Every Thursday I’ll send a note to your inbox with a devotional thought designed to help connect you with God, information about what’s going on at The Church at Clayton Crossings, and some fun facts to help us get to know one another.

Editor’s note: You’re in for a treat today! Lisa (my wife, also known as the smartest Sanders) has written this week’s devotional thought. I love the way she thinks – read on and you will too! Connect with Lisa on Facebook.

What Lisa is thinking:
Recently I heard the phrase, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” You may have heard something similar from your mother. You know, the classics, like, “if all your friends jump off a bridge, will you?”

Today, my youngest child turned 13. Wait, I have a 13-year-old daughter in middle school?!? This is one of the many horrors that keep me up at night.

Making friends and learning how to be a friend in middle school may have been one of the biggest challenges in my life. I encountered so many different kinds of people: mean girls, jocks, wallflowers, brainiacs, cheerleaders, boy crazy girls, and boys who were completely oblivious to girls.

My memories of those years are a bit cloudy now. The memories of heart breaking crushes, new academic challenges, including the eye-opening experience of reading Roots (still trying to get over that), and figuring out who I was, in addition to the dreaded question–­will I ever fit in?

My world revolved around my friends. What I thought of them, and worse, what they thought of me. Reflections of this time in my life cause moments of profound insecurities and pure terror to resurface.

As I have reflected on my time in middle school and hoped for the best for my daughter, it has caused me to pause and wonder…

What kind of friend am I now? Who am I a true friend to? What opportunities have I missed out on because I was so concerned about myself? Have I hurt anyone in the process? Have I helped or hurt the people in my life?

What I am mostly reminded of today is that I cannot change what I have done, the way I treated people, the way I made people feel, and the way I expected others to meet my needs for me.

So, I resolve to try harder today and focus on the things I can do:

  • I can think about how my actions and choices may affect the people around me.
  • I can strive to be more like Christ in my day to day attitudes and actions.
  • I can be present and aware of the people that God has placed in my path.
  • I can attempt to be a supportive wife that focuses on my husband’s needs more than my own.
  • I can express God’s unconditional love to my kids.
  • I can encourage my kids to reach out to others that might not be just like them.

The truth of the matter is – I can’t do any of these things on my own. But with God’s guidance and leadership, together we can.

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (NLT)

What I need to remember:

  • MEMBERSHIP CLASS Are you considering partnering with The Church at Clayton Crossings? It’s not too late to join us for our no-obligation Partnership Class (formerly MIC) that will give you a peek behind the curtain at who we are and what we do. Here’s the super-short version: we are people who have been rescued by God who are willing to do whatever He asks! Follow this link to sign up.
  • NEIGHBORHOOD MISSIONARIES NEEDED I know we just got the Christmas craziness behind us (unless that no-good relative is still crashing on your couch), but I need your help to get ready for Easter. Beginning Monday, March 21, we’re going to place Easter service invitations on 10,000 doors in Johnston County. Sounds like a huge job, but we can do it if we all work together. Keep your ears open for more details soon.

What I’m reading:

What I’m listening to:

  • In honor of Emma’s birthday, I listened to “Beautiful Day” by Jamie Grace.
  • I replaced the strings on my trusty ol’ acoustic guitar last night and played an often overlooked Jimmy Buffett song with the new strings. I couldn’t remember all the lyrics, so I fired up iTunes and gave another listen to “Death of an Unpopular Poet”. Quite delightful…

About me:
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.

Let’s be friends: