Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Powerful Words

I like words. I like to read words. I like to say words. I like to write words. I like to sing words. And, sometimes, I like to hear words. Words are powerful. They can make me happy, sad, angry, and every emotion in-between.

I like to read words that stir emotions. I like to say words that have meaning and depth. I love to sing words about Jesus. I like to hear words that include all of the afore-mentioned.

I don't like idle chit-chat. I've never been good at surface conversation. I can achieve it when I have to...I just don't like to. I'd rather get to the heart of a matter.

I don't like harsh words; however, I have a tendency to speak before I think, so I am guilty of speaking harsh and careless words on more occasions than I care to remember. I certainly don't like to hear harsh words, expecially if they're directed at me.

Words are powerful. BUT, what's interesting is, sometimes, silence is more powerful than words. My Mom reminded me of this today: in John 8, when the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, the first thing He did after they accused her was to stoop down and write with his finger on the ground. I wonder in that very moment what Jesus was thinking. My "Sunday School answer" is to say that Jesus already knew what He was going to say, and was making a point. But, part of me wonders if He didn't want to give the accusers a little piece of His mind. Did He need a moment to talk to His Father to move past a temptation to give them a tongue-lashing? I'm not making light of this Scripture; rather I've given a lot of thought today to how Jesus responded to those who tested Him.

The next part of that Scripture never ceases to amaze me. Jesus said to the accusers, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Gotta. Stop. For. A. Second. That's a powerful statement! Isn't it interesting that his first address was not to the woman, but to the accusers. And, wasn't He tactful? (Can I say that about Jesus?...I promise I'm not being non-chalant.) He could've told them what fools they were, could've publicly pointed each of their own sins, could've said any number of things. But, he said just enough powerful words that the accusers all tucked tail and moved along.

I think I need to learn to stop, draw on the ground, choke down the words that so often I want to blurt out, and let Jesus speak for me...through me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Is your spouse too different?

Does your spouse complement you? No, not compliment. I'm not asking if your spouse tells you when you look nice or when you've done something great. I'm asking if your spouse possesses a quality which you lack. Mark complements me.

He's diplomatic; I'm fiery.
He's rational; I'm emotional.
He responds; I react.
He saves; I spend.
He thinks before he speaks; I blurt things out.
He likes a plan; I like spontaneity.

All these differences used to bother me. I thought we were too different. I thought we didn't have anything in common. Now, I know better. We're like two pieces of a puzzle that when put together fit perfectly. God created us to be different in the same areas. Our differences complement one another. Today I'm thankful for our differences. He completes me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm a procrastinator. I'm not sure why. When I have an idea of something I'd like to do, I imagine the finished product. And, when it finally gets done, I usually enjoy the finished product and wonder why it took me so long to get around to it. I have good intentions.

For instance, I have THOUSANDS of photos that need to be scrapbooked. After we moved into our new house, I had Mark build some shelves in a spare closet, and I decorated it and put all my scrapbooking "clutter" in there. It's really a great workspace. But, I haven't scrapped the first page. I have great intentions of getting down there and getting some books finished (like the one I bought to make as a surprise for my Mom's 60th birthday...which was 7 years ago!). Yet, I never seem to make it down there.

I procrastinate. Always have. In school, I always waited til the last minute to cram for an exam. When I had babies, I thought I would eventually get them on schedules. (They are now 10, 8 & 6...we still don't live by schedules.) When we moved into our new house, I had every intention of getting the rooms painted, pictures hung and everything decorated just the way I wanted. Well, it's 3 months later, and we've partially painted one room (which we started painting 6 weeks ago); I've hung only 5 or 6 pictures; and, well, the decorating will just have to wait!

I think I procrastinate because I'm afraid. I'm fearful that I'll mess up. I'm afraid I won't like what it is I've done. So, I think if I just wait, wait, and wait some more, I'll eventually do whatever it is, perfectly. As if!!

So, today, I didn't procrastinate. I was tempted to! But, a couple of months ago, I felt God leading me to write my testimony. I did (it took me several weeks to finish...imagine that!). I knew in the writing process that He was also leading me to share my story with my pastor. Unnerving. So, today was the day to give my pastor what I'd written. Doubts crept in yesterday. What if my writing style wasn't good? What if I didn't explain things accurately and my writing was confusing? Shouldn't I just wait another week or so before giving it to him? What's the rush? So...last night I prayed: "God, tell me what to do. Should I go ahead and give him what I've written, or should I wait and edit some more?" In the next hour, God gave me the answer, not just once, but over and over: "Do what I told you to do." So...I did. With my heart pounding and my nerves on edge, I walked over and gave my story to my pastor this morning. You might not think it a big deal, but it was for me! I believe (and am a little afraid) that God is going to have me start sharing my story with more people. I don't share my story with too many people. It's not pretty...it's messy. Only, I can't change or fix the past. I can only move forward...which, for me, is a slow process.

