Simple {Having an Expectant Heart}

Simplicity.

I’ve always believed that less is more. Fewer activities. Smaller houses. Closer friends.

So, why is it a surprise then, when God shows up in the most humble ways?

Lately I have been amazed at how God has been responding to me. And if you are in a place where you feel like God has forgotten your hurt, maybe it’s time to get back to basics.

My heart hurts a lot. I know a lot of people who are hurting and God has wired me to practically feel physical pain when those that I love share their hurt with me. I’ll be honest and say that can become quite burdensome if I don’t keep it in check. I retreat a lot. I go off by myself a lot. I am not at all uncomfortable spending an entire day in solitude.

It’s during those times when I am still that I can hear God the loudest. Notice I did not say that He speaks the loudest when I am still. I believe He is always there waiting to say something, I can just hear him better when I am still. I draw up on Psalm 46:10 a lot. I have to.

Because when I am still I notice. I notice when He answers me.

I have two teenage daughters. (Prayers are always welcome on my behalf). They are loud, busy and always moving girls. They are always playing music too loud, running off somewhere or engrossed in the latest YouTube craze. Each one has a flair for the dramatic and have their own theater and dance outlets. They are priceless beauties and I am losing my grip on them more and more each day. As it should be.

Imagine a typical evening at my house when each one in their separate rooms have on their own favorite song. I don’t know about you, but if my favorite song is on, it ain’t at a low volume.

So it is with my girls.

What happens if I call to them? Do you think they would hear me? Do you think they would notice my voice?

Of course not. They continue dancing in their bedrooms or (and I have no idea how she does this with her music on let alone in the quiet) continue to work her Pre-Calculus homework.
I have to go directly to each one of my children, tell her to turn the music down so I they can hear me.

Do you need to turn your music down?

God’s not going to yell to get your attention. He’s just not. He’s a still small voice that speaks whispers into the hearts of those who are listening for it. He’s working every single moment of every single day and He delights in giving you your hearts desire.

But, can you hear Him? Do you see Him working?

What is so cool about God is that He’s God, but He doesn’t boast about it. He’s so complex but so very simple. He could move mountains. He can heal the sick. He can mend broken hearts. But He’s not going to be obvious about it. He’s a bit of a seek and find kinda guy. You gotta be looking for His handiwork in the every day.

I needed God to show up today. I needed a reminder that He’s still here even after a long week. I headed to my quiet space and told Him that.

And this is how He responded. This is the whisper into my heart.
Why do you need me to show up if I am always there?

It was so simple. And I was reminded of the beauty of that truth. He is always there. In everything He created.

So, then I just wanted a simple reminder and confirmation. And you know what the Creator of the Universe did? He sent me a tiny bird to dance and dazzle me in the treetops.

Simple right?

But I was looking for it. My heart was expectant.

I think sometimes we don’t get what we ask for because we don’t expect God to follow through.

Why wouldn’t He?

Why would your Father give you a snake instead of what your heart desires? (Luke 11:11)

We aren’t looking for it. We are too busy on our devices or we’ve got our music too loud. Or our calendar is too full to just be still.

How many blessings have I missed because I wasn’t expecting the simple but looking for the extravagent?

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Expect More From Your Children This School Year

I write a lot about seasons and how I love Summer so much I could probably squeeze it to death. And with the end of my children’s Summer break coming to an abrupt end next week, I’ve been clinging to it with white knuckles. But, I also know that all seasons serve their unique purpose. There’s a rhythm to it all. A cadence and melody. And if it were Summer all the time I am sure I wouldn’t appreciate it like I do.  But I’ve never been able to disprove that theory so I may never know.

My family eats outside on our patio almost every night in the Summer time. I love the informal nature of it. We eat. We linger. We enjoy our time as a family while we wait for the lightning bugs to come and dazzle us from the tree tops. Some nights we’ll spend hours out there laughing and talking. Some nights we rush through it.

