Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I love re-purposing clothes. I hack apart clothes that are too small, too worn, or too ugly and make them into something else. I'm getting better and better at it. This year I used my daughter's too small long sleeved shirts from last winter and added parts to her too small shirts from the summer and now she has several new long sleeved shirts that fit perfect. Today I took a pair of too big jeans and made them into skinny jeans and used the scrap material to sew a patch into my daughters jeans. It's super fun. I love taking something old and making it new. As I was working on these projects I couldn't help but wonder if God gets the same delight out of re-purposing our worn and damaged souls.

A while back we had a guest speaker at church, Floyd McClung. He said that he had often heard from people that they felt like because of all their past mistakes God couldn't use them anymore. He kind of chuckled as he said that that isn't how it works. There isn't this print out for each person when their born with "The Plan" written on it. In fact, if there was one, then when someone made a wrong turn a new Plan would print out for them. That simple. I've often thought about that sermon. It meant a lot to me because I had felt that way. You know it didn't really click until today. I was ripping out seams and cutting out access fabric and I couldn't help but chuckle like Floyd. Does your heart look as worn and torn as my sons grass stained jeans? Don't fret, Father can still use you. He has made a way. It may involve some scrubbing, some trimming, maybe even some ripping of seams, but He's not finished with you. Maybe you feel like I once did, like there were just too many holes in your heart to ever be repaired. Let Him work on you. He'll turn your heart into a beautiful masterpiece. He already sees the finished result when He looks at you. There are still many, many amazing things God can do through you and by you. He doesn't ever throw us out or give up on a wretched piece of material. What good news! He's the Master Tailor. He looks at us and knows exactly what to do to make us new and beautiful again. He can re-purpose us just like the old pillowcase that is now a sleeping gown for my daughter. With the added lace for sleeves the worn fabric is perfect for a soft night gown. Let the Father trim you in love and peace. Think of all those you can comfort when He's finished with you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some Perspective

So before I say anything I have to tell you about a beautiful miracle. My computer is saved! Haha ok so my youngest son dumped a full cup of water over my computer a few days ago. So much water that when I picked it up and turned it on it's side water poured out. Then I did the worst thing you could possibly do, so I read after the fact. I turned my computer on before it completely dried out. It came on and shut automatically off. I took it all apart and let it dry out a few days but had no hope of it ever working again. After everything I read about laptops and water damage I knew it would take a miracle for it to work again. Amazingly today when I put it all back together it came right on like nothing had ever happened. Yippee!!

Yep I'm thankful for a functioning computer. However I realize having a broken laptop is such an American problem. By that I mean, not only do I have a laptop, my husband has a desktop, we both have mini computers (aka smart phones) and our TV has some kind of thingamajig that allows you to access the internet. So despite being totally bummed about my soaking laptop I had a lot to be thankful for. But really I wasn't. Wasn't feeling one bit thankful. Want to know what else I was complaining about? I'll be real. I was really not happy about the fact that my house is still so far from having all the updates we want to make on it. I wasn't even feeling up to decorating for Christmas because there is still so much we'd like to do. I was really complaining. Poor me and my ugly wall papered house. So-And-So has a beautiful house and it's decorated so beautifully. My house is so ugly, my computer is broken, and I'm stuck changing diapers all day instead of being able to run around with friends, blah blah blah.... *sigh* Yep. I was really ungrateful. As if that wasn't bad enough, it gets worse. I had a really bad attitude about something else. My phone charger.

