Monthly Archives: October 2015

Seeing God in a Mattress, a Chandelier, and a Windmill

About three years ago I wrote my first book. It’s a 31-Day Devotional. And on the cover you will see several chandeliers, because I love chandeliers. They are elegant, and they hang and they shine and they sparkle. They make me happy.

I also have a love for windmills. I have a Children’s Christmas book in my head about windmills. When we go on road trips I am enamored and fascinated by windmills (just ask my children).

I promise I’m going somewhere with this.

My daughter Hope needed a new mattress. Hers was given to us already used, possibly 11 years prior. It had a spring that came out and would rub on her back when she tried to sleep. So she then decided to make a little fort on the stairs (she said her spot had better internet too). Then she moved her fort into the closet and slept there for many months. My husband and I knew we needed to buy her a mattress. We kept talking about it. We went and looked at a few. Those darn mattresses are so expensive, aren’t they! We were about to make a purchase when my daughter said to just wait until we moved to the ranch. The problem was, we didn’t know if we were going to move to the ranch for sure. We didn’t want to keep putting it off.

When we moved to the ranch, upon further inspection, one of the rooms had the EXACT same bedroom furniture in it that we purchased for my daughter 4 years ago, and it was brand new! “Only God”, we thought. But then, here’s the kicker, the mattress on the bed was a BRAND NEW Serta mattress! BRAND NEW. Again… If you don’t see God in this, well, there’s more. She also has always wanted a trindel bed for when her friends would sleep over. Yep- this bed came equipped with a trindel bed under it!

Our new house also has chandeliers throughout! Beautiful sparkly, dangling chandeliers!! Only God.

And last, but not least, in the back fields by the barn…. a ginormous windmill. It’s somewhat hidden, off to the side, in the brush, standing tall, display its grandeur. I’m telling you, I’m, seeing God here.

I had somewhat tucked these things into my heart and memory bank until yesterday. I was at an Estate sell looking for a bird bath. Something caught my eye off in the distance. It was an 8 foot windmill! I was shocked and my heart about skipped a beat! I couldn’t believe. The price was good and I was able to talk the lady down a little. And that windmill made its way into my heart, and into my new butterfly garden (more on that in another post).

I just want to encourage you today. See, sometimes we’re so busy focused on our challenges in life, we walk right by Gods love notes to us. I believe He sends them throughout the day. Someone brings you coffee. God knew. Someone blesses you with something that goes perfectly in your house. God thought you would like it. Your having an awful day, and someone just at the right time messages you, or calls you, or you get a card in the mail. He had a feeling you could use some encouragement.

It’s hard to fathom His love for you, because we don’t feel like we deserve any of it. We don’t. That’s called grace; undeserved favor. It’s not based on anything we could do or anything we’ve done. He sends us these love notes though out our lives, just because He’s thinking of us. Little things and big things. He’s in them all.

Romans 5:8 – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Seeing God in the Bible

IMG_0169 Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

I know your thoughts, “Really Celeste, isn’t that kind of…obvious?” Or some of you… “Wow, you are really stretching for content here.” I agree. I hesitated writing this one. But as I rolled and tossed and woke, I knew.

I was a part of an incredible group when I first got saved 21 years ago. I had one friend that would come over once a week to go look up scriptures in areas I was struggling. I had one friend that would pick me up and we hang out and talk about God. I ‘ll never forget she was the one who taught me how to worship Him. And our group was all 20-somethings, and we were all on fire and hungry for more of God. We would hang out during the week doing stuff like bowling, put-put, ice cream, etc. It was such an incredible time in my life that I will never forget.

What I remember most was our weekly Bible Study. It was in the home of an older couple (older to me at the time). We didn’t have a DVD series or a workbook. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing a good Bible study. But my memory is still fresh from that time. We would all gather around in a circle, and our study was just to read the bible together, chapter by chapter. And then after each chapter, he would stop and we would discuss what we just heard. We would ask questions and dig into what the meaning of it was. I grew so much and also grew a hunger for the Word of God like never before.

Fast Forward to this week. We finished our Priscilla Shirer’s study, The Armor of God. I had planned on ending our study, but many of the women really wanted to keep on meeting. My first thought, “What will we study?” And the Lord reminded me of my sweet time of sitting in a living room with a group of believers and just chewing on His Word together, week after week. And that is what we did last night. I played a quick Joyce Meyer video, we sang one song for worship (Kari Jobe, You Are For Me), and then we started with Matthew. I brought my concordance so if we had any questions about a particular text, the girls could see how easy it is to look it up. I was amazed at how much we could talk about, and we only got through 3 chapters! So much goodness just by going through His Word together! And we all felt so good afterwards. His Word, just reading it line by line, is so powerful! Sometimes we over-complicate things and we just need to get back to the basics.

Ephesians 6:17- Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Matthew 4:4- But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17- All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Seeing God in Divine Appointments

At least once a week my husband goes out to Mission (about an hour from here) and does work on the property we get to use for camp. Most of our Big Red Ministries stuff is stored there in a big trailer. Yesterday was no different except he just needed to go to load up some stuff for the Homes of Hope we’re hosting October 31st. Normally, I never go with him. I thought it would be good to go. We could grab lunch and then I could help a little before I had to leave to pick up my kids from school.

He was behind me, as I had the gps locked in for Free Birds Burritos. And I was singing away when I glanced in my rear-view mirror and realized I didn’t see him behind me. And I could vaguely see him off to the side on the freeway. I quickly called him and he said he had a really, really bad blowout. And it was scary, because not only did he have a blow-out, but he was pulling a very large trailer behind him. It was a miracle he was able to pull over in time and the large shards of tire not hit any other vehicles.

I found the nearest exit, back-tracked on the other side of the frontage road and got back on the freeway to find him. His truck and trailer were sticking out a little from the side of the road and way too close to cars getting onto the freeway. He proceeded to change the tire with me parked behind him so I could block him from getting hit, because wouldn’t you know it, it was the tire on the back left, the road side. And I prayed the whole time. Some of these cars would fly onto the freeway not realizing there’s a man changing a tire, and I would have to fling open my door to try and scare them to drive around us.

I thought I was going to have lunch with my husband, hang out a bit and and help him with some stuff at camp, BUT GOD knew differently. My assignment was already planned out. He already knew. He made provision ahead of time.

