Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why I Quit "Helping" God {God is God}

The dog greeted me warmly at the door. I left her loose while I was gone because there was no food out and how much trouble could she get into? I carried the tired toddler into the kitchen and was greeted warmly once more.

By a completely annihilated box of Honey Nut Cheerios. What would possess an animal to jump onto a kitchen table and destroy a box and bag, only to consume a few handfuls of cereal? Yet there lay the accusing debris. As a mother of four with a dirty house, you could imagine my delight.

I set down the kid and reached for the broom. In moments, tiny fingers laid hold of the handle and her words formed, "Mm how. Mm how."

To a foreigner that would mean nothing. To my mother ears it rang clearly, "I help. I help."

I released the broom into her eager hands and watched as she toddled around the kitchen, spreading the cardboard, plastic, crumbs and other junk pell-mell over the linoleum. As a mother of four with a dirty house, you could imagine my delight.

This is precisely why I've quit helping God. I'm as effective as a 1 year old with a broom.

Pray, proclaim, fight, obey, serve, love, forgive, follow. All those things I remember being instructed by God through His word.

"Help me out." Not so much.

Teach, baptize, tell, give, bring, watch, repent.  Those words too come to mind.

"Do me a favor." Not that one.

I'd like to think the absence of those phrases would eliminate the notion from our brains, but I can say from experience that isn't the case. It's tempting to feel some degree of awesomeness in performing a task on behalf of God. Like God must really delight in me, check out this daughter of His I am helping. Check out this hurting brother I am feeding. Feed and clothe the least of these- I'm doing this for you, God.

But the truth is, God doesn't need my help. He's not a frazzled parent, relinquishing His broom to a bossy toddler.

God is in charge. And that's the case always.

So, what's the big difference? What's the big deal if I feel like I'm doing an act to help God or if I'm doing it to help my neighbor? It's precisely this- who is in control?

If I am assuming the Lord is in need of my service, I have some claim to its outcome. Just a little glory, not much, if it all turns out great. I'll give Him most- just hoard a little of the glory to myself, if that's ok.

On the other hand, if it all comes crashing down around me I ask, "God, what did I do wrong?"

I don't want to crawl up onto His lap. I want to crawl up on His throne. I want to grab the reins, and the reign. Just for a moment. Just until He can handle this without me.

Maybe that's not how you think. Maybe you don't feel pressure to make someone believe. Maybe you are content to teach your children the way of the Lord without fretting over whether or not you are going to screw it up and send them to hell in a hand-basket.

Maybe you don't lose sleep over unbelieving family and friends. Or over the starving multitudes. Or the children sold into slavery. Maybe you are content to teach and follow and serve, and know your role.

I have a hard time with that. Overwhelmed with the problems of the world, I forget Whose shoulders can carry it all. I forget that when I visit the poor, teach the children, listen to the lonely, I am not doing God a favor. I am following Jesus where He leads. Nothing more. And I'm sinning all the while. I'm being an imperfect disciple in the hands of the perfect and almighty God, who doesn't need my help, but chooses to use me in His plan.

God delights in me because He created me. He delights in me because He redeemed me and made me His own. And my readiness or reluctance to serve in His name will not diminish or augment His love for me. He loves me because He is love.

Now, are there consequences to withholding my service? Of course. Serious ones even. The Bible is clear on that as well. But not because God needed me and now His plan is going to fall apart because I'm selfish. If that was the case, He would accomplish nothing because I am more often than not a selfish individual. Any glimmers of selflessness come as a result of His work in me.

So I've given up "helping" God. At least for now. I'm sure I'll fall back into the pattern again somewhere down the road and He'll have to remind me that He can handle this whole life thing all on His own and I'm His beloved child, chosen and set apart to work alongside Him, but never in place of Him. I was never meant to carry that load, and that's because He loves us too much to give me His job.

