Wednesday, April 26, 2017

For Those Of Us Who Are "Fixers"

Hey Friend,

You notice that I include myself in this title?  In fact, many times I am writing to myself (sounds better than talking to myself) and I invite you to listen in.

The greatest challenge that people, like myself, who try to "fix" situations or people run into is "waiting".  I believe if you are, by nature, one who tries to fix things, you are conversely one who is not so great at waiting.  Am I hitting a nerve with anyone?

When I am trying to be obedient and I am waiting and I don't see anything happening (from my vantage point), I get the misguided notion that just because I can't see it, nothing is going on.  What false thinking.  Being a "fixer" by nature, I think if I'm not "fixing" it then it won't get fixed.....I know, silly girl. I think this is a little, or not so little, thing called pride.

This pride will cause me to do other foolish things like take matters in my own hands or I try to run ahead of God.  These usually only lead to pain and frustration and many times sin.  I forget that God knows what is best for me and my life AND he knows what is best for others and their lives.  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways SUBMIT to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I like this version because instead of saying "acknowledge" God, it goes one step further and says "submit" to God.  Submitting means that I place my will and purpose below that of God.

God has been teaching me many things about fixing and waiting.  Perhaps there are so many scriptures about waiting because we are called on to wait quite often and sometimes for long periods of time.

A friend of mine who attends Al-Anon classes has shared with me some of the things she's been learning about her adult child... especially when it comes to dealing with a loved one who is struggling in life and we feel a need or compulsion to help or to fix.

The Three C's:

1.  I didn't cause it (addiction, broken relationship, behavior, disobedience)

2.  I can't cure it (when things are broken they can only be cured by God's unbroken Word) - I added this second part.

3.  I can't control it (If I think I can control it, that's usually Pride talking - me again.)

Another helpful adage is this:


What I understand this to mean is that I need to stay in my lane with God.  I need to concentrate on something I can do something about and that is - work on MY relationship with God.  

I need to let GOD work on the person in their lane beside me.  Their walk is between them and God and I need to quit trying to cross over the line and meddle in their lane.  I can certainly help if called upon, but I need to let God call the shots.

So here I am back to if I can't control or fix it....I need to wait on God.

Good friend and writer Jeanne Takenaka says, "The hardest seasons are those when we wait with no answer from God."

Yes, God can and will be silent sometimes for a purpose, but these truths I know:

1.  God is working in the waiting.  (Even when I can't see it)

2.  In waiting, God is stretching my "patience muscles".   Ouch!

3.  Prayer IS doing something.  It's doing the most important thing!

4.  God is MORE THAN ABLE to handle anyone or any situation.

5.  Often God works better alone (without our "help")

6.  God ALWAYS works for the good of those who love Him and for His glory (not ours).

I am learning that God is always hard at work moving and orchestrating things that I do not see.  I can't see Him working in someone's heart, for example.  All I know is that I can lift my prayers, not lean on MY understanding of the situation, and trust that God is certainly able.

God's got this (whatever or whomever "this" is).

In the meantime, my job is to wait, pray, and thank Him in advance for what He is about to perform.  

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
(Psalms 27:13-14)

Are you a "fixer" by nature?  In what situations is God calling you to submit to His knowledge and authority?  If you can't "fix" the situation, what would God have YOU work on?  Can you let go of your understanding and trust and wait on God?  Take a moment and lift your struggle up to Him....He's listening....

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when, in wanting to see change, I pridefully run ahead of you or try to take matters into my own hands. Help me Lord, to submit my understanding to Your authority.  Help me to trust that you are in control and to take comfort in the fact that there are some things I just can't control.  Give me patience as I wait upon You Lord - trusting and knowing that you are more than able and that you've got this under control.  Help me to "stay in my lane" and concentrate on MY relationship with you.  Make me an expectant prayer warrior who gives thanks for what you can do.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...

ps.  Would you please pray for me as I will be having my 4th surgery in 5 years?  This is a more complicated surgery to try to correct an unsuccessful bunion surgery from 3 years ago that left me with residual and continual nerve pain in my foot.  I would certainly welcome your prayers for the nerve pain to be alleviated, or better yet, eliminated.  I know my God is more than able!!  Thank you... (Surgery is May 10th)

Monday, April 17, 2017

More of You, Less of Me

Hey Friend,

I have been thinking about how the world seems to be a lot more angry than it used to be.  Oh, we've always had the ability to cut others to pieces with our tongues, but the thing was, we were challenged to do it in person.

