Sunday, January 31, 2010

God's Presence

Do you feel alone sometimes? I believe as moms we all go through times when we think no one understands what our life is like. The good news is that God does know what our life is like. He is the God who sees all, and He is with us.

It may feel like God is far away when things go wrong and we become discouraged. But these can be the very times when our faith grows as we trust God and pour out our hearts toward him even when we don’t understand. I like what Sinclair Ferguson said, “Appearances can be deceptive. The fact that we cannot see what God is doing does not mean that he is doing nothing.”

One time when I was taking my mastiff to the vet, we met up with a beagle wearing a lamp shade. It wasn’t a real lampshade of course; it was one of those silly plastic collars that dogs have to wear so they won’t scratch something on their head. The beagle was miserable and I wasn’t sure how it was going to make it through the day, much less a week of wearing the lamp shade. The owner said to me, “If only my dog knew this is here to help her and protect her.” I thought to myself, how easy it is to doubt our master because we can’t understand why He is allowing something in our lives. Like the beagle, we can either fight against what God is doing in our lives, or trust the love of the master even when we can’t understand the process.

In the same way, I want to encourage you today, trust God’s care for you. You may not be able to see all the reasons why, but you can trust a God who loves you and sees your situation. He is with you. He has a good purpose and a kind intention for your life.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shaken, but Not Stirred

This year we watched in horror as a physical earthquake ravaged Haiti. Our support and prayers continue for these precious people. Perhaps you have experienced a personal earthquake of your own where your world has been shaken. It may have been a cancer diagnosis or an unexpected divorce or a wayward child. Although we would love for our lives to fall into the category of calm, peaceful and safe, the reality is life circumstances are constantly shifting. We have no guarantee that our situation will remain rock solid.

Our world may be shaken, but God is not. He is our rock and we can find rest and hope in Him. He can give us the strength and wisdom we need to make it through the earthquakes of life. Consider what the Psalmist proclaimed in Psalm 62:5-8:
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God ;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
If your dreams are shattered and your world has been rocked in some way, I want to encourage you to pour out your heart to Him. Trust His providence, love and care. James reminds us that God does not change like shifting shadows. When life falls apart, we do not have to fall apart with it. Our situation may be shaken, but we don’t have to stirred. Even when you can’t see Him or feel Him, trust that He is there. David said:
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

Do not despair. Do not lose hope. God loves you and will care for you no matter what your earthquake looks like. When my world is rocked, try to dwell on three important truths:

R – Remember you are not alone. God is with you. Also, recognize that there are others who have gone through similar trials and have made it through. Allow others to help and encourage you.

O – Opt out of despair. Although it is easy to let your mind go from worry to anxiety to despair, don’t allow your mind to go in that direction. Grieve yes, but keep your eyes on the hope that God can bring. He is a redeeming God and can bring opportunity to any situation.

C & K – Compassion and Kindness. As you work through your challenges, look for ways you can help others in similar struggles. Reach out to others in compassion and kindness and as you do you will begin to experience the strength and joy that comes from lifting up others.

It is important for us to teach our kids to look to God for strength and hope in the midst of shaky circumstances. Read Psalm 62:5 -8 and Psalm 23 to your children and encourage them with a message of hope. Go through the ROCK truths I shared here and help them to understand that every challenge is an opportunity to trust God.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Time of Compassion

As moms, we often look for times when we can teach our kids about kindness and compassion. This week is one of those weeks. We learned with great sadness of the tragedy experienced by the people of Haiti. Our hearts go out to all the people affected by the earthquake, both the Haitians, the relief workers and all the families who have loved ones there.

I encourage you to gently talk with your kids about the earthquake and the challenges which are ahead for the Haitian people and relief workers. It may be a good idea to read some articles from the web or local newspaper to help your kids understand some of the facts. Be careful as you don’t want to instill fear in them, but simply offer a healthy understanding of the challenges. Be aware of your kid’s possible concerns if you are watching the television coverage, and consider limiting their exposure.

Interestingly in watching the news coverage, I noticed that many of the workers asked everyone to pray to God for help. Certainly at a time like this we all recognize our desperate need for God’s mercy, wisdom and care. The apostle Paul’s words kept resonating in my mind, “Pray without ceasing.” Let us all commit to continually pray for the people in this devastated country. Pray with your kids for the specific needs you read about each day in the newspaper. Pray for the relief workers, for their safety and their health. Pray for more provisions to get through to the people. Pray for the healing of the people and for the country. This is an opportunity to demonstrate compassion and care through our prayers for others.

We may not be able to go over to help, but we can help through giving donations. Even in this decision, I encourage you to pray as a family for the ways you are to give to help meet the needs of the people of Haiti. It is important for your kids to know that you carefully think about giving and that you actively give to those in need. Encourage them to participate as well. Personally, I have chosen to donate to World Vision. You can go to to find out how they are serving in Haiti and also to find out how you can donate. Prayerfully consider the ways God wants you to help.

