Friday, February 26, 2010

This Week's WORD

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

John 14:1

I sat down to read my Bible, but first I prayed. I laid out some heavy concerns that were on my heart. Told God I knew He could handle them, but was honest with Him about my fears.
Then I looked at what was on my schedule to read for the day, opened my Bible, and discovered God was waiting in John 14:1 with encouragement for me.

Are you troubled about something today? Take it to the LORD in prayer. He can handle it!

See you back here Monday.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

He is Not my Enemy

OK, so yesterday I told you about a choice I had with regard to how I handled a certain situation with Joshua. Wish I could say that one revelation led to a never-ending occurrence of peaceful moments between my son and I.
But that would be a lie.
And you all are my friends, and I don't want to lie to you.
The truth is Joshua and I continue to clash often. And I don't like it. I want to live at peace with him. I try. But it feels like a battle.

How does that work? A battle for peace???


So the other day I was sitting and praying about my relationship with Joshua. Telling God all about my desire to have peace reign in our home, and between Joshua and me. I was pouring out my heart and in the midst of it, God poured something in.
It was a simple statement.
Joshua is not your enemy.
I stopped for a moment and just sat with that thought.
Joshua is not my enemy.
He is my son.
He is my flesh and blood.
He is a gift to me from God above.

He is not my enemy!

And I need to stop approaching my interactions with him as if I am facing opposition. I don't think it was coincidence that moments after God spoke this thing to my heart, I read the account of Jesus washing His disciples' feet. Right before Judas was to betray Him, and Peter was to deny Him, Jesus displayed His love to them!
Maybe Joshua and I will continue to clash as he enters his teenage years. Maybe there will be times when I'll feel disrespected and put-out. But Jesus loved those who would betray Him, who would deny Him. He knew what they would do and He loved them anyway! And by His grace I will love my son through our trials, too.

Father, please give me - give all of us - the grace we need to love our children even when we don't feel like it. Help us in each moment to remember how great Your love is for us, and move in us to pour that love out over our children.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Had A Choice

My son needed me to do something for him.
I had other things to do, things I would have rather been doing, but I decided to take care of this issue first.
So I read the shipping and packaging directions, and wrote down the pertinent information we needed to keep for our records.
Told my son what I was doing and showed him where I was putting the paper. So he would know, should he ever need to find it.
I was doing my best to be kind. Wanted to do what I could to show love to my son ('Cuz he was in a pretty bad mood.) and I thought showing how careful I was being to take care of this task for him would speak love.
But he?
Responded to my gestures with an I-don't-really-care-what-you're-doing-or-how-careful-you're-being attitude.
And that made me mad.
I wanted to lay into my son with a lecture about respecting me, and appreciating all the things I do for him, and then maybe send him to his room until he could work it up within himself to treat me better.

But before I opened my mouth, the Holy Spirit held it closed.
And as I stood there with my mouth shut, He gave me a moment to realize something. Standing there - trying to be nice to my son, feeling put-out and thoroughly dissed - I had a choice.
I could yell at my son and make him feel worse than he already did. I could take out my frustration on him and have him yell at me, stomp off to his room, and slam his door. I could bring a cloud of anger into the house which would likely hang around for the rest of the night.


I could turn the other cheek. I could forgive my son for the way he was treating me. I could remember that he's a child and upset about the fact that he had to do homework. That he wasn't intentionally being mean to me.
And, in so doing, I could increase the chances that we would have a pleasant evening together.

I went with the second option.
Decided it was a good time to leave the house for a few minutes to mail out my son's package and took the quiet moments to let God sooth my heart and spirit.

Oh, am I ever thankful for the grace of God which helps me make better choices.
How have you seen His grace in your life lately?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Gift for Jenni - with Your Help

It was just about six years ago that I started meeting with Jenni. God had given me the desire to find a mentor and in His perfect time, He connected me with Jenni. What a blessing she has been to my life!
He used her to help me understand the idea of becoming holy, like He is holy. He used Jenni to help me better understand how He sees me, that He truly delights in me! God worked through Jenni to draw me closer to Himself.
And He spoke through her to lead me into my speaking ministry.
Which led to writing my first book.
Which led to writing this blog.
Which led to meeting so many wonderful friends in the blogosphere.