The world we live in now allows us to lob insults in texts, and tweets, and Instagrams.  We can hide, safely behind our screens, and launch word grenades that leave the other side reeling.  

Meanwhile, I believe that the enemy sits back and laughs.  He doesn't have to do the dirty work....given the opportunity, we will annihilate each other.  All he has to do is throw out a divisive topic, political, religious, or otherwise and we readily pick up sides and go on the attack.  

Why?  I suppose pride has something to do with it.  If I shout loud enough, everyone will see that I have the RIGHT answer and they will switch their way of thinking.  

If we have two choices - fight of flight - we have become awfully good at pulling out our swords and fighting.

So in this world of "my way", "your way", How do I help people see Christ's way?  

Christ never viewed people as a problem to be solved, but as people to be loved.  (recently read this in a post by Holley Gerth).

The only conclusion I can come to is this:  The more I know Him, the more I'll become like Him, and the more others will be able to recognize Him in me.

So how do I go about this?  This may seem simplistic, but how can I live for Jesus without Him? 

Go to the source.  Not only read His Word, but pray, and spend time in His presence so that I am conformed into the image of Christ.  

I'm not going to be like Him if I don't spend good quality time with Him.

"I have been crucified with Christ (remember Easter that we just celebrated?) and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

So if I die to self there's no more of me, but only Christ living through me.

More of Christ....less of me.  This is the ultimate goal.

Writer, Cindi McMenamin made some excellent points on this topic.  May I share them with you?

Jesus also said in Matthew 16:24 "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." How can you and I deny ourselves in a society that shouts "Love your body",  "Love Yourself", and "Love your Selfie!"?  How can you and I, like John the Baptist, live by the motto, "He must increase, but I must decrease"?  (John 3:30)

Cindi further points out that it means reversing the way we naturally think and act.  It means putting Christ in the place where we would normally put ourselves.  It means having:

     * Less concern for how others see you and more concern for how
        others see Jesus.

     * Less focus on what you deserve from others and more focus on 
        what you owe Christ.

     * Less preoccupation with your perceived rights and more focus on
        what it means to be a servant of God.

My takeaway from Cindi's words are that we need to focus more on the new creation that we've become...

"The old you is gone.  The new you (consumed by Christ) has come."  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

No more hiding behind the phrase, "Well, that's just the way that I am so the world is just going to have to accept it." 

But, rather to say, "I have surrendered my life to Christ and, though I am still a work in progress, I want to be more like Him and less like me."  (realizing we have a sinful nature).  

Maybe if we all started living like the new creations that we are, we'd stop insisting on our own way.  Insisting that others conform to our way of thinking. Stop lobbing word grenades at each other from behind screens.  

Instead, we would realize who the real enemy is and work together to foil his evil schemes.  We would use our words to build each other up, not tear down. We would love like Christ loved because there would be more of Him and less of us.  Food for thought.....

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for Easter that we just celebrated. You took our sins upon Yourself so that we would be new creations in You.  Help me to lay down the sword of my tongue.  Enable me to use my words to build others up and not to tear them down.  Let me view others not as projects to be fixed, but people to be loved.  Let my priority be to spend time with You so than in doing this I would be transformed to be more like you and less like my sinful self.  Instead of insisting on my way, guide me to show people Your way that leads to life everlasting.  I ask all this in Your Son Jesus' name.  Amen.

Be blessed......
ps.  Thank you for praying for the safety of our school (Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.) in the Middle East through Easter.  Praise that there were not bombs this year as Christians celebrated the Risen Christ.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Just Who Am I Kidding?

