Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Yesterday, I had a sick one in the house- the ugly kind.  Caleb had awakened early in the morning with a sick stomach.  So, I had gone and purchased some survival supplies-- Saltine crackers, Gatorade, and Sprite. I had purchased plenty for everyone just in case the illness spread to the rest of us.

 Once I got home, my youngest son, who was not sick, wanted some of the Gatorade.  Now, I know my son.  In fact, I know my son so well that I was fairly sure that the Gatorade was not going to taste good to him.  So, I explained that the tempting red beverage was for his older brother who was sick.  Yet, he proceeded to cry and voice his frustration over being excluded from this privilege of drinking the Gatorade.  I decided it was best to allow him to have a taste of it rather than feel that he was being purposefully excluded.  Sure enough, one small taste was all it took to wrinkle his nose in disgust.  He didn't like the taste of it.

Truth is, I knew that was how he would react.  My decision to not give him the drink originally was from my deep knowledge of him and from the logic that it was not what he needed at the time.  Yet, he felt distrust and sadness as though I was withholding a treasure from him.  Yet, so quickly, he realized the mistake that he had made.....

My precious Father, spoke to my heart through this experience.  How many times has He- in His intimate knowledge of me- not given me something that I wanted?  How many times did I feel distrust and as though He was withholding from me?  Yet, all along, He knew it was not what I needed at that moment and time or that we still have something to learn or accomplish beforehand.  Our Father never withholds from us without purpose!  We may not have understanding for a time, and in some cases, not until eternity.  Yet, He is whispering to our innermost being, "Trust me." 

There have also been times when the Father allowed me to "taste" whatever I so desperately wanted only to realize that it was not all that I dreamed it to be.  I then could see that I had not been cheated out of something precious, but protected from a greater hurt or loss.

My friend, is there an area in your life that you feel He is withholding from you?  Do you feel as though He has failed you?  No lesson is harder than trusting Him when it goes against our very nature and heart's desire--- but, it is in those moments that the harvest within is greatest!  He willingly sacrificed Himself for the benefit of you; so, don't you think He would give you whatever you are struggling so desperately for IF it was what was best for you?  Trust Him.  Even when your eyes don't see Him, when your ears struggle to hear His call, and your feet are tired from the journey- trust Him!  He will NOT fail you! 

Are you struggling with trusting Him in a certain area?
Can you confess your distrust of Him in that situation?
Will you commit to walk through the challenging days ahead knowing that He will never leave your side?

Praying for you- blessings!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Phone Trouble

On Sunday morning, as we were rushing out the door for church, I had my arms full- literally and figuratively- as these past few weeks have been so hectic and busy.  Often, when you have your hands full, something gets "dropped".....  Boy, I can think of more than one thing over the past few weeks, but on Sunday morning, it was my phone that dropped.  My heart stopped, but I was relieved when I picked it up and saw no damage.  Feeling like I had dodged a bullet, we left and went to church.  However, minutes later, I discovered that it would not turn on.... not. at. all. 

If you know me at all, you must know that I love my phone!  I am never without it.  It is my Bible.  It is my GPS.  It is my internet.  It is my world at large- outside the walls of my house.  Now, I try to use restraint with my phone, but I admit that it is a slight addition.  Suddenly, it was gone.  Ugh!  Just months before, I had dropped my previous phone and the screen had shattered, but it worked fine.  I used that phone- with it's shattered screen- for two months before getting another one.  In order to keep my new one safe, I had purchased a nice "tough case" for it.... well, it looks perfect, but does not work.

The thought hit me how that description fits so many people in our society.  Some look "shattered" but are whole within while others look "normal" and are deeply broken from within.  Which of the two would you prefer to be? 

Another conviction that hit me was that my phone had become the ultimate "resource" for me, but that is what my Father wants to be for my life.  He wants to be my resource for answers, my guiding map, my relationship maker, and my communication tool- spiritually, of course.  Do I miss Him as intimately as I miss my phone?  Oh conviction! 

