Sunday, December 20, 2015
Beyond the smile
Behind the eyes
The laughter masks
a heart drained with the crying
beneath the brow
But do we sense the cry?
And if we do, do we turn away?
Do we rely on ourselves to try and save the day,
rather than the Spirit of him who made the day?
Can we hear them?
Do we choose to?
The mourning mother
A single father
or different-lifestyled neighbor
Can we hear them?
The slave to success
the beggar on the corner
a struggling preacher
a stressed out teacher
Can we hear them?
do we choose to?
There is no end
to that painful cry
for a Word from heaven
A word to change
worlds and lives
A word to cure
wrongs and make rights
A Word to free
the mind and soul
There's a cry to be healed, to be made
A word to release minds from emotional pain
To bring peace to confusion and
soothe the strain
To undo heavy burdens
and make the oppressed free
to break yokes
and loose from mental captivity-
Can you hear them?
Do you choose to?
And if you did, can the Lord speak through you?
Can the Lord speak through
Can the Lord
Monday, November 16, 2015
The morning grew hectic with each waking child.
Baths, breakfast, prayers, lost shoes that should have been out the night before, redoing outfits that were chosen in what seemed like the dark, and homework and charts that needed last minute signing. And of all mornings I decided my two youngest needed haircuts. I know ,I know....
In the middle of buzzing away at the last head- my two oldest who should have been at school 30 minutes ago bound into the bathroom.
I greet them with wide-eyes.
"The bus hadn't come yet."
"Wha-?" ( apparently this was all I could muster as I worked to focus on evening out the hair, on the little peanut head, of the 2 year old sitting on the sink.)
I now had to take them to school. Not a big problem except I had a staff meeting at work in an hour or so. Not a problem.
I was able to get the others on their buses just in time, then I quickly changed, and jumped in the car. It turned over like an old dog who found a comfortable position for the first time in the night and refused to move. It started. Seconds later a car pulled up behind me. I recognized one of the young boys from the bus stop as he stepped out. He began walking with purpose to the door. I rolled down my window to find out his mom was offering to take the kids to school. It's what he said that got me.
"My mom was seeing if they needed a ride to school, so it can save you money." I got out the car and signed a thank you to the angel mom, as I waved the kids out of the truck.
They scrambled out and I thought, weird, why say, save you money- not gas or time, or anything else. Hmm. I shrugged it off and was thankful I had a moment to really get my self together before I headed out to work for this morning meeting.
I walked in the house with a now upset J who was excitedly prepared to go on a ride in the car.
He was very upset. Very.
He cried and cried. I tried to entice him with food as I cooked Oatmeal on the stove.
He cried. I talked softly, refusing to escalate.
He cried. I told him we get to go somewhere in 30 minutes.
He cried. Then he began to really get into it. Did something just pop in my head? Anxiety peaked- my eyes widened. I was ready to join in the tirade. Deep breath.
"J, what's wrong?"
"I peed myself" he bawled. " I peed myyy-selllf." I looked down as a puddle continued to form around his shoes. I'm thinking, we just put clean clothes on you. I smiled. I spoke softly." J, it's OK, it happens to the best of us." Really mom? Cuz yeah I pee myself all the time-. "We just need to get you some clean clothes on OK?" He looked down, now crying at his all time favorite boots.
"My shoes, my shoes wat."
"It's alright, we can wash them OK? Let's throw them in the washer with your clothes." As soon as I walked to put his shoes in the washer, he burst into a wail.
"I want my shoes!!!! My shoes!!!" Tension shoots up my neck. Jesus. Deep breath.
"J, your shoes are getting cleaned, and I'm not going to tolerate this behavior, you understand? You are OK. Now shut that noise!" He quieted down to a whimper. I put him in the tub and had him out and dressed in minutes.
