Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Something New!


“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Luke 2:8-15

The last week of November I prayed this Advent prayer: “Lord, as I wait on You, show me something new."

Sometimes the arrogance of being a long-time Christian attacks in December. Another Christmas. Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt.

So I asked for something new. Anything. A feeling, an insight, a moment. Just something new, or as my sis would pray, “More, Lord.”

As I was hanging out with Jesus the other day, I thought about Luke 2 and specifically the shepherds.

I imagined myself as a shepherd, hanging out with the sheep one night. Another day, another shekel. It’s cold, but the night is clear.

And then…I am waylaid with shock as an angel appears before me in the sky. I stand up and grab my shepherd’s staff. I tremble and adrenalin starts to race.

The angel tells us not to be afraid. His news is a GOOD thing. I believe. It’s an unbelievable moment but I believe.

Fear turns to excitement.

This is new.

This is wild.

And then the sky fills up. Angels are everywhere singing. Four part harmony graces the air. The basses have a short solo that makes me smile and the sopranos hit a high note that causes me to shake my head. They can sing.

I tap my toe along with my shepherd’s staff.

Fear that turned to excitement is now joy.

This is new.

This is wild.

This is great!

They only sing one song. And then they disappear.

Immediately someone yells, “Let’s go!”

We get our stuff together quick. I can’t wait to see the Messiah.


I am not a shepherd. I’m a 49-year-old American woman in 2011. But as I walked Scooby and Thor last night I looked up. It was cold and clear.

No angel appeared. No heavenly choir. No fear and no excitement.

But joy happened because He showed me something new. He showed me that He always longs for the moments we look up and are open to something new be it an insight or feeling.

A moment when you or I are open to falling in love with our Lord a little bit more. Like when I watched John with our granddaughter this past weekend. Nothing exciting, but as I watched I fell in love a little bit more with my man.

The New Year is coming – 2012.

My prayer for you and for me is that we will look up and be open to a new gift, calling, relationship or adventure. Whatever God puts in front of us.

And like the shepherds, I pray our reaction is simple. “Let’s go!”

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

In the Waiting!



(Today I attended my writers group Christmas party and my friend Kay Day read this devotion. It is so beautiful and I asked her if I could share it with you. Enjoy. Check out Kay’s blog at http://www.loopdeloops.blogspot.com/ )


This is Kay Day. If you knew her, you'd like her. :0)

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Advent. A time of eager and joyful expectation. Right?

But not then. Not for them.

They were weary. Living under the ungodly, oppressive government of Rome and the greedy, bloodthirsty rule of the Tetrarchs, they were over-taxed, over-burdened, abused, and frightened.

Religion was no help. If anything, the merciless legalism of the times made things worse.

And they’d been waiting a long time.

Waiting for an end to their suffering.

They’d heard of a deliverer, but where was He? Where was this promised Messiah? Where was God?

I’ve heard that Mary was the most common name for girls at the time. We do see several in the Gospels, so it could be true.

The name means Bitter.

Weary of waiting. Desperately waiting. Waiting for release from the bitterness of life. It seems they’d lost hope.

We’ve all been there. When one wait ends, another begins.

Life is waiting.

We wait for a son to return home to those he’s turned his back on.

For a loved one to know the Lord.

For a friend to be healed.

A child or spouse to come home from war.

A job—financial security.

A restored relationship.

A healed marriage.

Forgiveness.

For someone to abandon an addiction.

Reconciliation.

An e-mail from an agent.

Confirmation that we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing.

Always waiting and we are weary. We are desperate. Desperate for hope. For God to step in and show Himself.

Two thousand years ago God took on strands of DNA and became a tiny human in the womb of a girl named Bitter.

And His name was Emmanuel. God with us.

God stepped into the weary desperation.

He didn’t remove their suffering. Rome still ruled. The religious leaders were still unforgiving. Life was still hard.

He didn’t come to relieve their suffering. He came to walk with them in the midst of it.

We need not grow weary in the waiting because He’s here. We’re not waiting for Him to show up. He’s already here—inside us.

And those things we want, those things we watch for, they are good things, but the best thing, the best thing is God With Us.

I’ve looked back into my waiting and seen where God has been. Right there in the moments when it seems I’d lost hope. If God offered to answer all my prayers, solve all my problems right now, I wouldn’t do it if it meant losing those glimpses of His love.

Look deeply into your waiting and see Him. See where He’s been and how He’s touched you. Together let’s remember, no matter how discouraging or bitter life gets, let’s remember Emmanuel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If Not Now, When? A Note of Gratitude!

I walked into Sue’s house, expecting that she, our friend Lynne and I would pray together for our kids as we do most every week. But the only prayer that happened was when I prayed for Lynne, who was obviously sick. Hives covered her arms and Sue gave her a Benadryl. Lynne started seeing spots and she felt heaviness on her chest. Just as Sue and I decided to take her to a hospital, Lynne said she was going to faint.

And then, as she sat in a chair, Lynne blanked out completely with her eyes wide open. I called 911 and Sue started trying to wake her up by calling her and gently slapping her cheeks. (Later we all joked that Lynne would never recover from the bruises.) For a good five minutes, Lynne was gone. Breathing, but unconscious with very little pulse.

The firemen and paramedics arrived and Lynne “woke up.” A cute fireman helped the process. :0)

At the hospital, the doctors declared Lynne had gone into anaphylactic shock due to a severe allergic reaction. To what, she is still not sure. It might have been the pizza she had earlier that day that could have had shrimp on it. Lynne is allergic to shellfish. It could have been something during the long walk she took on her way to Sue’s. We don’t know.

Yesterday, when I had tea with her, Lynne told me God used this brush with death to give her an assignment.

If not now, when?

Lynne has taken this message seriously and has called several non Christian friends to have coffee this week. During these chats, she doesn’t preach or bully or give a slide show of hell with X’s that say You could be HERE. She simply tells them that Jesus loves them and died for them and that she wants them to know. Now.

It was scary to watch her go through what she did last week; yesterday it was simply thrilling to feel her passion and hear about her purpose to do what God told her to do. Today.

Lynne happens to be my accountability partner in my journey to get off sugar and get healthy. When we switched topics to my world she said, “So I have one question for you, Robbie. If not now, when?”

