Category Archives: FYWBTG

Aaaaaaaannnnnnddddd it’s MoNdAy <3

So we celebrated Mother’s Day by napping and playing 9 holes at the closest golf course.

Russ said the par was 54.

I must be an overachiever because I hit that number on the first four holes.

At least.

The weather was perfect and Russ was as patient as you might expect of him because living with me for close to 36 years now has just enhanced his kind nature.

I wore him down before he ever said “I do”.

He is so gracious to me on the golf course that every time we play I think; if we weren’t already married I would want to date him.

He is a gentleman and a gentle man and he knows his wife takes every helpful suggestion as destructive criticism.

So after about the umpteenth-zillion time that I swung and missed the ball completely, I turned to him in frustration and he calmly asked…

what I wanted him to do.

Did I want a suggestion on how I could adjust my body to be more efficient?

And I said yes.

Somewhat nicely…I hope…

And he told me.

And I did it.

And lo and behold I moved that dad-gum dimpled ball a ways down the green.

Or fairway.

Or whatever you call that endless stretch of grass between the beginning and the end.

Jesus is like that, you know.

He’s a Gentleman and a Gentle Man.

He won’t force His ways on me.

He will stand patiently as I swing and miss…and get all frustrated…and am kind of unpleasant to be around.

He will wait for me … and push my clubs so I can go look for my errant ball…out in the trees…

and then He will ask me…

Would you like some help?

Yes please.

Yes Jesus…

Yes…

lead me today…

show me how to do this.

Show me how to walk and how to talk and how to be effective for You  <3

 

When you just don’t care about trying to be cool anymore…

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Any shred of sophistication I might have hoped to manage absolutely dissipated into nothingness in the wee hours of the morning in early June 2011.

I became the sappiest woman on the planet when the first little Maxwell boy wrapped me around his tiny finger and I share this ooey-gooey love with ….

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The other night, sporting neon orange and yellow mesh vests, emblazoned round about with reflector strips, we took our nightly walk around the lake.

Grinning like two fools, we bent over a cell phone as Graham counted to 100 …

by one’s…

and if he jumped from 69 to 90, well that’s the way it ought to be as far as we are concerned.

We thought it was absolutely fabulous.

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We cheered like he had just been accepted to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

And when he went into great detail about his chalk drawing from the driveway…

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I racked my brain for every detail I could remember from the picture his mommy sent me so I could join right in with the commentary.

We strain to make out every sentence from Emmett …so we don’t have to ask him what he just said…and when he laughs…we can’t contain ourselves…

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and we ooh and ahh over each new tooth that pokes through that smile from Joely Bear and every little time he pulls up on something …it’s like he’s the first human ever to be so clever…

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And we don’t care what we look like to anybody…

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Because our hearts are so full of love for these little guys that they just kind of make us forget anything but what they have going on at the moment.

And that’s what the whole message from the FYWBTG has been about.

It’s about God being portrayed as a dad who was so heartsick for his lost son that when he caught sight of him in the distance…

he threw dignity to the wind.

He pulled his robes up to free his old legs…

and he ran to meet him.

He didn’t run after him to the far country…

but he loved him.

He didn’t run to the pig sty…

but he loved him.

So at the very first faint glimpse of his boy making his way back home…

he didn’t care what anyone thought…

his joy overtook it all.

His reputation as the patriarch went under the bus.

His sorrow flew out the door.

And he hitched up his hem…

and he ran <3

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And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.  And kill the calf we have been fattening.

We must celebrate with a feast,  for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’

So the party began.         Luke 15:20-24

 

Just the way we are <3

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I have had a variety of part time jobs in my life.

Okay.

I have had a zillion part time jobs and only one short stint of a full time job that lasted from 1982-1984…but who’s counting.

One of those jobs was as a sub in the public schools for a number of years.

I enjoyed subbing in our kids’ school most of all because I knew the teachers and, more importantly the parents, which is great leverage as a sub. Trust me.

Sometimes as I chatted with a teacher later about how the day went we would find out that the one kid that drove me up a wall was her favorite student and the one that I thought was a huge help was her worst nightmare.

Because we are humans.

And we are wired differently.

So we have preferences about who we like and who we find annoying.

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Our quirks and unique personalities can prove charming or irritating depending on who is dealing with us.

And we can tend to think that God operates like that.

But He doesn’t.

He finds all sin deplorable (thank you presidential candidates for reminding us how offensive THAT word is…)

BUT

He finds all humanity worth saving.

He loves us and desires that none of us perish.

He has no favorites and yet all are favored.

We can do nothing to make Him love us more…nor can we do anything to make Him love us less.

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He sends us all sun and rain, moon and stars.

He loves us so intensely …

so abundantly…

so extravagantly.

He loves you, over there, who thinks you messed it up too big this time…

and you, who lost it with your kiddos today…multiple times…

and you, who think you might just quit the whole church thing because it isn’t working for you like you thought…

and you, who have tried a hundred thousand times to stop that thing that you hate doing but then…you do it again..

and you, who have cried out one too many nights and are thinking He must not care…or worse…has turned His back on you…

Yes, He loves you…

and me.

Yes, God loves us…

the Bible tells me so <3

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For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son…that whoever believes IN HIM….will not perish…but will have everlasting life. John 3:16

Above all else

It’s been a weekend full of more violence, more hatred..not just here but all around the world…these are turbulent times and our footing can get shaken in an instant.

Literally.

As even the earth quakes in unexpected places these days.

So this morning…would you come away with me for a few minutes before we go out and face our giants?

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Not to close our eyes to the ugly…but to open our eyes to the Truth?

