time. It’s exhausting, debilitating and ultimately selfish. I’m so focused on where I want to be, who I want to be and the fact that someone else got there first that I forget my true identity.

Have you experienced this? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. You scroll through your Facebook feed to find picture-perfect families, chat with co-workers about workout routines and pretend like yours exists, see your friends buy the most beautiful home only to remember that you have to go back to your tiny apartment.

May I suggest to you that our eyes are on the wrong things. Earthly things (Philippians 3:19). Our gaze should be on Jesus. Comparing ourselves and fixing our sight on temporary things hinders us in this life from being effective servants in the Kingdom (Hebrews 12:1-2). Once we place our faith in Jesus, He gives us new eyes to see Him and to recognize Him working in our lives. However, we aren’t perfect and our eyes occasionally shift.

So how do we fix our gaze on Him and keep it from shifting?

1. Study Him. It can be anything about Him! Study all the questions that Jesus asked people. Study His responses to questions that people asked Him. Find patterns that he lived throughout His life and question why. Study the promises that He made and the prayers that He prayed.

2. Remember that Jesus took hold of you for a purpose (Philippians 3:12. And like Paul in Philippians 3, we must remember why Christ took hold of us. “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” As we do this, the comparisons between us and others can end because we know the Lord is faithful to complete His work in us. And it’s good work. Not only is it good, it is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).

3. Invite others into the work He is doing in your life. Knowing him and remembering what He has done is only the beginning. As we obey His calling to share the Gospel, we become more focused on His plan, His glory, His will and His heart.

After Regan’s self-comparison, I saw that she lost joy in her task at hand. She lost confidence in her own work. This may be you in your ministry, your leadership, perhaps even your parenting. Whatever it is, take heart! Because our righteousness does not depend on God comparing us with others or His law but is found in the perfect work of Jesus Christ. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is how we will stand firm (Philippians 3:17-4:1) in the work that God has called us to, the talents he has birthed and developed in us and protects us from the lie of inferiority.

relationship

In the last year, God has been answering YES to some of my deepest, far-fetched, soul-wrenching prayers. My mother has been titled “Cancer Free” for the next six months. I obtained a so-called impossible internship. As in, go find a different calling because there isn’t enough room for you! God led my husband to a new job that I know He will use his gifts more in the church walls and out.

And I’m going to be really honest with you.

I’m still wanting more.

Have you found yourself in this place? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

How do we become content? How do we rejoice in the day that is made before us? Can we remain thankful for the good, undeserved gifts from our Heavenly Father without wanting more?

God speaks about this in 2 Samuel.

The guy we want to learn from in this story is Mephibosheth. In chapter 9, we learn that he is Grandson of King Saul, crippled and has a son of his own. However, King David is now in reign and it was common for the King to kill anyone from the former royal family because they were potential rivals to the throne. Does King David do this? No! With compassion, he invites Mephibosheth to his table to eat and gives him land that belonged to his grandfather.

Then, a lot goes down in Jersualem.

I’m not going to go into detail but King David’s life is in danger and he ends up exiled. In comes Ziba, the manager of Mephibosheth’s household. In chapter 16, he lies to King David and slanders Mephibosheth in regards to his whereabouts. King David believes him and in his anger, ends up declaring all of Mephibosheth’s possesions are now in Ziba’s hands. When he confronts Mephibosheth about this, Mephibosheth explains the truth. King David then decides to split the land equally among the two men.

Mephibosheth’s response?

Give him all of it. I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!” [2 Samuel 19:30 NLT]

He lets the very man who betrayed him have what is rightfully his. Why? Because he recognizes that his contentment is anchored in his relationship with the King. And all he needs, he already has.

Discontentment comes when we feel deprived. For myself, when I see what I truly deserve for my sin [Romans 6:23] and compare it to what I have received in Christ [Colossians 2:9-15], all those wants become nothing in comparison to the eternal life awaiting and the love of the Savior I have yet to fully know [1 Cor. 13:12]

 

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and portion forever. [Psalm 73:25-26]

salvation

A few weeks ago I woke up with Gods Word on my heart and heard, “On the day of salvation I helped you, on the day of salvation I called you.”