I started crying. Denying myself the comfort of food is excruciatingly difficult. So I make good choices often, but I often justify and rationalize running to food I don’t need. This week is Thanksgiving. A week we set aside to speak our gratitude for all the great blessings we have.

But we do it with food. Lots of food. Nothing wrong with that, but when you are on a journey to put God first always and not food, this is well…a tough week.

Lynne, glowing as if she’d had a personal meeting with Jesus, told me, “Robbie, when you look at the Thanksgiving table this year, don’t just see dishes of food. Imagine it is a table of beautiful plates of what you want. What you REALLY want.”

So I am going to eat Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy my family and friends. But I’m also going to take a moment, imagine and scoot up to the banquet table that God has for me.

A bowl of dreams fulfilled.

A pan simmering with deep purpose and potential.

A platter full of every day joy, with no ounce of guilt on it.

A glass of good health.

A plate of unrestricted relationship with the Father, devoid of any addiction blocking my heart.

And of course, the dessert. Oh, the dessert! It’s a buffet filled with the simple things that have already come from this path and will come later. A sweater two sizes smaller than last year, blood tests with numbers in the normal range, the theatre seats with room on both sides of me, energy, energy and more energy, less pain in my knee, and of course, the sweet burst of confidence that flavors every day.

Yummy!

So why not, Robbie? Why not, each of you? What’s He asking you to do? And if not today, when?

THANK YOU for reading these devotions and for reading my blog. Your comments and your encouragement mean the world to me. Knowing that God uses my scribbling thrills me. So thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Son Needs Me to Control Things, Right?




The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
Psalm 145:13

I have a big ‘ole ladle of control freak mixed up in the recipe that is my personality. I used to have a gallon, but after surrendering often to Jesus, it’s much less. My dream is to someday only have a pinch. It’s a fantasy, but with God anything is possible.

God is often teaching me lessons about living for Him through that part of myself that says, “I got this.” Most of the time, I do not “got” it. At all.

The object of my control is often my son, Noah. 7th grade has been a challenge for him, not because he is unintelligent, he is smart as a whip. But because is he is disorganization personified. I read somewhere that at his age, the frontal lobe is not developed yet. The part that connects cause with effect and the part that develops short term memory. When I read this, I said, “YES” as if I’d just found a great sale or if I’d won the lottery. This scientific report validated that maybe, just maybe, Noah’s constant need for reminder is not due to me eating too many chocolate brownies during pregnancy.

Noah and I went to his parent/teacher conferences this past week. He was apathetic about the whole thing, but I was terrified. Two fears consumed me. 1) That each teacher would look at me and say, “Why aren’t you the kind of mother that Noah really needs?” and 2) That I would start bawling and point an angry finger at each teacher and blubber, “Why aren’t you the kind of teacher that can fix my son?”

Just trying to control the situation. It’s about me, right?

Well, no. It’s about Noah. This observation came from John, the voice of reason in our home. (I’m not always thrilled about that.) So John prayed for me before we went.

The science teacher was first and he spoke words that would be echoed by Noah’s other teachers. “Noah is a great student. Hard working and well liked. A leader that doesn’t know it yet. He could get all A’s but he is disorganized. But he knows the material and asks great questions.”

I was caught between asking “Seriously?” and crying in gratitude. Both would have horrified my boy so I kept silent, nodding politely. I confessed that Noah’s locker, which is ridiculously messy, and my purse are quite similar. I cannot teach him organization. The teachers all suggested an elective course at the school that teaches organization and study skills that Noah would be perfect for. I jumped for joy. Noah wasn’t so thrilled. He didn’t want to give up P.E.

We had a discussion at home that came down to me saying, “You are going to do this!” and Noah saying, “I don’t want to do this!” The voice of reason came in and asked if one of the requirements was Noah’s enthusiasm about taking the class. Unfortunately, we were told that yes, Noah had to WANT to be in the course.

John looked at his wife and son, who were both extremely upset, and said this. “Noah, do me a favor. Tonight, ask God what He wants you to do. And if you believe that He doesn’t mind if you don’t enroll, then you don’t have to.”

I glared at my husband. In one remark, he’d taken control and given it to our twelve-year-old boy who cares more about video games than eating, more about playing with his friends than going to church and more about P.E. than a new class! I remained silent, while asking God to kick John in the behind. Would Noah ask God? Would Noah hear God’s reply?

Letting go is terrifying and I am horrible at it and Noah needs me to control his world. Right?

Wrong. The next day, John asked Noah if he prayed and Noah said yes and that he was going to enroll in the class and drop P.E. I was shocked. Something good happened without me being in charge of it.

If you are like me, and many of you are, I hope that you can join me in surrendering control. It’s a desperate attempt to make us the center of the universe. It is also a way to say, “God, I don’t trust You to handle this.”

And God can handle it. He is trustworthy. He’s got Noah and I can let go.

A little at a time. :0)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

He Still Has to Hide the Knives! (My Battle in Quitting Sugar)





“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:2-4

As of today, I have not had any sugar – for me this means no desserts of any kind and no sugary soda – for 3 months and 1 week.

It has not been easy.

Week one was 7 days in which my husband feared for his life. Before we went to bed at night, he hid anything he thought I might see as a weapon in my sugar-hungry mind.

After the first week, I had a few days of “Hey, this won’t be so bad.” That ended abruptly when my beloved son had the audacity to eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup in front of me. I fled, knowing that if I stayed and watched him enjoy my FAVORITE CANDY OF ALL TIME, I would later only have memories of my boy as a chalk outline.

I got encouragement from other folks, mostly on Facebook, who have also given up sugar. I was told time and time again that after the first two months, my desire for sugar would subside substantially. With a grin on my face I persevered. I couldn’t wait for October 1st.

October 1st came and I woke up with visions of candy corn dancing in my mind. Maybe they meant October 2nd and I just got the date wrong.

Um…no.

October was a living nightmare. Every trip to the store, the small orange and yellow triangles cried out to me from their bags.

Some called, “Robbie, come on over.” Sort of like that urge you get at 2 a.m. when you see an TV infomercial for a closet organization system that you know will solve every problem you’ve ever had.

Some mocked me. “Robbie, why are you doing this? It won’t last. So just have a few of us.”

But most often all I heard was, “Robbie, life without us, Sweet Candy Corn, is life denied!!”

