Sunday, August 26, 2012


Are you sure you know what you're getting?

 I was driving down our street one scorching day and saw a familiar-looking makeshift stand being manned by an ambitious looking 8-year old.  "25 CENTS" read the colorful sign taped to the table.  

I pulled over, handed over my shiny quarter, and the happy young lady handed me a cup of the cold stuff.

Notice I didn't actually say it was lemonade.  But then again, neither did she.  I just assumed it would be.

And I assumed incorrectly.

I got back into my car and took a sip.  Let's just say it wasn't quite as *lemony* as I was expecting.  It tasted like, well, nothing.

That's because it was water.  Just good old, run of the mill tap water that had been chilled in a glass pitcher. 

3 ounces of water in exchange for my 25 cents.  Not exactly what I was expecting.  I mean, no, the girl hadn't ever told me I would be getting lemonade.  It wasn't like the sign said that's what was for sale.  I just made some very wrong assumptions about what I was going to get out of this exchange.

At that point I chalked it up to making a little girl's day by stopping by her cool (albeit kind of misleading) "water stand."  That was certainly worth a quarter.  

But I feel like there have been other times in my life when I have made some pretty stupid exchanges because of what I thought I would get out of the deal.  I think we've all made trades or even allowed lines to blur because of what we believed we would gain from the exchange.  

It's why so many high school girls give themselves away in exchange for the love they hope they'll gain.  They allow lines to blur because they believe it will cement the relationship. Of course, anyone who has actually walked this road knows that more often than not, it leads to the disintegration of the relationship.  And the girl is left holding a cup of loneliness and rejection.

It's why so many married men and women let their eyes wander over to what isn't theirs.   They believe there is something else, something more, something better than what exists at home.  But when their feet begin to walk where their eyes have first gone, they're eventually left holding a cup full of the devastation of their homes and families.   I doubt anyone would make that exchange if they could first get a glimpse of what they would actually get in the trade.  

As surely as I believe there is a God who loves us, I believe there is one whose sole intent is to deceive us--to get us to make these trades by having us believe we'll get something worth it in exchange for the cost we will pay.  

And it's nothing new.  Esau literally traded his birthright as the firstborn son FOR A BOWL OF SOUP.  And while I can think that's a pretty stupid trade, he's not alone in his foolishness.  You and I can be pretty motivated by our own thirsts and hungers.  But when we bow to them, we often end up with little more than an empty bowl, or a cup of disappointment.  
Father, help us!  The exchanges we are willing to make are just plain foolish sometimes.  Protect us when we are tempted to trade valuable things for what we think we will gain.  Flood our minds with wisdom and insight, and make us wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  In Your Son's name, Amen. 

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:2


Monday, August 20, 2012

FIGHT FOR THE FRUIT shall I say this...I do not have docile children.  
I have a "spirited son" and a "determined daughter."

As a teacher I've gotten to know a lot of personalities and I always singled out the super-compliant, mild-mannered ones and said, "I hope I have a son just like him" or "I hope my little girl is just like her."

It didn't go that way.  

Because mixed in with the joy and fun of raising up these two little ones has been a heck of a lot of hustle.  Battles.  Prayers.  Redirections.  Even tears (mine, y'all). 

One day about a year ago I found myself worn. the. heck. out.  Because to know me well means to know I am very long-term minded when it comes to my children, even praying often for their future spouses and for their children and grandchildren.  My descendants, beginning with Trev and Liley, are prayed up, and I want them marinating in truth.  So if I was doing something I believed really mattered, then why wasn't I seeing much evidence that what I was doing mattered at all?  I found myself crying out to God for some encouragement.  And I heard the words,

"You're going to have to fight for the fruit."

