Category Archives: Empty Nest

Mercy me…..<3

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On Sunday night Russ and I attended the Mercy Me concert. It was so good and I have a zillion thoughts swirling around in my head so just sharing a few. 

First, the opening musicians were a guy named Micah Taylor who I thought I had never heard of until he sang a few of his songs and I was like….yeah…I know who you are. 

He was funny and talented and humble and it could have been a show right there and we would have been content. Turns out he is from Austin which just made me love him even more. 

Next was Crowder. 

I did know who he is and I know a few of his songs but I was unprepared for how fun and delightful he would be. 

If you are like me, and I pray for your sake you are not, when I hear a singer I tend to develop a mental image of him or her in my head. Sometimes I am spot on and sometimes I am like….wwwwwhhhhhhaaaaatttttttt????

My first visual of Crowder a few years ago was like, uh no. I don’t know who this guy is, but I am looking for the musician named David Crowder. 

But yes…the guy who looks like a cousin to the Duck Dynasty folks. 

That’s really him. 

And if you are like me, and again…my prayers abound that you are not….I tend to ascribe a personality to a visual. 

And I was not really sure what personality to ascribe to the visual of David Crowder, but after literally worshiping with him, his band and half of the arena in Champaign for over an hour…he has found a place in my heart amongst the good ones. 

He is so funny, so unassuming and so crazy talented. Again…if that had been all there was to the concert, it would have been enough. 

Then Mercy Me came out and at first I was not sure. 

They had an impressive graphic deal going behind them as they went through about three of their well known songs. The lighting was extremely cool…I know that is a lame description but the only way I can express it. 

And after the lack of bells and whistles that the first two sets had involved, I was cynical. 

I don’t need slick Christianity and I don’t like feeling manipulated into worship. 

But after their first few songs, all the hype kind of melted away. 

Through conversation and acoustic sets and more of the background creativity and such, it was again more like a worship service than a concert. 

I always wonder if people who are on a stage for a living as actors, singers, dancers, and even Christian artists..people who do the same thing over and over lose their enthusiam. 

I think about when soloists or bands have a hit and so every single concert and show for the rest of their career they are expected to sing that same song in the same way the audience loves. Do they get sick and tired of doing it? Do they lose their love of the calling?

And I have two thoughts on that:

One is, we all face that challenge on our own small stages. Every single day we get up and do the thing we were called to do. 

Every single day, you have to work up the passion and compassion to do your job – to hang in there.

Even when your days are playing on a loop, you have to show up and give it your all and find the reason why you do deep down in your soul and then pour out. 

You have to consistently show up and be the person who matters to the people in your realm of influence.

So good on you there, fellow traveler. 

Second thought: Bart Willard, lead singer for Mercy Me, answered my question near the end of the concert. 

I had forgotten one of my favorite songs was written by him. 

He started talking about his days when he doesn’t “feel” like all the things he believes and declares to large audiences and across the airwaves. 

Days when he can’t see God working and he doesn’t have that joy down in his heart and it seems like God has abandoned him. 

The song he wrote in those times expresses how he can feel like a fake standing up on a stage declaring God’s goodness…

The words echo something we all, even the people whose stories are strung throughout Scripture struggled with….David, Joseph, Ruth, Esther, the three men in the furnace….so many….

I know you’re able and I know you can, save through the fire with your mighty hand….but even if you don’t….

“Even If” by Bart Millard

That’s what faith is. 

Whether you are on a tour bus going from city to city…or walking into a corporate office each morning….standing in front of a classroom of kids…or folding the first of ten loads of laundry for the day…prepping someone for surgery…or sitting by the bedside of a love one…

even if He doesn’t appear to have shown up….

our hope is in Him and we will not be disappointed. 

It really is that still small voice that works best <3

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When our three were younger and bent on driving me to the ever-loving edge of my sanity, I decided that wishing upon them a child like themselves was not hefty enough of a payback. 

They actually all seemed quite satisfied with their own cantankerous selves on some of the rougher days. 

So I found myself speaking these godly words…I hope you have children like your siblings so you can finally figure out how to get along with that personality. 

Whoops.

Because right or wrong, our most quiet child managed to birth four extremely verbal children. 

The child who used words sparingly all through her childhood drives a van with four conversations going, all attempting to be heard above all the others at times. 

Like allllll the time….

You are welcome, Zach and Rachel.

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They are a lively crew and we do all love them deeply and even in the hubbub of their crazy train, we have gleaned many a joyful laugh with memories stashed away from each of their different wirings. 

#4 started chattering her two cents worth early on and while she can certainly out-loud the best of them, she has developed a rather charming way of getting our attention of late. 

She whispers. 

As she delivers some kind of statement with her eyes locking with the recipient of her request, she grins wide and continues to barely breathe out a string of words. 

She will repeat it the same way and whoever she is speaking to will lean hard into her sweet little face to determine what it is she is saying. 

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Oh she knows what she’s doing and delights in the 100% attention a whisper commands as her brothers carry on around her. 

It made me think as I was chuckling over one of her recent conversations whispered to me over a Face Time call that God has used the power of a whisper to get my attention more than once. 

I look for Him in big and obvious sky-written messages and on rare occasions He has spoken to me in rather bold and dramatic ways. 

 But He really operates more on the whisper level in my life. 

I have to get quiet and give my undivided attention to hear Him. 

It takes a full-on stop in my agenda and a wondering if He is really speaking for me to tune my ears to His voice. 

Concentrated focus is required to catch all He is saying and as I lean in closer and closer to catch the phrases, I see Him.

Really see Him. 

To listen to a whisper means you have to draw near to the speaker. 

You feel the breath of the words and you see the heart of the message in the eyes. 

