The Faith of a Child

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 1

Over and over again in this journey of “Mommyhood,” my kiddos have shown me some facet of faith in such a poignant, precious way that never fails to stick with me and inspire me.  No wonder Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3).”  It’s that wide-eyed, loving belief and trust that little ones have that we “big ones” need so badly.  Life tends to squash it out of us, but we have to find ways to hold onto it.  My mind is wandering to the last little ones I observed this weekend: the “full out” toddler who wanted me to toss him high into the air and dangle him upside down and “gin” (again!) and “gin” and the fresh, new baby who fell asleep without a peep in Sunday school in the capable arms of one of the strongest women of God I know.  THAT is what child-like faith looks like: no matter how high we’re tossed, no matter how upside down the world looks or tired we get, we rest easy and we expect the best. We TRUST that prayers will be answered, that God’s got it… because we KNOW our God and because we EXPECT OUR GOD TO BE GOD.

Remember all of those things we considered yesterday about God’s character and all the many blessings He’s already given us?  Trust Him today to show up “gin,” to catch you “GIN!”  Expect it.  Rest in it.  Take anxious thoughts captive to it.  God does not change.  God does not fail.  God’s love for you is a done deal.  Nothing is bigger than He is.  Nothing is beyond His ability.  He’s got this thing called life and all the miraculous and good He’s done before, He’ll do “gin!”  Hallelujah!

Praising the Lord

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Your Turn to Talk

NADM Praise

Somewhere along the way, I was taught that when life seems out of control, the best medicine is simply saying the name of Jesus and considering HIM.  Just His NAME is powerful!  Imagine how our days would change if we considered His character, grace, blessings, love and on and on and on before we thought of anything else.  Spend some time today considering Jesus, praising Him, and speaking His name.

Some ideas

  • WHO HE IS!  Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler is a great resource for delving the character of God.  Some names to consider: Creator, the God Who Sees Us, Almighty, Provider, Peace, Healer, Rock, Strong Tower, Shepherd and Father.
  • Your health – just opening your eyes this morning is a gift!
  • Your family – all they are and all they aren’t
  • The Little Things – how God winks in ways that are just for you
  • Answered prayer – give credit where credit is good; remember
  • His faithfulness – when others falter, He never will
  • Your salvation – Where would you be today without Jesus?
  • Grace upon grace upon grace
  • The Word – what passages of scripture has God used to minister to you recently?

God Does NOT Make Mistakes

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 6

I could go on and on about my kiddos and how much they have taught me and how much I love them and don’t even get me flipping through all the pictures that I could find and post to go along with this particular devotion.  Instead of all that, though, I have to highlight the most important thing:

God does NOT make mistakes.

When I brought my first-born home from the hospital my life changed in a million ways that I never even thought of.  (For the record, Mom tried to tell me about 700 thousand of them, but I wouldn’t listen… KIDS!)  The biggest issue I faced was wanting to be the “perfect” mother to this precious little squirm worm while simultaneously having no idea what I was doing.  As they say, “Babies don’t come with manuals!”  Or maybe that’s just my mom again? Anyway… a sweet friend gave me the one piece of parenting advice that actually matters. It is the only one that I purposely pass along to other mommas who are just trying to navigate the rapids of parenthood.  She said, “God gave you Caleb because YOU are the perfect mother for him. Period.” Wow. Whew.

Aside from the sweet story of my perfect babies – I’m a little biased! – THAT is the whole point of today’s reading.  No matter what it is in your life that has you questioning God’s wisdom in giving you the assignment, GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES.  Every single person, situation, issue, occurrence, moment, relationship, etc. etc. etc. is intended for your good and His glory.

He has you where you are by design.  Trust Him.  He hand-picked you for the life you are living because there’s good work for only you to do.  Remember that he makes wise choices and He always picks perfectly.

And, now, without further ado, the pictures!  You knew they were coming!!  LOL!