Follow. It's a simple enough command, though difficult in execution. Fight, baptize, proclaim, feed, repent, etc. are all acts that on their own are too complicated for me to accomplish without His power. There's no need to add "Be God" onto the list. So today I start with the simplest of words, Believe, which is a gift in itself, and all the rest will fall into place.

Linking up today with the always fabulous, Simply Beth for Three Word Wednesday.

Monday, February 24, 2014

When Life Looks A Lot More Like Gilligan's Island

Just sit right back and you'll read a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Don't ask me how, but my children discovered Gilligan's Island this past weekend. And with me or my husband manning the remote (so as to avoid the raunchy TV Land commercials) we sat as a family and watched as a whole new generation was awed by the magical and inescapable island of their dreams.

It's a dangerous thing- watching your childhood favorites again. They rarely, if ever, live up to the memories. Still, Gilligan's Island was entertaining, if not marvelous. It taught me a few things too:

1. Life would have been a lot simpler if those huts had been built of sound-proof bamboo. Then people wouldn't have been eavesdropping and freaking out all the time. Seriously, Howells, you think the Professor and Skipper are going to off Gilligan to save their own skin and avoid war with an island tribe?

2. The show isn't realistic. Not in the slightest. I mean really, a head-hunting tribe with only 3 members (none of which are women- how will the culture be preserved with no babies)? A dentist's drill powered by the pedaling patient? Gilligan and the Skipper sleeping and waking in those same clothes every single day and they don't fade? I know it wasn't supposed to be realistic, but when I was younger it never really occurred to me just how outlandish it all was. It didn't seem ridiculous at all.

3. Perspective matters. The show scared the kids. A guy running up and down on the island in a bed sheet. A giant stuffed spider whose legs don't even touch the ground (because their was a dude in that costume, I believe). Gilligan avoiding mortal combat with an island native. It was tense in the room as the kids seriously fretted, how will everything work out?  

Then again, I was stranded on my own island this past weekend. Hearing part of the story, the part I didn't want to hear. Making assumptions based on incomplete evidence. Creating wildly unrealistic plot lines in my own brain of what I was sure would be my own demise.

I left the port of assumption, navigated the turbulent seas of obsession, and crashed on the shores of despair.

I emailed the person who I assumed thought I was incompetent, untrustworthy, and stubborn. Seeking closure in an email is like throwing darts blindfolded. You might hit the target, but chances are more likely you'll just cause a bystander pain. Pretty sure I did that. Unintentionally, but still. I scrutinized every word of his reply. Agonized over every turn of phrase. And left the exchange more confident than ever that this person thought I was unfit.

But the scary thing is this- I didn't mean to do any of this. I avoided it at all costs. I tried to be rational when I heard the news. I sought wise counsel. I prayed. I read the Bible. I worked out. I drank red wine. I slept. I did every physical and spiritual therapy I could think of. Nothing worked.

It hit me that God was working a change in my life and in the life of His church. A change in which I played a major part. A change that made the devil nervous.

You can bet that when God gets plans in motion, the devil isn't far behind. He wants nothing more to derail the train powered by the Lord and moving in His direction.

I worked an hour on Bible study homework. Felt good doing it. Less than a minute after, my blood pressure soared at the mere thought of this person. I realized I needed reinforcements. I did what I rarely do- I texted a friend for prayer. Personal prayer. I can ask a person to pray for a friend, a family member. It's much harder to ask them to pray for me and a hang up in my own brain. But I knew I was in the middle of a full-on attack and I needed someone else behind me.

Guess what, it worked. She offered a listening ear (or a reading eye, as the case would have it). She offered to pray for me and the other person. Then she offered the exact perspective I needed: the devil sees the work God is doing in the other person, and is fighting to get him back. The devil was sending out his forces and working on the both of us, and with that perspective I was instantly placed on the side of my "enemy."

Instead of his army on one side and mine on the other, waiting to charge onto the battlefield, there we stood- he and I back to back, swords in hand, fighting off the powers of darkness that sought to obliterate any chance of glorifying God.

I was at peace.

