When I Crave the Easy…

Dried mud.

The truth hurts sometimes.

But I have learned that searching my heart requires honesty about what’s going on inside, and then confessing that to God.

I am tired of hard.

I want to be able to spend money without worrying about it.

I want to be able to go visit my family for the holidays and buy them all gifts- to experience that joy of fellowship, seeing them unwrap gifts that I know they would love- to see that look of joy on their faces.

I want to go on running dates with my husband again, to talk and share and leave our children with someone we trust.

I want to have a garden- I want to experience the joy of watching things bloom.

I want to have a place where I can host parties, have people over for dinner, watch kids for other Moms and give them a break.

And if you have talked to me sometime in the past year or so, I have probably shared with you about all that I am sacrificing- all that has been taken from me- and how I don’t understand.

O LORD, forgive my eyes- for they have been causing me to sin.

I have been looking so hard at all that I have lost I still fail to see all that I have gained.

I lose that spirit of thankfulness each time my words take me down this road.

And the comparisons, oh how they steal joy!

I look at these houses and yards and say, “why do they get to have that and not I?”

And in those moments, my heart becomes dissatisfied and I lose sight of all that God has graciously given.

I am still home with my children.  God has provided all that we need so that I might enjoy this time with them.

We have found a church family that has blessed us and given us a place to plug in and serve.

We have several Bible studies nearby that we have been blessed to be a part of.

God has opened our eyes to see His beauty in nature, to slow down and enjoy Him.

We have seen God working in our lives and in the lives of others around us through our prayers and obedience.  He has given us the privilege of seeing how He is using us.  We have seen answers to prayer!  What a precious gift.

I have had the joy of seeing my children grow in their faith and develop a love for God and His Word.

Oh, there are so many gifts.  So many blessings.

And yes, there are hard things.  There are struggles.  There are tears.

But God has not left me alone in the midst of them.  He ever tenderly loves me and leads me.  He disciplines with a firm but kind hand, faithfully leading me further in.

And I have to be reminded of this over and over again.  Hold on.

Keep on fighting the good fight.

Run the race with perseverance.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Because we are in a battle.

The enemy does everything he can to trip us up, to discourage and distract us.

And I come with a grateful heart today that God continues to lovingly lead me in this season and show me the sweetness of losing control to Him.

Letting him lead.

Letting his timing stand.

No fixing; no maneuvering or manipulating.

Just obedience.  One step at a time.

Entrusting myself to the author and perfector of my faith- the one to whom every knee someday will bend and every tongue confess.  Praise be to God.

Lord, you are so patient with me as I struggle in this season.  I am so thankful that you are faithful, even when I am faithless.  You are unchanging, even as I fumble and lose my way- question why.  You are tender in your love.  You pour mercies new every morning.  Grace greater than all my sin.  All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness…help us walk in obedience today.  To have the courage to trust you with all we don’t understand and to continually look to you. Lord, I long to be transformed into someone who sees you more than my circumstances.  Someone who is quick to speak your praises, to encourage those around me, not regale them with tales about my difficulties.  Holy Spirit, guide me.  Remove self-centered talk from my lips and fill me with praises only for you- my God and king.  You pour an overflow of blessings – may my eyes continually see and dwell in gratitude.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Connecting: Sharing at a Women’s Retreat

I was asked to speak at the women’s retreat that our church had this past weekend.  It was the first time in a while that I sat down to write something that long and in depth.  I realized that I missed it.

I have been posting on Facebook, but I have not been here much.

I am hoping to turn over a new leaf and lay my thoughts and prayers- my testimonies out here once again.  Hope to chat with you soon.  :)

