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, October 29, 2012

Monday Musings ~ Say that again?

One of my favorite accounts in the book of Acts is in chapter 16.  I saw something new when I read this the other day.  

"But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them."

This did not take place in a church or on a camp out!  This scene took place in a prison.  I'm thinking that singing and praying were not the norm and certainly not an expected reaction after a severe beating and imprisonment.  Paul and Silas CHOSE to respond in this way.  Mind boggling!

And guess what?  The other prisoners were listening.  

I have always been amazed at the choice that Paul and Silas made to praise the Lord and in the events that transpired, but this time I was struck by the fact that the other prisoners were listening to them.  

Someone is always listening.  
Someone is always catching our 
response to our hardships.

We may not know who is listening.  We may never know what kind of an impact those words have on others.  

How am I responding?

Complaining comes easy.  We are all champs at complaining and focusing on the negative, particularly when there is a lot of negative!  If we are going to have a different reaction, we will have to be very intentional about it.  Complaining is our default setting!

People will be listening, either way.

What will they hear from me?  
Will my response draw them to faith?  
Will my response reflect my trust in my Lord?  
Will my response be filled with the kind of joy that can only come from my confidence in Jesus?

What will they hear from you?  

Your words may very well be the cry of their heart.   


Friday, October 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday ~ Dave, Molly and Isaac

My inability to remember what day it is messes with my Thankful Thursday post - but believe me, I am just as thankful on Friday!  When I was pondering about what to write about, my dear friends Dave, Molly and their son Isaac popped into my head.  Let me tell you a bit about them.

I first met Dave when he was a college student at Huntington University.  He was a Youth Ministry major and needed a summer internship.  I had an intern from Huntington the precious summer and fall, so fortunately for me, Dave was familiar with my church.  I lived in Columbus OH at the time and was the Youth Minister at Karl Road Baptist Church.  Dave came that summer to work with me.

Hands down, I have never seen someone so natural and so gifted in Youth Ministry.  We had a great summer of loving on students and doing all kinds of crazy and fun things.  It was a rich summer of fun and digging into the Word.  Dave did a fantastic job and made such an impact on our students in a short time.  He continued to join us for retreats and other events while finishing up his degree and working with Youth For Christ.

After graduation, Dave stayed in Huntington IN and joined the staff of Youth for Christ.  He did an amazing job there and along the way, met a very beautiful woman with the same heart for ministry -- Molly.  Molly was in Denver working with Youth For Chirst's camping ministry.  Dave ended up moving to Denver and after some dating and getting to know one another well, they decided to get married.  Alan, Ashley and I were able to fly to Michigan and be at their wedding.  It was one of the sweetest, most God honoring weddings I have ever been to. 

Dave and Molly continue to live in Denver with Dave training Youth For Christ leaders all over the country and Molly working in the camping ministry.  About a year and a half ago, Isaac entered the world.  He is an amazing little guy.

I am so thankful for people like Dave and Molly, who have such a heart for Jesus and for reaching students.  There influence literally spans the country.  The difference they have made in the lives of so many has eternal significance.  The friendship they offer me is a true gift.  Our hearts are forever entwined by our love for Jesus and students. 

Dave and Molly -- thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus where you are.  You are making a difference for eternity.  I know it isn't always easy.  Thank you for the sacrifices you make and the LIGHT that you share. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Musings ~ Job

I have been reading through the book of Job this past week.  Always an interesting read - to be sure!  I wrote two journal entries this week about some scripture in that book and they ended up going together so  I thought I would share them with you today.

Job is a mysterious book.  We see Satan having a conversation with God about Job.  Well, that right there is pretty interesting!  The events that follow are somewhat puzzling but there is a lot to be learned.

In Job 2:10, it says, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

No one really enjoys adversity (have you ever heard of someone doing an adversity dance?)  No one likes to experience injustice or disrespect.  And yet, these experiences are real life.  We are not entitled to anything - NADA - nothing.  We are not entitled to respect, or justice or smooth sailing.  We are not immune to pain, disappointment and even tragedy.   

God uses adversity, injustice and even disrespect to chip away at anything in my life that holds on to entitlement.  It is easy to see entitlement in someone else but I can be blind to it in my own life.  Warning phrases:   I should . . . I deserve . . . That shouldn't be . . . I can't believe . . .

I have chosen to give up my rights as I give over my life to Jesus.  I must accept adversity along with the good knowing that I can trust Jesus with all of it.

