Tuesday, August 31, 2010
They know my name here. Which is a bit strange. And I must admit that this slight offense wants to arise when I walk in the door and someone is enjoying their cup of coffee and cinnamon crunch bagel in my seat. What is that?!
It's like when I go to the gym and use the same exact locker, #23. My name is not on it, I don't even use a lock, but it just feels like my bag belongs there. And when another person's sneakers sit smelly inside, the world seems all wrong.
People are funny. We like things how we know things. We like to live under the illusion that we hold circumstance in our hands, under our seeming-control. We want change to be our big idea.
But when it's not... When familiarity flees and we find our feet standing on foreign ground, where we cannot speak the language or even understand the dress code, anxiety rears it ugly head. It is in these moments that the only place of peace exists at the feet of the One familiar with every situation.
Nothing is outside of His land. Nothing sends Him running with questions. He is perfectly familiar.
I prep myself before clocking in at "my office." I have this conversation with God about my booth, "Lord, You know I love it. Would you?" Most times He saves it. But when He doesn't I have learned to trust His plan, even in the mundane of my sitting down.
Monday, August 30, 2010
It humbles me to think of those seasons. Life lived by fleshly whims. It also reminds me of that which is truly praiseworthy in me, namely that which my Maker has placed upon me.
Anything worthy of accolades comes from my Father. Anything deserving of boasting finds its source solely in Him. Believe me. When left to myself I choose self, but He replaced my heart.
Paul so profoundly touches upon this transformation of a life. "When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me..." (Galatians 1:15-16a)
If there were ever a single verse on the power of God unto salvation, this may be the one. He alone wakes the dead from their slumber. He alone reveals Truth. In the fullness of time, by His grace, His voice calls-forth into the dark and leads one to the place of Light--His Light--to reveal His Son in us. In me.
This is my testimony. I once was blind, but now I see. I once lived my hours in submission to fleshly passions, but God. When it pleased Him, He revealed His Son in me--for my good and His glory.
Those years of self-absorption left a wake of hurt. Memories that can easily humiliate. His grace to sustain and redeem absolutely amazes me.
Just remembering from where I came.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Do we define our God through our circumstance? Or do we define our circumstance through the character of our God?
The choice determines our stance. It determines our peace and rest. It determines whether joy will eventually reside in our wounded heart or if desperation will lead us astray.
Feelings and questions naturally invade and demand we look. But He remembers we are but dust. It's what we do with the feelings and questions--bringing them to His throne and insisting they bow down to the Truth.
A simple look and the earth trembles. A gentle touch and the hills smoke. (Psalm 104:32) There is a God reigning over this day. May we allow His character to affect our heart. The victory is our faith.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
There is this aspect of our Maker that comforts and strengthens me regardless of my day. He cannot be crammed into a box. His ways cannot be perfectly defined. But in His grace and love, He has revealed a portion of Himself to His creation.
And Jesus was not plan B.
The sin of man does not make Him reevaluate. The tactics of the enemy do not cause Him to stumble. This God on High, who spoke the worlds into existence, is sovereign.
He knows the beginning from the end. He understands my sitting down and my rising up. He has my every day written in His book. Nothing catches Him off-guard.
Our Savior Jesus was not plan B.
The victory over our days--the quiet space where joy arises regardless--only exists by faith in this sovereign Father. It is unexplainable and impossible to follow its exact path. But resting in Him--stirring up Truth in our depths--causes peace to arise from seeming chaos and joy to spring up from the ashes.
Bring it into your moments, friend. We serve a trustworthy King. Jesus the Christ was not plan B.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Even before the coffee. In spite of restless nights. Regardless of yesterday's attitude--in me or others. This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice because of my Maker.
The promises for this day evoke praise. His mercies are new today. His grace is sufficient today. He is on His throne reigning supreme. Today.
Test results do not shake Him. Disease does not confuse Him. Toddlers do not try Him. Sin does not override Him. He sits secure today.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow ever-distant. But today, this morning, He gives promises upon which to live. So rejoice, in spite of. He is worthy. He sings over His children the blessings of holiness.
