Wednesday, July 27, 2011


His name is Martins. That's all I really know. He is an orphan in Latvia, and my husband wants to adopt him.
So why do I feel so burdened?
I'm not the one who's waiting for the "hero" to come.
I'm not the one who's lonelier with each new day.
I'm not the one abandoned and forgotten.
No, but he is.

He is... just like so many others, awaiting their hero.
So many others are unwanted, simply because.
Luck was not on their side... I guess. (if you believe in luck, that is)
The world is such a crooked place. So many get lost in the process.

As my daughter waited for the friendly cashier man to scan the ball she was purchasing, he struggled to scan the price tag, saying, "It's crooked, just like me". To that I responded, "we all are".

I know this is a stretch, but I picture the globe we live in in the same way.... just like that pretty ball my daughter was set on getting. Our beautiful earthly sphere wears this price tag that reads "crooked", and only God is passionate enough to remove that tag and save us from our crooked ways.
And although the sphere seems nice and smooth and beautiful on the exterior, there is so much corruption residing within.
Children are abandoned and left waiting for some one's return until it's too late.
And the pain blankets them at night. The shame shadows them at day.
When the sun sets, so does their hope....

Who will come for them? Who is passionate enough, as our Lord has been for us?
Who will go to them? Who will die for them?

My husband wants to. He is Martin's hero.

1John 3:16-18
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The phone's my mother's voice on the line.
Chats, laughter... and silence.
My daughter laughs at her own punch line.
The dog pees on the floor again.... (ugh)
My son pours out his fears to me.
I can hear the other one playing on the drum set.

No one's on the street today.
It's 100 degrees today.
My husband shares a story that really makes me laugh.
An old friend lets me know she's thinking of me.
My sister pays me a visit.
A cool glass of iced-tea will freshen us up.

Memories of those gone before me bring a smile to my face.
I'm planning for what's to come.
The flowers need water. The grass has dried up.
The bird is in the birdbath.

The kids and I work on a puzzle.
Taking pictures of each step.
We watch TV.
We bake and make sure to lick the bowl.

Still I await the doctor's call with my test results.

Jump in the pool.
Try the hula hoop.
I watch my daughter do summersaults.

I'm alive.

Ecclesiastes 3
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Five Letter Words

“Long words bother me.” - Pooh

I don't like long words either. I like short words. So I decided to list my favorite short words. And it just so happens that they are all four to six letter words.
1. Grace
2. Mercy
3. Jesus
4. Love
5. Peace
6. Andy
7. Caleb
8. Ciara
9. Kris
10. Praise

I don't like words like catastrophe and temptations and tribulations and suffering and betrayal and deception and abductions and .... (although I know from experience, there can be real and good purpose in those)

Oh, but what about words like: celebrations and salvation and sanctification and willingness and submission and loyalty and faithfulness and possibilities and miracles and victorious and wholeness and happiness and surrender and deliverance and serenity...

And then there are those little words that we can't live without: pure, joy, holy, God...

Words... Oh what's in a word, anyway?
Words are just words...
Not so.

In fact, words will help determine how you will live your life, what will most matter to you, and what will not.
Like today, I was DETERMINED. Determined to make the most of opportunities and bring glory to God. Tonight I'm HUMBLED. Humbled by the way God works in and through us according to His will. I am also HOPEFUL. Hopeful for a bright tomorrow because of God's promises.

Now let me go back to my favorite words. His MERCY found me in my lowest state, and because of His mercy, I rose above. His GRACE gave me what I could never earn on my own- eternity in heaven. I seek to live in His PEACE everyday. I am humbled by His LOVE. And I PRAISE Him for my family who leads me closer to Him.

There you have it, my favorite words.
Oh... did I fail to mention? JESUS...

Jesus is my very favorite word. Jesus is the most beautiful and most powerful word. Jesus is the reason I have grace and mercy and peace and love and a family who loves me. Jesus is the reason I'm alive today. Jesus is the reason for my tomorrow. Jesus is everything to me.
Jesus- my most favorite word.

What's yours?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not on Bread Alone

So I have to admit that it just isn't the same at home with having both my husband and older son gone for two weeks. The house feels empty, although there are still three of us here. It's awkward, and I just really miss my husband.
It's interesting how we grow so accustomed to having certain people in our lives, that when they aren't around we somehow do not feel complete.

And as I reflect on it, I realize that some of it has to do with simply being dependent on someone. Looking forward to talking before going to bed. Wanting to hear the stories of the day. Wanting a reason to laugh out loud. Feeling safe because I'm not alone. Sharing my concerns and fears. Arguing my most valid points. Witnessing the accomplishments as well as the downfalls. Sharing someone else's life. It's like this feeling and verification that I'm alive. I have a purpose, and I feel whole.