Hey Friend,

As Easter approaches, the words of writer friend, Shannan Martin, echo in my mind.  "I am laying bare my inadequacies and wrapping them in the hope of salvation."

News Flash:  God is not after our tidiness, but He's after our holiness.

I admit to, many times, trying to "tidy up" my soul to impress God.  I don't know who I'm trying to fool because God can't be fooled, yet I try.  I will do all the right things - read His Word, pray, give thanks, but I think what God wants is for us to lay our incomplete-sinful-I'm-not-fooling-anyone lives before Him and ask Him to wash and scrub us clean in the blood of His Son.  

So...what am I offering to God this Easter?

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.  So do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.  (Romans 12: 1-2)

So what does this mean exactly?

Let's break it down....

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice.  In this verse sacrifice means "offering".  In a way this verse is an oxymoron because usually ancient sacrifices meant killing something and offering the dead animal up to God, but here it says He wants us to be living offer up our lives while we are still living. In other words - giving our whole life to Him

Present you bodies as "holy".  Here holy is "hagios" in the Greek which means "acceptable to God....devoted to the Lord."  Under "holy" words like "consecrated" and "sanctified" are used.  Consecrated, has in it the root "sacred" which means to be set apart from the unclean.  Sanctification also has this idea of separation and dedication.

We are set apart for God's use in acceptable service to which we are to be dedicated. 

So, in addition to my tidy work of reading His Word, and praying, and attempting to do good works, have I given God what He really wants?

Have I "laid bare my inadequacies".  Have I come to God's altar and said, "God you know my sins and my failings, but HERE, I give it ALL to You.  I can't fool you, so here I am sins, stains, flaws, failings and all.  I want you to scrub me and make me clean; set me apart, let me be dedicated only unto You, and USE me in YOUR service."  

If I really want to get dangerous and open myself up, I will pray Psalm 139: 23-24:

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.

Do I want God peering in all the dirty crevices of my heart?  Just who am I kidding?  He knows it all anyway, but He is waiting for me to open up, invite Him in, lay myself completely bare in front of Him.  No more hiding.  No more striving.  No more tidying up my life to make it presentable to Him.  Why? Because that's not the definition of holy.

So what's at stake if we are not laid bare and made holy?  

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD.  (Hebrews 12:14)

God, being the awesome God He is, does not call us to be holy without giving us the way to be made holy. 

He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.  (2 Timothy 1:9)

God gives us the Way to be holy, consecrated, sanctified....He gave us Jesus. He gave the ultimate sacred offering that washes and scrubs us clean in the blood of Jesus the lamb.  By His grace and mercy He makes us clean and holy.  He's done the hard part.

So now what does He ask?

Present your (made holy by me bodies) as a living sacrifice to me.  This is the ultimate act of worship.  - God

Lay yourself before me.  Give me all of yourself and in doing so, others will see me too.  

What are you giving God this Easter?  What keeps you from laying it all before Him?  What will God do if you bring Him all your junk?  What have you got to lose?  What do you stand to gain?  Why is your life, being made holy, so crucial?

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you that you love us for the ragamuffins that we are.  You already know our sins and weaknesses, yet you still invite us to come to you - come just as we are.  Give us the strength in our weakness to lay ourselves bare before you, so that in doing so, you can cleanse us and make us holy.  Then, let us present our lives as living sacrifices to you - set apart and dedicated to doing Your will. Thank you for Easter and for the ultimate gift of salvation.  God you are awesome and we/I praise You!  In Jesus name, Amen.

Be blessed.....and PLEASE pray for our school in the Middle East this Easter. Last year they were rocked by bombings.  There have already been attacks in Egypt...put a hedge of protection around your sons and daughters we pray. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Honor Thy Mother (& Mother-in-Law)

Hey Friend,

Have you ever read a segment of scripture that you've read hundreds of times thinking there's nothing new to glean?  I have, and that's exactly how I approached this scripture on the first miracle where Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding feast.

