How to Know If You Need Your Bible

I’ve been studying Colossians lately and in the end of chapter 1, we’re told how we become “holy and blameless and above reproach.” That sounds like a good, spiritual thing to want, right? How do we get that way? “If you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast.” When I read that word “steadfast,” I immediately thought of James 1:2-4.

I’ve found that God always has different ideas of what’s good than I do. I would like to be steadfast by doing easy stuff.  But no. Brace yourself as we read how we grow. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  (Get your Bible and read the next few verses about stability as well.)

We grow by going through hard stuff. But if we’re going to withstand hard things, we need roots. We have to be rooted in Christ. We have to know that His truth says it’s worth running after Him even with the hard things.

Doing Kingdom Work When You Don’t Have a Platform (Or Even If You Do)

A friend and I had a Voxer conversation over the weekend about discipleship and doing small things and where God has given us opportunities to serve. I shared some thoughts with her that have been bouncing around in my heart for a few months now: thoughts that have impacted how I spend my time. Then our pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning echoed some of those same concepts.

What do you think the big work of your life is? Where are you investing your time? 

Those are powerful questions because they shape what we do. This blog- as much as I love writing and hearing from you- is not my big work. The podcast is one of the most fun things I do online but it’s not my big work. I’m speaking to a MOPS group over Skype in November and, as excited as I am about that, it’s not my big work.

When You Don’t Know Your Calling

God’s will used to be a totally mystifying subject to me. Was I going to grow up and be a missionary? Was I supposed to be a teacher? A lawyer? A stay-at-home mom? Would I have two kids or ten kids? Who would I marry? Where would I go to college? What was my calling in life?

Are those things important? Sure. But at that time all of those things were years down the road. God’s will- in my mind- had nothing to do with today. That’s where I was wrong: God’s will has everything to do with today.  That’s why those questions aren’t the starting point. The starting point is doing what He has given you to do today.

Wake up each morning and commit to faithfulness in whatever God has given you. It’s not the actual “thing” you are doing. It’s why. Do it because God gave it to you. Do it because it’s your gift back to Him.

When We Listen to Lies

Sometimes I get to ten in the morning and realize I’m ready to go back to bed. The kids are fighting. I already feel behind. I think, “What’s the point in going on when I’m making such a mess?”

We are all telling ourselves an internal story. Every single day, we are the voice in our heads. We also determine what outside voices we internalize. Over the past ten years I’ve learned that I can’t listen to myself; I have to talk to myself instead.

This is one reason I’ve tried to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness. There is a big difference between focusing on the bad things or the hard things and intentionally searching for and listing the wonderful things that occur. That has become part of my internal voice but I still have to fight for it.

I also regularly remind myself that Jesus is the prize. I decide if I’m waiting for things to change to have joy and purpose or if I only need Jesus. You also get to decide that. If we are waiting for a thing (a baby, a job, a boyfriend, a happy marriage) when we get that thing, there will be something else. It will come with a problem. It will be harder than we anticipated. If we are only looking at Jesus, He will always be enough. He will be what we need when we are waiting, when we are in need, when we don’t like where we are.

For Your “What Is My Life?” Moments

I’ve had a few What is my life? moments lately.

I shared that thought with my husband a few nights ago before bed. Sometimes life just doesn’t work out like we thought or expected. Often we are surprised, shocked, even resentful of what we face in life.

The next morning I read more of the story of Noah. When Genesis 8 starts, Noah had been in the Ark at least 150 days, maybe longer. I would have felt forgotten and slightly claustrophobic and tired of those people on the Ark with me. Then Genesis 8:1 says, “But God remembered Noah.”

So rescue, right? Noah got off that Ark then? Nope. Noah sat on that Ark for months longer. Now, if I were Noah, I would want God remembering me to be synonymous with God getting me out of that Ark. Move, change things, come fix this. But Noah was right where God wanted Him and he was not forgotten.

When Life Reveals You’re a Liar

How’s life with a new baby really going, you ask?

Honestly? Everything I thought would be hard with a new baby and three older boys is hard. Not bad- there’s no need to stage an intervention unless that intervention involves naps, coffee, and pretzels. It’s just hard. I was apparently under no illusions about what having a baby is like; this is fully what I expected.

I don’t want any of it to change. I love my boys. I love this opportunity to mother them. I just want to be better at it. And you can’t skip steps like that. The only way I’m going to get better at it is by doing it.

It’s just like starting a workout program. Even the basics are hard in the beginning. You’re going to puff and huff trying to jog half a mile. You’re going to find that your muscles are shaking after five pushups. Even if you’ve done it before, if you haven’t done it in a while you have to start over. The only difference is that you know how to do it and that you can do it.

When you start a workout and you complain to a friend that your muscles are sore and you hate getting up to go run and everyone else is doing a more intense/exciting workout than you, they don’t say, “Poor thing. Sorry your life is so bad.” They say, “That’s ok. Keep going. You’re going to get better. You’re going to get stronger and faster and you’ll be doing those things soon too.”

Just Carry Today

I’ll be 35 weeks pregnant tomorrow. It’s very easy for me to look at the next four months and feel extremely overwhelmed. I know I’ll have to journey through these last weeks of being pregnant and I’m tired. And then there’s the great mental debate: When will this baby come? Will the baby have IVA? How will labor and delivery go?

Then there’s a whole new set of emotions with a new baby and three children and hormones and a post-baby body and acclimating to a new rhythm and being exhausted. When I consider all of that as a whole, I feel like I’m slowly sinking in a quicksand that might kill me this time.

(Being pregnant after the first time is great because you have some idea of what’s coming and that it does eventually go away. Being pregnant after the first time is horrible because you know what’s coming.)

When I look at the next four months, I can easily dread the whole time. It can seem that not one good thing will come out of it except the baby and life can look a little grim, to be honest.

Last week I realized a truth that I keep forgetting. I only have to do today.