What To Do With A Lying Heart

Hearts are liars. I know because my heart lies to me. It lied to me when I was trying to find a publisher for my first book. Nineteen times I heard, "No one is going to publish you. You're not good enough." At first, I cried and agreed, "It's true!" After a while, I got smarter! As my friend, Renee Swope says, I started bossing my heart around. I ran to Jesus with these disappointments. Some days, it was easy. I felt strong and said confidently, "I'm trusting Jesus to figure this thing out!" Other days, I wanted to crawl under my sheets and stay in bed! It was a constant battle not to listen to the cruel voices. I had to get bossier on those days. I bet you have a lying heart too; telling you things that aren't true. "Your parents are disappointed in you; you can't ever please them!" "You could never get into a college like that; it's only for smart kids." "Your art work isn't that beautiful." Our hearts see things as they aren't. They lie, telling us how to feel when we shouldn't feel that way at all! There's a guy in the Bible who let us see his lying heart. In fact, David appears to be having issues with a split personality; he's talking to himself! "My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" he says in Psalm 27:8. Then David turns around and answers himself! "Your face, Lord, I will seek." David doesn't like what is going on, yet he's trying to get past it to pursue God. He's bossing his...

How to Start an Advice Sharing But Not Preaching Conversation

There is a painful reoccurring story; you've probably heard it too. Good girl falls for bad guy. I can't tell you how many times I have received prayer requests from moms, broken-hearted over their daughter's new boyfriend. The type of guy she had always taught her girl not to go for. And her daughter agreed…for a long time; or at least it seemed like a long time to the girl. Then the waiting for the godly type of guy got too long…and she went for what was going for her. With two daughters now 18 and 16, not to mention a son who is 21, have I either felt the pain of relationships that were less than best for my child or have had the fear of one. But you don't just march into your daughter's room and dive right into a conversation of this sort. "Don't fall for a bad guy" just isn't a great conversation starter. So how is a mom to go about beginning these important but difficult talks? Begin by asking for her advice. "Why do you think this happens to girls?" "What can a girl do to prevent falling in love with a guy that isn't good for her?" Then listen. You might just find yourself surprised! Your girl might pull out of her heart truth and you'll be the mom who feels comfort. And if she doesn't seem to know how the Bible would answer the question you have posed, be ready to give her the answer, from God's perspective. When you show respect for your child's opinions and you demonstrate value in what they say, in time, you'll find that respect and...

Pain Blocker

As a mom, it hurts me especially when my kids experience pain as a result of their mistakes. My emotions want to take over at times like these. Anger wants them to feel the full force of their choices, while sympathy wants to step in and take away all the consequences. Either way, my emotions try to become the driving force behind what happens next, which rarely ever turns out well! Before we make decisions, we should look to Jesus and see how He handled difficult situations when He was on earth. Jesus didn't allow His emotions to dictate His actions. We see this in John 11, where Jesus is confronted with the knowledge that His beloved friend Lazarus is dying. It even says in verse 35 that He was so torn up by this that He wept. Yet, He held His emotions in check. He said that the purpose of this sickness was for God's glory, so He needed to allow it. How about me? Do I step back and allow the pain that my child is experiencing to be used by God to bring Himself glory in my child's life? Or do I try to block pain from coming into the lives of my kids, when that very pain could be the delivery method that the Father wants to use? I once heard that if my children are going to know Jesus as the healer, they have to first need healing. If they're going to know Him as Father, they have to need a Father. If they're going to know the Holy Spirit as the comforter, they...

Is “The One” Really Out There?

"On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'" John 7:37-38 (NIV) As soon as we were old enough to understand fairy tales, we were told to start looking for the one. Someday my prince will come. Someday I'll find my love. As we got older, Prince Charming looked a bit different. Our teenage hearts thrilled when the latest vocal sensation sang about finding us and how our love would last forever. Wherever we turned, we were told our soul mate was waiting. And we were led to believe we were "less than" if we didn't find the one who would complete us! Even now, whether we're 15, 45 or 75, the equation hasn't changed: "Guy + Me = Valuable." So, if the movies, books and songs are so right, how come when we find the one, we can still feel like we're missing something? Why are there married people who are lonely with an emptiness that marriage can't fill? Our hearts can get confused if our reality doesn't match fantasy and we wonder: Maybe my one isn't really the one. Or, whether we're married or single, we might wonder, is the one for me still out there? In this place of uncertainty our hearts can grow perplexed. If we find ourselves in this vulnerable place of questioning, and all of a sudden a guy who seems to be the one enters the picture, it can stir...

What Does the Future Hold?

What Does the Future Hold? Do any of you have a graduation right around the corner this spring? The Cowells do! It is so hard to believe our middle daughter will be graduating from high school. Millions of seniors all over the country, in both high school and college, are counting down the days, maybe even hours until they have that diploma in hand. So with this big event right around the corner, what are they hoping for in their future? The Barna Group sampled 602 teenagers. The question: What do you think your life will be like roughly 10 years from now, when you are a young adult, around age 25? The biggest thing on their mind: finishing college for high schoolers and professional careers for college grads. "81% of teenagers felt they are likely to have a “great-paying job” by the time they are 25. Displaying their we-want-it-all perspective, 80% of teens also believed they would be serving in a “job where they can make a difference” by that age." (1) In this economy, it is good to see that they have a positive outlook on the future If our teens truly do want to have a great job and make a difference as well, how can we point them in the right direction? I remember having similar thoughts as I came out of high school, but didn't find myself surrounded with those who could offer good advice or direction. Maybe the Lord would use you to do just that! A great place to start is dialoging. When you ask a graduate, what they want to do, really listen. The Lord might...

