Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How Fixing Our Eyes Brings Balance

If you're at all like me, you have often found yourself failing at your balancing act. You give a little to a lot, but a lot to nothing. With too many balls in the air, your tension tightens and your exhaustion deepens. There are people who depend on you and people you crave to prove wrong. You wonder if you're making a difference in the world. Is it enough? Will it ever be?

I have found a direct connection between my focus and the level of balance that I rest in. 

Please do not underestimate the cruciality of consistently aligning your steps with what the Father has mapped out for you. The moment of realization that you have missed part of your ministry is heartbreaking. 

There was a season for me in which the Lord immersed me in training on the idea of fixing my eyes on him. Throughout that training, which I found magnetic, I noted and read and meditated on the scripture and biblical teaching on fixing my eyes with the presumptuous misconception that this would be great stuff for a later season in life. 

I imagine the Lord saying, Bless your heart.

He peeled the scales off of my eyes one particularly anxious day to my realization that this teaching was for the life I had at hand. This magnetism was for now.

My focus had shifted to another awesome opportunity. One that promised freedom and purpose. And it was good. But I had given it too much of my gaze, and I had been too stubborn and prideful to admit it at first.

As I came to acceptance that my focus had shifted away from my calling, and ultimately his purpose for me, I also realized that I had missed some crucial pockets of growth and blessing along the way. 

Enter the sinking feeling. 

The scary part is that I didn't totally stray away from my calling, or shy away from the church. I was just on the outside of my zone. One foot in and one foot out. Attempting to balance one good thing too many. 

"...a time to keep and a time to cast away;"
Ecclesiastes 3:6

Not everything that draws our eyes is evil. But not everything that draws our eyes deserves our attention. 

Fix your eyes, dear precious child of God. Discern where your track is for this season of life. Run with the ministry that God has set before you. Fight for your focus.

A life out of focus is vulnerable to sidesteps and drop-offs. It is easily susceptible to becoming unbalanced. And isn't that what most of us as wives and mothers covet? Balance.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27

Jesus came to give us rest and peace. So when we are dropping all of the balls and drowning in exhaustion, we may be out of alignment. I encourage you to pray with me today.

Lord, help me to set my priorities in line with your will right now. To move forward boldly with your purposes for me. Open my eyes to the bigger picture. Grant me the grace of discernment and direction. Let now be a turning point for me!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Three Tips To Finding Your Calling

Every one of us has a knockout calling on our lives.


The ones who can't get their kids to school on time. The ones who couldn't find time to do their bible study homework this week. The ones who are floundering in their third marriage. Us.

Sweet girl, what is it? What is that precious frontier in which God smiles upon and says, "This is for you. This is where you will shine my glory all over this dry and thirsty land."

When we feel inadequate, dry, or clueless, how do we discern our calling?

1. Observe the darkest, most stretching season of your life.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

During the toughest valley of my life to date, I encountered God in a way that left me forever changed. I spent a couple of years in the hot thick of struggle, and I knew mid-way through that God was going to use my pain for His glory. I didn't appreciate it then, but I am loving it today.

When have you experienced a season of diligent growth? Meditate on the faith that became a part of your very bones by living through that battle. Ponder how God prepared you for a season such as this. What was added to your character, knowledge, or faith that can spill out of you and onto other brothers and sisters in Christ?

2. Tap into your passion.

But if I say, "I will not mention his word, or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)

What kind of fire has the Father created you with? There's a clue there.

Is hiking your love language? The feel of the earth and the freshness of the air may be what spurs you on to an outdoor ministry.

Do you thrive on the conversation shared while you paint nails at work? Maybe you're called to love on battered women who just need a little TLC after a tough week of therapy and healing.

Are you happiest while you're baking? God could shower little girls with grace as you give free baking classes to girls who have lost their moms.

The things that light you up will naturally draw in those who have need of what you have.

3. Get your face in the Word.

This is only listed last for emphasis. Not for order of importance. As the last item on our list, let it sit hot on your mind as we close out.

When you're processing through a discernment for what your calling is, every word from the mouth of God is where you begin. 

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 
Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)

Are you feeling hungry, friends? Are your insides bubbling for usefulness in The Kingdom without direction for satisfaction? Get your face in the Word.

Never do I experience God more, than when I am consistently and thirstily digging deeper into His Word.

What is He saying?

Who does it apply to?

