Moving Waters

creekA couple of days ago I went on a walk— more specifically, I dashed out the door for a 15-minute escape from screaming babies during dinner time. As I abandoned my husband to the little rulers (I regret nothing) and strolled along the walking path behind my home I watched the fog hovering over the hill to my left, felt the mist on my face, and absentmindedly listened to the creek that trailed beside me.

As I moved along, doing nothing and (if you’re a mom you understand) utterly enjoying doing nothing, I suddenly stopped, realizing the creek that had been gurgling so pleasantly beside me suddenly went silent. Instinctively I turned toward it, almost as though I expected the creek to have disappeared. But, of course, there it was. The rocks that had caused little waterfalls and light splashes several feet before were just not there, leaving the waters free to pool itself into a flat glass of quiet. A few feet ahead were rocks and it would again make that lovely babbling brook noise, but for now it was silent.

And just as God so often gave the prophets messages through the menial, day-to-day images of life, I felt the symbolism forming:

Is this not like the way God is working now?

Sometimes He boldly shows me miracles, shouts in devotion times, speaks through people’s messages and encouragements. At points my life is thrilling and big things are happening and I start to think it will never end. But then come seasons of silence, where it’s tempting to wonder if God is doing anything with my life and my work at all.

Then I am reminded, even in silence God is moving waters.

Quietly the stream creeps toward the next set of rocks, the next exciting and thrilling moment. But all the time God is faithfully there and the work is still sufficient.

There is beauty in silence. There is life, and hope, and great and wonderful reminders from God that reach us when we turn off our phones, step away from our computers, get away from the haziness of distraction and let nothing– and then something– fill us.

Frederick Buechner states, “Out of the silence let the only real news come, which is sad news [our sin and brokenness] before it is glad news [God’s forgiveness] and that is fairy tale last of all. The preacher is not brave enough to be literally silent for long, and since it is his calling to speak the truth with love, even if he were brave enough, he would not be silent for long because we are none of us very good at silence. It says too much.” (Telling the Truth)

“Be silent and know that I am God, says the Lord.” (Psalm 46:10)

 

Christmas Gifts: Anthropologie Stylin’ With Justice

1Let’s talk about Christmas gifts!

If your heart skips a beat when you enter Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, or World Market (or it does for a significant person in your life), then this post is for you. There is a way to fight poverty, sex trafficking, slavery, and pollution all while providing gorgeous quality gifts for your friends and family. And honestly, the prices are probably cheaper than places like Anthro.

Clean the earth. Help slaves get freedom, independence, and dignity. All in a fantastic item you’d get them anyway.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

*I’m a genuine enthusiast of these companies. No one is giving me money for these posts.*

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Beautiful with everything! Go from black tee and jeans to gala.

Ice Crystal Jewelry Set, Ten Thousand Villages, $49

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The Greenheart Shop, Magenta Matisse Scarf, $29.95

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Serrv, Woodsy ornaments, $10-12

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Bicycle Bookends, Fair Trade Winds or Serrv, $29

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Throw Blanket (variety of colors and styles), Sari Bari, $104

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Men’s Weekender Shirt, Fair Trade Winds, $48

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Alpaca Gloves Icelandic Azul, Fair Trade Winds, $35

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Orange Business Bag, Fair Trade Winds, $55

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Snowflake Cushions, Ten Thousand Villages, $34

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Divine Chocolate Snack Bars, Fair Trade Winds, $2.50

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Miles to Go Slim Leather Wallet, Fair Trade Winds, $21

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Serrv, Early Riser Coffee, $11.00

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Forest Branch Wall Hooks!! Isn’t that amazing! The stocking and cups are also for sale.

Ten Thousand Villages, $39

So… which one is your favorite??

Check it out!

Daily Reading: James 1

Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 3-4; Hebrews 11:20-40

Et tu, Brute?

He was betrayed. All this time he had trustelegos smalld her, and all this time she had been there for him. But now…

Et tu, Brute?” he asked through tear-filled eyes. “Even you, mother, would betray me?”

He threw his body around wildly. The strength of her arms, however, as she pinned him down was uncanny. He cried out, but onlookers hardly glanced as they passed by. It was hopeless.

“It’s okay,” she said soothingly, but he saw past her façade.

Out of the corner of his eye her fingers edged toward the black bag. She unzipped it, dug inside. Then there it was—the cloth of ice cold death—in her palm.

He gave one final scream, arched his back with all his might, and kicked with a force that could take down a fleet of Lego soldiers. Still, the game was up.

His diaper would be changed.

 

My twins are a whopping 6 months, and since the moment they entered the world they have eyed me with suspicion. Sure, they love me and all that, but every 10 minutes or so they make a point—via screaming—to inform me that I’m doing this mom thing all wrong.

Don’t try to put me in that contraption (ie car seat). I insist I ride in your arms instead.

Let me have that shiny thing (ie knife)! Selfish girl, you’re just trying to keep it for yourself!

 

So often my twins’ inability to understand the world, claim to understand it, and fight against me and my better knowledge makes my task harder. The short of it? Because I love them I deal with their insistent thrashing. Because I love them I end up with poop on my hands.

