Thursday, December 12, 2013


Ten beautiful fingers and ten precious toes.... skin so soft to the touch and those first cries of life.  Memories like that become seared in the hearts and minds of parents.  A new babe born brings delight and joy.  Life is newness and renewal.  A fresh start birthed out of pain and anguish.  A picture of redemption- the redemption that our Father offers to each of us.

A young mother and father entered into the small town of Bethlehem.  Filled to the brim with travelers returning to their homeland for a census ordered by the ruler of that time, all of its nooks and crannies were filled to the measure.  They came in search of a place to rest... to wait for the cries of new life that were all to soon coming.  Their search was fruitless.  No one was willing to give up their coveted position and security to risk being left out in the cold.  Only one, with an ever so humble offering, was willing to help.  A stable.  In truth, a shelter for animals, was all that was made available to them. 

Within its meagerness, stench and filth, the King of Kings came forth into this world.  Wrapped in far more that swaddling clothes, He was all-immortal wrapped in humble flesh and bone. He was part of the Creator of the universe restrained by the will of the Father to become a child- dependent on the creation He had helped form.  He fate sealed before His first cry- born in pain and to die in pain it was all for our redemption.  All redemption is marked by pain because all true redemption begins at the birth and death of our Savior.

His birth was the beginning of redemption- MY redemption.  He came for me, for you, for all humanity.  How can Christmas be anything less than a celebration of that fact? 

Yet, we focus on gifts, shopping, parties, snacks and decorations.... we, too, say to our precious gifted Savior, "We have no room for you this holiday."  Such words may not cross our lips, but do they play out in our actions?  He, alone, is CHRISTmas- our greatest undeserved gift. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope many of you are able to celebrate this special holiday with family and close friends.  In America, I love that we take a day to just celebrate all that we have been given and the blessing we have in our lives.  So many of my friends have been posting on Facebook all the things they are thankful for in their life.  As I have read them, one thing I noticed is that many of the things that were mentioned do not come with a price tag.... family, friends, cherished moments, and our faith are truly what we hold dear when life is stripped down to core.

Last night, my mom and I tried to teach the boys how to play the game "42".  Now, this game is a southern tradition that is played with dominoes and I have dear memories of playing with my parents and grandparents.  They loved it!  The funny thing was that Kendall, the three year old, wanted to play.  His focus was often on building things out of his dominoes until he had to play one of them.  I watched and he had some incredible "hands", but his focus was on building his "house" out of the remaining dominoes in his possession. 

How many times is my focus on building my "house" not fully realizing the great blessings I have right within my reach?  My friend, on this day of thanksgiving, let us realize and truly see all the blessings we have been given in our hands.... Our treasure is not in the things we can buy or have in our possession.  Savor your memories being made today with your children, parents and grandparents as those are the real treasures in our life.... all too soon those moments will have passed to never return.

So, this morning I had an extra cup of coffee while I sat and visited with my parents.  There was no need to rush, but just sip and treasure those beautiful moments.  I am going to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with my kids and just delight in the joy they find in it.  I want all the hugs and cuddles they will give.... and, I think we will have a huge game of 42 later! 

Those are my treasures!  How about you?

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Boys Eat.

Boys eat.  I mean, really... boys EAT.  Some of you are laughing as I haven't even made it to the real impressive teen years of food consumption for my boys, but some days I just shake my head at it all.  Kendall, the toddler, will wake me up with the words, "Can I have (yogurt, pop-tart, banana, cereal)?  I haven't had any today!"  Not...Good morning!  Not.... I love you.  Not... You are an incredible, awesome mother to get up early with me every morning.  Nope.  Just a request for food.  The other day, Kendall had a banana, yogurt, bowl of cream of wheat, and a bowl of cereal for breakfast- and wanted a snack mid-morning!

This morning, the boys discovered that the new box of pop-tarts only had one single pop-tart remaining.  A battle ensued over who would get the remaining breakfast treat that could simply be compared to a world wide war.  How is a mother to handle such issues?  I hadn't even had my first cup of coffee yet!?!?  My response was calm and collected  (okay, slightly agitated) offer to eat the remaining pop-tart which would not allow them to have any at all or to cut it into three parts.  They chose the latter option.  Food.  It is very important to boys.... it may, in fact, be their love language.

So, here is the thought that hit me..... I want to hunger for God in the same way.  I want to long and crave Him as much as the food I partake of at least three times a day.  How does a longing like that grow?  Love.  When we fully grasp the depth and width of the love of God to send His only Son to take our place on the cross, a desperate, hungry love develops.  When we fully recognize that Christ could have taken himself off the cross at any point, but remained in tremendous pain and heartache because it was His love for US that pinned Him to the wooden beams that day.... how can we not cling to such a beautiful love?  It is a love so rich, so full, and so deep that there is nothing on this Earth to compare it to, and we struggle to understand it. 

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

I want to grasp how wide and long and high and deep that love is for me.... and I want to know, to truly KNOW, this love.  I am going to pray this scripture for myself over the next several days and weeks asking God to help me grow in insight over this.  I want to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God because, my friends, that is what life is truly about- isn't it?  Max Lucado stated in his book, Just Like Jesus, this, "Step away from the puny pursuits of possessions and positions, and seek your king.  Don't be satisfied with angels.  Don't be content with stars in the sky.  Seek him out as the shepherds did.  Long for him as Simeon did.  Worship him as the wise men did.  Do as John and Andrew did: ask for his address.  Do as Matthew: invite Jesus into your house.  Imitate Zacchaeus.  Risk whatever it takes to see Christ."

This is just my opinion, but I think our world has tried to find joy and fulfillment in everything but the One who can truly satisfy.  They long for Him, but seek filling in everything else.  If we live a life of mission revealing the depth of His love for us to them.... we couldn't keep them from wanting a relationship with Him.  This love, this grace-filled, passionate love is that addicting. 

"Only a love that has no regard for vessels and jars- appearances or image- only a love that will lavish its most treasured essence on the feet of Jesus can produce the kind of fragrance that draws cynics and believers alike into His presence." (Gloria Gaither)

Oh Father, I want THAT kind of love! How about you?  My friend, seeking the depth of His great love for us is a life-long pursuit.  It is one that has no end because His love for us as no end.  Why do we hold back from the One who loves us so much?  I want to hunger for the things of HIM........

My plate is empty, Father.  Fill it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trust the Cook

This morning the boys helped me make pancakes.  Carson took on the duties of mixing the batter while Caleb took charge of pouring the batter, cooking them, and flipping them.  I love that they are willing (Okay, I don't really make it an option, but they comply fairly quickly) to help in the kitchen.  I want my boys able to cook, clean and feed themselves when they move out of the house.  So, anyway, as we were working together in the kitchen, we began to play some praise music.  The time of praising Him while working together was so tender and sweet... it is those moments I will miss dearly when they grow too fast and leave my kitchen for their own. 

As Carson mixed the batter, I realized that the proportions of the mix and water were very specific- and needed to be if the pancakes were to turn out correctly.  It appeared that Carson may have added a little too much water and some additional mix had to be added.  As I helped him stir and make ready the batter, the Lord reminded me that He is the one who knows the perfect "mix" for my life.  The trials, challenges, victories, strengths, and weaknesses I have within my life and world are a perfectly designed mixture used to draw me closer to my Father.  It is no accident when I am draw to my knees by the difficulties in this life- it is meant to make my reflection more like His own.  He has the perfect recipe for each of our lives to grow and mature our faith.   Never question what he chooses to add or detract from our world - instead praise and keep your eyes on the cook.

As Caleb waited on one of the first pancakes, he could not wait to flip that pancake!  As a result, the pancake was not ready to be flipped.  I had to teach Him to watch the bubbles in the batter and explained that when most of the bubbles had formed and popped in the center, it was ready to flip.  He just had to watch for the signs that it was ready.  The Father whispered to my heart that I, too, have to wait for Him and His perfect timing.  How many times have I rushed things- in a panic- and made a mess of my life because I wanted to rush His timing?  Just like with the pancake, I have to watch for His timing and trust that the outcome will be so much better when I trust Him.  I just get so impatient with waiting.... but, when I rest in my trust and faith of Him, the outcome is always better.

My friend, trust the pancake cook, and the pancakes will turn out well.  Trust the Father and allow Him to create in you a well lived life!  Blessings!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For My Busy Mom Friends...

