Please Don’t Let This Be Our New Normal!

The dreadful call

I answered the phone, expecting to hear a cheerful hello, but instead, I heard, “Mom, I hurt my back. I can’t move.”  Ever the skeptic of my kids antics, I asked, “What were you doing?” I waited to hear that he’d tried to bench press a refrigerator or push start a semi-truck. “I was putting on my sock and something just popped. I don’t know what to do. Can you come over?”

Music to a mama’s ear. He still needs me.

“Of course I can. I’ll be right there.”

Jake’s frame was so out of whack, he drags one foot behind him, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, wincing with every jostle. He grits his teeth in pain as he inches his way to doctor and chiropractor appointments. He swallows pain relievers and I gently stuff ice packs under him. The pain will not yield.

Waiting without answers

Days turn into weeks and there is no relief. The doctor prescribes narcotic pain killers and orders an MRI. He is put on disability at his work.

We pray.
We ask everyone we know to pray.
We wait.
We pray and we wait.

“God, don’t let this be our new normal!” I cry out in fear. “Heal him!”

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9 Ways to Ease The Agony of Grief

When the heart breaks.

My heart breaks as I listen to the news of killings in our country and around the world. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, when someone you love dies, it blows a hole in your heart, leaves a vacant chair at your table, and changes your life forever. My experience being widowed twice in four years gives me the expertise to say you can easy the agony of someone’s grief.

9 ways to ease the agony of grief. 

1.

Look for the person who is grieving. Smile at them. Talk with her or him. Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say, or you feel uneasy. Push through the feeling of awkwardness; they need you.

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Crazy Big Prayers

The bad news is … 

From my home office, I could hear the racket. Loud, clunking arrhythmic noises were coming from something big and mechanical. At first, I thought the washing machine was out of balance and trying to walk out of the basement again but I quickly discovered my central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.

This is all kinds of bad news! It was 90 degrees outside and there was a lot more summer on the calendar. I shut it down and called the repair man to look at it. His assessment?
“Call the sale office. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 22 years old. It’s served you well. Let it die in peace.”
“I see. Well, can you estimate what it would cost to replace?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he said, “I’d guess close to $3000.00.”

Bad news = Big prayers

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When Good Intentions Fail

What a week!

We met up with both boys and our daughter-in-love for a week of camp. (Not camping, our “cabin” had indoor plumbing) We all sat around talking and eating and playing games. There were many campfires, lots of shooting guns, and some pitiful fishing adventures.

After a full week of revelry, an 11-hour drive home, and more pitstops at Micky D’s than I care to admit, we arrived home late at night. Exhausted, I dumped buckets of tie-dye projects and a ton of damp, sand-filled, smoky clothes in the house and went to bed.

The next day, I was up before dawn to speak at a conference. After two packed days of speaking, I returned home only to face piles of fermenting laundry, the science projects in the fridge, and the 10,000 emails in my inbox.

Lord, have mercy!

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What Is That Stink?

No one wants to admit it, but we all have to face down stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents? How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided? Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair? Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!

Delays, disappointments and doubts stink! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

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Sin is Delicious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sin is delicious. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

Just this past weekend I almost dug brownies out of the garbage can. The willpower I had to toss them in the trash at 6pm was completely gone at 10:30pm and I wanted those brownies in the worst way. Who cares that I’d have to rummage through the garbage can outside with a flashlight? So what if I had to scrape a few coffee grounds off of them? I thought, Tomorrow, I’ll resume my “eating plan”, but tonight, I’m bingeing on brownies! If Mr. 4-Ever hadn’t caught me in the act, I’m sure I would have written this blog with fingers covered in gooey chocolate.

I never meant for this to happen. 

I work with so many women who get caught up in things they never dreamed would hook them.

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Your Legacy Starts Now

What will you be known for?

Do you spend any time pondering your legacy? How will people remember you? What stories will be told about you? How will you be described when you leave your current church, or workplace or neighborhood or this life?

