Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6Chances are you've heard that verse before. Probably had it memorized at one time. Maybe you still do!But are you living it??? Because that, right there, is a pretty tall order! I was drivig home from speaking for a MOPS group yesterday, thinking about my husband and some decisions we need to make. And I started praying. Specifically, I was praying about deciding on accepting (or not) a tenant application for a rental house. And, for a moment, I thought, Maybe this isn't important enough to be bothering God.As if on cue, the Holy Spirit brought Philippians 4:6 to mind. And I thought, Everything? How much is that? I mean, really. And I determined to look up the original Greek word when I got home. To
Friday, September 30, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
So, Monday morning my phone rang. And I almost didn't answer it.Because I like listening to my new ring-tone, ya know!But when Miss Clara finished her plea, I answered the call and discovered a MOPS leader on the other end of the line. She had heard me speak for a MOPS group several years ago, and wondered if I would be willing to come to the new group she's leading. Of course I said I'd be happy to, and then I asked if she had any dates in mind.She responded by saying, "Well, that's my problem. Any chance you could come Wednesday???"A quick check of my calendar verified that I could make it, and our plans were underway.Yeah. Our plans got started Monday. But God convinced me that HIS plan had been in place for a long time.Can I just say, any thought that my time with those MOPS ladies yesterday was a random chance of cancelled speakers, or lost contacts, or last-minute changes, or whatever the reason was our plans didn't get set in motion until Monday - was completely wiped away by the perfect orchestration of God's timing? I cannot tell you how many moms shared with me that the message of HOPE God brought through me was exactly what they needed to hear. They told me stories of struggles with children and husbands and every-day-kinda-stuff, and it was clear to me that God had put it all together just as HE knew it needed to be.The MOPS coordinator didn't know it.I surely didn't know it.But HE had it all under control.And you know, don't you, that the God who worked things perfectly for the MOPS group at Shepherd's Gate Church is the same God who is perfectly orchestrating the events of your life?When you don't understand what's going on... When you don't like the way things are playing out... When you wish you could see into the future and know how your circumstance is going to be resolved... When you long to have control over time and space - well, at least over your time and space...May you be encouraged to know that the God who holds the universe together in perfect balance sees you, and knows you, and has a plan.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
So, I was going to write a fun little post about my adventure and success this past weekend of changing the ring-tone on my phone. I was going to say how much I love receiving phone calls, but find myself not wanting to answer. Because I like the ring-tone so much.Then I thought it would be cute to find the clip of the movie from which my ring-tone comes and post it here so you know what makes me so happy. (Hearing Miss Clara call out, "Raise 'em up, Lord. Raise 'em up!")But then I watched the clip, and my spirit got really excited, and all of a sudden writing a clever post seemed meaningless. All I want to do now is invite you to watch this clip and join me in prayer.Our world needs it!
Monday, September 26, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016
Look what I got yesterday!!!I am so stinkin' excited! For a few reasons. *The idea of the t-shirt is something I've been playing with for a few months, and it's fun to see the idea become reality. So I'm excited about that aspect.*But more than that, I'm pumped because I was waiting to get them done until speaking season was upon me. And, well, I'll be back at it next week. So that's exciting.*Still more than that, my heart is thrilled by the truth printed on the back of these shirts.You see, as I spent time reflecting on the 11 years since I started speaking - as I began gearing up to focus on it again - God allowed me to look at what HE has done. It began with the notion in 2005 that God was using my children and my struggles as a mother to transform me into the woman He has created me to be. God used Psalm 66:10 to help me understand the refining process through which He is taking me. And I was filled with hope.Now I look at myself, eleven years later - still speaking to young moms about hope in the midst of the struggle, and I ask myself, Is it true? Is what I'm saying valid? Does God really transform us through hard times? Because, let's face it: I know I am not the woman God has created me to be. He isn't finished with this refining process in me. I'm not there yet!Yes, that is true. But so is this: I'm not the woman I used to be. God has taken that angry, frustrated, irritable young mother who was devoid of hope, and HE has changed her heart. He has given her clearer perspectives. He has grown her faith and taught her how to trust Him in the midst of, of everything. He has brought joy to a life that was joy-less. And He continues to do it every day.Oh, I know, I am not who I will one day be, but - praise Jesus! - I am not who I was. So, I am excited to share these t-shirts with other women who are in the midst of the Refiner's fire - be it via mothering, or something else. And I am delighted about the testimony each one of us has: While I may not yet be who God wants me to be, I'm not the woman I used to be!And all God's children said, Amen!
