Monday, February 4, 2013

Is It Worth It?

"You can make a point and lose the opportunity to make a difference." A pastor made that statement recently in an interview and it has stuck with me. I can't remember his name, but his thought was provoking. The conversation that he was having was all about making a choice with our words. Is it worth it? To him, the goal is to use his words to influence others toward a relationship with Christ. His point, pardon the pun, was that he may not say what he thinks about a subject to someone, if it alienates his ability to make a difference for Christ in their life. He values the opportunity to make a difference for Christ over the opportunity to make a point.
We see this all the time on social media sites. There's a constant flow of tweets or facebook posts of people trying to get their "point" across. Say it first, say it with a little zing and sit back to enjoy the reactions. For instance, the Super Bowl was played in New Orleans last night. My social media sites were overflowing with "points" being made. Admittedly, some of them cracked me up. Others were rude and obnoxious. Some of them were about commercials, and some of them were about specific people or groups. Unfortunately, these thoughts can go out unfiltered. I'm guilty of it myself. Too often I forget that sending a tweet or facebook update is having a conversation. It's saying something to someone. It has an impact on our relationship. I thought about this a little closer to home. My children hear me on the phone or in conversations with folks all the time. If they are hearing me throwing my points out like fiery darts, am I losing the opportunity to make a difference in their lives? Is it worth it? I think not.
In the interview, this pastor was really getting beat up. The perception was that he wasn't standing up for the truth of God's Word about social issues. I may or may not have jumped on the band wagon! :) However, after listening to him I realized that he's just putting into practice what Jesus said was most important.
Matthew 22:37-40 says, "Jesus replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


My One Word for 2013 is finish.  I’ve been thinking about and praying about what my word would be for several weeks now.  Finish. Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Finishing is better than starting.”   If you know me at all, you know that I’m a sprinter and not a marathoner.  I need quick, easy to accomplish tasks.  I like fast, tangible results.  Reality is not that easy though.  Much of what I do takes time, energy and a long perspective.  My vision has to go beyond the immediate. 

So instead of mounting up more and more tasks and being overwhelmed by it all, I’m focusing on finishing.  Here are some hopes for this word being at the forefront of my thoughts for 2013:

v  Finish - all the books I’ve started and haven’t quite turned the last page on.  Two down already!

v  Finish- conversations with my family and friends.  Too often we’re cut-off and never get back to it.  Sadly it’s not usually something more important that interrupts, just the next thing.  So we move on and never finish what we started.

v  Finish-cleaning out the closets; getting rid of the excess.  (Probably has something to do with finishing the book 7-An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen HatmakerJ)

v  Finish- reading the Bible through.  I’ve started this numerous times and never quite get it done.  This definitely takes a marathoner mentality.  I read and study all the time, just never cover to cover.  This year I’m using my new favorite Bible, the NLT Life Application Study Bible.  I’m already enjoying the process of just turning the pages, reading the story. 

I’ve chosen a “one word” for the last few years.  I have no doubt that as the year progresses God will intervene and change my perspective on “finish”.  He always does.

Last year my one word was present-I wanted to intentionally be present in each moment that God gave me.  One huge paradigm shift for me was realizing that I don’t always recognize that God is present – always.   For instance, I would pray, “God be with me.”   Sounds fine, but the reality is God is with me. He’s present everywhere, all the time.  My prayer now is God help me to see You where I am, help me not to miss You or Your presence.  It’s a huge change that helps me to be more confident and peaceful, no matter what I’m dealing with.  God is present.

What’s your One Word for 2013? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Five Years Later...

Five years ago today I started this blog.  There was much fear and trembling, probably some serious grinding of my teeth.  You see I’d much rather speak than write.  It’s a painful process for me. 

The thoughts and insights that I’d like to share are whirling around in my head, but it’s so much easier for me to tell someone than to write it down.  However, today I actually had a moment to get on my personal pc and noticed that it had been five years since I sent out the first post.  Some years the posts are more sporadic than others.  But it is still a great way to capture some of the things that God is teaching me. Thanks for reading; it’s a gift and a huge blessing to me.