I honestly don’t know what my husband would have done if I decided just to stay close to home to get some work done here. It was almost an hour away where it happened. He said he would have had to hitch hike to the Wal-Mart with his tire, wait to get it fixed, and then try to find a ride back. And then change the tire hoping nobody was going to hit him as he changed it.

I am so thankful for God’s divine appointments. He knows what He’s doing. Sometimes when you’re late for something and get on the freeway, you realize if you had been on time, you could have been in that terrible accident. Or you can’t quite explain it, but you feel like you’re supposed to be somewhere, like you just know you’re supposed to go. Divine appointment. God can use us to be one, and He also sends others to be ours… right on time.

Be sensitive to Him. Look for Him. I don’t believe in coincidences or luck. He’s big enough to make provision ahead of time for exactly what we need. And He has protected us so many times, we have no idea, and might not ever know until we get to Heaven.

Seeing God in Mornings

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“We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.” Lysa Terkeurst

Mornings are my favorite. I know, all of you non-morning people are cringing right now, but just hear me out. It’s that time of the day when no one else in the house is up. It’s dark outside and quiet inside. I make my coffee and light my candle, and slip into my office. I listen. I listen to hear His still small voice. I position myself to be in a place of hearing. I read His Word, or read from a devotional, or work on my Bible Study. Whatever form of listening, it’s still intentional. And He doesn’t disappoint.

When I wake up late, hurried and frazzled, and no time for early quiet time, my day just doesn’t feel right. I know He redeems the time and He can actually give us more time for those things on our to-do list when we put Him first.

Psalms 143:8- Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalms 5:3- O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Lam. 3:22-23 – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalms 130:6- My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

Psalm 30:5- For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

I read a blog years ago that still sticks with me today. It is by Platform expert Michael Hyatt, titled Slay your Dragons Before Breakfast. One of the best articles I’ve ever read about your morning routine.

I see God in my mornings. He shows up in my early morning sacrifice. He is present and speaks through my sleepiness and gives me Himself, and I am ready for whatever my day might bring, because I have given Him the first fruits of my day. I know He honors that.

 

Seeing God in Disappointments

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Have you ever have one of those days where something needed to be looked at or fixed and you’re praying it’s not too expensive. “Let it be something little, Lord.” Maybe it’s a home remodel, or a car, or your ac unit. We all say that prayer, “Lord, I know something needs to be worked on, but let it be the cheaper something!” This week my husband had the pool guy come because our pool cleaner was broke. We too were hoping for it to be some small part that we could order this week, and then just move on in our lives. But upon further inspection we come to find out that our pool needs a whole new drainage installed. My husband was disappointed to say the least. We just wanted it to be something simple!

Then yesterday the big enchilada blew. When we moved out of our rental house that we lived in for a year and a half, we worked very hard to clean and do the yard work so we could get our deposit back. For us, it was a big deposit and we were definitely counting on, at least getting most of that back, in addition a refundable pet deposit. I remember that week. We were both exhausted, but knew we had to push through to deep clean the house, vacuum, and clean out fridge and everything else. And my I was leaving that Friday to my Aunts funeral in California. My husband made sure to leave the yard looking nice and even took a picture of it, because we felt like the house looked great. And then I emailed our previous landlord and she never replied. A few weeks later I emailed her, copying my husband in the email and about the status on the deposit, yet still, with no reply. Then we received a letter stating we had a certified letter awaiting us at the post office. Of course we were both hopeful, because we knew it had to be something! And it was something alright, it was a list of all the things she said she had to fix (since she was selling the house) and said no deposit would be returned. Needless to say, it was very disappointing.

But the Lord showed me something yesterday. He can show us Himself, even in disappointments. If we would take the time to let Him, He can speak to those disappointments and actually give us peace in the midst of being disappointed. I just knew that no matter what I did or said to try and rectify the situation that ultimately it was Him that was going to fight for me. And even if nothing changed on the outside, I wanted him to show me how to live in my every day life and disappointments knowing that He had my back. Because He does. And the Bible says that the Lord himself will fight for you, all you have to do is be still.

We can actually grow in our relationship with the Lord during these disappointments, because it makes us have to dig deep in our faith and in His Word. These things bring about opportunities that we might not otherwise have if we didn’t have to walk through them. Trust me, I don’t like the feeling of being disappointed, but I believe that He can change our character through it.

I need to learn these rich lesson of seeing Him in my disappointments. He helps me to forgive and he helps me to get go. And I want to teach this to my kids. In this life, disappointments will be a plenty. Surrender your disappointments to Him, read His Word for encouragement and watch His peace take over. No one can steal your peace, unless you allow them to. We need to be a people that run back to His Word when everything else seems to disappoint.

Seeing God in Rest

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Life seems to be so busy. I have found that if I don’t make time for rest, it won’t happen. We just finished a pretty big event last weekend, our Mother/Daughter Retreat. On Sunday I was okay, but on Monday it really hit me. I told the girls when we met for lunch on Tuesday that re-entry is hard. I call it re-entry. Re-entry is when you’ve just spent a certain amount of time focusing hours, days, weeks, and months on putting together a big event and then it happens, and then it’s done. Back to life. When I got back I had the house to clean, dinner to make, and the kids still had some homework. I desperately needed to go to the grocery store, and the laundry, don’t even get me started on the amount of laundry for a family of five that accumulates when mammas working on a big event.

So yesterday, even though there is still work to be done (isn’t there always), I needed to take a morning to just ‘be.’ I needed to set aside the phone calls and emails and laundry, and just be a daughter. I needed to be able to just sit, listen to worship, read His Word, and not only love on Jesus, but allow Him to love on me. I needed to be refreshed in His presence.

I am someone that has been producing for years. I’ve been blogging consistently since 2007 and writing, and working on articles and book ideas and speaking topics for years. It’s easy to get in the habit of researching the Bible and studying the Bible in search of my next thing to share or write on. This is not a bad thing, I actually grow so much and the Lord uses those things to speak to my heart as I share with others.

But yesterday was different. I just needed to soak up Him and His Word just for me. I needed to be okay with not producing or working and just be loved by Him, not for anything I do, but just because I am. I am a daughter of the King. I am the apple of His eye. I am His girl. I am loved, card for, and made righteous, not because of what I do, but because of Who’s I am.

My friend said yesterday how she used to be so busy trying to get so much done. Now she spends time with God first and she said He’s actually given her more time to do what she needs to do, and she has more free time to spend with Him.

