You Get Wise, You Get to Church!

community october


My husband loves to quote movies. Thus, the title of this post.  Can anyone tell me who said it? Or what movie it’s from?

We get lots of advice from people, don’t we?  Solicited, Unsolicited…it doesn’t matter, some people just like to advise.  Let’s be honest, we have all been given some bad advice over the years.  If we are really honest, we have to admit we’ve likely also offered some bad advice.

Someone told me once that you should be careful who you hang around with because you will start to become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Hmmm…that got me thinking.

My husband and I are attending a class at church and one of the pastors explained it like this…We are all playing along, living our lives, grading ourselves on our holiness, assuming we are getting about a B.  If we are super prideful, we may actually believe we are getting an A.  We are following rules, we are “religious”, we are successful in the world’s eyes, we don’t see any overt sin in our lives (usually because we are avoiding seeing it).  We compare ourselves with others and we come out on top…”At least I’m not as bad as that guy!” We may give money to charitable causes and maybe we serve a little but out of duty.  Or maybe we do feel a passion to serve and we are doing and saying all the right things.  We go to church but we are not necessarily living transformed lives.  We look past that though and drift along, showing up in all the right places. We give ourselves high marks for things we think are “holy”.  We deem ourselves, “pretty good”, maybe a B- or a C plus.  Most of us know better than to say we are an A.  We may think it but we know we should be humble because we learned that in Sunday school, so we give ourselves a B while patting ourselves on the back for our humility.

Meanwhile, the Bible tells us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. The Bible says that keeping the law is not what’s important.  James 2:10 tells us “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” I don’t know about you but I know I’m not capable of keeping all of the Laws in the Bible.  I’m working on the Big 10.

So the pastor had written a bunch of grades on the board…A, B-, C…and then he put a slash through all of them and said, “Actually, we are all getting an F”. And there was a big red F on the board. Now for someone like me who is a rule follower, this does not sit well.  I have spent my life doing what I’m told, caring about rules, following God’s commandments, going to church, taking communion, praying, writing, speaking and yoga-ing for Jesus.  The sting of this truth revealed my heart.  I was trying to be “good enough” for God. I believed I was about a B. I was performing and striving and hoping and praying that my “works” would please Him.  Maybe you do this too? Maybe you’ve been fighting to be an A and when you feel like a C, despair sets in. Friends, that despair is not from the Lord.  The Lord offers hope.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” – Romans 8:3

See, God knows us and loves us and sent His son to save us.  Picture that report card with an F on it.  When Jesus came, it miraculously changed into an A. He wiped our slate clean. This is the good news.  This is the Gospel.

The toughest part of this for some is not believing that Jesus came or that God loves us or that the sacrifice on the cross was for us…the toughest part for some of us is admitting that we cannot do it alone. We don’t believe the F.   It’s difficult to admit our own weakness and need for a Savior.  But it is necessary.  If you could do it alone, Jesus’s life and death would mean nothing.

Some people in our lives, some of our “teachers” will tell us we are a B, we are “doing great”, we should just work harder, do more, give more and then we will be enough. But the wise teachers will tell us about the one who hands out the A’s.  Our wise teachers will lead us the the only One who can give us a passing grade.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

I told someone once that I am a sinner saved by grace and she looked at me and said, “Yeah, right. What have you ever done wrong?”  Isn’t that just like us? We assume other people have it all together.  We look at our shortcomings but speculate that others have none. Y’all.  For real. We are all sinners. We can dress ourselves up and shellack the heck out of our lives but underneath, we all struggle with sin.

This is not fun to talk about.  That’s why we don’t. But once we get past this part…this conviction and repentance part…we get to grace.  Grace gives the A. Grace graduates us.

Surround yourself with truth tellers. People who will lead you to the Master Teacher.  People who will lovingly and tenderly call you out on your junk. Friends, we are all jacked up. You, me and all our neighbors, pastors, priests, teachers, politicians, leaders.  Don’t look to the right and left and think “they have no sin” or “I have no sin compared to them”. Jesus is the only one without sin.  As for us, we are all in the same boat…we are all castaways in need of rope.

Let Jesus be your teacher.  Spend time with Him.  Make Him the one you spend the most time with. As for your 5?  Hang around with people who point you to Him.

I look forward to seeing you all in our caps and gowns on graduation day…humbled and grateful for the way He handed out A’s.  All of us, incredulous at our good fortune, knowing the courses were tough and we could not have passed if not for Him.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved




Front porch of the Hatmaker house!


Maybe you watched them renovate it on “My Big Family Renovation” on HGTV.  I know I did.  I watched and laughed and cheered them on.  Jen Hatmaker and her family are fun and real and hilarious and Jesus lovin’ Texas Rock stars in my book.

Here’s the thing.  The house. The family. As good as they looked on TV, they are a million times better in person.

I had a chance to go to their house for the launch party for the book, “For The Love” because I was on the launch team.  (See earlier posts and millions of Facebook updates.)  This team not only launched a successful book – hello number 1!! But also connected women (and 4 men #bandoffour) across the globe who love Jesus and writing and books!  This launch team ended up raising money for all kinds of things and supporting each other in prayer.  It would take months to tell you all the details but to sum it up…this group was kind and generous and supportive and helpful and holy.  Jen  brought us together to help launch her book and then we ended up launching each other and ourselves.  That’s what good leaders do.  They remind you who you are in Christ…worthy, called, redeemed, ready…and then they launch you off to do your thing.  To play your note.  To shine your light.