To celebrate here are some thoughts from my favorite story in scripture. 

In Acts 3 the story of Peter healing the crippled beggar is one of my favorite passages to read.  I think God reveals something new to me every time I ponder it.  This time was no different.  In verse 3, the beggar asks Peter and John for money as they are entering the temple.  Money is what he wanted. 

During the Christmas season, I find myself asking the question, “What do you want?” too often.  There are presents to be purchased and I’m not the most creative person.  I ask my husband and my children to make me a list of things they want.  It’s hardly ever anything that they need, but full of stuff that they want.  This is exactly what the beggar in the story did.  He asked for what he wanted, but not what he needed.  He needed to be healed.  He needed to meet Jesus.  He asked for money.

Fortunately for him, Peter and John didn’t have any money.  They had left everything to follow Jesus.  Verse 6 says, “Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  The crippled beggar became a strong, able-bodied believer in Jesus.    

I do the same thing when I talk to God.  I ask for what I want, but not what I truly need.  I want more time, but what I need is to rest.  I want more resources, but what I need is restraint.  I want more patience, but what I need is to love.  What I really need is more of Jesus. 

Happy 5th anniversary!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

For Hannah

Hannah is my daughter- a teenager about to step into her Freshmen year of high school. This is for her.
Hey sweet thing. Tomorrow is your first day of high school. Wow! I can't believe it. I've thought about this day for the last few months, literally since you left middle school in May. I've also written this post in my mind a thousand times since then. And yes I did cry…most of the time. I realize you wouldn't cry, but that's how we roll. It's hard to believe I gave birth to you- a non-crying girl. It's ok though, I've got it covered!

There's so much I would like to say to you about this day and the next four years, but there will be time for that. Moments when it's just the two of us and nobody's around. Today I just want to say how proud I am of the young woman you are. Your strength and courage during some difficult times over this past year have blown me away. Moments when I thought surely you would crumble into a puddle, you stood tall and kept believing. Recently you said to me, "Mom it's not up to me, it's up to God." It seems so natural to you. And yet you have no idea how not natural that is for a fourteen year old, or an adult for that matter. Your faith is amazing and a blessing to those who know you.

Earlier in the summer I heard this song called "For Your Splendor" by Christy Nockels. It has become my prayer for you over these past few months. One line in the song says, "It's hard to grow when everybody's watching, to have your heart pruned by the One who knows best." It truly is hard in the times you're living in. There is such an insatiable appetite to communicate instantly and just about everyone has the ability to do so, and does. It's almost impossible to unplug and turn off the noise when you just need a moment. Guard your heart sweet girl. Be still, listen for and hear the voice of God. He absolutely has a wonderful, perfect plan for your life.

The song also talks about growing deep roots. Roots that bear branches that in turn bear fruit. It's a process. You keep growing your roots at the feet of Jesus-He loves you the most. I wish that would mean that every day would be easy from now on, but it won't be. There will be more refining and pruning; all to make you an even more beautiful display of His splendor. I love you and am blessed to call you mine.

Have a wonderful first day of high school!  And because I really love you, I want sing the song.

Listen to Christy's version!   For Your Splendor by Christy Nockels

Monday, June 25, 2012


Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Teardrops rolling down on my face,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.

Remember that song? Don't hate me; it's been stuck in my head for days now! Feelings, what do you do with them? I've been thinking about this a lot lately. The sadness, disappointment, happiness, excitement, fear, concern, joy, confidence, grief, insecurity, peace, apathy, etc., etc.- how do you handle these emotions? The list could go on and on. How do you deal with the feelings that come with living life? They can be overwhelming and cloud our judgment for the good and the bad.
Recently I had a conversation with a dear friend. Trying to share some encouragement, I said, "Don't worry about it. It'll be o-k. You don't need to be fearful." Sounds like good advice, right? Maybe you too have said something similar. Unfortunately though, it didn't change the feelings that were crowding her heart and overwhelming her.

