Sunday, February 03, 2019

Comebacks Require Setbacks



Falling down is inevitable. It's the getting back up that takes effort. 

My kids play sports. I've watched lots of games. I love how the parents all clap for the athlete that gets back up--even if the athlete has to leave the game, the audience claps. There's just something to be said for the toughness and determination of getting up again.

Maybe you didn't know I once had a blog. Maybe you did know. Maybe you forgot. 

It's true. This little blog of mine was once active, chronicling the life that happened around me, inside of me. Then some big things happened in my little world. I got cancer, moved cities, got healed, got depressed, quit writing.

I always knew I'd start again. I'm the Queen of "One day." And all the days are busy, all go by fast. But the lesson that cancer first taught me is that life isn't free for the spending. Life has a limit. Our days are numbered.

And, that's why I intend to spend the rest of mine chasing this crazy dream of putting my words into the world. On paper, in the air, to audiences. Whatever the opportunity, I've promised God to chase it. With shaky knees and a nervous heart, here I go again.

In case you're one of those who didn't know I once had a blog, you'll get the chance to know my younger self. Just look at the pictures...that baby, he's going to be a teen next week. And, that beautiful brunette, she's a freshman at Texas A & M. Whoop! (And being an Aggie mom is even better than being an Aggie...It's one of my favorite mom things so far.) The other precious girl is graduating in a few months. And that cute boy is working on his drivers license. 

And, I wish it were tidy. Perfectly stitched, no holes. I wish it were perfectly polished with designer appointments, but it's not. The photos are old and the words are a mix of then and now, words I'm afraid to read tonight because maybe they're not what I remember. But I will read them tomorrow because maybe, just maybe, they're more than I recall.

And this blog is just what it is tonight. Because the best place to get back up and start again is the place you were last standing when you fell down. Just ask any athlete. Even the ones that were carried off on stretchers will tell you, the best place to be is back on the field. 

 So, here I am ready for the next play.

After all, you can't have a big comeback without a setback. 

For the lovers of God may suffer adversity
    and stumble seven times,
    but they will continue to rise over and over again. 
(Proverbs 24:16 TPT)

Saturday, February 02, 2019

When you feel like junk

My friend guided me down her hallway, giving me the grand tour of her home. Suddenly, she stopped in front of a closed door. “That,” she said, “is the junk room. Enter at your own risk.”
I looked at her quizzically. I had a junk drawer, but I’d never heard of anyone having a junk room. Curious, I sneaked a peek. Unused pictures, extra furniture, piles of books, boxes of dishes and what looked like the pieces to a bed were strung haphazardly around the room. The room held the dining room chairs and table leaf that didn’t fit in their current eating area, the baby bed her daughter no longer needed because they weren’t finished growing their family just yet and a few special wedding gifts still in boxes because there weren’t room in the cabinets to store them. The junk room held valuable things, just not currently usable.
Then it hit me. That’s kind of how I’ve seen myself. Valuable to God, but not usable by Him. I felt as if I’d spent my life in hopeful waiting, just sitting in God’s junk room longing to be used. 
When I review my life thus far, I’m terrified that in all my efforts to prove to God how special I am, I’ve somehow messed me up so much my turn will never come, that I’ve rendered myself ineffective for His cause. And I wonder if God has cast me aside, forgotten about me or determined I can’t be used for anything right now.
In theory, I know this is a lie. God's Word says so. “Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?” Isaiah 44:8
God doesn’t have a junk room and He surely doesn’t store His people there until He finds a place for them. The Bible is clear that He has prepared good things for us to do already. “For we are God’s masterpiece...Created…So we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
He walks with His people preparing them for use in His kingdom. He gives them gifts, talents, passions and purpose. He certainly has a waiting room where He prepares us and a workshop where He heals us but, He absolutely does not consider anyone junk. And, He always provides a plan to use the passions we possess.
Maybe you feel a little useless or have spent a few years on a shelf gathering dust. Maybe, like me, you fear you’ve junked yourself up from the trying. If you’ve ever felt too messed up, too worn down, too passed over or just simply not enough, I want you to know you matter. We matter. We have a purpose. You have a purpose. Your passion has a purpose. God put something in you that must come out. God deposited Himself inside you and He must be shared. The world is quite literally, full of folks dying for someone to share God with them. 
How will you do that? God knows. All you need to do is ask Him.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Are you hoping in God or for God?