I enjoy coffee..... no, I love coffee.  I confess to you that some nights I go to bed with a smile on my face because I know in just a few hours I will wake up and have the pleasure of savoring a cup.  Yep, it is an addiction, my friends, an addiction.  Today, I have thought a lot about why I enjoy coffee so much.  As the weather becomes cooler,  I love the warmth of holding the hot mug in my hands as well as how it warms me from within as I sip it.  I also enjoy the flavors I tend to add to my coffee- while it might not be acceptable to eat an almond joy candy bar for breakfast, it is- in fact- perfectly acceptable to enjoy a cup of joe with almond joy creamer.... or hot chocolate chip cookie creamer, or crème brulee creamer, or cinnamon roll creamer..... I think you get the point.  I also confess that I really do not enjoy mornings and having a slight jolt of caffeine makes the process of getting up and dealing with the onslaught of morning demands easier.

But, there is another reason I love coffee....

I get to sit down when I drink coffee and do nothing.  Nothing.  For those brief moments of sipping my hot beverage I am not answering countless questions, tackling the long "To Do" list that grows daily, or cleaning our home that seems to never want to stay clean.... I get to sit. 

I believe that I am like most moms in our society.  We are so busy and rarely take the time to just sit and rest.  Now, so many of us have to even take our coffee on the go because we can't even stop for those brief moments to savor it.  So, we pick up our coffee through the drive up window and race through our "drive through" lives.... and we rush from one task to another. 

Working moms are constantly trying to balance the demands of work, being an active and involved parent, committed spouse to their husband, and maintaining the home..... plus, making sure meals are on the table and clean clothes are in the closet.  Working moms often struggle with guilt over how much time this all requires when they long to just spend some time with their kids and spouse.  Stay at home moms are constantly pushing themselves for validation- trying to be the "perfect" mom, cook, baker, house cleaner, and parent because that is our job.  So, we look for validation by staying over-committed and trying to maintain a level of perfection within our home that is never fully reached.  The crazy part is that this too comes at the sacrifice of time with the ones we love.

Here is the common thread.... we are tired.  Every... single... one... of ... us.  We constantly question ourselves and our decisions.  We give until our cup is empty.  We kiss "boo-boos" and wipe tears.  We love our kids and hate how fast they are growing.  We skip meals to finish projects and grab take out because we are too exhausted to cook.  We hug.  We cook.  We clean.   And, we are tired.

I don't want to rush through this life.  I want to savor the coffee in my cup and the fleeting moments of joy that life has to offer.  I want to watch a movie from start to finish and play a board game with my kids.  I want to have truly lived this life I have been given.  I think there are many others who know what I am talking about..... but, the question is how?  How do we make this happen?

It means saying one word that we often forget is effective.... "no".  No, to frivolous activities that have no purpose.  No, to having the perfect house with perfectly clean floors- no one eats off them really!  (and even if they do, will it kill them?)  No, to doing it all and having it all.  No, to tasks and jobs we do because we felt pressured to do them.  No, to making the best costume for our child's school program that will only last about 20 minutes.  No, to defining our purpose by the expectations of others.

We also need to say "yes"... yes, to taking time for ourselves.  Yes to take out meals when it is necessary- with no guilt- and yes, to sharing the workload.  Yes, to lowering our expectations of ourselves and realizing it is okay to not live in a Pinterest approved home.  Yes, to taking some time to read scriptures and pray.  Yes, to a long bubble bath or a pedicure.  Saying yes to yourself means you value the person God made you to be.  It means you recognize that you have value and are important to others in your life.

My friends, my fellow moms, today find one thing you love and give yourself permission to enjoy it.  Life will go on and you will be happier, rested and energized.  Value yourself- remembering the precious creation you are in Christ and take the time to rest....

My coffee pot is full and I am ready to share..... Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Don't Hear It!

Naptime..... oh, the joys of that brief period of time when one or more of your precious children is tucked safely in their room sleeping and you are able to rest or catch up on all that still needs to be done.  I love my children- and I love the moments that I spend with them....but, I dearly love naptime too!

Recently, naptime had become a battle for our toddler.  My normal 'tactics' of calmly getting him to bed to rest were not as effective and I began some new things that have been working such as setting a timer and letting him know that when it went off, he would be going for a nap.  Initially, it worked so well as he would joyfully go and turn off the timer and head to bed.  Recently, however, when the timer would sound, he would loudly exclaim, "I can't hear it!"  In his toddler thinking, if he could not hear the timer, then he did not have to go to bed.  Well, that strategy has not worked for him! 

The thing is that the Father gently pricked my heart and said, "My child you sometimes do the same thing.  You know my leading, my instruction and my prompting, but you act as though you have not heard my will."  The truth hurts....

Our Father is so gracious to often make His will so clear in the scriptures, through the Holy Spirit, and through the confirmation of other believers and yet, so often I do not act on it.  Why? 

Fear.  So often I have fear of what others will think of me.  I am a people pleaser through and through which makes stepping out on a limb trusting God's leading hard.  I want others to like me and value me, but my allegiance should be to the Father first.  He is my Savior- the Lover of my Soul- and Redeemer.  Why do I fear man? 

Another fear I struggle with is that of the unknown.  So often, God's leading is down paths filled with questions and unknowns because that is where our faith grows best.  He wants us to follow when we do not know what is ahead because that reveals the level of trust we have in Him.  Yet, this is so hard because it goes against every fiber of human state.  Human reason says, "Look before you leap," and "Work everything out before you act."  God doesn't work in that way because He already knows all and has power over all.  He also works out everything for our good; so, when He leads us a certain direction, it is safe to take that step of faith.

What about the fear of being in want or need?  How about the fear of missing out on all the earthly things- material possessions and experiences?   I would be lying to you if I said that we were never tempted to do things differently- be a two income family with a bigger house and more "things" to fill it.  HOWEVER, I would rather strive for contentment in the will and blessing of Christ than to thirst continually after the things that will pass away.  Nothing of this earth is eternal- except what is done in and through Christ and our Father.  I want my efforts to have eternal value!

So, today, I want to unplug my ears and truly hear and heed the directive calling of my Father.  How about you?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Finding Sharky

This morning, in the middle of studying some scriptures and praying, my youngest came running into my room and exclaimed with great jubilation that, "We found Sharky!!!"

My first thought was that I didn't know "Sharky" was lost.  Sharky is one of Carson's favorite stuffed animals that we purchased years ago when on a trip to the coast of Texas.  Carson has loved Sharky dearly and we even had to rescue him from a fire one time when big brother overthrew Carson and he landed in the fireplace.  However, a few months ago, in an attempt to "fix" two problems, Carson stuffed several of his stuffed animals into his beanbag.  This, made his beanbag feel full while eliminating the mess of his stuffed animals being everywhere in his room. 

This morning, I guess Carson thought of Sharky and realized that he missed him and the search started.  How many times do I not see the hurt and "missing" people in my life?  They are all around me- the mother holding a baby while watching three other children sitting in the store parking lot holding a sign that expressed desperate need.  The friend, weighed down by grief, hurt and loss, who is too afraid to the vulnerability show.  The cashier who tries to wear a smile all the while dealing with the stinging words of previous customers.  Our world is full of people who are hurting or "missing" and yet they are not lost to the Father.  He always knows where His creation is.....

So, as I walked into the living room, I noticed the bean bag- open with small Styrofoam pellets all over my living room floor.  Finding the lost, hurting, and missing in this world is often a messy business.  It means going into the mess of their lives and loving them there first.  Ouch.  Love in action that is carried out in the midst of uncomfortable settings, situations and emotions is the most genuine.

Without my asking, the boys knew that a clean-up would have to take place.  They got the vacuum out of the closet and began to deal with the mess from which Sharky had been delivered.  My friend, we are often going to be called to walk alongside the hurting, lost, and missing as the mess is cleaned.  The Father never expects us or wants us to clean up our lives before coming to Him- mess cleaning is His job.  He redeems us, and then He walks and guides us through the process of cleaning up the life we left.  No doubt this process is always made easier by loving friends walking alongside you in the task.   I say again, loving people is a messy business.

Despite having to clean up the living room, my boys are full of such joy- Sharky is back in Carson's arms and all the work and effort was worth it.  He is home.  All the effort and work will be worth it when the lost cling to the Savior, the hurting find healing and the missing broken hearts are found and mended..... Our joy will be full. 

