Friday, July 30, 2010


He tenderly reminds me today that He is my Redeemer. He called me by name. By name. "Lara."

Knowing all my weaknesses, all my poor perspectives, all my sin, He still spoke me forth--from death to life. And He does the same for you.

But it wasn't because of me. It was and is because of Him--His glory, grace, mercy, and love.

My places of insufficiency, inferiority, and infirmity press me towards my Lord, to partake of His strength. So like the apostle Paul I rejoice in my weaknesses, for it is in them that the relentless power of my Savior rests upon me and causes me to soar.

Praising Him. Believing Him. His grace is sufficient.

(Inspired by Isaiah 43:1, 2 Corinthians 10:7-10, Isaiah 40:27-31.)

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

why don't I...

I admit it. The temptation looks me square in the eyes and at times I succumb to its deception.

I see the snapshots. I read the highlighted moments. I watch a mother of six gracefully move through the grocery store with her smiling children walking behind not grabbing or whining or insisting. And something in me begins comparing myself to the window of time I have observed in another.

Everyone else appears to have it all together--their kids, their homes, their responses, their love...their toenails. While I know me so well--the dusty corners and the heart battles for control. And the questions of inferiority lure me towards the trap of discouragement.

But God.

I am called--equipped--to live the life He has for me. And so are you. He has plans for my todays. And it may or may not include a Norman Rockwell picture of perfection around a table of delight. Most likely not.

I pray you never see my "windows of time" and battle comparison of value or purpose. If anything I pray you are spurred towards your Maker--the Lover of your soul--who has created you with precision. The only place of security.

The milk will spill on the freshly mopped floor. The rabbit will urinate in the playroom--oh wait, that may just happen to me. But there is a God who designed you and He has plans for you, to prosper you in Him.

May we keep our eyes and mind stayed upon this One, by faith in the filling of His Spirit, rather than the many others that cross our paths. He is our audience. And you are precious.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a daddy and his son

Big hands teaching little hands the ways of life. The ways of fishing...with a Sponge Bob fishing pole. A moment not to be too quickly forgotten.

It reminds me of that passing of faith, from big to little, one cast of the line at a time. Teaching the little to see their Maker. How to love Him. How to know Him.

I love this picture.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

listen for the whisper

He loves you. Do you know that today? I mean really know it. In your depths. Does it affect your stance and your peace?

His Word says that perfect love casts out fear.

Fear cannot stand up against the flood of His love. Fear flees as we truly trust in His banner waving over us. As we trust His hands of love cradling our days.

If you are His, then your name is engraved on the palm of His hand. He will never leave you or forsake you. Never. And His love over-arches His movement in your life. And mine.

The Rock comes up under our feet as we choose to stand still and rest in His love. To trust that everything He allows, and even ordains, in the lives of His children is out of His love--for our ultimate good and His necessary glory.

He is always whispering His love. Always. Do you hear it? Do you hear Him?

He chose you. Saved you. Washed you. Cleansed you. Broke you. Restored you. Refreshed you. And will one day glorify you.

Friend, He loves you. Believe Him.


OK, so is this "legal"--to share a song posted on You Tube? Well. Listen and then go buy it. Mercy Me, "The Love of God."

Hangin' with Emily and the girls over at "Chatting at the Sky"

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

holy experience

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Monday, July 26, 2010

virtuous woman

I learned an inspiring Bible trivia fact this morning in my moments of quiet before the dailiness ensued.

In the Hebrew Bible, the book of Proverbs is placed right before the book of Ruth. (Thanks for sharing, Miss Kelly Minter!) So the description of a Proverbs 31 woman leads directly into the story of this Moabite stranger turned Savior-lineage! This really struck me since I have a "penchant toward theological nerdiness" as Minter defines.

Proverbs 31:10 begins "Who can find a virtuous woman?" followed with a detailed description of an absolutely beautiful woman of valor. A woman that tends to make the rest of us feel a tad under qualified. But keep reading.

The light bulbs go off in one's head as we read Ruth 3:11 when Boaz describes Ruth as a "virtuous woman." You know I couldn't let this go. I took my theological nerdiness to the next level even at 6 a.m. and broke out my Strong's Concordance to find that yes, indeed, this was the same Hebrew word taken from Proverbs 31. And its definition inspires me. I'll share the highlights.