Tired Tree
Precious Savior, we glorify your Name. Thank you for this time of slowing. Thank you for this time of connection and fellowship. Lord, please guide my lips and their forming of words. You know these women. Each one, deep to their heart and the longings of their soul. You know their pain, their longings, their hurts. Help me to speak words that uplift and encourage them. Help me speak words that draw them nearer to you. Let your words spill over my lips- oh precious Savior- take over and make this a sacred space where we all might meet with you and be transformed. Set a fire in our hearts and a burning in our souls to be fully yours. To go where you send us; to obey whatever you might be calling us to do. In the sweet Name of Jesus our Savior, Amen.
Connection- what does it mean?
What is at the heart of our desire to be connected? What needs does connection satisfy?
God made us for relationship, which He perfectly models in His own mysterious union as the Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Connectivity reminds us that we are not alone. It helps us process life experiences. We have ample evidence in Scripture of our need for comfort in affliction, prayer in seasons of suffering and strife, the need to share joys and answers to prayer to affirm and celebrate how God is working in our lives.
There is only one connection, however, that is NECESSARY. Life sustaining. The one necessary thing. One of the definitions of connect that I found online said, a “link to a power or water supply.” Living water. In John 6 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
That we might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Those who feed on the LORD Jesus Christ will never hunger or thirst again…
What does this mean for my life and for your life?
That when I truly surrender myself to the LORD I will no longer need to eat or drink to sustain my physical body?
No, I have come to believe there is something much deeper here, connected with the call of Christ when he said, those who wish to follow me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.
I am speaking of something else- this emptiness inside me that longs for fulfillment, that my life might have meaning, that I would be part of something greater than myself. This need for meaningful connection with others- that can’t be found in myself alone.
I know that I do not have, nor can I find in the temporal world, something that adequately fills this longing. Most of the things I tried to fit in there never truly satisfy…in the moment that feeling might be numbed, or I might be distracted for a time by this or that, but once that time has passed, the reality remains.
Milton Vincent says it well in A Gospel Primer:
“On my most basic of levels, I desire fullness, and fleshly lusts seduce me by attaching themselves to this basic desire. They exploit the empty spaces in me, and they promise that fullness will be mine if I give in to their demands….What happens to my appetites for sin when I am filled with the fullness of God in Christ?…Indeed, as I perpetually feast on Christ and all of His blessings found in the gospel, I find that my hunger for sin diminishes and the lies of lust simply lose their appeal. Hence, to the degree that I am full, I am free. Eyes do not rove, nor do fleshly lusts rule, when the heart is fat with the love of Jesus!”
I want to be full.
I have found that only God satisfies this longing. Feeding on his Word, fellowship with other believers- most of all- earnest, heart-felt prayer with others seeking after the LORD. I have literally left those times of fellowship feeling “spiritually fat and filled.”
This Scripture came to mind on one of those occasions, and now it continues to come to me:
Psalm 63:5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast…
There is a way fellowship with God truly slows me, calms me, fills me, and gives me rest that stops this churning inside of me. His truth settles me.
There is no replacement for this “God-shaped hole” except simply, God himself. That was his beautiful design, and I have found that only in surrender to this do I begin to find fullness and lasting peace. All other things fade in their beauty, the longer I linger in God’s presence.

Ruth Ann Barton warns us of the dangers of seeking community without this time with the Lord:
“Without solitude we are dangerous in the human community and in the Christian community, because we are at the mercy of our compulsions, compelled by our inner emptiness into a self-oriented, anxious search for fullness in the next round of activities, accomplishments or relationships. When we are not finding ourselves loved by God in solitude, in the company of others we are always on the prowl for ways they can fill our emptiness. We enter life in community trying to grab and grasp from others what only God can give.”

I remember very well the first time I read that quote and felt the truth of that reality for me. I struggle with it still. In my relationships, I crave validation- please tell me I’m ok, that what I do is meaningful and makes a difference, and I crave acceptance- please tell me that you like me and want to be around me.
When we are filled with God, we also rest in who He made us to be. Our validation comes through our identity in Him, and we are not seeking others for reassurance that only God can provide.
So, how does this look when we come together in community? How do we connect? We come together after refreshing ourselves at the feet of Jesus. Now what?
Hear the precious guidance God gives us through His Word in 1 Corinthians 12:
God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
wise counsel
clear understanding
simple trust
healing the sick
miraculous acts
distinguishing between spirits
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
19-24 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?
25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
27-31 You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.
Look to your left. Look to your right. See the women around you. We are the body of Christ. We are each a necessary part to the working whole. Our God is intentional. He made you for a purpose- and you have something to offer in service to our Lord and Savior. The body needs each part. We need you. This is the essence of community. All of us, working together in unity, seeking to glorify and serve our Lord.
But how do we respond? What do I change? How can I leave this weekend and go back home and make this part of my life? What next?
1. Accountability– find someone you trust and share with them about your desire for change. PRAY. Wait. Ask God to show you how to simplify your life and make room for Him. Look for opportunities to serve that use your unique gifts. Take time to pray before accepting any new commitments. REMEMBER: God never wants us to be too busy to be with Him- even if we feel we are doing things FOR Him- we are only effective if we are filled, not running on empty.
2. Dive into the Word daily. Ask God to speak to you. Read one Psalm every day. Read on Proverb every day. Start small. Remember that God cares about the condition of our hearts. If you heart feels cold toward Him, and you don’t feel the desire to open your Bible, ask God to change your heart. Ask for Him to light that fire within you and draw you to Himself. He is faithful.
3. Simplify. Busy is the mantra of our day. Eugene Peterson said that “Hurry is a form of violence practiced on time.” What do you need to change to say yes to what’s truly important and let go of some of those other things?

