morning I heard from a mom who has run out.So stressed and exhausted, she has run out of energy and emotional
reserves.It’s Monday, and she’s already
going on fumes before the week has even started.
lists the demands:Paperwork, finances,
making dinner, playing with the kids, work, making time for herself.It seems impossible when you put it all
down on paper.
been in that place so many times, especially when my kids were little and it
was not possible to stop being a mom when I was empty of strength.
come to the end of ourselves.And then
Lord, I can’t be
a mom for another second.
can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”(Philippians 4:13NIV)
Strength isn't something we pull up from inside us.
physically and emotionally drained.
been a mom for 18 years, so you can believe me when I tell you that God answers
a mom's prayer for help.
you want to know what one of my biggest struggles is as a parent?
know it sounds weird, but I’ve never been good at playing with my kids.I guess it’s my personality –very driven.I like to accomplish things.
don’t like to play games.Don’t really
enjoy doing stuff outside –would rather read a book in the house.Not very playful or creative.
watch other moms be fun and think, Why am
I not like them?
feel like I’m missing something.
here is my 18-year-old and my 15-year-old who have turned out good.Kind, intelligent, loving kids.Did I not ruin them withwhat
I lacked as a mom?
all I see is my deficit, and I forget the things I did well.
read a kajillion books and hugged often.Always tucked them in with a prayer.Talked about God all day long.Answered their questions.Went to
every game and performance.Spoke words
of love and affirmation.
moms, grab your cup of coffee and lean in across the table from me.
know you’re handicapped.I know there’s
something you think you should be as a parent but you’re not, and you’re
worried it’s going to ruin your kids.
is a prosthesis that makes us a whole parent.Love your kids with all your heart, and they’ll
find grace for what you’re lacking.
have.They seem to think I’m a good mom
despite my limp.
now these three remain:faith, hope, and
love.But the greatest of these is love.”(1 Corinthians 13:13NIV)
We’re going to
have to replace the whole door.$900.00.
rose.I had had a few hours to absorb
the news, but Matt was experiencing the gut kick at first impact.
Disagreement followed.He thought we should
handle it this way.I thought we should
handle it that. Words with a heated undercurrent that quickly
subsided as the bell clanged and we both pulled back to our corners of the
went to take a shower.When he came back
downstairs I sat down close to him on the couch and reached out my hand to his.
We’ve been here
before and have come through it together.
Yes, we have, he agreed.
but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”(Proverbs 23:5)
money.It was nice having you around for
a while –come again when you can stay longer!
dad has repeatedly chanted this mantra to me: It’s just money.
money, yes, but it can either be the hook that pulls our marriage apart or the
challenge we work through together.
we’ll do what we always do to handle
a tight money spot
on purpose and out loud to each other, the times when God has taken care of our
financial red zones before.
to tackle the problem with cash and not credit.
the problem:What do we have?What can we do?Make a plan.
for help, leaving room in the heart for belief that God can act beyond
each other tight in the kitchen (a free activity).Whisper sweet nothings (which are quite economical)
in each other’s ears.
of my son pulling me from a deep sleep, I had quietly slipped downstairs and
dropped to my knees on the living room floor.Body bent over with prayer.
the car the night before he talked about what the speaker had said.How it’s not enough to say you believe but
that belief has to get all the way to your heart.
about the 5-year-old, Native-American girl named Debra and the special-framed
picture his youth leader gave him as a gift.A picture of him reading Dr. Seuss to her.A memory of leaving a little bit of himself
on the reservation.
glimpse of God setting up camp in my son’s heart aroused a familiar longing in my
the rocking chair I sat with my hand on the womb.Feeling the kick of tiny feet within and
begging God with every rock back and every rock forward, Please Lord, please give me a child who will love You.
washing over me.Not afraid of birth
defects or still born.Afraid of giving
birth to a child who is all well on the outside and growing up strong but dark
of heart and despising God on the inside.
at 1:30 a.m. I prayed fiercely again for this boy now pushing six feet tall.
God for this child who chose to give his life to Christ at the dinner table
when he was five.
God for working in my son’s heart these last two weeks.
Please Lord, I
want more.I want him to have more than
just a youth trip summer experience with you.Please give me a child who will love You with all his heart and soul and
mind and strength –every day of his life.
is our greatest work as parents.Praying
for the souls of our children.
just spent a solid hour mowing the lawn in the heat of the day –with a
me-powered push mower.
dripping into my eyes.Down the small of
my back.(This is when you’re glad I
have no photography skills.)
through I knew I was dehydrated.My
morning coffee was long gone, and I desperately needed fluids.Too focused on finishing the yard to stop for
water, I pushed through.