NADM My Perfect Babies4

Never Say Never

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 5

So, here’s the thing: back when I wrote “Flabby or Fit” every single word of it was 100% true.  I was absolutely certain that I would NEVER run a marathon; that I would NEVER have a “26.2” sticker on my car.  At that point, I had never taken my body farther than 6.1 miles by foot… on purpose, BUT NOW I do all kinds of crazy things that I NEVER thought I’d do.  I’ve spent 12+ hours “rucking” (carrying a weighted ruck sack and various large objects over long distances with physical training thrown in for fun!) over 18+ miles.  I have completed the Palmetto 200, a long distance relay race from Columbia, SC to Charleston, SC.  True, my portion was only 9+ miles, but STILL… I ran it!  Now, a half marathon seems doable and maybe one day I WILL sport that 26.2 sticker on the back of my “mom mobile!”  What made the difference?  I found a group of women who motivate and inspire me, who constantly talk me into things I NEVER thought I’d do and because we do them together, they don’t seem scary or impossible to me.  They pushed me to push myself and now, I know that I CAN DO lots of things I used to think were impossible.

The same is true of our spiritual training. What are some things that you think you could NEVER do?  Read the entire Bible in a year?  How about in 90 days?  Fully commit to a group Bible study – filling in every blank and making it to every class?  Get up early to have a consistent devotional time with the Lord, keep a prayer journal?  Memorize a passage of scripture or a whole book of the Bible?  Go on a mission trip?  Give your testimony?  Share the Gospel?  NEVER SAY NEVER!  Nothing is impossible with God!  Find yourself a group of Jesus lovers who will encourage you to do things you never thought you would EVER do and go for it!  Set some goals, pray over them, ask God to open doors and bring opportunities for His glory and your good.  Be fearless and know that God will equip you for every good work He calls you to complete.  Let’s exercise daily in God, with no spiritual flabbiness.  Let’s go the distance and make sure that others see the results of our spiritual efforts… our Trainer is a master at creating beauty from ashes and masterpieces out of clay.

Speaking, Listening, Trusting & Honoring

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 4

Speak Lord

If any story had a “rest of the story,” this selection certainly does.  The Sunday morning in the choir loft I recollect in today’s reading just happened to be my family’s last Sunday morning at the church I grew up in, the church I was married in and the church both of my babies first visited after their Momma determined they were old and hearty enough to leave home.  I was looking around, sure nothing important would be said – Ha! – willing my mind’s eye to memorize every color in the beautiful stained glass windows and every smile on the faces I’d known since I moved to SC.  We had been called away… “sent out on mission,” my Pastor had said.  Thank God He jolted me out of my nostalgic fog to hear the message He’d prepared just for me that morning.

On the cusp of such a huge change, sure of our decision and the Lord’s leading, but still emotional enough to wonder if we were really, really, sure… what a blessing to know that obedience does not mean always staying in the same place and doing the same thing you were called to at some point.  Obedience is never boring.  It does not mean staying comfortable or even stable.  Sometimes it means taking chances and getting REALLY uncomfortable.  Sometimes it means leaving what you love, knowing it will never be exactly quite the same again and being strangely at peace with the change you know is coming.  Sometimes it is sweet and special.  Sometimes it feel more like what I call “the BOOT of God” on your back shoving you out of your cushy little nest.

As many times as God calls you to act/speak/go on His behalf… that’s how many different feelings I guess you’ll have and ways the obedience will look.  In my estimation, only one thing is the same across the board: you’ll only know you’re being called if you’re listening and you’ll only be obedient if you’re listening carefully.  You’ll only reach your promised land if you trust God enough to honor Him… no matter how you feel, no matter how you did it yesterday, no matter what they all say.

O Lord Jesus, teach me to listen and to know when to strike the rock and when to simply speak to it.  Teach me to TRUST YOU and HONOR YOU even when it’s scary, when the crowd is getting on my last nerve, or I feel like I’ve been down this road before.  Lead me to the Promised Land.  Don’t let me miss a single adventure!  Speak, Lord.  Your servant is listening.

The I AM… Not the “I Might Be”

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 3

 

I AM

I literally laughed out loud when I read our first paragraph today!

I am more of what you might call a stress-ball, worry-wart, “hyperventilate because I don’t know what pants I’m wearing tomorrow” kind of girl.

I should have a t-shirt made!  I NEED the reminder that what is happening right now is the important thing.  I’m not suggesting we all cash in our retirement funds, quit school, or stop using the brains God gave us to think ahead a little bit.  I think there is wisdom in planning and preparation – obviously.  But for those of us who REALLY get lost without our planners and sometimes miss the preciousness of the moment because we are so concerned about what’s coming next, the struggle is most assuredly real.

