Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Musings: Heart

Psalm 139 - a favorite of many.  It is such a reassuring, beautiful Psalm that gives us a peek into how intimately the Lord knows us -- every single detail.  It is a favorite of many.  As I was reading it in the stillness of my daughter, Ashley's, house yesterday morning, I landed on verses 23 and 24 - so familiar and yet coming alive anew.

Search me, O God, and know my heart.  
Try me and know my anxious thoughts.  
And see if there be any hurtful way in me 
and lead me in the everlasting way.

Only the Lord can really know the heart.  Only He can know the true root of my anxious thoughts.  He alone knows my ways that are hurtful to myself, to others and most importantly, to my relationship with Him.  

He desires to lead me in His ways and on His path.  He knows those things that will take away from the life that He has for me.  In His great love, He searches my heart - every dark recess - and brings these things to light.

If you have lived long, you have probably been accused or characterized in a way that is negative and hurtful.  I don't like to hear that someone characterizes me in an ungodly way, BUT, it is absolutely necessary to take it before the Lord and allow Him to examine the accusation.

I ask the Holy Spirit to make me keenly aware of any moment when I fall into this sin.  

I want my hurtful ways to glow like a neon sign so that I am immediately turn from them and stay on the path that the Lord has for me.  

Then . . . I want to be able to let go of that accusation and rest in the Lord's ability to cleanse me of all unrighteousness and restore me.  

I do not want that accusation to continue to taunt me.  
I do not want to be defending myself over and over again in my mind.

The Lord is my Defender and I can trust Him to bring truth to light.  I do not want to be deceived in my own heart.  I want to lay my heart bare before the Lord and ask Him to make it wholly His.

Then . . . I want to return my focus outward to what the Lord has for me to do right now.

I need to:  Realign --> Re-energize -->  Reengage

I want to be a useful servant to the Lord - not all tied up in myself - not self absorbed in either my faults or my successes.  

My prayer is that the Lord would clear my mind and my heart of any false accusations and that the truth that remains would be cleansed by the power of the resurrection.  I want the Lord to replace my sin with His grace and mercy.

My prayer is that the Lord will use these experiences to make me wholly His.  That I will grow to have a pure heart that only He can give me.  I want my life to exhibit the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Jesus - please keep chiseling away at anything about me 
that does not look like You.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Heather

Oh, what a fun couple of days I have had.  I got to sneak out of Chicago, fly down to Texas and SURPRISE Heather for her birthday.  This is her 25th birthday on the 25th.  The "golden" birthday.  I just couldn't miss it.  I walked into Heather's classroom and Heather screamed, hugged and cried.  In other words, it was perfect.

I am so thankful for both of my girls and I truly celebrate them every day.  BUT - birthdays are very special in our family.  It is a treat if we get to be together on a birthday and particularly if it is unexpected.

If you will bear with me, I'll take you through a few pictures of this baby girl.  It was fun for me to look back at photos over the years.

Heather was a very happy baby.  She sucked her thumb, laughed and smiled from the beginning.  She was born a little comedian and still makes all of us laugh, a lot.

She was a bit mischievous also - especially when big sister helped.

Ashely and Heather emptied an entire jumbo sized bottle of baby powder all over Heather's room and all over Heather.  She came walking into the kitchen looking like this!  I'm so glad I took a picture.  Truthfully, it was hard to be mad because she looked so hysterical.

These girls have shared it all.

These last 25 years have been full of JOY and LAUGHTER.  Sure, there were those moments when we didn't see eye to eye, but I have to say they were few compared to all the great times.  It has been an incredible privilege to be Heather's Mom and I could not be more proud of the godly, kind, caring, smart, dedicated woman that she has become.

Heather - I celebrate you.  I thank God for the gift that you are to so many others, but especially to me.  I am in awe every time I watch you teach your students.  I am in awe when I see what a good friend you are to so many people.  I am so grateful to have you as my daughter and as my friend.  

Happy Birthday sweet girl.  
I love you more than you can imagine.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Musings - Riff Raff

As I was reading along in 1st Samuel this week, I was reading about the time period when Saul was after David and David was constantly on the run.  It was not a fun time for him and I'm sure it was very lonely.  

In chapter 22, David is joined by a group of men.  Whew . . . he is no longer alone.  Catch this.

