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Move, girl!

Hmmmmm……looks like they finally moved that thing. How many times did I ask for that very same thing to be done?

Wow! Really? I put that request in years ago, and now it’s finally important to someone?

This is how it begins. A blast into the past. Recounting all the hurdles I had to jump. Lamenting over things He had already gotten me through. Just not in the way I wanted. Then wondering why in the world that “assignment” was so hard for me?

In high school for two spring seasons, I decided to join the track team. Somehow, during that first season this short girl was encouraged to try the 100 meter hurdle race.

In high school I was also persistent. I didn’t give up easily, and even though I trained painfully to clear that bar, I missed it each race. Tumbling to my feet, onto the ground. Humiliated and defeated.

I needed a new assignment. A different race. I needed to move.

My perseverance and persistence has not faded since high school. Which means I still painfully work to clear hurdles from my path. In ministry. At work.

I get frustrated each time I don’t clear that bar. Upset each time I fall. Each time I hit a road block. Crying out for help in my suffering because surely if He called me here…well, I should not be set-up just to be knocked down. Humiliated. Defeated.

They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over the Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew for sure God had called us to preach the good news there. Acts 16:6-9, MSG

Move, girl! This isn’t the place for you. You belong in Philippi.

I had to move.

He had a different place for me. A different assignment. And, he set up some roadblocks where I was for a purpose. Just like he prevented Paul and Silas from preaching in Galatia and Bithynia.

He had to get me to Philippi.

And if I stayed comfortable where I was. If I stayed happy where I was. If I never fell over another hurdle, or had someone or something block my path-I never would have moved.

Move, girl!

So, I did.

Which means…who cares who moved those darn pictures? It was not my assignment. Who cares who blocked the way at work? I was never meant to stay where I was. It was no longer His place for me.

He gave me a new assignment. He sent me to a new place. To tumble over some different hurdles I am sure. But…when he says, “Move, girl!” He will also provide the way for me to clear them, too.

Move, girl!

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Posted by on November 26, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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Not a Stand-In Comforter

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If you look closely in the picture above. Beyond the curly-headed boy, focused intently on the puzzle sure to keep him busy for at least five minutes on a long car ride. You will see, peeking from his little lap-the blue, tattered, and worn face of his beloved puppy.  This puppy has been Hunter’s devoted mate since he was about 3 months old, and the joke around here, is that it will be with him when he graduates from high school, and if he ever actually decides to leave home.

He is unable to speak. However, he has been a constant. Steady. Devoted friend to the child who craves sameness, consistency, and routine.

And, although he doesn’t have a heart, can’t breath, or move; he has been the keeper of, and taken the brunt of my overloaded little boy’s emotions.

Puppy. (So aptly named because in Hunter thinking he shall be named what he is-a puppy) has soaked tears. Of loneliness. Despair. Sadness. Has been held onto as a lifeline during times of worry and anxiety. Has been clutched during screaming fits of frustration, confusion, and anger. He has helped calm the fears of the unknown, the new and different. Weathered sickness, shots, and long, exhausting car rides. He has soothed nightmares. Made bus rides with substitutes bearable, for both parents and child. He is depended upon for peace in the midst of chaos. Clarity in the face of confusion. Called on in the presence of fear. When the usual safety nets-mom and dad-are absent for a time, Puppy is the stand-in.

My little “monster” may need him for now.  He may still need him come graduation day. His object of security provides him with trust and faith as he navigates a world of which he often can’t make sense.

But, he doesn’t really need puppy at all.

His security lies in someone much more powerful than any stuffed dog.

And so does ours…

But, just like Hunter’s puppy, we cling to earthly security. We put our faith in the knowledge of people. Books. Possessions. Social media outlets. What the internet, or so and so down the street says. What our teachers tell us. Our friends. All those people we just “know” will come save us when we find ourselves in trouble. And God forbid we lose a WiFi connection, or have a bad day. When these worldly things fail that we turn to in times of stress, and we get in a tizzy, we may just turn to an unhealthy crutch to get us through it all. I know, because I do many of these things. Have coped with some unhealthy “puppies”, too.

Just as Hunter does not need that puppy to get him through the hard stuff. We don’t need those things either.

See, God provides all the things our objects of security and devotion seem to fulfill for us.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

We just reach for Him. Because, eventually when we reach for the chocolate, there will be none left. When we reach for the bottle, it will be empty. When we reach out to phone a friend, there will be no answer. And, stuffed childhood puppies, became tattered, torn, and worn. Eventually tossed away and forgotten, too.

