What do You Think About That?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways", declares the Lord. 
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways 
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 68:8-9

The hum of the tires on the road was punctuated by a rousing game of "Guess the Animal". I was it so Carynne (5) was busy tossing close-ended questions from the back seat.

"Does it live at the zoo?"


"Does it have four legs?"


"Does it have a long neck?"


"Is it a brachiosaurus?"

I gripped the steering wheel to subdue my laughter.

"Give me a hint."

"It starts with the letter G."

"Is it a zebra?"

I went ahead and gave her the round based on entertainment value!

Some days I feel like my life is one long round of "Guess the Outcome". I peer at the limited facts I have and try to assume where God is taking my life or how He will resolve my current issue. The answer seems as obvious to me as the giraffe was in my game with Carynne. God usually has a much more creative solution in mind - a brachiosaurus has nothing on Him!

Instead of wasting time thinking about things beyond my scope of control, I need to focus my mind and heart on praising the One Whose thoughts carry me into every tomorrow.

What do you think about that?

God is Counting on You

The families of Levi however were not counted among the others.
Numbers 1:47

Numbers. Just seeing the name of the book makes me not want to read it and I'm a numbers kind of girl. I just would rather calculate them than read them. This morning I read the first two chapters of Numbers. I read with expectancy. I have long believed God speaks through all scripture. He even promised us He would in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. God did not disappoint.

Nestled among counts of the various tribes of Israel is this statement. "The families of Levi however were not counted among the others." God gave Moses precise instructions concerning a census of the people. Those instructions included the Levi not being counted.

The Levi were the priests - the church leaders of the day. There was no need to count them because God calls the precise number of individuals He needs to fill the roles He has for them. I sometimes struggle with this truth.

I want to be used by God. I want Him to do big things for His kingdom in and through me. Sometimes I see others get assignments I wish I had.

Does that ever happen to you?

Do you secretly long to use your interior design skills to decorate for big church events?

Do you sing in the choir but wish you'd be asked to do a solo?

Do you desire to use your gift of organization to streamline a messy ministry?

We can spend our time counting the numbers God's given a particular job to do or we can change the tone of our heart so God can count on us.

On days when I wrestle with God's assignments for me, I open my calendar and give my time over to Him - not fifteen minutes or a few hours. I give Him my day and ask Him to use me where He needs me. He knows the needs of His church and His people.

Today I want to be counted among the number listening to the whisper of God and experiencing the joy of serving Him. Wherever. Whatever. God, you can count on me.

He Loves Me

Today I'd like to invite you to join me at my church's online Bible study site. My friend, Kristen Albaugh, and I write a study there for women in our church or community for whom a traditional Bible study doesn't work. We are studying the names of God. This week we are tackling one of the most difficult to believe - Bridegroom.

Is it hard to believe that God recklessly, passionately pursues you?

This Valentine's Day, I'd like to share a piece of my love journey with you. Read about it here.

Happy Valentine's Day. You Are Loved.

Lady in Waiting

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5

I looked up to and admired them both. My sisters, six and eight years my senior, were my models for who and what I should become. I don’t recall the exact date but it became clear to me they were in a club I was yet to enter - Womanhood. I dreamed of the day and wished with all my heart to join them.

It was under a cloudless Kansas sky, my mom drove me to the mall. This day was big. Huge even. I was just ten years old yet my mom acquiesced and we were en route to get my ears pierced. Step one of two to reach my goal of maturation would soon be marked from my list. 

When I returned, "holier" than I’d left, I strutted around my sisters’ sun blankets to ensure they saw the sparkling treats which adorned my ears. My swagger blocked the sun and I was soon shooed back into the house. Women only in the sunbathing zone!

Imagine my utter delight when just a few hours later that telltale sign appeared. Step two of blastoff to womanhood burst on the scene. My cycle had begun. This time I sprinted outside certain the announcement of my current status would earn me a place on the mat. It did not. The gap between my sisters and I wasn’t menstruation or jewelry. It was age - a chasm no physical change could close. I would forever be the younger sister.

At ten I didn’t realize much of life is spent waiting:

The nine long months of pregnancy
The years for an adoption to come through
The indeterminate span of time for a spouse to find work
The decade spent writing before the first book is published
The hours until your teen comes home
The years until retirement

All of us wait on something. For years I thought when life paused I was waiting on God. One day it occurred to me perhaps He was waiting on me instead. It's in the interims of life my character develops. I grow in grace and compassion. I learn patience and trust. 

Waiting is not wasted. It is packed with the precious. That's why I love being a lady in waiting.

