Posts

I’ve had a lousy week.

It was unusually busy, with a Bible conference held at our church during which I watched the 4-year old class twice. (If you’ll remember, nursery duty is not my typical place of service in the church.) The newness of homeschooling has more than rubbed off and the kids were less than cooperative. I’ve had to miss the gym several times over the last few weeks, the house is a wreck, and I’ve had many random and poorly-scheduled appointments which couldn’t be changed.

So, yeah, it’s been a bad week.

Though the external of my week was rough, it’s the inside of my week that stinks. My attitude, my selfishness, and my sheer exhaustion. I’m pretty sure much of it is hormonal and “thyroidal” (I have yet another untimely appointment scheduled which will hopefully take care of those issues.) but there is another surge of emotions taking over which is not a physical problem. It’s spiritual.

My flesh is putting up a good fight these days and I’ve been attempting to stand against it on my own.

I’ve failed miserably.

hold on hope.001

There is much about this week I wish I could erase, but I am thankful that I do have hope. My God has not forsaken me, my kids are still my kids, and my ever-amazing, servant husband is still by my side.

I’m clinging to grace once again, trusting in the truths God’s Word gives me. (And listening to this song on repeat all day.) 

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. – Psalm 39:7

What truths do you cling to when you have a bad week?

affiliate links present

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

I long to abide—to stay in deep fellowship with my God.

The thought of  holding on for a lifetime is wearying, but there is great, sustaining grace!

I teeter between devotion that fuels me forward for a while, followed by despair that my efforts didn’t take me further.

Do my best.

The trap of comparison strangles. If I spend too much time thinking I should be this or that—or her—I become paralyzed with all I am not.

I don’t need to be a full-time missionary, have gone to seminary, or homeschool my kids to be approved.

I am only to do my best. Right here. Right now.

God doesn’t expect me to be something I am not called to be. He only wants me to do my best—not someone else’s best—right where He has placed me.

Present myself to God.

What great and glorious grace I have been given! Thousands upon thousands of mercies He has extended me.

Oh, how I want to give all of me to thank Him!

And so, dear brothers and sisters,  I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Romans 12:1 NLT)

Every day—every moment—is an offering to Him.

Rightly handle the Word.

His Word is living. His Word is active. My bread and water for each day—an abundant source of life.

Read it. Study it. Know it.

Meditate on it.

These are the prerequisites to handling it rightly.

The longing for approval.

I long for approval—to hear those words: “Well done.”

So, I will do my best right where He has called me. I will live each moment as an offering of thanks.  I will strive to know and understand His Word which will guide the way forward.

I will be approved.

Abide. Remain. Do not depart. This is what we have been charged with. The Christian life is all about holding on and staying connected to the source of all we need.

I long to be tied to the dock—for a lifetime. Not just today, tomorrow, or next week, but to the end.

Honestly? The thought of holding tightly for a lifetime is wearying.

What it takes to cling to Christ

Grace.

Hard work.

Grace.

Hard work.

Grace.

Grace.

Grace.

I cannot hold on—I will not hold on—without His hands surrounding mine.

When my little ones are learning to swing, I cover their little hands and grip the chain. When they let go they don’t fall because my hands are surrounding theirs. I am holding on for them.

So it is with grace.

Grace is His big, strong hands covering mine. Gently yet firmly grasping the rope with my hands safely sandwiched between.

My soul clings to you;

Your right hand upholds me.

(Psalm 63:8 ESV)

I grew up on the water. I learned to water-ski when I was four. My dad was still skiing in his sixties! As a kid, I loved to sit at the front of the boat, hands gripped to the sides, my nose stretched out far enough to just beat the front of the boat.

I learned young how to protect Daddy’s boat. Boats are not like cars, which stay put when you turn them off. When you are in the water, the boat is always moving. Even when it feels still, if you aren’t tied to the deck the boat will float away—even in the smoothest of waters.

The Bible is clear that there are two paths. I am following Jesus, or I am not. I am living the Spirit-filled life or I am being influenced by something else. I am allowing God to permeate and affect every area of my life, or I am holding the control in my own hands. There is no in-between in the Kingdom of God.

I am tied to the deck, or I am drifting away.

Even if it is just because I fell asleep and let go of the rope; without intentionality I drift.

The Anchored Life

We can learn much from the blessed man of Psalm 1.

  • He walked intentionally.

The blessed man is intentional to not just run away from God, but pays attention to where he is walking, standing and sitting. 

  • He treasured the Word.

The written word of God brought this man delight.

It is a pleasure to get a pedicure. I love getting to sleep in. My two-raw-sugar-no-foam-with-whip-latte is a treat. A facial? Yes, please! These are all things that being me physical pleasure. Though, I must ask myself: Do I delight in God as much as these?

  • He was well-watered.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV)

‘nough said.