But God doesn’t leave. His love doesn’t run dry. And He always answers.

As tears fall. When worries get big. When we scream in anger. When our hearts are broken. When we are just plain confused, and need some clarity. He’s a steady, devoted friend, even until graduation. Surely, all the way to the end.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

 
 

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There will surely be days like this

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG

Bad Moment

Some days really do play out like the pages of your favorite book. The not so happy kinds. So in the style of one my favorite childhood books, here is an ode to one of ours!

Mommy woke me up to early, and then I bumped my head on the side of the bed. I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair, and the shirt I picked out to wear was too tight.

The dog chewed my socks, and I accidentally wore my sisters. Mom made me brush my teeth before I ate breakfast, and now my toast tastes like toothpaste. That too tight shirt was on inside out, and now I can’t find my other shoe.

Ugh! Now look….Mommy, it’s 7:22. We are supposed to leave at 7:20. It’s raining. The umbrella just broke. The bus is late. And we have a sub.

It’s going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Mommy says some days are just like that.

I didn’t get any sleep, and forgot to set the alarm. The dog has been in the trash, and it’s all over the kitchen floor. I have a headache. Stepped in a puddle in perfectly good shoes.

The bus is late. There is a sub. I’m sopping wet, and late for work. Without the lunch I left on the counter. And now there is someone else as I arrive laying in a puddle on the floor.

Daddy has been gone. My little monster is out of his routine. He is hungry. Kicking and screaming in the middle of the floor. And, Mommy? Mommy is crying in the corner. Hoping no one sees.

Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Why are some days like that?

They are. There are days it seems everyone has dumped all their crap in your cornflakes. Cornflakes that now may taste like toothpaste.

On those days we may throw shoes. Have them thrown at us. We meltdown. React inappropriately because of all our mixed up emotions. Hurt feelings. Hurt others. Scream. Curse. Punch. Start loading someone else’s cornflakes with our crap. Then maybe the tears just start flowing, and you wonder when you will ever get a break.

Yes, Mommy said some days are just like that.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But, take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Bad days will come. Those days when the struggle begins before our feet even hit the floor. But, we have a choice on these days. We can keep trying to push through on our own to get over all those hurdles, as we knock them all down in the process.

Or, we can stop. Breathe. Look up.

Just breathe, just breathe. Come and rest at my feet. And be, just be. Chaos calls, but all you really need is to just breathe. 

Trust me. I know it is not easy. Being a glass half empty girl, my mind tends to wander to catastrophe mode. And my breathing is usually heavy and racked with sobs. Until I just want to leave those cornflakes on the table, run away, and never come back.

The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans in us for Christ will have you put together and on your feet for good. 1 Peter 5:10, MSG

Yes. His grace. His power. His strength. His peace. They overcome any terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. They will come. Again and again. But, he will restore us. Each and every time. After every tear. Every swear word uttered. Every shoe thrown. He will bring us back to our feet. And give us the strength to conquer the next bad one.

Because some days are just like that He said.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Let’s Be Honest…I Walk Through the Desert, Too

Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. Ephesians 4:25

We Have to Walk in the Desert, Too

Transparency. It is something I have come to appreciate. The art of showing emotion, letting others in on what is going on in life. Not hiding behind a smile. Not painting on a happy face. Not denying struggles. Being completely, and totally honest with another.

It’s something I have grown to appreciate. but not something that was ever accepted as practice growing up.

I lived in a home full of “stuffers.” We grew up believing that old saying…you know, about not airing dirty laundry, or what not. You had a problem, you stuffed it. You were having a bad day, you stuffed your emotions and put on a smile. Look like you have it all together at all costs. Don’t let anyone know the real you. The real issues you face.

Well, let’s be honest. I am over that.

And, let’s be even more honest…I admit it. I walk through the desert, too. Just.like.you.

I’m a mess and so are you. We’ve built walls nobody can get through.

Yes, I’m a mess. Just.like.you.

I have bad days, too. “I don’t want to get out of this bed and do a thing” days. “I spilled coffee on my white shirt, was late for work, and left my gas card at home” days. My bad days are probably just like yours, and my responses to them are, too. I vent, I rant, I yell, and (gasp) sometimes I let a curse word fly. But, I also pray. I get up and move on. I rejoice in the hope that tomorrow will be better.

Let’s be honest. I walk through the desert, too. Just.like.you.

I hurt, too. I have pain. I have struggles. There are days I wonder if anyone cares. There are days I feel alone. Broken. Confused. Useless. Just.like.you.

