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, 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 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 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!  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Footprints of Love

Wipe your feet! You’re tracking mud in the house! 

I can’t tell you how many times I've said this. But, just for the sake of emphasis...I've said it a lot. Life with three boys (well, 2 boys and a husband) means there's a lot of mud tracked into my home; and lately, it seems that in the battle of mom vs. mud, mud is winning!

Though I would prefer clean floors, I am thankful for the imprint these tracks have left. You see, they aren't just muddy footprints on my floors; they are mementos of memories made. Reminders of kickball games and walks outside... playing ball in the drive and hunting Easter eggs with Grandpa. Camping trips and family vacations...rained out family yard sales, planting trees and making mud puddle soup. Reminders of grieving in the cemetery more often than we'd like, and watching friends play football games in the rain.

More than footprints, these muddy tracks are fragments of our lives...snapshots of how we've spent our time...loving and being loved.

In the song, “Disappear” my friends, The Great Romance, sing,

“If I was to disappear, would they even notice anymore?
If I couldn't stand right here, would there be a footprint on the floor?
If I was to disappear, would they even notice anymore?
If I couldn't stand right here, would they know the love worth fighting for?”

As we go through our lives, each one of us leaves footprints. What story do your footprints tell? Have you left a lasting imprint, or have your steps been nothing more than dust in the wind?

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” - 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV)

I want to be a woman who chases after the One who left the greatest steps of all - desperately seeking Him and placing my feet into the mold of the prints He has appointed me to follow...loving and being loved.
Will you join me?

These are the tracks I want to leave behind- the snapshots of how I spent my time. How about you?

May the footprints we leave behind reflect time well spent and a love worth fighting for....

Father God, I thank You for the plans You have established for my life...for each of our lives. Lord help us to follow in Your ways and to seek You in every road we travel. May we choose to spend our time wisely following in Your steps, making a difference for Your kingdom, and leaving a lasting impact that points the way to You.