December 27, 2007

Peace & Simplicity

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, because I can never seem to keep them. I have good intentions, but they soon fall by the wayside...trampled under everyday life and soon forgotten. Still, I relish the thought of starting over. Blank calendar pages stretch out before me (though I'm sure they won't stay so pristine for long!). Once the Christmas decorations are put to rest for the next 11 months, the house suddenly seems less me new perspective on my home.

As much as I adore December, I think I love January more. One of my quirks is that I visualize the months. January is always crisp and white...perhaps because I'm praying for snow, but I think it's more because I see the upcoming year as a clean slate. No dashed hopes. No unmet expectations. A fresh start.

Next week's fresh start has been long in the making. I've been waiting, and now it's time to put legs to what I've been learning. I'm dubbing 2008 as the Year of Peace and Simplicity in our home. I'm not making resolutions I won't keep, but I am going to purposefully focus on making life more simple and creating a sense of peace in our home.

I don't know how all of this is going to look yet. I have a vision, but I'm not completely sure it's the Lord's. One thing I do know for certain. I want peace and simplicity to abound in my life and in my home.

I'm about to head out of town for a long weekend with friends. I'll be back in 2008 to share some more thoughts on this quest. I hope you'll join me. I'm sure it's going to be life-changing. I hope it will be at least a little fun, too.

December 25, 2007

Double Vision

(This is a sticky post. Scroll down further for new posts.)

To understand what my Savior means to me
You must look beyond Calvary.
No, I do not deny the impact of the Cross,
For it was there my Beloved paid the cost
Of my sin; my shame and guilt He did bear
So that I could look at my life and see Him here:

In the hug of a child, so precious and dear;
When she says say “I love you”, it’s His voice I hear.
In the love of a friend who holds my hand tight,
I can hear Him whisper, “My child, I’m here. Everything’s alright.”
When I was ready, He made me a wife
To a husband who ministers to me each day of my life.
So many other blessings I can’t begin to count.
I’m afraid if I do, I’ll leave something out.

But it’s this about my Jesus that I most truly love:
That He left His glorious home up above
To come to this world. My heart can’t comprehend
How He could leave His Father for this place of sin.
Born among animals. He died amidst thieves,
Ridiculed and mocked. Oh! Soul can’t you see
That my Jesus left Heaven that night long ago
Because He knew that years later I would be needing Him so!

I ask you to put the manger beside the Cross.
See them together, and realize God’s loss.
How it must have hurt to send His Son away,
Yet He did so, even knowing there would come a day
He would see Jesus again, but covered in blood,
So that all of His children could say “JESUS IS LORD!”
And reconcile with Him in our Heavenly home;
This is the reason Jesus left His Throne.

Don’t focus on one and lose sight of the other.
To know the whole story, you must put them together;
The manger of hay and Calvary’s tree
Unite with the message: MY JESUS LOVES ME.

(*photo credit:

December 13, 2007

We Interrupt this Blogging Break

I know I said I'm taking a break. I am. Really. But I started a new book this morning, and am already enthralled. I can see this will bring much blogging material in 2008.

I'm giving you a taste to whet your appetite.

When we realized that having children isn't about us but is rather about God, then the trials and sacrifices of parenting are more easily borne. We see the purpose behind the difficulty, and we remind ourselves, "This isn't about me; it's about him." The ultimate issue is no longer how proud my children make me, but how faithful I've been to discharge the duties God has given me.
~"Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas

I could ponder that thought alone til 2008!

December 10, 2007

The Complaint Jar

CJ's entered into a season of complaining practically non-stop. Twice in the past three days, I've pulled out the Samaritan's Purse Christmas Catalog to demonstrate to her just how blessed she is. As R reminded me this morning, we can't change her heart. But, we have made some changes. For every complaint or "It's not fair!" we hear, she pays a quarter to the Complaint Jar. That money will go to Samaritan's Purse to help families who can truly claim that life's not fair.

I've been so frustrated with her attitude the past few days. Maybe because I see myself in her complaints:

Dear God,

December 10th is the time to sing "Sleigh Ride", "Jingle Bells", "White Christmas" and all those other wintry songs I love so much. But this forecast makes it impossible:

Hi 76 F
Lo 53 F

Partly cloudy skies today with record high temps expected. Highs in the mid to upper 70s. SW 10-15 mph. Cloudy tonight with lows in the low to mid 50s. Partly to mostly cloudy skies tomorrow with highs in the 60s in the metro...cooler north and warmer south.

It's not like you can't do anything about it. So, please do.

And, while I'm thinking of it, could you lighten my load around the house just a little? And stretch the income more than a little. Oh, yeah, and take care of a few messes that I haven't dealt with yet (not to mention that pile of laundry).

Your Loving Daughter


I've been blaming the unseasonable weather, the unending chores, and an ungrateful 9-year old for my foul mood and lack of Christmas cheer. But, the truth is, I'm the problem.

So, I'm letting go of some things for the next couple of weeks. Like many others, I'm going on a blogging sabbatical. I'm going spend time laughing with my family, catching up on laundry, and watching sappy holiday movies. I'm going to bake cookies, wrap presents, and drink eggnog. And I'm going to stand before the Nativity every morning and thank my Jesus for leaving Heaven for my pitiful, sinful soul.

And I'll drop a quarter in the Complaint Jar every time I forget how blessed I am.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
~Philippians 2:14-15

I'm over here today. It's a "rerun", but something still heavy on my heart.

December 4, 2007

Catching My Breath

I mentioned in my last post that the mailman had been particularly nice to me lately. First, he brought this:

mws banner

In one word...FAN.TAB.U.LOUS! I'm still swooning over the arrangement of instrumental and vocal pieces. CJ's memorized several songs in less than a week (yes, I'm playing it pretty much non-stop) I adore Michael W. And MANDISA?! That's just the whipped cream on the pumpkin spice latte! If you haven't gotten this CD already, make it your holiday musical purchase this season. (And if Brian at Reunion Records wants to send me more free music, I won't object!)