  • His way was known.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me (John 10:14 ESV)

What a confidence in life, to know that I am known and still loved. Why would I ever want to let go of the only One who knows all there is to know about me—yet still pursues me?

 

Blessed is the woman who is tied to the deck.

 

For when my kitchen is a mess…

DSC05872.jpg

…the living room has exploded…

DSC05857.jpg

…and the laundry is taking over…

DSC05871.jpg

…and for when I am weary of it all…

…I am thankful that when the God of all order looks at me He sees Christ’s perfect obedience—not all the chaos in my life, nor my disobedience.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past. (Romans 3:23-25 NLT)

Not because of what I’ve done, but because of what Christ has done on my behalf,  He is well-pleased with me.

(…and at least my floors are clean!)

I’m headed to Jacksonville for a Cru women’s retreat this weekend! I am excited to be back in my old stomping grounds, and thrilled for the opportunity to teach from the Word.

I’m going to be teaching out of the Psalms, in keeping with the Run to Him theme. I have just LOVED diving into the Psalms.

This weekend we will be studying Psalm 1, 46, and 143. We will start first with doing some evaluation on WHERE we are running, through Psalm 1. Then we will take a look at the character of WHO the God is that we are running to, as portrayed in Psalm 46. Lastly, I hope to leave them with some concrete WAYS to run to Him.

Where are you running?

I love the picture of “the blessed man” in Psalm 1. This passage is a great evaluator of whether or not we are truly running to Him! We can be doing all the “right” things, but still not be leaning on Him for all that we need. It is only when we are like the flourishing, fruitful tree—utterly dependent on the stream it is rooted in—that we will see the blessings of walking closely with our Lord.

Where are you running, friends? When you are tired and weary? When you are disappointed and dissatisfied with life?

Is it to Him—or is it to someone (or something) else?

What are you delighting in? What brings you pleasure? Is it His Word—or in the thrills and comforts this world has to offer?

What are you meditating on? What can’t you stop talking about?  Is it Him that invades your every thought—or is your mind filled with the worries of the day, the agenda of the media, or consumed by self?

“Running” Resources

If you feel as if you can use some help in running to Him (don’t we all?!) here are a few things I’d love for you to check out:

  • Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time – If you need help in knowing HOW to connect with God—what to do when you sit down to spend time in the Bible—Savoring Living Water was written just for you. Our second edition has just been released, and it includes a bonus bookmark.
  • Do Not Depart: Encouragement and tools to abide in the Word – We have just recently merged with another site, Scripture Dig, and now there are more resources than ever; all under one “roof.”
  • Focused15 – I am THRILLED to announce a new series of Bible Studies! I just got the site up yesterday, and I am hoping to have the first study available in a few weeks! These studies will be similar to the studies we’ve written for the Maximize Your Mornings challenge, and will help you move to the next level in your personal Bible study!

15 minute Bible Study

What is the biggest hindrance for you, in your efforts to run to God? What tools would be helpful? Do you feel as if you are “well-watered” or dry and thirsty?

I’d love to chat with you in the comments!

(I’m over at Do Not Depart today, sharing the latest of my scripture memory efforts! Come and watch?)

 

 

 

So, I just got a steam mop, and I love it!

Let me back up.

I have three kids. They are 6, 4, and almost 2. Our floors stay in a state of disgusting. I am not exaggerating. Juices is spilt almost daily, fruit falls on the floor and is stepped on regularly. My vacuum is typically filled mostly with Cheerios and dirty sand from the playground.

I’m not complaining, really. I know that they are just being kids. We are in the training years.

However, over time I have slowed stalled my attempts at even trying to keep the floors clean. I usually wait until we have company, or I just can’t stand it anymore—you know, when my feet are sticking to the floor!

Mopping is a chore, and it is really impossible to do it during the day while the kids are home. It takes forever to dry, and it feels like an all-day event—not the event which is typically on the top of my to-do list. And, if I do ever manage to mop my floor—I kid you not—they were dirty again within hours!

Yeah, so my floors stay sticky and dirty.

My husband had suggested a steam mop months and months ago, but I have dragged my feet about looking into all the steam mop reviews. I have recently found myself dreaming about getting a housekeeper. Someone to come in once a month to do the things I have been unable to get done—like mop my floors. So, with the possibility of that expense on the table, I finally relented to looking into steam mops.

I am amazed at the difference this steam mop has made! It works incredibly well, and it is so easy! The floor dries quickly, and I can mop the majority of my tile—while ALL THREE KIDS ARE HOME.

Wow.

A similar thing happened when I broke down and got a really good vacuum for hard floors. I went from loathing vacuuming—putting it off till as long as possible—to actually enjoying making vacuuming a part of my evening routine.

It is all about using the right tool for the job. 

My husband and I were hanging out with some of our High school students this week, and one of them was saying how his Bible is really hard to read (though he uses the NIV.) When he does read, he feels like he has no idea what it means.