Tonight we talked about how great this Summer has treated us. We have a new driver in the house with more freedom. Summer camps and long overdue family reunions. We’ve relaxed. We’ve played. And we’ve worked hard too. (VBS anyone?) We’re satisfied with how we’ve lived our life the last few months and looking forward to what the next season will bring.

It’s our last year in middle school and the ever important Junior year of high school. Neither one of my beautiful girls is looking forward to the busyness or the workload. It’s my blog and my girls, so I can brag without restraint that they are both straight “A” honor students. They work hard.

But they also know that is what I expect from them. I don’t expect all A’s but I do expect them to work hard and to do their best. The end result is that they are well rounded kids respected among their teachers and peers. They each have their own interests in choir, dance and theater and they both do well.

That’s not enough for me.

I’ve been thinking about the lives we lead today. Too busy to breathe some nights and we collapse in bed anxious to do it all over again when the sun rises. We program our children with dance and theater. T-ball and academics. We expect straight A’s and accolades.

Do we expect them to know Jesus?

When given the choice between recovering from the busy week on Sunday morning and sleeping in or treating Jesus like He’s part of every season in our life, what do we choose?

We are charged with truancy if we choose not to send our children to school.

What’s the penalty if we choose not to take our children to church?

If we don’t send our children to school, they fail and can’t go to college.

I won’t say that if we don’t go to church we can’t go to heaven, because that’s not true. But if we treat church like it’s optional how can we expect our children to think a relationship with Jesus is a necessity?

There is no Jesus season. He’s not around only at Easter and Christmas. We can’t take a break from His presence in the Summer time just because we went on a beach vacation. He’s always there. On the first and last day of school. On the ball field. At the dance recital. During the opening curtain call. We don’t get a Jesus break because He never takes a break from us.

I’d rather my children fail in school than to fail in realizing that their most important relationship is with their creator.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

 

 

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How I Escaped From Prison

I’ve spent the last few months in prison and now that I have finally escaped, I never want to go back.

Maybe prison is too strong of a word. Occupied? That might be bit better. That’s a bit more dignified. Whatever the appropriate word, the truth is that I have been under siege.

The last couple months have been a whirlwind of musical rehearsals and performances, end-of-the-year school activities, dance recitals, birthday and anniversary celebrations and in the world of KidMin, getting ready for the annual VBS.  I feel like I have crammed a year’s worth of life into the last 2 months.

I became trapped in the prison of tomorrow.

Have you ever been there? It’s not your typical prison, so it’s a subtle incarceration.  There are no bars and the walls don’t close in on you. At least, not at first. But the longer you are there the more suffocating it becomes until you find yourself gasping for air and you’re sure that you won’t ever escape.

It’s a prison of the mind, this prison. It leads you to believe that whatever you are doing today is not as good as you will have it tomorrow. Tomorrow is always better than today. Tomorrow all the rehearsals will be over and you will finally have more time. Until tomorrow finally comes and you have performances. Tomorrow, after the performance though, you can go home and rest. Until tomorrow comes and you need to get ready for your daughter’s birthday. And so on.

It’s an arresting cycle. This prison of tomorrow. There is no escape.

Unless you come to realize that today is, in fact, yesterday’s tomorrow.

My Escape Plan

It was Monday morning. I was busy getting ready for the first day of Vacation Bible School. The Preschool Ministry staff and so many others had been busy since January getting ready for this day. 6 months of planning and here we were, poised and ready for a great week. But, while I was brushing my teeth, all I could think about was Friday.

“Then it will all be over and I can finally relax.”

I don’t know about you, but it’s precisely in the times when I think I’ve got it going on that God whispers something very contrary into my heart.

“Why do you keep wishing your days away when I created you for such a time as this?”

It was in that moment that I was finally released from the prison in which I didn’t even know I was being held captive.

In that moment I realized that every messy, busy, exhausting day is a day that I was created for. And each one of those days adds up to a whole lot of yesterdays. Not tomorrows.

Tomorrow is never promised.

Today collects the sweet memories. Today builds the Kingdom. Today is when we are living, loving and laughing.

If we are living in the freedom of today, we unlock the shackles that hold us back from living our best life.

