Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Sure I'll Laugh About This One Day

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I have about a gazillion things on my list to get done before I can even start cooking tomorrow but I just had to take some time and blog.

This morning, as usual, I awoke to my two boys banging around in their room with toys. And, of course, I stuck my head under my pillow and covered myself up even deep under the covers. I hear doors up and close, the not so soft sound of pitter patter up and down the hall. But, hey, no one was screaming. I lay in bed a while longer before frantically, my daughter Lydia runs into my room saying, "Momma the boys let Ginger out and she ate the turkey!" I shoot out of my bed, now wide awake. I scream, "WHAT?!" and run, frantically down the stairs. What do I find there? My 140 pound St. Bernarnd, Ginger, stuffing her face with MY, used to be, 20 pound turkey.

*sigh* Yeah. *sigh*

Let me back up. I forgot to put the turkey in the fridge to thaw a couple of days ago. So yesterday, when I remember that it takes forever for frozen turkeys to thaw.  I realized it was too late to let it sit in the fridge until Thanksgiving. So I pulled it out to thaw in the sink. It was still covered in plastic and netting and inside two Target sacks so I thought it was safe.

Ginger sleeps in Lydia's room. It's Lydia's job in the morning to let her out to go potty. Occasionally one of the boys will open Lydia's door and let her out and she usually gets into some kind of mischief so it's very important for Lydia to get up straight away and let her outside. The boys also know they are supposed to stay in their room after they wake up and play quietly with toys until the rest of us get up. That's ideally how it's supposed to work around here. Obviously, that's not what happened today. The boys opened Lydia's door. Ginger ran out and Lydia covered her head with the pillow and snuggled deeper into her covers. Like mother, like daughter eh? Ginger stumbles upon the trash first and then discovers the somewhat thawed turkey in the sink and helps herself. It's pretty remarkable that she was able to lift a frozen 20 lb turkey out of my sink. By the time I stumbled down the stairs it looked like a crime scene in my kitchen. If I hadn't been so livid I would have thought to take a picture because I know someday I'll probably laugh over the scene. Turkey blood and guts all over my white tile and splattered over the cabinets and baseboards.

So what did I do? I calmly let Ginger out. Told the kids, in no uncertain terms to get back in their beds, and went back to my room and screamed like a crazy person into my pillow. Then I called my husband and told him all about it swearing that this was the last straw. Ginger had to go. Images of past holiday sitcoms started running through my mind. I saw myself and my three kids driving all over town searching for the last Thanksgiving turkey, pushing over little old ladies to get to a measly 5 pound turkey that I would some how have to make stretch to feed everyone. I quickly jump up, throw on some clothes, rush around to get the kids dressed and fed, and the turkey mess cleaned up. We get in the car and I rush back to Target all the while, berating my children for, "disobeying and leaving your room" and for, "not getting out of bed to let Ginger out." Conveniently leaving out that I, too stayed in bed and that if I had remembered to put the turkey in the fridge in the first place none of it would have happened either. *sigh* Once we get in the car Lydia's Awana's CD starts up. Too upset to turn it off I let it play. It keeps the kids quiet after all.

About 3 minutes into the drive the story goes like this, 3 children were getting a gift for their teacher. They just found the perfect lamp at a garage sale and went back to their club house to paint it. A fourth friend shows up and breaks it accidentally. In my head, I saw this whole scenario of the other three children shouting at their friend for ruining all their hard work and being so thoughtless and inconsiderate. I was prepared to side with them. I figured there would probably be some lesson about not being so careless with other peoples things. But no. The three children did not get up set with their friend. In fact they told her it was OK because it was just an accident. The children were calm and rational. There was no shouting or berating. Then one little girl said, "I know what to do. We should pray and ask God to help us." And so they did.

*Gulp* And then I felt like a complete idiot. *sigh* I realized I was acting like a spoiled, immature, brat, throwing a fit over a situation that was really no ones fault. Yes it was an expensive piece of meat. Yes there were things we could have all done differently. But I just got schooled by a bunch of first graders on my bad attitude.

I had to repent to my children and to God. And of course they all forgave me. And of course we got to Target and there were still plenty of turkeys. And the truth is I needed to go anyway to get a few last minute things. And I'm sure that if I let the turkey sit in warm water it will be thawed out by tomorrow to cook....hopefully! But if it's not, it won't be the end of the world. Nothing is worth loosing your dignity, and hurting other people over.

A tough, and slightly embarrassing lesson for me to learn. I'm sure this will all be funny someday. Hopefully it will be tomorrow as we all sit down to eat our Thanksgiving meal.

Blessings to you all this holiday season. Cherish this time. I know I will be.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

No, It's Not Ok

If you've never read this blog before you may want to back up a bit to get to know me and what I'm about because I gotta just say this. I. Love. Him. My God. My Savior. My Pappa. My Breath. My Life. My Everything. I just love Him and sometimes I just gotta say it.

And the truth is, I don't always feel that way. I mean, I always mean to love Him but some days I get distracted and the love "feelings" just don't overwhelm me. And that's just not OK. It really isn't. When I stop and let Him wash over me. His love. His joy. His peace. I'm full. That's how it's supposed to be every day. All the time.

I'm overwhelmed by the moment. Letting the emotions of my soul enjoy what my spirit gets to partake in all the time. Just to be near Him. Just to know Him. It's what I live for.

If this doesn't describe you, well, it's not OK. Not because I'm judgmental and everyone should be like me but because the more you seek Him the more you find Him. And that moment when you do. When you find a new part of Him you never knew before. It's just so wonderful. Like all the empty broken places of your heart and soul come together and you are who He created you to be. And that's how it's supposed to be all the time.

I know we get busy. We have priorities. Children. Work. Family. Commitments. But if you are weary and tired. If you are stressed. If you are confused. Sick. Irritable. Distracted. Sad. Depressed. Lonely. Bitter. Angery. Selfish. Well. It's just not OK. There's no excuse. Not when all you have to do is stop. Just for a moment and welcome Him in. Sometimes that looks like a deep breath. Sometimes that looks like spending some time in the Word. Sometimes it's letting Him give you a new perspective. Sometimes that's dancing wildly in your living room to music created just for Him. I'm just sick of hearing, "Oh well, He knows what your life is like. He understands. It's OK." Because it's not. He does know and understand. But He's called you to something greater. To something higher. To something more wonderful then you could have ever imagined. And you don't get there by putting Him last. It's not OK to neglect your relationship with Him. It's not OK to go days with out seeking Him. It's not OK to feel like you just haven't been good enough to talk to Him with out spending an hour repenting. He says "Come." Come just as you are. Be with Him. Because anything less is just not OK. And if you don't have friend in your life telling you that...get one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lost in Translation

Recently, I have discovered a free online Interlinear Bible (Hebrew, Greek, and English) and I'm in heaven...actually...kind of literally! One thing I've learned is, A LOT is lost in translation. I mean, a lot. There are so many awesome nuggets of wisdom, truth, emotion, and inspiration that the English language just can not contain. I've been dissecting the book of John with my D-Group (discipleship group), delving in a chapter a week. This past week was chapter 4 and what I found was just too good not to share with all of you. This may end up being my longest, rambling post yet but just bare with me. I encourage you to read the chapter in it's entirety because I'm going to skip a few verses here and there. Which, if you're like me, means you have to make time to read the whole book. (Am I the only one like that??) Praying the Word comes alive for you like it has me this past week.

Chapter 4 of John is mostly about the Samaritan woman at the well. and that's mostly what this post will be about. It starts off in verse 5 saying Jesus came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near Jacob's well. Being about 6 pm Jesus was weary and set by the well. Take note of that word, "weary" I'll come back to it.

I'm probably going to say the word, "interesting" in this post a gazillion times but I really have no other word to describe how, well, interesting this whole chapter has been. The first time I thought it was when I discovered what the name "Sychar" means. It literally means, "drunken." Huh. Really? There was a town that actually means drunken? Isn't it interesting that of all places to use an analogy about drinking living water Jesus stopped by a town called Drunken? And that of all places, He sat at a well and asked a woman, from the city of Drunken for, of all things, a drink? And then teaches and eventually brings eternal life to most of the Drunken town with an analogy about drinking. Living water, that is.

