I don’t know how it is with you when you read Scripture, but often my mind wanders.
You know, one second I am reading about Moses on Mt. Sinai, and the very next second I am wondering where my black yoga pants are and why my mail is now being delivered at 3:00 instead of noon! Can I get a witness?
Sometimes focus is hard.
So, here is an easy (and by easy, I mean easy) way to stay focused as you read Scripture.
My hand was on the door handle, ready to open the stall and leave the bathroom. But then I heard familiar voices and stood perfectly still. The Sunday worship service was about to start, and two women from the church were standing at the sink talking about our pastor while washing their hands. They thought they were alone. Their comments about him were small and mean. They took turns criticizing the pastor’s sermon, his tie, and even his hair. I was so angry I could barely breathe.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
Well, sister, that is some good news, right? Now, if I could only live it out!
I often lack confidence. Timidity sometimes gets the best of me. And, I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. Timidity, fear, and a lack of confidence aren’t what our Father gives His daughters.
When I was pregnant with our first son, I thought that baby would never be born! I was so late delivering him that I actually dreamed I was an old woman — gray hair and all — still pregnant, panicking in my doctor’s office, begging him to do something!
Weird dream, I know. The point is, near the end of a pregnancy, a mama feels worn out. It’s easy to feel like the whole thing is lasting just a little too long, and that’s even when the baby comes on his due date!
Sixteen very long, swollen, puffy, unattractive, exhausting days after we expected our son Clayton to be born, the doctor used a steady stream of Pitocin to coax him out of the womb and into the world. I was so relieved!
Funny how those late arrivals seem to take their time and run late even when they’re teenagers. Too bad a Pitocin drip doesn’t work on them!
There is a reason a baby is supposed to stay in his mama’s womb for 40 weeks — he needs that time to grow, develop and be nourished. A baby born prematurely is at risk and a baby who is very late in arrival is at risk, too.
One of the highlights of my whole entire life was getting to pet lion cubs in South Africa! Yes, I got to get down on the ground with those cute little… well, chunky… big guys! They were just 6-month-old cubs and they were sleepy from the warm sun and their full bellies after lunch! I got to cradle their huge paws in my hands and stroke their ears!
They were so docile and sweet – as cuddly and compliant as a harmless stuffed animal in a baby’s crib!!
They aren’t always going to be so docile and snuggly. Nope. If I had hung out in their den for even another hour, giving them time to wake up from their naps, they would have been intimidating. And, if I gave them even a few weeks or months, they would eventually become snarly and fierce beasts that any sane adult should avoid.
Did you know that Plant City, FL is the winter strawberry capital of the world? I didn’t, but I do now! This weekend at Fresh Grounded Faith, we had strawberry everything — soap, cookies, afghans, rain boots, toboggans, shirts, earrings, bracelets, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake…. I am sure you get my point! It was so fun!
And oh, sisters… it was such a great start to our spring season of Fresh Grounded Faith. God was so very present, all of the volunteers gave generously from their hearts, it was so well-organized, and you could practically feel how open to the Lord’s moving the entire audience was. So thankful.
Last November was an election like no other! The voters’ voices were heard, the protesters concerns were noted and now, the ballots are counted, the Electors have voted and… ta-da! (or uh-oh) Inauguration Day is almost here!
Now, if the election went your way, well, all that is just groovy! But, if you didn’t want Trump to be the president, well then Inauguration Day may flat-out depress you.
It’s so easy to get discouraged, isn’t it? Life hits us hard and trials last too long and we just get worn out trying to stand firm in faith. Or, sometimes we are in the thick of doing good, serving God and it just seems like progress is slow, our confidence is low and discouragement is high.
I’ve felt discouraged for both reasons lately. I’ve felt overwhelmed and under-qualified to rise to the demands of ministry. I’ve fallen into a confidence crisis and just plain felt defeated. And, at the same time, my sweet Dad has been in the hospital, fighting pain and infection. My mom is worn out caring for him and instead of things getting better, they just seem to get worse. As soon as we see some progress, the next day, his fever spikes and our hope deflates. It is just downright discouraging.
One of the most treasured things I own is broken. But, I still love it.
Here’s the back story:
In college, my friend Tony broke up with his fiancé – or maybe she broke up with him — I never really knew for sure. But, what was for sure is that the jeweler wouldn’t give him his money back when he returned the engagement ring. Bad for brokenhearted Tony. Good for supportive friend Jennifer!
So thankful for another opportunity to share Fresh Grounded Faith with my southern sisters! Last weekend we were in Warner Robins, Georgia and were so welcomed by everyone. Such a blessing! The weekend didn’t go at all like we expected- right before we were set to go onstage to begin I received a call that my father was in very serious condition in Florida. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions surrounding that… feeling a responsibility to fulfill my commitment there at FGF, while at the same time my heart was being pulled to my sweet Daddy.
There aren’t the words to express the love and support I received from all involved- our staff that was there with us stepped up, Stormie O’Martian, Meredith Andrews, and Karen Abercrombie filled in any gaps, and the church volunteers and attendees were mighty prayer warriors that weekend. God was so faithful to help me hold it together Friday night, and I was able to get to my parents the next morning. I’m so thankful to be able to report that my Dad is stable and improving. Your continued prayers for his complete recovery are so appreciated.