Tag Archive | distraction

Lessons from the Littles: Shooting hoops

As I said in the last post…God has been using interactions with our kids to teach ME lately. This one comes from the bleachers. We are in the middle of Upward Basketball season. We have participated- and hubby has coached- in this program for the past four years and it is a tremendous blessing to our community. Our son is…well…not very athletically inclined. Like many kids these days he’d rather be curled up with a book (or more likely a video game) than running anywhere. Thankfully for him- he does not get that choice. While we really try not to push them into things they absolutely hate, we do require some kind of sport with physical activity in the Winter months to keep them from…well, getting like me. (There…that’s my brutal self deprecating honesty for the day.) He didn’t want to do basketball again this season, but he couldn’t come up with another option so here we are. PRAISE THE LORD!

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This year, my hubby decided to coach our daughter instead of our son. Let’s just say there is some value in stepping back for a moment to invite another person in to give direction. While hubby has voiced that it hurts a little to see our son excel under the direction of another…we are both super excited at the change in our boy this year. And that’s not just a skill thing either! He is really getting it! In the years past he walked, skipped, sauntered…and stood…and dribbled…and stood…and dribbled…and let the clock run out while he did it. It was frustrating to watch, but we encouraged him every step of the way.  I don’t know if he was storing all of that knowledge up or if he is a little more coordinated this year…maybe a combination of both AND the unfamiliar voice telling him what to do. WOW. Each week he is learning and using a new skill. He is running. They are keeping him in longer. And his confidence is soaring! During his last game, he made 3 baskets and ran the whole time. WITH A SMILE.

One of the things I noticed in weeks past; someone on the opposing team would shoot the ball and my son’s team would rebound and run it up the court. Our son would run to that basket and just stand under it…waiting for the rebound. Never mind his team players scrambling for position and looking for someone…anyone…to be open. So the following week in practice, the coach focused on offensive and defensive positioning. He talked to them about running around to PLACE themselves in the best spot to receive the ball. That means positioning and re-positioning …going around obstacles and the people who are trying to keep you from that ball. Defensively, it means positioning yourself in a spot that will hinder the “enemy” and guard your teammate. Do you already see where I am going with this?

As I prayed on Tuesday, I was throwing a bit of a pity party. Stinking thinking. The comparison game is not a good one. I should be focused on the ONE…not the other ones. When I look down at my feet and the feet of those around me, I am not focused on God or the ministry that HE has laid out before me – and am certainly not walking (or sprinting) forward in victory.

Positioning.

There are times when I wait for the ball. Standing still. Not rushing to get it and not really knowing where to be. I want to shoot. I want to score- not to be known, but to make Jesus’ name known to others around me. I want to reach others and share God’s love. I want to serve and share. I want to link up and be part of God’s team. I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” -just to be affirmed that I am being obedient. I need to move…eye always on the ball…placing myself in a position to act- always. Hands up. Ready to catch, pass, block. Where do I stand? Am I blocking Satan’s attacks for my friends and family? Praying for them? Interceding when they seek godly counsel? Stepping in and saying “No…look at HIM!”?  Do I hear the coach? Do I listen? Do I respond? Am I doing anything at all or just sitting on the bench?

(sigh)

Good news is- I am not on the bench, but there have been times when I was tempted to sit down. Especially as I watch other players shoot one after another…nothing but net…and wonder if I am needed; if I have a purpose at all. I am so thankful for the little team in this home I have been given to train up in the way they should go. The body of Christ…we are the body and a hand cannot be a foot. We all can’t be guards at the same time…offense AND defense are required. TEAM work all under the direction and in obedience to THE ONE coach. We all need good teammates, too. On Tuesday, one of my valued teammates blocked a shot, passed me the ball and pointed me in the right direction. Words of wisdom from a woman who is growing in Christ…

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Thank you Lord for your faithful and wise instruction. Always when I need it. Thank you for teammates who love and care and communicate truth. I pray that I will be one.

***6:48 am Friday (48 minutes after I posted this )…a reminder on the radio. “Grace”…it’s not about anything that I do, it’s about what Christ DID. A word from the Lord…focus on THAT ball. I am overwhelmed!