What characteristics is He displaying here?

Just who is He, really?

I become more and more aware of His thoughts becoming my thoughts. His presence thickens. His Spirit begins doing a work in me that I can only describe as a stirring that morphs into a tidal wave.

Discernment follows. As we draw closer to Him, He draws closer to us. And relationship naturally leads to partnership in the Kingdom of God!

Glory! Pursue your calling with fiery diligence, girl! It's what you're here for.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Can't Be A Stay-At-Home Mom Any Longer

(Photo credit to: Missy Loves Jerry Photography)

I can't be a Stay-At-Home mom any longer. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever been one.

Let me explain.

During a typical week, I chauffeur my Kindergartner to and from his elementary school. My three-year-old twins keep me company while I...

Plan a weeks worth of meals for a circus
Hunt, snag, and pay for groceries
Dodge the judgement when I pay my water bill late...again...
Manage the mountains (Laundry, dishes, junk mail)
Mop hog poop off our mudroom floor
Dry the thousand tears of two drama queens
Organize closets that remind me of Narnia
Well the list never actually ends...

There is an emotional charge attached to the question we all know and love as a Stay-At-Home mom.

So, but really, what do you do all day?

Been there.

Addressed that.

Not the point.

There is something else that absolutely consumes me. It gets me up early and keeps me up late. It causes me to hit my knees in tears and literally dance for pure joy.

It's my ministry. And it consumes so much of me I can no longer look at it as a side-thing I'm into.

It is me. And yet, it has no name. It has no pay. And it is very little known.

Sometimes, I fall into my pillow at 2 AM because someone has called with hopelessness in his or her voice. The craving for prayer knows not the hour and Amen does not have a bedtime.

Sometimes, while I make my kids lunch, I text with an introvert who can't call, but also can't reconcile why God would allow her family to crumble.

Sometimes, I spend weeks wrestling with the Lord in order to spend twenty minutes in front of a congregation, sharing what the Lord wants them to know.

Sometimes...okay many times...I spend an entire afternoon bleeding my heart out onto the keyboard as I write a book that comes from the most excruciating and rewarding season of my life. Because God said so.

And one time I had to start over. Because...God.

I draw from my ridiculously limited knowledge of scripture to teach it to others and I point others to Christ with a bruised and scarred hand. And I do it all as the most broken tool the Creator must have at his disposal.

And because of all this, I crave more and more and more time with my God. In order to overflow, I must be filled from the source. So sometimes, I will need a lamp as I study because it is still dark outside and I only have minutes until three little sets of feet come charging down the hall.

Asking for cheerios and gummy vitamins and socks and their favorite show and help finding the barbie's shoes and...and...and...

I'm just a young mom...kind of a hot, unorganized mess, trying to balance two wonderful callings.

And most days I feel completely inadequate for both. But the start for me, is to recognize that when I'm asked, what do you do, I can no longer simplify the answer to Stay-At-Home mom.

How do I answer?

You tell me. I think it will take a little more thought and maybe a whole other blog post.

How about...

I raise children and take care of my husband and home while assisting the Lord in bringing his kingdom here to earth.

Yeah...maybe some more thought...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

When God Stirs So Much It Aches

2016 will look vastly different
, He whispers to my heart. And I smile involuntarily although there is a dusting of fear behind it. It is so HIM.

Since we vowed to love each other always and serve the Lord relentlessly for the rest of our days, the Lord has never left us comfortable. Every year has brought unfamiliar challenges, stretching, and growth. Our eyes have been opened wider and they've cried more tears of both sorrow and joy. Our hearts have broken and mended and grown so large we thought we may be able to see them from the outside.

We have encountered our God in ways that are scarcely describable. And when you have an encounter with God, you are never the same. Each New Year we are never the same.

2016 will look vastly different, He whispers to my heart. So HIM.

I see what is coming for me and my family in part as if I'm looking through a lightly frosted window. But I know there is a greater depth coming for me. Something hard and beautiful. Something that will boast of Him.

Jesus, have mercy.

I treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart like Mary after she birthed the Savior of the world (Luke 2:19). Did her heart ache as mine does today, I wonder? The excitement, uncertainty, and readiness to be about the Father's business churns. I can barely take it.

When God stirs our hearts so much that it aches, we are spurred to action. We are set to love.

Jesus, let 2016 be about action, about love, but mostly about your business.