Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stink. Stank. Stunk.

I had been upstairs in my room and was making my way to the main floor of my home. Half way down the stairs it hit me. Like a ton o' bricks, IT hit me. A smell so incredibly pungent I questioned the necessity of breathing. And, I'm not talking about something that was just a tiny bit pungent. I'm talking a whole bunch-a-lot-a, shake your head, hold your nose, eyes watering, run for your lives puh-hun-gent! 

When I reached the bottom step, the source of the stench appeared. Now before I proceed further, let me first say looks can be deceiving. Nearly five foot tall, with red hair, and a cute freckled nose - I assure the stink did not smell anywhere near as cute as it looked!

"Hi mom", it said. My feet were kind of sweaty,
so I took off my socks and shoes."

Lord. Have. Mercy. A gas mask, or better yet, the second coming of Christ would have done a momma some good in that moment. Um...wow. How on earth does so much foulness accumulate in one child's shoes? 

I am always amused by one company's television commercials in which viewers are led to believe the placement of, or spraying of this company's air freshener will mask any odor no matter how intense or significant. To prove their point, they place random, blindfolded folks in a room or vehicle full of trash and other foulness and ask these individuals to state what they smell. Of course, these "random" people consistently indicate how fresh and lovely the air around them smells. Miracle of miracles. What. Ev. They obviously have never smelled my child's shoes! Cause I can tell you there ain't no amount of air freshener that will cover that stink. Sure it might help for a very brief period of time, but stink is stink is stink. This momma knows. And, this momma also knows the only way to ultimately get rid of stink is to clean it up! 

And, so...my sweet little redheaded boy got a shower and his shoes took a plunge in the ol' washing machine. Thankfully, an hour or so later, breathing was no longer painful and all was clean and fresh.

Metaphorically speaking, our spiritual lives can get rather stinky from time to time....While we generally prefer being around that which smells great - when dealing with the messiness of life, sometimes we opt to put on a blindfold and spray some air freshener – in hopes we, and everyone else around us, won't notice the stench. But unfortunately, the longer the mess is ignored, masked, or avoided, the greater the stink becomes...until eventually no amount of scented plug in thing a bobs or amazing air freshener can cover up the odor any longer, and we just flat out stink, stank, stunk. To effectively remove the foulness, people, we gotta get ourselves cleaned up. 

My dad has some experience with covering up stink. Several years ago, my mom attended a week long job training out of town. All went well the first few days mom was gone, but about mid-week my phone rang. It was dad. Mom was due home in a couple of days and a horrible, awful, mysterious odor had taken up residency in their kitchen. Dad had tried everything to figure out the source of the foulness, but to no avail. So, desperate, he called and asked me to come over to sniff out the offender. It didn't take long to pinpoint the perpetrator - a lone piece of raw fish. As it turned out, dad went fishing earlier in the week and used the kitchen sink to clean the fish for cooking. After, prepping the fish, he piled his dishes and utensils in the sink - with the intention of washing them up before mom came home. With each meal thereafter, more and more dishes accumulated in the sink. Unfortunately, that one piece of fish failed to make it into the frying pan and had been sitting under those dishes for days. Sweet Lord. It was bad. It was REAL BAD. And, the only way to get rid of it was to clean it up! After a few hours of cleaning, washing, and disinfecting, the house was once again restored to a presentable state AND smell. 

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

– Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

I love what David writes in the verse above. David doesn't want to stink, so, in this passage we find him asking God to take look inside him - to search his heart and if there's anything in there that is offensive, or dare I say, stinky, then David asks it be replaced with the Lord's ways – ways that are pure and holy, good and pleasing. That doesn't sound pungent to me. It sounds more like...a breath of fresh air. 

Search me, God, and know my heart. 

I want to lead a life that leaves a pleasing fragrance. I want to resolve to put away the air fresheners and blind folds and all that I have piled on top of my stinky, messy life. Search me, God. Know my heart. Clean my offensive ways, and fill me with the sweet aroma of Christ. Friends, Jesus is the one, and the only, who can rescue us from the muck and mire and stench of sin and shame; and who can clean us up, and clothe us with dignity and grace. Furthermore, the Bible says when we choose to follow Him, He will use us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume (2 Corinthians 2:14 NLT). 

Perfume is mentioned again in scripture in John 12:3.  Here we find Mary's outpouring of worship as she anointed Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. The passage says, 

"…the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

I think if that bottle of expensive perfume had a name, it would be called – worship. I want my life to smell like that. I want to have a heart so filled with Christ that my life gives off the beautiful, fragrance of worship. What does your life smell like? Are you giving off an odor that smells more like stinky shoes or fish in the sink, or are you filled with the fragrance of worship? 

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Lead me Lord. Lead me. 



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Restoration in Progress

My apologies in taking so long to write a new post, friends!   I have had to put the blog on hold for a few weeks.  Sometimes life and the ol’ day job get in the way of being able to share with you....Thank you so much for continuing to read and for tolerating the gap between posts.  I will continue to blog as often as possible, and continually pray my words are God breathed and bless you wherever you are....

res•to•ra•tion - the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.; the act of bringing back something that existed before; the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.

Restoration projects usually take place when the condition of something has deteriorated and needs some attention and/or repair.  That being said, when we think of restoration, generally we think of the term applying to an old home, a car, photographs, or piece of furniture.  Restoration, however, can also apply to other areas of our lives.  For instance, maybe you've experienced the restoration of a relationship; restoration of health; restoration of a job, position of leadership, or perhaps finances. Regardless of the type of restoration you may have encountered, you can probably empathize when I say restorations are a lot of work!  Generally, everybody loves the finished product, but the period in between start and finish – not so much!  Restorations can also be messy and untidy, and often requires the sacrifice of one’s comfort, territory, routine, and certainly time. 

In chapter two of the book of Joel, we find a story of restoration.  Joel is addressing the people of Judah who, for quite some time, had been experiencing abundance and blessing.  Food, livestock and crops were plentiful.  There was a copious amount of wine and oil.  Life in Judah was good. But, in their plenitude, the people of the nation had become conceited and self-serving.  They took the Lord and all His blessings for granted.   No longer concerned with the condition of their spiritual lives, they began worshiping idols.  So Joel, a prophet, steps in and warns the people to take notice. He commissions them to get their lives back on track with Christ, or sooner or later their sinful lifestyle would bring down the judgment of the Lord. They, however, ignored Joel’s warnings.  They were having the time of their lives and party pooper Joel was raining on their parade.  But eventually, just as Joel stated, a crisis occurred that stopped the nation of Judah right in its tracks. The Lord sent a terrible plague of locusts to swarm the land.  Fields, once overflowing with crops and livestock, were completely destroyed and left barren.  Everything was gone.  No longer were storehouses brimming with food, or were there cattle in the fields, wine on tap, and oil readily available. Gone.  All of it.  Every stinking last drop, crumb, and moo.  Gone.  The magnitude of the destruction and devastation was inconceivable.  

