Tuesday, November 23, 2010


There's something new on my "Thanks" list this year. It keeps coming to mind as I've thought toward Thanksgiving and have considered the people and things for which I'm thankful.

I'm grateful for different seasons of life.

Sometimes I'm loving the season I'm in, and I'm thankful. And sometimes I'm thankful because it's just a season, and will give way to a different one.

In this season of my life I'm home with my two children. Extremely grateful for this. I love getting to ease into the day with my two sleepy-eyed little ones, talk over a leisurely breakfast, take them to storytime, and have carpet picnics in the house on rainy days. But with that has come two significant challenges--desperately needing guidance as I raise my children to know and love God (and feeling like I fall short), and the loss of income tied in with it. And while I'm falling at His feet for the strength and grace to get through these challenges, I am grateful to know it won't always be this way. But then again, I don't want to wish away the challenges of this season. This time next year, my son will be in Kindergarten full time, and life will look different. Some challenges will be alleviated, but I anticipate an ache in my heart over the loss of time with my boy. It will simply be a different season. Good-different, and gut-wrenching-different.

Last year this time, I was entering a season of plenty with opportunities to speak--and this "plenty" came after a multi-year drought. This week last year, I received my first invitation to speak at a church, and I was elated. Then it continued. This summer felt like a monsoon of opportunity, and it was awesome to finally feel that these words the Lord had spent years pressing into my heart were finally coming out. And yet within days of my last speaking event this summer, I journaled what was stirring in my heart--a preparation for another drought I sensed was coming. It was as though He prepared me for a stretch of--once again--not speaking. A deadline just passed for the churches in our area to book an event speaker, and no one from our team was booked. So now this is a season of being still, and simply being obedient to prepare as He leads me to do so. I'll be honest, the monsoon season was much more fun than the drought, but there's been no lack of peace. He has been lavish and gracious in giving peace in this dry season. I think knowing it was coming helped, and He was gracious to give me a bit of a "heads up" in my heart--and I think it helps knowing that, by His grace, another season will come. No worries in a season of drought.

This is a penny-pinching season. My work load has diminished, and it has brought strain for us. I hate being in a time of financial drought. Hate it! But it's not without worth--the invaluable worth of waiting on the LORD for provision, for seeing Him faithfully make a way time and time again. It won't always be this way (Hallelujah!)-- We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though the tunnel is dark. But while we're in it, I am peaceful--and so grateful for the way we've seen the LORD hold us up in it. No worries in a season of drought.

And God has been revealing for a few months--though way more obviously in the last week and a half--that the women's ministry in which I have been serving is to take a back-burner to my family. I have taken one season of study off from facilitating, and it was a decision that brought first a flood of tears, and then a flood of peace and assurance that the decision was the right one. And fruit will still surely result.

And I'm grateful for everything else in this season--like my husband of nine years. I love being "nine years married" to him. It means knowing well and being well known. It means laughing over inside jokes and anticipating what the other will say and do, and delighting in the trust we've built and are building. And I love having a son who is old enough to have some really awesome, really funny, really real conversations about faith and life. I love that in this season, he's not too old to hold my hand or kiss me goodbye in front of his friends. And I love having a little peanut of a little girl who is bursting at the seams with joy and dance and song and radiance, and whose tiny little voice cracks me up no matter what she says. I'm thankful for a season of health for family and friends. I'm thankful for our home--I never want to leave this place--including the living room where we have Family Movie Night or the bedrooms where I'm rocked my babies to sleep, or even the bathroom where I saw a plus sign on the pregnancy tests for all three of my children. I'm thankful for our friends, and that even if the LORD brought us here semi-"kicking-and-screaming" eight years ago, we were meant to do life with these people in this season.

And I'm thankful for the WORD of GOD. It is my food. And through whatever season I've been in, am in, or will be in, His Word is constant.

BLESSED is he whose delight is in the law of the LORD, who meditates on His law day and night. That person will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither--everything he does prospers.

Psalm 1:2-3

BLESSED is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

* For more musings on giving thanks, visit Rachel Olsen's Thanksgiving post and visit some of the links!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


So my little girl is still sleeping on her bedroom floor.Almost every night we have to scoop her up and place her where she should be--safe and warm in her bed.

We've probably put her back in her bed a hundred times, and it may be a hundred more as we go forward. But we'll keep picking her up and restoring her to her right place.

A thousand times I've failed, still Your mercy remains
and should I stumble again, I'm caught in Your grace

These lyrics are running through my mind as I consider how many, many, many times our God scoops us off the ground and restores us to our right place--abiding in Him.

And should I stumble again, and should you stumble again, He'll continue to restore us.


And again.

And again.
Restore us to Yourself, O Lord!
Lamentations 5:21
"If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me," says the Lord.
Jeremiah 15:19
Restore us, LORD God Almighty; Make Your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:19
Lyrics: From the Inside Out (Hillsong)
Photo Credit: Jeff Hayes

Thursday, November 18, 2010


David was tending sheep when God brought him out of the pen to accomplish His purposes. And I just think that's awesome. Awesome in all of its un-awesome-ness.