I tried to take some good pictures for y’all but I was also trying to be in the moment.  There were people taking pics and Periscoping and Tweeting and Facebooking all night.  I posted several on Facebook with friends so if you want more, tune in there.  Here is a picture of the farmhouse.  This is me and my friend, Erin, over to the left.  Isn’t the house so cute!





Jen took time to talk to EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. THERE.  She has to be absolutely exhausted.  She is darling.  She would not say that.  She would say she is SPICY.  I say she is warm and kind and comfortable and doing her thing like a boss.

Can I just explain?

Her whole entire family was there.  Husband and kids and brother and mom and dad and more! And do you see the TV behind us on the porch?  The UT game was on.  There were actually two TV areas outside.  This is Austin friends.  This is how they do things.  Faith, Family, Friends, Football. It felt like we literally were just her friends invited over to hang on a Saturday night.  Her kids are adorable and her mom.  I can’t. You know I love my mom.  Moms are so amazing. I was talking to her mom and I said, “You did good”.  And she said, “Yeah, she’s pretty great.”  And I pictured my mom, always thinking I’m great no matter what. LOVE THAT. As a mom, you just would be so proud.  Or maybe one day someone saying sweet things to me about my daughter (s) (please God). I pictured how it feels to have someone tell you your daughter has inspired them and led them closer to Jesus.  I can’t even.

Of course, I told my mom about this…”Jen’s mom is so cute, she reminded me of you…” and she said, “Of course her mom would be great.  You wonderful daughters didn’t fall of a tree.” So…just giving credit where credit is due.  Thanks to all the moms out there.

Here are some fun pictures.  Isn’t she so cute? I’m so happy for her and her success.  But honestly, the book and the book tour and the TV show appearances and the speaking gigs…all of it is just the icing on the cake.  The real stuff…Jesus, her family, her home, her marriage, her children…that’s what real success is and she knows it.  Being there was so fun because it was cozy and authentic and relaxed.  This isn’t fake, friends. She is the real deal.









She has a chapter in her book called “Porches as Altars” and I have to say, on this night, her porch, her lawn…all of it…was holy.  Offered up in friendship and neighborly love.  So I took the opportunity to do some yoga on her porch.  Of course.  Duh.



All of this “launching” is over now.  At least for Jen.  She is successfully “launched”.   But this “team” thing is here to stay.  Let’s keep cheering each other on.  Let’s live well together.  All of us. For the LOVE.


© 2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes, All rights reserved™

The Last First Day

Be still my heart.

This is the Last First Day.

My oldest is a senior in high school.  Lord, hold me.

How did we get from this:


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To this:





It seems impossible yet it’s happening all around me.  Kids are growing up.

Last night I went up to Natalie’s room to tuck her in.  Yes, I still like to tuck her in. That’s normal, right? If not, don’t tell me. It just so happened that the other kids followed me last night. That’s totally normal too, right? Is it also normal that I made her lunch today and I might have suggested some cute earrings and a ponytail?  SHE IS ALMOST EIGHTEEN.  You guys…I cannot cut the cord.  I cannot stop.  Seriously, send help.

So there we are, all three kids and mom, snuggling in her bed, tucking her in.  As a mom, I was in heaven.  ALL MY BABIES WITH ME. You guys…I could not help it. I started crying and talking about when she was young and how much I love her and all the feelings and thoughts.  She smiled and patted me, “It’s okay Mom.” “I know Mom.” “Don’t worry, Mom.”

We talked about how it’s the last of the family years. You know, the ones you look back on and say, “Remember when…” Those memories of all the kids in the house, of all the chaos and the mess and the laughter.  I just kept going on and on.  I think they were just stunned, staring at me and murmuring, “It’s going to be okay Mom”.  But yet, they didn’t leave.  They didn’t run out or tell me I’m lame or look at their phones.   They listened.  They let me have my moment. And then a miracle happened.  They let me pray. For them. For me. For dad. For all the moms and kids and teachers and all the world. Amen.

Everything is changing.

But not yet.

We’ve got this year.

I keep reminding myself that with endings come new beginnings and I love new beginnings.  I remember so vividly when it was just me and Natalie during the early days when her Dad went to work and the others weren’t born yet. Just us.  I made mistakes with her. I was lost and confused and usually clueless and she stuck with me.  She didn’t have a choice of course. Where was she going to go?  Plus she didn’t know all mothers didn’t cut grapes into quarters because they were afraid of choking and she didn’t know or care if our house was messy or if I was messy.  I pushed her in the stroller and I took her to the park and I read books to her and we met friends together. We were figuring it out.  I can’t help but think she has a different understanding of me…one only the oldest child can have…from the days when it was just us and we were together in that new beginning.  She was so trusting.  Can you stand it? I mean, aren’t you just so HONORED to be in this?  I’m in awe of this motherhood thing.

Crying again…gotta go.

Praying for all you moms who are feeling all the feelings today.  Let’s vow to treasure the gift of our kids…whenever and however we can for as long as we can.

These are the days we will remember.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved