songforanewday

Knowing You, Meeting Me

Get Connected

Sometimes, God uses the most (seemingly) innocuous things to show me something. Normally, when this happens, I can’t even pretend not to see what’s going on. It’s right there. That happened today. What I thought was a story that I thought my husband would never be able to live down (and likely won’t), is really an example of how God desires to keep me plugged in. All the way all the time.

We recently upgraded our DVR. To do this, we needed to trade out our cable card from the old DVR to the new one. No biggie…except, when we did, it didn’t work. It loaded 72% of the information and then stopped. We called our cable company who spent a couple hours trying to help us rectify the problem to no avail. Finally, we came to the conclusion that there must be a problem with the card itself. They sent out a new one which arrived today.

Great! So, we put in the new one. Surely, this one won’t give us any issues, right? Wrong. Again, it loaded 72% of the information and stopped. I called my cable company again and spoke to a lovely but painfully stumped gentleman who suggested I disconnect my current DVR and try the old one. I knew that once the card was in the new one, it wouldn’t really work in the old one without being reactivated for that one. That wasn’t really a good option. So, I decided to call the DVR company. A friendly guy answered and we decided to go through step by step to make sure nothing was amiss – it didn’t make sense that two cards would give me the same issue.

As it turns out, when my husband hooked up the DVR, he forgot to plug in the coax. Opps. The signal from the cable company gets sent from the coax to the cable card. So, it doesn’t matter (ouch, God, ouch) what was inside the box, if the box wasn’t connected to the source, the box was useless.

I have this friend…

I love my friend. He’s one of my best friends. We’ve been through a lot together. He’s been there for me through some of the most trying and hardest times of my life. He loves my kids fiercely and they love him back. He’s my family. I thank God that I have my friend in my life. I have a very very good friend.

He’s also opinionated. Very opinionated. He takes hard stands on subjects that…he…doesn’t always have the…full experience to understand. That’s life. We all do that. We all form our opinions based on our life experiences. Some of us can see things from the perspective of others; some of us have a harder time with that. All of us filter our take on the world through our understanding of the world.

However, this can make relationships sticky. So sticky, that it’s been months since I last spoke to my friend. It doesn’t matter why (well, not to anyone but us), but, I’ve let history, present, words, my life and my reasons keep me from talking to someone who means the world to me. That’s been interesting because his wife is also one of my best friends. In the time since he and I last spoke, she came for a two week visit two my house. Alone.

My grandfather likes to ask, “do you like to be right, or reconciled?” That does seem to be the question. It’s not like my reasons for avoiding him are bad ones. My friends have been pretty understanding and I felt pretty satisfied as no one called me out. They were valid and understandable and blah blah blah…

All of that made sense to me until today, when I realized that I was unplugged from the source. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is a scripture  that most people can quote easily. Interestingly, just as easily we forget the first three verses: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

You guys have gotten to know me pretty well through this blog, I know a lot of scripture. I’m a pretty nice person. What you see here is pretty much what there is to me. I’ve always been pretty good at memorizing scripture and being able to use an every day experience for the purpose of a lesson or sermon-like blog. Learning comes pretty easily to me. Like my DVR with the cable card, what’s inside of me is seemingly pretty great. But, if I’m not plugged in, if I forget who I am, if I forget how to love, what’s the point?

I love my friend. I really do. I love him dearly. I once spent hours telling him how awesome he was because he genuinely didn’t know. I’m an encourager and I like to think of myself as the personal encourager of my friends. – especially this friend. Somehow, in the past few months, I stopped being plugged in. I got tired. I got weary. I got stressed and worn out. That happens to the best of us. But, when we’re connected to God, we get the Psalm 23 spa treatment – green pastures, quiet waters, restored soul.

I don’t know when I stopped being plugged in or when one of the most important people in my world started receiving the brunt of that punishment. Here’s what I do know: you’re more than my best friend, you’re my family. I don’t give up on family. I don’t walk away. I don’t stop being who I am or let us stop being who we are over a disagreement that (technically) hasn’t even happened yet. No matter who you are or what you do or where you go, I will always have your back the same way you’ve always had mine. And I am sorry enough that I forgot that, I wrote this to let you know.