The reason God can say “do not fear” and “do not be anxious” so many times in His word is because He fully understands our past, knows everything there is to know about our now and has been where we are going.  Our little brains can’t possibly comprehend the timeless, eternal piece of God’s character: that our WAS and WILL BE is just as RIGHT NOW to God as the sip of coffee we just took or the news we just received.

The Bible says, “He is the Alpha and Omega… who is, was and is to come.  the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” He is the God of my past, present and future who knew me way back when, knows me better than I know myself now and numbers each day I will live until I see Him face to face.- from my monologue “The Perfect Fit”

It is not our job to figure it all out before we take the first step.  Our job is to TRUST that God is ordering our steps and follow so closely behind Him that we couldn’t possibly get lost.  Rest, weary one.  Every path He takes you down, He’s already walked.  Every role He casts you in, He equips you to fill.  He insures your qualification for every job He assigns to you.  ALL OF IT is for your good and for His glory.  Everything will make you more and more like Jesus.  Trust and be strong.

Resting In The Lord

NADM Is30_15 BNever A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 2

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. – Isaiah 30:15

I’m just going to stop saying how cool it is that God is so CLEARLY orchestrating each of these days we are walking together.  The idea for today’s reading came from an article I wrote in 2003 when Caleb was just a baby and morphed into what you read earlier today two and half years ago.  My quiet time this morning was all about repenting of my tendency to wrestle control from the Lord, releasing my desire to be the “queen” of my own little kingdom to fully embrace the Lordship of Christ and His Kingdom.  Gracious… clearly, I am still learning and I praise God that He has not given up on teaching this ornery daughter!

Have you ever noticed that in your own life?  As amazing as it is when we see themes in our times with the Lord, when God is clearly speaking to us about a certain issue, sin or circumstance, it still kind of means that we just haven’t quite gotten it yet, right?  LOL!  Bless your hearts… you’ve seen first hand in just these last 9 days that I am very often not the best student.  Trusting God, fully releasing my own grip in favor of His sovereignty is just not an easy lesson for me to learn.  My Sunday school curriculum asked just this morning, “what needs to be repented of and forgiven in your own life?”  My answer?

Death grip control, waking up (and lying down) in anxiousness rather than trust.  O Father, I repent of trying to be my own little “queen,” running “my own little kingdom.”  My time, talents and treasure… it’s all yours.

God is so good.  Where I would have given up long ago, He keeps teaching, encouraging, and reassuring.  I’ll get it eventually.  Today is a new day.  His mercy and grace greets me with MORE THAN ENOUGH.

The Button Pusher

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 1

Gracious!  I so wish I had no experience with “button pushers,” don’t you?  Unfortunately everyone of us has at least one in our lives and, frankly, we probably do some button pushing of our own.

I’m thankful for the reminders throughout the New Testament that we do not fight against the powers or the people of this world.  I am thankful for Jesus, who shows us how to fight against our true enemy and always makes a way for us.  Flip with me to Luke 4 and take note of a couple things to keep in mind as you walk through this day.

  • Notice that the Devil came to Jesus after he’d been in the desert for 40 days.  When we are tired and hungry, at the end of our ropes in our humanness, we need to be extra vigilant in our awareness of the enemy.  He’s pretty savvy and he’s been doing this tempting/warring thing for quite some time now.  He may come at you when you are well-rested, fed, prayed up, and feeling strong, but chances are really good, he’ll wait until you’re already a little off balance and then strike at your weakest point.  Don’t forget, his goal is to kill, steal and destroy us.  Nice.  Be on the lookout.
  • Those of us who regularly sit under a steeple have probably heard at least one sermon on Luke 4 focused on how Jesus combatted Satan: He used scripture.  I’d like to further point out that Satan did too.  The Devil tempted, Jesus retorted. So, Satan came at Him again.  Again, Jesus pulled out the Word to counter him.  The third time – tenacious, right?! – Satan clearly thought, “Alright, you want to talk scripture, let’s go.”  For the third temptation, instead of simply offering to meet the Messiah’s physical needs or appealing to His rightful place as King, the Devil pulled out a Bible verse. Jerk.  Isn’t that the way He works?  Twisting and manipulating even that which God has intended for our good to battle us?  Jesus never wavers – nor will we, in His strength! – and finally, Satan leaves Him alone.
  • BIG NOTE FOR US: sometimes Satan tempts us to rush ahead of the timetable God has set. Check out Luke 4: 4-8.  Remember, Jesus IS the King.  All the kingdoms of the world ARE rightfully His, but had He bowed to Satan here, rather than waiting on His Father’s timing, all would be lost.  WE would be lost.
  • When you feel weak and ill-equipped to fight, remember that, as a believer in Christ, you have His very fullness within you.  In HIS strength ALL things are possible.  Remember, the end of our passage today: At HIS word, “the demon came out of [the man] without hurting him at all.”

