Thursday, April 29, 2010

Following Distance

I love that my kids are getting old enough to be exercise partners. Connor rode his bike tonight while I jogged. It was perfect weather, maybe a touch warm but I am not complaining about that. We took the two mile circuit that I used to do a couple summers ago. For the most part he was a good exercise companion; our route took us past a park so we stopped off for a swing and a slide. I'm not really training for speed, just endurance. It also took us past a variety of barking dogs, some in fences, some on leashes, but one in particular was free to run and chased Connor down the sidewalk. Anyone who knows my son knows what a trauma that was.

As we were getting close to home, he started getting a little quirky. I would be halfway across a street, telling him to come on, and he would just stare at me from the corner with his finger in his mouth. Eventually it dawned on me that he must have a loose tooth, his first one. But while I was standing in the middle of the road, telling him to hurry up and follow me, God was speaking loud and clear.

God leads. We are supposed to follow. But what happens when we just stand there and stare at Him, not making any progress? What if He is calling us to come on, keep moving, and we just plant our feet and refuse to move? Besides the obvious...going nowhere fast...we are also standing in disobedience. We are missing out on the journey that God is trying to lead us on.

Sometimes we don't move because we are preoccupied with our present adventure, like Connor and his tooth. He was so focused on what was going on right then that he was missing an invitation to move. I get so caught up in the drama of my daily life that sometimes I don't always hear God calling. He is ready for me to take a step in my journey of faith, and I am too busy focusing on where I currently am.

Other times, we clearly hear Him calling, but we are too afraid to follow. I could see the dog that ended up chasing Connor and told him to stay on his bike and keep pedaling, that I would deal with the dog. He jumped off his bike and started running in a panic. When trouble strikes, God tells us clearly to keep our eyes on Him, and He will handle it. We become so immobilized by the scariness of the situation that we forget Who has our back.

There are times when we just get tired. It is hard to take the next step, and the next step, and the next step, when they always seem to lead in a circle. But God, (and you know how I love that phrase, But God...) knows the way our journey is going to go. We feel like we are in a desert with no mile markers, like the Israelites of old, but God knows where the promised land is. He will lead us there when we are ready for it. Sometimes going in circles is part of the journey.

When I kept calling to Connor, mostly I was irritated that he wasn't listening. He was willfully ignoring me. He was being disobedient. (I gave him a little grace once I figured out about the wiggly tooth.) I told him that if he didn't follow when I called him he could get hurt. I was trying to lead him safely home and couldn't do that if he didn't stay next to me. That is when the Lord spoke loudest to me. How many times have I stood and not listened and gotten hurt in the process? There is not only safety in sticking close to God, there is freedom from the things that hurt us when we wander off on our own.

Next time you feel God calling you but you don't feel your feet moving in the right direction, think about it. Why are you still standing there? Fear? Rebellion? Pride? Busyness? Let me encourage you that He will not take you anywhere that He isn't willing to go too. Look for the adventure waiting, keep pedaling, and follow. Home is waiting.
"He leads me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:24

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Heart

I had a really profound moment with the Lord today.

The other day on Facebook, my status referred to the difference between "I love the Lord" and "I love you, Lord." Just writing these words gives me goosebumps. Picture yourself in junior high again, and you just told someone to tell someone that it is ok to tell someone else that you kind of like him. To me, that is the "I love the Lord" version. It is safe and fairly non-committal. Change that to how you feel actually looking at someone, them looking back at you, and telling that person that you love them. Face to face. No go-betweens. That is what I'm talking about. That is how my day started out yesterday.

Today, as I was singing my praise with 500 of my closest friends at the Beth Moore Simulcast event, I was a little restrained. My daughter was standing next to me and I didn't want to weird her out or make her feel uncomfortable. I really wanted to raise my hands in worship, but I didn't. Then He spoke to me.

I was back in 8th grade again, not letting on how much I liked someone because I was with my friends. Jesus was like, that's how you are going to treat me? You're going to act different because you are with other people? Needless to say, I raised my hand, threw back my head, and sang with everything I had to my Jesus. I love Him, I can't live without Him, and I'm ok with that.
"I'm not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation."
Romans 1:16

Friday, April 16, 2010


Sometimes all you can do is pull the covers over your head and pray for a new day. Life is hard, and since we do not live in a bubble, the "hard" for everyone else gets to us too. Sometimes somebody else's hard stuff spills over and gets you dirty along with it. But God...

But God...two beautiful words that give me hope. But God let our stuff spill all over Him, and knows what it is like. So I pull the covers over my head, let my Jesus stand guard, and rest. It's all I can do sometimes.

If you are reading this on Facebook, click to view "original post". There is a beautiful song that will lift you up.
"May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing as you trust in Him."
Romans 15:13

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grow Up, Already!

