Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finding A Balance

Hey Friend,
There are some things that I like about the internet and social media.  For example it has allowed me to write a blog about the God I love and it travels to places, quite frankly, I have had to look up to see where they are on the globe.
I have been so very blessed by getting to know and pray for readers in cities and countries I may never get a chance to visit.  I've also been prayed for by so many kind people.  I started this blog to bless others, and as it often works in God's economy, I have been the one who has truly been blessed. 
My husband, of five months, and I are both very thankful for Facebook.  Yes, it sounds kind of hokey when people ask how did you meet, but the truth of the matter is that we were friends in high school back in Pittsburgh.  Considering that we had a graduating class of close to 800, we didn't know each other really well.  Said husband will admit to a bit of a crush, but intense fear of rejection kept him from asking me out.  Enter Facebook...30+ years after the fact and we caught up with each other and, well, the rest is history. 
Now that we're all warm and fuzzy, let me share another story...My husband and I decided to celebrate our marriage with a wonderful honeymoon in the tropical island paradise known as Antigua.  We purposely decided to go "sans technology" (no technology).  Even the smart phones were left behind.  We did things the old-fashioned way; we gave everyone with a need to know the resort's phone number and our room number and said call only in case of emergency!  It was a SPLENDID week!!  We were totally "unplugged" and it was fabulous!
Other honeymooners, however, did not share in our bliss.  Ironically I passed quite a few couples seated beside each other at the beach or around the pool and they were all individually engrossed in their separate smart phones.  I seriously wanted to go up to several of them, pluck the phone out of their hands, throw it in the water and say, "Talk to each other, communicate, interact, go enjoy this wondrous paradise and work of God's hands!!" 
Okay, I'll get off my soap box, but sometimes I miss the good old days of no technology.  Obviously there is a need to find a balance.  What do we balance this cyber drive with?   How do we quench our thirst for community?
I loved an article by Tsh Oxenreider over at It was entitled, "Faces Over Facebook, People Over Pixels".  The gist of the article as you might guess was that we need to balance our Facebook friends with real flesh and blood.  This morning, two of my good friends and I gathered at Starbucks and to feel the warm touch of my friends' hands as we prayed over our breakfast was a balm to my soul.  I needed that touch. 
Similarly, there are amazing photos of God's world on the internet, but nothing does it justice like getting out there and exploring it with your own five senses.  Many of you have prayed for me as I have healed from foot surgery.  It's been five weeks since I have walked past the end of my driveway.  This morning, my heart was light as I leashed up Zoe and joined my husband and Topper on a short morning walk. 
The sun shone brighter. I took in the colors of the flowers and the smell of the wild honeysuckle like it was the first time.  Nothing beats getting out in God's creation and experiencing it first hand.  It was an ordinary Thursday, yet it was extraordinary.
Gloria Gaither says it more eloquently:  "Jesus intended for us to be overwhelmed by the blessings of regular days.  He said it was the reason he had come: 'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.'"
Abundance is marked by a life of balance.
Normally my posts are infused with much more scripture.  Scripture keeps me balanced and well....that's a whole separate post. This week I am just infusing myself with His world now that I can walk without my boot. 
I encourage you to part with the pixels and pick up God's word or get out in His world...
It's truly a balance.  Finding that balance is the hard part, but it is possible. It takes determination, but I know that you can do it. Thank you for just letting me ramble on this week.  My recuperation has had me shut off more from the world and I just needed to chat a while.  I had an excess of words that I just had to use up. 
Now before I hit "Publish" I will pray what I always pray:
May the words of my mouth
And the meditations of my heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight
O Lord.

In His love,
ps.  If you want to be sure to catch my blog each week, you can subscribe.  I DO NOT send you anything but just a once a week post and I never sell, share or distribute email addresses.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Who Will Fight For Me?

Hey Friend,

Someone asked me if I believe in miracles and visions.  My answer...if God is the Alpha and the Omega and is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; and if he performed miracles and sent visions in the past, is He not capable of doing that today?

I would like to share a vision that a very good friend of mine had when she was at her rope's end.  In her words, she says, "I saw a vision of a bulging strong arm holding a spear and standing at attention...and just a profile of a jawline that was ready to fight.  Jesus let me know He was fighting for me."

When I think of Jesus, I often think of the "Sunday School Jesus"...the one with smiling, kind Jesus welcoming the little children to come unto Him.  I think of the Jesus cradling the lost sheep in His arms.  These are true and accurate portrayals of the Jesus the Bible describes.  But, there is a Jesus that we too often forget...the one who is strong and mighty, ready to fight and stand guard over our lives.

I may be short in stature, but I am a fighter and I have persevered through many trials.  I say "I", but more accurately, I usually fight until I reach the end of myself and then I remember that I have a Savior who is not only able, but is willing to go to battle for me.

The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you...(Deuteronomy 1:29)

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  (Exodus 14:14)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.  (Psalm 28:7)

Notice in these verses who it is who goes before and does the fighting?  The Lord.  What does he ask of us?  To be still and trust in Him and then praise Him. 

We are NOT the ones meant to fight, the Lord is. 

