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, December 26, 2011

Eileen...my hero

Over the river and through the woods...and that truly was the drive to Grandmama Eileen's house. Eileen, the truest depiction of a lady, was my hero in many ways...

After surviving the curves of the TN mountains, it was always a relief to see the sign read "Sunset Drive" for we knew the aroma of fantastic southern cooking awaited us along with the firm yet loving squeezes and hugs of our sweet Eileen. Nothing beat that single moment. Even today, my mind can take me back at any moment, to that precious home and experience it all over again...and in my mind it will always be, even if only in my thoughts. Eileen took charge in her kitchen as much as an experienced and well-trained chef would. Her arthritic hands could create the most beautiful desserts, divine mashed potatoes and most amazing fried chicken. Her talent and attention to detail ran every recipe and her ability to make a "pretty party" (as my mom says) always made for the most memorable family gatherings. Her oblong table, which seemed to dominate the dining room, never went without a beautiful and starched white table cloth. Fine china and crystal goblets surrounded the table and beautiful silver pieces decorated each setting. And after all her hard work, family gathered around to tell stories of old. Eileen would sit at the head of the table, ever so quietly, smiling and soaking in every single moment of her family all together.

Eileen, a true lady, soft spoken, shy, quiet...will forever be my hero.

I don't recall much of her speaking of her faith, however, there was never a deep necessity for her actions spoke all we needed to hear. Church attendance regularly occupied her weekends. She remained loyal and respectful to her husband. Her entire life focused on serving others. She gave and gave, never thinking of herself...gave of her time and talent. Her Bible always sat in plain sight and wore an aged and used appearance.

Eileen, a true servant of our great God, a follower of Christ...will forever be my hero.

My lovely hero lived her last day on this earth this week. She now resides with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet Eileen will always remain my hero. I will forever treasure her and remember her. And I hope and pray I can pass on the legacy she handed down to me as beautifully and elegantly as she did.

Eileen, resident with Christ in eternity, living in final peace...will forever be my hero.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mighty Triumph

"Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless.  With God's help we will do mighty things for he will trample down our foes."
Psalm 108:12-13

Enemies haunted David throughout his life.  They wanted nothing more than for David to be rid of and forgotten forever. (Ps. 109:15) 

However, David sought the Lord.  In all things, he desired God to be glorified.  And although the enemy's goal was to destroy, God had mightier plans.  The enemy desired David's name never to be remembered, God trampled over the enemies and his kingship lasted.

Despite the evil plot against David, he is remembered even today.  Countless people learn of David and his life all over the world.  He has never been forgotten, thanks to our great God!

David by Michelangelo in The Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence

I know the same enemy attacks me daily.  Pride...fear...selfishness...they all fight for control in my life.  But I must believe that God, and only God, will help me overcome in mighty ways.  He will trample...and triumph!

"But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone.  For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them." 
Psalm 109:30-31

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I hope...

Christmas...sometimes just the word stirs my heart...makes my heart skip a beat.
The whole year long, I plan...
Anticipating the gifts and the candy and the food and the parties...and the list goes on and on.

Yet when the time arrives, the excitement only falls to the ground with anticlimactic feelings.
Is it all really worth it?

I put my hope in gifts only to find the excitement smothered like the clouds smother the January sun.

hope to impress my guests so I plan and cook and labor on my feet in the kitchen...
 hour after hour...
 only to crash into bed at night wondering, "Was it really worth it?"

And, oh, the decorations!  Hopefully they will be perfect...
maybe a lovely hint of Southern Living
or as chic and stylish as HGTV.

In and of themselves, the things for which I hope are not so bad.
However, it is my prayer that those hopes fade next to the manger.
I desperately hope the worldly things diminish next our Lord.
I hope my hope is heavenly.

"We are merely moving shadow,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth, not knowing who will reap it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My hope is in you."
Psalm 29:6-7

Friday, October 14, 2011

What Do Your Walls Say?

While the enemy smothered, overwhelmed and struck with seemingly unending power, Habakkuk cried out to the Lord in utter helplessness.  Nothing seemed to ease the suffering.  No help hung over the horizon.

And then God spoke.