So, fellow bloggers and best friend, remember to stay connected. And when you’re not, remember to say you’re sorry.

To my friend, my gift to you is the permission to tease the husby for all eternity. I mean, really, who forgets to plug in the coax?! Oh, wait….I kinda did that, too. Oops.

I wonder what a Level 1 Unplugged Coax would have for Bad Stuff? 😉

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The Promise Clause

Merry Christmas, blog readers! I hope yours was filled with family, friends. presents, presence and lots of cookies. Definitely cookies. Mine had all of the above and an amaaaazing nap as my kids actually played quietly with their newly opened goodies. I enjoyed watching them open each and every one and then rush over to the giver with such grateful and thankful hearts. Parenting win!

I’ve been trying to sit down to write this for a few days now. Our preparations didn’t leave me a whole lot of free time = but, I’m sure none of you understand aaaaaaaaaanything about that. 😉 I was watching one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, The Santa Clause, and I kinda felt like I was seeing it for the first time. I mean, I own the trilogy. I love these movies. I’ve seen them dozens of times over the years, but this time was completely different.

In case you haven’t seen it, Tim Allen plays a divorced father named Scott Calvin. He accidentally frightens Santa off of a roof and after Santa falls, leaving his suit, Calvin puts it on to make his son laugh. Not long after, Calvin and his son are whisked away to the North Pole where the Head Elf, Bernard, explains to Calvin that because he read the card next to the suit and put on the coat, he’s the new Santa. Calvin doesn’t buy into this at all. He’s told that he has 11 months to get his affairs in order and report back and chaos ensues as the transformation takes over in spite of Calvin’s unbelief.

As I was watching this movie for the nth time, I was suddenly reminded of the story of Abraham. Genesis 12 begins the story of Abram. God tells him to go to Egypt and tells him that he’s going to make him a great nation – pack up everything and go. Abram does and leaves everything he knows behind. His journey isn’t always easy. Just like Scott Calvin does in our movie, Abram gives in to fear and does some lying (he tells Pharaoh that Sarai – his wife – is his sister).

In Genesis 15, a childless Abram is again promised to be made the father of a nation. He offered a sacrifice to the Lord and then a deep sleep came over him. That’s when something really cool happened. Normally, when a covenant was made, the parties would walk through two halves of a sacrifice together to signify their bond to the deal. This time, the Spirit of the Lord passed through while Abram was sleeping. There was nothing that Abram could do because he was literally incapacitated. This was a deal God made with Himself on Abram’s behalf.

What’s the lesson here?

Okay, we know that God says in Isaiah 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” and we know from 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” and we also know that He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). So, therefore, if God has given you a promise – any promise – He has given you all the evidence you need to know that the promise will come to pass. There is nothing you can do about it. Even when you think you’re going crazy in the wondering and the waiting, the promise is still on the way!

One of my favorite parts of The Santa Clause is the faith of Scott’s son, Charlie. He never wavers in his insistence that his dad is the new Santa. When people laugh at him, when his mom and new husband, a child psychiatrist, worry about him and threaten to keep him from seeing his father, he still maintains that he was there when his dad became Santa. His faith faith never fails. May we all take a lesson from that.

So, as you continue to clean up wrapping paper, cookie crumbs and go for just one more cup of coffee, remember that the Ultimate Giver of Gifts hasn’t forgotten about your present. He created an iron clad clause for Himself that He can’t get out of – not that He wants to anyway. There is nothing you have to do, nothing you can say, no way for you to mess up, your Christmas morning is coming.

It’s all in the fine print. 🙂

Have an amazing day while you wait!

~Mo~

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Pain, Crutches and Learning to Walk Anyway

Oh, wow! I still have a blog! I wish I had a better excuse for letting it get so dusty, but, the truth is, (as far as ministry is concerned) I just shut down. I stopped singing. I stopped writing. I stayed just involved enough to say I was there. Why? I guess because I forgot that I need the ministry God called me to just as much as anyone else. I’m made for encouraging, for lifting people up, for reminding them that God is not through with them and has wonderful plans for their lives. It’s amazing how often I forget that message myself.

