Minivan Rebel

Minivan Rebel

“Well, I can add changing a diaper in a princess castle to my list of things I never thought I’d do,” I thought.

I looked around at the flower-clad walls and down the purple tunnel. I looked behind me at the demolished bag of chips my toddler had stolen from the pantry, with its thin plastic folded and wrinkled every which way. I mentally accepted all these things as normal and thought briefly about scanning the classifieds for a nice used minivan. “I will not do the stick figure family stickers on the back though….. or maybe. Whatever, I won’t rule it out,” I thought.

There are a lot of normal things in my life these days I never thought I’d find myself doing.

I never thought I’d go from listening to angry hard rock bands to having K-Love as my go-to commute music (all whilst transporting sticky-fingered, Hot Wheel throwing sleep stealers from A to B.)

I couldn’t have imagined laying in bed on Saturday night (at a reasonable hour no less) looking forward to church service the next morning (and even driving almost 40 minutes to get there.)

And I certainly never thought I would be writing a faith based blog.

But here I am. And in some remote corner of the world I imagine pigs are probably coming in for a landing.

So today, know this: God changes things. He changes the hearts of His people.

I fully admire people who were raised in the faith and never strayed from it but I openly admit that I am not one of those people. Although I was raised with a strong religious background, I’ve always had a restless and rebellious spirit. I believed in God but didn’t feel like I could relate to the life of Jesus. That is, until I came across this one single verse:

“He was counted among the rebels.” -Isaiah 53:12

We always think of Jesus as being perfect- and he was– but have you ever stopped to realize that he was so radically different from the norm of his day that he was actually considered a “rebel”?

Needless to say, the first time I came across this line, I connected. If Jesus was a rebel, he could know and understand my own rebellious heart. If he could navigate life as an outsider, he could teach me how to walk the less traveled path I’m meant to walk.

And if Jesus was a rebel, he could show me how to be rebellious in a different way.

These days my idea of rebellion comes largely in the form of saying no to friends, situations, and world views that are widely accepted but are misaligned with God’s truth. Rebellion doesn’t always have to be loud and intrusive. Sometimes rebellion looks like teaching Sunday school, or packing your husband’s lunch. Sometimes it’s zipping the lip instead of sharing the details of someone else’s personal business, or offering to help even when it doesn’t fit into your schedule. Sometimes rebellion looks like scattered Lego’s, purple princess castles, and a quiet life- lived well in the light of God’s grace.

Be rebels, my friends. ❀️

Keep Your Eye On The Couch Pillows

Keep Your Eye On The Couch Pillows

“DON’T EAT THE CARPET!” I yelled, as I dove over the kitchen chair barrier I’d created to keep my now-crawling daughter within the confines of the living room.

I pried her mouth open as she flailed her extremities in every direction. In one fluid swipe my glasses were removed from my face and landed just out of reach. “Blind your opponent- impressive strategy for a 10-month-old,” I thought. Nevertheless I was able to reach into her tiny little chipmunk-like cheeks between blows and retrieve the stray strand of carpet.

Our living room is currently its own special work of art. With an open concept floorplan there is little to keep my curious baby herded within the pasture of our living space. So, from necessity, I’ve designed a very chic arrangement consisting of a side-lying kitchen chair, furniture pressed up against each other, a laundry basket filled with hopeless, matchless socks, and a portable playpen.

I’m not sure why I haven’t been contacted by Better Homes and Gardens yet, really. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Now while much of our home boasts newer flooring thanks to the previous owner, our living room carpet has certainly seen its better days in the decades since our house was built. Charlie, our lazy yellow lab, must agree. Wherever he decides to lay, he paws at the carpet to make for a softer napping spot, and occasionally strands from the carpet are pulled loose. My eagle-eyed munchkin sometimes finds these small pieces before I do.

Feeling the frustration, I thought, “I’ll get ahead of this.” I grabbed a pair of scissors and went around extracting any little strand that looked as if it may come loose at Charlie’s pawing. Then, feeling accomplished, I returned my daughter to her designer play area.

A short time later I made a quick trip to the next room, only to return to find her squirreling away couch pillow stuffings in her tiny baby cheeks.

(Friends. Remember me in your prayers.)

As moms we know that we can’t take our eyes off of these sweet little sneaks for a second. The moment we start patting ourselves on the back for conquering the trials of one milestone, they’re already onto the next. In the midst of trying to keep up with my daughter this week, I came across a verse that pointedly reminded me that we can’t take our eyes off of our enemy either:

“When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.” -Luke 4:13 NLT

That’s right- He. Never. Stops.

Even as we celebrate the moments when we find the strength to walk away from a carefully crafted temptation, or choose differently rather than going back to a bad habit, he is already scouting out the next opportunity to knock us down. He is constantly working- so that means that we need to be, too.

