Taking Care of the Temple

I will never forget the conversation that took place several years ago now and since that day, I have watched several friends walk through breast cancer, three this year alone, including a fellow Café writer who is currently on the mission field. This post has been re-posted for several years, and until there is no more breast cancer, it will continue to appear every October. This year alone another friend lost her battle with cancer that began in her breast. I have friends who are terrified to have a mammogram. CALL a friend. TAKE her with you. I’ve scheduled mine for next month. PLEASE JUST DO IT. If this reminder causes just one woman who joins us at the Cafe, to make that appointment, then we just may save a life. One precious life. Flashback to October 2010… We sat at breakfast and I reminded everyone that I had a doctor’s appointment. “For what?” asked my 9 year old at the time. “I have to have a test done that detects breast cancer, a mammogram.” “Oh yeah, I saw the NFL players all wearing pink shoes and helmets because it’s breast cancer month. It was cool.” He dumped his cereal milk in the sink and he was off. The girls lingered. “What exactly do they do at a mammogram?” I described the procedure and they looked with twisted faces and giggled, “Have fun!” I laughed at them and quipped, “Just taking care of the temple.” The older one smiled and they were off. It was certainly NOT the way I’d choose to spend a glorious October afternoon. You KNOW...

Bubbles of prayer

Praying as I drove, I felt my heart bursting with affection for the names that popped into my mind. LeeAnne—Lord, heal her. Be with her, inspire her, comfort her… Our pastors, Lord, thank You for them and the way they love You. Anoint them and inspire them… Another friend who I won’t name here… heal her marriage. Bring about change. Give her hope… And suddenly the tears were flowing. My heart went from one desperate need to another. As the requests flowed and my heart and mind aligned in prayer, I felt like each prayer was a little bubble floating upwards. Released from my heart and directed towards God. But that’s not what made the tears flow. I could imagine God on the receiving end of these prayer bubbles, watching each one rise towards Him and then gently cradling it in His hands before tucking it away. He treat4ed each one with tender care, like rare and special and fragile artifacts. They are. Sometimes I think I’m too careless with my prayers. It’s like I’m pitching a baseball in God’s general direction. Plenty of energy and speed but no time to aim. Many of them go wild. And then, there are times when I realize how important these prayers are. When I recognize them as God’s love in my heart, giving me supernatural affection for the people He has placed in my life. When the prayers I pray come from my heart, which comes from God’s heart, and go back to God’s heart, there’s something special that happens. The prayers change me. The love overflows and rubs off onto...

Behind The Makeup

Over the years I’ve been blessed to serve in ministry at the local church. Most of the time you hope and pray that what you are doing is making an impact, but truth be told you never fully know just what that impact is. A good friend of mine, Michelle Garrison, shared this with me a few weeks ago and I immediately knew that this was something that needed to be talked about with you as well. This is something that many of us wrestle with, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the things that I talk/write about more than anything else: Girlfriends, vulnerability and being real with each other. It’s not easy to do, that’s for sure, but something incredible happens when we start to get behind the makeup. I pray you are as encouraged by her words as I have been…she is not an author, speaker, or even someone that likes to be in the spotlight, she’s a real woman, doing real life and trying really hard to live out her faith and I just love that about Michelle. Her words are from the heart and I know that it will challenge you as much as it did me. As I assessed my face in the makeup mirror this morning, I was so thankful that I was able to hide my imperfections under the mask of makeup. The day before, I hung around the house and wore no makeup. It is amazing how good you feel when you look all put together. On that no makeup day, I wasn’t feeling at my best. Then, my thoughts...

An Open Letter (Invitation, Apology, Plea) to Young Women

To the young women at church (and those who are considering church), Please don’t rule us out just because we’re older than you. We might wear different clothes and talk about different things, but we not all that different from you. We have some of the same hurts, questions, and longings. Please give us a second chance…and a third and fourth. We might not reach out right away or remember your name, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care. Sometimes, we’re just as insecure and uncertain as you are about reaching out to new people. Please be persistent and share your ideas, hearts, and hands. We need you. It might look like we’ve fallen into a rut at times, and to be honest, sometimes we have, but we know your enthusiasm and energy can help propel us forward. We need you. Please don’t think we have all the answers, but realize we do have some. When we share our experiences with you, we’re not trying to tell you how to do things. We just want to share life with you, and that requires give and take by all of us. Please know we’re not perfect. You’ll see some hypocrisy in our lives, but as you get to know us better, you’ll also see us authentically struggling through our issues in order to grow. We can all struggle together. Please don’t reject an idea just because it’s not exactly what you would choose. We have a lot more in common than not. Let’s listen to each, respect each other, and try each other’s ideas. We’ll likely discover some fun along...

Stop And Smell The Roses – Taking Time For A Year End Review Of Your Life

  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b ESV All the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is coming to a close: the house is a mess, the decorations might still be up, and yet now is the perfect time to stop and smell the roses and make time for a year end review of your life.  As a matter of fact, apart from the major holidays this specific week (between Christmas and the New Year) is my favorite time of the year. Do you want to know why?  Every year I take this week to sit and review what worked, what didn’t work, what needs to be improved and what I hope to do in the next year. It’s not a complicated process, but it is a strategic process that my husband and I do every year. We started doing this about ten years ago and it’s turned into the most thought provoking and productive week for both of us. Chances are you do something like this either mentally or on paper, so why not make a plan and see what you learn in the process. I’m going to share with you what I do, you take it, then tweak it to fit you and your family. Here’s what you need to get ready; paper/giant sticky notes/notepad colored markers/pens/highlighters calendar (last year and the coming year) music (this is very important for me) – I love to listen to “Epic Soundtracks” on Pandora so that I don’t get distracted by the words in the songs. I put those giant sticky notes...

