Is Your Quiet Time Noisy?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful
Colossians 3:15

It was 5:45 this morning. Snuggled in my favorite chair, I was just diving into some time alone with God when a whirlwind burst through the bedroom door. Clara slid sideways through the door like Kramer from Seinfeld wearing a Minnie Mouse costume and smile as bright as the noonday sun. 

Part of my heart yearned to continue in a quiet place with God. The larger part won out. I matched her smile, threw open my arms and watched her run race speed from the door into my lap. I spent the remaining moments of my "quiet time" praying over her head and whispering words of blessing into her life.

As I did, I listed reasons in my head to be thankful for this moment:

Her energy infuses my heart.

Her enthusiasm dims the rough moments of my day.

Her effervescence fuels my attitude.

Sometimes quiet time isn't quiet. 

Do thoughts of work invade your space? 

Does your phone ring into your silence? 

Do errands demand your attention?

Spend a moment thankful for the interruption...

a job that provides for your family

an abundance of family and friends

a full life

Gratitude extends small moments with God into big changes in our heart. 

What's New With You?

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer.
1 Timothy 2:8

I see her feet dangle inside her red and yellow self-propelled plastic Cozy Coupe. Those feet grew and few inches and now press the pedals of a car which she is legally licensed to drive without the accompaniment of a parent. As the winds of fall dropped leaves from the trees, I counted.

Twenty trips with my baby girl seated to my right.

Six whispers from her heart together in the car.

Oh how I dreaded the passing of those precious conversations. I wondered how our relationship would change with her new found freedom. I longed to keep her fifteen but I delighted in watching her blossom into sixteen.

Sixteen came with an unexpected surprise. When she leaves and when she arrives she texts or calls. These moments are brief bursts of sunshine to my soul.

I wonder how our Heavenly Father feels when we begin a new phase of life.

New baby.

New job.

New ministry.

As we press our feet on the accelerator of life, we can choose to take Him with us into the new or leave Him behind in the old. Perhaps our new will bring with it more frequent check ins. Little puffs of prayer breathed into our new normal.

He's waiting by the phone. His heart flutters when our name lights up on the display of His heart. He wants to know what's new?

Not Restored; Renewed

May your love and your truth always protect me.
Psalm 40:11b

Every time I looked at my hand it was like a thousand rainbows has descended from the sky and landed on my finger. When my sweetheart asked me to marry him, his invitation was accompanied by a ring so beautiful it seemed more a dream than his proposal. Its' beauty was more surface than sure, however, and after just eight years of marriage my setting needed serious repair.

The jeweler's evaluation was not positive. They could repair it but not restore it to its' original condition. My setting had been battered and would never return to the designer's intended level of beauty. Thankfully, my ring is insured and my insurance company is willing to protect its' investment. They will pay to have my setting replaced rather than risk the total loss of the stone set within.

My life was in need of serious repair. I had been battered and I could not return to my Designer's intended level of beauty. Thankfully, my life is insured and my Insurer is willing to protect His investment. He sent a Replacement for me to make my life something entirely new.

I want to I approach life like I value the gift of the Insurer. His invitation is accompanied by a life so beautiful it seems like a dream. I long to take the time to thank Him in moments both easy and stressful. I want to delight in the way His grace dances around and in my life like a thousand rainbows.

I seek to protect His investment. I desire to guard my words knowing they shape the beauty of my world. I want to hedge my family with prayer. I want to know His heart so He will revolutionize mine.

The Insurer does more than restore. He Re-News.

Life Interpreted

We heard a language we did not understand.
Psalm 81:5

Germany. Now it sounds so far away but I called that country home my fourth year of life. To immerse me in the culture and language, my mother enrolled me in all German-speaking preschool. I spent months there telling elaborate stories in English. It never occurred to me that the children in Germany did not speak my language. 

I needed an interpreter.

Marriage. It sounds so familiar and easy. Since the first couple, humans have been freely entering into marriage. I dreamed of becoming a wife from the time I was a little girl and eagerly greeted the day I first engaged in marriage. I have spent years hearing my spouse express needs that I simply can't understand. We do not speak the same language.

I need an interpreter.

Parenting. Now that's something that should come natural. My children were born from within me. Surely four little female beings who bear my DNA will speak my language. The longer I parent, the more I realize I can never understand the depths of my daughter's hearts. 

I need an interpreter.

Are you like me? Do you sometimes wish you could just hit the "translate" button in life and gain the understanding you desire? Do you long to connect with your friends and loved ones at a deeper level? We need an interpreter. We cannot on our own understand the words and actions of others.