Seeking, loving in action, and showing them a real Savior is what He did for us..... let us do the same for them..... mess and all.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A New World

Our youngest has hit the stage where a whole new world full of letters has been opened to him.  Several times throughout the day I find him recognizing or identifying the letters he sees on signs, items, shirts and etc.  He has also began identifying the beginning sounds of words and often makes a game of it.  I love that stage- suddenly his eyes are open and able to see all the written world before him.  Saturday night, I took him with me on a quick trip to the grocery store and as we pulled up to the store, he screamed in delight- "K, Momma!  Just like my name!"  I chuckled at the precious delight he found in that discovery. 

Within minutes, the thought hit me.... am I that excited at the sight of God working in this world?  Do I have eyes to see all that He is doing in our world- recognizing that it is truly HIM at work?  Even more than that, do I take on His cause when I recognize His prompting?  You see, in the last few months, the Father has been teaching me about living a missional life where I look for opportunities to honor and bless Him with my service.  Not to make Him love me more or to earn His approval... nothing I can do will make Him love me any more than He already does and nothing I have done will make Him love me any less... but serving Him out of that great love He has bestowed on me.   I cannot "earn" the grace He extends to us all, but I serve out my love for my Savior.   This means getting in the thick of this messy life and being a loving, caring, and living church to this world that is weary of hypocrisy and the "come to my church" mentality.  He calls us to BE the church to this world- meeting people at their place of need, work, heartache, and mess.  It isn't always going to be easy, fun, or full of immediate results, but lives will be changed!

There is a ministry that our church supports that delivers food to those who are without in our area.  One Saturday, a friend of mine was assisting with it and knocked on the door of a single mother.  Upon hearing why they were there, she broke down into tears.  They were out of food and she had been praying for God to help them.  My friend has become her "mentor"..... delivering her additional food, praying daily for her and often calling to check on her.  The need is great- beyond even what my friend can offer- but our God is greater.  It means getting out of the safety of our pews or nice comfortable chairs to join this messy hurting world- loving people where they are in all areas (spiritually, mentally, physically, and socially) and then drawing them to the King of Kings who redeems!  For us it is living with total dependence and trust in our Savior living out the faith we profess....

It is being a living church to a dead world.......

Oh Father, give me eyes to see and faith to act..... Blessings!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Being Short

I have been reading through the gospels over the past several weeks.  It is has been such a good reminder of the great love that the Father lavished on us- a love so great that He sacrificed His one and only son for our sake.  It has also been interesting to me the number of passages that God has brought a deeper insight and understanding to me despite having read many of them countless times.  Today was one of those moments!  

Join me in Luke 19....

"Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NIV)

I have always loved the story about Zacchaeus.  Perhaps because he was so desperate to see Jesus- so much so that he was willing to climb a tree and face ridicule for it.  Am I that desperate to see the Savior?  Do I take desperate measures to "see" Him each day?  Perhaps it is because he was so repentant and genuinely convicted over his actions.  This I can easily identify with and Jesus' response to him brings such comfort and joy.  Our Savior always draws near to those who are genuinely repentant and convicted over their actions.  Perhaps and maybe my greatest attraction to the life of Zacchaeus, is that he was short..... like me.  I well know the frustration of not being able to see over a crowd and being able to reach things.  I have also walked the journey of being the mother of a shorter child and know how upsetting that can be.  Being short.... well, it can stink!

Today, as I read it the thought hit me that while Zacchaeus may have always viewed his shortness as a detriment to his life, it was the very thing that drew him to the Father.  Okay, follow me for a minute on this one.  Obviously, he was "drawn" to the crowds that day by all that he had heard about Jesus and he longed for a spiritual healing over a physical one, but it was his shortness that made him climb that sycamore tree in a desperation to see Jesus.  Jesus was drawn to this grown man to who was so desperate to see him that he would climb a tree to do so.  Jesus saw the heart of Zacchaeus and any man that desperate to see a glimpse of the Savior is absolutely ready for a heart change, but how many others in the crowd were in the same place spiritually?  Zacchaeus has been forever documented in the record of our Savior because he had a seemingly detrimental condition- shortness- that God used draw him closer to the Savior.

My friend, often times, it is those detrimental areas of our life- weaknesses, struggles, heartaches and so forth- that will be what draws us to the Savior in desperation.  Keep in mind Jesus came to heal brokenness and he is drawn to those who recognize their need for Him!  What area of your life have you viewed as a detriment?  Can or has God used that very area of your life to draw you closer to Him?  If so, have you praised Him for redeeming that area for you and how He can turn any struggle, heartache, and weakness into something that honors the Father?  Oh glory!

Take some time today to praise Him for all the redeemed "shortnesses" in your life! Blessings!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Taking Superman Off

 As a child, I loved fall - okay, I still love fall!  I love the cooler temperatures after the hot summer and the beauty of changing leaf colors as well as all the holidays!  From about mid-October until the end of December it seems like we are going from one celebration to another.  Our focus seems to change to more of our kids and spending time with them making memories. 

Last night, each of the boys picked out costumes and Kendall decided to be Superman.  He was dressed and ready to go hours before the time to leave.  He practiced what to say when he would arrive at a door... "Trick or Treat!!!..... Thank you!"  He even "coached" his older brothers on what to do and say at each house- much to their frustration- I mean, they are professional trick or treaters now!  When the time finally came to leave, he was ecstatic!

As the boys went to the first house, he laughed in giddy excitement.  However, Kendall added a new line to his door approach..... "Trick or Treat!!!  I am Superman!.... Thank you!"  It seemed, that he needed to make sure that they knew- undoubtedly- that he was special.... he WAS Superman.  Most of the people laughed and chuckled at his declaration and a few even gave him an extra piece of candy as a result!

This morning, he came in wearing his Superman costume for breakfast.  When I reminded him that we would have to wear "regular" clothes today, he was saddened.  "But,.... I am Superman...." was his reply.  Then God whispered to my heart.... "My child, don't you do the same thing?"  How many of us put on a costume each day that we present to the world.  One of our own choosing, it often "masks" the reality that is deep within.  Often my costume is reflective of a false self-sufficiency as I try to present myself as one who has it all together.  Truth is, none of us have it all together, right?  Why do we insist on wearing masks to hide our deficiencies.  In reality, it is our weaknesses that often draw us closer to each other. 

As believers, we are to encourage and build up each other - to be a support system as we all struggle and grow in our faith.  My strength as a believer may strengthen you in an area of weakness as you may do the same for me in an area of weakness.  It is realizing that NONE of us have it all together and are all still growing in our faith.... we are learners journeying through this life together in the assurance of an eternity together.

Today, as Kendall returns to life without his costume, I am taking mine off too.  How about you?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You are Strong!

Yesterday, the time had come and I had to face it..... the mountain of laundry that had grown on top of our washing machine.  Many people wash a load or two in a day to keep us with the need and demand of their family.  However, I am not like most people apparently!  I like to do all our laundry over the span of a day (or two.... or three) because I can have full loads and it works better for me.  I can focus on just that task for that day.  Anyway, the day had come and the mountain seemed larger than normal.  I realized that I needed to move the basket out of our very small laundry room into an adjacent hallway for sorting.  So, lifted the basket with all my might as I moved it as avalanches of clothing items fell on my head and floor.  Just about the time I am realizing this might not have been the best approach to move all this, I hear Kendall exclaiming, "Yay Momma!  You are strong!"

The funny thing is..... it was more of an encouragement than a declaration.  He saw a strength in me and exclaimed it more as a way of keeping me going despite the weight of the load I was carrying.  The Father reminded me that is what I am to do for others- speak encouragement and hope to others carrying a weight that seems to hard to bear.  My friend, we are stronger than we seem- not because of anything we are or abilities we have- but, because we have the power of the resurrection within us as believers of Christ.  The power of the resurrection which brought forth life from death- that is the power we have from our Savior within, my friend!   His strength becomes ours and the load becomes lighter. 

Plus, we have friends who stand up cheering us on through the task- believing that with Him we can endure to the end of that trial.  I want to be that for you- the friend seeing all that He can do in you!  The friend who comes along praying desperately with you in tears of longing and compassion.  The friend that exclaims.... "You are stronger than you can even comprehend....because your strength is His."..... The friend that walks that trial with you and rejoices in the victory at the end of it. 

