Perseverence

Take note (you’ll be glad you did)

I had completely forgotten about it.

It wasn’t until I cleaned out a few desk drawers that I found it again, buried amongst scraps of paper and some expired coupons (I’ve just never mastered that coupon thing…). The notecard was from a retreat I attended several years ago. During one of the personal moments of reflection, we were assigned to write a note to ourselves from Jesus addressing whatever challenge we were experiencing at that moment. I unfolded the pink-striped paper and found a fresh gift, a loving dose of encouragement. I hope they offer you the same:

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First Things (and how to cope with summer)

First ThingsSummer is hard. Wonderful, but hard.

I find myself frustrated by needing to accomplish the same things I do during the school year days (client deadlines, etc.), but wanting (and needing) to spend the time with the kids. Result: this productivity junkie is getting very little done.

After reading multiple articles on how crippling perfectionism is to productivity, I’ve had to coach myself to use the 20 minute gaps of time interspersed within my days because I won’t have two uninterrupted hours. Instead of waiting until I have “enough time” to do something well (read: perfectly), I need to do what I can with the time I have.

This has necessitated solidifying my priorities… knowing well which things are most deserving of those precious minutes. Reading 2 Chronicles put another (more important) layer atop my understanding:   Read More

Making the Grade

0001-21529212This time of year, students everywhere are doing math.

Not just to demonstrate proficiency in concepts on final exams. Many are calculating the minimum score needed to obtain the desired final grade in the class. “I can get a 77% on the final and still keep my A.”

While it’s been a couple decades since I graduated from college, I still witness this kind of thinking.

Except it’s not about school.  Read More

The Mother Who’s Hard to Honor

file0001435534139My son is adopted.

He spent all but two weeks of his first 21 months in a Russian orphanage.

After more than 10 years at home with us, we still spend time in therapy each week. Most often, we’re trying to work through the issues of abandonment and rejection by his birth mother. My husband and I have tried to portray a woman we don’t know in the most positive light. To assume the best, if you will. We’ve even tried to ascribe some nobility to her actions: “She loved you enough to know she couldn’t take care of you.”

And that may well be true. I don’t really know, I suppose. This week my son articulated a feeling I often tuck hidden away in my own heart as well: Read More

When “Success” is Elusive

Whether due to our American culture or simply the carnal flesh, most of us are hungry for success.

Not always in the forms of fame or wealth, sometime we just want a sense of growth or progression. (Or a small assurance that we’re not irretrievably screwing up our children? Anyone?)

A young, courageous man taught me a lesson on this topic recently:  Read More

Put ’em up

It’s a phrase we commonly associate with being robbed.

This posture–hands raised–was the position held by Moses throughout the battle between Israel and the Amalekites. My pastor taught out of Exodus 17 on Sunday and his words have stirred in me a most needful lesson.

After calling Joshua to lead the troops into battle, Moses climbed the hill and raised his staff in his hands overhead. As long as Moses held this position, Israel gained ground. When he grew tired and his hands fell, the Amalekites had the advantage on the battlefield. His actions are a poignant example of prayer, both literally and figuratively. With his hands raised heavenward, his prayer became the conduit for God’s power.  Read More

Pieces and Parts: For when you’re anxious and stressed

Chair2Do not be anxious.

Easy to say, isn’t it?

Harder to do.

I wouldn’t normally say I’m a person given to anxiety. I would, however, freely admit that I get overwhelmed. Perhaps they’re not entirely different.

God’s Word speaks about anxiety and how He wants us to handle it:

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 ESV)

The Greek word translated “anxious” is mérimna. It has some of the meanings we’d expect, such as worry, fear or care. But it also carries the connotations of being drawn in many directions, fracturing a person’s thinking into many parts.  Read More

In the waiting

WaitingAs a kid, December moved at a glacial pace. Christmas just took forever to arrive.

(Cue the dramatic sensibilities of a nine-year-old girl.) Of course, as an adult, this month almost gives me whiplash, it goes by so quickly.

This week I revisited the promises made to Abraham about the Messiah. God told him that all the nations would be blessed by him in Genesis 12:3. The very first Messianic prophecy was spoken to the patriarch of the Jewish faith.

Pause and consider that, friends: the first time God calls a man to Himself, He points to the Messiah. Not just that, but He also mentions that this hope would be for “all the peoples.”  Read More

The Back Float: Overwhelmed – Part 5

DivingConstant struggling against the overwhelming waters may well be the biggest reason for not being able to cope with life.

When a child learns to swim, one of the first skills instructed is floating. Being able to float on the water is a singularly valuable tool for a swimmer to cope with a crisis. Too often, however, this skill is neglected… disposed of after learning strokes. I suspect the same is true for the overwhelmed Christian who neglects rest in his or her life.  Read More

5 Questions to help you stay afloat: Overwhelmed – Part 3

RiverThey may not be spiritual, but they are essential to helping us stay above water.

When I find myself overwhelmed by my responsibilities, I always have to take a step back and take inventory. I ask myself a series of questions to help me identify the root of the problem. From the answers, I can often navigate my way to shallower waters or even dry land once again. So jot these down and then sit with the Lord to see how they might help you cope:  Read More