This is my lullaby tonight. Listening to it several times, letting my heart rest and connect with the bigness of the One watching over me as I sleep.
Monthly Archives: October 2011
It is from a website called His Deeds. The site is full of inspiring stories and testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of people like you and me. We all need a reminder that God is good and He is moving. Check it out & I promise you will be encouraged.
Yep. Here I am. The Stalker.
I saw a news article today that was talking about someone getting a restraining order on someone who was stalking them. I didn’t read the story, just the headline. Skimming past it to the next article I thought to myself, “Stalkers must be the creepiest people. Who does that?”. Then I realized, that I am a total stalker. Yes, me. Sweet, girl-next-door (okay, I have NEVER been described as the girl next door, but it makes me sound likable) me. Three specific instances came to mind:
1. When I was in Rome my friend Connie & I wanted to go to the Vatican. However, we got lost and had no clue how to get there. “Scuzi…uh, umm…donde esta el Pope?” As luck would have it we spied a few ladies that looked like they may know the way. They were dressed in black with somber faces. It was indeed a group of nuns. Perhaps if we discreetly followed them they would lead us to the Vatican. Low and behold after many narrow streets and confusing intersections we found ourselves at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Lesson: When looking for holy places follow a nun. They know the way.
2. The summer after my senior year in high school I was in England. My friend Kelly & I had read too many Jane Austin novels & when we saw this cute guy we totally stalked him. We referred to him as Ashton and followed him all throughout downtown Norwich. He had blonde dreadlocks, wore a backpack and road this cool vintage bike. In our minds this guy was studying literature at the university while actively involved in political issues and read poetry under a tree by the river. He was probably not that interesting in real life, but we never found out. Despite our ‘appearing’ in the same location as him multiple times he never came over to say hi. I suppose we weren’t as mysterious and attractive to him as he was to us.
Lesson: When looking for romance, don’t follow the guy on the bike.
3. My friend Erika & I were driving to Crawford Texas to scope out George W. Bush’s ranch. After herding a loose flock of goats off the roadway & talking to the secret service agents we decided to return home. We were not going to see the President that day. All of a sudden a caravan of black suburbans drove past. Erika & I made a U-Turn and sped to catch up with them. I kid you not that we both put on over-sized dark sunglasses. She drove and I sat poised with her big black camera in hand just snapping away. We followed them for several miles until they pulled into a grocery store. Turns out it was Condoleeza Rice and her husband. We casually parked several rows away so as not to tip off the secret service . Good thing they couldn’t see us behind our big glasses. After being stared down by two guards we decided we should probably go. I guess they had notice we had been tailing them for miles.
Lesson: When stalking government officials have your friend drive. That way they have her license plate on file and not yours…
I clearly have a habit of tracking people down when I am on trips with friends…Which supports my suspicions that I should have been a spy. Really, I should have been. Except I don’t handle stress well. And I get lost in airports. And I don’t know how I feel about concealed weapons…okay, maybe not a spy. Maybe a girl scout.
Happy Friday night everybody! This post is an old one from back in the spring before many of you read my blog…so, I thought I would share it with you now. Have a fabulous weekend!
This is an incomplete thought, but it is something that has been stirring in my mind for a few weeks now. I referenced some of the longing felt in different seasons in a blog post a few days ago. In my journey of dreaming with God I have found that longing and frustration are often interwoven. Wanting so badly for something, but hitting barriers in the actualization of those desires.
Disappointment is a heavy weight to carry…and most of us don’t even notice how heavy we have grown. I have had many angry tears shed processing with God about things that I am not able to do or see happen…yet. I say ‘yet’ because God has a plan. As I have been pondering this issue over the past week I came upon a great realization. One that has brought me peace.
Limitations and boundaries are not the same things. Limitations are based on what cannot happen. My lack of capacity, my weaknesses or the natural restrictions I face. Boundaries are based on God’s great strategic plan. They are directional and keep us from wandering around in aimlessly. Limitations are based on deficits. Boundaries are based on love.
