Tag Archives: christianity

He will make your paths straight

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3

I’ve been rolling this verse around my head a lot today as Ryan and I began our teaching on the DTS.

We’re teaching this week about making Jesus Lord – surrendering to him as Lord – and from my perspective the basis of that teaching is to first trust that he is good.

How can you give him your life and your future if you don’t believe he’s good? (And has the very best intentions for you.)

The amazing news is that as we trust him, he aligns our paths to him. We don’t have to struggle to find our way (or back to) somewhere on that one mysterious path that we lost. He just aligns us begining right where we already are.

A miraculous thing actually.

Funny how I preach on this stuff adn then am challenged by it all in the same day. Yeah, “funny”.

I’m certainly trusting God right now in new ways and new areas.

And I’m certainly not able to lean on my own understanding – because the understanding just isn’t there.

It’s a beautiful thing – knowing that I can depend on him and his care of my family.

Because certainly, he is good. And completely trust-worthy. And amazing.

So glad I can relax into him and that he’ll carry me even (especially) when I don’t understand.

Q for you: Trust is a weighty subject. Do you trust God? Or do you find it difficult? Why?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

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Soap-boxing and mouth-shutting

My heart is weighed heavily right now about big things:

Parenting, marriage, politics, the church.

And how it’s all wrapped up together.

I have strong opinions on most things in life – always have.

But I realize opinions must be carefully shared.

Sometimes social media (public broadcasting at our fingertips) tempts us into soapboxing before we really know what we’re soap-boxing about (or why).

Dangerous.

This is why I’m being quiet for the moment, even on things I feel passionate about.

Because it’s not just about the speaker, it’s about the hearer.

And sometimes words just aren’t good enough to convey.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you voicing your opinions publicly about the “hot issues” of today? Why? (Or why not?)

 

Love,
A

p.s. Have you noticed I missed two days this last week? Yeah, 3500 birth kits have kept me busy. Last night I realized I hadn’t written here as my head was hitting the pillow. Wisdom told me to skip “discipline”, and even be relaxed about it, so I did.

 

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Why talking about money is fun, not boring

No one likes to talk about money.

At least not on a personal level.

We talk about investments and the economy and “out there” stuff, but most like to keep talk of their personal paychecks private.

Today I wrote a post about finances for another blog that’s soon to launch (where I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor – more about that soon). And, although I usually think the topic of finance is a little boring…

I was totally into it.

I mean, like really, really diggin it.

Because when you know God, and are connected to him, it becomes not just about numbers in a bank account or dollars in your pocket, it becomes about understanding him and his ways. (And, oh how I love knowing him and his ways!)

There’s a verse in Luke that talks about how he provides for the ravens and how much “more valuable” we are than them.

And that’s it! That’s the key!

God provides for us because we’re worth it. We’re worth it.

Did you catch that? Cuz it goes for you too.

He also provides for us because that’s who he is – our Provider. Capital P. That’s what he does. He can’t not be himself.

Money can be a difficult thing – when it rules us, when it seems we are in lack, when it’s squandered, when we idolize it, etc. But it can also be a really beautiful thing.

Jesus never shied away from talking about money.

So why do we?

We need it. We want it. We can even use it as a tool to worship him and bless others.

I’m so glad he thinks I’m worth it.

STOP.

Q for you: Do you struggle with talking about money? Did you know that God thinks you’re worth it?

Love,
A

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Searching for margin, longing for rest, needing connection.

Someone gave us money to “do something fun”.

Someone else gave us their apartment on the beach so that we could “get away and relax”.

Someone else gave us a day off after he asked my husband if he had dirt on his face when really it was just bags under his eyes.

So this weekend we’re having a quick getaway to a beach apartment that’s 10 minutes from our house.

Amazing how stressful it can be to prepare to relax. How’s that for irony?

The details are boring but today was a stream of plans-gone-wrong after plans-gone-wrong.

Lists are made but only half completed.

Kids are revved up on I-don’t-know-what’s-happening-but-it’s-different-therefore-exciting energy.

(In other words, tehy’re driving me crazy.)

And after a long day at work the family comes together and we decide it’s worth the stress and the busy and the crazy.

Because soon we’ll be 10 minutes away feeling as if we’re miles away.

We need each other. We need to connect. We need to collapse into baths (we don’t have one) and read books and listen to music and curl up in a great big bed, all piled on top of each other.

Rest is good. Margins are good.

We’re trying to find both.

Thank God there are a few people around us helping.

STOP.

 

Q for you: I think “margin” and “rest” are problems in our society today. Are you finding margins and rest in your life? How?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Spring cleaning, house and heart

It’s autumn here but there’s this urgency growing beneath my skin to do some spring cleaning.

Behind cupboard doors sit unused things, taking up space, collecting dust.

Some are just too hard to reach so they’re forgotten.

Drawers in disarray feel fuller.

