I have a new philosophy in life. Applying it has begun to save me a lot of stress. It’s simple in theory. Just Don’t Look This idea came to me in the car. I have four children and one on … Continue reading
While cleaning sewer overflow out of my basement carpet I considered the day ahead.
So many gaps...
Not yet 8am on Saturday morning and the day felt like it’d already been long.
How am I going to fill in the gaps?
My husband lay in bed, recovering from a surgery. He would be at home all day, recovering, resting… regaining his mobility.
Where are the resources to fill all the lack? How do I steward what little I have?
My ears stuffed with earbuds pumping celebration in toward my eardrums, my thoughts… I almost laughed out loud.
There is no way I will make it today!
Searching for answers, to truly be responsible with what little I have to stretch over the yawning gaps in resources for the day… just this day, not even tomorrow yet… searching for some kind of plan; a strategy… something…
“Go, I will cover you,” says the quiet voice in my knowing.
No plan. No detailed direction of how to go. Just, GO. I WILL COVER YOU.
I set my mind to it. One step at a time, I decided. Like walking on water. One foot in front of the other.
I can do this.
Look at the God who’s serving me… SERVING ME! The God who never ceases to provide, to amaze, to extend grace… He is covering me today. My job, according to Him, is to go and receive His provision in each step. To receive!
My job as wife, mommy, every other role I will play today… my job description in all of these is to move into receiving.
To discover what it means to live in grace – to see my gaping areas of lacking filled to overflowing with His grace covering me, providing. Me, my husband, my children… those who will touch our lives today. His overflow will increase in me, will increase me.
I don’t see it. I don’t see how my circumstances are possibly going to work today.
But I see God, who is more than able, at work for me.
And I receive.
We recently had an incredible surprise… We are unexpectedly expecting baby #5! Ironically, we discovered this precious little miracle within days of scheduling the appointment that makes adding to our family impossible. Paradoxically, we’d been grieving the end of our … Continue reading
There is a conflict I have been consistently refereeing among my children. I call it the battle of fairness and sameness.
As a mom I’ve made it clear with each child from the beginning that it’s not my job to make life fair, nor will I attempt to reach the standard of treating each child the same. Just the thought of attempting those impossible feats exhausts me. My children are far from identical, even if they all bear a resemblance and share their Daddy’s amazingly long eye lashes. Then there is the difference between the boys and my daughter… age differences factor in, and then each incredible personality comes into play. Fairness and treating everyone the same just doesn’t work in my mind.
That doesn’t mean that each child isn’t treated fairly, or that I don’t love them all with the same profoundly deep love that boggles my ability to understand it.
However, fair for one child isn’t fair for another. And showing love to my daughter in the same way my oldest son feels the most loved would (and has!) cause her to feel suffocated and irritable. Each of them loves it when I display that I know them well enough to know these individualities. They love being called out for their unique contributions to our family, and being fussed over for something their sibling can’t do as well. And all four of them have time in the limelight.
Just not all at the same time. Or even on the same day… or in the same ways. And this is where the battle comes in.
At times they get so focused on what they aren’t getting that all they see is what someone else has, or is receiving. They completely forget what they’ve got and what they were just given. Its like they forget who they are and what they like. Not only that, but when it comes to consequences, they completely forget that they were the ones choosing a behavior to begin with. Well… don’t we all at times?
I can’t make life fair for my children because I can’t make their choices for them. Nor can I forget that they are so incredibly unique, requiring different approaches and styles of instruction. What one child earns another child might get gifted, simply because without the gift they’d never reach the prize. It’s not fair. But the child who earned it needed the exercise in growth to reach his greater potential, while the child who got a gift wouldn’t have tried without grasping encouragement in his pudgy little fingers first. One child has privileges the others don’t enjoy. The others don’t have this child’s responsibilities either… it’s not fair. They are not the same people.
Isn’t it that way with adults too? I found myself complaining to God about the unfairness of a situation. His response was profound in my heart. Child, I didn’t create you for fairness. I created you to know Me and because I wanted to get to know you. I will always do what is right for you, and I will always place the opportunities for your greatest joy within each one of your days. And I will always be cheering you on to choose the things that are designed for your perfect life with Me.
We do this among ourselves though… We walk into a room and size up the competition. If it happens to be our turn in the limelight, life is so good – it’s fair. If we happen to be repeatedly watching others succeed or gain promotions it can be as if we forget who we are and what we really love in life because we aren’t getting the attention or things we see others possess. Jealousy’s monstrous voice says if it’s not fair to me, then it should all at least be the same for everyone… At times becoming so focused on what is fair or how to keep everything the same for everyone that we forget what truly brings us joy. Each of us have an opportunity for immense joy every day if we choose it; if we will settle down and be content with being different. Letting what is fair be different for each person and enjoying those differences.
Differences designed by Creator God, for His pleasure, for our joy should we choose it, and for purpose and destiny in His perfect plan for unity within His family. Just like in my own family, in His family we are all called out for our unique contributions and skills by His love; we all have moments in the lime light. Some of us work for what others are simply gifted. Some of us enjoy great privileges that others don’t because we don’t carry the same responsibilities. Some of us have to wait longer than others, and some of us receive a prize we’ve been waiting years to claim, while others begin their wait on the same day… none of it is fair.
to look; to direct your eyes toward something or someone, to think about a situation or subject carefully, to closely examine, a visual search or examination.
to approach;to come near to in quality, character, time or condition, to come within range.
recompense; make amends for loss or harm suffered, to compensate, compensation or reward given for loss or harm suffered.
