Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and I went crazy with eating my fair share of chocolate.  Sweets is the one thing that I absolutely crave all of the time.  So I decided to give it up for Lent.  And now that the reality is staring me in the face, I can't stop thinking about sweets... chocolate... cookies... all of those good sweet things that I just crave non-stop.

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter 2:2)

A funny thing happens to me when I crave chocolate... I can't rest until I get some.  I might be able to put it off for a little while, but sooner or later, that craving takes control of me and I have to feed myself chocolate.  Once I have that wonderful delicious taste of chocolate, you think that I would be satisfied.  Not the case with me.  I want more.  I could literally eat myself till I was sick if the craving continues.   

"My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times." (Psalm 119:20)

I am living in a time right now where I feel close to tears on most days.  It isn't that there is anything wrong.  There is nothing dramatic going on in my life.  But I still feel close to tears for whatever reason, and I feel very moved to draw closer to God.  Right now as I type this, I have Pandora Radio up, and the station that I chose to listen to today is a station with classic hymns.  They feed by soul, just like every little drop of Scripture that I hear lately is doing.  I wish I understood why I crave God and his presence, His Word, faith songs sometimes and not others.  But I won't think too much about it because right now I am craving, and it is good.

"Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1)

We are made to crave.  We crave things of beauty... crave things that taste good...  crave money... crave power... crave crave crave!  But what we don't realize is that none of those things will ever satisfy.  We will never feel satisfied by food.  We never feel satisfied by stuff.  We will always want more and more and more.  We are made to crave one thing, and one thing only... the only one that will satisfy us... God.  We are made to crave a relationship with him... a deeper understanding of God.  We are made to crave His Word.  We are made to crave God.  

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." (Psalm 42:1) 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Living By Faith

"We live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)

I was outside just moments ago.  While there is snow still on the ground, it is a beautiful day here in Colorado.  The sun is shining... the temperature is near 50... it is a gorgeous day in February.  But as I look out my window now, just moments after I stepped inside, I see that the trees are swaying greatly from the wind that has suddenly picked up.  They are moving with such force that it would be impossible to miss the wind.  Did I just not feel it while I was outside?  Did I not hear it or see it's work?  Was I so oblivious to the wind while I was out there, or did it just suddenly pick up?

It makes me think of my faith... my life with God.  I know that he is ever present in my life and the lives of those around me.  However, there are so many days that I don't feel his presence... I don't see his work going on in my life... I completely miss him.  Yet I am sure that if I truly just paid attention, I would see that he is there always, working in my life... working in those around me. 

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)

While walking through those tough times in life is when I struggle the most to see God at work in my life.  I think that this comes to one basic question: "If God is sovereign, how can he allow bad things to happen?"  Wow, what a question, right?  I mean, why do 3-year-olds get cancer?  Why do parents have to lose their children?  Why do huge tragedies happen in the lives of those that we know, and in the lives that we don't around the world?  Why, why, why?  We started to talk about this question in my Bible study this morning, and we came to the conclusion that maybe there really is no answer.  Maybe we will go through our entire lives and struggle with that one question.  I know for myself, I have struggled with it for years, and most likely will struggle with it for the rest of my life.  But struggling isn't always a bad thing.  It is how we grow.  It is how we change.  It is how we question and know God deeper.   The one answer that I have come up with is that no matter what, God is there with those people who have to go through things.  He never leaves our side, no matter the heartache, no matter the loneliness, no matter the doubt and anger... God is with us always.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)

As the words of a famous hymn go, "I am weak, but thou art strong".  I know for me, those words could not be any truer.  I am weak.  I don't have all the answers.  I don't know the why's.  And I certainly don't feel able to handle the why's.  But I am so grateful that God sent his Spirit to help us in our weakness.  There are so many times that I have no clue what to pray for... no idea how to even begin.  And that is okay, because God does.  And the Spirit prays for me, lifting up those hurts and worries and questions to God.

"You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." (James 5:11b)

The story of Job is always one that has haunted me.  It is hard to hear of God offering up his servant to be tested.  And yet, I knew that there were great truths and lessons for me to learn in Job's sufferings, and eventual blessings.  One of those lessons presented itself to me this week while studying the Bible.  God knew how strong Job was.  He knew how strong Job's faith was.  Job didn't know it.  And so God let Job's faith muscle be worked.  And when Job came out of it, he saw.  He then knew how strong his faith was in God. 

"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." (Job 42:5) 

Maybe the why isn't as important as the reflection that we see in the mirror once we have gone through the trial.  Maybe the important thing is to see that God never left our side, and that our faith is now stronger than we had ever imagined.  Maybe the experiences of life are there to grow something so much more beautiful and stronger than we could have ever imagined.  Just like the caterpillar believes that his life is about to end and then he transforms into a beautiful butterfly, perhaps our faith does the same thing... and the transformation is so much more beautiful and amazing than we could ever have imagined.

"Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all."

Friday, February 17, 2012


I am not much of a worrier.  I tend to have a very rosy outlook on life, always looking for the positive side of things.  I hate it when those around me worry, for it seems that worry is a complete waste of time... for those simple things.  But I have to admit that there are a few things that make me worry... worry so much that I can almost make myself sick.  And I am in the midst of one of those moments.  Oh, sure... I put on a smile and tell everyone around me not to worry, that things will be okay... but deep down, I am worrying.  This goes back to my previous post, about waiting for an answer.  Yeah, the waiting and no response is getting to me... and the worry piles up. 

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important that clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"  (Matthew 6: 25-27)
When we moved to Colorado, we had this huge sense that everything was going to be okay... that God was going to be in the midst of all of this and was in complete control.  And so we took a HUGE leap of faith, left two jobs for one, and moved our family.  Since that time, we have prayed and prayed and prayed that God would provide another job for our family.  And yet, a year and a half later, we are still praying and waiting.  While we have been okay to this point, things are starting to look a little bleak.  And still we cry out for God to answer... to please provide.  

 "And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." (Matthew 6:28-32)

I don't worry about simple things, like clothes.  I am not actually all into the clothes at all... I don't really care what I put on.  But the big things... now those are hard not to worry about.  When it comes to money, not knowing how you are going to last the year with out a huge step in from God makes me worry... makes me sick.  And when you have a family to take care of, two little boys to look after, it can be extremely tough.  And I have been in other situations where I have worried about the health of my children, the health of loved ones... those are so hard to let go.

So instead of worry, what does God call me to do?  Seek Him first.  Seek him.  Before I worry, seek God.  Before I go out trying to fix everything, fix what I can't, seek God.  Before I fall apart, crying uncontrollably, seek God.  Seek God.  Seek God.  Maybe if I say it enough times, I won't forget to seek God.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:33-34)

The Long Race

For those of you who don't know me, there is something very important that I have to share with you now.  I hate to run.  Hate it.  I grew up an athlete, so all the way up into my college years, the only time that I ran was when I was made to by a raving lunatic of a coach (okay, so they weren't all that bad, but you get the picture).  Just over a year ago, I decided to embark on a journey of losing some weight.  It first started off with walking the dog every other morning.  As I would walk, this voice in my head would start talking to me.  "You should run a marathon!  You could so run a marathon! Look at how those people on the Biggest Loser do it.  You have no excuse.. you could completely do it!"  And so, I started to believe it.  But I thought that a marathon might be a little too ambitious.  Perhaps I should start with a smaller goal.  That goal became the Bolder Boulder, a 10K race that is run on Memorial Day in Boulder, CO.  So I began to train and prepare for this race.  As I started to run, just minutes at a time, the voice in my head suddenly sounded very different.  "Run?  Are you crazy?  You can't run! You can't even breathe! What are you thinking?!  You can't do this!"  My running voice is not so nice.  And that is what I had to battle every day that I trained.

Well, Memorial Day 2011 finally came, and I was prepared.  I ran the Bolder Boulder, and had such an amazing time doing it that I actually have decided that I need to run it every year.  The long, hard work of training myself to run a 10K was so worth it when I crossed that finish line that Monday morning. 

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)

This week I am tired.  I am tired of praying the same thing over and over and over again.  I feel like I have been pouring my heart out to God over the same thing over and over, and it just isn't doing anything.  And I am tired of this desire of my heart, and desire of my husband's heart to not be answered.  I am tired of waiting.  Ever get that way?

"You have heard of Job's endurance." (James 5:11)

When I am reminded of Job and his life, I realize what endurance really is.  And I thought running a 10K was bad!! I can't even imagine having the endurance that Job did... losing his family, his home, his wealth... everything and still having the faith that he did.  It is the kind of faith that I hope for... that I pray for... yet there is no way that I want to get that faith the way that Job did!!  In the end, Job endured and God blessed him with double of what he had.

I know that I can't rush God.  I know that I can't push him into doing what he is not ready to do.  And I know that sometimes, I have to wait... that there is a purpose in waiting, and it can be as simple as helping me strengthen my faith muscle.  And in my head, this little voice is screaming at me, "this is too hard!!  I can't keep going on!  How long, O Lord?"  But I keep pushing forward... keeping praying and laying my heart open before him.  In His time, he will answer.  In His time, I will see.  In His time. 

