How to Embrace Seasons of Change

Change: we all go through it at some point in our lives and it happens whether we want it to or not. So what do we do when the winds of change start to blow and we simply don’t want things to change? Do we stomp our feet like little kids and cross our arms, forbidding change to happen? Do we jump on an imaginary surfboard and ride the waves of change like a free spirit? Do we go through the motions of change, doing what we gotta do, all the while wondering, “what just happened?” If you are anything like me, you’ve probably done all three at some point or another in your life. This year though, has been different. This year has been all about change in every single arena of my life. Okay, so not every single arena. I am still very much happily married, but pretty much everything else has changed and this has proven to be one of the most emotional, gut wrenching, spirit checking, soul searching seasons in my life. I’ve always pictured myself as an “adventurer” type of person. The one who leads change, blazes new paths, plows right ahead. It wasn’t until everything changed that I realized just how comfortable my life was and how much I liked it that way. Isn’t that usually the way it is in life? You think things are one way, then quickly realize you were off in your view of reality. This has absolutely been the case for me, and while I wrestle with all the change, I’m slowly starting to let the words from...

Living in the Tension

Tension:  The state of being stretched tight or mental or emotional strain. That definition sums up what I feel about my life most days; a constant state of being stretched beyond what I feel like is humanly possible. As a wife, I live in the tension of being the best spouse possible by meeting my husbands needs without losing myself in the process. As a mother, I live in the tension of loving these little people so fiercely that I want to protect them from harm at all costs and knowing that my job is to prepare them to live in this broken world, where they are almost guaranteed to feel pain. As a Christian, I live in the tension of walking out what I say I believe on a daily basis. As a friend, I live in the tension of finding time to nourish friendships with a schedule that is borderline chaotic. As a woman, I live in the tension of finding the time to tend to my body, soul, & spirit without feeling guilty. As a student of life, I live in the tension of questioning what and why I believe what I believe about God, people, relationships & myself, while being open (and teachable) to new information. I am constantly being stretched…but it is in the tension of the stretching that I find myself. I love being a wife. My husband is amazing. We spend a lot of time and energy taking care of each others needs spiritually, physically, and emotionally. This is our relationship today… In the past our relationship has been extremely unhealthy. We...

The Sparrow and the Swallow Life

Excitement was thick in the air as we bought his new school supplies, carefully packing them in the right shark backpack. The one with the whale shark on it – not the sharks that look like camouflage. It was all things kindergarten cute. Our blonde-haired, blue-eyed, first-born son was growing up faster than I liked. Some days I could still catch a glimpse of that chunky cheeked baby we prayed and tried so hard for. Three long years we waited for him. We had just moved a year before to a new city. Close to our previous home, but still completely new and it just felt far away. I didn’t know a thing about this school in our district everyone raved about. Some days the anxiety of sending him off to a new, unexplored, unfamiliar place stopped me in my tracks. I spent many nights and early mornings praying for his teacher. As the year began, God’s faithfulness to give us an amazing teacher was evident right away. She was truly a gift. This was His assignment on her life and she did it with excellence. She was so endearing and he really liked her. As we came to see, elementary schools aren’t immune to the craziness of this world. And great teachers aren’t exempt from students that see, hear and play witness to world of things they should never even know about. Those children inadvertently school other classmates on this thing called life at a pace no parent can predict or prepare for. This schooling of sorts caused anxiety to play out in my son’s life in ways that...

When trials seem pointless

  The story is told of an elderly lady who was in a bad accident but survived with a broken bone and a few bruises. Frustrated, worn out and weary of the handicap, she lamented to her friend who was visiting her, “I don’t understand why this had to happen. I don’t see any good coming from it at all!” The friend gently replied, “Romans 8:28 doesn’t say that we SEE all things working together for good, it says that we KNOW it.” If we only lived by what we could see — what we were sure of and understood on our own — there would be no need for faith! Faith is total surrender, total trust in God and His Word even when we don’t understand and when our situation seems hopeless. We have all experienced difficult situations in our lives that seemed to bring no glory whatsoever to God, caused nothing but heartache in our family and seemed to zap every bit of courage we had in us. But we cannot see the big picture; we don’t see what is going on behind the curtain. Only God does.“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” There are many ways a difficulty or trial can work together for good in the life of a child of God. It may be that it strengthens you, causes you to go to your knees, to depend on God, to look to Him for your answers instead of trying to be the hero. Perhaps it...

When Jesus Speaks

It’s no secret that I’ve done a lot of prayer these past few weeks regarding where the Lord is leading me. Specific, bold, expectant prayers for clarity and provision. There’s been a lot of asking, listening, and keeping an awareness of His voice throughout the day. What country. What people group. What city. What timeline. What organization. What are you doing, Jesus? Sometimes, I slip into a mindset that says the more others-focused my quiet time is, the holier it is. Intercession has a place and a critical one at that. It deserves more energy and attention than we often give it. I need to spend time everyday praying for specifics and going before the Throne of Grace on behalf of others. BUT, that is not the point of my intimate time with Jesus. I go to Jesus to just be with Him, not for the sake of getting answers about my life. The idea isn’t to walk away with some revelation about what He’s calling me to or where I’m going (although, that’s often a part of it). It’s not to figure things out for someone else. It is literally to just be with the God of the universe and savior of my soul. To read His Word, to worship Him, and to hear His voice. I go before the Father to hear what He thinks about me, because my soul needs to be reminded who I am and who He is. May the magnificence and the humility of that not be lost on us! That we get to approach the Maker and Sustainer of the world with boldness...

