Saturday, July 14, 2018

don't lose heart when life gets hard

sometimes life gets hard. 
and sometimes the hard lasts a long time. 
and no matter how hard or how long we pray, it seems like nothing changes. 
the hard is still there. and the hard has a sneaky way of turning into hopelessness. 
we become stuck in discouragement. we become overwhelmed by despair. 
because we think there's no way out. 
no way that would make us happy. no way that would give us peace. 
but if we hang on we find that the hard is what makes us better. 
the hard is what builds us. 
the hard is what gives us hope. 
like muscles that need to be worked to become stronger, the hard is what gives us strength. 
it doesn't feel that way when we're in the middle of it, especially when the middle stretches on for what seems like forever, but God has a way of taking the hard and helping us. 
He has a way of taking the hard and healing us. 
He has a way of taking the hard we thought would literally break our hearts and changing it into the grace that gives us new ones.

"16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, January 28, 2018

God can take what looks dead and give it new life

months ago i saw that i let my store bought bag of potatoes go bad.


they were soft and sprouting everywhere. i grabbed the bag and headed for the dumpster.

in my mind they were no good.



on my way out one of the ladies that works with us saw me.

"where are you going with those?" she asked.

"i'm throwing them away," i told her, "they're rotten."

"they're not rotten," she said as she took the bag from my hands, "they're perfect."

"perfect for what?" I asked.

"for planting," she told me.

over the next couple of days we got the ground ready and we planted those old potatoes. i didn't see
much hope in them but i did it anyway. as the plants grew my doubts grew as well. they didn't look like
much. in fact they looked pretty ragged.

but we watered them. and weeded them. and watched them.

and we waited.

as i was digging through the dirt at harvest time i was amazed.

there were potatoes everywhere.

and i couldn't help but think about the miracle.

how God took those old worn out potatoes and produced new ones.

how He took what looked like garbage and made it into something with value.

how He took what i wanted to throw away and showed me it still had purpose.

and so it is with the world and how we treat the people in it.

we're quick to toss out. quick to discard. quick to throw away.

we're quick to label. quick to decide who is no good. quick to decide who is worthless.

but just like those potatoes, we are wrong.

because God is able to water and weed and watch.

He can take those who look like they have no life and breathe new life into them.

He can take those who look like there's no hope and give them new hope.

and He can take those whose lives look meaningless and give them new meaning.

God can take what is old and make it new.

it may look ragged at first. it may look doubtful. it may look hopeless.

but God is not phased by what it looks like.

man sees the outward appearance. God sees the heart.

get the ground ready. plant the seed. and wait. 


because what God did for life of the potatoes, He'll surely do for the life of you.

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?" Isaiah 43:18-19

-keep the faith...God loves YOU!!!


Monday, January 22, 2018

sometimes life feels like a flood

sometimes life feels like a flood.

with the waters rising fast and hard.

with no escape and nowhere to turn.

and we wonder if we can make it.

if we can swim long enough. if we can tread water long enough. if we can fight long enough.

we wonder if God sees us flailing our arms.

if He sees the panic in our eyes.

if He sees we’re so obviously overwhelmed.

sometimes we wonder if God knows we’re about to give up.

if He knows we’re to the point where going under seems so much easier than going on.

if He knows the fight has been too long. that it’s been too hard. that it’s been too much.

sometimes we wonder if God sees us at all.

i know, because i’ve been there.   

in my own battle.

in my own flood.

and because i’ve been there i can look at you and tell that God does see us.

that He does care.

that He hasn’t forgotten us in the middle of our storm.  

we just need to find our promise.

God’s Word says in Psalm 18:16  “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of the deep waters.”

HE DRAWS US OUT OF THE DEEP WATERS. There’s our promise!

and once we find our promise we need to hold on to it.

we need to speak it. 

we need to believe it. 

because satan may send a flood to threaten us…but God has promised He will never let us drown! 

one of satan's biggest strategies is to wear us down

one of satan's biggest strategies is to wear us down.

the definition of "wear down" is to overcome or weaken somebody or something by a gradual process.

it's the constant drip, drip, dripping that gets us. the constant somebody needs us to do something that wears us out. the constant little things that go wrong.

we're running late. the washer breaks. we overdraw our account.

it's the frustration that builds because nothing seems to be going our way. the anger that builds because we can't seem to get a break. the bitterness that builds because it seems like everyone else has it so much easier that we do.

and right there...right in the middle of another small thing...they all add up.

and satan has us right where he wants us.

because he knows he doesn't have to send anything big.

he just needs to keep sending the small things.

and ever so slowly, without us even realizing it, we come crashing down.

that's why it's crucial to keep our eyes on the promises of God.

because while satan would like us to believe that wearing us down has made us weak, God wants us to remember that His power is perfected in weakness.

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, October 8, 2017

when God asks us to wait

have you ever been in a fast food drive-thru and been asked to pull over? to wait a little longer on an order you thought you'd waited on long enough? you'd already sat there as car after car in front of you took forever to order, took forever to pay, took forever to get their food and yet YOU had to pull over?

and you immediately got frustrated. because you didn't see anyone else pulling over. you didn't see anyone else getting singled out. you didn't see anyone else being asked to wait.

and you sat there counting the minutes. you got consumed by the seconds. you started focusing on everyone else getting through the line. getting their order. getting what they wanted.

and the longer you waited, the angrier you got. you started wondering if they had forgotten you. you started wondering if they could see you. you started wondering if they even remembered you were out there at all.

we are a people who don't like to wait. we aren't happy about being patient. we don't want to be told to hold.

we want what we want when we want it.

it's the same when God asks us to pull over. when He asks us to wait a little longer.