I talked to my former "offender" on Sunday at church, and guess what, I do really like him. His enthusiasm was exciting to see and, while I know we are going to have some obstacles and differences of opinion, we are on the same side.

It was the S.S. Truth that rescued me that day. Captained by Jesus Christ and manned by one of his dear servants.

We all get stranded on our own imaginary islands. Ridiculous plot lines and incomplete information threaten to be our undoing. What truth do you need to hear today? What relationships are buckling under these conditions. The devil is looking to devour us. It is my prayer that he's kept hungry and God is glorified in your life and mine.

Thanks for reading my little testimony here. I ask you to keep this situation in your prayers. Strides have been made, but I know that the further we get, the harder satan will work. Pray for understanding, clear communication, grace and mercy in all this- and I will pray for you too!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dear Day Ahead of Me, {I Am His}

It is a pretty necklace. Simple. I put it on like a superhero cape- it's part of the uniform today. Sweatpants, sweatshirt, greasy hair, coffee, and this necklace. It reminds me I am His. It is my letter to the day. It says:

Dear Day Ahead of Me,

I think it's best you know right off the bat- I am His.

I have no clue what is going to happen to me today. No doubt you have plans. But bear in mind, at all times I am His.

So when I type at the computer and the baby climbs onto my lap and competes for my attention, I remember I don't belong to this computer. I don't belong to this blog. I am His.

And when fight after fight breaks out even after I have commanded, "Do not talk to your brother. Do not talk to your sister." And it seems that the only way to break free of the conflict is to banish my kids for the next decade, or threaten their lives with poisonous words, I will remember I don't belong to this anger, this emergency. I am His.

And when the dishes pile up, the checks run out, the laundry sits wet and untended in the washer for days, I will remember- I don't belong to my chores. My worth isn't tied to what I can see with my eyes. It is tied to the cross. To the tomb. To the certainty of what I do not see. Because I am His.

And when the words of a friend cut deep and, no matter how hard I try, they just won't vacate the front of mind, discontent to simmer on the back burner, I will remember that I have no control over the thoughts of others and they have no claim over me. I don't belong to human opinion. I am His.

And when I look at the haggard expression on an aging face, and feel the constant ache of arthritic hands, I will remember that I'm not getting old- These seasons are His seasoning. I'm like a well-used and beloved bread pan, carrying in my body the Bread of Life. I am His.

And when I look at the perfect lives of those who can keep their worlds from falling apart with no effort, I will remember that every step I take is an action beyond my means. Beyond my power or my will. Each is gift. I am not supposed to go this life alone and make the best of it. I am with Him because I am His.

When the friendships die and the kids buck hard and I wonder if I'm doing everything wrong, I will remember those relationships have not been formed and glued by me, but by Him. I belong to no human. I am His.

When the accolades skim my presence and land on another, I am His.

When compliments tempt me to pride, I am His.

When the hours are long and the days too short, I am His.

When apathy steals over the church so much that I want to scream, "Doesn't anybody care?!" I remember, He cares. He cares. I am His.

When the threat of an unforeseen future shoves me into an abyss of worry, doubt, anger. I belong to the only One who holds the future. He holds me too. I am His.

When the deadlines rush upon me, and I know my work isn't up to snuff. I am His.

When the loving wife in me is body slammed by the insecure maniac being pulled in too many directions. I am His.

When a "what-do-you-think" invites clueless and arrogant words on my part. Or when words escape me and I'm about like talking to the paint on the wall. I am His.

When stuff breaks. I am His.

When I break. I am His.

When the world is just too messed up. I am His.

When the prayers are clumsy and forced. When my quiet time is no more quiet than the usual din. When I am just too tired to be "holy," I am His. I am still His.

You might say I'm possessed. Nothing is closer to the truth. I carry Him with me- His death and His life. He chose me for that. I'll meet people today looking for somewhere to belong. Someone to belong to. So they'll trial and error their way through, belonging to the feel good. Belonging to the good enough. That's not the case with me. I know where I belong. With Him. I know to Whom I belong. I am His.