Can I be that friend for you?  What can I pray for you?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Searching for Things Lost

In a house full of activity, flying balls, and the occasional wrestling match, it is not uncommon to lose things. Too often it is my patience as well as calm, cool, and collected reasoning that gets "lost" first. Ha!  No, seriously, in a house full of boys we lose things often and our resident search and rescue expert is Caleb. That boy will search without end until the item is found. It becomes a challenge that he cannot back away from.

Case in point- last week, Kendall bought him a cross necklace for $.25 at a local pizza place. Before we left, it had become untied and slipped off. Caleb could not leave until the necklace was found- the 25 cent necklace. The rest of us were loaded in the car waiting on him because we did not feel the same passion as he did for it. Finally, I called him- from the car- and offered to replace it if we could just leave. At that point, I was not beyond bribery especially when it is in denominations of quarters. 

The thing is, as passionate as he is for lost items, he is the same for lost people. Those who are struggling in hurts and disappointments... Searching for purpose and meaning to this life. He finds them. He finds them because he searches ever so desperately for them. Part of the passion in his search are the pain and struggles he has also endured. He knows  how it feels to be lost and the joy of finding redemption. 

Am I as purposeful and focused at finding the lost ones in my life?

If Christ is to be our example, then by his own words we are to seek out the lost in our world. "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV) 

So, thoughts swirl about my mind.... Am I being intentional in my seeking out the hurting in my world? Do I search for those needing His redemption as I do for earthly treasures? What legacy do I want to leave behind?

I don't think I am alone in this struggle? How about you?


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Faith of a Child

Over the past few weeks, Kendall has loved this song by David Crowder.  He listens to it several times a day and when he isn't listening to it, he is singing it.  Several times I have been in the midst of a task to hear his toddler voice singing, "He loves us.  Oh, how He loves us!" and my mother heart fills to overflowing.  This morning he asked to what the video again and in the midst of the song he jumped up off the floor, lifted both hands to the sky with eyes closed tight singing to God.  I literally caught my breath in my chest.  He is a child- one who has not experienced much life- and is too young to make that life changing faith decision to live for Christ at this point.  Yet, his heart knows whom it is to praise! 

This verse hit me.....

"He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." (Matthew 18:2-5 NIV)

What Jesus is teaching us is to have the faith like a, what does that mean.

Children love completely.
Children trust whole heartedly.
Children believe all is possible.
Children worship without fear.

That is the kind of faith I want to have...but....Life gets hard and complicated doesn't it?  The blessing of childhood is being blissfully unaware of the heartaches and strife that so overwhelms us as adults.  Yet, this morning God reminded me that no matter the situation, He is in control.  Therefore, I can believe that ALL is possible and worship Him without fear.  The Father reminded me that He always has my best interest at heart and that allows me to love completely and trust whole heartedly.  Life will still be hard and problems will continue to exist- only in heaven will those things pass away- but He will walk with me through it all.  Such knowledge causes peace to flow freely within and I become overwhelmed by His great love.   Come to think of it, maybe the blessing of childhood is not being blissfully unaware of such problems, but rather knowing that it is not in their hands.  Children know problems are there, but it is in the hands of their parents.  In the midst of our problems, our blessing is in knowing it is all in the Father's hands- not ours.

Today, what do I need to lay at His feet in complete trust, love, faith and worship knowing that it is all under the care of my perfect Father?  How about you?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dressed for the Day

Earlier today, we were rushing off to a meeting for homeschool kids and I realized that Kendall was not dress appropriately for going out.  Thankfully, the temperatures have dropped and it actually feel like fall here in Texas- Yay!  So, his "awesome" shorts would not work.  I ran back to his room and threw out a pair of jeans as he put on a different shirt.  Still in a hurry, I left him to finish getting dressed while I gathered what we needed to take with us to the meeting.

All was good..... or, so I thought......

After our meeting, we made a quick stop by a local grocery store in order to grab some stuff for dinner.  We were almost finished shopping when both of the older boys expressed a need to go to the restroom.  So, they went and as soon as they returned, Kendall realized he needed to use the facilities as well.  Don't toddlers have impeccable timing?  It is always when you are ready to leave- or at least that is how it feels.  So, I leave the other two in charge of the basket of groceries and take Kendall to use the restroom.  When, I am quite surprised to find that he did not pull off his shorts when getting dressed to leave.  Instead, he just put his jeans on over the shorts...... crazy!?!?

First, he had to be hot and uncomfortable.... and, I am just a little jealous that he can fit his jeans on over a pair of shorts because that is NOT an option for me anymore......  The thing that really got me is that by all appearances, he was dressed correctly.  He looked just right for what was needed and expected at that time, but he was being a little bit of a rebel underneath .... literally.  Now, in his defense, I do not know if he really intended to be mischievous this time or was just in a rush, but, still he was not dressed correctly.

Then, this thought hit me..... how many times does my outward appearance look "right" while my heart isn't....  Maybe we just put on our "happy" face and dress the part while inside our minds and attitudes are struggling with sin or hurts.  To be honest, I think that is part of what turns others away from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Many have witnessed "Christians" that dressed the part on Sunday, but did not live that way during the week.  Have those individuals really had a life-changing experience with our Savior?  Only they know, but it absolutely turns others away from a faith that they deem hypocritical. 

I also think this hampers our faith as we do our best to "put a happy face on" while struggling deep within.  As believers, we are to come alongside each other and help bear the burdens together.  However, if we are too afraid to share our weaknesses, then we bear them alone in silence.  Plus, this too, turns others away from our Savior because they think they have to get their lives straightened out before coming to Christ.  Yet, the opposite is true as only He can truly redeem us from ourselves.

Today, I am really taking a look at myself- am I being genuine?  Am I truly living the faith I profess?  Am I transparent in my life- sharing my struggles as well as victories?  By doing so, I may not realize the impact that will have on others.  How about you?  Take some time today to really think through and evaluate how you are doing in this area because you never know who you might impact for eternity- including yourself!


Monday, October 14, 2013

On Mission

Many of you may already know this confession about me, but I am a crier.  Honestly, if anyone within a half-mile radius of me begins to shed tears, I "catch" it.  I just can't let someone cry alone- that is just what friends do- we weep buckets together and keep the tissues handy.  To be honest, nothing drives me to tears faster than seeing God alive and active in the lives of His people.  Those moments are so precious, tender, and unique to each person that I easily become overwhelmed by the intensity of His great love for us.  This weekend, we had the privilege of witnessing the baptism of our niece as well as the commissioning of her entire family as they prepare for the next journey God has led them to.... London.  Their life-story of how God has brought them to this point is incredible and I strongly encourage you to journey along with them at Gordon Family Blog. 

Needless to say.... I thought I was prepared for the tears that would fall..... but, I wasn't- not in the least bit.  The weekend began by Reagan's father reading a blessing over his children and grandchildren on Friday night followed by much discussion about what God was teaching and revealing to each of us as families.  Now, this is not uncommon when we all get together, but it was so awesome to realize that He was teaching us much of the same lessons!  The next day we watched and worshiped as Leah, our niece, was baptized following her realization that she wanted to accept the gift of life and help that Jesus offers each of us.  At the family creek, we sang and praised our Savior and then her father, Carl, had the privilege of baptizing her. You know so often we say that we are giving our life to Jesus, but the reality is that He gave His life for us and continues to give us life daily! 

Then, on Sunday, we commissioned them as they make the final preparations for London.  Slowly the tears began to fall and then increased with such furry that I thought they would never stop.  To be totally honest, there is sadness.  Sadness over the changes that are coming and how the family dynamic will be different.  Change stirs fear and there is pain in the moments that we will no longer spend together.  Yet, so much of the tears were out of joy as well- they are choosing to live a life trusting and serving our limitless God.  I can only imagine the mountains that they will see moved as well as lives healed during the next several years as He uses them to meet people where they are.  They have laid down their nets and are following Him wherever He calls them.... and that is BEAUTIFUL! 

Yet, He has the same calling for us all!  If you live as the Redeemed of Christ, then we are to live "missional" lives.  To often, we put discipleship and missions into different categories, but they go hand in hand.  You cannot have one without the other to truly grow and mature in your faith!  We are to live out our faith, searching desperately for what God has for us, and in obedience to His revelations and teaching.  By doing so, others will notice and recognize the difference in us... that is a life lived on mission. It may not be London.... or Africa.... or China.... but, wherever you are is the starting place for your mission field.  It may never expand beyond your city, state or nation, but if you live a life on mission, lives will be changed!  Never underestimate what our God can do with you! Our Father didn't call us based on our merit or abilities.  He called us based on what He can do through us.  Regardless, we ARE called!!!