Fight for the fruit.  Those words have stayed with me this past year and have given me so much encouragement--but also preparation for the road that awaits.  Because what this word told me was:

1. I've got a fight ahead.  This is a battle and I need to be on my knees on behalf of my children.  I need to arm them with the Word of God and declare who they are in Christ and who God is in each of their lives. Because every bit as much as there is a God who fashioned my son and daughter in His likeness, there is one who seeks harm and an end for this legacy, and we battle against the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.  You can bet that's a battle I am going to fight!

2.  There will be fruit.  Hallelujah, there WILL be fruit!  Fruit from the conversations about consideration.  Fruit from all those Bible stories read.  Fruit from the warnings and words of blessing.  Fruit from ALL those 3am prayers I have spoken over my children as they sleep.  Fruit sprouted from lives steeped in truth!

I am blessed to have that precious, spirited boy and that steadfast, determined little girl.  God made them with great intention and purpose, and He will undoubtedly use their passion and tenacity for His glory.  They are worth the fight, because we will YET see the fruit that is to come from their God-established lives.

But you know what?  I'm seeing some of that fruit even now.   

 Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.  

Lifting up those who too are fighting for the fruit!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


"My finger's stuck in the drain, Mommy," Liley called.

Ah, the first clue our Sunday night wasn't going to go as planned.

We tried helping our 4 year-old
pull her finger out, but no luck.  Justin had to unscrew the drain from the shower floor.  

We kept trying various tricks, including trying to actually cut the drain off her finger.  When that didn't work, her brother wrapped a "God will be with you" bracelet around her wrist, I scooped her up with the drain still attached to her hand, and we headed for the ER.  

Thankfully, they got us in quickly (Apparently when you have something hanging unnaturally off your body, you get bumped up to "Priority") and multiple doctors worked to get that thing off her finger, which by this time was becoming increasingly swollen and purple.  

Finally, finally, they got it off--just in time, they said.  We sat there for about a half hour while they iced her hand down and tried to ease the pain with an orange popsicle.  
Eventually, Liley's smile began to return (probably about the time the heavy duty dose of Tylenol kicked in).  But her finger looked like a miniature version of the Michelin man perched atop her hand!  Her poor little finger bears the marks of being somewhere it shouldn't have been. 

When we got home late that night, Justin made a comment that really struck me:
"I think I could have gotten her finger out if I had gotten to it before it began to swell."
All day today I've been thinking about "swollen" scenarios--Moments in our lives when we begin to cross a line or go somewhere we're not meant to go.  And in those initial moments, it's really not that difficult to get out--as long as we do so quickly.
But when we linger, when we camp out a little too long, it's like a swelling takes place in our hearts.  And the more swollen our hearts become in those places, the harder it is to extricate ourselves from them.
I know.  Because there have been times when I've gotten myself into circumstances with red flags waving everywhere, and I quickly backed out.  But I've also failed to flee at times and found it pretty tough to back out, because a swelling had already taken place in my heart.
Father, I feel You speaking on this one, perhaps not only to me.  If we are in situations in which our heart will eventually swell, leaving us just plain STUCK, please give us strength to back out quickly.  Give us grace to flee before a wrong place becomes a place we can't get out of.  And for those STUCK, strengthen them to turn to You for the help they'll need to get out.    
You redeem my life from the pit 
and crown me with love and compassion.
Psalm 103:5

Saturday, August 11, 2012


You don't have to pretend there aren't any mountains in the way...Sometimes you actually need to name them.

A few months ago I had just started developing an event to get people to open up their Bibles.  And--for the love--nothing seemed to be coming together!

After two solid months, I had nothing to show for all my nose-to-the-grindstone work.  Nothing.  

I was a tad discouraged.  And by "a tad" I mean "hopelessly."  After weeks of wading through this season, I was driving home from work one day and heard the Holy Spirit whisper something to me...


"What's that, now?"


"But don't You KNOW the mountains?  Why do I have to name them?" I wondered.  But then I remembered the times in the Word when Jesus asked, "What do you want Me to do for you?"  He even asked a blind man--and honestly, it seems it would be fairly obvious what a blind man would want from Jesus.

