Oh, Lord! {help me} Have Mercy!

Open bill.
Pay bill.
File Bill.
Shred bill.
It seems simple enough, which is why I don’t understand how bills get paid and yet the “to be paid” stack on our desk continues to grow.

Laundry hamper = Big.
Clothing item = Small.
Husband = Good at Basketball.
These are all true statements, which is why I don’t understand how clothes land on the perimeter of the hamper but not in the hamper.

Unwind air compressor hose.
Inflate tire.
Recoil air compressor hose.
Such a small task, yet I can’t imagine how the uncoiled black hose ended up strewn across the garage floor…again.

I clench my teeth, tighten my fists, and walk pointedly down the hall way to ask Brett how hard it is to shred the bills, put the laundry in the hamper, and wind up the air compressor hose, when I see the kids having a blast rough housing with their dad…when I find my husband enjoying a rare conversation with his dad…when my husband comes up behind me and whispers in my ear.

The truth is there are a million things requiring Brett’s attention and adding to his stress. Whether or not I like to admit it, my little requests add up to a mighty long list. Does it really matter if I take two seconds to shred the paid bills, throw the clothes in the hamper, or wind up the darn air compressor cord…again?

Of course, if I remind him, Brett will readily complete each task. He will stop playing with the kids. He will end a conversation with his dad. He will cease flirting with me.

In reality, what is the greater good? I have an opportunity to take something off Brett’s plate, avoid confrontation, and make myself feel better knowing the task is complete.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, isn’t that what I am going for anyway?

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other. Whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:12-17

I love how we are asked to put on a heart of compassion before anything else. Compassion is a rich moving love, it compels us to be kind, humble, merciful, gentle and forgiving. As much as I love the charge to be compassionate, as much as I read that verse and think, “Yes!” I want to be a woman with a heart like that.” It’s hard to be compassionate, especially towards my husband. The reality is I would much rather change my husband’s behavior than help to alleviate his stress or lighten his load.

What if I picked my battles a bit more sparingly? What if I made a shift in my perspective? How awesome would it be if I spent less time focusing on the ways Brett has not met my expectations, and spent more time trying to far exceed his?

We are called to show mercy. Showing mercy toward Brett means easing up when it comes to identifying his shortcomings and not mentioning every bad habit, forgotten task, or hiccup. Showing mercy means cutting Brett some slack and practicing patience towards the things I find annoying and frustrating.

It’s like I remind my children, treat others as you hope to be treated. Where mercy is concerned, this couldn’t ring more true. Oh how I long for him to dismiss my behavior when I am PMSing, ignore a forgotten chore when the day has gotten away from me, and step into help when I seem overwhelmed.

As much as I hope to receive Brett’s mercy on a given day, I need to extend him the same compassion and grace.

When is comes to our marriages, we are called to put on a heart of compassion. We are called to be kind, humble, gentle, and long suffering towards our husbands. We are called to forgive. We are called to clothe ourselves with love, because love is the perfect bond of unity. You and your husband are on the same team, unified by love.

Compassion should direct our words and actions. When we are on the brink of snapping and slamming our men, let’s pause and consider a compassionate approach.

Oh, Lord! Help me – please.  Help me show mercy towards Brett.  Change my heart so that I might be long-suffering.  May my heart overflow with grace and compassion.  Thank you for the gift of my husband.  Open my eyes to focus on the amazing things he does rather than the little things he doesn’t.  In your Son’s precious name, Amen.

A Hotmess for His Glory

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Me? Bring Glory to God?  How?

We bring glory to God in our everyday actions. We bring glory to God when we demonstrate love to others. We bring glory to God when we gladly obey His commands.

Truth be told, it’s hard for me to grasp this truth! I seem to stutter and stammer through my prayers and pose a million excuses. “Lord, I am a hotmess! Don’t you think someone else is better suited to bring you honor and glory?”

I’m fairly certain I am not alone.

This side of Heaven we tend to think God’s glory is best revealed through Polly Pocket housewives with perfect children, polished homes, and warrior husbands. I know you know who I’m talking about; those women who have it much more together than we do.

But, perhaps we should give God a bit more credit.

In the genealogy of Christ ( Matthew 1:7-17)  Matthew traces 41 generations from Abraham to Jesus. Reading the list of names is like reading a who’s who list of Faith-filled, Biblical heroes. In his account, Matthew chooses to list four women.

  • Tamar; a widow who posed as a prostitute (Genesis 38)
  • Rahab; a harlot (Joshua 2)
  • Ruth; a woman of beautiful character but a Moabitess born under a curse (The Book of Ruth)
  • The wife of Uriah, Bathsheba; an adulteress (2 Samuel 11).

