Turning 14

“He does not take His eyes off the righteous…” Job 36:7

Anna Kate, you turned 14 and this birthday celebration looks a bit different. You have had the best attitude. This confirms that we named you correctly, for your name means gracious. When talking about this whole staying home time, you said that you “were made for this.” So like you to see the good. Yes, you are a homebody and do not seem to mind this slower pace. Gives you more time to learn new things. Just the other day you were learning to sew and made a really cute bag. You are also going between career paths and planning your high school classes accordingly. It is exciting to see how the Lord is leading. You know He has plans for you and created you with special gifts to carry out His plans. You will bring Him much fame and glory. I am thankful to have a front row seat!

IMG_6343When I think back to before you were born, I remember how we were in a bit of uncertain times then too. We had just moved back to Texas and were so happy to be “home”. However, having never lived in this city with kids before, we did not know about doctors, preschools, activities and so much more. One day I walked into a business to order some things for our home. The owner gave me a list of everything I had questions about. I was so thankful and each recommendation was exactly what we needed. I learned then that it only takes one person to make a town feel less unknown. I have tried to do the same. I see this same desire in you, but you take it a step further. You look for the unseen and serve them in your own remarkable, quiet ways. Your attention to detail keeps your ears and eyes open to needs that go unnoticed.

I watch you serve with such compassion and gentleness. It is quite extraordinary. Your younger siblings notice and want to be with you. Even our dog was quite a fan of you. You sat for hours with him those last days. You seem to have been given an extra measure of kindness that you give to animals and people alike. Once someone has you as a friend, they soon realize what a treasure you are. I pray that when the day comes and people miss this, that the Lord will guard your heart. I pray He will keep you close to His heart and reassure you that you are precious to Him. I pray you will never forget that His eyes are on you, even when others are not. You are seen and known by Him. You are a treasure He considered worth dying for. Now you are seen as righteous when He looks at you, precious girl.

I have also loved watching your determination. Each race you run is well thought out and adjusted according to the last races results. You continue to want to get better. With this strength, I pray you never feel pressured to try and earn God’s love. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you more than He already does. Nothing changes His love for you. The same is true with your dad and I. You are stuck with our love. Takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it? You respond well to unconditional love and acceptance. Most kids do. This does not excuse sin, but you can trust that any correction is done for the good of your heart. We confuse appropriate discipline with being unloved sometimes, but that is a lie from satan. Know I am still being disciplined by the Lord at my age and do not ever seeing that stopping until Heaven. More and more into the image of Christ, that is the goal at the end of our earthly race. The awards we will be given in Heaven will make any received earthy medals seem like cheap field day medals that are given to every participant.

When I look at your name in scripture, I see a woman who saw Jesus as a baby with her very own eyes (see Luke 2:36-38). She lived in the temple and worshipped day and night. Can you imagine the day when she actually saw in person who she had been worshipping?! She responded in thanksgiving and told of the redemption He would bring. I pray you never forget that you are now the temple that the Holy Spirit dwells in. His presence never leaves you. May your life be lived in response with worship, praise and thanksgiving. With this on your lips and filling your heart and mind, you will have no time for the popular gossip of the day. You will shine as a light in the dark world, burning with His fire. This will keep you stable when all around us is shaken like it is now.

And one more thing. When you look in the mirror and see your stunning red hair, may you be reminded of how rare you are. You stand out without even trying. When people see your outside beauty, I pray it is only enhanced by the consuming love of your Savior. This is the beauty that will last all your days. Keep Him as your first love and you will be stunning!! I sure do love watching you grow up! You just get more remarkable each passing year.

Happy Birthday, Anna Kate!

 

 

Heart Writing

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”    Proverbs 4:23

I love this picture of the kids that we took at the beach years ago. It came up on Facebook this morning as a memory and had a quote attached to it. I do not remember where I read the quote, but it says, “Even in my best dreams, I never could have imagined each of you.” I just love that! It is so true. Sometimes we have dreams and God’s plans far exceed them. This is true and evident when I look at this picture and reminds me to continue to trust Him even when my dreams die.