Will you take another look with me again and let me show you what I was hit with, squarely between the eyes, by the Holy Spirit?  Okay...let's read:

John 2:1-12Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The First Sign: Turning Water into Wine

On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding as well. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told Him, “They don’t have any wine.”
“What has this concern of yours to do with Me,[a] woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour[b] has not yet come.”
“Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.
Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification.Each contained 20 or 30 gallons.[c]
“Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the chief servant.”[d] And they did........
11 Jesus performed this first sign[e] in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
12 After this, He went down to Capernaum, together with His mother, His brothers, and His disciples, and they stayed there only a few days.
Take a look at what happens.  Jesus accompanies His mother and his brothers and his disciples to a wedding feast.  The, host, mortified and embarrassed, runs out of wine.
Jesus' mother told Him, "They don't have wine."
Jesus' replies,  "What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?...My hour has not yet come."
Maybe it's just me, but when I read those words I can envision a defiant toddler or even an insolent teenager.  Is Jesus questioning His mother here?  I'm not 100% sure, but here's the part that gets me - look what comes or doesn't come next.
1.  Mary does not get into a pleading contest with Jesus.
2.  Mary does not reason with Jesus as to why He needs to do something.
3.  Mary does not rebuke Jesus or chide Him.
No, she basically ignores His complaint. I'm no theological scholar, but Mary, the good Jewish mother, basically takes charge - as is a mother's right and honor to do - and she tells the servants, "Do whatever He tells you."  And, in essence, she tells her son...come on, let's get on with it.  Look what comes next??
1.  Jesus does not remind Mary He is the Alpha and the Omega.
2.  Jesus does not argue with His mother.
3.  Jesus does not flat out refuse her command....what does He do?
"Fill the jars with water, "  Jesus told them.....and He goes on to perform the miracle at His mother's direction.  He obeys.
Hmmmmm.......Jesus the Son of God, Creator of the Universe, the Lion and the Lamb, honored his mother.  Wow!
I think of all the times I've disagreed with my mother, muttered under my breath when told to do something, been rude or disrespectful.  Yet the Bible, in the Ten Commandments, specifically tells us to honor our parents.  
1.  Even if we know we're right.
2.  Even if their request is unreasonable.
3.  Even if we disagree or are angry or upset or hurt....honor.
Take this a step further.  What about Mother-in-laws.  Did I hit a sore point? How hard it is to honor a woman who didn't raise you?...perhaps one you feel conflicts with you with regard to your husband...perhaps one who meddles in your business?
My son is twenty-four and has a girlfriend.  There's a part of me that wants to say, "That's it, just step in here after all the hard work's been done and bat those long eyelashes of yours and capture his heart, attention, and affection.
Where were you when he was up puking all night, or when he wet the bed, or when he had to be rushed to the emergency room?"
I know my son will one day take a wife and because he loves her, I will love her too.  I hope that because I am his mother (and if it weren't for me he wouldn't be here) she will honor me as well.
So back to my can I better honor my mother AND my mother-in-law?  
I DO love them both dearly and I'm so thankful to have them.  But, when they have the nerve to be human and do something that gets on my nerves, what do I fall back on? 
1.  God's command to Honor thy mother and father (and look there's even a promise built in):

     Exodus 20:12Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

2.  Look back at the example of Jesus (WDJD) - What did Jesus do?

      I have no better way than to take my cues from Jesus. 
If there ever was someone who had the right to trump his mother's directing, it was Jesus.  But, Jesus chose to follow the example set before Him in the Ten Commandments given by His Father in Heaven so that those who follow them would prosper and have a long life.  
Is it hard for you to honor your mother?  Your mother-in-law?  Have you been hurt and struggle with honoring one who hurt you?  Is it hard to honor people who can be difficult?  or...How have you been blessed in obeying and honoring? How can you model this to your children?  
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the Ten Commandments you have given me - not to make my life harder or more difficult, but because you promise me that you will bless my obedience.  Help me to choose to follow your commands and to take my cues from the life of Jesus.  Grow me, mold me, teach me, Lord that I may be more like Him.  Thank you that Your Word is always alive and living.  Thank you for the new revelations you give me from these ancient teachings.  May Your name be glorified.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Be blessed...
Ps.  Thank you to all my readers who have taken part in our "sCARves for a Cause"  campaign to get a reliable vehicle for our school in the Middle East. Check in on our website in the next week or so to see how this story ends.  On behalf of the Board of Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. 
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!   Bev xo