God knew every detail, every hint of evil in the hearts of the Chaldeans.  And in the end, God reigned.

In His message of woe to the enemy, one single verse struck a chord deep in my heart... 

"The very stones in the walls cry out against you, and the beams in the ceiling echo the complaint."
Habakkuk 2:11

Even the walls of their homes sensed the evil.  I imagine the eariness one might feel walking through the doors of their big houses built through dishonest gain.

But before I could go on any further, splattering judgement on their homes, God turned it around and, in my heart, asked me the question:  What do your walls say?

As my children grow older and create more memories, what will they remember?  Someday, they will leave our home to begin their own families...what will our walls speak to them?

Laughter in the Walls
by Bob Benson

I pass a lot of houses on my way home,
some pretty,
some expensive,
some inviting -
but my heart always skips a beat
when I turn down the road
and see my house nestled against the hill.
I guess I'm especially proud
of the house and the way it looks because
I drew the plans myself.
It started out large enough for us -
I even had a study -
two teenaged boys now reside in there.
And it had a guest room -
my girl and nine dolls are now permanent guests.
It had a small room Peg
had hoped would be her sewing room-
the two boys swinging on the dutch door
have claimed this room as their own.
So it really doesn't look now
as if I am much of an architect.
But it will get larger again-
one by one they will go away
to work,
to college,
to service,
to their own houses,
and then there will be room-
a guest room,
a study,
and a sewing room
for just the two of us.
But it won't be empty-
every corner,
every room,
every nick
in the coffee table
will be crowded with memories.

Memories of picnics,
parties, Christmases,
bedside vigils, summers,
fires, winters, going barefoot,
leaving for vacation, cats,
graduations, first dates,
ballgames, arguments,
washing dishes, bicycles,
dogs, boat rides,
getting home from vacation,
meals, rabbits and
a thousand other things
that fill the lives
of those who would raise five.
And Peg and I will sit
quietly by the fire
and listen to the
laughter in the walls.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Almost A Stifle

The most stressful moments of a single day always insist of moving my children from point A to point B...in a parking lot! 

"Hold my hand!" 
"Watch out!" 

Blood pressure rises.  Tone of voice, serious.  Not to mention the heavy burden of trying to appear to be the perfect mom by keeping my cool, all the while my insides run wild!

Many times, I miss a precious moment tucked in between these hair raising experiences.  For instance...

We finally approached the door yet my motherly control still wanted knowledge of every finger and toe's whereabouts.  My youngest, age 3, darted away from me with all the confidence of the world.  My heart pounded.  Frustration elevated.  And in that brief moment, I just about missed it.

He approached the door, spread out his arms as though he were just about to embrace the world with a giant hug, his chest puffed out with confidence as he stood facing the door...waiting for "the force".  Sure enough, the doors swung open simply through the power of his presence! 

Right at the moment I about landed into him for running off, a stranger giggled at the humor of this little child.  The eyes of my heart opened at the sound of the giggle and I realized I almost missed it.  Consumed with things going exactly as I had planned, I almost missed a humorous and memorable moment.  My need to control almost stifled a memory.

And then I remembered...

"Do not stifle the Holy Spirit."
(1 Thessalonians 5:19)

The need to control my life interferes often.  I wonder how many moments I have missed because of my tight fist hold on life.  And I question how many times have I stifled the Holy Spirit, stuffing him down into the depths, ignoring his prompting, all for my control's sake, only to miss an opportunity...

to grow.
to evangelize.
to encourage.
to endure with peace.
to walk forward with joy.
to be in God's will.

I leave you with this prayer...

"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong."
Ephesians 3:16-17

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Command of Courage

It chokes, steals, robs.

Suffocates, drowns, overwhelms.


The word itself strikes a nerve deep within my soul.
Fear consumes my thoughts and actions everyday, even beyond consciousness.

As my little ones innocently play at the local park, fear sits right alongside of me...
My thoughts run rampant...
Please don't fall!
Is he "stranger danger"?

Our family calling to homeschool, a blessing yet a potential home for the enemy of fear.
My worries run wild...
Am I doing everything right?
Will I ruin my children?

