Saturday, September 26, 2009

my boys

boys.  my 3 boys.  my sweet loving boys.

there is something to be said for being the only female in a house full of boys.  besides remaining quite mysterious in the way i function in sharp contrast to the popular rough and tough tumbling and wrestling activities, i have a special place in the home.  i am the sole recipient of the loving adoration of 3 sweet boys (and 1 amazing husband).

my 2nd born, uriah, is especially tender and thoughtful in his words towards me.  often i will hear this little one spontaneously say, "you are just beautiful mama." 

"that is beautiful makeup you are wearing."

"mama, you have the most beautiful eyes."

"that is the most beautiful shirt mama!  it looks so pretty on you."

"mama, you are the most beautifulest girl in the whole world.  i love you so, so, so, so much."

and how can the heart of any woman resist swelling with love when she is privileged to receive the unrestrained love of a child?  these big blue eyes, pouty lips, and head of loose blond curls gets me every time. 

then regardless of the big people world that rushes around me clamoring for my attention and affections, everything stands still in the moment this soft voice offers up his words of love.  all that seemed so big and overwhelming is suddenly small and of little importance.  my heart is filled with joy.


Thursday, September 24, 2009


i am not sure if this is something going on with anyone else, but i am having an issue lately with time management.  i have been through many seasons in the past where i have nothing really going on.  those are tough seasons.  right now i am going through a season where there is so much going on and i don't want to be consumed with busyness. there is so much on my heart right now to do and i feel a bit overwhelmed at how to best use my time and where to focus without becoming too extreme in one area or another.

as i wrote about a week ago in realigning, i feel like i need to take some time to decide, with much imput from the Lord, what it is i am to put my energy into right now.  i tried to sit down and make a schedule for my time, but i didn't take the first step to set a vision for this season.  i ended up overwhelmed and frustrated with my busyness.  i need to know my focus(es) for this season first so that my schedule is serving me instead of me serving my schedule.

i remember my husband bill sharing with me something that my aunt beni had told him in a conversation, "balance is being extreme in all area."  something in that little idea helps me so much.  i love that God has promised to help me in my way.  so many times in the psalms it says that that He guides our steps and helps us in our way.  so so good.  i feel like i am extreme in one area then extreme in a different one, but He realigns me into a place of balance.

give me balance.  give me focus.  help me steward my time in the best way i can in this season so i will have much much fruit in the next.  in my ordinary way of living each day of life with what You put before me, breathe Your breath on it and make it supernatural.   

my uncle bill put into words the desire i have to be used by the Lord in what He has put before me to do and to be:
the significance of having an effect on eternity only takes place when your gift is like the sail of a boat that the breath of God blows into.  it has purpose only with wind. apart from wind the sail has no purpose.  so giftings in our lives only serve a purpose when the supernatural breathes across whom we are and what we have to offer.
teach me to number my days and use my time in this season wisely.  make my ordinary life anything but ordinary.


Monday, September 21, 2009

rifqa bary

a call to prayer:

there is a 17 year old believer named rifqa bary who has converted from islam to christianity and was hiding it from her strongly muslim family.  when they found out, her father threatened to kill her by the instructions in the koran to kill anyone who leaves the islam faith.  she fled to florida from her home in ohio, and needs prayer now as it is up to a court as to whether she has to return.  she needs protection:  this would not be a case of domestic violence, but a hate crime against her simply for becoming a christian called an honor killing. let's also pray that the Lord takes what the enemy intended to evil and turns it for good.

a couple links for more on this:

an article on fox news (many other major publications have run stories as well) from monday, september 21, 2009

a video by redding bethel church bill johnson calling people to pray

a letter from lou engle about the importance of prayer for this 17 year old girl

a blog about rifqa bary




right now i have a headache.  my poor little boy asher has had a pounding headache and earache all day today which has directly contributed to my own headache.

it is interesting how parenting makes me think so much about God.  He did call Himself the Good Father.  i sat there on the couch with my sick little guy and listened to him cry and didn't really have much i could do to help him.  everything within me wanted to make it all better.  but there wasn't much i could do but pray, comfort him, get him some meds, and sit with him.

once again reminds me on Jesus's words in the sermon on the mount on parenting:
if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! matthew 7:11

i longed to help my son because of my love for him.  my Father in heaven sees my need, He sees my hurt, He knows my pain and not only does He long to help me, but He is fully able and willing to help.  He is the Good Father.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

i am a runner

i am a runner.  well, i think of myself as a runner.  i used to be a runner.  i haven't really been a runner for 5 years, but i still identify myself as a runner.  there are many things in life that got in the way of my running - having babies, messed up knees that needed physical therapy, having babies, no sleep, hurting knees, having babies...  you get the idea.  yet i still think of myself as a runner because of the passion i have had for running in the past.

