Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Daughter

 My daughter. The one who made me a mother, and who every day brings me to the end of myself. My patience is short, her questions are long. She is a leader. She is determined. She is nothing and everything like I thought she would be.

Yesterday morning, on the way to tend to a vacationing friend's garden (a blessing, as it will help to fill up our shelves for yummy eating through the winter), she was helping her little brother read their Children's Bible. About David, and how he protected his sheep from the lion and then His sheep from Goliath. About Daniel and how he was in the lion's den but did not get eaten. Her brother asked, "how did God do it?" She told him of His power. She said, "I will tell you how powerful He is. All He had to do was say 'tree' and there was a tree. There is nothing more powerful than God." So full of conviction, full of Truth, full to the brim with God-knowledge. How can I help but grow to be like her?

Lord, protect her believing heart. That when the enemy tries to convince her that what she believes is not real, she will have a strong foundation to stand on. Let her strength in You carry her on this path You pave ahead of her, and in her weakness may she draw closer to You.

And give me what I need to be the mother that she needs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My tongue watered as I took the final pickle out of the store-bought jar. I think it knew that next we would be dipping from our new and ever-growing stash of homemade kosher dills.

Monday, July 23, 2012

You are called

My heart has been pulled. It has been pulled hard, and I don't know whether to feel convicted or angry or passionate. I think I feel all three, plus some. God has been using several different things to speak to me about this thing, but the one I can stand on is this. His Word.

Romans 10:14, 15 "But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?"

How can they know that they need Him unless we tell them? How can they know He loves them unless we show them? How can they understand that they can be clean unless we love them and tell them Who can clean them?

This them? It's hurting, desperate people in Africa, and it's hurting, desperate people in our neighborhood, our family, our place of work, our classroom. I am tired of seeing Christians, seeing myself, so caught up in this cozy little life, how we look, what we weigh, how prosperous we appear, how many gadgets we have, how behaved our children are, that we fail to notice the person standing right in front of us, hurting and desperately needing us to tell them that HE LOVES THEM.

How can we stand by, looking perfectly in place, when people in our every day are hurting? How can we walk through the halls of our church and pretend like we never fall when the couple walking next to us has a marriage that is about to implode, or has a teenager that has run from God, or has an addiction that they can't beat? Why do we as Christians feel like we can never show any weakness? Why does the phrase "this isn't something that we should be talking about in church" even exist? How can anyone feel like they can approach us if we are so unapproachable?

I will be the first to say that my marriage and my family are my biggest, most important ministry. But what about other people's marriage, other people's families? What about the people who are desperately hurting and needing to know that God longs to heal them, that Jesus died on the cross for every single sin they have ever committed, and every single sin they will ever commit, and He rose again to defeat death and Hell and Satan, and He did it all for them? Who's ministry are they?

They are yours, they are mine, they are every single Christian they come into contact with on a daily basis. Because, guess what? When you became a Christian, when I did, too, we were sent. We were called to go into the world, our world, and tell people about Him. Because how can they know about Him unless we, who have been called, tell them?

If we allow our hearts to become hard, or complacent, or focused on anything but God, Satan has won. The enemy has accomplished his goal. I refuse, and I hope you will, too.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Super power

He came up behind me. "Mama, look at how fast this shirt makes me run!" And then he was gone, sprinting through the kitchen and into the dining room. I chuckled and remarked at how he was as fast as lightening.

And I thought, "if I had an outfit that gave me super powers, what powers would I want to have?" I surprised myself when I realized that instead of wanting super speed or x-ray vision, I wanted things like never-ending patience, or infinite wisdom in being a wife and mother.

Then He surprised me by reminding me that I already have all of that in Him. When I wear the cloak of the Spirit, I have love, joy, and peace. With His armor I have a full supply of patience and wisdom. In His Word are all of the super powers I need to navigate this life well.

