Winter Doldrums

Skies are grey,

So is my heart

Waiting for winter

to depart.

 

My body aches.

My mind is dull.

Grasping for ropes

of the life that’s full.

 

Looking towards Easter

I don’t need Lent.

Nature reminds me

that I’m all spent.

 

I look forward to Easter every year because it is the jump start reminder to me of the full abundant life that Christ intends for us to have. Our long, lingering, gloomy winters remind me in a very tangible way how much I need the Lord, and how much I have to depend on him for my attitude and perseverance during the glum times.

I’m one of those people whose mood is quite affected by the weather. Add to that a schedule that has left little time for free thought, rest, or rejuvenation, and I’m crying out for a change.

It is a good reminder to me every year that millions are stuck in that frame of heart year round. Their heart is never at rest. Their mind is always in torment. Be it sin or the simple hopelessness of not knowing their Savior.

One of my mentors taught me years ago to use my own struggles and temptations as a reminder to pray for others. So while I’m tempted to hide my aching frame in my flannel sheets on my heated mattress and not come out until the groundhog, I’m determined to use this time to pray for those who don’t even have the comfort of their prayers and remind myself of the hope that the new life that comes in Christ….that we feel the most in the spring.

Just Because He Can

Right after Christmas, the transmission went out on our van. We’ve had this van for about eight years. It was 12 years old, and had over 200K on it. It had served us well, and it was more expensive to repair than it was worth. We elected not to repair it, and just get by with one car for awhile.

People would often ask what we were looking for, and really we weren’t looking.

The Mom Cave

I’ve heard that some homes have a “man cave.”…you know that place where the man can go to escape  with his remote, his recliner, and whatever else he thinks he needs.

Well, at my house, we don’t need a man cave. The whole house is a man cave. For goodness sake, even our dog and our lizard are boys.

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.

Set Me Free

This week I got a call. It wasn’t an ordinary call. It was the kind of call I’ve been waiting for my entire life.

The caller couldn’t possibly even know the weight of her own words to my soul, for she doesn’t know the years of waiting that have transpired. She doesn’t even know all the pain I’ve experienced from contrary messages sent my way.

You see, we have a new women’s minister, and I’m just beginning to get to know her. We don’t really have any history.

16 Years Ago

On this day, Bill asked me to marry him. We hadn’t dated. We’d just been friends. He knew I liked him, and God had been changing his heart too. I sensed that and let him know that IF he felt like he might want to date me, he needed to talk to my dad. You see, my dad and I had made an agreement on my 12th birthday, at our annual birthday breakfast date, that if any guy ever wanted to date me, he had to talk to my dad first.

I loved this agreement most of the time. I fear that knowledge may have scared a few boys off. In fact, I only know of two that ever went as far as to talk to my dad….and that turned out just fine.

The next week, Bill left a beautiful, artistic card with painted birds, on my desk during my lunch break, and asked me to pray for him because he was going to go talk to my dad….over 18 holes of course.

What Are You Afraid Of?

buddyWe have the most amazing dog on the planet. I know I’m biased, but I would say he is just about perfect. This comes from someone who really isn’t an animal person. In fact, I dug my heels into the ground for as long as I could before my boy household added a pet. But boys need dogs, and Bill picked a good one.

Buddy would often lightly clasp the arms of our toddlers in his teeth, when they wondered to the edge of our Arkansas country yard; so they wouldn’t wander off. They would stand there and cry until I came and got them, unharmed, but trapped.

Here at our Idaho mountain home, he has gotten between our boys and a bear two times. He trees coons, eats bees, knows his boundaries, and leaves the deer alone.

However, last week, we discovered what Buddy is afraid of……….balloons. That’s right. Our bear chasing, coon treeing, protector is afraid of balloons.

The Biggest Hole

not-good-enoughAs I began journaling through some things this week, I began to see a common theme in the hurts that have left scars and holes in my heart.

We were asked to draw or paste a picture in our books that would represent our woundedness.

I drew something like the image to the left.

Failed relationships….not good enough

Rejected by those I loved…….not good enough

Insecure in academics……not good enough

Always falling short of the “standards”….not good enough

No college degree…….not good enough

Denied service opportunities………not good enough

Insecure newlywed…….not good enough

Seen as unimportant…..not good enough

Rejected by publishers…..not good enough

NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

But those are just feelings, often based on lies. Lies that I believed and allowed to control my feelings, which I promptly told to “put a cork in it!” and not work through.

So using Philippians 4:8 as my guide, I wrote out some truths today to help me steer my feelings to a better “parking place.”

  • I was always “good enough” and at the same time I don’t need to be “good enough” – because Jesus is good enough to cover me.
  • Even when I wasn’t perceived “good enough” by others, I was true to myself.
  • Just because I often felt “not good enough,” doesn’t mean that others always saw me that way.
  • No matter if I was horribly wronged, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  • In the past, I know my character was solid.
  • What I know to be admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy in my life right now? My attitude and my openness with others.
  • What I want to remember about my past? I always sought the Lord.
  • What I want to hope for in the future? A family that seeks Him together.
  • In what ways am I uniquely equipped to understand others because of my emotional wounds? I have a lot of compassion for others who can’t seem to measure up.

Those are just a few of the things I worked through on Week Five, Day 4 of my Made to Crave Participant’s Guide. I really recommend that if you decide to read the book, that you get the participant’s guide. Even if you can’t do the video sessions anywhere, you will still benefit from plenty of material in the book. The book almost feels a bit incomplete without it.

Anyway…..have you identified some holes in your heart? If you’re like me, you might need God’s help to point them out. ….and once He does, don’t forget to ask Him for the truths that will help heal them.

He’s good like that!

Treadmillaphobia and the other thing I’ve NEVER done

So I had my first appointment with a personal trainer. We’ll call him Nate – cause that’s his name.  Nate is the perfect match for me. He is polite and personable, but strait-forward and there for business. Of course he is half my age.

First Nate made me get on the scale. I don’t like their scale. It is even meaner than mine. But Nate gave me three pounds for my clothes. Yay, Nate!

Then we sat down and talked about my goals and measured my BMI, which though the numbers make absolutely no sense to me…and how you can hold your arms out and squeeze a steering wheel like object, and it tells you how fat you are, Nate said my numbers were actually pretty good. Yay, Me!

Others May. I Cannot.

One of the things were working on in our Made to Crave study is discovering the lies we believe that cause us to make bad choices, asking God to show us the truth of the situation, and identifying a verse that will help us remember the truth.

This is such an effective tool. It made a world of difference for me when I was doing “Breaking Free” all seven times.  But I’d never even recognized that the reasons I eat what I eat for comfort are wrapped up in lies.

The biggest lie that I’ve let defeat me into making bad choices?

It’s not fair!