Friday, January 30, 2009

Wait?! No, I got this one, Lord.

This morning I read Genesis 16, the story of Sarah and Hagar.

If you need a quick refresher, it is a true soap opera of old. Abraham had been promised by God that his descendants would be great in number, yet he didn't have any children. His wife Sarah was barren and they were both well advanced in age (Abraham was 75 when God first made His covenant). So Sarah took things into her own hands and told Abraham to take Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant, as his wife so that she could bear them a child (and, in essence, help God bring about His promise).

Well, as you can imagine with women, this ended up to be an emotional train wreck. Hagar became pregnant and then despised Sarah. So Sarah got mad and treated Hagar horribly then sent her away, pregnant and alone (Do you see the hormones raging?)

Two things resonate with me from this passage:
  1. When we try to rush God's timing, people get hurt and plans go awry. God has made many promises in His Word; and as we grow closer to Him, He even gives specific promises to His children. The difficult thing is trusting and resting while we wait for Him to bring it to pass. But if we want His best, then we must rest.

  2. When we have been hurt deeply, betrayed and cast aside, God sees with eyes of compassion. Hagar was cast out and she was heartbroken. But God met her in that place of total distress and brought wisdom and blessing. Your tears are not shed alone.

It all comes down to me and and God. He has created us and knows us perfectly. He knows that when we seek Him to fulfill our deepest longings, trust in His ways and timing, and obey His Word, we will be blessed. I am not saying you will get the house you want or the car or the man, I am saying that He will bless with a peace that passes all understanding. In Him truly is life abundant.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rain, Rain...

When did I stop desiring to go play in the rain? Yesterday my daughter came to me and asked if she could "get bundled" and go play in the (cold) rain. "Sure," I said, thankful that she wasn't expecting me to go outside with her.

She pulled on her brothers camouflage rain boots, cozied in her pink winter coat with the fur trim, and grabbed her Dora umbrella. As she stepped outside her song began, and it didn't stop until her feet came back onto dry carpeted ground. I watched (and videotaped) with a grin on my face and a lump in my throat. She was outside alone, in the cold rain, amidst muddy, soggy grass, singing.

Of course this made me ponder. Some days are hard, full of rain clouds and wet shoes. And yes, some days are really hard, almost unbearable. But here is the thing. God doesn't want us to live in defeat, soaking wet, miserable. I am not saying that difficulties and even tragedies won't come. They will! Simply because we live in a world that is fallen, tragedy will come. But God! He made a way for us to walk in victory, in joy, with singing, in spite of our circumstance. He wants to be my and your heavenly Daddy, giving you and me the strength to stand, the strength to sing, even in the rain.

Paul's words to the church at Philippi, written while he was imprisoned, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My heart just melted

Yesterday Hailey was invited to go to a "Dancing with Jesus!" class. She heard the word "dance" and a huge smile jumped onto her little pixie face. She put on her leotard, tights, skirt, and ballet shoes 2 hours before she was to be picked up. I was clueless as to what this class actually entailed but sent her along with a friend and her daughter, not thinking much about it.

When I picked Hailey up, my friend said that the two girls mainly watched as the others (ages 4 to 6) free danced for Jesus with scarves. Then they warmed up when the instructor began to teach positions and part of a routine. "Good," I thought as I juggled thoughts in my mind as to what I was going to cook for dinner. I said my thank yous and shuffled her into the car, filled with bags from my errands and her two brothers tired, hungry, and whining.

After dinner Hailey shouts from the playroom, "Mommy come here. I want to show you what I learned." "I will be there in a minute," I said, distracted by the tornado called mealtime that went through my kitchen 20 minutes prior. Finally I walk in the playroom, "Show me what you learned, sweet girl."

Not knowing what to expect, she shows me first position, third position, and then says, "This is my favorite part..." She proceeds to explain while she moved, "First you walk forward like you are walking to Jesus, then you reeeeeach up to the sky and look up like you are looking at Jesus and wanting Him to pick you up. That's my favorite part," she repeated. At that moment it was just me and her and God. My boys were crying, the playroom was a disaster, it was getting late and we were getting "off schedule." But at that moment it was just me and her and God. And my heart just melted.

How precious. How pure. How perfect.