So Jesus is weary and seeing a woman coming to draw water (Ha! Like He didn't know she would be coming) He asks her for a drink. He didn't ask her for just any drink. The word "drink" used in verse 7 means, "to drink figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh or strengthen it into life eternal." It's actually the same word used in John 7:37- "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink." Why would Jesus ask a Samaritan woman from a Drunken city for an eternal life kind of drink? No wonder the Samaritan woman said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Why are you asking me? You're a Jew, I'm a Samaritan, what do I know about the eternal life kind of drink?"

Now if this Man had been any other Jew, well for starters, he wouldn't have asked for a drink because we all know Jews didn't talk to Samaritans, but say he was just some other Samaritan. How would this conversation have gone down? Would she have said, "Sure I'll get you a drink, even though I've been working all day and have to haul up my own water and then carry it (most likely on her head, I mean hello) all the way back down into town." From verse 20 we know she's on a mountain. Or would she have been a little less sarcastic and just have ignored him or told him no or even would she have just gotten him a drink? I didn't go do a ton of research on all the customs of the day so I don't know what she would have said. My point is, for her, this is just another day in the life. She probably would never, in a million years, considered asking what Jesus suggested. He says to her in verse 10, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

On a side note. Do you remember the day He came into your life? Was it like hers and so many others He encountered while He walked this earth? Was it out of the complete blue? One day you're just getting water the next day, BAM He's saving you from a pit of despair you never thought you'd be free from or maybe never even knew you were in. It's a beautiful thing, to encounter Him. We see it so often. But how different her's is from Nathan's. You can read about his encounter here.

So she makes it clear to everyone reading the story thousands of years later that she really didn't get it. Like, at all. She says to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You..."

Let me stop here and expound on that word, "well." It has different meanings throughout this chapter. In verse 6 (describing where they are) and 14 (when Jesus is speaking) the word "well" literally means "a well, or a fountain fed by a spring of water." But when she uses the word in verses 11 and 12 it means, "the pit of the abyss." She saw the pit, not the living water. She saw the condition of her life not what He was offering her. How could He draw the living water out of that? It's all she had ever known. It's all her forefathers had ever known. And she didn't get that He was the Messiah yet. She's honestly a little slow on the uptake but I love that because aren't we all at times? He doesn't give up on her. Instead, He reiterates in verse 13, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again." Hmm. This water and anything else y'all been drinking up in the city of Drunken.

Still not realizing who she's talking to she says in verse 15, "Sir," not Messiah or Savior or anything, else because in her mind He's still this crazy Jew who's actually talking to a Samaritan, "give me this water, so I will not be thirsty" and have to climb all the way up this blasted mountain everyday and carry a giant water pot on my head all the way back down. OK, OK I paraphrased that last bit. It's just very obvious that she still does not get what Jesus is talking about. It's not really liquid water. But that's OK. If all else fails all He has to do is tell her something about herself that she already knows but knows He doesn't know, thereby a miracle for Him to know and be able to tell her. Make sense?

It's clear she doesn't get the analogy but it's really probably for all of our benefit that He used it anyway. This is that part where they have the whole, "you're not married but have been married five times but you're living with a man you're not married to" conversation. It's really a beautiful thing that of all people, He used her to save an entire city. But that's who He is and what He's about so it's not surprising at all.

He tells her all about herself but does she get it? Mmm not quite, but she's getting warmer. Verse 19, again with the Sir, "I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Aaaaa bitter much? First of all what the heck does that have to do with anything? I mean really, that is so besides the point. But you know how we get when the Holy Spirit comes and convicts us. That moment the Light shines into a hidden part of our soul that was hidden for a reason, because it was ugly! We, or I guess I should say, I tend to squirm a bit. I sometimes get a little uncomfortable and try and change the subject to get that Light off myself and remind Him of all the wrongs done to me! After all she says, "Our fathers have worshiped here for generations. It's Jacob's well for crying out loud. He built it, drank from it, and fed his cattle from it but it's not good enough for you people who say we have to worship in Jerusalem or we can't worship at all." OK she, practically says that.

This is where it starts to get really good. Jesus cuts straight to the heart of the matter and again I feel like His words aren't just for her. They are for us: "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Alright here's what I think. She probably looked at Him with an extremely perplexed expression, not unlike many Jesus spoke to I'm sure. Before I move on I'd like to point out that Jesus knew she didn't know. I mean He even says it, "You worship what you do not know." She doesn't know anything about worshiping God and even after conversing WITH God she still didn't get it. But that's not the point. The Jews got salvation but only after thousands of years of having it pounded into their heads and many still missed it. But that's not the point either. It's not about where, whether on the mountain, in Jerusalem, or on a house or with a mouse or in a box in red socks. An hour is coming, and now is. All. The. Time. When the true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth. That part was for me and you. But back to her.

Does she get it? And by "It" I mean does she see HIM? Does she perceive He is her's? Does her soul wake up and see that He sees her. All that she is? All that she was created to be? Does she realize who she is talking to like He said way back in verse 10? *sigh* Sadly, no. She does not. Again, she tells Him what she knows. Which is nothing. At all. It's almost painful to see. After those beautiful words tumble from His beautiful lips she says, like an eager student to prove she's not a ding bat, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ; when that one comes He will declare all things to us." Oh precious child. How she is loved! For He says, "I who speak to you am He." Please know I am not judging this woman. I am this woman. Have been this woman. Except for the five husbands thing, I know what it is like to see and not perceive. To hear but not understand. I know what it is to be loved by Him despite my idiocy.

"I who speak to you am He." At this point the disciples walk up and are amazed that He's speaking to her, which amazes me. I mean, hasn't He done enough amazing things by now to just trust in every single move He makes and every word He speaks without wondering what the heck He's doing and why and doesn't He know He's not supposed to do it? At least they've learned by now to keep their mouths shut (vrs 27). So she leaves. And maybe that's why He seems to me to be a little perturbed with His disciples. I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have seen exactly what happened. She leaves her pot too. He just told her who He is. And it's clear she still doesn't get it because later she tells the men in Drunken to come see a man who told her all the things that she has ever done and "this is not the Christ, is it?" Is it?

In my heart I believe that her heart must have been doing some crazy flip flops. Something had to have happened in her heart for her to be able to convince all those men to climb up that mountain. She must have been beautiful so that probably helped, but still. It was a mountain that they had to climb and even Jesus was weary from climbing it and He was probably climbing down.

"Meanwhile." Love that word here. It's like watching a movie right? Or a TV show. Two perspectives at once. She's talking to all the men and meanwhile the disciples were urging Jesus to eat something. And this next bit made my heart ache to the point I had to take a break from studying it. If you're still reading this I congratulate you and thank you. Please bare with me a bit longer.

In verse 32 Jesus does His thing, ya know, confusing the disciples and often all of us (Ha!) with riddles. "I have food to eat that you do not know about." Food. What might have appeared to be an exhausting, exasperating, in all probability pointless conversation with someone was actually, according to the Hebrew translation of that word "food," the soul's food, either which refreshes the soul, or nourishes and supports it. It's the same word used in John 6:55, "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." And John 6:27, "Do not work for that which perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you , for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Again, the same Hebrew word for, "eating" used in  Romans 14:17, " for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." And the same as in 2 Cor. 9:10, " Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

This soul nourishing food is Jesus. It comes from Jesus. And the Father. And the Holy Spirit. It's supplied by Him, cultivated in us by Him and the harvest, in turn, is His food. His food was to do the Father's will, which was to accomplish His work. Which was to save all of us. So who are we to say, "There is yet four months to harvest" (vrs 35). For behold, "lift up your eyes" the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing. Say, as the men from Samaria, "we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world" (vrs 42).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Out of Darkness

Had to share this with all of you. This is a really spectacular song. It's one of those totally inhabited songs ya know? I'm apparently not techie enough to figure out how to put it straight onto my blog so...Click. Listen. Soak. Download. Share. In that order :)

Here's the lyrics:

You are the source of life
And no darkness hides in You
It trembles in Your light,
It trembles in Your sight.