So go ahead. You can start now. I'm prepared, if not ready. He'll use it all- every breath for His will. I'm not afraid. I go with the Lord. Patience, strength, mercy, forgiveness will all be needed and provided. No worries. I belong to the Maker of them all.

Let's roll.

Linking up with the giver of my necklace: Simply Beth

Monday, February 17, 2014

Human Humidifiers- Why Jesus is More Than Just an Inside Deal

Hurrah! Welcome to my celebration post! Today marks the 1 year, 4 day anniversary of this blog! Woot! Really, I just got curious as to when I started this whole deal and flipped back to my first post. 40 Days (posted 2/13/13) was my humble explanation of what Lent really is, and why I was starting this blog. It's nice to look back on past writing and think it ain't bad, but it also ain't quite me.

Then there's this quote: "So will I give something up? Well, it's noon on Ash Wednesday and I still haven't decided. Will I decide to "take" something up? Ta-da! Blog! Looks like I may be taking up courage this Lent. And then perhaps this 40 days will give way to a more incredible resurrection joy that my writing can only hope to convey."

BOOM! So there you go, I've been on this blog here for just over a year and I think I will be celebrating that somehow with my kids this President's Day. God is good.

Now on to the actual point of writing today...

I've been through a whole season of Messy Monday's and yet this one didn't hit me until last night. I've had ideas bouncing around in my head for a few days, none materializing into anything worth publishing, but then the precious preschooler looks at me at supper last night and tells me, "Mom, you will haf to put someping on my lips because de orange hurts dem."

Citrus fruit really picks a heckuva time to be in season. Her lips flamed red as she wiped them with her napkin. Her attempts to wipe away the burn.

It's on the faces of kids all over the place. The wind-burned lips and cheeks. Our own hands cracked red and bleeding from the lack of moisture. It pains me to think what state we'd be in without our humidifiers. So when my dear one pointed out her dry condition, the first thing I thought of was living water.

God designed our bodies with this incredible need for saturation. And not just on the inside. Sure, we need to ingest water to survive, but we need more than just that. Without moisture seeping in from the outside, life becomes painful. Citrus fruit burns. The cracks in our skin and souls are easily irritated. Those things that would give us pleasure: our adorable kids, our talented friends, our endearing spouses, grate on our nerves. The kids become pests. Our friends a source of envy. Our spouses a nuisance.

We try to fix it ourselves. We clean up our act- rubbing our souls raw. We steep our hands in water for an hour a week, thinking that one hour will make the difference when there are 167 other hours in the week to dry us out. We slather on yummy lotion that is more scent than salve.

Meanwhile, the moisture within us wicks away little by little until we are dry. Bone dry.

We wonder why there is so much pain, so much hate, in this world.

Satan is drying us out.

And it's hard to bring healing to others when we are just so irritated.

Hey, Christians, I have news for you. The world is in need of some serious humidifiers. Some human humidifiers full of the living water. Not just the ones on TV and the radio. Not the kind that publish books and grace home libraries. The ones who need the living water the most, the ones dying without it, are the ones who don't watch those TV shows, listen to those stations, or read those books. They are the people who walk from place to place in your world, and they are cracked and bleeding.

God put you in their atmosphere deliberately. No accident there. He loves you. He loves them. And you can never hear that too much. That's what humidifying does. It permeates the world with life-giving water.

Let's plug in for a moment-

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17

Paul was talking about Christians living alongside other Christians. Christians get dry too. I have been a lot lately.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Jesus was talking about believers living alongside nonbelievers.

The common denominator is this- Everyone needs God, and God alone gets the glory. That is the honest truth. God is the balm that heals. Jesus is the only living water that satisfies. He reminds us that we are His instruments. To each other. To the world. So fill us up, Lord, with your presence. And plug us in! 

Who is your human humidifier? Who encourages you? Who showers you with Christ's love? Thank God for that person. Ask Him to show you ways to thank them for the gift of encouragement, love, and truth in Christ.

