Tuesday, June 29, 2010

toe-stepping season

They step on my toes. Continually. Like my feet bear a target, and it's a game. But it's only life. And my toes suffer.

My mom says that one day it won't be my toes. It will be my heart. Yikes.

Today is Tuesday. Over at Chatting at the Sky on Tuesday's we take a moment to remember the small things. The things often overlooked in the day-to-day. Today I pause to remember this toe-stepping season.

We drove across town last night on our way to a little family time. As we passed billboards, bars, and life happening outside the windows, I couldn't help but think, "I don't want to wish away these toe-stepping moments."

Life outside our air-conditioned car proves harsh and demanding. Stealing of innocence. Life "on the inside" boomed with song, conversation, and yes, a little whining. But seemingly safe...and under the control of seat harnesses. One day, after blinking a couple more times, they will be out there.

A whole new place of trust in my Lord.

So today I choose to enjoy the toe-stepping season. With all the "mines" and "nos" pounding from the lips of three little ones. With all the bruised toes. "This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24, emphasis mine.)

Click the link below to see what others are pausing to remember.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

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Monday, June 28, 2010

preceding love

He is always loving us. Always.

It recently hit me.

In everything that God allows into the lives of His children--His children--He is loving us. In the moments of those who name Him "Daddy," His love precedes Him.

Through difficult relationships, long lines, broke-down treasures, disobedient cells, He sheds the self-life in His own. He continually teaches of His sufficient grace. Nothing is arbitrary.

Do you believe that? Do you see His acts of love in moments far from ideal?

Do I?

His love does not equal our happiness. At least not as the chief motivator. His love pursues with vision of our transformation into a holy vessel, for His glory and our ultimate good. His love pierces, heals, reveals, and soothes the places within us that hinder the flow of Himself.

Life apart from His love filling and overflowing in us leaves one sensing the futility. Meaning and hope arise when we rest in the truth of His Word, regardless of circumstance or ever-changing feelings:

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that...(nothing) shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)

His love comes first.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

enlightened by ketchup

My daughter enlightened me yesterday through her observation of ketchup packets.

Sometimes we as humans do things the way we do things because we have always done things that way. Not that it is necessarily the best way, the right way, or the most effective way, it's just our way. Anything else feels unfamiliar and inevitably...wrong.

We were at lunch enjoying some girl time and she said, "Mommy, why do they make these ketchup packets so small? I mean, everyone has to use two or three at a time." And I said, "That is profound. I don't know why. You should write a letter to someone."

Then I thought, ketchup packets have always been that size. At least as long as I can remember in my thirty-plus years. Maybe the ketchup manufacturers are in a rut. Maybe they cannot think outside the box because they have always done it that way. Anything else would feel...wrong.

When it comes to being led by the Spirit of God, it seems that fluidity is key. Us remaining open to change and variation in our agenda. Open to tweaking the production line. If we have our eyes too set on "the way it has always been" then we may miss the fresh wind of our Lord. And I don't want to be numb to His nudge.

His adventure wows the mundane and colors the lifeless. Enter His gates with praise. Enter into the song of heaven. He is on the move.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

only one returned

Only one returned. All ten asked for the miracle of healing. And though granted to each, only one returned to praise and give thanks.

I want to be that one.

They all called out "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" All named Him "Lord" with their lips. All sought Him for their fleshly deliverance. But only one returned to worship.

I want to be that one.

He alone has power to redeem. He gives life, grace, love, and breath. When He answers my prayer for healing, for restoration, for rejuvenation, for wisdom, for miracles, may I be one who returns to His feet with gratitude.

I want to be that one.

See Luke 17:11-19 for the scriptural account.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

life without praise music

Something was missing. Granted our computer crashed--replaced with an outdated attempt for the moment. But something was missing...for weeks.


I told my man the other night that I missed the music. Songs of praise streaming through the downstairs as background to life. Our temporary "computer-replacement of-sorts" slowly processed...everything. Wiring overtook the corner desk with our quick fix. And the music... stopped.

And I found myself struggling with my thought life.

Instead of phrases that lifted the Holy One dancing through my mind--almost subconsciously--I slowly began welcoming intrusions. Instead of waking with shouts of joy in my spirit, worry or fear crept in as early morning "food."