"Everyone who was in distress and everyone who was in debt and everyone who was discontent gathered to him (David) and he became captain over them.  Now there was about 400 men with him."  1st Samuel 22:2

WOW - David, the mighty warrior, is having to run for his life and he is joined by the distressed, the debtors and the discontent.  He became captain over them.  I wonder if he thought to himself, "REALLY?"  And yet, there in no indication that he complained.  He took these men in and lead them.  

Just suppose someone said to you -- I found you some help. Here are the distressed, the debtors and the discontent. Congratulations. -- Not many would be jumping for joy.  Would you be able to see past the label to the heart and to the potential of each one?

Many of these men would become part of David's "mighty men" in the future.  

I am reminded that it is the Lord who makes someone a leader and it is the Lord who transforms the distressed, those in debt and those who are discontent into the mighty.

It reminds me that the Lord is not limited 
by my limitations.

After all, Jesus' band of men included fishermen, a tax collector, a doubter, a denier and a betrayer.  

Perhaps there is hope for me yet.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday on Friday - Good Times

It has been a busy and good week - hence Thankful Friday. Alan and I headed back to Chicago from Colorado on Sunday and got here at 8:30 Monday night.  It always feels good to get home and we do love our city.  I am thankful for the time in Colorado and:

*For waking up to see mountains every morning
*For making some new friends this trip that I really enjoy
*For hours in the car where I got to visit with Alan

Arriving back in Chicago is always good.  I am thankful for my Chicago life where:

*I had a day to re-enter and get things back in order.

*I had physical therapy with Stephanie on Wednesday - always good.

*I made dinner and had our last small group - so good.  This study on James has been amazing and the growth that I have seen in these women has been phenomenal.  What an incredible blessing.

*I got to spend Thursday going to spin class (first class back after my fractured foot) and it felt so good to be back at it.  Then I got to spend time with my friend, Lesa, eating lunch and spending time together.  Then, Bible study with one of my all time favorite people, Ashley Cauble and then dinner with my former neighbor, Allison.
*Today - I got to spend the morning with my friend, Marifran and the afternoon with my friend Beth. 

That is just a good week - full of fun, fellowship and huge blessings from the Lord.  I want to acknowledge the Lord's goodness in all the gifts of the week.  I am one blessed daughter of the King.  

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Musings - Full Out Obedience

I'm reading through 1st Samuel right now.  I love these familiar stories - some of which I have heard since I was little - such as David and Goliath.  But in my reading the other day, I was struck by another passage that truly made me pause and think.

In 1st Samuel 15, Saul is given some very specific instructions by the Lord regarding a battle.  Saul proceeds to "kind of" do what the Lord asked him to do.  He obeys some of the Lord's instructions and ignores others.  He actually builds a monument to himself.  Samuel (the prophet) confronts him and Saul comes up with a list of reasons and excuses for his actions - even couching some of them in some "spiritual" terms.  This is the slippery slope we find Saul taking.

Disobedience --> Pride -->  Excuses -->  Lies -->  Punishment -->  Consequences

The real truth of the problem comes out in verse 22:

Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and 
sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice and 
to heed than the fat of rams.

It is easy to judge Saul here.  After all, he was given a clear set of instructions and did not follow them.  Then he lied about it, made excuses and tried to soften the severity of his disobedience.  Then as a last resort, he groveled.  He suffered major consequences that haunted him for the rest of his days.

Oh wait . . . . . . . . .

He is so like us!  How often do I find myself believing that partial obedience is good enough.  How often do I justify my actions with excuses? I asked myself these questions, and I invite you to ask them of yourself too.

What do I offer as my burnt offering?

What do I consider my sacrifices to be?

Are they what the Lord has asked of me 
or are they of my own design?

How often am I unwilling to own up 
to my own mistakes and my own sin?

What are the consequences that 
affect myself and those I love? 

Saul wanted his love and service to the Lord to be of his own design - viewing the Lord's commands as more of suggestions.  He wanted to pick and choose according to his own desires.  He lost the Lord's blessing on his tenure as king. 

I want to love the Lord fully.  I want to offer up what the Lord asks me to offer.  I want to sacrifice what He asks me to sacrifice.  And above all -- I want my obedience to be pleasing in His sight.  

My obedience demonstrates my love for Him.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday - fatness of soul

FAT - isn't that word out there in all kinds of ways - from the foods we eat to the weight we need to lose - The Biggest Loser - our own desire to be fit.  FAT is just out there in a hundred ways.  

Well - it is high time that FAT gets some positive press . . . fatness of soul, that is.

Psalm 65:11 says:
You have crowned the year with your bounty and 
your paths drip with fatness.