For such a time as this. The sleepless newborn nights that when we blink disappear into anxious teenager days.

For such a time as this. The jobless, penny pinching, leaning into God for every provision months that grow us and stretch us into fruitful and trusting children of God.

For such a time as this. When the death of a loved one scars our hearts and grief bleeds and spills into joy.

For the lonely times. The sad times. Busy and overwhelmed times.

There’s purpose in all of it.

If we choose to live liberated in each day we are given, in each moment we breathe. If we remember the whisper, “For such a time as this,” it will be impossible to become trapped in our own personal prison of tomorrow.

Carpe Diem

…Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

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Three Reasons Why Failing In 2018 Will Be Ok

Raise your hand if you have already messed up on the changes you decided to make in 2018.

Really?! You too? I thought I was the only one!

I don’t make resolutions anymore for this very reason. I make things easier and choose just one word or theme to focus on to improve my life. Seems so simple.

Turns out, I can screw that up too!

So here I am, being so very human and feeling like I can’t do anything right. I can’t even go a couple days without slipping back into my old comfy place. The place where nothing grows. I’m beating myself up about how much discipline I lack.

“Lord, I’m such a failure! I can’t even make it a week without failing!”

I felt like giving up. Already.

What’s the point? I set out to do something and I didn’t do it. Barely even a week into the New Year and I wish I could start over. I wish I didn’t have a blemish already.

That’s when God reminded me of three things to make a do-over not only possible, but Biblical.

God Doesn’t Work On A Timeline

He’s eternal. There’s no 2018 on God’s time. There’s no New Year to celebrate or agenda to keep. Sure, he separated the day from the night and set the Earth into a rhythm of 365. But that was for our feeble little human minds to help compartmentalize our lives.

If we’re living for eternity, then a couple days in January when life got a little nuts and we lost focus of our goals is a mere speck compared to God’s grand scheme of things.

And since He doesn’t have a timeline, anytime is a good time for a fresh start.

Psalm 102:12

God is Omnipresent

It doesn’t matter if you’re at work or in the car on the way, God is there for your turn-around. I used to tell my kids that God is everywhere, even in the bathtub. They used to think that was silly, but God has shown up in big ways many times while I was in the shower.

There’s no place like the present to get a do-over. Don’t wait to get home from work, vacation or even to finish reading this paragraph. If you need a fresh start, take it now! God’s here. And He’s staying here. He’s waiting for you to make the move.

Psalm 139: 7-10

God’s Mercy is New Every Morning Not Just On January 1st.

This one is my favorite. Nothing screams “fresh start” like a beautiful sunrise. Early morning dew.  Crisp, clean air.

And, oh so many nights I have gone to bed feeling deflated, defeated, exhausted and discouraged only to wake up feeling refreshed and hopeful for a new day. I am not a morning person and I never will be, but I have found myself clinging to the promise of a new day more times than I can count. It helps me to know that however I failed today, I get a clean slate in the morning. Every day of the year.

Lamentations 3: 22-23

So, we’re only a few days into a brand new year and I am bound to screw up another 364 times. But I know that our God is always there ready to give fresh mercies whenever we need them.

Forever and ever. Amen.

 

I’d love to hear from you. Check out the comments and let me know how God is working already in your life in 2018.

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Unforgettable: When God Writes The Story

wordoftheyear2018

I love words. I’m the girl who sits and reads the dictionary during her leisure time.  Yes, the paper copy. When I hear a new word, I almost always look it up and practice saying it over and over again.  Sometimes, as with a popular song, I will get a word stuck in my head. The poetry of it is melodious to me. I know. I’m weird.

It should be of no surprise then, that God uses words to mold me into who He wants me to be. As if He is allowing me a sneak peek into the grand story He’s writing for my life, these words hold a theme of what He will allow and walk me through.

The concept of choosing just one word to meditate on for an entire year is not new, but I still love it. I begin to pray about it around November (looking forward to a new year anyone?) and begin to reflect on what God brought me through with the word he gave me previously. I’ve been given “intentional” and “trust” the last two years. Both of those words proved to refine me in ways I didn’t plan.