when i went to physical therapy last time (see how i have to make a distinction that this wasn't the only time), they told me to find another sport.  how about swimming they suggested?  i love swimming in the lake, but doing laps?  i last maybe two lengths of the pool and then i am ready to move onto something else.  how about the elliptical machine?  being stuck in a gym with no change of scenery did not entice me much either.  i am an outdoors kind of girl, looking for the wide open spaces and thriving off the feeling on my feet pounding on the hard uneven surfaces of the earth.  you know, they told me, it is the mommy/runners that keep us in business.

so, since my body needed to recondition to my beloved past-time in order to not be injured in the process, they gave me a gradual plan to start running again.  to give you a context of what i thought was gradual, right before going in for all sorts of evaluations on my knees, i had just restarted running after having my second son uriah. my brother-in-law was running at the time, so i told him we would start with an easy two miles.  compared to my 3-4 times a week 6 miles a day in the past, this seemed like cake to me.  it was no angelfood cake to my knees.  i was in pain and limping and bewildered why this short distance could take such a toll on my body.

well, come to find out, my physical therapists recommended i start out running 3 minutes a day, 3 times a week, increasing each week by no more than 10% in distance or time each week.  you read that right.  3 lousy minutes.  runners know that isn't even long enough to get my muscles warmed up and in a rhythm.  they told me, if you are insistent on staying a runner and not finding another sport, you have to be patient with your muscles to restrengthen and retrain to prevent further injury and the dreaded runner knee surgery.

i see so much parallel in this with my prayer life with the Lord.  there are times in the past that i still identify with those mountain top experiences, and i still think of myself as that person in the Lord that i once was.  we all have them: the 40 day fast in college that was the clearest time in life of hearing God.;  the times of laying down all those other things to seek Him more and find His face; the times when the hunger for the Word of God was so great we read through every book of the Bible still wanting more.  but, it can be a little shocking to then get down to the details of what am i doing NOW?  how long has it been since i was that person and who is the person am i today?  am i willing to give up the passion and pursuit i once had, as so many will just attribute to the zeal of youth, or do i have the discipline and patience required to retrain my muscle in God and rebuild the intimacy of past days?

you see, i cannot survive off the manna from ten years ago.  God told the israelites that He would give them enough manna - fresh "what is it" bread from Heaven  - for that day.  if they stored up some in a bottle for tomorrow because they did really great collecting extra today, the maggots would come and it would be destroyed.  there was always more than enough, but the fresh encounter was always what was required.

being a full-time mommy, part-time manager of the world, keeps me rather busy. but i have found that being a radical lover of God will take the same focus and determination it is taking to become a runner again.  even if i had an empty 4 hour undistracted time slot to seek Him today, i may not have the motivation or the lack of boredom to seek Him that long and not feel sore, discouraged, and very aware of the hardness of my heart afterwards.  but i do have the ability to build up my endurance and desire (muscles) day by day, starting even with what seems as worthless as minutes a day.

or i could say, that will never get me anywhere, and i can stay spiritually out of shape, living in the fantasy that i am in the spiritual state i was 10 years ago because i have a distant memory of the mountain top experience.

this morning i ran for 12 minutes with no sore knees.  quite the accomplishment if you factor in the discouragement and temptations to quit on all of those 3 minute, 4 minute, and even 5 minute days that made me acutely aware that i am not where i once was.

i won't quit pursuing the knowledge of the One who set my heart ablaze. i am a runner.  i am a passionate lover of the One who saved my soul.  the awareness of my current brokeness and weakness only causes me to love Him more.

i must have the fresh manna for today.

taste and see that He is good.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

no longer a blank page

so, i think one of my problems with blogging is i only want to write when i think i have something i am thinking about that is worth sharing.  but, in the life of a mommy of three little boys, there are many many times that i do not feel like i have enough time to put cognitive thoughts together that i would be able to articulate at the late hour that it is finally quiet enough in my house to sit down and try to write.  many times i take the easy way out and i choose to not write because it is terrible to stare at a blank screen and have absolutely nothing to say (or write in that instance).  however, as you can tell as i write right now, i do not often have a problem with a lack of words, just many times with a lack of substance for those words.  

tonight we had seven kids instead of just our three because we babysat nieces and nephews for two of our siblings.  we had 7 kids who were five years old and younger.  though my ears still rang for about a half hour after they all left and my kids were tucked into bed, it went rather smoothly.  

