A gentle whisper from the LORD...

"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:11-12

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dread or Desire?

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15

I usually like to keep this fact about myself a secret: I was a music major in college. There, I said it! But the reason I don’t want anyone to know this is because I don’t want to be asked to play for anything! If there was one thing that caused me more stress during school, it was a piano recital!

Ask my husband, my parents or my college roommates and they will agree with me when I say that you would not have wanted to be around me as the time for a recital drew near. I spent weeks dreading these single events. And with each passing day, my stomach churned, my thoughts were scattered and my mood was up and down like the world’s largest roller coaster! I even dreaded events that happened near the date of the recitals because I knew when those were over, it would be time for the dreaded event. As much as I loved learning about music, listening to music and even playing the piano on my own, I downright hated recitals with a passion! I sure didn’t handle the stress and dread of these situations well at all. But in the end, I would hardly call a music recital true suffering.

As I learn more about our sweet Jesus, I am truly amazed by him! Here he is, celebrating the Passover just hours before his trial and crucifixion, and he says he has “eagerly desired” this Passover meal! I was wondering what the original language would have said for this phrase “eagerly desired” and found out that “eagerly” means “to long for, to covet.” “Desired” was explained as, “(in context where the desire is positive), coveting, craving.”

So here is Jesus, coveting this meal, positively desiring and craving this single moment. And in the midst, he is completely mindful of the events about to happen. In his presence is Judas who is about to completely destroy any relationship they shared. He shares this moment with a group of weak men that are about to turn their backs on him out of fear for their own lives. He is completely aware of the physical suffering that his body will endure. He has knowledge of the horrible, indescribable separation from his heavenly Father that would take place and the unbearable burden of taking on all the sin of this world. My mind cannot even begin to comprehend the dread he must have suffered. And yet, he craved this moment.

Did you get that? He coveted…longed for…desired this moment just hours before all the horrible events were to take place! Evil and weakness swirled all around him in that room and yet he desired this very occasion. I can only think of two reasons he was able to eagerly enjoy the Passover meal. First of all, he was focused on the grand scheme of things. He didn’t think about the hours of suffering right before him; he focused on the eternity of glory and worship that would unfold in the end. Second, he enjoyed this moment because he deeply loves you and me! He was excited for us because he knew all of history was changing, prophecy was being fulfilled and death was going to be defeated all because he loves each of us!

Oh how I wish I were more like him! I am deeply thankful I live on this side of the cross so we can learn from his life and apply his wisdom to our own lives. I am thankful he was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15) so that he can sympathize with our weakness. He understands our dread. He knows our worries. Yet all we have to do is focus on him and the grand scheme of life. And only then will our problems fade in all His glory! And who knows, we might just begin to eagerly desire those hard yet precious moments!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


“The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you…and I will give you rest – everything will be fine for you.’” Exodus 33:14

Maybe I’ve used this verse too often but it is a promise I hold dear to my heart. It is a Word from God that I have clung to…squeezed so tightly to with white knuckles…desperately cried out reminding me of God’s truth!

In the summer of 2006, Troy was accepted for the Military scholarship for medical school. Although I was his loudest cheerleader and supporter in this decision, it was not without much anxiety and fear deep in my heart. I pretended everything would be fine and I became known in my family as the one who said, “Everything’s going to be fine!” I kept saying it over and over again trying to convince others I was fine and trying to convince myself.

But inside I was a wreck. I was a mess. My heart and mind were cluttered with so much stress and worry. I sometimes couldn’t see what was right in front of me because the anxiety was so thick. I remember after we found out where we were moving, my brother asked me what was on my mind one day. In a fraction of a second, my immediate response was Washington! I didn’t even hesitate one bit to answer about anything else…it was as if I was on auto pilot and everything was flying toward the fear of the future. It was in every thought, every conversation, and every moment of my day. The anxiety became so bad when we were under a year away from moving I even began to struggle with anxiety attacks.

One night, Troy was praying for me after one of my weakest moments. He mentioned in his prayer that this way of life, full of worry and empty of peace, was not what God intended for me or for anyone! So I kept clinging to the promise.

Today is Thanksgiving and we are in Washington, away from our family and dear friends back home. Our Thanksgiving plans this year were to stay home and have a family celebration on our own and to be thankful for what God has done in us these past few months…and years! And you know, I realized this morning that I have had more peace in my heart since we have been here than I have the past 3 years! And it is not because of anything I have done or anything that has happened here. It is simply a fulfillment of God’s promise. He personally came with us. He has given me peace…and everything truly is fine!