Pray without ceasing. Never stop praying. Those words are a charge for us as we watch the relief efforts increase day by day. Pray with your kids, “Oh Lord, help these precious people of Haiti. Give them peace and strength. Help them to know you are their refuge. Help the relief workers. Give them wisdom and perseverance as they continue to be your hands and feet in this devastated country.”

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shine His Light in your Home

It’s back to the normal routine for most of us, as the kids head back to school and the hubbies jump back into work. Hopefully you are settling into a good routine for 2010 and are well on the way to making this a great new year. I hope that you have set a few goals or resolutions for the coming year as you take positive steps forward in your home life as well as your work life (and for many of you that is one in the same). I want to encourage you to be deliberate about spiritual growth this year both for you and your kids, by reading God’s word and allowing it to permeate your lives.

A systematic approach to reading the Bible works best for most people. If you haven’t discovered the One Year Bible, I would recommend it highly. It has daily readings marked out from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. You simply open to Jan 11 and it has it all laid out for you. I’ve gone through the Bible many times using this approach. Last year I decided to only read the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs so I could really concentrate on these portions. This year I’ve taking the Old Testament day by day.

No matter what you have going on in life, when you take a little time to read God’s word each day it keeps you looking at things above. Reading the Bible not only reveals who God is, but also reminds us of His sovereignty and power in every area of life.
Growing in your knowledge of God’s Word is not only important for you as a mom, but it is important for your children to become familiar with the Bible at an early age. In the busy schedule of a family’s life, sometimes this very important part of our children’s life can be neglected. I encourage you to find an age appropriate Bible for your kids and make a practice for reading it every day with them. I used to read The Beginners Bible (By Kelly Pulley, Zonderkidz) with my kids when they were young. Bedtime is the perfect time to read them a story. I know it is easy to think, but isn’t that what churches are supposed to do? Certainly we hope the church is teaching our kids bits and pieces of God’s word, but I believe it is our job as parents to teach our kids about the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells of the charge God gave to the Israelites and it still applies today. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Let’s be intentional to follow this charge! This week I had coffee with one of my friends, Sonja Samuels. She is working with Scripture Union, a ministry committed to helping people get to know the Bible more intimately. They offer wonderful, colorful materials starting with children’s guides all the way to adults. Their motto is “Helping people meet God every day.” If you want to know more about their excellent materials contact my friend Sonja at
By the way, Sonja will be speaking at the Ready to Win conference in Grapevine on Jan 18. I’ll be the emcee and I hope you will join us for this fantastic event! Go to to register. See you there!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcoming in 2010

Ugh! Putting away Christmas decorations isn’t my favorite thing to do, but in a way it feels good to have the house back to normal. I hope you enjoyed the Holidays and that you are off to a good year with your kids. As we look forward to a fresh start in 2010 let’s determine to take positive steps forward in personal growth. Please don’t forge ahead on your own. Ask the Lord to guide you as you pursue His leadership in your life. Reach out toward potential new friendships and strengthen you r current relationships.

This year I realize that I need to work on discipline in several areas. Personally, I need to be more disciplined in getting up right when the alarm goes off in the early morning hours. I need to be more disciplined in eating less at meal times, and I need to be eating healthy foods. I also need to be more disciplined in the area of returning phone calls and emails. Most importantly I want to be disciplined in pursuing Christ and knowing Him more deeply and intimately.

God’s word always gives me strength and encouragement in this direction as I read Paul’s words about pursuing Christ in his own life. In Philippians 3:12 – 14, Paul says:
“ I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I like how Paul talks about forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. The new year is a good time to do that. We need to forget things in the past such as past mistakes, sins or hurts. We need to drop those reoccurring negative thoughts rather than continue to replay them in our minds. We also need to be careful of resting on our past successes or accomplishments and becoming comfortable or complacent in where we are. Paul said he strained toward what was ahead. He pressed on toward knowing Christ and becoming more like Him.

May I encourage you as this new year unfolds to press on toward passionately pursing Christ. Just as Paul strained toward what is ahead in becoming more Christlike, we can do the same. It’s an active pursuit. This December I bought a pair of Snoozies. They are soft comfy slippers to wear around the house. They are good if I am doing nothing all day, but if I am going for a walk or going anywhere – the Snoozies won’t work. I need my running shoes.

Spiritually speaking, don’t wear your Snoozies and rest in your walk with Christ. Put on your running shoes and actively pursue a deeper relationship with Him. He welcomes you into his loving embrace. Actively pursuit Christ by reading His Word and doing what is says. Spend time with Him in prayer seeking His help and guidance. Consider going the extra mile and memorize a passage from the Bible. I know it will be an exciting journey and a great year as you actively pursuit Him.

Choose to memorize a passage of scripture together as a family. The passage I mentioned earlier is a great on to start. Or consider Philippians 4:6 -8, Psalm 121, or portions of Psalm 34. I recommend my friend Caroline Boykin’s book The Well-Versed Family to give you creative ways to memorize scripture with your family. You can find it on Amazon.

I hope you are off to a great 2010. Are you ready to win in 2010? Consider joining me at the Ready to Win Conference with Thelma Wells on Monday, Jan 18 in Grapevine. For more info go to