In the midst of the busy this season, have you stopped to ask yourself, “why?” Why the hustle and bustle? Why the stress and the expectations? Why all the money and food and wrappings and decorations? Why do we do what we do? As my […]
I don’t know why it took me so long, but several months ago I finally discovered the world of Podcasts. I was actually just looking for a way to pass the time while I did menial tasks such as folding the laundry or doing the […]
We went to the Milwaukee Public Museum this weekend, and Santa was walking around the Old Streets of Milwaukee. My son wanted to talk to him but was visibly very nervous about it. When he gained enough courage to approach Santa, he very politely and meekly asked him for a remote controlled car.
Santa responded, “well, we’ll have to see. Have you been a good boy this year?”
There was a long pause. My son got visibly sad and his eyes filled with tears as he, very somberly, shook his head “no.”
Santa asked him what he meant, and he said “well, I disobey and do bad stuff sometimes.”
Santa looked at me, his eyes saying, “help.” He wasn’t sure where to go from here. A bit flustered myself, I struggled to seize the opportunity. “Well, Santa, we talk about grace in our house, and how we ALL do bad things sometimes, but we still get more than we deserve because of how much God loves us.”
Santa was the one to get emotional this time, and he crouched down, eye to eye with my humble, five year old son.
“You know, without grace, we would have nothing. Even Santa needs grace and forgiveness, and thankfully, the One Santa works for is always good to give it.”
My sons composure brightened. “Santa? You do bad things, too?”
Santa responded very seriously, “only God is perfect. The rest of us are just doing our best and need Him for the rest. And that’s really what Christmas is all about.”
My son smiled a HUGE, relieved grin and gave Santa a big hug. I wish I had gotten a picture as this moment was SO profound for me as a mom, and as a daughter of the Giver of all grace. I’ve never been a huge fan of Santa, but that may have changed through this sweet moment.
I am so thankful that our God doesn’t look over a naughty and nice list when we approach the gates of heaven asking for eternal life. I’m so thankful that, in spite of our failure to “measure up,” He gives good gifts to His children in abundance. And I’m so thankful that, on a Saturday in early December, my son was able to interact with a Santa Claus who could help me explain this grace to a five year old in a way he could really understand it.
And most of all, I’m thankful for the grace granted us by the arrival of that baby in Bethlehem many years ago.
Thank you, Lord. May we stay mindful of Your grace as we strive to be more like Your Son.
I grew up in a generation of young people being encouraged to “do big things for God.” I went to Bible school. I studied hard. I dreamed of being on the mission field, of opening a home for troubled girls. My husband left his job and studied to be in full time ministry. And yet here we are, middle aged, in a relatively safe and affluent area, working a 9-5 non-ministry related job and raising our four kiddos in what looks like a very modest version of the American dream. It’s hard sometimes not to feel like a disappointment or like we must have somehow “missed the mark” to have these seemingly God-honoring dreams stripped away through unfulfilled desires or closed doors.
Then, as believers, we comfort one another with statements like, “well your family is your ministry. Your neighborhood is your mission field,” as though these things should give us our identity. But what if I raise my children to the best of my fallen ability and they all fall astray? What if i never see a convert in my workplace or neighborhood? Have we failed? Are we doing something wrong? Oh friend, even these very noble statements fall short.
That’s why I took such comfort this morning in this beautiful reminder from Katie Orr – I had to keep myself from yelling “AMEN!” at 5:30am and waking a houseful of sleeping ragamuffins.
God is enough. I don’t need riches, security, or justice. I don’t need my detailed plans or the approval of man. I don’t need to achieve my goals, realize my dreams, or ascend to power. I only need to be with God. – Katie Orr, Faith
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:7-11 ESV
Knowing Christ. Being known by Him. Being with Him. How refreshing, freeing, reassuring, and exciting to be reminded that these things are ENOUGH.
These things are EVERYTHING.
Oh friends, may we find comfort and rest our purpose in NOTHING but knowing Christ and being known by Him. Our “ministry” comes out of that beautiful overflow. The rest is “rubbish.”
You can find Katie Orr’s study, “Faith” here. (afflink) I cannot recommend her FOCUSED15 studies enough.
I am a perfectionist by nature. This is problematic as a parent for two reasons. First, I am NOT perfect. Second, my kids are NOT perfect. We are all broken people. And where our imperfections and brokenness meet, despair and doubt as a parent […]
For the last several years, I’ve felt kind of lost.
I’m not sure if it’s lost in being unable to see over the piles of laundry and dirty dishes, or lost because I can’t hear my own thoughts over the chaos of my home, or just lost because I haven’t taken the time to look down and figure out where I’m going.
But I’ve felt lost.
I’ve felt lost, like I’ve been wandering in an endless desert, living on manna for each day, but still hungry. Suddenly, I’m seeing something on the horizon. I can’t quite make out what it is, but I see it there. And I hear a Voice guiding me in that direction.
And I’ve had an odd sensation these last few weeks. Something’s been stirring in my gut, and I can’t quite shake it. No, it’s not the spaghetti sauce I left sitting on the counter overnight and then ate anyway… rather, it’s a stirring of (dare I say) a spiritual level.
God’s been speaking to my heart in a deep and intimate way… and for the first time in a long time, I’m hearing Him. I’m still not exactly sure what He’s saying, but I find myself resonating with Samuel in scripture:
“Speak, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10)
So here I am, doing the first thing I am pretty sure He’s been telling me to do. I know He’s been asking me to write. I’m not sure if it’s just a therapeutic thing for me. I’m not sure that I even have anything to say for anyone else to hear. But I DO know that God’s asked me to sit down at my computer and to start writing.
So here I am. Writing. Listening. Obeying (or at least trying to).
Speak, O Lord.
Q: What are your disciplines for hearing the voice of God? I’d love to hear your experiences.