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Showing posts from April, 2012

Refined by Fire

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"When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2

It's an anniversary I don't want to celebrate but I'm writing to commemorate. As I go to sleep tonight I am mindful that this time last year I laid down to rest having no idea of the wake up call that would come in the middle of the night. One year ago a fire destroyed our home and everything inside. I wrote these words a day after the fire:

I need you to know something, from the bottom of my heart, God is Sovereign and He is in control. What I need you to hear and see is that this does not shake my faith. On the contrary. It makes me all the more realize that our lives - this life - is temporary and our reward and our HOME is in eternity. (April 30, 2011)
One year later the words I wrote above still echo in my heart - He truly is Sovereign. He sees. He knows. He hasn't changed. Even when my faith has waivered, He's remained faithful and true.
I know…

Eyes on Jesus, Heart in His Hands

It's time. I've been putting this post off for awhile. Not for any specific reason, other than I haven't been sure I could really do it justice. But today is the day that I am being lead to share this.

Eyes on Jesus, heart in His hands.

You may have heard me say it, post it as my status, or share it on any number of people's walls. I can't pinpoint an actual date, but some months ago God gave me this phrase as somewhat of an anthem. It has become the theme of my life.

Over and over as I've faced uncertainty, difficulty, trials, confusion, oppression, depression, bondage, crises, circumstances that seemed to overwhelm, I've uttered this reminder: Eyes on Jesus, Heart in His hands.

"Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me!" Matthew 14:29-30

How many times do I lose sight? How often am I distracted by the wind and waves around me? H…

Spilled Milkshakes & Lost Lipgloss

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I've found it. The alternative indulgence to my usual Oreo craving. The combination of real peanut butter, chocolate fudge and real chunks of banana blended together to create a consistency where I nearly thought I'd bust an eardrum trying to suck the milkshake goodness from the not-quite-big-enough straw. It was ohhhh so good!

I didn't finish the entire thing and I failed to throw the cup away. (There's a couple of lessons here but those are for another day.) Returning to the car, I noticed the cupholder was overflowing with ooey melted leftover peanut butter banana fudge milkshake. I picked up the cup only to find the entire bottom detached and what had once been contained was now dripping everywhere.

It was a sticky mess filling the middle console and as I attempted to remove the broken cup, it dripped and leaked all over the seat, the floorboard, and essentially left a trail from the cupholder to the trashcan. 

In true mom fashion, I whipped out every napkin stor…

Sidewalk Chalk

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 It was a beautifully warm sunny day just begging for me to be enjoying the outdoors. E & I were laying on the driveway looking up at the brilliant blue sky. The occasional strands of cirrus clouds were too thin and moving too quickly to make out any kind of shape. Also moving quickly from one thing to the next, E  exclaimed, "Let's draw something!"

No, he wasn't referring to my iPod game obsession, but he was going to get the sidewalk chalk.

And so we began to draw. He practiced his "E's" and "J's" (J is for his friend John), and he asked me to design images of the following: dinosaur, dandelion, sun, moon and a rainbow. Excellent choices, at least I thought so since my drawing abilities are limited.

I couldn't help but stare at the bright lines of chalk I had constructed for the rainbow. Something was missing. The lines alone seemed incomplete. I decided to add a few fluffy clouds - one on each end. Even though it was simp…

A little birdy taught me

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It was the normal morning drive; a country road that twists and turns through pastures and fields. We normally talk about the cows and how they give us "chocky-milk" or we remark about the lush green farms. Just as we cleared one of the many roller-coaster-like hills, the sun was shining so brightly I could barely see in front of me. And then I hear from the backseat, "Mom, look at all those birds! What are they doing on the ground with the cows?"

Sure enough, covering the pasture where the cows would ordinarily be standing were dozens and dozens of birds grazing instead. They were busy at work poking the ground.

"They're digging for worms!" I told my inquisitive preschooler, knowing his own love of this activity would surely peak his interest.

"Mom! Why are they on the ground?" he asked.

His emphasis was as if I had not properly understood - or answered - the question.

"I told you -  birds eat worms and the ground is wet from all the …

He's Still God

When you're faced with pain...
He's still God.

When you don't have answers...
He's still God.

When you don't understand...
He's still God.

When you're overcome with grief...
He's still God.

When you're weighed down by guilt...
He's still God.

When you pray for a miracle but it doesn't come...
He's still God.

When you can't even pray...
He's still God.

When you're too weak to speak...
He's still God.

When you scream out in anger...
He's still God.

When you don't know the next step to take...
He's still God.

When you're wandering in the wilderness...
He's still God.

When your situation has left you completely out of control...
He's still God.