My friend, what is God calling you to do?  Do you want to see a limitless God working in your life to bless and change others?  Never doubt His purpose for you- it is rich with possibilities because we serve the King of Kings!  There are no limits to His resources, but to truly "see" all that He can do will often take us to the end of ourselves first.  What is holding you back?

Praying for you all my sweet friends- let us live lives of impact and on mission for our precious Savior!  Blessings!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Limitless Father

This morning, as I held my first cup of coffee, the toddler asked me a question.  When I did not respond as quickly as he thought I should, he asked again.  I responded.  However, not with the answer he wanted and in his absolute toddler mindset, if one time did not get the "right" answer perhaps a thousand more times of asking would.  I told him that I would assist his needs after I finished my FIRST cup of coffee for the morning.  In response, he asked the same question after every sip of my coffee.... no joke!  sigh....

Yet, this scripture came to mind.....

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." (Matthew 7:7-11 NLT)

Now, as a parent, if my children ask for something that is harmful or not beneficial to them, then I will always say no.  Our Father does the same for us.  Sometimes what we ask for is just not what is best in the long run for us.  Also as a parent, I sometimes say "yes, but not right at this moment" because I see tremendous positives for waiting- even when they do not.  Our Father does the same for us knowing that He longs to give us what we have requested, but that the timing is just not quite right.  Several years ago, we struggled for three years to sell our house.  We prayed so often for God to draw the right people to our home and long to make it their own.  Many contracts came and all fell through.... but, at the perfect time, it sold.  In His divine timing, we were able to purchase a home that met our needs so much better than all the others we had looked at.  His answer was yes, but we had to wait for the timing that was best.


I also wonder just how many times we miss out on blessings because we just don't ask.  Perhaps our focus is on "fixing" the problem or situation ourselves rather than lifting it up to the King of Kings.... yet, we miss out on the blessing of seeing Him work.  One of my favorite praise songs talks about how He is our portion.  I have sung that song countless times with the thought that He is truly all that I need.  If the world around me fades, I have my portion in Christ.  This is true.... but, I recently had the revelation that if my portion is Christ, then my portion is limitless just like Him.  He has no limits in what He can do, but so often, I put limits on Him.  My friend, can you fully grasp that?  He is always capable- no matter what the situation is!!!  So, why do we hesitate to ask great things of Him?

Is it fear?  Fear of getting an answer or fear of not getting one?  Fear of disappointment?  Yet, if He always has our best interest at heart, what do we have to fear?  Remember, too, that our God is not the author of fear.... the evil one is.  He knows that if he can keep you fearful, then he can keep you from seeing all that God can really do for you.  Let's start living lives without limits as the redeemed of Christ knowing that our portion is so much greater than we have ever dreamed. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today I am reminded just how totally different my sons are from each other.  I have one son that loves likes to get his schoolwork completed as soon as possible in order to have the most free time possible.  I have another son who tends to delay it as long as possible.  One boy struggles with quick flashes of intense anger while another tends to "simmer" in his anger for awhile.  One is passionate about speaking and sharing his faith publicly. Another struggles to ask for a drink refill at the restaurant because he is so shy.  They are a beautifully complicated creation of the Father!
As a parent, I have had to learn what works best with each child in order to parent them best.   It is so easy and tempting to compare them and wish to change them.  To be totally honest a part of me would like to take the best qualities of one and somehow instill that in the others.  Then, I could have three perfect kids, right?  But, then I would miss out on the joy of seeing them make great strides and attain victories.  As frustrating as it is for me, as a parent, it is what is best for them.  They will learn so much more through the process of those journeys than if it all came easily to them.  We all have areas of struggle....every...single... one...  Isn't the Father patient with us as we walk those challenging times of learning and growth?     
Lord, help me to love and appreciate my boys' differences. Help me to encourage them in their weaknesses as well as their strengths. I want to remember that they are gifts that I have the privilege of holding for such a short time. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


As a mom, I have often heard a cry coming from one of my boys when a toy has been broken.  They bring the remnant pieces to me and place them in my hands all the while looking expectantly at me in hopes that I might be able to "fix" what has been broken.

How many times have I ran to my Savior doing the same thing?  Bringing the broken pieces of my life resulting from bad decisions or responses to His plan for me.  I lay it all at His feet and look expectantly in hopes that He can repair it all..... It is always my hope that he could just restore things to the way they were before.  Yet, so often the Savior does so much more. 

Many times He restores my brokenness to a condition that was far superior than before.  He heals- so completely- that often times others will never know all the damage and hurt that was a part of your journey.  When He heals, it is complete.

Other times, He may look at the broken pieces of my life and say, "My child, this piece right here is perfect for this new journey I have for you. It may feel broken to you, but in my eyes it is exactly what is needed."  In those moments, He takes our brokenness and not only finds them useful, but a perfect fit for His needs.  The brokenness is what makes us useful for His work.  Never be afraid to be broken before our precious Lord!  It is, in fact, the beginning of a new journey for us as we walk with Him.

Where are you today?  Maybe it is a time of praising Him for all the healing and restoration that He has done in your life.  Just start praising Him for everything you can think of- I have no doubt it will overwhelm you to fully recognize all the ways He has been faithful to you.  If you feel "broken" today, lift those areas up to Him in prayer and leave them in His capable hands.  He will either heal or redeem it for His glory because hurts and struggles are always meant to draw us to Him!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Getting Our Way

Yesterday, we had a great start to the day.  It felt like "fall" and my new pumpkin spice creamer in my coffee made me smile.  God had spoken new and fresh words to my dry bones and all was good. 

Then..... we started school.

I had asked one son to go and get a particular book from the "Homeschool Closet" and when he did not return, I called out again to him.  Finally, after the third time of calling out to him,  I went in search of my lost one.   I found him sitting in the hallway playing..... I calmly went to the kitchen and picked up our "Discipline Spoon".  As I began correcting him, I saw a look of repentance and decided to offer grace to the boy.  He walked off and mumbled something about my being "harsh"..... really, kid???  I offered you grace and you call me "harsh"......  Oh goodness!

Then, I sat him down and explained that I had chosen to show him grace- he fully deserved a punishment for disobeying my directive.  Yet, out of love, I had offered him another chance to change his actions and attitude only to be called "harsh".  The truth is he really wanted his way.... to have the chance to play and not worry about school.  His lashing out at me was directly linked to the disappointment felt by not getting his way on that issue.  Plus, my pointing out to him that he was in disobedience offended him.... but, as his parent, that is my job.

Isn't that what God does for us?  Do we not act in a similar fashion, at times?

God in His great mercy offered us salvation from our sins and redemption through the blood of His own precious Son.  That redemption is daily as He leads, guides and molds us more in His likeness.  Then, there are days when we really want our own way in a situation- and often "our way" is not what is in our best interest.  Yet, when our Father lovingly does what is best for us, we become offended and angry.  We think Him harsh, distant and unable to relate to us.  Why?  We didn't get our way.  We lash out at Him in our anger - often in the knowledge that He is doing what is best for us.

Our God is not a genie in a bottle that will always do as we wish.  He is GOD.  He is HOLY.  He is PERFECT.  Therefore as God, He will do whatever it takes to make us holy as He is holy until we are perfected in His presence.  Temporary disappointments and hurts are a part of the journey because, just as any good parent, He will often do what is best for us over our personal wishes.  That is love, my friend, that is love.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Going Shopping with Kendall

This past Sunday evening, I needed to run a quick errand at a local store.  Kendall wanted to go with me and I have determined that going anyplace with only one child is like juggling with only one ball- much easier, right?  Plus, it gives me some precious one on one time with each child; so, off to the store we went.  Now, Kendall has hit a very strong independent streak which can be so good in many ways.  Yet, when you are in a hurry and just need to get to the car and go, waiting for 5 additional minutes while he adheres the Velcro just right on his tennis shoes- by himself- might just, in fact, drive you CrAzY.  Am I speaking to any moms out there? 