Jesus says we are to come to him with childlike faith, walking, running to Him, then looking into His face and reaching up our arms for Him to hold us. Oh, that I would remember that priceless moment and follow in my daughter's example. Simply joying in and dancing for Him.


If you are interested in finding out more about these various classes (offered in Greensboro, NC for ages 4 to adult) contact Tricia Ling at 336.292.5010 or email at

Best Blogger Tips

Monday, January 26, 2009

Let's eat

OK, so there are moments that occur in our home that I wish could be expressed with words. So I am going to try.

Every night at dinner there arises a small dispute between my 4 and 2 year old as to who will say the prayer (yes, I know, seems ironic). After quickly trying to explain that arguing over such things is opposed to God's desires, we decide, sometimes loudly, who will pray first.

So the other night it was just me and the kids, and with our same procedure I decided that Hailey, the 4 year old, would go first. Just to give you insight, she is my performer. She loves to sing and dance, though she has never had any formal training. You can imagine. So she proceeds to sing her prayer. Yes, sing; and the song was one of her originals. She covered many topics in her song to the Lord from her thankfulness of flowers and trees to how she loved the birthday party she had recently attended. The inflection, passion, and even hand motions left me speechless.

And though completely and absolutely precious, I had to hold back the laughter as the song continued for the next 2 minutes. No seriously.

Once she said, sang, "Amen" it was my 2 year old's turn. He is not my singer but keeping in step with his older, wiser, all-knowing sister he had to follow suit. So with hand motions and unintelligible words he proceeded to "sing" his own prayer, periodically inserting a forceful, "Close Your Eyes!" to his sister who watched in awe.

As his sonnet came to a close, I looked at everyone and with a deep breath said, "OK, let's eat." These are the moments I hope to never forget.

Best Blogger Tips

Forever Faithful

I love the E100 passage today (, mainly because of the last verse.

We read Genesis 37:1-36 about Joseph and how his brothers hated him and eventually sold him into slavery. The coolest part about it is the truth that God's plans could not and cannot be thwarted (I really enjoy using that word "thwarted"). You see, Joseph had two dreams which sparked this hatred from his brothers. He had dreamed that they would eventually bow down to him (which was a prophetic dream from God). And because of this hatred, some of the brothers conspired to have him sold into slavery. But what we read in verse 36 is that "the Midianites (whom the brothers had sold him to) had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard." Did you catch that? Joseph was now in the royal courts.

The reason I love this passage is because of what it reveals about God. God had given Joseph insight into His plan; He had given him promises. And even though Joseph's brothers thought they were destroying Joseph, their actions actually put him closer to the fulfillment of those promises. Are you with me?

There is an enemy. He wants nothing more than to destroy our peace, joy, and trust in the One True God. There is an entire theology I would just love to discuss about the enemy because I am a Bible dork and love to discuss theology (even with my 4 year old; I have to talk to someone!). But for my purposes here I will just say that the enemy has intentions to destroy, but God has intentions for victory; and God is ultimately the One in control!

I have hinted to it in various posts and writings of mine, but 2008 will definitely go down as a year in my life that proclaims this truth. The enemy intended to destroy my marriage and my home, and he gave it a good shot. But God! You see the enemy didn't think (I guess) that I would trust God, seek His will and peace, rest on His promises of strength, and eventually move through this dark valley into victory. He may very well regret his attempts. What the enemy intended to destroy, God intended for good, and for very good.

We will face trials. That is life. It is going to happen. BUT, the question is what are we going to believe in the midst of those trials? Are we going to believe that life is over, there is no hope, things will never change? Or are we going to get down on our knees and seek God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength? Are we going to trust that He is in control and can use every situation, EVERY SITUATION, to His glory if we look to Him for truth in the midst of seeming chaos. That is what Joseph did. In fact we read a little further in Genesis 39:23 that the Lord was with Joseph and whatever he did the Lord made it prosper.

I am not saying this is the easy route to take. There are going to be hard moments. I can think of many times where I questioned God and what He had allowed. But He has proved that when it seems everything is stripped away, He is forever faithful.

Best Blogger Tips

Friday, January 23, 2009

But bitterness feels so right

OK, enough couscous talk, let's get ser-us (do you see yet how my mind just won't stop?!).