Apparently having a one year old slobber all over the end of your phone charger will make it incapable of charging your phone. After sharing my husbands charger the last few months I finally decided to look into buying another one. Since I'm the queen of Craigslist, of course I found one for only 2 bucks. I arrived at the correct meeting spot at the right time. The lady called me and said she was running late but that she just lived down the street and I could come get it. Of course I've heard all the horror stories about meeting people online. I was already meeting this lady in a rougher part of town so going to her house could have been cause for concern. After checking with the Spirit I felt a peace about going. Of course I grumbled and complained the whole way. I drove the short distance to her street and pulled into the "neighborhood." Wow. Reality check. The houses there were a forth the size of mine (and mine is not big by most standards). The neighborhood was completely trashed out and the cars were all barely holding together. I pulled up the house that looked exactly like every other and got out. I actually went through the thought process of deciding to leave my wallet and purse in the car because if I was going to be robbed I'd rather my car be broken into then have it taken from me. I walked up to the maybe 800 square foot house. Two men walked out. Both fellows were friendly enough. Again I felt remarkable unafraid and at peace. The lady came to the door and I got a glimpse inside. The place was completely trashed out but to be honest it didn't look much worse then on a day my house has been completely torn apart by 4 small children. She gave me the charger and I gave her the cash. She told me she liked my hair and to excuse the messy house. I told her thanks, and to have a nice day. I walked back to my car and drove a way. It felt weird. I felt...thankful. I felt humbled. Who do I think I am? There will always be people out there more fortunate them me. But what right do I have to complain about? I've been given so much. Not just material things that don't matter anyway, but I'm loved. I'm forgiven. I have joy and peace. My life is redeemed.

You know the cool thing about this whole experience? No judgement. For someone who constantly battles judging and criticizing others I had no judgement at all for anyone. I know I'm not better then anyone living in that neighborhood or that part of town. God loves them as much as He does me. Honestly it wasn't so long ago that I moved out of a similar neighborhood.

I'm thankful God allowed me that experience. I'm thankful for some perspective. No matter how bad your circumstance, if you know Jesus, you have something to be thankful for. I love that we can bring our stuff to the Father. I love that I can cry out to Him as much as I want and that if I surrender it to Him, He'll take care of it. He does that by giving perspective, by blessing or discipline but best of all He does it all in love. I'm so thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kingdom and a Quarter

I read a book by Brother Andrew years ago. His books are awesome, highly recommend them. He wrote about an experience that really stood out to me. I've thought about it often. He said at one point while he was in Bible school he had run out of razors and basic toiletry necessities. He wasn't working and was living off supporters. He hadn't received any money in quite some time. He talked about his struggle with faith and believing that God would meet his needs. He finally got the idea that if he just started walking around maybe he would find some money on the ground. Perhaps that was how the Lord would meet his need. So he goes out and starts walking. He walked all day long, looking in the gutter of the most busy streets hoping to find some money. Eventually it dawned on him that perhaps this wasn't the best idea he ever had. He then shared what the Lord revealed to him about the Kingdom. He called it "the Kingdom Way." The Kingdom Way was not looking in the gutter, sifting through trash, for what he needed. So he repents and goes back to his dorm. All the way back he talks to the Father about his needs and just is honest with the Lord, completely vulnerable with Him and Brother Andrew says he experienced an intimacy that he had never before had. When he got back to his dorm an envelope was waiting for him with enough money to cover all his expenses.

I've often had to ask myself, "Is this the Kingdom Way?" In God's Kingdom He never has to compromise His standards to meet my need. Why should I? Have you ever found yourself doing something that just isn't the Kingdom Way to meet your need yourself?

A while back I was going into a local grocery store where you have to use a quarter to get a shopping cart. You get your quarter back when you are finished with the cart and have put it away. I realized that I did not have a quarter. I also realized that not only did I have no change, I only had a $20 bill and my debit card. I really didn't want to go in and cash my 20 just to get a quarter so I asked a lady who was returning her cart if I could have her cart. She looked at my like I had grown a second head. It was totally awkward. So I went in the store, cashed my $20, and got my cart. All the while I was shopping I was really gripping about this chick. Good grief it's just a quarter. I wasn't trying to steal your purse for crying out loud. Sheesh. I finished shopping, got my groceries loaded up, and as I went to return my cart a gentlemen approached me and asked if I'd like him to return my cart. I thought how nice that was. Finally a kind person. I told him thank you and expected him to hand me a quarter. He didn't. He just walked away with my cart and my quarter! Can you believe that?! I couldn't believe it. He stole my quarter! *sigh* Then it dawned on me. I heard my voice in my head griping at that lady, "It's just a quarter!" Ok Lord, I get it. This is not the Kingdom Way.

