Thursday, June 30

All in a Day's Work

Read  Psalm 119:137-144


My mom’s job sucks.


No joke, although the pun was totally intended.


As the lead housekeeper at a busy Christian camp, she keeps the place spick and span despite campers’ best efforts to thwart her. There’s mold, bodily fluids, unmentionables left behind… She vacuums and scrubs toilets. Her job is about as far from fulfilling as you can get. Unless you count the clogged toilets.


It's not a dream gig, but she does it. And she does it joyfully--mostly. Some days the joy is harder to come by.


There’s a lot of talk these days about finding your purpose, following your dream, living life to the fullest. Living life to the fullest means finding that one thing that brings you joy and finding a way to make your life revolve around it.


Fulfillment is a wonderful pursuit. Really. I’m not knocking it in the least, but we tend to look for it in all the wrong places.


We neglect our families to find it in the work place. We shirk responsibilities to find it at home. We pursue it in hobby form to financial peril. Obviously these are the extremes, but it happens all the time. All we like Solomon seek in vain for bliss, when all along, its right there, ready for the taking.


The secret to happiness, the key to contentment hides in plain sight.


Solomon says at the end of Ecclesiastes, “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the whole duty of mankind.”


I think Solomon was tired after writing the book of Ecclesiastes. Who wouldn’t be? It’s an emotionally taxing job writing about stuff that depressing. One would assume that once the light bulb went on, he’d wax a little poetic about it, but he didn’t.


Did he find joy in the revelation? Or did he, like we do when confronted with a reality other than what we imagined or anticipated, furrow his brow in disappointment.


That’s it? The law? Obedience?


Yuck-o!


Where is the glamour in that? Where is the thrill?


Solomon’s father had already found the answer when he penned Psalm 119. The longest chapter in Bible, it is dedicated entirely to delight found in obedience to God.


I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches. (v14)


I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding. (32)
Am I the only one who has ever trudged in the path of His commands?


I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts. (42)


Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies. (97-98)


Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple. (129-130)


All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal. (160)


You get the idea.


David found obedience to the Lord a delight, a joy, a consuming passion.


He was a shepherd boy at home in the fields with sheep and nature shoved into the role of warrior when no one would fight and king when no one else would lead. And he found his delight not in his day job, but in the promises of God.


Surely God plants dreams in our hearts. He made us to long for something more.


But He’s it.


At the end, our dreams, our goals, our labor and our intensity must first be directed toward him.


Sometimes he will grant us work that gives meaning, texture and joy to our lives.


Sometimes he will call us to clean up someone else's mess.


He never promised glamour.


He promised abundance through obedience.

Wednesday, June 29

Keeping The Heart of Your Child

Read Matthew 7:7-14



I hold my little child's heart in the palm of my hand. God designed me as a parent to have the unique privilege of molding and shaping my child. The spiritual, emotional, moral, and intellectual core of my child belongs to me. No small matter!




"My child, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways."

Proverbs 23:26



When a child is small, it is easy to assume the concept in that verse is normal and will always come naturally. My little baby made eye contact with me, as her mother, first after birth. I am LIFE to her. Her smiles and giggles, cuddles, and love are all mine. I take for granted that she runs to me for help, comfort, excitement, and love. Woohoo! Mission accomplishes, she delights in my ways!




But we must watch out, because assuming we already won at this parenting race is foolish. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). A child grows and matures and his/her heart is fragile. My husband and I strive to bring up Godly children and we are in competition with the enemy for our child's spiritual, emotional, moral, and intellectual core.




I can easily lose my child's heart. If her heart doesn't belong to me and my husband, it belongs to someone else. Is there anyone worthy of possessing my child's heart? A friend, neighbor, teacher, Sponge Bob Square Pants? No, God gave the responsibility of molding a child's heart directly to his/her parents.


Friday, June 24

Who am I?

Read Psalm 145


Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart


Thursday, June 23

Fruity

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3


In this part of the country we are snobs. Particularly when it comes to strawberries. I dare you to try convincing a native Oregonian that delicious strawberries are available in other parts of the country. Here in the Willamette Valley, our damp springs and cool, sunny early summer days provide the ideal climate for giving red berries adequate time to ripen into their full flavor before harvest.

