Monday, July 30

Throwing Mud

Pleas read Genesis 2:18-24

My children sat making mud-balls. Mud + water. It is an art really. Too soft and the mud-ball falls apart on impact; too hard and the mud-ball just bounces and cracks. So my little mug-hungry kids made their mud-balls and piled them high in buckets and wagons.

It was a somewhat mother approved activity. The "somewhat" being that I said they could make them, but they couldn't throw the mud-balls at anything. What fun is that?

Yes, you guessed it, as soon as I left the immediate area the mud-balls were flying. Splatting against each other, the house, the garage door, the cat.

Making and piling mud-balls reminds me of resentments. They build up during my day when I feel wronged. Unfortunately, most of my resentments are aimed at an easy target. My husband. Like, he didn't do this. He did do that (and he wasn't supposed to). I do. He never. I always.

I form them like tediously manipulated mud, not too squishy, but plenty hard to do some damage.

They gather, these resentments, to be thrown later. In a weak moment when I forget (or ignore) that the Bible says I am to submit to my husband (Ephesians 5:22-23) and do everything without grumbling and complaining (Philipians 2:14) and to be humble, not resentful (Matthew 5:5).

I heard a relationship therapist say, "Unresolved resentment is the catalyst to divorce." It seems true enough to me, even in a good and strong marriage (like mine!), resentment creeps in and plays enthusiastically with our natural selfishness.

This topic was well established for me, the Holy Spirit guiding me with research as my own conscience was convicted. I came across a blog post with an article about forgiving your husband. The author asked these questions:

  • Is there anything past or present I have not made a conscious decision to forgive my husband for? 

  •  Do I resent him in any way? 

  •  Do I do little (or big) things to retaliate against him? (throw mud-balls, that's just me adding a footnote)

  •  To sort of get him back for what he has done? 

  • An ‘I’ll show him’ attitude? 

  •  Do I find myself struggling with anger towards him, sometimes for no apparent reason? 

  •  Does everything he does bother me or irritate me? 

  •  If I were honest with myself, do I sometimes feel like I just hate him? 

  •  Do I do destructive things to him or behind his back? 

  •  Do I speak negatively about him or to him?

The thought had never occurred to me before reading this article that I could forgive the resentments instead of letting them pile up. "He needs to change this or that" occurred to me, but ME making the conscience effort to empty my bucket of mud....

There's a thought.

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,

forgive him, so that your Father in heaven

may forgive you your sins."

Mark 11:25 

Has any, any, any good ever come from slinging mud-balls of resentment? Nope, not in my experience. It doesn't change the other person, it doesn't gratify a soul seeking Christ. It feels horrible, sinful, and ugly.

I love how Proverbs puts it, "Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the Lord" (Proverbs 20:22 ).

Sure there are things that need confronting in our marriages (that's called good communication). Slinging mud isn't part of it. So let's empty our buckets. Are there some mud-balls that are already formed today or maybe left-over from last week?

Forgive and wait for the Lord.

Written by Alysun P.

Mud-ball photo credit:

Friday, July 27

Fear of Asking God For Help?

Read Psalm 37:3-9

I do not like asking for help.  Asking for help makes me feel weak and opens up the possibility of rejection.  That kind of vulnerability makes my stomach turn.

When I was 22 years old I watched my so called dreams crumble.  I became a single Mom to a beautiful brown eyed little boy.  He depended on me to take care of him and it became my sole responsibility to make sure he had all of his needs met.

I had no job.  I didn't have a car.  I didn't have a house to live in.  I had a car seat, an umbrella stroller, and two suitcases filled with clothes.  Meeting the needs of my child didn't seem possible.

I found myself in line at the Department of Human Services applying for food stamps and medical assistance.  I was filled with embarrassment.  I wasn't supposed to be receiving government assistance.  I was supposed to be living the picture perfect dream.  But I wasn't.  I needed help and I had to request it.

At that moment I felt like a failure.  Like I had let myself and my baby down by taking "handouts."  But I did it anyway because I didn't see any other options.

Eventually I figured it all out.  I no longer needed those benefits but I could look back and realize how fortunate I was to receive them.  My feelings of inadequacy faded and I instead looked at those food stamps as a blessing.  Not only did they allow me to put food on the table but they erased any previous judgment I had towards people who received government assistance.

Sometimes I apply the same fear of vulnerability towards my relationship with God.  I start to keep requests from Him because I'm too afraid to say them out loud.

What if He thinks I'm being selfish?

What if He says no?

What if I don't like His suggestion?

What if He doesn't think it is as important as I do?

Those thoughts creep into my mind and prevent me from exposing my hearts desire to God.