Now, the Lord could have easily shaken his head at Judah and said, “Look here you morons, didn't Joel tell you this was going to happen?  But, did you listen to him?  Noooo, of course you didn't. Well, I hope you enjoyed that wine and food while it lasted!  Because it is gone, gone, gone!  You got what you deserved!” But, God didn't do that.  Instead, He had compassion – compassion on the very people who had turned their backs on Him...compassion on the people who no longer claimed to need Him...compassion on people who didn't even worship Him!   And, in His unconditional compassion, He delivered the devastated nation a message and promise of hope.  A message and promise we can apply to our own lives….

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten....” – Joel 2:25 (ESV)

The past three years have brought some serious blows to the spiritual health of my local body of Christ.  My heart grieves and aches for the church I once knew.  A church once abundant and overflowing....But, the locusts have come.  I can’t explain, in just a few sentences or paragraphs, all that has happened.  But, I can tell you that God is still good.  Families have come and gone.  Tithes and offerings are sparse.  But, the same Lord who sat on His throne when we had abundance is the same Lord who sits on His throne today.  He is a Lord who is alive and well and who just happens to specialize in restoration of all that has been consumed and lost.  He is a Savior who can take all our ugly messes, devastation, and destruction and turn it into something beautiful and useful.   Sometimes friends, we must experience the death and end of what we once knew in order to experience all that is new, fully restored and resurrected.  

“Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak,
and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow
where there had been none.”
– Isaiah 42:19 (VOICE)

Whether you are currently experiencing, have ever experienced, or have yet to experience a restoration – I pray you will rest in Christ’s promise of restoration.  All that has been consumed and lost...all that the locusts have eaten, He WILL restore.  

res•to•ra•tion - the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.; the act of bringing back something that existed before; the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.

 “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” -  Lamentations 5:21 (NLT)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Perspective

4:40 a.m. - The radio from my alarm clock blared in my ear.  I swatted at the noisy, demon possessed box until I successfully whacked its snooze button.

Ugggh, stupid alarm. I don't want to get up. It’s still dark outside...and it's raining...
AND...it's Monday. Ugggh.
5:00 a.m. - The radio from my alarm clock blared in my ear.  A little more awake this time, and little more sane, I swatted at the noisy box until I successfully whacked its snooze button once more.  Then, I shut my eyes again and enjoyed the solitude and peacefulness of the morning. 

Ahhh, that's more like it. Serenity. I love these comfy covers and my warm bed. 
Just listen to the peaceful rain falling. I'll just stay in bed a little longer...
a wee, tiny bit longer...sigh....
5:01 a.m. - The alarm from my cell phone began to chime.  Grumbling to self ensues.   Personal sanity has left the building, and ugliness spews forth.

For the love of God and all that is holy! I'm trying to rest here! 
Stupid alarms. Stupid, stupid alarms. 
Stupid, stupid, stupid arsenal of alarms. Bah!
Begrudgingly, I got out of my comfortable, cozy, warm bed and started my day. As I opened the dishwasher to retrieve a coffee mug, thoughts began filling my weary, tired mind.

Good morning, Lord. I didn't want to get up today. 
It's Monday. It's still dark outside. And, it's raining. 
I'd just like to stay in my comfy, cozy bed. Sigh. 
My mind is already full and I really don't want to face the day. 
There's so much out there that overwhelms me. So much that grieves me. 
So much that I don’t understand. So much that seems impossible. 
And...so much that just seems hopeless.

Just then, a bright red coffee mug caught my eye and brought a smile to my face. And, not just any smile...but, a big, huge, cheesy, ear to ear grin kind of smile. As I clutched my incredibly cool, awesome Wonder Woman mug from the dishwasher, God began to speak, and He began to remind of the strength and the power and the wonder that comes from Him and Him alone…

"Monday's got nothing on us, Angela. It’s all about perspective. 
Do you trust Me? Do you know that through Me all things ARE possible? 
Do you know that I am THE HOPE? 
Do you know that each and everything that breaks your heart breaks Mine as well? 
It's all about perspective, Angela. 
Do you trust Me? Do you believe I am who I say I am? 
Then seek Me and you will find rest and peace. 
It's all about perspective."


Yes, Lord.  I know.
 I know.  
It’s all about perspective. 

"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told."
 -
Psalm 40:4-5 (ESV)

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Lucky Charms Kind of Faith

My family recently took a trip to Springfield, Illinois. Springfield is a great town full of rich history, specifically in relation to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; and my boys love learning about history. Lincoln lived in Springfield for many years prior to heading to the White House. He is also buried in Springfield. When we arrived to Lincoln's tomb, we noticed a large bronze statue of his head. It was hard to miss, not only due to its size, but also due to the shiny finish on the nose. Some believe rubbing Lincoln's nose brings good luck, and let me tell you that nose glistened! 


Have you ever had a good luck charm or ritual? A lucky shirt, pair of socks, or pants perhaps? I suspect all of us could name at least one item or thing we've been told will bring good luck – a heads up penny; a four leaf clover; a rabbit's foot; lucky number 7, Abraham Lincoln's nose, etc. 



I spent a good deal of my fifth and sixth grade school years hunting four leaf clovers. There was a particular area on my school playground in which I'd found a couple of these "lucky" little gems, and I figured the more I continued to find the luckier I'd be! Now, I don't know what the rules are when it comes to four leaf clovers, but I fully expected all my dreams to magically come true and wishes to be granted. Apparently, the "luck" they deliver is much more subtle than that though...much, much, much more subtle. In fact, come to think of it, I have yet to see any of that "luck". 



To be honest, I don't know if I even have those four leaf clovers any more. I tucked them inside a book long ago, and eventually lost track of them. What was so important to me then, I could take or leave now. I think that's the way it goes with many of our lucky charms though. We place faith in them believing their sole purpose is to give us luck and grant our wishes. But, eventually we give up when we don't see the results we want, when we want, and we tuck away our charms until the next time we need a little extra help in the ol' luck department...hoping then we'll hit the jackpot and get everything we ever wanted.