Just a day later, I received this gem from Laura. I've started pouring through it already, and will review it as soon as I'm done. And, in the tradition of this book (which has already traveled far more extensively than I ever will!), I'll announce how you can put your name in the hat to receive this goody at your door!


Pre-lit artificial tree. What took me so long?!


Proverbs isn't the breath of fresh air I was hoping for. It's more like a slap in the face. I'll be sharing soon (I really, really will). But for now, I'll leave you with a verse from today's reading.

For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all his paths.
The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast.
He will die for lack of discipline,
led astray by his own great folly.
~Proverbs 5:21-23

November 29, 2007

Insert Your Own Title Here

When I first started blogging, I wanted to be one of those breezy bloggers...full of wit and an uncanny ability to make even the mundane seem spectacularly funny. Since that's far from the person I am in "real life", it didn't take long for me to realize that my blog wouldn't have that personality, either. (Sidenote: I don't watch this show anymore, but I can't help but think of Monica Geller saying, "I'm breezy"...when she most definitely was not!) Since I don't have a knack for making the everyday seem remotely interesting, I've tried to devote my blog to the deeper things in my life (just remember, "deep" is a relative term).

Like everyone else, I have limited time. Reading blogs has fit into my schedule, but writing...not so much lately. I've got several posts in mind, but I'm too busy mulling over things going on in my corner of the world (you know, the working, the shopping, the bill-paying...) to really breathe life into those thoughts.

The postman brought me two neat gifts this week, and I want to share those with you. And can I just say that Proverbs ROCKS! And so does JoAnne Heim! I will share what I'm learning & hopefully post something with at least a teensy bit of substance, after I decorate my new tree this weekend. (I loved having a live tree, but I'm excited that the artificial is going to allow me one less thing to do in's all about simplicity!)

And now, go find something more worthwhile to read!

November 27, 2007

The Lord's Prayer

A friend sent this to me via email today. I just had to share it. The prayer is in blue type, and God's response is in red.

Our Father Who Art In Heaven.

Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.

But -- you called ME!

Called you?
No, I didn't call you.
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!

Did what?

Called ME.

You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am.

What's on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
kind of like fulfilling a duty.

ell, all right.
Go on.

Okay, Hallowed be thy name .

Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?

By what?

By "Hallowed be thy name"?

It means, it means . . good grief,

I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?

It means honoured, holy, wonderful.

Hey, that makes sense.
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Do you really mean that?

Sure, why not?

What are you doing about it?

Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.

I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control,
of everything down here like you have up there.
We're kinda in a mess down here you know.

Yes, I know;
but, have I got control of you?

Well, I go to church.

That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend your money --
all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read?

Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!

Excuse ME.
I thought you were praying
for my will to be done.
If that is to happen,
it will have to start with the ones
who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example.

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.

So could I.

I haven't thought about it very much until now,
but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.

Now we're getting somewhere.We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.

Look, Lord, if you don't mind,

I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.

You need to cut out the bread.
You're overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this?

Here I was doing my religious duty,
and all of a sudden you break in
and remind me of all my hang-ups.

Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( . . pause . . )
Well, go on.

I'm scared to.

Scared? Of what?

I know what you'll say.

Try ME.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

What about Ann?

See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me.
I've sworn to get even with her!

But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?

I didn't -- mean it.

Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that bitterness
and resentment isn't it?

Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.

No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.

You can? How?

Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.

Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right . all right . .
I forgive her.

There now!
How do you feel?

Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.

Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer are you? Go on.

Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

You know what I mean.

Yeah. I know.

Go ahead. Finish your prayer.

For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.

Do you know what would bring me glory --
What would really make me happy?

No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now.
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly follow you.
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me . . .
How do I make you happy?

YOU just did.

November 24, 2007

A Special Announcement

Well, not as special as Janelle's...but special indeed!

I was practically blown out of the water to get an email asking me to consider being a

I didn't have to think twice about joining this wonderful ministry at 5 minutes for Mom. I'll be contributing every other week. You can read my first entry here on Monday. Stop by and visit me, and the other amazing women who share what the Lord is putting on their minds and hearts.

November 19, 2007

Giving In

R was catching a nap before going to work. I was alone on the sofa. Commercial break.

I'll just flip the channel for a minute. I'm not going to get caught up in it. Just a peek, to see what's going on this season.

And so with one push of a button, I gave in to the temptation. I decided, for one split second, that I could have something the Lord had instructed me to give up. I wanted just a taste. What was the harm?

I pressed the remote. The channel changed. The screen literally faded to black and cut to commercial just as I was tuning in.

I knew Someone was working.

He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
--Proverbs 2:7-9

Praise God! He protected me from myself! He shielded and guarded me. Although I'm far from blameless and faithful, I'm trying so very hard to be. I want to get to the Promised Land! I don't want to let Him down. My spirit was strong, but my flesh was weak. I'm so humbled and grateful that my Father took care of it for me. He knew that even one minute would have pulled me back down into the pit. I'm so glad He didn't let me fall. He gave me strength to change the channel and be obedient.

It only took about 15 seconds for me to realize "what is right and just and fair". My feet are firmly on the good path He's planned for me. Not by MY might, but by His.

Now THAT's something to be thankful for!

November 17, 2007

My Dearest Daughter

(Photo from MSN clipart)

Well, it's late and you've finally gone to sleep. I'm already looking forward to the morning, when I'll be able to see your smile again.

For nine months, almost every person I knew (and even some I didn't!) tried to tell me how much my life would change when you arrived. I tried to smile and be a good sport, as if I agreed with their wealth of wisdom. But inside I was thinking "Yeah, right. I'll make some adjustments, but I'm not going to be one of those people who lets having a child change her entire life."

