Tuesday, December 13, 2011

the thrill of hope

Isaiah 11:1-2

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Branch from David’s Line

 Out of the stump of David’s family[a] will grow a shoot—

yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.

 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Did you realize that this passage of scripture in Isaiah is a prophecy concerning the birth of baby Jesus?  Perhaps you did.  But, what struck me in this particular translation was the word "stump".  A shoot will spring up....something fresh and new and full of promise....out of something old. 

Can you even imagine life before Christmas?  Before the birth of Jesus? Before knowing Jesus?!  Wow.  So hard for me to wrap my brain around.  The prophet didn't even know JESUS.  When life is hard, when circumstances are unbearable and I don't know what to do....at least I know I have Jesus.  He is hope.

My favorite Christmas carol is "Oh Holy Night" and this year the line, "the thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices" jumped out at me like never before.  Oh, the thrill of hope, the thrill of Jesus! 
Many of you are facing hard things right now.  You may be struggling to find joy or peace in your current circumstances.  You need to know that you are not alone and that there is hope. 

Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Just as God used an illustration of an old stump in the book of Isaiah, out of it, He brought forth new life.  And that new life that He was referring to was JESUS!  I believe that He is at work now.  He can use whatever we are facing right now...He can use the old to bring forth something new.  He can bring forth hope and we will see Jesus.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the clouds

Some days are just hard days.  This past Wednesday was a hard one for me.  Life just looked overwhelming to me and I couldn't seem to shake it. Nothing huge.  Nothing significant.  Just a hard day.
That evening, we were driving to church and there was a beautiful, breath-taking sunset.  The clouds were all kinds of brilliant colors and the pinkish-orange sky made such a dramatic backdrop.
I was reminded of something I either heard or read once before.  I had to share it with my daughters. 
I pointed out the amazing sunset and told them to picture it without the clouds.

It would be a very pretty sky but not nearly as awesome without the contrast of colors the clouds provided.
Sometimes we want our life to be cloud-free.
We think a perfect day would be described as, "Not a cloud in the sky."
When in reality, it is the clouds that reflect the brilliance of the sunset.
Rough times in our life reflect God's glory in beautiful ways if we allow Him to shape us into who he wants us to become.
Even when the days are hard, I'm so thankful for the clouds. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What God Said

The other day, Jacklyn told me that she heard God talking.  She told me that when she was sitting next to her Daddy, she heard God in his heart say, "You are doing a good job taking care of your girls."
Ah!  I'm sure He is saying that.  We are blessed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

sweet peace

There is something so peaceful about this picture of my girl.  I look at it often and smile.  Not a worry in the world, not a concern, not a fear....just sweet peace. 
I'm asking Him to carry me just like that today.  He is so trustworthy, so good and so very loving.  I want to rest in my Daddy God's arms and trust in total peace. 
(Worry and stress don't seem to help anything anyway.) 
He is a Loving Heavenly Father, taking very good care of His children.  I am grateful for peace. I am thankful for family, for friends, for adventure and provision.
He is all we need.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gracious Uncertainty

I've battled some anxiety lately about our future. Come the end of June, where will we live? Where will Jeff work? If he stays at his current job, and I at mine, how will we make ends meet? What is our "purpose" in life? Should we just leave all of this and go to the mission field? Why, then, did Jeff (and all of us) put in the last (almost) 10 years at CSUMB working on his Masters in Special Education....if that wouldn't even be needed on the mission field?   When I say "mission field", where am I even talking about?  Just leave?  Just escape and serve somewhere?  Anywhere?  (That idea thrills me to no end....perhaps it's just my little escape plan in my head to get out of the American mindset.)

Anyway, Jeff and I had a great conversation yesterday that put things in proper perspective for me.  No, we still don't have a plan for our future.  Not an exact plan, anyway.  We still aren't sure what is next.  However, we do know that God has each and every step all mapped out.  We can rest in that.  In addition, I am more inspired than ever to walk in all that God has blessed us with.  This life we live RIGHT NOW is our mission field.  So easy to forget that.  So quick to think it is less than significant.  In reality, we have 3 beautiful little girls that we are responsible for and there is no more personal mission field than that.