Today's E100 ( reading was Genesis 32-33. One of the biggest lessons it led me to ponder was that of forgiveness. Yes, I know, that is a tough one. In these chapters we see that Esau completely forgives Jacob for deceiving him, both for taking his birthright and for stealing their father's dying blessing. These were very "big" offenses. Jacob didn't just grab a toy or bite his brother's arm (which are the two offenses for which my 4 yr old often has to forgive my 2 yr old). No. Jacob stole seemingly everything from Esau with deceit and manipulation.

Have you been there? Have you ever been so hurt by someone that you didn't even want to forgive them? I have. And sadly if I think about it, I have also hurt others in my past where I certainly didn't deserve their forgiveness.

This past year God taught me more than I thought I would ever want to know about forgiveness. I experienced pain from deception and betrayal that cut to the depths of my soul. But God proved His miraculous power. I was faced with a choice: I could live in bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness or I could forgive. And to be very honest, bitterness felt more right. Unforgiveness seemed to just fit the betrayal. But God.

By His grace He enabled me to even hear His truth when my mind was entangled with questions, fears, and doubts. His words pierced to the core of my internal battle: to forgive or to not. I soon realized that the enemy had already stolen something from me. I didn't want him to steal anything else. I wasn't going to let him have my peace and my joy. God's word brought a challenge: if I don't forgive then He cannot forgive me, and we are to forgive our brother for everything, no matter what, no matter how many times he or she betrays us.

"Surely not everything," I would debate, "Not this." But that mindset puts me as judge. The truth is that forgiveness is a decision. For a while it was a daily, almost hourly, decision on my part. And forgiveness doesn't mean you are saying that the offense was right or OK. Forgiveness is freedom. As someone put it, "I have to choose to remember no more." This means that when the thoughts arise in my mind I have to replace those thoughts with the truth and promises of God. And I am telling you, He has done something in me that could only be described as miraculous.

There is a higher road. The world tells us that we have a right to this or to that. But God challenges us to lay down those rights and choose to love, without condition and without limit. Even when we were enemies of God, betraying Him and rejecting Him, He still loved us and sent His Son to die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Lately I have been faced with my past. (Honestly, I blame facebook; I've got to blame something, right?!). And as I look at the faces of people from my past, particularly high school and college, I cringe as I think of the girl I once was. To put it simply, I was an idiot: selfish, insecure, unreliable, and trapped in addictions. But God.

Even when I was at my worst, He still loved me. He still showed me undeserving, unmeasurable grace. Nothing I have ever done is outside of His forgiveness through Christ. Amazing. And that is what He then calls me to do. To forgive those who are just being idiots.*

*Disclaimer: it is probably not a good idea in every circumstance to tell a person that they are being an idiot. You will really need to consult God on this one before you do.

Best Blogger Tips


Couscous - A traditional North African pasta made with semolina to produce a very fine grain.

On a completely random note, I just have to document that I love it when I serve couscous for dinner. The reason: it is both yummy and a fun word to say. Last night I wish I had counted how many times my 4 yr old, 2 yr old, and husband said, "couscous."
  • Do I like couscous? (2 yr old repeated at least 9 times)
  • Eat your couscous. (husband and I also repeated at least 9 times)
  • I like couscous. (4 yr old said trying to convince herself to take the first bite)
  • Couscous is good. (husband said also trying to convince everyone that they liked it)

I felt like we needed to make a song and do a dance called "Couscous." In the end everyone ate their couscous and declared, "Make couscous again. Couscous is delicious."

Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One day my socks will match

One day my socks will match,
I won't be dragging through the door;
Carrying 15,000 things,
With someone handing me more.
Coats, bags, sippy cups, snacks and lunch;
Did I remember to bring their shoes?
I know they say these days go fast,
Don't want to wish away the coos,
...I just wonder how many brain cells I will lose.

Best Blogger Tips

Monday, January 19, 2009

heavenly bottoms

{Revised in 2011 because my 2009 writing was on the scattered side.}

This morning I was challenged by the story of Abram. God told him to leave his home and go on a journey to another land, and Abram obeyed. He did it. Just like that. He loaded up his family and his belongings, and started walking. Wow!

