The Confidence of a 4 Year Old

Each Sunday as we arrive at church my children go through this little routine. I’ve actually come to love it and I wanted to share some of these precious moments with you all.

We’re still living with my parents have come to call it home rather naturally. We all 5 ride to church together and have the most interesting conversations all the way to church. But as everyone “unloads” the routine begins. JP loves to yell, “I want to be the leader!” – as he runs ahead of everyone else as we traverse the parking lot.

As pass by the “greeters”, JP likes to do his best to open the big heavy glass door (and we let him) and hold it open for us all. He likes for you to say he’s being a gentleman!

What is Jordan doing this whole time? She likes to be right beside me – walking like me, holding her purse and Bible like me… it’s really kind of cute!

Now we’re approaching my favorite part of JP’s Sunday routine. He says and does this every week. I wait for it just to make sure it’s still true – I know it is – but I love hearing & watching it all the same…

As we’re walking into the really big and open church foyer, he says, “Mommy, I know where I’m going!” Then he walks very boldly and confidently to his Sunday School room. I absolutely love it! He walks with such sureness about how not only how to get to where he’s going, but excitement about what he knows he will find when he gets there!

This past Sunday as he went through this entire routine, and got to the last part about “knowing where he was going” – I looked over at my Mom and we both smiled a proud Mother and Grandmother smile – then I said, “I wish I could say that!”

Obviously not about how to get to my Sunday School class – but just about life in general. Don’t you?

I wish I had the confidence of my little 4 year old. JP knows what is around each corner of his little pathway to his room. He also knows what will be found in his room. He knows once he gets there he will be given God’s Word and he runs with excitement to his destination.

I want this! I want to move with excitement down God’s path for me. I want to walk with bold and confident steps, knowing that He is leading me and holding my hand every step of the way. The specifics of my career, my future may still be unknown.

I may not be able to answer the question, “What will I be when I grow up?” – even though I’m 40! And I may not be able to know the twists and turns like JP does – but I do know that God is there waiting to tell reveal to me His great story.

Where Are My People?

While we may be tempted to ask, “Where is God?”, God is asking, “Where are my people?“ It is up to us to be His hands for these folk in the coming days.
This was the Facebook status of a good friend of mine just hours after an EF-5 tornado devastated the city of Joplin, Missouri. My husband and I spent three years living in a small town about 35 miles north of Joplin. It is a city we have come to know well, with many friends and acquaintances who have been affected by the disaster. Naturally, it has touched us deeply. As I was watching some of the news coverage, I was reading through Isaiah 40. “Comfort, o Comfort my people” says the Lord. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed.”
As God’s children, we are called to be the voice of comfort to those in need. “You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’” And how do we show God to those in need? By working together to meet the needs of people in our communities.
Kenda Creasy Dean, in her book The Godbearing Life uses Mary the mother of Jesus as a model for Christian discipleship. Mary literally bore Jesus into the world. She carried him in her womb, gave birth to him, raised and nurtured him so that he could fulfill the will of God in his life, death and resurrection. In the same way, Dean states that Christians are called to bear Christ into this world. We bear Christ into the world when we seek healing in the midst of hurt, when we reach out to others in their moments of disaster, whether they be natural or man-made.

 

When we take the time to say “I love you” in the name of Christ it has a profound impact on the world. When we gather relief items for a city in need, when we collect canned goods for the local food pantry, when we provide toys for children being placed into foster care, when we send a note of encouragement to someone struggling or pray with someone who is sick or dying, we affirm that “the Lord is the everlasting God…whose understanding no one can fathom, who gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7) Feet are not inherently beautiful, yet when they work for God, they are transformed. Let your feet be beautiful this week! Bring good tidings to someone in need.

Bear Christ into the world–although the harvest is plentiful and the workers few, God’s power gives all of us working for the Lord strength!!

 

Did You Know You Are One?

This morning as you read this I will either be on my way or will have arrived in Houston. My very dear new friend in my new home is having brain surgery tomorrow. Yes, thank you for praying for her!
Last week she was telling me about someone she had the opportunity to minister to with the biggest smile on her face! She could barely contain her joy about loving on this young lady and showing her the character of Christ.
As I listened to my friend’s story I thought about something my little 4-year old said recently…
tool box. Unfortunately JP parked his Red Rider tricycle right behind my Dad’s truck (instead of putting it back in the garage where it belongs) – we’ve probably all been there and you know where this story is going…
Yes, the tricycle now has a bent wheel. However, my Dad has assured JP that it can be fixed! JP was talking about this experience with my Mom – this is part of the conversation…

JP – “Grandmother, I think God can fix my tricycle.”
Grandmother – “Yes, JP, I’m sure He could.”
JP – “Grandmother, what kind of tools do you think God has?”
Grandmother – “I’m sure God has any kind of tool He needs for anything that needs fixing.”