I didn’t pick any of them up. I still miss those moments. The what ifs…Sigh.

Halloween. Well…let’s just skip that. Suffice to say Noah was on his own. :0)

But here is the deal. Sugar has abused me and been my bridge to obesity and a life of unused potential. No more. Maybe I’ll have sugar some day. But not anytime soon.

In the book, Made to Crave by Lysa TurKeurst, (which happens to be the best book I’ve ever read about my habit of putting food before God,) Lysa writes:

It is good for God’s people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation.

(I laugh at the word slight.)

She goes on to say:

Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for. When we are stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don’t recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on.

After 3 months and 1 week, I am JUST NOW beginning to get an inkling of the spiritual battle going on in my heart and soul. A battle for my purpose. A battle for my identity.

Yes, I’ve lost weight and I feel good and my numbers after blood tests are much, much better.

And though that all feels great, God is showing me that in order to let perseverance finish its work in my life, I have a long way to go. That’s fine with me. I am on a wild ride and it’s exciting and scary and fun.

And my husband somehow knows when he needs to hide the knives!  :0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living in "Might" Situations



“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

I might lose my house.

I might be quite sick.

My husband might lose his job.

My child might get rejected.

Might, Might, Might.

The “might” situations come often in life. Sometimes they usher us into a valley where desperation for God’s help grows like the wild flowers in a meadow. And sometimes they are precursors to a trip to the mountain of gratitude, having missed bad news.

I am in a “might” situation right now. It’s a precarious place, where the fear of the unknown knocks on my door often. But I don’t have to let him in. I can make the choice to look at “might” in a totally different way

Might has two basic definitions: 1) Possibly 2) Power

You and I have the freedom to choose how we deal with waiting for news, be it bad or good. We can live in the realm of possibly, which is like balancing on a moving log in water. Could go this way or could go that way but while I’m waiting I need to move my feet frantically, hoping to control the outcome.

We can also choose to live in the realm of power, which is like standing on unmoving boulder. I still don’t know how it will go, but while I’m waiting I stand confidently on the ROCK, leaving the outcome to God, the Mighty God!

In practical terms, I use the Word of God to tell the enemy to go away when thoughts of possible bad news attack me and tempt me to fantasize about the worst possible situation. If I dwell, I get stuck in fear which leads to depression. The Word of God keeps me focusing on Mighty God and this moment right now!

I also don’t waste time wondering about the “mights.” I could probably spend most of a day just sitting and conjuring all the horrible things that “might” happen. So I remain busy, working and focusing on the tasks God has laid before me TODAY.

If you are not in a “might” situation, you will be someday. When it happens, remember that His Might is more powerful than any “might” situation. Today, this day, has so many wonderful gifts. Open them up, one at a time, and enjoy life right now. The “mights” are tools by the enemy to distract you from the Might of the One who is in control!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Supernatural!!



“…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

Accompanied by a wonderful group of women, I am going through the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. This week we discussed a chapter called “But Exercise Makes Me Cry.” I related completely.

When I was younger my body remained joyfully silent as I swam, played tennis, and jogged.

Now, my body is never silent. It makes constant noises of pain when I attempt movement that involves something besides walking to the frig.

My body is also loudly telling me that if I do not take care of it, it will betray me with sickness and an early death. Last year, it whispered the word, “Diabetes.” Since then, I’ve tried to incorporate walking into my life. Many days I walk the dogs with purpose and joy, knowing that I am answering the call.

But some days are difficult. Extremely. Like the other day when I got up, put on the knee brace and the walking shoes, hooked up the IPOD and drank the coffee, getting all ready to conquer a long walk with Scooby and Thor. Unfortunately, my body started leaking motivation like a balloon losing air.

When John came through the living room on his way to work, there I was, slumping on the couch, staring at the TV which was now turned on, my eyes glazed over.

“John?” I moaned, as if from my death bed. “Will you walk the dogs?”

He tentatively asked, “Do you want me to walk the dogs or tell you to get up off the couch?” (John has learned this behavior after several overreactions on my part. :0) )

“Walk the dogs.” And he kindly leashed them up and left.

I was empty. No motivation. No energy. No resolve whatsoever. I surfed through the channels hoping for an old movie marathon. It was as if someone said, “Stay” as I tell my dogs.

And then I heard my God who loves me whisper, “Choose life. Use My Words.”

I knew what He meant. The Word of God is a weapon. Supernatural and a life-giver.

“Fine.” I said with absolutely no conviction whatsoever.

I began to say verses I’d memorized aloud. I did it rote, with no passion at all. No energy. I did not think about the words. I just said them. The TV was still on.

John came back with the dogs and then left for work. It “occurred” to me to turn off the TV. (The Spirit gave me that notion.) I continued spouting out the Bible as an act of obedience, devoid of any feeling.

And then…

The Spirit of God filled me up. Do you understand this? Supernaturally, my energy changed, my motivation changed, my will changed. Simply because I used the Word of God to bring me life and purpose.

After a little while, I stood up and made my dogs happy. “Let’s go, guys!” We took a long walk.

I chose life and my journey to good health continues.

Join me. Choose life.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Grace - It IS amazing!!


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. “ Ephesians 2: 8-9


What does grace look like?

Grace is dropping that book on my foot or forgetting where I put my keys without mumbling, “Stupid.”

Grace is holding on tight to God during a hair-raising adventure of scary circumstances.

Grace is taking off my glasses of judgment and purposefully putting on His glasses of unconditional love.

Grace is housetraining a puppy that has a bladder the size of an ant – expect accidents.

Grace is watching my son forget his homework for the thirtieth time without blowing up in anger.

Grace is allowing John to be God’s guy, not my husband who I control.

Grace is forgiving when:

              The driver in front of me cuts me off.

                      The woman in front of me pays with change.

                                   The customer service person puts me on hold.

Grace is that moment in relationship when you bandage up your friend from a wound you caused. And then allow them to rub ointment on your scars.

Grace is letting stress out on the curb before it drives me to bad health.

Grace is living in that place of uncertainty – not knowing when crisis will come.

Grace is embracing folks who are completely different than me.

Grace is believing that cause and effect got booted out of office the minute Jesus died on the cross.

Grace is treating each other as if we are all saints, even though every single one of us is a black-hearted sinner.