I was done I stood over the sink for five minutes. Overheated and thirsty, I skipped getting a cup and just scooped water into my mouth, splashing it over my hot face.Why did I let myself get to such a miserable
church Sunday night the music started, and I felt nothing.Emptiness.No stirring of my soul by the music.No eager expectation for the Word.I had let myself get dehydrated.
the whole week thinking about teaching a class, writing blog posts, drafting a
Bible study, praying for a mission team.Thinking about the needs of everyone else’s soul –but not the needs my
while the music played I talked to God.Lord, I’ve poured myself out to others
without seeking Your ice-cold water.I’m
sorry, and I’m asking you now to please give me what Ineed.
preacher husband opened His mouth and spoke about the Lord Almighty’s word to
His priests –how they have to take it to heart to honor the Lord’s name
so they are filled up and have something to spill out over everybody else.(Malachi 2:1-7)
sermon ran down over my soul, and it was like God had been holding in His hand a
frosty glass dripping with condensation –just waiting for me to ask for a drink.
am that one who needs to carve out a take-it-to-heart time in my day.Opening the Bible for my own filling.Praying to God for my own soul’s rehydration.
channels last week I ran across this talk show where a nutritionist was talking
about rearranging the fridge to help us control what we eat. Watch a segment of that here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzVJI6ULOYk
said, “The vegetable crisper is where things go to die” and encouraged putting
the bad foods in there instead.I
thought, Is it really okay not to put
fruits and vegetables in the crisper?I’m
generally a nonconformist and love breaking the rules, but even this seemed
like a stretch for me.
I thought of Panda Express and how my daughter and I always ooh-aah over their huge
fridge stacked top-to-bottom with clear containers of beautiful cut-up
vegetables of all colors.Vegetables
always look so yummy at Panda Express, almost like you’d want to eat some.
don’t look that way at my house.
yesterday I pulled everything out of the fridge and moved it.*Gasp*.I put all the not-so-good-for-you stuff down there in the vegetable
crispers.(Is this really okay???)Ricotta cheese.Sour cream.Grape jelly.Caesar
pulled up all those fruits and veggies, put them in some Rubbermaid
containers, and put them on the shelves.Even was inspired enough to
wash some of them and get them ready to eat.
all that healthy stuff right out there where I can see it and put my hands on
it.A container full of carrots right
there on the top shelf?It actually made
me want to eat one.I know, right?
live in an age of Pinterest-surfing DIY-ers, but I’m guessing most of us only
do the surfing part.Speaking the words,
Wow, that’s a cool idea.And then moving on.Never acting.
every effort to add to your faith…self control.”(2 Peter 1:5,6NIV)
Effort.Doing it.Pulling the food out of the fridge and making a change.
is the difference between humility and timidity?
is a question I’ve been struggling with for months, as I’ve stepped out boldly
to say, I’m a writer.
how easily that leads to arrogance.
I’ve labored toward godly humility, but in the process I’ve stumbled over all
these verses in the Bible that talk about how, as a follower of Christ, I’m the
light of the world (the whole world?) and how I’m to bear much fruit
(a crazy amount of fruit?) and how I’m God’s masterpiece (His piece de
resistance, His magnum opus?)
don’t feel like humility kinds of verses.They say to me, Hey, you’re crazy
awesome with God’s Spirit living inside you, so live out loud!
is no charge for awesome.” –Kung Fu Panda.
tell me –how does godly humility fit together with light-of-the-world kind of
told Timothy, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God...for
God has not given us a spirit of timidity.”(2 Timothy 1:6,7)
of humility?Yes.Spirit of timidity?No.
interesting tension exists between boldness in using our giftedness and humility of
love this quote from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our
deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant
to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that
is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our
own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
imagine you have some crazy-good giftedness God has placed inside you for the
benefit of lighting up the whole world.Like a magnificent painting by a master artist.
me, stripping off the timidity means putting my soul on the internet in the way
of blog posts.What does bold light-shining
look like for you?
weekend my family spent the afternoon strolling through shops in the nearby resort
town of Whitefish, Montana.Just for fun
–pretending we were tourists for the afternoon.
wandered into a little clothing store where I fingered through the racks and
came upon THE most amazing pair of shorts.Matt had been encouraging me to buy a new pair for a while, and I fell
in love with these.
