Sunday, September 30, 2012


Every few years or so, I re-find this little voice-over gem and I laugh all over again.  Enjoy the video that totally gets it wrong--but in a pretty funny way!!


Saturday, September 29, 2012


Kids need clear boundaries, responsibilities, and sometimes even tough love. But it's not all they need.

I can be pretty tough on my kids.  Yes ma'am, no sir, do your homework, make that bed, try that again please.  Not that these things alone are overbearing; In fact, I find them downright necessary.

But really...I can be pretty tough on my kids.

I'm always thinking long-term with them.  And sometimes in my quest to raise God-honoring, considerate, polite, well-behaved kids, I miss opportunities to show love and grace.

Today I saw in Proverbs 28 that a ruler who oppresses the ones under him (or HER) is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.  

A too-harsh ruler inhibits a harvest.  WOW.  

I want my kids to be fruit-bearers.  I want their lives to be crazy-ripe with the stuff of God.  My mind is consumed with working for a someday harvest when it comes to my children, because I really believe our lives are not for us but to bring glory to the Father.

But the one who comes too heavily against the ones in his (her) care is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.  

When I was in 5th grade I had to have a signed daily report of my work because I wasn't exactly the most disciplined student.  My parents warned me that if I forgot my report, I would be spanked.  Every day for months I had my report, but one day I forgot it at school.

I braced myself for my punishment, but my dad sat across from me and said, "There is no way I am going to punish you for forgetting the report today after months of doing the right thing.  Be sure to bring it home tomorrow though.  I love you."

The sweet surprise of mercy. Modeled beautifully for me.

My kids need direction--absolutely.  But they need love.  Lots of it.  And they need grace in plenty.  And they need these things from me because it models the grace and love of the Father.

And yours need it from you, too.


Friday, September 28, 2012


Reverence.  Reverence is reserved for the things that have your attention, your time, your thoughts, even your reactions.

God is worthy of your reverence.

Your current fear is not.

The phrase "DO NOT BE AFRAID" is used 166 times in Scripture, but it's so much more than just some command not to feel "scared."

The Hebrew word for "afraid" is yare' meaning dread and reverence.  


Yes, we show reverence to our fears.  We carve out spots in our minds and spaces in our hearts and let the very things we dread take up residence in us.

And THAT is what we're being commanded--all over the Word--not to do.  

That thing that keeps you up at night?  Stop showing it reverence.  Yank it down off the pedestal in your mind and quit giving it a place in your heart.  Your biggest worry?  It doesn't get to have your full attention anymore.  Stop allowing it to find an audience with you.

Reverence is reserved for the Holy of Holies, for the Only Wise God.  He is deserving.  So very worthy.

Which is why we need to stop shoving Him off the throne to make room for our fears.

Time to be irreverent.

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid.  
Deuteronomy 31:8

* What's the fear that has your full attention right now?  What would it look like to stop showing it reverence?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm on my face, y'all.  

Ten days until GodBreathedT E N   D A Y S .

Ten days until the doors of the Rock Barn swing open and we welcome in the people for whom we've prayed.  Ten days until we taste and see that the Word of the LORD is plenty good.  Ten days until we draw a line in the sand and say that from this day forward, we are going to allow truth to have its right place in our homes, our families, our heritages.  

You may be nowhere near Atlanta that night, but can I dare you to pray alongside us?  May I plead with you to ask God for the stuff of heaven to collide with the ones present in that place on October 6th?  Can I beg of you to flood heaven with requests on our behalf? 

There is no way on God's green earth that this event will come and go without God's glory being revealed in some way.  His hand has been way too SEEN in all of this--even on the hardest days (and trust me, in the last 300 days there have been *MANY* contenders for the title of "Hardest Day")!  But it's more than that.  I know His Word does not return empty but does what He intends it to do when He sends it out.  Praise Him!

Ten days.  240 hours (good heavens, it's terrifying when I think of it like THAT).  