IMG_7878When I look at this picture I am also reminded, because they are standing in front of a post office, that their hearts are like letters. Hearts are like letters that they will read for the rest of their lives to themselves and ones others will read as well. I do not fear what I will write today on their hearts because my heart has been written on by my Heavenly Father early this morning. I only fear taking the pen out of His hand and trying to make my own marks that will cause pain. Sometimes I look at the marks on my own heart and imagine a big line drawn through the painful words. In its place is the word grace. So, even if we do mess up, there is grace given by our Heavenly Father.

Yesterday, my husband was asked to show a precious family a home. He is a real estate agent and I love to come along. As we walked throughout the home, I heard the daughters making plans, as if the house was theirs already. The mom said, “Remember to guard your hearts, girls.” Such wisdom that leaves permanent ink on a young heart. As we were all leaving, the family was looking forward to what the Lord had in store for them. We read beautiful letters at that moment that the ink had not even yet dried.

Other days the letters have lists of dreams written on them that have seemed to have died. Perhaps the Lord did not speak, even though I was sure I had heard Him. Such was the case recently. Years ago, actually just before this post office picture was taken, I felt led to launch a business to help moms dress their children. I really like clothes and putting together outfits for kids. Being a personal shopper seemed like a great idea. So the dream of a business named Threads came into being. Reality is that moms do just fine picking out clothes for their kids and the business never took off and my dream was buried. The only evidence that it was ever a thought was the cute postcards and business cards that had been created.

Fast forward to the present and we happened to be given an abundance of upholstery IMG_7883fabric bolts. The number of bolts we have is overwhelming. As I looked at this gift, I tried to come up with a way to use them. Lots of ideas came, but never the right one. Until a dear friend and I were having lunch and I told her what we had been given. Immediately she told me the solution was simple, make fabric covered bulletin boards. As we talked through the idea, we thought of how most college girls have a cute board in on their dorm wall. How a lot of us moms keep boards with sweet notes, art work and encouraging words up in places we see often in our homes. And so these boards have been made and they are beautiful. They are being stored in our wine cellar just waiting for this new business to launch. And trying to come up with a company name was driving me crazy. I asked others, prayed, read scripture and asked again. Then the name came…Threads. A dream I had has come back to life. This time instead of focusing on outward appearance, this one focuses on the heart. I pray each item pinned on these boards speaks words of life. And each board will come with a note of encouragement. I plan on praying over each one and asking the Lord to choose a scripture that the receiver needs to hear. I got that idea from a jewelry company called The Crowning Jewels and loved it. I kinda picture these boards as 17X23 visible hearts for our homes. Let me know if you want one!

May the Lord continue to write on each of our hearts words of peace, comfort, conviction that leads to repentance and obedience. Let Him write your heart with the most loving hand that chose to be nailed to the cross for the whole world. May we all shine because our hearts have been inked with His holy script of grace. And may we remember many are reading our hearts during this time in history.

 

 

Disruption

This morning I was thinking about all the the normal things that have been disrupted in our world. Churches and schools are closed, businesses are closed and grocery stores shelves are bare of basic items. A term that I have never heard is said constantly, “social distancing”. A virus is upon us and our normal is on hold. However, is this disruption all bad? While I am not at all discounting the threat of this sickness, I do think we need to not give into fear. Standing with eyes fixed on Jesus allows us to see the good in this disruption.

IMG_7860I am reminded of the stories though the New Testament when Jesus entered a town. If large crowds were gathering and social distancing was discouraged, life was not going on as normal when we came to town. People were flocking to Jesus to be taught, to be healed and to receive eternal life. They would remain gathered for days in His presence. Life as they knew it, outside the presence of Christ, came to a stop. I imagine tools left unused in carpenter’s shops. Whatever form of school they had was dismissed because The Teacher was in town. Doctors of the day were not called upon because the Great Physician was here. Those who had lived a life of sin and felt dead, came to the Source of Life and found forgiveness, they became fully alive. I have to think that these desperate, bound by the law, people were more concerned about who was in their presence than what was being disrupted.