I remember feeling that way—like it was a waste of time to read my Bible. I wanted to be faithful in my Bible reading, and I wanted to draw closer to God, but every time I tried, it seemed pointless.

Kinda like mopping my floors.

Why try so hard to do something, when I never see the fruit of my efforts?

Over time, I was introduced to some Bible study tools which helped tremendously. I started understanding what I was reading, and life change was occurring! Studying my Bible shifted from being a chore, to something I very much looked forward to!

Time will tell if mopping my floors with this new stream mop will become something I look forward to, for the long-haul. But, I am hopeful that my floors will stay much cleaner, on regular basis—that it will become less of a chore, and more of a joy.

Does reading your Bible feel like a chore to you?
Have you experienced this shift of chores turning into an enjoyable event, once you got the right tool? What about with studying your Bible—have you found the right tools for the job?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments (and feel free to share any must-have tools for the dreaded chores—I can use all the help I can get!)

If you are looking for some good Bible Study tools, I invite you to subscribe to my other site Do Not Depart which is dedicated to help encourage and equip you to stay in the Word.

We’ve also recently released the second edition paperback of Savoring Living Water: How to Have an Effective Quiet Time. This book is written to equip you to connect with God in a meaningful way through your time in the Bible!

In the last 6 years I have lived in 4 different towns and 6 different “homes”, some for only a few months. With each move, it has taken much effort to settle in. After all the boxes are unpacked and furniture is arranged, there was still work to be done to figure out what “normal” looks like in each new place.

We just finished up studying John 15:1-11 last week, over at Do Not Depart. The overarching command here is to abide, or remain in Christ. His Words are to abide in us, and as it does we are given great promises.

The abiding of Jesus’ word in us means that his words find a home in us. They fit. They belong…You move other things around and even get rid of some things so that the word has room and “feels at home.”

The words of Jesus don’t “abide” without effect. When they take root, they produce faith and holiness. “Sanctify them in the truth,” Jesus says; “your word is truth” (John 17:17). So when his words abide in us, sanctification happens. We are transformed. Holiness, Christlikeness, happens. -John Piper, If My Words Abide in You

Oh, I want the Word of God to be at home in me!

I feel like I am only beginning to experience the words of God abiding in me, and it has been accelerated greatly through scripture memorization.

Just like when we make a physical move, we don’t come to a place of “at-homeness” with the Word of God overnight. We don’t know the Bible intimately the moment we enter into a relationship with Christ. It takes hard work and time for the Word of God to be at home, settled in to our hearts.

Another thing we need to realize is, our hearts are not new, empty houses ready to be filled. Our hearts are filled with clutter, old furniture and unwelcomed guests. In order for the Word of God to be at home in our hearts, we will need to de-clutter, re-organize, and ask some guests to leave. Only as we do this can we provide God’s Word a place to abide in our hearts.

I have found that there is no better, quicker way to “make room” for the Word of God in my heart than to memorize scripture.

Pastor John has come to the same conclusion. You can listen to, watch, or read the full sermon here.(In case you don’t catch it, Pastor John starts out this sermon by reciting Psalm 1, Psalm 16, Psalm 103, Romans 5:1–8, Romans 8, Matthew 6:25–34, and 1 Corinthians 13, back to back. What an inspiration!)

For more inspiration, be sure to head over to Do Not Depart this week, and check out the vlogs and posts by others on this scripture memory journey.

Linking up!

This has been a difficult season of life. I’ve had some defeating days lately. I struggle with getting my heart to believe what my mind knows.

Specifically, I struggle with my role as momma. I know that I am a good mother. Not perfect, but I am not neglecting them. I love them, feed them and care for them physically. I point them to Jesus and their need for Him. I pray for them. Their basic needs are met, they are loved and the gospel is readily available for them.

Yet most days I don’t feel like a good mother.

Moments come and I lose my temper. Days pass where I have wanted to be anywhere but in the trenches of discipline, diapers and dirty floors.

There have been some moments where this feeling is completely overwhelming.

“I can’t do this.”

“I am a horrible mother.”

“I want to just run away.”

Emotions seem to overtake my soul. Anger. Despair. Hopelessness. Fear.

In this season of battling my feelings with truth, Psalm 143 has been both a comfort and a source of strength. If you, like me, have been battling with negative emotions and overwhelming discouragement, will you take a moment to read this Psalm? If a truth resonates with your soul, will you stop and cry out to the living God who knows every part of your soul?

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
2 In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge!
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.

Psalm 143 ESV

I’ve been memorizing these words, journaling through them and listening to them over and over again on my phone as I drive around town. I am excited to share more soon about what I am learning from how David dealt with his despair.

Do you struggle with overwhelming negative emotions? Do you struggle with the disconnect of what you know and what you feel? What have you found to be helpful as you battle these dark days?