Then I realized. My soul needs to praise my Lord with song. Needs.


True, I drive. And yes there are times of singing in the car. But jammin' with the Veggie Tales only takes one so far. I know that God is bigger than the "boogeyman." Hearing it for the 8th time in twenty minutes makes my ears grow numb.

I need more depth.

Our new--fast, rock star--computer arrived by FedEx last week. The very next day, the music began again. And--literally--my soul lifted.

Praising the King of Kings changes our perspective.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of song. Even my out-of-tune offerings bless Your Holy name.


Hanging out with other girls at "Chatting at the Sky" today. Click the link below to visit.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

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Monday, June 21, 2010

summer mission with my kids, part 2

"Buy a water, Feed the hungry."

"Yard sale with a cause."

We decided to sell water bottles, and other random stuff.

It wasn't rocket science.

My three little ones made the signs. Which ended with paint from head to toe. My daughter pulled some items from her room. I wrangled up treasures gathering dust in the attic. My husband disassembled the baby bed--sniff, sniff. And we opened our garage doors early Saturday morning.

I must admit that it started slow. And there were moments throughout the morning where my daughter nursed discouragement. But I reminded her to pray when she was anxious. To pray for God to open doors. To trust that He sees, cares, and is ultimately in control.

I taught her that God takes care of the results. If He has placed a desire in our heart, we are only responsible for our own obedience. He will take care of the rest. A lesson I am learning for myself at age thirty-something.

By lunchtime, with the air still and hot, we decided to call it a day. And my daughter was thrilled with the $75 she had raised.

Stay tuned for part 3 to find out the rest of the story...

Click here to read "Summer Mission with my kids, Part 1"

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

the day I spoke to the clouds

I spoke to the clouds the other day. Literally.

Weeks before we had planned the shoot for my promo video. A video where I share a little about myself and the beat of my heart when it comes to "ministry." At 2:00 in the afternoon, three hours before the scheduled outdoor shoot, the sky was black. Not dark blue. Black with a brewing storm. And its predicted departure from the area was 7:00 p.m.

So I pondered before a very big God.

I remembered what Christ did on that boat thousands of years before. The waves crashed. The boat tossed. The disciples feared. And Jesus...slept. Then when the disciples woke Him in a panic, He chastened them for their unbelief and then rebuked the wind and the waves into a silent calm.

But that wasn't all.

The text also came to mind when Jesus said that with faith the size of a mustard seed we could tell the mountains to move from one place to another...and they would obey. I decided to take Him literally. Why not?!

So I stepped out onto our porch and spoke to the clouds. I told them to move North. I explained that we had a shoot that afternoon, for the purpose of making God's name famous, and that a storm was not included in the plan. "So move," I said--kind but firm.

Then the storm spoke back with a rumbling. So I further explained, "Don't take it personally. Don't be angry. Just quickly move North." I then proceeded with my preparations by faith.

When I got into my car a weather alert came on the radio for Virginia--North of us!!! And the announcer warned of hail and torrential winds, encouraging those in the affected Virginia counties to seek shelter. Sorry.

As I drove to the studio the sun shined bright. And I praised my Lord.

Why not just believe what He says? Right?!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

looking for my gaze

She looks to see my eyes stayed upon her every move. Arms flowing, with a few jagged edges. Feet prancing, though she sometimes trips. The music jamming Toby Mac or Third Day. My precious daughter.

But I notice her eyes. They quickly scan up to my face in search of validation. That is how she feels my love--when I watch with focused attention. She needs to know that her mommy cares about what she enjoys. And she measures it with my gaze.

All my kids are different. And I would venture to say that if we had nine more, each one would be uniquely designed as well. (Though for the record, the idea of having twelve children makes my knees buckle.) But God amazingly gives insight into their little hearts--the bent of their souls.

I want to have ears to hear.

A friend sent me an article the other day talking about the juggling we do as parents. We have various "balls" in the air--kids, spouse, home, job, church work,...our relationship with God. Some balls can drop to the ground and they bounce. Other balls, however, shatter when they meet the earth.

I don't want to "drop the ball" when it comes to the those I love--those who love me. I pray for wisdom to guide through the often crazy moments of the day. I want to believe true things about those around me.