I looked at the price tag.$174.00
can I say?I have great taste.
Sigh.These shorts would have looked incredible on
me, I tell you, but since they were half our month’s grocery budget I decided
to pass them by.
single day for years I’ve opened up my closet to view a wardrobe that is farless
than what I wish I had.Discontentment gnaws as I look at my choices and think if
John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world…”(Oh man did I love those $174 shorts.)
to stop loving clothes, I started doing battle several years ago in front of my
closet in the morning.Lord, please help me.I started purposefully combating that soul-churning
feeling of discontentment by thinking of how much I have.
I opened up a drawer to choose some pants to wear, and I realized the first
feeling I had was one of thankfulness.Thank you so much, Lord, that I have a
choice of what to wear today.A
still doesn’t hurt my feelings to get new clothes, but I’m so excited that
after years of mental battle my very first thought is coming out as
thankfulness now instead of longing for more.
daughter, Jayme, and I were talking through treasures last night.
from China, coffee from Ethiopia, scarf from Cambodia, necklace from Belize,
earrings from Africa, picture from Scotland, bag from Mexico.
from friends at church who have gone out to tell the world about Jesus.
son just returned from spending a week with other teens who were shining the
light on a Blackfeet reservation, and tomorrow I’ll drive to the airport to say
goodbye to another group heading to the Czech Republic to shine the light of Jesus
in that beautiful country.
missionary who had spent a lifetime in Africa once visited our home.He was fascinating to be with.Told stories about the entire school where he
taught getting lice and how they sat out on the porch taking turns combing lice
out of each other’s hair.(He laughed out
loud, as if it was a precious memory.)
taught us how to sing Jesus Loves Me in Swahili.
dinner we talked about the world and how it needs Jesus.He looked me in the eyes and said, Everyone should have one foot in another
God so loved the world…”(John 3:16NIV)
despite the difficulty of life right in front of my face, I have a growing love for the world.The atheist in the
Czech, the boy with no mother in Haiti, the 5-year-old, Native-American girl in
Heart Butte who fell in love with my son, the Asian women who can’t afford
personal sanitary supplies.I care about
their eternal souls.
in seeing their faces and their struggles, my perspective on all that is
difficult in my life has changed.
of focusing on our own hard stuff today, I would love to hear what country or
people group God has put on your heart.Do you have one of your feet planted somewhere else around the world?
don’t know what you’ve been doing on these beautiful summer days, but I’ve been
reading a book –Extraordinary Ordinary
People, by Condoleezza Rice.Actually, my daughter’s supposed to be reading it as an assignment
before entering college, but I stole it.(I’m such a nerd!)
intrigued to read about Condoleezza’s experiences growing up in the most
segregated, racially hate-filled city in the south.
eating out because there was no restaurant where Blacks were allowed.
learning to swim until her mid 20s, because there was no pool where Blacks were
to use the bathroom until she got home, because there was no decent restroom
where Blacks were allowed.
that really just a generation ago???
her parents were determined and made the very best life in an ugly, extremely
became a master pianist.Became a
competitive figure skater.Began college
at the age of 16.Began a master’s
program at the age of 19.And we know
where she is now.
that leaves me thinking about environment.
writes from his environment of prison, “…whatever happens, conduct yourselves
in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”(Philippians 1:27NIV)
environment you find yourself in, choose how you’re going to act within it.
Condoleezza’s story makes me realize that if I don’t live a worthwhile,
meaningful life for Christ today, it’s no one’s fault but my own.
search hard for the cell number of our computer fix-it friend, after my
computer (where my whole brains are) won’t start up.
Do you have time
to help me with my computer today? I ask.
No, my schedule
is packed tight today.
quiet.He looks through the phone and
sees my head sagging in defeat and anxiety.
What’s it doing?
explain, and he walks me through steps to solve the problem.Me apologizing along the way.Sorry,
I know you’re too busy for this.If you
want to just let me know when you have time we can wait until then.
can sense he’s way too busy to be helping me today, but then he says, We’ll make this happen.You’re valuable.
way I had responded to my son earlier in the week came shamefully to my mind
–when he asked me to drive him somewhere and I moaned and acted like he was
ruining my whole life by his request.
long after my computer was fixed, my son was getting ready to go to the lake
with friends, and he asked me to iron a shirt for him.