I thought “Intentional”  would remind me to be a better friend. You know, be intentional about how I spent my time with others and invest in those I cared about. Turned out God wrote that word on my heart because he wanted me to be more intentional about the time I spent with Him! I could not have survived a broken heart without all the time I spent in the Word and praying. Intentionally seeking my one true love. Jesus.

Trust. This year my husband spent 10 days in 2 different hospitals with a traumatic injury that almost took the use of his arm. The days and weeks and now months after the injury have been nothing short of a challenge. Learning to live with the pain, the limited use of his arm and the lingering question on whether the dead bone used to replace the one he lost will ever ‘come alive’ or not, all of that takes a whole lot of trust in a God who has our best interests at heart.

This year I also began a new full-time director position in children’s ministry at our church. The stretch marks and bruises from that alone have left me questioning what God has gotten me into. And I realize it’s all part of that tiny little word He wrote for me. Trust.

Since the last two years of my life have been so challenging, I hesitate to choose another word. But I realize that the words God uses to write my story allows me to focus more on a reason for the challenges and not just wallow in the suffering. And since I tend to be a carefree spirit and want to do things my way, I know that God has given me this word for 2018:

Discipline.

It really doesn’t sound like a fun word at all.  God will even back me up on that one;

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11

Not enjoyable. Sounds like just the kind of year everyone wishes for! While the work and discipline may not be easy, afterward comes the peaceful harvest.

Being disciplined with my money yields a more secure future for my family and sharing wealth with those who need it more than me.

Being disciplined in my time with the Lord nourishes my soul to better be able to minister to those around me.

Being disciplined with the food I put on the table provides a healthier life for my family and loved ones.

Being disciplined with my time leaves me more time to do the things I love to do, like write, read and spending time with my family.

Discipline is not enjoyable, and to be honest I wish my word was different for 2018. But I am also looking forward to what the fruits of that labor will be.

“Intentional” helped me better understand the characteristics of God.

“Trust” helped me better understand that he is always there, even on my darkest days.

Who knows what ‘discipline’ will teach me this year. I won’t know until a year from now. But it is guaranteed that if I continue to let God write the words, the story will be unforgettable.

 

What word has God given you for 2018? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

 

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Details: When God Gives You A Pickle

Distraction. We all struggle with it.  So many things demand our attention every day. Work. Kids. Relationships. Some of us are involved in so many activities there just doesn’t seem to be time for work, kids and relationships. Our devices intended to make our lives easier sometimes are the most distracting things in our lives.

Have you ever felt that way?

I am certain that God never intended for us to live like this. God never wants us to get so bogged down with so much that we can’t pay attention to the little things.

God pays attention to the little things.

I am reading chronologically through the Bible. Some of the Old Testament books are not very good bedtime stories. I find my thoughts drifting off and wishing for an easier read. When I got into Exodus and God is giving all the instructions on how He wanted the Temple built and the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant, I literally stopped, groaned and said aloud:

“Why do all of these details matter?”

And God answered, “Because details matter to Me.”

Now, it’s not every day that God answers me right back, but it’s not unusual when I take the time to dig into His word. It is so important to get to know my Heavenly Father and His character. That’s only possible by reading His autobiography, the Bible.

So, I wasn’t surprised that He answered me so clearly and I wasn’t surprised with His answer. But, it’s had me thinking ever since.

God is in the Details.

The other day I was driving to lunch with a friend of mine. Thinking ahead to the menu I said out loud to her, “I want a pickle.”  It seems random. I know. But she went with it and agreed that I should have one with my lunch.

We arrived at the busy restaurant, found our table and briefly looked over the menu. The sandwich I settled on came with a pickle. When the waitress brought it to me, wouldn’t you know that sweet, benevolent detail-oriented God of ours brought me two pickles!

I truly do not believe that was a coincidence. It was a small detail to remind me He’s listening to my heart’s desire.