Every season of life has boundaries. I can’t do everything all the time. I would burn out and be impactless. God has paced my life so that I can run in such a way as to win the race He has set out for me. (1 Cor. 9:24) Cattle are moved from field to field based on which fields have food, which field has the terrain needed to keep the cattle safe and healthy…thats what God does. My boundary lines right now are to be a support leader at All People’s Church instead of a senior leader. I can write on a blog instead of speaking to large groups, and I have to store up in prayer for big dreams in my heart rather than act out on them.
My natural inclination is to see through the lens of limitation. I can’t be a leader. I must not have been doing a good job at it. Only a handful of people are interested in my life…those few who read my blog. Not large masses. No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to make some of the big dreams happen…Limitation. Heaviness. Disappointment.
Psalm 16:6 ” The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…”God knows all the things seen and unseen. He knows what the next field holds for me. The healthiest thing for me is to live inside of the boundaries I am in. I usually don’t know why, but I know Him. He is good and He doesn’t hold back on me. Jesus always gives me the best, not the scraps.
Seeing through limitations is painful because it makes us look at ourselves as the problem. It makes single women ask ‘what is it about me that is so unattractive.’ It causes dreamers to wonder ‘why is my capacity so small’. And it slowly convinces all of us that ‘God isn’t able to meet my needs and satisfy me.’
Our limitations and God’s boundaries are not the same thing. Be at peace knowing that where you are is a pleasant place because the fullness of God is there with you.
Triage: the sorting through victims to determine the level of priority for treatment
We are all familiar with it. You go to the waiting room in the ER and they take your vital signs. ‘Oh, you aren’t on the complete verge of death. You can wait nine hours while we handle the really wounded people.’
Naturally I want the doctors to save those whose lives are at stake before they set my broken bone. But, sadly I transfer this mindset onto how God handles me.
I have been thinking about Africa today. This is nothing new since I am adopting two kids from Uganda. But, today was a bit different. I thought of how dire the situations are for so many in that continent. Ravaged by disease, war, corruption, famine…so many things. My natural reaction is to feel embarrassed that I think I have trials in my life. What is my small need compared to famine? So I wipe my tears and sit in the corner waiting until the important issues have been dealt with. Except, I hurt too…
I found balance and rest in this thought: God doesn’t triage.
He doesn’t look at the widow in Nigeria and then look at me and say “Oh, Elizabeth sit over there. You can wait.”
No person is more valuable than another to God. He doesn’t compare life stories and then respond to the most emotionally compelling one. God doesn’t triage because He doesn’t have to. He is more than capable of taking care of each of us.
He isn’t limited in time, resources or emotional capacity. Each of us get the same treatment whether we come to him with a scrapped knee or a life threatening infection. God is just as concerned with healing my pain as He is yours.
He is a Great Physician and in His presence none of us have to wait in line.
Some of you guys may have a gluten allergy. I would like you to know that there were no wheat products used when writing this post on bread, so you should be fine to keep reading. If at some point you do experience dietary issues, fatigue or skin rash…stop reading immediately and contact your doctor.
Seriously though I was thinking about bread today. Last summer my mother-in-law gave me a bread maker. It is fantastic. You just add the ingredients in, push start and in a few hours you have bread. Plus no candle can smell as good in your house as fresh baked bread. We moved last month to Texas and my bread machine is still in storage while we are waiting to complete the purchase of our home. In the mean time we have been using bread from the grocery store. Store bought bread is quite different.
I make REALLY good bread. So does God. He calls it ‘daily bread’. It’s a catchy name I will have to admit. Mine is simply called ‘white bread’. Clearly, my baking skills are no match for God’s, but there are three main similarities between my bread & God’s bread.
1. They taste really good. Store bought bread that has been mass produced and prepackaged doesn’t have much flavor left. Daily bread is full of fresh flavor. He feeds us the best. Always.
2. There are no preservatives. When I make bread it goes bad in a day or two. God’s bread is the same. It is for today, because there is another loaf coming. It isn’t supposed to be stored or hoarded. I can smile while I toast it and smother it with Nutella because I know there is more coming tomorrow.
