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...

If I Stay Silent

I feel inadequate as a writer. Not for the mechanics of writing but as a voice speaking out. I look back on previous devotions and see I need to take my own advice! It’s frustrating. Part of me thinks I need to be more “spiritual” or “victorious” to share a message with others. But, I suspect readers relate more to my struggles than to my victories. No one has it all together and shouldn’t give the impression they do. However, this struggle doesn’t go away. Recently, I was doing my daily SOAP https://discoveronething.wordpress.com/whats-soap/ reading and this verse stood out. “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 Queen Esther had the opportunity to speak up for her people and possibly save them from destruction, but she was afraid. There was a good chance she would die if she approached the king without being summoned. Her uncle Mordecai gave her the advice in verse 14, telling her if she kept silent, God would bring deliverance from another place. The truth of that verse hit me. “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise…from another place.” I realized I can stay silent, but if I do, God will use someone else to share His message. I’m the one who misses out if I don’t share. God will find a messenger. He will accomplish His purposes on earth. For Him...

In God’s Country (Reflections from prayer ministry)

  The sun’s ubiquitous light greets the wooden floor planks of the antebellum house like a warm handshake from an old friend. Morning motorists scurry by on 37th street— their whirring brushes the sides of the comfortable yellow house. We gather in. With similar hearts— the knowledge that prayer works— we start the morning call for our school. Little do we expect the individual nourishment each of our souls is to receive during our prayerful session. Scripture readings from Genesis retell stories of God’s provision and prevenient grace toward his people. The story of Abraham’s tamarisk tree is the focus: So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there. After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. (Genesis 21:31-34) (Genesis 21:31-34) The task of Abraham planting the tamarisk tree comes chapters before we recall how God later tests Abraham’s faith with the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. Before that difficult challenge, God had Abraham plant a tamarisk tree as a reminder of a covenant between two people. The Omniscient God knew what was to come for Abraham. His prevenient grace laid a path in Abraham’s mind where certain truths would wait for the appropriate time to be established: a time that only God knew for Abraham’s future. The planting of the tamarisk tree foreshadows what Abraham needed to know about God and his covenant toward Abraham...

be Still

In our society, we are always on the go. Our to-do lists are constantly running through our heads and chances are even as we skim over this we are thinking of all the other things we still have to do today. Oh my, sweet friends, it’s time for us to stop the running, the chasing, and the endless pursuit of what the world tells us that we should want– – money – status – stuff – more _______ (fill in the blank) …and stop long enough to simply be still. Just for a moment. Come on, try it. Just be still, take a deep breathe in then exhale slowly. Don’t text, tweet, instagram or update your status (ha, caught you!) — there’ll be time for that later. Right now though, let’s try to simply be still and see what God does. Listen, I’m not great at this either, I’m about as “Dory” as they come, but it is something I’ve been challenged on lately and wanted to share some of what I’m learning through it with you. Here’s what you can do to get started on learning to be still. Ask Him to join you in your be still and silent moment. Release all the distractions clamoring for your attention. Take a few deep breaths in and really start to slow yourself down a bit. Wait for Him to come sit beside you. I’ve found that it’s best to do before your days gets away from you, but here’s a little heads up as you get started. I can guarantee you that it will not be easy at first. Everything around you...

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...

Beyond Approval – You Are Wildly Loved

Who are you? Do you define yourself based on what others think of you? Do you crave the approval of others? You’re not alone. It’s common to seek approval to overcome feelings of rejection and low self-esteem.  But pleasing one person can cause a problem for someone else. On our quest for approval, it’s impossible to make everyone happy. So how do we fill the void? It’s not as difficult as you think. God created you with a specific purpose and plan. Because you belong to Him, what He thinks of you matters most (click to tweet). So just what does He think of you? How God sees you He designed you with infinite care before He formed you (Psalm 139:16). Remember the Psalmist David? He was quick to recognize the miracle of life and praise God for it: I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14; KVJ God’s Word is true. You were created in the image of God. He made you uniquely you: with the looks, personality, and abilities you have. You are a masterpiece. The right focus While we often get our hearts set on winning someone’s approval to validate our worth, our vision clears when we focus on Jesus. His actions demonstrated a radical love we can’t deny. He was willing to humble Himself and become a man. He lived a sinless life. Jesus died on the cross in our place. When we put our faith in Him, we will live with Him eternally in Heaven. Wow! Now that’s...

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...