Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Case of the Introverted Mom

     I'm the kind of person that thinks things through.  Actually, that's probably a pretty big understatement.  When I'm given a task, a project, or a problem, my mind immediately goes into overdrive thinking about all the details that need to happen to complete it.  I'm an ISTJ according to the Myers Briggs test, and if I'm honest, it's a bit obnoxious.  I'm certain my sweet, laid-back husband should get a prize for handling all the crazy with so much grace.  It's so bad (although I admit, I usually see it as good...insert evil laugh here...) that at any given time, in my van, you can find grocery bags, ziplock bags, emergency bottled water, emergency snack, a DVD, a DVD player, hand sanitizer, band-aids, and many other things that I'm going to accidentally forget to tell you so I can save some face.   The point is - I think about things.  A lot.

     So how did I miss this? How did I not realize that once kids entered my life, my introverted self would never be the same?  Pre-kids, I had figured out that although I enjoy being social, I needed sufficient down time, where there were no other voices around me so I could "recharge."  I just never realized that my sweet babies would count as people that I needed a break from.  I also failed to realize the implications that they never... ever... leave.  They are there.  Always.  When I'm making breakfast, they're there.  In the car, they are singing along in the back.  When I go to the bathroom, when I'm taking a shower, when I'm trying to sleep...they are always there.  And they are not quiet, contented onlookers.  No, usually their presence is accompanied by demands to be held, changed, fed, or entertained.  Don't get me wrong, I'd choose to have them all over's not a matter of whether or not I love them, or whether or not I want  them.  I do!  Of course I do.

   I just failed to realize that this introverted girl would feel suffocated, drained, and exhausted after being with them.  It's emotional death to me to have to constantly be "on," and we moms know you are ALWAYS expected to be on.  Someone always needs something or is chattering away about something very important like Minecraft, Mickey Mouse, or minions.  (You like that alliteration, there?)  I failed to realize it, so I failed to make provision for it.     It has taken me seven years to finally get it.  Today, during an overwhelmed feeling that has too-often been my companion these seven years, a light bulb finally turned on.  I've always thought that maybe I had too many responsibilities or too many things I had committed too...and that can definitely present a problem.  BUT, I've failed to realize my main problem.  As my family has grown, and added more voices, I haven't met that with sufficient time to rest in the quiet.

     I need time to just be.  I need to just sit and think...or to create something with my hands while my mind processes life.  After the birth of both my second and third child, you could constantly hear me say, "I just can't think right now!"  And I really couldn't.  I found it intensely difficult to make simple decisions during my day.  Now I realize that those infant years were especially hard for me because that sweet little baby was with me 24 hours a day.  I believe that's the way it's supposed to be, but I failed to understand why it was so hard for me.  Truthfully, I thought there was something wrong with me because I was anxious to get through the baby years.  Now I realize that I was need of the fresh air that time alone gives.

    In our world, it can feel so difficult to create time for being alone, and doing absolutely nothing productive.  We often feel guilty asking our significant other to give us time by ourselves when they are usually also very busy people.  And truthfully, we usually marry extroverts ( they can make the super awkward and stressful small talk in social situations -  can I get an amen??)  who look at us like we have two heads when we try to explain this phenoma of needing time to think and just be.  It's tempting to take the path of least resistance and not even ask for this time...but I'm here to tell you that you MUST fight for it!  It initially seems selfish, but I assure you it's not selfish anymore than taking air into your lungs is selfish.  Sure, you could go too far with it, but as long as you only ask for the amount time required for you to rest and recharge, it is a legitimate need.  When introverts take this time to care for themselves, they become better parents, spouses, friends, co-workers...and the list goes on and on.

      Not an introvert?  Look at the people you're close to, because chances are good that they are introverts.  Although you don't understand this need we have, they'll love you forever if you help them to create down time in their life.

     So do it.  Today!  Even if it's only 15 minutes, take some time to breathe.  You, and everyone around you, will be glad you did.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

now confessing...

