Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Hi everybody.... it's been about a week or so since I sat down to jot some thoughts down. Honestly, it's been a week of distractions and I'm afraid my heart hasn't been as intentional on listening to the spirit. But God was faithful to me and did not remain silent. Amazing that He pursues me, while my mind and heart can find other things to dwell on.

So, here's the deal. Right now I'm in a serious season in my personal life. I'm in a season of retaking back my health; in the sense of wanting to be the healthiest person that I can be. At first I was thinking of this purely in the physical sense as in losing weight, toning up, and being thin. As long as I can remember my weight has been something that lingers in the back of mind and seems present in every situation and place. I know it affects how I carry myself, my self esteem and my interactions with others. After being on lots and lots of diets and strugging with this my whole life, it's become quite obvious that it's more than a physical issue! Duh, right?! :)

Well, last week I sort of hit that "place" (i think it's this elusive place.. different for every person!) where i said, "ENOUGH". So mentally the last week I have been focusing on my eating and making better choices, trying to get a few days of exercise and asking HIM to show me my bad habits and to help me get to the bottom of them. I asked God to be my partner on this ride. i KNOW I will fail miserably without Him.

HOWEVER, I'm frustrated because I put so much effort mentally and physically into that area of my life - I allowed my one on one time with the Lord to become lacking. I let my thoughts go to, "I hope when i stand on the scales I see results" instead of "man, Jesus, what are you gonna show me today!?"

I was sitting here at the computer yesterday and it hit me. We've got to exercise all areas of our lives. We've got physical muscles that have to be moved and toned. It involves repetition, determination, consistency, increasing the poundage as your muscles grow stronger, and feeding your body what it needs best to function at 100%.

Our spiritual muscles have to be stretched too!!! Sometimes God allows circumstances that show us NEW muscles that we didn't know existed (our bodies have felt that before too!!!!!!!!!!!!). We're given opportunities to repeat and repeat and again, repeat things so that we can become stronger in our convictions, stronger in our beliefs, and stronger in our faith. Without determination and consistency it's easy to be lax, to become apathetic and to become "luke warm" in our approach to God. In order to NOT allow those things to happen, I HAVE to be feeding on His word, pumping in His views of me. Believing it when HE tells me that I am His prize, that I am his JOY, that He finds me beautiful. I have to hold on to His hand on the journey. He's rooting for me. And not because He'll love me more on the other side of it. But because He gets the joy of running with me and becuase He wants the best for me.

So, while I've been a tad silent... God has not. And I've been reluctant to share - because it puts me in a SERIOUS place of vulnerability. But, accountability and honesty are KEY in this process and with God, I will succeed. And I can't wait to give him some AWESOME glory!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

At arms length

The last few days have been rougher in the mommy department. Honestly, things have probably been rougher in the communication department with my husband as well. And come to think of it, my connection with God sort of hit a busy signal (on MY end, NOT His!).

The common denominator?


Hmmm... when life starts getting overwhelmed and relationships start to feel strained and things just aren't running as smoothly as normal or expected, we often start the blame game right? Pass the buck off to somebody else who dropped the ball, or blame our choices/actions/reactions to circumstances. If so'n'so hadn't done "____" then I wouldn't have been so defensive, or angry, or combative, or short tempered. I wonder if God ever watches me and wonders, "Will she ever get it?!"

So, when I get in this funk - I'm not sure what else to call it but that. It's a season of "offness" where nothing seems "right". It's not always a long period of time - though some times last longer than others. Anyway, when I'm in this funk, I often have LITTLE patience and generally want to be left alone. I don't want things to be asked of me, I don't want to be criticized (hey, who does?!), or reminded of what I'm lacking. I don't want to be touched, malled, hugged, or called ("mommy, moomy, moooom, mom, mama.....") a hundred times.

This week my 20 month old was fussing and came to my leg while I was in the kitchen. The grabbing at my pant leg, the moanful wails started, and his intention were fully expressed. He wanted up and he wanted UP right away. I think I sort of shook my leg - as if he was a dog at my feet that i could shoo away and rather sternly said, "No Joey!". Which insued MORE tears, more wails and only intensified grabbing and mauling of my leg. I could feel the frustration building up in me. "I just want to be left alone!" was all I could think.

