Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Creeping Charlie of It All

I love to garden. Except that I forget to weed, water, and otherwise invest in it. So maybe saying I love to garden is too strong a description...I enjoy planting things and watching them grow. It's in the general maintenance that I fall short.

This morning I gazed out my patio door at my handiwork and expense: the herbs and perennials I chose, dug holes for, and, with great expectation, buried up to their necks in the Miracle Gro soil Memorial Day weekend.

I could almost still see them through the weeds and warriors that had advanced on their safe havens like an encroaching army. Clover, creeping charlie, peppermint and lemon balm, all good and beautiful in their rightful places, stealing space from my little green babies.

Armed with my foam knee pad, a small shovel, and my bright orange garden gloves, I surrendered to the obvious task at hand: weed that garden. And, as usual, God speaks loudest to me when I'm on my knees, the natural posture for a reluctant gardener.

I grabbed a handful of creeping charlie, a deceptively destructive plant. Sporting lovely shaped green leaves and tiny purple flowers, it sends out tendrils to climb up the plants I'm actually trying to grow and chokes the life out of them. As I pulled and bagged, God brought to mind my own creeping charlies...those things that take over an otherwise fruitful life.

Trolling comes to mind when I think about creeping charlie's in my world....not fishing with a small motor hoping to catch something, but the metaphor works. I lose whole chunks of time on the internet, reading the Facebook statuses of "friends" I wouldn't recognize if I passed them on the street while my own family withers in front of me, getting lost on Pinterest because everything is just so cool, examining every kitchen light fixture that Wayfair offers....and did you know there's a zillion things for your home on Wayfair? Seriously. I've seen most of them.

Restlessness is a creeping charlie that is harder to pin down...a lack of satisfaction in my current status quo and a longing for new adventures. The Bible identifies this as discontent. Not that it isn't useful to propel me into new arenas, but when discontent breeds dissatisfaction, the by-product is discord. A whole host of dis-words for you...never a good thing. Sometimes it's a sign that God is awakening something new and I need to listen to that. Other times, it's a sign that I need a nap, a snuggle, and to engage in some serious worship.

MY...a two letter word that has the ability to take over the world. My agenda, my needs, my plans, my desires, my quiet time...if I am dead honest, I structure my life and my time to meet my needs. We all do. Even when we look like we sacrifice our all for someone else's needs...think suburban soccer mom who spends her life in her minivan carting children to and looks like she's giving everything up for her kids but in truth, she is serving the vision of what she imagines life is supposed to look like. (Not an indictment, just a statement.) We are all serving something and making room for it in our little patch of dirt we call life, but is it what the Lord wants us filling our gardens with?

What if we all committed to take a serious look at our gardens, our lives? Do we fill our time, our irreplaceable blink and its gone gift of time, with thoughts and activities that nourish our souls and those around us, or have we succumbed to just being satisfied with full schedules that result in the wrong harvest?

What is your creeping charlie?

Can I encourage you to get on your knees, shovel in hand, and see what's invaded your garden? Ask God to reveal them to you if it isn't obvious, although I suspect that deep down most of us know; it just takes courage and intention to deal with them.

 Like my garden reminds me, a once per season overhaul is less effective than consistent diligence.You will get your hands dirty and sweat might run into your eyes because this is hard work, but the result will be worth it.

"... let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..." Hebrews 12:1

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stoplight Conversations

Despite the fact that the air temperature was 67 degrees and the skies overcast, I agreed to take my kids to the city pool. That's the beauty of a pool pass...I really don't care if we leave after five minutes because they realize it's too chilly to swim. But we ended up staying an hour, and that's not really the point of this story.

We're sitting at a stop light on our drive to the pool and my eight year old son says from the backseat, "When can I get baptized?"

Playing it cool, I asked him why he would want to.

"Because Jesus says if you want to follow Him you should get baptized."

Alright. Good answer, buddy. "You know you can follow Him before you get baptized, right?"

"Yeah, I just want to."

I promised that we would talk more about it and continued our drive to the pool. It was a deep conversation in the space of a red light and I was thinking how grown up he was getting.

Then he turned back into an eight year old and said something snarky to his brother. I opened my mouth to say something like "That's not acting like someone who wants to get baptized," but felt an invisible pop upside my head. (Not a real one. An imaginary one. Not sure which is worse...)