But when I do fail--probably even before the breakfast table--I am ever-thankful for the grace of my God. He picks up, heals, and ministers to those hidden places that I may have broken.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

secret counsel

Do you hold the secret? The secret of the Most High.

He says that it is with those who fear Him. Those who honor Him. Those who revere Him. Those who give Him their worship.

The secret of intimate conversation. Confidential plans. Quiet meetings.

The secret that infuses calm even when storms rage.

The secret that lavishes love through vessels of clay even on those who curse.

The secret that ministers joy even with despair in the mirror.

With those who hold the secret, He reveals His ways. He unveils His face. He washes over us with living water that quenches the deep thirst for Truth. For Life. For Love.

"The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant." (Psalm 25:14)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hebta needs sponsorship

Hebta. He is 17--the oldest child in the Asia region who has been waiting for a sponsor through Compassion International for more than six months.

The young, cute faces easily draw sponsorship. While the older children often get neglected.

Would you consider sponsoring this child today?

Click here to meet Hebta. He is wearing his best, asking for help. http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/waystosponsor/childbio/Christian-Child-Charity-Organization.htm?Child=IO8690498

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Monday, June 14, 2010

only You

I just heard this song on Pandora by David Crowder and I had to share. Won't you worship with me? Only You.

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summer mission with my kids, part 1

I'm one of "those" moms. One who says, "There are children starving in Sudan and we are whining about wanting new toys." I admit it.

This past week, I meditated on Isaiah 58 in preparation for the class I have been teaching in a neighboring town. And the challenge arose.

Believe me, we love summer fun. In fact, I think my kids might be part fish. But I want more than just entertainment for my young ones this summer. I want more than just sun-kissed shoulders. I want to give them a taste of selflessness. I want to cause their gaze to see the real needs of others...even if just for a moment.

So when we got home one day last week, I pulled out a few magazines from various ministries. And I introduced them to some images. Images of kids that need food, that have nothing, that we--even from our suburbia--can help. And we came up with the idea.

Stay tuned. I will keep you posted as the plan unfolds.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

emotions bow down

A heaviness that lingers as a backdrop,
Sits down as if invited.

Emotions swim around, needing direction.
Needing to be invaded.

I cause my eyes to turn up towards the Hope.
I will my soul to believe. To rest. To sing.

My tongue declares Truth, pushing falsity out of my mouth--
Driving momentary drab off the page.

And He meets me.

"Let those who love Your name be joyful in You."
In You. In You.

Faithful. Reigning. Above. Detailed. Intimate. Righteous. Holy.
Delight. Redeemer. Sustainer.


A song breathes fresh love.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

silly bands. really?!

I need a moment. Just a moment to reminisce.

So I caved. I bought my kids some silly bands.

As we got into the car and they started the inevitable "trading," my mind flooded with memories of fads from my younger years. And I just have to take a minute.

I told my daughter that I used to trade stickers. That's right. Stickers. We had sticker books and were glad to have them--yes, glad, you young whipper-snappers reading in confusion and amazement! After school we eyed our favorite sticker from our friend's book-o-fun and bargained for the trade. The oil-filled kitty cat was my all-time favorite.

Then the memory of jelly bracelets led to the thought of jelly shoes--filled with Florida sand by the end of the day. Jelly shoes led to jams--brightly colored, wildly patterned shorts. Most people bought theirs but my mom made mine--an extra touch of uncool.

Jams led to parachute pants--zippers, zippers everywhere. Which reminded me of Outback Red shirts, "acid-washed" jeans, and big bangs.

But you cannot forget the strangest momentary addiction...garbage pail kids. Those things were disgusting. Why did we want them?

So what did I miss, fellow thirty-somethings? What do you remember as being a favorite fad of the eighties?

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I like sappy posts, but...

I like the happy, sappy posts. I do. But my spirit has been so heavy lately. And I think the reasoning is multi-faceted.

The lack of awe and fear for the Maker weighs as a burden for our generation, and those behind us. The handling of God with casual-ity and familiarity. The moral crisis where the lines are so blurred between honorable and disdain. The speaking of the One who formed heaven and earth with His breath as though we know...anything.