We all want to be remembered well. Unfortunately, in an effort to create a great legacy, we can get into trouble by trying to do everything, and end up burned out and overwhelmed or feel so hopeless that we do nothing!

Lord have mercy! How do you find balance and direction?

What does God require?

Medical professionals use the term “potentiate”. It means to augment or accelerate the efficacy of a drug. So, when two drugs are taken together, the secondary drug augments or accelerates the effectiveness of the first one.

God commands us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31) and to love others as Jesus loves us (John 13:34).

Our legacy is built by loving God and loving His people using our gifts, talents and life experiences to demonstrate God’s love to others.

In other words, we are to potentiate God’s love to others.

What did God put in you to potentiate his love to the world?

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The Secret That Changes Lives

 

When Sylvia and I started working the same shift, I liked her right away. She was smart and confident and full of life. She had good ideas to make the work flow better and it was fun to be in her cubicle space.

At lunch, I often read my Bible or worked on a Bible study. Sylvia had no interest in God, but she was intrigued with me. “How can you go through so many hard things and not be angry at God?” she asked when I told her I was working at the office because my husband had died at 39 leaving me to take care for our two kids by myself.

As we learned more about each other, I realized Sylvia’s performance at work was exemplary but her personal life was messy. Her weekends were parties and binging and hooking up.

When she first started to tell me about her raucous weekends, she anticipated being judged, shamed, and lectured. But instead, I showed Jesus’ love to her.

Sharing the secret

As she accepted my acceptance of her, she stopped trying to shock me and began to confide in me, asking for advice. It was the open door to talk to her about Jesus.

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The Answer to Everything

Ready for an easy Bible Quiz ??

  1. Who was fathered by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin?
    Answer: Jesus
  2. Who was tempted in every way, yet remained sinless?
    Answer: Jesus
  3. Who is the Savior of the world?
    Answer: Jesus
  4. Who issued the great commission in Matthew 28?
    Answer: Jesus! 

The answer to everything.

At our house we say Jesus is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. 🙂  You probably believe that, too, but I bet you know lots of people who wouldn’t agree with us.

These folks with an underwhelming faith sit next to you in church, stand next to you at work, and live next door to you in your neighborhood.

They long for the kind of faith and trust in Jesus that stands firm in any situation but don’t know how to get it. Maybe a name is coming to your mind right now???

The great commission in Matthew 28 says make disciples who make disciples … who make disciples… who make disciples of Jesus! 

The great commission is to make disciples, but once a person says yes to Jesus (becomes a disciple), the real work of reconciling that decision with past habits and patterns can be daunting. Old temptations are alluring. The tests are real. The choices are many.

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My Finest Recipe

The recipe everyone wants. 

Last week, I made the best balsamic Brussel sprouts … ever!  They were so good, everyone at the potluck wanted the recipe. (That didn’t surprise me, cuz I got the recipe at a different potluck.)

Though the recipe was simple, the dish was not easy to make. It took planning, timing, prepping and double-checking the instructions to make sure it would turn out well. But it was worth it to see it consumed with glee and share the goodness with others.

We readily share recipes for lasagna, banana bread and glazed Brussel sprouts, but what’s the recipe for a life that works?

The recipe for disaster.

I tried all sorts of things before Jesus.

  • Drugs.
  • Men.
  • Food.
  • Shopping.
  • Will-power.

Nothing worked till I surrendered my life to Jesus and found a woman to disciple me. Louise recognized how quickly a girl like me, who knew little about God and nothing about the Bible, could get discouraged or misled, so she took me on like a project and never made me feel like one. She provided a safe space for me to ask questions I was too embarrassed to ask in class.

  • How do I talk to God?
  • Where do I start reading the Bible?
  • Is there forgiveness for my past?
  • How can I let go of the pits and patterns that keep me stuck?
  • Where do I find peace in the midst of cruddy circumstances?
  • How do I know if God is leading me or if it’s my own idea?

Louise discipled me from starting out to standing firm. Could you do that?

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