The powers that be are projecting a dismal strawberry harvest this year. We’ve had too much rain and not enough sun. It’s supposed to be hot this week. Too hot, too quick. The delicate fruit will fry before it hits it’s prime.

Oh, there will still be fruit. It will just be harder to come by. But the plants will bear fruit.

The primary sign that we are functioning properly in our spiritual walk is that we bear fruit. Paul explains the metaphor when he lists for us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.

Wednesday, June 22

Wearing Your Heart

(As written by Anna Voskamp)






In a fallen world, we trip and break our hearts.



DSC_1782_2Shalom comes to me with her’s cut directly out of paper.



When you’re five, you can do this, take a pair of scissors — if you can find a pair of scissors in a house where glue sticks seem to always stick themselves to invisible places and scissors seem to cut themselves a hole in the atmosphere and disappear (poof!) into thin air — but if you’re five, and you can find yourself a pair of scissors, and the paper, you can cut your heart neatly out of a square, white 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of white paper.



This is what she brings to me.



A white paper heart, like a paper doll turned right inside out to everything on the inside, a white paper heart, this pressed out, bleached bits of tree.


Tuesday, June 21

Who am I?

I'm not alone, I have to remind myself. I am not the only one floundering. I'm not the only one in sweat pants. I'm not the only one who doesn't measure up. Slacker, insignificant, inadequate and foolish. All of these are words I would use to describe myself if I had to rely on what I bring to the table. 


All that and Jesus. 




Jesus changes the equation.




Because of Jesus...




I am loved 1John 3:3


I am accepted Ephesians 1:6


I am a child of God  John 1:12


I am Jesus’ friend John 15:14


I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17


I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1Corinthians 6:17


I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19


I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27


I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1


I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14


I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10


I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1


I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2Corinthians 5:17


I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12


I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21


I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7


I am God’s co-worker 2Corinthians 6:1


I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Eph 2:6


I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18


I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16


I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5


I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His 
nature 2 Peter 1:4


I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5


God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13


I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5




I am convinced that this list should be required daily hourly reading. Print it. Stick it up somewhere you can't help but stare the Truth in the face. Believe it. 



Content borrowed from here

Monday, June 20

Bring On The Compassion

Read Mark 5:21-34




If I were to make it as a character in a Bible story, I would want to be known for something more glamorous than "the woman subject to bleeding for twelve years." Most men shutter and skip over the content as quickly as possible, highlighting the poor woman's stellar faith. As women, we can all identify with her female issues (maybe not to that severity). She had some bad, bad womanly problems that had the doctors stumped. She was beyond desperate.




I was at store the other day and the woman at the cash register grimaced as she helped me with my items. I asked if she was okay because pain was written all over her face. With tears in her eyes she clutched her abdomen and bent over slightly. "It's my monthly thing, I'm so sorry, I should have called in sick, but it is like this for 4-5 days a month. Pain meds don't even touch it." I completely identified with her problem, even though I do not have symptoms that lasted that long. There are times every month when I can't drag myself out of bed and I lay with a heating pad groaning and moaning for some relief. I felt compassion for this woman who had to go about her job while in crazy, horrible, pain.




We can imagine the woman in the Bible was in some horrible pain as well. Severe bleeding was the only symptom listed and it alone would have been an ordeal in the day before maxi-pads. The Scriptures say she suffered a great deal and I'm inclined to believe them.

Friday, June 17

My Father's Eyes

Amy Grant. How's that for a throw-back for today's casual Friday? I always think of this song around Father's Day. It's probably not fair considering it has little to do with earthly Fathers, but I like any opportunity to honor my heavenly Father. The song is old, but it's message conveys what I hope is a goal for all of us. To have our Father's Eyes. 



I may not be every mother's dream for her little girl.
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that's all right as long as I can have one wish I pray.
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,


She has her Father's eyes.
Eyes that find the good in things, When good is not around.
Eyes that find the source of help, When help just can't be found.
Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain.
Knowin' what you're going through, and feeling it the same.
Just like my Father's eyes.


And on that day when we will pay for all the deeds we have done,
Good and bad they'll all be had to see by everyone
And when you're called to stand and tell just what you saw in me,
More than anything I know, I want your words to be,


She has her Father's eyes.
Eyes that find the good in things, When good is not around.
Eyes that find the source of help, When help just can't be found.
Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain.
Knowin' what you're going through, and feeling it the same.
Just like my Father's eyes.