Ok- so during all this I'm thinking, he must be tired, or hungry, or just- I don't know what, but there's no way I can take him with me to work like this. No way! So I'm in a dilemma. I look and it's 9 AM. God, I really need an answer here. Should I take him and hope for the best? Should I call and say I can't make yet another staff meeting? What do I do?
I texted my boss. Message was misunderstood. I emailed. No answer. I called the direct line. No answer. 9:15. Oh well. I have to just- go.
"Come on, J."
We get in the car. I turn the key. Click-click-click-click-click.
No way. Again. Click-click-click-click-click.
Nooooooo! I scream silently.
One more time. Click...click. Stop. I threw up my hands and laughed.
"Alright!" I yell. I jerk out of the car, yank open the back door and slow down enough to get J out of his seat.
"I wanna gooooo!" he begins.
"Well we can't J- the car won't work. But you can watch TV when we go in OK?"
Back in the house, again, I take a deep breath. Then it dawned on me. I can't go. I nodded my head as the reality sunk in. You know what? That's the answer to my question. Should I go? Apparently no.
" Father, see this, this is good. You're speaking to me. I wish you'd speak to me as clearly about everything else. This- I love this! Thank you! "
I tried my boss on the job line again. She answered. She understood. She filled me in. I had peace when I hung up. I looked up. I smiled.
"Mo-ommy! the te-vision not working!"
Father, you got this right?
6:15 AM. The house should have been stirring per my middle-schoolers, but no sign of them even attempting to wake up yet. I was admittedly relieved. I wasn't in a rush.
Then without fail, a number of things that needed to be addressed during the day suddenly flooded my brain.
Oh yeah the kids need lunch money.
Oh and the car needs gas so I can get to my meeting at work.
Oh I didn't get a sitter... I guess I have to take J with me, but- is that OK?
Oh! are there leftovers for hubby's lunch?
Aw man- I need to buy tickets to the kids school play for the fam- do we have enough?
Aahhh! I wanted to go rouse my husband to go down the list.
The voice of the Lord said PRAY.
I went into the living room, knelt at the couch and began to talk to the Lord.
Father, I'm tired of worrying. I'm giving it you today, soooo it's all in your hands.
The peace of God was so covering. Like a weighted blanket, I could feel God's comfort. I gave him the worries of the day, and got up renewed. Then I read Jeremiah 33 and Psalm 65, and I read it again as I feel the Lord's assurance sweep over me.I thought, why can't I do this everyday. This sure feels good to have a light feeling about my shoulders.6:45 AM.
See the night before I spent some time in deliberation with the Lord trying to convince myself and him that I wasn't as much worried as I was concerned. For some reason this thing about "worrying too much" and "trying to control everything" and "worry is a sin" kept coming up like a theme in my life lately. I decided we needed to really talk this out.
Father, I really don't want to worry, it's just- aren't we supposed to look ahead? Aren't we supposed to, you know, plan things? So how can we plan things for tomorrow, yet not take thought for tomorrow. I'm totally confused! What do you expect me to do? Not think about tomorrow? I am good at the part of the verse where it says 'but in everything with prayer and supplication make your requests known to you" but that first line gets me. Be anxious for NOTHING? I mean let's say I have 3 pounds of chicken . Do I make it all, with the thought- the Lord will provide or do I make half, so I can half left over for tomorrow? I mean I can't just pray and do nothing, right? right?
Yeah it kind of went on like that for an hour. I started rambling- just a little. I clearly heard God's voice interrupt my thoughts-
"Be still." I stopped. I sighed. I obliged- for a second. Then-
"OK, Father, but.."
I don't clearly recall the sequence, but somehow the phrase "call upon the name of the Lord" came up in our conversation. I remember asking him. What does that really mean? Then he led me to Jeremiah 33:3
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
This spoke volumes to me. I read it again, then read the verses after and verse 6 almost brought me to tears with its comfort.
Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
God was literally speaking to me through his WORD. I felt faith increase as I decided to walk by faith and allow him to control my affairs for the next day- one day at a time. Let's see what the day brings.