Now if only I had the super-power to remember that I have these super-powers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

There is no too far

"I can never escape your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night - but even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You." 
                                                                                                        Psalm 139:7-12

There is no too far. There is no going so far that God cannot reach you. I have seen people in my life who have run from God for so long that they feel like there is no turning back. They may think, "with everything I have done, God would never forgive me", or they may not even realize they are running from Him. But the truth is, there is no too far.

Whatever you have done in your life, wherever you have run, however you have sinned, God is there with you, just waiting to wash you clean of your sin and fill you with the peace you are lacking. There is no cleaning up first, for only God can wash you clean with the blood of Jesus. There is no doing good enough or saying the right thing or being perfect, there is only the perfect Grace of God, which by definition is given to us even when we don't deserve it.

If you are running from God today, running from your sin, trying desperately to slough off what you have done, whatever you have done, there is only one True answer. Stop running, fall on your knees in front of the only One who can truly wash you clean, and let Him take the load off your shoulders that you have been running under. Confess to Him that you have been running, what you have been running from, and ask Him to wash you clean. Oh, the peace and joy that comes from that freedom, will be like none you have ever experienced!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A marriage redeemed

"There's some one else. I'm in love with her. I want a divorce."

Those dreaded words had come out of my husband's mouth just a few days before. I spent the weekend trying to convince him otherwise.

After another afternoon of me trying again to talk to him, he decided to go outside and play with our two older kids. 

As soon as he walked outside, I cried out, "Oh God, what do I do?" His answer came quick and it brought me to tears. "Let him go." I replied, "I don't want to!" In His infinite knowledge of today and tomorrow, He said again, "Let him go."

To read the rest of this story, head over to Messy Marriage, where Beth is sharing about how my marriage was destroyed by sin, and redeemed by Grace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Striving to live

We sat together, my good friend and I, enjoying the cool air (that a few weeks ago we considered hot!) after eating some yummy dinner. We talked about kids and marriage and life, and I said, "I just wish it would be consistently good. Why is it that we have days that are effortlessly great and days that really just take work? Scott and I can have a really great day, and then something happens the next day and it seems like we are having to work through a conflict. Wouldn't it be nice if it wasn't so hard?"

And then today, sitting outside reading the Word and listening to the birds call to each other, He reminded me that, yeah, it is hard, and by the way, He already said it was going to be.

Romans 8:15-17 "So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, "Abba, Father." For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering."

The Study Bible says about these verses "Jesus is heir to all of God's promises, and as those who belong to Jesus, we share with Him in that glorious inheritance. However, just as it was for Jesus, our path to glory is also marked by suffering. We experience the difficulties that come from striving to live righteously in a world dominated by sin."

Life is hard because there is a real struggle in our souls between what we ought to do (living righteously) and what we want to do (the cravings of our sinful nature). God's original law, though good and right, only served to show the people what they were doing wrong. It didn't bring with it any means to stop doing the wrong. That's where Jesus came in. With His death and resurrection, we are given His Spirit, and the Spirit lives in us, enabling us to choose not to be slaves to our sinful nature and to walk righteously. By His grace and power, may I strive to have more and more days where I choose not my sinful nature, but His righteousness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In the moments

Summer is about sun and hot and sticky, sweaty heads.

It's about swimming and "watch me jump off the ladder" and "count how long I can stay under water!"

There are cookouts and juicy cheeseburgers and salty corn on the cob and ketchup and mustard and pickles.

It is swinging and running and playing and the big girl riding her "two wheel" bike.

It's trying to get the dog to chase the rabbits out of the garden (only to have him stare at them before running in the other direction).

It's Daddy home for a few weeks in a row.

And it's hushed, sweet milky moments with Remi, hair wet from bath and eyes sleepy from the day, as I cuddle her to quiet.

There are squeals of delight as my babies run from, or take straight on, water from the hose.

I see bare-bottomed children streaking through the house, naked to stay cool, or just because they haven't gotten dressed yet.

It's sitting down with friends while the children play together so the grown ups can have some grown up talk.

It is life, and it is mine, and each day is a gift straight from my Father.