God must have gotten a big kick out of that, because I'm sure He knew that motherhood would bring so many things I wasn't prepared for. Things like:

*Being so tired sometimes that I can hardly remember my own name
*Having to take a tour of our county at 3:30 a.m., to get you to go to sleep
*Thinking that 4 1/2 hours is a "good night's sleep"
*Calling myself "Mommy"
*Being amused with a game of "peep eyes" for 45 minutes
*Checking on you at night, and feeling as though my heart is lying in that crib
*Wondering if I'll ever eat a hot meal again
*The strength required to carry you in your "pumpkin seat"
*Having lost the baby weight, but still looking pregnant
*Not being able to wear my wedding ring yet
*Having cereal spit in my face
*The way my heart stops when I see you & Daddy playing together
*Not needing an excuse to watch cartoons anymore
*Crying every time I see another child hurt
*How good you smell sometimes
*How bad you smell sometimes
*Looking at you, and wondering if my mom could've possibly felt the same way about me
*Being so forgetful
*How much fun it is to hold you in my arms and dance around the living room, singing along with the radio
*When you can't stop crying, wanting to scream, "Why me, Lord?!"
*Other times, when I feel so incredibly blessed, that I whisper, "Why me, Lord?"
*Actually discussing, and caring about, which diaper brand is best
*Having my daily vocabulary include words like "poopy", "pie-pie", and "Boo Bear" (your nickname)
*How often I stop working during the day and think about how much I miss you
*Making up silly songs
*A diaper, after you've eaten carrots
*The way my heart melts when you smile
*Constantly wondering if I'm doing this "mother thing" right

I could keep adding to this list. Every day brings something I didn't expect. Although I had time to plan for you, you came into my life like a whirlwind, touching every corner of my world. Being your Mommy has been the most challenging journey of my life, and the first thing that I've known I can't do on my own.

Before you arrived, I was a confident, career-minded, in-charge-of-my-life, organized, and fairly intelligent woman. I hope you get to meet her someday, because she was pretty cool. But, for now at least, she's been replaced by your Mommy!


I wrote this when my daughter was 6 months old. It seems an appropriate entry in Scribbit's Write-Away contest, "My Life is Different Because...". I've shared the story of CJ's birth here. Indeed, 9 years later, this miracle of God continues to touch my life in unexpected ways every day.

Before CJ, I was a woman. Now I'm a mother, and that's made all the difference.

November 15, 2007

Moving On

My time in the desert is through...for now. I wanted to continue on in Deuteronomy, cross the Jordan and get to the milk & honey. But, the Lord whispered that we have some work to do before we get there.

So, Proverbs it is. And I can see why.

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
--Proverbs 1:1-7

The Israelites didn't just walk right into the Promised Land. They had to fight for it, many times over. The battles would require discipline and wisdom. Two things I desperately need in my life. So, lessons from the wisest human who walked the earth are in order.

Discipline isn't pleasant, but necessary. I can't get to the Promised Land without it. I'll admit, right now I'd rather just plop down in this good spot and resist God's calling to go beyond (even though I gave the Reubenites grief for it!). Staying here and burying my head in the desert sand is a much easier option, but it won't bring the victory.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
--1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Training camp has begun. Can't you just hear the theme song from "Rocky"? Let's get moving, and keep our eyes on the prize.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...
--Hebrews 12:1-2

November 12, 2007

Crossing the River

When I started my journey in Numbers, I was a little hesitant. Now, I'm sad to be leaving. I've learned so much in this desert journey. To say that God has done some major demolition & reconstruction would be an understatement. As my time here has drawn to a close, I'm a little unsure of where I'll go next. I'm waiting on His guidance. I know there's a Promised Land on the other side, but I have to be honest...He's brought me to a pretty nice place now. I like where we're hanging out, me & Jesus. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to move on just yet.

The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, "Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon- the land the LORD subdued before the people of Israel — are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes," they said, "let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan."
--Numbers 32:1-5

Some of the Israelites felt the same way. They didn't want to move on. After spending 40 years wandering in the desert, they finally found a comfortable place where their livestock would flourish. It was a good place.

It wasn't the best place.

As I read this, I immediately thought, "You idiots! You asked Moses not to MAKE you cross into the Promised Land?!"

And my Father gently said, "Melissa, how many times have I brought you close to the Promised Land, and you've refused to go in?"

Oh. Yeah.

But that was the old me. The new me is determined to get to her Promised Land! Whatever it takes...I'll give it up. The glimpses I've been getting aren't enough. I don't want to dream about it anymore. I want to hang my shingle there.

I didn't go to church much as a child. But one song from my childhood has begun to play over and over in my mind.

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

*I Am Bound For The Promised Land
Rev. Samuel Stennett, Miss M. Durham, arranged by Rigdon McCoy McIntosh

November 7, 2007

A Worthy Goal

I'm still reading "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. I'm drinking it in during my quiet time. She stirred my heart today. Quoting her husband, Jim:

With every encounter, make it your aim that people are better off for having been in your presence. Try in every encounter to give something to the other person.

How different my world...would be if I put this into practice.

Raising the Praise

I admit, I'm one of those people who's started listening to Christmas music already. I adore Christmas music (and Josh Groban's "Noel"...a-maz-ing!) Still, I love the whole idea of Thanksgiving. Giving Thanks. Praising God for how He's blessed.

That's why I was so excited to see this:

Each day, I'm posting something I'm thankful for (in my sidebar). Something that's especially blessing me at that moment. It may be spiritual, material, substantial or trivial...that's not the point. What matters is setting aside a minute each day to thank my Father.

If you'd like to join Leah in this challenge, click the button and find out more. She's so friendly, she'll even email you the code so that you can have your own cute button.

November 5, 2007

My Brother's Keeper

It was all his idea. Honestly. My brother & I found a bottle of Mercurochrome. Wouldn't it be great fun to paint my hand with it & trick our parents?

(Let me stop right here & say that I worshiped my older brother. I would've done anything to make him think I was cool and fun to hang around with. To the point of being an idiot, obviously.)

He poured the garish orange liquid over my hand, and we walked into the house to find Mama. His arms around me. Me holding my hand up. I even managed to summon up real tears.

Daddy, who was in the backyard, had seen us outside with our heads bowed together. He realized that we were probably up to no good. We didn't know he was behind us when we found Mama. She nearly fainted. Fortunately, Daddy was there to recognize that my hand was not cut off. But by the time the punishment was over, I nearly wished it had been.

* * * * *

Faced with the Israelites' complaints (yet again), Moses & Aaron sought the Lord's instructions.

