Where Is God When You Need Him?

Are you in the wilderness?

Are you in a season of wondering if God cares about you or even sees you? Does it seem like He led you into a wilderness and forgot where he left you?

I feel like that a lot whenever I launch a new series of talks, a service, or book. I have a “moment” or two when it feels like I might have misread the signals God sent. That I am all alone and forgotten. That I will die out here in the wilderness.

Then God shows up in some extravagant way to reassure me that I am not forgotten at all. That’s what happened when Almida said she had a present for me. 

I need to tell you Almida is an interesting woman. Her wisdom, life experiences and prayers have been my life line for decades. Russian by birth, she escaped the Nazis by walking across Europe only to live in a refuge camp for months before getting a sponsor in the US. She made a living as a tailor until she married an entrepreneur who made a boatload of money as a building developer. Her husband, Willy, died at 41 in a plane crash leaving her devastated. Her grief was compounded when Willy’s business partner bankrupted the business, depleting her resources and retirement.

Almida is now 87, and resides in an assisted living facility. The pain in her hip is her constant companion, making an outing to any store a major ordeal. She’s frugal by necessity and was never a big believer in “good behavior” gifts. It wasn’t my birthday and Christmas was long gone, so I couldn’t imagine what gift she might have for me.

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Easter Good News

Easter Sunday is here and Lent is over!

Part of me is relieved that Lent is nearly 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 chocolate 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 about just overcoming temptations or even establishing new patterns. It’s to put me in 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 lives, I will live, 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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You Don’t Have To Live In Isolation!

 

What is a blonde’s favorite color?
Glitter.

Why do blondes always smile during thunderstorms?
They think someone is taking their picture.

Judge Free Zones

These jokes make us chuckle because we can all relate to blonde jokes. Everyone has moments of silliness. But in real life, NO ONE wants to look too “blonde”. No one wants to be judged as foolish … or ignorant … or stupid. We all want to be accepted and appreciated.

In days gone by, several generations lived on the same property if not in the same house. The advantage to having such close proximity to family members of many generations is you were allowed to learn from one another. How to:

  • Make a house a home.
  • Prepare and preserve food.
  • Raise responsible children.
  • Handle husbands with respect.

You know what else you get to see in such close quarters?
Problems!
Flaws!
Mistakes!
Which in turn gives you permission to be imperfect.

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Choosing People Over Projects

Balancing life’s responsibilities can be challenging. When choosing between people and projects, know your decision will come with long term consequences.

I recently spent a three weeks in Florida, staying at my parents during the week and speaking on weekends. Conveniently, my Mom and Dad live about 30 miles from Mr. 4-Ever’s folks. Both sets of parents live in “Resorts”, which are really a fancy trailer parks, but some marketing genius figured out that resort sounds a lot better.

When Dave and I made this plan, I told myself that when I wasn’t at an event, I would write during the day, then play in the evenings.

Working vacation is an oxymoron.

I didn’t get much work done and as the days piled up and the projects collected dust, my guilt grew until I was downright crabby! I wasn’t enjoying myself, my holiday or my parents!

It’s not that I’m undisciplined or that all my work was done. It’s that people are more important to me that projects. When I have people in front of me, especially people I love, and more especially, old people I don’t see very often, I want to be with them. Fully engaged. Fully present. With them.

So, instead of writing new material, I’ve been listening to great stories from our parents. Instead of slaving over my laptop, I’ve been playing games and lingering over meals. Instead of locking myself away in an office, I’ve been walking beaches in wide brimmed hats. I’ve been all in. And, it’s been great.

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Do You Need To Say Yes to Less?

Almost everyone I know is busy and stressed. We are working harder than ever before and it’s taking it’s toll. God did not intend for us to live in a state of constant commotion.

How do you get your life and schedule back? Say yes to less. 

You ever eat at one of those swanky fondue restaurants? Mr. 4-Ever and I got to try one a while back. A $50.00 gift card had been tucked into a thank you card to us and thought we’d won the lottery. What a treat!

First, a bowl of melted cheese and a tray of bread cubes and small pieces of fruit was delivered along with those long pronged forks. We gobbled it all up. It was so good, I could have been done right then.

A salad bursting with flavor appeared next. You have to eat the greens to offset the barrel of cheese you just ate, right?

A pot of hot seasoned oil and a tray of raw meat and seafood followed the salad. One tiny bit at a time, we got full, but we didn’t stop because the bites were so small, we could easily fit one more tidbit in. And it was all SO GOOD! And we might never have this opportunity again!

When I was sure I could not eat one more thing …THERE WAS DESSERT!

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Take the V-Day Challenge!

Valentine’s Day is upon us. What does it bring up for you?

Florists, jewelers, chocolatiers, and card companies want your man to declare his love with big bouquets, diamond baubles, and fancy boxes of deliciousness accompanied by a $12.99 greeting card.

Good grief!!!

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday. For many years, I had no man to shower me with gifts. Now, I have a man who thinks practically, not romantically. He is thoughtful and kind, but he is not a flowers and chocolates kind of guy.

At our house, V-Day is Validation Day.

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Do You Fall For This Lie?

Do you find yourself isolated because you believe the lie that you’re not worthy of help? 

A woman I’ll call Milly went through a season of utter yuck. As a woman of faith, she dutifully went to church but didn’t want to bother anyone with her troubles. (sound familiar?) Thinking that she could will her way back to wholeness, she ended up isolating herself.

When asked how she was doing, she said she was fine.But without anyone to speak life into her, she sank deeper and deeper into loneliness and despair.

Then she heard me talk at a retreat about how the enemy needed her to stay on the fringe of community so he would be the only voice in her head. About how trying to do life on your own is not the way God intended us to live.

It was like a light bulb went off in her head.

She realized that she’d been schnookered into believing that she was an imposition. A burden. Unworthy.

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Does Asking, “Why?” Keep You Up At Night?

I speak at 40 or so Christian women’s events a year so I know what keeps women up at night. One of the biggies is WHY? Why God? Why did this thing happen?

When the world spins out of control or someone hurts me or I lose a precious possession or person, I cry out to God.

But I don’t ask why anymore. I’ve come to realize that I don’t really want to know WHY. I truly only want the lost to be found, the broken to be fixed or the stolen to be returned.

I don’t really care why, I just want my life back!

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3 Keys to Avoid a Meltdown

What season are you in?
Busy but beautiful? Easy and comfortable? Stressed out and crazy?

It’s fall in the midwest and that means an explosion of colors outside the window and roaring fires inside. It’s the season of comfort food simmering on the stove and pumpkins lining porch steps.

Fall launches women’s ministry and my weekends are packed with great places to proclaim the Name of Jesus and teach the Bible. I meet lots of lovely women and we belly laugh, cry and pray together.

It’s the best!

Have you had a season like that, busy but beautiful? Has God moved or whispered or maybe you’ve had a break through? Secretly, you wonder if God must love you more than he did yesterday. That’s how it feels when your passion partners with God’s purpose for you.

But then comes the attack.

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God Redeems Life’s Wreckage

When life reels out of control and the wreckage is overwhelming, where do you turn? 

September 10th is a big day at my house. It’s the day my husband Craig’s plane was discovered after being missing for weeks. Our hope and prayer was that both Craig and the plane would be recovered safely and intact, but that wasn’t what we found.

A pilot error, a thunderstorm, and a dark mountain created a trifecta of disaster. After an exhaustive search by the FAA, State Police, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and NASA, Craig was finally discovered inside the crumpled aircraft wreckage where he’d obviously been killed on impact.

What do you do with that kind of news? Where do you turn for answers? 

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