To wear to the
Yes, he replied, and
I could tell that how he looked when he arrived at the beach was really, really
thought of how my too-busy-to-help-you friend told me I was valuable, and I
decided to treat my son like he was valuable.
Set up the
as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved [VALUABLE!!], clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”(Colossians 3:12NIV)
someone interrupts your busy day with a request, how do you respond?
my closet hangs a plastic mug rack, which I use for hanging necklaces.
full of jewelry, mostly costume, from a time when I cared more about
accessories.Now many of the necklaces hang
and never come out of the closet, so I have decided it’s time for them to go.
quickly and painlessly pull out about 20 necklaces that I never wear and lay them out on the bed.
I grab a long strip of bubble wrap.(Did
you know you can lay necklaces out on bubble wrap, wrap them up, and transport
them without tangles?)One by one I lay
each necklace out on the plastic bubbles.
one by one each piece becomes beautiful to my eyes, and I imagine what I could
wear it with, and I wonder how I could part with it, and I think how foolish to get rid of something so
lust of the eyes.
single necklace sings this song to me.Keep me.Each necklace that I have not worn for years sings the song.Keep
does this come from?This insatiable
desire to keep stuff, even stuff we don’t use?
lust of the eyes…is not from the Father, but is from the world.”(1 John 2:16)
keep wrapping.One piece after the
other.Fighting down the desire to keep
the little pretties.When it is all
wrapped up and the firm decision is made
to sell the whole lot in the garage sale –the song of hoarding quiets.
Does your stuff suddenly seem more amazing and essential when you decide to get rid of it?
decided I need a mom.Well, I have a
mom, but I need a mom in my house all day to say, Time to get off the computer and get some chores done.Someone to sternly command me to get with it.
yesterday I was home all day, and when I went to bed last night my bed wasn’t
made.It wasn’t because I didn’t have
time to make it.It’s just that I didn’t.And I didn’t empty my bathroom garbage can,
which is soon to be climbing-up-the-wall full.I could have, but I didn’t.
confession, right here out loud to all of you, is that I don’t always manage
myself very well at home.
31:27 says, “She watches over the activities of her household and is never
do that, too –well, the watching over the activities of my household part.Watching the dishes stack up.Watching the dust accumulate.Watching the paperwork pile grow.Is that what Solomon meant?
hard when you work at home all day, and there’s no one to hold you accountable
for what you choose to do in each hour.Easy to slip into idleness.And
you can finish the sentence, “Idle hands are the ________.”
it true?Is that Proverbs 31 lady never idle?She definitely must not have a Facebook
going to make quite an effort to stay hard at it all day long today, especially
to do some chores that I’ve been idling on.I will empty my bathroom
anyone else out there struggle with staying industrious all day long when you’re
at home by yourself?
something in me that wants every day to be fun and exciting –not work and laundry
and dishes and errands and lawn mowing, but I just read a story that is
changing how I view my day.
read a short biography about a young woman named Hilary who was discovered to
have the disease myasthenia at age 21.Muscle weakness slowly overcame her entire body until she was on a
respirator and feeding tube.“She could
not see, speak, breathe, swallow or move except for a sixteenth of an inch of
mobility in one toe and a much lesser movement in another.”A special machine called a POSM was rigged
that allowed her to type with this one muscle.
this one means of communication she lived a vibrant, creative life for
years.She wrote a book, had an
incredible sense of humor (Hilary means “hilarious”) and even received an award
from the Queen of England for the difference she made in the world.
is a poem she wrote called “My Answer”:
“I’m often asked
if I am bored,
And so I answer,
‘I am not’-
That now I can
accept my lot,
Remind the sadly
‘It is my body,
not my mind, in bed.’
frightened or in pain,
For this I thank
my God again.
I have many
My joy in them
Books to read.
“Although I can
no longer play
I can listen
rugby, tennis, cricket,
Add to this
A sense of
Killing that ‘depression’
“Now I have my
A miracle in all
No longer do I
have to wait,
My poems and
letters to dictate.
Just flick my
And type myself.
I have no time
to brood on health.”
Sometimes I hope a full life is something that will just happen to me
when I wake up every day, but after reading Hilary’s story I wonder if a full
life is something I work with Jesus every day to create –through thankfulness,
a sense of humor, a choice to live for him as much as I can with what I’ve got.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”(John 10:10NIV)
you “brooding” on something today instead of choosing to live a creative, full
taken from Twelve Who Cared by
Dorothy Clarke Wilson)