And now for two weeks I'm stripped of it, and a part of me is lost. Yet, a bigger and deeper part of me knows that I must find that solitude and purpose in God alone. Moreover, God wants me to be at peace and content with or without those whom I most treasure. It's okay to depend on my husband for certain things and to cherish him, but I need to realize that ultimately, it all comes from God. The fact that my husband's friendship motivates me and his company assures me has to do with how God provides for me. You see God will use people to meet our needs. Therefore, regardless of how much I appreciate my husband for all that he brings to my life, I must acknowledge that God is the one ultimately fulfilling my every need and that He is faithful, always.

So he reminded me of it this morning, as I read to my younger ones at the breakfast table.
We took turns reading Deuteronomy 8, and once again feeling humbled by God's word, I realized that God wants us to depend on Him and that He is forever faithful.

And also as I read, I thought about how Moses seemed so confident in what he was sharing with God's people at the time. He seemed very sure of what he was saying. And why wouldn't he be? God had proven himself faithful time and time again, and Moses had witnessed it all. So at the time, it was a very different Moses compared to when God first called him to go and free His people. At first, he felt very inadepquate for the job, and he was. And so his trust and confidence was placed moreover on himself rather than on God. But when we read in Deuteronomy 8, we find a different Moses. This was one whose faith had been tested and who had learned from experience that God would provide faithfully.

That is how I want to respond tonight. Although I feel alone, I know that God is with me. Although I miss my husband, I know that God has never forsaken me. Although I need the company, I can find my needs are always met through His word.

Thank you Lord!

Deuteronomy 8---2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Without God

I gave someone a ride the other day. She boldly walked up to my car, while I stood at the red light, and asked if I could take her home. It was scorching hot that day, and after driving her home, I honestly couldn't blame her for wanting a ride. I told her I would have asked for a ride too, if I had to walk as far out as she had to.
Although a short ride, my minded was flooded with an array of thoughts. I quickly got the sense I that she was not a Christian, and that she just desperately wanted to get home. She wasn't much for small talk, although I tried. She seemed too preoccupied within herself to notice that God was there in that car providing for her needs. And He had used me as an instrument of His love for her. Yet, she seemed oblivious. And although my mind raced in wonder about what I could possibly say that would make those short moments matter, it was short lived. And as she turned her back and made her way out of the car, I felt really sad...

I was saddened by the thought and knowledge that just like that young woman, there are so many people who don't know the Lord. There are so many people who make a daily choice to not know Him. And there are so many people who don't even know why they should want to know Him. Would they recognize Him, if He was standing face to face with them? (I hope that by now, you know that when I say "know the Lord" I mean much more than to know that there is a God.) I'm referring to having a relationship with God, the creator of heaven and earth.

And yet with their backs turned against the creator, (I still picture the woman's back as she got off my car) they go about their everyday life---mind you, the life He has provided. And for whatever reason they are clueless...

That makes me sad. I wondered about that woman, as I drove off, feeling fortunate that I have an air-conditioned car to drive home. Nevertheless, I wondered if she was feeling hopeless. And if so, how would she make it through the day... without hope and without God.

Furthermore, I thought about all of the people who face life's challenges all on their own because they fail to acknowledge that there is a God who's got this world in His hands. Once again, how sad!

To think that tonight there is a little boy somewhere, who's dad has beat him very badly, and he's got nowhere to turn to.... without God.
And somewhere there's a woman suffering because her son has been murdered, and she doesn't see how she will survive without him... without God.
And somewhere in this big world there is a man who's been betrayed by his own wife, and he's not sure how to cope... without God.
And without God, there are so many people living life. Some enjoy the temporary thrills that come with this gift of life. Still they are left wanting more each time. Others simply don't know how to enjoy life.
And regardless, in this world there are so many people who don't know who God is. They are here... without God.

How sad!

Psalm 14:1, The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To Know you is To Love You

The other day I prayed a prayer... I was on my knees, something I haven't done in a great while. And something in my heart lead me to be humbled before God.
As I pondered on His great love for me and then to wonder about my love for Him,
I was convicted that I don't love God as I should.
Do you?
Does anyone?

I guess when I question how much I love Him, I can't help but think about all that He has done for me... and that's where the challenge for me begins...

"Dear God, do I love you simply because of all you've given me?
Is it the grace, you've shown?
Your mercy, true?
Do I love you simply because of all these beautiful gifts that surround me?
My children, family, and friends?
My welfare, my health?
I'm sorry Lord, I can't help but think of these when I think of how much I love you."

In my selfish state I wonder, shouldn't I love Him just because? Indeed, that is how He loves me!
And furthermore, I realize that I should love Him because of who He is. His character is worth not only my affections, but my honor and glory. You see the more I get to know who God is, and how He is... well, the more I grow fond of Him.