And then I wonder: how much poop does God have on His hands for me?

 Yancey states,

“Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid leather toilet seat covers… In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him.”

All the Israelites were waiting for their idea of a perfect Messiah: a wealthy, powerful Jewish king who would swoop down and destroy their oppressors (the Romans). But Jesus, poor insignificant Jesus, threw them for a huge loop. And wasn’t it the best plan of all?

 

Thank God that He so patiently sticks with us through our whining,

adolescent thrashing, brazen accusing,

and puffed up questioning.

Simply because He loves us.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways submit to him,

And he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5

 

Check it out!

Daily Reading: Proverbs 3

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 20-21; 2 Timothy 4

 

Reference: P37, The Jesus I Never Knew, Phillip Yancey.

 

 

Magic School Bus Days

old-school-bus-1431364-1599x1066Ms. Frizzle was transporting a school bus of kids into a digestive tract on TV as I pursed my lips, squeezed my eyes shut, and put the ruler to the top of my head. Careful not to move my hand up or down one millimeter, my pencil scratched against the door frame. Quickly I turned to see. Nope. I dropped the ruler and got into bed. I had not grown shorter.

Yes, for a brief time—spurred by my middle school love interest in a boy 1 foot shorter than me—I prayed nightly that God would make me shorter.

I am tall. Really tall. And in sixth grade, I was about the same height I am now (6 feet), which meant I was lucky enough to be the giant in braces, wearing large purple glasses, walking around with jeans four inches too short that sagged against my skeleton frame.

It was bad enough that my 7th grade teacher pulled me aside out of the blue one day to say, “Don’t worry. One day boys will be taller than you.” I was that awkward.

Oh, and it didn’t help that all my best friends happened to be gorgeous.

But Hebrews 13:5 says, “Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.’’”

Life is chock-full of things we want to be or have. We are nearing the Christmas season and guaranteed there are going to be people walking around December 26th in beautiful new Nikes, pea coats with oh-so-chic collars that’d make me feel like Sherlock Holmes or a New York model, shiny new Apple watches that, again, makes one feel like Sherlock Holmes of the future… you get the point.

Instead of trying to brainwash myself not to think about all the pretty things I want or wish I could be, I find it essential to read and reread the second part of Hebrews 13:5. We can be content with everything in our lives because and truly because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

If God—you know, only the greatest most important Being in the universe—wants to create me and have a relationship with me and promises not to abandon me no matter how selfish and annoying and boring and immature I am, why not be satisfied?

Being with God—now and forever after—is much more exciting than a pair of shoes.

 

Check it out!

Daily Reading: Hebrews 13

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 1-2; 1 Timothy 3

 

Let’s Discuss:

  1. What do you wish you had? What do you wish was different about yourself?
  2. If you had what you wanted, what else do you think you might want? And if you had that too, what else would you want? Do you think you could ever have enough that you’d be totally content?

Write a comment below if you like! I’d love to reply:)

 

 

Pearls and Dreams

pearls-2-1417045-1279x911We were still in pearls and trailing black dresses as we sat on barstools after the gala and talked about the evening’s end. It was the last of the ACFW conference (American Christian Fiction Writers), and we were all in good spirits after incredible food—three days of waiters offering coffee in white porcelain cups after every meal (one waiter even fluffed a napkin and put it on my lap)—conversation, interviews, and for some, awards.

I sat at the same table with one woman I’d met earlier, one who during the conference was full of grace as she encouraged and prayed for individuals as they walked into those terrifying 15 minute interviews. It was impressive to see that during the gala her face came up as one of the three finalists for an award in not just one but two categories. Unfortunately her name wasn’t called and she didn’t end up on stage with plaque in hand (this time). Still, what an honor. I congratulated her, but saw the understandable disappointment lingering in her eyes.

I thought to myself, “I’d be thrilled to be you! Walk home with two finalists awards under my belt.”

And it made me think.

Of the hundreds at that conference, we all had the same basic goal and could easily look to the person on our left or right and want to be in their position. The fun-loving girl chit chatting about thrift shops and plane tickets ended up being an author of (*pause while I google*) 12 books! I go to the bathroom and recognize the face of an author whose book I’m currently reading (I almost chanted the creepy phrase from a bathroom scene in her novel over the stall)! I turn around at dinner to find I’m back-to-back with none other than Francine Rivers.

But regardless of where we are, of the temptations to want to be in others’ shoes and situations, I find the words of Lewis impeccable:

“Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

What’s the point of not being happy with wherever I am right now? As a follower of God my hopes and dreams are not even my own. Who cares if I succeed or fail in finding an agent, selling my book, writing words that reach hundreds, thousands, millions? If it is not in the will of God, or of eternal significance, then may such ventures pass away unattended. But if it is the will of God, and of eternal significance, then I’m sure God can nudge the plans forward for His glory.

Because, after all, this isn’t about me.

 

Always be joyful.

Never stop praying.

Be thankful in all circumstances,

for this is God’s will for you

who belong to Christ Jesus.

 1 Thess 5:16-18

 

Check it out! C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory

 

Daily Meditation: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59-61; 2 Thessalonians 3