He redeems the time.

Matthew 6:33- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

My friends, I am reminded that we don’t need to keep producing and working to striving to make everything happen and get everything done.

1)    He loves us just as we are. It’s not by works we have been saved.

2)    When we put Him first in our lives, everything else will fall into place. Will everything just be perfect and easy? No, but He can bring us joy in the midst and give us what we need to handle every challenge.

3)    You are greatly loved not because of what you do or can do. You are greatly loved just because you are a daughter of the most high. You are a daddy’s girl. You are already loved and highly favored. You are always on His mind.

I saw God yesterday by just being. I don’t have to ‘do’ to earn His love. I just am…I am loved. And everything I do flows out of that relationship. I am already accepted. He has shared my post in heaven a million times and hits the like button on me! I have nothing to prove. I am already loved beyond my comprehension by my Abba Daddy. Everything else I do- loving others, serving, giving, forgiving, it flows from that relationship, not because I need to prove I’m good enough. I am His, and therefore, I am enough.

Yesterday morning I saw Him in my rest. And it was good.

Hebrews 4:10- for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

 

Seeing God- A Poem

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I didn’t notice Him at first

Didn’t even know He was there

But when I looked all around

It was His hand in my every day affairs

At first, quite subtle

Then my eye looked even more

And every time I looked back

It was Him, opening and closing the door

In the beginning, those closed doors made me mad

But looking back through my years

it had made me realize He had

He had His hand in everything

And everything was His hand

There was nothing that didn’t pass through Him

And His purposes were rather grand

For although it didn’t look like it

And my understanding was bleak

I now can flip the pages of my book

And see His story, unique

His story in me woven through every fabric

Every wrinkle, every line, every color

Without Him, the ending’s tragic

And when I learned to resist no more

And walked through the open door

I found a lesson so rich, so right

He taught Me to rest in His Words at night

He taught me to let go of those things bound by fear

Because the lesson in my story is that He is always near

Always near to me, never letting go

And His love abounds, this I know

So I resist no more, and my eyes are open wide

His presence, in every moment, His Spirit in me resides.

 

 

 

Seeing God in New Beginnings

His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness (from Lamentations 3:23)

I haven’t run for months. For me, that’s a very long time. I have been a runner off and on since High School. The season when my kids were little I was off, but as they got older, I was back on. It’s a love hate relationship. I love it when I’m done and it makes me feel good. But it’s definitely hard to fit it back into my schedule when I’ve been out of the habit for so long. I stopped when we were moving and I started to pack, then move, then unpack, then traveled to Colorado and California, then got busy with some big events. And then I dropped a dart board on my toe that needed about 3 weeks to heal! Now I’m at a place where I’m ready to start again.

Starting is hard.

I can’t do what I used to be able to do and that can be frustrating. My body doesn’t just jump into submission and obedience like I want it to.

And quite honestly, it would just be easier not to start. But the last time I checked, God didn’t call me to easy. I know the benefits, I know how it makes my body feel, and I know that deep down, there is something more to be experienced through the persevering and through the discomfort.

And so yesterday, I did my first mini run, just to warm up. And I started to realize, I can do this. I don’t have to let my mind or my body tell me what to do and what not to do. There is nothing great in life that isn’t accomplished without a little pain; without a little pushing. We seriously don’t do half the stuff our bodies were made for because we’ve trained ourselves to obey our feelings instead of what we know we need to do.

Life is a lot like that. We feel like it’s been so long since we’ve done something, what’s the point? We have started and stopped so many times, we don’t want to disappoint ourselves and others one more time.

What is it for you? Has it been a while since you’ve sat and just read His Word? Today is a new day. We all have to start somewhere. Maybe you used to journal and thought about picking it back up, but it’s been so long. There is no time like the present. Start somewhere. I’ve had friends tell me they want to start writing again but it’s just been so long, they don’t even know where to start. Start anywhere. Anywhere is better than nowhere. Just start stringing words and thoughts on paper. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I’ve never regretted starting. Maybe you used to eat so healthy and you’ve completely let yourself go. Today is a new day. Baby steps. It’s one choice at a time. It’s learning to tell yourself no. Sometimes it’s falling and then just picking yourself back up tomorrow. Grace my friend… we can do hard things.

I see God in new beginnings; in starting fresh. In my mind, I can see Him up there with a host of heavenly beings shouting from Heaven, “You’ve got this”, “You can do this”, “Dust yourself off and get back up.”

His mercies are new every single morning.

May I encourage you today and even challenge you to get back up. You can do this and I promise you, it is worth it. Today is a new day. Shake off the negative thoughts in your head and start something; anything… today.

Remember Philippians 1:6 today…. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

 

Seeing God in Mothers & Daughters

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I took a break from my write 31 for a few days. I know you’re really not supposed to, but I’ve been planning a major retreat and I was gone from Friday through Sunday. I brought my laptop with me, but honestly, just wanted to give these ladies 100% and not be distracted by trying to figure out what to write. So, I gave myself grace and let it go for a few days.

And I’m back this Monday morning. Re-entry is hard. It’s hard when you’ve spent months planning for something, and then it finally happens. Your eyes are tired and you’re trying to get back to ‘normal’ life again, with routines and rhythms and schedules. And all those things I’ve been putting off because I’ve been working on this event is starring at me today. But with early morning coffee in hand and God’s Word on my heart, we can tackle this new day!

I am amazed and overjoyed at what God did this weekend. He blessed me with the most amazing team to help put everything together and run this special mother daughter weekend. And I was also able to spend some much needed time with my daughter who is 15. And even in the busyness, it was really good to be able to see her and play games with her and just to hear her on some things. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to be intentional or it just won’t happen. Making time together, even if it’s a special date once a month, is so important. I know for me, I want to start putting once a month dates on the calendar with my kids. Time rushes through life like a thief in the night, and if you’re not careful or intentional, you miss it. But today is a new day, and I don’t want to miss it.

This weekend was so special for so many reasons. It gave me such joy to serve these ladies and their daughters and to watch them have fun together. We had games, we had a silly skit, we had late night hang-outs, a fun photo booth with a selfie-stick, we had awesome praise and worship, we have four different messages with questions for the moms and daughters to answer together after each session. It was awesome to see these moms look up scriptures with their girls. The topics were Brave Identity, Brave Strength, Brave Purity, and Brave Devotions. And to have so many different churches represented…. I loved that! To lay aside our differences and come together to grow closer to our daughters and grow closer to God. It was beautiful!!! I think one of my favorite parts was the cards. During the day we had moms writing cards for their daughters and daughters writing cards for their moms. Then at our really nice dinner, at the Isla Grand Restaurant we had them exchange their cards. There were definitely some tears in the room. It was a beautiful moment.