Virtuous: from the Hebrew word pronounced khah'-yil (make your friends think you are really smart) means strength, power, army, valiant, influential; this word signifies a faculty or "power," the ability to effect or produce something.

A virtuous woman moves and creates. She influences with great strength of character. She is focused and purposeful. And her lovingkindness precedes her.

But this kind of character in the moments will only happen of the overflow.

Girls, we cannot conjure up this kind of virtue. We cannot be kind enough or active enough or Martha Stewart-ish enough to sustain this level of beauty. It will only be lasting as it overflows from the power of the Lord within.

As our eyes stay set on Him--His face and His ways--as our watch makes time for Him, as our minds linger vigilantly upon Him, then virtuous spills out. And rejoicing is to come. (Proverbs 31:25b)

Here's a cool thing. As we daughters of the King continue pressing into the ultimate "Kinsman-Redeemer," that description of a virtuous woman will slowly become more like looking into a mirror--sometimes a mirror with a few smudges or messy fingerprints, but a mirror nonetheless.

Keep at it friend. Keep seeking after your First Love. He is making you to be gorgeous.

How has the picture of the Proverbs 31 woman spoken to you in times past?

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

letting the Word speak

"Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."

Jeremiah 17:5-8


Which characterizes you...and me?

Are you parched and fearful in the year of drought,
or lush and peaceful yielding continual fruit regardless of circumstance?

Trust in the Lord...

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

a lil' exegesis for parents

That's right. Ex-e-ge-sis. No, don't run. Hebrew can be fun. Now, say it like you mean it.

It's a verse that many of you have probably heard--and placed claims upon!--but I studied it afresh and just had to share.

Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

After pulling out my handy-dandy...Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, and beseeching the Lord to solidify the depth of His promise found in this single verse, I came away lifted. Encouraged. With a second--or fifteenth--wind for this parenting thing.

But rather than (possibly) bore you with my long list of Hebrew nuances found in this brief text, I am going to expand the verse a bit. Taking some "creative license." Lord, help me be true to Your precious Word.

So here it is, to my fellow parent-sojourners:

The brevity of these child years catches us off guard. Like at the grocery store when your once-baby now reads your list and finds the spice you need; when just yesterday (it seems) you rocked her to sleep in secret because the books told you to let her cry it out.

Brief years. But a vapor.

YET. Yet the effects of the dailiness impress upon the character soon to be revealed. Each teaching in morality or righteousness or love or their own creative-individuality sets in motion the course of their life. Each one. Massaging their way. Initiating a belief and a pattern.

Never doubt your impact.

And the promise is sure because it comes from the only Ultimate Truth. He designed young hearts to be molded. They will be something. And even in elder years, their feet feel at home on that road paved in adolescence. The road in which we trained them.

Though the gap between the words falling from our lips and their clinging to them as their own may keep us bound to our Father in prayer, believe Him faithful to fulfill the promise. Believe Him gracious to pick up the pieces we have dropped and shattered. Believe Him to be the sovereign Lord.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

i just love God

I just love God. No, seriously.

He has this way of cutting to the core and whispering Truth to those who are listening. To those who are listening. He is always moving and orchestrating and loving, all for our good and His ultimate glory. Always.

And when I choose to tune my ears to His voice, He overwhelms with intimate revival. When His child longs for Him to be ever-present and overarching, He shows up. He will show up.

He lays no claim on my agenda. He is God. I follow Him...or not. I take my piece of paper with plans for tomorrow and crumble it so that my hands can lift high in praise. As He satisfies my soul with His love, waters of joy spring up even if desert sands cover my feet.

The visible is irregardless. He remains faithful to His promises of restoration, transformation, sanctification, and one day glorification.

Come on and do a little dance of praise.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

IKEA vs. the need to simplify

My sister's face says it all. (And yes, I took my camera to IKEA. Who doesn't?)

She and I ventured to IKEA the other day with three of our kids. No lie, our hearts raced with excitement as we stepped into this warehouse-o-things-I-didn't-even-know-I-needed-at-prices-so-low-you-wonder-why-others-charge-so-much. It was our second time and we came bearing a list.

After we grabbed our big yellow bag, we looked at the map and determined our route. With every aisle came something that could make our lives a little better from these "high quality, cheap Swedish goods." (my sister's description)

But not only is the stuff irresistible, the IKEA people keep kids in mind as well. Scattered throughout the store are "play areas" for kids to feed their learning, creative side. A must when you are spending hours pilfering through non-toys.