Monday, August 23, 2010
There. I said it. Now all of you Martha Stewart, Michelle Duggar, perfect, homeschooling moms can shoot your adorable, organized, color-coordinated arrows and gasp for air.
(By the way, I am NOT making fun. I am actually VERY covetous of your seeming ease at obedience to charts. And yes I am stereotyping. Please forgive.)
So about three or four weeks ago we decided to implement a new and improved "privilege ladder" into our home. An idea taken from one of my precious, homeschooling mom friends. And how gorgeous it is hanging on my neatly arranged bulletin board.
We clarified the one rule in our home: love, "up and out." Which, by the way, is accompanied by our own gang-sign-of-sorts. We explained to the children that their behavior will move them up and down the ladder, with various privileges given and taken at appropriate times. It's a long, multi-faceted plan with rocks and thumb tacks and magnets. I'll spare you the details.
Here's my point. I cannot obey it. I forget or am lazy or need to give a consequence in the car. And I often imagine the lady from Nanny 911 encouraging me with a British accent to keep it up. Then I think, my farmer grandmother didn't use charts. She didn't give rocks or gems when my dad obeyed. He obeyed or...well...it wasn't pretty. I'm just saying.
So am I wrong or weird or a chart-using-child-rearing-anarchist? I just want my kids to learn this very simple truth: They need Jesus! Without Him there is no life. Must I use a chart?
I'm sooo very curious about you. Do you obey your charts? Am I standing here all alone? Thoughts. Please.
Friday, August 20, 2010
He speaks of the promised land. The land flowing with milk and honey. The land of blessing and abundance. The land of desires fulfilled.
True. His original terms referred to the Israelites and their actual promised land. But even today, to His children, He offers a land. A land of freedom and beauty. A land where promises become realities.
But what if He decided to stay behind? What if He sent us forth to receive the promise, while He lagged behind due to our "stiff-necked" tendencies?
Back in Exodus 33 this very situation presented itself and Moses responded in desperation to His God.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
- Dinner tonight.
- Do I need to go to the store?
- Not again.
- I just went yesterday.
- I think there is chicken in the freezer.
- Chicken again.
- Oh well.
- Maybe my little food critics will eat if I add cheese or pasta or chocolate.
I open the freezer...
- Oh it's ______ brand.
- That documentary said that they treated their chickens so inhumanely.
- Those coops.
- Chickens who couldn't even walk.
- Maybe I shouldn't buy their brand anymore.
- It just costs so much to go organic with everything.
- But I guess in the end it is worth it.
- Health and all.
- And maybe Adam will understand.
- He works so hard for our money.
- I hate to waste it.
Thought life deteriorates...
- Since he works all the time. (exaggeration)
- All the time. (exaggeration)
- In fact, I don't think I have seen him this week. (exaggeration)
- Well, except for about thirty minutes yesterday before his meeting. (exaggeration)
- He must not love us. (lie)
- He only loves his job. (lie)
Phone rings. It's Adam. I answer with a chip on my shoulder and the conversation goes downhill from there.
Our thoughts affect. They impress upon our attitudes and feelings. If we allow our minds to wander--uncontrolled and unregulated--then we will find ourselves believing lies. Mark it down.
The debate isn't whether or not the war exists. The question is whether or not we are engaged in the battle.
He empowers us to bring our thoughts into captivity to obedience.
(See 2 Corinthians 10:4-6)
Awareness is key. We must know our thoughts to take them captive. Begin by asking Him to reveal your thought life, but be prepared for a sobering assessment. I did this a couple of years ago and the revelation floored me. Negative, critical thoughts consumed my mind. Especially towards my man.
Once we know our thoughts, we can assess whether they live in the land of obedience. Or not. But to know if they obey, then we must know Truth. More specifically, know the Author of Truth. His heart. His ways. His love.
By His Word.
Only in the power of His Spirit, by faith in His filling, and with the sword of His Word gripped tight in our hands will our minds be taken captive. Captive to obedience.
If thoughts insist upon lies, the replace them with truth. If thoughts condemn, then replace them with blessing. If thoughts criticize, then replace them with intercession. Every single thought. Captive.
The thought pattern detailed above with the "hypothetical" deterioration turns out differently as I engage in the battle...
