Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It's easy to start well. Much harder to finish that way.

Last week we headed to the airport for an adventure. Our flight wasn't until 10am, but my husband had to drop us off at 6am to be able to then get to work on time. "Three and a half hours until boarding--this should be interesting," I thought. But it was fine at first:

The kids played in the atrium, pretending to be airplanes, having a blast, and running on sheer adrenaline. But by the time we actually boarded the plane, they had run out of steam. Big time.
The thing is, they still had the majority of the journey ahead of them when this picture was taken, and frankly, they were kind of over it. Up since 4 o'clock, tired, and a little less motivated to get where we were headed. A five-hour flight seemed like an eternity, and they weren't sure they wanted to make the trip anymore!
Maybe you're not some Israelite on a trek through the desert, but you're on a journey. And maybe you're not sentenced to forty years of wandering, but maybe you feel like you are! Perhaps you're reading this, having run out of steam. And the calling on your life may even be something you may not even be sure you want part of--because maybe you're just plain over it. Seems irreverent to say we might feel "over" the calling God has placed upon us, but these feelings really do come up--Please tell me I'm not the only one who has been there!
But do we not know--have we not heard? The LORD is the Everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth--He will NOT grow tired or weary! And His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak!
"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40
"Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27:14

Sunday, September 26, 2010


"Maybe I'll just worry about the front. That's the only part that will be seen."

I was frantically trying to get ready for a family photo shoot yesterday morning. I was tackling my nightmarishly curly and frizzy hair with my flat iron when I glanced up at the clock--It was almost time to go. So I thought maybe I would leave the back unfinished, since only the front of my hair would be the "seen" part.

I do that a lot, unfortunately. I get concerned with what's to be seen. I want things to look good and appear pleasant. Maybe you do it, too.

Maybe you don't want others to know how deeply you're hurting. Maybe you're scared others will know how sin has gotten a grip on your life. Or maybe it's that desperate need to appear to have it all together.

Jesus recognized this tendency in us and called it out in Matthew 23:23-39. "You spend your time shining up the outside of your cup while it is filthy inside," He said, exposing their motives. "First clean what is unseen, then what is seen will be clean."

I could flash my prettiest smile with a matted mess of hair on the back of my head. I could hide a secret that is allowing the enemy to gain an ever-tightening grip on my heart. I could grin and bear it while suffering in silence.

Or I could first take care of what is unseen. For then what is seen will be clean.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Sometimes it's tough not to pull out ahead.

We were headed to church this morning, and our visiting relatives were coming, too. We were traveling in separate cars, so my father-in-law pulled over so we could lead the way.

"Why did Papa pull over?" asked my son.

"He doesn't know the way and we do, so he's pulling over so we can show him which way to go."

Maybe I should take a tip from my father-in-law.

Because aren't there times when we inch ahead of the One who knows the way? Aren't there instances when we think we can edge ahead and sort of "help Him out" with some ideas of our own?

My father-in-law knows the general direction to our church. But without following us, he'd probably miss a turn he needed to take, or take a turn he shouldn't.

That's what happens when you don't know the way.

And we don't know the way! The general direction, perhaps. As believers, we know the things to do and not do, we know the things to pursue or not. But we're each walking a unique and divinely appointed path--and our reliance on the Lord to lead is critical. Of course our paths are laden with grace--but if we don't follow the One who knows the way, we will miss turns we were meant to take, and will encounter what He never intended for us. Period!

Search my heart, Sovereign God. Is there ANY area of my life in which I'm inching out in front of You? Any area at all? Reveal those areas in which we need to PULL OVER. They may not even yet be discernible to us, but to You, they are evident. So bring them to light for us.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
Psalm 32:8
I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
Isaiah 48:17

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Dust-covered dreams.
Ministry at a stand-still.
Unpublished manuscripts.
Words of truth gone unshared.

So what happens when the inbox is empty and the phone doesn't ring? Does "No news" mean "No use?"