Seems like an odd assembly of women to include in the lineage. Don’t you think? He didn’t include the room mom, the manicured wife, or the organizer of the church hospitality committee.

Sisters, we are talking about God, a man who chooses the foolish things to shame the wise. Jesus chose these women to shine in His genealogy because their lives brought glory to God like no other.

Seriously…stop and ponder these women for a moment. Consider God’s intention. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba glorify God in the sense that their very lives sum up the Gospel.

Through them we are reminded that salvation is for sinners. Salvation comes through faith. Salvation is apart from works and the Law. Salvation is about forgiveness.

These flawed, sinful women glorified God in, with, and through their imperfect lives. Lift your eyes with confident hope! The things the devil intends for harm, God will use for good. Genesis 50:20

We are all works in progress.   In our efforts to be an amazing women, wives, and mothers we may fall short. In those moments, let’s fall into the arms of Jesus. He is not a crutch sweet friend he is a bed. Fall into His grace, it is gloriously sufficient and overflowing. We can rest in the blessed assurance He will enable us to become the amazing women He created.

God loves imperfect people. Imperfect people know they need God. They depend on Him for transformation and strength. Imperfect people are relatable. They aren’t afraid to point to Jesus as the strength and support in their lives. Doesn’t that ultimately bring Him more glory than the perfect Polly Pocket.

We are loved exactly as we are. So, by all means, let’s extend ourselves a little grace. Allow God to grab a hold of your hotmess and begin to work miracles, because you, yes you, were designed to bring God glory.

~ Amazing Printable from Crafting Chicks ~

Mama’s Translation

Right now our Women’s Group is going through the Joy of Living Bible Study of Hebrews 11: The Hall of Faith.

This morning I read the most awesome story.

The story is told of four clergymen who were discussing the merits of their favorite versions of the Bible. One liked the King James because if its simple, beautiful English. Another named his favorite and said he liked it because it was more literal and closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. The third liked his favorite because if it’s up-to-date vocabulary.  The fourth was silent. When asked his opinion he said, “I liked my mother’s translation best.” The three expressed surprise: “Your mother translated the Bible?” “Yes,” he said, “she did. She translated it into life, and it is the most convincing translation I ever saw.”

Well, good morning sunshine! 

May I be a mama who’s translation of the Bible is a life well lived. A life spent loving others so my kiddos, husband, and my sphere of influence fall in love with you and know you more.

The Proverbs 31 Woman…Be Inspired not Threatened

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships; She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor, yes; she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates
Proverbs 31: 10-31

In the Bible there is an amazing example of a Godly woman. She is the Proverbs 31 Woman; her name may cause you to twitch At first glance, the Proverbs 31 Woman looks like the ultimate overachiever. But, the more time I’ve spent with her, admiring her character, the more I’ve realized she was able to accomplish great things because her priorities were in order.

We aim to meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of our children. We maintain a clean home and strive to cook healthy meals. We disinfect, scrub, and bleach. We conquer laundry. Some tend gardens, others can and preserve food, still others mend and sew. A handful home school and many others work outside the home. In addition to the basic needs of our homes and children are our husbands (oh yeah). A healthy relationship with them involves time, effort, and passion. And then, hopefully at the foundation of it all, there is a relationship with God.

Striking a balance is difficult.

Have you heard the story of the Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand? I think it bears repeating.

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items in front of him. When class began, he wordlessly picked up a large empty mason jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles, poured them into the jar and lightly shook it. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things—your family, your partner, your health, your children—anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

“If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks.” The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important. Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Make love to your husband. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Brilliant.

Although she did not have this Anonymous Story to refer to, I believe the Proverbs’ 31 woman was able to accomplish so much with her time because she kept her priorities in order. She had balance.

So what were her priorities? What are our Big Rocks?

First, the Proverbs 31 Woman had a relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. In Mark 12:30 Jesus says the most important commandment is the “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Even Jesus reminds Martha that Mary had “chosen what was better by sitting at the feet of Jesus and spending time with Him. Mamas, our relationship with Chirst, quiet time, prayer, worship, and meditation are foundational. He is our Rock.

Second, our relationship with our husbands is vitally significant. Our children were created with the love we share with our men. When our children are grown we will continue to build and grow together with our baby daddies. We need to spend time nurturing these relationships, falling in love, and encouraging one another.

Third, loving and teaching our children is vitally important. In Deuteronomy, God says parents (not teachers) must teach children in the ways of the Lord. Now, I’m not saying we all need to go out and start homeschooling. The good Lord knows He gave me other gifts, but we must not stand in the shadows assuming the classroom, Sunday school lessons, or everyday conversations give our children any Biblical truths. It is our job to speak love and light into our children’s precious lives. Don’t become so busy with lesser things that we neglect the awesome privilege of pouring into your kiddos.

