Saturday, April 23, 2011


When my young son's soccer practices started a few weeks ago, we noticed that he looked like he was super happy and having an absolute blast. But--and how do I put this gently--he also ran around the field as though he was only semi-aware there was even a ball to chase or a game to play! He almost bounded around the field more than he ran, grinning ear to ear with this "I'm-super-happy-to-be-here!" kind of smile, but that was about it!

Then later the same week when we were on vacation, I saw this very same child tear off after a bunch of seagulls at the beach, and that child MOVED. I mean, he was focused on catching one of those birds, and he was fast as lightning. He ran like that because he was in pursuit of something.

After seeing this, I mentioned to him that he could chase the soccer ball like he was chasing those pigeons. I said it's great and important to have a lot of fun while playing, but there's a game to play, too. He's part of a team, and they need him to be in on what the team is up to.

So today was his first game, and the boy shot all over the field with great focus and intentionality and moved that ball down the field. No more bounding--he was running with purpose!

I'm so struck by the unfortunate fact that it is so, so common for people to just be bounding through life. They're running around without a great deal of purpose or focus, and maybe they're even having fun doing it. And hey, I'm all about having fun. But we're up to something so much more! 1 Corinthians 9 says that we are to run this race so as to win the prize--because that prize is a crown that will last forever, as opposed to the crown of temporary satisfaction.

There are parts of my life in which I'm "bounding around." Perhaps even with one of those "Happy-to-be-here!" smiles on my face, but fully lacking in focus and intent. And then there are other parts of my life in which I am in pursuit of something worth something, and it shows. But the fact is, these days are precious. Numbered, even. There's no place for bounding around when I am part of the Kingdom of God and am called to do my part in pursuing victory.

"Everybody ends up somewhere in life. Some people end up there on purpose" (Andy Stanley). How in your life are you running with great intentionality? And how in your life are you simply bounding around the field? I have been considering this very thing in my own life. I challenge you to prayerfully consider one area in which you're "bounding." And then ask the LORD to strengthen you to run on purpose.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I may as well throw out the question to you since I've been asking it of myself a lot lately:

Are you bearing any sort of good fruit? I mean good-for-something, usable fruit? Or is He going to show up expecting a harvest and find a lot of unusable grapes?

Last night we shared our our life and faith journeys with our small groups. And as I wrote things down in preparation, I was reminded again of * A L L * God has done to make a way for me, preserve my life, protect me even when it annoyed the heck out of me, and remind me a million times that He fully intends to use me for His purposes.

So with that as the backdrop, He also brought to my mind a passage I'd read about a year ago as I read through the book of Isaiah:

God had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest of vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.

He asked,

As I read this, I'm mindful of the way God has prepared my life to be fruitful. I can think of times when things were dug up and stones were cleared away. I can think of things He has planted and established in my life. I'm sure you can think of these same things in your own life.

And consider the watchtower and winepress in this passage. That watchtower speaks of expectancy, watching, waiting on His part. And that winepress suggests He fully expected a harvest good enough and usable enough to produce wine. And after the preparations He has made for us, He fully expects a harvest of good fruit in our lives, too.

Because really--what more could He have done for you and for me than He has already done for us?

And why then does He return to find an unusable harvest? In this passage, very little of what He found in the vineyard was usable. His ten-acre vineyard produced only 6 small jugs of wine. And the rest? Unusable. What a waste.

Your life is a vineyard. My life is a vineyard. Does your marriage bear fruit? How about your efforts as a parent? Would your co-workers say you bear fruit? How about the friends who know you best? I'm taking an honest assessment of these things, too--and honestly, there are parts of my life that aren't yielding good fruit. But I want so very much for my life to bear fruit--fruit that can be of use in His Kingdom. I don't want Him to look over the span of my life--a life that He did everything to ensure would be a fruitful one--and find very little to use.

Think over your life--the ways God has ensured that your life should bear fruit. I'm sure the list in long.

So then...does it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


If you ended up at this blog today, please take a moment and pray for

Todd and Rosy and Teddy Fredeen.

This is the dear family who lost their sweet almost-six-year old Nina two months ago. Please pray that the LORD will fill them in a new way today, that He will hold them in their grief and flood them with love and comfort.

I don't know what it's like to hold and feed and play with and see a child, and then have to bury that child. I cannot imagine. But I do know the one thing I learned after a loss of my own:

There's no expiration date for grief.

Yes, the meals and phone calls and cards stop coming. But the loss remains.

God is sufficient for every need, but a child is no longer there for them to hold and feed and play with and see--and that kind of suffering must be extraordinary. And just because the world around them is still spinning and life has gone on doesn't mean that they aren't still in need of a good covering of prayer.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Have you ever needed someone's memory to be jogged a little?

A few years ago I was told I would have an opportunity that almost made me fall out of my chair. I was thrilled and elated and excited and thrilled some more!

Aaaaaand then the person forgot they'd said I could have the opportunity.

About a year went by, and the opportunity date began to creep nearer and nearer. I prayed and wondered if I should ask about it, or just keep quiet.

"Keep quiet," it seemed the Holy Spirit kept saying.

And so I did.