3. There are no ingredients on the bag. When you buy bread at the store it tells you exactly what is in it. Fresh bread doesn’t have that. It is just bread. God doesn’t give you the recipe for provision, He just gives you the provision itself. I’m assuming He knows we would attempt to make our own ‘daily bread’ if we knew how.
When God feeds us, it takes great trust to eat it. I must believe that it will taste good. I have to have faith that God will feed me again tomorrow & I can actually enjoy eating this now. Most importantly, I have to trust that He knows what He is doing. That He has the divine recipe for what my soul and body need.
I ask God to give me what I need financially, physically, spiritually, emotionally…then I stress out when He provides it. Will this be enough? What if I don’t like what is in it? I’m not sure how to ration this? I’m really hungry, but if I eat it all now then I will be hungry tomorrow. Ultimately, I don’t trust Him. So often I do not believe that it will be enough. I have an ulcer instead of faith.
Now if my point ends with “But just like me, God is faithful to make fresh bread every day.” then we would all be doomed. Sadly, I am not the most consistent person with routines (I’m an ENTP, okay?). But GOD is always working on the next batch of bread for us.
He knows where my emotions will be tomorrow morning and He is baking a bread that will meet my needs at that very moment ( I hope it is a cinnamon roll). I don’t know what you need tomorrow morning when you wake up. God does. When your groggy eyes pry open to turn off your alarm, God will be waiting for you with a fresh pastry that is beyond yummy. It will be the exact ingredients, the correct portion, and the burst of flavor that you needed that day.
Eat every bite of it because there will be more coming the next day. Don’t limit the amount of God you take in. If you aren’t full it is because you stopped eating, not because God stopped feeding.
My dad said something really profound the other day. “You wanna hear a lie?” He asked. “All good things must come to an end.”
I kinda stared at him for a minute waiting to hear the punchline. But, then I realized it is a lie. All good things don’t have to end.
If you are anything like me, and many of you are, you spend your days anxious without really knowing why. The other day I had absolutely no plans, zero. Yes, it is shocking. But I woke up and got a bit frantic about my day. I tried to rush my kids through breakfast, and got annoyed when they took their time.
Impatience escalated when I found myself stuck behind a slow driver (remember that I didn’t have to be anywhere at any particular time.) Finally I passed the guy, but I began to wonder as I felt the satisfaction of pulling in front of him…”Why am I in such a hurry?“
As you know I am quite fond of ‘pondering’. So, I started to really think about it. Eventually I admitted that I live my life with an underlying sense of panic and dread. Nothing manic or over-the-top. Just enough to keep my anxiety humming at a low level. Just enough to keep me tired and skeptical.
So, after my dad said that it is a lie to think ‘all good things must come to an end’ my emotions made a lot of sense. I keep waiting for something bad to happen. I discovered that I even interpreted scriptures this way. All those verses about not fearing, Him giving us strength, grace…they must be because horrible things are going to happen. Embarrassing to admit, but its true.
We can’t be healthy forever, someone must be on the verge of sickness.
Every marriage has their rough patches, I guess we are about due for one.
My life is so full of transitions, I can’t put roots down…they will just be pulled up.
My times with Jesus have been so rich lately, better soak it up before I hit another desert.
I am going to risk, but I will brace for disappointment. Its just a part of the journey.
There are more valleys than mountain tops…
The past few months I have been going through life waiting for the bottom to drop out from under me. No wonder I am tired and restless deep inside. I have opted out of rest, trust and joy in God. Bummer.
Like I said earlier, most of you are like me. You say it is ‘wisdom’ but it is really doubt. You can’t quite fill up emotionally, stress is easily triggered, and deep down you are waiting for your fears to happen.
Lets trade our “bah humbug” for a “hallelujah”. See, the Kingdom never stops. The goodness and power of God never reaches it’s maximum. We waste our time and energy waiting for ‘the catch’. His goodness and promises don’t come to an end. They are ETERNAL. He is ETERNAL.
“…I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic.
I’m with you.
There is no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength.
I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)