Wednesday, August 31

The Busiest Mom

How appropriate that the school year is here already and I'm feeling crazed!

Busyness is a life full of things that may sound important, but make a normal women feel crazy. The beautifully photoshopped women in the magazines say “you can do it all, plus a little more, while looking fantastic (your children will look fantastic too!)”. This isn’t reality.

I’m not super woman – usually I’ve just fallen on my proverbial butt when this fact comes to mind.

I feel so important when I am busy. A friend asks, “How are you?,” and responding “I’m SO busy,” elevates my status. We get things done, we pack our days with amazing things. La, ti, da....

No matter how frenzied it makes my family. Or that my health suffers. Or that I haven’t crossed “daily devotions” off my list all week. Or that I forgot to tell my husband about something going that needed his input. Or that my kids are acting terrible because I don’t have time for them. Or that my house is messy and dirty.

Tuesday, August 30

My Son the Athlete

Read Hebrews 12:1-13

My son is six and he gets all his athletic ability from his mother. He is literally the one picking daisies in the outfield. The crowd of tee ball parents watched him one day pretend to catch the ball. It came right to him, but he missed. Not in his imagination though. In his world it landed perfectly in his glove and the crowd went wild. He didn’t notice the dog pile of kids sprawled at his feet fighting over the loose ball. He was poetry in motion.

Last night, he and a friend were playing some sort of hybrid tennis/badminton/baseball game. I watch his flailing limbs and spasmic attempts to hit the ball with a smile. Love that kid.

He came running up to me and said “Mom! Every time the ball comes to me, I either hit it, or I miss it. Every. Time. I am SO good at this game!”

His assessment of his abilities humored me no end, but as I thought about his perspective this morning, I realized…

The point of the game was not (to him) about hitting or missing, it was about playing for all he was worth. With every ounce of energy, with every drop of concentration, he played. He played until sweat poured off his forehead, he laughed until he couldn’t stand up, he swung so hard he fell over, he cheered for himself and for his friend.

In our pursuit for Christ-likeness, we will hit the ball or we will miss it. Every time. But only if we play hard. We must be IN the game, focused, intense, joyful, hot and sweaty.

Monday, August 29

Known and Forgiven

Read Psalm 139
(Click on the video at the bottom of the post to listen to 
an instrumental piano solo to the theme of Psalm 139)

I felt horrible guilt like pretty shoes that took a step through putrid mire. Could everyone see I was covered in muck? I was a disappointment. I did wrong. I made a wrong choice, and this wasn't the first time or the last. My flaws were so glaring. I could never be used for good.

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 

Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

(Psalm 139:1-6)

Friday, August 26

Your Name

"I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30

"I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever." Psalm 86:12

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

"Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:18-20

As morning dawns and evening fades
You inspire songs of praise
That rise from earth to touch Your heart and glorify Your Name

Jesus, in Your Name we pray
Come and fill our hearts today
Lord, give us strength to live for You and glorify Your Name
[ Lyrics from: ]
Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name, let the nations sing it louder
'Cause nothing has the power to save but Your Name

Thursday, August 25

What Is Your Excuse?

Read Luke 9:57-62

Written by Angela at

There's a passage in Luke 9 where three different people want to follow Jesus.

Now, I've always thought Jesus' response was a bit harsh.

I mean, Jesus, they want to follow You... they just want to say goodbye to friends and family first... or bury their dead father.

I mean, that's reasonable, right?

Why were You so abrupt with them?

Wednesday, August 24

Captain Obvious

My life as Mom makes me Captain of the Obvious.

"You didn't want to wear a coat and that's why you are cold."

"Keep your feet out of your brother's mouth and then he won't bite them."

"Flush the toilet after you go to the bathroom."

"Eating vegetables will make you stronger."

"You are grumpy because you are tired."

Over and over again, I repeat things to my kids that are kinda "duh" statements. I hope and pray someday they won't need the reminders as adults.

Because adults know all the obvious answers. Of course.

My kids like a show with a super villain named "Lady Redundant Woman." She sounds pretty threatening doesn't she? She says obvious things repeatedly, all the time, redundantly. Children love this kind of thing, but as grown-ups, we find it pretty annoying to state what we already know.

