My Daddy’s Daughter

“So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ” Matthew 5:45

For part of my elementary years my daddy was my principal. The majority of his students and parents loved him, and he had a genuine love and interest in them. It was a privilege to come to his office to read or be complimented on a job well done. Everyone loved when he came to the playground and kicked the ball around. When he walked through the cafeteria, the students loved to have him stop and talk at their table. He had those troubled students who avoided interaction, but he was still kind to them, always offering encouragement. His students and I shared the common graces of a great principal. However, I was his daughter. I enjoyed these same benefits of a devoted and caring principal as the other kids. BUT, I was his daughter; I was the only one who could walk into his office without permission. I could riffle through his desk for candy; I could sit and spin in his chair. And because I was his daughter, I was able to hug his neck, eat dinner at his table in his home and be tucked into bed at night by him. His love for me was different than his love towards his other students. I was his.FullSizeRender (12)

There was also a higher expectation because I was his daughter. He expected me to follow ALL the rules of the school. He expected me to choose kindness to ALL my classmates. I waited in line with the other students, and my library books needed to be returned on time. Because I was his daughter, he required more of me; the best choices were the ones that brought him the most pleasure. My actions could make him look good or reflect poorly of his parenting. Once I was invited to the party of a classmates and I wasn’t allowed to go. There were many tears of anguish because “everyone else was going!” (A fact I found out on the Monday following was not true) When I wasn’t allowed to go to a party, it wasn’t because he was withholding from me, he had insight to the perils of this family that I was not aware of. His concern for me as his child was great, because he wanted the best for me. His love for me never wavered.

This is a glimpse of what it is like to have a perfect heavenly father. As His children, He calls us to so much more. C. H Spurgeon says that as His children we should Rise out of ordinary manhood. Get beyond what others might expect of you. Have a high standard. “Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Of course we are not perfect. But we can live differently than the world. We have the privilege to obey his loving instructions. We enjoy the common graces that He gives to all His creation, and so much more as His chosen children.

However, we should never mistake His common grace for His provision. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure…so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”(Philippians 2:13, 15) Christians today are so worried about being legalistic that we are missing out on some of the protection of His laws and precepts, especially when it comes to our calling as women. I cannot help but weep as I see this world stealing true joys and the missional calling God has for me, my daughters, granddaughters and other Christian women. We have begun to mix up common grace while searching for God’s best in their lives.

 A job may open up that seems perfectly suited to you, but calls you away from home and family (Proverbs 16:3, Titus 2:5) As a woman you may be a natural leader and your husband is more than satisfied to let you. (Genesis 2:18, Ephesian5:22-24) Great novels by gifted authors give you some rest and relaxation, yet you spend little or no time in His word.        (1 Peter 1:23, Ephesians 5:26) The mission of feeding the poor requires our children to fend for themselves more than enjoying a meal as a family. Wanting to give our children an educational advantage, or allow their talents to thrive, become hectic and costly endeavors that cost our children’s souls. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Psalms 78:5) Being a wife and mom is second to following your dreams or “at least have a back up plan”. (Luke 1:38) Maybe we won’t have children. (Genesis 1:27-28) There is grace in divorce, and we no longer fight for our marriage, we know “He forgives”. (Mark 10:3-5) Elections will end in God’s sovereign will, and we vote for what seems popular. (1 Samuel 8) Wholesome TV shows just don’t exist, so we justify “that” language or “this lifestyle” contrary to a Holy God, because “it’s just a show”…and we become desensitized to Holy living! (1 Peter 2:9, Philippians 4:8) The subtleties go on and on and without much fanfare, we start justifying everything in our lives. (Proverbs 16:1-2)

 My dear sisters in Christ! You’ve been listening to this world too long, telling you to find yourself, express yourself, and assert yourself. You’ll be nobody but someone’s wife or mom if you buy into “all” the bible.. This is a lie! There is a great and beautiful privilege of being the daughter of the King. He has called you as obedient children to not be conformed to this world and live Holy.(1 Peter 1;13-15) What does that look like for you?