And then my phone rang. I was, once again, offered this opportunity. The person hadn't remembered that they'd already offered it, but the LORD had put my name on that person's heart and on another person's heart to be the one to do this. And I rejoiced that even if a memory had failed, God had put my name on the heart of the ones who could grant me the opportunity.

He remembered.

I think of Joseph and Mordecai in Scripture. Joseph was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and helped a fellow inmate interpret a dream.

"I'm going to remember you!" the man said.

Aaaaaaand 2 years (730 days) later, he finally did. Can you imagine? That is just a lot of sunrises and sunsets sitting in a jail cell, hoping someone remembers you. But once he was remembered, he was whisked away to work for Pharaoh, and the insight God gave him helped spare the lives of many--even his own family.

Then there was Mordecai, Esther's cousin. God used him to foil an assassination attempt against King Xerxes. And, rightfully so, the King intended to do something to acknowledge the man who had saved his life!

Aaaaand then he forgot. It wasn't until much later on a sleepless night when King Xerxes was having the daily logs read to him that he was reminded--he never did anything to honor Mordecai. Then came a parade of honor for Mordecai, a reversal of destiny, and the eventual position as the king's right hand man.

Sometimes it's hard when you feel like everything hinges on someone else's memory. But we do not trust in anything but the name of the LORD our God. Not even in someone else's ability to recall. At times it seems that our fate lies on this very thing, but neither your life nor my life hangs on memory. Our lives are safe in the hands of the One who said,

"Can a mother forget the baby nursing at her breast

and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget,

I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands;

Your walls are ever before me."

Isaiah 49:15-16

LORD, we are just so grateful that YOU remember. And for anyone who needs a measure of remembrance, please grant it. Please jog the memories of those who need to remember something---someone. Thank You for Your love and faithfulness.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


There's a fine line between couponing/stockpiling and hoarding. I think I've crossed that line. The difference is is based in wisdom, and the other in fear. A few weeks ago our pastor shared about how when there's a sale on diet soda, you can hardly pull into his parents' garage because of the stockpile. I laughed and turned to my friend Angie next to me and said, "I do that!" -- but it was like the Holy Spirit stopped me dead in my tracks right then with a one-word question: Why? I sat there thinking, really thinking about why I stock up like I do. Yes, I think it's wise to purchase things when they're on sale--even Biblical! It is a contribution to my family to take the time to research and plan--then purchase. I have saved us many, many a dollar by doing this. And I wish there was no other motivation in doing so, but there is. I am afraid. I stockpile (hoard) because I'm afraid. I worry about something unforeseen happening that could cost one or both of our incomes. This downward turn in the economy over the last few years has left me wide-eyed. I know it's happened to others who never saw it coming--what if we didn't have enough to buy groceries? And so I buy when it's cheap--nothing wrong with that. Unless you're doing it because maybe you don't 100% trust God to provide if the unexpected happens. And that's where I live. My refrigerator is full. My pantry is full. My freezer is full. It's not like we live with mountains of boxes of granola bars and pasta or anything, but I know what I'm doing. I'm hoarding. Fear-and-doubt-based hoarding. This past week I read "Crazy Love" and this passage jumped out at me: "Lukewarm people do not live by faith--their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens--that's what savings accounts are for. They don't depend on God on a daily basis--their refrigerators are full and they have their health." Again, nothing wrong with saving or storing up or couponing and shopping wisely. There's actually all kinds of right about doing it this way. It becomes a problem when these things become substitutes for actually having to trust God. And so the next time I load up my shopping cart with spaghetti sauce for 88 cents or boxes of organic mac and cheese for 49 cents a box, I will take an honest look at what's driving it. Rather than being motivated by a million "What if..." scenarios, I want to remember that the LORD is the bread of life, the One who provided daily manna for His people, and the One who sees what is really going on in my heart. Father, I want to get down to my last box of cereal without panic. I want to pass up sale items that I already have at home, about to burst out of my pantry. More than anything I want to trust You. Strengthen me to trust You for all things! I don't want to be a hoarder--I want to have open hands. I want to walk by faith and trust the Giver of my daily bread.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I love the ocean. I love that even though crowds of beach-goers spend their day digging into the sand, at the end of the day the tide rolls in and the waves make all the digs of the day disappear--and the beach looks perfect. Absolutely pristine. I think of all the sinning and the stupid-ing I've done in my life. Okay, forget "in my life" -- More like "today." Or "this month." Or "this year." I think of all my selfish ways and my failures. Each one has been like a dig in the sand that I can't completely smooth over. And I think of the digs of which I have been innocent--the hurts inflicted on my heart and soul. The empty places caused by others that have left a lasting mark. But I rejoice--because at the end of my life when I stand before my God, He will behold one who is pristine. Christ's death and resurrection made it so. He will look upon a girl made flawless through sacrificial love. Pristine. Hallelujah.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This past week I spent my quiet times watching the sun come up. Absolutely glorious. On this past Monday, April 4th I turned to Proverbs 4 to read, and as I thumbed through to the right page I thought to myself, "It would be so neat if there was a verse about sunrises today." And then there it was--verse 18.
Very cool. :)

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,

shining every brighter till the full light of day.

Proverbs 4:18