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
--Numbers 20:6-8

I'm sure Moses was just about at his wits' end with leading the stubborn, ungrateful children of Israel. How much more did the Lord expect him to take? Perhaps with all his heart, Moses wanted to be obedient. Maybe his frustration got the better of him. Maybe he was distracted and didn't pay close enough attention to everything the Lord said. Whatever the reason, he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally.

So Moses took the staff from the LORD's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
--Numbers 20:9-11

Although the Lord allowed the water to spew forth, He was angry that Moses and Aaron didn't follow His command to the letter. Punishment was swift.

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor. Remove Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there." Moses did as the LORD commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. Moses removed Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain.
--Numbers 20:12, 23-28

My heart broke for Moses when I read this. Not only was he a witness to his brother's death, but he was responsible for it. His emotions, pride, and just plain human-ness caused him to disobey God. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one to suffer as a result of the sin. Aaron's life was taken from him, while Moses stood by and watched. I did Moses feel when the Lord told him to take Aaron on the mountain and strip him of his clothing? To see his brother, with whom he'd ministered and witnessed countless miracles of God, naked before him and the entire nation. Was he filled with guilt and regret?

Just as Moses watched Aaron pay the price for his sin, Moses also paid the price for Aaron's. Aaron was with Moses when the Lord gave the directions to speak to the rock. Perhaps Aaron, more than anyone, knew Moses' penchant for impulse and emotion. When he first saw Moses raise the staff, he should have stepped in. He could have grabbed the staff and reminded Moses of God's command. Yet he looked on in silence as Moses disobeyed the Lord.

Friends, we are our brother's (sister's) keeper! Though it's not considered to be politically correct or tolerant, we cannot simply stand by and watch fellow believers disobey the Lord without warning them of the danger. Aaron failed Moses as much as Moses failed him.

My brother formulated the plot, but I knew that scaring my parents was wrong. Scared of what he might think, I went along with the game. In doing so, I let my brother down.

Lord Jesus, help me to love our brothers and sisters enough to stand up to them when they disobey you. Give me the wisdom and strength to reproach them in love, and to direct them back to you. Remind me to check my own heart and motives so that I am not sitting in judgment. May I love them as you do. Lord, I also pray that when I am disobedient, You will send someone to me to remind me of Your truth, and bring me back to you.

November 1, 2007


I attended Women of Faith this past weekend with a couple of girlfriends. It was truly a time of fun, laughter, refreshment, and reflection. Of all the things I heard, the words of Luci Swindoll resonated most with my heart:

Shut Up and Let Go!

She confirmed what the Lord's been saying: Stop the Whining! & Enough is Enough. Truly, it's time for me to let go of some things.

Within the past few weeks, I've purchased:

~Real Simple Cleaning
~Simplify Your Time
~Simplify Your Space
~Living Simply

Are you sensing the craving of my soul right now?

Inspired by Laura, I decided to make a weekly trip to the consignment shop. Today was my second drop-off. As I went through closets, purging TWO large garbage bags of clothes, purses, and shoes, I couldn't get this song out of my head.

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

There is freedom in simplicity. I'm not there yet, friends...but the pursuit has begun.

October 26, 2007

An Eye Opener

That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?" And they said to each other, "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt."
So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it-these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly. Early the next morning they went up toward the high hill country. "We have sinned," they said. "We will go up to the place the LORD promised."
But Moses said, "Why are you disobeying the LORD's command? This will not succeed! Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword."
Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD's covenant moved from the camp. Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.
--Numbers 14:1-4, 36-45

As I read this, I heard Him whisper...Delayed obedience is actually disobedience in disguise.

October 24, 2007

Enough is Enough

Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.


It started with a conference in June.

Then came a conviction in August.

A makeover in September.

A nudge in the right direction in October, followed by a good read.

And now, finally, I see what He's been up to.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!"
"Tell the people: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"'"
--Numbers 11:4-6, 18-20

Throughout my life, God has lavished His blessings upon me. He's delivered me. He's provided for me.

It hasn't been enough. I've craved something different. Wanted something more.

More things.
More food.
More attention.
More time for myself.
More. More. More.

And He let me have it. So now here I sit, looking at the "benefits" of all the more. I can honestly say, I'm at the point of loathing.

Enough is enough.

October 23, 2007

Turf Wars

CJ accepted Christ in August. The first three weeks were glorious. We had a new child. Her spirit was so sweet that it brought tears to my eyes. Now, my tears fall in frustration and heartbreak. I can recall few times that I've felt more helpless. The past few months have seen many battles in our home. Too many to count. At first, I attributed it all to preteen hormones and general angst, but I've come to realize the source of the discord.

I've been naive enough to declare that I'm ready to get violent with S*tan. But I'm not. I can't fight him. I'm powerless. It's time to bring in the big guns.

When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies.
--Numbers 10:9

God promised a land to Israel. He also warned them there would be times when the enemy would come onto that very land to oppress them. We can anticipate the same.

The enemy of our souls has invaded my home. He's on my turf. I can't stand up to Him alone. It's time to sound the trumpet and pray, pray, pray. I may be smaller than the enemy, but my Father surely isn't. He's going to remember and rescue our family.

I'm banking on it.

October 22, 2007


In August, my husband R. severely injured his ankle while jogging (yet another reason I don't if I needed a reason!) Nearly three months later, it's still painful and easily aggravated. He starts physical therapy tomorrow.

R. is an exercise kind-of-guy. This injury has thrown him for a loop (literally), and he's a little tired of it. Well, a LOT tired of it. Add to the mix that CJ & I were gone to New York last weekend and I'm leaving Friday for Women of Faith (where I finally get to hear this man speak!). It's easy to see why R.'s a little depressed. Suffering from cabin fever, he says.

I, on the other hand, am ready to just be home. Unlike Bev, I'm longing for a winter solstice and a break from these 80°+ temperatures. I want to just rest.

Sometimes it's hard to sit in one place, particularly when you've been told you can't go anywhere. It's equally difficult to keep moving when all you crave is to be still.