Sometimes I have faith like that – a lucky charms kind of faith. I lay out my requests to the Lord and then expect Him to magically provide. But, God isn't in the business of playing Fairy Godfather. He is not some four leaf clover or lucky penny. And, His sole purpose is certainly not to give luck and grant wishes when I stomp my feet and make demands (not that I would ever do that...ahem). 


Keeping the faith is hard, friends. Especially if you've been praying for someone or something specific for longer than you'd like - which in my case, usually means longer than one day (cue foot stomping here). Sometimes I fight the urge to tuck my faith away like a four leaf clover in a book. It's easy to get burnt out...to give up...to throw in the towel. But, God is still listening. He is still faithful and He will provide....


"Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder." Romans 12:11-12 (MSG)

Be cheerfully expectant and pray all the harder...good golly I need to remember this! Maybe you do too. Though the Lord may not give us what we want, when we want it - He always, ALWAYS has our best interests in mind, and He always, ALWAYS provides at the perfect time. I know this. I've seen Him do it time and time again. Sometimes I just need the reminder (and some patience!) to wait and to trust and to keep pressing on. What about you? Are you feeling discouraged with regard to something or someone you've been praying over? Let's fight that lucky charms kind of faith together – cheerfully expectant and praying all the harder.

*A few years ago, I was asked to write a song about waiting on the Lord.  I’d be honored if you took a listen to "They That Wait" today.  God is good.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Love, Cake & Blessedness

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I tend to agree. One need only flip through a family photo album and instantaneously find themselves filled with thousands of words, memories and stories to share. Russian author, Ivan Turgenev, wrote, "A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound."

August is a big birthday month for our family. Both of my boys, Jack and Joseph, have August birthdays, and so do I. My friend, Susan, snapped this photo last weekend. The picture takes my breath away and gives joy to my heart all at the same time. One of my friends said the photo speaks, "love" (as in Joseph loves his momma) and "cake" (as in Jack loves his cake!). Others have commented with regard to the photo, "perfection", "framer", "magazine worthy", and "cute". But of the thousands of words this particular photo conjures up, the one that sums them all up for me is, "blessed"....

Do you see those two precious boys in the photo? I am blessed. Those are my babies...my two healthy, thriving, spunky, loves their momma and loves their cake babies. One of them had heart surgery at 14 months of age. The other, we were told, would need a heart transplant at birth. Praise God he did not.  You see them there? They are alive and well. Their hearts are healthy. They are healthy. I am blessed.

Do you notice the woman in the photo? I am that woman, and I am blessed. I just turned 39 years young. Seven years ago, I was fighting for life, filling out a living will and writing letters to my babies in the event I didn't make it through my battle with cancer. Now, I'm a cancer survivor celebrating life with those I love most. I am blessed.

Can you spy the pearl earrings in my ears? I am blessed. My husband gave me those earrings. I wore them 19 years ago on our wedding day. Each time I place them in my ears, I am reminded of his love for me and of our promise to one another till death do us part. Marriage is hard work, but we are willing to work at what God has joined together. I am loved and I am blessed.

Did you spot the cake on the table? I am blessed. The cake was made by someone who cares about me and my family. Someone who doesn’t have to, but chooses to selflessly give and invest in my life and my family. My heart is full and its brokenness is restored because of friends like that. I am blessed.

Did you catch sight of the smile on my face? I am blessed. The smile is that of a woman filled with hope and faith...a woman saved by grace and loved beyond measure by One who laid His life down for her own. Every good and perfect thing in my life is because of Him. 

"Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received, comes to us 
from above, courtesy of the Father of lights...." – James 1:17

Because of Him and Him alone, I am blessed. 

Most gracious Lord, thank You for the blessing of life and for every good and perfect gift You give. May every snapshot of my life, reflect Your love and Your blessings. I am blessed because of You.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shut Your Pie Hole

It started out as an innocent text, but quickly turned into a panic induced moment brought on by autocorrect. It didn't matter if he meant to say the words or not...there they were (in all their glory no less), and once he hit that send button, there was no going back.   

My husband, Todd, was organizing food and other items in our church fellowship hall when aforementioned texting snafu took place.  Todd sent a text to our pastor's wife to make sure
she was comfortable with him relocating some items to one central area. 

    "Should I group the funeral dinner items?" 

Innocent enough, right?  Uh huh...that is of course, if that text was actually sent.  Unfortunately, it was not.  But, the sweet little gem below was:
"Shut your pie hole."

Oh. Snap!  (insert face palm here)  Turns out Todd's initial text was sabotaged by autocorrect!  And, before he even noticed, he hit send on that amazing little nugget above.  How on earth autocorrect comes up with some stuff is beyond me – another of life's great mysteries I suppose.   I too have sent crazy autocorrected texts, and I too have been on the receiving end of some pretty strange autocorrected texts (animal should never ever under any circumstances autocorrect to anal...um, wow! just saying.)

I digress, back to the whole "shut your pie hole" deal... I'm not saying I totally laugh snorted when Todd told me about his autocorrect fail, and I'm not saying I didn't....  But, I am saying - if you can't laugh at yourself, then rest assured, your wife will.... (love you, dear.)

Thankfully, Todd and I are blessed with a wonderful pastor and his wife who understand Todd and I are a couple of crazed weirdos really sweet people who would never text anything like that (generally speaking).  Todd was able to save face and immediately sent another text containing not only the correct information, but an apology and explanation.  Whew! Crisis averted.  

Wouldn't it be great if we could blame all our regretful words on autocorrect?  And, wouldn't it be awesome to have our mean spirited words forgiven, brushed off, and possibly even laughed over just as soon as they fly from of our mouths?  Indeed it would....

Recently, I found myself wishing I could erase some regretful words I said.  They so easily slid off my tongue, but the damage and pain they could have caused would certainly not have slid off so smoothly.  Out they flew with frustration and spite and anger attached.  I meant them in a hateful manner and they did their job well by coming across as such.  Some laughed at my words – which of course, only encouraged me to say more.  After all, the spark was already there inside of me, and it didn't take much at all for that spark to ignite into a flame.  Oh, how good it felt when I was saying the words.  And oh, how the fire raged...At the time, I didn't care if the pride I felt came at the expense of someone else...at least until I turned around that is. 