Go time.

Thank you doesn't even suffice to express my gratitude for your prayers!!!!
 With love and thanks,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


If God drives a vehicle, it's surely a Hummer.  And that really ticks me off sometimes.

Two mornings a week, I drive into Atlanta for work, braving the morning rush hour commute.  I love when I get behind a small car so I can see beyond it to get a view of the traffic up ahead. Getting stuck behind an 18-wheeler?  Total nightmare.  Driving behind a Prius?  It's like commuter gold!

You know what I feel like right now?  I'm following God, but He's in a big fat Hummer.  I cannot see any further down the road than His massive presence.  And I'm a little bit afraid it's going to drive me insane.

Because I want to know.  I want to know what's next.  I want to see what's ahead.  But I can't see past HIM.  Big, massive, omniscient, omnipresent, GOD Almighty.  I'm sorry if it's irreverent, but following without being able to see the scope of what's ahead just plain sucks sometimes.  

But I hear Him.  He just asks me to follow.  Follow when I can't see around Him.  Follow because He's worthy of my trust.  Follow when life is crazy hard and I want to see that it won't always be this way.  Follow because He is ONLY good.


Father, there's no way apart from You.  No good thing apart from You.  But the path, while certain in victory and hope, is unknown to us and that requires more than we have in us to follow.  We need You to give us strength to be able to walk in Your ways even when we have no idea what's up ahead. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Ever been in a one-sided Dance-Off with your dentist?

No?  Just me?

I wish I could say that was a dream.  But no...Thanks to the beauty of nitrous oxide, that's how I spent my Thursday morning. 

I had a root canal this week.  As I've mentioned before, I am petrified of pain, and was promptly hooked up to the laughing gas to take the edge off.

The strange thing about the laughing gas is that your body is doing weird stuff while you still have your right mind.  At first I was lying there and saw something waving around.  Then I realized it was my hands.  They were gracefully "conducting" the classical music that was playing in the background. "Knock it off!" I thought to myself, and willed my hands to rest. But before I knew it, they were conducting another symphony.

I also laughed.  A LOT.  Like when you're in the front row at church and you get the giggles and you're trying really hard not to laugh but you can't pull it together.  And believe me, it's not easy to laugh with someone shoving a drill into your mouth. I kept thinking to myself, "What is so funny?" but I could not stop laughing. 

And then came the "dancing."  Seriously, I began doing "The Snake" as I lay there -- we're talking Janet Jackson, circa 1992.  Yes, I was reclined in the dentist's chair.  But that didn't seem to stop my body from getting down with its bad self.  Again, I kept thinking, "STOP IT!  You're acting crazy!" but there seemed to be a disconnect between what I was thinking and what I was doing. 

"You got served!!" I said to the dentist through my nitrous-oxide fog, and then just laughed and laughed as my mortified mind pleaded for my body to PULL. IT. TOGETHER.

I can only imagine the notes the doctor wrote in my chart. 

But the disconnect is present for me in my walk with God, too.  I so get the heart of Paul when he writes, "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing" (Romans 7).

The disconnect rears its ugly head when our spirit and our flesh duke it out.  "Knock it off!  What are you doing?  You're being a fool!" our hearts cry out.  But the flesh overrides the longing of our hearts to glorify God.  

Can you relate?

Father God, we need the power of Your Holy Spirit--the incomparably great power for us who believe--to prevail when the disconnect exists.  We want to honor You, but the pull of our flesh is strong.  Unrelenting, even.  But right now we claim the promise that the same power used to raise Jesus from the dead is the very power that indwells us.  The very same power!  And when our flesh pulls toward foolishness, be faithful to provide a way out that we may stand up under the pull of our flesh.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Matthew 26:41

Thursday, September 13, 2012


"So are you going to try and have the baby naturally?" a male acquaintance asked me when I was pregnant.

Brother, please.