And then I heard it inside...soft...but firm in it's intent, "Do I hold you at arms length?"


"Lord, c'mon. You know you have more patience than me. You can handle me when I come to you. I'm human. I can get irritated."

"Excuses then are your fallback?"

It was painful. I was holding my son at arms length. I wasn't letting him in. I was dismissing him, too deep in my own pit of wallowment (my new word of the day! HA!) I was choosing to be cold and to react in a way that hurt my son. Ouch.

I got a glimpse, once again of God's amazing LOVE. It continues to surprise me how God is showing himself to me as I walk through the journey of motherhood. He never hold his heart back from me. What a promise of safety and security.

Recently I've come across a newer artist and I've been listening to her album on the web. Her name is Francesca Battistelli and I think she's awesome. If you go to her website http://www.francescamusic.com/ you can llisten to her WHOLE album!! It's full of great songs... but one that I find running through my head (and i'm sure it's NOT coincidence!) is "It's Your Life".

"It's Your Life" Lyrics
by Francesca Battistelli | from the album My Paper Heart

This is the moment
It’s on the line
Which way you gonna fall?
In the middle between
Wrong and right
But you know after all

It’s your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Every day the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for
It’s an open door
It’s your life

Are you who you always said you would be?
With a sinking feeling in your chest
Always waiting for someone else to fix you
Tell me when did you forget


To live the way that you believe
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way

What a reminder to me... the world is watching, yes... but even MORE so, God is watching. And not because He's out to get me, but because he LOVES me and cares about the choices I make. And even more, He's patiently waiting for me to invite Him in and help ME in making decisions that honor HIM and His name.

What's God whispering to you these days?? Got something to share? I'd love to hear from you!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just one foot forward in my blogging journey

It was less than 2 months ago that I started writing my thoughts here on my blog. It's been an amazing place for me to just ramble and "think". My friendship with Jesus has grown and my understanding of HIM and His love has deepened. What a precious gift to me.

The other night I was blog browsing some familiar blogs to me and then saw a link to a blog I'd been recommended to read. It was http://www.aholyexperience.com/ (I read a few posts on her page and was looking around and saw the High Calling Blogs badge in the side bar. Out of curiosity I clicked it!

Wow, what a great idea! High Calling Blogs is an amazing site (that I'm still learning to navigate!) that encourages bloggers with like Faith to share and network and encourage each other. A true community! Surely, this was a place I could fit in!

As a new "public" blogger I often feel like my blog is just sort of out there floating around in cyber space. I never know who is reading (unless they comment) or who God is touching with the words He gives to me. I am also keenly aware that my writing is simple and has a lot of room for growth - in style, technique, depth, grammatically, and the list goes on. I want to find a balance in having a blog that is done with enough quality that it is not distracting with flaws, yet has it's fullest potential met in glorifying God.

So, I joined High Calling Blogs! (http://www.highcallingblogs.com/) I am so excited to make some new friends and LEARN LEARN LEARN. And humbly hoping that God can use me in the big world of cyberspace.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Broken

I saw this video tonight and found it amazing. It speaks for itself, so for tonight, I'll be silent.

(be sure to hit pause on the music to the right before pushing the play arrow in the video)

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's against my nature

So, being direct has never been something I've been gifted at being. Should I want something you'll often find me, setting the stage, giving the background, defending my request that hasn't even been "requested" yet! Ask my husband. It drives him crazy.

It could sound something like this (me speaking to Eric, my husband).

"So, remember back when I told you about Lucy and the thing she was going through with the kids and how it was affecting her job? And then she had this other thing happen in her extended family. Well, now her husband had this work thing, which then meant she had to miss this fun thing, which now means that the time she and I had set up to meet can't happen. She's really upset and disappointed and I really think that she needs a friend right now and it's been on my heart to reach out to her.... It's just so sad. I've been praying for her and hoping I'd have a chance to encourage her."

(blah blah blah ad nauseum......is that the right word? hmm... spell check doesn't like it!)

Then he looks me and says, "So you should hang out. Call her, get together."