Closets that looked bare only months ago now seem to burst with a sea of cotton.

At a glance things look fine, but behind closed doors Mess lurks.

It’s driving me mad and I’m having brutal impulses to Purge. All. This. Stuff.

I’ve realized that I get this way when I’m tired or stressed. (Or extra “this way” when I’m tired and stressed.)

It’s suffocating and stiffling and whereisthespacetocreateandenjoy?

I want to simplify. Reduce. Get rid of fillers and noise and things that make me feel stuffy.

I want to open the curtains and let the breeze in.

I want to lift lids and move rugs.

And maybe it’s not really about things being clean or organized.

Maybe it’s just me wanting to gain some sort of sense of mastery over the chaos. Reign it in.

I never thought I had control issues. Until I had children. Children who have minds and clocks and opinions of their own.

They will not be controlled. They fit in no boxes. they respond to no formulas. (I’m glad for that. Mostly.)

But they make me realize that I have to let go. (MOre.) I have to create more margin. I have to find breathing space.

Life is too full to be full.

And maybe it’s not even a negative thing to want to reign in the chaos and restore some order. Maybe it’s the creative process starting all over again. God brought order out of chaos, right?

So when this sort, sift, clean, organize, purge, open-up-the-doors-and-let-the-good-green-earth-come-in thing starts to happen to me, it makes me stop and think:

Is it hte house that needs tending? Or is it my soul?

Perhaps we both need to open up the windows a bit wider?

STOP.

 

Q for you: How does your physical environment influence your mental/emotional/spiritual realm? (Or the reverse?)

 

Love,
A

p.s. Admittedly, this post is a bit scattered tonight. I suppose that’s just going to happen occasionally when writing in this format with no structure or editing. I suppose also that’s part of the God-getting-in-the-cracks process. And the humbling-me process. Sometimes it truly is hard to hit “publish”…

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


I don’t go to church. Or do I?

Whenever people ask me where I go to church I stumble and hem and haw and try to find words to answer their question.

The truth is, we don’t go to church. At least not in the sense that people are talking about.

Both Ryan and I have “home churches” that we love – his in Sydney, mine in Oregon. We love going back to those guys and feel totally at home there.

Those churches are places of friendship, connection, encouragement, and worship. They are places that we represent through our service. We consider ourselves an extension of them as we work here in Townsville.

But we don’t go to a place we call “church” every Sunday morning.

The thing is, we do have a church. We meet with a group of believers several days a week – working, serving, worshiping, praying, growing in relationship. We teach one another, we break bread together, we encourage and strengthen one another.

We actually are the church. It just also happens to be our workplace.

I know it’s hard for some people to get that.

They need a name, a denomination, a set of four walls.

So when I tell them that we don’t go to church, I can sense some of them cringing inside. (Is she really saved? Is she bitter toward the church? Is she *gasp* an independent?)

Newsflash, yes, I know God. No, I’m not bitter. And no, we are definitely not independent.

Sometimes I think we have far more community than I think is even comfortable.

(But that’s not really the point of church is it? To be “comfortable”?)

The point of church is to gather, serve, grow, teach, encourage, worship, connect. Be the Body.

So yes, I suppose I do go to church.

Nearly every day.

STOP

 

Q for you: What do you think church is?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Homesick, and the ache of More

It happens to me every. single. time.

A visit to my childhood home approaches and I grow homesick.

Home. Sick.

The closer the trip becomes, the more my heart aches.

It’s been twelve years since I lived in America.

You’d think that the longer I am away, the easier it would become.

But hardships and revelations and babies and friendships make that impossible.

Instead, the ache grows.

I know what it’s like to be a foreigner. To live as an alien in a land not my own.

I know what it means to put roots down and be home, and yet not really home.

As much as the ache aches, it’s also my gift.

Reminding me that I’m not Home. Reminding me that there is More.

My home is in Him.

Homesick for heaven… Homesick for a place I don’t know, and yet know so well.

Sometimes I think it’s the lack of belonging, that hard-to-pinpoint knowing of yes, here I fit.

But I will never really fit.

I realize it’s more than a circumstance, a feeling, an address, a season.

It’s heaven. It’s Him.

I’m homesick for Him.

My home is in Him.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you homesick? A foreigner living in a “strange” land? Is this you, too? What do you do with the ache?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Do you think it’s possible to spoil a baby?

I’ve sometimes wondered…

Do I love my babies too much?

Do I hold them too much?

Do I think about them too much?

Do I talk about them too much?

Do I dream about them too much?

Do I look at them too much?

How much is “too much”?

But then I think about God –  The way he looks at me, thinks of me (so many thoughts), pursues me. The way he loves me.

I’m pretty sure I’m always on his mind.

I’m pretty sure that I’m his favorite.

I’m pretty sure that his heart wells up with pride as he talks about me whenever given the chance.

(Sort-of like he does with you, too.)