*cue the reminder*

Just before Thanksgiving, my youngest daughter came home complaining of pain. She had fallen down in gym class and landed on her knee. Initially, everything seemed okay, but, when it hadn’t subsided two days later, we took her to the doctor to make sure there was no real damage. They did an x-ray and confirmed that everything was fine recommending that we bring her back in another two days should she still be uncomfortable.

Two days passed and she was still consistent in her complaints. We took her back and they suggested we see sports medicine. We met a lovely orthopedic doctor and Taylor giggled every time she heard his slight southern accent. He told me things about my daughter that I already knew – she’s extremely flexible. In fact, almost too flexible. She has more bend than she should and so he confidently diagnosed her with Pain Amplification Syndrome. He explained to me that there had been a soft tissue contusion in her knee, but, that it had since healed. However, because Taylor is so hyper-flexible, often her brain doesn’t get the signal that healing has already taken place and so she still legitimately feels pain because of the injury that was once there.

I once heard a pastor say that you will know someone should preaching if they can find a sermon in anything. I’ve often been accused of having that knack and this was no different. As I was listening to the doctor explain how this was possible, I was thinking of the spiritual connotation of that truth. How often has a Sunday morning sermon stirred us to the alter weeping and praying that God would heal us of a wound that stopped us from reaching our next level? We ask and He answers. But, the next time a similar sermon starts, the tears flow again and we go back again. Again asking for healing for the hurt that’s keeping us bound. Except that He already healed us from that…didn’t He?

I know that I am guilty of this. There are hurts and wounds in my life that have made it harder for me to want to dream or plan or ask or hope or expect anything more than the status quo. I’m normally okay with “give us this day our daily bread”, but, I pretty much leave it at that. To ask for more from God means I’ll eventually have to expect Him to answer. And yet every message on hope pulled me forward. I wanted so badly to be rid of this hurt…at least I thought I did.

My little girl is having a very hard time letting go of her crutches. Her physical therapist, doctors and our family are all trying to encourage her to put more weight on her leg and use her leg because the healing has taken place and it is ready to be used. We understand that the longer she doesn’t use it, the worse the pain will get and the harder it will be. But, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with it! Part of that is fear and part of that is the fact that she’s grown accustomed to this new reality. She doesn’t want to not have her crutches no matter what she might miss out on because of them.

I see so much of myself when I think of that. Sometimes, it is so much scarier to lay down the crutches that have allowed to hurt to continue. It’s scary to walk in the healing you know is there – especially when your heart doesn’t feel it. That’s why I’ve been away for so long. I was holding on to my crutches and crying whenever someone tried to take them from me. I asked for God to heal the hurt inside of me and I firmly believe that He did, but to walk in that healing before I feel that healing? Do I have to?

The answer is, yes. I do have to. Because, that’s what faith is. It’s scary and it’s messy and it’s understanding that you won’t fall over when your feet hit the floor…even if you leave your crutches behind. So, that’s my early New Year’s Resolution. I’ve given my crutches back to my Physician because I understand that, whether I “feel” it or not, I don’t need them anymore. I can walk in this purpose that He’s given me because He will not allow my foot to slip (see Psalm 121:3). Day by day, I’m learning that I walk better and I’m capable of doing more than I thought.

Including remembering to update my blog.

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God’s Appointment Cards

I know, I know, I’ve been absent again. I’ve spent the majority of my summer being sick and taking antibiotics. Ick and yuck. I don’t know that I’m going to use my usual two or three verses in today’s post. To be honest, I don’t know if I’m going to use any. As you’ll see, they likely won’t be needed. Believe me, the point will be as clear for you as it was for me.

Today, I was at a doctor’s appointment, though (for once) not for myself. I was taking my son, Zachary, to his first appointment with his new neurologist. We showed up at 2:30 – right on time. We sat down to an empty waiting room and waited. We watched as this new doctor came in and out taking patients that walked in and registered after we had. I was, admittedly, indigent. I texted my best friend about the lesson God probably had for me to learn about waiting. Trust me when I say, I had no idea.