ME (*feeling satisfied and a lil sheepish that my ploy worked*), "Really? Thank you, that'd be great. I mean, I just think that she could use a friend and it's been a while since we got to have a heart to heart w/o kids running around or talking on the phone w/o having to deal with the madness of the kids running around like maniacs...." blah blah blah

TO which he says, "All you had to do was ASK!"

That's just ONE example of the countless ways I can figure out to delay "asking" in hopes that my husband will just "figure it out". It's a LOUSY way to communicate and it's equally unfair to both parties! Not only does it put him in the position of trying to "Read b/w the lines" (of which MOST men will tell you themselves, they are LOUSY at it!!!). They weren't made to read our minds, they weren't meant to have to decript our messages. And honestly, as women we send them such tremendous mixed signals, that even if they COULD read our minds, can you imagine the mental breakdowns they'd have, trying to keep up with us?! LOL Just look at that last sentence! Women, probably followed me, men, perhaps not! hee hee

I am striving to have more boldness in my requests to my husband! When I need to run out in the evening for something, after a hard day with the kids, I just ask. When I have a ministry obligation, I run it by him, directly. Instead of giving the 6 different reasons I need to be there, I just say, "Hey, I'm needed _________ and will that work okay with our schedule? It'd mean you'd need to cover the kids and do bedtime." To which, I kid you not - - 90% of the time, it's not a problem! He appreciates my more direct approach and doesn't feel manipulated into saying yes. I haven't fed him the "emotional sale". I'll still often want to explain the why even after the "go ahead" has been given... which, sometimes he still looks at me with this, "It's FINE, I already said YES" kind of look. LOL Isn't it just like us women, to wanna have the details and give the details! (*NOT* always a good thing as it can so easily lead to gossip and "chatter" but that's another topic for another day!! :) )

In the same way, God doesn't want us tip toeing around our requests to him either! And yet, we do - don't we? I know I do. I will speak in vague terms and not be specific in my prayers.

Matthew 7 says to be DIRECT with God. Out of the Message again (matthew 7:7-11)

"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat and mouse, hide and seek game we're in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?"

So, why do we NOT ask for exactly what we want?
~shame that we're asking for things we WANT and not things we NEED?

~fear that he won't give us what we want?

~perhaps fear that he WILL give us what we want - and then we have to live with the consequences - whether those good or bad

~lack of depth to the relationship. We see Him like our drive thru "Go to guy". I'd like wisdom, with a side of mercy, and i'll take some everlasting life .... oh and can you biggee that too for an extra $10 bucks that I'll throw in next week's offering plate!?!"

~distractions - life's so busy we're lucky if we get a "hey God" in all day, let alone lay it out on the table what our needs are.

~assuming he just KNOWS already and what's the point in saying it all. (and yet he DOES. we were MADE to be in relationship with HIM. he desires our conversation and our affection in a deep, incredible way - unfathomable to me.. yet true! he wants to HEAR our cries and comfort us.... to meet us right where we're at, broken, joyful, thankful, in despair, wanting.....it's TRUE he KNOWS our thoughts... but to have a relationship work, takes 2 sides putting in the effort! I think we all know that when our relationship with the Lord is lacking, it's not b/c he's stepped away. we have.)

~the assumption we can just handle it on our own (yeah? how's that goin' for ya?! LOL)

God WANTS us to lay it all on the line. TO boldly come to him with our requests. To not approach him un with uncertainty and fear. Ephesians 3:12 says we can boldly come before HIM with CONFIDENCE! In the Message it uses this phrase "When we trust in him, we're free to say whatever needs to be said...." When we fully TRUST Him to give us what is BEST for us, we can ask with all kinds of freedom. Knowing He has our best in mind, KNOWING He will supply.... and with WHAT we need, WHEN we need it.

Like Matthew 7 said, we'd never intentionally with hold goodness from our children out of evil intentions. We want their happiness, yes. But most of all we want their safety, their lives to be blessed, their hearts to be soft toward the Lord and their spirits to be giving and loving. Sure, we can't/don't always give them what they WANT. But we see the big picture. We see how 2 steps down the path, that choice would be destructive.

