Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

How it is supposed to be with God <3

PC Rachel Maxwell <3

Rachel sent me this sweet picture yesterday of how nap time ended up for this posse.

Joel is transitioning from his crib to the big boy bed and he is also an escape artist, so he joined his mommy and little sis on the couch for a cartoon and ended up succumbing to his sleepy side.

He has adapted well to sharing his baby status with our little miracle surprise and certainly does love his mommy right now.

He rarely misses an opportunity to snuggle up next to her when he is needing some hugs.

I told Rachel he helps me understand what David was saying  in Psalm 131.

A Song of Ascents, listen to the attitude of the heart of this King of Israel…

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. verse 1 &2

Joel is the picture of this.

His mommy is no longer needed for his nourishment but his little soul needs her nearness intermittently throughout the day.

Sometimes when he bumps his head.

Sometimes when he is tired or frustrated.

and sometimes….

just because.

In the hustle and bustle of the festivities we are entering…we will have moments when we need to assume the position of a weaned child.

Moments when we need to say…

we are not proud or haughty….

we do not need to engage in every table discussion and Black Friday melee to save a bundle on that Christmas list.

We don’t need to have all the answers to our helpful guests about what we want to do with the leftovers that are now spilling out of the refrigerator and do we wash the unused silverware or put back in the drawer?

We can choose in the frantic moments when we are stretched thin and out of courtesy, tact and answers…to take a deep breath and rest against our Father.

Wanting nothing more than to just simply lean onto Him and draw comfort and solace in Him.

Be blessed as you do this thing well for His glory – whatever your holiday looks like – and remember to tell your soul to rest <3

What I heard when I “Be Still”-ed….

By the time you read this on Tuesday…if you read this on Tuesday…I will be most likely be well on my way into a day that is scheduled from 5:45 AM to 2 PM at this point.

So this will be quick and from my heart to yours.

I wonder and pray…is this a word sent from God just for me or one to share?

So I guess if it is not to be shared…He can shut down the internet or make it disappear off the grid…but at this point here is what I want to impart to you today.

I followed the teachings to Be Still.

And I applied them.

And on Sunday morning in the small window of silence offered at the end of the service, I had two distinct impressions.

The first was a prayer that my tummy wouldn’t growl in the silence because I remembered I had forgotten to grab breakfast so all that was swirling around in my digestive arena was close to 8 cups of coffee.

Don’t judge me.

The second was that still small voice I so often long to hear but somehow don’t.

I always think it is going to tell me some divine blue print in bullet points that I can nail down and take with me to finish this race with that elusive perfection and ease I sense is just around the next corner.

Or He is going to get to the root of what is wrong with me and lay it out there in clear terms and then tell me to get with it.

But no.

This is what I heard whispered across the blank page of a heart stilled and quieted and ready to listen…..

<3 Take your ministry seriously

<3 Stop apologizing for it and belittling it

<3 Believe in it and …

<3 Believe in Me

<3 Believe that I gave it to you…and I will equip you…and lead you.

That was it.

And it was everything I needed to hear.

Have you stopped and truly quieted your heart to listen for His voice?

He speaks life …. L.I.F.E.

and life-giving Truth <3

 

But seriously, the wonder of it all…

We finished the Be Still series Sunday morning at church.

This one was about being yoked to Jesus and our pastor showed us a picture of what a yoke looks like and explained how it worked when two oxen put their heads through this contraption and he suggested that it might look unappealing to us as humans but it really truly is the way to peace.

True peace.

If you accept the right invitation.

Because we really all are yoked to something.

Or someone.

Even if it’s just our own stubborn self.

I can remember a time where that yoke looked restrictive.

It would mean compliance and what if this wonderful “me” got all swallowed up and looked like a caricature of what the world had started getting me to believe a “Christian” looks like.

Until I came to the bottom of what I can be without Jesus on the throne.

Until I realized that Grace was offering me to slip my neck into that lovely invitation where the God of the Universe was offering to humble HIMSELF and allow HIMSELF to be yoked to one such as me.

One who is stubborn…one who sits down when movement is needed…one who turns left when turning right is the best way…one who tends to want to look back instead of plowing straight…one who gets easily distracted and can be somewhat of a high maintenance ox.

But He sees me in my struggles and He says…

Come to me…

Let’s do this together my daughter.

So that whole yoke thing?

That looks very appealing to me these days.

The wonder of it all is not that I willingly put on His yoke.

The wonder is that He is willing to be yoked with me.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  NLT  Matthew 11:28-30

 

 

 

 

Just checking in on a Monday <3

Just a quick hello as Russ and I have taken a few days away to have a small vacation to end the year.