This brings me to staring at my computer screen pulling my hair out because I can't think of a thing to write about for Drops. Writer's block is putting it mildly. What's the problem? Not only am I short on topics and inspiration, I'm also short on patience, grace, peace, love, and compassion in my daily life.

Tuesday, August 23

Light and Fluffy

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I was hoping for something light and fluffy today. But another one bit the dust today. In this war zone of life, cannon blasts of divorce are hitting closer and closer to home. Some rattle the walls of our little shelter more than others. The shaking, the quaking, the knowledge that at any given moment even the best marriages are only one choice away from the end or at least the beginning of it is felt withing these four walls.

We'd all like to pretend it wasn't happening to "better" Christians than you and I. We want to save ourselves by separating "us" from "them," but one choice is all it takes. In or out? Out is the easy one. It's so much harder to stay in. With this in mind, I am going to share the following post with you. I borrowed it from the wonderful folks over at (in) It may not apply to you or your marriage today. Maybe it never will. Maybe it did once. Maybe it will someday.

The same principal can apply across most crisis situations though, so read on.


The first time my husband asked me to marry him, I wore the engagement ring a week before giving him my answer: maybe.

I still remember the diamond’s sparkle as I admired it on my left finger, and oh, how I wanted to say yes. But even though I loved him, I was hesitant. Marriage was forever, and once you were in, there was no out.

I believed then (as I do now) choosing whom you marry is the most important decision you’ll make in life.

At the end of that week, he returned for my answer, and I said…

Not just yet.

I couldn’t say yes but I couldn’t say no either.

I loved him.

But he returned the ring the following week.

The months that ensued were often heart-breakingly painful for me–I’ll not get into juicy details here–but I’m still thankful I had the resolve and strength not to say “yes” when I was uncertain.


Because marriage is hard.

* * * * * * * * *

The next time he asked, I said yes. Billy Joel was crooning “I love you just the way you are” on the radio and my heart skipped three beats. Every time I’ve heard it since, that moment is as fresh as yesterday. It’s one of my favorite memories.

* * * * * * * * *

Fast-forward almost 24 years later:

The divorce rate in America hovers around 50%, even in Christian marriages.
The majority of my friends have confided their own marital conflict and struggle; good people, mature believers.
And years ago, during the lowest point of my marriage, a veil was lifted and I understood how a wife could not only leave her marriage, she could be willing to leave her children behind as well. Please hear me on this–I wasn’t contemplating divorce or even separation, but my emotions and despair enabled me to understand those choices.
Even though I had no desire to leave, understanding made me feel like a monster.

* * * * * * * * *

This isn’t a marriage advice post exactly…and it’s not for everybody. I’m sure it’s for someone, thought, I just have no idea who. Do you ever have those gentle promptings that redirect your actions? I was 75% into a post about Harry Potter when it became clear I was supposed to write this instead. Within a two-week span, four friends confided varying degrees of issues in their marriage, one with divorce looming. After listening to their wounded hearts speak, you wanna know what I told them?


I don’t mean that flippantly, and it’s not passive, either. Breathing–slowing down–requires resolve and intention. It means understanding and esteeming covenant above everything else because you love God and want to honor him. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis likened divorce to a surgical procedure, “like cutting up a living body,” an “operation [some say] so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases.”

It is almost easy, even understandable, to take action…to make decisions in the midst of conflict or depression or anger. But even if justifiable, the choice to divorce will have consequences that affect everyone who knows and loves you; for the rest of your life and into the next generation.

In wanting to help others, I’ve sought the perspective of two friends–one divorced and the other married to someone who was divorced with a child. Both urged me to encourage friends struggling in marriage to work it out; that the reality they’re living is compounded by the consequences of divorce. The pain that informs their council is palpable; it’s convincing.

I realize some of you are living dreadful, “extreme cases”; others have been devastated through adultery or abandonment or I don’t know what else. Some readers are divorced. (My heart aches for each of you.) Others will simply take issue with what I’m suggesting.

I say this again with much love and respect and as gently as I know how–every post isn’t for everyone; this one is for the wife in a struggling marriage who needs to hear ~


Slow down.

Give it time.