And it can all be traced back to that day when I was in a funk and Jenni asked me, "Karen, what really drives you? Where is your passion?" That day when I realized this "stuff" God was doing in me as a mother was something He was preparing me to share with other mothers.
Ah, I am so thankful for how He has worked in me through Jenni!

I have continued to be blessed by meeting with Jenni, but that time is coming to an end. Jenni and her family are soon moving to Texas, and on March 18 we will be meeting together for our last "official" time of spiritual direction.
*sad face*
I've been thinking about what I could do or say to express to Jenni how deeply thankful I am for her investment in my life, but nothing seemed adequate.
Until, God gave me an idea.
And it requires your help.
If you have been touched somehow by God through my speaking or writing, would you be willing to write a note of thanks and blessing to Jenni? I think it would be awesome to present Jenni with a stack of cards at our last meeting, showing her how God has multiplied her investment in me by touching the lives of others.

If you are so inclined, please email me and I will give you my mailing address so you can send me a card, which I will give to Jenni.

Thank you, thank you for your kindness!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

This Week's WORD

Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

Psalm 139:4

Continuing with Leah and Challenge 2010: A Scripture Memorization Challenge, I added Psalm 139:4 to my heart and mind this week. Been repeating it over and over again to commit it to memory.
I am not sure I have ever been so mindful of the words that come out of my mouth, as I have been this week. One day (At the end of the five-day weekend, no doubt!) when I let an unkind word come out of my mouth, I was so sad. I knew God knew that word before it was even on my tongue. And I knew it made Him sad.
So I was sad.
I know May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. comes from a different Psalm (19:14, to be exact) but that has become my prayer as I am meditating on 139:4, as well.
HE knows my words, HE knows my heart, and I want them to be pleasing.

Keep your eyes fixed upon your Savior this weekend.
I'll see you back here Monday!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Knock, Knock!

Who's there?


Banana, who?

Knock, knock!

Who's there?


Banana, who?

Knock, knock!

Who's there?


Orange, who?

Orange you glad I didn't say 'Banana' again?

Do you remember this annoying little joke from childhood? I used to say 'Banana' at least five times whenever I told this joke to someone.
I can't believe anyone ever listened to me when I said, "Knock, knock!" They all knew what was coming. So why didn't they put an end to the "joke" sooner? Good sports, I guess!

So what has me thinking about annoying, repetitive things today? Uh, that would be some self-examination and a dose of conviction from the Holy Spirit.
My kids just had a five-day weekend, spent most of it inside (Since when did they start caring about it being 'too cold' outside???) and I had a hard time dealing with the noise and profuse bickering. And the dirty dishes they left sitting around. Banana.
And the trash.
Did I mention the bickering?
I love my children. I do! But, honestly, there were several moments during their hiatus from school and responsibility (Cuz if they aren't going to school, why should they have to do anything?) when I just wanted to run away. Far, far away!
It was like that annoying joke kept following me around and wouldn't let go.

But then, God called out, Knock, knock!
And He offered me an orange.
He reminded me these days won't last forever.
And I thanked Him!
Then the words of those who have gone before me came back to my mind. You know the words. "There will come a time when you'll miss these days."
Still not sure I believe them. Nonetheless, God used it all to remind me of the commitment I made long ago. The commitment to love my children. No matter what. Oh, I am NOT committed to loving every moment, but by the grace of God, I am determined to love my children in every moment.
It was like He was saying, Karen, I know the noise is getting to you. Believe Me. I hear them, too! But stop for a moment. Stop looking at the bananas. There's a lovely orange over here. Your commitment to love your children. Focus on that for a while, dear one. Peace and quiet will come eventually. Right now, just trust Me to give you the grace to love them in the noise.
And as I was writing this, do you know what I remembered? The ONLY craving I had for anything when I was pregnant with my kiddos?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Comfort Really Doesn't Matter, Part 2

If you missed yesterday's lead-in to this post, click here. It'll just take you a minute to catch up.