When I read this the other day, I thought it was a perfect description of this year.  Now honestly, 2012 has had a pretty rough start in many ways, but it has certainly been a year where I have experienced the bounty of the Lord and paths that drip with fatness.  

You know how a steak or a burger sizzles on the grill when the fat drips onto the hot coals (or gas burners if you are like me).  That sizzle is the goodness that makes the meat tasty.  In the midst of some hard things, I have heard that sizzle over and over again as the Lord has been right beside me.

I am thankful that while my path has had its steep hills and even some debris blocking my way, it has dripped with the fatness of God's Word through my daily reading and through the study of James.  I feel like each day has brought me a treasure from the Word and just the encouragement that I needed.  

I have never been a consistent journaler, but for the past year, I have been and I have to say that has been so good for me.  I would start journaling with some great intentions and then just die out after a bit.  This practice of journaling about what I am reading and learning has been of such great benefit to me.  I would encourage you to pick it up if you have gotten a bit lazy or if you have never tried it.  I'm using the Life Journal which actually has a reading plan in the front of it.  That has been very motivating for me.  You can order one at  They are inexpensive and a great tool to help you stay on track.

We always have this choice:

To be lean in soul and fat in our worldliness 
to be fat in our soul and lean in our worldliness.

I am choosing to delight in paths that drip with fatness.  I am choosing to feed my soul and starve my worldliness.  It is a daily choice and one that I have to revisit often.

Today, I am praising God for His path, 
which drips with fatness.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Musings - Generous Giving

You know how sometimes a certain subject just keeps coming up over and over again - from a variety of sources and under different circumstances - and you start to think, maybe I should pay attention to this?  God has been speaking to me about generosity and giving a lot lately.  It has come up in conversation, in my Bible study on James and in my daily reading which has me going through 2nd Corinthians right now.  A friend recently messaged me and asked me if I would be willing to share with her my thoughts on money and how we handle it in a way pleasing to the Lord.

Well - I approach this subject with a lot of humility and with some fear (the good kind) and trepidation.  I am by no means an authority on this subject.  I have lived long enough to have learned a thing or two and I have some really great examples in my life of stewardship - namely my parents.  I have also observed a good many other people in my life that I have learned a great deal from.  I have also made mistakes and I am still learning what this looks like in my own life. 

With that being said, how do we determine how to use our money - what to keep, what to give, what to save and how to use it?  I think whether you have a lot of money or only a little - these questions still apply.  I will also say that no matter how much money you have (whether you perceive it to be a lot or a little) there is always someone else who has more and someone else who has less.  

As I read through scripture and live out life, 
I have come to realize that how we handle our money
 is much more a matter of the heart 
than it is a matter of the almighty dollar.

2nd Corinthians 8:12 talks about the "readiness" to give.  It wasn't so much about the amount or about an exact need - it was their readiness to give that Paul complimented.  

Are you ready to give whatever the Lord asks of you?

The Lord isn't asking you to give what you do not have, He asks you to give out of what you do have.  The value of the gift is not its monetary value, but in the heart of the giver.  Selfishness and stinginess can be true of someone who has little or someone who has a lot. 

2nd Corinthians 9 also has quite a lot to say about our money and our willingness to give generously.

Sow sparingly ---- Reap sparingly   This is not a statement by a stock market analyst - but perhaps the same principal applies.  When we hold back on God and on our generosity to others (and this includes a whole lot more than money) we miss out.  There is tremendous blessing in giving.

God LOVES a cheerful giver -- Do you wince when you give?  I hope not.  There is such joy in giving.  There is such privilege in hearing about a need, feeling that nudge from the Lord to meet it and taking that step.  It isn't a pride thing and if your giving is showy, it truly detracts - but it is a soulfully joyous thing.

Look at the amazing news of verse 8:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

When you read on to the end of the chapter, you can not help but get really excited.   

God gets the glory.

He is the ultimate Giver.  

James tell us that "Every good thing and every perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of Lights in whom there is no variation of shifting shadow."

He is the Gift.

So, when I am looking at my finances and my giving, I have to take it before the Lord, first and foremost.  I have to listen to His voice and follow what He tells me.  I have to be willing to obey.  James 4:17 says, "To the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."

So, here is a HUGE problem when it comes to this subject.  Our tendency to judge others.  Does judging others make us feel more comfortable?  