Hold the phone...two blog posts in one day?!!  So, I posted the last post as I was spending some time with God.  I've been listening to a study about spiritual gifts lately (anybody else a closet sermon listener?) and I've discovered that my primary spiritual gift is most likely prophecy.  Don't get the wrong idea, not prophecy like an old man with beard whose eyes roll back in his head and he speaks in an eerie voice...nope not like that.  (Whew! You can breathe easier now.)  No, prophecy in the sense that God has put a deep need in me to deliver the word of God to the people in a relevant way.

I'm writing a second post because I realized after posting the other one that it seems a lot like I've got my stuff all together and I'm telling all "you" people that you need to get yours together.  I thought I'd go ahead and clear that up :-)  Drum roll please....  I don't have it together.  Nope, sure don't.  And contrary to popular belief, the title of pastor's wife doesn't come with the added bonus of your stuff somehow getting itself together.  Wouldn't that be nice!  :-)

God softly spoke after that last post and reminded me that anyone can write a devotional.  It's not bad to write a devotion.  In fact, it's great, especially if it brings clarity to someone's relationship with God.  However, God's call for me in writing this blog is to bring his word to people with a big side helping of transparency.  That's hard.

So, I thought that while I thought through my sins, I'd list some out for you to look through and see if it rings a bell with you.  Keep in mind, I'm coming up with this list after praying and then listening.

  • I like to do things my own way, thinking I know better than God.  This is wrong because it is worshipping myself instead of God.
  • Once I do things my own way I get mad when things aren't how I hoped they'd be, then I turn and complain to God...earning me the title of being ungrateful.
  • I tend to think that what I've got to do during a certain day is more important than spending time with God and re-aligning my heart to him through reading his word.  This is also worshipping myself and my to-do list rather than taking time to recognize and worship God daily.
  • I let my priorities get out of whack too often.  I find myself throwing all of my effort into work and neglecting my family when I know God has called me to first care for my husband and family, and then work with what's leftover.  Once again I'm worshipping something other than God: a job...thinking it will give me worth instead of finding my worth in God.
  • It's hard for me to rest.  I struggle deeply with taking a sabbath.  Upon reflection, I realize this is telling God once again that I know how to do things better than He does, and once again worshipping myself.
  • Too often I find myself talking less than honorably about someone.  It pains me so much to admit it.  I've been the victim of slander and felt its stab, so it's incredulous that I'd do it to someone else.  God calls us to love each other, especially our brothers and sister in Christ.  I hate this one with a passion.  
  • On average, I worry more about how I appear on the outside to other people, than how my heart is on the inside...which means I'm putting people's approval of me on the throne, which is where God should be.  
  • I can be so selfish.  I can put my needs and desires above others so quickly.  This is definitely not how God wants me to be.  
  • Too often instead of honoring and caring for my husband, I find myself nagging or talking to him in a less than honorable way. Ugh!  He is the biggest blessing in my life outside of what Christ did to me.  Why would I ever treat him as anything except that?  More importantly, I'm directly disobeying God's word which commands me to honor my husband.

I'm sure that as long as I could sit here, I could think of sins to list...and it pains me to realize what a sinful person I am, but it's also good.  It's good because I realize how much I miss the mark of being holy, and therefore my great need for a savior.  Does this list make you feel any better?  I hope it does.  We're all messed up.  But God loves us too much to let us stay that way if we'll only surrender to Him.  Aren't you glad God desires to make beautiful things out of us?

If any of this is something you wanna talk about, or just want someone else praying for you, email me at  I'd be honored to hear from you!  

Blue Lights

I'm grabbing my keys, my purse, and running out the door.  I throw my things into the passenger seat, and throw the car in reverse.  I tear out of the driveway and gun it to the stop sign at the end of my road.  Once on the main road I push the accelerator, knowing I'm late....and thinking that maybe I can make up some time.  I'm watching the clock and my speedometer creep up as my stomach drops because a blue light shines out of my mirror.  NO!!  I don't have the time...or money...for this!!