Seeing you, being seen, and seeing Him

My friend Tami and I are very different, although we’ve been close friends for years. We are on different ends of the spectrum politically and in many other ways. But the other day I met her for lunch and ended up pouring out my heart—how I feel, what emotions have come to the surface lately, and so on. I told her these things knowing she had different opinions, and she shared a little about where she’s coming from. We could do this because we were in a safe place—we both knew we were loved, differences and all, and we trusted each other to listen with an open heart. It was a really healing moment for me. A reminder that differences don’t have to divide us. One thing Tami and I have always had in common is we hate to be misunderstood. If you want to be mad at me, fine, but only if you’re basing it on the things I actually did or what I actually meant. We can’t rest until we’ve corrected mistaken impressions. A big insight I’ve had lately is along those same lines: We all want to be seen and know that we’re heard. [I promise this isn’t about the election… bear with me. REALLY. I promise. It has a God point and doesn’t take a stand about sides!] I’ve heard analysts say that many thousands of people who supported our President-elect voted in large part because they felt like he understood their plight and was on their side. They supported him because for years they’ve felt overlooked by our government and media and now they feel...

No More People Pleasing! It’s Okay To Be YOU!

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 ESV Do you want everyone to like you? Do you spend time trying to make sure everyone is happy? Does it worry or bother you if you think someone doesn’t like you? Then chances are, my friend, that you are a people pleaser. Oh, I am right there with you on this one. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure when it started for me but for the most part, I can remember that most of my entire life I’ve wrestled with wanting people to like me. I guess it was one thing when I was an awkward teenager, or the constant “new girl” in school (yep, went to 3 high schools), but for crying out loud, I’m a grown woman now: what’s the deal? It wasn’t until the last few years, particularly this last year, that I’ve really started to wrestle with letting this whole people pleaser thing go. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is or has wrestled with this, so let me share with you what God has been teaching me about what’s wrong with being a people pleaser. I’m not being true to who God has called me to be if I’m trying to be something I’m not. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) I am not perfect. (Romans 3:10) I can’t make other people like me and it’s okay if they don’t. (Galatians 1:10) Listen,...

Grace In The Vacuum Cleaner Aisle

 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 2 Corinthians 4:15 NLT A few weeks ago while in the vacuum cleaner aisle at Target I was given the gift of grace. She was hurt, I was hurt. It was a misunderstanding, to say the least, but months had gone by and no communication. This was a ten year friendship that went off the rails fast and in the middle of ministry, motherhood and marriage it fell off to the side. In a season of hurt and frustration it was just not something I could deal with at the time. Sounds harsh, I know and I hate that, but when you are in the middle of a storm and life feels like your ship is going to go down, the first thing you start to do is throw things overboard. Off the side went things like; the gym, friendships that were outside the day to day bubble, and pretty much anything else that might lighten the load so you don’t go under in the season of storms. I’m not proud to admit it, at all actually, but I had to share with you what God did next. After wading through that season life got busy and although I wanted to reach out it was hard to take the chance of getting hurt again. I wanted to talk to her but I was too afraid. I would look on Facebook every so often to see how she was doing, looking...

When prayer is messy

Surely I’m not the only mom who’s cringed at the unavoidable (but unsavory) task of accepting the artwork being held out by her small child. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? A soggy piece of construction paper, drenched with runny paint, dripping in rivulets across the page. And down your child’s arms. And into your purse, if you’re not careful. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there might even be glue. And glitter. You just know that if you touch this glorious bastion of creativity, it’s going to rub off on you, too. Being creative can be messy. So can prayer. Then again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If prayer is, in its simplest form, communication with God—a way of reaching hold of a greater power, the greater power—then wouldn’t you want some of that to rub off? When you pray for someone, when you don’t just toss up a quick little “help her” prayer, but when you get serious, things change. And not just for the person you’re praying for, but for you. I think this is why Jesus said to pray for your enemies—because when you tear down the walls, when you truly try to remove your own emotions, feelings, and judgments, and you try to see a person as God does—you may find that all of a sudden you have a newfound empathy for that person. You’ll likely discover a new, better understanding of that person’s struggles, choices, and behavior. Judgment may cease. And you’ll have a new story to tell, about the time you got involved and saw things change. One day at church a woman came...

Do The Little Stuff

I’ve learned something along the way — more often than not, it’s more important to do the little stuff as it is to do the big stuff. Yeah, the big stuff gets all the flash and glamour, but the little stuff…ahh, well, my friends that is where life is lived. We grow up with these great big plans to conquer the world, or at least move out of our parents homes, and those are great. I am a huge fan of big dreams and diving head first into the dreams and desires that God lays on our hearts, but something I’m learning along the way is this…the little stuff is pretty important too. It’s so easy to take our family and friends for granted. We’re busy, they’re busy, and we rationalize to ourselves that they “know” how much we love them. I mean, I’m sure we’ve told them at least once today, or maybe once this week. Or have we? Yes, words are a big deal and can make a big impact in encouraging those around us, but what if we took it a step further and started to be more intentional about doing the little things to show those that are important to us how special they are. I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. John 15:11-12 MSG One of my favorite books is the Five Love Languages book by Gary Chapman. It’s not a...