What if we took this time and did the same? What if we took this disruption of our normal and sought the presence of Jesus? What if we open our Bibles more and learned from Him? What if we gathered around our tables and caught up with one another? What if we opened our pantry’s, took stock of what we had and then asked the Lord to multiply it to feed anyone who was hungry? What if we called each other and prayed for one another? What if we pulled our family close, read scripture, sang together and prayed together? I would have to believe that we will not be as eager to return to normal when all of this is over. Yes, good can come out of this disruption if we allow it.

I will say that most of this is normal in our home, but we are taking advantage of the disruption. For our family, we have extended our times around the table and laughed a lot. The other night we each came up with 3 questions about ourselves to ask to see who knew us best. When it was my turn, I asked everyone what I had wanted to be when I grew up. Their responses were great! They went anywhere from singer, lawyer, writer to “one of those ladies who wears black and white and preaches”. We laughed a lot and finally the answer was given… a mom. I pray our kids make good memories during this slower time.

Another thing that I discovered this morning was a word I do not usually take note of. The word was “interlude”. It was included in the verse, “For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude.” (Psalm 32:7). I had to look up the word for more understanding because I knew it was important to take note of. It was defined as a pause, between and an intervening period of time according to the search on Google. Are we not in an interlude, my friends? For those of us who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection and are now saved, are we not waiting to go Home? Our life is held in waiting, but not at all inactive. For there is much living to be done now, even in the midst of disruption.

In our interlude and disruption, may we each find Him to be the perfect hiding place and place of protection. May we all be quiet enough and cease complaining to hear Him singing over us with songs of victory. Perhaps when normal returns, the new routines that we found in the pause will be carried over and our lives richer. While we may be kept from large gatherings now, maybe the long awaited gathering in Heaven will have even more souls because of the salvations that come during this time. Yes, there is good to be found in the pause. For beautiful music always has a pause written amongst the notes to be played. May our pause bring Him much glory.

Taking a Walk

Yesterday some of the kids and I went for a walk. It is good to get outside. I usually notice plenty when we walk, but for those closer to the ground, they seem to notice more. Our youngest daughter showed me the most amazing acorns that had split and taken root. I had never seen this before and it was amazing! Slowing down has caused us all to notice more and maybe appreciate the little things. I like this pace much better. Our family will be taking more walks together over the next 3 weeks that the kids are out of school. I have also seen some areas that we need to reset. I have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, that is what we have been given and I consider this a gift.

IMG_7826With the little splitting acorn I was reminded again of roots. How small, daily habits in our home help put down roots that will continue to grow in each of our children. They will grow into oak trees before I know it and I want their roots to be deep and strong. Surface stuff has not cut it in parenting for quite sometime. Behavior is just a reflection of the heart and I am always after their heart. We have been given 21 days to do some heart work. Where there are unhealthy roots, we will use this time to take care of those. We will drink more of the living water Christ offers and less imitations from the world. We will be more creative and catch a glimpse of this aspect of our God that He has placed in each of us. Yes, another gift of this time off.

As a mom, part of me has felt driven to prepare my children for the world. Placing them in public school was not easy, but has been good. I do not want to place them in a bubble and watch it pop when they leave home and encounter the world. However, I had a thought the other day that just seems to have stayed in my mind. Why am I preparing the kids for the world and not the world for these kids? The world is not prepared for children who have their true identity in Christ, hear clearly from the Holy Spirit, love and serve like Jesus because He is their King and they are part of His Kingdom. The world can glitter and shine all it wants, but these kids recognize an imitation from a mile away.

So, during our reset we will sharpen our minds and shine lights into our hearts. Where we need to repent, we will and gladly take the new mercies the Lord offers each of us everyday. New habits will be formed and old ones that are root building, will be reinforced. May the Lord grow us all during these next days. May He find some mighty oaks among His people.