Who can you share Jesus with today? It doesn't have to be a testimony- just thankfulness and light can be balm to a wounded soul. A listening ear goes a long way.

Are you cracked and dry? Are you in need of extra encouragement? Visit my Facebook page and message me. Let me know how I can pray for you.

It's really been a great year! I've been exhausted by life lately, but I thank God for bringing you all into my world in this special way. Thank you for your words of encouragement and your open arms. Thank you to my wonderful husband for his understanding and patience with me. He learned quickly how to tell when I was mentally writing, and he has taken up the cross of a writer's husband with grace. Love to you all!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Finding What Matters in a Cornfield {You Are Valuable}

I love living in Iowa. Don't ask me why, but there is comfort in the surrounding cornfields. And I didn't even grow up rural.

There's one thing I've learned from living the rural life (well more than one, but I'll try to stick to the point). It's this: when someone invites you to look at their tractors, you just do it. It's like in some cultures where they hand you a plate of food, you have to eat it or you insult them. Doesn't matter if you're hungry, gluten-free, allergic- you just eat it. It's kind of like that with looking at tractors. It shows respect. You are taking time and interest in the other person.

So when our dear friend invited our group out to his sheds to see his antique tractors, we all said, "Yeah, tractors sound awesome" and headed out to the sheds.

Sometimes when you take the time to invest yourself in other people, you learn stuff along the way. That's one thing God showed me that day. Because I learned a lot by looking at those tractors- and very little of it had to do with farming.

Our friend has two sheds of tractors. They are rival manufacturers, so he keeps them separate so they don't fight. Standing amid the antiques, I heard some valuable words about the value of my soul.

1. Size Doesn't Matter. You Are One-of-a-Kind.
The models of tractors were arranged by year and make. But the value of each tractor wasn't based on it's size, it's age, it's horsepower. It was based on it's rarity. The most valuable tractor was the one of which they made the fewest models.

Guess what- that's you. God only made one kind of you that year you were born. There are no replacements. Your value isn't based on your number of Facebook friends or the inches around your waist. It's not about how strong you are or how many kids you have. Your intellect, your personality, your gifts all go into making you the person you are, but they aren't what defines your value. You are one-of-a-kind. No one else can be you, and that's a good thing.

2. Your Maker Matters
Right, duh. But seriously, the things that last are the things that have been well made, at least with farming equipment. There's a reason even city folk know the name John Deere. It made it's name on quality. And people pay big bucks for the name because they know what they are getting.

When we take the time to remember who our Maker is, and that He doesn't make junk, we have to acknowledge that there is huge value in us, and every other human, simply because He made us. With care.

3. Condition Condition Condition Matters
It's why people pour big bucks into restorations- because every collector knows that the condition of the antique plays a huge part in its appraisal.

Your baptism clothed you in Christ- in His death and resurrection, in His perfection. That's how God sees you, through the sacrifice of His Son. That is a big deal. We gloss over it. We forget it. We get wrapped up in the emergencies of right now, and we forget we have been made new. So when our bodies, our tongues, our thoughts fail us, we know that God doesn't look down on us in exasperation. You are no less valuable than your "holy" Pastor's family or that church member who volunteers for everything. You are a child of God. You are made new. God has restored you. He has made you new.

"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 

One More Thing... 
I know these lists usually work better in three's, but this point had to be made.

4. You Are Worth What Someone Is Willing To Pay
When it comes down to it, any antique is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. You can price it based on what you think it is worth, but if no one thinks it's that valuable, it ain't gonna sell.

No one values you more than God. Not even you. Especially not you. We put price tags on our worth. We price ourselves by what we think the world sees, by what people say to us and about us.