Grace is taking that bag of rocks we use to stone ourselves when we feel unworthy, and using those rocks to build an altar of gratitude to God instead.

Grace is understanding sin doesn’t keep us from heaven. A lack of relationship with Christ does.

Grace is unmerited favor from God who cherishes us.

Amazing grace? Absolutely.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Portrait of People Pleasing Me


Are you a people pleaser? Me, too. I mean, if you want me to be. :0)

I am always trying to allow the Lord to teach me to please Him only. It's difficult. I want to be liked.

This is a essay/poem/scene (I don't know what to call it) that I wrote a while back. I hope you like it. But if you don't, well, that's fine. Really. :0)

Portrait of People Pleasing Me

HE is a great painter. 

He sees my portrait,

even as the canvas is blank.
         
          He begins.

          I say, “Use red.”
          He says, “No, not red.”
          “But,” I say, “I like red.”
          “Okay.”  He paints with the red.
          I choose green as the next color.
          He says, “No green right now.”
          “But that writing magazine says green.  So does Publishers Weekly.”
          “Okay,” and he paints with the green.
          He chooses blue next.
        “No painter, no blue next.  That editor I met at the writing conference? She says it’s time for orange.”
          He shrugs and uses the orange.
          After a bit, I say, “My agent says brown.”
          Without a word, the painter takes the brown and paints.
          I decide to sneak a peak.
          “Wow, that’s me!” I say. 
          “Yes.”  He says.
          “It’s beautiful,” I say.  “You’re good, but something’s missing.  Don’t you think?”
          The painter looks at me and smiles.
          “Uh-huh.”  He says.
          “What is it?” I say.
          But I cut him off from answering.  I go and ask my husband, critique partners, writing group. They’ll know.
          I bring back three pints of white, pink and purple.
          He takes the paints and sets them down.  Then he hugs me.  He tells me he loves painting my picture.  He tells me I am beautiful.
          I blush and say, “Okay, but it’s still missing something, so use these colors.”
          He takes the white, pink and purple and he paints.
          I look at it again.
          “It’s nice.  It’s me.  But something’s missing.  I don’t know what.  Do you?”
          He doesn’t say anything.  I think He is waiting to see if I will answer my own question. 
          Finally he says, “I know what’s missing.”
          “You do?”
          “Uh-huh.”
          “What?”
          He smiles gently, warmly and he says, “Me.”
          “What?”  I say.  “But you’re doing the painting.  You’re in control.”
          “Am I?”  He says.
          It occurs to me that it is time to let him pick the colors.
          It is time to please his vision.
          Not mine.
          Not anyone else’s.
          I say, “Paint, painter, do your thing.”
          A twinkle comes to his eye and he gets busy.
          It’s fun to watch.
          After a while, he calls me over and shows me the portrait.
          “Wow!” I say.
          The portrait is beautiful.  Nothing is missing.
          “That’s how you see me?”  I ask him.
          “That’s how you are. And are becoming.  And will be.”
          “Wow.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm a Horrible Mother!

(So it's not winter and there's no snow yet, but this picture
describes my emotions today.)

“Grace and peace to you, from God our Father.” Colossians 1:2

John Wooden, the late record-setting basketball coach of UCLA, defined success as peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

So what is it to be a successful mom?

This morning, my son Noah, who has asthma and has had pneumonia for the past few days, was able to go to school. In the silence of my home, I began to beat myself up.

If I was a good mom, he would not be sick so often.

If I was a good mom, Noah would have a clean home all the time.

If I was a good mom, I wouldn’t have gotten a second dog.

If I was a good mom, I would feed him only organics and eliminate the junk and never get angry and only show him Jesus’ love!

But I’m not and I don’t.

This afternoon I met with my Moms in Touch group. We pray for our kids at school. When asked what my prayer request was for my son, I burst out into tears. “I’m a horrible mother!”

I made a bit of a scene.

My friends did not coddle me, but instead told me truth that I needed to hear: There is a difference between being a perfect mom and a successful mom. One of them quoted Wooden.

John Wooden also said that in order to be successful, I must be the best ME I can be. So to be a successful mom, I need to be the best I can be...in my talents and my deficiencies.

My parents taught me to respect God, laugh at life and be friendly. But they didn’t teach me much about money. In fact, I’ve had problems in that area. If John were writing this, he’d type, “Amen!”

Were my parents’ successful? Yes! As my dad often said, “We do the best we can.”

I want to be the mom that Noah needs. For me, that means accepting that I am not a clean freak, I allow him to have fast food and I can use words that are simply idiotic. It means realizing that I can get better in these areas, but I don’t need to beat myself up when he gets sick.

It means living out the Serenity Prayer by Francis of Assisi.

God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
(Noah’s health)
The courage to change the things I can,
(The things that God tells me to change)
and the wisdom to know the difference.
(And not beat myself up.)

Am I a good mom? A successful mom? Not always.

But I have peace of mind that today I have done my best to become the best mom I can be.

And that is God’s grace. And that is enough.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Discount Dog Gamble


“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

We huddled in a small room, our eyes focused on a Chug, or a Pug Chihuahua. The pet store clerk came and I began asking questions, believing that the answers would tell me the idea of taking this pooch home was silly.

The Chug was skinny and sick with Kennel Cough, Giardia and maybe more. He had been in the store for three months and had been rejected time after time. The clerk took home his sister but couldn’t take him.

“Maybe he needs us.” I said, and looked at John who was obviously ready to drop this spontaneous idea and go home.

John, Noah and I talked it over. This would be a gamble. The little guy might not make it.

But I knew I wanted him. “John, he is on sale.” And then I played the ultimate wife card. “Honey, this could be my birthday present.”

A while later we were at the counter with another couple, also getting a puppy. Their dog looked perfect and cost $1200. Ours, a little sick thing, cost much less. But Noah and I were thrilled as we carried our new little five-month-old puppy to the car.

“What should we name him?” I asked.

“He looks like a Thor.” John said, kidding. But it stuck. Thor Reginald Iobst became our fifth family member.

Buyer’s remorse came quickly as I stayed up most of the night listening to this six pound baby hack every thirty minutes as if he’d been smoking three packs a day for years. He promptly pooped and peed everywhere but wouldn’t eat.

