I cleaned out our toaster over the weekend & noticed that the knobs are broken off, the base comes off of the body and there are a few exposed electrical wires. A day later, my husband suggested that I buy a new toaster. I explained that I cleaned it out over the weekend and it should be good to go, knobs being nothing more than convenient accessories. He smirked and said, “Sarah, the base is separating from the toaster & it could be a fire hazard.”
Like my worn out toaster, sometimes we can get worn down from life and grow comfortable being broken or dysfunctional. But genuine love will step into that quagmire and speak truth, redemption, hope, transformation and life. Let’s be available to speak gentle and loving words of truth and redemption. And let’s be open to receiving truth and life with genuine love!
My husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this week & that’s a noteworthy achievement! It’s noteworthy for lots of reasons such as:
lots of seasons and changes to navigate: doing hefty careers, an intense baby season, growing in our careers, raising teenagers & a few medical challenges along the road
distinct personalities: we are very different in our personalities, so this requires us to give each other lots of grace, space & affirmation to be unique but complementary rather than combative
prickly insecurities: just because we’re married doesn’t mean our individual insecurities don’t get triggered from time to time; so it’s helpful to recognize such weak spots & decide to nestle into genuine love 🙂
I’m definitely a better person from being married to Reece & there’s no doubt that God has helped us to grow in our relationship over the last 25 years! Let’s remember that being a person who is growing in character, love and strength is a decision we make one day at a time! And be certain to celebrate the milestones along the journey!
“We only have two fish & five loaves of bread. It’s not enough for such a big crowd!!” These were the disciples’ words to Jesus about feeding a crowd of more than 5,000 people. And the observation is valid when we think about the provision in contrast to the need.
I see this mindset in many perspectives in my life. My needs for energy, time, resources, friendships, favor, wisdom, etc often seem to dwarf whatever provision may be available at the time. And as I read today about Jesus multiplying the fish and bread, I was challenged by this whole stark contrast between provision and need. I can belittle and grieve what is lacking or I can give Jesus whatever provision I have, let Him bless it and live in the resulting abundance.
In Jesus’ hands, little provisions can become multiplied abundance!
Theoretically, I like to learn. In practicality, sometimes it’s difficult for me to learn. In full disclosure, I struggle to learn to trust God & I have a difficult time learning patience & being steadfast, along with many other things.
But it’s interesting that Jesus’ disciples were called “learners”. So when I follow Jesus, my mindset needs to be that of a learner & to live in a continuous state of learning. I want to encourage you to keep a learning mindset, so that our following Jesus keeps getting better & closer everyday! With the help of Holy Spirit, we learn to be better parents, mates, students, employees & humans. So what are you learning?
I’ve had lots of really good feedback & people expressing how much this book is helping them to walk with he Spirit! This is massively encouraging & I LOVE IT!!
At the same time, I find myself going through some soul searching related to my walk with the Spirit. Just because I write books about the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that I’ve learned everything about this journey & I’m an expert. That’s a dangerous pitfall & I sense the Holy Spirit alerting me to this trap while beckoning me to nestle into the Spirit’s presence more & deepen my roots into our intimacy like never before. To this end, I’m wholly committed to walking in daily integration with he Holy Spirit, deeply rooted & abundantly fruitful! I hope you’ll agree to this adventure with the Holy Spirit in your life, taking your own steps with the Holy Spirit!
I know it’s weird to admit this but I really like to learn languages. If I didn’t have my family, I think it would be a BLAST to get dropped in a place that spoke no English for like 6weeks so that I could acquire whatever the language is that’s spoken in that place. Some languages that I’d like to get under my belt include: Mandarin, Khmer, Bengali, Swahili & I’m sure there’s several more I’d quickly add to my list.
But my first priority is to learn the language of the Holy Spirit. I appreciate that the underpinnings for this language are rooted in genuine love, so all the subtleties & communication nuances have the flavor & lingering residues of genuine love. I think the Holy Spirit’s language is also infused with intimacy & connection, endeavoring to facilitate & integrate genuine love in every conversation. Finally, I think the Holy Spirit’s language is one of transformation – seeing things that aren’t visible, calling things that aren’t as though they are & exchanging broken & dysfunctional for healthy & redeemed.
Anyone want to learn the Holy Spirit’s language with me?
In my efforts to always grow & Improve, sometimes I can get discouraged. This happens when I continue to focus on weaknesses & mistakes at the expense of looking at progress.