It was like watching conversation bubbles pop all around me as everything wrong with that statement flashed into view:

  • Don't you dare say that to him.
  • If you think you have to act a certain way to be good enough to get baptized you are missing the point.
  • Do you always act like someone who has been baptized?
 And I realized how guilty I am of believing the statement I almost made to my son. 

When I start putting qualifications on who can choose to be baptized in Christ's name, I cheapen the grace He came to give. . .the whole reason we follow and get baptized in the first place. 

Instead, I need to remember that the Lord he's already decided to follow will work in his heart, and learn to give him the grace and room to grow that Jesus gives me. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dangerous Ground

I sit on my couch, hair still damp from the first trip to the swimming pool this season, and wonder how my life fits into the world around me.

I'm on dangerous ground lately. I've been praying for God to open my eyes to the things He wants me to see and He's done it, with a vengeance.

I want to nibble at this buffet of awareness God has put in my heart, because I'm afraid that if I gorge myself I will lose the taste for it, but I can't.

In the past three weeks I've read John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life, Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Adventures of Faith, and Noel Brewer Yeatts Awake: Doing a World of Good One Person At A Time. All this from someone who hasn't read a book cover to cover in a couple years.

Last year I wrote a blog confessing that even though I looked shiny and bright on the outside, on the inside, things were dying. Just what you wanted to hear, right? But maybe you've found yourself in the same place. As I sought some sort of cure for this dilemma, the Lord lead me to Philippians 3:10: I make it my aim to know God.

So I did what any Christian of my demographic does. I found a Bible study to do. Let's just say that learning more about God did not do the trick. I think it's like reading recipes for vegetables while eating a bag of Bugles. I might be reading the right stuff but I am not experiencing any of the benefits.

By January I knew I was drifting. I chose the word REVIVE for my One Word Revolution, because I knew that is what I needed. Revival. New life breathed into these dry dusty bones. God has been answering that cry steadily for the past six months.

It's required me to start again, to really analyze my goals, dreams, desires, plans, habits, and commitments...all that Type A stuff..and lay it at His Feet. If He wants to breathe life into it, great. And if it collects dust while He stirs new things in my heart, great.

I just want to be where He wants me, doing what He wants me to do.

And in the middle of it all, I try to figure out where my real life fits into this scene. I sit on the couch, heart pounding while I read a first hand account of the atrocities in Rwanda while listening to my kids bicker in the background.

I read the statistics and effects of living without a clean water source while booking a vacation to Florida and wonder if there's a right or a wrong in this.

I go to the grocery store for a missing ingredient and think about mothers making mud cakes to fill their children's parasite-ridden bellies and wonder how this is all possible on the same planet.

My heart breaks and I can't look away. But what do I do with this? When I figure it out, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'll continue to pray that God becomes a consuming fire, destroying what I don't need and bringing new life from what's left behind.

I know He's up to something; it feels like dangerous ground. And I can't wait to see where this goes.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

TBT: Mom Time Thoughts (Not Just For Moms)

So it's Thursday again...I don't know why that sneaks up on me every week. I asked my son to pick a number between 1 and 600, and he picked 522. Looking at the list to see what blog #522 was about, I was stunned to see that it was written exactly one year ago today. Only God.

It is titled Mom Time Thoughts, but as always, the principles are timeless and eternal. God repairs and restores, and continues to do so today.

Mom Time Thoughts.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Freedom and Truth: A Divine Connection

In my effort to get back to a regular Bible reading plan, I picked up my chronological Bible and turned to where I’d left off, Isaiah. Here is the passage that grabbed me by the eyeballs and wouldn’t let go:
Isaiah 59:20-21 “’The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,’ says the Lord. ‘And this is my covenant with them,’ says the Lord. ‘My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you.’”
I love this passage because it doesn’t say that the Redeemer is coming for those who have not sinned. The Redeemer comes for those who have turned away from their sins.

An exciting thing happens when we take these Old Testament prophecies and bring them into the light of the New Testament:  we see that Christ is the fulfillment of these promises. He is our Redeemer.  In Luke 4, we find Jesus in the synagogue reading from the scroll of Isaiah 61. He turns to the assembly and speaks the words that have the power to change the trajectory of every life:
“’The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable Year of the Lord.’
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Oh. My. Word. We, having the whole of Scripture before us, know what this means. Jesus is our release from captivity. He is our recovery from the things we can’t see. He is our freedom from oppression.

