If you are walking through a season of “lasts” (or loss), let me encourage you to look up and around. Look up to the One who holds all time in His hands, who is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. And look around— at those He has placed in your path, at the hidden things that may only now be beginning to grow, and at His Word which is living and active in our lives. A slight shift in perspective might just bring you a much-needed glimpse of hope…
Several years ago, when our kids were little, we paused to take pictures at an outside platform. We were in the World Showcase at EPCOT, looking across the lake towards Spaceship Earth. Eli was just a toddler at the time (and all boy!). I leaned down to fix Abby’s shoe, when all of the sudden, I heard screaming, and Sarah squealed, “Momma, come help! Eli’s stuck!”
Somehow our little guy had squeezed his head through the opening in the bars and was unable to pull it back out. So there he stood, half of him on one side of the gate and half of him on the other, unable to move in any direction.
Eventually, we were able to calm him down, and when he scooted a little lower, his head finally slid out. He was instantly off on another adventure as if nothing had ever happened. Like I said, all boy!
Friend, do you ever find yourself feeling stuck?
Maybe you set some goals and start moving forward, only to get part way in and find yourself caught between where you just were and where you are going. It paralyzes you, stopping your momentum and freezing you in your tracks. It can be scary at times, annoying at others, but it’s never fun.
We are nine weeks into the New Year, and I’ve had so many people express lately how they are feeling stuck…
Have you ever read something in the Bible you may have read before, but suddenly something about it strikes you in a completely different way? You read it again, wondering how you ever could have missed it!
Because this time it changes you. It makes you different.
You can never read those verses the same again.
The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand found in John 6:1-15 is one of those passages for me. I was familiar with the story, had read it more than once, and heard it preached on countless times. However, one night at a college Bible study, this one tiny verse stuck right in the middle of the passage jumped out at me for the first time ever. Jesus asks the disciples…
I have to be honest with y’all. I have written and rewritten this blog post multiple times trying to get it right. I can’t remember the last time I had such a hard time writing something! Why has it been so difficult?
I guess when it comes down to it it’s because I don’t feel qualified to write about marriage.
Sure, Jeff and I have been married almost 25 years. We have a pretty great marriage, and we have even counseled many couples who are either just starting out or struggling. But mostly we just share truths we have learned along the way, most of them the hard way. That hardly makes me an expert!
In reality, though, there is no magic formula. There are no 7 steps to a fabulous marriage, no checklist to greatness, no one-size-fits-all solution for your marriage woes.
So what’s the secret, then? Honestly, I have no idea!
All I know is it has taken us a lot of prayer, grace, and intentionality to keep it all together.
So, I guess that’s where we’ll start…
I am sitting in our host’s gorgeously furnished basement, surrounded by strangers. Jeff is talking to the nice middle-aged lady next to us, making her laugh about something random. There’s a spread of food on the tables behind us. I know I should probably be impressed by the professional sauna and enormous wine cellar next to the bathroom, but I have never really been one for fancy things. I am, however, second-guessing my decision to wear jeans!
My friend, Cindy, moves to the front of the room, and the crowd hushes. She begins to speak, sharing the story of how she first fell in love with the children of Swaziland. She tells us about her initial trip; of the people she met, the poverty she saw, and the myriad of emotions swirling inside her. On the screen behind her are…
“As I have begun asking Him to transform me this year, He has been revealing various areas that need to look different. And they don’t just need a facelift—they need to be changed from the inside out. Your areas of struggle may be different from mine, and that’s okay! But I would venture to guess you can relate to at least a few of these…”
Y’all know I love Jesus. I have been a Jesus girl for over three decades now. There is not a single day I don’t wake up asking Him to use me for His glory! And yet…
I get it wrong so much of the time. I am impatient and distracted and selfish. I have so many good intentions, but not enough follow through. I can tell you all the right things to do regarding your kids and your marriage and your family, but I rarely do them myself.
In just two weeks of focusing on these verses, I have been convicted by how much of my life “conforms to the patterns of this world.” The way I often prioritize my kids over my marriage. The way I spend my time and money. The way I wrestle with God’s authority in my life, somehow thinking my way will be better. (Newsflash: it’s not!)
It is so tempting to measure our faithfulness by comparing ourselves to others. But God never asks us to be better than anyone else. He asks us to give ourselves to Him, to willingly sacrifice anything that might hinder our obedience. He asks us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. If we are willing to allow Him to change the way we think and align our priorities with His, He promises to transform us from the inside out.
That’s the kind of transformation I’m longing for in 2021…