“The nerve of this guy!” I thought. “Just watch, he’s probably prophetic”, I texted, “he’s gonna say something the moment I walk back there and IMMEDIATELY I’m gonna know it’s from God”. I was half joking, but I had no idea how right I was. I kept texting and waiting and just as my bff had to go, a full 50 minutes later at 3:20, it was FINALLY our turn. I had so many thoughts running through my head. This is where my doctor is, so I knew I didn’t want to change all my family’s care, but I had a few words that I wanted to have with this new guy on professionalism…

…that is until…

“Hi…I understand you were here early…”

*heart dropped* “Oh….I guess I had the time wrong”

How many times are we like that? We show up early to a promise God has for us and then wonder where He is. We wonder if we got it wrong. We wonder if He lied. We wonder if He’s playing with us or if we missed it. We wonder. We get angry. We get annoyed. We get frustrated and upset. We sit in the waiting room and we text our bffs and we wait and we cry and we come up with things to say all the while, we got the appointment time wrong. It wasn’t the appointed time. I know that I know that I know I’ve done that!

(I guess I will use a verse after all)

2 Peter 3:9a The Lord is not slow about His promise

Now, I recognize that that’s not exactly how that verse may have originally been intended to be interpreted in that context, but the truth is nonetheless the same. One of my favorite songs right now is Sanctus Real – Promises, chorus simply “Hold on to the promises, Hold on to the promises, Jesus is alive so hold tight, Hold on to the promises”

I know that it can be exhausting to hold on to a word from God when what you see in front of you is….less than the word from the Lord. My son wants be a pastor, “just like Pastor T!!” My son has autism and a significant language delay. My son has a word over his life that there is something he has to say that is going to rock enemy territory…which is why his words have been stolen (and, likely why when I try to type this, my computer tries to delete it).  It’s hard to think of the future when he can’t even tell me about his day. But, it’s not time yet. I can’t get angry when we’ve shown up too early. What I can do is trust that when it is time, the Physician will show up on time ready, willing and able to meet my need and fulfill His promises.

The same is true for you. Just make sure you double check your appointment card.

 

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Moving Past the Mountain

I love my church. I belong to an incredible community of Christ-following believers who are loving, compassionate and the real deal. Our pastor is an amazing man of God and he and his wife go out of their way to make everyone feel like a necessary piece of our puzzle. Two thumbs up for the House of God!

Lately, he’s been preaching about the Israelites wilderness experience – kinda funny, because I’m writing a book on worship in the wilderness. He’s been talking a lot about the way that God loves you enough to let you go around your mountain and keep walking around it until you’ve dealt with your stuff and are ready to go through to the Promise Land. This has been so timely for me because I feel like I’ve been in my wildnerness for a very long time. There’s only one problem and it occurred to me while talking to my best friend this morning.

You ever have one of those moments where you start talking and then you say something that shocks even you? Yep, Jehovah Sneaky (I stole that one…but you know you feel that way sometimes. Haha) pulled one of those on me this morning. “It’s almost like because I’m so stuck in the shame and the guilt of what could have been and what didn’t happen that I keep walking around my own mountain while God just stands there pointing to the door going, ‘anytime now…you can go through aaaannnnnyyyytime now!’”

At which point this gets whispered into my spirit: “As a matter of fact, that’s EXACTLY what it’s like!”

 

….opps….

But, how many of us do that? We forget that, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1) We forget that God’s plans for our lives don’t stop when we forget to walk through the door the first time….or the second….or the third. We believe that God will put us on the shelf of unusable things if we’ve messed up too many times so we punish ourselves and try to reach that next phase of perfection before we’ll allow ourselves to be used by God.

The first problem with that is that we in our own strength can’t do that anyway. The second is that we’re not supposed to wait. Paul put’s it like this:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 – emphasis mine)

I am the first to admit, I’m not the best example at forgetting my own mistakes – past or present. I want to present the best version of myself to God to be used by Him mightily when all He’s saying is “Come as you are and let Me do the rest!!”

So, that’s why the song of the day is Israel Houghton’s Moving Forward. There is a door right in front of me and a mountain behind me. I’ve punished myself too long and this is a wilderness I have grown tired of walking around. It’s time for me to take the next step and walk through the door. Even if I’m dusty, even if my shoes are dirty, even if I don’t look the best, God can fix the rest when I get there. We can work on the rest on our way. Time to forget what lies behind and press towards the goal – I have a lot of goals and being stuck here won’t get any of them accomplished.

