Blog Post

I’m sitting at the computer listening to my favorite music and watching from the window as my girls play outside in their bathing suits. The summer was so hot that the swing set sat lonely much of the time, but now autumn is closing in on us. The temperature has cooled. The days are calmer.

Heaven is touching down in my backyard. I see it in the colors and I hear it in the sounds. A year ago, God was inviting me into a season change I didn’t want. It was the same time of year but it sounded different. It was almost all bitter with intermittent sweet. I was scared. Change is still hard after all these years. Maybe even harder.

We didn’t do school today. The yard held more to learn than our books. The day needed fresh air, imagination, and freedom. We gave in to the need. Joy came this morning. She is such a strong, beautiful friend. She needed my attention. So I gave in to that too.

I could sit with a cup of tea and a good soundtrack watching my children for hours. Their joyful innocence, uncontrolled beauty, and contagious belief captivate me. The hope and love I have for them envelopes me and makes light of any care I carry. I fight tears as I watch them on their invisible horses, climbing towers, and fighting enemies.
They are my highest praise.

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The decisions of a leader are never easy. I’ve found myself secretly sympathizing lately with those from my past that I have followed. I wonder if they lost sleep, cried late nights, or stirred up ailments too. Just hearing the Spirit of God on a situation can be difficult enough but then following through with what you hear when others didn’t can be the most difficult. Many times it’s a responsibility I wish wasn’t mine…but it is. Hopefully God can trust me to do the right thing with my stewardship.

I heard God calling me deeper many months ago. He knows I was reluctant to follow. I was in a very good place. I knew He wanted to enlarge some territory in my life and move me to new glory but I really didn’t want to leave where I was. It may have been a first for me. Most of my life has been spent trying to leave difficult seasons. I was in a very different place this time. Deep down, I hoped this new season would meet me with as much joy and adventure as the last one did. So far it has been full of hard decisions, complete exhaustion, and lonely choices. With each advancement, the stakes seem to get higher. To go where most won’t, you have to live like most don’t. Which means many others will never understand. All I know is that if God is where I’m going, I’m all in and I am holding on to the promise that joy comes in the morning.

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I heard a phrase once that stuck with me. I’ve now heard so many speakers say it that I’m no longer confident who said it first. God is looking for a “long obedience in the same direction.” I am wholly convinced this is true.

This life can be so monotonous. It can seem like we work hard just to get up the next day and do all the same things over again, all hoping and praying that our children will continue the process. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and discouraging. Some days I don’t even know where to start and no matter how long and hard I work I can’t get out from under the load.

But this I know to be true: Jesus deserves it all, not just the miraculous but also the mundane. I would follow Him to the ends of the earth. I would run if I could but sometimes the routine only allows for a crawl. That’s okay with me. I will stay in His direction no matter how long and hard the journey. I will lift my eyes up from the work because when I do, I see Him…everywhere. And He is beautiful. And He makes all things beautiful in their time.

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I really like completed things. It goes against every fiber of my nature to not finish something. I’ve finished books I didn’t like and tasks that were unimportant just because I started them. A well-organized closet and a clean house make me happier than they probably should. I think a totally crossed off to-do list is reason to celebrate and if that ever happened for me, I just might frame it.

This trait helps me task well and accomplish what God has called me to but it can also be overwhelming because there is always more to be done. There is always a new task, a new job, problem, mess, and dream. It’s a good thing. It means my life is full of good things. I’m glad I have so many people to love and serve. I am thankful for my house and my family that both contribute to my list of things to do. I am honored that God would call me to be a minister even when the byproduct is more to be finished.

But if I’m not careful, my tasks can overshadow what really matters. They can blind me and push beyond where God has called. It can turn into an impatient discontent that longs for something not yet accomplished. When I feel this rush in my soul for completion, I remember that my Savior said three of the most precious words ever spoken when He died for me on the cross. He said, “It is finished.” He is the greatest finisher. My ability to multitask is not what holds my life together – He is.

Jesus needs to always be at the top of our lists. Not so He’s another task to be marked off, but so He’s always where we start. God has given each of us an invitation to the holy of holies. Are we going there? Our work unto Him is done in the holy place but are we pausing long enough to go further still? The offer is on the table before us, will it make it to the top of our list of things to do?

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I’ve been asking myself a question lately. What do I want more than anything in this life? If I could have just one thing, what would it be? See, I’ve had the great honor of being lavished in blessings. I know it. I recognize it daily. God blows me away every time He answers one of my requests. Many many years ago, it ceased being about the answers for me and more about the sweet sweet display of our interaction…the fact that He doesn’t have to but He does. He knows more than any other that I would still love Him if His answer was no. So, what’s the one thing I still want? More than I could describe on this keyboard, I desperately want more of God. I have tasted and I have seen that nothing compares to Him. Every pleasure this world affords is fleeting and small in light of Him. The more I know Him, the more I want to know. He is the love of my life, will always be. But I think there is something I want even more. It’s the thing that keeps me up at night. It’s the one prayer that comes up daily. It is the thought before I do just one more task when I’m tired. It’s why I try so hard. The reason I love people that aren’t very lovable. I want to please Him. Deep down. In the parts of me that long and feel and desire. In the parts of me that are only strengthened by age, that time only further develop. I want to be a pleasure to the One that has given me more than any person deserves. The God whose love is more beautiful than any language I could use to describe it…than any landscape this earth holds. The God whose mercy is newer than the perfect feet of a newborn baby. The God whose grace is more calming than a well-trained musician, rain on tin, the waves on the shore, or a gentle wind in the leaves. The greatest desire of my life is to please Him, not because I have to, but because He deserves it. I want to please the One who has so pleased me. It’s my simple devotion. I remind myself daily why I do whatever I’m doing lest it ever become religion.

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