Here's the deal- God was willing to pay. The Father was willing to pay for you with the life of His One and Only Beloved Son. And even if you were the only one on earth who needed it, He still would have done it. I'm not saying He did this because you are so awesome you just earned it. I'm saying He did this because He created you for Himself, and He wanted you. He sees value in you because He made you and because He loves you. He sees more in you than you do because He isn't blind to the care He put into making you.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 
Psalm 139:14

You are going to base your ideas of your worth on something- either yourself or someone else. How about we base it on the truth? God is truth. Let's base it on what He says. Let's base it on His Word. It might take a trip to the cornfield to remind us where to look, but if that's the case then may this blog be your virtual cornfield. You are worth so much to the King of Kings. More than you know. I pray you see that, know it, believe it, live it today.

Linking late with the lovely Simply Beth!

Monday, February 10, 2014

For When You Need Extra Incentive to Be Thankful {Messy Monday}

I still don't think he understands how a garage sale works.

He held up an action figure- his action figure. The one I snatched from his top drawer because he NEVER plays with it, and the proceeds of the sale went to send my husband and a church member to Kenya to share the Gospel.

"Yes, you can buy it," I resigned.
"How much?"
"It's free-will donation. It costs as much as you think it should."
"A dollar."
"Fair enough."

He held out his hand in expectation. I guess he thought I paid him to take the toy away. Some days...

After the unsold merchandise was packed up and ready to donate to a local mission, we went home. Moments later, my son was in tears. "He left his toy in the basement," my daughter informed me. It was packed up.

I told the boy, "Go upstairs..."
"I didn't bring it upstairs."
"No, go upstairs, into your room..."
"But it's not up there."
"I know. Let me finish. Go upstairs, into your room, and look around at all the toys you do have. You have lots of toys, Honey. You didn't need that one."

I don't know the typical period of mourning over a lost Transformer, but he was over it pretty quickly. Distracted. The next day, another little boy found the Transformer buried in the boxes, and loved it. My son was more than eager to sell it to him for two bucks- yes, the money went into the garage sale pot:)

I know it isn't always that easy. The typical period of mourning means very little when what you are missing is a who. Friends, family gone into glory. Broken relationships that once meant the world to you.

You'd give everything to have them back. I know that feeling.

I'm not being callous. I try to avoid the "wisdom" of Job's friends. But what I say to you, I say to myself as well: Look around you.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—
Colossians 4:2-3

Three things weave together- Prayer, Watchfulness, and Thanksgiving braided into a life in Christ. How would our lives be changed if today, in our own prisons for Christ, we were watchful for His blessings? His mercies new every morning? 

The braid forming a rope to which we cling when the crushing weight of our brokenness threatens to push us into the abyss.

The rope woven into the net that catches us when we just can't hold on anymore.

The net that pulls us into the hands of our Redeemer.

The Redeemer who prays "Thy Will Be Done" to His Father, knowing that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

The Father, who sends His Spirit into us, making us holy, sacred, and keeping us that way.

So that we can pray, watch, and thank in faith.

Look around you- you have the entire Trinity loving you, holding you. And if that's not a way to see this mess of a world, I don't know what is.  

Praying for you, lovely friends! Praying God gives you reason after reason to watch and be thankful. He loves you. He is faithful. He wastes nothing, working in every single thing for the good of those who belong to Him. He loves you today and every day.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

He Is Faithful

Last week, I was diagnosed with two not-so-rare disorders. On the same day.

The first: Misophonialiterally "hatred of sound", is a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds. A dear friend listened to me complain about virtually every sound my family makes while eating. Dr. Phil did a segment on it, which she happened to watch that night, so she led me to my self-diagnosis. It's mild, don't worry.

The second: Compassion Fatigue. Later that morning, I told the Lord what I needed and He delivered Amy right to me- from 3 1/2 hours away! She suggested I had compassion fatigue. Basically, I was burned out. I'm no Mother Theresa, but I was just tired and wanting to hole myself up away from the world. Pity-party of one please.

I prayed. I read. I got through those hard days. I went to worship on Sunday and Bible study on Monday and things were looking up- WAY up. And not because I really did anything- God was reminding me that I didn't need to do anything except spend time with Him. My Martha was overcoming my Mary.