So what is there to fight?  In this world, lots of things both large and small.  Ie: fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, depression, lack of self esteem, problems of every sort - physical, emotional and spiritual.  Don't underestimate the enemy.  He is sneaky and crafty and prowls about looking to devour, kill and destroy.  He is not omniscient (able to read your mind), but he does know your hot buttons - your Achilles heel.  He wants to see you down, defeated and rendered useless for the Lord's good plans for your life. He speaks lies....ALL lies!

For me, he hurls flaming arrows that say that I am not a good enough wife and mother.  He gets me caught up in one of his favorite games - the comparison game.  This is a "no win" game by the way.  He taunts me that because I doubt, that my faith is not strong enough and that somehow God is disappointed in me.  Lately he has cheered that my spirits have fallen due to lingering physical infirmities. 

On my own, I am no match for the enemy.  The good news is that I have  strong warriors (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) ready to go to battle for me!

"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."  (Psalm 91:2)

"His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (Psalm 91:4)

"He commands His angels to guard you in all your ways."  (Psalm 91:11)

Fortunately we know that "greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world".  God trumps the enemy every time...our job is to call on Him!

What else does God ask us to do while He fights?  He protects us by giving us a full armor to put on to keep us safe and He asks us to guard our hearts and minds and to have faith.

In addition to all (full armor of God), take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)

"Guard your heart and mind by filling them with God's word.  Hold fast to the true meaning of following God and don't let go." (M. Southerland)

In essence God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit along with their army of angels are on the front lines going into battle for us.  We are the ones being defended and meanwhile are asked to put on our armor, have faith and be still.

To me, this is blessed assurance to know just who will fight for me and that I am a far cry from being in these battles alone.

I love the words to Chris Tomlin's song "Whom Shall I Fear" [God of Angel Armies]

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of Angel armies
Is always by my side.
What blessed assurance to know that we have a Heavenly army poised and ready to fight for us no matter what we come up against.  God loves you so much and he is furious with the enemy for coming up against you.  Behind His tender and merciful love for you is a powerful and mighty right arm ready to do battle on your behalf.  Oh what love can be greater than this?
Is there a battle being waged against you?  How can you take comfort and find peace in the One who will fight for you?
In His love,

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Does Anyone See I'm Drowning Here?

Hey Friend,

I was going to write about a completely different topic, but this week has...well...stunk.   I had a dream the other night that I was treading water in the middle of a dark ocean with waves and whitecaps breaking all around me and in the midst of it all, other people (lots of people) kept grabbing onto me to keep themselves from drowning and all the while I was getting sucked under.

Today, with much on my mind, I drove down the road and saw a bunch of black crows picking away at road kill along the side of the road.  It was weird; I could identify with that poor rodent being picked apart by vultures until there was literally nothing left.

I even wore my t-shirt that says on the front, "Walk, Bike, Run" (with cute little stick figures) and on the back it says, " I can do all things through Christ Jesus who Strengthens Me." (Philippians 4:13).  This is all kind of ironic because with my foot in a majorly clunky boot after surgery, I can do none of those things.  Do I get credit for thinking positive? 

All this to say, "Do you ever feel like the world picks away at you until you have nothing else to give?"  I do.  After a week of give, give giving and take, take, taking (taking on others burdens) I had to re-evaluate to whom I was giving and then where was I placing the burdens that I was being given. 

First, God did not design me to take on every body else's burdens.  I tend to be a caring and compassionate person, but sometimes that means that I take on too much.  Things I'm not meant to take on.  That's God's job and here I am jumping in to do His job. 

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:  he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  (Psalm 55:22)

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  (Isaiah 40:29)

"He stands fast as your rock, steadfast as your safeguard, sleepless as your watcher, valiant as your champion."  (C.H. Spurgeon)

It was obvious to me where I needed to place my burdens and those that had somehow been passed to me...where they the Lord's hands.

I also needed to re-evaluate my priorities.  I was scrolling on facebook the other day and I came upon a pretty picture post that said, "No matter what, my children will always come first."  There were lots of "likes" for this tidbit of wisdom.  But, under my breath I whispered, No, No, No you've got it all wrong.
This, too, is also ironic because often I act as though my children do come first. 

Don't get me wrong, I dearly love my children, but the facebook hierarchy is not God's plan.  His looks more like:  JOY...Jesus, Others, You.  Jesus and God, of course, come first.  Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you...we know this.

Second comes others, but in a special order.  Spouse first before children.  Then family then others.  This is highlighted for spouse comes before my children.  Period.  When I buy into the voices yelling me, me, me the whole canoe gets wobbly and we end up in the drink.  Loved ones, love your loved one and place him/her in the place that God has designated in order for things to flow properly.

Then comes You.  In todays society usually the You last looks like the road kill I mentioned above.  Just because you come third doesn't mean that you drain yourself for the sake of others.  God is love.  He expects you to share His love with others, but He does not intend for you not to keep some for yourself.

