Wednesday, April 27, 2011


My daughter crawled over to me this afternoon, while I was sitting in front of my computer, and reached up for me to pull her into my lap. She was hungry, and then fell asleep shortly after eating. As I was rocking her, I had one of those moments that's almost painful - just holding her tightly and thinking about how


she is. And I thought of how many mothers have had those same moments, the same thoughts. He/she is so


I remember when she was small enough to just lay there on my chest while I rocked. Now her long, thin legs curl around my waist and her lanky arms drap around mine. And we rock. And she breathes on my cheek. And I try my best to take it in. To find a place in my heart where I can store it & pull it back out later, when she's even more grown up.

But I leak. My heart is forgetful and those moments seem to slip away, not available for me to quickly retrieve. How much more important that I choose to live in the present with her now, then trying to hold on to those ever allusive moments?

Will she ever know how much I adore her?

My mind then shifts to the fact that I'm made in the image of my Creator, my Father in Heaven. And I get my capacity to love her, however imperfectly on this side of heaven, from Him. Because He loves. I love because He loves.

And He thinks I'm beautiful. He takes in my moments, as I hold tightly to hers, and I bet He thinks, "Why doesn't she accept the fact that I adore her?"

Why is it so hard for me/us to accept that we could be loved and adored the same way that we feel that towards those closest to us? Our hearts are broken with sin. We leak. Yet we feel these things, however imperfectly. How much more does He who is whole, One, love and feel these things towards us?

It may be a little backwards, but maybe as I learn to love her and show her how much I do, I'll learn a little bit more of how much I'm loved as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

God Chose Tragedy

Two Thousand plus years ago, God chose to save the world through Tragedy.

The tragedy - Jesus' Crucifixion. His Son dying, brutally beaten and savagely nailed to a cross.

There was no last minute substitute given, no ram in a bush that God revealed at the eleventh hour.

Because He was the Ram - better yet, the Precious Lamb of God.

Pure. Spotless. Perfect. Sufficient.

We were supposed to be on that cross. We were the ones that were given a substitute at the eleventh hour.

We have been saved from tragedy. Through the tragic death of Jesus, the payment for our sin.

BUT that's not the end of the story!

Jesus rose from the grave on the 3rd day, shaming the attempts of this world to hold back the Almighty plans of Heaven that were put into action the day that Eve took that first bite.

God planned this from the beginning, because He knew the end.

He knew we'd need a Savior. He knew that He's have to give up the One that He most dearly loved in order to save those that He dearly loves.

He chose tragedy to save us.

God choosing to save the world through tragedy brings purpose & HOPE to how He can use our own personal tragedies today.

There is always more to the story than we can see. More going on even as Eve and Adam were being escorted out of the garden. Even as Jesus was being escorted down the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Suffering).

There is more to the story of what you're facing today.

There is Hope.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."-Jeremiah 29:11

Have I loved like this lately?

My husband & I have started discussing Andrew Murray's Daily Devotional at night, and it's been a good time of connecting on a spiritual level & discussing how we receive these little snippets of truth. We have different learning styles and so often God speaks to us in different ways that this is a simple way we can connect over some of God's truths together.

The other night, we read one on laying down our will for God's will. And it made me realize that I haven't heard that message in a while. Yes, it's a common theme sewn into many devotionals and blog posts, but honestly, sometimes I think I miss it. I tend to like the nice, soft, encouraging statements that maybe confirm that I'm on the right path, or at least don't seem to be really stifling what I am currently doing or wanting to do.

Isn't that just like the flesh, to even go after the truth of God's Word in a way that doesn't hurt, or harm, or even come close to the conclusion that that very same flesh needs to be crucified?

Crucified. Put to death. In a painful way.

The devotional went on to focus on the importance of approaching situations in humility, even recognizing relational conflicts as opportunities for God's grace to become apparent. Choosing to not default into defending my own ground or feel I need to stand firmly on my own plot of perspective. Real Humility allows us to listen and truly hear what the other person is saying (not just to come up with our rebuttal, but really to take into consideration what they're saying and where they're coming from). Humility reminds us that we're no better than anyone else because we're aware of our need for Him. For grace. For the forgiveness & patience & love that He's calling us to offer to that person in front of us.

