Whiter than Snow

The rain is drizzling outside, then pouring, then drizzling again. Our beautiful snow covered yard has surrendered to the downpour and given way to thick, sticky mud. Beach buckets, garden gloves, and basketballs reveal themselves in the places they were left before the snow, giving and eerie appearance of an abandoned village.

It is ugly, dreary, and sad.

I miss the snow.

Snow doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you have a well manicured lawn, or if you never finished raking your leaves. It doesn’t care if your roof is high and new, or low and flat. It doesn’t care if you’ve left a bunch of stuff in the yard, or if you carefully put it all away.

When It Is NOT Well with Your Soul

Photo Credits @claythomasgifford

Photo Credits @claythomasgifford

I walked into church yesterday and ascended the bleachers to our “regular” seats, like I have been doing for the last six months. I sit down, take a deep breath, and hope that today will be a day that I can worship….that church hurts won’t overwhelm me…that I won’t spend the next hour dwelling in my personal resentment and frustration with the men who may be pacing the stage that day. The music begins. I feel numb. Numb is usual these days. I wish it wasn’t, but it just is. After a couple of songs, I hear the music beginning to a personal favorite; but as the chords progress, I know something is very wrong. Her voice is beautiful and clear. The words should be true….but they aren’t for me. Not today. “It is NOT well with my soul.”

Lessons from Elizabeth

Tucked in the Christmas story is perhaps one of the best outlines I’ve ever seen for women to follow in encouraging each other.

Elizabeth was old, she had been infertile her whole life, and was the wife of a priest. Six months before Mary is told she is carrying the son of God, Elizabeth’s husband is also greeted by an angel who informs him that his old, barren wife will have a son – a son whose life mission will be to prepare the way for the son of God.

There are so many applications in this story, that I find it very difficult to stay on track. We could talk about Zechariah, and his unbelief. We could talk about Elizabeth’s support of her husband. We could talk about the symbolism of Zechariah’s role, and the prayers they offered…but I’m going to focus on another aspect.

Why I’m Not a Fan of Devotionals

I am not a fan of devotional books. You know…the ones with a verse at the top and a whole page of someone else’s thoughts?

I realize that to some that probably sounds very contradictory to who I am. I mean, aren’t devotionals intended to help people spend time with God and grow in their relationship with Him?

Well, I’m sure that is what the authors intend, and I’m sure they meet the mark in some cases. But here are some of the dangers I see for someone who truly wants to grow in their faith:

Who’s Glory?

I’m really impressed lately with how selfish people are. All of us…me included.
Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, but often we don’t even seek His will. We just seek results. We want everyone to be healthy, happy, and rich. God wants us to be holy, content, and fulfilled with only Him.
I’ve found myself this week pacing my driveway reminding myself that all of this is for His glory. Its all about Him and His purposes and His pleasure. If He uses cancer to draw someone to Himself that’s His business. If He chooses bankruptcy, its up to Him. If He chooses a fancy new job with a huge raise, what is that to us? It is about what He wants and knows is best.
Our pastor mentioned how often people ask him to pray for the healing of a loved one, but when he asks them about their salvation, they don’t know. What is important…the spiritual work? or a pain free life?

Who Do Your Kids Belong To?

We’ve had a bit of a reality check around here the last few days.

On Friday, a stranger tried to pick up one of my children from the elementary school.

Yesterday, there was a bomb threat and evacuation at my son’s high school.

Some would say, “That’s why we home school.”

But God hasn’t told me to home school. In fact, He’s told me NOT to home school. I know it surprises some that you can have your kids exactly where He wants them and scary things can still happen. But this is the real world…..where scary things happen even when you are right where you belong.

In the end, my sons were both safe. The schools were caring and followed protocol.

It was still about more emotion than one mama bear can handle in a week, though.

That is where the reality check came in.

Who do my kids belong to?

Do I really believe He’s big enough to care for them?

Do I really believe He’s got them covered?

Do I really believe that God has a plan for their life, and I can trust Him with it?

