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A Tangled Mess And Chicken Thoughts

magicRadio silence…and where to begin.  There are so many thoughts flying around in my head right now, so many changes around the corner.  I can’t even begin to fathom.  I have this tangled up knot of thoughts and feelings and emotions and “what ifs,” and worries, and fears, and dreams.  I have been trying to untangle it, following each thread to see where it may lead.  Then I have these stray thoughts that go flying through my head like chickens, squawking and flapping and making a huge ruckus, distracting me from the progress I had been making on untangling the other mess. (I don’t know why chickens.  I am telling you, I am a wreck.) You see, this is what happens when you set a “wow” goal at the beginning of 2015 and find that God isn’t going to waste anytime getting to work – on you and for you.

Let me back up and see if I can untangle at least one thought line for you. I don’t usually buy into New Year’s Resolutions.  Mine usually occur in the back-to school-season. (That’s when I make my grand plans for all the Good Things I am going to accomplish as we transition from summer chaos to school day chaos. Er, I mean school day orderliness…sorry random thought thread.) But this year I did kind of jump on the band wagon with a nod to setting a “wow” goal.  And that’s when the wheels began to come off of the comfortable I had set up for myself and the knot started compounding exponentially and the chickens came to roost. (Read A Reflection…A Resolution for my “wow” goal inspiration.)

Have you ever felt like you were a spectator in your own life? Over the past week that is exactly where I have found myself. I gave my “wow” goal to God at the beginning of the year and figured we would have a nice, steady, 12-month, slow and measured movement to it’s completion.  Instead, I have found myself quickly face to face with “wow” and God. Major career change, a brand new business opportunity-maybe, and this huge blank slate (optimistic) or hole (pessimistic) that I don’t know what I am supposed to do with.

I know (in my head) that to live in obedience we go when God says go. Abraham didn’t know where he was going but God told him to pack up and move out and he did. (And this wasn’t just taking a walk around the block. He had tents and animals and people and all of their stuff that they packed up.  He left behind everything that he had known, aka comfort and safety.) Abraham was on a need-to-know basis with God which meant only seeing as far as the next step and even that was cloudy for him at times.  That scares and exhilarates me at the same time.  This is what faith and complete dependance on God look like.

Unfortunately, no matter how much I want to respond like Abraham, I feel more like Jonah. Jonah didn’t want to go. I was ok with just kind of going.  I wanted both, safety and following in faith and I had lots of excuses, just like Jonah, about why I couldn’t just step out.  But when God say go, you go.  And if you don’t He will take every excuse away and kick you out anyway.  So now I am kicked out and I don’t know where I am going.  Make sense?  It makes no sense and perfect sense at the same time. That’s why I am a tangled up mess with chickens running around in my head.

Who knew that God moving could be so terrifying?  But there is another side to this.  And this is the side that has kept me from losing it altogether and quiets the chickens.  I am not alone and this is not my plan to figure out. Outside of my comfort there are amazing things waiting for me.  God-things are waiting for me!

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”(Matthew 6:31-34)

These are Jesus’ words meant for comfort and instruction. His promise to us.  I am learning to live in what author Nicky Gumbel calls “day-tight compartments.” One day at a time.  As Corrie ten Boom put it, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow; but it empties today of strength.”  We are called to change our ambitions and priorities and take on a new set that are both exciting and challenging: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Being on a need-to-know basis is shaking up everything that I knew and 2015 is going to be an adventure. This…this “wow” thing that is beginning to take shape is not at all what I thought or expected, but it is leading me directly into the presence of Jesus.  There is so much more…more to say and share and discover but it’s still all tangled up.  Will you adventure with me and see what surprises lie in the great unknown?

How is your 2015 going?

These are a few of my favorite things…

“Where you send me, God I will go. You’re the answer I want the world to know. ”

So excited to be heading to upstate New York this week to share in an intimate gathering of women.
I am looking forward to sharing some of life moments with them and starting a new project that I can’t wait to share with you once I get back.

“Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.” Steve Maraboli

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. (Colossians 2:2 NLT)

Emmanuel – It’s not just a Christmas thing

matthew 28 20

…and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)

I (mistakenly) thought I heard the strains of a Christmas song this morning coming from the radio in another room and after clarifying that it was definitely NOT a Christmas song it made me think about a couple of things. 

First, Christmas in July.  I know it’s coming up and I really don’t get it.  Is it an ode to Christmas decorations?  A reason to not have to take them down after the real season is over?  A clever way for retailers to put a hand back in our pockets with a random July sale?  Yes, we are at the halfway point between last Christmas and this upcoming Christmas, this is really no reason to celebrate.  I am sure there are some folks who are still paying for last Christmas.  So anyway, please do not mistake this for a Christmas in July message.  It is only coincidental because my hearing is apparently going bad.

