I keep verses written down on cards at my desk. If I am having a hard day I can look at them and be reminded of how great my God is. I can be reminded of times I was going through something and God was faithful and walked through it with me. Each verse is a reminder of something in my life, sometimes good and sometimes hard.
along with those verses are also some quotes from books or articles I have read. Some days, even good days I pick them up and just skim through some of them. Today I picked up the stack and this quote caught my eye.
Unfortunately I don’t know where or what this quote came from. I tried to google it and find the author to give them credit, but nothing came up.
Where is it that you doubt God could be? Maybe for you it’s the bottom of a bottle, maybe it’s at the the end of a needle, maybe it’s trying to hold everything together for everyone else, or maybe it’s in the depression others don’t even know exist, maybe it’s in that relationship that is in shambles. Trust me, God is in all those places. In fact those are the places God longs the most to find you.
Or maybe your like me. I sometimes doubt that God is in the good places. Not that he wouldn’t be there, or wouldn’t want to be there, but that he doesn’t need to be there. It is easy for me to find him in the hard places, the tough situations, it’s easy to lean on him when things are not going well. When I need him it’s easy to know he’s in those places.
But, this quote says the secret to abundant life is to believe that He is where I doubt him to be. For me the truth is, sometimes that is the good places. When I acknowledge him in the every day, when I accept that he is always there, even when I don’t know or see that I need him, that is when my life is overflowing in abundance. Overflowing with abundant peace, calm, thankfulness, mercy, forgiveness and grace. Abundant life comes from doing the every day with him. Not just climbing those steep, rocky hills but strolling along the quiet pathway. Thankful that God is there when I desperately need him, but also when I don’t even realize I need him. Today where are you doubting He could be?
Isabella had her Kiddie City graduation ceremony last week. (Kudos to Marion High school for such a great program.) These two pictures completely depict both of her parents. I have watched Brittany sit like this many times with this exact same expression on her face. Bella’s Dad is the youth minister at our church. I think that says it all for picture two. He cannot sit still for very long, and finds ways to entertain himself.
I know that Bella’s birth parents’ DNA are what gave her her beautiful skin tone, her pretty brown eyes, and her thick dark hair. When Bella was a baby it bothered Brittany in the beginning, when people would say she even looks like Will. She said why do people feel the need to say that, she can’t look like us. I think I disagree. What are babies, and toddlers, and children all about? They are about imitating. That is how they learn. Bella looked like Will because even as a baby they imitate our facial expressions. She may not have his eyes but she has his expressions.
Nature or Nurture is all about how much of who we are comes from DNA and how much comes from our environment? There are times when I look at Brittany and Chris and I see Brett or I in their actions. Sometimes that is good and sometimes that is bad. How much of that is because of their DNA and how much of it is because they grew up in the house with us?
I am sure you can make an argument for both sides. But from watching Bella grow up, I vote for nurture being what influences who we are and who we become. She is such a combination of Brittany and Will. I love my son-in-law, but we are total opposites. I am a tight type A and he is a creative loose personality. There are times Bella does something and I am like girl that was your Dad through and through. But I love when I see that side of her, because I know God is using Will to mold her to be just the young lady he wants her to become.
I know that God used two peoples DNA to create what Bella looks like on the outside. But, I am also confident that he is using Brittany and Will to create who she is on the inside and who she is becoming. I am so grateful that I get to watch that transformation from baby, to toddler, to preschool, to kindergarten, to grade school, to high school, to college and beyond. I am so grateful she has the Daddy and Mommy she has to nurture who she is. I am grateful that they are trusting God to guide them in that. Because looking at these two pictures they are going to need help.
Thankfully for us our God is about nature and nurture both. The Bible tells us He creates each of us in his image. Just like children imitate their parents, Paul says we should imitate him, just as he imitates Christ. And as much as Will and Brittany love Bella, and want to help her be her best, God loves Bella more and wants her to be the best she can be in him. He wants the same for each of his children.
These two are the sunshine of my day, the stars that light up my night, and the joy of my heart. They are both growing up way to quickly.