Ever since then if there is no one around I can give my cart to I just leave my quarter in the cart for the next person to have. I've actually chased down a couple of ladies to give them my cart before they have a chance to dig through their purse for a quarter. It's quite humbling but there have been a few times I've seen people who, like me, didn't have a quarter. It's so cool to just walk up with my cart and not expect anything in return. On the other hand, it's always a little hard when there is no one around to appreciate my sacrifice. I always want to just keep my quarter.

Anyway, it's a small thing I know. But for me, I know I further the Kingdom even in this tiny thing. What are you doing to further the Kingdom? I'd love to hear it. Big or small, it matters to God.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Robe of Righteousness

*You may want to watch this with out your children in the room. This is a poem by Jeffereson Bethke. He writes this about it:

A poem I originally wrote for open mic at Pacific University. The poem highlights our culture's blind obedience to sexual norms, when it only seems to reap destruction. Pleasure is more at our fingertips in America than ever before, and yet depression steadily rises every year. It only shows that sex as recreation, or just for fun, is unable to satisfy us the way we were meant to be satisfied. Sex is good, in it's proper context. This poem mainly focuses though on anyone who has been deeply affected, hurt, and damaged by sexual sin. Forgiveness and mercy are given freely by Jesus. He cleans, restores, and heals us beyond measure and asks nothing in return. He saw all our sin and filth before he went to the cross and it was still his joy to go get us.

I found this really, really thought provoking and had to share.

I love at the end of the video where he talks about receiving the robe of Jesus.

This morning I was actually thinking about that, about how in scripture the metaphor used a lot for giving and receiving forgiveness is new clothes, new robes, being "clothed in righteousness." I thought about it this morning as I was trying to dress my very active toddler. He loves being naked, which is really kind of cute, but with it getting colder he just can't go around in his diaper any more. So in a great battle almost to the death, I get him dressed. I ignore his screeching because I know what's best. In this house I don't care if you're not cold, if it's less then 60 degrees you have to wear socks.

Anyway, I was wondering how many times I've screeched at the Lord, kicking and screaming, refusing to be clothed in righteousness, refusing His love, and forgiveness. One of the reasons my son gets so upset is because he sees his siblings running and playing and he just wants to get down off the changing table and play too, "screw the pants mom," he seems to say. How many times have I thought it unfair that God seems to only be "picking on me?" Like it's a bad thing to be the object of His attention and affection. He's standing there with a beautiful new brilliant white dress. He isn't going to force me into it. Why do we refuse so often the things He has for us?
It's like what this guy says. "He heals us from those sins that totally infect us. He does what condoms can't, He emotionally protects us."  In this video he talks about the woman in John 8. She looks up in the eyes of Jesus and stares into the grace she finds there.
I think what he says at the end is worth repeating. "Think twice about what society feeds us. Come follow the King. His name is Jesus."

Isaiah 61:10 NASB
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Love

I'm compelled once again to write about this great love that I feel. His love for me. This love I have for Him. It wells up on the inside and is stronger then any other emotion. The love I have for Him is deeper then any pain.

I will say, even in this brokenness, even in this loneliness, I will say because of this love I have joy. I am peace. I live in opposite land. Where even when I'm afraid I trust Him. When I'm weak I'm at my strongest and most capable because of what He does in me. Even when I'm overcome my desire for Him is stronger and higher and worth more then anything else. My passion for Him comes from Him.

In this dry and barren land I will sing. I will dance before Him with a heart wholly devoted to Him. I will dance to the song He sings over me. His delight shines on me. The radiance of His smile warms my face. He is the light that leads me to a place of rest.

I'm overwhelmed with hope. A tide of purpose washes over me. I praise Him and I thank Him and rejoice in all that He's done in me. He has called me out of the darkness with one breath. Look how far I've come. For His glory and His delight I will never go back.

Can you take a moment and let Him pull you in? Can you sit, just for a moment and listen to His heartbeat. I want to shake you and scream at you and tell you He's worth it. Don't you know what He can do? Have you seen the sun rise? Do you not see how He holds this world together? Do you not see the love that He has for you just by the air that you breathe? Who are we to question Him, to doubt His love. Are we the clay that we say to the Potter, "You did not make me, You know nothing?" Are we equal to Him? He rides the clouds and causes the mountains to shake. He formed me out of dust and could wipe all man kind out with the flick of His wrist. Yet He looks at me. He sees me. He's called me by name. His face shines down on me and who am I to question why? I don't care why. I'm just so thankful. He's made me His daughter. He wants You. Don't you see? Do you think you are here by chance? Or even reading this by chance? Is this life all there is? How can that be? How can it all be chance and mean nothing?

