no longer stuck

One of the reasons why I think the word “unrelenting” spoke to me is because I feel as if I’ve been stuck.
I’ve been on this Emmaus Road walking. Sometimes maybe seeing the Lord walking with me, but most of the time with my head down pondering everything that has happened but not really looking up and moving on. Like the disciples walking, I feel like I’ve lost heart and that the things that have happened really can’t be overcome. I’ve listened to the Scriptures and the words Jesus has spoken, but I still haven’t really seen Him and heard him.

So, there I am on the road and at the table nodding my head yes, but not really letting it all sink in…soak in.
That’s why I declare 2013 to be a unrelenting.
I’m not giving up this year.
I’m persisting through my disappointment, fear, worry, anxiousness, frustration and even joy to put aside and move towards Him.
Moving into this longing in my heart to know His scriptures and actually knowing His scriptures.
Refusing to stay stuck in this place that is keeping me from knowing – and moving – into His goodness in the land of the living (Psalm 29:13).
Even when moving in the shadowlands of sadness or worry or frustration, knowing that He is there with me and choosing JOY even when everything else seems crazy.

It’s funny to write all this about being stuck and choosing joy because I’m walking into 2013 feeling so much freer than I have in years. I’m not depressed. I’m not in this place of great fear like I’ve been before. I’m not in a horrible place in my marriage. My children are healthy. I’m not facing illness. My bills are paid.
Yet even in the midst of all this, I know that there is so much more than I’m missing.
I’m still on that road with my head down.
We can be moving in the shadows even when things seem to be going just fine.
But yet God has so much more for us than just being fine.

And that comes with an unrelenting pursuit.
Soaking my daily minutes into His scripture.
Refusing to listen to the whispers in my head and around me and going to His word.
Fully giving over my heart into forgiveness
Choosing to be healed and moving into that healing.

Unrelenting.
Never ceasing.
Walking into 2013 with my head up and eyes on Him.






Continue Reading

a new beginning

Today is the last day of 2012. I’ve been praying that God would reveal a word for me to focus on and live out this next year. Instead of a list of 20 resolutions, I wanted one word to encapsulate this next year for me. This morning it hit me like a brick.

unrelenting.

Through a host of books I’ve finished and one that I just started (reviews to follow in the coming weeks) this word truly brings out what God has been teaching me and revealing in me.

2013button

Unrelenting is a way of saying never ceasing and this is the year of being unrelenting in…

my quest to be freed from the bondage that is holding my heart captive to trusting
my desire to daily pursue gratitude and thankfulness for everything in my vision
my pursuit of God and the hearts of my husband, children, family and friends.

I do not give up easily in life on 99% of things…except Jesus.
I give up on Jesus all the time because “I know better.” (ha!)

This year I long to be 99% unrelenting in my pursuit of Him. Irregardless of where it might lead me.
For where He leads me will be 150% more amazing than anywhere I might have imagined.

Continue Reading

evil present

I’ve been pondering and reading a whole host of responses to the tragedy that occurred last Friday in Connecticut.
My first thought, obviously, was to my own children who at that time were still sitting in their classrooms in their own elementary school . My second thought was to all the times I had sat in a closet or bathroom with my students for “intruder drills” and I thought about all those teachers who were doing that same thing; only it was real.

I’ve read a host of comments about obviously the question of “why?”. Some people have mentioned that it’s all because pray and God was taken out of schools. And the thing is, God never left public schools. I don’t say this to make any sort of argument for or against any type of schooling decision, but the fact that we even begin to think that we remove God. The idea that we can move God where we want Him to be or not be.

God was present in that school. And so was evil. Just as evil entered into the Garden, sin walked into that school on Friday. A fallen man made a fallen choice and destroyed countless young lives. I see photos and hear names and ages of the children that died and hold my own 6 year old a little closer. And I remember that although evil walked in; it won’t have the final word.

Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the innocent and often times he uses the innocent to do that. For in destroying the innocent, he attempts to destroy us. He makes us question God and God’s intentions. He makes us doubt. And when we doubt; when we say that there is no way God was there in that maddness, we let evil get hold of us. God was there in the Garden. Satan didn’t slink his way in, our God is so much bigger than that. And God was there in that school.

God hears our cries. He hears the cries of everyone who is touched by this tragedy. He even heard the cries of the man who did this. And He has a plan. His plan from the beginning was to rescue us. It is a plan that involves fear and love; death and life. And hope.

3The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

4“Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.

5“Again you will plant vineyards
On the hills of Samaria;
The planters will plant
And will enjoy them.

6“For there will be a day when watchmen
On the hills of Ephraim call out,
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
To the LORD our God.’”

7For thus says the LORD,
“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
And shout among the chief of the nations;
Proclaim, give praise and say,
‘O LORD, save Your people,
The remnant of Israel.’

8“Behold, I am bringing them from the north country,
And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth,
Among them the blind and the lame,
The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together;
A great company, they will return here.

9“With weeping they will come,
And by supplication I will lead them;
I will make them walk by streams of waters,
On a straight path in which they will not stumble;
For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn.”

10Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
And declare in the coastlands afar off,
And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him
And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

11For the LORD has ransomed Jacob
And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.

12“They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD—
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil,
And over the young of the flock and the herd;
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again.

13“Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together,
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.

14“I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 31

Continue Reading

fmf {quiet}

Five Minute Friday

Five minutes
Fridays
Zero Edits
In my new, but old space (oh those darn spammers that got me)
Time to focus and write from the heart
Join in!
Today’s word is
QUIET

GO

Quiet is a funny thing in my world lately.
There are days when everyone is at home, noise is blaring from the radio,
the tv, the iPad, the people in the house
and I long for Monday mornings when it’s just me in this space again. When I have control of the noise.
But not long into my Monday mornings I start to falter because of the silence.
Silence is hard.
We long for it at times.
And most of the time we need it.
Silence from the noises in our homes. Silence from the noises in our world.

And even silence from our God.
It is in this kind of silence that we grow the most
and sometimes suffer the most.
Like my Mondays when I am all alone and wander through the house and don’t know what to do with the silence.
It draws me in and focuses me.
This silence from our Lord is a waiting.
It is a place that is forcing us to focus on Him.
To grow us.
To bring us to a place of repentance.
To make us something new.
But it’s not just a silence. It’s a quiet.
It’s like sitting in a meadow and seeing a deer pass in front of you and you want to be quiet.
You want to see the beauty.
We can’t see that beauty when we are surrounded by noise.

STOP

Continue Reading

moving on

My baby girl lost her first tooth this week. I say “baby” because she is my baby, my last born of me and this right of passage has hit me hard. There are days when I would never want her to return to her toddlerhood along with days that I do wish she would just grow up a little bit and be more independent. But most days, days like this one, I want her to stay just where she is and stop growing.

We tease our kids all the time that we need to put a brick on their heads so they might slow down and stop getting so big and when I look at this little girl with her missing tooth I have to stop myself from going outside and searching for a good brick.

There are so many aspects of my life that move along so quickly. I stop for a moment and realize that days, weeks, months have just zoomed past me. And this is the way life is supposed to be.

But there are other aspects of my life that stagnate.
And these are the things that eventually bring me to repentance.
These cycles of sin that spin on repeat and never change.

On the Sabbath I heard the word “presumptuous” and it cut right to the heart of this cycle I spin in. It is like being on the same sit and spin, going around and around. I think that I’m spinning the right direction. I think that this spin is actually going to take me somewhere. But really I’m just going around in circles.

I think that I know best for my life.
I think that I can answer all the problems and worries that come up every day.
I think that taking the reins is going to to stop this spinning.
But it doesn’t.
I find myself sitting stagnant.

The answer to this is an opening.
It’s a step off.
It’s a living sacrifice…dying to the part of me that thinks it’s safer to keep where I am.
Painful.
And yet so freeing.

Continue Reading