And although it is much less exciting to talk about, one of our priorities must be caring for our homes. Our attitudes are often a reflection of the state of our homes. If we live in disarray and disorder, chances are our attitude and behavior will reflect disarray and disorder. Our husband, children, and hopefully friends should feel at peace when they enter our homes.

The Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t just about nurturing others; she took time to make herself amazing. She gardened, she sewed, she hunted, she took care of her body by exercising, she made wise investments, she built and nurtured relationships, and she took time to make herself beautiful.

The Proverbs 31 woman was a woman of balance. She knew her priorities and lived in a way that allowed her to keep those priorities in order. We can choose to be overwhelmed by her deeds and character or we can choose to be inspired. Inspired to love our husbands, nurture our children, make a beautiful home, grab a calendar, develop a skill, nurture a friendship, join a Boot Camp, purchase a beautiful dress, and shoot a gun. Delight in being a woman of balance!

Created for a Purpose

I vividly remember listening to others plead with God, asking Him not to send them to Africa or something to that effect. I on the other hand secretly longed for such an adventure.

I was desperately afraid of leading a boring, normal, ordinary life where I would get married and raise a family in suburbia. And yet, that is exactly where He has called me; to a quaint community in sunny Southern California, to be a wife, a mom, and a friend.

It does not mean I am not being used. It does not make me any less significant. On the contrary, the gifts God has given me are specifically designed for my specific sphere of influence. Being God’s masterpiece means being awesome exactly where I am, right now, in this very moment.

And guess what, God is calling me – He’s calling you – to be awesome right where He has planted you in this exact moment!

My children call me mom. My husband calls me babe. My friends call my Lindsey. My parents call me daughter. My nieces and nephews call me auntie. I would also classify myself as a runner, a reader (avid), adventurer (dare me), schedule maker (control freak), chef (recipe reader/ food lover), and an encourager. Despite all of these titles, it is important to remember; I am not defined by these roles. I am defined by my identity in Christ.

You are a masterpiece!

Our true identity is found at the foot of the cross in the very presence of Christ.

You are God’s child (John 1:12)
You are a friend of Christ (John 15:15)
You are a member of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:27)
You were chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, 11)
You are given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Ephesians 1:5,8)
You are forgiven (Ephesians 1:8; Colossians 1:14)
You are created for a purpose (Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11)
You are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
You are God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1)
You are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
You are a member of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19)
You are secure (Ephesians 2:20)
You are set free (Romans 8:2; John 8:32)
You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
You are not alone (Hebrews 13:5)
You are growing (Colossians 2:7)
You are His disciple (John 13:15)
You are chosen and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
You are prayed for by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23)
You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57
You are completed by God (Ephesians 3:19)

I treasure the sentiment of Elizabeth Elliot. “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” Do I believe I am who God says I am? Do I believe God’s promises? Do I act like a woman who believes she is the daughter of a King?

It’s much easier to rely on tangible sources for my identity and reassurance. I long for a hug and a kiss from my husband, a thank you from my kiddos, and a listening ear from my friends. And, as much as I hate to admit it, their responses or lack there of, affects my mood and behavior. In those moments, I have a choice. I can let my fingers get all pruned in a sea of self-doubt, questioning my value, or I can reach for my Bible, fall on my knees and claim the truth of God’s words.

For we are God’s masterpiece; He created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

You were not an after thought, you were forethought, specifically gifted and lovingly crafted, and sewn together! You are extremely valuable and extremely significant. You are irreplaceable! The woman He made and created you to be is intended to reveal Jesus. Your life, your story, your passions, and your interests were intended to change the world for the better…right where you are.   No one compares to you.

Be Inspired

A couple of years ago my mom purchased a piece of art for Brett and I. It’s not large, it doesn’t hang on a wall, and if you were to glance in our room it would most likely go unnoticed.

Sitting just under two inches tall is an inspirational paperweight with the word “Be” followed by an ellipses.

Be…

Both “be and the elipses” are made of pewter and stand freely. The pewter piece came with a small burlap sack filled with 50 or so words; words such as thoughtful, optimistic, adventurous, sexy, and thankful to name a few. The three dots forming the ellipses have a slit in the top. The idea is that each day Brett or I choose a word from the burlap sack and place the small piece of cardstock into the slit on top of the ellipses. The piece of art then poses a challenge: Be intentional. Be creative. Be hopeful.

If on a particular day I reach into the burlap sack and extract the word thoughtful, I place the word in the small holder and then I make an extra effort to “be thoughtful.”