Thursday, June 16

Things I don't do Anymore

Read Psalm 77:11-20




Some things I don’t do anymore...


1. Drive more than 4 MPH over the posted speed limit. I’m sorry if you’re in a hurry and are stuck behind me, but I have learned this lesson thoroughly.

2. Laugh and/or sneeze without a certain amount of fear.

3. Get bored.

4. Use the restroom in my own home without locking the door.

5. Feel self conscious during a worship service.

6. Wonder if I’m good enough. I’m not. God can work with that.

7. Argue with Pharisees.


The following list was inspired by this post at (in)courage.me. Sometimes I feel like I keep learning the same lesson over and over again and it’s just not sticking. Maturity seems to be a long time coming, but looking back, I really have learned a few things.


Instead reading a really long blog post, wouldn’t it be more fun to make your own list? Go ahead. Think back on your spiritual life and consider how far you’ve come. Make a list. And feel free to share it with us.


The journey is long, but don’t spend so much time lamenting the long way ahead that you forget to rejoice in the ground you have covered.


Set up road signs;
put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
the road that you take.
Jeremiah 31:21

Wednesday, June 15

Take My Life and Let It Be

Read Zephaniah 3:14-20



From in[courage].me



I hear her making noise, softly at first but then with volume increasing. She’s supposed to be taking a nap. Irritation and anger, my heart grows dark. This is my time. My time to read. My time to get things done. If this Eldest Daughter of mine gets any louder, she’ll wake Baby Sister and then my time will be gone. I storm down the hall toward her bedroom and I begin to hear what she is doing.

“Take my life an’ leddit be”


Oh.


“Aw for you an’ for your glory”


Anger melts and irritation dissipates like a cold mist when the bright, warm sun appears. The words make me pause, cause my mind and heart to ponder. I wish she could always sing those words with such carefree abandon.


At two, she doesn’t really understand what this means. I only have a glimmering myself, but it is enough to make me wonder.

Tuesday, June 14

Lonely Mom Syndrome

Read John 15


"I lie on Facebook," a friend told me the other day. "Whatever I say, the truth is I am in sweatpants and have probably been crying."


Her words made me hurt.


For her; for me; for every other lonely mom.



The reasons for our loneliness are as varied as our individual situations and personalities.


A spouse deployed, a lost job, postpartum sleep deprivation, whacked out hormones... Kids keep us in more than we're able to get out. For some of us, it's not a big deal. We like being in. For others, like my friend, staying home is like a prison term. Either way our conversation is with miniature people and generally centers around bodily functions and rhyming songs.


It can get tedious.


Phone calls are complicated. My kids can play in their rooms angelically--until the phone rings. Then they need a snack, play dough must be gotten down immediately, someone hit someone with something... It's endless. And if I am on the phone with another mom, we're both being bombarded. Conversations, when they manage to take place, stay superficial.


The same thing happens when Daddy gets home.


Connecting with other life forms becomes an art form. A long, quiet chat with a spouse becomes a noteworthy experience, whereas "don't lick the cat!" has lost all it's drama. Quality time with a good friend is as rare as a new episode of Cat in Hat.

Monday, June 13

You're Gonna Miss This: finding the blessings

Read Colossians 3:20-24



There are so many moments in mothering that are just hard, terrible, disgusting, stinky, and throw in a side of totally gross. I wrote about one such experience on my personal blog. It's been over two years, but I still remember the gory details like it was yesterday -- only my van doesn't smell like it just happened yesterday (thankfully).



That experience was especially gross. But normal life with small children brings enough havoc for every day to seem overwhelming. I was in the middle of some such horrible experience when I heard a song on the radio that made me snarl. Yes, snarl. Who knows what was contributing to my bad attitude at that given moment, but probably there were whining children involved, a messy house, cheerios stuck to the bottom of my foot, and/or it was raining for the 90th day in a row.


The singer sang beautifully,



You're gonna miss this


You're gonna want this back


You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast


These are some good times


So take a good look around


You may not know it now


But you're gonna miss this




I am NOT going to miss this, I said to myself and anyone who would listen. What's to miss? This is just hard, terrible, disgusting, stinky, and throw in a side of totally gross.



No, we won't miss the gross side of things. Who would volunteer to clean up projectile vomit and then projectile diarrhea? Mothering is a lot to handle.



