Saturday, August 31, 2013

it's ok to receive

Here’s a confession: I ain’t great at receiving. No, ma’am. This southern girl knows how to nod her head, keep her needs hidden, and just carry on with what has to be done.
Maybe you can relate?
I’m learning to open my hands and heart more as the years go by so God and others can pour into my life. But it’s still a lesson God has to bring me back to again and again. It’s simply hard for me to believe that it’s okay to receive.
Yet a story from Scripture recently changed my perspective. Peter and John are going to the temple. Along the way they pass a beggar. The man wants money but what he really needs is healing. Peter says these words to him: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you” {Acts 3:6}. Then in the name of Jesus Peter lifts this man to his feet to begin a new life full of all he has never known before–running, skipping, jumping, dangling his toes into water on a hot summer day.
The words that grip me in this story come from Peter: “What I have I give you.”
It’s simple, friends, we can’t give what we don’t have.
Yet at one point, Peter resisted receiving too. At the last supper when Jesus tried to wash his feet, Peter protested.
Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
John 13:6-8
Peter relents even if he doesn’t yet understand. I wonder if perhaps that day as he looked at the crippled feet of a beggar the scene from the Last Supper flashed through his mind again. I wonder if he finally connected the dots–that receiving from Jesus is what gives us the power to give to others.
When we’re weary, we often think what we need to do is just try harder. But maybe the opposite is true. Maybe what we need most is to sit down and let Jesus wash our feet. That feels uncomfortable. Like Peter, we squirm in false humility and declare that this isn’t the way things are supposed to be. But Jesus still gently insists. Because he knows that it’s not really about us–it’s about the greater work of his Kingdom. He’s showing us how to love by loving us.
What do you need to receive from Jesus today?
Let him wash your feet, your wounds, the weariness from your heart.
I’ll keep learning to do the same right along with you.
Let’s believe.
Let’s receive.
Let’s give our Savior the joy of loving on us.
And then pass it on.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” — King Solomon
“You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit.” — Southern Saying
As I drive my thoughts zip down a two lane road in my mind as well. In one lane, I’m thanking God for answered prayers and desires granted. In the other lane, I’m feeling frustrated that my day-to-day reality doesn’t always line up with the magnificent vision I have in mind. I long to see a sign from God that one day those two lanes will merge. When will that finally happen?
It seems God has an answer for me. Um, heaven.
Oh, right. I should have seen that one coming.
We live in a paradox, friends. We are not Home yet. And on the journey to where we’re going, what we can dream up and what actually unfolds in our lives are never going to align perfectly. Never. I’m not saying that to be a stinker. I’m saying it to save us from one of the biggest dream killers: unrealistic expectations.
If we demand that our perfect vision be fulfilled then we will never be satisfied.
Not with our dreams.
Not with our marriage.
Not with our family.
Not with our church.
Not with ourselves.
“So why bother dreaming?” you might ask. It’s simply this: “Where there is no vision the people perish” {Proverbs 29:18 KJV}. In other words, our dreams and desires pull us toward life. They draw us toward Home. They keep us looking to God for his best in our lives. That’s a good and beautiful thing.
It’s only when we turn our desires into demands that we get into trouble.
What can we do to avoid that? First, we can accept that we will live between those two lanes all of our lives here on earth: the ideal and the real, the eternal and the everyday. Then we intentionally thank God for what’s less than perfect. And at the same time we keep pressing toward the vision he’s placed in our hearts.
We live in the paradox.
We release our expectations and yet we continue to look to the future with expectation.
One mile, one day, one dream at a time.
Yes, all the way Home.