Back in 1997, a woman spoke over me that my words would be used to bring healing and blessing. I thought she was a little bit crazy. Maybe even a lot crazy.

But then in 1999 at the end of one of the worst, scariest days of my life, I was asked to speak at a banquet about God's faithfulness. The timing seemed laughable--not at all in a "ha ha" sort of way. But the Lord used that raw, real, terrible time to bring forth the words that needed to be heard. I remember wondering if maybe there was something to the so-called crazy woman's words a few years earlier.

And then came the 10-year desert.

And in the desert I prayed. And wrote. And prayed. And went to writing conferences. And prayed. And went to speaking conferences.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

It truly seemed at times that NO NEWS really meant NO USE--that I wasn't being used by God, that I was never going to be used by God. At least not in this way.

On November 18th, I woke up in the morning after weeks and months and years of praying and preparing for something I had absolutely no guarantee would ever even come. Normally I'm up early and taking care of the kids--but this particular morning I had just kind of hit a wall. Justin sensed this and got the kids their breakfast while I struggled to even get out of bed.

All I could do was pour out my heart to the One who made it: "What is there to show for all of these years? Will there ever be a chance to share what you have been burning into my heart for so very long? Were those words spoken over me as a teenager true? I know you're using me as a wife and mom and in other areas--and I am SO grateful. But will you ever use my words?"

And then I used this very phrase:

"I feel like I am in a wasteland! A land of wasted passion and wasted time and wasted words!"

When I managed to drag my pitiful self out of bed, I grabbed my Bible and half-heartedly opened up to the book of Isaiah where I'd been reading for several weeks. I took the bookmark out of chapter 43 and read these words:

"See, I am doing a new thing; now it springs up--do you not perceive it?" (v. 19)

"Um, sorry--but NO, I do NOT perceive it!" I thought to myself. I probably even rolled my eyes, to be honest.

But He continued.

"I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself, that they may proclaim my praise."

I provide streams in the wasteland, that they may proclaim my praise. That's all I wanted anyway!!

WITHIN THE HOUR of reading those words, I received an email from a dear friend. It was an invitation to speak at her church. I will never forget that moment--I must have read that email ten times. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Because, as it turned out, "No news" didn't mean "No use."

God has made a way to use what He has put on my heart. In the past year I have had some opportunities that have made me tremble with joy.

But I don't know what is next. I don't know what awaits. It may be another season of silence. And if so, then glory to God. He is faithful. Of course I want to be used, that I may proclaim His praise. But He's trustworthy.

And should I enter another "No news" season, I will know to rest in the One who was up to something when I could not perceive it--and fully trust the One who provided streams in my wasteland.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


These are spider eggs. In my house. I find them in these groups of, say, 50 spider eggs. They are tiny, almost imperceptible, but let's be honest--they're pre-spiders. Pre-spiders that are in and around my house.

And so when I see those spider egg clumps, I grab the bug killer and do away with those eggs. Because all the while I'm thinking, "These are Pre-spiders." And it's a lot easier to deal with 50-something tiny, contained, harmless dots than to chase down 50-something spiders inhabiting my home!

What if we could see those seemingly harmless sins in our lives as the PRE-state of where it actually leads?

Harmless habits...or Pre-addictions?
Fun flirtations...or Pre-affairs?
Hurtful words...or Pre-relationship enders?
Meaningless omissions...or Pre-lies?

Nobody "oopsie"s their way into the catastrophic effects of sin. There's a beginning--usually occurring in the mind alone. But what begins as something seemingly imperceptible is a PRE-something. And should we neglect to wipe it out when it's tiny, it will grow to something that can bite and infest.

So that PRE-something you're dealing you plan to wipe it out now?

Or are you going to be chasing a bunch of spiders later?

Friday, September 10, 2010


Under the September 9th heading in my chronological Bible last night, I smiled to see that Daniel Chapter 10 would be part of the daily reading.