Halfway through our route-plan we stopped for some refueling at their cafeteria. That's right, they even serve food. I fed myself and two of my kids full meals for a total of $7.98. Crazy cheap.

Once our tummies were satisfied, we continued our hunt until reaching those final deals preceding the checkout. Then with $1 ice cream cones dripping from our kids' hands we loaded the car and headed back home.

A sensory-overload, fun day.

So, why the title, "IKEA vs. the need to simplify"? It describes the battle within me, even through the aisles of IKEA.

With every item that my hands examined, my mind questioned its necessity. Almost to the point of annoyance. I kept thinking, "Do I really need this or could this money be better spent on someone else?"

Don't get me wrong. I bought me some stuff. But I have recently wrestled with Jesus' example and teachings regarding the poor, the love of money, and true need.

I'm not sure what all of this means in the big scheme of things. I just know I am open to His leading...for His ultimate glory...even in IKEA.

How about you? Do you wrestle with our culture's definition of need vs. God's description? How does that play out in your own life?

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

summer mission with my kids, part 3

Haitian orphans walking two by two.

These children live at the "Orphanage on the Rock" (OTR) in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. A beautiful, young woman named Kristi Wiggs has been given a gift of love towards them by her heavenly Father. Her heart now aches for their livelihood.

In 2008 Kristi went on her first trip to OTR. At that time the orphanage received funding from a Christian organization. In 2009, however, that funding was pulled.

Now, with four trips "under her belt," Kristi partners with others (including Christian worship artist Meredith Andrews) in prayer and fund-raising to help provide for the physical and spiritual needs of these precious little ones.

Since the earthquake, approximately 14 additional children have sought refuge at OTR, bringing their numbers to 46 kids, ages 2-17. This increase obviously multiplies the resources needed to meet their individual needs.

So why am I writing about Kristi and these Haitian orphans? Because of the summer mission with my kids. This is where our "water money" will be going.

If you would like more information on how you can support OTR, feel free to email Kristi at with the word "Haiti" in the subject line.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

born blind for His glory

Day after day, he sat in the open square, blind, begging for a handout. Something to ease his growling stomach. Something to offset the cultural rejection.

Then the unknown voice of a Man spoke to him.

Really spoke.

Like He actually saw him sitting on that dusty ground. Like His intent was not to simply step over his tired legs while dropping a few coins in his jar.

He stooped down to where he was.

The Man's rough, carpenter hands anointed the crippled eyes with clay and instructed him to go wash in the nearby waters. A poor beggar cast aside by the multitude obeyed by faith.

As the water dripped from his squinted eyes, sunlight and color and life overwhelmed his senses. And he rejoiced. He danced.

Those in power did not approve. Their pride led the way. And they questioned the Man's methods... and origin...and substance.

The blind-man-now-healed replied to their banter, "This is all I know: I once was blind but now I see."

Sight restored by faith for the glory of God.


(See John 9 for the scriptural account.)


It's Tuesday. Linking up with Emily over at "Chatting at the Sky." Thankful for the gift of His Word.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

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Monday, July 12, 2010

sowing seeds

"Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." (Psalm 126:5) A promise.

I am in the midst of a summer Bible study by Kelly Minter on the life of Ruth. In recent pages, she had the reader meditate on this verse--this promise--from Psalm 126. And it begs the question, "Into what am I sowing?"

Sowing and reaping is a continual, reliable phenomenon in this life. What we sow we will reap. That's how God designed it.

If I sow tomato seeds I will reap tomatoes--hopefully. And even if my brown thumb hinders their growth, one thing is certain, I won't reap green beans. What we sow we will reap.

Personally I will tell you that I am sowing into my family. Sowing seeds of love and seeds of truth, asking for God's grace to knit them into the individual hearts of my kids and my man. For the glory due His name.

And I am sowing into this calling that God placed upon my life years ago. A calling to shout on the rooftops--or on Twitter--what He speaks to me in the closet that His Spirit might be stirred within His children. For the glory due His name.

There will be seasons of weeping in this unpredictable life. Seasons where the fruit cannot be seen and the labor seems futile. But the promise remains. Keep sowing, even through the tears, and trust the Maker of heaven and earth to bring forth the harvest.