at one point in the evening my son asher approached one of his girl cousins and told her, "ok, how about you be the mom and just pretend that the dad is away.  then we (referring to himself and his 3 year old younger brother) will be cougars who come and take your baby."  of course, i quickly shot down that idea, and his response was, "well mom, she just wants to play house.  what kind of boy type of playing is that?"  later in the evening drew, our 4 year old niece, came up and told bill, "they (referring to my boys) are doing a lot of battling right now."  so funny the difference between boys and girls at such an early age.  

what point do i have for my story?  usually i take the teacher/preacher approach and always have some great moral to the story, but i don't really have anything to tie it into that i can think of right now (seven kids really take it out of you!).  one thing i can state is that i love kids.  seven kids is quite a zoo, but i really do enjoy having a loud house with kids around and just all the joy and excitement they bring instead of a quiet house.  not that i do not greatly appreciate the moment when everyone else is asleep in my house besides me, like right now.

  speaking of seven kids, a friend of mine referred me to a blog by a guy out in kansas city who has seven kids (3 who are adopted!).  it is amazing:  click here to read it.  his name is randy bohlender and he has started an adoption agency called the zoe foundation, named after the first baby they adopted into their family.

he just recently blogged on the crazy adventurous adoption they went through a year ago to get their twin girls who turn a year old this week.  if you want to read a great story, go read the 3 blog entries on it.  amazing.  it stirs a long held desire in my heart to adopt someday.  i had always said that i want to adopt but i want it to be a sovereign God thing where i just know it is the timing and the specific child rather that do the traditional adoption.  even to be more specific, i have always had in my heart to adopt a baby in order to stop a possible abortion.  someone told me when i was about 12 that they had a dream that i took a baby for a young gal who was going to get an abortion and i raised the baby.  that has always stuck with me and really has become a desire in me.  there is nothing wrong with the formal way, but i never really hear stories that describe what has been on my heart for about 18 years, and here was the story that awakened the possibility in my heart again.  go read it.

good night.  i got a long entry out of not having much to say.  some people call it long-winded.  i prefer saying i am good with expounding on simple thoughts in many words. 


Monday, September 14, 2009

color crayons and the Father

i don't have a lot of time to sit and write tonight, but i did want to share one of my favorite verses in the psalms. 
king david wrote in psalms 16:
the Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
there is so much that excites me about this passage, and let me just say that you should definitely go and search this one for yourself.  there is so so much more to knowing God than just eternal life and saving from hell.  there is the promise that the Lord Himself will be our reward that we are desiring.  He is our portion and the inheritance that we are after.

i spent time with my five year old today while my younger two were napping, (just for a humorous mental picture, my 19 month old is climbing all over me right now as i type this), which is something that at times is really rare to do just one on one.  i asked him what he would want to do and he suggested coloring.   as i got the coloring books down for him to color and he asked, mommy, are you going to sit down and color with me?

funny because i had planned on 'getting stuff done' while he colored, but because he asked, i sat down and just spent time with my oldest son who wanted to be with me.  as we colored picture of veggie tales characters, he talked and talked and talked to me about all sorts of things.  i enjoyed his stories, laughter, and candid conversation.   it wasn't really the activity of coloring he was after; he was enjoying spending time with his mommy.

i am sure you get the point.  however, sometimes i am a bit slow to get the obvious.  i need these little reminders to slow down and just be.  i need to just be with my kids and enjoy them without an agenda.  i need to just be with my God and enjoy Him likewise.  it isn't about the activity.  it is about  enjoying spending time with my Father.  He is my portion.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

don't give up

i have only 3 words for today: don't give up.

sometimes that is all i need to hear:  i need someone to look me straight in the eyes when i feel the world spinning around me and i start to doubt myself, God, and everyone else, and hear him/her say, don't give up.

remember the story (don't know if it is true or not, but still a great story either way) of king solomon asking a master jeweler to make him a ring and to inscribe it with a proverb.  when the jeweler finally got the ring back to the king after taking great pains to make it just right, he inscribed on it, this too shall pass.  in the amazing seasons of life when we feel like we are on the top of the world, we need the knowledge that this will not last forever to keep us sober minded and trusting God.  in the dark seasons where it feels like we cannot last another day without looking for a way out, we need to know that this also will not last forever so we will not lose hope, quit right before the breakthrough, but keep trusting God. 