Let us Pray:
O Lord, I pray that we might we touch the lives of others as we seek to love and serve you, our Savior. That your love would pour out and spill over in our lives- saturating everyone around us. We need you Lord, as we fight the urgings of our flesh and the pressures of this world- we feel a tug of war going in inside of us. Give us strength to obey- when we long in our hearts to please and trust you. When we fail Lord, help us not to hide but to come to you, humbly seeking forgiveness and accepting your discipline. How can we grasp the heights or depths of your love for us, or your longing for us to be all that you have made us to be? To run unhampered by the burden of sin and see forward to eternity- O God our hearts hope for it- and our spirit prays for a deeper walk with you. That our roots would be held fast in you- trusting you for fruit in your righteous and perfect time. We lay this year at your feet- all other things may fail- but please O gracious and loving God, let your name be glorified through our lives- however you choose that to be- whatever may come- Be glorified over all the earth. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

Science and Faith

Elegance in nature

I have to be honest.

As I entered this week of practicum with Classical Conversations, I experienced some trepidation- for I knew we were tackling the subject of science.

Science intimidates me.  I am always afraid that if I try to do a science experiment it won’t work.  I am able to throw some science terms around- but I feel like I know just enough to sound like I know what I am talking about, but I don’t fully understand it completely.  Not to the bare bones, at the most rudimentary level.

And instead of seeking to educate myself, I have practiced avoidance with this subject more than any other.

I probably wouldn’t have admitted it before now, but truthfully I just expected my hubby to take care of the “science talks” with our kids.  They could take all their hard questions to him, and I would take care of the rest.

Science has become a subject of much controversy in the media.  The conflict over global warming and/or climate change constantly assails me on social media and every news outlet.

And I fall into the habit of just repeating talking points, like what my husband tells me, instead of searching out for myself why I believe what I do.

It was so refreshing to be reminded at practicum that science is something that I enjoy.  God calls us to dominion over the earth.  He also calls us to search out a matter.  This was one of my favorite Scriptures from the practicum:

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.  Proverbs 25:2

My children and I love staring at the clouds.  Here in TN they are truly breathtaking.  Somehow in every state the clouds seem different to me.  They change in how close they appear, their formation in the skies, how quickly they seem to move as a storm rolls in.  The glorious rolling hills of TN set a backdrop that only lends to prolong my interest in gazing at the sky.

At the park, we often stop to examine a worm or bird.  One day we took pictures of a crayfish we found on the path.  Another day we met up with a family playing in the creek.  They caught a snake and we got to observe its slithering as well as touch its skin through the net holding it.  WOW.

At the pool last week, we found a very friendly butterfly that loved perching on my daughter’s hand.  She spent over 30 minutes gently touching its wing and carrying it around.  We watched it fly and commented on all the colors on its wings.  The closer we looked, the more we saw.

At the practicum, the first day our speaker captured me by sharing one simple sentence, “science means simply to know.”

From the Latin, (scio) a verb- I can, know, understand, have knowledge

Socrates- “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

Science is motivated by curiosity!

I realized that as its base, science is simply being captivated by the world around us and exploring it all.  We seek to understand how things work as we become engrossed in the observation of the world around us.

“But history shows us that human beings are impelled to ask questions about the natural world and man’s place in it.  There is something unique about the nature of human beings that drives us to know and understand the natural world. Asking questions and seeking answers is the dialectical activity that breathes life into the facts accumulated through the grammar stage.