Because I just really love Daniel 10. I read it again last night and delighted in the story of answered prayers.

Then this morning, I awoke to the sound of my son crying loudly in his bed--my son who usually wakes up happy as a clam. I ran into his room--apparently not as quickly as he thought I should have--and he bellowed, "Why didn't you come?" And I replied, "Sweetie, I didn't hear you--I would have come if I had heard you!"

And as those words left my mouth, I thought, "Daniel 10."

Because verses 12-14 in Daniel 10 say "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day tht you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, YOUR WORDS WERE HEARD, AND I HAVE COME IN RESPONSE TO THEM. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. NOW I HAVE COME to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."

Daniel was heard. And God had sent the response to Daniel's prayers. And though that response was delayed three weeks, it was on its way all along--and it eventually arrived!

The same hour today that I thought to myself, "I need to do a blog post on Daniel 10," on Proverbs 31 Ministries' Facebook Page I saw a link to Wendy Pope's blog: "Delayed Answers to Prayer Do Not Mean Denied Answers to Prayer" -- all about Daniel 10. Wendy Pope was the one who told us about the chronological Bible at the She Speaks Conference, so perhaps she too was just reading about Daniel 10 yesterday! Click on the title and it will send you to Wendy Pope's awesome video post on Daniel 10.

I think I'll do the 30-day prayer challenge Wendy mentions. Who's with me?

"I would have come if I had heard you!" (The words of a loving-but-flawed mom).

"I heard you on Day One and sent my response in perfect timing." (The heart of a loving and perfect God).

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Today I was struck by the sight of a little boy at a birthday party holding a big bowl of ice cream.

And his face wore a big frown.

How can you possibly hold a bowl of ice cream and wear a frown at the same time? I wondered.

"I don't want this bowl, I want another bowl!" he wailed. He was so upset about the ice cream arriving in a way other than he was hoping that he couldn't even get happy about the ice cream that awaited.

All he knew was that it didn't come the way he had hoped. And he couldn't get past it.

Is there some blessing you're having trouble receiving with gratitude, simply because it didn't come in the way you were hoping? Have you found yourself having the audacity to scowl while something sweet is right there in your hands? Has your ungrateful heart nearly refused God's providence and graciousness because it didn't arrive in the right packaging?

Saturday, September 4, 2010


"Ponder the path of thy feet..." Proverbs 4:26

Swerve. This week has involved too much swerving in one respect, and not enough swerving in another.

Almost every day this week I have tried to get up for my quiet time, only to get a few minutes into it and have my time with God cut short for one reason or another. And I've felt the effects of missing that time. Actions...attitudes...I've felt the effects.

And so I woke up this morning with this picture in my mind of a path. A path I wasn't on--but should have been. I was actually standing to the right of it.

Enter Proverbs 4. Today is September 4th, so today was the day to read the 4th Proverb. Which, apparently, is the chapter all about paths. Of course, right? :)

"Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil" (v. 27).

I've swerved by wasting time in the evenings.
I've swerved by not protecting my time with God.
I've swerved by forgetting to seek Him on some matters.

Sometimes when we swerve, we end up crashing into something off the path.

And then I haven't swerved when I should have: "Do not set your foot on the path of the wicked--avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way" (vv. 14-15):

I haven't swerved when I let my guard down and watched a movie on TV that is hilarious, but questionable (at best) in some of its content.
I haven't swerved when I was tempted to put myself first when it comes to my family.

And sometimes when we're on the wrong path and we don't swerve, we end up crashing into something that was on that wrong path.

Lord, strengthen our feet to stay on the paths you desire for us. And keep our feet far from the way they will inevitably end up taking if we don't remain in You.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, and is certain, confirmed, firm, and fitted for us.
But the way of the wicked is like thick darkness and gloominess;
They do not know what makes them stumbled, fall, decay, and be cast down."
Proverbs 4:18-19