Self Imposed Fog

I read a devotional the other day on trusting God through the fog, the writer recounting a difficult drive down a foggy mountain road and trusting God to take her safely home. I have not had that experience of driving down a foggy mountain road. And yet, recently…I created my own fog on a bright sunny day. Nothing had changed. A blinding fog did not roll in and obscure my view. I just took my eyes off what God can do and let circumstances overwhelm me with doubt and fear. I was not a friend to myself. I was a saboteur of my own journey. For a while I let a thick fog swirl around me and swallow up my hope and faith and pull me into a dark place where discouragement filled my heart. We all have those days when praying, waiting, and working toward something are met with discouragement. We often find we derail our confidence in the Lord with our own weakness and wrong thinking because for a while we take our eyes off of Him and instead let a fog of doubt and worry surround us. The fog comes rolling in when I take my eyes off of the Lord. It is a miserable place to be when we feel like we have lost our way and can’t find a clear solution. There are multiple possibilities for our discouragement. We become impatient because we have already waited a very long time for answers. We might convince ourselves we have asked for too much or too big and back down from our asking. We don’t see...

The Struggle is Real (Psalm 103)

  I was sitting in church when I felt my chest cave in…then expand as if no weight had ever sat there. Let me back up for a minute. I struggle with anxiety/worry/fear/you-name-it. I let things bother me that really have no place bothering me—things that haven’t even happened yet and may not happen. I let them bother me to the point where those things are all I can think about and I end up missing the good—and God—in each day. So when I sat in church and heard this sermon, it was conviction and relief all rolled into one. I’ve read Psalm 103 numerous times. Recently, in fact, as I spent a few months reading through the book of Psalms. But never had I read this particular Psalm with such depth (no doubt an indication that I need to do something different in my time with God to dig deeper than I have been). King David wrote this Psalm…to himself. “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 103:1a, English Standard Version). See there? “O my soul.” He’s talking to himself. Reminding himself that he needs to bless the Lord—even if he doesn’t feel like it, even if he’s busy, or scared, or exhausted, or has a to-do list a mile long, or his kids won’t stop talking to him during summer vacation and all he wants is a quiet moment with a cup of coffee. This Psalm is his reminder of God’s benefits (verses 3-5), His character (verses 8, 10-13), and His eternal love (verses 17-19). Our pastor put it this way: we need to lead our souls....

Weekend Wrap•Up

  Looking for the Garden of Eden Susan Aken   God Sees You Shannon Geurin   Inspired by Kevin Bacon to Connect the Dots Kelly Stanley   Will You Rise Michelle Discavage     Why Do “Good People” Suffer and “Bad People” Prosper? Kris...

God Sees You

I was on my way to church, gripping the steering wheel as if I was hanging on for dear life. The girls woke up cranky.  The oldest refused to wear the outfit I picked out and the littlest pooped all the way up and out of her diaper which caused me to change her outfit not once, but twice. Great start to the day. That frazzled piece of hair that had slipped out of my ponytail just refused to stay out of my face no matter how hard I tried to blow it away. The whole scene was definitely a “Jesus take the wheel” moment. It was a rough morning and it wasn’t.even.noon.yet. Actually it had been a rough week..month..year. The transition of one child to two was a bit more than I had bargained for. I vowed to let John have it when he got back from his business trip. I parked and stared straight ahead. I just needed a minute. Taking a deep breath I put the stray hair back in to place, climbed out of the car, and slapped a smile on my face just like the clown we saw at the park the day before. I held my head upright with one little on my hip and the other little hand in hand. With my painted on smile I was holding back the tears. I dropped the girls off at the kids center and headed to the worship center to find the closest empty seat all the while wondering if anyone really even cared. Did anyone see me? Do they just have any clue? Does God see...

Weekend Wrap•Up

Everything from THIS week, all in ONE place! Rubik’s Cube Algorithm Alisa Hope Wagner   Discerning Right from Almost Right Leah Adams   When You Sign Up to Give Your Heart Away Anne Dahlhauser   Turning What We Think About Submission Right Side Up / Part 5 Susan Lawrence   My Neighbor is a Convict Natalie Gwyn...