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Oh, friends. How I love it when God speaks to my heart! And HE speaks through His Word, amen? I feel vulnerable typing this out for the world to see, but I am not my own. May God use me and my words and my vulnerability for HIS glory alone.You see, the thing is, I have been so skewed in my thinking. I have often been intimidated by seeing people who are being used by God to do good things. I have looked at them and thought, Wow. They're so amazing. So talented. Accomplished. Look at how they shine! While simultaneously concluding of myself, I'll never be like that. I can't do those things. I am not as worthwhile as they are.And then I find feelings of jealousy and self-deprecation creeping into my heart - tempting me to miss out on the good God is doing. I've gone there too many times to count. But, thanks be to God who - by His grace and mercy given to us by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit - speaks. Through study of His Word, HE has set me free.Just look at this, will you? These are verses we have been studying in my Precepts class for the past two weeks. As you read them, note the Source of the gifts we have. (The italics are mine.)
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit... 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. ~1 Corinthians 12:7-11 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith... ~Romans 12:6 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. ~1 Peter 4:10-11Did you see it? I mean, could HE make it any more clear??? Over and over again we are told the gift(s) each believer is given comes from the Spirit, by the grace of God. It isn't from us, or about us. Has nothing to do with us - except that in God's mercy HE called us, and chose in His perfect knowledge to equip us with particular abilities for the edification of the Church. The gifts we have been given are to be used by us - as directed by God, through His Spirit - for the common good, to bring Him glory.Exaltation of ourselves (or other believers) has no place in this equation.And I? Am so thankful to God for His Word and His patience and His ability to speak Truth to my heart.Have you found yourself feeling jealous or insignificant because of someone else's spiritual gifts? How does this perspective from God's Word affect you?
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
So, this past summer someone I love very much had a double mastectomy. She is doing well now. Doesn't even need chemo. And that's a good thing. Thank You, Jesus!Her experience caused her to implore me to go get my annual mammogram. (Which I was
Monday, September 19, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
I found a treasure. Hidden away on a bookshelf, in a folder I'd long forgotten existed.Inside the folder were notes from a few leaders of moms' groups for whom I have spoken, materials from a couple retreats, and papers my mentor gave to me years ago.And then, there was this gem: A "journal" entry on two pieces of loose-leaf notebook paper with the date 2/26 written in the margin. Further investigation helped me determine the year was 2005. And some additional processing made me realize I wrote this the day God cemented in my heart a call to share my story with moms. This is what I wrote:
I'm home, Lord. An evening and a day with a hundred other women, spent hearing from You. And it was good. Thank You.And yet being home for only a few minutes, I am overcome with requests for help with this and that. Can I have hot chocolate? Will you hang my coat up? Will you untie my shoes? I come upstairs for space to unwind and think through what You've spoken at the retreat and I find that the hallway and my room are a mess. I have just spent the day, peaceful, hearing from You, and suddenly I feel deflated.What is it that makes me feel this way? I was in an environment where I could rest in You. Here at home I am compelled to be a do-er. But You are just as present here as You were at the retreat. You have not changed, only my location is different. Please help me, Lord, to rest, to be, in You even when there are clothes in the laundry basket that need to be put away, when Matthew has wet his pants again(!), when there is melted snow on the kitchen floor. When the kids are yelling and fighting and making a mess in the bathroom, please help me to rest in You.I need to know, Lord, what am I to do? I need wisdom from You. When Matthew makes a mess, do I smile and clean