 

Sound the Trumpets

“The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come. When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blasts on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies.”  Numbers 10:8-9

 

We ran to Walmart yesterday for a few things we needed. The store was crowded as most are right now. Because of the size of our family, we go to the store often, but never have I seen shelves cleared and baskets overflowing like yesterday. My husband said that the spirit of fear was heavy and we could both physically feel it. I talked with one mom who had 4 young kids. She told me she was trying not to be fearful, but it was hard. Words of encouragement were shared before I got in line. Fear causes people to reach for what they can control. Stocking up is something we can control, hence the empty shelves.

IMG_7698As fear runs like fire through our county, our President declared last night that Sunday is to be a national day of prayer. He also took off restrictions that have hindered the country in many areas. To me the declaration sounded like trumpets. Gather the country together, unified in prayer, on knees and hearts bent in repentance. Stay home and ask the Lord to search our hearts and expose our sins. Then tell the Lord you are sorry and ask for strength to turn from sin and obey. After repentance, armed with the truth, we stand and fight. Do you not know that the Lord hears our prayers? We can blast our own trumpet as a call for help against this enemy that is oppressing us in our own country. Begin at home and pray for your neighbors, city, state and country. Then, when all is well and the call is made, we can come together and share stories of how we have seen God be powerful and faithful to us. What a mighty blast of trumpets that will be!

Another fear tactic I have seen is the enemy has our eyes focused on the rising deaths of people from this Coronavirus. While this is terribly sad, why are we not grieving and doing something about the staggering number of millions and millions of babies aborted, killed in this country? No one asks for this virus, but a choice is made on the table of a clinic. Why are we not stopping the lie of the choice to pick your gender, all the while seeing suicide rates soar? The only vaccine that can heal our land is truth from the Word of God! While people are screaming in the streets over people placed in power, why are we not standing up and roaring against this spirit of fear and deceit? Why is truth not being lived out in love? We are fighting a real enemy.

Friends, the trumpets are blasting and the enemy is having a hay day in our country. We are being oppressed and God can hear us repenting and asking for help. Do not stop! Lord, please heal our land. Lord, make yourself famous in our day! Let the sound of trumpets of praise be heard and You be glorified! Lord, we look forward to gathering together in worship of you. Heal us please Lord.

*The kids thought we needed a poster of a lion in our room. I think it is perfect! Reminds me that the Lion of Judah is still on His throne.

Eyes Fixed

“The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.”        (Isaiah 38:19-20)

Are you living? I do not mean breathing, I mean living. A machine can assist your breathing, but it is the Lord who gives you His breath and real life. However, when fear and panic abound, we begin to run and we lose our breathe, our minds get cloudy. This sounds like a great strategy for any enemy to use, don’t you think? But here’s the thing, the enemy we see today is the same enemy that whispered lies in the garden. He is not original and fear is a powerful weapon in his bag of tricks. Thankfully, we who have believed and accepted Jesus, have been handed the victory medal. Your medal, like mine, reads, “Free from FEAR and WANT.” You are free my friend and very much alive. Get to living and stop being afraid!

IMG_7740This morning the Lord drove this point home when I opened my Bible to the book of Isaiah. I read chapter after chapter of what could have easily been written about today. King Hezekiah was being attacked verbally by the Assyrian field commander. I have written about this before, but it bears remembering. The commander also proclaimed threats to the people. He told them not to listen to their king who was telling them to trust the Lord and watch Him deliver them. I love how the people responded to this messenger. “But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded them, ‘Do not answer him.” (Isaiah 36:21). Should we not heed this same advice? Should we not respond to fear?

When King Hezekiah heard the report of this messenger sent from the enemy, he tore his clothes and immediately sought the presence of the Lord. He placed the letter that had been written by the enemy before the Lord and he began to pray. He reminded the Lord of who He was and what all He had made. I love the heart of this king! I think in reminding the God of the universe of who He is, the king was also reminding himself of the power of our God. He then asked the Lord the same thing I am asking Him for today. “Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are the only God.” (Isaiah 37:20). Word came back to Hezekiah from the Lord by way of a prophet. There is a stern rebuke from the Lord against ones that have ridiculed and blasphemed God. Oh and how He calls out pride!! And then the Lord carried out His plans from long ago. “Then an angel of the LORD went out and put to death 185,000 in the Assyrian camp.” (Isaiah 37:36). The enemy was defeated!!!