Holy Spirit, how many wonders do you have? How can I possibly praise you enough for the miracles I have seen with my own eyes? You have made the impossible a reality, brought dreams to life and in miraculous ways You have protected those who know and love You. I have only to look back over my brief life to see the events that betray Your hand at work on my behalf, protecting me from dangers, sickness and even death. You have surrounded me, enveloped me and encased me in Your very presence. Though many have fallen prey and some have passed away, You have kept Your steadfast hand upon me. Lord, please, wake up the ones You love, who listen to Your voice, rise up in us the voice to call out for those who do not yet know the protection and healing, the life and power, You afford us at our invitation. Give us the voice and the faith to stand in Your grace and to pull others in with us, to know and to love You. Thank You for Your faithful action at the promise of Your Word. That those who turn away from sin, the arrogance of hurting others for the sake of selfish gain, the arrogance of our own understanding and pride in our own achievements without acknowledgement of You, of foolishness and ignorance; they are securely protected in You. Teach us all to know You, and to love like You so that we are all covered in Your promise. Amen.
“A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.”
With the children tucked into bed and the tea steeped and steaming, the house quiet and the heat filtering through vents, I peak out the window. Frost is already visible, glinting silver on blades of dying grass and bare twigs in naked trees.
The moon is low and and full, as if the light it carries is a heavy weight tonight.
Below the fog is lifting up from the wetlands and the evergreens on the foothills across the fields appear black and dense, with the flickering train light dancing airily through the bends over the river’s bridge, into the open for a moment, then back into dense black.
These moments, alone in my room after hours of being surrounded by people, these moments are the most precious and the most daunting. In the quiet I see the faces of those I’ve smiled at, loved on and been loved by, spoken to… I see their eyes… and I see so much more.
I see the weight of life, the struggling words within.
I see joy, I see futures and hope.
I hear words. Words that they shared, these beautiful people. Words accounting for things I’ve seen, and words hiding the things behind their eyes… words of secret pleading. Words of truth and words of masked uncertainty. Insecurity and expectation blend together as, in the silence, these words refill my ears.
Then the Lord invites me in.
It’s a place that inhabits my room, and opens up from within my mind; a peeling back of a veil and a stepping through in thought that I can feel in the air I sit in and draw breath from. Into this place I carry all these wonderful people, their eyes and their words. Everything that I have seen, I bring here.
Face to face and side by side, His arm around me, His presence pressing lightly down, surrounding me. I know the sound of His voice so clearly and it brings a soothing calm. I used to come here dressed in armor, ready to do battle in His name. What silly girl I was! Like going to bed with shoes on, is how I would enter this secret, intimate place.
Now, we sit in the quiet together. He already knows everything that I come to Him with. He knows each and every name, has seen each and every eye and heard each and every word. It was at His invitation that I was able to see; and together we speak the necessary words back, the healing words, the cleansing words. Words of comfort, of hope and of acceptance that each one needs. At times He invites me to pick up pen and paper and write a note that He speaks to one or another. At times I read His Word instead, and occasionally speak it out loud, back to Him. And sometimes we simply weep together, for there are some things that no words can heal.
I feel His heart beat, He is that close, and I know His smile, the astounding love in His eyes that breaks with the gut wrenching pain of some whom we have seen and heard. I have seen His jealousy, and know His patience well. His compassion is endless, His kindness so immense.
Every moment we are together changes me.
Every moment spent in His presence within this secret space fills me with something I cannot explain. I carry it back with me. Peace. Grace. Understanding? Thanksgiving. Humility. Adoration…
And before drifting off to sleep I often hear, “Thank you, Child,” and I feel the gentle embrace of His presence enfolding me within His love.
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
In the Bible God simply speaks (sometimes just breathes!) and it happens. Life as we know it, people healed, people raised from the dead, trees withering… all with the breath of a word.
The Holy Spirit woke me up this morning for an amazing time of ministering to my son and husband through words. And it struck me during this time, how incredibly meaningful each and every word is. How each word has the power to bring life, to put to death, to cause emotion and to put into effect whatever it’s meaning is.
I heard a sermon recently sharing that God takes complaining very seriously. When the Israelites complained in the desert, what was a 2 week journey ended up becoming 40 years, until the complainers died out. God waited until those who did not keep watch over their words were dead. And with each person noted in the Bible, He interacted with them according to the words they spoke, or didn’t speak.
Words impart a reflection of what is within. If you find you aren’t where you want to be, or feel like life is miserable, unfair, or just simply tough, I suggest listening to the words you speak. Chances are, you are speaking your circumstances into being, and more likely, what you are speaking out is what is going on inside you. If you take head to the words you speak and pay attention to where they are coming from, you may find your circumstances change dramatically.
“…While knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.” ~1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NLT
“…Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV
“… Knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and good will and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary. But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessings], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].” ~ 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 Amplified Bible
The question I ask myself today is; Do you know God or are you known by God?