The truth is that we are all growing. Sometimes we see massive progress & sometimes the progress is microscopic. But let’s celebrate progress, regardless of the size!
You’ve come a long way, so be encouraged!! And remind yourself that the good work that God has started, He will continue & complete – Philippians 1:6 🙂
My husband & I enjoyed a lovely date at a mountain cabin, complete with dessert by a gigantic fireplace with a cozy fire. We had a really wonderful date: tasty food, enjoyable conversation, no kids & relaxed time. At the end of the meal, we sat by this lovely fireplace to enjoy dessert & there was another couple nearby along w a dude holding a wine glass, talking more than just a little. So here are some interesting take aways:
Choices – the inebriated gentleman didn’t ruin a lovely evening
Fire – a drunk by a fireplace requires close supervision.
Talking – once it’s said, you can’t take it back. Speak wisely.
Moderation – just because something is good doesn’t mean we should binge it. This is useful as a good rule of thumb throughout life
What are your strengths? Do you ever feel like your strengths are also your greatest liabilities?
I have a friend who says that I fire & then aim, or I leap & then look. It’s true. I tend to jump in with both feet & then cry about what I’ve gotten myself into. I admire the people who are more methodical and take things a step at a time & I’ve sincerely tried to do this better. But alas, I’m still learning, still.
In my thinking, this “all in” mindset has been a significant liability for me & I’ve berated myself repeatedly about not learning from my mistakes. Except last night, I had a wonderful epiphany.
This “all in” strategy serves me really well in walking with God because I’m not half-hearted & I’m quick to turn up the heat if I feel like I’m being luke warm.
All of us are fearfully & wonderfully made! We have definite strengths & with God’s help, the downside of these strength can be continually worked on so that we grow! The enemy of our soul would have us minimize the gifts that God has given us, causing us to be less than the full person of God’s design!
Let’s be thankful that God made us with such careful & creative design, while remaining committed to the continual pruning and sculpting the Holy Spirit does with us every day! You are AWESOME!
Recently, I had some travel challenges that were similar to something I went through last year. This year, I handled stuff with lots more agility & significantly less angst. The things I did better with included booking an earlier flight instead of nail biting at the last minute. I booked my luggage in increments rather than the whole trip so I don’t think my luggage will go missing for 5days, smile. I also was more proactive with finding a hotel & not looking frantically for something at 2am. There are a few other things I did better on as well, so I’m happy to see that I can learn, grow & improve. I’m equally quick to acknowledge that I don’t know everything, so I continue to stay in learning curve mode. Refusing to learn is dangerous, full on.
These travel lessons seem applicable to daily living as well:
Don’t choose stress when it’s not necessary.
Carry heavy stuff in little increments so it doesn’t get overwhelming
Take opportunities to rest, trusting that ultimately God is in control 🙂
Having my kids home for summer break is wonderful & challenging. I certainly enjoy their company & they have super fun personalities. As their mom, I’m also responsible to help them grow into healthy, responsible & productive adults – or at least encourage their decisions to move in those directions.
Funny thing about this parenting gig: seems like heaps of what I tell them needs to flourish in my life as well. I find that my parental coaching has lots of application in my life & maybe this whole parenting thing is God’s parental efficiency plan. I most certainly don’t want to parent from a place of hypocrisy so I’m pushing myself to do well & live up to the stuff that I want to see my kids exhibit 🙂
I’m a big advocate of listening. I think it’s essential that we listen to our kids, our mate, our friends, teachers, supervisors, pastors, political candidates, etc. Listening helps us learn, develops patience & is an essential ingredient for connecting with people. But alas, we cannot emphasize listening at the expense of doing.
This morning I read Jesus’ brief parable that contrasts a wise man with a foolish man, at the end of Matthew 8. In this contrast, Jesus explains that the wise man listens to God & acts upon what he hears. The foolish man, however, listens but doesn’t do anything. Let’s allow God’s Word to inform & shape our actions. Let’s be “doers” & not just listeners 🙂
Next time I decide to write a blog about waiting, I’ll certainly take a few minutes to reconsider. Yesterday morning, I wrote this lovely blog about the benefits of waiting. Little did I know that I’d be waiting for three hours for a delayed flight. Yesterday, I was forced to live in the “benefits” about which I wrote – easier said than done.