At the moment of desperation...
in the deepest depths of fear,
the Holy Spirit simply whispers to my heart the same words he spoke to Joshua, thousands of years ago...

"This is my command - be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Terror to Joy

The time is here.

A time in which no one wants to come face to face.
A time people wander in darkness...

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

News Headline:
"Massachusetts Man Plotted to Blow Up Pentagon..."

There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. 

News Headline
"At Least 16 Dead After Massive Typhoon..."

These are the beginning of birth pains.
“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

News Headline:
"Iranian Pastor Faces Execution for Refusing to Recant Christian Faith"

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

News Headline:
"Colorado Boy Pleads Guilty to Killing Parents"

Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."
Mark 13:5-13

What are we going to do about it?

"I trembled inside when I heard this;
my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,
and I shook in terror...
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights."
Habakkuk 3:16, 18-19

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Faithful Abundant True

Today marks a beginning...a new Bible study.

My eyes have scanned over many Bible studies and the ink of my pen has marked, circled and written various and numerous answers.  But have I truly grasped the depth and richness of
God's Word?

I pray the following words from
will grab your heart and change you as it has me.
(All Scripture is from the New American Standard Version)

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
2 Peter 1:20-21

"For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you receive the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe."
1 Thessalonians 2:13

"If the Bible is what it says it is - and comes straight from the mouth of God - how important is it that you pay close attention to it?  Have you?  Have you honored it as it should be honored?  Or have you preferred the writings - the books of men and women - above God's Word?"
(Kay Arthur)

May we never replace the holy Word of God with anything!

No blog, no book, no magazine, will ever change us like the
Word of God!

No calendar, no schedule, no job could ever be as important as the
Word of God!

No person, no place, no thing will ever penetrate our hearts as the
Word of God!

It's a simple truth.
We must live and breathe
God's Word.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Strike Three...You're Not Out!

After piling in the car on a hot, Saturday afternoon, determined to have a fun and free afternoon, our family headed to the state park.  Anticipating the fresh, soothing smell of salt water combined with the attempt of skipping a few rocks over the beautiful Puget Sound water, smiles decorated each face. 

A curve here and a curve there, through the tall evergreens of the northwest (which always tempts me to bellow out, "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we'd go...") we traveled to our destination.

The excitement grew thick in our car the closer and closer we got...finally arriving only to find a blow to our plans.  To park a car, a $10 pass must be attained.  So much for our free entertainment.

Strike one.

An exit followed by whines and whimpers led us to a ride through the countryside.  (Once again, the bellowing temptation surfaced yet I still overcame it...my children would thank me, if they only knew!)  Plan B: enjoy the sights and sounds of the local Farmer's Market.  After pulling out our family's best friend, Gracie (our GPS), she led us out of the country and back to the city.  Upon arriving and parking, we soon found out we arrived 15 minutes late...all the cinnamon rolls and flowers, soaps and fine meats, herbs and crafts were being packed away as we walked up to the market.

Strike two.

No worries, another great idea surfaced!  "Let's go see the boats!"  Just walking distance away, sailboats of every kind docked for the evening.  This particular dock has become a family favorite.  Yet, once again, our plans squashed right before our very eyes.  The unanticipated, frustrating sign loomed ahead of us, "Closed for private party."

Strike three.

So we headed home.

Disheveled.  Disappointed.  Down right frustrated.  Back home without a single plan coming into reality.  A "Woe is me!" attitude thickened the atmosphere.  The protests began, "But we didn't get to do anything!"..."I don't wanna go home!"..."I wanted to see the water!"

How many times we get knocked over in our days because our plans just don't work out the way we had hoped.  I find that usually the small things do the most damage in my heart.  But God has a gentle way of reminding of the simples things...

A family made of three absolutely precious children and the most loving husband ever!
A home, as dated as it is, to keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summers.
The opportunity to see my children learn and grow daily, right before my very eyes.
Living in a state drenched in beauty all around.

And the list goes on and on and on.

And then I remember...I am so blessed! 

How has God blessed your day?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Favorite: A Rain Shower

Early Thursday morning, as the sun was rising in the east, the morning sky's hue displayed baby blue with soft fluffy clouds like the cotton my children use for their sheep crafts.  An ideal morning to bring in the start of a new day. 

