One Piece, One Peace

puzzleOnce again, I came to that checkpoint in my day; the sacred “naptime” where every mom has a critical decision to make.  1-2 hours of uninterrupted time (if I’m lucky) and how to spend it?  There is always part of me that just wants to stop, drop and snooze.  Then the Susie Homemaker in me wants to make the house presentable (she never wins). The business woman side of me just wants to power through and get as much work as possible accomplished in that time.  That one usually wins.  After all, this business pays all our bills and allows us to help others along the way.  However, today my heart said, “write”.  I find it so difficult to let my heart win this one.  Writing these days feels like a luxury as I sit amid piles of laundry and dirty dishes with a to-do list a mile long running through my mind.  But alas, here I am.  I’ve realized that when I silence that one passion, this outlet, this need to for self-expression I not only feel distant from the One who created me to write, but everything else in my world suffers as well.  I become grouchy and irritable at the other duties I feel are pulling me from my heart’s desire.  That, my friends, is an ugly place to live and everyone in my house notices it.   You see, I could forge ahead, trudge on and strive to pave my path in this business while keeping all the other pieces of my life in place. Or I can stop, center myself, commit to this calling God has placed on my heart and allow Him to hold all the pieces as He weaves the path for me.  All the striving and pushing forward won’t amount to anything if I forsake the very desires God placed in my heart.  And whether I am good at it or not, He has placed a desire for writing in my heart.  When God places a call upon your life, just forget about being equipped, competent or superior in any way.  All He needs is for you to be obedient. So today, I choose obedience.  I choose to trust in what I cannot see and believe that he will bless all the other pieces I laid aside in order to pick this one up.  Above all, I choose Him.

Philippians 2:3

Sank You

I have always believed we can learn so much by watching children. In fact, it is one of the reasons I became a teacher. I just never realized how great a lesson one could teach you, until today. Now that I work from home, my son only goes to child care a few days a week but we always make that drive time special. Each morning we pray and sing songs and each afternoon we talk about his day. Today was no different. We started out by thanking God for the sunshine and the great time we had on vacation this week. We remembered to pray for Grandmas and Grandpas, cousins and our dog and to thank Him for things like trucks and tractors. But my three-year old does something else each time we pray that today touched my heart in a distinct way. He thanks God for his biggest fears. This kid is fearless when it comes to heights, heavy equipment or airplanes but is terrified of the hand dryers in public restrooms, hates elevators and is not a fan of escalators or using the potty. About a month ago, I noticed he would thank God for these very things as he prayed. “And sank you God for elevators and escalators and hand dwyers and the potty”. At first I just thought it was really sweet, but as he prayed it today my eyes filled with tears and God spoke to me in a very real way. Thanking God for our current circumstances creates a cord of hope that connects us to His ultimate desires for us. Sometimes God changes our situation and other times he offers the strength to endure it. Either way, our current struggles have been lovingly planned by a Father who will never let us bend so far we break. I spent years going back and forth in this constant struggle of viewing every problem as an attack or at the very least an obstacle. Life became me versus the world and at times even felt like God versus me. There were times I even began to look at problems as punishment. When my son was born, anxiety issues I had dealt with my whole life were suddenly magnified and on many days I found it hard to breathe. I knew God was big enough to take that feeling away and my prayer was that he would, in an instant. I kept praying and waiting for the magical moment when God would just say “storm be still” and all that was raging within me would be no more. That was not the way he chose to deliver me. From that dark and frightening place, God chose to draw me near to his side; to come to know him in a new and more personal way. He became my very breath, my strength to rise and my song. The cord of hope was extended and the journey to the me he created me to be began. My struggle did not end in an instant and my circumstances were not suddenly changed; I was. I began looking at things differently and learning from the trials in my life. As my perspective changed, my situation changed. Years later, I can look back on times of trial and realize God was doing something there. For some situations, I still have no answers but I trust in the One who does. As my son thanked God for his four biggest problems in life, I began thanking God for mine. I started visualizing what blessings might be born from brokenness and started speaking those blessings out loud. I thanked Him for the things that irritate me and the things I still wish I could change about myself. That act opened the door for God to begin working in those areas. The cord of hope grew. What if one day, I looked at everything as one more love knot in the tapestry God is weaving in my life? This journey to our ultimate home in eternity could be so much more vibrant if we only let love win. If we learned to be grateful for our faults, fears and failures and let God use them for his glory what an impact we could make with our time here on earth. This one step, this one lesson from a three year old will be my starting point. “Sank you God…”