In light of all that has been on my mind lately, it's no wonder Oswald Chambers spoke so clearly to me today.  I hope it blesses you, too!  Here it is:

Gracious Uncertainty

. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2

Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

He cares

I am so thankful for God.  I'm thankful for His Word and thankful that it is true.  This morning, while I was reading, I felt comforted by How real He is and how much He cares.
You see, this past week or two, my family has been spending lots of time at home.  Everyone except for me has had a fever, cough and terrible headache.  Jeff was even prescribed medicine because he had walking pneumonia.  Not fun. 
Yesterday, after days and days at home, I could tell that my girls were feeling better.  Whew!  What a relief.  Everyone was no longer just contentedly lying around reading or watching movies.  They were up and moving and doing better.  However, you have to remember that besides Jeff, this is a house full of girls.  Girls whose feelings can get hurt, who tend to cry when over-tired and who sometimes don't even know why they are so sad.  (Sounds like I'm just describing myself.) 
Last night, one of my girls went to bed feeling quite unhappy.  I didn't know what to do for her, except give her lots of hugs and tell her that she'd feel better after a good night's sleep.  Things truly do tend to seem better in the morning.
This morning, as I was reading the Bible, I read a very familiar story.  It was about Jesus and Lazarus.  (John 11:1-11:57)  As I was reading, I noticed that Jesus didn't seem too bothered that his buddy was about to die.  He even told his disciples that Lazarus was already asleep (v.12-13), meaning dead.  He didn't seem to show emotion about it...but, isn't this the part of the Bible where the verse, "Jesus wept" is found?  Hmmm....  I kept reading, thinking it was strange.  I always thought Jesus wept because his friend died.  Then, I got to verse 33 and I understood.  It says, "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled."......He was moved and troubled by Mary's broken heart.  THEN Jesus wept. 
When I read that, I thought of the sad little girl I tucked into bed last night.  When I left her room, I wanted to cry.  I felt for her, but nothing I could say would really change the way she was feeling.  It brought me such comfort to read about Jesus' heart.  He was feeling for Mary and the Jews who were mourning.  It made him deeply troubled to see their sadness.  He feels the same way about us when we are sad.  I will most definitely be sharing this with my daughter today.  I know that there are times when you want someone to just change the subject, cheer you up and help you move on to think about other things. There are also times when you simply need to know that someone cares and feels for you and gets you right where you are.  Something about THAT helps you "snap out of it" sometimes, too.
I'm so glad we have such a loving and compassionate God!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


If a woman learns to embrace the challenges of life head on and is determined to bring light into darkness, celebration into the mundane, forgiveness to the offenses, grace to the ugly, she can help to determine the way all who are in her home see and learn to love God.
Sally Clarkson

Saturday, January 29, 2011

always learning

I just love this picture.  It reminds me of my three girls. 
This week, Kourtney has been doing "Big Girl School" with Jacklyn. They're learning about manners.  Close doors quietly, don't run in the house, hang up your clothes...going beyond just the "please and thank you" rules that we've been drilling into our 3 and a half year old since day one. 
Last night, Jacklyn was playing with a few little boys and quickly had them sitting down, doing "circle time" and being quite bossy.
Kourtney looked at me and said, "Oh my.  I will have to be a LOT less bossy when we do Big Girl School."
She saw quickly the power of influence we older ones have on the younger.  (Yikes!)
I, too, have seen that this week.  What do I prioritize?  Not just in my head....but what do they see me prioritize? Computer time?  Or time with them?  Cleaning the house, or playing with my kids?  Constant battle for me.  Of course....I love and prioritize them above all.....but, is that what my actions are telling them?  Oh my....as Kourtney said.  I fear I need to tell them - with my actions - how much more important they are to me than all the other stuff that crowds in.  I have to remember that I am always "homeschooling" my kids, even when we're not at the table doing academics.  What are they learning from me?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2nd verse

John 14: 23a
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1st scripture memory verse of the year

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Monday, January 17, 2011


My creative Maggi.  She's recently changed the spelling of her nickname.  Notice the lack of an "e"?  I love her originality, her bravery, her thoughtfulness, kindness and spunk!  This girl of mine is constantly surprising me with her unique ideas......just the way her mind works.  There is a strength about Maggi that is going to work in her favor as she gets older, I am sure. When she was 2....it scared me.  At 10....very nearly 11......I marvel at that strength and wish I had a bit more of it myself.  I learn from her daily.  I'm so happy I get to be her mom. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I'm so glad these 3 have each other!!
This photo was taken on one of the many nights that the 3 sisters got to sleep together out by the Christmas tree this Christmas break.  They do love each other so much!  For some silly reason, we've taken to referring to the sisters as squishters.  This picture seems to capture the squishing pretty well. :)  They are normal siblings....they argue, they bug, they frustrate....but, I do love how they love!  I am (beyond!) blessed to have 2 sisters as well.  I am so thankful that my daughters have the gift of 2 sisters to grow up with.  I'm sure brothers are great, too. I just know the deep-soul love that sisters share and I am thankful.