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."                    1 John 3:19, 20
These verses provide some good news and some bad news. Bad news is that it says "whenever our hearts condemn us", meaning that it's going to happen. As long as we're living and breathing this side of eternity, the feelings will be real. The good ones may make us forget to depend on God and the bad ones may make us question where God is.
The good news is two-fold. First, God knows everything and he's greater than those feelings. He knows when we feel bad and when we feel great. He knows and he's bigger than the pull they may seem to have on us. Second, we can know and rest in the presence of God when we love with our actions and in truth. This can be hard, but we can make a choice to show love and to speak the truth. People will disappoint us and we will disappoint people. Thankfully though, there's always an opportunity to get it right. Contrary to what the songs says we want to remember our feelings of love and rest in the presence of God. The best place to be.


Friday, May 25, 2012


I'm spending some time this summer studying the life of David. Today's reading involved the selection of Saul as King. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 10:17-25. Basically there's a narrowing of the field by tribe, by clan, by family and eventually down to the choice of Saul. Saul knew he would be chosen. The funny thing is he hid when the announcement was being made! Verse 22 says, "So they inquired further of the Lord, "Has the man come here yet?" and the Lord said, "Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage."

This struck me as humorous, because I too try to hide from God in the baggage. Not literally of course, but too often figuratively. When I feel like God is calling me to do something I can always come up with an excuse as to why He should use someone else. I yell at my kids. I don't know those people. I don't have the money. I'm not qualified. These are just some of the thoughts and responses that I'll give to ignore and disobey what God is asking of me. Do you do that?

Just like Saul, I try to hide in the baggage. It's easy to do that with other people, but we can't do that with God. He knows exactly where we are. He knows exactly who He wants for the task. The real question is: are we willing to let it go and say yes?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is Anybody Home?

Hello? Is Anybody Home? For the faithful few who read this blog, I'm back! Life has gotten a little crazier over the past few months, and I just didn't have anything to say. Truthfully, I was too lazy and/or scared to write a post about it.

The whole concept of writing a post has sort of become like a Reality show for me. Do you watch any of those shows….American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Apprentice, The Voice? The contestants do their deal, sing, dance, manage a project and then they get judged. Three, sometimes four people give them feedback. It can be gushing and loving or harsh and critical. The contestant has to stand there and take it. It's a pretty intense moment to watch. Thankfully I've not had much criticism on this blog, but the thought that it could happen keeps me on the sidelines from posting too often. Writing that down even gets under my skin! I'm a competitor, so giving in to this silliness is not who I am. So if you'll keep stopping by, I'll keep posting. It may be short and sweet, or long and thoughtful, but I'm not giving in to fear. Now back to our regularly scheduled post…or at least what I got on here to say. Is anybody home? When I would come home from college, I used to ask that question as I walked through the door of my grandparent's house. They lived next door to my parents, so as soon as I dropped my stuff off I went over to their house. It's kind of silly, because they were always home. However, our little greeting never changed. My grandmother was legally blind, but she would always say, "Bless your heart, come on in." Then she'd walk over and give me hug and say, "That's Bridget! Sit down and eat." Truth be told, that's why I went over there in the first place. Grandmoma always had something good cooked to eat. My grandfather, a man of few words, would say, "Hey Sapphire." I have no idea why he called me that. He may have called my sister and cousins that too. I don't remember. When I would head back to college on Sundays, he would say, "Keep your nose clean Sapphire." Cracks me up just thinking about it. I miss them both, but lately I've had glimpses of going home in my own yard. Both of my grandparents had green thumbs. We lived off of many vegetables that were grown on acres and acres of land around us. It was lots of hard work, but good stuff growing up. Obviously as a young girl, I did not think so. Having to get up very early to work in the gardens during our summer vacation kind of stunk. I do miss having all those vegetables readily available now though.  However, they also had flowers all over their yard-hydrangeas, azaleas, day lilies, camellias, roses, gardenia bushes and magnolia trees. I did not inherit their "green thumb", but these beauties have been growing like crazy in my yard for the last few weeks and they remind me of going home.