Who’s The Boss?

Storm Alert!

A couple years ago, Mr. 4-Ever was out of town and I was home alone watching the tornado’s swirling formations on the weather channel when sirens started blaring their warning.

Outside, the sky was greenish gray and there wasn’t a wisp of wind. Almost simultaneously, a text notification beeped on my cell phone. A tornado warning had been issued and my house was in its path.

I hurriedly began collecting the things I can’t live without when the kitchen door burst open. Eli, my firefighter son, called loudly, “Mom! Mom! Where are you?” “I’m in the office, Eli. What are you doing here?” “I heard the warning on my scanner and I came over to be with you in case you were scared.”

Before I could even get the Aww, that’s so sweet of you out of my mouth, he started barking directives.

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Crisis Prayer Request

In the Crazy tree? 

The crazy tree is the one you climb when life is out of control. When people you love don’t behave properly, or money is way short, or you discover a secret that you wish you hadn’t.

You know, I’m a big advocate of doing life in a community where your BFF can see you climbing the crazy tree from her kitchen window and holler at you to come down and have coffee with her instead.

But, sometimes, you’re too quick, too sneaky and you get past her. POOF! You’re in the crazy tree alone and scared and the self-talking is all negative. It’s bad and you don’t know how to get down. When that happens, you have to do perform CPR on yourself. 

Crisis. Prayer. Request.

When you have no one to climb up for you, you have to call on God to come down to you with a Crisis Prayer Request. You need Heaven to invade Earth. You need a spotlight of God’s faithfulness and love to permeate your crazy circumstances so you can release the crazy and climb out of that tree.

In moments of crazy or fear or worry or calamity, when the enemy is whispering to give up, YOU NEED HEAVEN TO INVADE EARTH.

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Does God Allow More Than You Can Handle?

Has anyone told you that God won’t give you more than you can handle?

I’ve heard it plenty! There was a time when I believed it. Then I buried 2 husbands and my mama in four years. God definitely allowed more than I could handle!

I’m sure you can relate! Haven’t there been seasons when the kids were little and you got no sleep and thought you were losing your mind? When someone you loved was addicted or abusive and you feared for your sanity and safety? Hasn’t there been a time of lack, sickness, or upheaval in your life that you thought would crush you?

Of course there has. That’s when God does his best work. It is in the times of upheaval that we run to him for the healing, rescue, answers, resolution or miracle that is way beyond our own control or ability.

If we could manage to manage everything in our lives on our own, why in the world would we need God?

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Celebrating Good Fathers

It’s Father’s Day 

I hope you have a man in your life worthy of celebrating. A father who loves and protects you. A husband who partners with you in life and ministry. A spiritual leader who guides you with wisdom.

I hope your day is full of BBQs and fire pit conversations. I hope you laugh about silly stories and old memories. If that’s true for you, celebrate that man well today. Buy the coffee cup that says #1 Dad and spend time together.

The ugly truth is that many women do not have a good father figure in their life.

Broken homes lead to broken hearts,
and broken hearts lead to broken lives.

As the Father that God longs to be to you, what is his response to your brokenness?

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Out Of Control

There is a lot in life we cannot control.

I never in a million years would have anticipated the pandemic that shuttered our country this spring. Church services cancelled. Travel halted. Department stores, beauty salons and restaurants closed.  Small businesses and independent contractors (like me) without incomes for months on end.

There is a lot in life we cannot control. We can’t control who our family is or what choices our kids make or guarantee the security of our job. We can’t control if we get sick, when our car breaks down, or if it will rain on our parade.

What we can control.

What we can control is how we respond to shifts and challenges. In Philippines 4:19, Paul writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the SECRET of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

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God Speaks Through Nature

 

Birds of a feather

A widow in deep sorrow was sitting alone at the park. Months earlier, her husband of many years was killed in a car accident. She prayed aloud, “God, I’m so lonely and sad. The last words I said to my husband the day he died were harsh. I just want him to know I love him and I’m sorry.”