 So shine Your light in me
And bring out the hidden things
So darkness cannot hide in me
So darkness cannot hide in me

So let Your love light the way

Let Your love light the way
Let Your love light the way to freedom.
Light the way to freedom

So all I can offer You

My heart, broken in two
My brokenness for innocence
My brokenness for innocence

We are running out of darkness

And into the light, into the light
We don’t have to fear the darkness
‘Cause we have the light
You are the light

Shine your light in me. Let that be my prayer every day.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Yesterday I colored my hair. You can see from my pic it's usually pink. I do love it when it's pink but recently I was given a lot of really nice clothes and my pink hair really clashed. I usually like to go darker in the fall and winter anyway. Why am I tell you this you ask? Because today I was taking a pic of my hair to send to my Momma and show her my new look. And check. It. Out.

You can see my confused look. What is that? I checked my flash. I didn't even have my flash on. I looked over my shoulder. Didn't see anything. I was not standing in front of a mirror. So I took another pic.
At this point I'm thinking, "Is that what I think it is?" So I took another.
I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh is that an angel? What is that?" I look over my shoulder again. Nothing. I wiggle the camera around and there is this big ball of light. So of course I take another pic.
Does that look like a hand to you? Hmm...

I normally don't get into stuff like this. So any skepticism would not surprise me. All I know is I know I'm not alone. Boom.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Straight Talkers

So last night I was reading John 1 (really, really good chapter btw) and I came across something I had never noticed before. *sigh* I just love Jesus (well that I knew). He just gets people ya know? And after reading this I. Love. Nathanael. I think we would have been pals if we had lived in the same era. If they made a movie about Jesus and the disciples I think Nathanael would have been the comic relief guy. He just tells it straight. A man after my own heart. In verse 43 of chapter one Jesus finds Philip and so Philip goes to Nathanael and says, "We found Him! The guy everyone has been writing about and looking for we found Him! It's Jesus of Nazareth." (obviously I'm paraphrasing) And what does Nathanael say? I love this guy. He says, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Can't you just visualize his confused look? Like, Huh? I'm sure some may think of Nathanael as a smart mouth or at best a little insensitive. But I think Nathanael was just being honest. I can appreciate a guy like that. Just tell it to me straight. That's how I am. And how often have I been misunderstood? Well, a lot. 

So I love, love, love this next part. In verse 47 before Philip and Nathanael even get to Jesus, He sees them. He. Sees. Them. And He must have shouted out because it says, "Jesus saw them coming," He says (or shouts), "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" Notice the exclamation mark. And I love what comes next. Nathanael says, "How do you know me?" Not, "Who? *confused look* Me? You think that of me?" I love that when Jesus called out to Nathanael and told Him who he was Nathanael did not question it. He knew who he was too. (*dreamy sigh* A man of honesty and confidence. Does it get any better?) He was a man of no deceit His intentions were never to hurt anyone with what he was saying. He was just speaking out the truth. Apparently Nazareth had a reputation for no good. And Jesus saw that bout Nathanael and validated him.

Ok so this next part cracks me up. So Jesus plays along and responds to Nathanael's question by saying in verse 48, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” and Nathanael is shocked and says, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” I love adding periods for dramatic affect so I picture it something like this: "Rabbi, You. Are the Son of God; You. Are the King of Israel." Remember, Nathanael is for real, there is no deceit in him so he says what he thinks. And He knows that Jesus is the Christ but I personally think He knew that from the moment Jesus first called out to Him. 

Ok so this is the part that is just awesome. Jesus starts talking Nathanael's language. I just love that! I love that Jesus just speaks to us in ways we understand. For me, He talks to me about hair. That may be weird to some people but that's kind of the point. So Jesus responds to Nathanael's dismay and exclamation with, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?" Some might consider Christ a smart mouth in that instant. Do you see His cocked eyebrow and look of incredulity? That's how I used to see it. But I don't think so. I don't think Jesus is like that. He's just talking straight with a guy who is a straight talker. He's speaking Nathanael's language. I imagine Nathanael is the kind of guy that didn't put up with too much BS if ya know what I mean. And Jesus meets him there. He says, "Really? You are impressed by that? Or did you know already? When I called you by name?" And this bit gets me every time. In verse 51 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” 

Mm. Mm. Mm. Don't remember Jesus every saying something like that to anyone else. Jesus opened Nathanael's eyes. He said, "This is who I created you to be. I created you to be a straight talker. You cut to the truth and I love it. And now I'm going to open you're eyes and you will see. You. Will. See."

Now, for all those straight talkers out there like me and Nathanael and Jesus. Of course we've been accused of being a smart mouth and talking too much and being insensitive and too blunt or tactless. And well all of that is probably true upon occasion. But, it's a beautiful thing, what He can do to reign us in and teach us and help us. Don't loose that confidence to say what you mean. He created you that way. If it makes people uncomfortable, well, it probably should.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Well, Bless My Socks Off

We are a household that lives pay check to pay check. Not unlike many I'm sure. We have a lovely house and dependable cars and all our needs are taken care of but we often give up many of our wants. I'm pretty cool with this most of the time. I like living a simple life and am just fine not wearing name brands and all that. But I have been known to occasionally complain about not having a enough money for something I want or usually it's something I want to do. I've often asked the Lord for "big" blessings and to get us to the place where we don't have to struggle or go with out so many "wants." Anyone relate? I don't consider myself a discontent person but having some extra money to give, to save, to do any number of fun things with would sure be nice.


So Father has been teaching me. That's not always fun, but He's also really blessing me. Sometimes we get caught up in the big stuff or what we don't have and want that we miss out on the little things. So I wanted to list a few things that He's given me that's just been something a little extra. He's so sweet like that and it's a good way to remind yourself how good you really got it.

Last spring someone gave me a ton of beautiful, very nice quality winter clothes. I had to put them away over the summer but what a joy it's been to pull out all these goodies now that it's gotten cold again!

I recently was given 2 ginormous trash bags full of summer and winter clothes and was able to give away a lot of it. It's such a blessing to bless other people.

My mom was visiting recently and bought me and my three kids new shoes! WHAT?!

I found an amazing bargain at a consignment store and bought coats for my kids for less then what I was expecting to spend on one.

I give piano lessons. I've been so blessed to be able to do something that I really enjoy to help supplement our income. Last week two of my students had to drop out, which is a major, major bummer. I posted an add and that day got 4 more! 

My daughter needed some new markers for school and she just happened to win the quiet seat prize at church and guess what it was? A new set of markers! Can't make that up folks.

Just this week I was moaning and groaning about not getting to go on a date with my husband because we didn't have the money for a sitter and the cost of a movie. So last night was our family dinner at our church. There was a friendly chili cook off and I entered a chili in the vegetarian category and won!! I couldn't believe it. This is where the Lord really taught me something. I was honestly, secretly hoping for 3rd because I didn't believe I was good enough for 1st. So after they called the winner for 3rd and 2nd place I started to get totally disappointed! I was stunned when they called my name for 1st! Isn't that just like the Lord? Here I am hoping for crumbs and He's offering the banquet table. And don't you wonder what the prize was? A gift card to the movies! Now we can go on that date! I love it!

I've had to make a choice. Do I look at all that I'm missing out on and cry about it or do I look at all that I have and trust Him to bless and provide for me? What a joy it has been to list some of these things out and remember and thank Him. So often He's in the little, daily things we over look or take for granted.

I challenge you to look for Him in those places and see Him loving you in the quiet moments, in the smiles of your children, the phone call from a friend at just the right time, and the little blessings along the way.

I would love to hear some of your stories. Do you have a testimony of God smiling down on you in that special way that just changes everything? Please share in the comments!

