The Anchor for Our Souls

“We will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”  Psalm 78:4

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I read the email while spaghetti boils over on the stove and garlic bread threatens to burn in the oven. My neck tenses and an ache settles deep within my stomach and heart. We are three months away from our next move with the military, and I’m not ready.

A glitch in our housing arrangement at our next duty station. A longer than expected wait for our home. A list of temporary apartments attached at the bottom of the email. I can’t bare to click it open.

What seems too good to be true ends up being just that.

The dominoes begin to fall. I allow my mind to run alongside them.

A longer wait for housing means our son’s last summer before going away to college will most likely be spent in a hotel or navy lodge.

Our dog will need to be shipped off to stay with a family member.

The thought of living out of a suitcase for an extended period of time exhausts me.

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One email opens a pit of panic so deep, I fall hard and fast.

I throw dinner on the table and retreat to my bedroom for a quick moment to pull myself together.

I am aware that my family’s climate heavily depends upon my attitude and a frazzled and anxious me does not make a peaceful home.

Before I can talk anyone else off the ledge, I need to take a step back and anchor myself to a firm foundation.

I go to the only place I know to go. I don’t have it in me to make it all happen. I need an anchor that can steady this rocking boat and promise safety amidst the strongest of storms.

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I know this anchor. It has proven strong and faithful. This anchor is sure to steady me in the most tumultuous of seas.

Recognizing God’s hand in our past, and confident of His hand in our future, is that anchor.

We are mandated to remember the mighty hand of God in our past.

To recall his mighty deeds in days by gone, and remember his miracles of long ago.

To not only remember what the Lord has done, but also to share His mighty works with the next generation, our children, and our children’s children.

We have a history to remember.

We have a responsibility to etch the handiwork of our God in to the hearts and minds of those who come after us.

Our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will not fail us now. Our past has proved it. Our future relies upon it.

This anchor is trustworthy and connects us to hope beyond our circumstances.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true anchor for our souls. He is the One who knows all things, and He is faithful to walk with us through all things.

We must be deliberate in slowing down, moving toward a posture of trust, reliance and remembrance.

When the anchor is entrenched deep into the sea bed, only then is the ship stable.

This anchor keeps us from floating aimlessly out to sea.

We rely upon its dependability, having full confidence in its ability to protect as we move forward in to the great unknown.

Then and only then can we face these uncertain times with godly certainty.

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“For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” Psalm 117:3

“May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.” Psalm 90:17

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:11

 

Roadsigns and Writing

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There has been a wide berth of white space here in this little corner of the internet. I can list off a number of excuses to account for my silence. But if I am honest with myself (and you), I must admit that this writing brings things out in me that I prefer to keep buried deep beneath my line of sight. Insecurities, doubt and lack of purpose wrestle with each other, trying to gain traction and halt my movement forward.

Because checking numbers and stats, followers and “likes” can make this “comfortable behind-the-scenes-girl” very uncomfortable.

I recognize the comparison game that creeps in as I watch more polished, purposeful, high profile blogs flourish and reach a broad audience. I can only imagine my words stretching that far.

We women have a special knack for comparing ourselves to each other, don’t we?

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Do you find yourself comparing your marriage? Your kids achievements? Your job progression? The scope and reach of your ministry? Facebook, social media and the blog world can shake the most self-confident person loose.

I find myself slipping down this very dangerous path, and it paralyzes me.

Then I find these words hidden in a passage of Scripture I have read a hundred times before.

I read about one whose life was meant to be lived in the shadows of one bigger and better. A life with the sole purpose of shining light on the One coming after him. “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)

John the Baptist, the forerunner for Jesus Christ. The one who prepared the way for Jesus Christ. In his lifetime, he never performed a miracle and he watched his ministry dim as Jesus’ life and mission shone brighter.

What did John the Baptist think of his diminishing in order for Jesus’ purpose to be fulfilled? Did he fight to keep his voice heard above the rest? Did he quit when he realized all of his followers were now following Jesus?

Someone approaches John and asks him this question:

“Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified about-well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.” (John 3:26)

Jealousy, fear of losing position and influence could have overwhelmed John.

But it didn’t.

He was secure in who Christ made Him to be and for what purpose He served.

To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)

What platform has the Lord given you to point others to Him?

It may be highly visible and attract hundreds or even thousands. But it also may be one or two little ones at your feet, smearing peanut butter on your pant leg. Your workplace? Neighbors? You child’s teacher?

It matters not the size of the platform, but only our willingness to be faithful to that which He gives us.

Is what I’m doing pointing others to the Savior of the world?

When our lives are in unison with God’s purposes, we are simply road signs pointing to our heavenly Father.

At the end of the day, what really matters most is what our heavenly Father thinks.

Numbers fluctuate, comments turn negative, and friends can sometimes “de-friend” you.

Go in search of the applause of heaven, rather than the temporary applause that this earth offers.

“We fix our eyes not on what’s seen. But on the unseen. What’s seen is temporary. What’s unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Can we say at the end of our lives, “With what you gave me, I did my best to make you know.”

