Does God Give You 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! And there was a time when I believed that nonsense.

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 your 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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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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Reframe Memories To Rewrite Your Story

Does this happen to you? You’re cruising through your day, or your desk, or your drawers and you tumble back in time? You hear a song, catch the scent of an old flame, or find a photo from the good old days and your past comes roaring into your present. You can let the past haunt your future or you can reframe the memory to rewrite the story. 

While purging items in my closet that didn’t fit my style anymore, (or to be perfectly honest, didn’t fit my mature, more generously padded frame) I stumbled across two of my dead husband’s favorite shirts.

It stopped me in my tracks.

For decades those shirts lay folded and waiting to be put in rotation again. Even more than a photograph or nostalgic song on the radio, the sight and feel of them took me right back to a time when we were young and bulletproof and all was well with us.

I kept them because they reminded me of my Hot & Hunky Hubz who died in his sleep of a heart attack at the age of 39. I kept them because I thought one of my boys, who were 7 and 4 at the time of his passing, might grow into them and I would see them repurposed, resurrected.  I kept them because I thought I would see a version of Hot & Hunky again.

I held onto them because a part of me couldn’t let go of that time when all was well.

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Are Burning Coals Falling On Your Head?

Do you have anyone in your life that’s a handful? You know, really irritating? Downright difficult?  Be careful how you treat them or burning coals may be falling on your head!

One of the most challenging people I have ever had to accommodate was Hot & Hunky’s dad. He was ex-military and an ex-cop. He bragged about riding motorcycles year-round in the ‘60s. “Heck, yeah, (except he didn’t say heck) it was cold. We’d wrap our legs with newspaper as insulation under our uniforms. The department wasn’t full of wimps, women and weaklings like it is now.” 

After a series of crashes and altercations disabled him, he retired from the police department. Without a satisfying job and with little to do at home, he took solace in food and television, gaining a ton of weight, further handicapping his movements which made him cranky. 

He had some redeeming qualities. He was funny and charming when he wanted to be. He was kind to children and generous with his time and talent. He loved his family furiously, but he was a difficult patient for his sweet wife. We all waited for the day when he would pass, and relief would come to my mother-in-law.  

Then, POOF! She died. Just like that, it fell to us to take over his care. Hot & Hunky handled his finances and insurance, I took on the role of activity director and chauffeur. 

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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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Do You Trust God With The Impossible?

How good are you at trusting God with what’s on your heart and mind but out of your control?

Do you trust God with the impossible or do you fuss and squawk until there’s nothing you can do to make a difference and then slump into despair and worry? 

My son, Eli, graduates from bootcamp this week. It seems like only yesterday that he was toddling around the house in diapers. The years float by leaving a residue of precious memories to mark high state occasions. The first step. Every first day of school. Passing his drivers test. Watching him play football. High School graduation. His first job as a firefighter.

Each marker took Eli further and further beyond my ability to protect him. Joining the Air Force Reserves marked the final transition of my role from guardian to worrier, I mean warrior … of prayer.

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What’s Your Heart Condition?

Did you know I have a heart condition? Don’t be alarmed. We all do.  

When our hearts are out of sync with God’s best for us, He will reveal it to you in the most inventive ways.

I knocked lightly and popped my head in Jake’s room to say goodnight. His room was a disaster area. Stacks of magazines, motorcycle paraphernalia, and a week’s worth of socks and underwear covered the floor. He had one little bitty space on his huge desk that wasn’t covered with paper or doodads or books. The bed was disheveled and the window blinds were all catawampus.

How could a kid whose brain organized data to get straight As in engineering live in this chaos?

When his face met mine, he wasn’t smiling. “Mom, got a minute to talk?”
“Sure,” I said. “Want to come downstairs?”
“Can you just come in here?”

I hesitated. See, I am not messy. My spices are alphabetized. My closet is color organized by sleeve length. The coins in my car are heads up, facing the windshield. I can tell you what’s going to be for dinner a week from Tuesday. Being in his room makes my brain freeze and my hands twitch.

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Is God Enough?

When you search for meaning in trials and demand a reason for difficulties, the question we ask is, “Why is this happening?” 

The question you need to answer is, “Is God enough?”

When life is hard and plans change, when futures seem forfeit, and life shifts unexpectedly, the question you have to settle is, “Is God enough?”

In the time before YouTube and Food Network, before Google was a noun and a verb, we used to find things to make for dinner in thick-paged volumes filled with ideas to bring tasty nutrition to the table.

These volumes were called cookbooks.

Frustrated by the time-consuming effort to make dinnertime both flavorful and healthy, my friend Jennifer bought herself a new cookbook called “Once a Month Cooking. The cookbook detailed how to prep thirty entrees in one day, freeze them, and use them throughout the month. Jen’s plan was to double everything, make sixty meals, and split the bounty between us.

Jennifer thought it was genius. I thought it was harebrained.

Until I tried it.

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Holding Onto Your Past Creates Problems For Your Future

Are you holding onto your past?
Take a lesson from me, and jettison the junk.

 

 

I spent a good chunk of yesterday cleaning out the “toy closet.”

I haven’t had children at home for years.
Deep sigh …
followed by a leap for joy!
(Don’t judge, I am happy to have healthy, thriving, gainfully employed boys who’ve grown into men.)

I’m reclaiming all the real estate in my house previously dedicated to storing their paraphernalia.
I will no longer keep art projects from grade school,

football cleats from high school or dental models of lost retainers.

Yesterday, I cleared the last bastion of their territory … the toy closet.
Toys spanning the decades spilled out to be sorted and bagged up

in preparation of their move to someone else’s home.

Candyland, all the chess boards and the Monopoly game … out.
Beanie Babies, action figures and matchbox cars … out.
Glitter pens, coloring books and the potholder loom …  out.
Puzzles, sidewalk chalk and the abacus no one ever knew how to use … out!

Can I just tell you, it’s liberating.
I am giddy with glee!

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3 Ways to Renew Your Contentment

Do you ever have what my friend Lauren calls a MOMENT?
You know what I mean?
Everything is just “fine” and then you get triggered.

Something hits you sideways and you have a MOMENT.

Maybe you had a Facebook moment when you saw that
you weren’t included in a party or conversation or outing.

Maybe you had a home improvement moment
as you watched all the options HGTV had to offer.

Maybe you had a Pinterest moment when you
tried your best to recreate the image on your computer screen
and it was an unrecognizable failure.

Maybe you had a travel moment when you had high expectations of
Swanky Suites but ended up at Bob’s Sleep Palace?

Maybe it was
your car, or
your house, or
your kids, or
your boss, or
your husband, or
your scale, or
your mirror …
and you just had a MOMENT!

The MOMENT dissolved your contentment.

My MOMENT came at the Tax Guy’s office.
I thought we had a great year, but Tax Guy
suggested I find a “real job”.

My Contentment asked my Confidence for a date
and they took off for parts unknown.
The evil twins, Discouragement and Dissatisfaction,
moved in to take their place.

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