So, as we approached the store, Kendall wanted me to let go of his hand and let him walk beside me.  I reminded him that we were in a parking lot that was full of moving cars and that the danger of his being hurt was too great for me to let him go at that point.  However, as soon as we walked in the store, I allowed him to walk beside me as we shopped as long as he stayed close.  I warned him that at any point if he ventured too far away from me, that I would be forced to hold his hand or carry him. Now, let me share that I dearly love shopping carts..... they hold all my things- purse, items to purchase and my child.  Plus, when we are locked down and loaded in the cart, I can move fast through isles and get all that is needed quickly.  So, to be totally honest, I really prefer to just load Kendall in the basket and get to the business at hand, but he needs to learn some lessons that can only be done through some independence.  Lessons like staying close, keeping his eyes on me and watching out for others......  so, while it took us much longer to finish our shopping, he walked alongside me.

All was good until the time came to return to the car in the parking lot.  I had to grasp his hand because the danger was too great to allow him to walk beside me.  This did NOT make him happy.  He had gotten a taste of freedom and did not want to see it go, but I knew the risks and dangers were too high. 

My friend, the Father does the same for us, doesn't He?  He knows that the safest place for us is right beside Him, but in His great love, He grants us some freedom.  Why?  He knows that we, too, need to learn lessons like staying close to Him, keeping our eyes on what He is doing in our lives, and watching out for others in our world.  He knows that those lessons can never be taught unless we experience them.  Oh sweet friend, just like with Kendall, our Father never holds us back from our desires unless it is for our safety or protection- it is out of love that restraint happens!  More precious than all to me, is the knowledge that in the most dangerous parts of our life journey with Him, He never lets us go.  Never.  Even in the midst of a great storm, you are ever abiding in His precious palm. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

A Lego Story

A few days ago, we found ourselves at the dentist office as one of my boys had to have a couple of teeth removed.  Thankfully, our dentist has a Lego table in the waiting room which is like a small piece of heaven for my boys.  Kendall had been playing for some time and built a very elaborate castle.  Deciding to come watch a show instead of continuing to build, Kendall came and cuddled in my lap.  Minutes later a family arrived with four children that all descended upon the Lego table.  Within seconds, the incredible castle creation Kendall had built was destroyed and he became upset.  In his eyes, that was his creation from his Legos.  How dare they mess with it!?!?

In reality, I had to remind him that he had no ownership of those Legos or of the table.  The owner- the dentist- was only letting him use it while he was here, but he would have to share.  I kind of chuckled in my head as the Holy Spirit reminded me of the same lesson recently.  All of the "things" in my life are really just on loan from the Father.  All are His....not mine.  He allows me to use His resources to meet my needs, and often blesses way beyond that!  The problem starts when I begin to look at the "things" in my life as my own.... suddenly, false ownership stirs a sense of entitlement within.  Yet, the Father is the true owner of all that our eyes behold, that our ears receive and all that our fingers touch.  We are not entitled to anything.  Period.

Yet... here is the blessing in that.....

Because we do not own all things, we are free to "let go" of all that holds us back.  Possessions and things will break, burn and be destroyed, but our relationship with Him will hold fast.  He is the treasure of our life- the one that is everlasting.  He is our past, present, future and legacy.

If we have a need, we can trust that He will supply it.... I am not talking about the latest and greatest "got-to-have" item.  Just to be clear, that is NOT a need.  That is a want and there is a difference.  Needs- real and genuine- will never go unnoticed by our precious Father.  Also, because He owns it all, there is no need that is too great for Him.  No matter the size of the need, He is capable of meeting it.  Often, it is more an issue of our yielding personal pride to ask Him for help. 

My friend, too often we do not fully recognize just how much we have been blessed with in our lives.  Today, allow God to reveal to you just all the blessings in your life.  Thank Him for all that comes to mind as an act of recognizing that He is where all our blessings derive as well as thanking and honoring Him for them.  Then, lift all the needs in your life to Him and praise Him in advance of His perfect provision for those needs.  Walk through today in trust and praise of Him.  Even when doors seem to shut and opportunities fail, His faithfulness does not.  He will bring about all that you truly need in His perfect timing and plan.  Trust. Praise. Live.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Moses: Send Someone Else

"One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he went deep into the wilderness near Sinai, the mountain of God.  Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush.... Then the Lord told him, 'You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt.  I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers.  Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So, I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own good and precious land..... Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh.  You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.'"  Exodus 3:1,2,7-8a, 10  NIV

Can you feel the butterflies in his stomach and the racing pulse of his heart?  Moses was not prepared for this.  He was simply about the tasks of his day when God stepped in and made an ordinary day anything but ordinary!  God had chosen Moses to go to the Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of captivity because God had heard their cries.  I wonder if Moses was thinking, "God you have power over all the earth.  Why do you need me to do this task?"  The truth is God didn't need Moses.... He chose him.  God loves nothing more than to use His creations for His work.  It brings Him joy, but ultimately, it is for our growth and maturity in faith.  He chose Moses even when Moses didn't want to be chosen.  Can you relate?

Our passage is long today, but please read  Exodus 3-4:17.  If you are comfortable writing in your Bible mark or highlight each time Moses voices why he cannot follow in obedience.  Let's take a look at each of the reasons Moses gave to not go into Egypt.....

"But who am I to appear before the Pharaoh?"..... God, who am I do to this task?  I am not qualified- in fact, I struggle with sin so. Remember that big sin in my past?  You can't use me- I messed up too bad!  I am not qualified, equipped or prepared.    Does this sound familiar?  I can relate all too well!  Moses, like us, did not feel like the right person for the job, but God's ways are not our ways.  He loves us too much not to use us for His glory and kingdom.  He is going to use you because He loves you!  God, most often, does His greatest work in us when we feel the most ill-equipped.  Why?  Because we are so dependent on Him when we are at our weakest.

"If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you.' they won't believe me.  They will ask, 'Which god are you talking about? What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" ... God is this really you?  God reveal yourself to me and make this clear so that I know without a doubt that You are real and asking this of me.  So, often we become desperate to see our Father in a new and desperate way when He is pulling us away from our personal comfort zones.  We long to truly see and know that He is real and working in that new struggle or situation.

" Look, they won't believe me!  They won't do what I tell them.  They'll just say, 'The Lord never appeared to you.'"...  No one else would pick me for this task.  They are going to think I am crazy because this just does not make sense to me and won't make sense to them.  I am nothing special- what is going to make them want to trust me?  When Moses had left Egypt, he didn't seem to fit with his people and certainly didn't have confidence that they would listen to him, but the Lord was already preparing their hearts.  The truth is, even if they did not listen to Moses, God was most concerned with Moses' obedience to Him in this than their response.  The same is true for us.... God is most concerned about our loving, obedient response to His calling than He is about the reaction of others.

"But Moses pleaded with the Lord, 'O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker.  I never have been, and I'm not now, even after you have spoken to me.  I'm clumsy with words.'"...  Father, I can't do this.  I do not have the abilities that are needed for this task.  It is beyond me.  Yet, the Father loves to call out those lacking in ability because He knows only He will get the praise and glory for it.  Plus, those who feel the most lacking in their own personal ability will cling ever so desperately to HIM.   I have often heard it said that God doesn't call the equipped because He equips the called.  The same is true for us, dear friend. 

"Lord, please!  Send someone else."...  I am afraid, Father.  Scared beyond all reason of this task that You have laid before me!  The fear is real, but our Father is greater than the fear that holds us back.  To be honest, all the other excuses had the root of fear.  Moses is afraid, but so am I.... when God starts a new chapter in my life, too often the root of all my excuses is fear.  It is one of the greatest attacks by the evil one, but we must not live in fear because He has overcome the world.

My friend, is God calling you down a new journey?  You may not feel prepared or right for the task ahead, but step on in faith.  The Father will always be with You and the journey ahead will be great as your faith is stretched closer to Him.  He has already prepared the way ahead for you.... now rest in the peace and joy of being chosen for the task and in His tremendous love for you!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Moses: At the Bush

In the past few weeks I have journeyed.... often doubt, questioning, and desperate longing were my companions as I have sought His plan, purpose, and guidance in my life.  Soon, the words may come to express those steps, paths and "home-coming".  Today, however, I return to Moses and the lessons the Father is teaching me through this journey in my life right now.  First we must look back at where we have traveled with Moses thus far...... 