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The Tree

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:8-9

A few weeks ago, a friend drew my attention to this verse. It’s one that I think many of us overlook simply because there is usually one particular tree that gets all of the attention when we speak of Genesis.

“In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

“And”…yes, two trees.

The one we always hear about is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the tree that Satan subtly slithered into and enticed Eve to focus on.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Genesis 3: 1-6

“Any tree”…there were many. The Lord created an abundance in that garden and Adam and Eve lived in the midst of that abundance. Yet, with a flick of his tongue Satan drew Eve to the tree of knowledge and convinced her that wisdom existed there. Wisdom vs. knowledge…if she had only known that there is a difference. All of the other trees in that garden faded into the background that day; including the other tree that grew in the middle of that same garden.

The TREE OF LIFE: the other tree placed in the center of the garden in the beginning of time. I wonder how close they were to each other? If only she had chosen to focus on that tree. Genesis 3:22 tells us that eating from this tree would result in eternal life. While Eve was faced with that choice so many years ago,we are still faced with that same choice every day.

Since the beginning of time Satan has been running this same play…distract and destroy.  Satan wants us to look at the one thing we don’t have. He does not want us to see and recognize the many ways that God provides for us. Certainly the LAST place he wants our gaze to fall is on that other tree in the center of the garden. Will I focus on the tight budget? Or the way that God provides enough to meet our needs? Will I focus on the turmoil and challenges in planning an event that will bring glory to God? Or will I focus on the potential that just ONE person will hear from God and be forever changed? Will we choose Christ? Or chase the knowledge of other things that are offered as counterfeit wisdom?

Jesus hung on a tree, nailed to a cross. But, he didn’t stay there. Conquering sin and death he is risen indeed- waiting for each of us to choose him. Choose the Way, the Truth and the Life or sin and death?

That tree of life -seen in the very beginning- is also seen in the end.

7Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:7

1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1-2

While Eve didn’t choose that tree- the tree of life- you can still choose. This tree of life…at the beginning, on the cross, and in the end…is still available and ripe for the picking.

Lord, thank you for the abundance you provide in my daily life. Help me to never look beyond the intricate ways you show Your presence. Thank you for bringing my gaze to the tree of life…who was, and is, and is to come. I pray that you will not allow me to become distracted by other things. Fix my gaze on YOU, Lord. wpid-20150328_184043.jpg

Flat Water

In May, I found a new hobby: Kayaking! My hubby hadn’t been since our oldest was born and I had never tried it. Since we are surrounded by water, it seemed like a good idea. We now have a whole family of kayaks and this has become an activity that we can do together. It has been a real blessing!

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Our daughter’s favorite part is seeing the cranes and turtles along the way. I have always liked being on or near the water so I feel like I have found “home”. My husband is eager for the day when we all become comfortable and confident enough to set out onto “bigger water” so he can catch some fish. And our son…well, he is getting a bit bored waiting for adventure outside of the little marsh we have been practicing in. But, he is also a little cautious and apprehensive to go out into unknown territory.

Until Tuesday….

This past Tuesday, we went out after hubby got home from work. We always go in the evenings and the water has always been choppy at our entry and then calmer as we enter the marsh. Tuesday, something was different.

FLAT WATER. It was like glass.

It was absolutely beautiful and calm and PERFECT! My hubby and six-year-old daughter put their boats in first and paddled out. This time, not into the marsh…but, into bigger water. My son was a little apprehensive to head into the “unknown”, but once we were off shore his sense of adventure kicked in and he was invigorated. “Mom, look at that! Do you see that dock? Can we paddle there?” And then my favorite…”Mom, is that the end of the world?!” HA! Mercy! While he knows that the earth is round, this made for some great discussion about the early explorers and the horizon line. Of all the times we have been kayaking this summer, this night was my absolute favorite.

A few weeks ago we got a life vest for our dog, Cooper. We decided that we need to start taking him with us more often because we have not done a good job making him feel like part of our pack. The first time, he jumped out of the boat thinking that he could just walk across to me…then he sank and had to swim. His eyes were huge as he hit the water! This was Cooper’s second trip out in the kayak and he is still uncertain. As I paddled up behind my hubby, Cooper was growling and barking at a tree limb that was poking through the surface of the glassy river. He is not quite sure what to make of all this just yet.