My Neighbor is a Convict

An ex-con lives 50 feet from my front door. He has been my neighbor for two years and I never spoke to him until last month. Richard* (not his real name) has always seemed slightly odd. He keeps to himself and I rarely see him outside. Every now and then I watch him climb into his old, rusted-out truck and drive down our dirt road. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of him walking to the mail box. If I happen to be outside when he is pulling his trash cans to the curb, I always wave. But the truth is, I didn’t even know his name. I could tell he was uncomfortable around people. I could say that the reason I never went over and introduced myself was because I wanted to respect his privacy, but really I was just too busy to be bothered. Last month Richard wandered on to my property. He held an empty leash in one hand and seemed a bit confused. I thought it was strange he was roaming my property looking for his dog when one quick glance was all he needed to realize there was no dog to be found. I watched as he walked up my gravel driveway. I quickly called my kids to come inside. That evening I was unloading groceries from the back of my van when I heard his voice directly behind me. Startled, I jumped and turned around. “Have you seen my dog?” he asked. “No.” I replied. “Your dog isn’t here.” “Okay. Thanks.” Richard said. And he continued to stand there in the rain. He shuffled his...

Weekend Wrap•Up

If you missed anything this week, here’s your chance to catch up… The Self Harm of Words – Alisa Hope Wagner   Turning What We Think About Submission RIGHT SIDE UP (Part 2) – Susan Lawrence   When You’re Wringing Your Hands in the Waiting – Anne Dalhauser   Wisdom is the Fruit of  Fire – Leah Grey     Unapologetically – Summer...

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

   I’d been meaning to call her, to check in on my friend Kate who had recently experienced much tragedy in her life.  But I’d put it off.  We’d recently had lunch together and she’d laughed as she talked about her new job and the latest antics of her teenagers. It was good to see her smile. You see, last year Kate lost her father, husband, and brother in the span of 13 months. I could hardly believe what my friend had to endure. During this time I sent her cards and text messages, called, and sent small gifts to her children in the mail. Because I’d recently lost my mother, I knew the experience of grief well. I’d wanted to support my friend.  So when we met for lunch just weeks ago, I was happy to see Kate coping well with what life had thrown her way.  Her faith seemed stronger, and she was thinking about her future. I was relieved.  It seemed God was giving her a reprieve.    But then her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Just a week later her mother fell broke her leg.  Next she was admitted to the hospital for breathing issues.  Throughout all of this, I kept in touch with Kate, but because she wasn’t too worried, neither was I. And life, like it always does, got busy.  I focused on finishing up writing assignments, shopping for our spring break trip, and going to track meets and soccer games every weekend. But last week, I felt a nudge from God while reading my morning devotional.  The subject was that...

Now, Leave It

In her book, “Yes Please,” Amy Poehler speaks for an entire chapter on demons. Well, actually,  a demon. She describes this demon as, “That voice attacking your self worth. It is constantly nagging you one step closer and closer to losing sight of who really you are.” Who you really are, is a child of the King who alone silences the enemy’s lies with his jealous love for us. It’s that other voice that robs me of joy and makes life lacking.  That enemy tries very hard to keep me from remembering that YAHWEH, God of all things, knows where I am, how overwhelmed I feel & continually loves me with a deep, abiding ‘Gorilla Glue’ bond. We all “get” that the notion of satanic voices is indeed heavy, but we serve a God who has given us the freedom to chuck that heaviness and to walk in his peace and joy, every day of our lives. I believe that it starts with shift out of our comfortable places to a place where we seek the creator of our souls.  Let me give you a candid insight into me. The inspiration for this devotional sparked from an anxiety. I am currently staying up late in preparation for a night shift work week as an Animal Control Officer, while my husband Matt works as a Deputy Sheriff on the day shift  and this means, as you could deduce, that I will not see him at all for a week. Fun. I tend to get anxious thinking about how I will hate not getting to verbally vomit my thoughts to him after...

I Write in My Books

important disclaimer: I am fully aware of the fact that I am, have always been, and likely will always be a geek. I couldn’t wait for college. All the usual reasons — getting away from the small town I lived in and my parents and all the people who thought they had a right to know my business. But it wasn’t just about running away — it was about running to. To new friends, new knowledge, and new experiences. Oh, and also because I’d heard you could write in your books. Until then, writing in books had always been forbidden, probably because the books didn’t belong to me. I rented from the school, borrowed from the library. Everything had to be taken care of. In college, though, I got to buy my own textbooks. Some of them were used, already filled with other people’s notes, and some were immaculate. I bought the pristine ones and then, somewhat giddily, filled them with my own marks. Highlights in multiple hues. Notes in the margins, stars, arrows, circles. It wasn’t just because I was an art major and liked to draw in pretty colors. It was because it was a way of interacting with the material, a way to remember it, to come to understand it, to acknowledge and process what was important. A way to make it mine.  I liked being able to flip through and, at a glance, see what mattered. I could remember that, even if I didn’t remember all the specific details, I’d put a big green asterisk right next to the paragraph, so I could skim through...