Sunday morning I had the opportunity to serve at the Hello desk at my church. (If you live in my area and don’t have a church home come visit us at Redemption. Or you can check us out on line at Redemptionnow) Anyway, I was at the desk Sunday morning. I like to hang out on the outside of the desk not behind the counter. I saw Milo coming in the door with his Daddy and Mommy, so I squatted down as they came in. He looked around the entry way, not looking for me just looking, and then he saw me. His little face lit up and he came running across the room into my open arms. Now it wasn’t like it had been a week since I saw him. He had spent the night and I had dropped him off at home on my way to church that morning. It had only been a few hours since I last saw him. It made my heart explode with joy that this little guy was so excited to see me.
About 10 minutes later I looked and Bella was coming in the door with her Momma. I again squatted down and watched and waited for her to see me. She looked around the room and then I caught her eye. Her face lit up with a smile, she let go of Mommy’s hand, and came across to give me a big hug. It actually had been a couple of days since I had saw her. My heart melted that this girl was glad to see me.
I have been saying for awhile now that I want to run to God with unleashed, uninhibited, excited expectation and throw myself in his arms.
When these two little ones ran to me Sunday morning I thought of that.
I thought about how it felt to be the one to have someone run to you with such excitement. I have been thinking about what it would be like to run to God in that way. But what must it be like for God to have us run to him in that way. I am sure it doesn’t matter to God if it has been two hours, two days, two months, or two years. God is just as excited to welcome us when we run to him no matter how long it has been.
How many times as he knelt down and waited for me to survey the room and see his face?
I love these two little munchkins and try to be a good Mimi, but there are days I fail. There are days I lose my temper and patience. There are days we don’t see eye to eye and argue. There are days they don’t get their way and that doesn’t make them happy. But at the end of the day they are still excited to run into my arms.
God never fails. His love is always perfect. So lets survey the room, seek His face, lite up, and run to Him with unleashed, uninhibited, excited expectation and throw ourselves in His arms.
Two months ago I started getting notices. Letting me know I needed to change the expiration date on my credit card, or I would not be able to renew and keep my blog site. I let the first two go and was just going to let it drop. Then I received another one and decided OK, I would keep it for now, just because I didn’t want to lose all the information I did have on here. Then I started to think about writing again.
It’s been so long since I have blogged. I don’t know if I remember how. Is it like riding a bike? Do you just jump back on and start peddling? Will I be rusty? Will I fall off? Will I get back up and try again? Why did I ever start a blog in the first place? I wanted to write. I wanted to believe God had given me some great talent for words. I wanted praise and applause from others around me. Don’t we all want that? To feel like there is some great purpose in why we are here. To feel like we matter?
Why did I stop blogging? I got busy, I got sidetracked, and I lost interest. I didn’t have the great explosion of numbers and following I was hoping for. If only a few family and friends were reading was it really worth it? If they were only reading because they were my family and friends was it really worth their time? Or let’s be really honest if that’s all it was, was it worth my time?
Why am I back? Because that isn’t as important to me now. The numbers don’t matter (well not as much, I will always watch them lol). If only a few people read that is OK. Hopefully, my words on each blog will encourage at least one person. Even if no one reads it but me, I am still writing. Because that’s what I love to do. Put words on paper and let them form thoughts and ideas.
So I am back – no expectations, no demands on myself. No set agenda for a certain number a week. No demands for perfection. Sorry, Brett and Chris, the grammar mistakes are who I am. MIsspelled words, run-on sentences, and all. This is who I am. Me just sharing the simple thoughts God puts on my heart. Thoughts of a wife, a mom, a Mimi. A woman who works and comes home tired at the end of the day. A woman who at 60 is still trying to figure it all out. A woman who knows more now than she ever did yet feels like she knows nothing.
So, I hope you follow me. I hope my words in some way encourage you. I hope they encourage your walk with God and I hope they make you laugh! First post coming soon.
One of my all time favorite songs is, Casting Crowns, Voice of truth. When I hear that first verse I picture Peter as he climbed out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus. To step out of my comfort zone.
Recently I stepped out of my comfort zone twice in one week. These were not what I would call, onto the crashing waves steps, but they were steps. Baby steps maybe, but we have to begin somewhere, right?
I think I have been open in this blog about how I struggle with jealousy, envy, and how it can lead to bitterness. If I haven’t been in the past I sure meant to be. So, for a couple of months, I had began to travel down that old familiar road of being jealous and envious of others. It was small things but I let it slowly slip in and it was beginning to effect my relationships with others and with God. To the point that I wasn’t even wanting to sit in worship.
