Friday, May 31, 2013

He Chose the Stones

Most of us have heard the story of David and Goliath. Young David defeats grizzly Philistine. Not only does he defeat him, but he is calm, cool, and collected because he is confident that the Lord will deliver this victory. He has experienced God's deliverance from bears and lions in the pasture and is sure that God won't fail him now.

In the story, though, one passage stands out: David chose five smooth stones to get the job done. He knew God would deliver him, but he had to take some responsibility for his own actions.

Since the process of deciding to self-publish my novel began, I have been rewriting, editing, tweaking, critiquing and criticizing, fretting, studying, and rearranging the manuscript. Finally though, last night at 10:30, I uploaded the final edit to my publisher.

Fear was weighing me down, like an invisible ball and chain. What if no one likes it? What if I missed something? What was I thinking? You know...the usual self-talk of someone who believes their entire future rests in their hands. All my angst was leaving no room for God to have the victory.

Then this morning, I realized, like David choosing his stones, that I have done the best I can. And I am trusting God with the outcome.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Burning Bushes

Ever wonder what God wants you to do with your life? I have. I can actually say without too much exaggeration that it causes me stress sometimes, trying to figure out His will for me. That question has lead me to the Experiencing God Bible study by Henry Blackaby. And, while I can't say for certain that I know what the answer to that question is for me personally, I am understanding what the answers are for all of us in general.

One thing I am learning is that if God wants you to know something, He will make sure you know it. I worry sometimes that I will miss the big announcement. It made me start thinking about the burning bush and Moses.

In my imagination, I have always pictured the bush about the same size as a tumbleweed. Of course, I've never seen a tumbleweed either, but I've decided it's not any taller than my knees. A stompable, lean-over-and-blow-it-out kind of burning bush.

Lately though, I've been thinking it was probably a little grander than that. Not that a burning-but-not-actually-on-fire bush wouldn't catch my eye, but still. From what I've read in the Scriptures, God doesn't generally work in understatements.

I'm going to rest in the knowledge that when I avail myself to God and watch to see where He is at work, He will reveal Himself to me and invite me to be where He is. So less stressing, less manipulating, and more trust.

Jesus says "Come, follow Me" because He knows where the path is. I just need to stay close.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mom Time Thoughts

"The Lord repays the years the locusts have eaten..." Joel 2:25
When I reflect back on the last eight years, I can see the promise of this scripture bearing fruit. Yesterday marked the last day of my official involvement with Mom Time, a ministry that seeks to connect women in the same season of life and provides biblical teaching to guide them in their parenting and marriages.
I initially came to Mom Time as the parent of an almost two year looking for friends. Both of us. I loved the funny stories the teacher told us about her family, and tuned out the Bible parts. But when she started talking about our relationships with our husbands and the need to respect them as leaders, something shifted inside. I realized I was more interested in controlling my husband and being in charge myself than in encouraging him to be the leader in our home. That was the first time I realized God might have something to say about my marriage and parenting.
I left Mom Time for a year and went to lead Bible studies for a season, but came back to Mom Time the following year as a member of the leadership team. The rest, as they say, is history.
While I am excited to move on in new directions, the past year has been a time of reflection for me as I prepared a new team to take over. I realized that you have to focus on the people you are serving.
Ministry is not about programs, it is about transforming the lives of the people who utilize that ministry. Seeing hearts change, eyes open, and relationships strengthen all speaks to the glory of God. He is the difference in all these situation.
I have loved the opportunity to speak into the lives of these moms, wherever they are in their journey, and encourage them to take the next step in faith.
But most of all, I am humbled by the fact that God chose to use someone like me, someone who actively went after other women's husbands in my past, to help strengthen families. I feel a little like Paul, who made a career out of targeting Christians only to be used to spread the gospel of Christ to many lands.
Only God could use someone so broken and misguided, someone so clueless as to what it means to be a godly woman, and transform her for service in the very arena she caused so much harm. So, it is with a very humble heart that I say all glory to God for the privilege of serving in this capacity. He has given me more than I could ever ask or imagine.
He will repay the years the locusts have eaten, even when we are the locust.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Higher Still

I was trolling on my blog, reading old posts when I came across this one from May of 2009. The words still apply:


Justin, being pushed on the swings: HIGHER!
Me: I will push you higher, but I need to make sure you are going straight first.
God: Same goes for you, girlie!

How many times have I asked God for more than He knows I can handle? How often do I want to get to the destination without going taking the journey to get there?

"Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones." Luke 16:10 NLT

Friday, May 3, 2013

Looking for a Harvest?

"Without oxen a stable stays clean,
but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. (Proverbs 14:4)"
This is one of those verses that would be easy for me to skip over in my reading. As far as I know, I have no need for an ox.

But the words followed me around all day yesterday, challenging me about my desire to have a clean stable. Translation: a simple life.

We strive to keep our lives balanced, safe, and happy. No room for a mess or an interruption. But if I want my life orderly, this verse tells me, I might miss out on the harvest. Not just any harvest, but a large one.

I want that.

This verse tells me that if I want to make a difference in the world, I'm going to need to worry less about living tidy, and be willing to get a little messy. It means saying "yes" when it isn't convenient. It means going to places out of my comfort zone. And it means working harder than I always feel like.

If your goal is to get through this life with as little discomfort and inconvenience as possible, keep the ox out of your living room. But if you want to see a large harvest in the Kingdom of God, you better stock up on the hay. And grab a's gonna get messy.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Prayer 101

If you find prayer intimidating, read on. We talked about this in Mom Time the other day. Here is the blog we posted on that topic. Take a listen to the song by Sanctus Real when you're done reading. It spoke to my heart, and you may find it speaks to yours as well.

Praying For Our Children, and Ourselves

Prayer is one of those things that we know we are supposed to do. Like exercise, or eating enough vegetables. For some of us, just hearing the word prayer brings up feelings of guilt, boredom, or, dare I say it outloud, futility.

Sometimes I think that if God already has all my days planned out, why bother to pray? It's not like I'm going to change His mind about something.

However, the purpose of prayer is not to influence God, but to change the nature of the one who prays. Praying brings us into communion and relationship with God, and He will align our hearts with His as we let Him into the conversation, which prayer is.

Prayer is nothing more, and nothing less, than communicating with our Creator. No special degree is required. Jesus died so that we could approach the throne of grace with confidence, whatever is going on in our lives. You don't have to wait until you feel like you are having an especially holy day to come to God in prayer.

When it comes to praying for our kids, don't be afraid to pray big, hairy, audacious prayers on their behalf. Ask God to move in a big way in their lives and let Him show off.

Many verses in the Bible can be turned into prayers. And remember to think like a farmer when it comes to praying for your kids. Many prayers will take time to bear fruit, but God is always at work on our behalf.

To get you started, Romans 12:9-21 is a great section to break up into prayers for your kids. Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Pray that for your children.

Use a prayer calendar, with a different verse for each day. Here is a link to many resources regarding intentional motherhood.

Trace their hand and write a verse for the whole year on it. Post it where you will see it.

Get your kids started on their own faith journey of prayer. Write the names of friends and loved ones on popsicle sticks and practice praying for one stick each day.

Bottom line: don't be intimidated or defeated before you even get started. Invite God to come closer to your family through prayer, and be prepared to have Him knock your socks off.

Upside Down Prayers
Pray Big for Your Child