Have I loved like that lately?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." -1 John 3:16-18

Have I loved in a way that required something of me?

Because maybe it's not really love unless it does require something of us? Something that isn't naturally inspired and easy to give.

I don't know - I'm not a philosopher or theologian and don't pretend to be one. But I just know that from the passage above - I take that kind of love to be hard. To be something that is born out of prayer and a close walk with Jesus. A fruit that can only be produced if we are connected to the One True Vine.

Actions & in Truth. No hollow words. No poignant phrases. No going-through-the-motion moves.

Lord, please open my eyes to a greater revelation of what Your love looks like. I am so comfortable in my flesh, in myself, & Your love is not comfortable - it's not pretty and all wrapped up in a nice little box. It's messy and hard. It's a blood-stained cross and scars.

Only in You can I even have a desire for that. Infuse my heart with courage to desire the life that You want to live through me. And help me to surrender my will to that. To choose sacrifice, knowing that in that sacrifice, I'm the one that truly gains.

Thank You, Jesus, for the price you paid years ago that we celebrate this coming Easter weekend. Thank You for the road you walked so that we could walk with You, in eternity, forever, on those streets paved in gold!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I've been reminded lately of the unique opportunity we have in those moments when we're experiencing


to turn our gaze on Jesus.

To turn the focus of our heart and mind to Him, to be reminded that it's in those moments that we can be the


we've ever been, because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

It's the truth. We can bet our life on it & build our life out of it.

When my knees are knocking, what better time to bow them and allow Jesus to fortify my foundation.

Take that, Satan! Just when you think you've got me...when I'm anxious and trembling and looking to the left or the right, I can be reminded that it's in those moments that I can experience the truth of God's Word in my life, practically and applicably.

So - how do you turn your gaze, when you're tempted to be looking around - at others' reactions of you, at yourself & your own failures?

Prayer. Even a one-word prayer.


It sets our minds on the One that can set us back on our feet. Reminds our hearts that we have a Father in Heaven the loves us, and a Savior that daily pleads our case. Replaces the whispers of doubt with bold assurance that we're not abandoned, left helpless to do things on our own.

Weakness can be redefined in God's Kingdom. And so can we!

Kari Jobe "You Are For Me" from Nathan Corrona on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Faith Decay (Persevere - Part 2)

I read a blog post recently that gave words to a thought I've had for a while now -

the thought that when we 'know' God's Word, His Truth - and by know, I mean intellectually - but we don't ever put it into practice - we don't experience the truth of it - that we open ourselves up to doubt.

Doubt -faith decay

We allow room for our broken, fallen nature & the enemy to come in and question whether or not what we know to be real is really real.

Does it really mean something?

Does it really transform lives?

Because it's not transforming's not changing my life. It's not making others thirsty around me for what I have.

I think this happens a lot when we don't persevere in what God has put before us. We don't experience the power and the blessing and the Presence of God like we would if we were obedient to put our hands to the tasks He sets before us.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I'm a grace girl. It's by grace that I have been saved, through faith, not of anything that I have done, but by a gift from God Almighty, not by works - so I can never boast that I have done it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I absolutely believe that God has made a way for me to be reunited with Him & my life is to be lived in response to that, as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

What I'm referring to today is the truth of Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

We were created to do good things - things that allow us to experience God's Truth, His Power, His Presence, all around us.

"Things" that show others that don't know God around us that He is real. That He is love.

And I think that sometimes we, I, forfeit those experiences - those faith-building, God-confirming experienced when I don't follow through on the "good works" that He has set before me to do.

And maybe worst yet - others don't experience Him in ways that they could if I were.

Can you relate?

But there is Hope! Today is a new day! A new day to experience God's Truth by persevering in what He has put before me to do!

"My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." - Lamentations 3:20-24

Persevere - Part 1

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." -Galatians 6:9

Persevere in doing good - don't give up! Press in and take hold of God's promises.

Sometimes - most of the time - I don't follow through with my own, personal goals.

Sometimes -most of the time - I think that I forfeit what God offers on the other end because I don't finish.