So there I was, chastising my dog - completely unaware that God would soon use my very own words to speak to my heart.
I had been meditating on Psalm 139:1-2, O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. And I sensed Him asking me some questions. Questions about my heart.
God was gentle in the asking, but He was persistent, and I knew I needed to respond.
This is how it went:
Karen, why do you feel so needy for comments and responses regarding your blog?
And this is how I responded in my journal:

"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar." And You know the answer to this question, too.
Lord, I love the comments and responses to hear about the impact of the message. True.
But, honestly, I love the validation, too. The words of affirmation build me up, make me feel appreciated, loved, useful.
Lord, it is embarrassing to write these things out. It's more honest than I'm comfortable with. Ah, but You aren't concerned about my comfort, are You? You know my heart and that is Your concern. So thank You for leading me to an uncomfortable place - for the sake of cleansing my heart.
You know what is best for me, Lord, and I thank You.

OK. You just read that in about thirty seconds, but God and I spent about an hour on it. Me - confessing my pride, and God - drawing me to Himself. And can I tell you? Even though I was embarrassed and uncomfortable confessing those things to God, it brought me great joy to understand that my heart condition was way more important to God than my comfort. And I found tremendous comfort in repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Truly, my comfort really doesn't matter.

Is there an issue God's been using to make you uncomfortable? Please, let me encourage you to respond to Him with an open heart and a repentant spirit. The results are wonderful!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Comfort Really Doesn't Matter, Part 1

Recently, Matthew and I decided to take Mindy with us when we walked to school in the morning. Everything was going along just fine until Matthew was going into the school and Mindy and I were going home. That sneaky little dog got the leash in her mouth, chewed it apart and ran back to school to play with Matthew!
I nearly had a heart attack for fear that dumb dog was going to run into the road or parking lot and get killed. But grace prevailed and Matthew caught her before harm came.
I took Mindy from Matthew's arms and carried her all the way home. At one point - when my arms were very tired - I was holding her loosely, rather than all snuggled up in my arms. I looked at her and said, "Gosh, I bet this isn't very comfortable for you, is it, girl?" But then, as I considered the stunt she'd just pulled, I re-thought my sympathy and said, "You know what, Mindy? Right now your comfort really doesn't matter to me!"
My dog had acted disobediently, had risked her life and my heart (Not to mention my kids' hearts! If she had gotten run over - oh! They would have been absolutely heart-broken!) and at the moment, all I wanted to do was get her home. Indeed - her comfort was not my greatest concern.

And if that episode was not God preparing me for what He had to say to me a day later, well, I don't know what it was!

In the interest of keeping my posts short-ish, I'll tell you the rest of the story tomorrow.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Week's WORD

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."

John 11:11
On Wednesday I had some heavy things on my mind when I sat down to do my daily Bible reading. As I checked my reading schedule and discovered that I was in John 11 that day, I wondered what verse 11 might have to say. (For those of you who don't know, God and I have a 'thing' with 1111.)
And, sure enough, as I read verse 11, it was as if God was saying to me, See, Karen. I already know what's going on in your life. And I know what I'm going to do about it.

Thank You, God!

May the peace of knowing God's sovereignty carry you through this weekend.
I'll see you back here Monday!

And if you haven't sent a question to Amanda yet, I hope you will!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

He'll Do It Again!

I first saw this video on Lisa Shaw's blog. And it blessed me richly.
Are you facing difficulty today? Listen to this song, and be blessed!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coming Next Month: An Interview with Amanda

Hello all you sweet Surviving Motherhood readers! I feel SO lucky to be here with you today! Karen was one of the first women I ‘met’ through blogging, and I feel so fortunate to say that because - not only is Karen wonderful - but she has some of the kindest, most honest, most God fearing readers of anyone I know.
I love that.

On March 12th of this year I have the distinct pleasure of meeting Karen in real life. And not only do I get to meet Karen, I get to hear her speak to some very lucky women at a Moms' Night Out in Burnsville, MN. (I’m literally giddy with excitement!)

As much as I would like to, I can't keep Karen all to myself. So when she gets here we are going to dust off the old webcam and do an online interview! I am going to ask Karen some questions. And here’s the fun part: They are going to be YOUR questions! You just email me at (with ‘Karen’ in the subject line) with any little ole question you would like.

Then she will post the video right here for you!