Proverbs 30:8
...Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Down the Mountain

Have you ever tried to do something without the help of the Lord? By "something" I mean literally anything. Was talking to a dear friend yesterday about marriage, raising kids, and how to know if you have enough kids or if you're supposed to have more. Super good talk. She has much wisdom and love...actually we call her Love because, well she just is. We talked a lot about trust versus fear when it comes to how we see God and His ability to take care of us, especially when we are living His heart in these areas. I felt really good about all we had discussed. I felt like I was trusting Him with my marriage and children and the possibility of future children. Yes, I said it. Future. Children. I felt like I was trusting His timing too.

But then later, as I was having my "quiet time" with Him, He gave me a picture of what I was really doing. Ever had that happen? It's totally cool. So as I was praying about what Love and I had talked about all of a sudden I see myself flying down a hill, like the one pictured, on a bicycle. Not a mountain bike. Oh no, this was like my 3rd grade bike. It had streamers on the handle bars and a little basket in the front. I had my pink princess helmet on too. I thought I was doing pretty good. I was still on the thing after all. But you know that feeling you get when you're riding a bike or even running down a steep hill? That feeling like you can't keep up? Like you're going to face plant any second? Yeah that one. That's the feeling I got. I was breathless with anxiety. There was no way I could keep from falling. This is what raising kids with out the help of the Lord is like. Like falling down a large mountain. Ha! So true!

Then He gave me another picture. He reminded me what it was like to go trail riding on my horse (I used to have a horse). I would go with a friend, who happened to be way more experienced then I was, and we would try to find these little cliffs to climb and go down. Sometimes it was scary. Sometimes my friend wanted to go down terrain that I was nervous about. But I did trust my horse. We both had sure footed, experienced horses that knew what they were doing. The times that I was scared all I had to do was close my eyes. A horse riding expert may not recommend this but it worked for me. That's what the Lord reminded me of. I would hold on tight, lean back, close my eyes, and trust my horse. It was fun. This is how you do things, not in your own strength, but by His.

Sometimes life with God is like going down a mountain...about 30 mph...on a horse. Remember the cowboy movies where you see the cowboy gallop his horse down a steep hill? All you can do is close your eyes, hold on tight, and trust that the horse knows what it's doing. He doesn't always want to take us around the mountain. Sometimes He wants to take us straight up, down narrow paths, through rushing rivers, and down steep ravines. When we do things His way, trusting Him, and letting Him carry us it's easy...and actually kind of fun!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Titus 3:5

Wanted to share this. This reminded me that He is All the Time. A good day to remember that.

Titus 3:5 NASB:
 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

So many things that I love about this scripture. It's hard to get past that first bit. He. Saved. Us. Can't help but linger there in thankfulness. But it get's better, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness. I love that it says, in righteousness there. It's like he's specifically talking to those that are saved who have tried to save themselves. Ya know what I mean? There are many who have never tried to save themselves. Some of us were running in the complete opposite direction when He swooped in and pulled us up out of the pit. But for those of us who have worked hard all their lives to be good. To do good. To be righteous. He saved you, not because of those deeds but according to His mercy because nothing we could ever do would be good enough.

I recently learned that, that word regeneration, "refers to the spiritual rebirth of the individual soul." It's where we get that term "born again" from. When I think of regeneration I think of all the horrible things that could happen to a body, mind, or soul and then seeing that play backwards to become a perfect, pure, whole person. The person He created us to be. Ever seen a car commercial where they show a crash and then in slow motion move backwards to where it never happened? It goes back to the brand new car but for us we start over. We literally, "begin again."

The added word, washing paints a beautiful picture. This is not like a car wash. The Holy Spirit doesn't get out His bucket of soap and scrub brush and go to work scrubbing away our filth. Think instead of what it's like to be baptized. What a picture baptism is of what happens to our soul. I remember being baptized. I completely surrendered and went down into the water. It was like slow motion. I felt the water begin to cover me. I held my breath and gave myself to Him in a new way. I came out washed, cleaned, restored, and yes, regenerated. You can't scrub away dents and broken places or even memories of how they happened. When He washes you He restores you. He heals the broken places, seals the wounds, and replaces the memories.

Which brings me to that last bit, AND renewing by the Holy Spirit. It doesn't stop with just being saved. He saved us, regenerated us, and saves us some more. Over and over. We are saved once according to His mercy by the regenerative work on the cross. We're in. Part of the family. Going to heaven. However you want to say it. But it doesn't stop there. We can let Him save us every day by the renewing of the Holy Spirit. This is really good news. I'm so thankful to Him for caring enough about me that He'd want me to be free, regenerated, if you will, to Him. Every. Day. Or should I say every moment? Had days like that? He invades your moment, brings peace and joy but before you know it you're drowning again. The best part? We don't have to do anything but yield. Just yield. Say, "I can't do it on my own." I think that is why he added that part at the beginning about our deeds having nothing to do with salvation. They have nothing to do with it in the beginning and nothing to do with it in the renewing. It's His work, this whole saving thing. Let Him save you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cheek to Cheek

Hard to believe I wrote this over a year ago. In the blink of an eye my baby grew from 11 months to 24 months! Just wanted to repost this in honor of his second birthday since I didn't manage to blog about that. He still makes me smile in a way no one else can. We still like to dance. He still reminds me of the love the Father has for me.... 

I put the big kids down for naps and decided to get some house work done. Bret was happily playing in his play pen and I turned on some music. After a while Bret wasn't playing quite as happily. I picked him up, swung him around and started dancing with him cheek to cheek to "My Sweet Sweet Song". (listen here) My baby, 11 months old tomorrow. Singing softly to him, cheek to cheek. Smooching on his sweet neck. Smelling his sweet baby smell. "You are so good to me. You heal my broken heart," the words on my lips. "You are my Father in heaven." Twirling around the room with my baby. His goodness overwhelms me. How can a God who literally rides upon the clouds care so much about me? How can He love me so much? How can He take care of all my messes knowing I'm just going to fail again? "I will sing again, You are beautiful, my sweet sweet song." It's like this baby in my arms, this love He has for me. It's unspeakable, immeasurable the love I have for my son. I swing him around and he smiles. How I delight in this baby! How He delights in us, His children. He longs to pick you up and spin you around just to see you smile. "I will sing again, You are my Father in heaven, You are so good to me." Let Him delight in you. Let Him dance with you. "My sweet sweet song." There's healing in the music, in the dance. His heart beat in the rhythm. Bask in His love for you. Thank Him for all His goodness. It changes everything.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rest in the Waiting

We are all aware of the seasons. Besides the weather we all also experience different seasons of life. I am currently in a season of waiting. I would not have said that before. I thought I was in transition. That I was transitioning from one season to another and that in the mean time I was waiting. Well, I was only sort of waiting. More like I was struggling to get to the next season. I have wanted this period of waiting to end. I have wanted it only to be a short period of transition into a new and wonderful season, most likely of my own making. I have even suggested to the Lord many fine alternatives to this waiting. I have even said that I am willing to do anything else. But I realized today. I am in transition because I have not wanted to accept the season that I'm in. I am in a season of waiting, not waiting to transition to a new season. As this revelatory idea began to bloom in my mind the Lord asked me how long I wanted the transition to take. If I was going to keep fighting it or if I would rest in the waiting.

I thought of a doctor's office waiting room. When I was pregnant with my middle child, Alex my doctor had a beautiful waiting room. It was very peaceful and calm with large black and white pictures of pregnant bellies and babies. There was always peaceful music softly playing and big comfy sofas and pillows to sit on. The receptionist was always kind and helpful. I really didn't mind that waiting room so much. I would take a book or magazine and enjoy the quiet peacefulness of waiting. Despite being a fairly impatient person by nature I didn't mind the wait because I knew it was just part of having to go to the doctor. I didn't fight it. I planned my appointments knowing there would be a 20-30 minute waiting period. I planned ahead and brought my headphones and book. I actually began to look forward to those moments of quiet rest.