Friday, August 23, 2013

10 Ways to be a Happier Mom

Ways to be a Happier Mom

1. Life is not an emergency. 
Life’s a gift. 
Just. Slow. Down. 
2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace. 
3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy. 
Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and memorize it. 
4. Laughter is the cheapest, holiest medicine. 
Preschoolers laugh 300 times a day. Aim for double that. Tickle someone, (yourself!), if necessary.
5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace. 
6. Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection
7. A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. 
A minute dawdled here, a minute scrolling here — they can add up to your life.  Write down your intentions for the day and prayerfully live the intentions and spend your life well by paying attention to the moments — which pays thanks to God.
8. Believe it: I have all I need for today.  
The needs of our day are great but our God is greater and we call Him Providence because we believe: He is the One who always provides
9. Slow. Children at play. 
10. Love is patient. 
Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him.
Patience. Love always begins with patience and patience is a willingness to suffer.
The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right — but about receivingGrace
The sinners and the sick, the broken, the discouraged, the wounded and burdened — we are the ones who get to celebrate grace!
Regardless of the mess of your life, if Christ is Lord of your life, than we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace — because when it’s all done and finished, all is well andChrist already said it was finished.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Sometimes dreaming can be exhausting. I get frustrated. I feel like every door is locked tight and every road is a dead end.
Recently it seemed like everything I tried to do failed. One door after another slammed shut on me and I found myself wondering if I was even pursuing the right dream. I was ready to throw in the towel, but then I heard a gentle whisper…
Quit chasing after the dream. Chase after Me.
Yes, I have been guilty of pursuing the dream instead of the Dream Giver. I have been guilty of following my heart instead of searching for His.
The Lord longs to be gracious to you…
How blessed are all those who long for Him…
He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry…
He will answer you…
Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it.”
(from Isaiah 30)
It’s not that God doesn’t want us to pursue our dreams; He does! After all, He is the one who put the dream in our hearts. He wants to dream with us, to be the one whispering in our ear and holding our hand as we walk the path He’s set before us.
In the Disney movie Tangled Rapunzel spent her whole life dreaming of leaving her tower and traveling to the city to see the floating lanterns. Eugene made that dream come true for her. But after her dream was fulfilled there was still something more she longed for. When Eugene quietly whispers to her “you were my new dream” she responds “and you were mine”. It was that moment when she realized what her heart truly longed for. It wasn’t the fulfillment of the dream, but someone to share the journey with.
Yes, I’m a dreamer. But He is my dream. Knowing Him, loving Him, serving Him, following Him; that is the dream I must pursue. And as I draw closer to Him, as my heart longs for more of Him, I hear Him quietly whisper in my ear, “turn here”, “call her”, “ask him”, “knock on this door”. And step by step, hand in hand, He leads me closer to my heart’s desire.
There are times on our journey we need to stop and make sure we’re chasing the Dream Giver and not the dream. Is He all that your heart longs for? Are you close enough to hear Him whispering direction in your ear? Are you captivated by Him? Turn your eyes to the Dream Giver, delight in Him. Then He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

the perfect way

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” — Jill Churchill
I’ll never forget the first time I read the quote above.  I felt like I was falling short in every area of my life.
As a wife.
As a friend.
As a Christian.
As a mom.
As a sister.
I had convinced myself there was a right way to fulfill each of those roles. And no matter how hard I tried, I can't make that “right way” work in my season of my life. Have you ever felt that way?
When I read the quote above, it gave me permission to adapt. To figure things out. To let good enough really be good enough sometimes.
There’s no way to be a perfect wife, friend, Christian, mom, sister but there are a million ways to be a good one.
It opened the door to solutions. I have hired a friend to help with household tasks. I sent my friends emails when we couldn’t get together face-to-face. I prayed on my commute to work.
And I survived.
So did my relationships.
My family was not eaten by dust bunnies.  No lightning bolts struck when I occasionally missed church because I needed sleep more than a sermon.
I’m not an advocate of being crazy-busy as a lifestyle. The pace I sometimes go isn't sustainable long-term. But sometimes God calls us to seasons of busyness, difficulties, or challenges and we’ve got to figure out a new normal for that time. If we refuse to adjust and instead firmly cling to our “right way” for everything then we’re asking for burnout and broken relationships.
How do you need to fill in that blank today?
There’s no way to be a perfect ________ but there are a million ways to be a good one.
Give yourself permission to figure out those million ways {or at least a dozen}. It’s okay. You’re not failing–you’re being wise.
This season will pass for you. And then you’ll need new solutions for the next one. All of our lives we’ll be changing, adapting, growing, speeding up, slowing down. That simply means we’re human and we’re alive. Want to stay the same in every season? Consider becoming a rock. Otherwise embrace the freedom that’s yours and relax a bit. As I look back on  crazy times in my life, my only regret is that I didn’t extend even more grace to myself.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

you will be ok

You’re going to be okay.

You don’t have to try harder.
You’re loved more than you know.
That’s true no matter what anyone else says or does.
It’s true even if you don’t feel it.
It’s true today.
It will stay that way tomorrow.
And forever too.