In that space, it’s okay to be angry; it’s fine to want out. But instead of acting on those negative emotions and feelings….


Bathe in the word.

Pursue Godly council.

Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.

Leave time and room for forgiveness and healing and redemption.

Lift high the sanctity of marriage for Christ’s sake and glory.

Sometimes you can’t go around the mountain and sometimes you can’t get over it…sometimes you just gotta get through it. The sense of urgency will pass. Time will ease the tension. Feelings and emotions will change. Eventually.

And I promise, there is the other side to that mountain, and it can be better and more beautiful than you imagined.

Monday, August 22

This Ministry, do not lose heart.

Read II Corinthians 4:1-12

Borrowed from Proverbs 31 Ministries, written by Marybeth Whalin.

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, 

we do not lose heart.”

2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)

In the mid 90’s I chose 2 Corinthians 4:1 as my life verse. At the time, God was teaching me a big lesson about truly appreciating where He had me in life. As a mom of several small children I could often be found complaining about the mess, the noise, the lack of “me” time. I thought often about running away, pointing my car at the horizon and driving until the road ran out.

God began showing me that being a mom was about having a ministry to these little people He had given me. When I found this verse, I felt that it summed up in one line all that I needed to remember: It’s only through His mercy that I have these children and—while I am in the midst of my ministry—I should not lose heart, as I was apt to do. I clung to this verse as a spiritual life rope.

Fast forward to the other day as I was doing my Bible study. My circumstances have changed, as circumstances do. I am no longer that young frantic mother. This time I was struggling with something else as I flipped past 2 Corinthians 4:1. My eyes fell to the notation I’d made years ago: “MY LIFE VERSE” it said in all caps. I re-read the familiar verse, but this time I applied my current situation to it.

Years later, I am just as quick to lose heart. I have a ministry that looks different from the one I had then. This one involves new challenges, new feelings of inadequacy. Yet I was reminded again that it is only through His mercy that I have this ministry. And in the midst of this ministry—even as I struggle with challenges and inadequacies—I should not lose heart.

What can we do when we are losing heart in the midst of the ministry God has given us, whatever it might be? I went to scripture and found some answers to this question:
Luke 18:1 tells us we should always pray and not give up.

2 Corinthians 4:16 tells us we should remember that we are being renewed inwardly day by day.

Galatians 6:9 tells us that we should focus on the harvest that will come if we do not give up.

Ephesians 3:12-13 tells us that we should find comfort in the amazing ability we have to approach God with freedom and confidence.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 tells us that we should just keep doing what is right.

And finally Hebrews 12:3 tells us that we should think about Jesus and what He endured on our behalf. Nothing we are going through will compare with that.

These verses help me to keep things in perspective when I lose heart and I hope they will help you, too. Whether you are a single woman caring for an elderly parent, a mom of young children, a professional in a tough job, a wife in a struggling marriage, or a woman chasing after her dreams, it’s easy to lost heart from time to time. It’s not whether we will, it’s what we’ll do about it when we do. Armed with these verses we can remember that God in His mercy gave us a ministry, and we can live out our callings without losing heart if we will only keep turning to Him.

Wednesday, August 17

Growing In God [for moms]

Read Matthew 11:25-29

Borrowed from Manna For Moms, by Megan Breedlove

Being a mom is hard work. It’s the most rewarding “job” on earth, but it’s hard. I’m not just talking about functioning on two hours sleep; keeping the household running when you’re the one who’s sick; and making sure clean clothes magically appear in your kids’ dressers. I’m also talking about knowing how to discipline your third child for something your first two never did, or explaining to your children that Grandma lives in heaven now.

It’s hard. And it’s time-consuming, if you do it right. Most moms I know don’t get a break all that often (unless you count going to the grocery store by yourself as a break, and even that doesn’t happen very frequently). Mothering is about giving your life to your children. And the stakes—how your children turn out—are higher than in any other area of your life.

Tuesday, August 16

Wasted Blessings

Read Genesis 25:29-34

Service work can be a challenge. You can say all day long you serve for the sake of serving, but boy, does it sting when your gracious act of service is taken for granted.

