The End of the Storm

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I have been living in fear. Fear of the storm. The waves have been tossing my boat around and sometimes I am very sea-sick. Other times, I am just watching the waves building up, about to crash down on me. And dreading them.

But I know the One who controls the sea. I know the One who controls the waves. They can only do to me what He allows them to do to me. And He has an eternal purpose.

I can’t see it. I sit here in my boat, looking at the waves immediately around me. That’s all I can see. I can’t tell what waves are coming or how those waves are going to affect me. I can’t see what amazing lessons I am going to learn or how I will be changed into His likeness through it all.

As my recent storm subsides, I know there will always be storm clouds on the horizons. And sometimes directly overhead. But my God will also always be with me. Telling me to get out of the boat. Did you notice how He didn’t wait for the waves to calm before calling Peter out of the boat in Matthew 14? He calls us to trust Him in the storm. Through the storm. After the storm. Always.

I may be slow, but I am learning. He has called me to act. To stop holding so tight to the sides of the boat that could sink anyway, and instead to hold tight to Him. The only one who won’t sink.

So I got out of the boat. During the storm. I took my first step out of the boat towards the service He wants me to do. And as I keep moving forward, one step at a time, it’s so good to know who I am holding on to.

And it’s good to see the storm subside for now.


Five Minute Friday – Broken

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Broken.

Five Minute Friday

GO.

Broken. That word doesn’t sound good to most of us. We have bad things associated with Broken.

Broken toys. Broken dishes. Broken homes. Broken lives.

But Broken can also be the place where God meets us. Without Broken, we seem to think we can do it all on our own. So we do. We live life, maybe loving God, but certainly not depending on Him. We depend on us. On our jobs, our spouses, our kids, our parent & friends. We depend on the life we have worked so hard to build instead of depending on the God who built us.

He has a better plan. He has a better plan for our lives than we could possibly imagine. We have this stubborn human perspective that dreams small dreams. Lovely. But small. And sometimes those lovely small dreams fall apart.

It’s time to give God those broken pieces. When we are truly broken and admit it, God steps in and creates such beauty in the broken places. He knits them together in ways we would never dream of and life becomes more beautiful than we imagined.

Everyone has broken parts. We may not always admit them. We may hide them. But we don’t need to. Others need to see our brokenness. Then they can see God work in the broken parts. Healing. Restoring. Recreating.

Then Satan takes a back seat and God’s power takes over.

 

STOP.


No Fear

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Have you ever planned something for so long, that it seemed like it would never actually happen?

Have you ever daydreamed about something so many times, that it seemed impossible?

Have you ever researched and thought about and talked about and worked toward a big goal and then when it finally came time to jump, you suddenly got nervous?

I have.

This very morning.

God has a mission for me and my little girl. I know it. She knows it. He couldn’t be much clearer if He wrote it in the sand for me. I have been standing by the edge of the pool, waiting to jump in. I have been standing in the storm-tossed boat, hearing my Savior tell me to step out of the boat, but I have been too scared.

But, guess what? “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God knows. He knows what He wants me to do. And He knows how it will turn out. I can crouch down in this boat forever, watching the waves, seeing the dangers, worrying about the what-ifs.

And living a boring, relatively safe life. Or I can trust the One who has brought me this far. I can trust the One who knows how it all turns out and who controls how it all turns out. I can say yes and get out of the boat.

This is gonna be fun.

 


Full House

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Our house is the perfect size for my daughter and I. Our table for four fits nicely with room to spare and usually has 2 or 3 chairs at it.

But last night, we moved our craft table from the basement and placed it on the end of our regular table, so it was half in the dining area and half in the living room. We brought chairs from all over the house and borrowed 3 folding chairs. We had 9 places at our table. And we filled them.

The whole family came over to celebrate my mom’s birthday. As I sat at dinner, there was so much noise. Our house is usually pretty quiet. Not last night! My daughter was humming/singing/chatting the whole time. Her littlest cousin was talking away with her or calling out to one of the adults. The older kids and grownups were having all sorts of conversations – planning vacation, catching up, telling stories from the past. Teasing. Laughing uncontrollably.

It was beautiful. I love a full house. I love the activity and the noise and the laughter. I love having my kitchen full of food for those I love. I love my oldest nephew walking in the door with extra chairs and my brother-in-law killing the ant (instead of me!). I love everyone gathered around the table holding hands to pray. I love hearing my littlest nephew ask if he can “have excused”, so he can go play. I love hearing my nieces talk about camp and an upcoming mission trip.

I love these people.

And I don’t think I have ever loved my house more than I did for those 3 hours.


God-Sized Dreams

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Diane Studer was on a short term mission trip in Africa, when she first felt called to send shoes there. She thought it would be her and her friends sending a few pairs of shoes from the back of their closets. And maybe shoes the kids had outgrown. 3 years later, Soles for Jesus has sent 82,211 shoes to Africa. The recipients are saved from disease and injury by having shoes and many children are able to go to school now that they have shoes.