Fear to Freedom

hebrews-12-1Fear.  This filthy little monster creeps in unexpectedly to rob joy, steal hope and stifle dreams.  Fear causes immobility because it whispers the “what ifs” that lead to deception.  Fear is the one lie that offers a bounty of lies in its wake.  It creeps in slowly, unknowingly and often disguised as reason, logic or reality. It takes the fragile flower of hope and crushes it with doubt. It leaves confusion where there was peace and fog where there was vision.  Fear breeds rapidly if not recognized and removed.  It gives life to deception which leads to discouragement.  Discouragement causes defeat and defeat leads to despair.

Despair; “the complete loss or absence of hope”.

God does not give us the spirit fear. He “gives not a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound-mind”.  Fear comes from the “enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour”.  Fear is one of the enemy’s most powerful tools and it comes so often in disguise that recognizing the root of our rot as fear, can be difficult.  Yet, nothing is impossible for our God!  “For we know all things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose”. All things.  Our God is mighty, strong, a consuming fire.  “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”.  For “all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be and 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”.

Fear says, “its impossible”, God says, “I’ve already made the way”.

“Let us then strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us”.

Let us run.  Not from fear, but without it.  Let us drop our chains, the ones God never intended for us and let us run. Run in hope. Run with vision. Run with purpose. Run in the direction of the dreams God has placed in your heart.  Run in freedom.

2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8, Romans 8:28, Deuteronomy 4:24, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 12:1

Perfect Gift

There are days in this business where I feel as if I’m standing in a crowd, hands open, offering an incredible gift and people don’t notice. They walk by with blinders on. They assume it’s too good to be true. They’re too busy to notice. They just can’t believe it’s for them. Some are curious but too afraid to even take a closer look.

Fear. It holds us back so many times. Fear whispers doubt, pulls us back into the mold and keeps us living with only a small portion of what God has in store. Fear tells us not to move. Doubt tells us it’s not possible. Shame tells us we’re not worthy.

God. God tells us to go. He tells us to move forward because He has already made a way and redeemed us. He makes us worthy.

Imagine what Christ must have felt on the cross. Can we even begin to glimpse a small portion of what he experienced? He was the most perfect gift given by God. God himself, opening His hands to offer his only Son.
Yet, in that moment and still today, people don’t notice. They walk by with blinders on. They turn away. They assume it’s too good to be true. They just can’t believe it’s for them. Some are curious but too afraid to even take a closer look.

God still waits for so many. With open hands and a storehouse of blessings, He waits to give away the most precious of all gifts; Himself.

2 Corinthians 9:15, James 1:17, Romans 8:32

Holy Ground

Morning barely makes its appearance and she wakes, taking her Bible in hand and tip-toeing through the house. She walks past the laundry pile begging to be folded and curtails the dirty dishes in the sink. Her destination is that secret place. She swiftly makes her way to this favorite spot where she meets with Him once again. Quietly she opens the pages of that worn Bible with the underlined passages. She prays no one wakes to disturb this precious time. This time she needs. This time she craves. Even a few moments here in the garden of His presence is enough, but she always craves more. He is tangible in this place and she has come to need that more than anything else in her day. She needs Him first. Some need a cup of coffee in the morning, but she needs the One who quenches her soul. He is the one who meets her greatest desires. Here in this place, deep cries out to deep. Creation dances with creator. Breath and soul meet the giver of life.
It is good.
It is needed.
She sits quietly breathing in his presence. She praises by sensing his greatness. She asks by revealing every thought to Him. She confesses by bearing her heart. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is wasted. Here, there is no condemnation. Here, every weight is removed. Burdens are lifted and every desire is taken, held and considered for the perfect time.
His love overwhelms her and his peace envelopes her. She is seen. She is known.
This is holy ground.

Luke 10:42, Genesis 16:13, Exodus 3:5