Thank You, Jesus, for coming and showing us exactly how it’s done.  Remind us, teach us, who we are in You and let us never forget the sacrifice that You made so that we can live victorious, abundant lives HERE and live with You forever when we get THERE.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

There Are No Mundane Tasks

Never A Dull Moment – Week 1, Your Turn to Talk

We made it: one whole week of journeying together, seeing God in the daily, being consistent (for me… sort of!) in our times with the Lord!  Don’t miss the key point wrapped up in that little parenthetical, my Friends.  We do not have to be perfect.  It is OK when things don’t go exactly as planned.  There are days when we are going to feel overwhelmed, but Isaiah 43:10 says we WON’T BE.  I have a business partner who says, “overwhelmed is a choice” and she’s right.

Did you keep going?  Did the Holy Spirit remind you of Himself?  Did you throw up a prayer as you were running out the door?  Are you reading this today?  Good for you!  Way to persevere!  Running the race looks gangly and awkward sometimes, but you just don’t stop.  There’s a reward waiting at the end AND there will be lots of awesome along the way!

So… your turn to talk.  The challenge for today is to consider the “mundane” tasks for which you are responsible and then open your eyes to see the blessings they represent.  I love looking at life this way.  After all, if we are created to do good works which God planned in advance for us to do (we were, see Ephesians 2:10) and if all our days are ordained (they are, see Psalm 139) then there are no mundane tasks, right?

Happy journaling!

Just Like Maddy

Never A Dull Moment – Week 1, Day 6

Ok, Friends, I know I have said it before, but at the risk of belaboring a point with you, I MUST say it again: GOD IS SO COOL!  If you’ve already picked up Never A Dull Moment this morning, you know that the first sentence of today’s reading starts, “On my 22nd birthday…”  Well, guess what, TODAY is my 43rd birthday!!  What in the world?!  If you doubt for one second that God is not paying attention, that He has missed something, that we are forgotten or that maybe He ordained everyone else’s days BUT YOURS, this “belaboring” is for you!  God does not miss things.  God is working things out that you don’t even have a clue about yet – big things, little things, things that matter to lots of people and things that will only matter to YOU.  And do you know why?  Because HE LOVES YOU!

God does not waste things.  God does not allow ANYTHING into your life that He cannot USE for your good.  I know that our daily can be crazy.  I know that awful, life-changing things happen.  I know that we don’t always understand WHY.  I know that many times our prayers are not answered the way that we thought/wished/wanted them to be answered, but my friend, GOD IS STILL FOR US.  He loves us.  He does not forget us.  In fact, in my personal quiet time today, I was directed to two different passages that said even if our own families forget us, HE WILL NOT. (Isaiah 49:15-16 & Psalm 27:10).  Hang on to that truth this morning – and every morning.  Everything you know of Our Father and His Son, Jesus, from the WORD – not from your gut, your friend, your bitter distant relative… go with me here – but from the WORD is true.  Ponder the truth.  Speak the truth.  LOOK for ways God is showing up in your life.  I promise you… it makes me teary-eyed as I sit here and type it – HE WILL SHOW UP.  I know from my own personal experience: You WILL know that you are loved.  Just pause for a second and SEE HIM.  He will never disappoint you.

NADM Maddy

My Sweet Maddy Girl: the day I got her, at my bridal portraits, with the family (Kep in utero) and guarding her little brother and sister while Mommy ran upstairs.

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