And throughout the entire weekend we saw God- saw Him moving and healing and setting people free of some things. And we felt His smile as these moms and daughters reconnected and enjoyed each other. The best present you could ever give your kid is your presence.They are hungry for it and even though they sometimes don’t know how to express it, they want it so much.

 

Seeing God in Cleaning

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I have friends that love to clean their house. For some, it’s even been some form of therapy for them. They feel better after deep cleaning for several hours. This is not me. I wouldn’t say I look forward to deep cleaning or find any pleasure in it whatsoever. Sometimes I find it hard to balance between some things I have to get done and deadlines I have to make and…cleaning.

But this I know to be true- most times we just need to pull up our big girl panties and turn up the music and clean. Don’t think about it for too long or you will decide something (or anything) else looks way more inviting.

The other day as I was preparing for company I pulled up my girl panties and began to clean. By the way, invite company over often, it totally helps you stay accountable to cleaning! And I will have to admit, I kind of got lost in my cleaning, somewhere between the music and the bathroom. And when I got done, I felt so good. It was so refreshing to look and smell my clean house! I was like, I really need to do this more! I feel so much better in my space after a good cleaning!

Do you know that you can actually hang out with God and see Him right there in the midst of your cleaning? I’m telling you, turn up the praise and worship and surrender that thing you don’t like to do (for me it’s bathrooms) and you can actually connect with Him as your worshiping as you’re cleaning!

And I love the truth in the Bible about our own cleansing.

And I’m reminded that Jesus is the One who has cleansed me and made me white as snow. He has removed all the dirt and stain of my past and made all things new.

Psalm 51:7- Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

John 15:3 Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you.

Seeing God in Event Planning

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This weekend is such a big weekend for us! Big Red Ministries is hosting our Annual Mother/Daughter Retreat. We’ve done two others in the past but this is our first with teen girls. Myself and 3 other girls (Leah, Faith, and Daniela) have been planning for many months now. If you’ve ever planned a retreat, you know the details that go into making it a great event. So many little things to make sure we remember. This will be our first (of hopefully many) where we’ll have live praise and worship instead of singing with a cd (thank you Heather Smith). The other two retreats we did only lasted one night, two-days. This one will be two nights, three days.

As we have met together, talked, ate, and prayed, I have seen God right in the midst of all that we are doing. To take on such a huge task as planning your own retreat, you must have a love for these girls you’ll be ministering to and a love for what you’re doing, because the pay, well, it’s in Heaven. It’s been so fun seeing our ideas come together, being a united team and getting to know each other more, and watching God’s favor in so many areas. It’s the final few days before our retreat this Friday and literally everything has been falling into place.

Our colors are aqua and gold. We have giveaways, games, a scavenger hunt, a lot of snacks for our after parties, chocolate, and so much more planned! I will update ya’ll next week with pictures and stories! I know God delights in seeing his mammas and their teen daughters grow closer together and be able to get away to have fun together. Life can be so busy and so daily. It is a good thing to make time for those things (people) that are most important to you.

We, as the planning team, feel so honored to be a part of what God is doing. We would love your prayers for this weekend- that everything, all the little details, would just fall into place, that red-tide would be gone, that relationships would grow stronger, for all four of us that will be speaking, for the praise and worship time, and above all, that God would show up and show off.

We could not do what we do if we didn’t have God giving us the strength, giving us ideas, and giving us favor. When you step out into anything on a larger scale, it is truly a freefall into His arms, because we’re letting Him know, “Hey, this is bigger then us,” to which He replies, “Finally.”

 

 

 

Seeing God in Animals

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It’s happening. Everything I’ve tried to avoid about having animals is happening. I don’t want to love them; I don’t want to get too attached. I’m going to get to know their little personalities and their funny behavior patterns and begin to love them and then… and then what? I know it’s the inevitable. I’m going to love these creatures and eventually they will die. I’ve been able to avoid having animals most my adult life. But 8 years ago, I let my heart love a furry little creature and I decided to share my story here with you.

“Tis better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all.” Alfred Lord Tennyson

“You’re not a dog person, are you?” Who, me? What makes you think that? “Oh, I don’t know, the way you make a disgusted face every time my dog rubs against your leg.” Hmm… I guess, I’ve just never really cared for dogs. As I drove home from the barbeque that day, I thought, “Wow, is it really that obvious?” Then I thought to myself all of the many reasons why I am not particularly fond of the dog species. They’re big, their hair gets everywhere, and they slobber big, sloppy, wet kisses. They seem like they’re a lot of work. I mean, who needs more work, anyways? I‘ve always thought the little ones were kind of cute, but that’s as far as I went. I’ve never had a dog and I will never get a dog.

Never say never.

It was a day just like any other. I was at the gym, doing my thing. About to walk out when I saw a circle of people huddled around something, someone. As any good spectator and lover of something exciting, I popped my head in the circle to see what all the fuss was about. And there it was. There he was. The tiniest, most adorable 3 pounds of squished beige fuzz I had ever seen! As everyone was gathered around oohing and aweing, I had to ask. “Where did you get him?” The woman proceeded to tell me about a lady selling them in front of Wal-Mart. I couldn’t just leave it at that. I couldn’t just walk away. “Do you have her number?” And of course, she did.

Driving home I had an intense conversation with myself. “We don’t need a dog. It’s too much work. They’re messy. They’re expensive. I’ll be up all night. My husband will say no. I’ll be the one feeding and cleaning and training.” Then I’d argue with myself (true story)- “My kids have always wanted a puppy. I never had a dog growing up. It would teach them responsibility. How hard can a puppy be?”

I went home and shared with my husband all that had happened that morning. You know how we wives get when we really want something and we’re super excited about it? That was me. He reservedly said I could call the woman with the baby pugs just to see if she had any left and if so ask how much they cost. I did. And she said she actually had two left, but one was already spoken for. You get where I’m going with this, right? Only one left, we had to act fast! My husband said I needed to do my homework first. Do they shed a lot? Do they require a lot of shots, maintenance, upkeep, etc.? So after a few clicks on Google, I quickly came back with much good news. “We can do this,” I said. No problem. I reminded him of the children and how long they’ve wanted a puppy. And I threw in the fact that this little bundle of pug wouldn’t last long. Time was ticking away.

