Thursday, May 28, 2015

Need Help?

So, one of my children had a, uh, fender bender recently. No one was hurt, and no damage came to the vehicles. But there was a ticket issued.
Which had an associated fine.
Which has been paid.
We thought the situation was over. Until a notice came in the mail stating the correct amount for the fine, including a little line labeled, "balance due." The child has seen the notice - he's the one who opened it - and, yet, it sits on the kitchen counter waiting to be paid.
More than once I have asked the aforementioned child when he is going to take care of the aforementioned fine. Each time the child has made a non-committal response about taking care of it sometime. And each time, I have thought about how easy it would be for me to just do it - but known that to do so would not be doing the child any favors. He needs to take responsibility. I know that!
I had to help him with the initial fine because it required a cashier's check and he didn't know how to obtain one. So, we went to the bank together and got it. The thing is, I would be happy to help him get whatever he needs to have for the balance, but he hasn't asked.
And I'm not just going to do it for him.
If he wants my help, he needs to ask me for it.

Well, the other day I was looking at the notice sitting on the kitchen counter and pondering my child's inactivity - when I realized God was drawing me a picture of how our relationship sometimes plays out.
*I serve a God who can do anything. Any.Thing!
*I serve a God who knows what is best for me, who knows everything I need, and who can make it happen.
*I serve a God who knows how incapable I am to handle most of what life gives me.
*I serve a God who would gladly help me with it all.
I imagine He sits in heaven looking at me, and saying something like, Karen, when are you going to have that talk? Have you decided how you're going to handle that circumstance? That other situation still needs your attention. Have you figured out what you're going to do yet? You haven't forgotten, have you, that I am here and would love to help you with each of these things? I'm right here! All you need to do is ask.
It's silly, really. I can get so overwhelmed by the things I need to do, all the duties vying for my attention, that I just want to quit. Like a certain child of mine, sometimes I become inactive because I don't know what to do. And all that time God is watching me, waiting for me to ask for help.
If I would only ask - He would be there in a heartbeat to show me the way.

If I would only ask.

Is there something with which you could be asking God to help you?


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More Than Words

When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

Deuteronomy 32:45-47
They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.

They are your life.

Is the Holy Spirit speaking as loudly to you through those words as He is to me?
I read this statement in Deuteronomy a week ago and it has been staying with me every day since.
And because I have been reading this journey Moses took with the Israelites since the end of March, I have become well acquainted with his passion for the Word of God. I have seen him doing (almost) everything "just as the LORD commanded," (There was that one moment when he hit the rock, which ruined his track record... Yet the consequences even made Moses' passion for obedience increase.) and I have found myself rooting him on, willing the Israelites to just trust and obey.
God had been so clear: If His people would follow His commands and obey His word, He would prosper them in the land He was giving them to possess.
It wasn't rocket science.
Obey God, and life would go well.

So as I tagged along with Moses and the Israelites, I was on board with his call that they obey God's word. Fully.
I echoed his charge to them, They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. After all, I had read about and seen the consequences of following (or not!) God's word, and along the way I became convinced of the necessity of knowing it and living it out.
I simply could not agree more with what Moses said.
They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.
But then the Holy Spirit nudged me to ask, "Karen, are you living as if those words are really true?"

Are you???


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

She Still Makes Me Smile

I've been doing quite a bit of observing over the past three weeks. Noticing the ways my girl is growing and maturing and becoming a beautiful woman of God. And I have just six days left to do it. (She's leaving Sunday for her summer job. Camp counselor. She's going to be so great in the LORD's hands!)
Anyway, with all this watching I've been doing, I have also been doing some remembering. That is, I have reminisced about some of the adorable things she did in her younger days. And I knew that I had blogged about one of them. So, as I prepare to say good-bye to my girl again, I am digging in my archives to share this fun story with you. This story which happened just over eight years ago.

Ever since she could talk, Elizabeth has expressed kindness and compassion with her words. In a journal I'm keeping for her, I often note the sweet things she says and does. Like the time I was feeling low and when I went to bed there was a note on my pillow which she'd written. She told me she loved me, God loved me, and she hoped I was feeling better soon. Elizabeth is such a sweetheart!
When it comes to her brothers, however, she can take on a very different attitude. She doesn't like them to get into her stuff. I understand that desire, and support her in it. It has become her standard, though, that they aren't even allowed to set foot in her room uninvited. I understand that desire, too, and agree the boys shouldn't go into her room when she isn't in there. But sometimes she goes a little overboard. Even when she is in her room, Elizabeth will get totally bent out of shape if one of her brothers enters without her invitation. It is because of Elizabeth's rantings and ravings about her brothers' need to stay out of her room that I got a BIG laugh Saturday, and determined I know her future career.