I can't wait to see the questions you come up with. And you never know, YOUR name and blog might make it into our interview!

God bless, ladies!

I am so looking forward to meeting Amanda, and I think this interview is going to be a blast. Go ahead and ask anything. I'm an open book. *grin*


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Imprints in the Snow

For some reason, the plow that usually clears the sidewalk between our house and Matthew's school hasn't been out since we got our most recent snow. And you know what? That's entirely OK with me.

Because I have learned some lessons by observing the prints we've left in the snow.

One day last week we were running a little late getting out the door. *gasp!* Happens all the time with my little ADHD buddy. So I was trying to rush Matthew along to get him to school on time. And when we were almost there, he plopped himself down in the snow because he just had to make a snow angel. And then, of course, he had to pause a moment to admire his creation - while I was trying to drag him the rest of the way down the sidewalk and into the building.
But as I walked home after kissing my little buddy good-bye, I paused by that snow angel, too. I remembered Matthew's joy in laying there, flapping his arms and legs around, and I prayed that God would help me slow down. Prayed that He would help me enjoy these last days of walking Matthew to school. (Next year, he'll be riding the bus.)

The next day, just about half way through our trek to school, Matthew laid right down in the snow and said he was too tired to walk up the hill. He hadn't been too tired to stay up too late the night before. Hadn't been too tired to run around the house that morning chasing the dog. But suddenly, he was too tired to walk.
And I? Was frustrated. "Come on, Matthew! You need to get up and walk. Let's go."
Eventually, Matthew did get up. Amazingly - his energy had returned by the time we got to school. Imagine that!
As I retraced our path on my walk home, I had to pause again next to the imprint of Matthew's body in the snow. This time, I thought about the fact that my little guy has legitimate needs for understanding and compassion. I considered my propensity to respond to him with impatience. And I prayed that God would fill me with the grace I need to extend to my children.

I smiled at the footprints which marked where Matthew and I were goofing around. And thanked God when I saw the tracks that showed we had stopped to look at something interesting along the path.
I don't know why the plow didn't come through this time, but I sure am thankful for the lessons I've learned from our imprints in the snow.

I wonder. If you took time to pause today and - in your mind - retraced your steps over the past few days, what lessons would God have for you to learn?


Monday, February 08, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

This Week's WORD

Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right...You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come."

John 7:6&8

References to God's perfect timing always stand out to me.
Maybe because I am so prone to dislike waiting. Even when I know His timing is perfect.
And in God's perfect timing, He had me reading about His timing again this week. Funny how He works things out that way!

So, my question for you as we head into this weekend - Is there something for which you are waiting? Is the waiting difficult for you?
May you find peace in the knowledge that God knows what He's doing. He is not wasting your time. In fact, He's working all things together for good - as He knows they should be.
Rest in that hope today.

See you back here Monday. (Power cord arrived, and I trust there will be time this weekend to record a devotion for you. *grin*)

Congratulations to Angie - winner of my Finding Joy giveaway!


Thursday, February 04, 2010


Last Saturday the power cord for my computer died. And my battery has no juice left in it. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the new power cord to arrive. (Cuz I am waaaay to cheap to go spend over $100 for one at Best Buy. Much prefer the $10 option on ebay!)
Fortunately, I had blog posts scheduled to go through Wednesday. But I've only been able to pop into the library for a few minutes at a time to check email, and now to write this update.
Hence, my absence in responding to comments, and from visiting your blogs. I've missed you! Really.
Hoping the power cord will arrive soon.
In the mean time, if you missed Tuesday's post and the chance to enter to win a copy of Finding Joy, click here.

OK, time's almost up. Gotta go.
I love you!!!


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Category of the Month

Ah, it's a new month. Time to feature a new category! And for February it will be...Adventures in Mothering. I'll update the link to the right, and invite you to read through some of the posts at your leisure.
And to get you started, here's one from May of 2007.