In Job 5:17-18, it says, "Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  For He inflicts pain and gives relief.  He wounds and His hand also heals."

The whole picture of God - or maybe the spectrum of His hand is just a hard thing to get your mind around.  Being joyful in the midst of discipline is certainly not a natural response.  Accepting God's hand of discipline and the pain that often follows must be done with the same joy that His relief and healing brings.

How is that even possible?

   He is God.  

                     His love is perfect.

      His motivations are always pure.

                          He is always for me.


                Without any exceptions.


     His only agenda is making me more like Jesus.

I must let go of my ideas of entitlement.  I must embrace the work that Jesus in doing in my life right now.  Like Job, I want to grow to understand my Heavenly Father more deeply through life's experiences.  

In Job 42:5, Job makes a statement that really struck me.
"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You."

Oh, how I want to see Jesus more clearly.  Let's hang in there!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday ~ Home

It is always evident when I have been traveling for a good while.  I can not ever remember what day it is!  I arrived back from TX on Monday afternoon and haven't really known what day it is since!  It is good to be home - even when I am missing my girls and the mountains - it is good to be home.

I am thankful for:

safe travels - I had 3 deer step in front of my car on my way to Tyler and  I had to swerve to miss them.  It was one of those moments where things could go either way and I ended up okay.  I don't take that lightly!

Beauty - I had such a beautiful drive home.  The fall color is Missouri was breath taking.  It was like a gift directly from the Lord.

Fall - yep - it is fall here in Chicago and I get to continue enjoying the beautiful color that surrounds me every day.

Hamilton - It is so good to be back painting at Hamilton.  As soon as I walk into that building, I feel like I have come home.  I love the people there and I love serving there.

Matt - My neighbor, Matt, got engaged to his beautiful girlfriend, Kristin!  We are very excited for them!

Working Out - back to working out with my dear friend, Marifran.

Stacy - Stacy is living with us right now and it is such a treat to have her here.

So many things to be thankful for!

What is on your list today?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesdays Thoughts ~ Joy = Strength

One of my all time favorite verses is Nehemiah 8:10

The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH.

I was reading that just a few days ago and I decided to think about what that meant in my life right now.

When I am weak
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am grieved
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am discouraged
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am overwhelmed
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am praising Him
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am uncertain about the future
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am missing my girls
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I look around at the beautiful fall color
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I am a bit down and out
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When others don't "get me"
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH
When I fail over and over again
     The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH

No matter what comes my way -- No matter how uncertain the days ahead may be --

The JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH

His JOY is constant

His JOY is abundant

His JOY is sufficient

The JOY of the LORD is a well spring of LIFE to me.

He is my JOY


Are you feeling like you need a JOY boost today?  Are you going through a time of discouragement or difficulty?  The Lord promises to be our JOY in the midst of whatever we are going through.  He is JOY in the good times as well as in the hard times.

Would you leave me a comment today and make your own JOY statement?

When I am . . .
The JOY of the Lord is my STRENGTH

What a blessings that would be to me and to others.  

Live in your JOY today.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thankful Friday ~ Little Ones

I had the privilege of being with Heather in her Head Start classroom the past two days.  Being in the classroom with Heather is one of my favorite things to do.  I love seeing these little ones that Heather loves so well.  She is an excellent teacher.  She has the patience of Job and a deep love and care for each child.  20 four year olds is a challenge for anyone, but Heather truly has a gift and seeing her use that is a gift to me.

Here are a few photos that I took over the past 2 days. 

On the playground

Heather with her class.
I feel very fortunate to have both of my girls and their husbands investing in the lives of kids.  Cooper is teaching High School physics right now and both he and Heather are volunteering in Young Life.  Ashley and James are working with the youth at their church.  It is fun to think about how many lives will be impacted by these 4 young adults who are committed to Jesus. 

I am so thankful for my family and their hearts for others.  They bless me, so.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Monday Musings ~ Everything changed

What if everything could be different? 

"And a woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years and could not be healed by anyone came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped."  Luke 8

*12 years of constant bleeding
*12 years of being "unclean"
*12 years of physical weakness

Discouragement . . . despair . . . hopelessness.

"And Jesus said,'Who is the one who touched Me?"

*There was a huge crowd pressing in on Jesus -- what was different about this touch?
          *was is expectant?
          *was it desperate?
          *was it the sincerity of it?
          *was it a faith touch?