 Be the change you want to see in the world.--Mahatma Ghandi

Reading the Christmas story, reminds me of secret longings kept in my heart. I imagine Mary's secret longings. And Elizabeth's. Surely they longed for their boys to be given special treatment. The chosen ones’ proper places. For God’s favor to be evident to the Jewish nation. For abundance and blessing and ease to blanket parts of their lives. They were regular women. Chosen by God. Praying like mothers and wives and daughters and friends. Like me. Like you.

I just told a group of friends that I’m not sure if I’m hoping in God anymore. Lately I find myself hoping for God to do something as evidence of His answer. Which translates to placing my hope in man, I think. Anywho, the truth is if I look anywhere but to God, at God--even if it’s for God, it’s putting my hope somewhere else.

So do I quit praying for lives I want to look like Jesus? Do I  quit asking for Him to save the lost and capture the gaze of the broken? No. Not at all. 

I pray. I seek God. I long for His face. His presence. His touch to my heart.

This way I will never be disappointed. Scripture says, “Those who hope in God will never be disappointed.” (Isaiah 49:23)

Hoping in God requires faith, which by its very definition is believing that which is unseen. Like, Mary who stores God’s messages and evidences in her heart to ponder until her Son is crowned King of Kings. What a proud day that will be! Yes, I said will be. Read Hebrews 11:39-40 (I'll talk about this more later.) says the great men and women of faith died without seeing their blessings, God’s promises fulfilled. Because they waited. They lived. They learned.

Like Mary, I’m learning in hard situations. I’m living happy and whole in places that have never and may never change. 

I’m learning the blessing has less to do with things around me and more to do with things in me. (Tweet that)

In the Living Bible Mary thanks God for what He has done to her. Not for her. To her. "Oh how I praise the Lord...For he has done great things to me."(Luke 1:46&49)

I’ll just be honest. It’s painful and disappointing and faith-assaulting to pray the same prayer and get the same results (ie none) day after day, year after year.

I’m tired of crying. Tired of hurting. Tired of being disappointed.

I pray with hope keeping eyes fixed on His Word, His presence, His touch and all He does to me. I pray longing for God yet hoping in God. I take refuge in His presence and under His touch. 

I find peace and joy watching not what God does for me but to me. 

I can be the change I wish to see in others.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

God, do you really?

Do you have a standing request? You know, the “thing” you’e asked God for--forever. Maybe it’s the salvation of a loved one, the return of a prodigal, a baby in your belly or a  husband to hold you at night. Maybe it’s beginning to seem impossible it will ever happen. Have you prayed, believing for so long that you’re ready to stop? Stop wanting, stop praying. Stop believing. Stop hurting.

The stories of the wife who prayed for her daddy for 47 years to see him finally accept Christ at the end of his life are heartwarming, powerful and encouraging. But, for those of us who are praying like crazy a big question niggles at the back of our mind and bottom of our heart.

God, do you love me enough to _______? 

The question mark has been in my heart’s dungeon for years. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I read this by Liz Curtis Higgs. It’s a question that left Sarah laughing, Balaam's donkey and Naomi bitter. This question left Zacharias mute, Paul blind and Jesus’ friend grieving.

As we meet these friends and share their tragedies, we are tempted to think like the world--things will get easier with time.

But read on and you'll see that God saw fit to give the barren children, restore the lost and replace death with life.

Maybe you read these stories complete with endings and think, what about me. Girlfriend, God hasn’t forgotten you. Even if you feel like He has. 

The Christmas story urges: Don’t stop believing because things get better with Jesus. He still answers big prayers. (Tweet this now)

God took a teenage girl and made her mother of the world’s Savior. She wasn’t yet married and it seemed much too soon to be with child. He gave her a reputation and I wonder if she lived with the honorable legacy she leaves us now. God’s Word assures us she knew Yahweh loved her and yet I wonder if she ever asked her Abba did he love her enough to silence the whispers as she walked through town to draw water with a bulging belly and no wedding ring.

God also took a woman more fit to be a grandmother than a mother and gave a baby life in her belly too. Although the baby growing in her was proof of God’s remembrance of Elizabeth, I wonder if she asked God to let her live long enough to enjoy her son’s ministry, to strengthen her feeble, aged body enough to lift her child high into the air long after he’d walk on his own.

Never too early to too late, God’d timing is always perfect and He never forgets those whose hearts are His. Into a family the world calls too soon to be practical and convenient the King of Kings was born to give hope to the hopeless and change the world. Into an aging family the world calls over the hill and too old to enjoy, God paved a pathway to Jesus and pointed the world to peace through the birth of John the Baptist.
So if you’re waiting for what feels like forever, take heart. God may be paving a pathway to change the world through your yes. Just keep waiting. Keep hoping. And remember, God loves you enough, sister. He does.