In light of this, I’ve got to ask you what I’ve been asking myself this week: How can you be more persistent?Β 

Is it waking up earlier to get into the Word before your day sets your priorities for you? Grabbing your Bible or devotional as soon as the kids go to sleep instead of the remote? Deleting an app off your phone that- let’s be real here- the enemy is using to distract you from devoting more time to God?

The bottom line is this: our purpose in life is to love God and love people. It’s so simple, but the enemy is persistent and effective in making it complicated. We have to hold onto the truths of the Word in order to be prepared for every opportunity to love, so that there is less opportunity for the enemy to take the lead.

Donut Thief

Donut Thief

Have you ever sat down with a donut and counted the seconds until your children come running at you to steal your new treasure?

(Probably not, right? Because we’re smart enough to hide in our closets or cars while we indulge in that sort of luxury…. πŸ’πŸ») BUT if you have, you know what it’s like to grasp at something wonderful and watch it walk away in pieces in the hands of someone else.

Well sometimes my peace is like a donut.

When I started my current Bible study with a small group of wonderful women, it was mentioned that we ought to be on guard for the enemy trying to work harder in our lives when he sees the progress we’re making. Y’all it’s real. He KNOWS when we’re getting closer to God and he wants to steal our “donuts” of peace, faith, courage, truth, motivation, and anything else he sees us enjoying as a benefit of relation with our Creator.

His favorite place to get us is in our thoughts- especially the ones we’re not paying very much attention to that like to run away from us. I’ve personally noticed the struggle in this area- and even in my dreams!

The other night I had terrible dreams and when I woke up I realized- he’s messing with me. So I prayed and prayed, and finally went back to sleep. The next night I was anxious at remembering the fear I’d felt the night before and I spent a long time in prayer. When I finally laid down it was nearly 1:00am and I opened up my Bible app to read the new Verse of the Day as it had just changed over. This is what it said:

God listens!! How amazing is it that at one o’clock in the morning while little old me is laying in bed STRESSING, the divine God of Heaven and Earth is listening to the drama flooding my mind??

We all have our own ideas of who God is and what he’s like but it’s wonderful to remember that he’s also our father. He listens to the little things, he tucks us in at night, and he takes the “donut” of peace out of the hands of the bully trying to steal it away and gives it right back to us.

So guys, I realize that I just likened my children stealing my food to the devil stealing my peace but I know you get it…. And I know you all know I love my littles!! πŸ˜‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Just remember that we- YOU- are loved by a God who wants good things for you- who hears you, sees you, and looks after you in all aspects. And if that isn’t enough, if we’re still needing the sprinkles on top, sometimes he bends down and speaks directly to us.

Whatever your fear or worry is- take it to your father. He listens- and speaks!

Life Comes With Instructions

Life Comes With Instructions

I was raised on a firm principle: instructions are for sissies.

At least that much was implied on one occasion I recall as a girl when I received a laugh in return after trying to hand my dad the manual for whatever it was he’d just bought. I’ve even found myself repeating that notion through the years, and in case you’re wondering how well that’s worked for me, allow me to share a Proverb my grandma likes to use from time to time:

“Pride cometh before the fall.”

Grandma raised five boys. Grandma knows.

But as much as I’d like to jump right into things, I like having instructions. I NEED instructions. And you know who gives the best instructions of all? Our all knowing, more than gracious God. Sometimes I can just imagine him up there shaking his head at me in dismay when he sees me trying to do things my own way, and he probably gets a good laugh or two. But none the less when I go looking for wisdom it’s always right there in the word.

That’s why I love the scripture that I shared yesterday so much:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” -Isaiah 26:3

First and foremost, I love this because God is giving us an awesome gift- I mean who doesn’t like getting gifts? And it’s GOOD. He is not giving us contentment or complacency, but his own perfect peace. The peace he promises is not some distant fairytale that we have to go chasing, or something we have to earn and figure out on our own- it’s very real and it is attainable! And not only is it available to us, but right there in the very same verse we are given instructions and told exactly how to attain it- through trusting God and fixing our thoughts on him.

Now that’s great and all.. but what do we do with that? How do we turn that into action and start experiencing his perfect peace?

Have you ever caught your thoughts spiraling? Maybe going from “I wonder if I unplugged my straightener….” to “WHAT IF I COME HOME TO A PILE OF ASH AND MY POOR FUR CHILDREN ARE STUCK IN THE HOUSE WHEN IT GOES AND I’M ONLY LEFT WITH THE CLOTHES ON MY BACK” in about 0.2 seconds? πŸ™‹πŸ» There is a simple- not easy, but simple- strategy I’ve learned to stop this in its tracks. When you catch yourself fixated on unproductive, ungodly thoughts, stop and turn your runaway thoughts into gratitude. You see, being grateful has this magical power that turns our fears into focus on God, and grants us that perfect peace that he is trying to give to us.

Instructions: they can turn a nice sentiment into a powerful testament. And thankfully for us, our God has given us the best instruction manual ever created.