When you're paralyzed by fear...
He's still God.

When you're heart is overcome...
He's still God.

Whatever you face, whatever your circumstance, whatever you feel, whatever you're going through... No matter what twists and turns life is throwing at you. N…

Dog Gone It

Mom's going out of a town for a few days. Because dad works crazy shifts, my sister and I have been asked to assist with the watchcare of the 2 year old Teddy Bear bichon-frieze/shiztu mix named Isabelle.

This dog has more fur than you can possibly imagine so she gets groomed regularly. Most recently leaving the doggie parlor with a fashionable pink feather fastened to the fur on her ear. Gone are the days of "fur bows"...we're trending feathers now.

Isabelle isn't high maintenance but for the brief time mom will be gone she has come with a day-by-day itinerary of categorized instructions, complete with color-coding for each person and their corresponding responsibilities. If you know my mom, you're not surprised. She's organized to a "tee" (I stole that from a friend). The color coding and details are mostly for dad. (If you know him, this isn't a shocker.) If you know my family, you know why we're all laughing.

I should also add that…

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday was sunny and 75. The cool breeze offered a consistent reminder that it is still spring despite the warmth of the sun.

The cloud cover today is blanketing the sky. It's a chilly 55 degrees with a cool and steady rain.

What a difference a day makes.

The sun may have been shining yesteday but my heart was downcast. And while the skies of grey could certainly make today look bleak, it bears no reflection of the joy I feel inside.

What a difference a day makes.

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
   the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
   and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
   and therefore I have hope:

Lamentations 3:19-21

Oh there have been days of affliction, certainly days - maybe longer - wandering in the wildnerness. I remember these days well, and I recall these days as a reminder...

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faith…

Gone Fishin'

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He's 3. I'm 33. It was the first fishing experience for both of us.  I touched the worm. I got dirty. He accidentally (on purpose) "fell" in the creek. We didn't catch a single fish. But it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable days I can remember.

My boy loves the outdoors. This mama is learning how to get dirt under my manicured nails, find joy in all the insects that would normally "bug" me, and stick my feet in the creek and get them muddy and not care. (Okay, I care a little bit...but it all washes off!)

Some days the fish are biting and somedays they aren't. But you've got to at least be willing to bait the hook, cast your line, and be patient. Even a normally active and energetic little boy was willing to patiently wait in hopes of catching the prize. The mud and water and worms didn't phase him. Not in the least. I was certainly stepping outside of my comfort zone, but I'm so glad I did.

He demonstrated more patience than…

Maintenance Required

The light has been flashing for awhile now. Every time I started the car it blinked "Maintenance Required." I'm a girl. I don't pay attention to this stuff. The little sticker in the corner told me I had 200 more miles before my next oil change so I figured the maintenance check could wait until then.
It wasn't until I glanced over at my windshield and noticed my inspection sticker bore the number "3". Uh oh. We're well into the 4th month. Girl moment again. Now realizing I was breaking the law, I made the call to schedule an appointment for maintenance and inspection.

The warning light wasn't enough to get my attention. I had to become a criminal to motivate me to take action.

How many times is this true of me? Guardrails are in place. Safety nets are out-stretched. The warning signs are posted. The flashing light serves as a reminder, "Pay attention!" But seemingly I ignore it. Not until I have crossed the line, gone over the cliff…

When I Am Weak

Today I had to admit weakness.

I was broken hearted, discouraged, and I know myself well enough to know I was at the point of shutting down. I've recognized my default setting of trying to do things on my own, which usually results in donning the mask that "everything's okay." But I was so rocked at my core that I felt certain I couldn't even put on the act today.

So, I went public with my admission of needing help. I debated this for a second - should I really post that I'm asking for people to pray? I'll start getting texts and private messages asking "what's wrong" and I wasn't in any position to explain. What if people thought I was self-seeking or just trying to get attention? No, I knew that my motive was pure. Today I needed prayer partners to surround me - whether they knew what the situation was or not. Today I needed confidantes to intercede on my behalf. Today I was seeking spiritual support and encouragement because I knew I…

Half Off

It was a joyful Sunday morning. A day of celebration. A day of remembrance. A day of thanksgiving. Easter Sunday. Knowing we serve a risen Lord was certainly cause for celebration and you could sense the excitement. There were greetings filled with rejoicing, new outfits donned in honor of this day, and baskets chock full of candy and prizes that eager kids couldn't wait to get their hands on.

But the day after Easter rolled around and I just knew...the stores would have everything half off. The stuff I paid full price for just two days earlier would now be marked down by at least 50%. (except Target which felt 30% off was sufficient - what is this about?! You're a "Super Target" now so you don't have to offer a real sale?!)