Let me wake up every day with a song of praise on my lips. I've known bondage. I've known darkness and depravity. I've known despair and pain. I've known fear. I've known depression.

He made me free. How can I sit still? How can I keep quiet? How can you? Do you know you are the reason why He made a way? Do you know you are the reason He gave it all? You belong to Him. When He saw He would lose you He cried out! In His love and mercy He made a way. I will sing of this great love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

His Mercy Says No

Last night I had an interesting thought before bed. I had a picture in my mind of sitting at a nice table and someone bringing me my food. It was a covered plate. They set the plate in front of me and pulled the lid of. When they did hundreds of roaches ran off the plate. I jumped back for a second and then after they had all gone I said "It's ok they're all gone now, looks good." And I ate. (blech) I asked the Lord what that was all about but it seemed like I already knew. The plate of food represented the world and all it has to offer out side of God. And I ate it.

I feel like what we should know is this. God tells us "No" sometimes for our own good, not because He's mean and He doesn't want us to have those things. He just knows they are covered in roaches.

Have you ever had a hard time with certain "rules" of the "christian" faith? Why can't I watch that movie? Why can't I get into the newest TV series? Why can't I read that book? What's wrong with having a few more cookies? Why shouldn't I go to a bar with some of my single "unchristian" friends? Why can't I call my friends up with news about someone else? What's wrong with sleeping in Sunday mornings?

It's in His loving kindness that He shouts out "NO!" just before you take that bite. Why do we think we are entitled sometimes to do what ever we want? Why are we defensive and tell ourselves that we deserve it? Everything the enemy has to offer, even if it's on a silver platter, is a counterfeit to what the Father has offered you.

Next time you get that nudge on the inside that what you are doing or going to do may not be right, don't get defensive. Think about that plate of roaches. I know I'm going to. He knows it's not really good for you. Listen. Thank Him for His mercy that says "No" to things that can hurt us.

1 Timothy 1 NASB
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

He's So Worthy

I love hearing my friends say, "Hey, you need to blog about that!" This particular time we were talking about how awesome it is we don't have the same religious thoughts we did when we were younger. We shared about how we used to think God kept a running tally of our mistakes. That if we had a bad day, a flat tire, a cold, or locked ourselves out of the house, it was because we had been bad and we deserved it. I never really thought God was sitting at the edge of His throne with a thunder bolt waiting to strike like some do. I did believe He couldn't love me if I did wrong.

This is going to sound strange to some, I'm sure, but bare with me. I think part of my problem boiled down to pride. My sin made me feel bad on the inside. It separated me from Him but instead of humbling myself and surrendering it to Him, which, in my mind would take way too much effort, I told myself I wasn't worthy to be in His presence. I wasn't good enough to lift my hands in praise. The other part was that I truly didn't believe He could love me.

I'll never forget during a praise and worship service Him speaking so clearly to my heart that no matter what, He was always worthy. He is. No matter how horribly sinful I've been it doesn't change the fact that He's the creator of the universe and sacrificed it all for me. He's worthy. He's always worthy of my praise. Even when I blame Him for the hurt or pain I feel. He's worthy. Even when I don't understand or agree with His ways. He's worthy. The truth is, it's not really about me. Shocker I know. My circumstances don't change Him. We could flip this all around and also say none of my efforts make me any more deserving of His love either. He doesn't change.

Looking back now I can't believe I ever felt this way but I know so many people still do. Whether you hang back outside of true relationship with Him because you are angry with Him or because you think you are unworthy, I'm talking to you when I say He. Is. Worthy. Always. Sometimes it can be so hard to just let go of all of our thoughts but when you put them in His perspective whatever it is that holds you back is nothing compared to what He thinks of you. Anger, shame, pride, or pain are no excuse to withhold from Him. It's not about you or me. Every breath we take is a gift. Every day we live is evidence in His hope for us. Hope that tomorrow we'll trust Him more, hope that we'll surrender more, hope that He'll be able to love us in ways we never would allow before.