So if I had to choose just one thing to be thankful for this year, I would be thankful to be in Washington. For only when we are in his will, following his plan will we have a true peace deep in our hearts. It’s a promise He’s given us. And I testify that this promise is true and He will do as He says!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Humble Confession

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!...You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:32-33, 36

I pulled my car up to a parking spot at Starbucks today as I was anticipating a much needed moment to myself. My eyes caught a glance at three people who were walking across the parking lot coming from the opposite direction and my first thought was judgment of how they were very different. And I hate to admit it but I actually dreaded going in because I knew they would be right in front of me in the line. By the looks of them, I wanted to steer clear of them and be alone.

Of course, as I entered the store, they were ordering and my position in line would be directly behind them. The group consisted of 2 females and 1 male probably in their early to mid twenties. According to my own description, I would characterize them as “awkward”. Their humor and conversation seemed a bit childish and, it’s sad to say, I kept my distance in line, not to be associated with them. The male made it very clear that he was treating everyone this day and no one was going to argue with him. As I continued to keep my eyes and head toward the opposite direction, I felt him glaring at me and could tell from my side vision, he was waving at me. To keep from his judgment on me, I smiled politely and looked the other way. Then, the unimaginable happened! Before he payed, he turned to me and speaking to Starbucks staff member, said, “And what she wants!” I instantly began to decline his offer to pay for my drink however he continued to insist. Even one of the females turned and said, “He’s being a good Samaritan today!” After refusing three times to let him pay, he crossed his arms, leaned back against the counter and stared at me with wide eyes, saying, “I’m not going anywhere until you order!”

So I ordered.

I got a free drink today from someone I sat in judgment of just moments before accepting this gift. I took one look at these people, made up in my mind that they were different and decided to have nothing to do with them. Oh, how it breaks my heart to say this!! In every area of my life, I wish I were more like Jesus. But if I had to pick one of my favorite things about Jesus it would be how he loved all people. And I’m not saying he was polite to everyone; he deeply loved every person He came into contact with. I love how his group of disciples ranged from a tax collector to fishermen. He ministered to the poorest of the poor and to high end religious and political leaders.

I hate to admit it but it’s easy to love people like ourselves. It’s easy to serve those who live like we do. It’s easy to have compassion on the pretty people.

Oh, God! Forgive me! Fill me with love, service and compassion for all Your people!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homesick With a Purpose

"...Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah." 1 Samuel 16:13

After my freshman year of college, I recall sitting with my mom on our back porch, lamenting on how homesick I was! As we spent the cool morning chatting, memories flooded my mind of all the events that had taken place in that very spot. So many family parties lit by candle light into the dark hours, slumber parties on mattresses in the screened in porch, graduation and birthday parties, cookouts with friends, and the list goes on and on. My heart ached. I just wanted to stay home where things were familiar and comfortable. Being away seemed so pointless and meaningless. But I clearly remember the wise words of my mom and it replays vividly in my mind even to this day. She simply said, "Maybe God is preparing you for the future."

It was about four years later that my husband and I moved back to Louisville after living our first year of marriage only an hour away from home. Remembering that single day with my mom, I giggled to myself and sighed a sigh of relief as I recalled her words. I came to the wrongful conclusion that God wasn't preparing me! I was home with my husband and we had plans to raise our family in Louisville!

As I write this post 9 years later, those homesick feelings overwhelm me once again as I sit in my home 2000 miles away from "my old Kentucky home". I realize that my mom was right. God was preparing me! And now my eyes have been opened to see just how He took those years of college to prepare me for this very time in my life. But it also leads me to wonder what He might be doing today to prepare me once again for His plans for beyond the here and now.

I always wonder how David felt after he was anointed by Samuel. First Samuel 16:13 strikes me as a bit funny when it says, "Then Samuel returned to Ramah." That's it? What in the world just happened? David was anointed king, the priest left and he returned to the sheep in the fields. I often wonder what he would have been thinking as he came up on the hill to his lowly job of shepherding. Did it all seem so meaningless? I wonder if he, too, giggled at the idea of plans for him to be king in the future. Not only did he continue his job as a shepherd but then became a servant to the king...a servant! Not his top advisor or right hand man but a servant! Of course, as we read on, it's obvious to us that God was using that time to prepare him for his kingship. And I'm sure David looked back on his life and saw, too, the time of preparation.

But in the midst of our current situations, it's hard to see the purpose. Things may seem meaningless, small or pointless. But as we learn from David, God is preparing us, too! How exciting it is to come to that realization. And what peace it brings knowing it's all part of God's plan. But the most exciting part to me is that, in the end, God is always glorified!!

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (Ephesians 2:10) What an honor to have God look at us and anoint us for His purposes. We may not be king but we can rest assure whatever it is, it's all part of his plan!