Friday, January 31, 2014

January Recap

We rang in the new year, hands holding hands with our church family. About 60 of us gathered for games and finger foods and prayer on New Years Eve and enjoyed fun and laughter and good fellowship with each other.

January was a cleaning out reported earlier, and I plan to do another good sweep in February too. I also ordered my first big order from Amazon Prime. Toilet paper, soaps, laundry detergent, dish soap, trash bags...and other cleaning products. I did some comparisons and the prices we spot on those at Walmart...and are delivered to my door in 48 hours. Yes, please and thank you. Ladies Bible study started back up. We are studying Charles Stanley's 30 Life Principles and even though I doubted myself on this study I am so thankful that we chose it. Every week someone tells me how much it has ministered to them...truly it's a fantastic study. The kids got back to school...only to be interrupted by a ski trip Savannah took with friends. She had a blast and is counting down the days to go back again.

I'll leave you with a few of her pictures...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

When You Feel Inadequate

For months I've felt inadequate...and in some ways even longer than that...maybe my whole life. But more recently as an adult I've felt so ill equipped to handle some of the things that the Lord has allowed to transpire in my life. And maybe in the middle of feeling these feelings I have discovered something that is changing me.

It all came to a head for me over the holidays. Between Thanksgiving and the first of the year, Bruce was involved in helping or conducting 11 funerals. 11. When the deaths started occurring we were able to stand with the families rejoicing that their loved one knew the Lord, that they were out of pain, that they were with the Lord....because after all...that's our hope...He is our hope. But after two weeks of death, and funeral preparations and sorrow and tears and watching our church family and friends mourn loss, I was feeling smaller and smaller and less capable of comforting and helping.

And maybe sometime you've felt that way too. Maybe there's been a time when you were left speechless, with no idea what to say or do or even feel. Maybe another's grief captivated you too. Maybe you felt useless, inadequate or under qualified.

I'm learning this is a good place to be. When I'm faced with these feelings of helplessness I can only do one thing and that is to somehow point people straight to Jesus. When I don't have the right words or know what to do....He does. It's not about what I can do or what I can say to someone that will make a difference, it's about the comfort that can only come from Jesus. It's about leaning into Him for guidance and dependence and recognizing that even if you did have something clever to say or do, His way is better. His spirit prompting you to cook a meal or make a phone call or send a card is so much better than you uttering senseless feel good phrases that mean nothing.

His words are the most comforting. His touch the most healing. And in times of grief, sadness, searching, spiraling, wandering, hoping or celebrating...He has all the answers...all the words that will really make a difference. I'd do good to understand His ways better. To understand that in my inadequacies He finds great joy, because it's there that I can know Him better and make Him know. Less of me. More of Him.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I've spent the bulk of January cleaning out stuff.....closets, cabinets, dressers, under beds, under couch cushions, hutches and baskets and everywhere else. It's been a complete overhaul. I have done a smaller version of this every January since I've been married but this year it was extreme. And truth is...I still have more left to do, but I don't want to get obsessive about it so I've given myself this week off from the whole mess.

And it is a mess. The sorting, the deciding if I keep or if I discard, the throwing away massive amounts of things, the bagging up the rest, the dirt and dust left behind. It's a gross task that I don't get very excited about doing....Until I start seeing the results.

A clean and organized pantry.
Dust free baseboards
Socks all matched up
The ability to find the remote control

and my list could go on and on.

It's the purging of all the unnecessary that allows us to live more. As we have cleared out old toys and puzzles and games, it's reminded us of the things we do have. It's been in the purging that we have become more grateful, more aware of the material blessings that God has given us. It's been in the purging that we've seen our excess...our greed...our consumption of stuff. And that's a hard pill to swallow. It's this purging that has revealed not just the junk in my house, but the junk in my soul. The excess things, the dirt and the grime that can build up from neglect and hoarding. It's been a spiritual wake up call...that hits the heart and the pocketbook.

Purging is constant. In our home as things come in..things need to go out. Spiritually as I consume God's word, I should find a way to pass that along to someone else who might need it too. It's when our souls become greedy that we begin to hoard the goodness of the it might run out. We become selfish and keep our stuff for ourselves..all the while we are actually creating a big mess of clutter and uncleanliness.

My goal is stay on top of the clutter...both physically and spiritually speaking.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

On the 2nd Day of New Years….

I've thought a lot about what I need to be resolving to do this year. Seems all over the blogs I read, the Facebook friends I follow, the tweets I read …even instagram is full of inspiring quotes and pledges to do everything from the mundane to the extraordinary. And yet, here I sit, not really sure what to say I'm pledging my motivation to. Maybe because it's when you resolve and you do your part, you expect good results…like dieting = lose weight or keeping organized = saved time or clipping coupons = saving money. But what happens when you do your part…you resolve…and follow through and things don't turn our like you think they should.

See…that's one of the lessons I've been learning the past year. Sometimes, you don't get to have control. Sometimes you can do the right things, you can follow God's plan as good as anyone and still things don't turn out like you think they should. Sometimes your resolve is not enough. Sometimes the chips fall where they may and you're left holding the dip (or whatever…cause I've never really understood that cliche').

By no means am I claiming perfection (just in case you've never seen me really mess up things and think that's what I was saying). But what I am saying is that sometimes as hard as I may try to obey God, follow His word, believe He has a greater plan…sometimes things look worse than when I didn't care.

Just ask Noah…I mean, how do you think he and the Mrs. must have felt as they climbed aboard the ark with their 3 sons and their wives…made one last plea for people to get on board and then heard God shut the door. Surely they knew then they had followed God's plan, but what about their hearts and humanity as they listened as those around them succumbed to the waves and water. Surely there wasn't great rejoicing because they had followed God's plan…surely they wondered if this wasn't a worse plan…a plan that couldn't possibly be right. A plan where people died and met eternity in an unbelieving state of heart.

Think of our own Jesus…a sweet baby…a manger…and yet 33 years later brutally beaten….hanging nearly naked, dead upon a cross…how could this possible be the resolved plan of God..the better way? Certainly the surge of pain through an earthly mother's heart begged to ask God….WHY? HOW COULD THIS BE THE BETTER WAY?

Sometimes the better way is messy. Sometimes our good resolutions don't always end up looking so good. Worth it??…oh yes….Just ask Noah or Jesus...but how it leaves us feeling, how it leaves us looking, how it leaves us wondering….is messy. And instead of feeling like you accomplished something wonderfully beautiful….you're left wishing you didn't have to feel anything at all.

But here's the catcher or the clincher or whatever…I'm not responsible for the end result…..that's up to the Lord. I'm responsible for the obedience to His voice, His word, His call. Sure it may look like a poor reflection of me and people may not understand or care and they may mock as Job's friends asked "Where's your God now?" But it doesn't matter…because He trumps every thing that man thinks. His plans are higher and deeper and wider and steeper. WE CANNOT FATHOM THEM! All we know is that after the trying and refining and purifying He promises we will come out of it as gold. Valuable, treasured, worth more than we could ever imagine, priceless….and truly there is nothing more than I want to resolved to be.