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ”  1 Peter 2:9

cropped-evidenceofgraceheader2.jpg 

Ruth

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

FullSizeRender-23Three nights in a row I have had restless, interrupted, rem-less sleep. So many things fluttering through my head and yet nothing I can put my finger on. My mind swirls with Ruth’s upcoming trip to Africa. I don’t feel fearful, just anxious. I don’t have any regret in her decision to go (although 8 weeks will seem forever). Am I over-thinking or under-thinking all the “to do’s” to get her ready? I have high hopes that this trip will be the way God uses to draw her to Himself, to stretch and strengthen her faith. I pray He will bring her hope for her future. I have great trust in a good God, but there is little evidence in my sleepless nights.

Ruth is the child Clint and I prayed for 14 years. She was the baby that eluded my infertile body and came after numerous miscarriages and failed attempts to get pregnant. Even in my early pregnancy with her, I began bleeding and was warned by the ER doctor to prepare for a miscarriage. But God answered the wailings of this mamma and the many prayer warriors who faithfully prayed for us that night.

She danced her way into our hearts and showed us His joy and delight in giving good. Now before you think I am unaware of her sin nature or that she is a perfect child, I want to give a disclaimer, she’s not perfect. However, she is a perfect gift to me. God chose me to be her mother. His perfect, sovereign will decided from eternity past that I would get to shepherd and nurture her. He imparted the call on me to have one of the biggest impacts in her life. He is not surprised at how and where I’ve failed, but He has also graced me with success. Ruth is the mirror that God used to teach me so much about His love, concern, and care that I would reflect Him. She is the very child that showed me my stubborn will. She is the very child who revealed my desire to have things just the way I wanted them. She is the child who taught me that tears could be a good thing and a way to get my way. She is the little girl that could make me laugh out loud and add a song to our day. Ruth is saved by and loved  by Jesus.

She is everything  God designed for my daughter. She is ready and gifted to serve Him and bring Him glory. I know she will serve well in her time in Africa. I am ready to let her go, because I trust Jesus.

This has been a tough year for this precious girl. I am blessed to have had the privilege to walk with her through fiery trials and the testing of her faith. I got to remind her of the gospel. I have watched her endure with grace and confidence in Him, even when her confidence was shaken. As God has worked in my life I have been better equipped to help Ruth. Now, she will travel around the world for 8 weeks and all I can do is pray for her. But that is the beauty; I get to exercise my privilege of praying for her. I get to model a faith-filled time apart and can remind her before she leaves how very accessible God is to her. I want to cast all my cares and anxiety on Jesus. I want to model an unwavering peace that only a life in Christ can give. That will be my prayer before I go to sleep tonight.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

cropped-evidenceofgraceheader2.jpg

Goodness Over Dry Rub Wings

“Making known to us the mystery of His will” Eph. 1:9
IMG_6359

As I went to open this door of the restaurant we’d be eating at tonight, I paused. My youngest daughter must have sensed my hesitation and patted me on the shoulder with a reassuring hand. My son opened the door. I’d eaten here hundreds of times, over a 5-year period. This was a place we loved to be as a family and with friends. We ate well here. Truly feasted. However, I hadn’t stepped through these doors in almost two years. I was surprised by the lump in my throat and the emotion I was experiencing.

Inside, it was strikingly different yet eerily the same. The walls were painted but still bright. The welcome desk was larger, but in the same place, and the greeter was new, but equally as friendly. I had a momentary flashback of all the loitering around the welcome hub. It made me smile.

We headed through the double doors, doors we’d discovered in the upstairs of this old building back in 2010. I remember the excitement as they were cleaned up and hung at the entrance of the largest gathering room. Straight ahead was the stage, open wide and bare. That was different. In the past, it was usually cluttered and crowded. Musical instruments and sound equipment; cords and musicians. Many speakers, whose words struck the very heart of my soul, spoke from up there. I took a seat at one of the tall tables, soaking it all in.


I can’t begin to recall the hours spent in this place, but I’m sure it was 1000’s over those year. The tile floors were extraordinary clean tonight. I remember working on these very floors, they always seemed so ugly in the past, but tonight I saw the beauty in their uneven texture and color. I remember the folks who would sacrifice their time to come clean together, not for clean floors as much as we just liked to be together.

IMG_6362I studied the wall in front of me. Even with its new orange and brown color scheme, I could see the art that hung there in the past. Art that I helped hang from local artists or even some of our own folks creations. How many nail holes had this wall seen? The framed jerseys and TV’s along the wall seemed invisible compared to the vivid memory of the art that used to hang there. Over in the corner was what we’d affectionately called our “flex capacitor”. Standing boldly with all its glory, as if it was a famous sculpture. I loved this flex capacitor because it always reminded me of God’s provision as the needs of this building grew.