Can you keep a secret? There is a very small chance that I may be....insecure. I have been reading Beth Moore's new book So Long Insecurity...You've Been a Bad Friend and feeling real sorry for those insecure girls. Sure, I've made some (bad, horrific, stupid, hurtful) decisions to feel better about myself, but I've changed since then. I've even taken what didn't ever belong to me to see if I could, just to prove something to myself. All part of the B.C. life.

Or so I thought.

Last week I got a friend confirmation from the site for my 25th high school reunion. Yeah, I said 25th. I can't believe it either. Anyway, stalking, I mean looking through, the site let me see the profiles of a lot of people I went to high school with. Including him. The one with the twinkly blue eyes and dimples that never really wanted to be more than friends with me. Apparently still single, because when I blew up the profile pic there was no ring on his finger. But he is in a relationship with her, the girl with the naturally curly hair and small feet. (Now you know what my hang-ups are...) It is amazing how 25 years melt away and immediately I am jealous, indignant, wondering why he would choose her over me. It flashes like a neon sign, searing my heart with feelings of not being good enough, again.

Not as immediately as I would like, reality seeps back in. I am not in high school anymore. I am a married grown woman. I notice that she has a married name after her maiden name; things must have not gone well in her marriage if she is single again. I muster up compassion, being happy that they have found each other, in another city even, and have a chance at the love that maybe has always been planned. Silently I wish them well.

The flood of insecurity begins to recede, and I remember that I don't need anyone else's opinion or desire to tell me who I am. I belong to Christ. I am chosen by Him. And, He even gave me my own guy with twinkly blue eyes and dimples who totally wants to be more than friends with me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Intentional Living

"Intentional" is sort of a buzz word lately. To do something deliberately, on purpose, with a deeper reason behind it...I guess that would sum up my own definition. As someone who tends to go through life somewhat lackadaisically (which, by the way, is a really fun word to spell), being intentional is not my norm. I have realized though that nothing good and worthwhile happens on its own.

I have my head stuffed full of scriptures, but for them to be of any use, I have to be intentional about calling them to mind. I have decided to change my method of discipline with my kids, but I have to intentionally make a different decision instead of doing what comes naturally. I am trying to make better choices when it comes to what I eat and snack on, and I have to be really focused and intentional when standing next to a basket of my favorite Easter candy. It is almost comical the way I can rip open a wrapper and wolf down a bunch of mini candy bars before I even remember that I was trying not to eat those.




Last night, in the middle of the night, I had to get up and take care of one of the kids. When I tried to fall back asleep, my mind was swirling with different situations that are cropping up. Instead of laying there playing the "What If?" game, I intentionally thought about a truth of God: not only does He have all things in His Hand, but His day actually starts at midnight. Genesis reminds us that the first day started in the evening and flowed into morning (Genesis 1:5). While I was tossing and turning, He was already at work. I gave Him the things that were making me feel helpless and afraid, confident that that would be way more productive. I could sleep knowing that God has all situations under His radar, and that He will provide me the grace and strength to face anything.
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those
whose hearts are fully committed to Him."
2 Chronicles 16:9

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Such Thing As Whelmed

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to be completely and totally overwhelmed by a task put before me. I was asked to share my testimony at our Women's Retreat of how God rescued me from a pit I had deliberately jumped into.

The word "overwhelm" has been on my mind lately, because there is no middle ground. You can be underwhelmed, which is disappointed and left with a sense of wanting. Or you can be overwhelmed. I looked up the word "whelm" to see what it means to just be whelmed. It doesn't exist.

The definition of "overwhelm" describes exactly where I want to spend the rest of my days:
1. to overpower the thoughts, emotions, or senses of
2. to overcome with irresistible force
3. to overcome, as with a profusion or concentration of something
4. to cover over or bury completely
5. to weigh or rest upon overpoweringly

I was overwhelmed, initially, by the thought of sharing my testimony because I was afraid of the fall out. What if people only focused on the "before" side of the my story, who I was before I let the Lord in to my life? I was overwhelmed by fear and doubt. Midway through our opening session, singing Salt and Light, I was completely overwhelmed by God. I had a chance to point ladies towards His grace, mercy, and redeeming love. Now that is definitely an opportunity to be overwhelmed. I made it my goal to not leave His presence, to not allow the enemy to steal this joy that was filling my soul.

I was overpowered by His Holy Spirit.
I was overcome with the irresistable force of His will for me.
I was overcome by a concentration of the power that Christ strengthened me with.
I was buried completely in the shadow of His wings.
The very Presence of God rested upon me as I spoke the truth of WHO HE IS.

Overwhelmed. It is where God wants us to live every day. Overpowered, overcome, buried completely in Him.

Do not make the mistake in settling for simply being "whelmed" in your life with Christ. It doesn't exist. It just doesn't exist.