Fast forward to 6:15 AM this morning. I had to put my declaration into action.
Click here for Part 2
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Just hours ago my cheeks were squished between two little cupped hands trying to maneuver my head away from the pillow.
"No mommy, don't close your eyes."
"Mommy don't go sleep."
"Why J, why can't I go to sleep?"
" Cuz I want you. I want you mommy."
Insert blushing action here.
(And then he lays his body across my head, making sure to balance his body carefully to not roll headfirst on to the floor, to prove his point.)
Later, while taking advantage of a moment to talk with Heavenly Father, this warm memory brings a smile to my face. I thanked God for that moment, and it dawned on me; how often do I want God's face turned to me just because I want- HIM?
See there are countless times I go to God because I need HIM. I need his guidance, his help, or some other thing that He can DO for me. I then asked God if it was possible to get to a point of simply coming to HIM just for his very presence- just for his face, rather than his benefits.
Then it seemed unfair to wonder this because even HIS PRESENCE is a benefit in itself. I suppose this is where God desires our relationship with him to grow. When he spoke to David's heart in the 27th Psalm, God clearly expressed a desire for his children to desire just HIM- no strings attached.
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."- Psalm 27:8 NLT
Would we all have a heart willing to just BE with the Lord rather than always expecting to receive from the Lord. For the thing we find is that in simply being with him, and talking with him, He is the greatest that we can receive.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Now in my thirties my children have the honor of being the recipients to the same advice. Mostly, "What does the bible say about that?", when refusals to share a toy are matched with noisy objections, or someone wore someone else's clothes without asking, or, someone verbally puts down a sibling.. and many other examples that I can pull from daily.
The point is I too, need that reminder, as I have grown weary with the role of referee, or the mental tiredness of trying to juggle all the hats a momma must wear. Instead I open my mouth in defeat.
"I wish there was less quarreling among the children!"
"Why can't I just figure out how to have a managing home schedule?!"
"How can I communicate better with my husband"
"I'm tired of being tired! How can I get better sleep?"
"Ugh! I need to eat better- my body is run down."
& on an on....
I'm sure you can pick up a theme from that.
How about complaining? How about negativity? How about action-less? And maybe a lot of "I-ing" going on too.
But lately, very pointedly, the Spirit with each one delivers a simple word. PRAY.
"But God..." PRAY.
So when I grew overwhelmingly frustrated with having to clean another icky poo stinky diaper, I prayed. Father, I need your grace to respond to this in the way you intend. Also, I'd really appreciate if you'd let the end of this season come sooner than later. Help J feel and recognize the urge to go to the bathroom so we can more accident free days in Jesus name. Amen.
I prayed and the next day I noticed J's God-mommy shared a link on 3-day potty training boot camp with me. Well I read the article and it was very encouraging. I didn't employ the suggestions per se, but it inspired my approach to be a little more aware and less "lazy", and more excited about helping him get his bathroom needs met. The very next day, Sunday at church, he wore undies all day accident free. During service he fell asleep and I grew anxious that he'd wet all over the chairs. Then the Spirit said PRAY. I did. I asked the Lord to help him to remain dry throughout the worship service. I'll admit I was relieved and bit surprised that he was completely dry by service's end."Thank you Jesus!" It was not til after an extra 30 or so minutes of socializing and us deciding to head to lunch,that I woke him, took him to the bathroom and he went pee and poo :-) Yep, we did the bathroom celebration of course. ( And today is day two of a 99% accident-free day).
The point is God commands us to acknowledge him in all our ways- not some of them. We get into the socialized mindset, that some things are too trivial to bring to God. God asked Abraham if there was anything too hard for God. Well we need to ask ourselves that, and also this- "Is there anything to small for God?"
Like today for instance- My son lost his agenda from school. He was distressed about it. He needed it for school and would be reprimanded about not having it. He was having pre-teen anxiety issues. I said, "what have I been saying you need to do?" At this point I had just minutes before told him to pray about a situation that happened to him at school. So with the present question he sighed, and with the enthusiasm of a sloth he replied "PRAY" with an upward hand move that read,"I know I know."