Wow! Did you hear that question? ”What kind of tools do you think God has?” I know little JP was thinking hammers, wrenches, nuts and bolts, and such – but as soon as my Mom shared this story with me it reminded me – we are His tools!
I shared with my friend that she has been God’s tool in ministering to this young lady! Imagine for just a moment your own tool box, or tool drawer. What kind of tools do you have in there?
I know I used to have that “drawer” in the kitchen. It was supposed to be a drawer filled with useful tools – but eventually it ended up being a drawer with useful tools and a whole bunch of junk! I always had to search to find what I needed from that “drawer”. Most of the time I just gave up looking for that useful tool and settled for something less helpful or went to another source to find what I needed.
Now imagine that we – the body of Christ – are God’s tools. Are we useful or have we become like that “drawer” – more junk than tools? I don’t want God to be looking to use me and have to go to another source for something more readily available or useful! Today as I travel to be with my friend in her hour of greatest need I pray that God prepares my heart and that I am found useful. I pray that I will somehow be the hands and feet of Jesus and that she will experience His peace and see His love coming through my eyes.
When I return I’ll be working hard and fast with Vacation Bible School preparations. This is one of the verses for our week of the “Big Apple Adventure”…
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Go & teach others what Christ has taught you – and you will be a useful tool in God’s toolbox!
You will be the tool God choses to fix and mend broken hearts!

 

An Unwelcome Lullaby

First, my apologies for an abrupt and extended disappearance. I needed to quite literally step away from the computer for my family’s sake. Things seem to be coming together quite nicely now…which means I have found (made) the time to express myself through writing again. Boy, does it feel good!
This post was in my drafts from December 2012. It simply had one word in it:
Apathy.
Sadly, I have to admit that even nine months or so later, it’s still a fairly accurate descriptor of my spiritual life. I had recently read a devotional in my “mom” Bible that defined apathy as a lack of feeling/interest in something or someone. And even today I’m feeling the same. Just kind of “meh” about pretty much everything. There’s nothing that makes me want to crawl into hiding. There’s nothing that makes me want to shout with joy from the rooftop. Sad and pathetic; true.
It was a light bulb moment for me. One of the few unmistakable, undeniable, un-explainable times that I truly felt His presence. Through that devotion, I realized that apathy has become a lullaby for my faith. This lack of feeling or interest that has permeated my being has essentially put my faith to sleep. And I am NOT okay with that! Apathy is most definitely an unwelcome lullaby.
I am once again realizing my need to reawaken the faith that I have somewhere deep inside of me. I know it’s in me. It is. It may be buried deep at the moment, but I know it’s in there and I have no doubt that I will find it again. It won’t be easy. Pressing the publish button on this post may as well guarantee that Satan will counter my efforts in any and every way possible. I don’t mind. I want my faith awakened more so than I am scared of him and the lies he will try to feed me.
It’s going to take time, effort, and intentionality on my part to rid my faith of this lullaby. As a mom of 4 young kids and a 15-year-old exchange student, those three things are fairly difficult to come by. That’s okay. Recognizing the problem is half the battle. Besides, according to Hubby, I can be pretty feisty when I know exactly what I want. ;o)
Do you have any battles you’ve recently recognized in your life?
Please share; I’d love to pray for you!

 

New Every Morning

Recently we moved to the mountains. I am not exaggerating when I stay we live in the mountains, the main road we drive on is straight down the middle of a valley. Anyway, one thing I’m learning about living here is that we have a lot of foggy mornings. I drive my kids to school and then head to workout almost every morning.

On those morning drives one thing has begun to hit me daily. Every day the mountains look slightly different. Depending on the thickness of the fog, the way the sun hits the mountain side, whether the sky is blue or gray, these details determine what my daily scenery will look like. Regardless of HOW the mountains look one thing that doesn’t change is that every day is breathtaking.
As this drive has become my routine I’ve been able to take in the drive a bit and a thought has popped in my head fairly often.

Lamentations 3:21-24

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
It’s struck me often, a God who has created such details as mountains and fog and clouds and sun rays surely has also has space for continued relationship every morning as well.
In this passage Jeremiah is reminded of something that happened in his life to show him God is ever present. For me, that reminder comes in the fog.

 

Intentionality in Prayer

My journey to a year of living a more intentional life has taken to a month of focusing more deeply on prayer. To be honest, this was not the focus I had mapped out for this month, but life has taken the road less traveled this year and the path I assumed I would be on is no where near the path I’m currently on.

Do not be alarmed, for it is a MUCH more fruitful and joyful path our family now walks, but along this unknown path our dependence on God has been deepened and I have found myself pondering why certain prayers seem to hang unheard.

I am a Kindle “free ebook junkie” and I’m proud of it. I almost daily download the newest free books from my favorite genera. I stumbled upon THIS FREE BOOK a 7 day devotional by Stormie Omartian “The 7 Day Prayer Warrior Experinence” and decided this might be the exactly what I needed to pursue this subject.

I have to admit, I was completely humbled on Day 1. This 7 day experience is about learning to better pray with the full armor of God on. Omartian states that this is not a suggestion by Paul. Verse 10 clearly tells us to be strong in the Lord and v. 11 says “Put on the full armor of Go, so you that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Friends, it struck me as I read through the verses to be more deeply studied this week, I do not remember ever praying with the full armor of God on. Here is was right in front of me, I had been doing the battle of living for Jesus for years and had not paused to properly equip myself! Worse yet, I had not stopped to pray to equip my husband or children either. How humbling, how embarrassing, how empowering.

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against [a]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against thespiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 [b]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evilone. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.