There is a cycle I go through when I let this sin creep into my heart. Anyone who struggles with this will recognize the cycle of sin. At first you are jealous, that gives way to guilt. How could I be jealous when God has blessed me in every single area of my life. How could I be so ungrateful. The next step in the cycle is hating yourself, then feeling like if I am so disgusted with myself surly God is just as disgusted with me. Satan uses it all to draw me away from God, the place I should run to.
So, how did I step out of my comfort zone in this? The first thing I did (from recommendation by my husband), was to talk to someone. Because normally I ride it out, ashamed to admit to someone that I have these horrible feelings hidden in me. I contacted someone I know, but who isn’t in my circle of friends, someone outside of our church.
She was kind enough to meet with me one evening. To just sit down over a cup of tea and listen. She let me talk without feeling judged, then she offered suggestions. Three that stuck with me and have helped me. She said God knows you are jealous, it isn’t a secret to him, and he already died on the cross for it. Tell him, he already knows, but he wants to hear it. She always reminded me that God doesn’t operate out of that box that we know as love. God doesn’t get tired of us coming to him with the same issue over and over. His love isn’t bound by a box, its unlimited and unconditional. She also said Satan can’t hear your thoughts, if you are going to fight him you need to speak out loud. Quote scripture out loud.
The second thing I did to step out of my comfort zone that week (which happen to be the week of revival at our church), was to apologize to one of those women I had been jealous of. I asked her if I could pray at the alter with her. I confessed my jealousy to her and asked for forgiveness in letting it come between our friendship.
Neither one of those things are big deals, or earth shattering to the kingdom, but they brought a new freedom to me. It is funny that during this year of quarantine (which to me means locked down or locked up) God has been working on freedom in my life. I have gotten a good handle in the past ten years or so on the part of grace that lets me know that God loves me no matter what I do or don’t do. That I can’t change His love for me. But this year He has been showing me a new side of grace. The side that says it’s ok to mess up, it’s ok to say no, it’s ok to step outside of the box. It’s ok to be myself, the good, the bad, and the ugly and he is still going to love me. Not just love me but adore me, in fact scripture says that he sings over me. I think of the love I have when rocking Bella or Milo and singing over them. I can’t fathom how much more God’s love is for me.
We all struggle with something, it’s ok to need to help. Step out on the crashing waves. The realm of the unknown is where Jesus is. He’s holding out His hand.
Wow, looking back I have not blogged in five months. Five months, why is that? There are so many things going on in the world right now, Covid, quarantine, protests, rioting, the Presidential election. The world is a different place than it was five months ago. Five months ago, I couldn’t even imagine that we would be where we are right now. Wearing masks everywhere we go, kids only going to school part time, the rest is done on line, no concerts or large groups, restaurants partial capacity, travel has changed, and all of this is becoming the normal for us.
Over the past couple of months I have chosen to be off of social media for the most part. I will log on once in a while to check up on friends and family who are away. I miss keeping up with their lives, new baby pictures, weddings, engagements, major life events, but the rest of what is on social media breaks my heart.
I think we have forgotten something very important, especially as Christians, and what a sad thing to forget.
Ephesians 6:12-13 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the EVIL DAY….”
If there is one thing I think we all can agree on it, it is that we are in an evil day. But the evil isn’t our brother and sister, THEY ARE NOT our enemy. “The enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”, 1 Peter 5:8. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”, John 10:10. “the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field” Genesis 3:1.
Our enemy, the one we fight against, is the devil. His goal is to divide and conquer, and he is very crafty at it. If he can get us to fight against each other, he doesn’t have to do anything. We will destroy each other, all he has to do is stand back cross his arms, watch, and smile.
I hate feeling like if I say, black lives matter, there are people who think I must be anti police, and think all police are bad. I also hate feeling like if I say, I support the police, there are people who think I am racists and don’t care about people. Neither one could be farther from the truth. I feel like things do have to change, but I don’t know what the answers are for that change. I don’t have the answers, but that doesn’t mean I have to pick a side.
I will vote in November, at the polls, because I feel like everyone has a responsibility to vote. Maybe you say, neither one are worth voting for, and maybe your right. So, why vote? Voting is still a way to voice our opinion. These are the two candidates people, choose one. I will choose based on my moral views, choose based on yours, but don’t wish harm or death to the other one. Place your vote, and accept the outcome. This is America, that is the way it works. Or at least the way it used to.