And after some deliberation, he told me to call the woman with the pugs and see if we could meet up. And we did. I knew it was meant to be when the breeder mentioned what she had named him. Latte. That’s it- he’s mine. (I love coffee).

I’m not going to say everything was roses the moment he entered our home. That would be a lie. I will tell you that this couple with little to no dog experience was contemplating returning him with every bite he would take of us and the children. Those teeth were sharp! The training was not the easiest. Yes, he was work. But isn’t anything in life that’s worth anything going to take some hard work?

I love him. We always said we would never let him sleep with us. He sleeps with us. He’s seven-years old and the fuzzy, furry love of my life. He has been the best dog for our kids. He’s like having another sibling. He is silly, funny, playful, and lazy.  And he has a big wrinkle the shape of a heart (literally) on the top of his head. I know it’s because his heart is so big on the inside, God had to put a heart on the outside as well. I can’t even imagine how our lives would be different today if we didn’t have the love of Latte in our home. Although, no longer a small bundle, this 25 pounds of beige ball has stolen our hearts forever.

Deep down I sometimes wonder if I was afraid to get a dog because I was afraid of loving something this much. In the back of my mind I knew there would be a risk in loving something that had my heart and I knew the chances of sickness, disease, and eventually, even death. Why would I buy something that has the chance of breaking my heart? Even as I type this story out, I am listening to the snores of my roly-poly pug and feeling his soft fur against my leg. And the question has forever changed in my heart. How could I not? I’m so glad I took a chance on love and allowed myself to experience life through a pug. However long the time I am given with him, it is worth it.

We now have not only our pug, but koi fish, 1 turkey, 2 peacock, 1 cat, 1 bunny, and by the end of the year will have chickens, goats, and a couple of piggies. Yes, the Lord has a sense of humor. But more than that, He has taught me so much through these animals. He has taught me to love and that it’s okay to have something living and breathing other than my children depend on me. He has shown me that even though I thought it was my job to make these animals happy, that they’ve come and brought unexpected joy into my life.

And I see Him. I see Him in these animals that He has created. He is teaching me to love- no matter for how long or how short the time I get, just to love and give and let my heart be unguarded. It’s freeing to love and not put up walls to protect ourselves and ultimately trust God with our hearts.

Last thing- your animal’s love for you is unconditional. Who does that remind you of?

Job 12:7-10

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.

Seeing God in Bible Study

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“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20

Every Wednesday I teach a Bible Study, Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God. Well, it’s more like Priscilla teaches it, my friend hosts it, and I facilitate it! There are so many great reasons to join a Bible Study. We always look forward to our time together. It’s fun hanging out, getting to know each other, eating cookies, and drinking coffee. Sometimes we start off with praise and worship and sometimes I’ll do an icebreaker.

I feel like God speaks to us every single week. He is so very present. After the teaching video we discuss what we heard and share things that stood out to us. And we always open and close in prayer. Almost every week there’s been someone who needed specific prayer, and I love praying for others! It is an honor.

Last week specifically I saw God at work. He was challenging, healing, and speaking to His girls. And I get to be a part of what He’s doing.

If you’re not part of a Bible Study, I encourage you to pray about joining one! I know sometimes it’s hard if you don’t know anyone, but I encourage you, it is so worth it to find a community of ladies who are hungry for more of Jesus. And if it’s a commitment thing, a lot of them just run around 8 weeks and then take a break. And a lot of them offer a lot of grace. I always tell my girls, don’t stop coming altogether because you’ll be out some classes, just come when you can! You will always get something out of it! And I also have heard of some girls say they don’t go to Bible Studies because of the homework. I get it- I totally do! Here’s what say, “If you can do your homework, it definitely helps you grow in your walk with the Lord, but if for whatever reason you don’t or can’t, please still come! Because the fellowship and teaching is still helping us grow in our walk and bringing much needed encouragement! (I know, others might argue I’m too much grace, but… it works for us and makes people know they can come no matter what!).

I’ve been a part of Bible Studies and teaching Bible Studies for years, and I love it! Is it always easy and convenient? Nope. Is it worth it? Every.single.time.

 

 

Seeing God in Family

A family, with parents, children and grandparents, enjoy a picnic

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

Our lives at this point have felt like someone hit the fast-forward button and forgot to press pause, one event after the other in the midst of just moving. We have certain places where we put boxes that we still need to go through, we have tvs to hang, a bed to put together, doors to hang on our bookshelves in our bedroom, and A LOT  of stuff that’s been in storage for three years while we were in transition. And there’s so much grass, that my husband could mow everyday and still not be caught up!

I told my husband yesterday, “Tomorrow we need to go to a movie as a family because I need some fun.” He laughed and said, “Because you need some fun?”  I said, “Yes, we’ve been so busy that it feels like we could just stay busy forever, but we must schedule in pockets of fun or we will just explode!” Anybody else?!

And we’ve also been so busy that I needed to schedule a family night with Jon’s parents/sisters/niece, not because I needed to, but because I missed them and just missed hanging out. So last night we had them over and it was so good. My sisters helped me make desert and we talked as I finished making the dinner casserole. I love having a big kitchen for all of us to move and talk and cook. It is so great! And bonus, with two ovens dinner and desert can cook… at the same time (Be still my happy heart)!

And we fed the peacocks, the turkey, and the cat- I love our new animal family! My kids played play-doh with my niece as we finished dinner stuff. And my daughter played animals in her room with my niece. And then we played Mexican Train (dominoes) as a family which we had not done in a long time and was so good!

God was there, blessing our time of choosing to slow down and choosing each other. He was and is very present and I know He smiles down when we choose to be together in the midst of our busy lives.

Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families. If we want to spread joy, we need for every family to have joy.  Mother Teresa
Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Mother Teresa
 

Seeing God in Fog

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Our drive to school each morning is about 25 minutes. Lately our music of choice has been Toby Mac and Owl City. We do our Jesus Calling for Kids devotional in the car, pray for our day, talk a little, sometimes the boys will use that time to study for a test, and we just drive and listen to the music. We leave every morning at about 7:20 and the sun is always rising. About a month ago we moved to a rural area so our drive is different than it was in the past. I know it’s longer, but I love our morning drive. We see fields and farms and cows and grass. As the sun rises over the fields, watching the day wake up is breathtaking. Almost every morning I tell the boys, “look at the sun, it’s so pretty!” There are mornings when the sun looks like a giant ball of fire ready to burst from the sky. The other day we decided it was more like a bubble egg.