Moses: The Beginning
Moses: In a Basket
Moses: The Murder
Moses: At the Well

Let us lace up our shoes once again and follow along with Moses...... In Exodus 3:1-12.

"One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” (Exodus 3:1-12 NLT)

Oh this passage is so rich with deeper lessons for us! So, often we do not engage with many of the individuals within the passages of the Old Testament because we think them irrelevant following the redemption of Christ.  However, the character of our Father God is the same and looking at the beginning of His love story with humanity makes the gospel of redemption even more priceless and beautiful!

First, notice how Moses is drawn to the burning bush.... he cannot help but draw closer to it.  Anytime we see God working, active, and alive in our world, we must draw closer to it!  Seeing god work will leave us in awe of our creator and leave us longing for more!  Others will have the same response when they see God working in us and that is why it is so critical that we share our journeys together- by doing so, we are allowing others to see a glimpse of the Father and leave them longing for more of HIM.

Second, I love that God called Moses by name and makes his identity clear.  In some of our previous posts we discussed how Moses seemed to not "fit" in his world.  He was an Israelite by birth and an Egyptian by adoption... slave by birth and royalty by adoption.... yet, neither group really claimed him.  Where did he fit?  God sets the record straight by claiming to him, "I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God is, in essence, saying to him "You are mine, Moses.  You may not know where you fit, but I do.  You are my child."  J D Greear shares in his book, Gospel Revolution, that the evil one often attacks our identity in Christ first knowing that if he can get us to doubt who we are, then he will be able to lead us away from the life we are called to live in Christ.  This is so true with Moses- the evil one makes him doubt his place and identity, but our precious God reminds him of who he truly is.  He does the same with us!  The process of healing and redemption of a struggle or situation will often start with Him reminding us of who we are to Him.... His precious child bought by the life-blood of His Sacrificed Son who is our Savior- Jesus!  We are His!!!

Another realization that struck me is that God always hears the cries of His people- they never fall on deaf ears.  If you are in a desperate place and feel that He has all but forgotten you- do not doubt that He has heard your pleas for help.  If you do not see His response, yet, then know with absolute certainty that there is purpose in the delay.  Something greater is coming because God never allows His children to suffer one moment longer than necessary, but He often waits until we are at such a place of emptiness that only He can resolve things.  The thing is.... when emptiness is all that we seem to have, often that is when we realize that HE is really all that we need.  You may feel like the tears slipping down your cheeks mean nothing to Him, but the desperate truth is that your tears, prayers and pleas move Him to action.... but He will often wait until He is our only resource.... and He always waits until it is in our best interest.

I also love that the very past that Moses thought made him useless is the very thing that makes him most useful to God.   My friend, so often our past is the fertile ground where God plants the seeds for our divine, redeemed future.  Our past failures, hurts, disappointments and trials can all be used in our Father's capable hands to become good and useful for His kingdom.  Our God is that sovereign- even our past can be redeemed for His glory!

Finally, God never sends us where He isn't with us.  My friend, no matter what journey you are on at this time, our Father is ever with you.  He never leaves us. Even with the world seems to turn it's back on us or people seem to fail us- He never does!  He is ever faithful and ever present in your life.  Never allow the evil one to make you feel alone, but it is simply a lie.  Just as He promises to be with Moses- He is always with us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  You are never alone.... never.

My friend, it is my prayer that no matter what place you find yourself today, that you will lift your hands in praise of our Father and Savior in desperate anticipation of what He still wants to do in your life.  You are redeemed for a purpose and as long as there is breath in your lungs, that purpose is not fulfilled.  He is not finished with you yet- so let us rejoice in the journey still ahead!

Blessings, my Friends.... until next time....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Thorn

Several days ago, Kendall began to whimper and I realized that he was not fully using one foot to walk or get around on.  When I asked him what was wrong, he described a pain coming from one toe on that foot.  Sure enough, a very small thorn was protruding from the end of his big toe.  Now, this was not a major surgical thing- it didn't even need tweezers!  All I had to do was pull it out and all his pain and discomfort would be gone.  I could "cure" the situation in less than a second!

However, there was another problem..... Kendall would not let me near his foot.  He would let me look at the thorn and comfort him, but as soon as I might reach to remove the "offending" object from his foot, he would push me away.  He was afraid.  He thought it might be painful, but beyond all that, he did not trust me.  That realization hurts, but it truly was the core issue.... a lack of trust.  I love Kendall and would never hurt him unless it was an absolute necessary thing for his ultimate health and well being.... like getting shots, bandaging a cut, or removing a thorn that could cause an infection.  Regardless of my love, he did not trust me and instead scooted around on his bottom rather than allowing me to remove the thorn.

This really struck a chord with me.... how many times do I have spiritual "thorns" in my flesh that are causing me deep pain and heartache.  I am afraid.  I am in pain and fear an even deeper pain... as a result, I allow the thorn to remain.  My Father could easily remove it and would do it out of His tremendous love for me!  Yet, I do not trust Him.  It hurts to admit it, but isn't that the core of the issue?  He could remove that pain, hurt, issue,or struggle..... at the very least, He gives all that is needed to live beyond it.  He never means for us to be "disabled" spiritually because of the thorns in this life.  Sometimes, He removes it and sometimes He heals us despite it, but He always longs for healthy children.  Too often, it is our own lack of trust that causes us to suffer longer than necessary.

I was finally able to remove the thorn from Kendall's toe when he was distracted.  He didn't even feel it!  His fear of possible pain was far worse than the actual pain itself.  That is so true of our struggles as well.... so often the fear of hurt is so much greater than the pain of allowing God to bringing healing.  It is a lie of the evil one... he tries to make us live in such fear so that we will remain in pain and never seek redemption from our Savior.  Christ redeems.  Christ heals.  Christ restores..... and He does it daily.  All that is required is to lift our thorn torn flesh to Him... in trust.... and allow Him to make us new.  It is trust issue.....  It is so easy for me to express that I love my Father, my Savior and the Holy Spirit that is the great revealer within, but why is it so hard to trust?  As our love and intimacy grows with the Savior, it becomes easier.  As we walk through trials and see His power to restore and renew, our trust grows.  Crying out and confessing our lack of trust in a certain area is like opening the floodgate for the healing waters to flow within..... Trust.

I do not know about you, but God has opened my eyes to so many areas where I have a lack of trust in Him.  Let us carry each other to the cross as we make strides in this area. His love is so great for us- let us not live in fear, but in Holy Trust cling to the Lover of our Soul.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Reagan's BIG Birthday!

So, about six weeks ago, I was hit with the revelation that my husband was having a big birthday this year.... the 40 was just around the corner.  So, as I began to consider what to do to celebrate it, the thought hit me that I could totally pull of a big surprise party for him.  I began working with two friends who were glad to help organize and co-host the big event.  This past Saturday was THE DAY and it was so much fun!   All last week I cleaned and organized the house in preparation for the party.  Thankfully, since Reagan was gone everyday to work, he did not pick up on all the work I was doing. 

On Friday, I drove the boys to my parents' house and then met him at noon to pick him up.  We drove to the metroplex and had lunch together before heading to Cabelas (one of his favorite stores) and then we went to the Ranger game that evening.  He thought this date night was really the main celebration for his birthday.  On Saturday, we met my parents and the boys for a late breakfast and returned home for me to bake him a peach cobbler (his favorite dessert).  We prepared to leave the house about 2:30, but I "remembered" that I had left my phone in the house.  In reality, I was setting out several needed items for my co-hosts and putting up a few last minute items.  I also left the front door unlocked so all the guests could get in the house.  We left and went to a couple of different restaurants watching the Texas Aggies play as well as eating a progressive dinner.

After the game, we slowly drove home- I even took a "wrong" turn which delayed us a little.  While we were gone, the guests parked across from our street at a local parked and walked to our house.  When we pulled into our house, nothing looked different from when we left, but Reagan had trouble unlocking the door.  Finally he opened the door to see 30 close friends all shouting, "SURPRISE!!!"  It was so great!  He was shocked and so blessed by the gesture.  Everyone brought gifts with "40" as the theme so he received things like 40 bullets, 40 Depends, 40 M&M candies and so forth.  It was really fun and interesting what everyone chose to bring!

I had also asked several friends who lived too far to come to the party to call Reagan throughout the day on Saturday- at 40 minutes past the hour!  He really began to look forward to seeing who would call him in the next hour.  It was fun!  All in all, I would say the day was a big success and I think it was a birthday that he will never forget! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So Much To Do...