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and apparently it was true in this case. Countless hours of preparation, a labor of love, went into preparing a meal for the children of our community. It wasn’t hard to forgive them when one or two of them weren’t fans of the food. You can’t please everyone. So one boy took only chips. And a drink. He came back through 3 times for more chips that day. And the next. He didn’t like corn dogs. He didn’t like turkey sandwiches. And the final day, he visibly winced at the announcement of chicken noodle casserole. And that day there were no chips. He was mad. He was ten, and he was angry because there were no chips.

His round face testified to the fact he enjoyed some kinds of food. But rather than being thankful for the four days previous when he consumed a total of 12 bags of chips (one of the main reasons we were out of chips by the last day), he was angry because he couldn’t have what he wanted.

I’m sure many exterior factors were at play in his personal life. He was only ten years old. You can’t hold the kid accountable for much. But he trashed the blessing we offered and robbed us the joy of serving him.

I wonder how many blessings I trash in a day.

Near as I can figure, two things lead to wasted blessings: complaining and entitlement.

Complaining is the equivalent of wadding up a gift from heaven and carelessly tossing it in the garbage.

I complain a lot. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The kids are too loud. The kids won’t quit whining, (and I won’t quit whining about it). The grocery store is out of bay leaves. Gas prices are too high. The stock market is too volatile. One side of my house is still a different color than the rest.

I wad up the gift of changing seasons, healthy children, a store to shop in, no money invested means no money to lose, a comfortable home… and I lob it into the trash and whine when I don’t make a basket.

The “I deserve it” attitude takes a blessing and grinds it into the dirt. When we look at life from God’s perspective, what we deserve is…


He made us. He loved us because that’s what He does, it’s who he is, but we deserve none of what he gave us. We did not deserve the garden, we did not deserve a second chance.

But he showed us mercy. Not getting what we deserve: separation from him through death as a result of sin. And he offers grace. Getting something that we don’t deserve: love, a second chance, restoration, and eternal life).

When we let “I deserve to be happy” form how we live our lives, blessings become worthless. If I deserve to be happy, but something happens to make me sad, how am I going to see any blessings at all?

We walk a fine line as Christians. On one hand, we must rejoice always that we are forgiven and redeemed, but at the same time, we must never forget what we were redeemed from, forgiven of. Living too much as forgiven, we are in danger of arrogance, and assuming blessings are a reward. Living too much on the side of total depravity, as John Calvin called it, leaves us vulnerable to the whispers of worthlessness.

There’s a line to balance in the middle where we can receive the good gifts God offers without throwing a fit when he does not bless us the way we anticipate.

I’d like to challenge you today to take a closer look at the gifts you might not be recognizing because of entitlement or complaining. Don’t rob God the pleasure of blessing you.

Monday, August 15

Questioning God's Timing

Read Exodus 4

I question God's timing. I find it easy to second guess His plan because it doesn't always make sense to me. I see my timeline, neatly planned out and when life doesn't fit, I get miffed. "Why is this taking so long? I need this now, not 6 months from now. Not 2 years from now. And especially not 10 years from now when I no longer need it."

"Who has known the mind of the Lord that we may instruct him?" 

I Corinthians 2:16

Gods ways are not our ways. We can't see the big picture.

A song I heard at a church production gets stuck in my head whenever I question God's timing. It's as though the Holy Spirit wants to prompt me [repeatedly] with this reminder.

God's ways are not our ways.

His plans are not our plans,

but to Him we must be faithful

someday we'll understand,

God's ways are not our ways.

It takes a tremendous amount of trust to step back and say, "Ok, in your timing Lord."

I was telling my children the familiar story of Moses. I grew up in Sunday School with Flannelgraph as aid and could recite these stories in my sleep.

Or so I thought.

"So Moses was adopted by the princess and grew up in the palace. It must have been very nice to have everything he wanted. He enjoyed the wealth and privilege of an Egyptian. 

But at the same time, he knew he was not Egyptian by birth, he was an Israelite. The Israelites were slaves and were treated very badly. 

One day Moses saw a guard hurting one of the slaves and Moses got mad. So mad that he killed the guard. That didn't go over so well with his Egyptian family and Moses had to flee to the desert. While he was in the desert, God called him to lead the people of Israel to freedom."

