Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Have you ever thought you were doing one thing and then God showed up and did something totally different? That pretty much sums up what happened to me tonight. What started as a parent meeting for my sons' youth group turned into a personal time of devotion for me - and the youth pastor had no idea.

As he was sharing about what he will be teaching the kids over the course of the year, he said in a side note that the word "anxious" comes from two words meaning "divided mind". Those two words - divided mind - nailed where I am right now. And, of course, those ever popular Philippians 4 verses popped into my head: 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:6-7

Do not have a "divided mind." How often have I used the words "I am torn between" or something similar. But God says not to have a divided mind.  He wants us to tell Him about our situation, seek His intervention, thank Him for His love and concern for us, and share our heart.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't believe that God is a cosmic Santa Claus, but I do believe that He wants us to be honest with Him.  He knows what we want anyway. But, I believe the second part of the verse brings an even bigger promise than that.

We will have a peace that we cannot explain that will guard our hearts as long as we allow Him to lead. To guard means "to protect." There is SO much comfort in that! 

I have been a Christian for a long time, and I am certain that I have heard numerous sermons on these verses - and I might have even heard that anxious means "divided mind," but apparently I wasn't listening. I have never understood it as I did tonight in that youth room.

Once again, God showed up and showed off when I least expected it and reminded me that I am not alone.  Love that!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Eighteen year ago, I met a truly amazing individual for the first time…and they let me take him home with me. I didn't know it at the time, but this person would cause me more joy and more heartache than I ever thought possible. With every success and every trip to the emergency room, I was reminded of how much my love and admiration of this individual filled my heart.

While he is no longer that sweet little baby boy that I met in that hospital room eighteen years ago, he is becoming a man a man I am proud to call my son. His “go big or go home” attitude has given him the confidence to try new things and to approach them with a confidence that I can only dream of having. His commitment to his beliefs and his huge heart have helped him to craft who he is becoming, and I can’t wait to see all the good things that God has in store for him.

Happy Birthday, Michael!     Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There seems to be a theme in my life right now - waiting. Waiting for direction. Waiting on transitions. Waiting on test results. Waiting on therapists. Waiting for children. Waiting at stoplights.  I HATE waiting at stoplights, by the way, but, I digress. J All that being said, waiting is just not something I do well – which is probably why God is determined to make me practice.

The last several days, I have had a John Waller song stuck in my head that I first heard during the movie Fireproof.  It played in the background as Caleb went about his day, waiting to see what God will do in his in marriage when it seemed like there was no hope for reconciliation.

I am waiting.
I’m waiting on You Lord and I am hopeful.
I’m waiting on you Lord, though it is painful,
 but patiently I will wait.

And I will move ahead, bold and confident.
Taking every step in obedience.

While I’m waiting I will serve you.
While I’m waiting I will worship.
While I’m waiting I will not faint.
I’ll be running the race even while I wait….

The outcomes of most of my circumstances aren’t as critical as Caleb’s, but it seems that at every turn I am waiting for something. The question is, will I be patient?  Will I be hopeful? More importantly, will I move ahead bold and confident? I hope so.

It all comes down to an issue of control – or more so – who is in control. I can live my life impatient because things aren’t happening on my timeframe, or I can trust that what needs to happen will happen in His. I can struggle in the now, or I can move ahead hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day. It’s all in the perspective.

So for now, I’ll be running the race…even while I wait.

Friday, August 19, 2011

When the words won't come...

There are some days when writing comes naturally. I love those days. I love seeing thoughts come together and watching the flow to see where it leads as I process through words. But there are also other days. Days when there are so many thoughts that it's almost like a bottle neck. There are so many things that I want to say, but nothing seems to want to come out. Those are the frustrating days.

I wish I knew where the problem lay. Sometimes I think it is merely overstimulation. There are so many things coming from so many different directions that I can't stay on track long enough to make a complete sentence. But other times, I fear it is something more. Regression. The fear that what I have to say will be misconstrued or not taken seriously. That I have struggled with something for "too long" in someone's eyes. That my thoughts and opinions aren't important enough. That no one cares.

It is in those moments that I want to protect myself - when past hurts win. Those are the moments that I doubt I will ever move past those hurts and be able to be honest about who I am and what makes Those are the moments I feel truly alone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Talk to my Smurf

I have a new friend. His name is Panicky Smurf. My friend, Lisa, introduced me to him, and I will be forever grateful.

Now when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I can just look at my new friend and smile. He's like my own little assistant who worries about all the little details so that I can focus on the big things.