Time went on and Hezekiah got very ill. It seemed his time had come. The prophet came to tell him so, but as he was leaving, the Lord gave him another message. The king was getting a second chance. He would live! The response of the king is powerful and the words I am claiming over so many circumstances in our family, our city, state, country and nation. “The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.” (Isaiah 38:20). In fact, I have been practicing songs for sometime now. When I am alone you should hear my praises roar! I know whom my God is and I know it is He who is the only One to be worshipped. I will not bow to fear and I will keep singing in great anticipation.

You see friends, the enemy missed his mark this time around with these fear tactics. I do not have my head in the sand, but my head is held secure in the hands of the One that created the sand! I do believe when the enemy drew back his bow and sent his arrow flying to what would have been my heart, he hit my victory medal instead.

We as believers in the all powerful God should not look like the rest of the world at this time. Stand up for goodness sake! Dust that medal off your chest too and watch and see the glory of the Lord ride in. A virus that causes enough panic and fear to sway markets, close events and isolate people is undeniably powerful. However, the enemy, like Goliath, has defied the Living God long enough! As a nation we have become arrogant and prideful. We have made our own rules and even tried to change God’s truth when it comes to marriage, life and gender. People, we need to be on our knees in repentance, not standing in line for toilet paper and soap. Wash our hearts, Lord, of our open rebellion against You. Lord, have mercy on us and give us another chance for we have defiled ourselves. Open blind eyes, deaf ears and start with our hearts. Strike down the enemy that so loudly is shouting right now. May he sound like a tiny kitten when You, the Lion of Judah, ROAR! Fear, you have come far enough. Watch and see what my God can do. Lord, please show yourself faithful as we humble ourselves today. For the knees that are being stubborn to bend and the tongues that are having a hard time admitting You are indeed God, have mercy. Either they bend and speak on their own, or the day will come when they will have no choice.

We have taken Your Living Word and torn up Your truth in our pride and arrogance for all the world to see. We have traded your glory for our own. Lord, please be merciful. We deserve death, but in Your mercy give us life. And like Hezekiah reminded You long ago, “For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise…The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today.” (Isaiah 38:18-19). I can think of no better song that will bring unity to us than “Fear is A Liar”, by Zach Williams. Lord willing, we will be seeing him in concert tonight, along with We the Kingdom.

So, Kingdom people, my prayer for us today is that we get on our knees in repentance and then rise with songs of praise on our lips. May our shouts be heard around the world as we watch and see the deliverance of the Living God! My eyes are fixed on You, LORD. I know You will do something in our day that we cannot even imagine and we will tell our children and their children! Show us your GLORY!

*Picture of our group at Moms in Prayer by Corri Robinson

 

 

 

 

Purposefully Broken

“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.” Mark 14:3

 

This is one of my all time favorite accounts in the Bible. It is one of the last meals Jesus had before He went to the cross. He chose the home of a leper and allowed a woman to anoint Him. I would have loved to have been apart of this story. Both Simon and this woman, who other accounts tell us it was Mary, were not in the most seen group of people, but He saw them. I love the heart of Jesus, don’t you? If He saw them then how can I doubt that He sees me too?

IMG_7712A few verses down from this meal, another took place. This time in an upper room and Jesus and His disciples were celebrating the Passover. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body.” (Mark 14:22). The common thread that stuck out to me today was the brokenness. One a costly bottle of perfume and the other the priceless body of God’s Son. Both willingly given and poured out for others. One was a beautiful picture of worship, the other the price paid for us to be able to worship Him forever in eternity. Neither held back, complete surrender. One gave the best she must have had, the other gave Himself. Both knew it was worth the cost. Love is extravagant.