When we turn from our sins, Christ redeems us.

Let me ask…why do you sin? The Bible says that we sin in response to the temptations within…to gratify the evil desires within us (James 1). If you think about it, sinning is like stealing a blessing that isn’t ours to have. We steal because what we have doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

Enough love.

Enough stuff.

Enough power.

Enough recognition.

We sin because we want to fit in. We don’t want to disappoint anyone. We sin because we think it is the only way to get what we want.

And with that, we are right back to square one. “You sin to gratify the sinful desires of your heart.”

Trolling Facebook the other night, I read the truth shall set us free. That got me thinking about the passage that this phrase comes from.

 In the same chapter (John 8) that Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more,”  He says that when we continue in His word, we are His disciples, and then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. (v. 32) It is through knowing Christ that we are free.
Our freedom is inextricably bound in Christ. There is no freedom outside of Christ.  Those activities and attitudes that we turn to in sin . . .they will never provide the freedom and the peace we are seeking.

So what do you do with all that?

You turn away from your sin and trudge back to the Redeemer. As many times as you have to.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

10 Things I've Learned in 27 Years of Being a Mom

Do anything for 27 years and you are bound to learn a thing or two. I became a mom at 19, back when I was pretty sure I knew everything I needed to. Ah, the arrogance of youth. 

I've learned a lot from my kids, mostly by trial and error, and managed to glean some wisdom over the years watching other moms. I've moved from parenting by friendship (if I'm nice they'll do what I say) to getting to be friends with those I parent (once they're in their 20's things ease up a bit.) 

Sitting on my back step today, I took some time to reflect on this crazy journey of raising people. I decided that motherhood doesn't just grow up the kids, it grows up the parents, too. Here's ten things I've learned along the way...

1. Know what season of parenting you're in. Don't fight it. And, no season lasts forever.

2. Let them struggle. Don't rush in to solve all their problems because they will never gain the skills to solve them on their own. Coach and equip them, then give them the space to work things out. 

3. Advocate for your child. Seems like the opposite of #2, but it's not. You are their voice at times; speak up for them when the need arises. 

4. Don't pray that they never get into trouble...pray they get caught when they do. I learned this one from a friend when my kids got into trouble. If they don't get caught, you can't deal with it. 

5. Now that you're the mom, act like it. Sounds harsh, but it's true. And if you have issues from your own childhood to deal with, deal with them. Don't let your past poison their future. 

6. Love their father. I once heard Dr. Phil say that the greatest gift you can give your kids is parents who love each other. I was getting divorced at the time. I can say we've remained friends and did our best to raise the kids together, albeit separately. This time around I've made a concerted effort to be my husband's wife first, the kid's mom second. Let them see what a healthy marriage looks like. (I didn't say a perfect one. A healthy one.)

7. Get interested in what interests your child. It will give you opportunities to grow together. Let them know what interests you...they will see you as a whole person, at some point. 

8. Apologize when you need to. You can't teach real grace, humility, and forgiveness if you need to be right all. the. time. 

9. Live by your convictions. What is right for your family may not be right for someone else's. Don't expect other people to want to do things your way, and don't beat yourself up if someone else's ways don't fit your family. Recognize that we are all doing the best we can.

10. Give them room to be who they are. 

We have the awesome privilege of walking beside someone as they figure out this thing called life. Celebrate the journey with them...the hard steps, the funny ones, the ones you wish would move faster, and the times that seem to fly by.

And to my kids...thanks for making me the mom I am...gray hairs, laugh lines, and all!

Justin and Connor in front, Sophie (my granddaughter), Alex, Jessi (Sophie's mom),
 and Mitchell in back. (2013)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

TBT: Singing Rocks!

Happy Thursday! Today in the midwest we are actually have a spring day. In May. Imagine that! Those of you who enjoyed the polar vortex will get the irony in this statement. is a Throwback Thursday post that goes back to March of 2008.

And the truth of the post still stands today. Without further ado...Singing Rocks! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Are You Wearing Baggy Pants?

I want you to picture a melting ice cream cone in your head...the top melts onto the layer below it and it all slowly pools over the cone. 
That's what I was feeling like back in November...when I sat in my chair at work, my chest rested on my stomach, my stomach squished over my waist and settled on my hips, and everything else just oozed on down towards my knees. Gravity is a cruel mistress. 