If I would have gotten up and complained to the receptionist it would not have made a difference. If I would have made a different appointment I still would have had to wait. If I would have screamed or shouted it would not have gotten me in to the doctor any sooner. If I would have begged and pleaded and cried it would not have changed the fact that I would still have to wait.

Rest in the waiting.

We sing this song at church called "Everlasting God." (Actually I realized while writing this blog that there are several different songs about the Everlasting God and they all have lyrics about waiting...interesting.)
The essence of the song is:
The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? Whom shall I be afraid?
I will wait for You, I will wait for You
I will remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord 

We set our hope on You, we set our hope on Your love, we set our hope on the One
Who is the everlasting God, You are the everlasting God, You are the everlasting

This song is taken, quite possibly unintentionally, right out of Psalm 27. That part about hope and the goodness of the Lord is from Psalm 27:13: I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. That word "despaired" means the opposite of hope. You could say, "I would have had the opposite of hope or no hope unless I had believed...." Immediately following in verse 14 it says: Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. What do these two verses have to do with each other? What does God's goodness and my hope in His goodness have to do with waiting? I think He knows waiting is hard. We have no concept of what everlasting or eternal means. We only know time. I think He knew this idea may be hard to grasp and that is why He reminds us of His goodness and His everlasting-ness. That's why David had to tell his soul to take courage. It was not his natural inclination.
I am loved by an everlasting, good God. Today I will set my hope on Him. I will tell my heart to take courage. I will draw near to Him with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith by letting my Spirit minister to my soul since my heart is sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and my body washed with pure water. I will hold fast the confession of that hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Heb 10:22-23). I will rest in the waiting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Filipino Mango

When I lived in the Philippines I used to eat these delicious, locally grown mangos. Mm! Making my mouth water even now! They were so good! I had at least one nearly every day. Sometimes they were really sweet but sometimes you would get one that was a little tangy too. They were my favorite. Not sure what made me think of those mangos today but that made me think of the pineapples I ate in Panama. OH MY GOODNESS they were good! You've never tasted a pineapple so good, unless of course you've had one in Panama. Imagine the best pineapple or mango you've ever eaten. Now think about the fact that the growers of these fruit, after harvesting, keep the best for themselves and ship everything else to the states. So, the very best pineapple or mango you've ever had was actually one of the worst ones grown. That's why they taste so different over seas, because they really are  nothing like what gets shipped over here. I remember, after coming home from the Philippines, I bought a huge bag full of mangos from Wal-Mart. I was so excited and couldn't wait to eat them. It was like bringing a bit of the Philippines home with me. That is, until I took a bite of one. BLEH! It was awful compared to what I had over there. This is the honest truth, I have not taken a bite of a mango since. Not one time, er well there was a bit of mango in a sangria I had a few weeks ago, but even then I noted the difference. It's been 7 years since I was in the Philippines (ah! 7 years?! *tear*). That's a long time to go without a mango. But what can I say? Filipino mangos ruined me.

I once read a story about a girl who "died" for a few minutes before she was resuscitated. She said while she was in heaven she had strawberries with the angels. Can you imagine what a heavenly strawberry must taste like? I doubt she'd ever be able to eat a strawberry again no matter what country she was in.

Have you ever experienced anything like that? Where you were just absolutely ruined by someone or something? The standard was just raised so high that nothing can compare? 

Of course this reminds me of something about my relationship with Father God. This is me we're talking about after all. There are some things God has just ruined me for, in a good way. I'm completely uninterested in living life without Him. I've tasted of Him. He's too good to want to taste anything else. Now that's not saying occasionally I haven't experimented in areas I should not have in the past. But, BLEH!, was my same reaction. Jut like I'm not even tempted at the grocery store to buy a mango, I walk right on pass without giving them a second glance, I'm not even a little tempted to find another source for life.

You know what I am learning though? There are many different areas I haven't let Him "ruin" yet. Before I had a Filipino mango I had no idea what I was missing. It can be like that now with Him. It's like He's saying, "Oh you think that mango is good? You haven't tried my kiwi. You don't know what you're missing!"

So today let's take a bite out of Him. Let Him fill you with something new. Let Him ruin you for all other fruits.

Daily bread, Father. Ruin us. We want to taste You and know Your goodness. Spoil every other thing that would try to compare.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Gardening. It's a beautiful thing. Would never have thought so before I actually started gardening. It seems I learn a lesson every time I step foot in the dirt. With every weed pulled, I am reminded of the constant care the Father takes in His garden, my heart. The constant watering reminds me of the life that must be constantly poured over my soul from the well of life that is His Word. I am aware of and must take precautionary measures against the constant, ongoing invasion from every bug, disease, and sprig of grass that assults my garden, just as it is with my heart.

In my garden this year are three cherry tomato plants. So far this year, I've harvested only about fifteen cherry tomatoes. I also have cucumber plants from which I've harvested about thirty cucumbers. I planted both plants at the same time. I water them the same amount. I've given them both fertilizer. I've weeded both areas the same. Overall, I've cared for them exactly the same. Why have my cucumbers produced so much more volume then that of my tomatoes? By nature, cucumbers are much larger so that for every cucumber produced it would take maybe fifteen or more cherry tomatoes to equal the same volume. Theoretically, my tomatoes should be producing roughly fifteen tomatoes per cucumber. I have a friend who has tomato plants that have been this productive, as her plants are twice the size of mine.

Why is it that in my garden one plant has been much more fruitful then another?

Why does it seem like whatever plant in the garden of my heart that produces patience is withered and dead? If the fruits of the Spirit must be grown what do we do while they are still ripening?

Recently, at church I've been learning about the fruits of the Spirit Paul talked about in Galations 5. Last Sunday the message was about patience. There have been plenty opportunities to exercise patience this week. I've been a struggle. I asked the Lord last night why I was having such a hard time.

I felt that whisper in my heart, What do you do when there is not enough fruit in your garden to feed your family?

Well I would go buy some. Then I remembered that my friend with an abundance of tomatoes gave me some of her excess. She gave me a lot actually. More then enough to get me through.

I really believe that God is my source and that He knows when I'm running low on a resouce. He has more then enough. He always gives freely of Himself. In fact, all that He is, is inside of me. Even though I'm growing and maturing and may even be lacking in some areas, all that He is, is within my reach. When I'm out of patience or gentleness, He gives it to me. He gives me the gift of patience because He gave me the gift of His Spirit. When I lack peace or joy, He gifts me with them. He gets me through until those fruits have ripened in my Spirit. Some areas of my heart are more fruitful then others. Like my cucumbers and kale, I have had more then enough and have been delighted to give away much of my harvest.

As He sees a need, He also blesses me with opportunites of growth. He knows exactly how much we can handle and is a never-ending source of good gifts. He loves giving them and is happy to do so.

Isn't it interesting how some people are more fruitful in areas that you may be completely lacking in? I have a friend that seems to be extra-fruitful in the area of love. She really represents so acurately how the Father loves. I have another friend who is so faithful. It seems, no matter what the circumstance, I can alway count on her to come through. I'm not really sure what my strength is. I seem to be lacking in every area HA! Perhaps it's because I've only recently been tilled, fertilized, and planted. Many seeds have taken root and are sprouting but are not yet producing fruit. All the gifts of the Spirt were planted at the same time. Some have come up sooner then other's depending on the fertilizer, or opportunites of growth they were given.

It's beautiful to be in a communitte of excess. So many times, when I've lacked peace or joy someone has called and encouraged me. Out of the excess of their love, gentleness, and kindness they have carried me along until those fruits have ripened. I see this as blessing from Him.

What a lesson this has been for me. No longer do I see my lack as something to be embarrassed about. He's all that I need and He simply reminds me that the pain I feel is just growing pains. It's a process and I'm ripening. In the mean time He doesn't leave me all alone to provide myself. He's there. He sees. He gives me good gifts.