Though this is not a bible verse, 2 Corinthians 6:2 tells us, “For God says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

As I meditated and prayed on this word and what God was wanting to teach me, I was encouraged again by the truth that Christ bestows eternal life as a free gift and mercifully bore our eternal punishment. Now is the day of salvation– not when you finally get it all together or after some self-improvement but in the midst of your current messy life. His favor over your soul is never lacking.

Even more so, I struggle with not feeling adequate or equipped enough to be his servant. But from the day of my salvation, he called me! (Ephesians 1:5) He called me as a broken, needy, and helpless child. In my own experience, as I come to him daily with a repentant heart and adoration for him, he uses me in His purposes in spite of my flesh– In spite of my distractions, uncertainties and worries.

If you are struggling with whether God is calling you, know that He has. He has called you to love your neighbors, give with a cheerful heart, pray for those who are sick and broken, speak encouraging words over people and gather often as His body.

As a believer we go through seasons where we doubt that God’s love is unconditional. (Romans 8:37-39) We worry that our performance will distance us from His love. On Easter Sunday, our former pastor and friend shared that the list of exceptions we make for why God doesn’t love us is not and will never be true. But that list might reflect how we are struggling to love God in return. Have you ever thought of it this way?

Whether you believe in Christ as your Savior or you haven’t committed to following him yet, I encourage you to think about whether you will take the time to receive his love today. And what does that look like for you to receive the gift of Himself?

Psalm119:105

In March of last year, my husband and I knew God was preparing us for a transition period but had no idea what that would look like and when it would happen. We found ourselves desperate for God’s direction and waiting for Him to shed light on our path.

Along the way, God has given us many promises and answers to prayer but every decision has been a leap of faith.  I wish I could say I have been walking on water with Jesus and trusting him every step of the way. But to be perfectly honest, I’ve been fearful, worrisome and hesitant. However, throughout the process God has taught me much about seeking His will. I have much more to learn but I want to share with you three things that He has taught me in this season of waiting.

 1. His Voice is His Word

At times we question whether the bible will actually speak into our circumstances and into the decisions we have to make. I’ve been there. The last thing I want to do is open the bible and the only thing I want to do is complain to God that it’s not black and white and He isn’t doing things the way that make sense— my way of course!  And yet, His Word says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Do you want to hear God’s voice? We have pages upon pages filled with the outpouring of his heart, what He values, and what He loves. By this verse we know God wants a relationship with us. And when I say relationship, there’s a lot of discussion, questioning, struggling and joy!

I challenge you to ask yourself, “If I believed this verse, how would my life be different? How would my decision making be different?”

2. He is always speaking. We aren’t always listening.

Have you ever asked God, “Why are you so silent?” The Psalmist wrestles with this frustration (Ps. 83:1).

A friend once asked me, “Why do people whisper?” And I responded, “So that you’ll come closer?” “Exactly!”

Is this our God? Gently speaking? Or do we know him to usually be waving fire or writing answers in the sky to grab our attention?  I suggest to you that He wants you to come closer. He has things to share with you, but that can only be done as we leave our distractions behind and simply listen.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

 3.  He’s already called you.

One of the most beneficial reminders during these last twelve months was to immerse myself in the current ministry that He has placed me in. And to look at His Word and remember the daily calling of abiding in Him, putting to death the former ways of life, living by the Spirit, showing interest in others, choosing to forgive, extending mercy even to those who don’t deserve it, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and loving my neighbor.

(John 15:5, Ephesians 4:22, Galatians 5:16, Philippians 2:4 Ephesians 4:32 Luke 6:29 Proverbs 14:31,James 5:14-15, Galatians 5:14)

Living by faith is hard. But take heart! He has given us….

access to His Word,

He is always speaking to us and

He already is working His purposes out of us!

These three truths fill my heart with joy knowing that the Creator of the Universe has been mindful of me and given me Himself! Our relationship with Him is not wanting and getting answers. I’m still guilty of this at times, but I know this last year was not a year of pursuing these plans He has for us—it was meant for a pursuit of Jesus.

May we not seek Our Father for His benefits to us but may we seek to know Him– The Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. The everlasting, all-powerful, sovereign King.