Last Spring, my husband was in a traumatic accident where he cut off his left elbow.  We waited in the hospital for over a week for doctor’s to detemine what should be done. Finally, it was decided that my husband would need a cadaver’s elbow to save his arm. Of course, all that was available in the entire country were left elbows.  Exactly the detail we needed!

Notice The Details

I think that God wrote all of those details in the Old Testament because He wants us to know that He cares about the details. If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow then His detail-loving character hasn’t changed.

And He wants us to notice.

He wants us to notice the extra pickle or the fact that He provided the exact missing piece. He wants us to notice the little things He does for us so that we will trust Him with the bigger things.

How to Notice the Details

It’s easy to see God when He heals a friend of cancer or provides at the very last minute the funds you didn’t think would be there. God is still in the business of showing off, and I love that.

But, maybe you find it difficult to see Him in the details.

One way to see Him every day is to realize that He’s there. Every. Day. He’s what set this whole cosmos in motion, after all. If He can do that, He can put an extra pickle on a plate.  Begin to notice the beauty around you. Put down the phone and listen to your children laugh. Look out the window and marvel at all the tiny things set in motion before you in that very instance. Breathe in creation.

Another way to realize God’s love for details is to realize His desire to satisfy yours. An extra pickle isn’t a coincidence if you know your Father knows you wanted one.  He’s a good Father, and He promises that if you ask it will be given to you. Luke 11:9  That includes pickles.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Luke 11:11

But the best way I know to understand and begin to notice the details around you is to spend time with Your Father.  Dig into His word and learn about His character. Make a point every day to learn something new.  You notice things about others when you spend more time with them. That includes your Heavenly Father. Find a quiet place and pray. Talk to Him throughout the day and make sure you thank Him each night. When you take the time to be still and get away from your distractions, it’s easier to know that He is God.

Knowing God means recognizing His subtle reminders that He’s got not only your biggest worries, but also your detailed desires in mind.

 

I’d love to hear from you. What are some ways God has shown off to you through the details? Join the discussion in the comments below this post.

 

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Hope Among The Mess

I took this picture not knowing the meaning it would hold for me less than 24 hours later.  It’s a picture of my 12-year-old’s daughter’s room. As is.

Can you just see her life in there?

One glance at the picture and you can see who she is.  She’s a free spirit. A lover of pink. A dreamer of Paris.

She’s also a mess.  That’s why I took the picture.  I took it to remind myself that one day she’ll grow up and move out and she’ll take the whole messy pink bundle of girlish charms with her. Her laughter. Her smile. Her joy. It will all grow up and move out on me one day. And I want to remember it all.

As is.

I chose not to fuss at her this time for the way her room looks, but she fussed at me for taking the picture. She fusses at me for a lot of things these days. She is twelve after all.

The next day I learned that someone else’s child was shot and killed at her church in Texas. Dozens more were killed simply by doing what my family does more than once a week–going to church.

I am so thankful to still have that ‘one day’ to look forward to.

Anytime tragedy strikes it causes us to reevaluate our lives a bit. Do your loved ones know that you love them? I mean, really? Have you done enough to teach and mold your children? Has your life made a difference to those around you? Are your priorities in line?

Perhaps tragedy makes you feel angry or frustrated.  Maybe it causes you to spring into action to help those who are directly affected by what happened. Or maybe it happens so often that you have become desensitized to it. I know that has been my reaction many times, I am almost ashamed to admit it.

Somehow, this one hit home for me. I’ve lost track of the number of disasters and unspeakable acts of violence this year alone.  But the news of innocent children murdered sitting next to their mothers? It’s too much. It’s too raw.

So, I look back at the picture I snapped the night before. I can practically breathe in the fragrance of my daughter. I can almost see her sitting there at her vanity doing her hair. And I can’t help but wonder if tragedy is around the corner for me too.

However, my peace lies within the knowledge that my child knows Jesus. She teaches me about Him a lot when she doesn’t even mean to. Does she stumble sometimes? Yes. Does she have a lot more to learn? Yes. I pray protection over my children every single day.

I know that God can allow some horrible trials to strengthen His people. None of us are immune to tragedy, but my child is immune to death.