Over the passed few weeks, I have become focused on doing several "projects" to get our house in shape.  Many families do this in the spring, but I guess I was delayed in getting the cleaning bug.  So, I find myself "fall-cleaning" and organizing things.  This morning I awoke feeling the weight of projects still needing to be done as I made coffee and breakfast for my family.  It seemed that everywhere I looked, I saw another task or need that was calling out for my attention.  How on earth would I ever get it all done?

As the anxiety within grew, I went to my room to share my heart and burdens with my Savior.  I began to pray and felt such an urge to thank my Father for every task and duty that was burdening my heart.  So, I began.....

Thank you Father for the carpets that need to be vacuumed and cleaned because they are a part of this precious home You have given us.....

Thank you Father for the bathroom that needs to be cleaned and organized because there are many families that have no bathroom in their home.  Yet, we are blessed to have two....

Thank you for the floors that need to be swept and mopped because I know there are families whose homes have dirt floors..... and children who sit in mud and dirt daily.....

Tears began to fall.....

Until my face was fully engulfed in the waves of  this reminder.....

Often, we become so burdened by the day to day tasks that must be done, and those concerns begin to weigh heavy on us.  Yet, in light of all that have been given and the eternity that awaits, the burden of such things becomes an unnecessary one.  We are so blessed by all that we have been given but too often, we allow those things to distract from what really matters.

"Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear." Corrie ten Boom

Father, I give you all my worry and I thank you for each of the tasks that pull for my attention today.  Help my heart and mind to keep a heavenly perspective in it all knowing that I want to be thankful for my blessings and yet only worship the One from whom all blessings flow.  Thank you for the reminder of what is truly important today..... let your praises flow freely from my lips all the days of my life.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Searching in Silence

Last night, we were at Walmart as a family looking at televisions.  I think we may, in fact, be the last family in the US that still uses the big, box televisions.  So, in an attempt at convincing my awesome Man that we might need a new one, we did some window shopping- which Reagan says is the safest of the shopping experiences.  At one point, he came around the corner with Carson as I stood there with Caleb and the full realization that neither of us had Kendall hit us.  In a controlled panic, I called out his name to have him pop out from behind a bin holding DVDs.  Relief, love, and thankfulness flooded me.  His first response was, "I thought you done left me."  Really Kendall?  You really thought we would leave you at Walmart?  Not a chance, but I am sure in his toddler panic of searching for his family, that seemed reasonable to him.  Not to me- I could never leave him.  The joy and delight that he has added to our family is beyond measurement and the thought of not having him in my world daily is heartbreaking.

To be brutally honest, I have felt a lot like Kendall over the past few weeks..... except I wondered if God had left me.  Not truly- I know God is always with us.... logically, but sometimes in those weak moments of hard days I question.  Now, what I question is not His faithfulness or character that is ever present in our struggles, but I think I questioned His timing or purpose for me.  A few months ago, I felt God leading our family- me- down a different journey.  I didn't know what the outcome would look like, but I knew that the calling was real.  We obeyed and I started down a new journey.  I don't know what I expected, but it seemed like the first few weeks were not what I had envisioned.  I began to struggle.  It seemed that while I continued to write and share what God laid on my heart, the words didn't come as easy and life became very full and busy.  The thing was, it was full of the mundane and normal busy-ness.   Nothing seemed like what I expected.  I think the evil one convinced me- even if I didn't want to speak it out loud- that God given up on using me for the purpose He had planned.

Over the past two weeks, I found myself going through the motions, but missing out on the intimacy with the Father that I longed for.  I believe God is preparing me for the next step in the journey and this time of questioning has been to prepare my heart and shape my view into His perspective.  I have needed to search in the silence to realize what I really, desperately want is Him.  I also believe that He is calling me to return back to the writing style that is most natural to me- relaying the spiritual insights He gives through my life events.  I may continue on the study of Moses, but it will be in conjunction with the life lessons He teaches me.  I still don't know all the curves ahead, but I have come to realize that I must stop comparing my journey in this life to that of others.  It is unique and will not always look like what everyone else is doing.... and, that is okay.  In fact, it should be the joy of every believer to realize that our Father loves us so much that our journeys and walks in life are uniquely our own- tailor made to grow and shape us more in His likeness.  What a privilege to walk my journey with Him!

Thank you for the prayers, words of encouragement and support.  I am so glad that we are able to walk our journeys together.  You are precious to me!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Moses: At the Well

Have you ever been so thirsty that you were desperate for water to quench the dry thirst within?  Maybe your mouth felt so thick with the need for water that talking became difficult.  The need for refreshment becomes an all consuming thought and desperation begins to set in.  Have you ever felt that way spiritually?  Emotionally?  Times when your need for spiritual, emotional quenching and refreshment was so strong that it became an all consuming passion?  Moments when you just needed to know that God was real and active in your life and situations.... those very moments are rich with possibility because we are truly seeking Him.  He never fails us, my friend, never.   Moses, perhaps in physical desperation, but most certainly in a spiritual and emotional desperation, comes to the well in Midian.  God has a habit of meeting us at the "well" doesn't He?  Let's pick up where we left off....

"And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks. When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?” “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.” “Then where is he?” their father asked. “Why did you leave him there? Invite him to come and eat with us.” Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act." (Exodus 2:15-25 NLT)

After such a long journey, Moses was probably trying to rest his weary body and heart.  He had left in the midst of a real life treat as the Pharaoh wanted him dead due to his taking the life of the Egyptian taskmaster.  He had fled all that he had known and found himself as a foreigner in Midian.  Being a foreigner was not something that was "foreign" to him as he had never really found where he fit in Egypt.  Suddenly, a scene before him unfolds as a group of shepherds comes and starts to chase away some girls who were watering their father's flocks.  This had, apparently, become a regular occurrence.  Shepherds were not particularly known for their refinement, but rather as the working class of that society.  They often stayed with the flocks for days or weeks at a time and were very hard working as their lives were dedicated to the care of sheep- day or night, rain or shine, they were always on duty.  More than likely, they felt that they more right to the well than these "girls" and found no harm in forcing them out until they had finished watering their sheep.  So often as humans we get so focused on our own needs and situations that we "overlook" the needs of others.  We even begin to feel that we are entitled to extra privileges because of all that we have gone through, and yet, we do not extend that same grace to others. 

Moses watched this whole scene and steps in to aid the girls in their need.  Perhaps he thought back to all of his Hebrew people burdened by the yoke of slavery and as a result, could not allow this behavior to continue.  The girls' father was the priest for Midian and a believer in the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  His name was Reuel (also called Jethro) and upon hearing of what Moses had done insisted that they bring Moses for a meal in their home.  My friend, that is what we are to do as well.  We need to give genuine thanksgiving to our Father when He blesses us, but to others as well.  Genuine thanksgiving, praise and encouragement is like a wellspring of water to a parched soul.  Moses was that parched soul and Reuel/Jethro delivered that wellspring of spiritual encouragement to him.  Moses may have stopped by the well in Midian, but Reuel led Moses to the well of our Father.  He brought Moses into his home and invested in his life.  As believers, we are to invest ourselves into the lives of others.  To serve, care and share our lives with them- God blesses us so that we can pour out those blessings into the lives of others. 

Eventually, Moses is no longer a stranger, but has reconnected with his Hebrew background through the genuine love and affection of his new family.  He marries one of Reuel's daughters named Zipporah and they have a baby boy who he names Gershom.  Gershom means "I have been a stranger in a foreign land."  I think this name is symbolic of the healing he has finally obtained through God.  He is no longer a stranger- a foreigner- He had found the God of his ancestors. He had found a family.  He had found a place where he "fit" and a world that he belonged in.  All was good, and that is often when God allows change to rock our world.  Why?  To continue to grow us and draw us to Himself......

Back in Egypt......the Pharaoh had died, but the Israelites continued to be burdened by a growing yoke of slavery.  Their desperate cries for help did not go unheard.... our precious Father heard every single cry and remembered his covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He heard every, single, cry..... and in overwhelming love prepared to draw His people out from the yoke upon them.  The fate of Egypt was sealed in that very moment......but He will draw Moses out from the "well" of Midian to do it.

Oh, God is really using this to speak to my heart!  How about you?  Praying for each of you!