On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD's order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD's command they encamped, and at the LORD's command they set out. They obeyed the LORD's order, in accordance with his command through Moses.
--Numbers 9:15-23

Can you imagine how the Israelites felt? They went to be each evening with no idea what the next day would hold. If they got up and the cloud was still there, they were able to rest comfortably. If they woke the next week and it was STILL cloudy, they remained in camp, even if they were getting a little restless. If, a YEAR later, it was STILL CLOUDY, they didn't budge...despite almost certain stir-craziness.

On the flip side, there were probably times when they hit the hay late, dog-tired and wanting to sleep in. And, what do you know, they woke with not a hint of cloud in the sky. Time to move! Although they were probably exhausted and frustrated (after a weekend in NYC with two 9-year olds, I can relate), they had to go.

They submitted. They were obedient. Even when they probably didn't feel like it. Even when they had no earthly idea what God was up to. They watched the cloud. He faithfully guided them, and they faithfully followed.

Oh, Lord, I confess that I want to know what you've got planned for me today, tomorrow and next year. I grumble when you keep me in one place, and fail to see that you are preparing me for what lies ahead. When you're leading me on, I complain because I'm too lazy, tired or scared to follow. I want to camp out in my comfort zone and rest. God, make yourself as visible to me as you were in the cloud over the Tabernacle, and give me a clear vision of where you want me to go. Grant me an obedient and willing spirit, so that I may faithfully follow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

October 10, 2007


Since CJ entered fourth grade, I feel like I'm back in school again. This year has brought a giant leap in the number of tests, as well as in the tests themselves. We spend much of our time studying. I've been asking her to review her notes, textbook and study guides and then I call the information out to her. The resulting arguments were terrible. I was expecting her to learn the way I always did, and becoming frustrated when it wasn't happening.

This past week, I took a different approach to studying with her. Instead of just calling out the information, I read it to her & we discussed each point. I sprinkled some questions throughout, and we talked about all of the information in detail. Afterwards, she told me that even though I think the old method worked well, it didn't. She prefers this newer technique. After seeing the results, so do I.

When I was pregnant with CJ, I was expecting to have a daughter just like me. However, she is, without a doubt, her father's child. And even though I know that, I still find myself expecting her to do things the way I would. Which isn't fair because, although we share DNA, we are entirely different people. God has given us different gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses in accordance with His plan for each of our lives.

It's the same among the church.

So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, as their work required, and he gave four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, as their work required. They were all under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible.
--Numbers 7:6-9

God instructed Moses to disburse the gifts among the Levites, based upon the specific jobs He'd assigned to each group. He does the same today.

I teach adult Sunday School. He's equipped me for that with a background in communications and public speaking. However, He's not given me a mathematically-inclined He obviously didn't intend for me to serve on the Finance Committee. I'm technologically-challenged, so you won't find me on the Audio-Visual Committee, either.

I admit, I sometimes catch myself envying another person's gifts and talents, wishing for the same ministry. I forget that my Father has given me hand-picked gifts for a purpose He's designed especially for me. But in those times when I listen for His voice and follow His instruction, I realize why He's bestowed those gifts upon me and I am thankful. So thankful.

October 9, 2007

Stop the Whining!

Although I claim to despise whining, I've certainly been doing enough of it to God lately. I realized this morning just how long I've been uttering the same prayer to Him. I didn't realize how little I was trusting and how much I was complaining...until this morning when He told me to stop griping (or, as I like to say, "Build a bridge and get over it!") and accept some responsibility:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
--Ephesians 5:15-17

Yes, sir.

I think I need to re-read this post, and commit it to heart this time!

October 5, 2007

I'm So Excited...

I just had to break my self-imposed rules of blogging to share what the big brown truck brought to me yesterday:

Just skimming through it, I'm expecting it to be nothing short of life-changing! To find out more about this gift from God very helpful resource, click here.

October 4, 2007


I finished reading Colossians yesterday. As much as I could hang out there for a while, soaking in the goodness and pondering Paul's challenges to us, it was time to move on. So, I asked the Lord where He wanted to take me, and He directed me to Numbers.

For a mathematically-challenged gal like myself, I avoid numbers whenever possible. Still, He is so good & I could tell exactly why He wants me there.

The first few chapters recount the Lord's command for a census of Israel (hence the title of the book):

The LORD spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: "Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. You and Aaron are to number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army..." All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel's army were counted according to their families. The total number was 603,550.
--Numbers 1:1-3, 45-46

God gave Moses and Aaron a daunting task: gather all of the Israelites together, determine who met the age and gender requirements, and make a record of their findings. Moses, Aaron, and 12 other chosen men were responsible for counting the men, one by one. By the time it was done, there were more than 1/2 million men who would serve in the Israelite army. (My Bible had a note that if you estimated one woman and two children per man, there would have been 2.5 million Israelites!)

I wonder, did Moses think God had lost His mind? Did he complain about the planning and effort this job entailed? Did he tell God to come back later, when it would be more convenient?

Would I?

Moses and Aaron took these men whose names had been given, and they called the whole community together on the first day of the second month. The people indicated their ancestry by their clans and families, and the men twenty years old or more were listed by name, one by one, as the LORD commanded Moses. And so he counted them in the Desert of Sinai
--Numbers 11:17-19

God placed Moses in leadership over Israel because He knew that Moses would be faithful to accomplish God's plan. If we seek to be Godly leaders, we must be willing to do whatever He matter how outrageous, difficult, or time-consuming it may seem. We must sacrifice our time, talents and resources for His purposes.

After the census was done, God gave detailed instructions on the arrangement of the tribal camps around the Tabernacle. (Numbers 2)

Did the Israelites grumble about having to pick up their belongings and move to a specific spot around the Tabernacle? Were they offended that the Levites got to camp right next to the Tabernacle, and that Judah was on the East, closest to the sunrise? Did they refuse to leave their comfort zones?

Would I?

So the Israelites did everything the LORD commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards, and that is the way they set out, each with his clan and family.
God's chosen people were obedient to what He commanded. Likewise, if we want to see the Promised Land God has for us, we must be willing to leave our comfort zones and to move where He directs. When others get the "prime spots", we must accept that He has appointed us to a specific place for a very definite reason...even if we don't understand. Even if it hurts. We must sacrifice comfort and our "rights". Then we will find protection and blessing.