Right now I am sure Satan feels like he is winning, because we as a nation have never been more divided than we are right now. And I see too many people out there who are claiming Christianity, yet jumping on Satan’s band wagon of division.
Luke 10:19, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
We hold the power to heal this nation inside each of us. We have the power to heal instead of destroy. We have the power to help not harm. We have the power to bring unity instead of division. We have the power to love or hate. What will you choose?? Will you choose to fight your brother or fight the enemy??
I have been very fortunate during this “stay at home” time. My kids have still let me see my grandkids. I have had a couple of extra days off during the week, and have actually even gotten to spend some extra quality time with these munchkins. I am so thankful for that, because they both are growing so fast and are at milestone places in their childhood. Milo is learning to walk, he is just about there. Bella is potty training, go Bella, go Bella (literally).
There is one thing I have noticed as I watch them. Even as young people, toddlers, they know when they have done something to please you. They know when they get it right. When Milo takes those few steps into your arms he is smiling from ear to ear. He knows he accomplished something, and knows you are excited and pleased. When Bella goes on the potty chair, she can’t wait to announce it to everyone around. She runs out with a big smile on her face, I went potty.
As I thought about that this week I thought about my relationship with God. I know when I get my walk right. I know what pleases Him. I get that smile on my face, that satisfaction that I pleased my Father. I want to run into the room and announce I read my Bible this morning, I prayed, I listened, I was kind to my husband, I was a cheerful giver, I put others first. I know the things I am suppose to do.
As I was thinking about that God said look at Milo and Bella’s parents. Those times that Milo doesn’t get it right and falls, do Chris and KC yell? Do they call him names, do they condemn him? No they lovingly pick him up, set him on his feet, and encourage him to try again. When Bells has an accident do Brittany and Will yell? Do they say you are never going to get this, why can’t you do better? No, they lovingly say it was an accident, start all over, and try again.
My heavenly Father is the same way. When I fall, he lovingly picks me up, sets me on my feet and encourages me to try again. He doesn’t condemn, he never condemns, he convicts, but he doesn’t condemn. He says start over, try again. My kids are all good, loving parents, who love their kids and want to see them succeed. But as loving and as encouraging as they are God is even better.
Luke 11:13 “So, if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Let me remember today as I go through my day, that you are a good and loving Father, you want to see me succeed, you want to see that smile of success on my face. Thank you for being that Father.
Church Corona style. As I tuned into my church’s early on line service this morning they were having technical difficulties. I am sure they were not the only ones. I am sure in most services this morning, there were issues, maybe ones not seen, but ones people were fighting behind the scenes. Hundreds of churches large and small are learning how to do church in a whole new different way. With new and different, come difficulties and set backs, and learning curves, especially when you are dealing with technical components.
At first I started praying that God would correct the problems, and get everything going on track like it should. As the service went on with a few issues I started praying a different prayer. I started praying that the people dealing with the issues would stay calm, that Satan wouldn’t get a foot hold that might bring anger or frustration for them. That they would realize they were not battling against technology, they were battling against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against a spiritual wickedness in high places. That in their temptation, God would get the glory.
I need to remember to pray for the right things. Not always pray that God would correct hard ships in my life or the lives of others, but that he would help me remember what I am fighting against. That I would remember there is a power greater that lives in me. Not always praying that something might just go away, but that I would conquer and give the glory to God. There is power and awe in God removing something, but there is a greater witness in someone who overcomes and conquers because of the power of God in their life.
I am sure Satan is not pleased that thousands of people are now watching church on line on Sunday mornings. What you meant for evil (closing church doors) God meant for good (on line church reaching thousands). People who have never set foot in church are now watching and hearing the word on line. What an opportunity for us as believers to share the word. It doesn’t get much easier than starting a watch party or sharing on our facebook page.
Let’s pray for each other, lets pray for safety and protection, but lets also pray for the power and confidence to believe in what God can do in peoples lives during this time. Let’s pray in the struggles, and fears, and unknowns, that we tap into the power to overcome, and in that overcoming we give the glory to the one who deserves it all. Satan doesn’t win.
“Snow brings a special quality with it – the power to stop life as you know it dead in its tracks.” –Nancy Hatch Woodward.