"Ask and it will be given to you; 

seek and you will find; 

knock and the door will be opened to you."

Matthew 7:7

Over and over again the bible tells us that God wants to meet our needs.  He wants us to sit down and talk to Him about what is on our mind.  He is not burdened by our requests for help.  Whether it is something that seems less important like, "God, where are my keys?"  Or if it is a major life problem, "God, please heal my marriage."  He wants you to ask.

"Therefore I tell you, 

whatever you ask for in prayer, 

believe that you have received it, 

and it will be yours."

Mark 11:24

Don't be ashamed or scared to go to God with your concerns or desires.  He does not get sick of hearing from you.  Go ahead and put in your request, no matter how big or small, God wants to talk to you!  Don't ever be afraid to turn to God for help.

-Ashley K.

Monday, July 23

From Inside the Theater... so you still think God is a merciful God?

(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

“So, you still believe in a merciful God?” Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way. Yes. Yes, I do indeed. Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil. God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did. In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil. 

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings. But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy.

Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did. So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.

In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse:

"Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught." (Proverbs 3:25-26)

He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.

It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act. Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness. We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional. But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.

I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:

"Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise."    

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4.

God is always good. Man is not. Don’t get the two confused. We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do. If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.

Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways. As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.

Still grateful for this wonderful life,


Borrowed with permission from Marie who blogs at A Miniature Clay Pot.

Friday, July 20

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Read Romans 12:14-16

God has been shouting a message at me lately...

"Break our hearts for what breaks Yours."

These days I can't listen to this song without feeling the Holy Spirit stirring inside of me.  Let this be a reminder to all of us today to love our brothers and sisters.  To show love and mercy to everyone we encounter.

Ask the sales clerk how she is doing.

Open the door for the old lady walking in behind you.

Pray with someone who looks like they need a glimpse of hope.

We all have problems.  Let me assure you, God does not think your problems are small, but sometimes He asks us to acknowledge that we have hurting brothers and sisters that need our understanding and compassion.

Now find a box of kleenex, lock the door so no one accidentally walks in and sees you ugly crying, and listen to the lyrics of this powerful song.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

Romans 12:15

Wednesday, July 18

But I'm Tired

Read Colossians 3

By Betsy Rowles

It was time to leave and my youngest was running around in his underwear (a common occurrence around here). When I told him to put his pants on, he sighed heavily and in resignation with jeans in hand he said, "I'm tired of putting my pants on."

My first thought was "oh boy, if you're tired already of putting your pants on at age 3, you've got a LONG life ahead of you."

My second thought was a verse from Colossians that popped into my head. (pesky verse). "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12).

"Oh", I sighed inwardly still overseeing the pants putting on process of my child, "I know how you feel after-all".

I was immediately convicted. How many times a day does God command me to pull on the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience and I simply avoid the command, thinking to myself instead "I'm simply too tired to do it." I ignore His call to clothe myself as His child and instead, in the nakedness of my own sinful nature, I lash out, give a grumpy retort, or dwell on the injustice done to me.

Monday, July 16

When I Consider the Heavens

Please read Psalm 8

LORD, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

in the heavens.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?

(Psalm 8:1,3-4)

I just came inside from sitting at our backyard fire pit. Earlier in the evening that same fire pit had been surrounded by a bunch of college kids. My husband and I work and live on a Bible college campus and the new school year is upon us. As they left I decided I would sit down and enjoy the rest of the myself...with no one to interrupt my thoughts... Yes, gold to a mom!

Something drew my gaze up. That something was a beautiful dark sky filled with stars. I often miss this perspective and rarely look up. Why is that? When I sit in my backyard it is usually during the day and it is to referee a energetic group of preschoolers and to fret about the weed count in my garden.

I was struck tonight with how we get so busy in our lives down here “below the cloud cover”. We work and strive and I forget that the same God who formed those magnificent stars also cares deeply about my life. Me...wife, mother of two, organizer of a few too many side projects, with an addiction to coffee and chocolate!

"When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; 

he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. 

He sends lightning with the rain and 

brings out the wind from his storehouses."

Jeremiah 51:16

As I sat there under the stars with the warmth of the fire and the cool September air fighting it out, I thought about flying out of Portland, OR a couple years ago. It was a rainy day when I said goodbye to my dear friend and began the journey back home which included three flights, a six hour layover and my 18 month old little girl!

The clouds were thick as we taxied down the runway. I looked out the window while we made our ascent and what had been a dreary day quickly turned into a beautiful cloudless blue sky with the sun shining. Just like there is hope above our disastrous days below. I get so stuck on what is down here and what I am under, that forget to look past it. Past the clouds and the rain to the sun and the warmth. Past the destination or the job to the star-filled sky above me.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?