“Humanly speaking it is impossible. But with God all things are possible...The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Matthew 19:26 & James 5:16b

How long have you been asking God for the impossible?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


My friend Karen Ehman is launching her new book today, Let. It. Go.

It's about how to stop being a control freak and start trusting God.


This humorous, yet spiritually practical book will help you to:

Take control of your schedule yet welcome interruptions from God
Draw the line between mothering and micromanaging
Influence your husband instead of manipulating him
Learn to control your emotions when you can’t control the circumstances
Stop pursuing the appearance of perfection and start pursuing the person of God

Karen is a funny, down to earth writer who can touch the heart of any woman. It's an easy read that will grab you from the first page. I can't wait to dig in to the final copy!


Visit her page for a chance to win a Kindle Fire by subscribing to her 5 day challenge and follow the links to win a free copy of the book!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When life gives you dirt, just add water

He makes good things from dirt. Genesis 2:19 says, “From the dust of the earth, He made all living things.”


Dust.

Makes me think of all the dirt in my life. The gritty dirt I can’t get off my tile no matter how many times I sweep and the elephant-sized dirt I nonchalantly sweep under the proverbial rug.

Dirt.

Reminds me of the blind man so desperate for a miracle he allowed Jesus to put mud on his eyes. Mud made from the dust of the ground and the spit of Jesus’s mouth. 

Mud. 

“Jesus ... smoothed the mud over the man’s eyes, and told him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.’ So the man went where he was sent and washed and came back seeing!” (John 9:6-7)

Living Water changed that dirt. 

Holy mud.


Dare I take off my shoes, walk on the tile, wipe my feet? Will I allow Living Water to touch my feet. Change my dirt.

Living Water changes dirt. 

Dare I lift the proverbial rug, exposing the elephant? Living Water changes elephant-sized dirt. 

Big dirt = Big miracle.

When life offers dirt, just add water. Living Water. 
Let God make something good out of your dirt.

If you identify with this, you can click here to tweet it.

Do you believe Living Water can change your dirt? It is my pleasure to pray courage for you to uncover the dirt every time I pray for me. Just leave a comment below.

Never miss an installment of Glad Chatter as I work to establish a regular posting routine. Just type your email in the subscribe box in the upper left sidebar. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When you're tired, really, really tired

It never fails. A wonderful conference, a weekend retreat, a penetrating sermon, a revelatory Bible study and then...Life happens. Explosions of daily and all its problems try to snuff out the hope gleaned in God’s presence.

Have you ever crashed and burned after being touched by God and spewed on those you love most?

Ladies’ retreats are my favorite place to be in the world. I love filling up on girl talk, dark chocolate, Diet Coke and flavored coffee. I love crying happy tears, sad tears, hopeful tears, excited tears. Retreats are the perfect place to relieve stress and express emotion. I love late nights with the girls and early mornings with Jesus. 

I come home talked out and filled up. Sleep-deprived and Jesus-full. Seems like sleep-deprived lasts days longer than Jesus-full.

I’m no longer the encourager wife, I’m the worn-out mom. My thoughts go from, “Thank you, Lord,” to “I’m so tired.” 

This week I’d like for you to join me in a strategy to renew our strength.

Whether you’re coming off a Jesus-full weekend or just a sleep-deprived schedule, here are some promises to lean on until weariness gives way to true rest:

  • The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:4
  • Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
  • A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. Proverbs 17:22
  • In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15
  • He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. Isaiah 40:29
  • I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25
  • Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
  • Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Matthew 11:28
  • So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Galatians 6:9
  • Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3


Pick an “energy” promise to own. Write it down on an index card and carry it with you. Over the next few days, pull it out and read it when your thought becomes, “I’m so tired.” Then connect with me and let me know how God renews your strength.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

How fall begs us to share our faith

Have you ever experienced fall? I'm from Texas. I experience hot. And cold. One day the trees are green. The next the temperature drops 40 degrees and the trees are bare. The colors of autumn painted across the hills and valley where I had the privilege of staying this weekend are a breathtaking reminder of God's creativity and beauty. As rain danced across colorful leaves, ladies gathered taking time from a hectic life to seek their Creator.