So is a love of food. 

I decided to make some healthy changes before the holidays started; I knew my ice cream cone would be headed for my ankles if I waited to make a New Years Resolution which never really work for me anyway. 

Long story short, joining Weight Watchers is working for me. It keeps me accountable and, at the very least, aware of what choices I'm making. Lots of programs are out there...this just works for me. 

After a few months, my jeans started getting a little looser; then I had to cinch in my belt. Eventually it became obvious that the pants didn't fit but being a frugal girl I hated to buy new ones. As I was getting dressed one day, though, it hit me that if I keep wearing the pants with room to grow, I will at some point grow back into them. 

The simple reality is that we gravitate towards that which we surround ourselves with.

 If I want to stop gossiping but sit with the same people I gossip with every lunch hour, I'm probably not going to stop. I can pretend I'm there to be a good influence, but that probably isn't step one. 

If I want to be a more positive person with a good attitude, I can't spend time replaying every conversation that gets under my skin thinking of what I should've said. I need to focus my thoughts on the whatever's...whatever is true, noble, praiseworthy, honorable...think on those things. (Phil. 4:8). Practicing snarky comebacks doth not a good attitude make. 

If we really want to make a change, we need to set ourselves up for success. The Bible says we need to strip off every weight that slows us down (Hebrews 12:1) and run with endurance the race set before us. 

I think we each know which race we are supposed to be running. For me it was to lose the emotional connection to food and lean on God. Weight Watchers and Lysa TerKeurst's Made To Crave are effective tools for me, but that's all they I have to make the choices. And wearing baggy jeans gives me too much room to make poor ones. (Pun totally intended.)

So, your turn. Are you wearing baggy jeans? Have you made it comfortable not to change? Set yourself up for success. I think when Jesus promised life to the full, He intended for us to conquer the things that slow us down and keep us from that life. 

The best part: He makes the way. (John 14:6)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Living through Saturday

When I was a teenager, just the word Saturday was enough to make me smile. It was the high point of the week, promise and anticipation wrapped up in its very essence. My heart would beat a little faster as I considered all the possibilities that day held. Saturday was the day to aim for.

But 2,000 years ago, for a ragtag bunch of guys hiding out in a city otherwise celebrating, Saturday held anything but promise and anticipation. Their Saturday was filled with despair, fear, disbelief, sorrow, and anger. The promised king, the one the prophecies claimed would deliver freedom for their nation, was dead. Murdered like a criminal. And with him in the tomb lay all their hopes and dreams.

Maybe you find yourself living in a Saturday like this...hopes dashed, promises left undelivered, dreams left broken. Maybe you thought that all signs pointed one direction and your life has made a detour through unknown landscapes. Maybe the results you've worked for have been handed to someone else. Or maybe things have turned out like you planned, only the joy you thought would arrive never showed up.

We know the rest of the disciples' story, that Sunday came and changed everything. The burial tomb was empty; Jesus had conquered death. Even the most final of circumstances was no longer final.

My prayer for each of us is that we take the Resurrection of Christ and apply it to our lives. What looks like the end might just be the Saturday before the most amazing, life changing Sunday in history.

"As it is written, no eye has seen nor ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TBT: A Challenge to All Control Freaks

It might be a Christmas based blog, but the message is timeless and timely. Step back to November 29, 2010 for our Throwback Thursday selection, blog #275...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Operating Systems

Windows or Mac?

Apple or Android?

Operating systems are the technological buzzwords of this generation; every device that we can't live without anymore has one. That system is what tells your pc, tablet, or phone how it will accomplish the task you need it to; it's the interface it uses to connect with the rest of the world.

We have an operating system as well, and it can be boiled down to two platforms:

Fear or Trust.

Any time we are confronted with a decision, our answer comes from one of these two places. It may not look like it, but fear and trust are at the root of our responses. Are we going to trust God, or are we going to fear whatever consequences might arise and let doubt and worry be the controlling partners in our lives?

I had a conversation with someone who is on the edge of a life-altering meeting. There is no doubt that this interaction will change lives, many of them. But the emotion that went into the decision was centered on what might go wrong in the aftermath. Watching this person consider all the possible negative outcomes showed me that fear was the operating system hardwired into his heart.