That’s it. That’s the question. That’s where a lot of us get caught. We can’t understand why a God that big would love someone like us. Someone so small. Someone so slow to learn and quick to get angry. I could go on with my list of things I’m not crazy about when it comes to me.

I don’t deserve the attention of the God of the universe. Isn’t he just concerned about the big stuff...the clouds, the know, the universe? Yet, over and over again in the Bible we read of God taking an interest in mankind and eventually sending His son to die for it.

We read in Psalm 147:3-5 that His understanding has no limit but He also heals the broken hearted and binds up there wounds.

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars

and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;

his understanding has no limit.

I need to learn to live with a different perspective, especially when things down here start to get me down. When the cloud cover is heavier than I can bear, I need to trust that there is blue sky above it. I need to trust that the God of the universe is not too busy but is willing and able to balance it all and meet me in my need.

I think we have a hard time trusting that it’s possible for Him because we have so much trouble keeping all our balls in the air. Step by step we can be us, the women He has made us to be and walk those steps in confidence that he holds the stars in place and us as well.

Written by Amanda; wife, mother of two, organizer of a few too many side projects, with an addiction to coffee and chocolate, and former college roommate to Alysun. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us Amanda! We love to use contributed posts and are thrilled that God is showing you amazing things. We are encouraged by what you wrote! 

Thursday, July 12

Speaking the Truth in Love

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."  Ephesians 4:15

Speaking the truth is love is a lot easier said than done.  It's hard!  We've all been there.  Those times in life where we know we are going to have to have that awkward conversation with someone.  It mounts to the point that it can no longer be ignored and you are faced with two options.  Run or face it.

Running would mean that you either abandon the relationship or you cover the problem up so the relationship can no longer be REAL.  Facing it means having an extremely hard conversation and possibly damaging the relationship.  But...facing it may also mean that the relationship comes out the other side amazingly strong.  We never know what impact speaking the truth in love is going to have.  It can backfire on us at times.  At other times it can heal a person, a relationship or a soul beyond our wildest imaginations.

In my life, the times that I have chosen not to speak the truth in love all boiled down to fear.  It's a scary thing to do, especially when it involves someone you care for deeply.  You run through all of the different scenarios in your head until you've convinced yourself that the worst is going to happen. 

At some point, the truth must be spoken.  Left undone, it will undoubtedly ruin any relationship. 

I encourage all of you(myself included) to prayerfully speak the truth in love when the opportunity presents itself.  The people in our lives don't want a pretend you.  They want the real you.  The one that isn't going to candy coat everything and tell them that it will all be okay when it's really not.  Truth sometimes hurts, but it's what can bring real healing.

Let's not forget that we can also be the recipient of that truth!  Be humble and aware that those who speak truth in love to you are doing it with fear in their hearts and a true love for you.  Take it.

Borrowed from Katie, our favorite Hippy Chick and Jesus Freak.

Wednesday, July 11

Total Animation

Please read Acts 17:22-28

By Andrea

I try not to use Drops as a platform to talk about my kids, but sometimes, it just can't be helped.

My five year old, the one with a very over active imagination, is the inspiration for today's tidbit.

In the car, the traditional place for all deep conversations, he presented the following scenario:

"What if we are all like God's toys, and he is the one that moves our arms and legs. And what if sometimes, when he is very nice, he moves our arms and legs in the sprinkler."

I processed the theological ramifications of such a concept. Surely there are those who believe we are at the mercy of Divine whims, with God pulling the strings in and out of everything from sprinklers to tragedy. We are nothing more than glorified action figures in such a world view.

While I believe God is in control of every one and everything, I am also convinced that he doesn't force his will on individuals. Things happen, but our response is not scripted.

We can chose to let him move us, or we can move ourselves.

To animate: v. to make or equip to move

In the beginning, God created man in his own image. God intended for us to be animated by Him, not as puppets on a string, but as obedient children longing to be just like Him. Of course we can lift our arms and legs on our own. We breathe in and out without a thought to what makes it possible. God created us with individual personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and He asks us to use them-for Him. And to a point, we can do it on our own. People without Christ in their lives are capable of good things. But how much more capable are we when we allow him to animate us. To daily equip us to move?

Oh, how I wish I had this concept surrendered! I don't though. I wake up thinking of everything I have to do today. I crowd Him out with my lists and my agenda. And on a good day, I get everything checked off. And most days, I don't. But I miss the point when I live by what I can do.