We took him to the vet and she prescribed him medicine, paid for by the pet store, and told us the beginnings of pneumonia were in his lungs. But there was hope.

As I’ve prayed for Thor, I’ve contemplated the value of life. And I’ve experienced gratitude.

We are all sick in our sin and desperately need someone who will take a chance on us. God stepped in and paid the ultimate price, Jesus’ life, to save us from a life of being caged in and rejected. Even if we poop and pee through life, making messes of our lives, He comes in and cleans up and holds us. :0)

At first I didn’t want fall in love with Thor. What if he died? But as I’ve watched him go from a hacking puppy to a scampering dog, his paws have scooted their way into my heart.

How much more does the Father cherish each of us?

We rescued Thor and I’m glad. Scooby, our Puggle isn’t. He looks at the new puppy as a nuisance in his life, like a fly that won’t go away. He will stare at us and I know he’s thinking, “Wasn’t I enough?” :0)

But in rescuing Thor, I have been given the gift of experiencing a tiny iota of what God might feel when He looks at us.

Unconditional love.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Maybe, Maybe Not


(The following is this week's Joy-votion, a devotional I write each week and send out through email. If you would like to get a Joy-votion through your email each week, just email me at robbieiobst@hotmail dot com and I will put you on the list. This week I have a guest writer - my incredible husband John!)

“And we know that in all things God works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes.”(NIV – Emphasis added) Romans 8:28


Back in Genesis 3 (the fall of man) Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Besides all the obvious consequences, (sin, death, and separation from God) I believe that tree had its own unique consequence for us all.

We “think” we are equipped to rightly judge good and evil. The problem is we lack the wisdom and perspective of God to know if something is truly good or evil.

I heard a story to illustrate the point. A poor farmer in a rural village had his only horse wander off and get lost. The people of the village came to lament the evil that had befallen the man. In response to them calling it evil, he said, “Maybe, maybe not.” Days later the horse returned followed by six wild horses and the people of the village came to proclaim the good that had come to the man and he said, “Maybe, maybe not.” Days later the man’s only son was trying to train one of the horses and fell breaking his back leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The people of the village came to lament the evil that had befallen the man and he said “Maybe, maybe not.” Sometime after that the army came and drafted all the young men of the village except the man’s son because he couldn’t walk. Shortly after that news came that a battle resulted in the death of every young man from that village. The people of the village came to lament the evil that had befallen them all but the man said, “Maybe, maybe not.”

Was this man wise beyond his years or did he simply understand he lacked the wisdom to judge good and evil rightly?

I am not arguing for a post-modern relativistic world view where everyone should pick the version of the truth that suits them. I am saying we judge all the time but lack the wisdom.

We live our lives judging people, places and circumstances as good or evil based on the simple criteria: Does this benefit me or not? As followers of Christ, we may extend the criteria of our judgment to include God’s Will as we understand it that day, but it is still our judgment.

Ten or twenty years ago, I would have believed that the greatest evil affecting my life was my addiction. Today I am convinced that in God’s hands it was and is the greatest good because apart from that pain, I would never have fully bent my knee to the Lord and been set free by His love and grace. Clearly I was wrong before and it is not completely clear that I am right now.

The next time you find yourself judging I hope you can let go of your right to judge and instead trust God to be the only Righteous Judge. Is this circumstance good? Is it evil?

Maybe, maybe not.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bragging Grandmas!

My friend Jan Parrish and I made a silly video celebrating the joy of being a grandma. This is of course, dedicated to my first sweet grandbaby who I think of EVERY day, Lucy!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Detours of Rebellion





"You will show me the path of life!
In Your presence is fullness of joy,
At your right hand, pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11


On my journey to good health and weight loss, I have not been perfect. This is my 24th day without sugar, but that doesn't mean that I always make good choices with food. It is a journey, not a destination, so I remember God's grace and I keep trying, enjoying the little rewards along the way.

I was talking to my friend Lynne about my occasional bad choices and she said to me, "Robbie, they're just detours. You're going to get there, but you have to decide how many detours you want to take."

I started thinking about that and I wrote the following:

You've shown me the path,
     an inkling of beautiful adventures.
Joyful flowers mark the sides of the road.
     They stand with angels to cheer me on.

But yet...
     I see a detour.
It's marked with a sign that says "My Way."
     Weeds of control line its street.
They do exactly waht I say.

Why do I take the detours?
Temporary control.
Temporary numbness.

I get so tired of choosing Your way.
Choosing humility.
Walking in my brokenness.

But Your path leads to my goal.
Your path is wise
                      and healthy
                                and joyful.
My path is numbing
                      and shame-filled
                                and leads to death.

My path is a detour of rebellion.

God, protect me from myself today.
Keep me on your path.





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goodbye Sugar!


I've seen women in abusive relationships,
Who simply won't walk away.
The comfort of what is "normal"
is easier that the pain of change.

I've scoffed at them and thought,
"Come on! Have some self respect.
Choose to run away and get out.
Choose to value who you are."

And yet...

I'm in an abusive relationship.
I've made so many excuses
to not completely walk away.
The comfort of what is "normal"
is easier than the pain of change.

So today I leave.
Today I value who I am.
He's beaten me up and contributed
to my morbid obese unhealthy self.

No more.

I've taken sugar and perverted it.
Made it an idol in my life.
Sugar isn't bad in itself.
I think God created chocolate
with a smile on His face.

But I've given it too much power,
I've allowed it to control my pain,
and celebrate my joy
and comfort my boredom.

No more.

I choose to get out of this relationship.
Someday, after sanity returns and I'm
at a healthy weight, maybe I'll allow
a tiny space for a dessert in moderation.

But for now, for a long while,
I say goodbye.
Good riddance. I'll miss you desperately at first.
With time and God's strength you'll become of little importance.

Goodbye my love who I allow to abuse me.

Goodbye Sugar.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Join me in a SPACIOUS PLACE!



Do you have problems with food or weight? I am part of that club.


Before I was 23, I always thought I was fat, but in reality I wasn’t really big, just big boned. But after age 23, I began using food to comfort and to reward. The weight piled on. And on.

Of course, along the way I have dieted. I’ve done most of the biggies: Jennie Craig and Weight Watchers and Atkins, some of the little ones: bananas and water, Weigh Down and Overeaters Anonymous and of course the manic middle: fasting, only veggies, only protein, only starvation.