I procrastinate. But, today, I obeyed. And, procrastination didn't win. Maybe I'll kick this procrastination thing...tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In the Details

I've heard a lot about a little book called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Not wanting to miss out, I bought the book and have started reading it. I must admit that I'm having to read it in small doses because the content is so powerful. Powerfully convicting. Somewhere in the back of mind, I knew that my life is not all about me. But, this book puts that thought into words that are real and convicting. I am but a moment in time. And, I have to think about how I want my moment to count. I want my moment, more than anything, to reflect the glory of the God of the universe. In the big picture, I'd like to leave some legacy of having told hundreds, thousands, or millions about Jesus. I'd like for my writings to be published for people to see that God brought me through a painful time to a place of healing. I'd like to sing His praises for anyone who'd listen. Surely all those are good, noble desires of which it would appear that God would get the glory. But, when I think about all those big-picture thoughts, I realize I've kind of made it all about me. So, today, as I was balancing my checkbook, I began to think about how we are supposed to live lives in which God gets the glory in the details. My confusion and frustration stem from my worry and/or stress over the life's details, in this case, the checkbook. This is where I've been confused, even frustrated, at how to live for God. Chan discusses the fact that worry and stress are really just sins. He says the following about those sins:

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed.

Back to the checkbook scenario. I have said often, and will continue to say, I'm not good at math. I don't like math. I use as little math as possible on a day-to-day basis. But, as I'm sure you know, there is math involved in balancing a checkbook. So, today, as I was $16.10 away from being balanced, I became very stressed. (I like the checkbook to balance down to the penny!) I felt tension creep into my shoulders as I added and re-added, checked and double-checked my math. The thought crossed my mind, "How is God supposed to get glory in these stupid, little details, like balancing the checkbook?" Hmmm. So, I prayed. Honestly, it was kind of a half-hearted prayer. I asked God to help me balance the checkbook. I felt silly asking God for such a trivial little thing. But, I went on and asked God how He would get glory from answering such a ridiculous prayer. He answered me with this thought: in this, you will understand that I am God of the details of your life. And, I came to realize that we can give God the glory in the tiniest details of our lives. I sought His help, and He answered. I picked up a receipt that had gone unnoticed, and there was the $16.10. You might call it coincidence, but I call it an answered prayer that came with a life lesson. We all have tiny details, things that must be tended to on a daily basis: dishes, laundry, checkbooks, homework, work, etc. In the grand scheme of our earthly lives (or moments), the details don't really matter. What matters is how we respond to having to accomplish those details. Our response should be to find a way to give God glory in every detail.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I'm sensing a change in seasons. I've been through several in my life: daughter, college student, young married wife, mom of babies, waste, loss and healing, just to name a few. I'm not sure what this new season holds, but I think it's leaning toward sharing my story through writing, personal conversation and singing. I have an indescribable and consuming love for Jesus. I wish I could find the words to express all that's been in my heart and mind for weeks, but there are no words to describe the overwhelming presence of being at Jesus' feet. And that is where I tend to stay lately, tears included. I sometimes wonder if I'm just an emotional mess, but I know it's much more and much different than that. My thoughts, emotions and desires all focus on one consuming passion: to glorify God in all that I do and all that my family does. I feel like I've wasted so much time with my passions elsewhere. I recently read a book that opened my eyes to a whole new way of living life: The Next Door by Melody Allred. Having been through a personal tragedy of my own making four years ago, I started to see other people's hurt, but I still didn't see them through what Melody refers to as "God goggles." Since I've started looking at people with the thought in mind that God created them and wants a relationship with them, I find myself wanting to live a life that leads others to Jesus. I also have come to realize that may include sharing about my season of waste and loss, which at this point, only a few people know about. It was a intensely tragic and painful time, but I have experienced the scandalous forgiveness and grace of a Healer and Redeemer by the sweetest name I know, Jesus. I know that without His healing power upon my life, I would be that emotional mess I mentioned above. My pastor said in this morning's sermon, "It's overwhelming when you realize that the One who knows you best loves you the most." Oh, how true! I am so humbled by His love for me. The fact that He is willing to still use me is the most delicious "icing on the cake" that I've ever tasted!