My husband was listening in and jumped in on one detail. "Forty years. Moses was exiled in the desert for forty years before God finally called him to free the Israelites."

Wowsa, that's a Sunday School detail that skipped my attention. I had to run to the Bible for confirmation (Exodus 2-5). Forty years! Moses was already 40 when he killed the guard, so this change in his life would have been hard to swallow. He was 80 when God said, "Go free my people." God had a plan, but needed Moses' obedience, trust, and patience first.

It took awhile.

I was encouraged as I read through Moses' story again with adult eyes. His life was rich with adventure and emotion. Freeing the people, parting the sea, miracle after miracle. But it took YEARS to be revealed. Moses had to have questioned God's timing, just like we do.

But to Him we must be faithful and someday (hopefully) we'll understand. God has an amazing plan, but His ways are not our ways. We all question God's timing and it's okay to ask. But we should also be asking for what God needed from Moses, obedience, trust, and patience.

Friday, August 12

He Reigns

I keep posting Newsboys songs. I wonder what that means? This one comes in the spirit of our VBS though. Lyrics credits to Newsboys, the video comes from Pandamania....

It's the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It's the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers
Filled with God's holy fire
It's every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir

It's all God's children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
It's all God's children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns

Let it rise about the four winds
Caught up in the heavenly sound
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals
To the faithful gathered underground
Of all the songs sung from the dawn of creation
Some were meant to persist
Of all the bells rung from a thousand steeples
None rings truer than this

And all the powers of darkness
Tremble at what they've just heard
'Cause all the powers of darkness
Can't drown out a single word

When all God's children sing out
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
All God's people singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns

Thursday, August 11

It's Not Fair

Read Jonah 1-4

He didn’t ask for this. But here he was, just on the other side of a nightmare. Well, he thought he was on the other side, but maybe not so much.

He swiped a hand over his bald scalp, slick with sweat.

“Go!” God had told him.

Surely God meant to call someone else. Surely God could not mean he intended to give Nineveh a second chance. Anyone but the people of Nineveh. They took depravity to a whole other level. They made evil look good. They were horrible people; enemies of God. Why this sudden interest in saving them?

Jonah hadn’t bothered to question Almighty God. He knew an argument was pointless, so he just took off—the opposite direction.

It seemed like a good idea at the time?

He figured God would forget about him. God should be able to find someone with a compassionate heart toward these people.

He thought he’d gotten away with it too. From below deck, he was jarred from a sound sleep by the swaying of the boat, the wind, the rain, and the sailors’ panic. He squeezed his eyes shut as though pretending to sleep would will away a squall intense enough to alarm the professionals.

A few of them took issue with tossing him over the boat, but majority and his own insistence won out.

Survival instinct forced him to fight for life in the now calm, but icy cold sea. His limbs flailed, his lungs burned, and he was just about to give up when he saw the looming hulk of a sea monster baring down on him. He drew on adrenaline and fought the current, but he was no match for the giant fish.

He knew it was over this time. He would be chomped to bits; fish bait. Maybe Nineveh wouldn’t have been so bad, he thought as he slid from consciousness.

After three days in the belly of that enormous, stinking beast, he had finally recognized it as the vessel God used to save his life. He’d agreed to do exactly what God asked. “What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.”

So covered in fish barf, he made the three day circuit around the vast city of Nineveh.

Wednesday, August 10

Spiritual Milestones

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Written by Arabah (at

I have no idea when I became a Christian.

Let me be quick to say I do remember what happened, but I have no idea when it happened. I remember being on the school bus one day and Jesus showed up on the inside of me and told me He loved me. All the truth I had heard in church and Christian school became more than head knowledge. I understood with my heart and surrendered my life to His love.

However, I was young. It was simple. No one was with me. There was no crossing a river or erecting memorial stones, no lightening bolt experience.

So when I became an adult and God began to stir in my heart more than ever before, I started to wonder if what I had experienced as a child was genuine conversion.

I went to my mom for an adult perspective. “Mom, how did you know I was saved as a child? How did you know I was ready for baptism? What was I saying? Doing? What convinced you I had met Jesus?”

Her only response was, “I don’t remember.”