Even though I really dislike math, I'm sticking with Numbers. There's a Promised Land waiting!

October 2, 2007


On the way to work, I passed a church sign that read:

God is like scotch tape. You can't see Him, but you know He's there.

How clever.

How misleading.

While I can somewhat appreciate the sentiment that yes, God is invisible, but He holds everything's not completely accurate. We don't see God because we don't seek Him.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
--Jeremiah 29:13

* * * * *

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
--Proverbs 8:17

Notice that to find God, we must look for Him. Still, it's not a game of Heavenly Hide-&-Seek. God's not hiding, He's waiting. Once we start searching in the right places, we'll be able to find Him. And I'm convinced that finding Him doesn't mean just knowing that He's's actually using our spiritual eyes to see His glory, His work, and His plan.

But how?

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
--Colossians 4:2

More and more, I'm realizing that my morning Bible study and prayer time just isn't enough. If I want to see God, I must devote myself to building a relationship with Him. I've got to communicate with Him throughout the day, not just during that time I set aside for Him. Although our quiet time together is special, I have a tendency to get lost in my day and not think much about Him. I'm not looking for Him.

One precious woman of faith I know begins her day in prayer, but doesn't say Amen until she goes to bed. She continues her attitude of prayer throughout the day. I need to take a page from her book!

Paul also says we are to be watchful. Let's be on the lookout for Him! We must also remember to be thankful for the blessings He's bestowed upon us. If we're intentionally looking for Him in everything we do and thanking Him for what He's given, we're sure to find Him there.

Scotch tape is a wonderful invention (my daughter would argue it's one of man's greatest!). I do need to be held together, but that's not all. So, I'm asking God to be a big enough to remind me of my infirmity and to cause others to ask what happened.

September 25, 2007


College football is our family's fall tradition, although this year there seems to be nothing "fall-ish" about the weather. So far, we've attended three games in 85°+ heat. I didn't take sunscreen to one of the games. I underestimated the sun's power, and I came home with the worst sunburn I've had in quite a while.

Underestimating the enemy's power is just as damaging. We may think we can withstand his assaults, but we are powerless apart from God's protection.

This past weekend the Lord mercifully placed a few clouds in the sky, which allowed us a brief respite from the full sun and unbearable heat. In those few moments, hidden under the shelter of the clouds, I found relief.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
--Colossians 3:1-4

Following God's will offers shelter and refreshment in this hot, hostile world. Obedience isn't always fun, but it brings joy. Obedience doesn't come naturally, it is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. Obedience doesn't guarantee that we won't have tough times, but it does promise protection. The enemy may still hurl his darts at us, but we are covered by the Almighty. We are hidden in Christ.

If that doesn't encourage us to be obedient, nothing will!

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

--Psalm 27:4-5

The Pharisee in Me

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
--Colossians 2:13-15

Even as a child, I liked rules and structure. My parents would agree that most of the time, I stayed within the boundaries they set for us. I was (and am) a people-pleaser, so I didn't often dare to cross the line into disobedience.

As an adult, I still like rules and structure. I like to know what's expected of me so I can stay the course.

Structure is a good thing:
For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
--Colossians 2:5

Structure without mercy is legalism:

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
--Colossians 2:16-19

Structure without Christ is futile:

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
--Colossians 2:20-23
I shared here that God has told me to give up a couple of television shows. I haven't named them because I don't want to condemn anyone who may watch those shows. I am the only person responsible for the convictions God has placed on my life. Expecting others to follow my convictions makes me nothing more than a Pharisee.

I'm also learning that I'm responsible for only those convictions on my life. When I try to follow someone else's convictions, I am doing so in my own power and not God's. Even if it makes me look "good" and I'm able to stick with it for a while, ultimately I will fail. I'm wasting my time.

Following His will for our lives will lead to victory and protection. We'll pick up there next time.

P.S. - Thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments on my last post. I'm so glad you heard my heart on that issue! It wasn't about linking to or reading non-Christian material...but about my false assumptions.

September 21, 2007


See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
--Colossians 2:8

The Fall television season starts in earnest next week. I usually get pretty excited this time of year, because I'm anxious to see what new entertainment lies ahead. This year, I'm a little nervous. Back in June, I made a commitment to the Lord that I would not watch two television shows. Through the summer, when they were re-runs, it was pretty easy. I'm praying that I can remain faithful and obedient in this, because I don't want fall prey to the "basic principles of this world" -- greed, s*x, violence...just to name a few. Putting that junk in my head desensitizes me to it, and shifts my focus from the Lord.

Still, it's not only the blatant sins of the world that we need to be cautious about. We also need to be on the lookout for those philosophies that sneak up on us when we least expect it, that come from seemingly harmless (maybe even Christian) sources.

Paul's warning cast light on a recent incident, and reminded me that we must always be on guard.

A Christian blogger linked to something that had spoken to her heart. I followed the link, and read it. The writer was facing a struggle most women face, and I agreed wholeheartedly. Afterwards, I looked at the author's profile to learn more. The author seemed incredibly bright, witty and charming. I thought I found a brother/sister in Christ. Reading the profile, I was surprised to find that I had not. I wrongfully assumed that because a Christian blogger linked to this piece, the author is also a Christian.

Hear my heart. I'm not...I repeat, NOT...making a statement about reading pieces written by unbelievers. There was nothing harmful or offensive in this particular link, nothing that pointed away from Jesus.

That's my point.

Just as I was wrong to assume someone is a Christian (and don't we all?), we can believe something is of Christ and immediately go in that direction. We forget that S*tan is crafty enough to disguise the principles of this world to look like God's. Something can look Godly and even sound Godly, and still not be genuine. The author apparently is a member of a religion that the world may consider Christian, but most decidedly is not.

My pastor recently again shared that he is responsible to God for what he teaches the flock, but WE are responsible to not just take his word for it. We must check behind him and make absolute certain that what he says is Biblically accurate. As a Sunday School teacher and as a blogger, I tell you the same thing. Even if we feel we are relying on a trusted source, we must look at The Source to see if it lines up with Scripture.