Sitting in my cozy "Tent of Meeting", listening to the Word of God speak, a simple surprise gifted the moment.

A rain shower.

Blue sky and all, the rain watered the dry, end of the summer ground bringing refreshment to the grass and flowers.  It was as though the Lord sent the rain for my house only...a gift from above.  And then the Lord reminded me...

"Let my teaching fall on you like rain;
let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
like gentle showers on young plants."
Deuteronomy 32:2

Do you have a favorite moment from this past week?  Please share!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Good Find

"I simply argue that the cross he raised again
at the center of the market place
as well as on the steeple of the church,

I am recovering the claim that
Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral
between two candles;

But on a cross between two thieves;
on a town garbage heap;
At a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan
that they had to write His title
in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek...

And at the kind of place where cynics talk smut;
and thieves curse and soldiers gamble.

Because that is where He died,
and that is what he died about.
And that is where Christ's men ought to be,
and what church people ought to be about."

written by George MacLeod

Monday, September 5, 2011

Number Our Days

A quiet reminder echoed in my thoughts today.
A reminder that the ordinary moments of today....

will soon be distant yet precious moments in pasttimes.

Soak them in...
Stop to enjoy...
Remember...for they won't always be this way.

Someday they won't thrive on coloring shapes...bigger and better hobbies will replace washable markers and crayons.

Taking baths will be for little girls...time for make up and curlers and fashion.

Puppy towels will no longer be fun and exciting...just your basic white towel will do.

The mini soccer goal won't hold them any longer...nor will the desire to rest inside one.

Things that seem hard today...like studying and moving away and youngsters running all around the house...will become precious and sweet and a time to reflect on as a time of growing.

"Teach us to number our days,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday's Favorite: Rocket Blast

How can it be Friday...once again?
How time flies ever so quickly...especially when you're having fun.

My favorite this week...

Dirty dishes piled up in the sink.
Food dried on the plates before the cleaning brush even had a chance to shine.
The kids climbed into bed a little late...without bathes.

But a favorite moment birthed out of the spontaneity.
Before the sun sunk beyond the horizon, a family quick trip to the park arose.

Big boy Henry waited anxiously to see the blast off.



Little feet and legs...big feet and legs...all the same, racing after the rocket in hopes to recover every part.

A rocket blast.
A moment blasts from an unplanned event.
All had a blast!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goats and Sheep OR Christ

As the sun arises launching the new day, a heavy burden haunts the forethought of every mind. The fresh dawn soon becomes disheveled by the numerous, sinful possibilities. The burden weighs heavier than the camel’s load migrating through the wilderness.

The Lord spoke and his words remain absolute.

The weight of perfection hovers over their souls, beyond their reach…outside the realm of possibility.

The infinite supply of goats and sheep, birds and turtledoves, choice flour and olive oil wait for the moment of sacrifice for the need is immense.

Each second of the day and every single step painstakingly consumes the mind for fear of being the next one to prep the way with the forewarning, “Unclean!”

The vast expectations bring about heavy hearts and distracted minds.

How is one expected to obey every law, every last command and remain spotless at all times? For even sin committed beyond their awareness must be confessed and presented as a sin offering before the priest.

Perfection is simply impossible.

In the book of Leviticus, the Lord reveals to Moses the lifestyle in which one is to live in order to be pure and righteous before the Lord. The laws, seemly reaching eternity, encompass expectations to guide the Israelites. As a result, these laws inundate them beyond comprehension.

The finite rituals consumed every thought, every deed, every waking moment.

Before Christ, God’s unattainable expectations struck fear in the hearts of those who sought him. The painstaking truth was the law could not bring righteousness.

“For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands.
The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”
(Romans 3:20)

However, through Christ, righteousness becomes reality for all people.

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ…For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”
(Romans 2:22-24)

So enjoy the goats and sheep, birds and turtledoves, choice flour and olive oil. They no longer force us down the trail to righteousness.

All we need is simple faith.

Through faith in Christ Jesus, we find freedom from the great expectations of the law and we receive the righteousness God intended for our hearts from the beginning of time.