And you know what? They’ve all worked. I’ve lost TONS of weight. Problem is I gained it all back plus a little something extra. And the weight continued to pile on. And on.

Now I am 48, almost 49 and I am exhausted. I do not want to live in this cycle of defeat. My mind has been the following whirlpool of thoughts for years:

“I’m fat. I have to lose weight. I can’t lose weight. I am pathetic. But I have to lose weight. I know! I won’t eat badly today. I can do this. Oh man, why did I eat that? Well, since I already ate it, I am now going to eat a lot of it. I’ll start over on Monday. I’m fat. I have to lose weight…”

Does this sound familiar? Many of us deal with this. MANY of us.

This past summer, I was invited to a Bible Study that I thought was going to discuss faith. I walked in and discovered it was a book study. A book about putting food before God. Yikes! NO, I said. Nothing ever works.

But it did. Putting the principles of this book, Lysa Terkerust ‘s Made to Crave, into action, I have found freedom that I have never experienced before.

The Bible Study ended. But I haven’t. I need to continue and I need a group of friends who will walk with me.

SO, I am beginning a group called SPACIOUS PLACES in my home beginning SEPTEMBER 15th, THURSDAY, in my home in Centennial, Colorado from 9 to 11 in the morning. We will go for 9 weeks. And then we’ll see. Our first study will be to go through the book Made to Crave.

If you are interested in joining me, I would love to have you. I need help to walk this road because it is DIFFICULT. But God is so good and He wants to rescue us!

I have moved into a SPACIOUS PLACE where there is freedom and joy. I call it a spacious place based on

Psalm 18:19
 “He has brought me into a spacious place. He has rescued me because He delights in me.”

Join me in this spacious place! And if you can’t come, which I totally understand, then I encourage you to pick up this book. It will guide you to the freedom found in craving God, not extra food.

If you are interested in attending SPACIOUS PLACES each Thursday at my home, email me at robbieiobst at hotmail.com or call me at (720) 329-2317. If you want to join a group, if we have one at night, let me know.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

How Do I Feed My Soul?


How do I feed my soul?
I reach for a coke.
I dig my spoon into a pint
       of HaagenDaaz chocolate.
My tummy rejoices.
My thighs expand.
And my soul lets out a hunger pang.

How do I feed my soul?
I walk the aisles of King Soopers.
I am a wolf, prowling for prey.
Which candy?
Which desserts?
Soul food isn't on aisle 4.

How do I feed my soul?
I stumble into Your presence.
I ask for something my taste buds can't experience.
Is it the Bible?
Is it Prayer?
They just don't feel as good as coconut cake.

How do I feed my soul?
I sit, like in a restaurant.
I ask for an order of satisfaction.
No waiter brings french fries.
Chips and salsa are not delivered.
Instead, You join me.

How do I feed my soul?
By experiencing the One who created my soul,
And chocolate,
And sugar.
I lean on Your strength.
I say "NO!" to the cravings.
I do this over and over and over and over and over.

And slowly, day by day, meal by meal,
I realize.

My soul is being fed.
By loving and being loved
By the One!
My God, and Jesus and Spirit,
The relentless pursuer of my heart,
The God who feeds my soul.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ever-Body Needs an Aint Lucy!

This my brother Perry and our Aint Lucy!

I am finishing my novel and have decided to take July to focus on it. So I will not be blogging or sending out any Joyvotions until August. Please pray that I will listen to the guidance of the Lord. Thank you and thank you SO much for reading.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children…” Titus 2:3-4

Last week, I had the joyous opportunity to visit with my three siblings and their spouses and their kids and it was a blessing. And then to add to that, I had the privilege of travelling to a little town in New Mexico called Eunice to attend a family reunion. The last time I was in Eunice was 20 years ago in 1991, when my Grandmother Mamie Grizzard Floyd celebrated a family reunion with her 7 children, their spouses and all their kids. Since then, Mamie, my Uncle Raymond and my parents, Walker and Sally Floyd have died. And though my heart twinged a bit missing their presence, I felt the joy of seeing the many that have been added to the clan since then. Spouses and tons of kids have joined. And I too, having been single in 1991, have an expanded family with the blessing of John and Noah Iobst.

As with any family reunion, we laughed plenty and ate a lot. There was music making and storytelling. I hugged a lot of necks and kissed the cheek of several aunts and cousins. And yes, I even said, “Wow, you have grown!”

But I have to tell you my favorite moments came while sitting next to Lucille Kellum, my Aint Lucy, as I call her. Lucy is in her 70’s and is full of wisdom from the Lord and from life experience. She has 4 kids and in our family we had 4 kids. The Kellums lived in Eunice, 3 hours away from the Floyds in Van Horn, Texas. I grew up visiting them often and playing with Phyllis, her youngest, the one about whom my Dad would say, “Robbie, she’s about your caliber.” Gun vernacular was a constant metaphor used by Daddy. :0)

When my father died, Lucy was at the funeral. After the service, I remarked to no one in particular, “Well, I guess I’m an orphan.”

Quick as a cricket, Aint Lucy said, “As long as I’m alive Robbie Gail, you are not an orphan.”

Wasn’t just words either.

Last year, Aint Lucy went through a bout with cancer. I’m sure Mike and her kids were scared something awful. I was, too. But she came through a-shining and looked great at the reunion.

While I sat next to her, I asked Aint Lucy how to keep a good marriage going. She and Mike have been together 59 years. She said simply, “I learned very early on to get rid of the “me and I” in everything.”

She continued to dose out wisdom and soon she was surrounded by me, my sis-in-law, and two of her granddaughters, ages 17 and 18. It was a beautiful scene because it was how it should be. The older woman giving wisdom to the younger.

I miss my own mother so much and there are still moments I ask God why He had to take her. He’s been silent on this point.

But sitting in Eunice, New Mexico last week, listening to someone who has earned my love and respect like a mom, comforted me in ways that I can only feel, not put into words.

I drove from Albuquerque back to Denver on Monday and during the long, lonely drive I talked to God about what had happened and the joy of being placed in such a wonderful clan. And I asked God if it be His will, to allow me to someday be a wise old woman. (I refuse to think of myself now as old and I know I ain’t wise. :0) )

If you have such a treasure in your life, I encourage you to take some time and ask her some questions and allow the Father to soothe your spirit and teach your heart lessons that only come through the words of someone who has lived long and well.