Like you, we were stunned by the news of another mass shooting yesterday – this time in a small church in a small town in Texas.

The newscasters on national stations were struggling to find words to wrap around a gunman wiping out half of a congregation on a Sunday morning and leaving the other half physically and emotionally and forever wounded and scarred.

Grown men who have careers in the legal system were choking back tears on camera.

All were stunned and many were saying things just to fill the airwaves and some of it was awkward and really not even accurate in assessing our human condition of brokenness even before a violent act like this makes its ugly face known in our small towns.

And so today, we in this nation recover from yet another deranged act that authorities are trying to sort through and piece together while all around this globe, families and children and citizens are hourly living with nightmares that have real faces and real guns and real plans of destruction.

So we turn to our God – the Father of all compassion…all comfort…all justice. And we lift up hands asking for Him to come and to help and to deliver.

We wonder what we can do to make any difference in the midst of so much need.

I am almost finished reading The Mercy Prayer by Robert Gelinas and in the closing pages he talks about how we want to do great things for God, but we need to start with small things around us each and ever day.

“In this world, we hear about pain and suffering everywhere. We want to do great things but don’t know how to do them. But if we become students of mercy, we become like Jesus, seeing opportunities for mercy and responding to that one person with compassion and grace….In the midst of walking with a great God and dreaming of great things God can do through us, mercy says, ‘But what are you going to do today in the name of Christ? How are you going to love today?'”     Robert Gelinas, The Mercy Prayer; Thomas Nelson 2013 page 138

I received a comment this week from a sweet friend who visits this site most days. While I did publish it on the post, I wanted to take time today to make sure you all see her invitation to show that mercy the world so desperately needs.

Here is her comment:

And speaking of being about that which matters; how would you like to be a part of God’s Shelter of Love’s new emergency shelter overnight team? Maybe one of your readers would be interested. I’m truly wanting to make a difference in the lives of people with no home here in our city. Let me know if you’d be willing to help once a month or once every other month. I’m going to a meeting on Nov. 16 at the Avon theater from 7-9. I do want to be about spending time on things that matter, and people who need basic shelter is a very important matter. Blessings friend!

Thank you for the ways you show love and mercy to those around you.

You are the hands and feet of Christ when you do these things in His Name <3

 

 

 

Kind of a book review <3

For my birthday I received a copy of Shauna Niequist’s book Present over Perfect.

I have read a couple of her other books or should say, I started to read them but ended up skimming through them after a while because…so many books…so little time.

This one, however caught me right from the start.

It spoke to something within me. A story of familiar struggles expressed in someone else’s language has a way of making us feel less alone and more understood.

It’s probably not for everyone, but here is a quote that made me nod my head vigorously, underline and write “Yep” in the margin several times….

“I’ve always had what I call a crazy brain- a mind that runs and spins, that remembers obscure details and whirs in the middle of the night. …it also runs ahead of me quite often, catastrophizing, over-analyzing, spinning out. As my patron saint Anne Lamott says, my mind is a bad neighborhood. I’m not a potter or a dancer – my mind is my only tool, and at the same time, it’s my greatest challenge, an overeager puppy, a spinning hamster wheel.” pg 67

Yep.

I totally get that.

The body of the book is about how she has had to learn to stop striving and achieving and instead be “present” with God – resting more, trusting more, fellowshipping more.

It is interesting to me that, as the daughter of Bill Hybels, she still grew up and lived much of her adult life with a misconception of God as keeping some score card on her.

She talks about how, because she had a mixed up view of God, based on her own personal understandings, she viewed Scripture in a skewed way for many years.

She consistently states that this was not because she was raised to believe such a lie, but that the way she is wired geared her to that pitfall.

Bill Hybels. Founder and lead pastor of Willow Creek Church and kind of the name we associate with the whole ‘seeker friendly’ wave in ministry around this area of the country at least.

And his daughter had to figure out that God loves her and just wants to spend time with her and have a relationship with her that she can’t earn.

There’s a lesson there for our evangelism efforts.

I think how easily we can fall into the trap of trying to adapt the Gospel to make it understandable to everyone instead of just simply sharing the Gospel and then trusting God through the Holy Spirit to allow each person to work through the process of their sanctification with Him.

I see a tendency in the general world of Church to feel we have failed in the message when someone like Shauna misses the point.

So we change the packaging and presentation so that we can help those like her to “get it”.

But it was through trial and error, through wearing herself out striving and almost losing her primary relationships that God finally broke through to her heart.

We don’t have to market the Gospel.

We simply share it with our words and our lives…sincere, sometimes inept, flawed, progressing slowly along the journey in our ways….

and God brings the harvest <3