when He asks us to hold on a little more.

we see all the ones who didn't have to wait. all the ones getting what they asked for. all the ones going by and leaving us behind.

and we start wondering if God forgot us. if He sees us. if He even remembers we're out there at all.

and we start getting frustrated. we start getting angry. we start feeling it wasn't fair we were asked to wait. that we were the ones asked to hold on. because that's not what we want.

we aren't interested in the process...we're interested in the progress.

and all we can see is the wait.

and we hate it.

we don't see the value in it.

we live in a fast food world and have turned God into a fast food God.

and He's not moving fast enough for us.

but God's not interested in fast. He's interested in faith. we may not see the value in the wait but He does. His time frame is not our time frame. He may ask us to wait years for what we think should have already been done.

and that's hard for us. and sometimes feels impossible.

but it's not about us. it's not about what we want.

it's about Him. it's about what He's trying to do.

because while we think the wait is worthless, God knows it's worthwhile. 

no one likes to wait. the Bible is full of stories of people who waited a long time for a promise to come to pass.

but it ALWAYS came to pass.

God may ask us to wait. we may be the one He asks to hold on. but His Word is always backed with His promise.

and His promise guarantees what He's doing during the wait...will always be something worth waiting for.

~~~ keep the faith ~~~

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5

Saturday, August 12, 2017

God won't let us drown

in Mark 4:35 the Bible talks of a storm that comes in the evening. it's a furious squall with the waves breaking over the boat and nearly swamping it. Jesus was on the boat sleeping. the Disciples rushed to wake Him. "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" they ask. Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the waves and then turned to His disciples. "Why are you so afraid?", He asked them. "Do you still have no faith?"

with Jesus right by their side they were still terrified.

and so it is with us.

when the storm comes in the middle of the night we get scared. we see the lightning. we hear the howling wind. we feel the crashing waves. and we focus on the storm.

though Jesus is right next to us we run to Him. we shake Him awake. we ask Him if He sees the storm. we ask Him if He even cares if we drown.

and Jesus responds, "Do you still have no faith?"

if you change the position of one letter in the word get the word sacred. one has you doubting your faith, the other has you trusting it.

God doesn't promise there won't be storms. but He reminds us not to be afraid. because our faith shouldn't be in the storms. our faith should be in the One who never lets us go through them alone.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Prayer for the lost

Dear Lord,

I come to you today with a prayer for all those who are lost.

For all those who have been beaten down by the selfishness of others.

For all those who have seen too much and can't forget the pain.

For all those who have been told they were useless...that their sins were too great...that nobody would...or could ever love them.

For all those who are sinking in the pit of discouragement.

For all those who have been blinded by hatred.

For all those who think their failures are fatal.

For all those who have looked for peace in alcohol, drugs or sex and only found more despair.

For all those who are searching for something...for make them feel like they have value, that they have worth, that they belong in this world.

I bring them all before you today Lord. I ask you to heal their broken hearts. I ask you to clear their cluttered minds. I ask you to remove all evil influences in their lives.

Lord, I pray you become so real to them that they see their wounds are a way to reach others who are lost. I pray your peace gives them a reason to keep pushing past the darkness so that more than one life might be saved from the lies satan has led them to believe.

Lord,  I pray you put just the right people in their path to help them believe they are not alone...that they do have a purpose...that they are loved.

And when today slips into tomorrow Lord, I pray this very prayer again, for all the ones who find themselves among the lost and alone.  

In Jesus Name I pray.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

i never wanted to be a mom

i never wanted to be a mom.


that seems like such a selfish statement, especially when i know women who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive, but my truth never came from selfishness, it came from fear.

when you're 6 years old and your mom dies it changes your perspective.

you see things differently.

you dream different dreams.

you want different things.

and the last thing i wanted to be was a mom.

but if i broke it down, the last thing i really wanted was to be my mom.

the mom that died and left her kids behind.

and so i never allowed myself to wish for it.

i never allowed myself to hope for it.

i never allowed myself  to want it.

when you grow up as a motherless daughter you don't grow up wanting that.

any of it.

because it's too scary.

you don't dream of a forever family when your own forever is ripped away in the middle of the night.

you can't allow yourself to tell a child "i'll always be here for you" when you know it's not true.

it's a promise you know you can't make.

no, when your mother dies and leaves you behind you stop believing in always.

you stop believing in a lot of things.

and you put up a wall with real emotions on one side and what you want people to see on the other.

because that's how you survive.

that's how i survived.

i refused to miss my mom. i refused to be sad. i refused to talk about it.

and i told myself i didn't want something that i really did want.

and one day i became my own worst fear.  

i became a mom.

and my life became a million unspoken "what ifs".

what if i die at 37 like she did?

what if i die when my children are little?

what if i die and never get to say goodbye?

it's an endless recording and it never stops playing.

what if i die? what if i die? what if i die?

when my son adam was born i caught myself holding my breath.

17 years later i find myself still holding it.

and when tommy was born years later i thought to myself "what am i doing?"

i still have moments when i think that.

what am i doing? what am i doing? what the heck am i doing?

and i feel my chest tighten. and feel myself start to panic.

and i feel myself smothering them, and holding them too close.

and i feel like i never should have done this.

any of it.

because every day, in the very back corner of my mind, a thought overtakes me. a thought that at any moment this could be all over.

this wonderful, crazy, beautiful life with my sons, with my family, could all be over.

but i stop myself. i stop myself from thinking that i never wanted to be a mom.

because even in the million moments of crazy panicked uncertainty i see the truth.

i feel the truth.

i know the truth.

and the truth is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in my life

was becoming the very person i said i never wanted to be.