For example, I may pull Brett aside and compliment him for being an amazing man, husband, and father. I may also elect to do something tangible. My man loves cars and brewing, so grabbing a HotVWs magazine or a specialty craft beer while checking out at the grocery store is a small act that would bless his day tremendously.

Thoughtful deeds do not need to be large and elaborate.

As I began selecting words and putting them into practice, a thought occurred to me; the words of our “Be” art and the actions they triggered were no longer tasks on a Honey Do list as much as they were sparks of excitement. The suggestions to “be” purposeful in my actions challenged me to set aside my desires, my agenda, and myself and look for ways to demonstrate love.

Loving my man was a bi-product of my willingness to “be.”

Allow me to explain. It would be easy for me to rationalize a magazine as being a frivolous expense and a silly purchase, but an intentional effort to be thoughtful overrides my negative critique.

The “doing” has not changed so much as my attitude and perspective. I am no longer focused on the burden of accomplishing one more thing as much as I am encouraged to “be” my best self for the man I love.

I believe it’s time to scrap the Honey Do list and focus instead on a Honey Be list.

My biggest fear in making that statement is that someone, somewhere will feel burdened or guilt ridden to “Be” someone she is not. That’s not the goal.

Our journey is full of ups and downs!  In our efforts to be amazing woman, wives, and moms, we often fall short.   Some days are better than others.  Heck, some hours are better than others!  So I beg of you, please, do not feel burdened.

Ephesians 5:1 encourages us to “be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved [us.]” Our love, a wife’s love, is an extension of who we are in our core. When we spend time with Christ, and grow daily in His word we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, to love as Christ loves. Our “Be” Attitudes prompt outward expressions of a lives transformed by the amazing love of and incomparable God!

Broken Things Beautiful

I’ve had one of those weeks where negative thoughts and emotions have clanked and clattered in my head like a sink full of dirty dishes.

Ugh.

For those who know me, this is not natural to my personality ~ at all.

There must be something bigger going on.

Some deep-rooted event that is triggering my grump.

Thankfully, I have had an amazing time journaling and praying about my funk.

And do you know what’s happened, the Lord has met me right in the midst of it!

I’ve been digging into His word and resting in His presence and I haven’t felt an ounce of  shame or discouragement, simply loving arms and rest.

Jesus knows.

I am comforted by Psalm 139:

“…You have searched me and know me…you know my thoughts from afar…before a word is on my tongue you know it completely…if I make my bed in the depths you are there…For you created my inmost being…I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

He knows.

I am relieved because even though I may be feeling a certain way…

even though I may be thinking certain things…

Those thoughts and feelings are not truth.

Our sweet Lord and His words are truth.

I love that I can take a bunch of broken icky thoughts to Christ and lay them down at His feet.  He can and will transform them into a beautiful gift to be used for His glory.

Isiah 43:18-19 says: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”

My thoughts and feelings are not my reality.

What God says about me…

What God says about my circumstances…

That is truth…and God can make broken things beautiful!

He Can Work With It

This Blog was born from a failed book attempt.

(Who isn’t writing a book these days…anyways…)

Sigh.

Technically it didn’t fail.  The book succeeded.

But, when it came time to publish and set up a book tour, I just couldn’t do it.  Not in this season of life.

My husband is a Firefighter.  I have three kids.  How can I possibly be gone for weeks at time?

My editor was the encourager.

“It’s not a no…It’s a not now.”

“Establish your presence with a blog.”

“Join the Blogosphere.”

“Blog.”

And so I was shuffled around a bit, paired with an amazing website and blog designer where I was encouraged to select a name and a means of marketing myself galore.

And the whole just felt…wrong.

It just seemed so…not what I had been working towards.

I had just spent two years writing, editing, re-writing, and dreaming of seeing my book in print.  The thought was a bit too much to bear and so I resigned to take a break and pray through the holidays.

And so I prayed…and drank some wine, cried to my husband, whined to friends, and pruned my fingers in a puddle of pity.

What direction should I go?

I had resigned to wait for the perfect platform, design, color scheme, and words before I sat down to write.

And then I realized… if I were to hold true to that notion then I may never sit down and start writing.

So here it is, Hump Day, my kids are resting before Awanas and I just decided to sit down and go for it…again.

Praise that our sweet creator doesn’t expect perfection, He just wants us to come.

And so I am giving Him my passion for writing, my voice, and above all my desire to point to His glory.

I have to exhale and grin, because I truly believe He can work with it.

He will gladly take what I have to say about my beautiful mess of womanhood, motherhood, and being a wife.

He will take what I place in His hands and use it, and transform it, and make it amazing.

Because He is an awesome God and because I am simply willing.

Do you fear starting something new when you are uncertain of the outcome?