Eph 2:7 MSG
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lessons For Living

Today while talking with a couple of other mom's about our kids we realized how often the Lord uses them to teach us things about ourselves. My dear friend was sharing how her daughter's behavior was causing something inside of her to become angry and feel out of control. She was beginning to see that the Lord was using that experience to do something inside of her.

I recently discovered something similar for myself. You may have read about it here. The whole idea is that the "something" I want to change in my child (or anyone else for that matter) is actually the "something" He wants me to surrender to Him or has something to do with the "something". Does that make sense? This has got me thinking. What if the Lord is always using "something" to teach us and grow us? How many times have I overlooked opportunities for Him to use those "somethings" to bring freedom in my own heart? It doesn't have to be just through raising children, although I can see how the Father loves using them in this way. My children have the ability to bring out the best and the worst in me, making them excellent tools to strip away the outer "perfect Christian, wife, and mother " persona I try and wear. Nothing can crack that surface like one of my children throwing a massive temper tantrum in public.

Maybe you are thinking you are off the hook because you don't have kids. Let me remind you that He is very resourceful. If you don't have kids, your kids are grown, or even if you do have kids, He has many, many ways of growing us. 

This isn't really a new thought. "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger," right? What I discovered is most of the time I don't realize this is happening. By "this" I mean the opportunity Papa is taking to teach me something. I'm too busy asking the Lord to work on someone else or work on whatever the situation is. I become way more occupied with fixing them then with allowing Him to fix me. After all, I don't need fixing. I'm  not the one who is acting poorly. It's not that I'm bad intentioned. I can spend a lengthly amount of time "praying" for them by informing God how He should fix them.

Am I the only one like this?

Well since I'm being real I might as well tell you that there are also times when I'm feeling pretty good about myself and where I am with the Lord. I get in little ruts of self-satisfaction, pride in my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Everything seems to be going my way. I feel I've finally arrived.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say we should walk around feeling unworthy, or completely inadequate. I'm only saying it's a beautiful thing that the Lord uses these things to do something beautiful and wonderful in us. The truth is though, I think He has more opportunities then we realize.

So right now. At this very moment. What's bugging you about someone or some situation? As I walk this all out with the Lord, I'm finding that often when I surrender my own issue about the problem, for example: forgiving that person for their behavior, repenting for my own actions in response to their behavior, or just offering up a blanket prayer of humility expressing my desire for Him to make me more like Him in every way; I'm finding that the problem goes away. Somehow there is a heavenly exchange that takes place that frees the other person and allows them to experience healing as well.

I'll admit sometimes this is hard, especially when we feel justified in our feelings. Perhaps you haven't acted out any of those ugly feelings you may have felt on the inside. You could say you've done nothing wrong and have nothing to apologize for. Even if that's true, is that the point of this new life we have in Christ? To just be "right" all the time, to be "good" Christians? Or is the point to grow into mature sons and daughters in this family? Sometimes that means facing hard truths that only you and Him know about. Sometimes the work He does in you doesn't change the other person at all even if they really need to change. Surrendering to Him doesn't make what others do or a horrible situation any less wrong. We trust that He does have our best interests at heart. If there is something He wants us to surrender it's something that's holding us back not something that He's keeping back from us. 

I think we can establish that the fact is He wants to use these things to grow us up in our walk with Him. We can trust that it is for our own good because of His immeasurable love and desire for good for us.

Having established that, let me repeat a question I asked earlier. What if the Lord is always using "something" to teach us and grow us? 



Even when we're feeling good about ourselves? Even if it's actually the other person who has the problem? 

Just like my sons and my daughter never stop growing, (they eat all the time!) I don't stop growing. Or at least I shouldn't stop growing. I don't want to stop growing. He always wants me to grow. This leads to questions that I think we can ask daily that are answered in the form of our daily bread. 

"What do You want to do in me through this situation? Is there something in me that should be surrendered to You? Is there something You want to change in me even when I feel like everyone else is the problem?" 

You can't change people, but you can allow the Lord to use those relationship and situations to bring healing, freedom, and maturity in your heart. The amazing thing though, and I'm learning this more and more, is that this does often result in healing, freedom, and growth for everyone. That is nothing short of miraculous!

Psalm 119: 33-41 MSG
   God, teach me lessons for living
      so I can stay the course.
   Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
      my whole life one long, obedient response.
   Guide me down the road of your commandments;
      I love traveling this freeway!
   Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
      and not for piling up loot.
   Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
      invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
   Affirm your promises to me—
      promises made to all who fear you.
   Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
      but what you say is always so good.
   See how hungry I am for your counsel;
      preserve my life through your righteous ways!
 Let your love, God, shape my life
      with salvation, exactly as you promised;

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's So Good Being Free.

The 4th of July. A time to celebrate our country's birth and all the wonderful freedom's we have. A time to honor the men and women who helped us get here. But what I'm really celebrating today is, being free. I'm free. Free from hurts, free from fear, free from constantly being concerned about what other people think about me. Free. (I'm totally jamming down to Francesca Battistelli's Free to Be Me in my head right now, by the way). It's a wonderful feeling, this freedom thing. I'm full of joy, full of peace and I'm just basking in the glow of His glory.

"Our heart is like a house." I quote one of our pastors who spoke yesterday at my church, Believers Church. I love, love, LOVE, this imagery. Our heart is like a house. There are rooms we decide to give over to God and let Him be in control of. But it seems like there is always one or two rooms we keep for ourselves. They are a mess. Totally trashed out, horrible wall paper covering the walls. Why do we hold back these rooms? He wants to come in and remodel, to transform our lives. Why hold back? If Ty Pennington came up to you and offered to build you a beautiful, state-of-the-art mansion would you say, "Hmm actually I like my messy house just the way it is, thanks anyway though." NO! Of course you wouldn't. God is offering us something so amazing, so wonderful. Such an amazing opportunity to be His child, for FREE. There are no strings attached. He wants to take all those things that make you feel hurt, that make you worry, that make you feel depressed and down and He wants to make them new. Mourning into dancing, that kind of thing, you get the idea.

Thank you Father for making me free. Even though it takes a daily effort on my part, to surrender to Your will, to continually hand over those "closets" I cling on to in the back corners of my heart, thank you for making it all worth it. Thank you that even though it feels so hard at the time, I never, ever regret it.
Thank you for the freedoms I have in this country, and in my life. In the physical and spiritual.

Hope everyone has a wonderfully beautiful 4th of July.

Romans 6:17-23 MSG
You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
 19I'm using this freedom language because it's easy to picture. You can readily recall, can't you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God's freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
 20-21As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn't have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you're proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
 22-23But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Decisions Decisions

I have had to make so many decisions lately, or at least I thought so. So many life altering things have been happening all around me lately, and I've had to come to a complete stand still and ask, "Is this really Your will?"

Truthfully, my relationship with the Lord has never been better. I've never felt this close to Him in my life. Never have I been so willing to do His will. The problem is I've been doubting my ability to hear from Him.

"Is that really You God?"

"What should I do?"

"Is that just my own crazy voice in my head?"

I've felt frustrated.

"Lord I'll do anything, anything, I just want to do what You want me to do."

But it hasn't been clear.

And I've been confused.

Anyone else been there? You just want to do the right thing. Even when you don't know what that is you at least don't want to do the wrong thing. And when there is no clear path, which way do you go?

Today I was reminded though, that it is His job to make it clear. He's responsible for making Himself heard.

Let that blow up in your mind for a second.

He wants you to hear from Him and He will get louder, and louder until you do. He will always make Himself known and heard. He always has. He always will. It's my job to do what He says. And if I'm willing then I don't have to worry.

The Bible is full of plenty of examples of Him sending warning after warning and direction after direction and plenty of times where He made Himself completely and utterly clear. He even went so far as to send His Son, Who fulfilled like a gazillion prophesies, to get His point across. The Word is also full of examples of times when His people did not listen. They weren't willing to hear. They weren't willing to bend to His Word. They listened to others and followed them instead. They didn't silence every other voice and follow after Him. But He never failed them.

He was faithful.

Can I trust that?

Can I trust that if He wants me to do something or to tell me something that He will make Himself heard?