Mid way through our exciting adventure onto flat water, our daughter got a little tired. My hubby threw her a line and she tied on so he could pull her for a while and give her rest. Cooper, then, transferred into my boat. In an instant, my peaceful flat water paddle became very interesting. My kayak is a sit-on-top, which means that there are no sides. When Cooper sat down he wasn’t sure of his boundaries and occasionally his foot would slip off or he’d dip his tail into the water. He couldn’t just trust…sit…rest. I found myself getting a bit frustrated. It was perfectly calm water! Why couldn’t he just lay down and chill?!

Cooper was trying to see my husband so he’d lean to the left…and all of a sudden my boat would make a sharp turn left. He saw something in the water so he would lean right…and my boat would track hard right. As he leaned, I fought against him. Even though it was perfectly calm, glassy, flat water…I had to paddle twice as hard that night to counter Cooper’s every move.

This morning in my study time the Lord pressed on me hard. I am not trusting right now. He is still in control and I am leaning. In my morning study, there was a story of a backseat driver that the author labeled as a “panicky passenger”. I am studying in the Women of Faith study “Giving God Your All”. This morning took me to the chapter called “Putting it in God’s Hands”.

Panicky passengers “… are the ones who ride with a white-knuckle grip on their armrests. It doesn’t take much to evoke little gasps of fear from them-changing traffic lights, the sight of brake lights ahead, low-flying birds.” The author goes on to suggest that we often try to take God’s place in the driver’s seat or she says “maybe you’re more like the panicky passenger, not quite trusting the driver to get you safely to your destination.”

This is the scripture that the Lord brought to me this morning through that study:

 How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:19-21

 I have been enjoying some pretty flat water lately. This summer has been a blessing in so many ways. But, this week I have allowed anxiety to flair up and -like Cooper- I am not trusting…sitting…resting. I cannot see under the surface. There are changes coming in the near future and with change comes some uncertainty. Instead of becoming excited and invigorated by this new “big water” experience, I find myself behaving like Cooper. Leaning…looking…frantic.  It’s flat water and I feel like I am paddling twice as hard just to counter my own movement.

If I would just BE STILL.

Yesterday, I found myself crumbled into a pile on the shower floor crying out to the Lord. I could hardly breathe and I felt as if I might drown in those tears. But, I know that the Lord heard me. Now I just have to listen for that voice, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Pray for me in the coming days. Our kids are starting a new school and while they are fine…I am anxious. Do I need to go back to work? Or am I supposed to be still and trust the Lord to provide? I wish I knew what was just under that glassy surface. In the meantime, I need peace and to believe Isaiah 26:3.

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

Psalm 51: reflections in the spin cycle

Another snow day; the third one this week. I have been sick for two weeks and have so much catching up to do. When it snows and rains like this, it’s best to save the septic field and refrain from doing too much laundry at home. After being down and out- the laundry has piled up higher than the mounds of plowed and drifted snow. Time for the laundromat.wpid-20150306_104041.jpg

The kids brought books to read while we waited. I assured them that it would be a reasonably short visit because we could do the drying at home. I was completely taken off guard when they reacted the way they did. The books and coats went into a chair by the window…they flipped over two of the three laundry baskets…and each took a seat.

Front row for the big show.

He practically had his face pressed up on the glass the whole time and only moved away long enough to float to one of the other machines. When the spin cycle began, they were whipped into a frenzy! To them, it looked like the clothes in the machine had just disappeared as the centrifugal force pressed them firmly against the inner walls  of the 62 lb. capacity beast.  A young couple sitting nearby began to laugh…who knew that laundry could be such a wondrous and magical experience.

They had never seen a front load washing machine before.

Two hillbillies in the big city.

Laundry. They were mesmerized, entertained, and positively pleased as punch.

I miss those times. Two years ago I could look at a tree in a storm as the leaves turned up to welcome the rain…and see God. There was wonder in my coffee, the clouds in the sky…God was evident everywhere. Even in all of the chaos of life, I was the one pressed up against the glass watching in amazement and awe as the spinning melted into the walls and God was at the center. There are seasons. God is always present…always working…always active. Sometimes we sit at the feet of Jesus and learn…and watch. Other times we are Martha, diligently working on the things He has given us to do.