Romans 11 MSG

33-36Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out.

   Is there anyone around who can explain God?
   Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
   Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
      that God has to ask his advice?

   Everything comes from him;
   Everything happens through him;
   Everything ends up in him.
   Always glory! Always praise!
      Yes. Yes. Yes.  

So whatever it is, that thing that keeps you from His presence Sunday morning during praise and worship or from talking to Him throughout the week, it's worth is nothing compared to His. He's so worthy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sharing Secrets

Have you ever known about something before anyone else? Like perhaps your best friend finds out she's pregnant and she tells you before anyone. (Before ya'll start freaking out Jessica is not pregnant, just an example.) Did you have that rush of excitement? Did you experience the joy of being the favorite confidant? I was recently in on a flash mob our church did for our pastor. Me and 3 other women helped come up with the idea and were involved in planning it. It was so fun seeing it all come about but knowing I got to help behind the scenes was the best part!

I recently started worrying about something totally irrational and am even too embarrassed to say what it was. Before I told anyone (which is my natural inclination) I took it to my Father. His response? I felt like I was in elementary school whispering secrets to my best friend. Does God giggle like a little school girl? Some of you may bulk at the thought but it kinda felt like it! He LOVES it when we come to Him FIRST. I've always heard that but last night I definitely experienced it. He always likes it when we come to Him and when we talk to Him but when we bring our problems to Him to fix before calling all our friends, taking it to your pastor for prayer or whatever it is we tend to do, He loves it. And you know what? He fixed it. Instantly. I no longer worried about the problem. Have you ever had a small child come to you with a "bwoken" toy for you to fix? It's so fun to be able to just flip it to "on" and see their faces light up like you can do anything in the world. It's a joy to experience. I think that it's like that for Him. He loves to fix our problems and He loves it when we come to Him first. He whispers His reassurances in your ear and you never have to worry about Him telling your secrets. I know some things can't be fixed instantly for our own good, but sometimes our problems really aren't as big of a deal as they seem. With the snap of His fingers He fixes it. He loves it when we trust Him and He honors that trust.

Oh the joy of relationship! Life with God doesn't have to be one of rules and servitude. We serve Him and obey Him out of trust and love and we get to walk in relationship.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Like the Dawn

 We sang a song last night all about God's light shining forth, like the dawn. It reminded me of a Word that was given to me a little while back ago from Proverbs 4:18.

18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

How I wish I could wake up and be made complete in my salvation, free of the struggles of this life and desires of my human nature. But the path of righteousness is a slow, consistent one that grows brighter and brighter, like the dawn.

I cried out to Him last night.

Lord I so desperately want to humble myself, fall flat on my face before you in total, complete surrender. But there remains parts of me that stubbornly refuse. All I can do is cry out to You for help and forgiveness. Show me Your mercy. But in Your mercy and Your goodness brake me if that's what it takes. For it's in the desert that I sing and in my loneliness that I call on You. In my brokenness You are great and in my barrenness You reveal my need for You alone.

Doesn't God's Kingdom seem so backwards at times? In Jesus' ministry He came in and just turned the world upside down on the Jews. Take Matthew 5 for example.

 3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 

 4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

 7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

I love the way this speaks. You are blessed when you're at the end of your rope, when you've lost what is most dear, when you're content with just who you are, when your care too much.


Honestly, I don't want to be any of those things. Who wants to be at the end of their rope or to have lost what is most dear to them? But I think that that is key to this special blessing. I think for people who have been in that place of trying everything on their own and so tragically failing, they are blessed. When they are lying broken and bleeding the breaking light of dawn shines through and they find themselves in the splendor of His brilliance. Then you know you never could go back. Never. You find yourself in His embrace, proud owner of everything that can't be bought. It's the great mystery of His kingdom. He came in His mercy and died in my place. In His goodness and sovereign grace He sweeps me away and nothing else matters. Nothing. Not my children, or my husband, or my family, or my life. Hidden in Him I find the peace that overflows. Part of me shakes in fear at the thought of loosing those things but then He touches that place in my heart that beats only for Him I'm swept away again in His embrace. When hope and faith fail me He covers me in His love and nothing else matters.