The answer for me is undoubtedly "YES!" I do trust Him.

Do I trust myself? *sigh*

Let's cut ourselves a break shall we? Can we just drop the weight of worry and self doubt? Can we allow Him to carry our burdens, even when it means trusting Him with our own ability to hear Him when He speaks? He loves us. He really, really, REALLY loves us. He doesn't want us to go the wrong way any more then we want to.

Today I chose to not worry about the decisions. Today I choose to trust Him with the answer. Today I choose to trust Him to tell me the answer. And to keep telling me the answer if I don't hear it the first time...or the second time. Today I trust Him to be there if I fail. To catch me if I fall. To love me when I'm unlovable. I trust Him to be faithful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Your Soul is Faint

Hebrews 12 NASB
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It seems to me that generally when we think of the sins talked about in verse one we, or at least I, often think of "BIG" sin. Sin we would never consider ourselves tempted by: criminal acts, acts of anger or violence, sexual immorality, even lying, cheating, or stealing. We think to ourselves, "Phew, don't have to worry about that." But last night as I read this verse that word, "easily" stood out to me. For most of us, or at least I hope this is true, we don't easily fall into those "big" sins. So that made me start to think about the "easy" sins. What do I get easily entangled by? For me it looks like worry, anxiety, disappointment, insecurity, self doubt or self loathing, feeling like I'm unworthy or not good enough. Oh and then there is bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, fear, and discontent. Am I alone in that?

All of those things really are easy to fall into. They do easily entangle and I think that's because for the most part we can hide them. I really believe these are the things that the author had in mind when he wrote Hebrews. I believe this because in verse three he goes on to say, "For consider Him who has that you will not grow weary and lose heart." In the foot note of my Bible it says, "fainting in your souls." Wow that so perfectly describes some of my feelings lately. I've felt overwhelmed and have found myself so easily entangled in those easy sins. My soul is faint. But he says to put aside those things, to fix my eyes on Jesus who endured the cross so that I would not have to be ensnared by those sins.

But. How? How do I set those things aside? I know my stuff is nothing in comparison to Hebrews 11:32-40 but how do I keep from being consumed by my world and my situations? 

For consider Him... 

I love what the AMP Bible has to say in verse 3: Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. 

So today instead of letting myself become consumed, ensnared, and entangled I reckon I'm just going to reckon up and consider all that He has done. I'm going to think of Him. Just think on Him. He's always the answer. 

I'm going to let my heart take courage and find strength. Today I'm going to live out verse 12:
1So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees,
13 And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.

I love those words "cut through." They so add to the imagery. Picture yourself walking that path. It becomes thick with undergrowth, the vines seem to crawl around your ankles, entangling you. It's not you, it could have happened to anyone. It's the path we walk, but you have to fix your eyes on Him, be determined. Don't give in. Cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. He's made a way for us. And He is the Prize.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I really wanted to title this post "The Gift of Foresight" but didn't want you to think I meant some kind of  psychic powers or something. What I mean is I really do think having foresight can be a gift. Take my son for example. He's 3 and we're still working on potty training (although recently we've had some major break-throughs!!). You may remember this blog post, where I mentioned the difficulties we've been having. Recently, I pondered a loud to God, "Why can't he just understand that doing his business in his pants, though it may seem easier, takes much more effort?" I realize that foresight is not something children really get until they are older, which is why parents have to be so patient. And when they still don't get it we have to be even more patient. It takes a level of patience similar to the way God is with us. He reminded me about this while I was talking with Him. Foresight. It's something many of us, especially in American culture, struggle with.

Why can't we understand that taking the easy route doesn't always lead us in the right direction and often ends up being more trouble then it's worth? We see this in finances. A. Lot. We spend money we do not have because we lack foresight. Too often we make decisions without much foresight. We can't look past the now to down the road and foresee the consequences.

Me: Alex, why did you go potty in your pants?
Alex: I dunno.
Me: Was it because you didn't want to stop playing long enough to use the restroom?
Alex: Yep.
Me: Are you playing and having fun right now?
Alex: Nope.
Me: Why?
Alex: Because I went potty in my pants so now I'm dirty.
Me: And you can't play while you get cleaned up huh?
Alex: Yeah.
Me: Wouldn't it have been easier to just use the potty?
Alex: Yeah but I wanted to play. But don't worry momma I will next time...I pwomise.

This is a conversation we've had many, many, times. It's not dissimilar to the conversation I've had with God upon occasion.

God: Katie, why did you do that?
Me: I dunno.
God: Was it because you didn't want to stop playing?
Me: Yep.
God: Are you having fun now?
Me: Nope.
God: Why?
Me: Because now I'm a mess.
God: Wouldn't have been easier to do things My way.
Me. Yes but I wanted to do things my way. But don't worry Papa, I'll do it Your way next time.

Foresight. If only we could look past the now and the temporary and see what God has in store for us versus what the consequences of our actions would be on our own. I think it really has to be a gift from Him sometimes. It's hard when we're in the zone, doing whatever it is we're doing and having a great time. But when the time comes, it's always better to get up and go to Him before we find ourselves in a big, ugly mess....Trust me.

And just like I desperately want Alex to avoid those messy situations, I think He's even more desperate that we avoid our messes. The beautiful thing about the gift of foresight is that He's just as willing to give it to us as we are in need of it. And oh, how He is so faithfully patient with us. Praise Him.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Deeper Still

I keep having this picture in my head. It's tough to describe but I'll try.

It's basically just of me holding the Father's hand.

And He's leading me.

I'm not sure where, but it feels deeper somehow. He's taking me deeper.

We go up, over mountains and around obstacles.

Sometimes we go around the mountain...and then again...and sometimes again.

We go through things. Like tunnels filled with spiderweb like netting. They tug at my clothes and try to hold me back. But I notice as we go through my load is lighter on the other side. I left a heavy burden back in those webs. And I don't miss it. And I trust Him even more.

We cross rivers. Sometimes they are deep, nearly over my head and I loose my footing, but He pulls me along. He never lets go. I step out much cleaner then I was before.

It rains sometimes. And inevitably there is mud. And my feet sink in. He tells me to rest in Him but how do I rest and walk at the same time?

And occasionally we stop. Mostly because I can't keep up. He says it's easy but why does it feel so hard?

Because I've forgotten that He's the power pulling this train, not me. But He doesn't get too annoyed about that.

He waits.

And I breathe.

He speaks to me. In the dark places. He tells me He is near.

And not to fear.

He reminds me once again that it's not on my own strength that I'll walk this path. I remember the tunnels, and the rivers, and how far we've come. And I trust Him.

His hand lifts me up and I continue on. Following. Trusting. And suddenly the rain doesn't seem all that bad.

Many times the sun is shining. I have to shield my eyes as we walk into it. With light in His hair, He smiles at me and I see He is delighted to be on this journey with me.

He sings sometimes, and dances as we go.

He takes me to secret places. Places only He knows about. I wish I could stay there. Camp there. Live there.

But I know what He'll say.

Deeper still.

Never letting go. That's what love is.

It never lets go.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Give us this day our daily bread....

What does that look like? Last night I felt empty. I reminded the Lord, "Remember this morning? I asked you for daily bread? Are You here?"

I suppose I was spinning out. But then I felt Him say, "Do you remember?"

I remembered that earlier that day I felt His smile as I danced with my children to the tune of their praise. Alex loudly singing, "PRAISE JESUS!" and Lydia's soft high pitched voice singing out, "Oh You love us!"

I remembered being in awe of Him as I dug my hands deep into the ground, being amazed at how little tiny seeds can grow so big.

I remembered flying a kite with my kiddos at the park and noticing that it was the knot in the tail keeping it from flying high. And the lesson He taught me about how a small thing in my heart, kept hidden away from Him, can keep me from soaring to my true potential.

Remember breathing Me in?

I remembered taking a deep breath and breathing out patience towards my 3 year old after another accident.

I felt His grasp and I no longer felt empty. I felt full of Him.

