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Monday is Coming

G.K. Chesterton penned down the words, “…God is strong enough to exult in monotony.”

I often find myself thinking about those words… Especially on Sunday nights. Why? Because Monday is coming. Monotony is coming. Waking up every morning for the next five days to (inner-cringe at these words) lists of tasks needing to be done (even bigger inner-cringe at this thought) in an allotted amount of time…

Oh… You can ask my hubby… The whole idea of a “schedule” is like a needle to my free floating happy balloon.

And then I think of that quote… About God “exulting” in monotony… That is inspiring. Truly, the entire universe is all operating in incredible monotony, sunrise after sunrise appearing in glorious light. And it makes me consider that yes- it is possible to exult in monotony. To shine every single day and to shine (yet another cringe for this late night mama)- in the morning.

(I know some of you morning people have no idea what that was cringe was for.)

It is possible to shine every day and to exult in the monotony.

But for me, that it is going to take the Spirit of God, no doubt. Perhaps for you too.

I pray that you and I get excited about this next week. That, like a child being thrown up into the air by his father’s arms, we begin to feel the arms of God helping lift us up out of our beds every morning- tossing us up and out into the tasks ahead of us- even those things that seem so out of our own reach and ability.

“Again! Again!” May we be able to have that kind of child-like joy for tomorrow as we lay our heads to sleep tonight.

Yes, Monday is coming. Monotony is coming. And the spirit of God in-dwelling in you makes YOU strong enough to exult in the monotony ahead. Shine bright friends.

 

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“Here Mom” – Handing the temptation over

2015/03/img_4677.jpgTonight while all the other children were in their beds our seven year-old son came down to the kitchen. I was busy loading up freezer bags with chicken and various marinades. He stood next to me and helped me by handing me spices and sauces. We talked for sometime. Soon enough all the bags were ready to place in the freezer. I began placing them all in one by one. And then something unexpected happened. Our son came to my side as I knelt there placing another bag. He then said, “Here mom,” and he handed me these three little pieces of chocolate that must have been left from their Valentine’s Day candy. They were freezing cold so I knew he had to have seen them and then grabbed them out of the freezer while I was not aware. I looked at him and told him, “I can’t eat them.” (I have a soy sensitivity and most chocolate has soy letchin.)

What he said next surprised me, “No, I was going to sin, but I am handing them back to you.” I was speechless at first, just staring at the three little chocolates. He could have easily gotten away with it. I had no idea he had taken the chocolates. I then smiled and said, “I am proud of you. A weaker man would have given in.” To that he smiled back and said, “It is really hard not to sin when it is chocolate.” (Don’t I know it brother.)

I share all this tonight because his actions reminded me of something I had on my heart earlier to share. God’s power in a person’s life is not only seen in the way he can turn a sinful life around. His power is also seen in the way he can empower a person to live a life that turns from sin.

If you are struggling with an addiction tonight- I want you to know I am praying for you and thanking God for you. May you be filled with the power of God. May you be able to turn from that temptation and place the addiction in the Father’s hands. May the grace of God empower you to do just that. Lay it down. Walk away stronger. Be in bondage to nothing. That is truly a sweet, sweet thing.

If you are NOT struggling with an addiction tonight- know I am also praying for you and thanking God for you. May you continue to have the strength to resist temptation. May the grace of God empower you to do just that. In a world full of temptations, may you continue to hold tight to your convictions. Know I am proud of you and in awe at you… Because it is not easy. But by the grace of God it is possible.

Thank you Heavenly Father for your empowering grace.

 

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I don’t want to forget

Our baby girl turns four tomorrow. I took her and the baby and our five year-old daughter with me to go grocery shopping today.

Shopping with little ones is rarely easy.

At one point when the baby was crying and the girls were being silly in the aisle a kind, older mom looked at me and said, “They are going to get older. My oldest is now nineteen. They will get older and you won’t even remember this.”

Words from a survivor.

We got to the checkout. Baby girl tried to help load the groceries up on the checkout belt and dropped a glass jar of pasta sauce. It broke all over the floor and puddled under the grocery “car” that no one wanted to ride in after about twenty minutes.

I was tired and a bit frazzled even though you would think I was a pro at this by now. We checked out. I breathed a sigh of relief as I put our van into drive.

The woman’s words came back to mind… “You won’t even remember this.”

You know, I can almost guarantee her words were supposed to be an encouragement to me- the light at the end of the tunnel kind of thing. But driving home, her words began to shake me up in a way that hasn’t quite gone away because as crazy and frustrating as this parenting thing can be at times, I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to forget how our baby boy kept pulling me close for hugs as I tried to checkout. Over and over again he pulled at my shirt and my purse and he would lean his little head up against my chest and just rest there. And I don’t want to forget that.

I don’t want to forget how our little girl whispered to the cashier and bagger, “Tomorrow is my birthday.” How she then pulled me close to whisper in my ear, “I want them to say Happy Birthday to me.”

There is so much that I just don’t want to forget.

Because it isn’t about getting to the end of the tunnel. It’s about the little lights that are IN the tunnel.