This Martha season has been complicated and blessed. There are tasks that He has placed in my path…people…needs. I have been listening, and started out following His lead quietly. It was awesome! I could see how God was weaving people and situations together- all in one load. But, then the spinning started. I’ve gotten caught in the spin cycle. I don’t want to say “yes”–I don’t want to say “no”. I am spinning with my back pressed against the wall and everything is being squeezed out of me. It’s too fast. I am tired. And I am too loud about it. I have been too loud about my feelings and frustrations. I have been too loud about some of the excitement in my world…good news and bad. I have quickly become overwhelmed and now I have found out that I am overwhelming people around me. I need balance…AGAIN. So now I am feeling a bit alone in the spin cycle and the anxiety is creeping in. Feelings. The reality may not be overwhelming, but when the feelings are added in- Satan get’s the upper hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

It’s time to very intentionally focus on God, not the things that make me anxious. [AGAIN] Not how I fail [STILL].

Psalm 51 is near and dear to me and I have found myself meditating on it a lot this week.

Just be quiet. That may be a good start. Oh, Lord. Please hit the reset button. My spirit is downcast within me.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

When everything has been squeezed out of me, there is a big void that only God can fill. I eagerly await that joy and willing spirit; His sustenance.

I have no idea what’s next. I feel like I haven’t had much to write here lately and am wondering if this season has passed, too. (The spammers have written more on my site than I have in the past year!)But, I will be still and wait. Maybe the spin cycle will stop- then, I can exit the spin and sit with my face pressed to the glass. When the spin starts again I want this perspective. I want this vantage point. I want to see all of the chaos melt away with God in the center – clearly. But, that’s what I want. I wonder what God’s plans are?

I have to focus on God’s plans. Not mine.

I must have FULL faith, because God is faithFUL. ALL THE TIME.

Battle in Bowser’s Castle

Too many video games before bed make for a rotten attitude and a poor night’s sleep…and that usually carries over to the morning.

Irritable, achy head, sore from tossing and turning, jaw tight from tension induced grinding of teeth…coming down the hall with hair a mess and a scowl on my face. Yup. I am not talking about one of my kids. This is me today. U-G-L-Y.

Last night I decided to play classic Mario Brothers and I am…well…let’s say “competitive”. All of that jumping and bouncing and fireball throwing, ducking, sliding and battling gets a little intense for me. It is a battle that I MUST WIN. I must get all of the large gold coins. (I must know when to call it a night and put down the controller!) When I lay down last night my brain was still bouncing- but, not just on Mario…it was scattered in a bunch of places. That’s why I decided to play in the first place…to distract me from some things that were on my mind. I think it’s safe to say that my plan backfired.

I didn’t go to bed late, but had a hard time falling asleep. Today, my son is having a friend over today and came into my room at 6:30 am to discuss the matter. He forgot to close the bedroom door on his way out and the dog…THAT dog….grrrrr…came bounding in, jumped on top of my head and started rolling- spinning on his back like he was Bowser himself. As I scream and swat him off I hear it…LOUD and coming through the vents on my bedroom floor…”Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymoooooore!” She was playing her CD on the highest volume that her little Hello Kitty radio could handle…at 6:30 am. Wait…6:30 am? What is she doing up? Oh yeah. Today was the beginning of the “dry run” for school. Our daughter has always been slow to wake up so hubby had the good idea to start some back to school morning routine practice so she would be ready for Kindergarten.

Let me tell you…if THIS is what each morning is going to look like when school starts we are all in trouble.

I am restless and embattled. Not just from last night’s sleep (or lack thereof) but, because I just know that God is leading me to do something but I don’t know who or when or how. I keep praying that He will reveal it all to me, but I am impatient and a little anxious and intimidated. I can’t pull a ‘Jonah’ because, frankly, I know how that story ends. So I wait. I know that He has equipped me for my purpose…but, I don’t feel equipped. School is almost here and I am not ready in any way shape or form. Finances ebb and flow and I have been praying for provision, guidance and good stewardship. And I have been feeling a flutter in my chest that I have not felt in some time. Anxiety. I don’t like that flutter. That anxious flutter makes me more anxious. There are battle lines being drawn on many fronts and I remind myself that not all battles are bad. I pray about these things…but, my prayer life has been less than intimate this month because of all of the upheaval of summer travel and family coming and going. Bouncing, ducking, sliding…the battles in life get a little intense at times as well. I need to spend some serious time on my knees and less time in Bowser’s Castle.