Luke137

Let me introduce you to Baritmaeus.  Blind. A beggar. Needy. An outcast. Worthless in the eyes of his community. And on one particular day, Jesus and his disciples walk into Jericho. Little does Bartimaeus know that an encounter with Jesus will change his life. Mark 10:46-52

What stood out to me in this account was that Bartimaeus begged. So profound right? Who would have thought, a beggar— begging!

But seriously. Being blind was probably part of what led him to the act of begging as his livelihood. He probably asked for money, a meal, shelter… anything that would help his current circumstances. However, all his requests might cure the symptoms of his problem but not the root of it.

But then Jesus comes by. Unashamed, Bartimaeus loudly calls upon the name of Jesus for mercy and is even rebuked by others in his persistence.

And Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?

Bartimaeus knows of Jesus. He’s heard of His miracles. He believes Jesus is able to help him. He does not dumb down his request to the Savior of the world but asks for the very thing that is impossible with man but possible with God– to have sight.

Jesus’ response? “Go, your faith has healed you!”

I want to share something with you from one of my favorite and frequent reads…

“I am the Lord thy God. I know no limitations. I know no lack. I need not reserve My stores, for I always have fresh supply. You cannot by any means exhaust My resources. Let thy heart run wild. Let thine imagination go vagabond. No extravagance of human thought can ever plumb the depths of My planning and provision for My children.” – Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved

Do we realize the extent of what Our Father can offer us? And I’m not talking about a bigger salary, a larger home, a newer car or any luxuries. I’m talking about life-altering, radical, transforming provision from the Maker of the Heavens and the earth. He can restore your marriage, father the orphan, remove your heart of stone, free you from addiction, loose the chains of captivity, heal the sick– “You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.” Psalm 77:14

If Jesus were to ask you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” How would you respond?

God wants us to encounter Him. To experience Him. To expect Him to move in our everyday life. If He didn’t, He would not ask us this question. And He certainly would not have sent His Son to die for us.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

North Star

Typical day at the hospital volunteering:: organizing! I was focusing intensely on categorizing the patient care cart I forgot that the other volunteer was in the room with me organizing clothes. As I remembered, I asked her if she heard about the shooting at Short Hills Mall where a man was murdered in front of his wife over a car. She came closer to me and expressed her feelings of uneasiness and not understanding why this kind of thing happens.

After we verbally affirmed how awful and tragic and heart-wrenching this is we returned to our task at hand. As I was elbow deep in varieties of bar soap, I thought to myself, “Ask her about after life. No, Christine, she’ll think you’re crazy. Seriously, this is the perfect opportunity. But how do I explain this kind of situation? She isn’t going to understand. Just say something!”

Then she speaks before I do. And says, “I think I’m going to go back to the playroom and clean up before the ice cream social. I think I really need to do that.” As I watched her leave, I immediately realized the opportunity that I missed. And I thought, this is why these things happen.

Bear with me.

Our God is not a God who wanted this to happen or intended it to happen. He is a loving and kind God who is also angry at this situation and I can guarantee you, grieving over this. (Genesis 6:6-8) But, He will use this for good (Romans 8:28) and I could have been a part of that today. I could have shared the gospel with my Jewish friend. I could have let her know that it’s OK to be sad, and it’s OK to be angry but we have hope because Christ has come. He offers the peace and security that our souls crave in this crazy world we live in. We don’t need to fear death because He came to overcome death!

This man did not deserve this. And yet in his death, God can use it in a million different ways to draw people closer to Himself. Like today. I had the chance to share the Good News in response to this man’s story. We need to take these opportunities of suffering to share that if we receive Christ as Lord we will live with Him in eternity! And it’s not just a promise for when we die, but abundant life until we die (John10:10). When evil strikes, we have the assurance that as difficult as it is to live on this earth, we’re just passing through.
 
Friends, please do not lose sight of those around you who need the Gospel. As we meditate this week on the amazing act of Jesus coming into this world, don’t contain this joy just for your own heart! Share the Good News. Be bold. Be willing to look foolish so that God’s Word, His story and the truth of how he can change our lives would save and restore another soul.

“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:1,6

light in the dark

“The blessings of sacred fellowship and perfect cleansing are bound up with walking in the light.” -C. Spurgeon

Do I walk in the light or choose darkness?