So I leave you with the question I asked myself, "Into what are you sowing?"

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Friday, July 9, 2010


I want to always be obsessed. I know it makes one a little weird in the face of modern culture. But I want to always be obsessed with knowing this remarkably, undefinable God.

The book Crazy Love by Francis Chan has caught my attention. (Yes, I believe I am one of the last ones to read it.) Though I bought it months back, I finally found a few quiet moments this week to dive into its pages.

In between building sand castles, jumping waves, and avoiding the thoughts of underwater life inches from our legs, I sat under the shade of my favorite hat with my toes in the sand, craving to see more of my Creator. (Glorious, by the way.)

Today I reached the chapter entitled "Profile of the Obsessed." Wow. The thoughts it spurred within truly lifted my soul. Thoughts of the One worthy of my obsession.

I won't bore you with my own rendition or paraphrase. But I will leave you with two characteristics of the obsessed as noted by Chan that fanned the flame of my spirit towards my Lord:
  • Obsessed people love those who hate them and can never love them back. (p. 132)
  • Obsessed people care more about God's kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress. (p. 133)

The word holds strong connotation, but are you obsessed with your Maker? Nothing else is worthy of our excessive preoccupation. Nothing.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

that's my King

I am playing at the beach this week with my family and friends but I wanted to take a minute to say hi to you. So, "hi!" I also wanted to share what I meditated upon this morning before the house starts teaming with activity.

A word by Dr. Tony Evans left me thinking on one statement, "Revival begins when the reality of God becomes real to the experience of His people."

If you have been reading for a while then you know my heart beats for "revival" among God's people. That we as His people would walk in power, love, and freedom. He. is. worthy of that. So this phrase from Dr. Evans lingered on me.

When the reality of God becomes real to (our) experience.

This God we long to know is so very real. He is beyond our comprehension yet He graciously reveals aspects of Himself to us finite humans. Amazing.

So let's look at our Maker's face. Let's seek after Him and allow the reality of who He is to meet up with our experiences in the moments. He cares about the tiniest of details. I love you fellow-sojourner. Get into His Word and press on.


Oh, and here is a little video to get you thinking on His many names. "That's my King. Do you know Him?"

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Friday, July 2, 2010

succombing to Twitter

Did I really give in?

It reminds me of the time when I said I would never wear bell bottoms. Or never text. Yet I donned the bells proudly in years past and text with fast fingers each day. Hmmm.

So I have adamantly avoided Tweeting with this Twitter thing...until last night. That's right. I opened an account. Why? That's what I am trying to figure out.

When I first started blogging I wrote sporadically, until I discovered my purpose: to share my own adventure with God with the vision of stirring up Truth and revival in the moments of fellow children of the King. Then the posts began to flow. I am compelled.

But what about Twitter? What is my purpose? A friend got me thinking about this with her recent post, I was nearly a Twitter Quitter. So here I go. Off to talk with the Lord about whether or not this Twitter thing would truly bring Him more glory in my own little life.

What about you? Do you tweet? If so, why?

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

revived blahs

I recently went through a short stint of emotional blahs. Nothing external had invaded my days. I still "juggled" a home, husband, three little ones, teaching, and writing. But inwardly a uninvited blah settled down.

A phrase I often say is that feelings are real but not reliable. And I've got lots of feelings. And feelings about the feelings. And feelings about those feelings. (You get the picture.) But feelings are slippery. They move and respond to circumstances that continually shift or words spoken in haste. They are not a reliable, firm foundation upon which to stand.

So in this short season of the blahs, I truly practiced what I preach. I daily (momently--is that even a word?) stirred my spirit towards truth. I audibly spoke God's promises--just to make sure any unseen "forces" knew my stance. I chose to believe my Lord in spite of my fluid feelings.

And He faithfully showed up.

He exposed my thought life--places I had allowed to creep in. He gently revealed what He wanted to mature in me--namely, love. He faithfully showed up and restored my soul.

I'm a girl. We girls feel lots of things. But joy unexplainable arises when we take those feelings--one-by-one--to His feet and ask how they line up with His Truth. Then we choose to submit to His Word rather than riding those waves of emotion.

The blahs may not leave overnight. But His truth faithfully oversteps the wayward emotions of those seeking after Him. Keep believing. Keep praising. Keep speaking forth His Word. He revives.

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