Easier said than done sometimes. I’m sure the mama in Yakima whose eleven year old boy was hit and killed on the same day my eleven year old boy escaped kidnapping, is asking herself lots of hard questions that I can’t answer. I’m sure the mama of the young man in our church who was killed on a motorcycle this weekend is asking God lots of hard questions that I can’t answer.

Our power only goes so far.

I could call the news station and tell them something was happening, but I couldn’t force them to produce news.

I could stand outside the fence at school and stare at my son, but I couldn’t remove him from lock-down.

I could file a police report regarding the mysterious driver, but I couldn’t capture him.

Mamas have to ask themselves hard questions sometimes.

What does it really mean to release your children to the Lord? What does it mean to trust Him?

….and then when you think you truly have it down – there’s a pop quiz!

Maybe Your God Is Sleeping

We were talking about the story of Elijah tonight in home group. You know…the story where he was challenging the prophets to decide who was their God…to stop walking the fence. Were they going to follow Baal or worship God? The story where he challenged them to a duel of sacrifices. Both Elijah and the prophets of Baal would sacrifice a bull and ask their God (or god) to light their sacrifice on fire.

What I was struck with this time around, was what all the prophets of Baal did to get their god to hear them.

“Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

When God Answers Before You Ask the Question

 Last week, I allowed Ian to have a sleepover. I’m off on Wednesdays, so Tuesday night it was!  The energetic little buggers were up and at ’em by 5:00 a.m. So I decided to take them fishing and let everyone else sleep.

I took my coffee thermos, a camp chair, my camera, and  my Bible. After getting some fun shots of some herons, I pulled out my Bible. I haven’t currently been in the middle of any particular passage, so I just asked God, “What should I read this morning?”  And He said, “Ruth.”


I love the Book of Ruth. I started thinking about how there are (I believe) three books of the Bible written completely about a person, but by someone else (Job, Ruth, and Esther). Two of them were about women. One about a foreigner who entered into the line of Jesus. One about a girl whose courage and obedience saved her people.

….but on to the point I wanted to make….

I read the whole book, and thought of all kinds of little insights and cool things. But it wasn’t like anything REALLY stood out to me….like that crashing word from God that made it clear why he wanted me to read the book of Ruth that day.

Flash forward two the next day….when I got the phone call I’d been waiting for my whole life.

Part of the phone call was my women’s minister asking me to pray about some things over the weekend, particularly how much responsibility did I feel God wanted me to have in this new mom’s ministry.

I told her how I would certainly pray over that. I also told her that I didn’t believe it was coincidence that I had to go back to work full time when the last mom’s ministry came to a close….and that as it was beginning to start again, my hours had been cut. It was pretty much the best time in my life to add something like this.

As I began praying last weekend, God said:

“Remember the book of Ruth?”

“Yep!”

“What happened when there was famine in the land?”

“They went away to another land?”

“Uh huh, and what happened when God provided Israel with food again?”

“They went back.”

“Uh, huh. Get it?”

“OH! Ya, I get it!  You sent me away for the years of famine, and now you’re telling me to go back?”

“Yep!”

“Sweet!”

Beside the cool thing God shared with me, I was struck with another reminder for moms spending time in the word. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have a major “ah ha” moment when we finally do get time in the word. But sometimes God is taking advantage of the time you had then, to store something in your heart that you’re going to need during a moment you don’t have time for retreat with God.

So keep on keeping on. Sometimes God gives you the answer before you have the question.

How Annoying People Can Help Your Prayer Life

Back in January, I read a blog post by Joan (whose husband is bi-polar) on Chosen Families that has forever changed my thoughts about when people annoy me, hurt me, or anger me.

I didn’t even realize how much it had helped me until the Lord encouraged me to share it with someone else last week.

You see, we live in a real world with real people…people that have mental illness, emotional wounds, and less than perfect social skills. Sometimes those people annoy us. Sometimes they make us angry. Sometimes they really and truly hurt us terribly. Wounded people wound people.