What I find utterly fascinating is the group of mothers who are passed the small-kid stage and have moved on to what looks easy (grown children who call on Sundays) who say, "Enjoy it now, it goes by so fast?" Haven't you encountered them at the grocery store? When your kids are eating things out of the bulk bins, someone smashed an un-purchased loaf of bread, two kids are in a fist fight over who gets to stand on the left side of the cart, and some nice older woman looks on with a blissful sigh, "I miss those days."


Amazingly, time separated those mature mothers from the unpleasant sights and smells of life with small kids. What's left are the memories of the good times.



You're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this




When I hear those lyrics now, I pray desperately that God shows me the things I will miss. I want to have the vision of those who lived through it and now sigh blissfully at the memories. I want to live in the beautiful blessings instead of intrenched in the ugliness of "this is SO hard!"



I will miss quick snuggles from a baby boy who doesn't stop, but his 3 second bear hugs restore my soul. I will miss my little girls' giggling over farts at the table. I will miss sitting on my tiny bathroom floor watching three dirty kids huddle, splash, and laugh in the bath until they are clean. I will miss hearing bedtime prayers that include, "Thank you for my mommy and that she didn't bite my head off today." I will miss watching my husband swoop little ones up onto his shoulders without missing a step.



There is such beauty mixed in with the chaos. Can you see it? Passed the hard, terrible, disgusting, stinky, and throw in a side of totally gross are delightful, beautiful, blessings. Blessings hidden like treasures in the rough. Let's search them out today. Let's dwell on the things we will miss and let everything else (that probably smells) be forgotten.



He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

He has also set eternity in the human heart; 

yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 


Ecclesiastes 3:11 





Lyrics mentioned from You're Gonna Miss This, by Trace Adkins

Thursday, June 9

In the Belly of the Whale

Read Jonah 1 



My sister called me Jonah the other day. Not the most flattering of prophets to be compared to, but if the whale tale fits...



Jonah had already been in the Lord’s service for some time. We can assume God had previously called on him to do some outlandish things--he did that to all the prophets. (ie. Elijah's stint in the dessert, Jeremiah’s field purchase, Hosea’s marriage to a prostitute...) We can also assume Jonah hadn’t really kicked up too much of a fuss until this time. At least not a noteworthy fuss, until God said, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”



Without wasting any time arguing with the voice of the Lord, Jonah hopped in a boat...and headed the opposite direction.



I’d had a sense for awhile that the computer was taking up too much of my time. My son would say things like, “are you going to always be on the computer?” And I would brush him off and say, I’m just going to finish this one thing... and that would lead to another, etc. Much of my computer time is directed to worthwhile pursuits, but much of it is also directed to time wasters. It is so easy to waste time online!!



I ignored the sense though. It’s not that bad, I thought. I’ll get around to breaking the habit when I’m not so busy with other things. Around the same time, I began to notice I was running late to everything and I was seldom prepared for any event.



So I started praying, very specifically, that God would help me use my time better. As Ashley brought up in yesterday’s post, this was one of those things that was in my power to do. It seemed to hard to do though, so asked for help. I still felt that nudge to leave the computer alone, but, like Jonah, I didn’t stop to argue, I just logged onto Facebook.



“Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.“


Wednesday, June 8

Sink or Swim

My baby Elliott has this new thing where I lay him down to take a nap he rolls over onto his belly and starts crying.






Nope, that isn't my actual child.


He lays there crying until I come in again and roll him back over to his back.


He knows how to roll himself over, yet he waits.


My kids have a funny way of revealing God and his intentions to me.


I am the child that lays there crying waiting to be rolled over.


God watches me, knowing that I am fully capable of rolling myself back to my preferred position.


Yet I cry.


I work myself up and convince myself that I can't do it and I need God to do everything for me.


Silly me.


"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13)


He's equipped me with what I need to face my giants. He's not going to lift me above those situations where I find myself rolled over and crying. He's going to prepare me for them, condition my heart, and watch me sink or swim.


Don't get me wrong, I need to call on God for assistance daily. I can't get through anything without him. But I can rest on the fact that he thinks I'm strong enough to face this world and he's given me his word to rely on.


I can roll myself over, stick my own pacifier back in my mouth, and announce to the world, "Bring it on."


I have a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside me that reminds I can do it.