Lucky for all of us that God is in the heart changing business.

God knew we would struggle with fear, and the Bible contains at least 366 references to fear and how to handle it.

  • We must learn how to capture our thoughts, identify them, and see where they line up with Scripture. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That means we take our thoughts by the hand and walk them over to Jesus for close personal inspection. Does our thought pattern glorify God? Does it acknowledge His power? Does it speak to the hope that He brings to every situation? No? Then replace it with one that does. This scripture also reminds us that our battles are not with the world in general but with the darkness that surrounds us and fights against God. Don't allow yourself to be a pawn in a fight that's already been won.
  • We must learn to focus on what is actually going on, the real details in that moment, and not get spun up in the what if's. It's amazing how quickly we work ourselves up into a state of dread based on a series of events that have only taken place in our imagination. Take the little butterfly net of Philippians 4:8-9 out of your toolbox and grab those thoughts. Focus on whatever is true, whatever is holy, whatever is good, commendable, or praiseworthy, and think on these things. The promise? The God of peace will be with you. 
  • We must learn that God is not on the sidelines, flipping through our lives like a bored guy with a remote. He is intimately, intensely, and unmistakably involved in each of our lives, and He has promised to never leave us. He knows what scenarios are coming our way. Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6, and Isaiah 43:1-3 are some of my go-to places when I need a reminder of God's intentions and capabilities.  
Now, trusting God is not a license to run around without prudence or wisdom, and there are plenty of verses dealing with seeking the Lord's wisdom that we can talk about another day. But when you find yourself holding back from the abundant life that Jesus offers because you are afraid, consider your operating system. Are you trusting God to deliver His best in your life, or are you fearing the worst and missing out?

Maybe it's time for an upgrade.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Be the Donkey

On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey amid the cheering of the people. "Hosanna, Hosanna," they shouted. "Glory to God in the highest." They waved palm branches and laid coats down so He would not be carried by the mud. The donkey looked around and thought to himself, "It's about time they realized who I am."

He didn't realize he was just the one carrying Jesus to the people.

Be the donkey. Carry Jesus to the people who need Him. Don't get caught up in anything other than the fact that Jesus came to Jerusalem for us, was crucified for us, and rose again for us.

All of us.

Look at the crowds around you. Every face you see needs what Jesus did. No one needs it more, and no one needs it less.

Jesus knew when He entered the city that day what His week held...betrayal, beatings, and ultimately death. But He never turned back. He never wavered, because He knew there was no other way.

This season, bring Jesus to someone who needs Him. Be the donkey.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

TBT: An Open Letter to My Friends from the Old Days

Welcome to Throw Back Thursday...and kids, this one is a doozy. Please join me as we travel back to May of 2009....An Open Letter to My Friends from the Old Days. (THanks Jolene for picking #438!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Broken Ground

This winter will go down in the history books as one of the harshest for my state. I stopped paying attention to the weather forecast in January sometime; cold had lost its meaning for me and I just figured it would be easier to adapt to this new normal instead of hope for better.

Even the spring hasn't seemed "springy"...until I saw this.

Little tulips leaves breaking the ground apart. Evidence that we will see warmer days again, or at least tulips. I marveled at the way such a delicate shoot could displace such hard earth. And of course, the David Crowder song Wholly Yours flashed through my mind...

"And a certain sign of grace is this...from broken earth, flowers come up, pushing through the dirt..."

I am also reminded of the many scriptures that promise the restoration of God. Where only cracked, dry ground could be seen days before comes the hope of spring, life in place of death.

I only need look at my own life to see these promises bearing fruit. God has restored relationships that I feared broken beyond repair. He has brought friendship to places that enmity should rightfully exist and laughter in place of tears. I know that the situations that continue to grieve my heart are in His Hands and that He is at work in them.

If you are looking at dry ground that brings forth nothing but dust, look to the God who says to a valley of dry bones, live. (Ezekiel 37:5). Look to God who saves.

Here's the song Wholly Yours by David reminds me not only that God brings forth life from dirt, but that I am the ground and the work of His Hands and that He will fulfill His purposes. He will bring hope to the hopeless and life to the lifeless. Here I am Lord...I am wholly yours.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

TBT: Conviction or Conviction

TBT, Throw Back Thursday, is here again. My friend Kari Anne picked number 7 which takes us back to almost the very beginning of my blogging days, 2008.