One. Two. Three…and GO!

 

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You the First

I’ve been absent for a whole month. For most of that time, I’ve had a pretty clear picture of what I wanted to say, I just didn’t feel I could say it. I don’t like to write about things I want to feel as though I’ve already mastered the task – that feels disingenuous to me. So, I knew I had to wait. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I knew I would know when I did.

Today, I found out.

I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I have four kids. I like watching TV with them because it lets me keep an eye on what they’re taking in and gives us something to talk about. One of their favorite shows as of late is the ADORABLE Disney Junior show, Sophia the First. It’s about a little girl who lived with her mom in the village until a (presumably widowed) king met her mom, fell in love and married her. The king had two kids of his own and the blended family decided to forego the “step” formality and move right into the happily ever after (I’m skipping over a lot of stuff that really isn’t pertinent…just stick with me for a sec).

King Roland gave Sophia a special gift (an amulet that allows her to talk to animals) and constantly reminds her that she is a princess because He – oh, I’m sorry – he is the king and she is his daughter. Sophia worries a lot about fitting in and getting the princess thing right, but seems to do ok with the support of her friends and family.

Ok – background….

For the past while, I’ve been feeling like I’m getting this whole “Child of the King” thing wrong. I know a lot of Scripture and I can “do” a lot of the “right” things, but sometimes, it feels like fluff. I feel like there’s a place I’m supposed to get to and it’s a place I should be already. Maybe if I read my Bible more or spent more time listening to Christian music (btw, I don’t really have the time to listen to ANY music other than the Sophia the First soundtrack and a steady stream of Wiggles. I don’t really listen to any secular music…so this shouldn’t even bother me, but it does.). Maybe if I did this differently or did that more…maybe, maybe, maybe….

Maybe, if I were just better…

*back to our originally scheduled cartoon…*

So, today, the kids and I are watching Sophia the First. I’ve had a Sophia the First song (from an episode that, until today, I had never seen) stuck in my head all day (and actually, for the past two or so weeks). She sings about trying to prove that she belongs as a princess and is good enough. She has the right “look” to make her a princess, but isn’t sure that’s enough. So, in this episode, she has to take a princess exam. All the other princesses are telling her to make sure her dress is clean and her fan is flitted just right and everything is just perfect. On the way into the building, they all meet Mrs. Higgins who asks for help getting back to her house with some books after her wagon broke down. Out of all the girls, Sophia alone stopped to help.

There were a lot of hang ups on the way to the cottage and on the way, everything Sophia was supposed to “get right” was destroyed. She fell in the mud. she lost her fan and looked absolutely awful by the end of it. She got Mrs. Higgins home, as promised, but missed her test completely…except that she didn’t. Mrs. Higgins wasn’t Mrs. Higgins at all – but her fairy teacher in disguise. The cottage melted away to reveal the examination hall. The princess that showed up for the test received silver stars for their work. Muddied, exasperated, broken Sophia alone was honored with a golden trophy because she showed what was most important of a princess – a heart filled with kindness and love.

So…what was the point?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” furthermore, Galatians 2:16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

Are works, acts, and the law important? Of course. But, as I’m sure King Roland would tell Sophia, we are not children of the King because we go to the royal school, we go to the royal school because we are children of the King. It is the relationship that comes first. Out of that relationship comes the natural fruit of obedience because of the love that is there. That’s what God has been spending MONTHS (I can hear my husband yelling “YEEEAAAARRRS!!!!” behind me) trying to teach me. Number One – I’m His daughter. Period. End of story. Everything else falls under that.

I don’t know who, needed to read that. I know I needed to see it. Funny how it took a children’s program to make me understand something God has been whispering to me for a long time. Maybe He’s whispering to you. Either way it looks like I need to reconfigure the way I see things…

do you?