"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."


Ephesians 6:13-17


Written by Ash, borrowed from her blog, the UglyHomeMaker. Ashley lives a blessed life with her husband, two sons and baby on the way.

Tuesday, June 7

What a Let Down

Read 1 Corinthians 13



Let’s face it. You didn’t marry Superman, no matter how many buildings he can leap in a single bound, or toilets he can unplug at a moment’s notice. He may be faster than a speeding bullet at squashing spiders to rescue his damsel in distress. But every man has his Kryptonite.



12 years ago, I sat in a councilor’s office, my handsome fiancĂ© at my side, and planned on happily after while the poor guy officiating our pre-marital counseling tried to infuse a bit of reality into our love bubble. I vaguely remember only one thing he told us.



“There is no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. Someday one of you is only going to give 45%, and who makes up the difference? You both need to commit to giving 100%. Then there is no shortfall, only surplus.”



We couldn’t imagine giving any less than 100% at the time. The very idea! Of course I would always say only sweet things to him. Of course he would never cease to slay dragons on my behalf.





Of course we should have been taking notes.



Monday, June 6

Practicing: self-control

Read Galatians 5:13-26



The first class after lunch was about to start and my favorite Bible professor stood before the students as we anticipated one of his usual witty questions.




"How many of you enjoyed the chocolate cake today?" He asked with a knowing smile.



Was he reading my mind? I personally enjoyed it a great deal! Actually my belly was rumbling in remembrance because I had two pieces of chocolate decadence, smothered in chocolate frosting.



Very Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe Practically the whole class raised their hands to say they had a piece (at least) of the cake. The chocolate cake at my private college was the pride and joy of the dining hall experience.




The professor nodded at everyone's enthusiasm, but then said, "I did not have any. Not because I did not want some. Or could not have some. Or should not have some."



We were undergrads here, not rocket scientists. Where was this leading? Why not just have the chocolate cake?



"I did not have the chocolate cake because I was practicing something I am not very good at."



We were all ears. Could this popular professor have a fault?



"Self control," he said and continued by quoting a much-heard Scripture,"'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.' This list isn't a list of attributes some people are born with and some not. If we do not exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control then we need to practice until we do."



The chocolate cake sat heavy in my belly. The professor's point struck a nerve, even happily padded under the 20 extra pounds I gained during my first year of college do to the opposite of self-control in my food choices. Self-control was something I always liked to say I just wasn't good at. It wasn't my gifting. To self-indulge is our first desire, not self-restraint (Galatians 5:19-21).



12 years later and the dining hall cuisine is a distant memory. Yet my professor's words strike a nerve today too. Self-control. Am I practicing it on the things that seem unimportant (like a piece of chocolate cake) so I have the discipline for things that are?




After I said, "just a minute" for the tenth time yesterday, my conscience was bothering me. I wasn't practicing any self-control on the computer. Again. I use the computer for my work, research, recipes, keeping up with friends, and we can't for get Drops posts. These necessities make it really easy for me to sit in front of the computer for long periods of time. Just checking something really quick. Just seeing if anyone commented on my witty Facebook post. Just uploading some photos. Just writing an email.



Self-control isn't just a tidy suggestion. Without restraint we live for ourselves, not for God. My relationship with Him suffers -- if I can't get off the computer in just a minute, can I get out of bed early to do devotions? My relationship with my husband suffers because I'm clicking away at the computer instead of listening to him. And my children? Are they even home? Oh ya, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with steak knives on the couch. Where is their mother?



With my conscience bothering me like too much chocolate cake sitting in my belly, I did some practicing. Like mental and emotional push-ups, I set some boundaries. No computer at all until I took care of my top 4 (God, husband, children, home). It was HARD work. But I was far, far more productive when I wasn't jumping onto the computer for fragmented minutes. And the rewarding feeling of getting my lists done and then rewarding myself was the best feeling. A lot better than that guilty one I usually have when I say, "Just a minute," to my kids.



My current self-control test is the computer. What is yours? You don't have to tell me here, but I know something came to your mind when you started reading this. I encourage you to pray about it, set some reasonable goals and practice! We can be strengthened by knowing that our need to self-indulge was crucified with Christ. He paid the ultimate price so we could put our sinful ways behind us. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Friday, June 3

When My heart Is breaking, I Never Leave Your Hands

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away


I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine


When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands


When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right


When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands


Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still


When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...


