Putting us Back Together

Yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend who is fighting a hard battle.  She looks fragile, but she is scrappy.

Prayerful.

And resolved.

She is grieving loss and pain and trauma, but also celebrating the simple fact that she is alive.  And alive is good.

Alive is something. Continue reading

Enough

I’m writing this from the balcony of another hotel in Israel.  This time in Jerusalem.  It’s early morning and church bells were just echoing nearby.  I kind of expect to see Maria from the Sound of Music scurrying by below me – late to morning mass.  But here she’d be passing Imams and Rabbis as she ran.  A tad different than Salzburg.

My times here in the Middle East are always ones of competing images.

Yesterday morning we spent time in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. I try to picture him running the hills of pine and cypress trees and working by His father, the carpenter. In the afternoon we were in Galilee, where Jesus fed crowds, and healed and preached on the Mount of Beatitudes.  He walked on the water and calmed the same.

And Jesus walks alongside me with the command that often seems impossible, “Be still and know that I am God.”

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Alongside these visual reminders of Jesus’ time on earth are the overwhelming images of a land divided, a land in conflict – unable, seemingly, to get along.  Israelis and Palestinians.  Christians, Muslims, Jews.  Some think supporting the state of Israel means hating Arabs. Others think that those who want to talk about the plight of Palestinians must hate Israel. Continue reading

You’ll Always be Beaten by a House and Other Lessons Learned from a Race

Daughter Katy and I crossed the finish line of the half-marathon Saturday, arm in arm.

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running

Words can’t express how grateful I am for so many of you who prayed and gave money for clean water, cheered, encouraged, gave advice regarding injuries, gave high fives, sent texts, and were incredibly patient with me through training.  For Katy who ran alongside me, and John who rode alongside me, I’m sure there will be special jewels in their crowns.

katy and me

Many people aren’t runners and get irritated with hearing about running.  I totally get it.  But I want this experience to honor God, and I think part of that is naming what He has taught me that may apply to your life too.  So here are three things I’m thinking about… Continue reading

You’ve? Got This!

We’re on vacation this week.  Hope this re-post from October of ’11 is encouraging to you!  

I’m a terrible tennis player.  Seriously terrible.

This past summer I started playing tennis.  I’ve kind of dabbled before, but back issues put any play on hold til I had surgery and now I’m good to go.  Ok, “good to go” is totally relative.  I play on a tennis team, but it’s like the “Bad News Bears” of tennis teams.  We’re the worst of the worst.

In spite of being seriously bad, I have fun and as I play matches now, I’m reminded of all the hours I spent cheering for our daughters Katy, and Maggie as they played.  One of the common refrains from spectators and fellow teammates was “You’ve got this!  You’ve got this Katy!  You’ve got this Maggie!”

The implication was “You’ve got all the skill and ability necessary to win this match.  You have it in you.”

It struck me the other day that this is what God would like to remind me of each morning…not that I’ve got this, but that HE has it.  He’s got this momentthis daythis seasonmy life in His hands.

He has all the power, and understanding and patience and resources for anything we face today.  He is sufficient.

And BECAUSE He’s got this, you’ve got this!

In what area of your life do you need to hear God whisper, “I’ve got this” today? Maybe it’s something specific to today, or general for this season of life.

If you want, you can post just one word or a short phrase (or a paragraph if you want!) in the comments. Work?  Relationships?  Parenting?  Health?

Here’s mine: Laura – A couple of hard conversations I anticipate today.

We can list anything and hear God say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9                                                                                             He’s got this.

Pregnant, part 2

This week I’m thinking about Mary and three spiritual practices that may help us prepare for Christmas.  You can read the first in the series here if you want.

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As I write this I’m in a lovely setting, looking out over our snowy Minnesota – an outward picture of peace and calm that is definitely not what I’m feeling inside.  In my fingers and toes and stomach is… fear – that indefinable tingly, insufficient, I can’t get it done emotion.  I need to do, to create, to produce and I don’t have it in me.  I’m not enough.