Until next time…

Mo

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Juuuuust one more thing…

Hmmm…how to begin? This post is going to be a bit different. For one, I’m pretty sure it will be shorter. Nice and sweet and (almost) straight to the point. Ready? Here we go…

When last we met in this virtual coffeehouse of sorts, I told you about a few things: two of my best friends, the way I don’t like depending on other people, and how God is using both of those things to teach me more about myself. I want to continue that conversation with a bit of an add on.

Remember that scene from almost every sci-fi or geek movie (yeah….that’s another thing about me – I am EXTREMELY geek)? You know the one…our hero steps into the seemingly blank space and out of nowhere thousands of shelves of (insert object here) appear for the choosing? Yeah…that scene. I was thinking about my tendency to get into my own way because of my desire to do things on my own all the time. Sometimes, that messes things up.

For example, my laptop charger was on my desk which was closer to my husband than to me. Yes, it would have been easy to ask him for it – especially since he could see what it was tangled up in – but, it was just as easy (because, it really really wasn’t) to do it myself. The result? I reached, but not far enough and down came a toppled mess of stuff. Like I said, he could see the solution to a problem I didn’t even realize existed (ooooh….DEEP!)

Here is my point – and where that movie scene comes in – what if God wanted to take us into a room filled with all the amazing blessings He has for us? All the plans? All the awesome…but we just keep getting in our own way because we want to try and find the room ourselves. You know that room. You’ve seen that room. It looks like a sheet of printer paper. You can’t find the door or a window or anything to get in. You just have to follow the plans of the One guiding you there.

So, to any of you, and maybe one of you in particular (cause, gee, I think you’re swell), who feel like they’re behind on the plan, let’s go back to Psalms 37 (this time, verse 23), “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him”. If God is ordering your steps, all is well. You know how to follow in the footprints. So, take a breath and then take a step, one by one by one….

….ready? It’s go time.

❤ Mo

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Lesson Learned

 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future

Jeremiah 29:11

I use that verse a lot in my writing. Today, it hit me in an entirely new way. I am a planner. This is something that isn’t news to ANYONE who knows me – especially, my husband and two of my best friends (Priscilla and Melody, also organized planners – I love them so!). I like when things are in order and in place. I get migraines when things are in chaos. Those who have seen the second Tinkerbell movie will understand why my husband says this to me all the time, “Fairy Mary, why are you counting?”

What can I say? I like plans. 1 Corinthians 14:33 is an often (mis)quoted verse that people like to sum up as “God is not the author of confusion”. This is true, but not the reason I OBSESS over my plans. Yes, I said that right. MY plans. My organization. MY order. So often I get so caught up in what I have to do – or think­­ – I have to do, that what really is important gets lost.

Another thing to know, I don’t do dependence…not very well anyway. Someone will ask me how they can help, and even if I tell them, in the back of my mind I’m always creating a contingency plan for when they don’t come through (hey, we’ve already established I have trust issues).  It makes for a very busy, very complicated way to spend my days.

Did I mention, I also do this when it comes to God? Didn’t think so…

I told this story on my old blog, but I’ll give a brief synopsis here. Almost two years ago, one of the two aforementioned bffs, Priscilla, sent me a text message – “God says this is for you, John 16:24, ‘Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.’” Ok, fine. So, I started thinking of things I thought God would want me to ask for, and I thought of the ways I could tell God, “that’s ok, I didn’t want it anyway”, when He said, “no”.

Since then, God has been changing the way I pray and changing the way I view myself in His eyes. So, I went from presenting my business plan to my boss to taking a wish to a Daddy that asked for it. I don’t view God as Automatic Prayer Dispenser who exists to give me what I want like On Demand programming. But, He loves us and desires to take care our needs AND (sometimes) our desires. My (ironic) life verse is Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. When your heart is aligned with God’s, your desires for you are His desires for you, so He desires to give it to you anyway.  So, when my Heavenly Daddy couldn’t get my attention, He sent my best friend to ask me, “what do you want?”