Of course, there are spiritual parallels we can draw from the above, but I refuse to compare God to a Smurf. God is way bigger than that, and most likely not as blue. And God will be there for me even when Panicky Smurf is ultimately tucked away in a drawer somewhere.

For now though, Panicky and I are buddies. Change? No problem, I have a friend who can panic for me. Website issues? Panicky is on the job. E-mail issues? No problem.

Who knew a little plastic toy could be so helpful? :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Worth It

I love to read. Although I can't say that I am an avid reader like my friends at Two Bibliomaniacs, I love to get lost in a book. Typically though, I am not lost for long because I am also a quick reader. I am not a speed-reader, but it doesn't take me long to read a book...usually.

Do You Think I Am Beautiful, by Angela Thomas, is an exception. At a mere 167 pages on my Nook, it feels as though it is an obstacle that I may never overcome. Don't get me wrong. It is an AMAZING book. She writes with an honesty and openness that makes for an easy read, and the material is really good. I highly recommend it. It just hits a little too close to home.

When we first started going to PCC it seemed that every week Pastor Ron preached on something that I had been dealing specifically with the week before. It was almost like he had been listening in to the happenings of our home. As unnerving as that was, this is worse. It is as if Angela Thomas has been living in my head.

I saw Angela in person a few months ago, before I had read any of her material. Her story captivated me, but nothing like her writing. Her writing made me cry. I never cry when I read.

A couple of days this week, I have used her book as a devotional. Today, there was a passage that stuck out to me that I wanted to share. She was talking about the voices in her (my) head, and she likened them to the Peanuts character, Pigpen.

"Pigpen is surrounded by a cloud of dust everywhere he goes. That's me - just dust. So dusty, in fact, that I take the cloud with me wherever I go. So human. So prone to go forward and then turn around and move backward. I get it some days and then forget it on others. Thank goodness that God remembers I am just dust. His grace covers my inadequacies. His compassion waits patiently." Do You Think I Am Beautiful, Pg. 77

I get it some days...and then forget it on others. This could be the tagline of my life, and it is so frustrating. And to make matters worse, my insecurities scream on the days that I forget. They scream that I am not enough and that I am not "worth it."

There is part of me that wishes I had read this book before I saw Angela in person; but then again, I may never finish it, so I might never have seen her. Anyway…. There is part of me that would like to sit down and talk to her, but a bigger part of me is afraid of what she would see in me that I am not willing to admit.

I am not sure how someone who I have never actually met in person could know me better than I know myself, but I am thankful that God is patient and that He puts people like Angela in my life to remind me that I am not alone and that I am “worth it” to Him.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28

I have read this verse hundreds of times, quoted it, and even thought I understood what it meant, but as I read it today, I have a new appreciation for it as it came to life in a new way.

My husband woke up last night to my youngest son having a seizure. This is only the second one that he has ever had and makes for two too many. We are going to schedule some further testing, but today, he is our happy little boy again, and all is right with his world.

My world, on the other hand, has been shaken once again. This time by something far more important than the struggles of recent weeks. After the initial scare was over, and as I look at everything on my plate, I am tempted to ask God if I needed just one more thing. But, then I remembered that God isn't surprised by any of this. He knows exactly what He is doing and how He is orchestrating the events in my life and how they are working together to draw me into a deeper relationship with Him.

I can't imagine being God. I am the mother of three, and sometimes I don't know which direction anyone is going, and yet God orchestrates the events in every person in the world, and every event in nature, to work a plan of ultimate good. What seems like a crazy detour for us is ultimately part of God's plan. I can't even wrap my arms around how that happens. And yet, I don't have to. I am really not even supposed to.

God promises that He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in Him. (Isaiah 26:3) He doesn't promise that craziness won't come. If there wasn't craziness there would be no need to be steadfast.

It is sometimes hard to claim Old Testament promises, especially in the midst of a storm, because they were typically given to specific people in specific circumstances. But we know that God is God. He is unchanging. That gives us hope as we hold on to promises like, "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The past few weeks, I have been afraid AND discouraged. But today, I am going to trust in the promise that I can go to Him weary and burdened, and He will give me the rest that I so desperately need. That if I allow Him to lead me (take His yoke) and allow Him to teach me through my circumstances, that He will be gentle with me because He loves me and wants me to be okay. I will trust that even though I will still have to maneuver the obstacles before me, my part of the burden will be light because I will be sharing the yoke with the one who already knows the way and is way stronger to face those trials than I am.

I am thankful today for God's promises - old and new, and I am thankful that I can trust Him to always be faithful even when I forget.

My God is amazing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Me 101

The last couple of weeks have been highly emotional for me. Although I can't go into the details, I know that I alluded to some potential changes in an earlier post that have rocked my world. As I have processed these changes, and continue to do so, I have been learning a lot about who I am at the core. It's been kind of a crash course.

