Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Red Light, Green Light

I really don't like red lights. Okay, so maybe it isn't so much the light that bugs me, but more the fact that I don't like being told, "Nope, not your turn. Can't go now. Gotta wait."

Today I left North Star's communion and prayer time--an AWESOME time in the middle of the day to meet with the Lord--and was running a couple of minutes behind as I headed to a meeting. "Come on, Lord--I need some green lights here," I prayed. So I came to an intersection, only to get stopped at a red light. I furrowed my brow and waited for the light to turn.

So I kept driving and came up on the next intersection. A green light! And the next intersection--also a green light! Things were looking up. And do you know that I drove the rest of the drive there--almost 6 more miles and at least 8 more stoplights--with nothing but green lights? I made it to where I was going in record time!

I pulled into the parking lot and headed in for my meeting, all the while marveling that I had hit every green light except the first one. And in that moment I realized that the annoying red light I'd encountered had actually set the pace for me to hit all the rest of the lights when they were green!

I've come to a red light or two in my life, and I've usually gotten annoyed at having to wait, having to stop, having my pace interrupted, having to just be okay with the fact that it's just not my time and not my turn. But each and every red light has made a way for me to hit green ones at just the right time further down the road.

So the next time I get frustrated at the red lights, I need to remember that THE LORD ORDERS MY STEPS. And every "stop" prepares the way for every "go."

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tenacious, Ginormous Spider

The mother of all spiders has been hanging out on my sliding glass door for weeks now. He's nothing short of huge...and tenacious as all get-out.

I first posted about him on our family blog a few weeks ago. Here he is (this is the back of him):

I feel like I'm learning a thing or two from this spider (or mini-tarantula). Every time we open the sliding glass door, the web is torn. Every time it rains, it knocks the whole thing down. But over, and over, and over again, that spider keeps spinning the most magnificent webs. If one gets destroyed, he's back at it again, and in no time we've got another masterpiece in the doorway.

I've been a bit of a "One and Done" kind of girl in the past--like I don't do very well getting back up on the horse when I get knocked off. But I'm trying to grow in this. Maybe I just need to learn a lesson from that tenacious, ginormous spider on my back door.

In the Desert...Prepare

Isaiah 40:3

In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord;

make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.

I've been sort of chewing on this verse this morning. I think because the way the verse looks in my Bible is just like how it is above--and the line "In the desert prepare" was one line that almost seemed to jump out at me. And while I don't think it's a good idea to pull Scripture out of context, it was as though the Lord really wanted me to consider these words this morning.

In the middle of the desert, prepare the way for the Lord. Clear a way (how it says it in the Hebrew) for our God.

This is a bit of a desert time right now. And I have felt an urging of the Spirit to just keep preparing. I even had a conversation about this very thing last week--I just know this is a time to be preparing so that when the Lord says, "Here we go," I'll be ready.

But it's not just about preparing physical things--it's a heart thing, too. And I love how we're called to "clear the way" for our God. So in my heart, what needs to clear out? Search me, O 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 ever-lasting--keep me from the path of temporal things and lead me along of path of things that with last FOREVER.

So can you relate to the whole "desert" thing? Maybe you're walking the wilderness, too. I really think that all we need to do is be faithful in what He has called us to do today, and in doing so, you are, and I am, preparing the way.

For the LORD!

How cool is that?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Won't Back Down

I never thought I would find myself deep in worship during a Tom Petty song, but it happened this week.

The closing song at church on Sunday was "Won't Back Down." I've heard it a million times before, but this time I heard it anew:

Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
but I won't back down

I bet Tom Petty never imagined that his song would have some girl ready to stand up with arms raised. I didn't, but everything in my spirit responded when I heard those words. I had been feeling a bit discouraged in ministry this week and found myself questioning my call a bit. "Toss in the towel" has come to mind a time or two this week--After all, right now is a season of preparation for things to come, but when the "things to come" are unseen, it's easy to cease praying, cease preparing, and back right on down.