Sometimes we have “go seasons” where the waiting is over. These seasons can also be tricky to navigate for various reasons:
we’ve adjusted to “waiting” so “going” kind of upsets the applecart,
going can mean shifting into something unknown & for some folk that’s scary,
going requires more energy than waiting
Let’s be careful that we don’t use the idea of waiting as an excuse for procrastinating. Let’s be careful that we don’t let fear keep us stalled in a waiting mode. Let’s be careful that we don’t use waiting as a justification for being disobedient to something God has told us to do.
There are waiting seasons & there are going seasons. The key thing is to stay in step with the Holy Spirit in every moment!
In the last several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the ups & downs of concussion recovery. This is a different adventure than recovering from other physical injuries I’ve had. A concussion is an injury to the brain, so it takes awhile to get the neurons back online & return to one’s normal routines & responsibilities. I’m definitely making progress, but typical to my personality, I’d like to be moving along more quickly. In the meantime, these are some rich benefits I’m experiencing in this journey:
relying on the Holy Spirit has helped me with my independence struggle
this weakness has facilitated greater fellowship with the Holy Spirit in a real time context & not just hindsight
Waiting doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits. Frankly put, I’m often impetuous, sometimes impulsive and infrequently patient. So the idea of chilling out and waiting for something is not appealing to me. And yet, this is exactly what Jesus told His followers in Luke 24:49, “‘ . . . , stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'” Thankfully, the disciples followed Jesus’ directive and I’m grateful to read about the fruit of their patience and waiting in Acts 2 – the Day of Pentecost.
So in our fast-paced, microwave popcorn and warp speed living, let’s take a step back & consider some of the benefits of waiting for the Holy Spirit:
waiting in a community affords the opportunity to build relationships and grow in our fellowship with other believers
waiting enforces a healthy discipline on a personal level that defies instant gratification
waiting teaches us to let Jesus be the Lord of our time and how we resolve our desires
waiting to be clothed with power and the Holy Spirit is what our world desperately needs from us, as followers of Jesus
Take a minute to grab a copy of Heavenly Help and as you read it, let the Holy Spirit speak into your heart about Pentecost becoming more real in your life!
Cooking a turkey has the potential to be a dance with disaster. I know this to be true, based in years of practice & research. But this year is likely to be different, probably. I say this because of not only years of practice & failures but also because of preparation.
I’m learning that I can avoid lots of disasters with a little bit of preparation. For example, Gideon in the book of Judges, avoided various disasters because he walked a path of preparation with God. Seems to me that God primed Gideon for his massive victory over the Midianites through extensive preparation: angel visitation, tearing down an altar to idolatry, fleece adventures, people screening & even eavesdropping.
I may not always enjoy the preparation process but I certainly like the outcomes better than the results of poor preparation. Let’s be careful not to belittle the process of preparation 🙂
Today is an important day for Saving Moses, as we are praying, planning & strategizing for what God wants to do with Saving Moses in 2016. Days like this are important & they are have very massive impact for what we do in 2016, as well as how we do those significant goals.
We have this annual meeting at my house, so there are things that I do to prepare: clean the house, get coffee / tea ready, my husband made fresh biscuits this morning for everyone, I’ve made some good plans for lunch & some other things. Suffice it to say that I’ve prepared for this meeting with logistical foresight, mostly. But the most important thing I can do for this meeting is pre-prayer.
Let’s always remember that prayer is foundation for all of our preparation, so let’s always pre-prayer for each day J
There’s nothing weird or abnormal about us humans asking questions. Indeed, questions communicate an inquiring mind, curiosity & an interest in learning. What seems rogue to me is that Jesus asked questions. Since Jesus is omniscient (all knowing), what’s the point? And yet He asked lots of questions when He did His skin thing with us.
For example, His first question was to His parents when they’d misplaced the Son of God for more than three days – as a mom, I can’t even begin to fathom what that was like for Mary, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
In Luke 2:49, Jesus asked His parents, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
Here are a few takeaways from Jesus’ questions to His earthly parents:
Just because we’ve walked with Jesus for lots of years doesn’t mean that we can’t learn new things about Him everyday!
Jesus is God’s Son & defaults to being around His Fathers interests – best place to find Jesus is where the Father is working
In an interesting twist, why is it that we sometimes don’t look for Jesus? Are we distracted? Are we “satisfied” with flesh & not incarnate?