One does not need to go to the moon to dig into the character of the cosmos (cosmos is a word meaning “an orderly and harmonious system”). A child digging in the dirt and feeling the earth between his fingers, a child holding her hands under the faucet in fascination with the running water, and a child noticing how building blocks balance on top of each other and then fall when pushed over, are each engaged in the natural world. They are developing a grammar of nature that will continue to expand for their entire lives.”

Leigh Bortins  “The Question”

There is a portion of science that requires experimentation to test our ideas and their validity.  We also test others ideas and compare and contrast them with what scientists in the past have discovered.

Science thrives when we are given free reign to imagine.  Our thoughts go beyond the realm of what seems believable or even possible.

Science also requires work.  We must take responsibility for our beliefs and what they are founded on.  This does not negate the beauty and necessity of faith, it simply enhances its glory (see verse above).

Knowing what clouds are composed of and how air masses move and interact with each other does not diminish the beauty of a sunny day or a sudden spring storm, rather it enhances my appreciation of the one who created it all.

In searching out answers, that does not mean that we must know all the answers.  This has been my other fear.  I don’t want knowledge to become an end in itself, or a source of pride for me or my children.

How do we keep our humility in the midst of this journey?

I am comforted by how God has built that into the process for us.  We will never understand it all.  There are aspects of how our body works that still baffle scientists despite years and years of vigorous study.

And the deeper we plumb into this world’s complexities and magnificence, the more our hearts can respond in worship and give glory to the one who holds it all together.

When the edge of our understanding is exhausted, we can choose to stop and acknowledge the one who knows all things and holds the whole world in His hands.

All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.  John 1:3

Lord, may the study of science be an opportunity to worship you and the splendor of all you created.  Help me to be at peace in the knowing and in those spaces of mystery.  As I journey with my children on this road of exploration, give me the courage to admit the things I do not know and the humility to walk with them and search the matter out.  Thank you for all the ways you are stretching me and drawing me closer to you.  In Jesus Name, Amen.


What it Means to be a Mom


Someone asked me this question a few Sundays ago, and it left me speechless- and if you know me, you would be surprised by that response.

Being struck mute is a rare occurrence for me.

However, I think this question struck a chord in me- for this journey of motherhood has pruned and shaped me in ways I never imagined.

It has revealed to me character in myself that is embarrassing and very humbling.  It has shone a spotlight on areas of my life where I am selfish and immature- and my responses to people and situations reveal by own lack of love and mercy where others were concerned.

There are mornings when I am crying in disappointment for how I reacted to situations, and praying for God to change my heart, to transform me.

There are days when I have conversations with my children that fill my heart with so much joy I feel like it is going to burst.  Tears come in those moments too- tears of gratitude for the bliss of just being with them.

Motherhood is a labor of love.

It is hard work.

And I believe that it is work that honors God.

I have given up trying to be perfect- but I still have to work on forgiving myself when I fail to handle situations in the way I wish I could.

It is so hard to live with those moments when I let my kids down, when I know I said the wrong thing.  I know there are times when my face does not reflect the love I always feel for them, but my frustration and irritation in the moment.

When I pray I continually try to remind myself that God called me to this role.  I have children- therefore He has called me to Motherhood.  This role will shape me and my children forever.

He uses it all.  His word promises..

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

And- thanks be to God- I am delivered from ever living a moment thinking I can do this alone.  Being a Mom grounds me securely in the humility that I desperately need on this journey.  I see the evidence of my need for God daily. 

Failures, frustrations, sorrows…

Joy, bliss, laughter…

It all draws me to him.

So, being a Mom has shown me my desperate need for a Savior, and has helped me to live as a seeker and worshiper of my precious Savior who takes a broken vessel and miraculously uses it for His glory.

As one of my favorite songs says, “He makes beautiful things, he makes beautiful things out of dust.  He makes beautiful things, he makes beautiful things out of us.”

Praise be to God for his daily mercies that give me the courage to continue on, even when my strength is gone.  For I know I do not walk alone; He will sustain and uphold me.  I need not fear for my precious Savior and God who holds me also holds my children.  In the beauty of this mystery, I can entrust that which I hold dear to one who holds them dearer still.  O, thank you, my Savior and Lord.


Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

between the rocks and a hard place

This came to me this morning, as I was reflecting on where we are right now.

And even as I write this, I hear my children in the background laughing and playing as if they have not a care in the world.


They are not worried about where we will live, how we will pay our bills, buy food, get from place to place….