Lesson #1 - I have a serious struggle with anxiety. I guess I have always known that I do, but I have also have always been able to stuff all those emotions and fears and retreat when things got difficult. I have learned that when retreat isn't an option, terror steps in. I have also learned the best way to deal with that terror is to be honest about it with myself and with others. Things aren't nearly as scary when you aren't facing them alone.

Lesson #2 - I learned that I am different. I see things differently and approach things differently. I want to be an encourager. I will admit there are people who just drive me nuts, and I am not always encouraging. But overall, I try to be positive and build people up instead of tearing them down. For awhile this week, I thought maybe that was a bad thing, but as I have processed it, I have come to realize that I am kind of proud of that. I hope that is how people will remember me, and that I make a positive impact on those whose lives I touch.

Lesson #3 - I have got to have some golden retriever in me somewhere. I have taken several personality assessments in my life, one of the most popular of which describes people's personalities in terms of animals.

Lion - productive, strong-willed, decisive
Beaver - analytical, self-disciplined, organized
Golden Retriever - dependable, easy-going, loyal
Otter - outgoing, fun-loving, compassionate

I am a beaver/lion. That's not really a normal combination, but it is an "I want it done now" and "I know how it is supposed to be done" combination which pretty much describes me perfectly. I do not even understand otters. But somewhere there has got to be some golden retriever because I am dependable and loyal to a fault.

Lesson #4 - This one is still a bit fuzzy, but I think I am finally learning that, at the end of the day, I have to be happy with who I am and with the decisions I make regardless of others. They haven't walked in my shoes. They don't know my thoughts. And in most cases, they don't even know who I really am.

Lesson #5 - And the biggest lesson that I am learning is about vulnerability. When I am not hiding behind the walls I used to create, I am a lot more vulnerable to being hurt, and because I have been used to building up walls to protect myself, I am finding that I am pretty fragile in some respects. Thankfully, I have also learned that I have some pretty amazing friends who are willing to come alongside me and walk with me through those difficult times.

So there it is. The core curriculum to Me 101. It's been a tough class, but I hope that I have learned enough that when the final exam comes, I am ready. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Ministry Assistant

I have been given a very special gift. I have the privilege of serving as a ministry assistant at my church.

For some this may not be a big deal, but it is huge for me. You see, when I was a little girl, even before I was a Christian, I thought it would be cool to work at a church. My aunt was the church secretary, and I was totally convinced she had the best job in the world.

Fast forward to a few years ago when my husband and I started attending a new church. We got involved early on with children's ministry which, for me, led to connections that would allow me to volunteer one day a week in the office as a receptionist which led to a volunteer ministry assistant position which later became a paid opportunity. I hadn't really thought about my aunt when it all began, but when it all became "official," I realized that God had granted me the desire of my heart.

One thing that I honestly wasn't prepared for was the relational aspect that has developed over the last few years. That probably sounds a little weird since Christianity is totally based on relationships, but it is far different than I could have ever imagined.

First of all, I don't serve a thing - a ministry. I can't even wrap my head around how that would work. I serve God first, my ministry leaders second and ultimately the people of Pathway. A thing you can be objective about, disconnect from. It's a whole lot harder with people. At least it is for me.

Another thing that makes it very different is that these people aren't just people - they are family. We have shared the joys of engagements and weddings and babies and people accepting the gift of salvation. We have also experienced the heartache of the loss of babies, divorce, the death of friends, saying good-bye to those God has called to other ministries. As a staff, we have experienced these things together - been there for each other. And we do this every day. Unless you have experienced it, I don't think you can understand. I know I certainly didn't.

And, as with any family, there are those difficult times too. We get on each others nerves and get frustrated with each other and even hurt each other at times. Can't really say I was prepared for that either, but I have come to realize that is part of the cost of being close.

As a ministry assistant, I get to devote my time, talent and treasure to doing what I love to do - serving in ministry - but it is also a place of least for me. And, vulnerability can be a very scary place. I think that is another cost, and definitely one that I was not prepared for. I am still not, but I am learning (slowly) that with vulnerability comes authenticity, and authenticity is always good. Without it there is no integrity, and I am all about integrity.

To me, being a ministry assistant isn't a job. It is a blessing that I don't take lightly. It is a gift, a very special gift.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can't Wait!!!

I can't wait for this weekend. At some point, I will be here:

AND here!

Either of these places on their own would be amazing, but TOGETHER?! And even better yet...the best part is that I will be with some of my favorite people! Did I mention that I can't wait?!!!!