But yesterday morning (as we’ve seen on a handful of mornings) the fog was thick. We could barely see our cows. This got my boys and I talking and laughing, saying I wonder what it would be like if we were those cows. I had a great idea for a kids book, as I often do! “Hey Mildred, I know you’re here, but I just can’t see you.” “Marty, I’m over here…” (You had to be there). And how they have to eat their grass in the mornings without being able to see and they can’t see where they’re going if they want to walk somewhere. Life as a cow in the fog.

I was reminded of when I went to Corpus Christi to speak in February. The town was completely covered in fog for a day and a half. I wondered if the fog would ever leave. On my final day there the fog lifted and I could see clearly again. When you’re in the fog, it’s hard to see anything or to even know where you’re going.

When you’re going through a hard time, it’s hard to see clearly. There’s so much fog blocking our view. Our vision becomes blurred.

God wants you to know that He’s there even when it’s hard to see. Keep trusting Him in the fog, even when you’re not sure where you’re going. He will guide you through when it’s hard to see.

 

4 things I want us to remember today:

  1. Trust Him in the fog.
  2. He guides us through the fog.
  3. He’s the lifter of the fog.
  4. He leads us out of the fog.

Seeing God in Mammas

Three mothers in living room with babies and coffee smiling

I had the privilege to speak to a Mops group yesterday. It’s one of my favorite things to do! My topic was fear. The title was Fighting Your Fears (So You Can Flourish).  It’s ironic in part because I am always so nervous before I speak and once I get up there I feel God’s peace and He takes over. So by me standing up there, being brave and doing what I know He’s called me to do, I am fighting my fears. And that was the foundation of my message. Every time I am afraid to do something but do it anyways, I am fighting my fears. And then I saw this last night and was like, confirmation!

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And as if that wasn’t enough, Priscilla Shirer, in the Bible Study I taught last night (Armor of God), said almost word for word some of the stuff I talked on about just having to step out, and she even used the same illustration I did about Peter walking on water, and how sometimes we’re just going to have to step out of the boat, even in the midst of all the wind and waves.

I have to tell you, I saw God all over those mammas yesterday. October is Pregnancy, Infant Loss Awareness Month. They showed a music video right before my talk to remember all the mammas in the room who had lost a little one. I could see Him healing through the tears and having someone acknowledge their pain. It was a sacred moment.

And then after I spoke, I joined a group for their small group discussion time. As I listened to mamma after mamma pour out their fears, I also saw God at work, as other mammas joined in to bring advice and encouragement. And I could see God at work that morning, as the ladies were coming head on with some of their own fears, not wanting to allow those fears to paralyze them or keep them from being all that God has called them to be. And many talked to me afterwards  sharing their own fears and I saw God at work and it was beautiful.

He is at work…every.single.day.

And all we have to do is look for Him. Be intentional. Wake up each morning and say, “Lord, Help me to see you today, in the everyday, ordinary parts of my life.”

Seeing God in Answered Prayer

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Exodus 17:12- When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

There was a battle going on against the Amalekites. Moses sent Joshua to fight against them while he, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the Hill. Exodus 17:11 says, “ As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” And that’s when verse 12 comes in to play, when Moses’s hands grew tired Aaron held up one and Hur held up the other, and they won the battle.

Yesterday, I could tell that my husband was wearing thin from the countless hours of mowing, weed eating, koi pond work, and his many other jobs. He was short with us and a bit on edge but I didn’t take it personal because I knew he was just exhausted.

As I woke this morning I got down on my knees and I was very specific in my prayers. Lord, please send someone to be like Aaron and Hur to my husband to hold his hands up…please. I specifically asked for someone to help with all of the mowing- that was my prayer.

As the day went on he mentioned that an old friend (not old, but, like, they’ve been friends for a long time) was coming over for lunch. This friend lives in Frisco, Texas and was in town for a business meeting, but his meeting got rescheduled for the next day. I believe God orchestrated this, I really do. And so I didn’t think much of it and went about my day.

And then as I was driving out to pick up my daughter from school, I saw my husband’s friend, Julio… on the lawn mower. I said hi as I drove by and the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me of my prayer earlier today, and I just about lost it.

This friend could have done anything he wanted on this day. He could have hung out by the pool or watched movies all day! It’s his day. And he had NO IDEA how much my husband needed this encouragement.

I saw God in my answered prayer. Word for word what I prayed for and on the exact same day. He sent my husband someone to be Aaron and Hur and lift up not only my husband’s arms, but his spirits. Here’s the post tonight from my husband:

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You just never know, you might be the answer to someone elses prayers. As I end this day I am once again reminded that God not only hears our prayers, but answers them too.

Thank you Lord, and thank you Julio.

Psalms 66:19-20 (NASB) But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer nor His loving-kindness from me.

Seeing God in Glorious Nature

IMG_9570-0.PNG“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa

Psalm 104:24-25- 24 How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number– living things both large and small.

John 1:3- All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Like a child, I look out into the sky, waiting to watch the sun rise anew, in hopeful expectation as a symbol of a new day.

I lookout into the waters, and see how great and mighty You are Lord. They are calm, respectful and brimming with life. The waters sparkle for You.

If I sit long enough, I will hear a fish jump, see a turtle swimming, and watch the birds glide by. And You, Lord, created all of this for my enjoyment.

I know sometimes I get too busy. I forget. I forget to stop and lookout. I forget to sit and be still and marvel at all you’ve made for me.

Remind me fresh today to look around; to pause. Even just a few minutes to quiet my soul, being reminded that you are good and that you have made all of this, big and small, for my pleasure.

You show me Yourself in nature, in the beauty that surrounds me.

In the mountains You shout your love.

In the desert you remind me that You’re still here even in the dryness.

In the trees you shade me with Your love.

In the birds, neither fretting or toiling, but being…. And that is enough for them.

I want to learn from nature and just be- not always producing or running or working, but learning to how to just be.

I want to learn from the green lush all around me that being still is part of being.