At some point in each of our lives we too must count the cost. Do we go the way of self or the way of Him? My kingdom come and my will be done or His Kingdom and His will? It is a costly decision to be sure. Often the one breaks us completely and for the rest of your life you try and feel whole again. The other breaks us completely, but then we allow the One broken on our behalf to put us back together completely whole. One leads to a life centered on self and eternity separated from God. The other leads to a life centered on Him and eternity in the presence of God. Both lives include worship, one of self the other of Him.

If breaking is inevitable because our world is broken, which life do we want? I have chosen the way of Mary, poured out all I have and allowed Him to make me whole. There are plenty of things to work on, but I am being made into His likeness everyday. A breaking is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in can be the beginning of a brand new thing if placed in the hands of our Creator. Remember, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10). Being broken and remade anew makes us a masterpiece intended for good plans. This is a very good offer, friend. May you accept the One who willingly died for you and spend your life in love with Him. Oh! In the end, there will be another meal and those who have accepted Him are invited. I hope we get to sit by one another.

Contagious Words

“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

The subject of complaining has been on my heart lately. It is an easy trap and a very acceptable form of conversation. I found myself complaining and was not even really aware of it…until now. Every unacceptable word spoken or thought seems to be highlighted. It has been brought to my attention and now I am responsible as to what I will do. My choices are to keep complaining or to stop. I have chosen to stop because these words are not acceptable to our Lord. I am fully aware that I will mess up, but my hearts desire is to honor the Lord with my spoken, written and thought words. I will remember, “He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23). 

IMG_7185If we go back to the book of Numbers, we can read how serious this sin is to the Lord. “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1). The people of Israel complained about lack of water, food choices and leadership. It can start so small and quickly spread. And like the Israelites, other people can influence our thoughts and then we find ourselves speaking the same complaints. In fact, it was the “mixed multitude” that complained among the Israelites about the food they remembered back in Egypt. Before long others had joined in and began to crave the rich foods too. God heard this complaint as well. He sent quail in response, but He also sent a plague that killed those who had yielded. If God was this serious about complaining then, has His mind changed? Perhaps with the media constantly updating us on this Coronavirus, may it serve as a reminder as how quickly things can spread when given air.

When I read the words the Lord spoke through Solomon and look back at the account with the Israelites, I am convinced of the seriousness of complaining. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21). For me, I am choosing life. I am choosing to speak truth and thanksgiving. There is much to praise the Lord for today and I will focus on Him. With my eyes and heart turned towards Him, praise and thanksgiving will be my response. And when you hear people talking about what they have given up for the season of Lent, maybe we could consider giving up complaining. The good news is instead of being without because we have given something up, we can be filled with life and eat its fruit. Whose with me today?

“Indeed we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body…even so the tongue is a little member boasts great things…The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body…” (James 3:3-6)

 

Marked by Mercy

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him…” Daniel 9:9

Yesterday a group of moms and I gathered around the table and prayed. It is what we do on Thursday mornings. We have a word that describes our God and scripture to back it up. Mercy was the word of the day. I think it is such a beautiful and powerful word, don’t you? Who of us are in need of mercy today? I have my hand raised. The best part is that God is merciful and forgives each time we are in need. I continue to rebel and He continues to be full of mercy. It is almost too much to try and fit into my heart. I can hardly think of anything else.

IMG_7530As the Lord would have it when He wants to get my attention, mercy is everywhere today. I listened to a 45 second teaching clip from Paul David Tripp. He said, “Parenting is a mission of mercy.” The way he described it was that as parents our children need direction. Our hearts open to them and we help them. We show them mercy because they do not know the way. Sounds so much like our Heavenly Father. He is constantly leading if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Like our children, we tell them go this way and they forget or think they know a better way. Have we not done the same thing? Making up our own rules will never work. We do not know how we function best, but our Creator does. Our children need to be shown, not just told the way they should go. Therefore, it is imperative that we follow Him for they are following us.

Who of us as parents would say to one of our children that our mercy has runout for them? We had this much and they used it up. That is hard to imagine. If we belong to the Lord, because we have accepted Him as our Savior, then we have no fear in using up His mercy either. I do not know about you, but that sure takes the pressure to perform off of me. He can love me no less or no more than He already does. My response to such love is obedience and my heart in return. I can think of nothing else to give. He has all of me and I rest in His strong arms of mercy. It is a wonderful place to be as His child and calms the noise of this world.