God sees the whole picture. Trust in today's "frame" and know that it's a snapshot on the adventure and that as each day unfolds, so does HIS marvelous plan for our lives. And ASK to your hearts content for the things that you desire. In the process, examine your heart and your motives and then truly just lay it out there before him. He will answer - one way or another. And when he does... TRUST it.

SO... in a practical way - how am I praying specifically these days?
Here are a few to get your brainstorming on how you can to.

1. God would give me good deals at the grocery store on the needs and that at the end of the month, I would have left over in my grocery budget.

2. I am praying for my husband, in very specific ways - a soft heart for the Lord, integrity at work, a joyful spirit with his co-workers, a playfulness with the kids, understanding for me (his crazy wife!), and more...

3. For my children: that they would be hungry for the Lord, be eager to learn and soak up stories and think about how it applies to their lives. That they would be selfless - NOT selfish. That God would grow them individually and that they would committ to following Him and using their lives for His glory.

4. For myself: that I will continue to earnestly seek Him. Ask him His opinion, be silent and listen for his answer. that my friendship with the Father would grow and deepen, rooting itself in a love that can never be shaken or moved. That i would be SLOW to anger.... and quick to LISTEN to my family. That i can bless my husband and honor him infront of my kids. That they would see a united team. And that I keep myself open to whatever path God would call me down.

Go make yourself a list. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Life of God Worship

A few days ago, I picked up my Bible and the page had fallen open to Matthew 6 (The Message). I'd read it months ago, and had even highlighted some verses that had touched me. And yet, my eyes were seeing the words with a renewed interest. In verse 19 Jesus is warning against storing up our treasures on earth... and advising to "stockpile" treasures in Heaven. I thought about the idea of treasures for a while and even asked some friends what they thought "our Heavenly treasures" were. It was good food for thought.

But, those were not the verses that really hit me, this time.

Those verses started at verse 25:
If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.... (vs 30)... If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen - don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with "getting" so you can respond to God's "giving". People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep you life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. GIVE your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Right before this passage Jesus is telling his disciples that they can only worship one god. If they love one, they'll have to hate the other, two can not coincide! Loving God and loving money or material matters won't work. And then he goes on to say that if we pick Christ... or focus will shift from all those worldly things! Our minds will not be set on where we think we're failing from the worlds perspective. Our God is a GOD of provisions and faithfulness. A God of making and keeping promises to us. A God of love.

I love the phrase where he says the birds live "careless in the care of God". WOW. Can you even wrap your mind around that?! How often do we go through our day and have anxiety pop up. Worries about this and that and big stuff and petty stuff?! Countless! How is it that we can so quickly forget who's arms are carrying us?!

The other word choice in The Message, that i just LOVED, b/c it gives me such a visual, is when it says that we are to "steep" our lives in God. It gives me this picture of a tea bag. It's like Christ is the tea bag and I'm this cup of water. We all know the longer the tea bag is IN the water, the stronger the tea right? Steeping takes time and conditions generally have to be right. Most tea bags "steep" better in hot water. Don't ask me why because Science wasn't my thing in high school! But it completely relates to our Christian walks as well. When we are HOT for God. When we are passionate and walking with Him daily, living in surrender, living a life desperate to please HIS heart, His spirit comes in and starts to steep in our souls. Starts to fill us up, starts to mature and deepen our desire and our intimacy with the Father!!! It's soothing, it's inviting, it's comfort and it's home.

And then "something" happens. Perhaps it's hard times. Perhaps it's a failed relationship, a loss of job, a loss of a loved one, a recurring habit, anger, depression, you fill in the blank. Our eyes shift.. with a blink we can find ourselves distracted... somehow the world can seem like it has the answers or looks inviting to human desires.

Gradually, the hotness turns to warmth... which quickly fades to a coolness that seems distant from the Father.

Go back with me to the cup of water. Imagine now, that the water is cool. The tea bag enters the water, at first sort of floating on top, gradually filling with water and sinking into the cup. With the absence of the heat, the tea doesn't spread into the water with the intensity, speed, or strength that it did in the hot water. It's potency and strength fails to match that of the hot cup! And it's due to the conditions!