They know that we will take care of them and provide for them.  We will keep them safe and love them with all that we have, with all that we are.

How much more does our heavenly Father love and care for us?

How He longs for us to trust Him like children- with hearts full of faith and confidence.

I don’t want to waste time worrying- or gazing at my problems as if staring at them will somehow make them go away.

It has never worked.  They still loom each time and threaten like an approaching storm- dark clouds full of menace, lightning streaking the sky, thunder rumbling ominously…

But my God calms storms.

My God gets out of the boat and walks on water.

My God is the maker and sustainer of all things.

My God is Jehovah Jireh.

I don’t know how.

I don’t know when.

All I know is WHO.

God will provide all my needs according to His riches in glory.

I have learned the secret of being content in all circumstances- trusting in the strength of my God and not my own.  Keeping my eyes fixed on HIM- every moment- HIM- and not my circumstances.

Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

 So are we between a rock and a hard place…or in just the right place?  Nothing happens that God does not allow.  In all times, and all circumstances- I pray for faith that trusts not in what my eyes can see, but in the presence and provision of my God who will never leave me nor forsake me.

To Him be all the glory when the provision comes.

What You MIGHT be Thinking…


Sometimes I get preoccupied with how other people perceive me.

I think that all of our moves over the past several years have fed this fear I have of being misunderstood or judged for one careless word or action that could damage the relationship forming between me and another person.

As I was reading my Bible and journaling this morning, God spoke to me once again about his love for me on the journey.

I am aware that there are areas in my life where I need to grow.

I am not a completed work.

And God is so sweet and tender in how He reassures me of his love for me right where I am.

He loves me despite the fact that sometimes I talk too much and don’t listen enough.

He loves me even though sometimes I let my emotions dictate too much in my life instead of keeping my mind in steadfast trust in Him.

He has helped me learn to laugh more and be thankful for things that I used to take for granted- that I didn’t even see.

He has shown me the sweet blessing of sitting in His presence and lingering in His Word– of beginning to invite Him into my daily life and seeking His face, seeking His presence continually.

And I know I have to let go of this preoccupation with how others see me.

I am who I am.

I know whose I am.

I am not perfect.

I will make mistakes and say things I shouldn’t.

But He knows my heart.

I want to be sensitive to times when I may need to ask for forgiveness when I have hurt someone, but I also know there are times when I need to let go of speculation about what someone MIGHT be thinking about me and release it into the Lord’s hands.

As I was reading in “Ragamuffin Gospel” this morning, these two quotes stood out to me:

“Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect…”

“For most of us it takes a long time for the Spirit of freedom to cleanse us of the subtle urges to be admired for our studied goodness.  It requires a strong sense of our redeemed selves to pass up the opportunity to appear graceful and good to another person.”

“Strong sense of our redeemed selves” really stood out to me.

I don’t want to be enslaved by this pressure to please everyone.  I can’t.

And as I surrender all those things that I cannot control, I pray that I would simply choose to focus on one choice that I can make each day- with the words Joshua used to challenge the Israelites all those years ago.

Joshua 24:15-16

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I choose this day to serve you Lord, and to seek to please you first.  May no other love (including the applause of others) ever take your place.

Oh Lord, you know how I still struggle with this daily.  Just yesterday at that birthday party, and the thoughts that filled my head on my way home.  I want to be loved and accepted.  Please help me remember that I am!  You love me just as I am.  Your love never changes.  You are steadfast.  Lord, each time that I am overlooked, or left alone while all the other Moms pair up and talk, may I respond in those moments to you in simple faith and trust.  May I say in my heart- Savior, I remember that you were despised and rejected by men.  You were spit on and humiliated.  In this moment- what I experience cannot compare to what you went through for me.  May I be willing to endure hardships and struggles in this life, remembering all that you went through that I might be made clean and reconciled to God.  I trust you to provide all I need in your own perfect timing.  May my words and actions today be pleasing in your sight.  I rest in you, and the knowledge that I am fully known and fully loved today.  In Jesus I pray and give thanks, Amen.




A Season of Interruptions


There is something God has been showing me lately.

Motherhood is a season of interruptions. 

And many times, the most important things are NOT the ones on my to-do list.

It is in those unplanned, beautiful moments.

And every day it is different.

And that’s what makes this daily monotony an adventure.