Then this morning hit, and the tasks of the upcoming garage sale started to tighten my chest. I was short, snippy. My house was too messy, my kids too loud, and my temper too wild. A quote from yesterday's cursory sweep of The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, came back into my memory- "It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds; in reality our best work is done by keeping things out." It was a smack of reality- my mind was filled with the to-do's and crowding out what rightfully belonged there.

Hadn't we just talked about this in Bible study? Quieting the inside chatter, thinking on those things which are true, Word in-Word out? Do not be anxious about anything...

My mind swept the Bible in my memory. What was that faithful verse I saw on the desktop? I ran to the computer and there it was on that pale yellow sticky-note. The words that brought me His Peace:

The one who calls you is faithful. He will do it. 
1 Thessalonians 5:24

Throughout the week He fulfilled this verse over and over in my life, more times than I know. He kept me like He said He would. When my world was out of whack, He brought me His peace, His Spirit. He strengthened me.

He was faithful. He still is. He always will be.

I pray for you, dear Friends. I really do. I thank God for you. Please pray for me- that this verse reminds the both of us of just how faithful He is. Pray for our church sale, that if it is His will all goes well, we raise the funds needed for our men to travel to Kenya. Pray that those who come are blessed by the items, food, and people, but most of all that they witness the love of Christ in every breath breathed within those walls. Our God is so faithful.

Linking late with the lovely Simply Beth!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Just Hold On

I foresee some obstacles to getting writing done today. Namely, my three year old came downstairs screaming today for want of her pink blanket that we can't find- just an indicator of how I anticipate the day unfolding. Thankfully, I wrote a piece for the church newsletter that I happened to like, so here you go!


There’s a basic routine that happens in our house on school days. Like other homes, it involves dressing, eating, brushing, etc. A “hallelujah!” gets thrown in every once in a while when a kid remembers to make their bed without my saying so. Some days go smoothly, others not so much.

On one particularly frigid day this past month, the kids were eager to get out the door and on their way to school. Being that the air outside was drastically colder than the air inside, we wanted to make sure everyone was absolutely ready to sprint out the door the moment it opened, so as to abbreviate the draft time.

The Oldest couldn’t wait. She kept reaching for the handle, tempted to push it open and go when little The Littlest just needed one more moment to situate herself.

“Hold on,” my husband kept telling her. “Hold on,” he’d tell our son. Finally a string of “holdon-holdon-holdon-holdon-holdon” burst forth, followed by the question, “Honey, do you know what ‘hold on’ means?”

“Yes.” She sounded doubtful.
“What does it mean?”
“It means… stop?”
“It means wait.”

It struck me hard, the relationship between holding on and waiting. So often, waiting in our life feels like floundering alone in an ocean of what-if’s.  People pass us by, smiling and waving on their speedboats, leaving us bobbing up and down in the wake of the plan that is obviously whisking them away into their awesome destinies.

Meanwhile, we wait. Alone. But God doesn’t tell us to doggy-paddle through life. He doesn’t tell us to keep to the surface until our destiny gets there. He tells us to hold on. And He reminds us that we are never truly alone.

Many of us recognize Jeremiah 29:11- “  But read the verse before that, “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.”

We want to get to the plans, and skip the wait. It’s just how we roll. But God’s people had to wait 70 years in captivity. What were they supposed to do? Twiddle their thumbs? Kill the next 69 years and start preparing for some awesomeness about a year before He answered? Uh, no. They were supposed to hold on. To Him. Because it is in the holding on that God works thoroughly in the hearts of His people. In the holding on, we realize He’s the one doing the holding, and He’s not letting go.

You wouldn’t want to go into heart surgery with a surgeon who tells you they’ll be in and out of there as quickly as possible. You want the one dealing with your life to be thorough, to get the job done right no matter how long it takes.

Guess what, God gets that. He’s going to get it done and He’s going to get it right. You can trust Him on that. He’s got plans for you, plans to do you good. Just hold on.