"Um, that would be a NO," I replied definitively.  "When I get to the hospital I will be telling them, 'I will be needing an epidural, please.  Oh, and by the way, my name is Thea Nelson.'"

I knew going in that I was going to need some serious medicinal help.  You see, I have the single-lowest pain tolerance on God's green earth.  Like, take-a-Tylenol-to-ease-the-pain-of-a-paper-cut kind of thing.  I literally had a conversation with Justin when I was nearing the birth of our first child about how I was worried that the epidural wouldn't work, the pain would be too severe, and I would give up the will to live. Really.  Simply put, I had no delusions that I could get through the process apart from some help.

Now that the picture of my wussiness is properly painted....

I am going into these last weeks leading up to GodBreathed in a similar way.  No, not fearing I'll give up the will to live or anything.  But just knowing what I will most certainly need to get through this.

I'm going to need God.  Really.  I'm fully surrendered to the notion that I am going to need Him to show up.  I'm going to need His strength.  I'm going to need Him to make a way for people to be there.  I am desperate for His mercies, His favor, His hand to be undeniable in every little part of this. 

I HAVE NO DELUSIONS THAT I CAN GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT HIM.  And I knew that going into this.  I responded in obedience to what I believe He initiated, but that doesn't mean for one second that I can do anything apart from Him.

And I'm not even going to try.  Not even going to attempt a cotton-picking thing in my own strength.  I know there is just no way apart from Him making a way. 
Even when Daniel was summoned to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he gave no pretense that he could do it on his own.  The king asked, "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"  Daniel responded that not even the top magicians or diviners could do such a thing, "but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and HE has shown what will happen" (Daniel 2:26-27).  He made a way then.  He'll make a way now.

What are you facing that is requiring more than what you KNOW you have to give?  

What will it look like to fully resign yourself to the fact that you will need Him to come through for you if it's ever going to be what He intends?
If the LORD had not been on our side,
we would be swallowed alive,
engulfed, swept away, ensnared.  
Psalm 124  


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


 Already-awkward 4th grade girl gets the most traumatic haircut of her life.  And no, it wasn't because I walked out of there with an atrocious amount of bangs (even for the 80's).

I was sitting in the chair as the stylist snipped away. At one point I'd noticed she had suddenly stopped, and after a long pause I heard her say, "Sick!"

Startled, I looked up into the mirror to see horror and disgust written all over the stylist's face.

She turned and called loudly to my dad sitting over in the waiting area, "You need to get here out of here. She has lice."

(Thanks for the discretion there. Although I'm sure there was someone in upstate New York who didn't quite hear you.)

She yanked the apron off me, and forced me to do a walk of shame  from the chair to my dad while people eyed me nervously. After all, everyone in the place had heard her announcement.

It was a nightmare for an already-self-conscious 8-year old.  I felt humiliated.  Unclean.

Since I was mid-haircut when she discovered the lice, we had to go to the store with my unintentionally asymmetrical hairdo to buy a head lice kit, go home, do the treatment, and THEN return that same day to have the other half of my hair cut.

I plainly understood one thing that day--I was not to return until I was clean.

But that was just one day, one unfortunate incident.  Can you imagine how those with leprosy must feel, being constantly and publicly avoided and declared "unclean" -- the unending rejection and looks of disdain? I experienced a day of being declared unclean.  Theirs is an agonizing lifetime of it!

But Jesus.  Jesus bent to touch the ones afflicted.  Met the gaze of those suffering.  Dared to touch the unclean...and then make them clean.

"Come back when you're clean" never exited the mouth of Jesus.  No prerequisite of cleaning up our act before we run to Him. Jesus welcomes the revolting, bidding them come to receive what He freely gives. In our ugliness we are rescued from the dirty depths and pulled from the miry pits. We are received in our filthiest state, loved deeply...and made clean.  

But God demonstrates His love for us in this:
While we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8