But I can't back down, and I won't back down. Too much is at stake. And as for discouragement in my calling? Well, all I can say is that GREATER IS HE WHO IS IN ME THAN HE WHO IS IN THE WORLD. So you can stand me up at the gates of hell and I won't back down.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How I Know it Wasn't Poison Ivy

This morning I had an allergic reaction in my eye and told Trevor I needed to go get my eye drops since my eye was itchy. He said, "I think it's poison ivy." I told him I didn't think so, but he was convinced that was what I had going on. Finally I said, "I know it's not poison ivy because the only way to be affected by poison ivy is to be in it."

And in that moment I thought, "And so it is with the Word of God."

I'm not going to show a reaction to being in the Word if I haven't cracked open my Bible in days or weeks. I'm not going to be affected by truth if I haven't been exposed to it. The only way to get truth on me is to be in it.

There was no risk of having poison ivy--I was nowhere near it. But neither is there a hope of being transformed by the Word unless I am exposed to it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Start at 42,000

On Saturday night I attended Ruby Berry's 60th birthday party. It was amazing to see this woman who spends her life pouring out love onto others, surrounded by the people who have been blessed by her faithfulness. And there were lots of people who had known her for years, who have done life with her, who shared stories of living and serving and growing in Christ together with her. It really impacted me and moved me to tears...
...not all happy ones.
You see, the Lord first gave me a glimpse of it in the Bible study I'm doing (The Search for Significance)--the fact that I AM GUARDED here. To a fault. Sure, I love. A lot. I care about the people around me here. But the past two or three weeks it's become (even painfully) obvious that I have a wall up living here in Georgia.

In California, I think I was pretty much wall-less. Born, raised, happy there. When Justin and I moved, it was certainly out of a "need to" rather than a "want to." And God's hand was very much in it--but sometimes God's leadings leave us kicking and screaming a bit, and that was how it was. And so even though God's compassions and provisions were evident on a daily basis here, I have come to realize that I have never let myself truly, truly be all here in my heart.
Even more than SIX YEARS LATER.

Another factor is that I am held back by fear of rejection. My first year at Mount Paran, I asked another teacher if she and her fiance' would like to come over for dinner. She didn't respond, changed the subject, and even seemed to avoid me for a bit. Later, I discovered that she had about a billion friends already, so I tried not to take it too personally that she didn't need one more. But all I wanted was ONE. And it hurt me very, very much, and set up how I would approach future interactions. Or, avoid them altogether, should I say.

I cried the whole way home from Ruby's party. All I could think was how Ruby has loved and opened herself up and been vulnerable, and the fruit of her faithfulness was all over that room. Jam-packed into that room! And yet while I do love and try to show love to those around me here, and I do try to be honest and real, I go out of my way to avoid any scenario in which I could be rejected. I don't call people up and ask to go to coffee or hang out very much, or like EVER. In a group setting, I'm fine. But one-on-one I'm just so gosh-darn scared of being rejected that I don't reach out to people. What do I have to show for six years here? Knowing that I haven't really tried, simply because it didn't go over so well the first time I did. I love Justin, Trevor and Aila with reckless abandon. I am lavish and unreserved in it. And while I genuinely care deeply for the people here, I can guarantee that if you don't live in this house or out in California, I have only been so willing to let you in. I'll happily love you, but won't go so far as to let you get close enough to hurt me. And it's terrible, tragic, and a waste.

So as I drove and cried and prayed, fully realizing the need for a change, for a tearing down of that wall I've so carefully constructed, I noticed that my odometer was at 41,999. The end of something. I pulled over and took a picture. Then when it hit 42,000, the beginning of something new, I took another picture. Kind of a visual to represent the end of this guarded season of my life and the beginning of sticking my neck out there. The start of taking risks. The commencement of a life that's more vulnerable, more susceptible, more real, more capable of giving and receiving love in this great state of Georgia.
Looks like we'll be here for awhile, so I want to be all here.

I don't know who reads this. But if you're someone with whom I've been guarded, I hope you can forgive me and be patient with me as I try to do things differently in His strength.