Because tonight, there will be a great debate and it can stir up your heart and get you all twisted inside to listen to well-calculated words that fly.

Words fueled by agendas and a desire to rally people to take sides.

But for those who are in Christ, there is only one side and that is the side that took our side and reconciled us to God.

So let’s step inside a quiet place and examine our hearts before Him.

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From my journaling this morning from a devotion by Frances Ridley Havergal…some of her thoughts…some of my thoughts…on God’s thoughts…

Who is among you who fears the LORD, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust and be confident in the name of the LORD and let him rely on his God.                     Isaiah 50:10

Who is among you who fears the LORD…

I fear so many things…

live paralyzed some days by what could happen if the scenario’s in my head really do play out.

Fear born from what I can see with my eyes crowds out and overcomes the FEAR of the LORD …

but it is in this FEAR…

HOLY FEAR of our LORD…

that I find wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)

who obeys the voice of His Servant

Am I following the teachings of Christ Jesus my Savior?

The One who spoke only what the Father told Him?

The words that are in the Word of God, the Bible….that book that holds the God-breathed, inspired Words of faith…

am I reading it, applying it, obeying it?

Am I listening with my spirit ears to the Holy Spirit who guides me and leads me into all truth?

Am I putting to death the works of the sin nature that still wrestles for my attention and obeying the spirit nature of my regenerated soul?

yet who walks in darkness and has no light?

Wait.

What?

There will be a darkness that is not the darkness of sin?

Most certainly there will be.

Just as the night comes in our 24 hour day…

and the absence of light is not because of sin but a part of the rhythm of the gift of time…

so there are times when we do not sense God’s light.

Seasons of darkness that are not the darkness of sin.

Let him trust and be confident in the name of the LORD and let him rely on his God.

So in the darkness that comes as part of life…

take the Word of God and go into the quiet places …

physically and spiritually.

Literally, step away and close the door to the noises and distractions of this world.

And PRAY…ask for His help. Ask for His light. Ask for His comfort and His guidance.

Do not try and create your own light, but place your trust in His coming Light.

TRUST in the name of the LORD, the Trinity…

Father + Savior + Comforter

Pray to Him to give LIGHT to your darkness.

Pray to have discernment to recognize and follow only His light.

Do not try to find your way on your own.

That is the old way…the old nature…

Know and believe that you will not always be in the dark.

Rely on the promises of God until His Light is revealed to you.

The promise and comfort of the Isaiah passage is that, if we are viewing our God with an understanding of His power, might, sovereignty, authority, magnificence…and we are not knowingly embracing sin and disobedience…then when our understanding is darkened, we can place our confidence and trust in Him that He IS leading us because He is worthy to lead us and we are willing to follow.

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May God bless each of you to realize that we can do none of this apart from the help of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

All the things of this earth will pass away…

the conflicts and elections,

the agendas and the causes,

the debates and the campaigns.

All of these will go the way of all that is temporal.

I urge you today, do not neglect the Fear of the LORD…the pursuit of knowing HIM…the quieting of your heart…the bending of your knee.

Steady your heart on Him today <3

 

Dog gone it

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As I have been preparing for leading the lessons in the Finding Your Way Back to God series, I keep remembering our dog Mitzi.

I am pretty sure I have shared about her sometime in one of these emails…but it’s a good story and it fits and I come from a long line of people who love to repeat themselves so….

here we go…

When the kids were little, like all kids, they wanted a dog. I was on board because I love dogs. However; Russ’s family never had a dog and he had no interest in having a dog and so it seemed hopeless that we would ever convince him of the need for one of these critters in our home.

I prayed he would change his mind and sure enough the prayers and/or the nagging of children worked because we wore him down and for Christmas one year, he told them they could have a dog.

I did pray fervently that she would be the best dog possible since she would have to win Russ over and sure enough God plopped our little Mitzi into our home in mid-February…an abandoned puppy of six weeks.

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And while it wasn’t love at first sight for him, he will tell you that he still misses her furry little mug greeting him at the door at the end of the day.

She had some issues with chewing and shedding, but overall we survived her first two years with our marriage intact and our children blissfully enjoying all the benefits of a dog and even helping with some of the responsibilities.

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We loved her dearly but she had one flaw that she never seemed to overcome.

She was a runner.

A door that lingered open too long, a slightly loose collar, a weak link in the leash…and she was gone.

Fearing she would be run over, the family would grab a box of dog biscuits and someone would take the car out (for some reason she always would jump in the car…) and it was an all-out dog hunt until she was back with us.

One day I was by myself when she took off.

She had a knack for picking the worst times to make her get-away and I was on a tight schedule that day.

I stood frantically on the back deck…shaking the dog biscuits and calling her name.

In my frustration, I loudly lamented of this nature that seemed a part of her wiring.

I pointed out to anyone who was listening, since she wasn’t…

how foolish she was to run off where she could be hit by a car or eat some poison someone had left out or who knows what kind of danger she could encounter…

I ranted that she had it good here…

She was well fed and loved
She was kept safe and free of fleas and heart worms
She was a part of us and she loved us …

why oh why did she always run away from the place that was her home?

And God whispered ever so gently in my heart as I stood shaking that box of Milkbones….

How like you, Laura.

Ouch

He was right.

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Prone to wander…

Lord I feel it…

Prone to leave the God I love….

Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.*

God’s correction has not been harsh to me.

It has reminded me that He is my source of every blessing…that my ways lead to wanderings that bring me and others heartache.

His ways can be hard and hard to understand.

But I would have no other way.

God bless you today to hear His voice whisper to your heart <3

*Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing; Robert Robinson 1758