Do you think God is silent? 

Lean in. 

Focus on His words.

Wait. 

Tune your ears and your eyes to what His mouth is breathing out on you. 

So precious. 

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before GOD, but GOD wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but GOD wasn’t to be found in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but GOD wasn’t to be found in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?”

1 Kings 19: 12-13 The Message

Veteran’s Day and some good news <3

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Happy Veterans Day and a big thank you to all who have or are currently serving in the armed forces. 

My dad was career Air Force so I grew up deeply respecting the flag, this country and the ideals of freedom. We have issues here in the U.S. of A. for sure, but we do enjoy measures of care and protection that are unheard of and not even deemed as possible in other countries. 

And it takes a military sometimes to go on our behalf because humans are humans and there will always be those who want to play a game of RISK with real lives…and we don’t always get it right on the political front or military front…but we don’t always get it right here in our own homes…so thank you for those who answered the call to serve and thank you to the sacrifice of families here who love and support and care for the family they often leave behind. 

I am late this morning because I had a follow up appointment and I got good news that all is well and I am rejoicing. 

But as I drove home through blowing snow under a heavy gray November sky, I kept in my heart that not everyone gets the all clear so I am praying for those who are waiting for results, or going through treatment or helping a loved one through all of the above. 

I am thankful to God today, but even if there had been a different answer…He is faithful. 

He is and was and always will be faithful. 

God bless you. 

Carry on with your Monday and keep warm <3

Be careful little feet <3

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This is going to be quick because I need to leave and to add to my sense of urgency, my phone timer is going off giving me my fifteen minute warning. I apologize up front for typos and ask you to read for sense.

I love Instagram. I love the photos and the brief posts and the humor and the inspiration. 

I found a writer I enjoyed very much. She speaks to the 50 and over population with words of truth and encouragement and acknowledging that agism in our culture is a thing. 

Youth is king and getting old is the new evil we all want to avoid and I found her writing to be just the shot in the arm I needed. She wrote with a measure of wisdom and common sense and it resonated with me. 

Most of the time. 

Because I do live with the reality that what is unseen is more powerful than what is seen, and I do believe that the physical world is just a manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual realm.

And that realm is ruled by the Sovereignty of One God – Jehovah, I Am, Yahweh, God Almighty; through the Trinity of One God in three persons – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

This is the firm foundation of all my life and is unmovable. 

So when this writer referred to spiritual things, I applied my faith beliefs to that word and all was well until she shared some references to spiritual practices that I know do not line up with what I know of the teachings of Christ. 

And I had to confront that, while I agree with so much of what she says, she follows a god that I do not and in reality…all of the “wisdom” that I liked so much to read can be found in the teachings of the God I follow. 

She did speak some truths, but why not just read the Truth?

I was drawn to it because it was well done, pretty, appealing and easy to just read, feel affirmed in my personal beliefs, nod my head and move on.

Digging into Scripture for wise counsel can mean I have to work hard. I have to face the messiness and ugly of who we are so that I can uncover the beauty of who God is and who He made us to be and how we die to self to become what He intended us to be. I have to let His Word work on me and in me and through me.

So there you have it. 

I unfollowed her because I felt the conviction of the Spirit in me.

Be careful who you are following out there. Be wise and discerning of the path your feet are walking. 

I love each of you. 

I hope you are growing in the knowledge of the One who made YOU. 

Monday reflections <3

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This weekend our women’s ministry team hosted the first ever retreat in a local setting. 

We kept it in house, with speakers from our own church and the whole theme was about pausing from our busy-ness to connect and refresh and get closer to God and each other. 

It was lovely. 

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Let’s just say when you bring 80 plus females together on a beautiful outdoor campus in perfect fall weather…there will be a lot of personalities, sharing, talking, eating, laughing, crying and all the feels.

Our three teachings centered on removing distractions so we can fully worship God, coming to terms with repentance from ways we have walked away or refused to obey and then just being still and knowing His voice. 

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I was made aware of some heavy needs and longings that have been added to my prayer list and I feel like I know some of the women who attend our church in a deeper and better way. 

Yesterday as we sat in service and I saw several new friends and old friends and pondered what it means to be in community with the Body of Christ, there was a point where the children were brought from their classrooms and led up on the platforms of both meeting places so that our pastor could pray a blessing over them. 

We watched them in all their wiggly cuteness as they climbed up on the stage and as always, I loved watching them as their eyes scanned the many faces out in front of them.

As one by one they recognized a parent or grandparent, a huge smile and wave would indicate they had found them. 

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I was reminded of a time when Sarah was in high school and I attended a huge concert at one of the local school auditoriums. I had gotten there early and found a seat near the front. 

The rows filled up quickly all the way to the back and there was a large number of students who had attended as well as families. 

As the orchestra eventually came in, Sarah was seated in the front row and I watched her as her eyes scanned the rows above me. She was looking for someone and I wondered if she had some special friends who were attending or perhaps a fellow who had caught her eye at school and she was interested in seeing if he came. 

I could tell she was searching and then lo and behold her eyes rested in front of her own chair and she saw me and her smile brightened and chased away the furtive searching look. To this day I am humbled to tears that it was me she had been looking for. 

Notoriously late, she would have assumed I had to sit way up at the back…so she had been looking to see if I was there. 

I have always been reminded of the joy that swelled in my heart when she found who she was looking for and it was me. 

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I think how God, our Father, must sit at times waiting for our eyes to finally search Him out of the crowd of options and faces and what sweet communion it is for Him and for us when finally we focus solely on Him and we cease all striving and just take Him in. 

Be blessed today on your journey. 

You will find what you seek. 

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Seek Him with all your heart. 

He is right in front of you <3