it up? Do I make him do it? Do I battle over it with him? What, Lord? How am I to do it? What does it look like for me to seek You in times like this? To pray for him ~ To be aware of You ~ To forget about me?Lord, thank You for the glimpses of hope You give to me. Like Joshua's caring heart as he brought me my "favorite" toast. He is a lover. Please help me to keep sight of that part of him, especially when I am becoming angry with him.Oy! All this and I haven't even gotten to the "processing" I wanted to do: My purpose.Is it this mother/transformation to holiness thing that You want me to share? Is this station in life, where my heart has been broken and through which You are leading me, the intersection of our hearts? If it is, Lord, please show me.I want to be faithful and Your mouthpiece - a messenger of hope and life. Where You lead, I will follow.Please show me the way.I read those words and weep for the brokenness I know is behind them. I remember the pain so clearly. The frustration. The feelings of being lost.But now that I am on the other side of those words - now that I have the benefit of hind-sight, I also weep for joy at the faithfulness of God. I marvel at what HE has done. And I rejoice.On February 26, 2005 I never would have imagined what God would do over the next eleven years in my heart and life, in my children, and through me - in ministry. I had no idea. But HE saw it all.God's faithfulness in the past is why I am trusting Him with my future - with all the un-seens of parenting and speaking and every other part of life. And His faithfulness is why my prayer remains:Lord, please show me. I want to be faithful and Your mouthpiece - a messenger of hope and life. Where You lead, I will follow. Please show me the way.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Last night I met a dear woman.In fact, I'll call her Dearly Loved. Because she is.Dearly Loved is a guest at the City Rescue Mission and I sat next to her during the chapel service. (I was there "observing" as part of my preparation to become a volunteer speaker for chapel services. I'm super looking forward to sharing hope with those ladies!)So, anyway, Dearly and I were talking after chapel and she told me about a new discipleship program which is about to begin. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to dig deeply into God's Word, and Dearly reeeeaaaally wants to get into it. I could hear in her voice and see in her eyes a hunger for knowing God and His Word more. And if that weren't enough, the tears she shed because of her uncertainty at being selected would have convinced me of her desire.So we sat and talked for a while.Dearly - pouring out her heart, and me - trying to encourage her with Truth. Oh, she knows God knows what He's doing.She has a testimony, and she knows HE is good.Dearly understands that God's timing is not ours, and HE might have a reason for delaying her entry into the discipleship program.But the tears she kept wiping away spoke loudly of her desire to know God more through His Word.Her response caused me to wonder, Is my desire as deep?I am so happy to be in my Precepts class. I love doing inductive Bible study. God delights me as He opens my heart to His Word.But I had to ask myself, Am I taking it for granted???How many people around the world - in my own community! - only wish they had the opportunity and ability to be satisfied by God's Word?Oh, I do not think I comprehend how fortunate I am to have His Word - and solid instruction for study - so readily at my fingertips.LORD, thank You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me how to study. Thank You for filling my heart and satisfying my soul as You open my eyes to what You have to say. And please, Lord, please make a way for Dearly to participate in that discipleship program. Please satisfy her hunger to know You more!
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Monday, September 12, 2016
Friday, September 09, 2016
Yesterday one of my daughter's friends stopped by. She was in a messy emotional state, full of worry and anxiety. And without much time to stay. But in the moments we had, I prayed with her. And I reminded her over and again that Jesus is living in her, and she has His power at work in and around her. We agreed that she cannot do "this" on her own, BUT she doesn't have to. HE is with her!Then I walked her outside to say good-bye. And when I came back in the house, this song was blaring on the radio.Confirmation!