I Forgot!
Tonight for dinner, I made Pork Chops with Orange Rice. I especially love the orange flavored rice and was looking forward to enjoying this meal with my family.
The recipe for this dish is soooo simple, and the results soooo yummy I actually got it published in my favorite cooking magazine several years ago. Really, all you do is season pork chops with salt and pepper and brown them in cooking oil. Place 1 1/3 cups instant rice in a greased casserole dish, pour one cup of orange juice over the rice and top the rice with the browned pork chops. Then pour a can of chicken with rice soup over it all, cover it and bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. So simple! Too simple to mess up, right? You'd think so.
As I brought dinner to the table I noticed the rice around the edges looked a little dry. That happens sometimes, and when it does I just don't scoop around the edges. But tonight as I looked at the rice I realized why it was dry. I'd forgotten to put the orange juice over the rice.
Awwww. How could I have done that? This recipe is so simple. It's too simple to mess up. But somehow I managed to do it.
My family was very gracious. Everyone avoided the rice as best as they could, and just smiled politely as they spit out crunchy rice. Fortunately, the pork chops were still good and the bread was yummy. It wasn't a total loss. I still felt stupid for forgetting the orange juice, though. I mean, come on, I've been making this recipe for fourteen years now.

When it was time for the kids to start getting ready for bed, I directed Matthew to get into the shower and I started washing the dishes. Quite often, Matthew needs close supervision in order to complete his tasks. More than once, I have walked into the bathroom to ask if he's almost finished with his shower only to find out he's simply been standing under the running water and hasn't even started washing yet. But tonight he got the job done without much intervention.
I returned to the kitchen after checking in on him and was only barely aware of what he was doing for the next several minutes. Then I realized Matthew was standing in the dining room, still dripping wet. I called out from the kitchen, "Matthew, how about drying off and getting into your pajamas." He perked up and said, "Oh yeah," with the tone of voice that said, So that's what I'm supposed to do after I get out of the shower. I'm supposed to use this towel Mom gave me to dry off. Then since I'm naked, I should put something on my body, and since it's time for bed I may as well put on pajamas. Yeah, this all makes sense now.
I noted his tone of voice and thought to myself, Matthew, you're almost seven years old. Getting ready for bed is not a new thing anymore. You know what to do. Just then, I looked down at the dishes in the sink. Sitting right in front of me was the casserole dish. The one with dried rice stuck to it. I thought about that simple recipe I've been preparing for some fourteen years. The one that is too simple to mess up. I thought about the fact I'd forgotten to put the orange juice in the Pork Chops with Orange Rice. And I thought, Maybe I need to give Matthew a little more grace.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

There's Gotta Be...

...a spiritual lesson in here somewhere.

Elizabeth has a new rat. Got her a couple of months ago when one of the orignal pair died.
At first all was well. The new rat and the old one got along right away and were happy to live together in the rat hotel. (It's a big fancy cage Elizabeth bought a year, or so, ago.)
But then Elizabeth discovered a problem. Thorgill (the new rat) is still very young, and pretty small, and discovered that she could squeeze through the bars on the hotel I mean, cage.
Therefore, she got demoted to the much smaller glass cage.
And was none too happy about it.
So after her sentence was up, Elizabeth put Thorgill back into the hotel er, you know what I mean.
Well, it didn't take long before Thorgill had escaped again. All the kids were looking for her throughout the basement, but she would not be found.
Stupid rat!
She had a nice home with a doting 13-year-old girl who fed her, and played with her, and made sure all her needs were met. But she felt the need to wander. To strike out on her own in an unknown world. And even though she was pursued, she would not be found.
The kids had called off the search, resigned to the fact they just couldn't find her.
And then, a few hours later, Elizabeth came upstairs with a great big smile.
Thorgill had come back. She was up on top of the hotel, wanting to get back in.
Seems the rat came to her senses!

Do you see the spiritual lesson?
Actually, I think there are a couple.
And, I'm thinking this out as I'm typing...Yeah, my book Finding Joy is full of God showing Himself in the midst of the ordinary. If you share the spiritual lesson you see in this incident with Thorgill, I'll put your name in a drawing to win a copy of Finding Joy. How 'bout that?
And, still thinking this trough as I'm typing...I'll do the drawing Thursday night at 10:00 EST. So look for the lesson and let me know about it by then!


Monday, February 01, 2010

If You Can't be Perfect, What Should You Be?

If you're interested in reading the article I referenced, click here.