"And while they were all denying it, Peter said,'Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on you.' But Jesus said, 'Someone did touch me, for I was aware that power went out of Me.'"

*Whoa -- Jesus knew that healing power had gone out of Him.  He knew that a healing had taken place.  Even in the midst of this crowd, He knew that something miraculous had taken place.

"When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him and how she had been immediately healed."

*She wanted to stay anonymous . . . to remain unnoticed . . . to just slip away.
*She was fearful and trembling.
*BUT - she also had a boldness as she began to proclaim how Jesus healed her.

"And He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

*What a relief.
*What an encouragement.
*What a gift.

It was a brief encounter but it changed everything.  We don't hear anything about this woman again, but I can imagine that life truly began anew for her in every sense.  

It is still true, you know.  When we proclaim the great things that Jesus has done in our lives, we too become bolder.  Let your speech speak of your faith.

A touch.

                  A faith.

       A miracle.

                          Only Jesus.

Go in peace.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday ~ Last Call for Fall

I have been in Colorado for 3 weeks - I leave on Friday.  It will be great to see family in Texas and work my way back to Chicago, but boy oh boy, I sure am going to miss these mountains.  We have never timed a trip quite so perfectly to see the fall unfold.  I got to go on some great hikes, beautiful drives and enjoy the beauty of God's creation right out of my own door.  I am so thankful for this refreshing time.  I thought as a last hooray for Colorado fall, I will do one last Thankful Thursday post of the beautiful Colorado color.

These pictures were taken on a hike out of Molas Pass.  It is up near Silverton and starts out at 10,500 feet - so breathing is a bit challenging.  The hike starts with a 4 mile descent to the Animas River.  I can not even count how many times I said, "Oh my gosh - that is so majestic."  "Wow - God outdid Himself here."  Alan and I have decided that to see the most beautiful things, you have to be willing to go on a difficult hike.  After enjoying the river, seeing the Durango/Silverton train and having our picnic lunch, we began the hike back up for 4 miles.  Let's just say that hiking back up 4 miles is a bit harder than hiking down 4 miles - but it was well worth it.  I enjoyed the challenge and the sheer beauty of it.

I never cease to be amazed at the creativity of God.  

Molas Lake - our starting point

The color was amazing against the snow topped mountains.

There is nothing like a big, blue Colorado sky.

I never get over the majesty of the mountains.

I love the view through the trees.

Magical fallen leaves

Durango/Silverton Steam Engine Train

Animas River 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the Lord's Majesty on display in the mountains this fall.  Be on the look out for the ways that He will reveal Himself to you today.  It could be in nature - it could be in the eyes of a loved one.

Thank you, gracious Father, for filling my life with such beauty. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Musings ~ Choose the good part

 Just imagine this scenario -- You are in the midst of a very ordinary day when suddenly, a very dear friend comes in town unexpectedly right at dinner time.  You go into high gear to provide a delicious meal and a comfortable setting to honor your friend.  Fortunately, you have your sister there to help so it should all come together without too much stress.  

Oh wait, where is your sister?  Why isn't she helping?  You only have TWO hands.  Oh my goodness, she is in with your dear friend just taking it easy - having a nice conversation without a care in the world.  WHAT???? This will not do.  Surely your friend will come to your defense and realize that your sister should be helping.

But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha; you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.  Luke 10:41-42

We all have some Martha in us.  There is always something that needs to be done.  There is nothing really wrong with that.  Someone has to attend to the tasks of life that keep things moving forward.  I often hear people say that they are Martha or they are Mary.  Truthfully, I think we all have both of these people living in us.  Both are necessary.  We just have to choose who to listen to most of the time.

What we all have to learn is that we have to listen to our inner Mary - that voice that says - STOP, sit down at my feet, listen, lean against my leg and soak up our time together.

With the pace that life races these days, slowing down and being still is a challenge.  We have to have the discipline to sit at the feet of Jesus.

I know in my own life, when I have chosen to be still or to set something aside, I have not suffered.  When I have been obedient to God's voice, all the things that have needed to get done, got done.  

My life and the lives of those around me never suffered due to my quality time with the Lord.  In fact, the opposite is true.

When I am God-focused, I am much more likely to make God honoring choices and choose God honoring words.  

It is a win-win.

I don't want my life to be driven by tasks.  I want my tasks to be supported by my spirit driven life.

An important, even critical, difference.

Listen to your inner Mary (or Marvin, as the case may be.)

Choose the good part.