I have mentioned a Christian author that my friend introduced me to named Charles Martin in a few prior posts. I just went to the library and picked up what will be my fourth Charles Martin book this summer. This, in itself, is unheard of! I usually only get through one non-Bible study book during the course of a year and that is during summer vacation. I have been reading in the evening instead of flipping on the TV and have been so blessed by it. As I read the prologue I got some really sound, Biblical advice. A word from God in a fiction novel…yup! With all this anxious bouncing and battling, God still found a way to slip in a word to get me grounded.

 “Tucker, I want to tell you a secret.” She curled my hand into a fist and showed it to me. “Life is a battle, but you can’t fight it with your fists.” She gently tapped me on the chin with my fist and then put her hand on my chest. “You got to fight it with your heart.” 

She pulled me back to her chest and sucked through her teeth like she was trying to pick the corn out with her tongue. “If your knuckles are bloodier than your knees, then you’re fighting the wrong battle.”

“Miss Ella, you don’t always make sense.”

“In life,” she placed her finger on my knee, “you want the scabs here”- she placed the other on the cracked skin of my knuckle- “not here.”

—Excerpt from Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home, by Charles Martin

I am currently reading in Hebrews during my morning quiet time, but never anticipated that God would whisper during my evening reading, too. Profound and timely.

I can’t wait to read more. I can’t wait to pray more and see what God has planned. Man, I hope I get the message loud and clear and pray that I listen. Fish belongs in my belly- not the other way around.

In the meantime…I just had an 8 track flash back! ha ha Like cutting the rings on a tree to reveal its age,  a certain song from my past just came to mind. If you’re into 80’s hair bands, you will appreciate it (and I invite you to listen to them more online because they ROCK!)

So here it is…Get On Your Knees and Fight Like a Man by Petra

More than I can handle (part 2)

If you need to catch up, I left off here.

This morning, I was reading in 1 Corinthians 10. It’s a place I have been many times before but something new stuck out today.

Whenever folks go through trials like what my sister and bro-in-law are facing, there is a phrase that I hear a lot. I may have even said it once or twice myself.

“Just remember, God never gives us more than we can handle.”

Wait. Is that true?

It sounds nice, but I think in this case, maybe God’s word was spoken…much like a childhood game of operator…and the meaning was changed and morphed over time. God’s word is true, so that is where I went.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Temptation. That’s what this phrase is referring to. Not trial.

James 1:14-15 goes on to explain…

But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 

So if I am the fish…temptation is the wiggling worm on the hook. The worm itself is not the issue- I can swim away from that. The sin occurs when I make the choice to take the bait. No matter how the worm tastes initially, the hook disguised by that wiggling worm can do quite a bit of damage. It’s never a pleasant experience.

James says that God doesn’t tempt, but allows us to be tempted.

So, let me back up here. When my bro-in-law is suffering from another health trial in a line of many- is that a temptation? No. It’s a trial.

I love the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of trial:

NOUN

A formal examination of evidence before a judge, and typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings:the newspaper accounts of the trial the editor was summoned to stand trial for libel
 A test of the performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something:clinical trials must establish whether the new hip replacements are working
  2.1An athletic contest to test the ability of players eligible for selection to a team.
 2.2(trials) An event in which horses, dogs, or other animals compete or perform:horse trials
 3A person, thing, or situation that tests a person’s endurance or forbearance:the trials and tribulations of married life
A test to determine suitability or eligibility, testing a person’s endurance for forbearance.  Right on.
James 1 has a lot to say about trials…
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Back to that phrase that we offer to people during their trials…”Remember, God never gives us more than we can handle.”

I want to challenge that today.

When we are tried, He ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle.

But, God never gives us more than HE can handle.