You have a choice: goats and sheep…or Christ.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Little Ones

Sunday, a day for rest.

Being the day prior to starting back our homeschool schedule, today did not feel much like a day of rest.  My husband's work schedule demanded his presence yet his presence at home was needed and desired deeply.  A trip to the busy grocery always raises the stress level especially when my daughter persistently argues about this and that...a simple answer never does the trick.  The "Can we get this," and "Mama, can we buy that," escalates, followed by a firm "No...don't ask again." 

"Pick up your toys."
"Clean your room."
"Put your dirty clothes away."

and on...and on...and on.

My patience has been pulled this way and that way, now holding on by only a frail thread.

With all my might and a whispered prayer for strength, I open the Bible to read...

"Let the little children come to me..."
(Matthew 19:14)

Jesus, carrying the weight of the world, stopped the most important moment, to bring a child into his arms.

Jesus, the King of the universe, always found time for the smallest ones. 

These children are gifts, given to me by the Father.  How many times have I dismissed them, shoved their immediate needs behind my "to do" list, turned a deaf ear to their imaginary story?

Oh, Lord, forgive me.
Empower me to be like Jesus.

Please, let the little ones come to me so that I may experience your joy and learn more about Your love for little 'o me. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday's Favorite: Birthday

It's FRIDAY!!!

What has been your favorite moment this week?

I had several within one...
celebrating my son's 8th birthday!

Moving 2400 miles away from all we ever knew has made our family traditions twist this way and that.
Birthdays before our move always were defined by family...


Now what? 
One thing's stayed the same...


Creativity ran the course planning out skype times with grandparents.

For a boy with milk allergies, a special, homemade, cheeseless pizza highlighted the evening.

Of course, a birthday wouldn't be a birthday without a bit of spoiling our new 8 year old a few special gifts.

The evening fades with shiny candles, a big breath and a wish come true.

What a blessed week!

Until next Friday, wishing you many favorites!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Job on this Earth

My little ones have one job at this point in their lives. 
And they're good at it!

They play from dawn til dusk,

on happy days or sad days...

on sick days or healthy days.

We have one job on this earth...
glorify God.

We must glorify him from dawn til dusk,
on our worst days and our best days,
whether we feel like it or not.

We are here to
glorify God!

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people."
Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Taking a lovely stroll by the water always ends a perfect date night. 

The boats float on water like feathers.
An occasional seagull interrupts the stillness.
The creaks of the boats' rocking play loud enough to soothe...
soft enough to lullaby.
The salty air breathed in relaxes the soul.

Lined up like dominoes, boats dock for the night.

Fishing boats.
Quite a plethora of fine boats for fun in the sun.

Until you see that one...
the one that stands out among all the others.

No, it's not the biggest.
Not the grandest.


We are not called to "fit in".
We were not created to be "cool".
We are meant to be different...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit...
those who mourn...
the meek...
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...
the merciful...
pure in heart...
the peacemakers...
those who are persecuted because of righteousness..."
(Matthew 5:3-10 NIV)

"...love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you..."
(Matthew 5:44 NIV)

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility consider others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others."
Philippians 2:3-4

"Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only."
Luke 4:8

Many heavenly blessings to you as you live your life...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday's Favorites!

After long days of potty training, picking up toys and on a good day, catching up on laundry,
a family supper is just what I long for all day. 

Daddy's finally home and delicious food is waiting to be devoured.  
I find myself trying to soak a moment to sit and relax;
 however, in a shorter time than it took to prepare, the kids are off to play. 

And then dirty dishes decorate the table.  Crumbs encircle each chair, including Daddy's. :)

More often than not, before the rush of evening and bedtimes and Bible story begins,
my loving husband asks the question,
"What was your favorite part of the day?"

One by one, sweet little voices shout out their answers...

"Buying Oreos from Target!"

"Getting stickers on my chart!"

"Finishing 'Charlotte's Web'!"

Ahh, the sounds of our favorites.  It doesn't get any better than this!

Each Friday, I invite you to join me in sharing your
Friday's Favorites. 
You have an entire week to decide what was most special to you. 
You may have one...you may have many. 

I'll start...