There are several books out right now that deal with this subject and they are very good.  BUT each one must apply these principles to their own life. You can not apply those principles to someone else's life.  Scripture speaks to our tendency to judge one another just about as much as it speaks about our money.  We have to be very careful.  You can find yourself in a mess of pride before you know it.  We can actually be prideful because we have so little or because we have so much.  Remember - God is the Provider.  What you have is all from Him.  He is your Security - not your money. 

I've got to tell you, spirituality is not tied to your bank account or lack there of.  It is tied straight to your relationship with Jesus and your willingness to be obedient in whatever direction He is calling you.

I will also say that we have to watch ourselves - that we do not overindulge - that we are not all about ourselves and not about anyone else.  Keep a watchful eye on your heart and be accountable to someone else.  We are called to be good stewards of all that the Lord has given us.  You need godly wisdom to do this well.

Give all you can.

Don't compare or judge.

Hold onto what you have loosely - 
with the readiness to give it away.

Use everything the Lord has given you - 
big or small - for His glory.

This is not in any way an exhaustive writing on this subject, but it is just a few of the thoughts that have been running through my mind as of late.  Truly, let the Holy Spirit be your guide.  My prayer is that this will be helpful and encouraging to you and perhaps allow to you pause, think and evaluate where you are in this area of your life.  I'm still learning and I am grateful for my Jesus Who gives me a lot of grace along the way.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday on Friday - Mountains

Yesterday was a day of driving and driving and driving, but ending up in the mountains is well worth it!  6 1/2 more hours today and I will be walking into our Colorado place. What a huge blessing.  So few words today - and some pictures to share.  The Lord uses this place in so many ways in my life and He uses it to bless others as well. 

 Wouldn't you agree that the mountains are shouting His praise!  Enjoy this Easter weekend.  This is what it is all about - our Living, Risen Savior!   

Because he lives

I can face tomorrow

Because he lives

All fear is gone

Because I know

He holds the future

And life and is worth the living

Just because he lives

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Musings - True Love

I've been reading through 1st Corinthians this month and I finally came to chapter 13 - the LOVE chapter.  Well, it is referred to that way quite often.  It is used in a lot of weddings and it appears on posters, pinterest and facebook.  I imagine that some who have used it don't even know it comes from the Bible. 

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.   Love never fails . . .

I love this passage too.  It sets a high standard.  The reality of living this out is pretty tough. How do I practically do this?

*Love is patient:  stop, think, breathe, cut some slack, assume the best . . .

*Love is kind:  It is the little things that communicate kindness.  These are often things that no one else would even notice, except for the person who receives the kindness.  To that one - it is HUGE.

*Love is not jealous:  I want to be a cheerleader for the success and happiness of others.  I want to rest assured that if God didn't give it to me, I don't need it.  I can rest in His sufficiency.

*Love does not brag, is not arrogant:  This is where the passage shifts from love is to love is not.  Sometimes, something is best defined by eliminating what it is not. There are few things more unattractive than bragging and boasting.  Additionally, I don't have anything to boast or brag about.  Anything good in me is of the Lord, not myself.  Anytime I find myself doing this, I know that insecurity is rearing its ugly head.

*Love does not act unbecomingly:  Hmmm . . . does my behavior communicate my love for others?

*Love does not seek its own:  Oh, selfishness, self-centeredness, self absorption . . . BOO  How about selflessness, humility, and the desire to yield.

*Love is not provoked:  How easily am I angered?  frustrated?  Can I see behind the behavior of another to their hurt, anger or disappointment?

*Love does not take into account a wrong suffered:  This one is hard.  Past hurts and heartaches can somehow jump to the forefront of my mind.  I want to be someone who readily forgives, does not harbor anger and does not allow bitterness to settle into my soul.  It is my own heart that suffers when I allow this.

*Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth:  Here, we see what love is not and what it is.  What captures my attention?  Is is all the Hollywood gossip with the latest split up and scandal, the drama and trauma of those I know - or am I rejoicing in the truth of God's goodness and His Word?  I want to choose the Truth.

*Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things:  I want to always see the best in others, hang in there even when the going gets rough and believe in the transformational power of Jesus in my life, as well as, in the lives of others.  Hanging in there with people and journeying along side of them is sometimes very difficult and draining.  But, it is the call of love.

*Love never fails:  While I fail numerous times - the love of Jesus never fails.  His death on the cross and His resurrection cover my multitude of sins.  His love is more powerful than my lack and because of that -- others will be able to see His love even in my weaknesses.

Love never fails.

Jesus never fails.

Amazing love, how can it be
That you, my King, would die for me
Amazing love, I know its true
It's my joy to honor You

How will you show love this week?