I start out, zealous and motivated. And then slowly, gradually, I start to lose sight of where I'm headed. I allow other things, maybe even 'good' things, to enter my schedule, my time, my attention - and I stop. I don't experience God in ways I could have if I had



Can you relate? Are there promises in God's word that you don't feel you've ever taken hold of?

Benefits that He has to offer that you've never felt were bestowed on you?

Can you look back and see where maybe you got distracted from pursuing them, pursuing Him?

"You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD" - Jeremiah 29:13-14a

We have a God that can be found! He doesn't hide from us, but beckons us to Himself and even draws us to Himself.

"Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you." James 4:8

Galatians 6 states that we will reap what we sow. If we persevere in doing good, in seeking God's way, we will reap God's way - His benefits, His blessings, Himself.

The Prince of Peace becomes our Peace.

Jehovah Rapha, the Healer, becomes our health.

The great Comforter becomes our comfort.

"But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings (Lord, help me to desire this), becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:7-14

Monday, April 11, 2011


I got the opportunity to meet up with a group of women that, about 2-3 years ago, were a frequent source of encouragement & support to me. These women from my old Wednesday night small group helped me through a lot of 'stuff' back then, and I'm very grateful for these women. But as I said, it's been a while since we've had the pleasure of meeting together weekly, and thankfully, God provided an evening that we could carve out a few hours to reconnect with each other.

It was a sweet, precious time of fellowship. One my heart needed badly.

Anyways, one of the women had their little girl with her. She's newly married, but has been a single mom for some years now.

Strength, that's all I can say, especially now having my own. I can't imagine doing it without my husband.

Her little girl had just gotten back from a visit with her dad, who has custody of her older sister. At one point in the evening, as we all sat outside enjoying the beautiful spring evening, she came and crawled up in her mother's lap, obviously sad about something. And they whispered together as she held her, swinging back and forth in the porch swing. As they whispered , I couldn't help but sit back and observe.

Since Nat was born, I find myself intrigued at watching other parents and their interactions with their kids.

Then the little girl started to cry, and my friend told her, "Honey, it's okay to be sad. I know you miss your sister." As tears rolled down her cheeks, her mom reached over and softly wiped them away.

It was a beautiful, heart-wrenching moment. Motherly comfort. Reassurance that what she was feeling was okay, but that she was also there to help her through it - to not stay there.

It made me think about Natalie. It made me realize that it will tear my heart in two when she cries, and I can't fix it. When I can't make the feelings go away. But it also made me realize that I have been blessed. I get to be the one to pull her into my lap, to hold her and wipe away her tears.

WOW. Really? Why me? Why do I get the honor of care-giving for this priceless, precious little girl?

Humbled, I prayed a prayer of gratitude, thanking God for all that He has given me.

When life is so busy, it's easy to lose sight of all the unique, amazing moments we've been given, opportunities to step into the roles that God has placed us in & to fulfill a little bit of the purpose He has for us. Being a part of His story -wiping one tear away at a time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You pay for convenience

This thought came to mind the other morning as I was getting ready for work - just a seemingly random thought at the time. However, as I contemplated it more, this phrase I've heard before - that you pay for convenience, it hit me in a new way. We do pay for convenience....we pay more money for the newest gadgets that offer the promise that they'll save us time or effort, will help us accomplish what we need to do in a faster, more efficient way.

And believe me, I like faster and efficient. I don't like to waste my time doing something if it can be done in a 'better' way.

But I just wonder if I've ever really counted the cost of convenience - not just financially - but what I'm giving up when I'm doing things 'the easier way.' What experiences am I now able to avoid that God may have used to build my character, to grow my discipline, to produce perseverance in me? What depths in relationships do I miss by sending quick text messages and emails, instead of taking the time to even make a phone call or sit down over coffee? What am I now exempt from because the easy way is available, more accessible than ever?

"Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it." - Matthew 7:13

And I think about my daughter - all the conveniences this world will offer her - and what she may miss out on because of this.

Lord, please grant us (me) wisdom and discernment to choose what is best over what is available and permissible, to choose Your way over the world's and even my way. Give us Kingdom eyes to know what is of real value.

In Jesus' Name I pray and place my trust,

Lord, please