Guess I'm starting over at 42,000.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Stolen from both our cars Friday night:

Some cash
GPS charger
Debit card


The actual GPS (good one, guys--but I'm thankful for your blunder here)
My driver's license (phew--saved me the trip to the DMV)
Checks (Maybe they weren't Red Sox fans)
The new teaching I've been developing (should I be hurt they left this behind?)
An atrocious mess of the contents of my purse strewn about the car

I'm sure you're thinking, "WHY was your purse in the car overnight?" Well, I had a lot to carry when we got home late Friday afternoon and I intended to go back out to the car and get my purse. And then I forgot. Truth be told, I've done this before and nothing bad ever happened. Also, I didn't lock the car, but I don't think that would've deterred the thieves because they picked the lock on Justin's car and got in.

It's just a different world we're living in. And I am realizing the mundane AND spiritual implications of
GUARDING WHAT IS VALUABLE. This world has thieves--people who will take what's yours without batting an eyelash, and will leave you picking up the pieces. But there is also a thief who roams about the earth, looking to sneak in and rob us blind. Rob us of our influence, our ministry opportunities, our marriages, our families, our ability to see God for who He is.

By leaving my purse in the car AND leaving it unlocked, I was practically begging to be robbed, and that's exactly what happened. But in what ways do we leave ourselves WIDE OPEN to be robbed of what is precious by the enemy of this world--the one who sets it all up, executes it, and then walks away to leave us with a terrible mess?

Hmmm. It's just gotten me thinking.

PRAISE GOD for the truth of John 10:10. I mean it--PRAISE GOD!

"The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy,
but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Thursday, October 15, 2009


"God honors an open-handed approach to ministry. If our main goal is to grow ourselves, this will be hard. But if our main desire is to grow God's kingdom, we will be fine with seeing some opportunities as meant for others. I don't want assignments that might be better suited for others."

Lysa TerKeurst (Excerpt from The Reason We Speak by Mary Beth Whalen)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Push Me Forward

This morning I was breaking down Nehemiah 1:11, and I loved the beautiful words of truth that were uncovered:

"O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servants who DELIGHT in REVERING Your name. Give your servant SUCCESS today by granting him FAVOR in the presence of this man" (NIV).

Other words for DELIGHT in other translations: Delight, desire, want to
Other words for REVERING in other translations: To worship, to fear
Other words for SUCCESS in other translations: Give help to, prosper your servant
Other words for FAVOR in other translations: Mercies, compassions

I wanted to know what some of these words meant in the Hebrew, so I checked them out using the Strongs numbers:

DELIGHT (chapets): delights in, desires, takes pleasure in, willing
FEAR/REVERE the NAME (yare' shem): fear and reverence His fame and renown
FAVOR/MERCY (racham): Compassions, tender love, great mercy

So Lord, I pray for "success" today AS YOU DEFINE IT--that You may push Your servant forward in bringing reverence to your fame and renown. Please let your favor--your compassions, your tender love, and your great mercy surround me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Covering Over Our Home

Long story short, our little mini-flood required a bathroom re-paint. So as I went along, I painted Scripture references on the wall. I really love having the Word of God around our home. I'm not superstitious, but when we were house-hunting, any sort of idol in a home was a deal-breaker. And on the contrary, I felt such a peace in this one home--this itty bitty, otherwise unimpressive home--but then I saw that the Word of God was tucked away all around the house. That didn't end up being THE home for us, but the one that was, I want to fill with truth.

I want His Word in our home, around our home, being read and spoken and LIVED in our home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In The Morning When I Rise

I am really loving my mornings these days. I sneak downstairs and read Isaiah by candlelight, and it's been awesome. And while Isaiah has, at times, been one bear of a read (it's a lot of judgment in the first 40 chapters and then redemption after that, but I'm only on chapter 32 now), it is one of the most densely-packed-with-truth-to-chew-on books of the Bible I have ever read!