I want to know my Creator's voice so well that if He asks me to do something, big or small, first I would hear Him, and then I would obey Him.

Recently I was at the gym minding my own business, when I started struggling with my thought life--comparing myself to everyone I saw. So I beckoned Him, "Lord, I want to see these people the way you do. Give me your eyes instead of mine."

A favorite song streamed through my earbuds and led me into a time of prayer. In fact I found myself praying for each person my eyes fell upon. Then I sensed Him leading me to speak a word of encouragement to someone.

"Wait a minute, Lord," I whispered with grimaced face. After debating with Him for a few minutes I finally agreed that if someone looked at me, smiled at me, talked to me then I would speak to them. That's when "heavenly bottoms" appeared.

Seriously, as I finished up my workout I caught eyes with a woman at another machine. When she turned to walk to the hand sanitizer station I noticed that "heavenly bottom" was written on her rear. You must be kidding!

"Lord, she is going to think I am an idiot!" So I didn't obey. I walked right past her into the locker room, sensing that I walked right past a blessing.

While in the shower I wrestled with Him again, "Lord, I failed You. You told me to do something and I chickened out because I was scared. God, forgive me. Please, if it be Your will, give me one more chance. If I see her I will say it to her." (By the way it is OK to talk to God while you shower.)

I finished my shower, put my hair in a towel, threw on my clothes, and peaked around the corner. Would you believe that the heavenly bottom girl was standing there all alone reading a flyer taped to the wall. My heart dropped.

"So you might think I am crazy," I began,"but when I am working out I pretty much have church on my MP3, and to make a long story short I felt like God wanted me to say something to you," long pause, "He wants you to know that He hasn't forgotten you." Her face softened and a smile crept across her lips with a quiet "Thanks," coming out of her mouth.

I walked back to the shower to grab my bag and just cracked up at God. "You are way too big, God. Just crazy big... and real. What in the world was that?" But slowly my excitement turned into a bit of regret.

How many times has He wanted to use me to speak a word of blessing into someone else's life and I wasn't listening? Probably too many to count. Thankfully the God of this universe is merciful, gracious, sovereign, and able to accomplish His will in spite of me.

I hope to be bold with many more heavenly bottoms the rest of my days.

Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, January 18, 2009


So, the other day I decided to make a small sign (as pictured above to the right of the door). The sign reads, "Baby Sleeping, Please Do Not Ring the Doorbell Between 1-4 p.m., Thanks." I was motivated to make the sign after the UPS man rang the doorbell while my boys were sleeping. ("No, please No!" I thought). We all know that nap time is sacred time.

My daughter watched me as I wrote, and then taped, the sign outside the door. I could see the wheels of her little mind just turning. What was she possibly thinking?

"Mommy, I need to make a sign too," she says, "Will you help me spell?" So she proceeds to dictate her thoughts to me, which I greatly condensed so they would actually fit on this 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. In case you are having trouble reading her precious writing she states, "If you have American Girl dolls go home and get your things for a fashion show."

It's funny. There are times that I think she, as a very mature 4 year old, "gets" how the world works; then something like this happens. So I innocently ask, "How many people are you expecting to come and bring their dolls for the show?" "Well, the little girl we saw last year (she means last week) at the toy store might come by." And though this is possible since we do live in the same city of only about 250,000 people, the chances are slim to none. But I don't tell her that. I just smile to myself at her precious naivety and take a picture.

Best Blogger Tips

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Seat's Takin'"

This post is dedicated to my husband who (most of the time) graciously endures dining next to my 2-year-old son. I say this because yesterday at "Chick-a-bay" I got a taste of this unforgettable experience.

How do I put this into words? Imagine sitting next to a very active monkey. I mean no disrespect, but it literally could be described in such a way. I don't think it is humanly possible for him to actually sit through a meal, even a short meal. Over forty-three times I had to say, "Knees or bottom!" (No, I didn't actually count; If I had it probably would have been a higher number.)

Now add ketchup and sticky-sweet sauce to the mix. What in the world was I thinking?! I looked like a spastic mom as I dodged his wet, red, flying fingers. There just weren't enough wipes. How could I possibly enjoy my lunch? And no, I didn't make it out without "battle scars"; my suede coat will have to visit the dry cleaners.