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Let Me Turn Your NOT ENOUGH into MORE Than Enough - (Guest Post)

Hey Friend,

I am so pleased to introduce you to my friend, Jana Schmitt, who is guest posting here this week.  Texas born and bred, Jana lives and works in the small but growing town of Celina, TX, on the outskirts of Dallas.  She has been married almost 34 years to her best friend and partner in life, Darron.  She is mom to two grown children and grandmother to one sweet baby boy, who will soon celebrate his first birthday!

Jana went back to school in her forties to pursue a longstanding dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor and is now enjoying her "second calling" in life as a counselor in private practice.  She works primarily with adults struggling with depression, anxiety, life transition, and a host of other issues. You can check out more about her practice at

She is happiest when she is neck-deep in a creative project like remodeling a house, planting a garden, or hosting a gathering of some kind.  She believes we are called as followers of Jesus to leave a trail of restoration, repair, and beauty wherever we go. Her life is a work in progress as she seeks to live out this calling.  

Jana has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me in my blogging and in my work with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.  Jana, my friends, is the "real deal". Will you join me in welcoming her?

Let me turn your NOT ENOUGH into MORE than enough ~ 

These are the words I wrote in my journal this past Christmas as I sensed Jesus speaking them to me. I was feeling inspired by the story of the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6… “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.” We all know how the story plays out. They all ate and were satisfied and the disciples gathered twelve baskets full of leftovers! Jesus turned their not enough into more than enough.

But first He gave thanks.

Can you imagine the joy the people felt that day? The food just kept on coming! I want to experience that kind of joy every single day. Who doesn’t want to feel that deep joy the ancient Greeks referred to as “the good mood of the soul”? As a counselor, I hear stories of depression and anxiety and shame and loneliness. People want to feel the joy the Bible talks about and yet, honestly, it sometimes seems so elusive.

But what if there was a simple practice that we could insert into our daily lives that actually produced joy? What if joy is not so much a feeling that just happens to us randomly, but something we cultivate?

Two summers ago my husband and I were seeking respite from the Texas heat in the mountains of North Carolina. We took daily walks and breathed in the fresh pine and drank coffee on the porch and slowed down enough to feel the awe and wonder of God’s magnificent creation. I was reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and her words about joy & gratitude were leaping off the pages at me.

Brene Brown is a research professor who studies things like shame and vulnerability and wholeheartedness. Through countless interviews, she began to discover a direct link between joy and gratitude. Without exception, she found that the people who described themselves as joyful were people who actively practiced gratitude. They kept gratitude journals or created gratitude art. They took time out of their busy schedules to reflect and give thanks. 

She discovered that the opposite of joy isn’t sadness; it’s fear. She calls it scarcity. It’s that fear of not having enough or doing enough or being enough. This is what keeps us from experiencing the joy we were created for. She puts it this way: 

“We think not being grateful and not feeling joy will make it hurt less (when we lose something we love). We think if we can beat vulnerability to the punch by imagining loss, we’ll suffer less. We’re wrong. There is one guarantee: If we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on the two things that will actually sustain us during the inevitable hard times.”

Brene Brown’s words stirred something in me. Then a client told me that Ann Voskamp’s book, 1000 Gifts, had changed him and helped him find joy during the hardest year of his life. It’s a book about cultivating gratitude. This intrigued me. God was challenging me to go deeper.