- Since he works all the time.
- (Pause. Assess. Replace.)
- No, Lord, he doesn't work all the time.
- Remind me of truth.
- He recently took time off so we could go on vacation.
- Maybe he does work quite a bit.
- But he does it so I can stay home with our kids.
- Father, You are his God. You guide him. You put within him Your plans for his days and for our family.
- I trust You, Lord.
- Teach me how to rightly love and respect him this day. In the moments.
- Thank You that he works to provide for us.
- Thank You, Lord.
- I give You the praise.
The phone rings. It's Adam. I respond in love.
Thinking on purpose.
Monday, August 16, 2010
When things don't go like I think they should go. When the same frustration or irritation invades my day yet again. When it seems this thing should already be conquered. I can whine.
I spent some time in Acts 16 this morning. And two truths, seen in the life of Paul, hit afresh. May they linger and have their work within my own whiny heart.
- The Spirit of God leads the child of God with precision and in detail.
- His lead may include my imprisonment--both literal and/or figurative--but joy arises from the decision to praise.
Smooth travels do not necessarily characterize the road in which He directs our feet. He will guide the submitted, listening heart. The one who continually asks in faith for His filling. And if in following His lead the prison gates lock behind us, then in response to the true character of God, we can choose to praise.
Our Father has a plan, for His glory and our good. He sees from beginning to end and knows that which needs shedding from this stubborn heart. I want my often-off-pitch, singing voice to be heard even through prison walls. He is worthy. He can be fully trusted.
Friday, August 13, 2010
It is in these spaces that peace and soul-victory arise from a Spirit-led stance. Personal decisions made not for human applause or earthly gain; rather, conviction before an audience of One. And it is in these points of resolve that our hearts must stay guarded against pride.
Allow others the grace to move around in their own gray. Allow the Spirit to lead and the Father to be the ultimate Judge. He sees perfectly, both the heart and the motive.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I silently pray to see them as He sees them.
My time "alone" mingles with directives, explaining yet again the seven o'clock "rule." Mommy's rule. And with their clock in hand, two of the three make their appearance the instant six leaves the scene. The day officially begins.
Bandaids. Crafts. Whining. Crumbs. Spills. Frustration. Laundry. Sheets. Dishes. Sippy cups. Laughing. Crying. Dimpled hands. Growing. Groceries. Laundry. Bugs. Frogs. Discipline. Chores. Training. Laundry. Misunderstandings. Irrationalities. Smiles. Words. Questions. Snacks. Diapers. And more laundry.
All of it mixed together in this big pot we call a day. Joy touching irritation. Laughter brushing against tears. One moment it seems controllable. The next, a pile of mush. I can speak with such tenderness, then the very next second overreact with such immaturity.
I pray to see as He sees.
They are His, not mine. He designed them. And like me, they are in process--in search of Truth and fulfillment and reality. In the midst of the seeming mushy mundane, I am called to ever-point them to the One for whom they are looking. In love. By example. Through Him.
His grace will suffice.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
It is worth your time to watch an event video of Rachel speaking just twelve weeks prior to her flight to be with her Lord. You will be challenged and encouraged.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
I am so excited to partner with one of my sister-friends. God has woven within this couple His vision and heart for adoption. They have faithfully responded. And He has amazingly blessed.
Less than a year ago they brought home sweet "E." Now, in following the lead of their Lord, they are on that adoption journey again. This time to bring home their little girl.
They have partnered with Show Hope ministry who now presents a unique opportunity to help them raise their much needed financial support, as well as raise awareness for orphans in need.
It's so simple: Buy a (really cool, inspiring, purposeful) T-shirt and help this family bring their little girl home.
And here's the twist, consider it a race. I (and a few others) committed to sell 20 T-shirts for the McB's by August 21st! But I think God wants to bless them exceedingly, abundantly, beyond what they have asked or imagined. So won't you join us?
Click this link to see the choice of shirts, then follow the easy Paypal instructions OR just email me to purchase. NOTE: If you go the route of Paypal, please email me to let me know what you purchased. That way I can keep up with my goal of "way-beyond" 20.
Friends, I know we can do this, in the love of our Lord. I'll keep you posted!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010