I can't wait for the moment when I can say as Job did, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." (Job 42:5)

And no, I have no plans of running a marathon.  The race that I am running right now is long enough!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Submit to God

I remember when my first son was born.  What a beautiful moment in my life that I will always treasure.  And the months after that are some of the greatest and hardest of my life.  I remember one night in particular that I was staring down at my month old son wondering why in the world he would not go to sleep.  I had fed him, I had rocked him, I had sang to him... and yet here he was, crying because he was exhausted but not wanting to let go and fall asleep.  As his mother, I knew what was best for him, yet he had other ideas.  It wasn't the first time that we have had a difference of opinion.  Since then, there have been many times where I have tried to guide my son in the right direction, and he has fought me because he thought he knew better.  The problem was, he didn't see the bigger picture.  He didn't see how is actions could hurt him, or how doing what I was telling him to do could actually help him and make his life better.  At almost 5, he still loves to fight me on what he thinks is best.

"Submit yourselves, then to God" (James 4:7)

I have a hard time submitting.  I know that it might come as a huge shock to some people since I am sure that I am the only one that struggles with this, but it is true.  I have a hard time submitting.  I love to be in control of my life and the things that go on in it, after all, I do know what is best.  And as a mom, I love to be in control of my children's lives.  So, submitting is something that I really struggle with.  As the mom, don't I know what is best for my children's lives?  As a strong woman, don't I know what is best for my life?? 
"In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:6) 

God calls us to submit.  Now with some things, that isn't so hard.  There are some things in my life that I just don't have to have that strong of a hold on.  I know that I really have no control over certain things.  And for those things, I can let my grip loosen and "give it over" to God.  But then there are those other things that there is no way I am letting that strong grip go. The safety of my family and friends?  No way!   Heartache that might come my way? Absolutely not!!  And if those things do happen to come into my life, then I am angry at God.  I fight him tooth and nail, just like my son fights me. 

"Do not be stiff-necked, like your ancestors were; submit to the Lord" (2 Chronicles 30:8a)

When did submitting become something that is looked at as being a weakness?  Submitting is actually one of the strongest moves that you can make.  It is saying "I know that I am not in control, nor should I be.  And I give it completely to you, my God, the one who knows what I need more than any other."  It is admitting that there is a power greater than you... that there is a God, and that you aren't it.  It is understanding that you don't have all the answers, and you are asking for guidance.  It is knowing that God sees the greater picture and knows how everything must fall into place to fulfill your destiny.  It is trusting that God loves you and will never put you to shame.

"Submit yourselves, then to God" (James 4:7)

Monday, February 13, 2012


I was riding in the backseat of the car with my sister driving and my husband sitting in the front, we came up an exit ramp outside of Denver and were waiting for a light to turn green.  Up ahead, I saw a man with a sign begging for money or food.  I was moved... it was a very cold afternoon and the first thought that came to my mind was that this poor guy really must need help.  So I started looking around the car and remembered a cereal bar that I had placed inside of my purse earlier in the week to eat but had neglected to enjoy it.  I pulled it out and told my sister to slow down when we came up to the man because I was going to give him a cereal bar.  "Your joking, right?" my sister replied.  As we neared the man, I felt my heart pounding.  I rolled down my window and my sister slowed.  "I am sorry, but I don't have anything else but this cereal bar", I told him.  As his cold hand reached out and touched mine as we exchanged the cereal bar, he thanked me and said "God bless you."  It was one of those moments where you experience God and know that he was a part of it. 

Now really?  A moment over a cereal bar?  Get real!  I hear it in my head even now.  But there is this thing that happens when God is present that is hard to explain.  And I can tell you that in that moment, God was present.  Mercy is something that I have been studying and reflecting on for a few weeks now, but it wasn't until last week's study from Beth Moore's James: Mercy Triumphs where it really stuck in my head.  She talked about how it isn't our job to fix all of the world's hurts (and as a woman, boy would I just love to get in there and fix it all!)... it is about letting God bring people into our lives, paying attention and helping them however we can, even if it is just with a friendly hello.  The book of James calls us to action. 

"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17)

When it comes to my faith, what good is it?  Does it turn a blind eye to those who are in need?  Does it walk past someone who is in need of a friendly smile or hello?  Does it pretend not to see the person on the street corner begging for money?  Does it pretend to not hear the cries of the neighbor down the street?  What good is my faith?  I am challenged by this question, and I hope that as I continue on my journey, that I can look back and say that my faith was strong because I lived it out every day.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we out to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:16-18)

Today, my daily devotional brought to mind the story of a little boy who was asked to help save his sister's life by donating blood for her.  After a brief pause, he agreed.  When the brother and sister were prepped, they were wheeled into the operating room  As they neared the door, the little boy asks "How long will it take for me to die?"  The doctor was astonished that this boy thought that by giving blood to his sister to help her live, that he thought he would die.  That is how God calls us to live.