As I'm driving away from the police cruiser, I feel totally deflated.  My ticket, with it's heavy fine, is laying beside me and I dread bringing it through the door and admitting it happened.  Why?  Do a gut check with me.  If this has happened to you, do you hate it happened because you loathe the fact that you were speeding, which you clearly know is illegal....or do you hate it happened because you got caught and the repercussions of getting caught?  

If you're like me, it's most likely because I got caught...because it's going to make me uncomfortable.  It's not going to feel good having to pay that money and tell my spouse that I got a ticket.  It's not going to feel good if this ticket causes my insurance to go up, causing me to pay more money to the insurance company each month.  

So if you're like me, and the reason you hate it happened was because of the repercussions, then we're completely missing the point.

This is what happened to the Israelites.  If you read my last post you remember talking about the Israelites and how they were wondering around in the desert.  Now, in Numbers 14, they had actually made it to the promised land that God had told them about, they had sent spies into the land to scope it out, and then they had decided that it was to scary to do as God told them to do.  They decided they would NOT go into the Promised land.  At this point God is fed up with them and tells Moses he is done with these people and how they continually do their own thing and reject Him.  He tells them that there will now be consequences for their disobedience.  Once Moses relays this message, the people freak out and change their tune.  They now decide that they will go into the promised land and take it as God had told them to do earlier.  The only problem is that God is not with them in this expedition, and therefore they are defeated on a grand scale.

God said go take the promised land - People say, "No, too scary...we'll do things our way."              
God says don't go into the promised land - People say, "We will go conquer the promised land on our own!" 

(Does this sound familiar to any parents out there???)

What in the world made these people act this way?  (Maybe a few fries short of a Happy Meal??)  I want to grab these people out of the Old Testament, shake them and tell them to get a clue.  Then I get a clue.  They disobey because they are stubborn and think they know better than God.  So God says, " wanna do things your way?  Then here are your consequences."  The people see the consequences and they change their tune.  Which brings us back to the question we asked earlier about our ticket - are the people sad enough to change their mind because they loathe their sin of being disobedient or because they don't want to deal with the consequences?  It would seem they only change because of the consequences that they hear are coming.  

This is what we do too often.  We do things our way, over and over and over...until we get ourselves into a crap ton of mess...and then we cry out to God.  We wonder why in the world He would let our life turn into this.  Sometimes we even get MAD at God.  Like it's his fault.  After all the anger, we usually eventually feel sorry.  We are sorry for the mess we've created.  Maybe we work to fix the mess or maybe God, in his infinite mercy, fixes it for us.  And then we're happy campers...because life is good again.  

But...where was the mourning over our sin?  Where in the process did we name our sin...the sin that caused the whole mess.  The sin that causes God so much sadness.  The sin that claimed the life of his son.  Where in the process did we apologize to God and ask him to help us change?  

If we skipped that step, then we missed it.  

But!  Take heart, because there is hope.  There is always hope with God, which is an amazing thing about being a Christ-follower.  If you're reading this, then it's not too late to go back and do that ever important step.  It may even be that you just don't feel remorse over your sin.  Ask God to help you understand what your sin is.  Name it.  Call it out.  Confess it to someone you trust, and take away its power over you.  Spend some time realizing the weight of sin's effect on you and those around you. (Because you know our sin never effects just us, right?)  

Then comes the best part...

Once you've truly understood the weight of that sin that God is going to help you've truly mourned it having any place in your life...then comes joy.  And it's so sweet.  So refreshing.  

So do it right now.  Ask God to show you your sin.  Confess that you messed up and it hurt you, God, and those around you.  Realize the weight of it, but then throw it off.  Cast it onto the cross where it's dealt with once and for all and then be done with it.  Lay down the sin and pick up the joy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Round and Round

Have you ever been there....walking in circles, your life stuck in the same cycle....over and over and over and over?  I have too, and it isn't a fun place to be.  I may think my situation is unique, but it's not.  People have been walking in circles since the book of Numbers was written, which was....well, a long time ago.