Granted, the Daddy aspect of this eternally-dimensional Creator exists--thankfully!--but at the very same time He remains forever holy--beyond us and untouchable.

Have you noticed the gap? The gap between what God revealed in His Word and the scenarios ever-invading our view. Scenarios rampant with pagan sexuality. Or like me, do you ever-so-slowly find yourself growing accustomed and desensitized?

It has nothing to do with pointing fingers, but everything to do with freedom and abundance for mankind. Abundance through faith. Herein lies a crisis of the mind. In what are we marinating?

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Monday, June 7, 2010

hands without control

Jesus gave me the idea. From His word. He says to cut off your hand if it causes you to sin. Better to lose just one part of your body than live a life separated from Him. (see Matthew 5:27-30).

I bring it up because of our middle son. He cannot control his hands. If he thinks it, he does it. Little space lives between thought and action. And it gets him into continual trouble, poor thing. Hence the importance of Jesus' words.

OK, OK so I didn't cut off his hand for grabbing his sister when she didn't want him in her "clubhouse" or for hitting his little brother when he took the exact Lego piece he needed. But he does lose the privilege of his hands.

My original idea included handcuffs or rope, but my husband and I both agreed that that probably crossed the line just a touch. So when he uses his hands to hurt someone or something, he loses the privilege of using his hands for a pre-determined number of minutes. He cups them together--and typically cries--until the anticipated timer rings.

I told you, we are desperate.

I am also trying to teach him what he can do when he gets frustrated or angry, specifically with his hands and with his words. But some days can be long.

How about you? Do you have any tips for dealing with impulsive behavior in children? I'm open to suggestions.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

taste of bitter

A Poison.

Poison kills, taints, chokes, and suffocates. It leaves its mark without prejudice. It offends the mighty and steals the beats of our heart.

A root.

Roots dig deep. Bury themselves beneath the surface and cause things to grow up and out. They spread and disperse, multiply and divide.

Defiling. Emptying. Binding.

It hurts...all in its path.

It. is. bitterness.

Dig it up. Cast it out. Replace it with the refreshing freedom of forgiveness, the sweet taste of love.

For the good of our soul and the glory due His name.


Drawn from my time of study this week in Hebrews 12, Acts 8, and Ruth 1.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

even through un-bliss

We celebrated our anniversary yesterday. Eight years of wedded bliss. OK, so it hasn't all been bliss. In fact, we have walked--crawled--through some near devastating valleys. Places the enemy intended for our marital destruction--literally. Places that most declared "unsurvivable."

But this God who calls me His daughter fought for our home. And He continues to teach me how to believe Him for promises yet fulfilled.

I think that is what makes this day so meaningful. It isn't the long, romantic gazes from across the room--the what?! It isn't the flowers or chocolate--though the bouquet from my man was gorgeous.

No, it isn't the things I see or the things that Hollywood names valuable.

It is the faithfulness of my God. It is love without strings or condition. It is exchanging the garment of despair for the cloak of joy. Not joy in circumstances changed, but joy found in the valley of faith. Joy found in this God who reigns on High and invades the heart of His child.

I don't know the condition of your marriage this day. But there is a God ready to meet you in the deepest of pits. He hears and answers the call of His own. He stands and He intervenes. Press into Him with all you've got. Then, believe Him faithful to His word. His grace is sufficient.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

releasing the chains of control

The chains we keep tight and rigid. "This arm here. That arm there." The desire to know who, what, when, where, why, and how, all while juggling laundry and dishes, comes instinctively to us women. But it wears me out trying to control everything. Probably because I'm not supposed to control everything. So how do we stop?

In one simple word: trust. In nine words: Dance the dance of trust with a faithful, sovereign God.

We cannot lift our hands in worship if we are entangled in chains of control. Chains we desperately seek to bind on those closest to us--especially our men. Chains that Eve passed down through the generations once banned from that garden of delight.

God is patiently teaching me to release, to drop the chains I am tempted to bind around those beside me. And then we can all breathe.

Freedom flows when we allow those next to us to live their own adventure before a holy God. It is me before my Lord. You before your Lord. May we give people some space to move around. God is big enough to handle it.

So tell me, how do you struggle with control-freakish issues?

Joining in the conversation at "Chatting at the Sky" today.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

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