Our interpreter is grace. 

Angry words filtered through grace lose their sting.
Tides of emotion sifted by grace land on peaceful shores.
Unmet needs shaded by grace come to light.

Today I will not listen alone. Instead I will invite Grace to hear with me words expressed and withheld. I will ask Him to see with me actions understood and mysterious. He will be my interpreter. He sees what is blind to my eye and hears what is deaf to my ear. Life Interpreted.


Hayleigh looks most at home when she's six feet in the air. She's a flyer on her middle school cheer squad. At a recent practice, her trip to the top reached an abrupt end with a drop. Her ankle rolled and a fracture in the growth plate resulted.

Being dropped always results in pain.

Papers served at the front door and signal the end of your marriage.

A friend who suddenly stops returning your call.

The pink slip that shows up on your desk.

Have you experienced the pain of a drop? I have. My insides rocked as my heart rolled in waves of pain.

Hayleigh's break was repaired easily with a boot and the help of a trusted orthopaedic but some drops require help from a different Source. When we find ourselves crumpled at the bottom, we need to look up.

There we see Hope.

There we find Help.

As we drop, we fall into the arms of the Great Physician.

I'd Rather Be Righteous Than Right

The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness.
1 Samuel 26:23

Occasionally my teenagers want help with their math homework. I try not to act too excited but secretly I'm doing the happy dance. There is something so gratifying to me about a good Algebra problem. A few substitutions and manipulations then...voila you get the right answer. I just LOVE it when I'm right!

Truth be told I like to be right in other areas of my life as well. 

Like when I share droplets of wisdom with my husband that he rejects but they turn out to be pearls.

Or when I offer my best mommy warning just prior to my kids disobeying and reaping the natural consequence.

This morning I wonder though do I really want to be right or do I want to be righteous.

I would rather honor my husband with my actions and words than win an argument.

I delight when I see obedience in my children so much more than saying, "I told you so."

To be righteous is to have a right standing with God and men. It is cultivating the long-term yield instead of close relationship instead of the short-term satisfaction of "right". Today I choose to righteous instead of right.

Contentment Isn't About Content

If they obey and serve Him they will spend their years in contentment.
Job 36:11

"Mommy, when I grow up I want to have four daughters. I want them to be named Hannah, Hayleigh, Clara and Carynne just like us."

Carynne has the gift of contentment. She rarely asks for material possessions and when she does make a request it's for something she wants when "she's grown up like a mom." She can't envision a life better than the one she is living right now.

Can I say I feel the same way with total sincerity? Some days but many times not. I let my heart wander and consider what I have not instead of praising God for what I have.

In Job 39:11, God reveals the formula for contentment is to serve and obey God. Contentment isn't about the content of my life but my response to that content. Obedience and service are two things Carynne knows well. She is the first child to cry when caught in wrongdoing. Punishment is rarely necessary because she has a naturally repentant heart. She wants desperately to obey.

She also serves from a heart filled with kindness. Just last night she rubbed my hand with the intensity of a professional masseuse. This is quite a feat for fingers just four years old. She chose to serve her mommy and give a gift uniquely hers - an act of service.

Because I want to experience true contentment, I want 2012 to be packed with ordinary day filled with opportunities for obedience and service. Today, I say, "God, when I grow up I want to marry Scott Milholland and have daughters named Hannah, Hayleigh, Clara and Carynne. I want to come home to messy stairs and dirty dishes. I want to be overscheduled and overloved. I want to spend too many hours in the carpool line and too few hours at the salon. I want exactly what I have right now. I am content."

Won't you join me today and celebrate the ordinary life you're living? The gift of contentment is sure to follow.

Stolen Moments

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, 
Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, 
where he prayed.
Mark 1:35

There are some gifts that touch your heart in the hidden, deep places. I received one of those this year for Christmas - time with my husband. We held hands over Asian cuisine. We jogged the lazy path of a scenic river. We soaked in stolen moments one touch, kiss and sentence at a time.

As these stolen moments reside in my heart, my mouth is less grumpy, my spirit less critical, my soul more grateful.

In these first few days of the new year, I haven't been thinking about a new health regimen. I don't long to reorganize my house. I want to stuff my heart full of stolen moments with God.

Yes I still want to read my Bible each day.
Yes I want to maintain a prayer list.
Yes I desire to continue to commit God's word to memory.

But what I most want is to capture stolen moments with Him - spontaneous words of prayer, gentle brushes of His presence in the ordinary of life and unexpected glimpses of His work.

In 2012 let's steal away with God together.