In Numbers, the Israelites were in one of those cycles.  I'll give you the short version of their story.  They were in slavery.  Bad, right?  God rescued them.  And he didn't just open up the gates of freedom and say, "You're free to go!"  But he pulled out all the stops.  He turned water to blood, he sent frogs, gnats, flies...  He covered the slave-owners in boils and finally, he killed the first born sons of the people who were enslaving the Israelites.  God was sending the message that He's no joke.  Then, on their way out, he parted the Red Sea for his people to cross through.  I mean, come on people - God. parted. a. sea.  A sea!  He made the water move out of the way for you.  If that's not miraculous, I'm not sure what is.  If that doesn't make you believe in the power and majesty of God, then you've got no hope.  Right?  So after that amazing rescue what follows is an endless flow of praise and thanks for their God.  I wish.  That would be the appropriate response, but it's not the Israelites' response.  Actually, it was just the opposite.  Out of their mouths came an incessant flow of complaining and whining.  They complain about the food.  They complain about their leaders.  They complain about the promised land that God wants to give them.  As a result of their doubting, their mistrust, their lack of gratitude, they wander in the dessert.  For 40 years!!  40 years of wandering because they choose to give themselves to fear and cravings instead of giving themselves to God and trusting.  Just trusting.

Every time I read this story I get so mad at these dumb people.  "Why can't you open your eyes?!  God showed you how amazing He is over and over!  He poured out his extravagant love on you in the form of a magnificent rescue.  He even manifested himself in the form of a CLOUD that stayed with could actually SEE him.  On top of that, he provided supernatural food for you each day.  What's your problem??"

Then...I feel a tap on the shoulder.  It's God, and he's pointing to the story...the part where the people are ungrateful.  The part where God has shown up two chapters before in miraculous ways and yet this chapter the people don't believe.  The part where the people are walking in circles because they aren't trusting Him.  He says, "See that?  Right now, that's your story too."  And it is.

God has rescued me so many times.  He has provided innumerable things for me and my family.  When someone asks me why I believe in God my answer is I believe because I've seen him work in my life, in my family's life.  I've seen his hand and I hear his voice.  Just like the Israelites.  Yet, just like those dumb Israelites I am often a silly girl who forgets and I find myself complaining, doubting, and therefore walking in circles.

I've decided I'm tired of circles.  Aren't you?  They're so pointless.  They're demoralizing and frustrating.  Mainly, they get us nowhere fast.  I don't want to go nowhere.  I want to go somewhere.  Don't you?

So what's our exit strategy?   I think it's found in the same story.  See, if you're going in circles in your life, like I feel like I sometimes am, we can recognize the story we're in and we can choose to exit that story and step into the one God has written for us.  That's the great news.  God had planned great things for his people the Israelites.  He had planned for them to enter this beautiful land full of God's abundance...but they wouldn't go.   They were afraid.  They chose to trust their past experience, their desire for comfort, their craving for the tasty foods of Egypt (the land they were enslaved in)...they trusted those things but not God.  But there was one.  Caleb.  He chose to trust God.  He decided that although the odds looked like they were stacked against them, that God overcame all of those odds.  He decided that if God had told them to "Go," then God would make a way.  He proclaimed that God being on their side was the only thing they should take into account when deciding whether to follow God or not.  And Caleb was right.  The proof is that he was the only one (the only ONE) who got enter the promised land.

So, today we get to choose.  What is God asking you to do?  Has he told you a direction to go in?   Maybe....apologize to someone who is unforgivable?   Quit your job with all its comforts and go in a different direction?  Step up and lead in a new and unfamiliar area?  Whatever it is, you have a choice.  You can choose to follow God into the promised land or continue to walk in circles in the dessert.  You can choose abundant life in God's hands or a keep doubting in the dessert and walk in circles in your strength.  Doesn't seem like a hard decision does it?

You only have to choose.  God will do the rest.  You don't have to have a plan of how you're going to follow him.  He's got that for you.  You just have to follow.  You have to let him guide your steps instead of letting fear take you in circles.