His example of mercy also causes me to extend it to others. While I may not agree with someone, I can ask the Lord to help me show them mercy. Recently a decision was made to plant the seed of a lie into countless daughters minds. I contacted the people in charge, but they missed the point entirely. There was this panic to stop the evil, but I was not heard. What could I do? I prayed and asked the Lord what should be the next step. I waited and words came…”you have done all you can do. The choice is now on them and the consequences too.” As we prayed yesterday, I knew to ask the Lord to show them mercy. I prayed for these decision makers, the daughters that would be affected and the seeds that will be planted. I interceded on their behalf and now wait to see what will be the result.

How about you? Is there someone you need to extend mercy too? Is there someone you need to pray for mercy? Are you in need of mercy today? Friend, go to the Father who waits for you. He is ready and willing to give you that part of Himself. A life marked with mercy is quite a legacy. You never know who you will impact. May the Lord mark us with His mercy each and everyday. May it become part of our identity as well. Amen.

A Relay Race

There is a price that comes with writing and it is more than time. It is actually living through or continuing to live what you write about. This was not something I thought about when I started typing awhile ago, but can honestly say it is worth the cost. Yes, sometimes I think my words from my heart are misunderstood or do not sit quite right. I would ask that you take that to the Lord and let Him sort it out for you. For me, I want to always be honest and honoring to my family. I share in hopes that someone else can come to know the Lord a little better, not feel so alone or be encouraged.

IMG_5291Encouraging others is one of my favorite things to do. I have found the time put into cheering someone else on and letting them know they are seen, ends up blessing me more than them. You also meet a lot of people that you normally would not come into contact with. I have been surprised by the number of wonderful people I have talked to just by taking the time to speak a kind word. For the people I already know, a simple text or email seems like no big deal to me, but to them it can change their day. You’ve had that happen to you to before I am sure. The day is not going according to plan and you get encouragement out of the blue and things turn around. I can think of no better way to put our phones to good use than to use them as a source of communicating blessings to others.

We are all racing towards home and some trails get ever so hard. We need each other to remind us of whose we are, what is true and how much we are loved. Our races might not look the same or be marked by the same sufferings, but that does not mean every one of us could not use a cheerleader along the way. Yes, I am aware that I have written about this recently, but just needed to say it again. We need to encourage each other.

Also, we all have a job to do that we have been uniquely crafted for. This was made very clear to me the other night at our daughters track meet. She does a relay race with 3 other girls. Each girl carries the baton once around the track and then hands it to the next girl. Around and around they race trying to be the fastest team. While their team won first place and she received a medal, she was not pleased with her personal performance. She beat herself up all the way from the track to the car. She said how the other girls had to make up for her slower time, she had let her team down. In my eyes she did just fine and they won, but she knew her lap was not her best. I asked if there was something she could do differently to improve. And true to this child’s amazing mind, she had already figured out what she needed to correct. I fully expect her next race to be different.

The lesson I saw here was the body of Christ is like this relay team. We each play a part and carry a gift like a baton. If we get caught up in unforgiveness, blame, anger, selfishness, laziness and any other sin that so easily entangles, we hurt the entire body. How do we carry a baton when our arms are full of blame or shame? How do we breath properly when all our air is used to speak fear instead of praise? How do we run swiftly when a shackle of regret has bound our feet together? How do we remain hydrated when we are not constantly drinking for the Living Water? This life is the only one we are given here on earth. While there is an eternity waiting in Heaven, the choices we make now matter what kind of race we have here. And it helps to have people encouraging each other along the way. Perhaps that is the baton you have in your hand, the gift of encouragement.

Today lets examine our “lap” and see if there is anything that we need to correct. Is repentance needed? Time in prayer and scripture reading? A call to ask forgiveness? I do not know, but I trust the Lord to show each of us. May the rest of our race be ran in His strength, wisdom, love and unity. I am cheering you on!