I am a parent. And, my kids…oh, my kids. On any given Sunday morning one may be laying, kicking, and screaming on the sanctuary floor, while the other stands sassing at the door. I struggle as a parent. I wonder if I even get any of it right. Just.like.you.

And, since I have my own kids…well, sometimes I can get easily frustrated with other kids. But, let’s be honest. Anyone who stands in the front of a classroom of 20 kids who have spent 15 minutes punching, yelling, running, and back-talking, and not one ounce of completing the tasks given to them would be a tad bit frustrated, too. And, yes…on those days I want to desperately run to the nearest exit and run away to the closest desert island. Because, on those days, I need a break. Just.like.you.

Let’s be honest. I walk through the desert, too.

I am human. I am a woman. An insecure woman. Sometimes a stubborn woman. I am a parent. I am a wife, and sometimes not a very good one. I get angry, sad, and scared. And, I am just.like.you.

So bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine. ‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides. And mercy’s waiting on the other side. If we’re honest. 

So, let’s be honest with each other. Let’s throw away the masks and be a little transparent. Let’s walk through the desert together.

When I want to come unraveled because autism came out to play on the way to church (and in the middle of the foyer), hug me and tell me I am doing a good job. When your kid is having struggles and acting out, know that I will do the same for you.

When your lonely, insecure, scared, and don’t know what to pray. Be honest. Someone else has been there, too.

When your day has been bad, and it keeps getting worse, paint on a smile if you wish, laugh about it a little, but be honest. Because there is someone else out there having a bad day, too.

We are in this thing called life together. We all have bad days. Bad months. Bad years. And, we all need a little encouragement along the way.

So, let’s just be honest. We all walk through the desert, too.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Lord, I Am Just Worn!

I’m tired and worn. My heart is heavy. -Tenth Avenue North

I have shared before how much I may seem to thrive off this crazy ability to manage an insanely busy schedule. This is something many believe I can make look easy. Juggling the hats labeled mom, taxi driver, student, assistant, pastor, mentor, wife, and counselor, I often get asked the question, “How in the world do you manage it all?”

Let me assure you….I don’t.

Sometimes the need to manage it all drives me plum crazy. Until all the hats begin to manage me.

I get tired. I get worn. I get irritated. I get angry. And, I scream. At God.

And I know that you can give me rest. So I cry out with all that I have left.

That cry came just the other day as I was getting ready for an appointment. I had the pleasure of spending a much needed weekend away with my husband. A time away with no plans, no crazy demands, and rest. And, since God seems to have my sarcastic sense of humor, I have since paid for this time of rest upon my return.

On this particular morning, as I prepared to take my son who had broken his wrist for yet another round of X-rays, I discovered I had once again (yes, that’s right-again!) lost his insurance card. In a frantic search for this missing piece of vital information…I lost it.

As I looked up towards the heavens, I screamed. God! Give.Me.A.Break! I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t handle all these things you keep throwing at me! Enough! Got it?

I.Can’t.Do.It.Anymore!

I’m tired. I’m worn. Life just won’t let up.

“Your son may need surgery.” This in the midst of some ongoing critiscm. This before some even sadder news for my family.

So, I find myself once again for the second time in two days looking up and yelling. I’m tired here! I need a break! Can’t you see I am worn out? I am tired of dealing with these things, Lord.

Until God reminds me of something.

As I tell a friend about how my spirit is struggling to deal with it all, her answer reminds me of why He is allowing these things to be thrown at me.

“You’re getting an opportunity to write a “trust check” to God. Now you get to spend some of that trust.”

Um, could I spend it on a spa vacation, please? Well, no. Because as good as that would feel for a few days, those struggles would still be thrown at me. Until I finally start to realize my “trust payment” comes in the midst of all these messes.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

And, I was certainly asking for rest as I frantically searched for that insurance card. While laying on the couch suffering from a migraine. After hearing bad news. After being the target of yet one more critical remark.

Worn. Tired. Desperate. The only time I seem to plead and come to Him lately. Not daily, or on those days when things are actually good.

Trials are going to come. They are just waiting around the corner, and sometimes they come one after the other. But, God doesn’t want us to only reach for Him when we are in the middle of trials. When we are worn down. Tore up. Broken. He wants us to do this all the time.

When we go to Him, he lets us know our struggles will soon end.

When we go to Him, he mends all the places that are torn, tattered, and just plain worn out.

He gives us rest on our good days, and peace on our bad.

Even when we are worn.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Craving More of God

 

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