I don't know about you, but I will choose God.  I'm tired of the circles.  They stink.

23The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.
Psalm 37:23-24

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Our family made the switch to online television a few years back.  It seemed like a great idea during a time when we needed to cut our bills as much as possible.  I think all of us (kids included) have enjoyed the switch...except when the Roku decides to quit working.  (For those of you not familiar with internet tv, a Roku is a device that allows the internet and your tv to talk so you see the picture on your tv.)  When it quits working usually the only thing that will fix it is to completely unplug it, wait a few minutes, and then plug it back up.  Then it works beautifully!

This is what I've been doing for the past 2+ weeks.  I've unplugged myself.  See, I was plugged into food.  Sounds weird, I know...but let me explain.  Maybe you can relate?  See food had me.  I may have gone to the grocery store and said  that I got some food, but the truth is that the food had gotten me.  It was like I couldn't resist as much as I might have wanted to.  (And honestly, sometimes I didn't even want to resist.)    I just thought it was a bad habit...nothing to be concerned about because most people I knew seemed to share the same opinion of food.  However God had a different idea.  He started letting me see that since food had me, that it was an idol.  It was taking the place of God in my life.  

I know!  I thought the same thing - that's ridiculous.  It's really not that serious.  It's just food.  The problem wasn't just food.  It was my go-to.  It was my comfort when I was sad, tired, or angry.  It was my hope when I was bored or frustrated.  It was my god.  It was painful but God showed me this fact...slowly.  I don't think I could've or would've accepted the idea if he didn't gradually let me absorb this fact.  It just sounds ludicrous.  But one thing you can always count on with God is that he's always right.  Like it or not :-)  

So...he was right.  It was an idol.  Thankfully I say it was.  God showed me how to unplug myself...much like I have to do with our Roku when it stops working.  I unplugged and stopped eating my comfort foods cold turkey.  It was hard at first, but thanks to some support from my hubby who did this with me, it has been a huge success.  I'm still in the baby stages, because I've only been eating this way for 2.5 weeks, but there is hope.  God has given me the strength to do this when I KNOW I couldn't do it on my own strength.  The best part is that God has allowed me to see how much better things work when I follow his plan.  My body is much happier, and I'm finally starting to lose weight (although that wasn't my goal.)  

I'm writing about this and telling you my somewhat embarrassing confession to ask you what you've put in front of God.  Ask him if you don't know.  He'll tell you...and then he'll give you a plan and strength to carry out that plan.  He's pretty amazing you know.  He loves us and wants the best for us. He always has.  And always will.  

"...give us today our daily bread."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Romans 8:31-39 

The Message (MSG)
31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
(taken from

Dear God, I love your truths.  The truths like this, that you can really grasp and hang onto for dear life when the going gets rough.  There's nothing that can come between me and you.  Nothing.  Even if my kids are the ones screaming at the grocery store, pulling things off the shelf, you won't disown me.  Even if I am late.  Again.  For the 100th time.  You won't take your love from me.  Even if the ones I care about most on this Earth throw hateful, tearing insults at me, you won't join in.  No, you'll be there for me, to pick me up...and wrap me in your arms...and whisper that you'll never leave me.  
It brings me to tears...this kind of love.  I love my children more than anyone except my husband and even with them sometimes I hesitate.  I hate to admit it, but I do.  When they've made me so mad I can't see straight, I hesitate when I have to tell them it's ok, that I forgive them...because I just want to wrap myself in my anger and stay there for some weird reason.  I hesitate to give them that hug they are asking me for when they are covered from head to toe in dirt and something that's blue and sticky...because I don't want to get dirty.  Yet, the sin that covered me was so much worse to you than dirt, and you didn't hesitate.  You embraced me...even in my condition.  You embraced me and gave your most precious possession to us.  
Keep this at the front of my mind always.  Remind me what I was covered in before your embrace.  Remind me what I could do for myself (nothing) before you.  Remind me what you did for me.  I am so humbled by you and your love...and your faithfulness...and your mercy.  Remind me of these things when pride is rising up inside me.  Remind me of these things when I think I've got much to busy of a day to spend any time with you.  (What in the world??!)  Remind me of these things when I feel I'm better than someone else.  (We were both your dirty, sticky, nasty kids before your embrace covered us.)  
I love you so much Lord, but I have so much to learn.  Teach me.  Thank you that you won't give up on me.  I ask you for these things in your son's name.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More Than We Can Handle