We were getting ready for Elizabeth's birthday party. She had invited several girlfriends over for the afternoon and we were busy putting up decorations, cutting out pictures, blowing up balloons, and sorting out prizes. Elizabeth was sure she had some stuffed animals in her toybox in her bedroom that would add nicely to the decorations, but we were both quite engrossed in our current duties and were a bit pressed for time.
Previously, we had tried to solicit help from the boys, but since they weren't going to be participating in the party they weren't particularly interested in helping with preparations.
So as I was standing there cutting up pieces of paper, I almost lost a finger when I started laughing at the exchange that took place between my kids. Elizabeth put on her sweetest face. The look itself almost said, "You're the luckiest little boy in the world for what I'm about to offer you!" She then said, "Matthew, how would you like to go rummaging through my room?" He immediately stopped what he was doing (I don't remember what it was. He was probably getting ready to pop a balloon or something.) and looked at her. Just as quickly, Joshua popped out from around the corner and said, "I will!" With that, Elizabeth sent the boys up to her room on a hunt for the animals she was sure were hiding there somewhere.

I stood there marveling at Elizabeth's skill to get these boys to do what she wanted them to do - something they had previously made clear they did not want to do. She didn't ask them again to "help get ready for the party". She gave them permission to rummage through her room. By putting a slightly different spin on the activity, Elizabeth got the boys to help. Besides that, she made it fun for them!
Within minutes they had returned with the animals in question.

I'm telling you, that girl ought to be in sales. I didn't ask her how she thought about her approach, and I don't know how long she'd been working on it. But she came up with it, and it worked.

That's my girl! *smile*


Monday, May 25, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

This Week with Grandma

Some days are easier than others. Know what I mean?
This week has seen quite a few of those "others" for Grandma. A nasal infection seems to be the culprit - as it interferes with her sleeping ability, and the antibiotic she's taking to clear it up was giving her stomach problems. The combination of those two things left her feeling kinda rotten.
Not a good time.
Grandma's trouble, coupled with my own issues this week, have made for a cloudy atmosphere around my house. But as we sat down for lunch yesterday she held her hand out toward me (Because that's what she always does.), and I took her hand in mine and we bowed our heads to pray. As I always do, I thought about the things for which I could give thanks. I thanked God for Grandma's physical improvement, for her massage therapist who was going to be coming that afternoon, and for...
And for God's faithfulness.
Because His faithfulness is so good, and so complete, and so, well, faithful.

As I prayed those words I noticed a smile spreading across my face, which seemed to also be making its way to my heart. And I remembered part of the lesson from last week's Sunday school class - that it is impossible for us to have both a thankful and discouraged attitude at the same time. I remembered it, and I was proof of it. Because sitting there thanking God and meditating on His faithfulness had completely changed my heart.
Which made me even more thankful.
And put me on an upward spiral.
That's the beautiful thing about God and His faithfulness. When you start thinking about it - thanking God for it - your circumstances become far less important. You remember the ways in which God has carried you through previous trials, He assures you He's still the same today, and you find yourself confident that He's going to see you through whatever it is that's in your face at the moment.

And just like that, the "other" days become less frightening.
Because God is good.
All the time!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Getting Ready to Fight

Prayer has long been an important part of my life.
But even in the past several months, God is calling me deeper and deeper into it.
He is convincing me more of our need to call on HIM and trust in HIM for all things.
Annnnnd, smack dab in the middle of this passion HE is growing in me, here comes War Room. I had the opportunity to see a pre-release screening of this movie a couple of weeks ago and was immediately excited about it. Since seeing the movie I have been more aware of my own prayers, and more confident that God will show HIS power through them.
There was a man who stood at the end of the movie (in the theater where I saw the screening) and shouted, "Who will join me in this battle?" I think everyone stood in response to his (HIS!) call and I am eager to go forward in this movement.

Here's a look at the heart of War Room. Please take a minute to see what has gotten me so enthused.

There has been a call to pray for War Room this coming Friday, May 22. I am full of expectant hope for what God will do in our country and world through the movement which will be started by this movie. And I am going to be praying Friday. Would love for you to join me. You may find specific details here.
See you on the battlefield!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When Angels Come Knocking

Oh, the beauty of God and His gracious ways.

I was struggling fiercely on Sunday with depressive thoughts.
As in, I can't remember the last time I have felt so rotten. I kept "hearing" everything as an attack on who I am. Fighting off the lies with the Truth was physically exhausting me. In my head I knew this was a battle which has already been won. I knew I have the Holy Spirit on my side, and He will empower me with everything I need to overcome these conflicts.
Still, I was feeling low.
And going lower.
Couldn't wait until it was time to go to bed and start on a new day.
But Monday morning I woke up ready to go back to bed. Soooo tired. Monday never waits for me, though, so I got up and began my day. I was thankful for a fresh start, trusting in God's mercies which are new every morning, and hopeful it would be a better day. Yet, the cloud from Sunday seemed to still be hanging over my head.

An angel came knocking.
I was sitting at the table avoiding the laundry which needed folding catching up on Facebook (Yeah. That's it!) when there was a knock at my door. And in walked a friend. Her sweet spirit lit up the entire room when she entered. (It's a big "open" room. That's how bright her presence was. *smile*) She was just stopping by quick to bring me a couple things she had for me, and before she left she said, "Prayer?" I looked in her kind eyes, and I knew her offer was real. So I told her about Sunday. She put her hands on my shoulders and took me to the Throne where she asked my Father to lift me up.
And I realized He already was. God had been lifting me up from the moment my friend walked through my door. He knew what I needed, and He made it happen.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

Isaiah 65:24
Oh, the beauty of God and His gracious ways!