I want to look up at night, in my weariness, and be reminded, you made the stars, so vast and bright and beautiful…. Just for me.

May I learn from the stars, and shine bright for you.

Let each sunrise represent a new beginning and a fresh start and each sunset another day of Your faithfulness.

For truly, Lord, You send us these gifts throughout the day. May I never get too busy to enjoy them.

And may I always look at all You’ve created and know that You are here and you are good and You surround me ever day with whispers of your love.

Lord, I look around and I can’t help but to praise You and thank You.
We deserve nothing yet You gave it all.

How great are the works of Your mighty hand.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalms 23:2-3

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Photos from The Ranch

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Seeing God in Friendships

Girl friends meeting for coffee

 “A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become and still, gently allows you to grow.” -William Shakespeare

It was my sister-in-laws birthday on Friday and we were celebrating at a sushi restaurant. (The name will remain anonymous in case I happen to mention the 2 hour wait for our rolls.) There were close to twenty of us that came to celebrate. The table was full… full of conversation and laughter. Since there were so many of us, we would switch our seats every five minutes (like speed dating). And we were able to get caught up on what’s been going on in everyone’s lives. A friend came into town that lives in Guatemala, and she just adopted a newborn baby. She was able to come by to see everyone with her newborn before leaving in the morning.

As I was driving home I was reminded how sweet friendship is. Those are the people you do life with. You may not be around them all the time, but when have a chance to get together, it is a gift. Friendship is a gift. It takes work, and we’re not going to always get it right, but we give each other grace. And we learn from each other, we grow together, we pray for each other, and yes, celebrate each other.

God is present in our friendships and I saw Him tonight as we sat around the table and laughed and shared. He ordained friendships and I believe is overjoyed when He sees His kids having fellowship and being in community with one another. We need each other.

If you’re feeling isolated, I encourage you to seek out ways to get connected, whether its through a church group or a Bible study, or some ladies from work. We always wait to be invited- I encourage you to invite someone out for coffee or a play-date at the park for you & your kids. You never know what God has in mind with those connections. You just might be the friend someone has been praying for!

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” C.S. Lewis

Seeing God in Pain

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In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me– Hosea 5:15b

I’m taking toe-jam to a whole new level. Last week I was moving some sports equipment and there was this heavy-duty dartboard hanging from the side of the container. I was wearing flip-flops, because Brownsville, and the dartboard came crashing down on my big toe. I need you to know something about me- I have a very high pain tolerance. Blame it on my jaded past, but pain I can handle. But this… oh, this. This was pain like I had never felt before. And it was on an area of my body that affects everything. Moving, cycling, running… walking and driving! That first night I basically moaned and whimpered, unable to fully fall asleep. I hobbled my way through the rest of the week. Each night prayed for sleep and each morning I inspected my toe to see if it was healed yet. And here I type this seven days later… still pain. And it looks worse, although the pain has subsided from a 12 to about a 5. Today as we hung out for my boy’s chess tournament, a few people said they thought the toenail was going to fall off. Two friends said I should stick a small needle through the shell of the nail, or the side of the skin where it’s puffy and drain it, because it would relieve the pressure. I said I’d think about it. But the thought of it makes me shudder. Just stick a need in it?!

And throughout this week I’ve wondered why I wasn’t healing faster. Truth? Ain’t nobody got time for this! This is toe-tally (get it.. toe…tally…) inconvenient!

Want to know a little secret? I have always struggled with my eyebrows, or lack there of. For some reason, as I’ve gotten older, my eyebrows just faded away. It’s strange. And for years I’ve purchased liquids, and powders, and stencils. You name it- if it started with eyebrow I was trying it! And for all of my photos throughout the years, I’ve noticed my uneven attempt at an eyebrow.

I know what you’re thinking. Where I she going with this? First the toe, now the eyebrow. I had looked into getting my eyebrows tattooed. I was terrified that the lady would do it and make me look like a scary clown. One day I just decided that I have had enough of trying to get my eyebrows on and even. My friend told me of a place and I went in for a consultation. Before I knew it, I was making the appointment. I went in without telling anyone (okay, I told one friend, but only because we both wanted to have this done). I didn’t want any more delays or anyone to talk me out of it. And I spent over 2 hours on a Monday morning having my eyebrows tattooed. It was painful, but again, pain tolerance is not usually a problem.

She told me my eyebrows would heal in about a week, and a layer would just scab off. I was to put ointment on them every morning and every night. I was also supposed to stay out of the sun and heat or they could sweat and heal wrong, and become blotchy. I didn’t realize this was going to make me look like Chewbacca (except his fur was soft, mine was oily). By about day four I was getting worried. It didn’t look like I thought it should. Honestly, I looked a little creepy. I ran in to the salon and the lady didn’t seem as concerned as I was. She said it usually takes a week and she kind of chuckled at me because she could tell that I was visibly worried. I went home and went back into the salon on day six, because it just wasn’t healing like I thought it should or as fast as I thought it would. She looked me over and let me know that even though ‘most’ people heal up around day 6, that it takes some people about ten days depending on their skin. Apparently I have the ten-day skin.

And every morning I would wake up and run to the mirror. “Why isn’t it healing?” “It should be all healed up by now!” And that was in August. I wished it were over a couple of weeks where I could have just hid in my house and not seen anyone- But I couldn’t. It was actually a rather busy ten days. On day seven we did a kids camp in 100-degree temperatures, outside. When I welcomed the kids as they were arriving you would think I had a frog on my head… oh, the looks. But I carried on, trying not to let the drippy, oily eyebrows affect my life.

Here I sit in October not even thinking much about my eyebrows, which is why I love them so! I wake up and they’re there, I swim and they’re there… it’s fabulous! But that time when I thought the healing would never happen… I just woke up one day and didn’t think about it. I can’t tell you a date or a time exactly, it was just as I continued putting one foot in front of the other that it happened.

I see God at work in our healing. Sometimes we feel like it is taking forever to heal this broken heart, or to heal this pain that throbs like a pulsing toe that’s just been slammed with a dartboard. We don’t see God in the onset of the pain, or in the waiting to be healed. I wish I could just wake up and have my toe be normal again, but I believe God can teach me something through the pain.

I know this sounds strange, but I see God in my pain. I see Him showing me that He’s healing even when I don’t see anything happening.