Thank you Aint Lucy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Fatherless on Fathers Day


“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.” Matthew 6:8


Sunday is Fathers Day and even as I write this, woman and children across the country are deciding what to give the Dad in their family. A tie, some ammo, movie tickets perhaps? It’s a day that often brings a chuckle into our home because of church. John and I have observed that in most churches, mothers are beatified on Mother’s Day and on Fathers Day, dads are told “You’re doing it wrong and you need to do it better.” Not all churches, but many.

Last night John shared something with me and he gave me permission to share it with you.

“Something weird happened today, Robbie.”

“What?”

“I wasn’t doing anything particular, and I thought of Fathers Day and then I had this overwhelming sense of grief. I think for the first time in my life, I really grieved not having a father.”

John spent three days with his father when he was 19 and it turned out that the man John met was only a sperm donator for John’s life. I’m always amazed at the redemption God has brought to my husband’s life, because in not having a dad, he didn’t know how to be a dad, but God has redeemed that void. The Father of all has become John’s father and teacher.

After John and I talked about his grief, I started thinking of my own. Not the grief of never being fathered, but the grief of not having my father alive. I miss him at odd times, I’ve noticed. Many of those moments occur right after I see his face in my son’s or hear his goofiness in Noah’s.

So my husband and I are both fatherless, in a way. And you may be fatherless, too. But I thank God, we have THE FATHER. I’m not being trite at all when I say Our Father in Heaven is a true dad to us. He doesn’t make us smiley faced pancakes or take us to shooting ranges or movies, but He fills the place in our hearts that needs to know that we are enough. We are loved just as we are.

The Father has taught John that he has what it takes to be a warrior man in this world of passive, chicken-hearted men. The Father has taught me that I am His daughter, beautiful, worthy and loved unconditionally.

So this Fathers Day, Noah and I will make sure that John is honored as he should be with presents and food and hugs.

And this Fathers Day, John and I will make sure that we honor our Father as He should be honored with our hearts and our love and our lives.

If you are fatherless, look up on Sunday, and take a moment. Honor your Father in Heaven on His day.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I Want to be a Dangerous Christian!


“I wouldn’t mind if to be a Christian were accepted as being the dangerous thing which it is; I wouldn’t mind if once again, we were being thrown to the lions. I do mind, desperately, that the word “Christian” means for so many people smugness, and piosity and holier than thouness.” Madeleine L’Engle


Amen to that, Madeleine!

And it starts with me, not those “other Christians” who offend me with their noses affixed in the air, sniffing their own goodness. It starts with me.

I long to be a dangerous Christian, one that loves recklessly like Christ. One that defines loving as action, not words. One that risks in order to please the Father. One that holds fast to the teachings of the Word while living to the fullest in the world.

It’s possible. I’ve seen dangerous Christians and they inspire me.

I disgust myself when I see me acting pious and smug, wielding judgment on others as if I have an anointed sword that is able to cut to the hearts of all. I do not like it when I spend more time wondering why someone doesn’t love Jesus like I do and less time loving them like Jesus loves me. And I offend myself when I cower in the corner, scared of offending anyone and doing absolutely nothing.

I want to be a dangerous Christian. Why not? I serve a dangerous God.

Remember when Lucy asked Mrs. Beaver about Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

“Is he safe?” asked Lucy.

“Oh, no dear, he’s not safe. But he’s good.”

Lord, help us all take one more step toward Your heart. Cause us to live lives of courage and reckless abandon in the name of Jesus.

Help us be dangerous Christians!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Summer Reading!

Ah, the sun is shining its warmth and encouraging us to head for swimming pools or air conditioner. I love the summer! Cherries are ripe and the fruit is sweet. :0) And for me, summer time is an excellent time to READ! I mean read even more than I usually do. So this time of year, I make myself a summer reading list. I asked my facebook friends for suggestions.

Here are the ones that they named that I have read:

The Help - LOVED IT
The Mitford Series books - SO wonderful end easy and sweet!
Chronicles of Narnia - Classics
The Shape of Mercy - SO good
Chasing Lilacs - WONDERFUL
Redeeming Love - One of my favorites of all time
Eat, Love and Pray  - So much better than the movie

Here are some they suggested that I haven't read:

Crazy Love - I have it but haven't read it.
The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
The Jack Reader series by Lee Child
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
A Ship Possessed by Alton Gansky
Same Kind of Different as Me
Introverts in the Church
The Power of the Blood
Downpour by James McDonald
I Know This Much is True
Jane Adams Diary

So I'm looking at the second list and trying to decide. Do you have any suggestions? Have you read any of the second list? Help! And have a wonderful summer. Pick up a book if you haven't read in a while!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Sounds of a Warrior



(This week I am only blogging once because I have a nasty cold. What you are about to read is something I wrote a year ago. Noah is now 12 and taller than me and will soon end the 6th grade. Learning to let go is a lesson I will never fully embrace. But I am trying.)

My only child is about to turn eleven-years-old. He’s entering a phase in his life that scares me to death. Not because the prepubescent phase is racked with frightening questions about sexuality. Not because he is about to enter the lion’s den called Junior High. And not because he is getting less affectionate with me. This phase terrifies me because I won’t be his number one coach anymore.

My husband John and a friend of mine have both remarked to me this past week that it is the time in Noah’s life where Dad takes the front seat in guiding him. Even though I know this is for the best, I hate it.

John told me a story about a jungle tribe that keeps all the women and children in the inner circle of their village, while the men mainly live on the outskirts. When a boy turns a certain age, the father comes into the village wearing ceremonial gear and kidnaps his son. The boy then moves in with the father and learns how to live on the outskirts of the village.

When John told me this story my first thought was “Seriously, John? This is how you comfort me?”

It also made me think about the word outskirts. Basically, the etymological meaning is “beyond the borders of a woman.”

Soon, my little boy who is not so little will be on the outskirts of my influence.

Not completely, of course. I mean, John is not going to kidnap him away from our home and teach him to live in Motel Six. I will still be an integral part of my son’s life and will always be. But the relationship is changing, as it should.

Yesterday, I walked by his room and heard noises. The same noises I’ve heard for years. The first time I heard these sounds my forehead crinkled and I tilted my head towards his door.