When I see the list looming on the board in the kitchen, and the kiddos ask me to play Hide and Seek, I can say yes to that one moment.

And how we best see the “Yes” moments in our life is through our connection to Christ.  For we hear his resounding “YES” in our spirit too- and when I ignore the pull of all the responsibilities of today and just say yes to this moment- it is pure blessing.

These interruptions are different every day.  Sometimes it requires throwing the whole plan for the day in the trash and starting from scratch.

Sometimes it means 2 hours at the park or library that I never planned on.

Sometimes it means reading for 30 minutes with my son and then reading for 30 more minutes with my daughter, relinquishing the pressure of those to-dos into my Savior’s hands.

Sometimes it means helping someone else or having a neighbor over for an unplanned dinner.

My house was not cleaned the way I like it to be.  I had other things that I wanted to get done that day, but I feel God beckoning me to hold loosely to “my list.”

Sometimes potty training or some other major “right of passage” grinds all other progress to a halt.  We sit for hours waiting for the possibility of #2 in the toilet, and then dance in the bathroom for joy when the moment comes.

And we fight the war of time.

How will we spend it?

For once it is gone, no amount of money will buy it back.

And I have found myself asking hard questions about those things that take up my minutes.

Pleading with God to give me the courage to not even settle for good, but press on toward best.

And part of that best for me comes in a simple yet profound plea in Deuteronomy, as Moses talks to the Israelites in a final series of sermons before he dies.  You hear the passion, the fervent plea of this humble man who saw God face to face.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

There are some things that remain constant, but oh Lord please let them never lose their power.  May your Word always pierce our soul and soften those places where our hearts have hardened and draw us to your throne once again.

Let us humbly kneel and give way as you lead us.  Open our eyes to see clearly the best way to spend our days.  Choices that honor you and point to you as the meaning, the purpose that animates us.  In you, we move and have our being.

And today is an opportunity to do more than talk to my children.  It is a chance to live out the freedom Christ has granted me.  To not be chained by my “to do list,” but to walk in confidence and freedom.  As I seek my Savior, he will guide me to those things that need my attention and in obedience I release my hold on the rest and entrust it to his caring hands.

Lord, open our eyes to see how interruptions in our day may be moments ordained by you.  Precious Savior, so many times I make mountains out of mole hills.  Renew my mind, transform me.  Free me from this tight grip I have on the things “I think” need to be done, and help me walk in tune with your spirit today- embracing each interruption as an opportunity.  Give me discernment that I might have confidence in the choices I make about how to spend my time. We need you, in each moment, to guide our steps.  And when we fall, oh sweet Savior, may we call you in those moments and in humility confess our failure and seek to walk beside you once more.  Your presence Lord- that’s what I want.  To know you are near.  Our sinfulness does not surprise you.  That’s why you came, and why you died.  You do not wish condemnation and guilt, but conviction that acknowledges your right place in our lives.  You are the faithful one.  Thank you God, for being all-sufficient- the one who animates all things and holds all things together.  My soul praises you.  Blessed be your Name.  Amen.



Weather the Storms

A Sense of Forboding

I was hired for a job yesterday.

I signed the contract this morning.

And not an hour later, I was in the trenches of the boundary war.

Already, I was being asked to attend a meeting on a night when I go to Bible Study with my daughter.

I was being asked to say NO.

God is so kind, to give me this advance warning from a grace-filled person who responded very well to my NO, and to remind me that a fight is required to keep priorities in the right places.

Honoring God and turning away from the temptation of pleasing man has always been a struggle for me.  I feel that pressure to say Yes, to not disappoint anyone.

Being home for the past several years with my children has been an escape from some of these outer pressures.  I have had more control over my schedule, more quiet time, more free time- but I have protected and fought for it.

I am so thankful for this reminder today that as I move into this new role, new challenges will emerge.

There will be very “good” reasons to make a compromise here, and give a little time there- but I am praying this morning, pleading with my precious Savior- please Lord, help me to weather the storms of other people’s displeasure if it runs in opposition of what you call me to do.

May I please you first; please precious Savior help me.

Take this trembling, recovering people-pleaser and make me into a bold woman who can rest in confidence on your promises to me.  Pleasing you is enough.