IMG_6355As we waited for our dinner, (that hasn’t changed a bit) I decided to check out the hallway that separated this new space from the previous. I tried to get my bearings, but this part had changed so much. A swinging door to the new expanded kitchen replaced the first room and the other rooms, where the finest of animal crackers and juice boxes were the favorite meal served, were sheet rocked off.IMG_6356

I am a puddle of emotions, and I cannot help but wonder why the best dry rub wings in town no longer delight my taste buds. This expanded restaurant was thrilling for its owner, a true sign of success. But for me, it was a sign of significant loss.

For over five years, this side of the building was a place where my gospel family met each week. This old downtown storefront was my local church. This was the place where I learned the most about the gospel in my 40 years of a regenerated heart. Don’t get me wrong; there were many tears, and difficulties. But I loved this place and the people who were a part of it. This was a place with broken, flawed and tattered (and tattooed) people. This was a place where God became bigger and more beautiful. This was a place that my hurts were greater and my sin was uglier. This was a place where I felt loved and safe and the place where I felt shame and despair. I cannot help but feel overwhelmed right now, not so much with sadness, although that is part of it. Right now, the flood of what has been a very hard recovery, filled with grief and loss; I am struck with this amazed and delighted soul of who HE is right now, in spite of this place. My heart is filled with gratitude over all that was done in me through this local body of believers. Right now I am sensing; He is glorious!

IMG_6358

I don’t have the answers to why this church plant “failed”. (I’ve read more statistic and articles over these last few years than have been helpful.) The honest ugly truth is: there were casualties, there is fallout, this is a fallen world and God-loving men sin against one another. BUT, this is good news too! He is God! He is always redeeming! He is good! He is kind! He loves me! He is taking the ashes, and tears and failures and loss and turning them into beauty. He is drawing our eyes away from the things of this world and shaping us into His image. He is using all of this to make me more like Him.

On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; 
for like the jewels of a crown
 they shall shine on his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!” Zechariah 9:16-17

cropped-evidenceofgraceheader2.jpg 

Pour Me a Glass of Whine

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11

wineWhy do I whine? Why am I disgruntled and disappointed? What is my heart really craving? If wine makes the heart glad, (Ps. 104:15) why is my whine glass full, yet leaving me so empty?

I’ve noticed lately, the climate in my home is thick with grumbling. Nothing is good enough; a negative attitude hangs like a cloud. Complaining, ingratitude and whining is that song on a continual loop. No one is exempt from this grumbling; either as the giver or receiver!

Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and I realize, I’m holding the reigns! My desire to have just a few moments, a half hour to myself, to sit at His feet and pray for my family, and all the kids get up early. Whine! That desire to know God better with bible study and the Internet is down! Whine! My heart desire for a hospitable home, where everyone feels welcome and the love of Christ is made known; and that annoying neighbor stops by, again! Whine! God ordained, Deuteronomy 11 style teaching my children, pointing them to Jesus, and one of them is caught in a lie and another is deeply wounded, by the actions of another. Whine! Now I’m loosing sleep. Whine! I’ve prayed hard for the redemption and healing of a broken relationship and my prayers go unanswered. Whine! My cup runneth over! Now there’s a spilled mess! Whine!

Even my inclination to go to God and pray; to lift up these burdens and heartaches, end up turning into grumbles and complaint. My prayers sound like murmurs and I walk away from my “prayer time” even more discouraged…served now with a heaping of my “lack of faith” guilt.

The desire behind many of these issues is good. Holy Spirit inspired, good desires. Desire is designed by God to reflect His glory and grace in our lives. But James 1:14-15 shows that we are easily enticed by sinful desires.

Grumbling usually comes as a result of something not going as planned, interruptions to my schedule, an expectation not met, or a disappointment about the outcome of hearts desire. It is the opposite of a grateful faith-filled heart. Those disappointments come up and make us doubt God really does work for our good.