Is that feeling more common at Christmas than at other times of the year?

Continue reading

A Conversation about Flour and Oil

Monday I wrote about how God has used the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarepath to teach me.  Did it sound like a piece of cake?

Not so much.

Here’s an honest conversation I had with the Lord recently.

Me: Lord, I’m ticked…really disappointed and discouraged.  I kind of want to throw my handful of flour back in your face and call it a day.

Honestly, Lord??  What I REALLY want is for You to take my flour and oil and make a ginormous fancy-shmancy cake worthy of the Cake Boss, that people will “ooh” and “aahh” over.

But instead it seems like my flour and oil concoction usually turns out looking more like an ordinary, boring tortilla.

Continue reading

You’ve got this. Kind of.

A few weeks ago some gifted young women who live in another part of the country, asked me to sort of mentor them.  I haven’t heard from them recently so I think they may have come to their senses and realized this request was kind of like inviting Zacchaeus onto their basketball team.  But anyway, what went through my mind is exactly what has gone through my mind when others have graciously approached me with an invitation:

Wow.  I LOVE them!

I must be special!

Holy Buckets!  What do I have to give them?

What if they expect, you know, wise words whenever I open my mouth and I’ve got, like…NOTHING!?

What if I say I’ll do this and then they’re disappointed in me?  What if they decide I’m a Loser Mentor?

And then God whispers

You’ve got this.  

Because really…you don’t.

But I do.

And that’s all that matters.

Listen to them.  Listen to Me.  Listen to them with Me and that will be enough.

Because I’m always more than enough.

This was a nice invitation.  However, there are many times when I question my adequacy because there hasnt been an invitation.  I don’t feel called, or challenged, or included in anything “significant”  But in those moments God whispers…

You’ve got this.  You’re chosen.  But not because you’re adequate, or even asked by others, but just available.  And I am with you.

And He brings to mind the story of the widow at Zaraphath in 1st Kings who had only a handful of flour and a little oil, preparing a last meal for herself and her son when the prophet Elijah showed up asking for one meal.  And then another, and another.

God’s word to her through Elijah is His word to me and you.  “…make a small loaf of bread from what you have…” And there was food for every day.

Just use what you have.  And I will make it so much more.  

Just respond to the small things I’ve put in your hands.  In front of you.  In your family.  In your neighborhood.  In your workplace.

You’ve got this when you realize that you don’t, because I do.

 Where do you feel inadequate?  Where are you afraid you won’t have what is needed?

You’ve got this!

I’m a terrible tennis player.  Seriously terrible.

This summer I started playing tennis.  I’ve kind of dabbled before, but back issues put any play on hold til I had surgery and now I’m good to go.  Ok, “good to go” is totally relative.  I play on a tennis team, but it’s like the “Bad News Bears” of tennis teams.  We’re the worst of the worst.

In spite of being seriously bad, I have fun and as I play matches now, I’m reminded of all the hours I spent cheering for our daughters Katy, and Maggie as they played.  One of the common refrains from spectators and fellow teammates was “You’ve got this!  You’ve got this Katy!  You’ve got this Maggie!

The implication was “You’ve got all the skill and ability necessary to win this match.  You have it in you.”

It struck me the other day that this is what God would like to remind me of each morning…not that I’ve got this, but that HE has it.  He’s got this moment, this day, this season, my life in His hands.

He has all the power, and understanding and patience and resources for anything we face today.  He is sufficient.

And BECAUSE He’s got this, you’ve got this!

In what area of your life do you need to hear God whisper, “I’ve got this” today? Maybe it’s something specific to today, or general for this season of life.

If you want, you can post just one word or a short phrase (or a paragraph if you want!) in the comments. Work?  Relationships?  Parenting?  Health?

Here’s mine: Laura – A couple of hard conversations I anticipate today.

We can list anything and hear God say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9                                                                                             He’s got this.