I love my husband because at the beginning of each day he asks me, "What are you going to do nice for yourself today?"  What a great question to be asked!!  I am so blessed by this man.  I'm also not used to being asked that question yet, but I'm getting better.  So I ask you, "What are you going to do nice for yourself today?" And your answer is: _____________________________.
I hope that it includes drinking in His word.  His scripture is life giving water and too often I go thirsty.  I hope that it includes doing something you, go for a walk, dig in your garden, knit, paint, take a nap. 

I'll end my ramblings here with a quote that I reminds me where I need to go when I feel like I'm drowning.

"God wants to reveal Himself as your Heavenly Father.  When you are hurting, you can run to Him and crawl up into His lap.  When you wonder which way to turn, you can grasp His strong hand, and He'll guide you along life's path.  When everything around you is falling apart, you'll feel your Father's arm around your shoulder to hold you together.  (Lisa Welchel)

Friend, God does see when you are drowning.  He is the God that Sees You.  He loves you, treasures you, delights over you with singing.  He does not want to see you picked to the bone.  Just because His love and His word fill us up, doesn't mean we need to pour it all out and keep none of this life-giving water for ourselves.  He wants abundance for you (and for me).  Treat yourself like the treasure that you are...

In His love,


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Different Thoughts On Rest

Hey Friend,
It seems to me lately that a lot of Christian bloggers and writers have been writing on the topic of "rest".  It is apparent that in this hustle-bustle, keep busy all the time, immediate gratification world of ours, that people don't know how to get off the merry-go-round. 
Ironically, lately, I have been experiencing the flip side of the coin and have been asking myself, "Is there such a thing as too much rest?"  Just a year and a half ago I had major knee surgery that took me out of the starting lineup for many months.  Unable to do much of anything, God beckoned me to begin this blog.  Okay, score one for the case for "rest is a good thing". 
Now I am out of the saddle again due to foot surgery and I will confess that I had a royal pity party.  I watched the happy people running, biking, walking their dogs from my front door and the tears began to flow.  Why Lord?  Why am I sidelined yet again?  Just when I was getting into a really good exercise routine and was thinking of starting a small group at church and, and, and.
I've lived the hectic busy life.  I remember well the days of leading Bible study while teaching Sunday school and volunteering at school and running to hockey  games and dance team practice, while serving our local MOPS group, and, and, and.  I also remember all too well hitting the wall with exhaustion.  Why do we go at such a pace?
I have a couple notions:  Self worth. Instead of finding our worth in God's view of us, we turn to the world and its accolades for jobs well done in order to find our worth.  Fear.  Fear that if we stop going at break neck speed we will have to be alone with our thoughts (which sometimes aren't pretty) or we might have to be alone with God and He just might want to point out our weaknesses.  Or perhaps fear that others will view us as inadequate if we take time to slow down.  Pride.  I have to laugh that Americans rarely take more than a few days vacation or perhaps a week at a time for rest and relaxation because we think that somehow the world at work, home, etc. will not be able to get along without us.  We also get the notion that no one can do all these things that we do better than we can.  I don't like to admit it, but shear pride kept me going at a lot of the things I was doing.  I was serving myself; I was not serving God.
So back to my forced rest.  I'll admit I'm squirming.  I'd rather be mindlessly running on all cylinders than to take time out for God's plan for me.
So what to do with all this spiritual "whitespace".  Psalm 119: 12-16 has some good answers.
Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Teach, Recount, Rejoice, Meditate, Consider, Delight, Not Neglect
When was the last time you gave yourself time to do all these things...I mean really do them?  I fool myself into thinking a quick ten minute devotional is fuel enough to get me through the day.  I think, truly, in actuality I am neglecting God's word.
I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing(John 15:5)
In order to be Kingdom changers we need to be plugged into the Vine - the life source.  It doesn't say that without Christ we can do 85%, or 50% or 25%.  It says apart from me you can do nothing. 
I am a stubborn learner, so I believe that God often needs to bring me to long periods of rest because He knows that on my own, I will keep going until I hit a wall.
Psalm 23 recounts: He leads me beside still waters.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
Why?  Because the prosperity of the Lord's servant brings glory to the Lord.
If we are exhausted all the time, we cannot bring glory to the Lord.
Last of all, I know with all my heart that God is Love!  His desire for rest for us is born out of His great love for us (Boy, I must really be loved lol.)
God brings us to a deliberate place of rest so that we can fully realize that we are loved just as we are.
When we are doing nothing but resting, we cannot earn or strive or prove; we can only just be.  We don't have to "DO" to merit God's love, we just have to rest and "BE".

Christ brings rest for the soul, the mind, the body, our peace, our anxiety, our trouble, our work, our ministry, our life.

Christ says, "Rest in me," over and over again in the Bible. 

And when we rest, we have time to be in relationship with Him.

Oh what love.  Oh what a blessing.  I'm going to try to view this time of rest as a blessing to be with my Lord instead of being a curse.  Will you pray for me that I won't squirm under his prescription for rest?  Will, you take God's invitation to rest as an invitation into a loving relationship with Him?  I pray so.  God sacrificed so much so that we could live in relationship with him.  He invites us to rest...will you take Him up on His invitation?

In His love,


ps.  If you read my blog, please know that I pray for you every morning and every evening.  If you would like specific prayer, please feel free to contact me.  I am honored and humbled to pray for you.