But in that moment I realized that sometimes we are to say what we need or declare what's in the way, not because He isn't aware--but because we need to acknowledge the lack, the need, and the obstacles and ask our able God to do something about them. 

And so I opened my mouth and did just that.

"I don't have a name for this event.  I don't have a date on the calendar for it.  No worship leader.  No speaker.  Multiple people have asked me, 'Who would buy a ticket for that?' Want me to keep going?!?"

I had named the mountains.  And then came the written-on-my-heart response:

"NO. None of that is true.  There IS a name for this--you just don't know it yet.  I already know the date this will happen, even if you don't.  I haven't yet revealed to you who I already know will be the worship leader, and you don't yet know whom I have in store to speak.  But you do have a name, a date, a worship leader, and a speaker.  And I'll reveal each one of these when it's time."

I kid you not, all of that was poured into my heart in the 30 seconds it took me to drive past the little airport on McCollum Parkway.   

A week later, the name came.  GodBreathed.

2 weeks later, the location came.  The Rock Barn, in Canton, Georgia.

3 weeks later, we prayerfully chose the date:  October 6th.  And this date literally paved the way for the next two pieces of the puzzle:

The worship leader.  Carlos Whittaker heard about GodBreathed and shared a heart for the vision behind this event.  A while back I started following Carlos on Instagram and kept seeing photos of Scripture in his feed--and a few months later, he came on board to lead us in worship at GodBreathedAmazing.

The Bible teacher.  Bianca Juarez Olthoff, who is not only absolutely darling, but a gifted communicator of truth to boot, also bought into the vision for GodBreathed--and has agreed to come and teach from the Word.  

As someone who stood and saw nothing but MOUNTAIN AFTER MOUNTAIN, today I'm opening registration on what I believe to be a God-established movement toward revival rooted in the Word of God.  All glory, praise, and thanks to the God who made a way for this. 

He asked me to name the mountains--And then He moved them.    

No need to deny the mountains and pretend they aren't there.  Go them.

And then watch God move them.  

* Announcing--by the grace of provision of God--
GodBreathed ~ A Word and Worship Experience.
Check out our Eventbrite page to register!


Saturday, August 4, 2012


Are you honest?  And not just about the big stuff, but in the little things?

A few days ago I was at the grocery store and they failed to ring up not one, but TWO of my items.  My total seemed a bit low, but I assumed it was because of coupons and sale prices.

I was all the way out to my car before I realized I'd indeed been undercharged.  

I knew if I got into my car and left, I would sidestep the inconvenience of walking back into the store and getting things squared away at customer service.  Not to mention I'd be paying for two items that sat in my trunk even though I hadn't had to pay a dime for either.

No matter the inconvenience or expense.  I went into the store and paid the $3.74 for the two items.  In that moment there was just something in me that felt if I can justify being dishonest in the small things, it just becomes too easy to be dishonest in the big things.  

Now, before I have you thinking I deserve some medal for honesty, I have a confession to make.  Earlier that very same day I did something dishonest.

I didn't order a soda of my own at lunch, but I ended up feeling thirsty and shared a refillable soda with my husband.  

It know it wasn't some elaborate scheme I'd been plotting for weeks--I just ended up drinking some soda for which I really didn't pay.  And I know the soda police didn't show up and cart me off to jail or anything, but that's beside the point.  

It comes down to this:  I want to be honest--not just "honest enough."  I want to be truthful through and through, maintaining integrity even when it costs or inconveniences me.

It's why we report ALL of my income, even when I'm paid in cash. 

It's why I am mindful not to even bend the truth.  Not even a little.

It's why I walked back into that store to pay for those two items.   
And I want to do it in the small things.

Because all the small things are just practice for the big things.

God, let Your Holy Spirit prick our hearts when we aren't doing what is right--even if it's small, even if it'll probably go unnoticed.  Our HEARTS are at stake here.  We want to stand blameless and upright before you.