I just returned from Missouri where I had the privilege and honor to minister to a fun group of ladies from Forward Community Church. My friend Angie belongs to this community. 

One thing about my friend Angie is her willingness to take me to Jesus, no matter what the cost. She reminds me of some friends in Luke 5 which we met this weekend.

In Luke 5:17 Jesus is teaching to a large crowd from many towns "And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick."

Some men came carrying their paralyzed friend on a mat. When they couldn't get through the crowd they climbed to the roof, made a hole and lowered the man down "right in front of Jesus." (v. 19)

Jesus saw their faith, forgave his sins and healed him. (v. 20)

Think about it. The faith of friends moved Jesus to heal their paralyzed friend. Their sick friend was completely dependent on his friends to take him to Jesus. He couldn't move on his own. And the text implies this sick man wasn't only dependent on his friends' movement, he was also dependent on their faith.

We had the privilege of being where the power of the Lord was to heal the sick this weekend. We saw Jesus forgive and heal our sisters as we prayed for them. We saw the beauty of the Creator painted across the scenery. In this serene place there was no doubt of His power. Of His love. Of His work. 

As we left the peace and pretty of the valley, we left with new faith. Bigger faith. Deeper faith.

Your community is full of other ladies. Ladies I didn't get the privilege of meeting. Ladies too paralyzed to come this weekend. Ladies paralyzed by busyness. Ladies paralyzed by need. Paralyzed by duty. Paralyzed by fear. Paralyzed by rejection.

They may have missed the rainbow foliage across the rain sparkling valley but it's not too late for them to see the most miraculous scene of all. Ladies changed by the presence of Jesus and his healing power.

God wants you to grab these sisters. Call them. Email them. Love on them. Take them to lunch. Take them to where Jesus and His healing power is. Even if you have to make a hole in your schedule to get them there. Don't leave your beloved girlfriends behind. Take them to Jesus. Invite them into your community.

Let them experience the beauty of your weekend too. 

This weekend we identified with the dependent paralytic. Now, as you pick up your mat and follow your Jesus, put yourself in the shoes of his diligent friends. Make a persevering, painstaking effort to take your paralyzed girlfriends to the place where the power of Jesus is present to heal the sick. 

Keep the scenery beautiful. Keep praying for each other. Keep adding to your community. Keep taking your girlfriends to Jesus.

How will you take someone else to Jesus today? 

How can I pray for you as you share your faith?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When your soul is in need of repair

The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! 1 Thessalonians 5:24


I answered a call to full-time vocational ministry. A little over twenty years ago.
As an insecure college student, I had no idea what that would look like. I just knew I heard God’s call. I went before a board of elders, a licensing committee and a congregation and promised to spend my adult years sharing the message He was placing in my heart.
Then the voices of this world crept in and crowded out the gentle whisper and soft nudging. 
"You need to use the college degree we sacrificed to pay for."
"Church is for Sundays."
"Why would anyone want to hear what you have to say?"
"How will you support yourself?"
"God wants you to work hard at a real job."
"You've always wanted to be a teacher when you grow up." 

The voices said.
I justified my many careers with excuses. Teaching is ministering to kids. Volunteering is ministry. Working for a newspaper uses my gifts. Selling real estate is being a helper to my husband. I’ll speak at a few retreats a year.
However you slice it, teaching teens Shakespeare is much different than teaching them Scripture. An hour a week volunteering does not fill a void left by denied passion. Writing news stories and press releases is much different than sharing my story. I can help my husband a jillion other ways. 
Seeing God move as I speak is when I feel most alive. Whether I’m sharing the gospel with one of my children, encouraging a girlfriend to check out a particular verse or teaching a weekend retreat, I love God’s Word and I love talking about it. 
When I did not have the “perfect” job, I hid my ministry license in a box in the attic for twenty years. When people learned I was licensed minister, I felt like a fraud. Shame and failure anchored me to depression. Fear kept me imprisoned. Compromise choked my soul.
But God
In all His goodness and mercy rescued, redeemed and repaired my calling.
Through a series of God-orchestrated instants and opportunities, I am now Family Life Director at Walden Community Church. I have the extreme pleasure and privilege of helping a family of the most wonderful people grow a children’s ministry, serve moms by loving their kids and shining a light into my beloved community.
Where is your soul in need repair? I’ll be praying for each comment as I work my new job today.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What is called for when the house, the mama and the kids fall apart

loki
"Dear Friend,
You are so upset over all these details.




There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Discover it and I won't take it away from you!"

I love you", Jesus.