I felt like a piece of my history, my personal spiritual journey, was missing and I had no way of recovering it.

Tuesday, August 9

Story Time

Read 1 Samuel 17:1-54

We're deep in the throes of VBS at our community church this week. I grew up on Vacation Bible School, and have warm memories because of it. At our church, now that I am a grown-up church ladies and "required" to participate, I'm in charge of the story room. I have a love/hate relationship with the story room. I pretend I hate it. It's a ton of work, a huge responsibility and it sticks me in the limelight--a place I am not normally comfortable. But actually, I love it. I enjoy getting to completely goof off without fear of consequences. I pretend the adult volunteers aren't even there, and I got nuts--well, my version of nuts, which is pretty tame compared to some.

Most of all, I love, love, love Bible stories.

This is a bit ironic, because this was not always true. Long about 4th grade, I got fed up with Sunday school. "It's so boring!" I told my mom. It was always the same stories over and over again. David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion's Den, Moses and the Red Sea, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho (that one never got enough face time in my opinion though. That was one of the good ones.

I remember seeing the steam coming off the top of my mom's head. "Boring? The Bible is Boring? I'll show you boring..." She didn't use those words exactly, but that was clearly the intention. She made it her mission to point out the little known facts, to dig up the small stories.

They don't tell you in Sunday school that once Goliath toppled, David whacked his head off with the giant's own sword. My mom read me that part right out of 2 Samuel.

They don't remind you in Sunday school that Daniel was probably about as old as your grandpa when they threw him in the lion's den. And all those warm, fuzzy picture of lions sleeping in his lap? Probably not accurate. The angle closed their mouths so they couldn't eat Daniel. They likely still wanted to.

Mom hunted up obscure stores like Ehud the left handed judge that offed a morbidly obese rival king and wasn't found out because the kings guards thought his majesty was using the, uh, facilities. The guards "waited until the point of embarrassment," before they entered and found him dead.

She introduced me to spunky ladies like Jael, Abagail and Rahab--and she told me what a prostitute was. They skip that in Sunday school. Baalam and the talking donkey--did you know the word ass is in a Bible story? (in the King James Version) Gasp!! The sun moved backwards for Joshua. Bears came out of the woods and attacked 42 kids who made fun of the great prophet Elisha's bald spot.

What's not to love about this story book, this epic redemptive saga our Father in Heaven authored? A Facebook friend posted a Providentially timed status update tonight. "1/3 of the entire Bible is written in poetry. Over 1/2 of the quoted speech of the Lord in the Hebrew Bible is poetry which implicitly tells us something about how He wants to relate to us. God's communication to humanity is both word-based (logical, linear, analytical - left brained) and image-based (imaginative, synthetic, pictorial - right brained). He wants to connect with all kinds of thinkers and responders :)."

I don't know what percentage of the Bible is presented in story form, but it's big. And this right-brained reader is glad for that. And I am also glad my mom took the time to point out the undertold stories so I could appriciate the impact of the headliners.

Over my next few posts, I'll be retelling Bible stories the way I'd have written them if I were in charge of VBS curriculum. Don't get me wrong, I love the way they've already been told, but hopefully in the retelling of some of these "overdone" stories, you'll catch a glimpse of something you hand't noticed before.

Monday, August 8

Squelching Compassion

Read Philippians 2:1-11

A friend shared with me how her daughter had been up all night throwing up. The poor thing! While I felt bad for her, I immediately thought of something that happened to me involving throw-up. A natural segway, I told her about how my oldest child got sick in the back of the minivan and threw vomit all the way to the front seat, covering my new purse. Then we went home and my other daughter had a diarrhea attack in the bathtub, full of water and her sister. Well, I was pregnant at the time and the very scene sent me heaving into the sink.

It was a terrific story that really showed off my mothering woes. I was kinda of proud of my harrowing tale until I tried to remember what my friend had said that reminded me of the vomiting/diarrhea/heaving incident in the first place. It was then I realized I had just “one-upped” my friend. She shared about her life and I topped her frustrations with how it could have been worse… and had been worse for me.