Watching my son enjoy soccer camp everyday this week.

On Wednesday, my daughter watered the garden.

Monday evening, my youngest held my hand rather than running with the others during an evening walk.

On Sunday, my husband and I bought plane tickets home!!

I so look forward to hearing your responses! 
May God truly open your eyes to the many blessings He has gifted you with each of your days.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Moment to Confess

If I were truly honest with you, I would tell you...

Even if my house was clean and neat the last time you were here, most days it's not.

I drink too much coffee.

I still get scared in the dark.

I'm 35 years old and still love the color pink. 

I have to pray every night that the Lord will help me get up in the morning...I'm not a morning person!

I'm extremely self-conscious around people.

Today, I was not a sweet mama to my children. 
I posted about Christ serving...it was meant for me more than for you...I forget sometimes my main job is to serve my children.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast."
(Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Little Feet. Big Lessons.


Just saying his name makes me giggle. 

Of my three little ones,
he's the only one who wears ketchup on his face all day long. 
Hiding behind three empty chocolate milk cups usually sits
2 clean smiles and one chocolate smile.
After a long day in the sun, Benjamin lay on his bed as I grabbed the newly packaged baby wipes, fresh in scent,
to wipe his little black feet. 

As I began to clean his little toes, on top, below and in between,
my thoughts wander to Christ in the Upper Room.

What would it have been like for Jesus to wash my feet? 
I can only imagine the humility that swarmed the room as the disciples sat in silence...waiting for their turn.   

"Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron."
(John 13:3 Msg.)

Jesus Christ. 
Put in charge of everything.
Cleaning the feet of sinners.
A true servant.

I love how the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts...
ever so quietly...ever so gently...in such little ways. 

The Holy Spirit used little feet to walk me down a path 
of remembrance of our beautiful Savior,
a servant.

The Holy Spirit used little feet to bring to mind
the importance of serving,
as Christ did.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve..."

(Mark 10:45 NIV)

Glorious Presence

After reading through the instructions the Lord gave to Moses about the Tabernacle and the duties of the priest, as well as the many preparations that must take place to meet with God (Exodus 25 – 30), my mind was blown away.  Frustration overwhelmed me for I could not grasp the fine details of this foreign lifestyle.  My heart was astounded by the differences of then and today.  There were even moments I found myself asking the Lord to forgive me for my mind would wander to my daily plans or wondering what the children were doing…distractions overcame.  
Many times as I read the Bible, lack of comprehension causes much frustration.  That was thousands of years ago and it seems as though nothing of today resembles the lifestyles of those times.  How am I to ever understand or fully comprehend what God was expecting of Moses, Aaron and the Israelites?  What is the meaning of all this in my personal life in the year 2011?
I pray with time and study, God will reveal more of His Word to me.  However, in this one moment, I came across two verses that God pulled out as if it were a three dimensional text.  “These burnt offerings are to be made each day from generation to generation.  Offer them in the Lord’s presence at the Tabernacle entrance; there I will meet with you and speak with you.  I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence.”  (Exodus 29:42-43)  The beautiful Holy Spirit highlighted three phrases: “each day”, “I will meet with you” and “speak with you”.  The offerings were to be sacrificed each day.  Not once a week.  Not when it’s convenient.  Not on special holidays.  But each day!  When we chose to sacrifice our time each day to be with him, He will meet with us.  Sitting alone in a quiet room, up on a mountain top, away at a retreat center, wherever… when we go to meet with Him, we are never by ourselves!  And then, not only will he meet with us, he will speak to us.  Did you fully comprehend that?!  God, the creator of the universe, God of all gods, King of all kings, speaks to us!!!  That truth should make us tremble and fall to our knees in humility and awe! 
Our “tabernacles” in 2011 look very different than what is described in the Old Testament.  Mine is an oversized, beige chair in the corner of my family room with a Bible, journal, computer and pens.  Not quite as spectacular as the holy house of God in Exodus.  However, God remains spectacular.  I praise Him for meeting with me and speaking to me in my humble setting.  Someday, we will have the presence of God in a way we cannot imagine or begin to describe.  Until then, may each of us continue to be with him daily and anticipate the day of his presence before our very eyes for eternity!   Oh Holy Spirit, be present every day and speak to our hearts, guiding us in every way!  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Thank you!