Getting to know who God is...
Those are the key words. You see, how much can you love a God that you don't really know much about? And if you're not getting to know Him, how can you really appreciate Him? And how can you show Him your love, if you don't spend time with Him?

I don't know about you, but I've had my share of loss in friendships. It makes me feel very sad to think about the friendships I've lost and how at one point I thought they were so special... and yet the reality is that unless you nurture a friendship, it will eventually become stagnate.

It's similar in our relationships with God. I don't ever mean to say that we can lose our relationship with God, once it has been established. But what I'm trying to say is that in order for my relationship with God to grow... in order for me to learn more of who He is... in order for me to truly love and honor Him just because, I have got to get to know Him more...

I grew up in "church". I've been a professed Christian for a really long time, and so it's easy for us "old timers" to get comfortable and think that we know all we need to know about God. But have you ever had that moment when you open the Bible to a verse that you have known for a really long time, and as you read it one more time, you gain a deeper understanding or application?

When I ponder upon His character... to know that He is Holy above all else... it's like there's this transparent wall that sets me in the place of humility and complete reverence for my God--- it reminds me that I cannot compare, nothing can compare to God.
And when I think about His protection, His mercies, His loving kindness, His guidance, His plans for me... that is when I feel Him coming closer to me, as if lifting that transparent barrier and personally touching me... and my life in so many ways. Indeed I am loved!

And I am grateful. But do I love thee, Lord?
I want to, Lord!

1 John 4:9
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children ofGod! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 Corinthians 8:3
But whoever loves God is known by God.

Romans 8:39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 36:7
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Got Talent?

Romans 11:29,
"for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable."

What are you good at?
Is there something you've always felt confident doing?

Joseph was a brilliant administrator--
David was a brave leader.
Deborah was good at discerning right from wrong.
Esther was beautiful, wise and discreet.
and even Delilah was good at using her skills.

"I'm a good writer!" my daughter cried out today. And she very well is. Now she has heard me say time and time again that she is.
You see I have vivid recollections of her as a toddler walking around our home with a pencil and paper in hand. She would make her lists of scribbles with much pride, and this could be her entertainment for hours. And still today, writing is her favorite thing to do.

Caleb is my thoughtful planner. He is my dutiful militant, as well. He's got great management skills that come off as a bit disrespectful at times because it seems like he's trying to "boss me around". In time, however, I suspect those skills will be most beneficial to him and others. Kristian is the entertainer and "people person". His heart is wide open for serving others and just enjoying the fellowship, and yet he's consistent and committed to God, first and foremost. I think he makes for a wonderful pastor.

I'm currently reading "The Cure for the Common Life" by Max Lucado. Essentially, it is a book that reminds us about our God-given skills, talents, and abilities and that when we use them for God, we then live a full life. As a result, I have been reminded lately of my God-given skills and how I should be using them. And I want to encourage you in the same way.

I was about 12 years old when I began to write poetry. I could not get enough of it, especially since I realized that I wasn't half-bad at it. I remember writing a short story that my mother had me show the pharmacist she worked with, and it was with great pride she received his compliments for my work. In high school, I remember writing the "love notes" for a few of my friends, who were stuck on what to write to their love interests. And so you see, I developed this skill a long time ago, and I still enjoy it so. There are some other things I feel really confident about. Like I can be very creative. I love to plan special events. I'm a visionary. I love to create things that will fulfill the needs of others.

And so, I'm currently challenging myself to get back to these skills and use them for God's glory. So what about you? Where do you fall in this spectrum? Have you thought about your strengths and skills lately? Or has life got you in its whirlwind of distractions? It's so easy to get distracted by the everyday demands that we forget what we are good at. And then again, some people are not sure what it is they're good at.

I was reading a children's book with Ciara today, and the main character had this dilemma. She could not pinpoint what it was that she was good at. In the meantime, she was using her skills in so many different ways. She just failed to see that, indeed, she was very talented. So if this is the case for you today, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on the things that you know you are good at. Then think about how much time you are spending doing those things or using those skills. You might feel like you don't have the time. Regardless, give yourself a moment to reflect and think of at least one way that you can bring glory to God using your talent.

If you're not sure what talents you possess, think about something that you do that brings you joy or affirms your confidence.
The desire to lead... God gave you those leadership skills.
The tendency to show care for the less fortunate... God has blessed you with heart of mercy.
The ability to speak before a crowd... God gave you those speaking skills.
The motivation to create things... God made you this way.
And since He gave you these skills, it only makes sense that you would use them for Him in return.
Lastly, you don't have to feel badly about "showing off" your skills for God. That is why He gave them to you, in the first place.