Thursday, August 4

Read John 12:2-14

I got to go on a date with my husband last night. It was a rare and wonderful treat. We even got to go to a movie. We picked a man movie because going to movies is not his favorite thing. He’d rather talk. He’s a keeper. The movie makers were kind enough to throw a love story in for the wives and girlfriends in the audience.

In the end, I liked the movie. The special effects were dazzling. The plot different enough to keep me on my toes, but not as hard to get past as some I’ve seen.

The hero has to leave the woman he loves to go save the world. The music swells as he pulls her close. He longs to be with her, but his mind is elsewhere. “I promise I will come back for you,” he tells her with fierce intensity. It’s the kind of vow he will move heaven and earth to keep.

And my romantic heart goes pitter pat.

He takes care of the bad guy and saves the world, but in doing so has to sacrifice the only way back to his love. An act of supreme sacrifice borne out of duty, love and humility.

I look forward to the sequel. Hollywood can't resist a good sequel these days. Maybe in the next round, he will find a way back to her. maybe they will have a chance. Maybe the bad guys who got away will get his comeuppance for good in the next one.

But the plot reminded me of something I had read before. The hero reminded me of one I had seen before. That intense line there at the beginning of the end reminded me of something too.


Try as they might, even Hollywood can’t avoid it. It all comes back to Jesus.

Take any story you have ever heard or read, epic, mystery, romance… It all comes back to Jesus.

For you see, in the beginning, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, spun a story as he formed the world. As he spoke light into existence from nothing and formed man out of dirt and breathed animation into his limbs, he was also crafting the first and best story.

The story on which all others for all time would draw their inspiration.

In the beginning, God walked and talked in the garden with the ones he loved. He was devoted to them, and they were devoted to him. Until they betrayed him by believing the lies of his enemy.

This enemy had once been a cherished friend. They worked together, side by side orchestrating some of the most beautiful music of heaven. But the Lucifer sought to glorify himself. He instigated a rebellion and was tossed out of his heavenly home.

He would rule the earth and be known as Satan.He would be the prince of this world. On earth. But in heaven, God still reigns. In the garden, Satan tricks the ones God so dearly loves into betraying him, and with that, severs the relationship between God and man.

Victorious, Satan stole, killed and destroyed. He took his plunder from God's best creation. But his victory was only temporary. God offered a bridge back to himself through the shed blood of the sacrificial lamb. Yet Satan continued to steal, kill and destroy.

Then God, through his son Jesus Christ, made the ultimate sacrifice, once for all: He seemingly yielded to the grave.

Allowing his immortal spirit to reside in a mortal body, he allowed himself to be despised, rejected and unjustly executed. Before his apparent defeat, he gathered close the ones he loved and made a vow:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.

It’s the kind of vow he will move heaven and earth to keep.

It all comes back to Jesus. Romance and Action Adventure genres prove once again that there is nothing new under the sun. Every epic concept looks back to the Original.

I for one, am super glad for that spoiler at the end of God's story, Revelation does a pretty great job about telling us what is going to happen without telling us what is going to happen. So even though I know how it will end--that heaven and earth will be moved, the guy will get the girl, and the bad guy will most definitely get his comeuppance once and for all--I anticipate the sequel.

Wednesday, August 3

Growing In the Dessert

Borrowed from (in)

Mile by mile we pass fewer trees and more tumbleweeds as our trusty Dodge truck treks further and further west. Finally we reach our town and turn left on Wyoming, the last street before our new home on an old military base. I look wide-eyed at the barren landscape, this street absent of green altogether.

I cry down that whole street right up ’til the base entrance check point. Then I cry again when I see our house with cinderblock walls and a front yard of dirt.

“Don’t worry,” my husband reassures. “This is only our temporary home ’til one opens up in base housing.”

“Will our real house have dirt for a front yard?” I squeak.

“I don’t know,” he replies with a sigh. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

I was a newish military wife who still didn’t know how to start over every three years. I wanted to bloom where planted, but how does one bloom in the desert? In a dirt yard?

My heart heard His message, “Take it one day at a time. Wait and see.”

So I brushed away discontent like dust in my face and looked to making new friends even though I missed the familiar. And on an unsuspecting cool spring morning, I met a fellow military wife, Rebecca, who invited our family over for dinner. Her family served burgers and potato salad and soul-feeding friendship that tasted best of all.