Please share what God is teaching you and how he speaks to your heart!! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A War Within

The evening was delightful as I spent time with lovely people immersed in laughter and happiness. From the outside, things were going well and I was experiencing a wonderful time. However, take a peek in my heart and a different scenario was taking place. My mind was at complete war. Consumed with myself, I could hardly stand to be in my own skin. “Was I dressed appropriately?” “Did I just say that?! That’s not what I meant to say!” “Why didn’t I get a pedicure before I came?” “I hope my kids behave so that I look good.” Tormented by Satan’s lies, I endured the evening.

After the activities came to an end and I returned home, the evening review began and conversations replayed in my mind. I began to wonder if I should have said things differently…I contemplated why I wore the outfit I chose rather than a more appropriate one…I attempted to decipher whether I left a good or bad impression. And then it hit me: this is not the way God intended me to live my life.

I knew this way of thinking was wrong but why was I so consumed? Why did I put myself on such a high pedestal as though I was my own god? How could I ever change? Then God brought me to my knees and revealed to me the lack of time I had spent with Him in the last several days. With each passing day without time in His Word, my heart became entangled in self-absorption. He proceeded to guide me to Psalm 16, reminding me through His word that when I am apart from Him, nothing good can come from me. (Psalm 16:2) However, when I keep my eyes on Him, nothing will shake me, not even myself. (16:8) The only way I will ever be able to have joy is when I live this life on His path, not my own. (16:11)

It’s a cycle: I take my eyes off of Christ, focus on me and the result is painful and miserable. Reverse that cycle by taking my eyes off of myself and putting them on Christ; the result then becomes joyful and peaceful.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:5, 9

It’s simple, really. We cannot go through this life without Christ. Therefore we mush remain in Christ. For He loves you. And He desires you to live life to the fullest.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thank You, My Friend

Thank you.
Such simple words. A gesture any child can learn with a simple sign even before they speak. A phrase most commonly learned in the first day of a foreign language class. A saying used by all people, all over the world, with all backgrounds, day and night.

So how is it possible to truly express to someone a pure and deep felt thank you…
a thank you for their friendship?

How can I ever thank the God above for putting people in my life that become more than a simple greeting and grow into a committed, faithful and enduring relationship that lasts through time, distance and trials?

Thinking of the special people in my life,
Some friends were brief.
Some friends were seasonal.
Others are meant for a lifetime, planned out before it grew into existence.
But all of them are considered friends.

If you have ever…
Laughed with me
Met me for coffee
Chatted on the phone with me longer than expected
Sent me a personal e-mail
Studied God’s Word with me
Cried with me
Listened to me
Opened up your heart to me
Stayed a little longer while visiting our home
Deeply prayed with me
Lived with me
Sent a text message that only you and I could understand…
Then please know that my heart deeply thanks God for you.

I will never be able to creatively compose beautiful words or powerful writings to express what you mean to me but please remember this:
God put you in my life.
I never want to take you for granted.
And when we get to heaven, I want a thousand years with each of you!