I have no idea who Nancy Hatch Woodward is but this quote lines up with this blog. When I look at this picture of the snow, I am reminded of how I feel when I sit at a window in the middle of winter and look out and watch it snow. There is some type of quite peace that is found in watching snow fall. There is no sound even though there is movement. There is only a deep seated peace and still. Close your eyes for a minute and just imagine it, can you see it, can you feel it?
I felt that same still peace when I opened my eyes this morning. We had the window open, it was light out and all I could hear were birds, maybe an occasional dog barking but not even very many of those. This was late morning not like 6:00 A.M. There were no voices outside, no one mowing their lawn, NO cars on the road. No one out moving about. No one headed out for early morning errands, no one rushing to get their yard mowed before starting their busy day, no one headed off to baseball or soccer games, birthday parties or family gatherings.
It’s peaceful, yet a little disturbing for someone who wears “busy” as a crown. Brittany and Bella sing the wheels on the bus when they are going somewhere in the car. They have their own version, everyone in the family has their own saying. Chris on the bus says “Go Cubs Go”, Poppy on the bus says “Boo Ya”, each family member has their own thing. Mimi on the bus says, “hurry up, hurry up”. That is a perfect description of MiMi, constantly going, constantly doing. Busy is a crutch, or a coping mechanism for me. If I am busy, I must be important, right? If I am busy I must be doing things and people will like me, right? If I am busy I must be pleasing God, right? If I am busy I don’t have to stop and process or take inventory of my life. I know those are wrong and bad, I KNOW. They are a DNA I am trying very hard to break.
This whole shut down has shed some light on that for me. A part of me almost feels guilty. It hasn’t really hit yet here in the small town in the midwest where I live. I am not naive enough to think that it won’t. I am practicing all the things we are suppose to be doing to keep everyone safe. In reality right now I am getting a couple of days a week off, I am getting more time at home with Brett, cooking, reading, relaxing. This is not a real hard ship for me yet. I feel horrible for the people who are in the middle of all of this, who are losing loved ones, who are worried about loved ones, who go to work everyday wondering if they are bringing it home to their family, who have lost their jobs, who are worried about their businesses. People who are being majorly affected by all of this. But right now for me it is just a minor inconvenience. I know that is the grace of God on my life, and I am thankful for it.
This virus, like a major snow storm, has the ability to stop life as we know it dead in our tracks. But that same snow storm brings a calm and a peace. Lets find the calm and the peace in Corona. Maybe like me God is telling you, just be still and listen. Watch and see what I will do in this. I have heard people say they are praying more than they ever have before. People are spending Saturday mornings, sleeping in, relaxing, and enjoying their families instead of rushing out the door. People are cooking and eating at home together. People who would never set foot in a church are watching sermons on line. Busy people are seeing its OK to slow down.
I don’t know what the future holds in all of this, but I do know who holds the future, and I trust in the one who does. May you find the peace and the calm in the storm today.
Back in the fall when we had revival. I remember seeing kids come in to church in their pj’s. Made sense they would be ready to go to bed when they got home. I was kind of jealous. Well today I had the opportunity to go to church in my pj’s. All across the country church chairs and pews are empty this morning like this picture. Pastors and worship leaders are bringing a message in front of empty chairs. Even though the chairs are empty, satan doesn’t win. Thousands will be watching live from their living rooms in thousands of homes.
I gathered my bible and my glass of tea like I do each Sunday morning, but instead of running out the door late, I sat down on my couch with my lap top and my two dogs. My lap top failed me, kept freezing up and the sound would stop. (It’s old I think I need a new one, hint hint Brett). So, I jumped on and watched on my phone. It was amazing. I sang at the top of my lungs, the dogs didn’t care. I did realize however, how much I rely on those words on the screen. Robbey was just as engaging on video. The message was just as good.
We probably all have a sign in our house that says “Gather” because it was the big movement, gather with your tribe, gather with your peeps, gather with your family, gather with the people you love. That is what part of church is, gathering together to worship. But we did that today, we gathered, we worshiped together, we communicated. We came together just like God commands us to do. God doesn’t just meet us in a church building, that isn’t where He resides. He was in living rooms all across the country today, just like he is everyday.
I wouldn’t want this to be church all the time, because I did miss seeing faces. But if this is what church is for the next couple of weeks or months, who knows. We will survive and thrive. God will get the glory and the word will be preached. Our God and his message are bigger and more powerful that any virus. Thanks Redemption for allowing this to happen. Join us next week on the app Redemption Church.