Saturday, February 6, 2016

Five Minute Friday :: Focus {link up}

Today is a beautiful Saturday to write for five minutes without worrying about editing, and I’m glad there’s a bunch of us doing this together! Click here to find out more. 

This week’s prompt is: FOCUS


When you point a camera at something and take a picture, you’ll have an image of what you focused on. The same thing goes for our Christian walk—the picture of our lives is based on our focus (is it on Jesus?).

Often, we have a finger-pointing focus. Sometimes it is because we are hurting and want the pain to stop. And sometimes it’s because we feel we are superior to someone else in biblical knowledge, or maybe it is because we just get annoyed with that person. But our finger points, and our words flow, and we end up feeling blah.

Jesus wants our focus to be on Him. Yes, reading the Word is essential to gaining understanding and wisdom, but even Jesus said that isn’t where we’ll find Him.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life,” (John 5:39-40 NASB).

Jesus wants us to seek Him. The Bible tells us who He is, and it points us to Him, but it is up to us where we want to focus. What is our motivation? Always, that needs to be the question we ask ourselves. Do we just want to be rid of pain and irritation? Do we want to be left alone? Are we prideful, and by virtue of that pride, are we embarrassed by someone?

When our focus is in the right place, we’ll see the grand picture from God’s point of view, and our selfishness won’t blur the beauty.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Five Minute Friday :: Quiet {link up}

 Writing for fun for five minutes without any worry about editing is a nice way to start Monday! 

Join me, if you can make time. Just click here for more info.



That is something hard to get at in my heart.

Because when I am quiet, then I can hear all the noise in my head. All the things that I tell myself about how I’m not good enough or how I’ve failed. Or how I’ve done a good job but no one appreciates it.

That isn’t why I try to get quiet, but my brain doesn’t care what my heart thinks.

For over thirty years, I’ve struggled with coming before God with my failures. I’ve not understood how so many people can walk in the freedom that the Bible promises to all who come to Him. I just didn’t get it. I would cry and feel a release. But then the next morning would come, and with it all the noise in my head.

I’ve realized, though, that I have not been seeking God. I’ve been seeking relief. I’ve wanted someone, something, anything to quiet the ranting in my head and the pain in my heart. And even though I prayed, it always felt like letters floating up to the ceiling and tumbling to the floor. Not even remotely effective.

Now I know that instead of surrendering myself to God, I’ve been seeking to manage my feelings. To manage my sinful nature. To control things. Instead of giving my heart and soul completely over to Him, trusting Him to heal and restore and forgive, I’ve been trying to earn approval by doing the right Christian things—talking the talk, walking the walk.

But it’s like 1 Corinthians 13 says about all that stuff—it isn’t quiet. It’s just a noisy gong, when love isn’t involved.

And God is love. Without Him, it isn’t any wonder that I feel like I have.

But now I feel so free! I finally get it. I don’t have to do anything to get God to accept me. He loves me, and He isn’t looking for me to look like or act like or do anything (let alone be perfect at it). He just wants me—all of me. And He will bring the peace and quiet to my soul through His healing touch, when I surrender my control.

I’ll have to keep preaching this to myself, because I’ve believed something different for so long. But the Truth has a way of quieting the lies like nothing else can. Praise His name!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LoveGodGreatly -- Praying!

Don't you love how easy it is to pray?  (Yes, that's a joke.)

I started a Bible study this week, and it is called, "Growing Through Prayer."  One of the admonitions we were given is to remember that prayer is not something our enemy wants us doing. After all, we are talking to the King of everything and everyone.

But it is hard. From making sure your Bible is handy, you have something to write with (and maybe a cup of coffee or tea close by), finding your reading glasses, and making sure the dog has been walked so she isn't whining in the midst of things, to ignoring the piles of laundry by the washing machine or the dishes in the sink...there can be endless distractions.

That is why it is important to be intentional about prayer (which is our challenge for this week). I've realized that I have not been intentional in the past. The biggest effort I've put into it is actually getting up early (around 5:30). But by the time I do a 15 min Pilates workout so I can sit without back pain, and I make coffee and walk the dog, and then gather all my "supplies," I look at the clock and an hour has gone by. Then I find myself listening when the floor above me creaks, because I want to have my alone time, alone (before everyone else gets up, ya know).