You've heard it before, I know you have...especially if you live in the south.  It's one of those things people say to each other that's supposed to make you feel better.  It's said with good intentions, but it's not true.  In fact it's absolute crap.

I've heard it from friends, from random people in the grocery store when they see the packages overflowing from my cart and my three children in tow, and most recently I even heard it from my doctor.  "God doesn't give you more than you can handle."

It's just not true people.  Don't believe the hype.  If it was true, then man...I'd feel like an absolute failure more days than not.  At this point in time I'm finishing up a season in my life where I have three children at home with me (5, 3, and 5 mos), I work 31 hrs a week (at home....somehow), and I'm still responsible for the household business (meals, grocery shopping, bills, cleaning, get the idea).  Add onto that the most recent development of getting our house ready to sell and trying to keep it spotless for house showings.  I don't know if you are superman/woman...but I am most definitely not.  And if, at any point in time I might have thought I was...this present season of life that I described above would have convinced me otherwise. The truth is it's more than I can handle most days.

Don't get me wrong...I live a very blessed life with an amazing, godly husband, three healthy children, and caring friends and family to do life with.  So, i'm not saying that I'm miserable.  However, most days things are DEFINITELY more than I could handle. It's just the facts.

Forget my life and look at examples in the Bible...
Moses - He was given the task of leading God's people out of slavery in Egypt.  He was the one who led the people through the Red Sea.  More than he could handle?  I'd guess yes.  In fact...we don't have to guess.  Re-read the story and you'll see that when God first tells him his assignment, he tells God that the assignment is too much for him.

Daniel - Remember the scary sleepover with the lions?  Yep, Daniel was the one who did that.  Or was he?  I'm pretty sure Daniel wasn't the muscles behind that miracle...and I'm also certain it was more than he could handle.  (If I think three hungry kids are too much...what about three hungry lions...yeahhhhh, I'll pass!)

David - He killed the giant with the rock.  Or did he?  Again, I'm guessing the situation was a little more than kid-version David could handle.  Maybe David isn't the one who deserves the credit...

We could go on and on with examples from the Bible, and probably examples from your life and mine...or people we know.  Enter Jesus.  Before Jesus we were under the law, meaning we had to keep all of God's laws and commandments in order to spend eternity in heaven and not in hell.  Too much to handle?  Ummm, yes!  No one....let me repeat one could keep the law.  God knew that and he had compassion on us because of his great mercy and love.  God is a rescuer.  He always has been and always will be.  So he sent Jesus.  Fully man and fully god - the only who could fulfill the law and save us from a situation that was too much for us to handle.

In the message version of Matthew 19:26, Jesus says this to a man who thinks he's got the situation under control:

"Jesus looked hard at them and said, 'No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself.  Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.'"

There you have it folks.  Jesus has laid to rest this cultural lie that claims 'God doesn't give you more than you can handle'.  It's simply not true.  We DO end up with more than we can handle.  Sometimes we do it to ourselves, but other times it happens regardless of what we do.  (Side note - I think people get this mixed up with the verse that says God won't tempt us beyond what we can bear, in 1 Cor 10:13)  But the best news is...
                         ready for it?.....

God can handle it.

He's got it.

No problem or circumstance is too much for him.

He wants us to come to him.  He wants us to ask for help.  He's telling me and you to quit trying to be superwoman or superman and instead ask him to rescue us in the midst of our situation that is too much to handle...and then watch for God to do his thing.  Because he will.  He always does.  Because he loves us.