the apostle paul knew this tendency in all of us and wrote to two separate churches a similar message:

let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  galatians 6:9

but as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.  2 thesalonians 3:13

 how do we keep going on this journey?  this weekend i heard julie meyer put it in these words as she described the journey of climbing the mountain of holiness that sometimes seems just an impossible feat.  she said, day by day, step by step, choice by choice, yes by yes.   sometimes it is simply the smallest yes in our hearts that counts in this journey we have embarked on to know the Lord and live this life we have before us.  so i urge you, my friend, whatever it is you are facing in your particular journey in climbing this mountain...

don't give up.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

i know no one like Him

to read more on this amazing man's humility or His invitation into fullness of joy, click and read!
"you have heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' "but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous."for if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? do not even the tax collectors do the same? "if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing {than others?} do not even the Gentiles do the same? "therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. matthew 5:43-38
such a powerful statement.  forgiveness.  love my enemies.  pray for those who treat me horribly.  i am told to lay down my right for revenge, or at the very least my right to resentment, and to not only chose to not hate the ones who treat me badly but to love them.
earlier in the same sermon Jesus said:
"you have heard that it was said, 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' "but I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  "if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. "whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. "give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."  matthew 5:38-42
do not resist an evil person.  Jesus tells me to not only allow them to abuse me, but to forgive fully to the point of love and praying for them.  i do not have to tell you the anger that arises inside and causes the cheeks to burn and eyes to well up when asked to forgive and pray for those who have set themselves against me when everything within wants to do the opposite.  no one could ask this of me, but the One who did it Himself.

i am once again taken back by the realization that God Himself in the person of Jesus took upon the scorn of all humanity, the very ones He created for His delight, and then while He was hanging on the cross because of the sin and hatred in man, He not only turned the other cheek, but He prayed, Father, forgive them.  they don't know what they do. 

He did not resist me when i fought against Him.  when i struck Him, He turned to me His other cheek and did not strike me back.  when i demanded of Him, He gave me much more than i had even required.  and when i made myself His enemy, He loved me and prayed that my eyes would be opened to the truth of His love.

and i cannot resist this kind of love.  i know no one like Him.

Friday, September 11, 2009

a heart that is alive

there are quite a few topics for blogging on my mind at the moment, so hopefully that means there will be quite a few entries on here in the next few days. today's topic: contemplative prayer.

probably so many different ideas come to mind when you read that phrase, or maybe nothing comes to mind at all. we in the protestant church have largely missed out on this amazing way to encounter God when we rejected all things catholic (or orthodox) and leaned too far in the separation from those before us in the body, largely championed by luther. all contemplative prayer really is, is using the word of God to encounter God and have a revelation of Jesus in our hearts. this was what the desert fathers spent their lives on and what has been termed by some as christian mediation - instead of an emptying of the mind it is a filling of the mind on a single focus, a single passage of the Bible, or a single revelation of Jesus in the word.

we are in the midst of building a house of prayer under the covering of bethel church currently called the watch of the Lord (website to come soon!). this house of prayer looks much like the international house of prayer in kansas city and blends corporate intercession, devotional prayer and worship, and contemplative prayer to bless and build up the body of Christ in our region. i had the opportunity to teach a mini lesson on contemplative prayer this week to the fifth grade class at bethel christian school in order to start training them up to take part actively in our growing house of prayer. i am going to share here what i shared with them.

i am going to lay out here for you the four very basic steps of contemplative prayer. i am sure many of you are much more versed in this than i am and could teach this in much more depth and revelation. i also know there are those reading who may not have the guts to ask, how do i do that? so, hence, the simple four steps here as either an intro or a refresher in contemplative prayer.

1. read the passage.
this i like to do aloud. i will usually take a passage that is intended to bring revelation of Jesus, such as colossians 1 that focuses on His divinity or philippians 2 that exalts His humility. the psalms are also a great place to start as well, as many of them are written by king david as he reflected on God's activity in His life. many psalms also give us so much prophesy about the Messiah who is Jesus of nazareth. i will first read the passage in its entirety to give me context for what i will be praying. even alone in my room i will read it aloud. there is something that engages my heart on a deeper level when my ears can hear my mouth declaring the truths in the Scriptures.

2. ask the Lord, what does this mean?
this i usually do quietly, though there has been times when i will speak the question aloud to the Lord, what is this trying to tell me about You? then be quiet and listen. at this point i may isolate a phrase at a time and i allow for the Holy Spirit to not only give me a revelation of Jesus (ephesians 1:17), but also a very personal revelation of Jesus and His interactions with me. the Bible says that when we gaze on His beauty we are changed into His likeness (2 corinthians 3:18). this is my opportunity to quiet my heart from the busyness of life all around me and gaze upon Him. one thing that i am reminded of often is when Jesus rebuked the pharisees saying they searched the scriptures for eternal life, but they didn't realize that all the Scriptures spoke of Him. (john 5:39) what an amazing statement! i want to have a deeper revelation of Jesus in any passage i read from the old testament or the new because that is what Jesus promised us - they exist to bring revelation of Him!