I instantly saw myself in him at that age. And I was my mother. How did this happen?
So to prove God I loudly said a prayer as he walked down the hallway " Father lead us to where this book can be found for the sake of avoiding the consequences of not having it and for the increase of our faith in seeing you move on behalf of our faith in prayer. In Jesus name. Amen."
Later in the evening after having looked high and low and close to giving up, I decided to run one more load of laundry. Hmm, the girls had a full basket and the boys' basket needed to be addressed as well. I asked the girls to bring me a load of laundry that can be added with the small load I had of my own clothes. My daughter lifted the first armful of darks into the washer and she stops.
'I get brownie points, cuz I found it." I followed her eyes and there buried in the girls' basket was my son's agenda ( don't ask.) But it was found.
"Thank you Jesus!" I proclaimed there in front of the laundry closet.
I told them how it was the Lord's doing. God had me think to do another load and I could have asked the boys to bring me their laundry but I asked the girls instead. "The Lord did that, you guys!" I was excited about answered prayer.
Yep. This is my renewed theme. Don't complain about it. Pray about it.
I guess I can add that to the myriad of prayer one-liners.
"Men ought always to pray and not faint.- Luke 18:1
"Pray without ceasing."- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Monday, August 17, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
"Ode to a spectacular six Summer day"
Fight with mower,
1 Corinthians 13 learned
Cook, eat, clean,
Hop in bed
Reading, writing... Jesus said.
Within minutes, sleepy head.
Friday, June 26, 2015
- Psalm 101 NIV
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
"He who wins souls is wise" - Proverbs 11:30
" And ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witness unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth" - Acts 1:8
Many of us may not get the chance to travel the world, but if we can make an intentional resolve to reach the uttermost parts of our world- the people we come in contact with on a day to to day basis- we can still be world changers. Here I will chronicle my 20 seeds over the next thirty days. I pray it encourages you as it keeps me accountable.
Remember to visit this link for great personal evangelism ideas to get you started!
Post your goal and feel free to share along the journey!
Sunday, May 31, 2015
It's too risky." "It's too much out of your way." "It hasn't worked before so..."
"Our knee-jerk reaction to initiating spiritual conversations may be that we don't want to offend anyone. But the reality is that anyone who follows Christ offends the nonbeliever."- Bill DeWandler
Let me share something that I happened upon that is sure to get you geared up for reaching souls.
The Personal Evangelism challenge. Arabah Joy expresses it so clearly here I figure I'll just share the wealth.
Ok now before you turn your nose up at the idea, or scroll down really fast, or cock your head, hear it out.
"...we need to understand this isn’t some sort of competition. It isn’t some Christian bells and whistles program for earning spiritual brownie points.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
But it also frees.
I faced an ugly truth about myself the other day. What I call LOVE is not true, genuine, unconditional love. What I call LOVE is really, at face value, commitment, but not LOVE.
IT hit home further when I read this line from a prayer on Darlene Schacht's Daily Marriage Prayer .
"Give us a good attitude, so that we don’t merely love for the sake of our vows, but for Your sake, Lord."- from Daily Marriage Prayer, May 25, 2015
Whoa! I suddenly realized I have been and in truth may still be guilty of " love for the sake of vows" part.
Love involves commitment, but commitment in itself is not LOVE. Love involves trust, but trust in itself is not LOVE. Love demands sacrifice, but sacrifice in itself is LOVE. Love requires service, but service by itself is not LOVE. I thought by doing these things I was showing love. I am forced to ask the painful question- do I really LOVE who I say I love?
The only way to truly love is to truly know LOVE Himself- GOD.
Here is a perfect description of what God is:
Friday, May 29, 2015
Both of the words say "God" to me.
So there's no way God would require that of us right?