Thursday, September 08, 2016
When my kids need to conquer a task which challenges their comfort level, I cheer them on and tell them, "You can do it!"At other times, when the exercise is one they simply don't want to do I might empathize for a moment, but ultimately the words coming from my mouth will sound something like, "C'mon. Let's get 'er done!" Whether it's registering for college courses, preparing for a class speech, or just washing the dishes - sometimes I have to give my almost-adults
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Remember when you were a little kid, and you predicted a certain outcome to a particular event? And when it happened as you thought it would you paraded around shouting, "I told you so!!!!!"NO? I'm the only one who did that??? C'mon. You know you did it at least once. Humor me. OK, so anyway. I'm pretty sure I just heard a very loving and wonderful I told you so come down from heaven. Because bit by bit details are coming together for the Women's Listening Retreat. And I couldn't be more delighted. I mean, I have believed from the get-go that God was in this and would see it through. But HE seems to frequently test my faith - by allowing me to wait to see in the physical what HE has already accomplished in the spiritual. And although I have seen His faithfulness over and over again, and I know He will do what He says He will do, my heart does a great big happy dance when I get to finally see it in the physical. Ya know?So, yeah. Our God is faithful. And very comfortable operating according to His own schedule.And seeing what I'm seeing now has me 100 times more excited about what I'll see Him do at the retreat. *smile*There are still openings for more listeners.
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. ~Luke 1:14-17It must have been eight or nine years ago when I listened to my mentor reading those words. And although I knew they were spoken to Zechariah in reference to his not-yet-born son, John - in the quiet of those moments in my friend's living room, I could have sworn God was promising that hope to me in reference to my son, Josh. As the years have passed and I have gone through various struggles with my son, I confess that sometimes I have lost sight of that promise. Even believed at times that it couldn't possibly come to pass. Still, God's Spirit brings it to my mind time and again - and I am convicted of my obligation to trust and believe. And my responsibility to pray.Thus, in recent days I have found myself seeking wisdom. I have been confessing my trust in God's power, His perfect plan, and His sovereign ability to work it out. And I am laying these struggles at His feet. Believing He has a purpose for the path we're walking. Trusting He will use it to form my son into a vessel which He will use "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Ahhhhh, friends. I don't know how it's going to happen. Some days it's really hard to trust. But my hope is in God because I have experienced His faithfulness, and I know He does not change.And so - I will continue to pray. And trust. And believe.By the power of Your Name, JESUS!What burden are you being called to entrust to the Lord?
Monday, September 05, 2016
Thursday, September 01, 2016
My Facebook friends know. But I am not sure I've said anything about it here.I am now a part of the new millennium. Yes, folks. Karen got a smartphone! And, in addition to providing a lot of people with comic entertainment while I have tried to do things like - enter appointments in my calendar, send a text message, and, oh, answer a call - I have begun accomplishing amazing feats.For example, I bought my own case and put the phone in it all.by.myself. I learned how to use the new messenger app. I'm playing around with a video app which may, or may not, result in a really cool video being posted here some day. And yesterday? I applied my screen protector - all by myself - even though Brian told me it's kinda tricky to do.I must admit, however, that I felt doomed to failure from the get-go.Because I read the directions. And they specifically state: "Clean handheld screen with the cloth provided in a dust-free environment." And I'm thinking, Where am I going to find a place like that? Dust-free??? I mean, in my house there's dust everywhere. Even after I dust, it finds its way back to table tops and figurines in a matter of minutes. It's just like vacuuming. I put Mindy outside so I can vacuum up all of the hair she so freely leaves around. But as soon as I let her back in, so comes back the dog hair. And I'm thinking, Why bother?So there I was, preparing to apply my screen protector - reading the directions and fearing I was going to foul up the whole procedure - when it occurred to me, it doesn't matter. If there is dust in the air or on the table when I am cleaning the screen - and my smartphone isn't smart enough to figure out how to get rid of it - and if as a result my screen protector doesn't go on perfectly, so what?I'm not perfect. My house isn't perfect. My family isn't perfect. Nothing in my life is perfect. Except my Jesus. HE is perfect in every way. And that does matter.Oh, how thankful I am for all the times HE fixes my outlook.How has Jesus affected your perspective lately?