Monday, May 24, 2010

His Story

God's word had illuminated my path since I was a little girl. A gift for my birthday, I got my first Bible when I was five years old. My favorite place to read it was while I rode in the car on my way to my grandparent's house. My heart swelled with love for my Heavenly Father,as I studied the pictures in the stories with wonder. Intrigued by the characters, I listened intently as my loved ones read the stories of Noah and Moses. Learning from their experiences, I admired these characters deeply, as their faith became woven into mine.

As I grew, I soon discovered a painful truth. The road of life is difficult. When I encountered a flood of tears, I failed to recall the obedience of Noah. In the fires of adolescence, I did not have the courage of Daniel. As I wandered through the desert of early adulthood, I did not possess the same trust as Moses. It soon became clear that it was time for me to leave the "stories" of childhood behind. It was time to "grow up" and become part of His story.

Rather than reading the Bible for entertainment, I resolved to study it passionately. Instead of casually passing through each story, I carefully meditated on the truths within the scriptures. In time, the men and women of the Bible became as familiar to me as old friends. For, they were ordinary people facing real challenges, just like me. Their lives had been recorded by God so that I might learn from their mistakes, grow through their adversity, and walk faithfully with God.

A love letter written from God's heart, the Bible is filled with unshakable truth. In its pages, we find tangible evidence of God's limitless compassion and faithfulness towards His people. As His children, we must never stop maturing in our faith. To the contrary, we must continue to study our Bible as we allow God to grow us in wisdom and truth. For we are told that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.(2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)

Today, I have another Bible. With notes in the margins and scriptures marked for memory, it is a recording of all I have learned with God. When storms of adversity rage in my life, my Bible gives me the courage to be still and trust that God is in control. As the fires of persecution blaze around me, it is God's word that gives me the strength to stand firm. And when temptation is all around me, my Bible helps me choose obedience.

Life has come full circle. For, I have been blessed with three children, and it is my task to teach them the truth in God's word. Daniel. Esther. Adam and Eve. Each of my children relate to different characters they meet as we read together. While we discuss the stories together, we apply them in our everyday lives as well. And as we study His word, my children understand that this book is more than just a bunch of stories.

It is the Bible. The living word of God. A revelation of His unchanging character and record of His amazing, sacrificial love. It's truth marks a path of righteousness, for "every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him is His gift to His children." (Proverbs 30:5) God's gift to His children, the Bible points the way to eternal life with Him. For, we are part of His story.

Friday, May 21, 2010


"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."---Psalm 27:14

After a long and somewhat discouraging day, I kneeled beside Sofie's bed and said a prayer over her as she sleepily laid her head upon her pillow. The first day of physical therapy since Sofie got out of her cast had not gone as I had anticipated.

While I had expected her to just stand up and walk, muscle atrophy had left her weak and unable to stand without assistance. It was now painfully obvious that the road before us was a bit longer than I had thought. I wanted to see my daughter run. I hoped to see the days of her injury behind us. After weeks of immobilization from a full leg cast and a wheelchair, I was tired of waiting.

As I leaned over to kiss Sofie's forehead, she put her little hands on my face and stroked my hair. "Do you know why I didn't pray for my leg tonight, Mommy? I think Jesus just needs me to give him some time," she said sweetly. Her wisdom pierced my heart as I heard God gently whisper, "Wait on me and I will strengthen your heart."

Many of us are waiting right now. Some are waiting on job or new opportunities. Others are waiting for healing and restoration. The simple truth is that sometimes God asks us to wait. And it's hard. Especially since we live in a fast food world of instant gratification.

Indeed, God continuously works behind the scenes of life as He prepares our hearts for His blessing. And as we wait, we must draw near to God for strength. Yes, sometimes we must wait on the Lord. But, He will not forget His children. Taking a cue from my little girl, we must remember, that sometimes God just needs some time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stay Hungry

Morning had faded into evening, and I was midway through my commitment to fast for a friend who was serving on a mission trip in Bolivia. With three hungry children, I dutifully prepared dinner. As the aroma of chicken nuggets and macaroni cheese filled the kitchen, I prayed for strength to remain hungry.

Hours later, the house was still and quiet, but my stomach was still growling. While chocolate pudding taunted me mercilessly from the fridge, I turned my thoughts towards God. Hungry and tired, my heart pondered my place in His kingdom.

In between hunger pangs, I considered the many changes my husband and I had embraced to allow me time to pursue my dream as a writer. Many sacrifices had been made so that I could serve the LORD with words. “What if I am wrong? What if this is all for nothing? Then what?" Hungry for spiritual fruit, I took my questions to God as He led me to seek nourishment from His word.

Scripture tells us “the laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.” (Proverbs 16:26 NIV). My hunger for His divine work in my life will not be satisfied immediately. In fact, it is God’s will that I remain hungry. For I must be willing to give up the comforts of today to see the glory of tomorrow.

With hearts bent towards instant gratification, we live in a society of abundance and self-satisfaction. In work. At play. Within every facet of our daily lives, we rarely deny ourselves even the simplest of pleasures. Consequently, many of us lack self-discipline and fall into gluttony. God wants more from His servants. He desires for us to be driven by His divine work in our lives.

I awoke the next morning and rushed to the kitchen. I waited with anticipation for my toast to spring out of the toaster. My fast was over. Still, I resolve to stay hungry, for “"blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." (Luke 14:15 NIV)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hard To Love

"I give up! Some people are so hard to love!" my heart screamed. As tears rolled down my cheek, the ache in my heart turned to anger. Deeply wounded from the careless words hurled at me from another, I tossed the series of unfortunate events over in my mind and concluded that some people are just unlovable. With burning eyes and a broken heart, I decided life would be easier if I just stopped trying so hard to love the difficult people in my life.

Still, there wasn't time to sulk properly, for the responsibilities of a busy mom simply don't wait for heartbreak. My son had a taekwando class scheduled and we had to leave in a few minutes. Momentarily setting aside my pain, I pulled myself together and drove Jack to his Taekwando school.

Having promised my him that I would stay and watch, I sat down and waited for Jack's class to begin. Meanwhile, a lower belt class was just finishing up and their faces reflected discouragement. Looking at their expressions, I could feel their frustration and it was a feeling close to my heart as well.

In that moment, the lead instructor called the group to "take a knee" as he offered validation and encouragement. "I see your faces. You are right. This IS hard," he said frankly. "Earning a black belt IS hard. It is suppose to be hard. Most things worthwhile in life ARE hard," he continued wisely. "But, you have a patient teacher and I am here to help you. Just don't give up."

Though the teacher was not aware of the way God was speaking through him, I knew God was talking directly into my troubled heart. All at once, I didn't hurt so much. The words, filled with wisdom and truth, acted as a healing balm to my troubled spirit. God had seen it all and he understood my pain. Loving IS hard.

Then, a scripture crept quietly into my mind and has challenged me ever since. For God has called his children to love the unlovable.

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.(Matthew 5:40-48 NLT)

Our ability to love has little to do with our own abilities. For love is not a feeling, but an act of worship. The sad truth is that some people are indeed unlovable. Love them anyway!