O Lord, thank you for walking with me each day.  Thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit- a trusted guide and counselor, my advocate.  I stand in awe of you today, and how you can change our hearts and increase our yearning for you above all else.  My heart swells with gratitude for all the ways you have opened my eyes and continue to show me the path of life.  And as I pray Lord, I remember your word:

All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Ps. 25:10

I am humbled, O Lord you are here.  I feel held by you, even as I want to wonder how and worry and control- you bring your peace into my troubled mind.  You keep my mind in peace as I say in this moment, I will choose to trust you.  You will hold me steady. You will keep my foot from slipping.  You hold me up with your righteous right hand.  All praise and glory is yours forever.  In the name of my precious Savior and Lord, I rest and hope, Amen.


Love in the Trenches


One of my dear friends is getting married in May.

This led to us having a conversation on the phone a few weeks ago, and I have been thinking about some of the things I told her about my marriage.

She asked what I have learned after 11 years of marriage, and what advice I would give to her on entering marriage.

And it took me back to right after my hubby and I got married.  We were returning from our honeymoon and it was snowing in Lexington, KY.  From summer-like temperatures into the bitter cold of a snowy night, we were both anxious to get home (our first night together in our apartment!) and get warm.

One of my husband’s old roommates picked us up at the airport.  It was a slow drive home because of the snow.  When we got there, my hubby realized that he forgot something on the plane.

Our apartment keys, our passports, our credit cards, yep- all of it- was still sitting under his seat on the plane.

I remember being tired and irritated.  I remember thinking that I would never forget something that important.  I remember these feelings rising up in me and really wanting to express them.

But thanks be to God for His precious Holy Spirit.

I felt the strongest impression to remain silent.

To not say what was on my mind.  In fact, I even remember realizing that my hubby already felt horrible about what was happening, and my criticism would not serve to benefit the situation in any way.

What he needed most from me in that moment was love and support.  He needed me to believe that he would take care of things, to simply pray for him, be supportive, or be silent.

My hubby did take care of things. He climbed in through a window so we got to sleep in our apartment that night together. He went back to the airport and picked up what he left the next morning.

And I never forgot the power of being silent in those emotionally charged moments when you may say something you regret- and though we can apologize- sometimes those words cause wounds that take time to heal.

I don’t always say the right thing, and sometimes I say words that I regret- but I am so thankful for the presence of the Holy Spirit and that powerful reminder to me early in my marriage that my words can build up my husband, or my words can tear him down.

So my dear friends, I encourage you- whether you are married or not- be careful about the words that you say.  They are so powerful and can deeply impact those who care for us.

They can wound, or they can heal.

They can break down, or they can build up.

They can create distance, or foster intimacy.

Oh Lord, remind us that our words matter.  Help us take seriously the words that we say, but also the words that lie below the surface- in our thought life.  May we take each thought captive and bring all under the submission of Christ.  Renew our minds Lord, that they would be filled with thoughts that please you.  Show us the power of conscious effort in our relationships- that we would build each other up, seeking your guidance before we speak.  Guide us into your truth and teach us we pray.  In Jesus Name, Amen.



I am an Offering

" And he said ...  Let there Be Light "

I started doing dishes today, just now, and God whispered, “Look up, ” and I looked and saw these verses.

Several years ago, I wrote these on a card- they just captured me.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually.

16:29-30  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come before him.  Worship the LORD in holy splendor, tremble before him all the earth.

And as I read them today, and came across the words, “bring an offering,” I thought to myself- I am an offering.

My life is offered up to Him, to use as He will.

What I want more than anything else is to be obedient to God, and to please Him.

To seek His presence and walk with Him.

And the tears of gratitude flowed for this is a work He has done in me.

He has brought me to this time and place through the work of His precious Holy Spirit and I am filled with gratitude.

O dear friends, there is nothing sweeter than inviting God into our lives and simply saying, “I am here, please come and be with me.”

His presence changes us.

His love strengthens.

His compassion and mercy gives us rest.

For we know that God works all things for good for those who love God and have been called according to His purposes.

We have a calling, we have a purpose, we matter to God.

Lord, I come today as an offering of praise and thanksgiving to you.  To be used as you will, a vessel for you to fill and pour out.  O precious Spirit, strengthen me for the work you have called me to.  Help me to wait on you and listen to your guidance.  Renew my mind as I meditate on the word of God.  Make my steps sure and strong.  Uphold me precious Christ, and may your Name be glorified.  Through the blood of Christ I pray, Amen.