Just then, two cardinals landed on the sidewalk right in front of her, so close she could almost touch them. A gasp escaped from her lips as a tear rolled down her cheek. Cardinals were her man’s favorite bird. There they were. Not just one, but two. A pair. Mates for life.

What’s really interesting to me is “cardinal” means of prime importance. The one thing. The main thing. God wanted this woman to know the one thing – she was loved. He saw her need and answered her prayer. God whispered to her spirit. Her man knew she loved him and that she hadn’t meant those ugly words. And now she knew it, too.

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I Need Help!

Lessons learned in seasons of not enough.

Girlfriend, I have learned an important lesson in this season of not enough. Ask for help. Sounds so easy, but ugh, who wants to do it? I’m sure you’d rather be the one who comes to the rescue. The one who drops off the meal or writes the check or offers the good advice. I know I would. 

But sometimes we’re the ones who need the help. We mistakenly think joy comes only from giving, when in fact there is great joy that comes from receiving. We need to let others experience the joy of giving while we learn to receive the gift.

God gave us the greatest gift, eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection. And what joy we have receiving that gift! 

Call in reinforcements!

I’ve had 15 events cancel and more hang in limbo. UGH!!! I’d applied for unemployment but hadn’t heard anything back. No stimulus check in my mailbox.  With reserves low (emotional, social and financial), I needed help so I called in reinforcements.

I do not like being in this situation, but friends have paid for groceries, dropped money in my accounts, written sweet words of encouragement, lent me a listening ear and offered me great advice. While I have been sequestered in my home, they have prayed for good news in this time when I can’t share the Good News from a platform.

Immeasurable relief.

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Dealing With Delays, Disappointments and Doubts

We all have to face stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the washing machine overflows? How do you react to a really negative post on your Facebook page? 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.

He says, “Take away the stone.”

Martha jumps in and says, “But Lord, by now there is a bad odor!” In response, Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

When faced with a big stink, it’s easier to leave well enough alone. To settle for what you’ve got instead of contending for all the good stuff God has for you.

At Jesus’ request, they do take away the stone and there is a stink!

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He Is Risen

He. Is. Risen.

Part of me is relieved that Lent is over so I can resume the consumption of chocolate and binge watch television. You would think after 46 days the cravings would be gone, but they taunt me. I have repeatedly whispered, “God, I want to long for you like I long for candy bars and Netflix.”

The glorious discipline of Lent has brought me closer to God and has transformed some of my strongholds into mere indulgences. I have experienced God in powerful ways over the past 40-plus days.

But Lent isn’t just about overcoming temptations or even establishing new patterns. It’s meant to take me to the place where I anticipate the celebration of an an empty tomb. To synchronize my trust and faith with the RESURRECTION of Jesus. To really believe that because HE is risen, I will too. 

More than get out of hell insurance.

Jesus’ resurrection has to be more than get-out-of-hell insurance. It has to be the assurance that all the things wrong in my life (and in yours) can be resurrected.

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Lord, I Want My Life Back!!!

Never saw this coming

School shootings. Terrorist attacks. And now this coronavirus. Lord have mercy!

Schools are closed, church is live-streamed and vacations are cancelled. Even if you’re confident that danger is far from you, personal change, challenges and crisis happen everyday. I’m not talking about inconveniences like toilet paper shortages or a long line at the post office. I’m talking about the shocking, heartbreaking, disturbing bombshells.

  • The marriage is over.
  • The job ends.
  • The car’s wrecked.
  • The money’s gone.
  • The diagnoses is pronounced

…and your life is irrevocably changed or altered in a way you didn’t expect or deserve.

Just say NO!

When it happens, there are two immediate and visceral reactions.
The first is NO!
You don’t like it, you don’t want it, and you don’t agree with it.
Just NO!

When NO doesn’t turn into YES no matter how much you cry, beg, plead or pray, the next reaction is often WHY? Why me? Why now? Why ever?

It seems fair to ask why. But do you really want to know why or do you just long for the lost to be found, the broken to be fixed, for the stolen to be returned. Really … you just want your life back! Am I right?

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