A Street Called Freedom

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Matthew 5:44

"You're a Meanie Geanie!" It was the ultimate insult hurled across the room when my brother and I were mad at each other. I don't even remember the three other names but I remember there were a total of four classifications for unacceptable sibling behavior. Meanie Geanie was reserved for the most despicable. 

Clearly I did not grow up in a house of fighters. We are stuffers. We are card carrying members of the Conflict Avoider Club. We sweep issues behind large pieces of furniture where they are safely hidden with dust bunnies and can't be seen or discussed. 

Whether we lock it under the key of our heart or blab about it on aisle three of the local supermarket, we all have stuff. Whether we avoid it like an IRS audit or post it proudly on our front door, we all have stuff. For me Meanie Geanie is a much more palatable label than enemy. But whatever you call it, decide to do something with it.

Pray for your enemies. Prayer is the door through which forgiveness walks.

I tweeted that this week. It is a lesson I've learned in the trenches of my life. There is someone in my life who has tortured me and my family financially, emotionally and legally. Nearly every interaction with this person leaves a another burn mark on the surface of my heart. If ever there were a Meanie Geanie...

In moments of quiet despair, I pray for God to make their work satisfying and prosperous.

In times of unbearable pain, I pray for their marriage to blossom and bring joy.

In seasons of bitterness, I pray for every spiritual blessing in Christ to pour out on their home.

These prayers first fall from a hypocrite's lips but they land on the heart of a Jesus lover. They open the door to forgiveness. Forgiveness brings the gift of freedom.

Freedom from despair, pain and bitterness.

Won't you join me? Pray for your enemies. Prayer is the door through which forgiveness walks. Forgiveness strolls on a street called Freedom.

Hello My Name Is...

For those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

Right now I can hear her voice. Strains of "Glo-ooooooo-ria" intermixed with "Jesus is a Good Friend". I am often amazed how a single line of praise can keep Carynne singing for hours. Her song overflows from her heart - a well of kindness.

Her birthday is tomorrow and I'm not sure who's more excited. I delight in the opportunity to celebrate the gift she is to our family. When I asked her what she wanted to eat for her birthday dinner she quickly rattled off her choices:

Macaroni n Cheese with Sliced Hot Dogs
Pickle Spears
Roasted Cauliflower
Celery with Peanut Butter
Ice Cream

This group of foods are uniquely her. Few other almost five year old would select cauliflower or pickles. Some might select mac-n-cheese but likely not celery. Carynne is unafraid to express who she is.

Am I?

Almost every Wednesday I meet my mom friends at Chick-fil-a for lunch. The employees see us coming and know a bundle of kids, laughter and a touch of high maintenance is headed their way. As I place my own unique order, I usually feel my cheeks redden. I'm embarrassed to ask for two sunflower seeds and no croutons or an extra honey barbeque sauce. My request makes me feel like I'm asking too much, as if I'm wearing a giant name badge reading, "Hello...My Name is Demanding."

Fear of expressing myself stems from a desire to remain hidden. Unseen. To just blend in.

But God...

He wants me to hide only in Him, to trust in His name and to blend in with His grace.

Tomorrow we will sing the Happy Birthday song but it will be distinctly Carynne's because we will insert her name.

Today I will trust in His name. I will wear a name badge over my heart. It reads..."His".

My Brush With Fame

The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Exodus 33:11

This morning my favorite national Christian radio station, KLove, was broadcasting live from Hope, my church. After I dropped Carynne at Preschool I weighed my options. I could use my feminine wiles and get my hubby, Hope COO, to escort me in to meet them. Or I could listen to my inner voice of better judgment. If I met them it would probably turn out like the last time I met one of my Christian heroes - I'd be struck dumb (and may not be even to speak-ha!).

Three years ago I meandered into a regular church dinner with my hubby. Within minutes my favorite radio pastor, James MacDonald, who I affectionately call Jimmie Mac, came into the room and sat right beside us. At the time Dr. MacDonald was running a James MacDonald look-alike contest on his website. The only words I could think were, "You should enter the Jimmie Mac twin contest. You'd win for sure." Unfortunately even those were peanut buttered to the back of my throat.

Have you ever heard someone list the questions they want to ask God when they get to heaven?

Something tells me in the presence of the Almighty all words are silenced.

Do you, like me, wonder what it would be like to talk to God face to face?

I didn't meet the KLove morning show today. I met with God instead. I was too awestruck by His grace and mercy to talk. I listened instead.

As I listened to the heart of God, He righted my path.

As I pressed my ear close to His chest, He soothed my worries.

As I nestled into His arms, He gave me courage to face my day.

Meeting with Him is the Ultimate brush with fame encounter.