I mean, tending sheep? Seems pretty ordinary. Highly unspectacular. Boring, to be blunt.

Over the summer I read Psalm 78 and verses 70-72 jumped off the pages at me:

"He chose David His servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
from tending sheep He brought him
to be the shepherd of His people Jacob,
of Israel His inheritance.
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them."

He went from living as a simple shepherd to reigning as King David. And that lowly beginning herding sheep around a pen equipped him to shepherd the people of God. His hands were skillful because of his background.

Then last night I was reading back through Moses' life. And one day after living in exile, he was out in a field doing nothing more significant than taking care of his father-in-law's flock of sheep.

Riveting, I know.

But what happened next really was riveting! A bush fully engulfed in flames, yet not burning up? And the voice of God coming out of it? With an invitation to be used by God to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, and to lead them to safety as a shepherd leads his flock?


And in both cases, they were just ordinary men tending sheep.

I don't know about you, but that means something to me today. It means that as we go through this day simply tending to the tasks God has given us to accomplish right now, Almighty God can show up even in the mundane and invite us to get in on what He's up to. AND these seemingly unspectacular tasks of today could very well be equipping us for the call--fashioning our hands into skillful tools capable of doing the will of God!

So as you nurse your newborn baby or teach a room full of students or package boxes to ship out or cook dinner or work the late shift, or even tend to the flock living under your own roof, you are doing the work--and perhaps even the groundwork--of God. And consider that He may one day appear in these seemingly unspectacular places and say, "I've been readying you all along. Join me. All of this has been to prepare you, that you may join Me. You've been faithful in these things. Now I'm trusting you with more."

Where will you be when He calls?

Sunday, November 14, 2010


He that keepeth thee will not slumber--
indeed, the Guardian of Israel never rests nor sleeps.
Psalm 121:3-4

At night after my children are asleep, my husband and I slip in to tend to them. We brush the hair off of Ailey's face and give Trev extra smooches. We straighten their blankets and reposition them in the center of their beds so they won't fall out. And we always whisper lovies into their ears.

And they sleep right through it.

I can't help but think of how our God tends to us as we slumber--after all, we know that while we're sleeping, He is still ministering to His children. Our Guardian--the one who keeps us--does not sleep. No nights off. We're out like a light, and He's busy loving on us.

I love that.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I remember the day I arrived with my newborn son to see his pediatrician for his well visit. We had the last appointment of the day--4:30--so I signed in and sat down to wait. After awhile it seemed like we'd been waiting kind of a long time, but I didn't think too much of it at first.

I did start to think something of it when the waiting room lights shut off and I heard the office staff packing up their things to head home for the day.

"Pardon me--" I said gently as I stood in the darkened room and tapped on the glass partition--"Is the office closing? I think we still have an appointment to see the doctor today."

The women were mortified that they'd forgotten about us. They ran back and got the doctor, who hadn't left yet, thankfully. We had our well visit. No biggie. Better late than never!

There are times in life when we're stuck in a waiting room. There might be a stretch of time without answers, or seemingly without any progress. And after we've been in there for a while, it can be easy to wonder if anyone even remembers we're still in there waiting. We're sitting there watching the time, twiddling our thumbs, and wondering if we've been forgotten. And really, a 45-minute wait in a pediatrician's office is nothing compared to three years of infertility, or nine months of unemployment, or a decade of praying for a prodigal child.

And before we know it, we're putting our time constraints on God. We hold up our agenda to Him and demand, "What is taking so long?" Trust me, I know. Because I am right there, right now. Were it not for the truth of His Word, I would be nearly slam-dunk convinced that He has totally forgotten that I am desperately waiting on Him. It's frustrating! But our God is faithful. Always faithful. And when we find ourselves in these circumstances we can hold to Psalm 27:13-14:
I am confident of this;
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD.
Be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Oh, that we will trust He hasn't forgotten us in our waiting room, and that we will wait for the LORD. Not for an outcome--but for the LORD!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Have you ever watched a young student take a timed math facts test? As a former teacher, I have. Tons of times. And it is really interesting to see a certain commonality:

Typically when a child makes a mistake on a problem--even though they're told to just keep going--most of them can't mentally "just move on." Most will continue to think back to the mistake they made, wishing they could fix it. They'll shift nervously as their eyes dart back and forth between their current problem and the one they know they messed up on a few problems back.

And all the while, the timer is ticking away. And with every moment the child thinks back, a moment is stolen from the problem they're on currently. They're only allotted a certain amount of time to get through all the problems, and they can waste an extraordinary amount of time looking back.

It is distracting to dwell on the past.

But time is ticking. I've got things to accomplish today, and so do you. And we're allotted only a certain amount of time in which to accomplish them. And what an extraordinary amount of time can be wasted by looking back. We can allow what happened or what we did in the past to consume this day, to steal from the current task at hand. Or we can leave those covered-by-grace things in the past--and fully focus on where God has positioned us today.

"One thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on
toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me Heavenward
in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13-14