And grumbling and disappointment are not new to God. It started in the garden, maybe that first week. God is not surprised by my disappointment. In fact, He deeply cares Psalm 56:8 “You have kept count of my tossing’s; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” But grumbling really starts to reveal my heart attitude. Maybe God isn’t out for my good. (Jeremiah 29:11) Maybe He doesn’t really care? (1 Peter 5:7) What if I can’t trust Him? (Proverbs 3:5-6) Maybe He’s mad at me? (Psalms 147:11) He must love so-and-so more because He’s answering her prayers. (Proverbs. 14:30)

John Piper addressed this very attitude that reveals my grumbling really comes from a lack of faith and a huge heart of ungratefulness. “Gratitude is the result of faith in God’s future grace based on experiencing His past mercies”

John Newton’s sung confession from the late 1700’s 4th stanza reveal where my whining starts; the chorus is my repent hearts cry! (I love the Red Mountain Church version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6cKML2HUFU#action=share)

I would but cannot rest, in God’s most holy will; I know what he appoints is best, and murmur at it still.I murmur at it still.

Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. My help must come from Thee.

When we remember that God’s love is steadfast and endures forever (Psalms 136) our hearts can gladden. His perspective redefines our uncertainty. God is up to something good!

So pour a glass of wine and take some time to reflect on His goodness and your hope!

 cropped-evidenceofgraceheader2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Calf of a Homeschooling Mom

FullSizeRender (30)By wisdom a house is built, 
and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4

 Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established (on a sound and good foundation). And by knowledge shall its chambers (of every area) be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4 (AMP):

Being a bona fide homeschooling mom , I looked up the words precious and pleasant:

PRECIOUS (adj.) 1. of high price or great value; very valuable or costly 2. highly esteemed for some spiritual, nonmaterial, or moral quality 3. dear; beloved: 4.excessively delicate, refined, or nice

 PLEASANT (adj.)1. pleasing, agreeable, or enjoyable; giving pleasure  2. (of persons, manners, disposition, etc.) socially acceptable or adept; polite; amiable; agreeable.

Is this what fills the rooms of my home?

The words speak of a literal house – a dwelling place for a family or an individual, but also my heart house. To build a home could mean a new house from scratch. But it may also refer to repairing or restoring an old house and improving it. And who doesn’t love a great Fixer Upper? I pray my words today will encourage and implore you, (no matter how you are choosing to educate your children) to do a little remodel where needed. Some of you may only need to paint & spackle, while others may need a bulldozer. Let God’s word bring you to the right and proper understanding.

What is wisdom?  It does not mean to be wise or smart or even educated.  The only way to Biblical wisdom is to give our lives to Jesus Christ and then follow Him completely.  Jesus is our wisdom.

Psalm 86 says, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…I am a flawed mom! I’ve been one for almost 35 years. I’d love for you to only see my children’s good achievements and keep any of the “defects” private. My attempts to raise my kids to be and act a certain way have actually work against God’s grace and were gravely misguided. They are so easily persuaded by the fear of man’s judgment or worse yet, momma’s displeasure!. I become so focused in trying to make them look acceptable to God, for the world’s sake. And unfortunately, maybe more so with my fellow homeschool moms!

I feel behind and useless when the day was spent talking to one of the kids about their behavior or how they are treating one another, rather than on science projects. Latin and diagraming that extra bonus sentence take priority over ‘gospeling’ an attitude or disappointment. I second-guess my curriculum choices and wonder if I’m doing enough. Am I behind the public school kids or ahead of them? (Am I really comparing? AGAIN?) Almost every day I’m tempted to compare how I feel on the inside to how other moms look on the outside

FullSizeRender (31)

I must sign them up for sports. I must clean my house. I must cook healthy dinners. I must educate brilliant scholars! Oh my, what will the tutors think next Monday? My standard of what I MUST be and do is unrealistic and much more flawed than I am. Isaiah 46: 1 really brought some perspective to my view of Wisdom vs. Education. It says:

Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.”

Nebo, who if you didn’t know, was the god of wisdom, writing and revelation, some call him the god of learning. This was the god that burdened the Babylonians!

Don’t get me wrong: education is important. None of us would disagree with that. But how important is it, and what role does it play when we are trying to build our homes on Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge? I must always remember my children’s character growth and commitment to the Lord is more important than any grade, yet, which gets more attention in my home? I will admit at times I have had the appearance (and especially to my children) to value academics over character growth during a hectic school week. Am I making a god out of learning? Are you?