See, we really like LOVE.
We like to be loved, and it feels good to love others back- most of the time.
Our love says :
"you care about me",
"you make me feel warm inside",
"You want to make me feel good",
"You aim to please me",
"You want to (fill in the blank) for me".
"Oh and I'll do the same for you because well, it's only fair and it's the right thing to do."
"I'll do what makes you happy, because it feels good to be the reason someone is happy."
"I'll do what pleases you so you can feel better about doing what I want in return." .
God Love says:
"I want what's best for you"
"I want you to live- really fully live!"
"I am there for you- always"
"I believe in you- always!"
"I see beyond your faults."
"I have mercy on you"
"I forgive you"
"I will help you"
"I will pull the bulk of the load"
"You can trust me"
"I will die for you"
I had to personally evaluate my idea of love in prayer this morning. I thought, God there's no way we can humanly love like that. It's- it's just not fair, I said to him, to put that pressure on us- right?
The he spoke to me " God is love. Anyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love, does not know me."
"Ok God but I do love." I replied
"I am love."
"Ok, ok but what does that really mean?"
"Pursue me and you will find what Love really means. Read 1 Corinthians 13 again."
"Yes, Father. I will."
We were both quiet as I let the conversation process in my heart and mind.
I'll be back after I let Him speak to me through 1 Corinthian 13.
*Art is from the Latin word Artis meaning "skill"
Monday, May 4, 2015
Close your eyes if you must.
And Trust Him.
For the path lit by His Word
Is one that only faith perceives.
Walk by it.
One. Step. At a time
Into his good expectation for you.
Soon you'll look behind and realize you made it through.
Yes, keep walking.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I've learned that the flow of gratitude brings joy. When I am feeling low, frustrated, or overwhelmed I whisper to Jesus, thank you. At first it's just a word. But I say it again. And again. Before I realize it, thankfulness swells in my heart. The joy of the Lord rushes in.
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
There it was. Such a small thing but it was causing such pain in my daughters foot. It was visible yet embedded so deeply beneath the skin there was only one way to get it out.
The process was no picnic- for me! Most of it was mental and emotional. Her dad knew the pain of getting it out outweighed the result of leaving it there. She shook and tensed with every slight touch of the area. But she knew she had to endure the present discomfort of allowing me and dad to dislodge that 1/2 inch invader. It looked like a mini clinic with the needle, alcohol, magnifying glass, and tweezers strewn across the bathroom sink. It felt like forever. But finally after over an hour of hemming and hawing, crying and "no-ing" she surrendered to the desperate need to be free of that splinter. It took less than 10 min to get it out. Just minutes later she was running around like her vibrant self, like nothing even happened.
Spiritually we carry splinters- small invaders of our emotions and our spirits that hold us captive. Sadly we choose to live with the pain, rather than endure the sometimes painful process of surrendering to the Father. He wants to protect you from infection, that is liable to spread if left untreated.
The process is unpleasant to the flesh because it forces us to face the past that we've tried so hard to bury. It forces us to forgive when we feel we are the victim. It forces us to let go when we want to hold on and convince ourselves we have control. The process is painful as it can reveal even deeper issues we thought we'd gotten over, or didn't even know we had.
But the process is worth the freedom it affords. It's worth the deeper knowledge of our Father we wouldn't know otherwise. It's worth the peace, the freedom, the lifted weight.
If you're ready to experience true healing and peace, surrender to the Father today. Believe he loves you and desires only the best for his children. Let him heal you.
Suggested book: "Christians and Strongholds" by Kim Haney
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Thursday, January 8, 2015
And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect. 2 Chronicles 34:22
*Side note: I'll admit, I originally read the verse as attributing to Huldah the role of "keeper of the wardrobe. this was number three on my list, which I have since scratched after reading the verse a few times over. Still interesting that if this were so, this would be third, putting service to the house of God after family. (Also the reason why I alluded to washing the robes so much below in the post- but I digress : )