Psshhht!

Bam!

Tshhhkkk!

Part of me wanted to walk in and catch Noah doing whatever he was doing. The other part of me sensed that interrupting would be akin to disturbing a sacred act.

I was right to go with my second instinct. Later I would ask Noah what he was doing in his room. He gave me a one word answer. “Imagination.”

It became a simple and wonderful explanation for the sounds. Little boy battles were fought in that room daily. Battles that I could not be a part of. My son has lived his life as an only child (his sisters are much older) and he has learned how to entertain himself. I love that his imagination has grown through the years. He still loves books and movies and video games and playing outside. But from time to time, he goes into his room and all I hear are the sounds of a young warrior.

Sometimes I imagine that world. Maybe he is dressed in camouflage, crouching in a fox hole, bullets blazing above his head as he plans how to unleash the grenades that will end the battle. Maybe he is flying on an enormous dragon, swooping low to kill monsters and save those in danger. And maybe he is a knight drawing his sword and fighting the enemy of the castle.

But I know his heart is being built into a warrior as he practices his courage. Once I had a thought that it would be horrible to find out he is some kind of serial killer, so I asked him if he was a good guy or a bad guy when he practiced Imagination.

“Mom, I’m always the good guy. And I always win.”

I sighed and thanked God for the guidance of my husband and brother Phil. See, without them, I would never have encouraged this side of my son. Violence is bad. Violence never leads to any good. This is what I believed. But part of my education in raising Noah is learning that every boy needs to learn to defend himself. Every boy needs to know that they have what it takes to fight evil and win. John and my brother Phil have schooled me in this. Especially in those moments where I thought Noah might get hurt. As his nurturer, I would sweep in and make sure Noah knew that some things were unsafe. Like climbing too high or trying something he’s never done before.

It was a difficult lesson to learn, but I learned it. I let go of trying to control my boy’s boundaries, within reason of course. And as I did, I noticed that the sounds from his room became more frequent. Even more intense at times.

Now I have to learn the lesson all over again. Noah has needed me to draw him in and soothe his heart and teach him gentleness and courtesy. I’ve modeled for him the kindness and love of Jesus. But he needs new lessons and John will be a better teacher. He will soon enter the classes of Becoming a Man 101 and Integrity as a Leader 102 and How to be a Good King 103.

I hope he always likes to be tickled. He and I have colossal tickle wars. I hope he always enjoys a little cuddling with his mom. Even when he is taller than me. I hope that my warrior grows to be a man who is after God’s heart and one who meets a woman who is crazy about Jesus. And I hope that even after he leaves our home and his room of warrior dreams and sounds, he will always be the good guy. And always win.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

WHO YOU ARE IS WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST!



"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in
 Him we might become the righteousness of God."
 2 Corinthians 5:21

Who are you?

When asked that question, we usually answer with our name and then give facts about ourselves depending on the situation. For example, "I'm Robbie Iobst and I'm Noah's mom." That would be my answer at one of his school events.

But what's the answer when you ask this of yourself? How do you define yourself? If you are a believer in Jesus and have chosen to give Him your heart and life, this is the answer:

Who you are is who you are in Christ!

So who am I in Christ?

1) Righteousness of God
I'm serious. You are the righteousness of God. If you are like me, a black-hearted sinner, who can be a total butt-head to Jesus and other folks, this might be hard to believe. But look at 2 Corinthians 5:21. God made Jesus, who knew NO SIN, to become sin on the cross for us. Why? So we could have a relationship with God - so we could be the righteousness of God. This is a supernatural miracle. It's as if God has these special glasses that He sees us with. He looks through Jesus' sacrifice and sees us, His righteous children.

2) Blessed
I am blessed! I have Jesus. I was blessed when my son was born and I was blessed when my mother died. Yes, in both moments - one of extreme happiness and one of extreme sorrow. I am blessed, not because of circumstances being favorable or not, but I am blessed because I am a daughter of the King and therefore, I have purpose and meaning in my life.

3) Chosen, Adopted, Redeemed, Forgiven, Loved, Cherished!
Read Ephesians 1 and pick out all the wonderful attributes you are because you are in Christ!

This is an EXTREMELY important concept to believe and reinforce every day. The enemy wants you to define yourself by what you do or don't do. The enemy wants you to see yourself as your faults and weaknesses. Every time I whisper, "I am so fat" as a label, the enemy laughs and says, "Gotcha!"

Who you and I are in Christ is not fat or stupid or underpaid or childless or divorced or even a teacher or a mom.

Who you and I are in Christ is Righteous, Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, Redeemed, Forgiven!!

To put this in practice, say this to yourself every day. Affirm your identity enough and you will begin to believe it in your soul and in your everyday life. So when something bad happens or when you mess up, you can give yourself the grace that Christ offers us constantly.

Today, right now - WHO YOU ARE IS WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bothered by Interruptions? It's a Matter of Attitude.

"Interruptions can be viewed

as sources of irritation or opportunities for service,

as moments lost or experience gained,

as time wasted or horizons widened.

They can annoy us or enrich us,

get under our skin or give us a shot in the arm.

Monopolize our minutes or spice our schedules,

Depending on our attitude toward them."

William Arthur Ward

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Top Ten Things to Get Done before Doomsday this Saturday!



Top Ten Things to Get Done before Doomsday this Saturday!

10) Beg God to wait a couple of weeks - I need to know who will win American Idol!

9) Eat chocolate cake and throw away the scale as I laugh like Dracula - woohahahahaha!

8) Let Scooby off the leash so he can eat as many bunnies as possible - the neighbors can complain next week.

7) "Kick" the Bucket List. (Get it? Do ya?)

6) Clean my house...wait, are you kidding me? No way!

5) Wear clean underwear in honor of my Mom.

4) Get my hair cut and styled - want to look good for Jesus.

3)  Change my will so all my unsaved friends can get my stuff with a note - "Told you so!" (This was John's contribution to this list.)

2) Confess to Noah, "Your father was the one to kill your fish."  (Hee-hee - John didn't contribute this.)

And the number one thing to get done before Doomsday: 

1)Throw this list away and live every day like it's the last chance I have to love God and do the right thing!


“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Mark 13:32


"Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will hold you in my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10