Why do I enter the dark when darkness is scary, uncertain and frightening? Light is so much more attractive, beautiful and I can see! My eyes are not living in torture trying to figure out my surroundings. The light exposes all that is around me and allows me to walk freely. It enables me to see ahead, to have vision and to walk without fear of getting hurt or broken.

O the precious light, it is warm and comforting and even the smallest glimpse is more elegant than a bursting, blinding sun. For the smallest of rays are the epitome of hope and they exude a sense of rescue, a fresh start, new mercies, second chances and an undeserving power.

So why do I choose the dark? Am I so used to it that I fear not having familiarity? What would I lose?

I would lose my privacy. I would lose the secrecy I hold within myself. I would lose self.

1 John 1:5… “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you. God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light; we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Did you catch what the text says? If we walk in the light of Christ we have fellowship. Opposite of privacy, secrecy and isolation. All our motives and true colors are opened and as a member of the body of Christ, we live in a community that holds us accountable. We fear that all of our stuff will be seen by our own eyes and others’ eyes but what we don’t realize is that once it’s seen, it’s bound to be cleaned up.

lilies

It’s about to get a little personal. For the past few weeks I’ve been overwhelmed with current responsibilities and pursuing endeavors. And for some reason there is no widdling away at the list; it just continues to grow! When I lay in bed at night I can’t help but think of everything that is still on the list and add new things. I feel bonded by time, chained to a clock and shortchanged on hours. My desire to accomplish everything on my heart and mind has been pressing and pushing and weighing me down.

Recently one of my friends, who has been encouraging and helping me through a career change, shared this truth with me that defeats the anxiety I’ve been struggling with. (Matthew 6:19-34) “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin… But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?

Her two cents?…

“How quick I am to worry and to be anxious about any given thing. What do I accomplish by settling into anxiety? Nothing other than an inflated sense of my own importance, a racing heart, irritability, and less sleep. With that said, I still wrestle with the reality that I have to make decisions while trusting in Him when things (time) are out of my control. So how should I contemplate those decisions without worrying? The answer lies in verse 30 – “Oh you of little faith.”

It’s our faith in God that acknowledges his sovereignty over today’s to-do list, tomorrow’s plans, next week’s commitments, relationships, and future goals. Friends, if we attempt to control all the circumstances and situations that we will face in life, we will only find ourselves in a state of constant worry.  “…for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

By faith we can contemplate, discern and trust with clarity and patience, without worrying, because we know that He is the source of life. He is the source – everything else in life is a resource (provided by Him).  Therefore if something – money, relationship, job, etc… disappears we still have no need to worry because those things are only resources.  The Source can never disappear.  And in God, our Source, we place our faith.

 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

tree-roots

(The post below is something I wrote shortly after Hurricane Sandy made her way through New Jersey.)

I kept admiring this one tree near the apartment that had a grace in its stance and its leaves were dying yet looked so alive and crisp as they neared a fuller yellow. Every walk I’d take I would think, “I’ll take a picture of it next time.” On a recent walk I even thought, “I’ll take a picture of it next season! It’ll still be here and I guess I will too.”

On my walk this morning I noticed the tree was no longer there. The wind uprooted this beauty right from the dirt. My heart sank knowing the image in my head I wanted to capture was no longer available. I went around the loop again and this time coming upon this absent tree the sun burst through and I hear “A mighty fortress is Our God, a sacred refuge is Your name, Your Kingdom is unshakable, with You forever we will reign.”

As the clouds closed over the sun, to bring gloom again, I thanked God for the beautiful truth of eternity. This tree was shaken from its roots; actually it was completely removed from them. The tree is dead. What once brought me joy and temporary comfort is no longer standing with grace. But the promise we have in Christ is that Our God will never be shaken nor His Kingdom. (Hebrews 12:28) And we have the privilege to reign with Him forever? (2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 22:5) We, as God’s beloved, inherit this kind of power? (Romans 8:17, Matthew 25:21-23) What a reminder to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, for what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal! (2 Corinthians 4:18)

And as for me, thinking I’ll be here next year to take that photo is a selfish thought. I’m not promised my job or my apartment or perfect relationships or a comfortable lifestyle; our God promises Christ and all that comes with Him. So if that’s not enough for me I’m living off dead roots.