So here I am writing again because I don’t want to forget the little lights nor the darkness that made the lights shine all the brighter.

 

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After the Steam

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I woke up earlier than usual this morning, determined to get a head start on the day. Didn’t expect to start my day with this. And what is it? At first glance, it is the obvious, a fogged up mirror where steam has revealed all the smudges and writings left by little hands writing messages after their shower on the perfect canvas they saw. But this foggy, smudged up mirror reminded me this morning of a verse from 1 Corinthians: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

Sometimes our actions in “steamy” moments write messages that we don’t even realize we are writing. Our raw emotions cause us to act so far off from the person God created us and knows us to be. In those moments, this Christ-like image that we are supposed to have, it becomes foggy, messy… Marked. Those who are around us lose sight of Christ in us, and to get down to the heart of it, so do we. It’s hard to look yourself in the mirror after you know you acted out or spoke out in ways so far from who you truly are. You lose sight of yourself. You start to just see steam, messiness… Marks. But friend, this morning as I looked closely at that mirror I saw clearly one message circled by a little hand, “A+.” It had been written over yesterday’s message, “God’s love.”

(Those little hands had no idea how God was going to use these markings to touch my heart. Friends, you have no idea how the little things you do can touch a person’s heart.)

Looking in that mirror, I could not see myself. In the steam all I could see was God and “A+.” That is what God’s love does. When we smudge our image and the image of Christ, Jesus takes his hands, the same hands that were nailed to a cross for moments just like these… Jesus hears that heart cry for forgiveness, and he answers it. In our brokenness and in the aftermath of the steam, Jesus writes two words over top our image: “God’s love.” And then, incredibly, he writes “A+.” That is forgiveness.

One day we will see God in his fullness. We will see ourselves in our fullness. But for know I pray we can catch an image of how God sees us and others after the steamy moments have passed and our hearts are made clean by confession. And I share this picture because something tells me that image looks a whole lot like a fogged up, smudge up mirror with the words “God’s love” and “A+.”

Confess. Repent. Ask and receive forgiveness. See that you aren’t a smudged up, steamy mess. You are a son or daughter of God, loved, forgiven and atoned for. God’s love writes your grade. He gives to you the full credit that Jesus, the perfect canvas, earned. Child, your grade is his grade. And that grade, incredibly, after all the steam and smudges, was written as “A+.” May you know that today should you be struggling with the image in the mirror.

 

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Covering Grace

I stepped outside and took in the beauty of the many trees in our backyard covered in ice.

You could feel it really, God’s grace covering everything.

Icicles hanging from outstretched limbs, each seemed to testify of a grace that covers every cold and dead place, even those places in our heart.

Those outstretched limbs, with raindrops frozen in time,

When you looked at them you could feel it- the wonder of the outstretched arms of Jesus.

He hung on a tree.

His love poured out to cover me, to cover us.

What kind of love our God is?

He whispers in the cold through frozen raindrop,

“I see every tear.

Every one.

I cover you in those cold seasons.”

And I’ll just say it flat out- sometimes life is so cold and so hard you just want to be numb,

But looking up at the beauty in those trees,

You could just feel it- this isn’t about becoming numb.

It is about becoming beautifully still in the cold, awaiting new life.

His words, “My grace is sufficient,”

They are felt in the still, cold air.

You could absolutely feel it.

His covering grace.

Icicles hanging from outstretched limbs…

Testifying today that covering grace always comes back to a tree.

May you feel his grace covering you today.

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A Fire to Change the World

I didn’t read the public figure’s entire post, just the first line, “I have a fire in me to change the world…”

It struck me then, how many of us claim to have a fire in us to change the world.

How I claim to have a fire in me to change the world… Or at least some small part of it.

And it struck me all the harder, as I sat there hours later at our kitchen table, still waiting on our son to finish his assignments. The incredibly strong smell of another dirty diaper approached with our youngest son:

How sad is it? I say I have this fire in me to change the world, and yet I don’t have enough “fire in me” to want to change a diaper? I say I have a fire in me to change the world, and yet I don’t have enough fire in me to want to continue to sit for hours next to a child struggling with his schoolwork, while all his brothers and sisters are long done?

Where does the world begin to change really, if not within the very walls of the home first?

What is to say that this young child next to me, is not one who will grow up to truly change the world?

World missions is often no further than a kitchen table.

 

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Praying for you

Hey friend,

I know some days are long, some problems are truly big, sometimes life throws at us a little more than we feel we can handle. We grow weary. We grow anxious. We grow heavy hearted. Sometimes we are just plain lonely.

Please know this tonight- if your day was long, if you are facing problems that seem too big, if you are feeling weary, or anxious, or lonely- know you are being prayed for right now. Know that all things truly are possible with God. Know that you are not alone. Know that the strength you need is going to arise. It is. Know the provision you need is going to be met. It is. Know that you have absolutely nothing- NOTHING- to be anxious over. Not you, child of God. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He will keep you in perfect peace as you fix your eyes on him. And sleep well. Rest in his overwhelming love for you.

Praying for you.
– Charity

 

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