Thursday, August 28, 2008


Daddy to Justin, 2: Why don't you want to sit with me after all the nice things I do for you?
Justin to Daddy: Me busy playing right now.

I think I just heard God saying the same thing to me. And my excuse isn't much better.
"Draw near to God and God will draw near to you." James 4:8

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ready or Not...

Connor, 5, starts kindergarten next week. I have always joked that it would be the happiest, saddest day of my life. Right now it doesn't feel like a happy day coming. You know what I mean... you look forward to something that seems really far away, but when it is rapidly approaching you kind of start to dread it. I am trying not to convey those feelings to him. Instead, we are concentrating on making sure he is ready. Today we had "Lunch Box Training." I packed him a lunch and watched him figure out how to get it all set up himself, stepping in to help only when necessary. I have spent these last days of summer standing back and letting him figure stuff out for himself. Like how to play on a playground when other kids are there. Not easy to stay out of it sometimes.

On the other end of the spectrum, Alex, 19 (20 in three weeks), moves to LaCrosse at the end of this week. Since she is getting an apartment instead of living in the dorms this is the last time she really "has" to come home. I am also trying to make sure she is prepared and still stay out of the way, which is where she actually prefers me to be.

Life is just a juggling act sometimes. Making sure everybody is equipped for what they need to do. I know there are probably many Biblical truths and analogies in here to draw from. But as my heart is heavy sending my babies out into the world, I just need to take a breath, smile, and rest in the arms of my Father, Who probably feels the same way about me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Not "What" But "How"

A friend said something so smart and direct that I had to write it down. When she or someone in her family is going through a tough time, she says, "You're gonna go through this. Are you gonna go through crabby and angry, or in a way that honors God and those around you?" We don't always get to choose our circumstances, but we can always choose how we are going to handle things.

I have been known to irritate people, mostly my older children, by suggesting they look for the positive in any situation. I have been around long enough to know that no situation lasts forever and that eventually most things work out. Sometimes things seem really dark and scary, but I try to remember everything I know about God. He loves me. All things work to glorify Him. All good things come from above. Even, consider my servant, Job. When I walk through the fire He will be with me. Sometimes He allows us to be tested and tried to see how we handle it. Do we turn to Him and accept the mercy He sends our way? Or do we shut out the world, assume God changed His mind about us, and stew?

1 Peter 1:6-8 encourages me: "In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith-being more precious than gold, that, though perishable, is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." If you are in a tough spot, rise up, my friend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Behind the Scenes

As anyone who knows me knows, I am a pretty confident, capable person. I am usually pretty sure I can accomplish anything I set my mind to by myself. Not that I don't play well with others; I just like things my way. Anyway, now that the stage is set, rewind to a sermon maybe six weeks ago. We were encouraged to pray for a working in our lives that would be unmistakably God's doing. Like a good girl, I prayed sincerely that God would do something so big I would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was Him and not me.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. A conversation with a friend led me to a decision that she needed someone to take charge of some arrangements for her. Of course I felt I was the person for the job. I get stuff done, no problem, I told myself. Little did I know, I was stepping into the arena that I had prayed for. Funny how God does that. I thought there would be a mighty something and I would know it was Him. I did not know He would show up after I had been brought to my knees. Literally.

You're waiting for the fine print. Here it is:
As many of you know, Wydia O'neil is having her kidney transplant this week. I wrote a very nice e-mail and sent it out, expecting everything to fall into place. I got a few responses, and waited. And waited. And started to wonder if this was too big for me. Three times I sat down to write a letter to the powers that be at FRCC to request help from the front on Sunday. Three times I hit delete and could not send out my e-mail. I got to church on Sunday before first service ended, in time to hear Pastor Guy sharing Wydia's story and praying over her. I did not know this was going to take place. Standing at the Ladies Link table, I had many women come up and ask how they could help. All I could say, as I was covered in Holy goosebumps, is "God, You are so good." After letting me struggle under my own steam for awhile, He showed up to save the day. Reminding me that He is faithful, that He is a God of Provision. He was working behind the scenes the whole time. How ever these next few weeks turn out, I will praise God. He showed Himself to me in an unmistakable way, and He rocks! (ps: If anyone feels so inspired, there is always room in the freezer for more meals!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eye on the Prize

Watching the Olympics has created some questions in my mind. Since the time these athletes have been little, they have known what their biggest dream is: an Olympic gold medal. It is a tangible goal. A piece of solid gold hanging around their neck, then on the wall, then maybe in a box, then maybe in the attic of some relative that never even knew them. Just the legend remains.

I compare training for the Olympics with running the race Paul talks about in places in the New Testament. Our goal is less tangible. Or at least it is to me. I can try to be an imitator of Christ, but by its very nature, the word imitator implies doing it under my own strength. As we run our race, we are to do as Christ does, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. Sometimes I'm chugging along and I feel like sitting down in the middle of the track, while I wait for the Spirit to catch up to me. Other times I wonder how I got so far, and I realize it is like the Footprints poem-He carried me.

Sometimes I just wish I could get a glimpse of the prize waiting for me, but as I write this, I know I already have. To live with our King, to always have that feeling that occasionally I get that is too overwhelming for words. Writing this out has helped me to realize that I already know more than I thought. While an Olympic medal is cool and all, the prize I am training for is too big to be kept in someone's attic.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And the Winner Is...

I must admit to being a little starstruck. My closest brush with Hollywood, by way of South America, comes through Mark Lambrecht. For the 1% of the local population living under a rock, he was on this season of the Mole on ABC. And if you don't know yet, he WON!