With that spoken, my prayer for each of us is to one day enter the gates of heaven and hear, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

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One Word Can Make All The Difference

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The power of a word!!! 2015 has ushered in a new word for me……intentionally focusing on the power of a word.

To give adequate weight to the fact that a couple of random letters, strung together and laid upon one’s shoulders, could change the course of a life. For better or for worse!!!!

One word can light a fire and become a catalyst for change. One word can paralyze the most fearless person and stop them in their tracks. One word can motivate, place doubt, destroy, build up, or revive.

We have all had words spoken at or to us that drag us under, forcing the very breathe out of our lungs. The rains soak and a tangible darkness wraps itself around us, smothering our ideas of what we thought we could do.

Inaction results.

Fear grasps at our ankles, holding our feet firmly in the safe known’s of today.

Yet, we have also experienced that burst of life that bubbles up from the depths of our souls, when a loving person takes the time to speak a word of encouragement over us.

Like a fragrant offering it is.

Like the smell of honeysuckle swirling through the open windows on a warm summer day.

Breathing life!

Breeding possibility!

Building up!

The challenge to use my words for good, not harm. To love, build up, revive, refresh, and breathe life! This is what I want out of 2015.

Only with God’s help.

And this year brings forth one Word I cling to for my life and family: INTENTIONAL.

Intentional in the discipleship of my children-clearly laying out goals and vision and a path that will encourage their heart’s to bend to the voice of Jesus.

Intentional in what I read, and spend money on.

How I spend my time.

Intentional in my relationships and actively displaying the importance of those relationships in my life.

Intentional means to bring about with purpose….to work toward an intended goal.

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Oh how I love setting goals. I love planners and goal getting and grand ideas of a better me.

It is in the follow through that I find my problem.

But this intentional way of living is more than setting and sticking to a set of goals, accomplishing more and checking off my to-do list.

This intentional living is an opening of my eyes to the most important things in this life. Placing those in our lives that matter most, in to a position of priority.

Because we all have just one life to live. We are all walking through this life with a number. A number of sunrises and sunsets that we will be here to see.

What will we do with that time?

Will we use our words to build up and encourage?

Will we use our time to snuggle our kids in close and read them that second chapter from their favorite book?

Will we stop what we are doing and consider it pure joy when we get that unexpected guest?

Will we make time to talk with that lonely neighbor?  

2015 I choose this intentional way of living.

Won’t you join me, too? Leave a comment to share how you are living intentional this year!

2 Corinthians 5:9 “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”

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When Your Pen Runs Dry and The Point of It All

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I stare at white space for days that run in to weeks. And I wonder how writing could be so fulfilling and flow so freely for months at a time, and then suddenly, it comes to a screeching halt. And for the next two months it feels like I am pressing hard a piece of coal, in hopes of producing a diamond. But at the end of the day, that coal is still a lump of coal, weighing heavy in my hand.

And this panic sets in. That mine is not good enough, not pretty enough, not high-tech enough. This pressure in the blogging world to have all the right widgets and buttons. To host give-away’s and link-up’s and build an audience. And I can’t seem to keep up.

What follows is an intentional pause; a pause to refocus on the point of it all. Because, these words of mine, where do they point? Am I wrestling against my true purpose and making it all about me, or am I pouring out words, and living a life that points to Jesus?

Because this life I live is meant to point back to Him. That is THE point. That is MY point.

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How are my words bringing life to a hurting world? How is the way I live my life pointing others to Jesus?

We Jesus followers, whether we are blogging, changing diapers, or teaching a class room full of children, isn’t the point of it all really to radiate the love of the One who sacrificed all? To point to the One who counted His life but lost, in order to be in relationship with us?

So these dry and seemingly empty spaces, the days when words don’t come, and no one sees the effort you put in to the kids, they are like a cool breeze that floats in through that open window on a hot and humid day. These are the days that refresh our soul and renew our purpose, because it is then we see clearly the reason for it all. All else falls away and we are left with Jesus.

On these days, I look at the life of Jesus. A man so controversial we are still talking about Him 2,000 years later. A man who did not come, as expected, with swords drawn and political aspirations, but came wrapped in compassion and love. He broke the chains of “having to perform” with the gift of His sacrifice, pouring his grace and mercy upon us without limit.

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People did not meander toward Jesus in small groups of two like the animals headed to the Ark. People flooded to Jesus. They grabbed the hem of His cloak to catch a glimpse of His power; they climbed trees to set their gaze upon Him; they left the bedside of their dying children to seek Him out; they ran to His presence not thinking where their next meal would come from. And to think He drew such a crowd without Tweeting His whereabouts and posting aesthetically pleasing photos on instagram!!!

Why were people drawn to Him? Because He offered something they wanted; something we all need. Hope, healing, and higher purpose. This hope that we are not in this alone; healing from a hurt and dying world; and purpose that transcends beyond our checking account, social status and number of followers on twitter.

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So today I run to His side; I bend low and grasp the hem of His cloak to feel a touch of His power; I flock to His presence so that his compassion rubs off on me just a little bit; I exert myself to catch a glimpse of Him today. Because, if we look to spend time with Him, He is faithful to show up. And when He shows up, He puts it all in perspective. He is THE point!!!!