Katie Davis was teaching kindergarten at an orphanage in Uganda for a summer when she was 19. God laid on her heart to start a sponsorship program to feed and educate orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda. 5 years later, 600 children are sponsored in that program, she gives food and medical care to the desperate people of Masese, Masese women are learning to make necklaces and support their families, AND she has adopted 13 daughters.

 

Sounds a lot like the loaves and fish to me. We bring what we have. No matter how small or insignificant we may think it is. Then God gets to work. And these small insignificant gifts we share change into something completely different. They become God-sized dreams.

Some people have God-sized dreams to begin with. Excellent. Go for it. Pray and work and watch God move.

Some of us have human-sized dreams. I don’t even mean child-sized dreams, which can be pretty big. I mean, life-is-hard-and-has-knocked-us-around-sized dreams.

And guess what. Those count, too. Don’t give up. Keep dreaming. However small your dream is now, God can take it and flip it on its head.

On the radio this morning, I heard someone talking about God-sized dreams. About praying big. Telling God, THIS is the dream you have placed on my heart and if it’s your will, please make it happen. Do what only YOU can do. Take this thought that I hardly dare to believe. That I don’t want to say out loud because maybe the moment will be gone and I’ll laugh at myself for having dreamed it at all. Take THIS dream. And make it yours, God. Make my tiny human dream and make it a God-sized dream. Please knock my socks off with the wonder of it all.

Let’s dream big. And pray big. Let’s go change the world for Christ.


Are you in?

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What is God calling you to do?

I believe God calls each one of us, His followers, to do something. Something that will make an eternal impact. For some, it’s raising Godly children in a Christ-centered home. For some, it’s short term mission trips to the far corners of the earth. For some, it’s moving to Uganda and adopting 13 children, while feeding and educating 600 others (read about Katie Davis here).

But He calls us all to do something. And we seem to get so bogged down in daily life that we often forget that there is so much more to life, than what happens every day. There is more to it than carpool lanes (that I sat in this morning). There is more to it than laundry (that I will tackle later today). There is more to it than cooking dinner for the two of us. (pasta, anyone?)

All of these things are important. They have to happen. And no one else is going to do them for me. (as much fun as that would be!)

I want to stop being so bogged down in the grind of daily life that I forget to reach out. That I forget to listen to God’s calling on my life. He wants to use me to make an eternal impact. To change the lives of others by showing them God’s love and mercy. By being open and honest about my struggles and how God is changing me.

Sometimes I daydream about working with Katie Davis. Of offering hope to those little ones who have seen such hardship. Of offering them a plate full of rice and chicken, of giving them shoes and sending them off to school. Of cooking for 600 children and laughing and playing with them and showing them God’s love.

It’s a great daydream. But there are opportunities to serve God right here where I live. I don’t have to go far to see people who are hurting and in need. I just need to open my eyes and my heart to see them and serve them.

So I will pull out of my daydream of Uganda. I will open my eyes. I will open my home. I will serve right here and right now.

Are you in?


Five Minute Friday – Beautiful

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People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Beautiful.

Five Minute Friday

GO.

This life is so beautiful. Sometimes it overwhelms me with its beauty.

Hearing my sweet girl and her great big belly laugh.

Seeing her smile that lights up every room.

Learning the hard lessons, knowing that the struggles aren’t being wasted, but are growing me and changing me into who He wants me to be. Who He created me to be.

The beauty of a life poured out for Christ. I see it in others and want to be like that. Those whose joy just overflows onto all those around them. Those that love without limits and give without fear and serve without end. Those who are truly living out the life Christ demonstrated for us.

For me, that is the ultimate beauty. And it’s not at all the world’s definition of beauty. It involves dirty hands and dirty faces and floors MADE of dirt. It involves sacrifice and love and sometimes those things aren’t pretty. But they are so beautiful.

I want to live like that.


Be the One

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I must have been around 13 years old. We attended a church that met in a school every Sunday and our service was in a half circle, bowl shaped area. I have no idea what the pastor preached on that day. I don’t remember the songs we sang or even which church it was.

What I DO remember is that a man started crying during the service. He was about 5 rows ahead of us across the aisle. And he was crying hard. I was worried about him and kept looking around for who was going to help him. I searched the aisles expecting to see a pastor or elder go to him. But no one came.

Then the chair next to my mom was empty and I saw my dad walking down the aisle. He put his arm around the man and they went out of the service to talk.

I was so proud.

And I learned a huge lesson.

Are you ready for it?

I need to be the one. I need to stop looking around for someone else to help and step up. God doesn’t just call pastors and elders. He doesn’t just call missionaries and ministry leaders. He calls each one of us. He calls us every single day. Look around you. Where do you see a need you can meet? Where do you see a hurting person you can love? Each person you encounter is a person you can share God’s love with. In every single moment of your life, you have a choice. To shine God’s love to a world that desperately needs it, or to turn away and ignore the need.

I don’t want to ignore the need.

If God says, go, I’ll go. If God says, open the door, I’ll open it. If He says, feed the hungry, I’ll feed them.

I am ALL IN for the one who gave it all for me.