We risk danger otherwise.

Soon the mice in the field behind me will start heading to my house for shelter. We'll set out traps, lining them with cheese or peanut butter. A mouse will think he's found some food, and eagerly run toward it. SNAP! The trap shuts before he knows what hit him.

I don't want to make that same mistake.

September 18, 2007

Truth vs. Theory

When I finished reading Ezra last week, I asked God where He wanted me to go next. He whispered, "Colossians". I continue to be amazed at His timing. I studied this passage Sunday morning:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
--Colossians 1:15-18

This passage stirred my soul so much that I considered posting only the passage. I couldn't understand why these few verses, which I'd read before, were suddenly so powerful to me. I didn't realize that on Monday, I'd be confronted with opposition to the very message of this passage. But God knew.

CJ is studying the sun, moon, stars & Earth in science. Last night, she came home with a review sheet that set forth several theories of how the moon was formed. None of the theories involved the Truth. R and I sat down with her and opened the Word, to remind her that God created the sun and moon on the fourth day. Thankfully, she believes His Word and questioned why people have these theories. We shared that people who don't believe in God often try to explain Him away, but we have the Truth.

And the Truth is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He created ALL things. ALL things, including you and me, were created BY Him and FOR Him. Our time, our lives, our resources, our gifts...ALL were created for HIM. Not for our gain, our pleasure, our edification. For HIS.

He deserves the first fruits. We deserve the left-overs.

Lord, forgive me for those times I offer you the crumbs of my life, rather than what's rightfully yours. Thank you for the abundance you lavish on me. Your left-overs are so much greater than my even best offerings. Help me to realize that I am not the owner of my life, and to live that out daily.

September 14, 2007

Time Management 101

Time. There never seems to be enough. Too many things to do, too little time to do them. Since school started, all of my attention is focused on helping CJ. My home and my husband have suffered terribly this week. Even getting up earlier doesn't give me enough time to accomplish everything that needs to be done. I'm getting so much out of my deepening relationship with the Lord, but S*tan's got me wondering if my family would be better served if I spent that time doing housework instead of praying & studying the Word.

I've been praying for a revelation...some sort of magical way to get it all done and have time to spare. And my precious Jesus whispered the answer to me

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience
--Colossians 1:9-11 (NIV)

The secret to getting it all done is to ONLY do His will. Before glancing at our calendars and "To Do" lists, we need to consult with our Father. By starting the day with Him, we have the opportunity to ask Him what He wants to accomplish through us. It's a two-part process.

First, we must seek His wisdom and understanding. As Paul says, the "knowledge of His will" comes "through all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (v. 9). We can't know His will without understanding Him first. Open His Word. See where His priorities are. Get to know Him. Once we have that spiritual wisdom, we will be able to discern His will. Time spent with Him is crucial if we're going to be successful Kingdom workers. If we are pursuing His will, we will be successful because He's already ordained it! No more beating ourselves up over failures! That thought alone speaks volumes to me.

Once we know His will and set our hearts on obedience, Paul says our lives will be worthy of Him, pleasing Him in every way. Not just in mothering, home keeping, or ministry. So many times, we feel we have to sacrifice one for the other. Yet if we are only pursuing His will, we will please Him in every way. Maybe that means we spend more time on our home today, and concentrate on hubby tomorrow. If we're doing what God wants, it will all balance out.

Does anyone else want to shout Hallelujah?!

Paul goes on to say that pleasing God in every way means we will:

~produce fruit in the works He has given us. There are many good things we can work toward in a day but if we've sacrificed God's agenda to do something else, are we living fruitful lives?

~grow in our relationship with Him. We'll get closer to Him. That will lead to gaining a better understanding of Him, which will give us more insight into His will.

~be strengthened. Are we afraid we're going to have to face a God-sized task without His God-sized power? He will give us whatever we need to get the job done.

~receive endurance and patience. We can endure whatever obstacle and wait however long it takes, because we know that ultimately His will is going to be done. Knowing that He's already guaranteed the outcome will encourage us as we labor...whether we're tackling a mountain of laundry or a list of people to care for. Why would He tell us to do it if He didn't want to see it get done?

Finally, from a practical standpoint, giving our days to Him just makes sense. We can put the burden of decision making and time management on Him. After all, He created time. He can manage it any way He wants.

September 12, 2007


Few things spark curiosity like a whisper. Surrounding conversations come to a halt when someone nearby starts whispering. A whisper commands attention. It is powerful.

A child's eyes light up when someone says "Come here, I have a secret to tell you." The expression on her face as she listens is sheer joy. A whisper is special.

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
--1 Kings 19:11-12

For years, I've expected the Lord to show Himself big, bold and loud in my life. How will He get my attention otherwise?

He whispers.

In the quietness of the morning, He speaks sweet nothings to my heart. I snuggle in close, not wanting to miss a word.

This is what I have planned for you.

Here's where I want you to go.

This is truth.

You can depend on this promise.

He gives me instruction.

I want you to read Ezra.


Yes, Ezra.
He was right.

He orders my days.

Pray for her.
This is important. That's not.

He makes me feel special.

I love you, dear one.

I anxiously await what He's going to saw next. He keeps me coming back for more.

For a little while each day, I intentionally drown out the noises around me and listen to the whispers. For in them, His message comes through loud and clear.

September 10, 2007

Bon Appetit

Five years ago, R and I were blessed with the opportunity to go to Paris to visit an old friend. Before we were able to meet up with him, we had a night in the city on our own. Our friend had arranged for us to have dinner at a wonderful restaurant. The food was amazing, but the dining experience was even more so. We sat at the table for nearly 3 hours. The courses were served slowly and deliberately. The waiter cleaned our crumbs after every course. The atmosphere was to be savored.

At first, we weren't quite sure what to make of it. In fact, the waiter (who spoke very peckish English) kept saying, "Stop panicking. I can see you're panicking." Coming from a culture that prides itself on how quickly things can be done, we were slow to adapt to French dining.