I need the Father daily.  I need His love poured in and through me to handle all that is needed and required of me each day.  I cannot walk the difficult days without His power and strength from within.  I hope that long after my phone is repaired, that it is a visual reminder of my true resource for life- my Savior from whom all blessings flow. 

     Is He your ultimate resource?  Do you look to Him or other people/things when trials come?
     When you look at society, do you see the "normal" but broken people that God places in your path?
     Do you strive to look "normal" but struggle within?  Is that working for you?


Monday, May 12, 2014

Open Vessel

Behind the locked door to our bedroom, the tears fell heavy and fast.  Exhausted from my own feeble efforts and retreating back from the defeat that seemed to mark my week, I whispered, "Father, I cannot do this anymore.  It isn't working.  I feel like such a failure." 

Can you relate?  Truth is, parenting is one of the hardest challenges I have ever been given.  I love my boys, and they are truly treasures that we have been entrusted with to grow and nurture.  Yet, they have their own mind and will that often does not reflect mine or that of the Father.  It has always been the desire of Reagan and I to correct, love, and discipline them as consistently as possible. The thinking being that consistency in love, correction and discipline would give us happy, loving, Christ-following children.  So, the recipe for our "good" kids has been follow through, follow through, follow through- day after day, day after day......  Yet, our children have pushed and tested us continually to see if we would be consistent in any and all parenting situations. 

So, at the end of my own strength, I found myself locked away- hiding from my "treasures"- exhausted and desperate for answers.  Hadn't I followed the "recipe"?  Who were these children and why were they testing me in every, possible, way? 

Through my brokenness, the Father spoke to my heart.... "You have been doing this all in your own strength and you need Me.  You cannot do this- parenting, homeschooling, housework, job, wife, friend- without ME." 

In His perfect timing, we are doing a great study by Bill Lovelace entitled, "Living Life Through a New Source."  The premise of this study is that we, as humans, are not designed to live the Christian life through our own efforts.  Instead, in total dependence on Christ, we allow Him to live through us.  It is the realization that our fruitfulness, as a believer, is based on our total dependence on Him rather than our efforts or abilities.  We often ask God to "help us" in situations rather than asking Him - in desperate dependence- to work through us in that situation.  This was not a new revelation to me- at least in my mind- yet, I realized just how much lately I was not living it out.  I had slipped into my old patterns of living life within the limits of my own strength and abilities.  How did that work for me?  Well, hiding from my children and desperate tears is NOT a good indication of success!

This morning, I started off in prayer asking God to use me as a vessel by which He loves my children.  In other words, Father, please love my boys through me.  Please pour Your perfect wisdom and strength into me as You train and discipline them through me.  I am but a vessel in total dependence on Him.  There is freedom in that- I no longer have to bear a burden that I was never meant to carry.  My sole task is to seek after Him and allow Him to work in and through me.  It also frees me from attaching my value or worth to the accomplishments of my children- whether good or bad.  Our children have their own choice.  Sometimes their decisions will bring great joy to us and other times, heartache.  Regardless, we cannot attach our value or self-worth to raising perfect kids.  Instead, our value has to rest in Him and being the most pure, open vessel by which He is allowed to love, train, and nurture them. 

Friends, I can never love, correct or discipline my children into perfection.  If they succeed in life, it will be because of the Father's grace pouring in and through them- not my perfect parenting.  When they fail, it is a result of their independent choices and I can only pray that they will learn and grow from the experience.  Let's be honest, life for all of us is a mix of the two extremes, isn't it?  Mountain tops and valleys are all a part of life, but when we live in total dependence on Him, all of it can be used for His glory in our lives. 

So, today, I am resting in Him and trusting that His perfect love will carry us all through the different seasons of life- He is sufficient when I am not.

     Are you trying to live life in your own effort or total dependence on Him?
     Is your self-worth tied to the success or failures of your children?
     Do you trust Him enough to work out all challenges and situations for His glory and for your benefit?