Hurt or Healer?

How did this argument happen any way? Your child came home from school and minutes after the backpack hit the floor, the two of you are at each other. The raised voices and rude words seemed to come out of nowhere. What did I do? You wonder. The answer might be nothing. In fact, it’s quite possible it has nothing to do with you at all. So many times when I have been hurt by someone, especially members of my family, I have made it about me. What did I do? Why did they do that to me? I didn't deserve that. So often, though, I’m asking the wrong questions. What I need to be asking is: What is going on in them? Why did they feel the need to do that? Why are they hurting? If I switch the questions I am asking, I go from hurt to healer. Like my friend Zoe said – I can become a Q-tip: Quit Taking It Personal. In fact, you and I can do more than that…instead of becoming offended, we can look for opportunities. Opportunities to look at someone who is hurting and decide to be part of their healing process. We can embrace our offender and become a healer! Not only is this powerful in our own lives, but just think of the power we can give our kids if we teach them this principle too! Several years ago, my daughter came home from school offended; she was feeling excluded. So we began to ask questions. "Why did the other girl say what she did?" "Is it possible that the offender...

Put it Back!

Want to win $20? It’s a question I often ask when trying to get a volunteer at a “Revolutionary Love” conference. Here’s the trick. I ask the brave girl who comes forward to completely empty the tube of toothpaste I hand her. After she has created the gooey blue pile, I inform her that she will now need to put it all back in the tube…then she’ll win the $20. You can imagine her expression! It is impossible to put it back! The same is true with our words once they escape our mouths. This little exercise is a great way to demonstrate the power of words. We grew up hearing “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.  So not true! Sticks and stones create physical pain, but words have the power to wound or empower. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue has the power of life and death; that is some pretty amazing power. In my home, my girls and I have a pact. If I catch them gossiping about another, I get to point it out. The opposite is also true: if they catch me gossiping about another, they respectfully point it out to me as well. I have found this to be a good way for all of us to be on guard about the words we say about another. Proverbs 16:28 tells us “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Let’s be women who demonstrate each day to those around us that we understand the power of words and are purposing to use our...

What Noise are You Making?

"This is the last time we ever attend her Christmas concert." "This is her last birthday at home." Change is coming to our home. Before we know it, we'll be dropping off our daughter at college this fall. There is nothing I can do to change change. What I can do is prepare. One thing I love about God's Word is the stories of people like me, who struggle with the same issues I do. Ezra 3 shares a story of the Israelites and how they dealt with change. The original temple had been destroyed; the glorious house of worship was gone. Now God was calling the next generation to rebuild the temple and they were doing just that. We're told in verse 10 when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the people began to praise and thank God: "He is good; his love…endures forever." All the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord! Then in verse 12 we see that word..but. "But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy." Two different types of noise from two different groups of people: 1) those who looked to the past and couldn't get over the pain of loosing  2) those who looked to the future and rejoiced in what was to come They both had something in common; they both made noise. One worshiped; one wept. Change is inevitable. My youngest will get her driver's license...

Who do you want to be?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5: 22 – 23 (NIV) Remember when you were younger, family and friends would ask: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" My answer would change each school year. In 3rd grade, I wanted to be a puppeteer. My mom was my hero when she signed me up for the puppet class at the library! 4th grade brought change. Sketch pads were filled with amateur figures doing life together. As I grew, so did my aspirations. While I enjoyed any attention the “growing up” question gave, I really wish someone had asked me “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead of emphasizing what I did, how powerful it would have been if influencers had asked, “Who do you want to be?” Today’s verse in Galatians 5:22 -23 would have been the perfect answer to the “who” question. It describes the many characteristics of a woman who displays God’s glory: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The great thing is, it’s not just an issue of “when I grow up”. He still wants me to become this woman today. So do I and it’s never too late! Now, I am no longer the one being asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?" Instead, I have the opportunity to be the doing the asking. My daughters, ages18 and 15, are just around the corner from living out their own adult lives. “Who do you want to be?” is so much more...

The Best Way to Read Your Bible

On this journey called life, I can often get overwhelmed with all the things I need to change. I need more patience; longsuffering with those I love most. My organization or lack thereof, needs to come up a notch or two to make life more efficient. My commitments have increased, so my time management skills need to as well. My heart looks at all the growing I need to do and it wants to quit before I even get started. A couple of Januarys ago, I found myself in exactly this place. So I started the New Year by picking just one thing. One thing that Jesus and I would tackle together. This year, that one thing is listening. Dictionary.com says listen means: to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing. To listen, I have to be purposeful about hearing; purposeful and selective too. What I hear has the power to change to me. Romans 10:17 says "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (ESV) If I am hearing God's Word, my faith will grow. I need, then, to put myself in a place where I can hear (not just read) God's Word. I’ve begun to look for new ways to hear God’s Word. For starters, I’ve begun reading God’s Word out loud during my time with Jesus. Reading out loud allows me to: #1 – Stay awake (a serious consideration when it’s early in the morning or late at night!) #2 – Anyone who hears me gets to hear God's Word too! #3 – My faith is being built as I hear God's Word. Reading out loud is a tool for learning...