Not knowing Mark personally, I have only seen him at church, usually wearing a soccer warm up suit. While I realize that watching someone up close and personal on TV is not the same as knowing them, it was cool to see him be someone admirable and respectable on the show. Like someone you would be proud to say, "Hey, that guy goes to my church!" about. He never compromised or double crossed anyone. Even when he could have made it easier for himself, he made the best choice for the team on more than one occasion.

The best part about Mark winning the pot was so his wife can look forward to staying home with their new baby arriving soon. But, Brenda, we'll still get those Kick-Off signs done, right? Brenda??

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This morning in my quiet time, the word quiet being loosely translated, I was wondering why God would love me and how would I know. He answered, "Because I said so." Hmmm...If I expect that to be a good enough answer for my kids sometimes, I guess I need to take Him at His Word.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Unequally Yoked (Updated)

While there are many struggles and "opportunities for growth" in marriage, one of the toughest for me has been to be unequally yoked in my faith with my husband. It is a lonely feeling to be so pumped up after a mountain-top experience like a retreat, a really good sermon, or even a concert, and not have the person closest to you want to share that. While it almost seems disloyal to blog about this, there is no disrespect intended. I know without a doubt that I am supposed to be married to my husband. Even though he doesn't always "get" me, I know he loves me.

I first heard the phrase unequally yoked about a year ago. It comes from the Bible and refers to plow animals in a yoke. If they are not equally matched, they only go in a circle. Ideally, the little one would pick up the pace, but realistically, the big one has to make the accomodation if they want to make it to the finish line. In Sacred Marriage, the author says what if marriage wasn't designed to make us happy, but to make us more holy. Not holier-than-thou, but holy as we are called to be transformed into Christ's image.

When the person we are to love the most makes a comment that hurts our feelings, the best thing we can do is put on our shield of faith. Deflect those ugly things by focusing on whatever is true, noble, beautiful, and righteous about that person. Dig deep. Sometimes the best thing you can say is Thank you, God, for my husband because he showers regularly.

Another big thing I've learned is that pouting only robs me of the joy I feel in my own life; it does not give my husband a sense of the Holy Spirit when I have a chip on my shoulder.

The absolute biggest thing I have had to learn in the last few years, and by far the hardest, is that I cannot control my husband's walk to faith. I can pray for him. I can pray for another to be a good example for him. I can make my request known to God with prayer and thanksgiving, but I can not change him myself. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

If you are in my same shoes, don't just hang in there. Stand firm in your faith. Don't take your eyes off God to focus on what you wish would change. Remember that God is doing a work in your husband, too, even if we can't see it.

Father God, I pray for my sisters who are in this struggle. I ask You to help them see You in every small step, even the backwards ones. I pray that we would all be able to see You at work, even when it doesn't look the same in each of us. I pray that they have strength in You, to remember that You love them, even when it seems very lonely. Lord, please send them friends to lean on, to encourage them on this journey. Help them to not get bitter, but to see their marriage as a chance to show Your love to those who matter most to them.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

I cannot believe it has been three years since I wrote this post. I would love to tell you that the world looks vastly different, but it doesn't. I can tell you that God has continued to use me in my husband's life, to be a voice of hope to him, and to provide godly counsel when needed. I have had to walk out the desires of my heart in moderation because some things he just doesn't get, and I can't let my enthusiasm for all things Jesus become a wedge between us. I know, though, that God will give me the desires of my heart me when I honor Him through obedience.  At the bottom of it all, I still know that God is in control and will bring my husband along in His timing. (August 8, 2011)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just Be Available

Sometimes I feel funny blogging about good things that happen when I do what God is asking because it feels like I'm bragging. Then today Beth Moore mentioned that angels are keeping track of every time we boast in the Lord. This post is totally about that, because on my own power I know my weaknesses are many.

Last night, looking around at all the ladies, God put a burden for one in particular on my heart. I was daydreaming and could see her walking out during the first session, and me following her to introduce myself. About 5-10 minutes after that little brain break, she did get up and walk out into the lobby. I was thinking, am I really supposed to follow her? I don't generally hunt people down like rabbits, but I was convicted of being "competently competent". I followed her, made some small talk, introduced myself, and went back in to the session. I didn't see her for the rest of the night.

This morning I was prompted to save a seat for this young woman. We sat together for the opening session, then I went to the front to wait for someone who needed encouragement during the in-between prayer time. I could see my new friend sitting by herself while I was waiting for someone to approach me; at this point I was feeling like a wallflower at a middle school dance, hoping someone would talk to me. I heard God whisper, "I already introduced you to your date for this dance." (It makes me laugh that God has a sense of humor like mine.) I approached my new friend and asked if there was something I could pray about for her. It turns out we have a whole lot in common. I was able to come alongside someone who I would not have been able to if I didn't listen to God tell me to go introduce myself to her.

Please don't read this as a Yea Me! post. This is totally a Yea God! thing. He used two of my friends to get me to this event, so I could get to someone else. It is too big for me to fathom, the love and beauty behind it all. I am so grateful to be a small part of it. So, Yea God!

Who's Leading Whom

This weekend was the Beth Moore Simulcast. I was planning to go. Then I wasn't going to go. Then I had to go because someone I mentioned it to bought a ticket since I was going. Lots of back and forth. In her talk, Beth Moore talked about her really smart puppy and her husband's "preoccuppied" puppy. He was calling his puppy, who was not getting the message. Beth's puppy picked up a stick, brought it over to the other puppy who grabbed on, and delivered him to Beth's husband, with an expression that said, "I heard you calling him so I brought him over to you." Beth Moore related that to how we can hear God calling other people and why aren't they hearing it, too?

I consider myself to be fairly in tune to where God wants me. Apparently I was not getting His message because He sent two people over with a stick to get me to His feet this weekend. Praise God that I have friends who are watching out for me. And I always thought I was the smart puppy.