It took 18 months for me to begin to answer…at least in the way He was looking for (I want *this* just because).  I’ll tell that story later…when we get to the end of it. Anyway, even as I was asking and praying, not presenting a business plan (this is how my prayer will benefit You, God!) I was expecting to be disappointed and/or ignored (told you my life verse was ironic). Even as the pieces fell together I wasn’t expecting God to come through. Recently, all that has changed…but that’s not really what this is about…

Back to the verse from the very top, Jeremiah 29:11….I was thinking back on the journey of how my life has changed since this whole thing began. I was thinking about everything I’ve learned and how my prayer life has grown and how I’ve grown and how I’m more brave than I used to be and how I believe that Philippians 1:6 is true – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. If all my prayers had been answered on my schedule and in my planning timeline, I would have missed all this. I would have missed out on all the growth I’ve had, all the tears I needed to cry, all the times God spoke, everything.

I would have missed the entire lesson for the sake of scheduling the class.

Does that make sense? That’s how I feel. I feel like it was so important for me to do this in a certain order that I failed to remember the point of going to class is the lesson!!!

I still like my plans. I still LOVE my handy dandy pocket secretary of a phone. I love my planners and office supply stores still make me happy. But, I get it now. None of that is more important than time with the Teacher who wrote the course book and knows what’s coming at the end of all of this. I couldn’t handle today’s lesson yesterday because I didn’t have the proper foundation. I wasn’t ready. Today, I learned what I’ll need to be ready for tomorrow. One day, I’ll be ready for everything God has for me. Then, we start over with something new. Until then, I’ll keep studying, keep working, keep showing up for class knowing that He will always be there ready to teach.

Pencils ready….aaaaaand….go!

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Brave Words

 

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I last updated! I hope the month is starting off well for you all.

Today, I want to talk about words – well, duh. That’s pretty much all we do here. We read and write words. I’m not talking just any words; I want to talk about bad words. Well….one bad word.

Daddy.

I didn’t realize how much that word still hurt me until this past Sunday. We were in the midst of an amazing worship service when our dutiful and awesome worship leader sang, “What kind of father would hear his children cry and turn away?” She was trying to convey the nature of our perfect Heavenly Father. That makes sense. However, I can’t even explain what that did to me. I lost my footing so badly that I pulled a muscle in my right leg.

My family likes to believe I’m holding onto anger. That isn’t true. The fact that my first memory is of the day my dad left? Yeah…that is true. It doesn’t make him a bad guy, just human. And regardless of who was at fault, I didn’t talk to him again until I was 14. Suffice it to say, Daddy became a bit of a bad word to me.

I can remember people telling me that God was my father and that I would be ok. And, to a very large degree, that has proven to be true.

That is, until I pull away.

How many of you know you can’t run with a pulled muscle in your leg? So, when the message of the day came from Joshua 1:1-9, I couldn’t do anything but sit there and listen….and cry…a lot (which I don’t really do anymore).

Be strong and courageous.

That is mentioned three different times within that passage. I will be with you. “But, what if I feel all alone?” Be strong and courageous, for I will never leave you or forsake you. “But, what if people don’t like me?” Be strong and courageous.  “But…what if my own family doesn’t want me?” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!

To say that an omniscient God knows things I don’t is a gross understatement. But, what I have come to realize is that since all my battles have already been won for me, I have nothing to worry about.

In my bedroom is a singing Doc McStuffins Doc and Lambie set (the parents and babysitters of the Disney Junior generation and will follow me. The rest of you….pretend). My husband and I bought it for our 5 & 6 year old daughters. It’s theirs, but, they can’t have it yet. They have to work for it first. I want a clean room and chores and good behavior before it comes out of the box. In the same way, when I ask them to do something new (like when we moved out of Pennsylvania), if I tell them not to be afraid, it’s because I know what waits for us. I know what’s at the end of the journey and I know they will love it when we arrive (which all four of them did).

God isn’t asking me for my bravery because He’s planning to push me into a battle with a wet noddle for a sword, He asks because He knows He is with me and because He knows what is at the end.

I suppose this was more about bravery than my bad word. But, in a lot of ways those two things are connected. My past makes it hard for me to trust people. But, my God gives me the strength to.

Did I mention, though I started  writing this earlier, the end of my day was kinda awful?  Be strong and courageous.  