These are the moments, when we are in over our head…when the situation is infinitely more than we can handle…when we are overwhelmed and powerless; These are the moments when we acknowledge our need for God and surrender all things to Him. Because, there is nothing that HE cannot handle. Blessed moments of overwhelming trial. God wants us live out our faith and trust that He  has everything under His feet. It means we have to pry our white-knuckled little fingers off of the steering wheel. But, that wheel was never ours to grip anyways…after all, we are in the passenger seat.

So I offer this to you. Next time you have a trial or if you encounter someone who is struggling, consider this…

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

As far as our trials go…I believe that God wants them to be more than we can handle, so He can show us exactly what He CAN handle.

An update on my bro-in-law: After days in ICU and a week total in the hospital, he arrived home on Saturday. He is still recovering, but is doing to comfortably at home. Please continue to pray for them as their faith walk continues.

More than I can handle (part 1)

One thing I hope you see as I write about daily life in this blog is that I am human. There is no perfection here, just a wife and mom seeking the Lord. I have ups and downs like any other and share with you how God “reels me in”…or in some cases, as I learn the hard way as I sit kicking and screaming.

Just last week, I wrote a blog on passing on blessings. I used a week of “me-time” to help others and count the blessings which were passed on to me. I wrote that on Wednesday…by Saturday morning, I was unraveled. The kids had come home from vacation and my in-laws were staying over. I was so glad to have the kids home and was looking forward to enjoying some time with them, but when I woke up Saturday morning my “to-do” kicked in. I got up, put on my work clothes and went to the gas station to get fuel for the mowers. Wrote out the list of things that I really wanted (at that moment each was a desperate need) and I set to work. The problem  is, everyone else was enjoying a leisurely pace. The in-laws were shoving off to continue their vacation adventure and hubby was hanging out with the kids…watching me spin my wheels. He came to me and asked me what was going on. In a bit of a frantic tone, I told him, “There is so much to do… and I should have gotten it done while the kids were gone…but I didn’t…and now I am behind…and I have to get it done…why did I wait? I should not have waited until they were back to do this!”

Just like that. All of those moments helping others and all of those blessings I had received were crushed by two hands of toil.

Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:6

Selfishness.

Me, My, Mine.

I confess it folks. I had that thought, ” I should have not spent so much time doing other things for other people…I should have been home working on my own stuff.”

Hear that ugliness? (Sigh)

Hubby always has his white horse saddled up and at the ready. He asked me to prioritize my list so he could pick a task to knock out and we both set to work. At about three o’clock, I came to him and said, “Ok, I am out of my tree now. We can stop. Let’s pack it in and swim with the kids and have some fun.” I could see the relief on his face. I apologized for my insanity.

The rest of the afternoon was positively wonderful.

Then came the phone call….

My bro-in-law was in the ER again. He is an athletic, young 40’s dude and looks perfectly healthy. Looking at him you would not see the struggles that he has had and continues to have daily. He has had a few strokes and they have caused major lifestyle changes…among other things…and he has aphasia, which makes it hard to get the words in his head to come out of his mouth. Except when he is talking about God or God’s word. He may not be able to do the IT job he held before the strokes, but he is the recreation director at his church and pastors at a summer camp. I firmly believe that even in all of these health struggles he and his family have endured…that God’s plan is being hammered out in his life.

I thought she was going to tell me he had another stroke, but instead- he had a seizure. And then another in the ambulance. This is something that he has never had a history of and she told me that they were big ones. Within 20 minutes, our family was packed and we were in the car. Over the past four days, the ER and ICU doctors have been testing, re-testing…trying to get him straightened out. It may be a reaction to medicine and completely unrelated to his past history. It’s just one more thing. Please pray for my sister, bro-in-law and their kids.

Sunday evening, we packed up again and headed for home with two extra kids and our nephew’s new puppy in tow. And we’ve been here enjoying each other’s company ever since. Nothing like cousins and canines frolicking around the house!

Last night, I was telling my sister that having all of the kids and doggies here has been wonderful. I told her about my Saturday morning in my crazy-tree and shared with her just how ridiculous I feel now about that moment. All of the stuff on my list was just “stuff”. Helping her and these kids is so much more than that. God stepped on my coattails and re-centered me on Him and my purpose and direction under Him. What could be more important that fixing my kitchen sink, overflowing gutters, overgrown lawn, and sinkholes from the septic repair?

Well….everything.