Open pie hole, insert foot.  There in front of me sat the family of the one I was so quick to slander.  It's a wonder the fire from my words hadn't singed the hair right off their heads.  I no longer wanted to be on the pedestal I'd put myself on.  Rather, I wanted to slink right on out of there cowering.  Suddenly it didn't feel so good anymore, and I was ashamed of myself and my words.   

"The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." – James 3:5 and 9-12

By the sheer grace and mercy of God, I don't believe this family heard my hatefulness.  I never meant to hurt them, nor the person I was speaking of so sharply.  In the heat of the fire though, I blazed on – never giving thought to the damage I could cause – and totally relishing in my moment of conceit.  Shame on me.  For out of my very own mouth I praise my Lord and Savior, yet I curse men.  Sigh...I could totally stand to shut my pie hole sometimes.  Maybe once I get my foot out of my mouth, I'll do just that! 

Thank you for coming here to read my blog, and for journeying alongside me.  I am not at all close to perfection (despite what my ego and words may try to suggest at times).   I'm just a sinner saved by grace...a girl who loves the Lord and who daily strives to work on her walk...a walk, on the road that is often slickery.   Praise God His mercies are new every morning...cause Lord knows this girl and her pie hole need some mercy!  I pray as I share the lessons I learn, they not only help me in my own spiritual growth, but they will encourage you too.  

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy; for Your forgiveness; and for Your unconditional love.  Lord, I pray when I open my mouth, You fill it with words of life.   Likewise, I ask that You shut my mouth when anything other than God breathed words threaten to ignite an unholy flame.  May the things I say edify those around me and point the way to You, Lord.   Not to me, but only to You.  I praise You for Your saving grace and for taking my feet out of my mouth and planting them firmly back on the road.  There is none like You.  None like You. 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Life in the Rearview Mirror

Heading home on the interstate, I glanced several times in my rearview mirror to make sure she was still following behind. We had both been in the city that day, and were now traveling back to our small town. When she asked to follow me, I gladly agreed. At least then I'd know if she arrived home safely. After all, the traffic moves so fast and well,...she does not. Years of hard physical labor, arthritis and aging in general have taken their toll and slowed her pace. Where did the time go? When she get old? For that matter, when did I get old? Seriously. It seems like only yesterday when I was 12 and she, my mom that is, was the age I am now. I mean, weren't her locks of white a shade of brown just yesterday (no hair dyes were harmed in the making of this blog)? And, when did her fingers become so drawn, and her gait become accented with a limp? Why, she was walking just fine...yesterday. 

As I continued the drive home that day, thousands of memories filled my mind. Memories, like the first time mom let me drive her wood-grain paneled, Country Squire station wagon on that very same interstate. I must have looked way cool behind the wheel of that wagon with my mall bangs, braces and Sally Jesse Raphael glasses. I'm pretty sure my jeans were pinch rolled too. Mom, me, and my keen 80's fashion sense made many trips on that interstate in our "cool" station wagon. Now, those trips are forever memories of life...in the rearview mirror.


I suppose the reality of the saying, "the only thing constant is change" becomes more apparent as we age! Cause, it sure does seem the older I get the quicker life goes...life is constantly changing. People, places and things are in my rearview mirror much faster these days. Time sure does fly, but, oh how I routinely wish I could stop the hands of time. Sometimes I catch myself looking at life in the rearview mirror and longing for the past. Pining for a time when my parents, my husband, and my children were younger...a time when I myself was younger. Craving that season in my life when my closest friends were still present and cancer was not so frequently part of family discussions. Reminiscing and yearning for the church I used to know, and the way things were. Just yesterday I was a kid who couldn't wait to grow up. Today, I'm a thirty something year old (and holding!) who doesn't want to grow any older. But alas...time marches on, and just like that – in the blink of an eye – life is in the rearview mirror and we, as well as the seasons in our lives, are constantly changing.

Maybe you're feeling like life is flying by, and you too would like to slow the hands of time. Perhaps you're getting ready to send a child off to college, or... to kindergarten. Maybe you've just lost a loved one, or maybe you've welcomed a new one into your family. No matter what season you're in; what changes you're going through; or where you're at in life – chances are you've longed for time to stand still at one point or another. But, onward we go to face the future. A future full of pleasant, and not so pleasant seasons, that will soon be, life in the rearview mirror.

I love old hymns. There's a reason those beloved melodies and words are still popular today. No matter how fast life goes, or how much the world changes, the message conveyed in so many of those precious songs stands the test of time. Though not as ancient of a hymn as others, I truly enjoy the endeared Bill and Gloria Gaither hymn, "Because He Lives". The lyrics of the chorus speak life and reassurance into me, especially in those moments I wish time would stand still:

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone.
 Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives."

He holds the future. What. A. Relief. I am thankful change is not the only constant in my life. You see, I have another constant...a constant that, or rather who, never changes. One who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). One who is ever present; has plans for me; and holds me in the palm of His hand - always. When time rushes by, His constant presence assures me He knows just where I'm heading, and where I've been. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow...and, life in the rearview mirror.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

– Jeremiah 29:11

Time is fleeting, God is not.

Thank you, Lord, for the time You give us here on earth, and for all the wonderful memories You provide. Thank You for holding each one of us in Your mighty, capable hands. Father, help us to remember when time moves fast and when time stands still, good or bad, life is always worth living because You live and You hold our future.





Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When Love Disappoints


“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted....” – Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love." Boy, ain't that the truth? The more we love something or someone the more disappointed we are when we our plans or expectations aren't fulfilled with regard to them.

Last Tuesday, in the early hours of the morning, a text came in. I knew it would be arriving soon, but neither my heart, nor my mind was prepared for the magnitude and finality it brought. I was sitting at the table when Todd entered the kitchen. From the look on his face, I knew the words he was about to say would not be words I wanted to hear.

"Daryle just texted. Lola passed away."

No! She can't be gone! It makes no sense. I don't…I just don't…I don't understand.

Now I don’t truly know how it feels to take a knife to the chest, but if I had to guess, I'd say it might come close to how it feels when someone you love dies. My aunt Lola is gone. Gone. Just a few months ago, she was vibrant, active, and full of life. But her cancer returned and took that all away. No sooner did we learn her diagnosis than we said goodbye. I can't wrap my mind around it. I keep thinking I'll wake up and this will all be some crazy, strange dream. I haven't even had a chance to process and accept her diagnosis yet. Furthermore, we just said goodbye to my uncle Don. His life too, cut short by cancer. My heart aches for them and for my family as we grieve those we love so deeply.