I'll be honest--I haven't always been so eager to spring out of bed, even to encounter truth. Most days it's something I really look forward to, now that it's a habit. It was downright difficult at first. And even now it's still occasionally a stretch for me to pull myself out of bed. But it has been SO GOOD. Makes me wonder what I've missed all those days I slept through my quiet time. Now I feel like I don't want to go through a day without covering my mind and heart in His Word, but I have gone through many, many a day that way. Uncovered.

Lord, thank You for hemming me in each morning with Your Word. I really, seriously, absolutely desperately need it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Teaching

Yesterday's teaching at Cobb Vineyard Church...it went well! No anxiety, just peace. Totally His faithfulness. One thing I've felt strongly is that there is no point in speaking truth if it will soon be forgotten--so I was SO thankful that the comment I heard more than anything was that they would remember what they'd heard. Praise God! Life change comes about when truth sticks. I love it!

Thanks for the prayers!

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Hour Out

Getting ready to head over to Cobb Vineyard Church to share "Does God See?" Last night I had an awesome time of reading through some of Jeremiah and the call on his life to speak, then I drove and prayed, practiced, and then just had a time of worship.

I feel ready.

Thank You, Lord--we can all speak the words Hagar proclaimed in Genesis 16: You indeed are the God who sees me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

36 Hours Out

It's Saturday night, 10:02pm. On Monday morning at 10am I'll be doing a 15-minute teaching for a small group of women at Cobb Vineyard Church--it's sort of a trial run to see how I do before an audience. Lots of praying and practicing and praying some more...and it's nearly here now.

So grateful for this opportunity to go speak truth!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Consequence...Seriously?

A few days after "flood day" I was driving home from the store and found a ROAD CLOSED sign off to the side on the road I was on. I hesitated--should I go? Just then, a Fed*Ex truck zoomed past me down the road. "Good enough," I thought, but I proceeded carefully, looking ahead to see if there was any water in the road.

There wasn't any. Not a drop. As a matter of fact, it hadn't rained in two days.

The Fed*Ex truck turned into a subdivision, and I kept going...

...right into a COP TRAP. AAAAAAAAAAAh!!

I've been pulled over before...Never cried once. But this time, I was straight up into the ugly cry and could. not. pull. it. together. I'm sure the guy thought I was trying to get out of the ticket, but I was genuinely REALLY upset, REALLY mad at myself.

So did my tears change anything? Nope. I still got my big fat stinkin' $130 ticket that I am taking on extra work to pay off. But here's the thing--I honestly thought I was not really going to get that ticket. I thought my justifications for heading down that road were totally legitimate...
* I thought maybe they hadn't picked up all the ROAD CLOSED signs after the flooding
* there was NO water anywhere
* the road looked fine as far as I could see
* the sign was off to the side
* I just followed the Fed*Ex truck...

...but so what? The sign said ROAD CLOSED. Enough said. I should not have been driving down that road. I drove right past the sign that told me to stay away. I wish I had followed that instruction. I didn't, and I am paying (literally) dearly for it.

After being handed my ticket, I headed back to where I came and found another car heading down the same path I had just taken--a path that led to consequence. I flagged the driver down and urged, "Turn around! Don't go this way!" That driver listened to me, turned around, and headed away from the consequence.

Smart guy. Wish I'd been so smart.

I get it, Lord. Thank You for calling me to obedience. I don't want to sin so that grace can abound, I want to obey. I really do. None of this "Oh, I thought this was a gray area" or "But I know You'll forgive me." Only obedience. And just because I don't always get why it's so important for me to heed the warning, still you say, "Obey." Enough said.

Thank you that you discipline those You love. Thank you for calling me to something deeper than excuses and countless ways to justify my sin. Thank you for correcting me--though it hurts, though it is not pleasant in the least, I am thankful that I'm justified by your death and resurrection. I know You love me.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but instead is painful (Preach it!!!). But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace for those who are trained by it." Hebrews 12: 11

P.S. Recently I saw the other entrance to Nance Road, the road on which I got my ticket. When I saw the mess on the other side, it struck fear in my heart. Let's just say that from where I actually was on that forbidden road, I couldn't see it, but I was headed for danger. I was actually quite fortunate that police officer was there to intercept me and turn me around toward safety.