So, for now, I leave you with the simple words…

Thank you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Zealous Heart

My three year old son cozied up in the grocery cart, surrounded by items about to be bought and played peacefully. I was in “mommy focused mode” as I walked isle to isle discerning the best shopping deals. My focus was so intent that I was oblivious to the world around me. That was until I saw him. Several yards before me was a homely looking man, shuffling his way through the store, appearing to be clueless as to why he was there or what he was intending to buy. I quickly jumped out of “mommy focused mode” to protective mom…don’t you mess with my child or else! In hopes to avoid any eye contact with the man, I stealthy attempted to steer clear. My mission became unsuccessful as he glanced over to see the small child hiding amongst the items in my cart. My heart beat faster as I witnessed him moving closer…and closer. His hand reached out toward my precious child and I put my foot on the led! Zooming past him at the speed of lightning, his muttered sentence replayed in my thoughts for the remainder of the day. In the heat of the moment, I could not understand his words. My focus was straight ahead and never once did I look into his eyes. But as I passed by, I reviewed the situation and recalled him saying something like, “Is he a certain price or by the pound?”
I realize in this day of age we must be careful with the possible dangers around us. However, the feelings I immediately felt following this situation stunned me. My heart was full of guilt. I looked at him in judgment; however, he was attempting to make small talk to a stranger. Looking back, there were plenty of people surrounding me that if I felt in danger, I believe others would have stepped up to help. And after hearing his words over and over in my mind, I concluded he was innocently trying to be friendly after seeing the sweet child. What breaks my heart further is what happened earlier that morning.
I began my day in Bible study. I had stated in prayer, just hours before, my desperate need for God and desired Him to deeply live through me. And when faced with an opportunity to show kindness, I ran. I crumbled in weakness and quenched the Holy Spirit’s power in me.
Paul confronts the Galatians on their returning to slavery. They were once zealous people for God but had begun to listen to the world and live in the slavery of legalism. He challenges them by saying, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.” (Galatians 4:18) How is it that I can begin my day in complete praise and zealous for God yet hours later, be enslaved to my own weakness and perspective? If I want to be zealous for God, I must be so to all people, at all times, wherever I go.
I may never see that man again. He may have brushed off the situation, never to think of it again. But I know if Jesus had been present, the entire scene would have played out differently. I must be zealous for God all the time. And if we all, who call ourselves Christians, lived in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, completely zealous for Christ, I just wonder what the world would look like!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Go Pitch Your Tent

Imagine the scene…Moses gathered all the materials and neatly arranged them in the cart for they were intended to build accommodations for the presence of God. Any place to be befitting of the appearance of God would need to be prepared with the greatest of care and the very best effort. Moses looked over the supplies, checking and rechecking, making sure every last detail was addressed thoroughly, accounting for every last peg. Taking a deep breath, Moses took his first step toward meeting with God.

He trekked his way out, some distance away from the camp. His heart must have been heavy as he remembered his return from the mountain and viewed the hideous, golden calf made by the Israelites. How was he supposed to enter God’s presence after such a rebellious act of His people? Would He be able to hear God’s voice? Yes, indeed, some distance from camp was necessary to meet God for He, himself, could not be in proximity to such evil. Moses would attempt to intercede for the Israelites in great hopes that God would forgive them. Anyone could come with Moses but everyone chose to stay at their own tents, content to look on at a distance in humility and awe.

But then the unimaginable happened. As Moses took the time to pitch the tent and enter, seeking God, The Almighty showed up in all His glory. He enveloped the tent with His presence through a pillar of cloud. The people remained at a distance, resisting their freedom to participate, and worshipped from the cheap seats. Although they stood in awe, they missed the chance of a lifetime. As they watched with their eyes, Moses heard with his ears. He heard God’s voice…loudly and clearly. It was as if he stood before his best friend and experienced an intimate conversation.

In reading Exodus 33:7-11, what would happen if we truly mimicked Moses? What would our lives be like if we took the time and effort to daily seek God? Are we content to sit in the cheap seats and watch God move or are we willing to go the distance, do the work and hear His voice? As I read this passage, I can’t get pass one single word…”anyone” (33:7). Be careful not to overlook this simple word! Anyone could inquire of the Lord, no matter their past. All it required was time and dedication to the work at hand. But they chose to remain where they were, struck by fear from the sins of their past. Moses was the one who heard God’s voice. Moses was the one who was blessed by the privilege to experience the presence of God. Those who remained in their tents did indeed worship but they did not feel the cloud of God on their skin. They did not hear the voice and words of God resonate in their ears.

We were made for more! We were made for more than observing. We were made for more than allowing a select few to do the work. We were made to experience God ourselves, no matter where we come from and no matter what sin lurks in our past. As we make the decision to seek His Word daily, we will hear His voice. We may have to go the distance but why would we chose anything different? Isn’t He worth it? I deeply pray that each of us will continue to seek our God with dedication, hard work and humility. Let’s make a commitment to pitching our tents daily and allowing God to surround us. Let’s give Him an opportunity to speak His word to our hearts. Let anyone and everyone inquire of our great God and may we personally experience His very presence!

Now, go! And pitch your tent!