I admit. I've always been a sucker for Cadbury eggs. I guess you either love 'em or hate 'em. In my case, I can't wait for Valentine's Day to be over because these and the Reeses peanut butter eggs are usually the first t…

The Guards' Report

When the chief priests  had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the solders a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this reports gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the solders took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. 
Matthew 28:12-15

Have you ever been lied to? Oh....I could tell you stories. True accounts of deception. The absolute defamation of a life of twisted lies and manipulation. It can be devastating.

I'm sure I've read it before, but it never really caught my attention that they not only made up such a story but it is still widely circulated TO THIS VERY DAY.

I remember our tour guide in Israel - a devout Jew. A group of wide-eyed college kids from a Christian school were all-too-eager to share our belief of a risen Savior…

T.G.I. GOOD FRIDAY

It's Good Friday. It wasn't really a good day for Jesus 2,000 years ago...but what came out of it was good for all mankind. For you, for me, for every person who would choose to accept.

Today's post isn't like others. This is the most important post I could share. Eternity depends on it.

Today is the day we remember Christ's death. But what I need you to know and hear if you've never heard it before...Christ died for YOU.

Sin separates us from knowing God and eternal life with our Father. No matter how big or little, we've all sinned; we all fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). The cost of our sin is death but we've been given a FREE gift - the gift of salvation through the price Jesus Christ paid by giving His life to pay the debt we owed (Romans 6:23). And even knowing we would sin - as He formed us in the womb and planned the days of our lives - He made a way for us to spend eternity with Him. Why? Because He loved us (Romans 5:8).

The gift…

Scars

I have a scar on my right hip. It's about 2 inches long and serves as a reminder of the one and only surgery I've had.

My freshman year of college I found myself doubled over in pain that progressed so intensely throughout the day until I was nearly immobile. I ended up in emergency care where they were convinced I had alcohol poisoning since I was, afterall, a freshman in college. I had never consumed a drop of alcohol in my life but the doctors weren't buying it, especially since the next day began my first semester's final exams. A likely excuse, right?!

After hours of testing and the pain intensifying, I was rushed into surgery for an appendectomy. After it was all said and done the surgeon wasn't convinced that the appendix was the problem, but I was left with a two inch scar and one less organ.

I remember the pain of trying to stand up for the first time after surgery. It felt as if my insides were moving and shifting to accommodate for the missing appendix.…

Amazing Love

I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again

Amazing Love, how can it be?
That You my King would die for me

Amazing Love, I know it's true;
And it's my joy to honor You, 
In all I do, I honor You.

You may recognize the familiar praise song above. It seems appropriate especially as we continue this week of reflection of Christ's sacrifice, paying the debt for my sin, taking my place, dying for me. And what does He ask in return? That I accept His gift and that I honor Him with my life.

I should have been condemned to die - but He took my place
I should have been rejected by men - but He heard my voice among the scoffers.
I should have been spit upon and mocked - but He bore the shame.
I should have bore the cross - but He took it upon His back.
I should have taken the nails - but He bears the scars.
I should have suffered death on a cross - but He humbled Himself to …

33

This may be one of my most honest admissions. Are you ready for this? I am about to reveal something so personal, so private ... Information so top secret and so hidden it could forever change everything you think about me.

Here we go...

We were hanging out backstage after the Living Cross and someone asked my age. (I'd like to think I hide it well....but I was being put to the test.) She's a good friend that I can trust with this knowledge so I felt no reluctance to share "I just celebrated the 4th anniversary of my 29th birthday."

Seeing the puzzled look on her face, I could almost hear the calculator in her head. I decided to help her out since her Bible trivia is better than her math, so I said "I'm the same age Jesus lived to be." She laughed & immediately blurted out "You're 33!"

Shhhhh!!!!! Keep your voice down!!! (Gulp...I can't believe I just revealed this to you all!)

And then it hit me. I am the same age as Jesus when…

Sifted

We just finished a full weekend of four Living Cross presentations. Thousands witnessed the Gospel through the presentation of the life of Christ. As this week leads up to Easter, I feel it's appropriate to do my best to focus on the events surrounding the reason we "celebrate." I can honestly say I don't even like the word celebrate in relation to Easter. Yes, we celebrate our risen Lord. Yes, we celebrate His victory over death and the grave. But really it's a time to reflect and remember and recommit.

I may reference a few scenes or lines throughout the week but one that really has captured my attention this year comes straight from Luke 22:

"Peter, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (vs. 31-32)

Jesus sets the scene. What is to come is Peter's denial of even knowing Christ (vs. 34) despite his pledge to go with the Lord even…