My inbox and voice mail still hold messages from Lola. I can't bring myself to delete them. Surely tonight I'll see her working in the yard, as she often did, and hear her jokingly yell at me from across the road, "You need to mow your yard!" She can't be gone. She just can't. Not only was she part of my family, she was my neighbor and my friend...we shared so many laughs and good times. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. And, oh how the disappointment hurts and tugs at my heart. It fills my mind and floods my eyes with tears. She's gone. She's really gone. It just can't be...but, it is.

I've been putting off this post. And, not just a little, but a whole bunch-a-lada. To be honest, I just don't know what to write. Or then again, maybe I do, but am afraid to put it out there for all to see...afraid to put it out there for me to see. It's ugly, and so not tied up in a pretty little package complete with a perfect bow. I like to write about happy things. I like to be silly and witty. I like to share insight and encouragement. But...truthfully, right now I don't feel silly...or witty...or insightful...or encouraging. Mostly I just feel disappointment. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. I want her to come back. I want Don to come back. I loved them so.

I tend to laugh my way through life. The less serious I have to be, the less I have to really face things head on and deal with them. Now, some might say I'm doing what I should in trying not to feel disappointment or hurt. They may offer up "Right on, Angela. Don't sweat the 'small stuff'", or perhaps, "Shake it off", or maybe even, (my least favorite) "Get over it". Generally speaking I'm a pretty happy go lucky kind of gal. The trouble though is that sometimes beneath the smile I am totally sweating (profusely, I might add) the small and the big stuff. And, so it is now. Under my smile is a broken heart. A woman weary, worn out and sweating. A woman who loves deeply. And, a woman who is disappointed deeply.

My aunt Lola and my uncle Don were amazing people. And, the disappointment I feel is nothing more than love grieving deeply for those I hold dear. So, while I'm still here...in this season of disappointment...sweating and grieving, I pray the Lord will give me the strength needed to face each day, and to take one day at a time. Great is His faithfulness.


Strength for today.  Hope for tomorrow.

That is my prayer.

Father God, great is Your faithfulness. Thank You for the hope we have in You. Even when we face disappointments in our lives, You are still good. Lord, I pray You would mend the broken pieces of my heart, and those within my family also, as we grieve for our loved ones. Thank you for the blessing Lola and Don brought to our lives and for the time, love and laughter we shared with them both. Please be with others who are also hurting at this time and missing those they hold so dear. Your word tells us You are close to the brokenhearted and deliver us from discouragement and crushed spirits. May we feel your healing touch, deliverance and presence, Lord. Please give each of us the strength to face each day, one day at a time, and help us to remember You are forever and always our hope.




Friday, June 21, 2013

It's So Over

This morning, I sat at my kitchen table praying and reeling with anxiety over the tasks that lie ahead. Yesterday, my boss asked me to take on a project; adding to my already full plate. A flood of emotions came rushing in as I agreed to the challenge and additional responsibility.

I'm honored he trusts me and feels I'm capable of taking this on, Lord. Really, I am.  But...but...how on earth am I going to figure out how to do this project? When on earth am I going to figure out how to do this project? I feel so ill equipped. I need wisdom. I need strength. I need...new shoes. I already have a million balls in the air between work duties, being a mom, parent, daughter, niece, sister, friend, not to mention blogging and songwriting…and I’m just so...so...ahhh!  
I'm just so overwhelmed! Serenity now!

Holy moly. Life sure gets busy sometimes doesn't it? There are days I feel I wear so many hats I lose track of who I am; and then the only hat I feel like wearing is the one I can pull down over my head. Sigh. 

Some days it's all so over. Overwhelming that is.

There's a song that has been stuck in my head lately, "One Thing Remains" . I have to wonder if the Lord is deliberating putting that song in front of me. Maybe you'll see why when you read some of the lyrics:

Your love never fails/It never gives up/It never runs out on me

And it's higher than the mountains that I face/And it's stronger than the power of the grave/And it's constant in the trial and the change/This one thing remains

And on and on and on and on it goes/Yes, it overwhelms and satisfies my soul/And I never ever have to be afraid/This one thing remains/This one thing remains



It's so over. Overwhelming that is.

His love never fails. It never gives up, and it never runs out. It's higher than any mountains you or I may face. It's stronger than the power of the grave, and constant in our trials and change. It goes on and on and on and when we allow, it overwhelms and satisfies our souls. I needed that reminder today. Maybe you did too.
Scripture says the God who loves us with an overwhelming love, is also the same God who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). And, the same God who gives us wisdom...

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
 – James 1:5 (NIV)

I sure could use some strength and wisdom. I'm walking around like a bumbling idiot who doesn't know if she's coming or going. Strength? Wisdom? Yes Lord, please! (And, maybe some cute shoes too. I mean it can't hurt to ask, right?).

Oh Lord, let the only thing I'm overwhelmed with be Your love....

Thank You Lord for Your love. Thank You for equipping us for the tasks that lie before us; for Your wisdom and for Your strength. May we be so filled with You we are...overwhelmed.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vacation in Paradise

Recently, Todd, the boys and I headed to Walt Disney World for some fun, sun, and celebration of 19 years of marriage! A great time was had by all, and we were richly blessed with the opportunity to spend time together as a family.

"This place is paradise!
You get to buy toys, go to parks,
and even eat with Mickey!"

These are the words my seven year old son, Joseph, exclaimed with regard to Disney World. Ahh, it's the little things in life isn't it!?!? As a child, I longed to go to Disney World and Disneyland.  I mean, for goodness sake, these parks are billed as the most "magical and happiest" places on earth - modern day lands of "milk and honey"... paradise here on earth.  I am grateful I've had the opportunity to visit - the Disney parks are indeed amazing, magical, romantic, and breathtaking!

One morning during our  trip, we had the pleasure of meeting Minnie Mouse (I just love her). She smooched on the boys, posed for photos, and kindly signed their autograph books. It was definitely a memorable experience. I couldn't help but laugh hysterically when my ten year old son, Jack, jokingly shared his recollection of said smooching (I love this kid) though:

"Minnie is a no good, kissing she-devil."

A devil in "paradise"? Say it ain't so!

