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Choose You This Day

The day my dad died is one I will never forget. Besides experiencing the normal emotions of grief and brokenheartedness, I also found myself angry with him. Weakened by his cancer and the accompanying treatments, there was little he could or was supposed to do without help. To this day I will never know why he thought it was a good idea to take himself to the bathroom in the dark in the middle of the night without help. But he did. As a result, he fell and hit his head, aspirated and went into a coma that he never came out of, dying hours later.

I will never forget the conversation I had with my sister later that day. Crying, I lamented that had he asked for help, he would not have died that day to which she lovingly, but pointedly replied with this: “Where is it that we, as humans, get off thinking that we have so much control in this life?” She was right, of course. My theology was way off that day.

As I look around me, watching what once seemed like a civilized nation fall apart at the seams, I am reminded that there is little around me that I can control. Things like death, the raising up of world leaders and the evil performed by others, are simply out of my hands.

If this all sounds a bit depressing, I actually see it quite differently. God made each one of us for a distinct purpose in a distinct moment in history. Right now, as believers in Jesus, we have an awesome opportunity to show the world who He is. What we can control is how we live our lives in front of a watching world. We get one chance in this life to make God look good, to make Him famous. The choices we make, whether we realize it or not, speak volumes about this Person we call our Savior.

These choices aren’t always big and groundbreaking. Often they consist of the small things in the everyday that if continued over time will make a difference for better or for worse. The choices I deal with daily often involve getting my financial act together. Being knee-deep in debt is not only wrong, it’s a horrible testimony. Not to mention that being constantly worried about money is one way Satan keeps me distracted from doing what God has called me to do.

We have control over so much more than we think, and I was reminded of a verse in church yesterday that speaks directly to this issue of choosing wisely in the areas God has given us control of.

“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense” (2 Chronicles 29:11, NIV).

What areas of your life require hard choices to be made in order to take control from the enemy? What has God called you to right now, and what are the distractions keeping you from fulfilling that purpose?

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Perspective is Everything

I woke up the other morning in a terrible mood. I was mad at God. It started with my husband telling me my son’s basketball pictures were after school that day and that we would need money for them. Next came my daughter telling me she was out of shampoo. I was already frustrated that my gas tank was on empty, the dishwashing soap was almost gone and the cupboards needed restocking.

On the way to my cleaning job that day I cried and quoted “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” back at Him. I reminded Him that He owned the cattle on a thousand hills so why wasn’t He sharing the wealth? I realize that my handling of money has been less than stellar in the past, but needs are needs and I had some. And why was His idea of provision so much different from mine?

You’re probably thinking I deserved to get hit by lightening for my attitude toward God, but I have learned that He wants honesty from us, not disrespect but honest questions. He can’t do anything with us or what bothers us if we bottle it up inside and try to work it out on our own. Trust me. I’ve tried this, and it just makes me more tired than I already am!

The other thing I have learned is that God is patient with the stupid (that would be me). After throwing my temper tantrum at Him in the car, He quietly and patiently went through my inventory of things I thought He hadn’t provided and gave me some perspective.

1).  My son is on four different sports teams throughout the year (this is where a lot of my money goes!).  I no longer feel the need to buy basketball pictures for the entire extended family. One picture on my desk of his handsome face in his uniform is fine. 

2). Yes, my daughter needed shampoo, but there were other bottles of the stuff in the house that work just fine that she could use until I got to the store.

3). The gas tank. This is the thorn in my side that God will probably make me live with forever unless He decides to move me to a city with a great public transportation system or plenty of bike lanes. Somehow the gas lasts until I can get the money to get more just like it did that day. I cleaned a house, cashed a check and filled the tank.

4). It’s true I have a dishwasher for a reason. My hands look ten years older than the rest of me because of the years they’ve spent in the water, but they still work. I can hand wash dirty dishes until I get what I need. I don’t want to, but it can be done. Better yet, why can’t those kids of mine do it?

5). The cupboards were looking a little sparse, but there was definitely food in them just not what I, or my kids, wanted to eat. But then God reminded me that someone in my own city would go without dinner later that night and would give anything to have my “empty” cupboards.

God does supply our needs. He has to. He promised He would and it’s not in His nature to not fulfill a promise or not to provide for us. But sometimes what He provides is something we need more, and that’s perspective. A very valuable commodity in the culture we live in.

How has God given you perspective in your life?Image

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Welcome!

DSC_0024I have been considering starting a blog for about two years. The things that held me back for so long will not surprise those who know me. I am riddled with self-doubt and the ugliness of procrastination. Not to mention, that my computer skills are primitive at best. How do the mechanics of blogging work? Who would read what I write? What do I have to say that is different from what is already out there? What if it becomes just another thing I start and never finish? So I thought and stewed for two years. But a calling is a calling, and writing is my calling whether blogging, book writing, article writing, whatever. It is also the vehicle God has used in my life to make sense of the world and to hopefully encourage other people along the way.

You’re probably wondering about the name. Let me explain. I have spent most of my life attempting to reconcile my Christianity with my insatiable desire for stuff. It has lead to nothing but trouble in the form of debt, anxiety, discontent and a stagnant relationship with God. I learned the hard way that God is a jealous God and refuses to share space in my heart with anything or anyone else. I also learned that He is rich in mercy, and His boundaries are given out of an intense love for us and a desire to protect us from ourselves. Much of what I write comes out of these experiences. I could take any aspect of money and materialism and turn it into an old fashioned object lesson because this is where I live everyday.

The purpose of this blog is selfish in that I know I am not the only person out there who desires the impossible, to be in the world and not of it. I also know that I am not the only mom attempting to swim against the stream in the area of parenting. I know that my desire to raise Godly kids, unencumbered by the trappings of this world is not unique to me. We need each other.  Hopefully, this blog will be a place of encouraging discussion, the occasional ramblings from me and most of all a community of like-minded women who are called to the task of dying to ourselves and living to Christ.

It would be an honor to have you on this journey with me, weaving in and out of life’s complications and spurring one another on toward godliness allowing our lives to be the stage where the main Character tells His story of redemption.