Throughout this past holiday season I was asking God to give me a word for 2017. One word to be my focus as I moved into a new year. I kept hearing “gratitude…gratitude…gratitude”.

I decided to accept Ann Voskamp’s challenge to write down 1,000 gifts this year. She calls it “a dare to name all the ways that God loves me…the True Love Dare”.

I started naming the gifts each day, writing them in my journal in red.

#1) bright red berries in a winter landscape 

#2) friends staying in our guest bedroom 

#3) kisses from Cyrus (my grandbaby :) ) 

 #7) my new email penpal, Bev

What would happen if all of God’s people did this?

What if our first thoughts in the morning and our last thoughts before falling asleep, instead of thoughts of not enough, were whispered prayers of thanksgiving?

What if, instead of being on constant alert for facebook-worthy moments, we lived our lives on the lookout for gratitude-worthy moments?

I decided to begin looking at my life as a photographer looking for beauty. I began snapping photos, not to post on social media, but into my own “gratitude file” on my laptop that I will open at the end of 2017 and share with my family and we will remember and give thanks and re-experience the joy together. 

So here it is March already. Usually by this time I’m wondering where the year is going, my New Year’s Resolutions lost under a pile on my desk. But this one is different. This one requires very little time, no special talents or abilities, no money, and I can do it with or without cooperation from other people.  

It’s simply about being present. It’s about showing up for my life with eyes wide open in wonder. It’s about paying attention to the gifts God scatters all along the path. 

And what I’m finding… 

I’m finding that the practice of gratitude turns the mundane, every-day into something glorious. That life is a beautiful mystery to behold. 

I’m finding that I spend a lot less time worrying about not doing enough or being enough and that He truly is MORE than enough. 

I’m finding that practicing gratitude even in the midst of the hard stuff, the challenging, the painful – it lifts me and sets me on a higher plane where I don’t get so bogged down in the muck, where my vision is clearer because God always has the best vantage point and gratitude ushers me into His Presence like nothing else. 

#236) perfect starry nights 

#237) friends around the fire pit

#238) Mom’s chocolate cake 

#239) a thank you note from a client

I’m finding that He really does love us so much. We only need to open our eyes to see His gifts. They’re all around us.

 “So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last!” Psalm 63:3 The Message


Be Blessed...and please, friends, leave some lovin' for Jana in the Comments....

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Try Harder, Try Harder, Try Harder

Hey Friend,

Have you ever had one of those weeks that you want to take a big, old, red sharpie and draw a line through it...crossing it off your mind and out of your life? Sure you have, and I just had one.

Not that we need to analyze every move we make, but I am trying to look back over this week and find out where and when it really took its detour south.  

It started out well after a weekend of refreshment, but not long into the week interruptions began piling up.  I am a task-oriented achiever and so for me unwelcome interruptions can be the kiss of death.  I'm not talking pleasant interruptions like a friend stopping by, but people (especially one) who can get under my skin like none other.

I had a big project I was working on and all of a sudden everyone was demanding a chunk of my time.  I was allowing them to force their agenda on me and I was beginning to resent it.  Part of my problem is that I allow people to do that because I am, at heart, a people pleaser.  Perhaps that's why I agreed, against my better judgment, to babysit my son's two year old lovable, but full of boundless energy, dog.

As I sat at my laptop, trying to get some work done, she'd bring over one mangled, drool encrusted, squeaky toy and plop it in my lap and then sit back and cock her head as if to say, "This one...will you throw this one?"  "Leesi, I'm busy, I'd grumble." 

So she'd go get another toy...the raccoon who was about to have a tailectomy. this it?  She'd sit smiling expectantly at me.  With each new toy she brought to me, I felt my blood pressure start to rise.  Why do I let people (and even pets) encroach on my precious time?  Don't they see I have a non-profit ministry to run?

"I"...."me"...that's usually where it begins.  I even tried reading my devotional and my Bible, but I found myself skimming the words.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know this. Finished, done.  Now I can get back to my work.  Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, the interruptions, trouble, frustration mounted day by day.  