He’s showing Himself to me in the moments where I had little patience, “Please Lord, just bring about healing!” And He allows me to see Him when I look back- He is the One who helped me, gave me strength, and brought me through. And as much as my toe is a pain (literally) I see Him as I ask Him to reveal Himself to me in my wait.

Have you ever had something happen that was traumatic and/or painful? Did you wonder why it felt like it was (or is) taking so long to heal? Did you almost feel God silent? If you look back on some of those things, can you see where He was with you during the pain, or He sent someone to be His hands & feet? Do you remember feeling impatient for the healing to happen, but now see how He worked everything out and brought glimpses of Himself through it?  I encourage you to look for Him, even in the pain. Whatever you’re going through, trust Him to build you up through it and make you stronger!

1 Peter 4:19- Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Romans 5:3-5- Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Seeing God in Protection and Discipline

Seeing God in His Protection & DisciplinePhoto Credit @depositphotos

 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalms 34:19 (NLT)

I saw God yesterday in two very important ways during the same incident. I left our ranch to go pick up my daughter. I had been working on some writing projects all day and I had woken up early to get a jump-start on all that I wanted to do. By the time I left to pick her up I was tired! As I drove down the winding rural road I was not only sleepy, but also, somewhat distracted. Not a good combo. My phone silently vibrated and I glanced at my email (which I know is a big no-no while driving). I knew this, but did it anyways. There were three vehicles in front of me and a big truck behind me. As I refocused my vision I realized the car in front of me was stopped because the two cars in front of him had their blinkers on and had stopped, waiting to turn into a house on the left. It all happened so fast. By the time I realized there were 3 cars completely stopped in front of me I slammed my breaks as hard as I could. I was driving about 65 miles per hour and this extreme breaking caused my mini van to shake side to side as I tried to regain control of my vehicle. Tires screeched and at that moment I didn’t know if I was going to be able to avoid hitting the cars in front of me. The truck behind me hit his breaks and by the grace of God, my van stopped within seconds of causing a pile up.

As the two cars finally turned left, the one in front of me and behind me kept their distance (and I don’t blame them!). I was quite shaken up. I continued to drive to pick up my daughter. For about ten minutes or so of the drive all I could do was thank the Lord for His protection. I thanked Him for helping me for what felt like His angels holding my van back. I praised Him and thanked Him.

Nahum 1:7 (NLT)- The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.

But for the next 10-15 minutes of the car ride I repented. Because I knew I was distracted and I could have caused an awful accident. I know this is why we should never text and drive, because it’s a distraction.

Hebrews 12:6- For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.

Let’s just say I got a Holy Spirit spanking! Want to know the good news? The Lord loves me enough to discipline me when I need it because I’m His child. The same way we discipline our kids when they’ve done something even after we told them not to. We don’t enjoy the process of disciplining them but we know that it will produce good fruit (eventually). We do it because we love them.

All within a matter of 20 minutes I saw Gods protection and discipline. And I needed both. We all do. It’s like getting a speeding ticket. We hate the ticket, but we also realize that we should have been driving the speed limit. The Lord disciplines those He loves. And he protects his kids.

Think about a time where He has protected you. Now think about a time where He’s disciplined you. Thank Him today for both. It means you are His and you are loved.

31 Days to Seeing God in the Daily

31 Days to Seeing God in the Daily

If you haven’t noticed already on social media, there’s a writing movement for the month of October (write31days). I’ve been avoiding it, scrolling past it, and hiding from it. The thought of one more commitment to fill my never empty plate just terrifies me. And I’m okay with saying no to the writers peer pressure even though many of my writing friends are doing it. But truth is, I haven’t been consistent with my writing since the beginning of summer, yet it’s something I love and miss when I’m not doing it.

#thewrestleisreal

And so I almost missed a God moment- not because of what anyone else says or thinks, but because God is calling me to start writing again and in a way I’m hiding from Him. There is the pressure of committing to write something everyday and risking it just being okay or not up to my writing standards. But then I hear that still small voice saying, “What if it encourages even just one person? Isn’t that enough?” And I’ve always said that about my writing….

Even if my writing is meant for just one person, it is worth it. (–>CLICK TO TWEET)

I’m reminded of the story in Matthew 18:12-14. If Jesus had 100 sheep and one was lost, He said He would leave the 99 and go after the 1. Why would He do that? Because people matter. Always. As a society, we seem to be so focused on numbers. I’ll be the first to confess that if I write a blog, I judge the success of it by how many comments/likes/ and shares it’s gotten. It’s kind of how we bloggers know what we’re saying matters. And no one likes to invest hours and hours of research and writing if no one is going to read it.  True? So I get caught in the struggle of asking, “Why should I invest so much time for something that has potentially little to no payoff?”  And I’m reminded once again this morning, even if just for one.

But when I write it’s more than just for one. It’s my act of worship to the One.

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell said in Chariots of Fire.

And I feel this exact same way about writing. Yes, I love it when you read, comment, and share. Yes, I love to know that my writing is touching lives and making a difference. But what I really love is when the words just begin to flow like music on a keyboard, sometimes tears fall, and I enter a holy place….and I feel God’s pleasure.

So every day for the month of October I’m going to write about How I’ve seen God in everyday ins-and-outs of my life. Some days will just be a few sentences, other days the pages may run longer. It will not be perfect, and that is okay (I’m going to keep saying this to myself all month). But I want to challenge and encourage you to take this journey with me. I believe God is all over our days, but some days are harder to see Him. I know He’s in my marriage, in my parenting, and in the beauty all around.

My prayer for this month (join me)~ Lord, open my eyes to see you in the everyday. Open my eyes to see you in the highs and lows of everyday living. Help me to see You in the meal planning and the endless drop-offs and pick-ups, help me to see you in my laundry. Help me to quiet my heart long enough to listen to your still small voice. I am hungry and thirsty to meet with You in the big and in the little and most of all, in the ordinary. Because as ordinary as everyday feels, I am reminded this morning that I am standing on holy ground because wherever I go, You are here. Amen

If you are not yet subscribed to my blog, go to the top right hand corner of my website and type in your email and click subscribe. Let’s take this journey together and become more intentional in looking for God in our everyday. Because this I can promise you… He is here.

Also, if you’re interested in writing a guest post for this series, please contact me using the contact page. I would love to share with my readers the many ways that we can see and experience God in our everyday lives!

#write31days #31daystoseeingGodinthedaily