2 Peter 1:5 “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.”  Let’s maintain the right priority!! My house will get dirty and I actually seldom cook a well balance meal. 
They may not get recruited by the NBA and my kids won’t always behave. They may be 2 grade levels behind in reading! Spell 60 words wrong! They may grow up and get a tattoo, hang with the wrong friends, drop out of college! So today I should care about them growing closer to God.

IMG_6229If I want to give my children a hunger for His Word and ignite in them a passion to chase after Him. I must make that the top priority in my home and in my own life. It must be what I model first and foremost! My call is to be to be an effective communicator for Christ, not so that my kids can stand in awe of me, but so that they can stand in awe of the One I speak about—Jesus. I’m called to make disciples, so the four children under my care for now are my greatest prospects. Luke 2:52, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” I should want nothing less than for mine to do the same. (And I hope you don’t hear me say, “make them memorize more scripture!”)

This world is chaotic, it is a fallen world, but God calls us to a higher standard. Our homes can be built on solid firm foundations, filled with Christ. Operating in the flow of God’s power, living in His abundant grace, overflowing with PRECIOUS and PLEASANT riches. It is OK to be broken mamas and recognize that you need the Lord’s help.

My prayer: Lord richly bless me as I seek to homeschool my children (or in any area of training) for Your glory! I want my kids to know You first and foremost. Help me to keep my priorities in perspective and to not put too much stress on academics. Help me to find the balance between “doing everything as unto You” (including learning) and inspiring my children to follow hard after You. Let my home be built on Your Wisdom, in Knowledge and Understanding. For His glorious fame, Amen

This post is modified from a devotional I wrote in 2010 while my children were in a private Christian school.

My Most Excellent Adventure:Nashville

On Friday April 1, 2016 I headed east; destination Nashville, Tennessee! My previous post explained the reasons, this is just a glimpse into the sights and a journal for my memories.

I could get really sidetracked and never get to Nashville if I wasn’t careful.IMG_6222

And this place really fascinated me. Maybe only my friend, artist Linda Teeter will see the beauty I see here. (Her work “Bloomin Barrels” remains one of my favorite!) Or maybe it’s my love of a cold diet coke?

 With just an address plugged into my navigation from Clint, I was in for a real treat for my first nights stay.  When I arrived in Nashville, I could tell I was heading downtown. I was shocked when I pulled up the The Hermitage Hotel; hotel to the stars!

Set in a 1910 Beaux Arts building, this hotel is across the street from Legislative Plaza and the Tennessee State Museum. My room overlooked the Tennessee State Capitol.
The refined elegant rooms feature Italian linens, two 42-inch flat-screens and another smaller in the bathroom. Nightly turndown service with freshly baked chocolate fudge square, robe and slippers. Although I skipped using the shoe shine service, (my Sketchers seemed fine) I did enjoy late night room service delivered by my private butler, Nathan.

I went out exploring a little, but was too excited to take full advantage of my room. I got to watch a little of the show “Nashville” being filmed a block from my room. (It will be a scene set in “Atlanta” with protesters against the characters being gay.)

On Saturday morning I didn’t want to get out of my bed, the linens were amazing! However, my doorbell rang (yes, a doorbell in my suite!) and Nathan  brought me my delicious breakfast, complete with Wolferman english muffins and rosette butter!

I had no agenda and spent time leisurely exploring the downtown 2nd and Broadway music row scene. I loved the pink taxi cabs. Peddling Taverns seemed to be a favorite for the females, and live music was around every corner. Just think, I may have heard the early songs of the next Carrie Underwood or Blake Shelton! Then I headed over to Antique Archaeology , Mike Wolfe from American Pickers store. I just can’t figure the selfie stick out! Loretta Lynn’s dress was from his private collection.  I was a little sticker shocked, but did pick up a souvenir bag and a carbine key chain for Max, and a guitar pick for Clint.  There were a dozen other hip stores and boutiques in the old wear-house, and I was able to pick up locally made gifts for each of my kids. One of the little candy stores specialized in gourmet marshmallows and was featured on an episode of Unique Sweets.

Next I left for Franklin, a little town about25 minutes south of Nashville. The downtown is adorable with tons of shops and restaurants.  A lot of celebrities live in Franklin and shop here. The weather was amazing and the sunshine was good for my soul. I loved more people watching and the time just meandering at my own pace.