We had a fantastic time visiting Disney World. Isn't it such a blessing to live in a world chock full of beautiful, stunning, breathtaking paradise destinations for us to enjoy? As amazing as these places are though, I can only imagine how each and every one must pale in comparison to our heavenly paradise. Even at the most happiest and magical places on earth, there are still imperfections, or "devils in paradise" if you will. During our vacation, my kids still argued with one another. We were all tired, cranky, and inpatient at times. One of our hotel elevators was out of service on a near daily basis. Our food order was messed up during one of our meals. Joseph fell, cried, and bruised his leg on a curb. My husband still snored while he slept (happy 19th anniversary dear!). We met a woman whose ankle was crushed by a motorized wheelchair in one of the parks. Another family had to leave paradise for an urgent surgery. We had a great time. Really, we did. I tell you these things to drive home a point though.

No paradise on earth is perfect. But, our heavenly paradise is!

In Revelation 21, John tells us of our heavenly paradise - a perfect place with pearly gates and streets of gold...a place of no sickness, no sorrow and no tears...a place bountiful with food and beautiful singing...a place in which it never gets dark, and never closes...a place...with no devils! Heck, I don’t even think they have rodents there! And, instead of dining with Mickey, you get to dine with Jesus! Even better yet – once you arrive in your heavenly destination, you never have to leave!

 How’s that for a vacation in paradise?!

Most gracious Lord, I thank You for blessing my family with the opportunity to spend time together and make wonderful memories. I rejoice and give You glory for the beauty and wonder of Your magnificent creation – for the paradises You formed and placed here on earth for us to enjoy. There is none like You, Lord, Almighty Creator. Thank You for the promise of eternal life in our heavenly paradise. I look forward to the day I can see Your face and sing Your praises on the streets of gold! Lord, please grant us wisdom, words, and love to share Your promise with others – that they too may delight in paradise with You someday.

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's a Jungle Out There

We hopped in his car, and he turned on the radio.  It was an exciting night filled with celebration.  Todd had just received his high school diploma, and we knew the first song we heard would be one that would always remind us of that moment.  Needless to say, Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" wasn't quite what we were expecting! 

Finding your way in life can be a lot like finding your way through the jungle...there are a lot of pretty things to look at, but if you're not careful you can easily get distracted, stray from the path, and get lost.  Worse yet, you may even get devoured. Thankfully, there is One willing and able to guide us through the safari of life.   He even provides us with an instruction manual full of survival tactics!  Here are just a few: 

1. Arm yourself with The Word, be disciplined and stay on guard. The more you know the manual, the easier and more quickly you can put it into practice in defeating the enemy.  Your enemy, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone (1 Peter 5:8).

2. Take the light with you.  Sometimes, even when you stay on the path, there may be some dark periods.  His word is a lamp for your feet, a light on your paths (Psalm 199:105).

3.  Utilize the strength He provides.  Don't try to be the hero. Life is hard. Remember, it's His strength, and His alone that will get you through.  You can do all things through the strength that He gives (Philippians 4:13). 
4. There is strength in numbers.  Find others walking the same path as you; encourage and walk alongside them (Hebrews 10:25).  And, when one of you falls down, you’ll have someone to help you back up (Ecclesiastes 4:10).
5. Even if you get lost, no matter what time of day, call out and He’ll be there.  You may at times, choose to stray from the path, but remember He is never far from you.  Morning, noon or night, call His name and He will be there to rescue you (Psalm 55:17). 

So...congratulations to all those graduating! Enjoy this special time in your lives, and...welcome to the jungle! If you commit your way to Him, you will surely succeed! (Proverbs 16:3)


 Heavenly Father, thank You for the special moments and joys in our lives.  I ask for Your blessing upon the lives of all those graduating at this time, Lord.  May they seek You in all they do, and trust in Your infinite wisdom and strength as they venture into the jungle. 



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Who's Your Momma?


I had to have been around three or four years old when she took me under her wing.  Her name was Mrs. Murphy, and she was one of the sweetest, kindest, little snow white haired ladies I knew.  She taught Sunday school to preschool aged children, and I adored her.  She not only taught me about Jesus, but she showed me what grace looked like; and she made me want to stay in my preschool years forever.   The world would be a better place if there were more women like her.  She wasn't my momma, but she sure loved on me like she was. 

It was my sixteenth birthday, and like most kids, there was only one thing I felt would make the perfect birthday gift.  It was of course, a car!  She had a different gift idea in mind though.  A gift that meant way more to me than a car.  Her name is Helen, and she played the organ at my church.  Helen knew music was the language of my heart, and so she gifted me with a piano book full of praise and worship songs.  Inside the front cover she wrote the most beautiful, encouraging note.  I still have that book.  It's one of my most cherished possessions.  Why?  Because it was a gift from her heart to mine.  She cared enough to encourage me, love me and know what was important to me.  She wasn't my momma, but she sure loved on me like she was.

She would put housework on hold to play Yahtzee and Trouble with me for hours; and she would listen to every vocal concert of “Jesus Loves Me” I gave from the big rock in her front yard.  Her smile could light up a room, and even though I'm certain she had days in which she was tired, sad, or worried, I never saw them.  Because when I was with her, she had a way of making me feel I was more important than anything else in, or going on in, her life.  A simple slice of bread with butter always tasted better at her house – probably because she took the extra effort to cut it into sticks for me, and serve it with a smile.   Her cookie jar was perpetually filled not only with molasses cookies, but with love.  And, each time I'd leave her house, she would make sure to tell me she loved me.  I never for a moment doubted she did.  My grandmother wasn't my momma, but she sure loved on me like she was.

Many children come and go at her house, none of which are from her womb.  She provides respite and security in her heart and home to little ones who need a temporary place to stay.  She brushes and styles curly locks and rocks newborns after late night feedings.  She makes sure each child is fitted with clothes, shoes and school supplies.  Her heart grieves when it's time to say goodbye.  For she knows she may never see them again – they are children of her heart.  She's not their momma, but she sure loves on them like she is. 

Each Sunday morning, little ones with hair uncombed and slippers on their feet stand at the window to watch for her arrival.  She picks them up for church and they proudly sit in the pew alongside her biological children.  She's stood by many hospital beds and caskets, and wept teardrops of sorrow for children not her own.   She's a diaper changer, tear wiper and Christmas gift buyer.  Her washing machine often spins clothes her family of five will never wear.  She loves those others call unlovely and opens her arms, home and heart to them.  She's not their momma, but she sure loves on them like she is. 