So, making sure everything is in the spot where I want to tarry with the Lord in the morning is important. Bible, reading glasses, journal, study book, pens, etc. And I can have the coffee pot ready to go in the morning. All of that will help to streamline things so I can get to the whole point of being up early and alone—praying.

But then, once I sit down, here it comes—the to-do's, and the anxiety about all that my day should entail. That, coupled with my listening for the patter of footsteps that will interrupt my quiet time, can cause me to spend my time holding my breath. Somehow, I don't think that is what God has in mind when He wants me to fellowship with Him.

The truth is, there's no perfect way to pray. We overthink it. God wants to hear from us. Just like our good friend whom we call when we are hurting or sad or excited (or bored), He wants to know what we are thinking and feeling. And He wants to tell us what He thinks and what He has for us.

This isn't a perfect process, and it never will be. But I am learning that I can trust Him to be there when I reach out. And it is my reaching out that is building that trust in my heart, so I can see how important it is to spend time praying.

Won't you join me? If you'd like to study along with me, click here to download the study.

Joining others for

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Five Minute Friday :: Present {link up}

I have to make myself write sometimes, even though I love it, because I am hardest on myself. That's what is so great about this community of writers. We write without worry, just to connect. Learn more here.

This past Friday's prompt was present.


This year my “one word” is fearless. As usual, my word is a tough one, one that I wouldn't pick. How can I be fearless when fear seems to dominate my thinking?

In posting some writing, I came upon a blog with a Bible study on prayer. Who can't use some help in that area? I know I can! So, I joined.

The first passage I read (I started on Tuesday) was Hebrews 4:15-16:

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

And as soon as I read the promise of receiving mercy and finding grace, I was reminded of how grace is a gift, a present from the Lord. Jesus knows how we feel. He's been through all of it, and triumphed over it. So we can boldly come to Him with everything. He has given us the gift of Salvation, and so much more! It's like finding a huge present under the Christmas tree, but so many more to open besides.

And that is the way I can overcome fear—by being bold to come before my God, praying for what I need, and receiving the mercy and grace that is mine.


Monday, January 18, 2016

I'm Watching You

While (trying to) quickly read a blog post before showering for bed, my oldest was at my shoulder.

“Are you cranky?”

“Please go to bed now,” I said, trying not to sound harsh. “I’ll be right up.”

“I think the other bed should have won,” she said, referring to a design show on TV.

This went back and forth for a bit and then, in a frustrated tone, I said, “I just want to read this so I can shower and go to bed. I am very tired. I can’t read while you are talking to me.”

“O. k.”


I sigh, shutting my notebook and stomping downstairs to shower, while mumbling about how my life is defined by guilt every time I try to do something for myself. I wanted to slam the door behind me, but I just shut it.

She opened it and called down, “I’m watching you…” in a sing-song voice.

I heard that—loud and clear. The first thing in my head after she said it was, “And you’re not the only one.”

When you are a mom, your kids are always watching you. You are always teaching them something—either actively, or passively. We want to actively teach them good things, godly ways. But it is easier to be lazy. Unfortunately, that is when the passive teaching kicks in and they learn by observing. Often, that’s not such a good thing.

Your kids aren’t the only ones watching, though. Of course, other moms may watch and learn from you (or judge you). But God's eyes are the only eyes we should care about. If our heart is trained on Him, reminding ourselves that He is always watching us—not to crush us, but to guide and to help us—then what we go through as moms doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

I remember feeling so much encouragement when I found this verse, as a mom of young ones:

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young,”

(Isaiah 40:11, NIV).

In order to tend a flock, you have to keep your eyes on it. Sheep are vulnerable, and they need lots of help. Jesus is our tender Shepherd, and He is always gently leading us moms who have young ones.

So be encouraged! Having His eyes on you means you are watched—and well-cared for—not being harshly judged.

Linking with others at Daily Momtivity for:


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