And if my role as a parent is to reflect the heart of God to my children…

Then perhaps there’s no such thing as loving and hugging and holding and thinking and dreaming and kissing and snuggling and caring and nurturing too much.

After all, my “too much” is woefully less than His “enough”.

I’m so glad He holds and hugs my children with me.

Our love, together, is complete. (And it’s soooo not too much.)

STOP.

 

Q for you: You know, I really do try to not write about parenting or motherhood too much on this wee blog since that’s what the other one is for… But sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I took that photo today it made my heart well up with this I-love-my-baby-so-much-I-don’t-want-to-even-put-him-down-when-he’s-sleeping kind of warm fuzzies. And even now, at midnight, after he’s been up several times already tonight with teething pain… I think to myself: I’ll never be able to hold him and comfort him and nurture him “too much”. Do you think it’s possible to spoil a baby? Not a child, a baby? (Clearly, I do not but you are free to disagree.)

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Fear and love and letting go

If I’m honest with myself I can see a few areas of fear in my life:

Fear of doing something that I feel is important but turns out to be viewed by others insignificant or a waste of time.

Fear of doing something that has the potential to be much bigger than I think I can handle.

Fear of offending someone by offering an alternative opinion.

Fear of not being able to finish what I start.

Fear of being misunderstood.

All of us have fears, and if we’re not careful our fears can paralyze us, keep us from even attempting to move beyond hte comfortable here-and-now.

As someone who is not typically “fearful” by personality, I’ve been thinking about fear a bit lately. I’ve seen it creep into areas of my writing and sharing and living and… I don’t like it.

Since I’m a Christian, my view of fear directly stems from my understanding of scripture and of God’s character. The bible says that “perfect love drives out fear”. If that’s the case, then I must need more “perfect love” in my life.

I also know that fear correlates with my view of God adn my attitude toward him.

Do I place his opinion above that of others? (In “christianese” we call this fear of hte Lord vs. fear of man.)

So how about facing some of tehse fears? How about trusting on a new level?

How about letting go just a little bit more?

How about choosing fear of the Lord?

STOP.

 

Q for you: What do you do when you recognize fear creeping into your life?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Awake

It’s 4:29am.

Last night I slept between the hours of midnight to 3am. Before that, unable to sleep, and then woken by Judah at 3:00.

After feeding him I laid in bed until 4:28, tossing and turning, eyes heavy, mind racing.

Sleep illusive.

So many thoughts run though my head in those hours of the night.

I listen to Ryan breathing heavily on one side of me, Judah breathing lightly on the other, wishing I oculd be asleep like them.

I think of Levi in the next room, and wonder things like “If I had held him more as a baby, would he be more affectionate now?” Only to follow it up with thoughts like, “I loved him fiercely and held him often. Of course he’d be the same. It’s not my actions that have made him so independent, it’s his personality.” (I know that, but in the small hours it’s easy to lose your anchor a little.)

Besides, he is affectionate. He clearly loves me fiercely too.

I yhink of other deep things like “why don’t they sell honey Nut Cherrios in Australia? And cheezeits?”

I think of things I’ve read. I think of people who are affecting my life through what they’ve written or said or have (or haven’t) done.

I think of people who are waiting to hear from me. What will I say? How will I pray?

What does my life speak?

Earlier tonight as I was trying to alow myself to fall asleep I had this thought – what if God’s answer for my plea for “alone time” are these hours of wakefulness during the night when I wishwishwish I was sleeping? Ugh.

And what if it’s not? What if it’s just that I’ve got to learn to let go a litlt more, quiet my mind a little more?

What if I just need to start doing yoga again? (Seriously.)

I thought about all the noise. (I have so much noise.) I read too much, think too much, listen too much, do too much, commit to too much, try to please too much.

And then I think tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I will simplify.

Because what if that’s what He’s trying to whisper in the dark?

Slow down. Create margin. Be present. Stop multi-tasking. Inhale, exhale.

Have some fun.

Last night before bed (the first time) I put my phone in airplane mode. I won’t switch it back to normal for 24 hours – a Sabbath from the internet. I’ve done the same with my laptop. (Hense, though I’m writing this now, I’m offline so I’ll post it much, much later tonight.)

I’m tired of being notified all. the. time. I’m tired of being constantly available so much so that maybe I’m not available enough to the ones who matter most. Or myself. Or Him.

I only have one chance at this life and I’m certain how I live it is bigger than this life now that I can see.

So I’m up. In the night hours. Listening, waiting, praying. Knowing that there’s something more.

(And still longing and praying for sleep.)

Hello? I’m listening.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you awake? Awake when you’re meant to be? Awake when your not meant to be?

 

Love,
A

p.s. I wrote without a timer tonight. I’m guessing it was closer to six minutes, or maybe even seven. Probably seven or eight. I don’t know; I’m tired. #fiveminutefail

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.