It's natural to feel empty sometimes. It's good to hunger. It's the hunger that draws us close to Him. Blessed am I to hunger and thrist, for only He can satisfy. Hunger is an escort into the deeper things of Him. And I've gotta go deeper.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spinning Out of Control?

A while back I had this dream that I was dancing. I kept spinning away from my partner but he kept pulling me in. It felt almost like a tug-of-war. In and out. Back and forth. Our hands never let go but I kept spinning and spinning. He never lost his grip on my hand. Round and round the dance floor we went. Spinning in and out. Over and over.

I woke up wondering what all that was about. The feeling stayed with me a few days. I prayed for a revelation but really didn't get anything until, during a worship service, I remembered the dream. I felt like my partner was definitely the Father, and His grip stuck out to me the most. He never let me go. I was just confused by all the spinning about. I did think it was interesting that I didn't notice His grip so much until I was the furthest away. Our arms were stretched out but His hand was locked with mine. I knew He had me.

I thought how true this is in life sometimes. We don't notice Him so much until we need Him desperately to hold onto us. When I feel the furthest from Him and I feel stretched and out of reach I just have to remember that it's in these moments He takes the opportunity to show me just how tight His grip on me is. He's not letting go. He pulls me back into His loving embrace. As comforting as it is though, I forget about that firm grasp He has on me until, once again I spin away.

I experienced an out-of-control spinning moment last night. I was searching through the scripture. Frantically trying to find some comfort, I stumbled across this Psalm. It's interesting too because I rarely read The Message translation but happened to last night.

Psalm 119:75-76 MSG
I can see now, God , that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to. 

Pretty incredible, eh? I love that David demanded God's attention sometimes. I think God loves that. He loves it when we boldly ask for more of His love and right now! I can totally see how those times I've spun away from Him I often learned He was right all along. But like David, I want to cry out for His comfort and love in that very moment. The moment I realize I screwed up or have lost interest in Him or wandered away I want Him to pull me back in. Hold me tight! I want to truly live and dance to His revelation tune.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Help

Psalm 27:8-9
When you said, "Seek my face." My heart said, "Your face, O Lord, I shall seek."
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my help.

I've always read this like David saying to the Lord, "Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger." I could see how at different times in David's life He felt like the Lord was angry with him or he felt like the Lord had turned away from him. But last night I read this with new perspective.

Who is THE Servant?

Who is our Help?

The Lord said, "Seek my face." I think He could also have meant, "Seek my face, do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your Servant away in anger. I am your help."

I thought about how in the past I've turned away in anger from God. I thought of a few people I know who are currently having that struggle. We've judged Him wrongly when we do that. We turn away from Him in anger because we have accused Him of wrong or we feel He has hurt us in some way. But the truth is. He is our help.

Jesus came to help us. He came to give to us. Matthew 20:28 says, "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." David didn't know Christ as his servant. In his time people could only be God's servants but now the Son of Man no longer wants servants. He came to serve so we could be His brothers and sisters.

And yet...

We so often turn our face away. We hide ourself or a piece of ourself from Him because we are angry. But He gave His life for you. Does that sound like someone who wants to hurt you? Let's turn our faces back towards Him. That's what this life is. In faith, all we can do is daily turn towards Him. Yield.

Maybe what you're feeling today is very real anger, very real disappointment. To let that go it all starts by choosing to turn your face towards Him. Just today. He never hides from us. He never turns away from us in anger. He's always there, hoping to see us turn our faces towards Him. It's because He wants to help us. I know this to be true.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Trail of Bread Crumbs

I've been trying to think of an inspirational blog post for a while now and nothing has really come to me. It's been kind of nice though because usually when I get an idea for this blog it is accompanied by a lesson I personally have to learn and that's not always so fun.

But I couldn't leave my faithful readers hanging....I do have a few faithful readers out there right?? Well anyway I thought I would tell a fun story about how God showed up in my life in a really cool way a while back. 

Lately I've been making an effort to go back and remember some of the good things Father's done for me. We all know the importance of that right?

It all started with a recipe. A few years a go my husband and I were involved in a really fun marriage group. We all thought it would be fun to have a meal together and each bring something. The host of our group planned the meal and sent us all a recipe. One couple got an entree, one got a dessert, ect. We got an appetizer. The idea was you bring the ingredients and prepare the meal together. Everything was so fancy and several things on my ingredient list I had never even heard of.

Now I consider myself a fairly decent cook. And I know what the average bread crumb is but when I saw that Panko Bread Crumbs were on my list I was like "huh?" I didn't worry too much though because I assumed that if I went to the section of the store where normal bread crumbs were I'd find the fancy ones around there somewhere. I assumed wrong.

Let me back up a bit. I was fairly insecure and felt extremely intimidated by most people in this group. I was about 10 years younger then everyone and although we were all in the same stage of life, married about the same length of time with young children I felt behind and inadequate some how. Not to mention I didn't know what panko bread crumbs were.

I searched high and low for what became known as "those stupid freakin' bread crumbs." I literally went to every grocery store you can think of and a few of them I went to multiple locations. I also discovered that I was not alone in my ignorance because many of the store employees were clueless as well.

Finally, the day of our dinner I tried, without much hope, one last Target Super Center. At the time it hadn't actually occurred to me to pray about it. My new found love relationship with the Lord was still pretty immature and I was unsure if He actually cared whether or not I found my missing ingredient. After all He's got bigger fish to fry right?

With each passing minute I became increasingly more and more anxious about having to go to that party without all of my ingredients and was embarrassed that I'd have to admit that I didn't actually know what it was and so couldn't find it.

As I was frantically searching all the ails of Target, I finally gave up. I grabbed a box of regular bread crumbs coming to terms with the fact that I was just not sophisticated, that I'd always be that stupid little kid from the country.

I picked a check out lane and patiently waited my turn, all the while rehearsing in my head how I would talk my way through the inevitable awkward situation. My turn came and I started unloading my cart onto the conveyor belt. I barely noticed the misplaced box next to the gum.  There was a woman ahead of me paying for her items and the checker and another attendant helping bag groceries. Suddenly my brain registered the upside down words written on the out-of-place box.


*double take* Wait. What?! I snatched it up and literally yelled in the surprisingly quiet check out line. "OH MY GOD!! Oh! My! God!!" With startled looks, everyone around turned to me like I was going insane. I asked the lady in front of me, "is this yours?!" She shook her head no. I asked the clerk, "Can I have these?" Ha! Like I was about to give them up. Would have had to pry them out of my cold dead hands. He looked at me like I had grown a second head and said that I could have them.

My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it. But I knew. I knew God had put them there just for me. How? Why? I didn't care. But I mean seriously? What are the odds of that happening? That I went into the exact row that someone had discarded the exact thing I had been looking for. I even asked the checker what part of the store they had been in and he couldn't tell me. He even did something in his fancy computer to try and figure out an inventory of how many there were and couldn't find any info on them at all. It was a miracle plain and simple.

Was there a rational explanation? If so I don't want to know because in that moment all of my insecurity drained away. Not because I could go to the party and act like I had it all together but because the source of my security had drastically changed in that instant. I knew that God loved me. That He cared about me. That love filled up so much space in my heart that insecurity had no room and had to go.

Let me say it this way. The God of the universe. Creator, Magnificent orchestrated in my puny little existence a miracle concerning my dinner plans. That's how much He cares about me. It had nothing to do with anything or anyone else. It didn't matter about my appetizer any more. It was important to me and so it was important to Him.

Wow even sharing it again humbles me and fills my heart to overflowing. And how ironic that bread crumbs in many ways represent a way to remember. I can literally find my way back to His love when I've forgotten all because of a few bread crumbs.

I hope you are encouraged also and inspired to go back and remember something amazing God has done for you. Or maybe you are in that frantic place and need a touch from heaven. He loves you. He. Loves. You. Look for Him in the little things and you'll find Him. If nothing else the fact that you are reading this blog is miracle enough for me so take to heart these words. God. Loves. You.