This past weekend, my husband & I attended a marriage retreat. Truthfully, I loath these kinds of things. I don’t like having relationship stuff discussed in such a public forum, it makes me uncomfortable & twitchy. But we all do things that we know to be good for us, even when we don’t like it (eating kale, jogging, going to bed on time, etc).
Relationships can be challenging & being married can be outright arduous. Here are some takeaways I gained from this weekend, relevant not only to marriages but to relationships in general:
winning an argument often means that relationship loses
forgiveness is essential & trust is earned
love is doing what’s in the best interests of the other person even when it’s difficult for me
being safe in a relationship requires communication & attention
When my kids were younger, we experienced the wonderful invention of zero depth pools, with a gradual depth increase. In contrast to zero depth, when I grew up, there was only the ladder on the side of the pool for climbing in gradually or one could hurl herself into the public pool that wasn’t heated for a shocking jolt.
When I think about trusting God, I prefer to do the trust adventure in a zero depth paradigm – gentle & gradual increase with time & space aplenty. But there are times in God’s sovereign wisdom that we have to jump in the deep end with trusting God. Deep end trust with God could be decisions we make about the future (jobs, marriage, etc), concerns with our kids, relationships, etc.
With God’s help, let’s determine that we’ll be agile with both ways of trusting God: the big plunge & zero depth 🙂
I did a home painting project last week & let’s just say there won’t be a professional painting career in my near future. My husband checked it out & immediately saw some obvious mistakes. Of course I wanted more affirmation than his constructive observations but that’s for a different blog ,)
The challenge with painting is to “cut” the edges & have sharp, clean lines along the corners, ceiling, baseboards, etc. It’s amateur hour when the lines are crooked or the baseboards are speckled.
Sometimes I think we try to “cut” God into our lives with bright lines, rigid corners, clean baseboards & distinct compartments. If God were looking through the lens of life at my recent painting adventure, maybe God would applaud the bleed, messy corners & paint splatters. Perhaps God wants to bleed into more of or lives & get messy with us as we do our daily living. Don’t cut God out of any place in your life 🙂
Thrills, chills, spills and frills – we all love being excited, inspired, encouraged & sometimes, even schmoozed. Perhaps we can even be “excitement junkies”, from time to time, living for the next thrill or rush. I don’t think, however, God designed our lives to be a continual roller coaster, going from peak to valley and curve to corkscrew. There’s huge value in stability even when it seems boring. If the truth be known, you can predict with fair accuracy a person’s future success by their daily routines & disciplines.
While it can be lots of fun to get excited, never resent the importance of stability. Here are a few quick perks from stability:
I was recently on a family vacation & there were a few tense conversations with family members – nothing major, but some scrappy & small conflicts. I was thinking about these conversations this morning in my prayer time & was letting God know that I was frustrated. Fundamentally, I want to love well, but struggle with how to role out genuine love in my daily living. I felt like God spoke this into my heart, “Give Me permission to love through you rather than trying to love from you.”
This has been extremely helpful because I know that my own love is far too limited, but God’s love through me can be infinite.
So let’s agree to let God love through us & let the fun begin! Remain tied into God’s love ,)
Despite our best intentions, all of us can struggle with getting what we want. And what we want seems to flitter from stuff, to time, to clothes, to gadgets, to health, to relationships and lots more. I was recently giving God an earful about not getting something that I thought I wanted. Instead of getting my way, it seemed like the exact opposite was happening & there wasn’t anything I could do to change the situation. But what I could change was my attitude – and our attitudes can be a powerful tool when we make wise choices.
On top of working through my attitude choices in my recent situation, I also learned that while I may not always get what I want, I can trust God to give me what I need 🙂
I recently did a blog about practicing our trust in God. As I’ve thought about this whole idea of practice, I’m also aware that there can be a few pitfalls along the practicing trust adventure. Here are a few things that you might find helpful with the practicing trust and pitfalls with adventures:
practice isn’t the place where we get perfect every time. Heaven is for perfect & earth is for practice
practice & mistakes go together like peanut butter & jelly, salt & pepper. Practice & mistakes are natural complements on the road to success
practicing trust can have good bleed over in various areas of our lives: if we find it “easy” to trust God with our finances, then consider that the same trust can also be expanded to maybe your health, relationships, job or school
trusting God is an essential component to growing in an intimate relationship with God