Ok…fine. The alternator on my car died on the highway, but I will be strong and courageous. I sometimes feel like I’m being passed over while my friends seem to get blessed all the time, but I will trust that You are with me. I have no idea what to make of anything You are doing right now, but I will remember that You will never leave me or forsake me. You are faithful when I am faithless so I will trust that you will get me from this….these battles and into my Promised Land. And, I will sing Your praises on the way.

I’ll keep the rest of you posted on the details…

~Mo

 

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Worshipper Me

One of my favorite songs right now, is one written by the phenomenal Freda Battle. It’s a pretty simple song with a pretty powerful punch. Here are the words:

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that’s within me

Every day is a joy to know You as Savior and Lord

I’m reminded as I reflect on Your goodness

Your love and mercy endure forevermore

Oh, bless the name of Jesus

Oh, oh my soul, bless the name of the Lord

Oh , oh, oh, oh, bless the name of Jesus,

Oh, my soul, bless the name of the Lord

Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Prince of Peace

The God who heals all disease and removes all my iniquities

See? Not that complicated. I’ll bet you already have it memorized. But, I could – and have – listened to this song for hours on end. Why? Simple – I understand it.

Back in 2000, I was going to a Christian college. I grew up in a Christian home, but decided that I wanted to know if I really believed in God or just was trained to believe in God. Actually, that’s not entirely true. There was a boy (duh) that was feeling like that and even though I did have my own questions, when he decided he was an atheist, I decided that I was an atheist. It didn’t’ go so well.

My (literal) week as an atheist went something like this:

Me: I don’t believe in You anymore, God!

God: Then, why are you talking to Me?

Me: Uh…ummm…

God: And, we both know you hear Me. So, you’re either not an atheist, or you’re crazy. You pick and get back to me.

Me: Oh, crap.

I wish I could tell you I was making this up, but, there are people who were there who still (as of this past weekend in fact) like to joke about it. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, I love to remember that because it reminds me how far I’ve come.

God was right, I’m not an atheist and I never was. I am a worshipper. Worship is the stuff that makes me get up in the morning. The day we found out my son, Kameron (now 9) had cancer (he wasn’t even 2 at the time), the first thing I did was cry, the second thing I did was worship. That’s always been my go to reaction. Something bad happens – first I cry second I worship. In my entire life – even when I tried to walk away from Him – God didn’t walk away from me. He’s held me in the palm of His hand my entire life and He’s doing the same with my family. This is why it wasn’t a surprise to know that my son’s tumor shrank faster than it was supposed to and his 18 month chemo plan was finished inside of 10.

In the words of a fabulous songwriter, William Murphy, “praise is what I do”. There have been times – including during the chemo…and the autism…and the celiac disease – that people have wondered how I can still believe and turn to God. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” What that means to me is that even when my kid is sick because he’s had poison injected into his body, even when my husband has trouble finding a job, even when my mom dies, even then, my Heavenly Daddy is there to take care of us.

“For this I give You praise” (“For Every Mountain” –  Kurt Carr)

I sing because I get it. I praise because I understand. I ran away and came groveling back expecting to be reprimanded and told how much I “knew better”. But, that’s not what happened. The loving arms of my God welcomed me back and set me at a place of honor. And now? Now He’s using who I am to bring glory to Him. I love that! I get to write and to sing and to – through Him – be the very best version of me.

I’m not perfect. I’ve messed up and I’ve even been an (albeit very bad) atheist. But, it’s not my past that gets to define me. Dare I say, it’s not even my present that has to define me. It’s the words that are written on my destiny by my Creator. The words that say, “you are mine and that’s why you are enough”.

So, like I said, I’m a worshipper. It’s not what I do, it’s the DNA that makes me who I am. And now, I get to walk that out. I even get to take my cheesy dancing husband (who, btw, wasn’t the boy, but knew the boy and did know I wasn’t the atheist I claimed to be) with me. He has no rhythm, but I love him anyway. I have enough rhythm for both of us. LOL.

I guess February has been the month of me encouraging you. It’s been me letting you know that your life isn’t over and that your future is just beginning. God’s love is bigger than your past. My best friend likes to say, “your destiny stands in need of you”. Take God’s hand, find out who you are – and who you aren’t – and go get it.

See you next month,

Mo

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