Total animation is the goal. What would we be capable of if we lived by the verse, "In Him we live and move and have our being."

When we live like that...

(This action figure represents what I am pretty sure the Proverbs 31 Woman looks like).

Monday, July 9

Reflections of Who?

Please read Romans 3:21-31

The phrase "What would Jesus do?", abbreviated to WWJD, was wildly popular in the 1990s. WWJD was on everything from necklaces to bumper stickers. You were really cool if you had it tattooed somewhere. It was a personal motto for Evangelical Christians who used the phrase as a reminder to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus.

It was so popular that I think everyone got burned out on WWJD and the abbreviation failed to signify anything important.

The concept is still true and necessary. What would Jesus do? If we claim to follow Christ, our actions should mirror his. I remembered this as I was sitting in the drive-thru waiting a ridiculously long time for icecream.

You might be thinking that Jesus would never go to a fast-food joint because of the unhealthy eating options. But he ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2:13-17). I'm going to stretch that to say Jesus would go with me to the Dairy Queen after a hard day of work. My treat, of course.

So, there I sat in my mini-van with kids screaming in the backseat and I was really annoyed that it was taking so long. "Why is it taking so long?!! These incompetent prepubescents! Apparently they are the last people on earth to hear of the rising gas prices and the money that is just IDLING away right now," was going through my mind. I know I didn't have the most pleasant look on my face. I know it for certain because one of the employees glanced out the window at me and visibly drew back with a shudder. I scared the poor girl half to death. My face reflected the anger and impatience of the world and a hard day that didn't go as I planned.

Jesus was nowhere to be found. Shame washed over me. What would Jesus do? I have failed so much I wouldn't even know.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

But read on.... there is hope.

"...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24)

By his grace I have another chance. When I fail badly at representing Christ, I can try again. What a gift! I don't deserve it. But I was humbled in that drive-thru line and I prayed for a different perspective on life's normal frustrations.

When it was finally my turn to pay and get my food, the girl handed me my sack with fear and trembling. "S-s-s-orry for the wait," she muttered. I smiled with what I hope was a pleasant expression and replied that it wasn't a problem and that it looked like they were having a busy night. With a tentative nod she shut the window.

She was probably more baffled with my major mood change than my reflection of Jesus.

What would Jesus do? He would continue to show love (John 1:1-14). He would continue to show compassion (Luke 7:13). He would continue to serve (Philippians 2:5-11). My testimony of Christ is far from perfect, but still he chose me to represent him. He. Chose. Me. And he chose you too! He delights in our attempts and our desire to follow him.

"Then he said to them all: 

'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves 

and take up their cross daily and follow me.'"

(Luke 9:23)

The photos are courtesy of the make-up-less, Christ follower, often fumbling as I try to reflect Jesus, author of this post, Alysun Peters.

Wednesday, July 4

For Freedom

Please read Romans 6:15-22

Independence Day. Today the flags fly, the anthems soar, the fireworks boom. Today, we well celebrate our country’s independence with barbeques and parades.

When was your Independence Day?

“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.”
 Romans 6:20

Mine was one day when I was about four years old. My parents were listening to a record (as in LP. Yep. It was that long ago), and a song came on about heaven. Having been in Sunday school my entire life, I knew what I needed to do to get there. The song was about the streets of gold, and I wanted to see them so bad! I knew my parents were going to heaven someday, and I didn’t want them going without me. So, very quietly, I went into my room and, as they say in Sunday school, asked Jesus into my heart.

I remember feeling so… free. Weird feeling for a four year old, right? I doubt that I would have described it that way then. I was that kind of happy you just can’t help. When you just have to smile or else you might burst.

I’m not sure when the happy wore off, but it did eventually. And eventually, I turned back to the one who set me free. Just like we all do, I voluntarily stepped back into slavery to sin. And Jesus kept freeing me, again and again.

Freedom in Christ is not a one time battle or a signature on a piece of parchment. It is a willing determination to refuse to go back into slavery. Often. Daily. (Anyone else?)

That is why we should remember. That is why our individual Independence Day is so important. If we forget what we were saved from, it starts to seem like maybe it wasn’t so bad. Remember the Israelites telling Moses they should have stayed in Egypt? It’s like that. The slavery starts to compel us, and unless we constantly remind ourselves of God’s great grace, we will go back.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

He set us free so we could be free from the trap of sin and be fully alive in him.

Take some time today to thank him for our country’s freedom, and for your personal freedom. If the past is compelling you, remember the fireworks in heaven the day you asked Jesus into your heart.

“It is for freedom…”

Monday, July 2

Not So Obviously

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.