Enjoy this summer day :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thankful today...

Thankful today...

*that most people have been restored power, and praying that those who still haven't will find a respite from the intense heat;

*that those who I know and love have only suffered inconvenience from the storms, and not injury;

*for grace, and the fact that He gives it without keeping count;

*for my husband, who is full of unselfish love and unending patience as he walks this path of life with me;

*for my athlete daughter, who is boldly and decisively making her own way, figuring out (not always happily) what it means to be growing into a young girl and leaving some of the child behind;

*for my boy, lanky arms and legs, always exploding things, racing cars, sound effects, and fighting the bad guys, filled with equal parts warrior and love;

*for my baby, who is no more baby than I am unicorn, abounding in "I do it" and "my turn", happy to do her thing as long as she can still come and climb up in my lap for some cuddles;

*for His provision in every single thing we need, and even a few things we want.

What is filling your heart with thankfulness this day?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Like a tree in a storm

The second storm was making it's way through. For many people, the electricity had just come back on. For most, it was still out.

Scott and I stood watching out a front window at a large maple tree, which the previous storm had already ripped and broken a great deal of. The debris had just been cleared that morning.We watched as the wind blew and pushed and bent that big tree.

As I stood watching, with my husband's strong arms around me, I found myself mentally pulling for that tree, praying for God to keep it strong, keep it whole. For it was just over two years ago that I felt a bond form with that tree. Another storm was raging outside my home, as well as inside my home, at that time. I was caught up in a fierce storm in my marriage. As I paced around, praying for God to heal us, I stopped and looked out the window at the large maple being shaken and bent by the storm raging outside. I stood, amazed at how the wind was pushing it nearly over, and my Father spoke to me. "Do you see that tree, daughter? See how the wind blows against it but it does not fall? Instead, the storm just makes it stronger. I am making you like that tree. You may feel tossed around by this storm you are going through, but it will not break you. It will make you stronger."

Two years and more storms later, I am stronger. I know that God is good. All the time. I know that He is my strength. I know that hope based on anything but Him will leave me wanting. And yet, I don't feel stronger. And maybe that's a good thing, because if I did feel strong I would forget that I need Him. So I take it a day at a time, beginning each bathing in His Word, and when I feel that ache in my soul, I will try to remember that it is not me being weak, it is me realizing that I am not home yet.

Not getting lost in the crooked

I shake my head as I read the closing sentence in my last post. Little did I know that within a matter of hours of posting, a fierce, angry, powerful storm would blow through and take with it everything that we take for granted.

People were left without power, some without water, and scrambling to make right what had been made crooked.

I don't do well in the crooked. When the crooked comes, as it always does, it reminds me of who I am, and Who I am not. For us, the crooked has been winding it's way around for several weeks now.

"Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?" (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

I have tried to sit down a few times to write, and found that I just didn't have any words. I have tried to pour myself out to my children, my family, to you, and have found that I just don't have any to pour.

Sometimes in life I am brought to this place where I need to just sit and let others pour in to me. To let God fill me with Himself, let the Holy Spirit grow and swell inside until I am filled. To read the words of others, reminding me what my desire for this blog even is; reminding me how I don't need to just love my children, but like them as well; and on how hope that is based on anything but God always leaves you in the wanting.

I stand in the shower, overcome by it all, with salty tears washing my face along with the water, and wonder why it is that I am so weak. I have been through so much, learned so much, grown so much, and yet the crooked can still make me stumble. I confess my weakness, and in the whisper of the water I hear Him say, "I know, I already knew, and I am not finished with you." He reminds me that the storms of life won't destroy me, but they may bend and shape me. And it's okay.

Each crooked path is a reminder for me to not get lost by looking at all the madness around me, but to hold tighter to His hand.

"It puzzles me; but, Lord, you understand,
And will one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Your best-
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.

You have fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wandering eyes fixed on You,
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to You.

So I will thank and praise You for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing You do hold me worth such testing,
I cling closer to Your guiding hand."
(Streams in the Desert)