Four months later we moved into our base house complete with dirt-yard. {But at least the walls weren’t cinderblock!} Rebecca lived across the street, and before long I met neighbor after neighbor who filled our desert neighborhood with exploding color that leaked into my hungry heart. I witnessed healthy marriages. I observed good parenting habits. Families discussed their imperfections, and I rested knowing my own imperfections weren’t condemned. It wasn’t a perfect community, but it was perfectly real. They encouraged my family as we encouraged them.

It was what I craved but didn’t know I craved and it took my breath away. I didn’t think it possible to bloom in the desert, but God specializes in unearthing breathtaking blessings in the bleakest of environments.

Sweet Sister, if you find yourself in the desert with discontent hanging around like kicked-up dust, may I encourage you to wait and see? To remember these words from Isaiah?

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

While deserts are drenched in sunshine, they hold little water. Growth happens slowly and in that the waiting is hard. But when we choose to see during the wait –  to hold on to God’s promise for a new thing – we find ourselves staring at something we didn’t know we needed. And before long, we are blooming in unexpected but longed for ways.

The old thing may be familiar, but the new thing may be fantastic.

And then you know you wouldn’t trade the desert years for anything.

What new thing has the Lord’s grace provided from a “wait and see” time in your life? And if this season of  life finds you in a desert, how may this imperfect-but-perfectly-real community of (in)couragers pray for you?

By: Kristen Strong

Tuesday, August 2

Measure of Treasure

We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank, and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor? Whose fault is it that Christian people generally have such scanty portions of the free riches of God? --McLaren

Some days it feels like cheating to borrow the writing of others. But we have always contended that the wheel has already been invented, so why mess with it's reinvention. If great writing and profound thoughts are already out there, why try and recreate them. A friend reminded me of the classic daily devotional Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman. I flipped to the selection for today and was treated to a powerful, true reminder. I hope you are moved to take a little more from the treasure chest today...

It is possible, for those who really are willing to reckon on the power of the Lord for keeping and victory, to lead a life in which His promises are taken as they stand and are found to be true.

It is possible to cast all our care upon Him daily and to enjoy deep peace in doing it.

It is possible to have the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts purified, in the deepest meaning of the word.

It is possible to see the will of God in everything, and to receive it, not with sighing, but with singing.

It is possible by taking complete refuge in Divine power to become strong through and through; and, where previously our greatest weakness lay, to find that things which formerly upset all our resolves to be patient, or pure, or humble, furnish today an opportunity -- through Him who loved us, and works in us an agreement with His will and a blessed sense of His presence and His power -- to make sin powerless over us.

These things are DIVINE POSSIBILITIES, and because they are His work, the true experience of them will always cause us to bow lower at His feet and to learn to thirst and long for more.

We cannot possibly be satisfied with anything less -- each day, each hour, each moment, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit -- than to WALK WITH GOD. --H. C. G. Moule

Monday, August 1

Oh What A Funk I'm In

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength."
Proverbs 17:22

Funk. It is defined on as "a dejected mood." Funk's synonyms are: gloom, misery, and despondency. I'm feeling better already [insert sarcasm here].  Defining the mood "funk" is one thing. Getting rid of it is another.

This despondent, dejected mood doesn't need a reason to come settle over me like a rain cloud. Everything is going along fine. Okay, fine-ish. I can't name "one thing" that is just horrible. It's a bunch of little things. I feel sorry for myself. Blame it on the hormones. Maybe my feelings were a little hurt. My kids are just pushing my buttons. I'm discontent. There is a hole in my sock. The weight of the world creeps in and makes ugly faces at me.

Irony is alive and well as I wrestled with God about this topic. "This really isn't a good time God. I'm kinda in a funk. I'm feelin' a little despondent. I don't feel like writing. At. All. Let alone writing about getting out of a bad mood."

I'm pretty sure God could have found someone feeling cheerful to write about this. But then again, it wouldn't ring true if you didn't know the advice-giver struggled with the medicine first.

So, I told God I wasn't in the mood to get out of my bad mood. And he said too bad. Why is hanging on to gloom satisfying? A bad mood feels like my right sometimes.