Here's a link to post #7...Conviction or Conviction. Man, that was a long time ago.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lighting the Way

I've been trolling the fix-it stores and home decorating websites for an overhead kitchen light lately. I'm just coming off of my annual need to change everything in my house, and the kitchen is the last beneficiary of my efforts...until something else catches my attention.

Seriously. Sometimes I think I need a recovery program for those of us addicted to the next shiny penny.

Before I get too far down this rabbit trail, I need to tell you the deep thought that struck me right there in the lighting department at Menards. I should say the deep thought that almost struck me right there in Menards but waited until after I'd made my purchase which now needs to go back. Ahem.

Lured in by a clearance tag, I purchased a decent looking light fixture to replace the old brass-covered-in-paint-splatter mess currently hanging from my ceiling. Because no, I don't need to tape off or remove anything. I was sure I could paint neatly around the edges of that fixture...

The man in the lighting department said, "Now you know that's a fluorescent light, right?"

"Yup," I said, the bright red price sticker reflected in my eyes.

On the way home, I started thinking about fluorescent lighting and how it washes out my complexion and has the tendency to change the way things look. If the kitchen light will enhance the bags under my eyes, maybe I should rethink this.

Then I started thinking about all the different kinds of light, natural light, incandescent light (which apparently is on the edge of extinction), and the different wattages of light. Sometimes my head is a weird place to hang out.

But it comes...I started thinking about the scripture "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)" God is able to shine His light into any darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. That is His comfort and promise to us. But sometimes we don't see it.

Could it be that the light He shines into our particular darkness is revealing things we are choosing not to see? Could it be that because we expect things to look one way, we miss what He is illuminating in our situation? Maybe, instead of a floodlight, He is pointing a little penlight onto one facet our life. Prisms cover the walls of our true need but our eyes are focused on the whole landscape.

Be encouraged today as you are waiting for God to do something, anything, in your situation, that He is always working on your behalf. His light shines into every darkness; that is His promise and His character. But He might be shining in a direction you weren't expecting using a source you didn't anticipate. Look for His fingerprints.

As for me, I have to make a trip back to Menards one of these days and return the fluorescent light. One thing I don't need help with in my kitchen as I fill my morning coffee cup is looking washed out and baggy. I got that covered. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TBT: Humbled Again

I am playing my own little version of Throwback Thursday. I invited someone to pick a number between 1 and 500. My friend Heidi picked 231; this, kids, is post 231. And I don't know why I'm surprised to find God extremely in the details. What I wrote almost three years to the day ago is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I hope you hear Him speak to you, too.

Click here to read Humbled Again.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Water Calls

She stood on the deck, feeling the cool textured tile beneath her feet, wondering how it would feel to get back in the water. What would it mean? Would she be a swimmer again? Would she just be someone who occasionally showed up at the pool, not often enough to be a familiar face to the regulars? Did it matter what the others thought she was?

She poised on the edge, adjusting her goggles, her heart beating a bit faster as the water seemed to consider her as well. She closed her eyes and felt her arms slicing through the aqua glass surface in the rhythm her body knew but her mind had tucked away. A swimmer was who she used to be; that person had been packed up with other pursuits that hadn't seemed practical or realistic.

Sitting on the edge, her feet breaking the surface of the water, she slowly slid her body into the waiting depths, the temperature stealing her breath for a moment. She splashed some water on her arms, held her breath and ducked her head under. Stalling. She knew she was stalling. The other side was further away than she remembered.

"Give it up. You're not as strong as you used to be. You don't belong here anymore." She shook her head, trying to escape the grip of fear and panic that was just as tangible as the water she was standing in. She steadied her breathing and adjusted her goggles one last time, knowing there was only one way to silence the self-defeating voice in her head. She knew whose voice it was and knew it didn't belong to the One who called her to the pool.

Setting her mouth in a thin line, she stretched her arms out in front of her and kicked off from the wall. Left, right, left, turn and breathe. Left, right, left, turn and breathe. She continued the cadence until her fingertips grasped the wall at the opposite end of the lane. Removing her goggles, she turned and looked back to where she had stood only moments before. A grin spread across her face and she knew she was back where she belonged.

"He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24