Friday, July 19, 2013


Is there anything too hard for The Lord? Genesis 18

Recently, there was this moment where I panicked. It was like someone plucked a string deep, down and low. It sent old feelings vibrating through me like the twang of an off-key string. Discouragement and thoughts started to surface like, "Are we really going to make it?"

With our move to the East Coast, we live in an area with a very different vibe from Maricopa County, Arizona. There's a lot of pressure to be something, to get somewhere, to have some nice things. Sure, those pressures would be there inside of us even if we were not surrounded by Capitol fervor. But I think Washingtonians define success a little differently. In our book, we call it the pressure to be "The". 

The Political.
The Lady.
And for me, and my husband, we find ourselves easily slipping into the pressure to be "The Young Couple." We so want to be doing great things for The Lord and to be able to live generous, fruitful lives.

And we have setbacks. Needs arise. People you care to help. And so, "The" plan, changes. It's easy to sit comfortably in ease and splendor, with great confidence, when life is going according to plan. Life has another soundtrack, though. It has one hit wonders, happy jingles and symphonic moments, sure, but it also has a lot of dissonance and chaos. What we need to hear most in those moments is the promise that nothing is too hard for The Lord. 

Did you catch the title of the post? Hard is also wonderful. In other translations, the general sense of this phrase can also mean Is anything too wonderful for The Lord?

Do you feel up against the odds? Feel left out? Like you will never catch up?  It's the moments when the toys all over the floor again ten minutes after you've cleaned them up, and someone decided it was a great idea to try crushing Cheezits into the carpet, and you have to make dinner from scratch again to save money, that you have to give yourself a pep talk,

I am doing something worth it.
Nothing is too hard.
Underneath are the everlasting arms.
He is making me strong.

It is lie that all the time we have to be "The" woman: a modern superwoman. Admitting weakness is hard, but it can also be wonderful. Let's try and look to the most important "The": our Lord and Savior. We can start by moving away from the hurt, pain or fear towards hearing His voice and putting Him first in our thoughts, emotions and actions.


Monday, July 08, 2013


My sister passed this along to me this morning. I am pretty impatient when it comes to waiting for my plans (or dreams) to come true.

Hoping this encourages you this morning.

Vision And Reality

Utmost for His Highest
July 6, 2013
And the parched ground shall become a pool. — Isaiah 35:7
We always have visions, before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.
"Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter’d by the shocks of doom
To shape and use."

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.
The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Gaining and Losing

Have you ever stepped on the scale and wondered, "O MY GOODNESS! How did I just gain like five pound in a week?" We all worry about it, but especially with vacation season here, we've worried our way up until the moment we leave about how we are going to look in our bathing suit, only to worry about what the scale says about us when we get back.

Here's the rock bottom truth: We all gain weight. We all lose weight, too.
Let's not forget that a number is never finite. That means that the number that you see on the scale after the beach or the trip is not always reflective of how you ate a whole bag of Sunchips in the car on the way to the beach (done that) and had a huge handful of M&M's until the bag was empty (oops, me too).

First of all, travel always disrupts our gut and our fluid status. That means that the traveling part slows our bowels down, and then all the sitting causes us to retain fluid. Then, we eat all sorts of "treats" which are usually higher in fat and sugar-- whether it's the soda on the beach or the glass of wine at night, not to mention all the extra snacks and desserts. 

I  am always shocked when I get back on the scale after vacation. But I have to tell myself. Do. not. panic. I don't need to diet. I need to get back to what is called "mindful eating". Small weight changes or fluctuations in weight do not need to set us off on a crash diet. Most of us just need to return to our healthier habits and normal physical activities, ones that do not include lounging around like a slug in the sun slurping up every calorie laden beverage in sight...

After listening to a great webinar about mindful eating, I really liked how the speaker made her principles easy to remember and full of sound, non-panicky, wisdom:

1) Eat with INTENTION.

2) Eat with ATTENTION.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I usually know exactly what I need to do to get back on track. First, I start choosing my food very carefully if I'm up a few pounds. Or, if I've been really busy and I've been on survival mode, I pay more attention to what foods taste like, chewing more slowly and carefully, sitting down for meals, and paying more attention to the food I'm used to inhaling. Both strategies work to manage that weight as we gain and lose in the natural flow of life.

How are you doing managing your ups and downs? Any strategies you find really helpful? I'd love to hear them!


Monday, July 01, 2013

Lean In and Watch.

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
Psalm 5:1-3
I remember reading Psalm 1 as a child, memorizing the words as I rode in the backseat on the way to school with Jon Ward and his brothers. As I grew up, I would read it again, and then skim over the next 22 Psalms until I got to Psalm 23. I just didn't understand what all that groaning and crying was about.

Now I get it what those Psalms about pain were saying in between those two bookends of Christian prose. Life has a way of educating you about pain quickly.

Have you ever waited for something that you really wanted? Do you ever long for that thing to change? Are you on the edge of your soul, desperate for it to happen?

I am. As a wife and a mother, I am not only want things for myself, but there are those around me I am praying for that God would answer as well.  Another translation for that phrase "prepare a sacrifice for you and watch" i s "direct our prayer to you." In the HCSB Study Bible, it says, "at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly." 

When I really want something I don't have (and I am not just talking about wanting this beautiful new couch), I have to remind myself of two truths:

First, God listens.
Second, I must lean in and watch expectantly.

I know that Cheryl Sandberg says that women need to lean in more to their careers and stop opting out too soon. I would say the same is true for our faith as women. God wants us to remember that He hears our needs, our groanings too deep for words, as well as our wants. It's not wrong to be ambitious and want things. We just have to ask and then be willing to watch.

I too have to keep my eyes open while I watch. I have to watch for small moments of gentleness in my daughter, and then praise her for it, and not forget it in the moments when she is wild and crazy. I have to watch for the sweetness in our marriage, and thank my husband for his love. I have to watch for "God-sightings" (as my kids are learning in VBS this week) in my career as I desire to work again.

We have to watch. Sometimes, we get so fixed and focused on the mundane, the minutiae of life, that we forget to prepare, pray and then watch with our eyes opened. I pray God will give you the eyes to see His love at work.