When my world is shaking
Heaven stands







When my heart is breaking

I never leave...


I never leave Your hands.


By JJ Heller







Thursday, June 2

Trust and Obey

Read Exodus 20



Obedience. We insist on it from our children. One of my son’s first sentences was “Children, obey your parents.”



It’s a big deal, kids obeying their parents. It’s emphasized in the Bible enough that pretty much everyone gets it. Even secular parenting magazines recognize the importance of obedience. It’s about safety, health, and developing a strong character.



We send our pets to school to learn obedience. No one will argue the need for a child or a pet to obey.



But kids and pets aren’t the only ones who are required to obey. We are too.



My eldest lamented the other day how easy it is to obey when you are a grown up. And you never get punished…



Wednesday, June 1

Dry Patches

Read Romans 7


It’s been dry around here lately. Not literally, In fact, here in the great northwest it’s been one of the wettest springs on record. No. The rain has been pouring, but my soul has been deserty.



I’ve lacked motivation and inspiration on all fronts. Meals have come from the freezer, scrapbook supplies have cluttered up the corner of my bedroom for weeks, laundry has piled up, I have scoured the Internet until all hours trying to find something--anything to post here. Here, which is a place where you and I should be finding refreshment, not barren ground. I’ve done my chores, had company, put on my brave face, all the while wondering what is wrong with me?



Much guilt has come along with me into this desert place. I didn’t know how I got here, but it wasn’t a good place for me or my family. I prayed about it. Okay, I thought about praying about it, but I was pretty reluctant to hear the answer, so I kept too busy to hear the answer.




God likes to answer questions though. Particularly if you really need to hear the answer. And he has ways of making himself heard. Even if those ways are the blunt end of a 2x4. He’ll get your attention. And he got mine.



With a borrowed blog post.



The desert is a pretty major part of the middle eastern landscape, so it's imagery appears often in the Bible. Often enough that growing up in Sunday school, I thought everything was desert over there. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the land flowing with milk and honey because the sand and grit of the desert figures in so prominently.



Did you know it looks like this over there? That's the Jordan River. Not exactly the picture of desolation.



God sends people into the desert to challenge and refine them: Abraham on the way to Cannan, the children of Israel after slavery in Egypt, and the prophet Elija. Even Jesus Christ spent time in the desert at the leading of the Spirit.



I’ve studied these things. I’ve read about them. I’ve marveled at the way God works through desert times.



But none of that applied to my situation. I knew, deep down inside, that my parched persona was not a result of God sending me to the desert.



It was when I read the following paragraph in the post I borrowed from Nancy Bentz that the 2x4 hit:



God is a not a God of disorder or confusion, but of peace. Obviously, the swirling dust and commotion      that has everything in a tizzy is not originating with Him. That leaves three options: it’s from others without, including the enemy; it’s from within; or both... Sometimes, “I’ve seen the enemy and the enemy is me,” has more validity than we care to admit.


I’m here because of me.


I wandered out here because I slept in instead of keeping my commitment to spend time with my Heavenly Father first thing in the morning. I’m here because my pride kept things around the house running smoothly--for a while. I’m here because I refused to listen. I’m here because I selfishly took when I should have been giving.



It’s barren here because I acted in my own interest and the consequence is separation from God.



The problem with growing in your relationship with God is that it becomes obvious very quickly and dramatically when its being neglected. I still read (skimmed) my Bible. I still (thought about) praying. But my heart was not there. My mind was elsewhere.



Once that 2x4 hit, and I recovered from the blow, I didn’t wait around for God to pluck me out of the desert. I  RAN to him. As literally as I could, I confessed, I repented, and I got up at 5am the next morning. We communed. He forgave. He restored.



And then 5am this morning came. And I shut off the alarm.



And then 5:30am came, along with my 4 year old wanting to sleep with me. He came with pointy elbows and fidgety feet and a restless head. He came twitching and mumbling and fighting for more than his share of the bed.




“I thought we were getting together this morning,” I felt God saying. “I guess you could stay in bed though. If that’s what you really want.” Knee to my spleen.



So I got up. And read Romans 7. And repented again. And he forgave. Again. And he restored. Again.



And I have no words to express how thankful I am for His grace upon grace upon grace.