My response?  Try harder, try harder, try harder.

If I just tried harder I could get accomplished what I had set to accomplish.  My husband will tell you that by Thursday I was a growling grizzly bear and then Friday I was finally reduced to tears in the Walgreen's parking lot because I realized I had failed miserably this week.  

After my cathartic cry, in the quiet, His words came to me...I cast my eyes unto the hills.  Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth (Psalm 121: 1-2).

Once again I had been spinning my wheels so desperately that all they did was sink farther down in the muck.  Try harder obviously wasn't the answer.  So what was?

Instead of pushing my foot down harder on the accelerator, what I actually needed to do was let my foot off the gas, get out of the car, and let God drive. I had been relying on MY driving skills when what I needed was to let Jesus take the wheel. (cue song) 

Today, I have been meditating on the rest of Psalm 121 that came to me in my crumpled pile of exhaustion. Will you read it with me??

Psalm 121

The Lord Our Protector

A song of ascents.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.[a]
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

Fifteen of the Psalms are categorized as Songs of Ascent.  Many scholars believe that these psalms were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend the three Pilgrim festivals.  Perhaps that's why they are also called "Pilgrim Songs".

Instead of trying harder (this pilgrim that I am, wandering my way through life), I sure wish that I had pulled away and let quiet reign.  Nothing was really accomplished by my trying harder other than to build my mounting frustration.

When life gets frustrating, distraught, and despair filled, I need to pull myself away to His Word because in it is where I will find hope for what ails me.

This Psalm is filled with cheer, and comfort, and hope.  Read the number of times that the Lord offers protection.

He protects me night and day because He does not slumber. 

He protects me by being my shelter - my refuge from all the people and problems that assail me.

He protects my very life.  

He protects my coming and my going.

In short He protects me even when I don't realize He's protecting me.

All I see is what I see.  I don't see all the things God protects me from every day.  

Likewise, when I am caught up in the muck and mire of my problems, I lose sight of all the wonderful things that are good in my life - all the people and things that are gifts - all the love He pours out on me everyday.  

Gratitude, I'm learning is the antidote for grumbling!!!  Can I get an Amen? 

So how can I do this week differently?  If this week starts detouring south, I need to immediately lift my eyes unto the mountainous hills from whence my help comes from.

I need to take my foot OFF the accelerator and spend time in His quiet presence to hear what He would really say to my heart.

I need to offer prayers of thanksgiving - even in the midst of the unwelcome interruptions.  

I get interrupted from my work.  I have work that I love and is fulfilling.

My ex drives me crazy concerning issues with our kids.  I have two beautiful children because of him.

My son's dog comes whirling into my house for a day.  I have a house to live in and a place that people like to come to...not to mention a big back yard for running.  

My phone pings, and beeps and calls keep coming in.  On a global level, I am one of the wealthiest people on earth.  I can afford a cell phone and a laptop with an inbox that continually fills.

I get frustrated because I'm not accomplishing anything.  I am saved and eternally secure because of what Christ accomplished.  Thanks to Him it IS finished. 

Try, I think I'll try it HIS way next time... 

What are you spinning your wheels on?  What makes your day/week take a detour south?  What is God calling you to do to change your mode of operation? What truth is He speaking to your heart?

Dear Heavenly Father,  This week my heart has yearned for the quiet place, but I was trying harder, so much so, that I couldn't let go and just let myself go there....go to the place where Jesus holds me, the small, helpless lamb in His ever so strong arms, and gently carries me close to Himself where I can hear His heart of love beating for me.  Let this always be my safe place - my place of protection - where I am your beloved and where you delight in me.  When the world piles up - let me go, no run, to you and let you embrace and quiet me in your loving arms.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed,

ps.  I invite you to join me at our Website for our "sCARves for a Cause" campaign going on right now.  Donations will not only help us to purchase a MUCH needed vehicle for the school, but donations of $75 or more will get you a beautifully handmade scarf by the impoverished women and widows who live near our school.  Come check this out:

Thank you.....