This is what gets me through horrible news stories. The promise of eternal life for those that know Jesus like my child.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t mourn over this tragedy or losing someone they love. It’s not even my child and I have wept. I’m saying that there is hope. Hope for grieving parents and a grieving congregation. Hope for a town that suddenly finds itself thrust into the national spotlight and making a mark in history for all the wrong reasons. There’s hope for a nation that just can’t seem to heal before another tragedy strikes.

You’ll find that hope nestled in the random picture I took of my daughter’s messy room. It’s sitting on her dresser. Do you see it? It’s a Bible. Between the two pink covers lies every answer to every problem you’ll ever face. It’s comfort. It’s hope. And it’s sitting in the midst of the mess we’ve made, just waiting for us to return to its promises.

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How To Build Endurance {A Six Month Journey}

My husband nearly lost the functionality of his arm six months ago, but the journey seems like it’s been much longer.

Back in March of 2017 my husband fell off a ladder at work, landed on an electrical box nearly severing his left arm. Essentially, he cut his elbow off. He transected his ulnar nerve and lost feeling in parts of his hand.

I know. That’s a little graphic for some of you.

Sometimes graphic is what God uses to get our attention.

Those first several weeks were filled with so much pain both physical and emotional. And so many questions. Would he be able to work again? Would he regain strength? Would the allografted bone grow into his living bone? Would he regain feeling in his hand?

We cried together a lot. We got frustrated. And we got angry. Exhaustion got the better of us on many days.

There is no way we could have gotten through the last 6 months without God catching each one of our tears and bundling up all or our fears to hold them close to His heart. I know this full well.

Our trial is just an example of God displaying His perfect love. After six months it’s a bit easier to look back and see His fingerprints all over the place! I am humbled that He chose us to walk this path and share this story. I pray it brings my Savior glory, if only just a little.

Yesterday we traveled back up to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for another follow-up appointment. I honestly have lost track of the number of times we’ve headed up there since March. It certainly has become familiar to us. And the trips, almost a way of life.

This visit though, was a little different.

Everything is looking good. His doctor is optimistic that the surgery was a success even though we are ‘not out of the woods yet.’  We still have three to four YEARS to see if the grafted bone will ‘come alive.’ If not, the bone will disintegrate and we are back to square one. But I am oh, so hopeful and have an amazing peace that God will show. off!! It gets me a little giddy to think about!

My husband has no restrictions and has been released from occupational therapy.  We said goodbye to our caseworker who, quite honestly, I had become fond of over the last 6 months. I’ll miss her. And we walked out of the clinic with a strange sense of joy.

It was almost as if we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Do we laugh? Do we cry? Do we shout out just how awesome our God is right here in the elevator? I wanted to. I should have.

I’ve been praying for 6 months every single day for healing. For pain relief. For joy.

He’s been listening. He hasn’t been stuck on what to do for us. He knows how to fix broken. He knows it’s all in the timing.

Consider it great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1: 2-4 CSB

I have to pause for a moment and soak in these words….

Joy has been so hard for me to find. How do you find joy when fear and uncertainty seem so much stronger?

Through perseverance.

Even if it’s a little prayer, it’s still prayer. God answers those too. And if we pray enough little prayers pretty soon God gives us the strength to pray the bigger ones. He gives us that endurance.

But endurance can’t have it’s full effect if you never face the trial to build it in the first place.

This trial has brought me on my knees in prayer more than anything else in my entire life. Which has deepened every part of me.  Six months ago I wasn’t ready to consider any of it joy. But today I am just so thankful for every piece of this ‘special case.’

Thankful that I could almost physically feel God’s love in a dark and lonely hospital room.

Thankful to realize how crazy much I love my husband, in sickness and in health.

Thankful to be a vessel for God to show off His mighty healing power and careful orchestration of every minute detail.

I’m just thankful. I have this hurt. But I also have this awesome God!

Miraculous bone fusion through the hands of Dr. Donald Lee.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Week In Review {The Highlight Reel}

Here we are sitting on the cusp of a brand new weekend.