She carried me in the heat and humidity of a Missouri summer, and later walked me to the school bus during my kindergarten year. In the moments between working all day and cooking supper for our family, she always took time to listen to the details of my day at school.  She made numerous Halloween costumes; fried a lot of chicken; and could whip up an amazing chocolate sheet cake.  She used to dance in the kitchen to the sixties music on the oldies radio station - which prompted lots of giggles from me.  She once cut my hair so short I looked like a boy, and she also styled my hair for my junior prom.  She loves to go to garage sales, and always finds something special to buy just for me.  When she's so tired she could literally drop, she continues to selflessly give to others and is a beautiful example of humility and love. She kisses my babies and holds them in her arms, and she treats my husband like he's truly her son.  And, like Mrs. Murphy above, she is also a snow white haired lady teaching preschool Sunday school and loving on little ones.  She's not their momma, but she sure loves on them like she is.  And, I'm so honored and blessed to call her my momma...my amazing, wonderful, beautiful momma.  Oh, I love her so. 

These are just a few of the wonderful mommas in my life.  Though I genuinely call only one of them "mom", each has blessed my life tremendously with the love and care they've shown.  One doesn't have to be a biological momma to love like a momma does.  She need only open her heart and her arms.   Who's your momma?

"Her children arise and call her blessed…many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
 – Proverbs 31:28-29 (NIV)

Happy Mother's Day Mommas!

Lord, I thank You for creating each of these special women and placing them in my life. May they know they are dearly and deeply loved, and may they be richly blessed by their children.   I give You all the glory for their beautiful lives and for the rich blessings I receive from knowing them and knowing You.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Skating Lessons


When I was a child, my dad would take my brother, Kevin, and me skating on our frozen lake in the winter.   There was something freeing about gliding on the ice and breathing in the fresh, cold, winter air.   Something that put a little pep in my step.  Something that made me feel alive.  Something...that made all eighty five layers of thermal underwear, stocking caps and gloves totally worth wearing.   

Dad would always go first to carefully inspect the ice for firmness and safety; and would alert us to any danger zones, such as cracks or holes to avoid.  But, one winter, curiosity got the best of my eight year old mind, and I stuck my boot through a small hole in the ice.  This was certainly not one of my most intelligent moments.  Foundation is everything...and well,...it's rather difficult to stand when you have one foot in a hole, and another on slippery terrain.  No sooner than the tip of my boot skimmed the frigid water's surface, my other foot slipped and down I fell – one leg completely immersed in the freezing water, and thankfully, one still on the surface of the ice.  Dad hurriedly scooped me up, carried me off the lake and back to the warmth and comfort of our home.  Had I fallen in completely and/or my dad not reacted as quickly, the scene might have played out quite differently....

As I recall that experience, I am reminded of the endearing scene from Bambi in which Thumper tries to teach a wobbly Bambi to ice skate.  Bambi struggles to stand on the ice, but his long, thin legs just don't offer the same support of Thumper's larger, padded feet.  Foundation is everything and Thumper's firmer foundation allowed him to glide confidently and gracefully across the frozen pond.  

I have found a lot of similarities between ice skating and walking with Christ. Both require proper safeguards and foundation for success:  

1). Proper safety gear – Wearing the right boots and blades is essential for skaters to flourish on the ice.  As Christians, we too need the right gear to thrive.  Scripture says we need to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17).
2). Learn to walk before you skate – Skaters generally learn to walk on the ice prior to learning how to skate.  Walking helps establish one's center of gravity, which in turn makes ankles less wobbly.  When we walk with the Lord, He becomes our center of gravity and steadies our stride.  Psalm 27:23 (NIV) says, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.”
3.) Keep your eyes forward and let go - Skaters are taught to look in the direction they are skating.  If they pay too much attention to their feet, they will fall.  They are also instructed not to hold onto anything that may become a crutch.   Hebrews 12:1-2 provides similar instruction in our walk with Christ – telling us to remove any weight that might slow us down and to press on toward our heavenly prize by keeping our eyes on Christ.
4). Have a spotter and use your edges – When learning to skate, one should have a confident skater alongside as a spotter.  He/she will be able to help you up when you slip.  Additionally, the edges of a skate blade provide power, control and speed, but one must keep them sharpened and know how to use them correctly in order to benefit from their potential.  We are told in scripture that two are better than one – for if one falls down, the other can help him/her back up (Ecclesiastes 4:10).  Additionally, Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) provides information on sharpening our faith, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
5). Bend Your Knees - When skaters bend their knees, their stability is greatly increased, and they do not fall backwards nearly as much.  James 5:16 (NIV) states, “…the earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power….”

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. 
A man is powerful on his knees.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom

Sometimes the roads in life get slickery, and as I’m learning to skate, I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who scoops me up each time I fall.  

Most gracious Lord, thank You for the foundation You provide.  Foundation is everything Lord, and I am so grateful You steady our walk and lift us when we fall.  Father, I pray we learn to let go of the things that hold us back and continually keep our eyes focused on You – pressing onward and moving ahead to the heavenly prize You have promised.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Moonwalking Faith


The summer before sixth grade, Suzanne moved to town.  We could not have been any more different.  I was a shy, small town girl who had traveled out of my home state one time.  She was a spit fire, southern belle, Army brat who had traveled the world!  Though an unlikely pair, we hit it off immediately and spent every waking moment we could together that summer.  Prior to moving to small town, Missouri, Suzanne lived in Germany, and before that, Savannah, Georgia.  I learned a lot from Suzanne that summer - like how to speak German with a Georgia accent, how to dance, and how to blow a bubble with bubblegum.

I remember the first dance Suzanne taught me...the box step. With my 45 record of Kool & the Gang's, "Celebration" blaring in the background, over the course of one summer afternoon, she successfully taught me how to move my two left feet in an organized and rhythmic fashion.  Our next dance lesson didn't go as well though.  "Bust a move" and "drop it like it's hot" are words in my vocabulary, but the buck pretty much stops there.  A dancer I am not.  Suzanne, on the other hand, could merely shuffle her feet and look amazing.   Nonetheless, despite her attempts at teaching me to moonwalk, I still resembled something of Igor dragging a foot behind.  Sigh. 

In July 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did their own moonwalk of sorts. The astronauts were aboard Apollo 11, the first spaceflight to land humans on the moon. Upon landing and taking his first lunar steps, Armstrong stated the famous words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". Small steps, and giant leaps? Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like my walk with Christ. Maybe, just maybe, I am a moonwalker after all? More often than not, when the Lord lays something on my heart, my first reaction is to shuffle my feet, take a few steps here and there, and repeatedly ask, "Um, are You sure, Lord? I mean, do You really want me to…?" It’s typically not until I've taken a whole lot of small steps that I take the giant leap of faith. Small steps and giant leaps…yep, that's what my moonwalking faith looks like.