I say all of this to just give mad props to my husband who continually shares the bench with our precious second born. Just don't wear a clean shirt, babe.

Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tattle Tail

My daughter can be so compassionate. She has a tender heart to the hurts of others; except, many times, when it comes to her 2-year-old brother. She constantly keeps me posted on his many, many acts of disobedience. In some cases this is good because I know there is another pair of eyes on his ever-moving body. But, ultimately I just want her to be a little girl who encourages others to make good choices rather than exposing their sin and mistakes.

Isn't it funny though how God can speak to us through our kids? I mean, I can be the same exact way, whining to God (and hopefully not others) about the sins of my "brother", all he is doing wrong, and ways he should be punished. But, that is not love. Sometimes the words will come out of my mouth, "Have you tried encouraging him to make a better choice?" and the stake will just pound in my own heart. Have I?

I was just reading this morning for the E100 passages (see 1/14 post) about Noah. And even though he was given grace by God, obeyed God, loved God, he still sinned. In Genesis 9:20-29 it reveals one specific example of his sin. It said that once the waters from the flood receded and Noah and his family were getting "back to normal" (these are all my words) that Noah became a farmer, planted a vineyard, and then got drunk and passed out. Then one of his sons saw his nakedness and told his brothers about it. It was his two brothers that discreetly carried a garment and without looking on their dad's sin covered his nakedness. It turned out that the first brother was cursed and the other two blessed.

I realized that that is what the proverb means when it says that "love covers a multitude of sins." That is what God wants me to do towards those in my life. Not expose their sins and gossip about their sins, rather encourage them to make good choices, pray for them, bless them. I hope I teach my daughter this truth. I hope I am faithful to practice this truth.

It's funny, I just joined facebook. If you are on this addictive site you quickly learn that your past is at the tips of your fingers. In many ways this is great because I have already "found" 3 or 4 people who were dear, dear friends to me in my past. But in some ways this can be somewhat unsettling. I mean, many of these friends saw me at my absolute worst...passed out and hopefully not naked. But I guess it reminds me of how much God has done in my life, given me peace and joy where depression, anxiety, and addictions once reigned. He is amazing. He is good.

Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Would I build an ark?

So it is a new year and we are back to the grind of daily living. Our church has started something for 2009 which I think is pretty cool and exciting. Their "mantra" (if you will) is "simple obedience." Just that we as people who love God would just be obedient, just do what He says to do.

Do you ever say this to your kids? "Just obey me, that is all you have to do. That is your job." Yet they continually disobey. I guess we can be like that with God. He says, "Just forgive. Just love your enemy. Just let me be the judge." Yet we whine and disobey. Oh that we would simply obey.

Anyway, in line with simple obedience we are doing church-wide weekly Bible readings for the next 20 weeks. So today we are to read Genesis 6-7:24 which tells the story of Noah and the ark. And yes, I must admit one of my first mental images was of Steve Carell in Evan Almighty (which I haven't actually seen; I just think Steve can be hysterical. And yes, we are on a first name basis.)

So I am reading this morning the story that I have read with my kids 100 times. But this time was different. For one I wasn't looking at caricatures of stubby animals or Noah with a big nose petting an elephant. It was just me and God's Word. Two things hit me.

  1. It is possible to walk faithful to God when the world around you is disobedient and corrupt. If we set our eyes on Him, then we can walk in peace and joy, despite our circumstance. And God has definitely proved this truth in my life for 2008. Through the darkest season of my life He has strengthened me to walk with an unexplainable joy. He is real. He is good.
  2. I want to be one of the ones that God would find faithful, even to build an ark if He asked. Would I? Would I do something that appears to others to be absolutely ridiculous and completely absurd simply because God asked me to do it? Wow, I hope so. I guess the first thing is to make sure I would hear Him if He asked, which means knowing what He asks, which means being in His Word. I must admit that I do love His Word; it has changed my life.

Well, I guess that is enough preaching for one morning.

On a completely different note, does anyone know how to get a chapstick stain out of fabric? My 2 year old enjoyed my 4 year old daughter's chapstick so much that he had to share it with her bedspread. Now there is a constant reminder of how big his hand was at the time of said event. He is still working on simple obedience.

Best Blogger Tips

Home Twitter RSS Feed Email Subscription Facebook