Friday. Already.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as ready for the weekend as the rest of you. But, as weeks go, this wasn’t my best one. And I’m pretty sure Monday didn’t even bother to show up this week. At least I don’t remember it.

Sick day. Long staff meetings. Regular weekly battle against the doubts inside my head.  It was just an ordinary week.

Until something happened.

About a month ago I was asked to share during the Chapel time at my church’s Weekday Early Education (WEE) ministry. There are very few things that I could think of that I would rather be doing besides spend my morning with a room full of preschoolers. I know. I’m among the minority. So, of course I accepted the invitation and immediately began to think of things to share with these children.

I had a book ready and a little song picked out. I was good to go. I wanted to give as much time as I could to this little project and make it great!

Except that the day before Chapel, I had a migraine and was out of the office. I completely forgot about my commitment until I was headed to bed the night before. I began to feel guilty for not spending more time to prepare.

The next morning I went in to my office, found the book I had planned to share and ran over the words of the song one more time. I prayed for the Lord to bless my efforts and headed down to Chapel.

I greeted the children and began to read my book selection on God’s grace. It was a sweet reminder that God loves us regardless if the things we do or don’t do.

It was in those moments when the Spirit pressed on my heart that it wasn’t how much time I spent “making something great.” It was my willingness to share the love of Christ that mattered the most. Big or small, everyone needs to know how much love the Father lavishes on us.

It doesn’t have to be a room full of preschoolers, you have the chance to share the love of Christ with someone today too.

We often fail to realize that a mission isn’t always foreign. It starts in your living room with your own children, or at the coffee shop with a friend.  It’s at your favorite grocery story or gas station. Maybe the neighbor you’ve known for years could use a helping hand. It’s in the classroom at your church.

Whatever it is, I want to challenge you to be intentional about sharing God’s love with someone today. God will use it. And I promise it will be the highlight of your blase week.

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A Few Thoughts On Harvey

I just don’t think I could survive a flood. I don’t think I could stand the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and loss. Surely grief would creep in there somewhere. Confusion. Frustration. Uncontrolled heartbreak.

Flood. Overwhelming amounts or quantities.

It’s more than just the unrelenting rain and rising water. It’s also the emotional flood I am sure I couldn’t withstand.

The news is something I actually try to avoid at all costs. But, oh sweet Houston! You’ve got a problem! The biggest natural disaster this country has seen in over a decade and my heart hurts so much for you!  But, I am also so incredibly proud of you!

Among all the chaos, raw human beauty is emerging. Like a worm being transformed in order to take wings, you are inspiring a nation to lay down all the ugliness and fly. You are living out love the way we were created to do. You’re crossing over invisible lines drawn for the salvation of another man and it’s awe-inspiring.

I recently spoke with a group of women on how to find joy in your journey. Even in some of our most devastating times, it is so hard to find joy or even a reason.  When the floodwaters rise, we still need to trust that God’s got it all figured out for His glory and for our good.

But if you’re stranded out on the roof of your house soaked to the bone with no end in sight, it’s often easy to forget. It’s easy to lose hope and to lose joy.

My list of ways to find joy in the journey:

1. Trust God and lean not on your own understanding.

2. Remember it’s temporary. Even Noah got off the Ark. 

3. Take time to abide in Christ every day.

4. Count your blessings.

5. Remember your salvation in Jesus.

But looking at the footage from Houston, I know I forgot to add something to that list and that is:

6. Find ways to love thy neighbor. Every neighbor. Even the ones you think aren’t like you.

In the midst of your flood, your trial and heartbreak seek ways to share the burden. Find the common ground that we all share. We were all made by the same Creator who loves each one of us in the most beautiful mesmerizing ways. Act like it!

Houston, you’re acting like it! You’ve been dealt a bad hand. But I can see, even way over here in Alabama, how God is using you to heal a broken world and offer a slice of hope.

My prayers and thoughts are with you all!

To donate to relief efforts for our friends in Houston and others impacted by the storm, please head over to KLove.com or follow this link. https://www.convoyofhope.org/donate/harvey-klove/

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