The real thought that stuck was the idea of Emmanuel, God with us. We talk a lot about this at Christmas, Jesus coming down to our level, inserting Himself into our mess, so that He could be with us.  But this is an ideas that we need to hold onto today, just as much as in December.  With us, in all of our chaos, and in the quiet.  With us, when we are struggling and when we are celebrating.  With us, whether we notice His presence or not. 

This quote used to hang on our refrigerator years ago.  I don’t even remember where it came from but I latched onto the idea almost immediately.  “When it’s so easy to be overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, STOP! Otherwise you will bulldoze right past some of life’s most precious moments.”

I am sure there are many of you who just read that and thought YES!  But let me share with you a truth from my life today…Sometimes it’s impossible to “STOP!”  I would love to just quit life for awhile and smell the roses but that isn’t a reality at this stage in the game.  That is called vacation, not real life. I know I am not alone in this.  This is our time to Embrace the Crazy and I am learning to love every crazy second of it because all too soon it is going to STOP! and my house will be quiet and I will have all the time in the world. (The idea that this too shall pass…)

Here is where the meaning lies in “Run and Be Still.”  Run (literally or metaphorically,) be busy if you must, be crazy, but find some time, even (especially) “in the midst” to quiet your mind amidst the chaos.  You don’t have to cease moving to “be still.” 

Emmanuel, God with us.  Invite God into the crazy, into the chaos, into the fun.  This is where something beautiful begins to happen…not just God with us…us with God.  When we include Him, weave Him into the fabric of our everyday life. I have found that with God’s calming presence, the overbooked and overstretched doesn’t have to result in a “snap.”  Sometimes in our family we do get wound a little too tight which means we get to practice forgiveness (both giving and receiving.) We can use our failures as teachable moments for grace and mercy and humility. This is where faith intersects with life, where God gets taken off His Sunday shelf, and invited into the present.  God with us…us with God.

More than ever, I have a desire to do more than just manage my days. I want to experience life. I want to open my heart up to be present in today, not bulldoze through it in anticipation of tomorrow, or next week.  I want to make this very moment count. I want to allow my soul to awaken to the thrills of the Lord’s presence as I move through every crazy day. I love Jacob’s words in Genesis, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” These words echo in my heart as a reminder to take a deep breath in the chaos and notice Emmanuel, God with us.  It’s not just for Christmas!

Still Moments – Does Your Life Make Sense?


“Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”
Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Rom 12:2 (NLT)

Here’s to living a life that makes people wonder what makes you different…hopefully it’s because you are walking in God’s will but maybe it’s because you are a little crazy…some days I am not sure I know the difference.

Make today a wonderful, crazy day! Inspire someone!

Still Moments – A Biting Truth


So true…how many times this prayer has crossed my lips.

As I read this, two different passages came to mind. There is nothing quite like digging into the Word, God’s Word, to provide comfort, hope, and ultimately forgiveness and love for the many times I find myself falling short.

Maybe you too can identify with Paul’s words…
“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:21-23, 25 NLT)

And may you find hope in Jeremiah’s…
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:21-23 NLT)

My take away today…His love and mercies never end…no matter how many times I fail.

Without the rai…

Without the rain there is no beauty in the summer. Rain gives depth, it gives beauty and it gives roots. If a plant is only exposed to sun and no rain, it becomes dry, flimsy, and dead. Too many times we curse the rain in our lives – suffering, trials, hardships – but the truth is without rain nothing grows ~ Jefferson Bethke

Words that rang true and nailed what this series, “Into Every Life,” is about at it’s core. The days when the sun is shining and everything just seems to fall into place are wonderful.  These are the easy days.  But they are only part of the equation, it’s the rain that cultivates deeper roots.  The days where as Abraham Lincoln so poignantly said,  “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”  These are the days when we are driven deeper into dependance on, and the care of, Jesus.  These are the days your roots are deepened, your faith is given a chance to blossom.

So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT, emphasis mine)

The Disciple Jesus Loved

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10 NLT)

This was a message that brought a smile. Not only because of the way that Mike Donehey tells it (yes, I am very familiar with the Sunday school felt board,) but also because of the message that it holds. No matter what we have discovered within ourselves since we began this journey, Jesus loves us. That doesn’t mean that we should just brush whatever we have found back under the rug of ignorance. While we work on it, instead of beating ourselves up for failing, know that we are loved! We are defined not by our failures or successes but instead and only, by God’s love.