To Evacuate or Not to Evacuate

Watching the Weather Channel, I had to make a decision. It was Thursday late morning and I was just about to work out, but a tropical storm was becoming Hurricane Harvey and it was heading our way to Corpus Christi, Texas. Whether it would wobble south or north, I would not know until it made landfall. However, evacuation in my city was recommended at this point, not mandatory. My kids were enjoying their last few days before school started, and I had to choose a direction. I was faced with two different, yet uniquely difficult paths. 1) I would have to prepare my kids for evacuation, hurricane proof my house, find a hotel that allowed pets, grab everything dear to me, pack my car and get on the road away from the coast. Or 2) I would stay in my house, hurricane proof everything, live without water and electricity for days and hunker down through the worst of the storm. Neither decision sounded good, but I had to act quickly. I decided to beat the traffic and get on the road. My husband, who was at work, stayed behind a little longer to close down shop, board up our house and then fight through endless traffic to evacuate. Less than two days later, we watched in despair as Hurricane Harvey ripped through Rockport, Texas, a town only thirty miles from our home. The choice to evacuate our city (Corpus Christi) was voluntary, but it was mandatory for Rockport and Port Aransas and other coastal towns just north of us. Some of my family and friends stayed behind to weather...

Forgiveness & Justice

We are raised in a world where justice is demanded.  Even the secular world quotes the Old Testament by saying “an eye for an eye” they believe that this is the definition of justice.” We have theologies, mindsets, and political views based on this “justice.” Jesus, His life, and His teachings show us a NEW way… Jesus IS justice. The Lord has spoken to me for years about the importance of forgiveness. But yet, I still had deep down in the core of my being, a desire for this justice. Not His justice but mine. My belief system, although not intentionally, had been formed in a very rigid religious system that very much believes “an eye for an eye.” I was completely absent of GRACE, LOVE, COMPASSION, and TRUE FORGIVENESS. Because I had formed my small minded views on forgiveness around what the world thinks and not what the Man… Jesus taught. A wrong requires justice, it requires someone to pay… Of course, I didn’t realize I thought this way. We seldom do. Until our beliefs are confronted by this crazy thing called life. In a moment of darkness in my life, when I had been hurt more than I ever thought bearable, I picked up this book from Kris & Jason Vallotton, “The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness.”  There is a chapter titled “Justice Served.” The Lord used to confront the false belief system I had allowed to develop rooted in my need for justice! Here is a quote that rocked me… “The day that Jesus was crushed for our sins, He revealed the meaning of true justice. Justice...

PLEASE Ladies…

It’s only a brief mention. But it’s a brief mention in The Bible. Certainly not the mention they hoped for. Euodia and Syntyche. If they were here today, I’m sure that they would at least quietly mention that “all the work we did, and he mentions THIS!” They are considered ministry partners to Paul, who play a significant role in ministry, as do we. If you are reading through Philippians, and you blink or sneeze, you’ll miss the mention of them. It’s that brief. “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good news. They worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are written in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3 These stories are our stories. Euodia and Syntyche, it could be Lucy and Ethel, or you and I. What we know of them is that they BOTH have been encouraging and helpful to the Apostle Paul, engaged in active ministry. We know that they were instrumental in this new church in Macedonia. But as we all know, women have opinions and perhaps, at times a tendency, to disagree, emotionally process and sometimes cause the water to ripple. You know what I mean. The tendency to let our differences get the best of us and threaten so much more than we ever intended. That is exactly what is revealed here in Philippians. We have no idea what they were arguing about, but it was...

The PRIZE of SURRENDER is hope

We would always run or peddle as fast as we could to the dirt piles in the back of the neighborhood. They stood several feet taller than our heads. It didn’t us take long to dive right into kingdom living. We would toss, jump, push, shove, and claim our stake with the goal to stay on top of the hill as long as we could. Whoever was successful in pushing every other kid off the hill would proclaim loudly, with arms raised, their title as King of the Hill. And those few short seconds of victory tasted like the last bag of M&Ms. That is, until seconds later when someone else managed the toppling to take the throne. A recent sermon on hope got me thinking about our summer game King of the Hill. The sermon reminded me of how one’s soul is a lot like those dirt mounds at the back of our neighborhood that we coveted as seats of power. For hours in the hot Georgia sun we all campaigned for that one position of authority; for hours we unsuccessfully defended the spot only to be toppled time and time again. There is a similar battle for my soul. One that puts many contenders in the mix. Opposition is constantly pushing, shoving, tossing, and trying to claim stake to that crucial internal spot. From attractive media to video games to beauty gels, sports trends and music themes, the world is full of things trying to be king of my soul. These emerging attractions look shiny at first, but eventually they become outdated or untrendy; thus, endless chasing...

The Garden Prayer

For years, the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane puzzled me. I couldn’t get past the following train of thought: “If Jesus is God, then He knows what God knows. If God knew that the only way to redeem humanity was for Jesus to be crucified, then Jesus knew that. Then why on earth did He ask God to ‘let this cup pass from me’ if He knew that wasn’t an option?” I dissected the account of Jesus in the Garden more times than I can count. I looked for answers, prayed for answers, asked others for answers… and got a lot of nothing. I was trying to make sense of my second cancer diagnosis when I was drawn back to the account of Jesus in the Garden … and it finally clicked. In the Garden, Jesus showed us how to go to Our Father and ask Him to take the hard things from us. He asked for another way to deal with the sin of mankind while remaining completely submitted to God’s will. The account is there for me (and for you). Scripture says this: Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39 HCSB Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:43 HCSB   In the Garden, Jesus shows us this beautiful truth… When life presses on you so hard that you can’t rest, your chest hurts, and you have a hard time breathing…...