Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making Time for the Not-So-Urgent Stuff

Ok, it's been awhile since I've written again. I don't know how the people who post all the time do it. Between work, kids, volunteer stuff...I know I'm preaching to the choir of busy people here, but to make myself sit down and write for the sake of sitting down and writing seems there are people checking their in-boxes looking for my deep thought.

Know what I mean?

I've written the last few times about moving out of the emptiness and that's what I've been up to. Listening everyday for God. Experiencing Him where He is at work. Holding my schedule loosely to make room for things that come up at the last minute, or even during an already scheduled minute.

Sometimes in the quest to become more intimate with the Lord, we mistakenly shut out the world. I don't think it's supposed to be like that. So, instead of writing, I've been having coffee with friends and getting to know new ones. I had lunch with a friend with no meeting agenda sitting between us. Weird, huh?

I realized I haven't seen my sister since Thanksgiving, and she lives 30 minutes away. Today we made time for breakfast together, with my mom and one of my daughters. We need to be intentional about making time for the people we care about, because the time will slip away while we are busy being, well, busy.

 I got tired of trying to have deep meaningful conversations between church services or on the playground at pick up time and decided that if God has a plan for me, He will move it forward even if I stop for coffee with a friend in the middle of a planned writing day.

Not that I'm not writing. I am shining up the manuscript for an editor and taking steps into self-publishing in an e-book format. Baby steps.

We will have a big ole' cyber party when I release it and I will probably be begging anyone and everyone to read it and write glowing reviews. I see this book being part one of a three part series, so I'm sure the neurotic outbursts and fears of failure will continue for years to come.

So, how about you? Are you taking your life and your various quests in the Name of Jesus too seriously? Not that what you are up to isn't important, but I know I don't want to get to the finish line with just a completed to-do list to keep me company. I want, no...need community, but I think I was the last one to realize it.

If you are like me and more task-focused than people-focused, it is easy to not interact. Easy, but not particularly healthy. Next thing you know, you have a free morning and no one to grab coffee with because you've made yourself too busy to ask. I'm trying to be intentional about interacting. Less email. Less facebook. More face. More phone. Slow down a bit.

God will keep the world spinning while you chat with your friends for a bit over coffee.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I followed a truck for a few miles today with an "OVER SIZE LOAD" sign across the back. I felt like I was looking in a mirror. Without going in to a lot of personal detail...yes, I realize this is out of character...this is exactly how I felt. Weighed down beyond my ability to handle things.
And actually, this is not a bad place to be.
I started doing the Experiencing God Bible study by Henry Blackaby and yesterday's study posed the question: What is going on in your personal life that you can't handle without God?
I couldn't think of anything specific. Yeah, I mean, there's stuff, but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on it.
Then more stuff gets piled on. Before I know it, I'm totally relating to the backside of a truck.
In that moment, I prayed that God remind me I am not carrying the load by myself. As a matter of fact, He invites me to bring it to Him (Matthew 11:28), and I do. I pray that whatever the day holds, I handle it in a way that honors and glorifies Him, in a way that shows that He makes a difference.
I had a chance to spend some time in Psalms, resting in His sovereignty. He will handle and redeem all things, not always in a way we would hope in our earthly perspective, but in a way that matters for eterntiy.
I listened to my favorite David Crowder song, All I Can Say, and reminded myself that wherever I'm standing, I'm not there alone.
I am not beaten down without hope, just weary. And weary is my cue that I've been carrying the oversized load myself.
If this post is like looking in a mirror for you, take heart, my friend. The invitation stands for you too.
When you are ready, check out this song and let the words wash over you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's Not Just a Ham

Today I will throw away a ham, and it sickens me. It fills me with shame to see the amount of food we waste at my house. Lately, cleaning out my refrigerator has become a spiritual journey.

This isn't financially driven, although I realize that we could be better stewards of our money by buying only what we need and cooking only what we will eat, but this goes deeper and I'm not sure what to do with it.

The ham is just icing on the cake. It was a good price, so I bought two, intending to do some freezer cooking with it. It was such a good price, I thought about picking up another one for a family I know, but I didn't. Probably five times I walked past the ham case and ignored the little voice that said pick one up for so and so. When it became clear that I wasn't going to cook the extra ham at my house, the little voice said bring it to so and so.

"No time, little voice." I said. "Besides, I might use it."

I checked the date on the ham yesterday, the ham that sits in our extra refrigerator next to the deep freezer so I have lots of room to store our bounty.

It expired February 22nd. And I was tempted to google just how spoiled is spoiled and see if someone still wanted it. Ugh...

This is not guilt talking. This is flat out conviction.

This is also the beginning of awareness, and it is not a bad thing if, and only if, I don't drown out the voice with "do-gooding." God is not asking me to go buy a new ham and give it away so we can be even. We can never be even with God.

Sometimes, God leads us to new territory by opening our eyes to what He sees. I don't know what this awareness will lead to, but God has a plan for it.

I read a Blueprint for Life devotion on generosity this morning that you can click here to read. The author makes some key points about what giving looks like, what we can give, and what we can't. But even typing this, I don't think my food fetish is about generosity, although that isn't a bad place to go with it.

I realize that not everyone is being tweaked in the same way I am, but I know that God is opening your eyes to something, somewhere. Don't quench the Spirit. Don't shy away from what He is trying to show you because it will lead to His purpose for you, whatever that looks like.

Now, I've got a ham to deal with before it explodes in my fridge.

Prayer: God, forgive me for not listening to You. Lord, open my eyes to what You want me to see. Break my heart in a new way, but please God, don't leave me there. Free me to be a person who glorifies You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

New thought to ponder...I always preview my post before I hit publish, and as I was reading, God whispered "grace" to me. Maybe this has to do with not understanding the grace that God wants to pour into my life. I am squandering it, wasting it. I'm not going to fret about understanding it though, because I know that God is wanting me to get it a million times more than I want to get it, and He will make the way.

Friday, March 8, 2013

He's Got This, Babe

Sometimes God gives us an opportunity to be a blessing to others in ways we didn't seek or even see coming. He gives us a new place to stand and glorify Him. I wrote a devotional for the Encouragement Cafe on that topic that you can read here.

If you were at the Women's Retreat or are my Facebook friend, you can see that I was given an opportunity to bless God and the women of my church that took me way out of my comfort zone.

I Got You, Babe!

A friend and I agreed to sing Sonny and Cher's I Got You, Babe for the 70's style variety show we did on Saturday night. My church's retreat team does an amazing job of balancing solid material and worhsip time with a chance to cut loose and enjoy some belly laughs with your friends. Laughter is so healing and refreshing, but it's isn't the way I am normally used of God.

I almost missed the bigger picture of serving HIm through this as I fretted all weekend about forgetting my lines and messing things up. Then, when I put that moustache on (which I'm usually working to keep off...) my inner Sonny showed up and took over. My friend "Cher" and I prayed that God would just steal the show and use us to bring refreshment and laughter to the women, and that He would be glorified in the process.

This is not my usual arena of service, but once I got over myself and let God work through me, it really was a blast. It's new territory, and not something I will probably get to do again, but it opened my eyes again to the fact that when I ask God to use me, He will. Just not always in the uniform I am expecting. He's got this, babe.