This coming Saturday, I will be launching a women's ministry* in my church and community – the product of a lot of small steps, and giant leaps.  Though, I can barely contain my excitement, beneath all the enthusiasm is a girl who looks a lot like my middle school self learning to moonwalk – remember the aforementioned reference to Igor?!?  Yikes.  Thankfully, God uses those who can moonwalk like my friend, Suzanne...as well as those who can't!  God is not limited by our imperfect moonwalks of faith.  He can and will use us to accomplish great and mighty things if we are only willing to answer to His call.  Deep breath...So, here I go...in small steps and giants leaps....

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the opportunities You give us, despite our imperfections, to serve and glorify You.  Lord, I commit this new ministry and my life to You.  I pray for Your will and not my own, and I praise You and thank You for the great things You have already done, the greater things yet to come, and the greater things still to be done here….Great are You, Lord and worthy of praise!

*If you feel so inclined, I would immensely appreciate your prayers for the new ministry – "Greater".  The purpose of "Greater" is to foster a spirit and atmosphere within the church and within our communities that is conducive to growth – a spirit and atmosphere that is less of us and more of God.  1 John 4:4 says the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. Therefore, the more filled we are with the Holy Spirit, the more His spirit, and not our own, will permeate and draw us together in unity.  He is greater!  Thank you for your prayers! 


Friday, April 19, 2013

Holy Underoos


I unbuttoned my shirt and climbed to the top of the step stool in front of the large play horse. Most days, I'd get on that horse, in my kindergarten classroom, and pretend to ride. But, I had different plans that day. Big plans. A few days prior, my mom scored a second hand, Wonder Woman underoos top for me. I adored Wonder Woman, and now that I had her uniform, I was going to save the world!

I mischievously scoured the classroom filled by my teacher and classmates; making certain the coast was clear. And, then, I tossed my head back proudly, threw open my shirt to reveal my Wonder Woman underoos, and leapt from the step stool!

Power. Sheer, indestructible, invincible, power

I. Was. Wonder Woman!

 Thirty some odd years later, I can still remember how I felt in that moment. It’s amazing what a set of superhero underoos can do for a girl's confidence!

Throughout my kindergarten year, I wore that undershirt many times; each time feeling enabled to conquer whatever was placed before me. But, it wasn’t long until the undershirt grew small, and I subsequently moved on to find myself another heroine to emulate. Daisy Duke. (Can you tell I’m a child of the 80's?) No, she may not have been a superhero, but she was tough as nails and ├╝ber cool. She could save the day, thwart Boss Hogg and Roscoe, and get those ornery Duke boys out of the stickiest of jams. I wanted to be just like her – cut off jean shorts, white Jeep and all!

Many years and lots of lessons later, I've learned neither wearing Wonder Woman underoos nor pretending to be Daisy Duke means I'm powerful, or able to save the day. It does, on the other hand, mean I am crazy have a great imagination…. Scripture, however, tells us of One who is powerful. One who can save the day. It even tells us how to dress, so we can be more like Him...full of His mighty power, confident and able to stand our ground against evil forces.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." – Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)


Holy underoos, Batman! Forget Wonder Woman and Daisy Duke, real power lies in emulating Christ and putting on His armor! Fortunately, unlike underoos, you can’t outgrow the full armor of God!

I don't know about you, but I’m going to go suit up. This world needs saving, and I know the Savior.

Most gracious Lord, thank You for granting us strength and power in Your name. This world can be a scary place, and evil is all around. But, I rejoice and thank You for Your saving grace, and for the hope only You can give. May we never forget the victory is already Yours! You saved the day!

The Phillips, Craig and Dean song, “You Saved the Day” is one my favorites. I hope you enjoy it as well!  


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Loose Tooth Prayers


"I want to pray that my loose tooth will fall out."

This has been the prayer request of my seven year old son, Joseph, for the past several months.  Nearly every tooth in the top row of that kid's mouth has been loose lately!  And, we've prayed for every stinkin' one!  "Loose tooth prayers".  Sigh...

I just don't know if the boys are taking the prayer time seriously. I mean, every night they want to pray for the same thing…to have a good day at school; to lose a tooth; to have good dreams and sleep well…I feel they just repeat the same things over and over and don’t put much thought into it.

These are the comments I made to Todd during our morning commute a few weeks ago.  Have you ever had one of those moments when you speak your mind, and mid-sentence realize you're totally wrong?  That never happens to me.  Hmm.  Yeah.  Guilty.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm teaching my boys, or if they're teaching me?  Though they may pray for the same things every night, these are the things on their young minds.  These are their worries and cares. 

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." – 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

If Facebook had a place to state one's faith status as they do relationship status, I'd probably fall under the “It's complicated” category.   And, I'm the one making it complicated.   

In Matthew 19:14 (NLT), Jesus says,

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them!
For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."

For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.

Oh, to be more like a child...to have a faith that isn't complicated – a faith that believes God can do anything.  A faith that doesn't question whether God is listening, or whether a request is too big, too small, or too mundane.  A faith that relentlessly prays over and over and over again for the same thing, and trusts God hears and will provide.  A faith...that prays "loose tooth prayers", and lays all worries and cares before the throne of Christ.

"God can do anything, you know-far more than you can ever imagine
or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" – Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

Whether we're praying for teeth to fall out; for a marriage to be restored; for a good night's rest; for healing from sickness; for a great day at school; for a new job...He hears it all.  And, He wants us to bring it all to Him.  Over and over and over again.  Even...our "loose tooth prayers".

Father, thank You for allowing us to bring all our worries and cares before You.  Thank You for listening and providing for us in the big and in the small things.  May we, like children, have an uncomplicated faith– relentless and trusting in Your greatness and goodness. 

*I wish I could tell you that praying with our children is something Todd and I have always done, but to be completely honest, we didn't really get serious and intentional about it until the beginning of this year.  Now, each evening before bed, Todd, the boys and I read a devotional from the children's version of Jesus Calling.  After our reading, we each state something we are thankful for, share prayer requests, and pray together.  It’s a wonderful way for us to close out our day and regroup as a family.  It's also an amazing thing to watch your children grow in their faith and trust in the Lord...and to grow alongside them!   If you are looking for a great devotional for your children, we highly recommend the children's version of Jesus Calling.   If you have suggestions for other books, please leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear from you!