Yet by the time that meal was done, I knew it was one of the most enjoyable of my life. In fact, the entire week of delighting in our meals was...well, delicious.

Our friend later explained that meal times are almost sacred in France. After eating French cuisine, I can understand why. The French love food. They cherish it. They celebrate it. They are passionate about it. They are known for it.

I want to be passionate about one only food...The Bread of Life.

I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
--Job 23:12

How different would life look if we didn't hurry through a meal with Jesus? If we took the time to linger in conversation with Him, hanging on His every Word? What if we ate with abandon and paid no attention to the clock? What if we kept going back for seconds, and thirds?

The foods of this life would no longer satisfy. They wouldn't even come close.

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
--John 6:25

September 4, 2007

Hopes & Dreams

The last few months have been full of change. I've been organizing and simplifying, purging and re-purposing. I've implemented a new method of personal Bible study, and re-focused my priorities. In the past couple of weeks, I've joined the 5:00 a.m. club (really, it's 5:30 for me...but that's what works). I feel like chaos is becoming a thing of the past. It's slow, but I can see it coming.

Thanks to Terri, I've been reading "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. I'm using it during my prayer time -- reading a chapter & praying over it. Last week, I was profoundly affected when I read

Motivation is key when it comes to nurturing a heart of devotion, and dreaming helps motivate us. As a wake-up call to the seriousness of daily life and to find fresh urgency about your walk with the Lord,describe the woman you want to be spiritually in one year. Let your answer put wings to your dreams.
She goes on to encourage how much we can accomplish in a year with the Lord's help. So, I made my list. I've marked that page in my journal so that I can refer to it regularly & pray over it.

In one year, I want to:

~be more intimate with God
~love Him more
~have Him be more real to me
~know more of His Word
~be ministering more to others, especially my family
~be at peace with the plans He has for my life
~continue to be a member of the 5:30 a.m. club
~have an accountability partner
~honor God & my husband, in my roles as wife & Deacon's wife

I figured if I'm going to dream, I might as well dream big!

Today I began my time with Him praying

Oh God, I praise you because you are so good! You are so much greater than my mind can comprehend. Nothing is larger than you, yet nothing is too small for you to care about! Nothing is too difficult for you, yet you are involved in even the simplest of things. You made the millions of suns and stars, yet you are involved in the intimate details of my life. You are beyond reason, yet you're the explanation for everything.
I flipped to my list and prayed over it again. I specifically remember praying for the accountability partner. That's been heavy on my heart, and I thought of a couple of ladies. I didn't have a peace about those choices, although they would have been wonderful. But wouldn't you know, God answered that prayer! In His own way, which was so much better than what I had asked or imagined! (Eph. 3:20) A friend emailed me today, sharing a very personal struggle with me (one I also struggle with, but had not really discussed with her). She said she felt led to contact me, and she asked if we could pray for each other. I nearly fell to pieces at my desk! God is so good and so faithful. Why am I so surprised when He answers my prayer?

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4

September 1, 2007

A New Look, A New Mission

(*updated to add changes in green below)

Recently I shared that I've been thinking a lot about blogging. Several of my favorite reads are in the midst of blogging breaks. I guess I took one myself this week. I've been asking the Lord to prioritize my days. And blogging hasn't been a priority. That, friends, is a God thing.

My new priorities coincide with the beautiful new look from Susie. It's the perfect time to make some changes.

Several years ago, I wrote devotions and sent them out to friends via email. I actually created the blog because I thought it would be easier than sending out a mass email every week. But I was easily swept away from my purpose, and what started as a ministry soon began to border on obsession. I lost the vision of what God wanted to accomplish through me. He has opened my eyes to see what He wants for my life & my blog. I will continue to write, but I'm getting back to my original purpose & focus. I'll be sharing what I'm learning, through Bible study & life application. Under the "Life Support" sidebar, I'll post the Scripture that's tugging on my heart at the moment. Under the "Breathing In" sidebar, I'll post what Book of the Bible I'm currently studying. And "Fresh Air" will be the list of books I'm studying personally and for Sunday School.

I'm not exactly sure what it's going to look like yet. I just know it will be different.

I have decided that I shouldn't have more blogs in my Bloglines than candles on my birthday cake (well, if I were crazy enough to put candles on my cake!). I'm actually below that number now, with a few to spare. It was hard to delete blogs, because I enjoyed reading them all. But I couldn't keep up. So, I thought about what I want to learn by reading blogs, and realized that I want to place priority on women who feel like old friends, women who inspire me, and women who can guide me to be a better wife, mother & homemaker. It was still difficult to choose, but I did it.

I've been reading "Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed" by Carolyn Mahaney & her three daughters. These ladies compare finding time to do everything with shopping for great deals.

Obviously, we don't want the "bad deals" to keep us from what is truly valuable. We don't want sinful pursuits to deter us from what is God glorifying. But, it's often the things such as a ministry opportunity, a relational pursuit, a money-making venture, a leisure activity, or a hobby that hinders us from making the best choices. It's frequently these good things that distract us from the best things.

I love blogging. It's been cathartic, educational, and relational for me. It's been a good thing, but not always the best thing. As I told another blogger via email this past week, God has used Christian bloggers to use the often-evil internet for good. What a praise! At the same time, I'm afraid that S*tan has used it to steal our time & attention away from what's really important. Heck, he didn't even have to steal mine...I handed it to him freely. Now I'm taking it back.

I want blogging to be a blessing in my life. I pray that THIS blog, when you visit, will be a blessing in yours.

Do You Think Stacey & Clinton Would Approve?

Thanks to Susie, I have a new look. What do you think?

August 29, 2007

My Prayer

I've spent the last two days praying over this verse. I can't get it out of my mind!

But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy & good fruit, impartial & sincere.
--James 3:17

Really packs a punch, doesn't it?


August 27, 2007

Marriage Monday

This week's topic is how we met our spouses, and what drew us to him. I'm going to be lazy, and ask you to read the story of how we met here. You can also read what drew me to him (and keeps me stuck right by his side) here.

Now, visit Christine to read how others met their spouses (they probably won't be as lazy as I am!)