SO is the Spirit in our hearts. When we become cool or aloof to the spirit, the power He has in our lives diminishes! Christ is still present! He promises to never leave us. But when our hearts are distracted and have wandered from His, our hearts and souls can NOT be filled with the Spirit. We can't walk in HIS fullness, we can't bask in HIS presence with the same peace, and we can not reach and meet His highest calling on our lives.

Check out a definition I found of the word "steep". Apply my crazy tea bag philosophy... reflect and think. Ask God to open your eyes.
steep 2 (stp)

v. steeped, steep·ing, steeps
1. To soak in liquid in order to cleanse, soften, or extract a given property from.
2. To infuse or subject thoroughly to.
3. To make thoroughly wet; saturate.
To undergo a soaking in liquid.

Where are you in the steeping process?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'll Be By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

(Chorus 2x)

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

(Chorus 2x)


Breakfast making musings

This morning I thought I'd make biscuits since we just got a new "honey bear" and the kids love biscuits and honey. I was up and around with plenty of time. Moment's later, Carissa was by my side, step stool pulled over the counter asking what I was doing and could she help.

(Now, all of us mom's can probably agree, that it's far easier to cook and bake alone. It gets done faster and not to mention with LESS mess!)

But I said, "Sure."

I got the ingredients and the mixing bowl out. She was eager to help dump and stir. She only got a little bit of flour out of the bowl! :) When it came time to roll out the dough she was insistent upon taking the rolling pin on by herself.

I knew she couldn't do it herself. She didn't have the leverage, the muscle strength, or the experience needed to get the job done. I watched her struggle and push the rolling pin.... often going over the same chunk of rolled dough because it was the smoothest path in front of her. To get to the thicker dough would mean asking for help, it would mean she'd not be successful on her own. I let her try for a minute or two, and then asked if she'd like to do it together. My hands took the outside of the rolling pin handles and applied more pressure was we rolled the dough out. With our hands together, we shaped and smoothed, and created the shape we needed. We then used a cup and cut out our round biscuits, popped them in the oven and then enjoyed them with butter and honey. Yum.

In the minute or two that I watched her struggle on her own with the dough, God came me a glimpse through his eyes. Together he and I will start something, but then all too soon, I'll feel confidence in myself and I'll slip His hands off of mine, and tackle the job myself. It sometimes feels easy at first, but then things get tough. I muddle through, making a mess, repeating old habits or attitudes because they are the easiest or most natural to my human nature. Choosing to work on the harder areas in my life would mean asking for help and it would sure mean admitting that I had failed on my own. And in the middle of my "doing it myself" a sense of lonliness starts to creep in. And then I hear it, "I'm still here, sweetie. I'd love to help, let's finish this together!"

And eagerly, I ask His hands to join mine again... working together we're a team that can't be messed with. He turns my mess into beauty, he transforms my mistakes and failings into opportunities to show his grace, mercy, love, and power.

I'm glad I said "yes" to Carissa this morning and grateful for the glimpse of "me" through God's eyes.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mirror Messages

Mirror mirror on the wall.... how often do we look to the mirror (or others?!) to reflect back to us what we desire to see? How often do we look at ourselves, with critical eyes and result with frowns of disappointment or discontentment?

Happens all the time here.

Over the years, I have gone through phases of placing scriptures or thoughts on my mirror. It's the perfect place to put thoughts or verses to ponder. Right now the following verse is printed out on some paper and taped to my mirror.

Psalm 19:13 (The Message)
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
These are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them on the morning alter,
O God, my Alter-Rock, God, Priest of my My Alter-Rock.
I LOVE THIS LORD! What an awesome way to start my day with you! Wipe it clean Lord, lets start this day TOGETHER, fresh. And keep me from those stupid sins, that get in the way of our fellowship, that get in the way of YOU shining through me, that don't make YOU look good, Lord. My heart has been washed clean, scrubbed into every nook and cranny, not one speck of blackness remains... all by Your blood. These are my thoughts, my meditations, my ponderings... May they be fit for your presence, may they be honoring to your name, and may you accept them as my offering of praise.... as i lift them to you in worship, this very day!

Put something POSITIVE on your mirror today! Don't look to the visual to give you merit. Use the WORD of God to speak straight talk to your heart.