I ate really well, throwing diet to the wind. I choose Gray’s for lunch and had Shrimp and Grits and friend green tomato’s on creamed corn. How southern is that! My idea was to eat at that night at “Smokin’ Thighs” featured on Dinner’s Drive In’s and Dives, but I was way too full. I choose to eat next to my hotel later that night at a Shark Tank Franchise that Barbara joined in on. “Tom + Chee”.  Someone in Joplin needs to jump on that bandwagon! Sunday’s lunch was a ginormous Calzone at Luigi’s City Pizza (note my quarter for size reference). I may not eat the rest of this week.

I planned on attending Immanuel Nashville on Sunday morning, so Clint booked me a hotel closer to the church.  Kind of felt like I was slumming it! (Not really! The room was lovely and comfy and lets just face it…much more of my normal life!) Ray and Jani Ortland are some of my favorite authors and speakers from the Gospel Coalition events I’ve been privileged to attend in the past. This was the church Ray pastors. Jani’s book “His Loving Law, Our lasting Legacy” is a must read for all my momma friends! It was the perfect way to end my “refresher” weekend. After a call to worship song, Ray got up to talk, and with his soothing  voice said, “Welcome. Welcome, all you who are weary and heavy laden. Welcome, all you who need hope and rest…..” I swear he was looking directly at me, the overflow of my tears, continued as we sang, I knew Jesus had truly given my soul rest this weekend.  He is such a good gift giver! His sermon was on the Qur’an vs. the Bible and was very interesting and gospel saturated!

IMG_6188

I left with a heavier load, but a lighter soul.  He gave me rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 29:11

The Day I Ran Away

“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

Does it count that you sort of plan to run away? And you wait until your kids are away at a retreat and your husband is scheduled to work? If it doesn’t count; then I just left for a little adventure.

IMG_6084

I live a blessed life, but the pressures of always being “on duty” begins to weigh heavy on a wife/mom/friend. I home school my high school students, try to stay in daily bible study, work on projects around my house, and run kids to sporting events. I try to stay on top of the laundry,  I’m involved with my local church and working on a devotional for crafters.  I meet with a few lovely ladies each week and pray with them, I have several friends who really “need” me available to them, yet I have little to give them. We have an open door policy at our house and practice biblical hospitality. My health is not at its’ peak, and even getting to the doctor takes a back seat, so I remain fatigued. We have a busy home and although I see other families who are involved in so much more than ours, I just don’t see how to squeeze one more ounce into my schedule.  I can become weary from guilt by not being available to more people. Another week goes by and I failed to even shoot a text out to someone when they come to my mind, shows me that I am running on empty.

So with my husbands blessing, we talked through places I could go. But then that little voice starts to guilt me again: whose feelings will I hurt, and would I get the rest if I was with others? Can I just be honest? I needed to be alone. No talking, no listening, no burden bearing. That’s what I needed out of this trip. Alone so I could pray, and seek His face, rest, re-calibrate, and just enjoy some down time. I truly want to see others do well in the Lord. The gift of mercy allows me to share the joys with others but also bear your burdens along with you.  Like the friends in Luke 5 who carried their paralyzed friend up to the roof to lower him to Jesus, mercy can be physically exhausting. They knew that this friend needed Jesus and they were there to encourage and do what it took to get this friend to Jesus feet. I want to be that type of wife, mom and friend. I fall very short.

I know I am not called to save the world; I’m called to worship the Savior of the world. I’m also called to “to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to my own husband”(Titus 2). I’m called to “know God’s word” and lay them “up on my heart and in my soul.” I’m called to teach His word to my children, talking of them when I’m sitting in your house, and when I’m are walking by the way, and when I lie down, and when I rise.(Deut. 6)  And this is all tiring. I’m grateful that He supplies my needs and even this trip is a gift from a loving husband and an even more loving Father! So, any guilt is not from Him and I will finish this little get-a-way, enjoying  common graces with the added delight of knowing the One from whom all good things are given.

If Jesus Himself went away to be regenerated through prayer, quietness and meditation, it only makes sense that this is wise rhythm for all of us to follow from time to time.. “And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone” Matthew 14:22-23

Tomorrow I will share the fun of my excellent adventure.