3. pray or sing the passage.
this next step i do aloud every time. whether it is a whispered prayer or a song sung at the top of our lungs, it is so important to put this on our lips. i will take the literal words in the Bible,then also expand on it in my own words, and sing God's word back to Him. when i taught the 5th grade students, who did amazing by the way, i used psalms 23. i isolated the first 2 verses first and sang (this can be done with or without an instrument), Lord, You are my shepherd. i shall not be in want. You are the One who leads me and guides me. You protect me. You guide me and i do not need to fear that i will not know the way. You are my shepherd and You take care of me. i may spend a long time on the isolated verse and let the Lord work it into my heart until i begin to really believe it. i may spend my whole prayer time in just the first couple verses or i may get through the whole passage praying and singing it. this just varies based on the revelation i am getting in the moment or the time i have to spend in it.

i want to encourage everyone to venture in singing the passage back to the Lord. i know that everyone wasn't blessed with the rockstar voices that others were, but when you are alone in the car or shower i know you sing without restraint. don't deny it. so, slip away into a place where you can be alone for a bit and try it. there is something so powerful about singing and putting words to a melody. when i was young and in grade school i struggled in spelling. my dad and mom would make up a melody to practice my spelling words and it cemented the correct spellings in my mind where mere repetition didn't seem to stick. think of how many lyrics to songs you have memorized, even commercials on tv, and yet how many Scriptures do you have by memory? probably the ones you can recall the fastest are the ones you have heard put to music and made into lyrics of songs. my point exactly. sing the Scripture and it will stick. pray it too, but try the singing. i trust you will like it.

4. ask the Holy Spirit to make this alive to your heart.
when i am wrapping up my time in contemplative prayer i say a short whispered prayer, Holy Spirit make this alive in my heart. i want to know Jesus. it doesn't have to be fancy, just let Him know you want to grow in revelation and want your heart to come alive when you open the Word of God.

it may feel a little clumsy at first when you try it out, but i strongly urge you - try it out! when we have new people join the watch of the Lord usually after singing on their first set they all say, my heart felt alive! it can do the same for you. the Bible should never be boring. if it is, there is something in us that needs to change and this is such a great tool to have our hearts change from the inside out. try it today.


Sunday, September 6, 2009


i haven't blogged in a long time it seems. asher, my oldest, started kindergarten two weeks ago, and the learning of this new routine has totally thrown me off. i haven't quit though - i promise i have been pondering some good stuff to write on. in fact, two weeks ago i finally felt some direction in what i am going to write my future book on! this was very encouraging to me because i have felt like i was supposed to write a book and i have so many topics that interest me but i haven't had any clear direction of what i was to focus on. i have a focus!! yay! i am sure that i will use this blog to start organizing some of my thoughts... so you all get to benefit from me deciding to take on this endeavor of writing. here is food for thought: i know we have all have experienced at some point the place of being busy beyond what we probably should be and in a place where there are opportunities for activities, relationships, and ministry that seem to open up all in the same season. it is a very exciting season to be in, especially coming out of a season which seemed rather lonely and uneventful at times. as exciting as opportunity and activity is, at the same time it can be very overwhelming. in the desert lonely season we need to encourage ourselves in the word the Lord has given us as to the direction we are to go and the focus we are to maintain. in the exciting busy season season we need to do the same thing or we may lose focus of the very thing we have been told to focus on.

for me, i have to step away from the busy-ness and ask the Lord again, "what was it that you originally spoke to my heart at the beginning of this season? has it changed? have i got off track?" in the midst of the latest big transition in our lives as our little family, i had sat down at the piano to sing, pray, and ask the Lord what it was that He would have me do right now. i strongly felt Him whisper to my heart, "write." as i fill my calendar and schedule with so many good good things, i have to ask myself if i am making time to do what He spoke to my heart. and just like everyone else, i have to take time to realign and get back on track on the focus He has for this part of my journey.

all that to say, hopefully you will be reading more from me now that we have a new routine in place this fall. sometimes i sit down and honestly don't know what to write about. but i chose to obey and just write. i will do my part with the quantity and trust Him to refine the quality as He is working on my heart to become more fully His. thanks for taking this journey with me. though i would still write anyways, it is nice to know i do not write to an empty room.

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