Love notes

"Mom, will you write me another love note?" the boisterous one asks. Penned words of love, endearment and appreciation from those dearest to us are treasures. Just this last week, tucked away in my near 20-year-old, binding falling apart NIV Study Bible, I found a Valentine card from the engineer. We were 17 and 18 years-young, infatuated and in "love."
Happy Valentine's Day Becky!!!! For the most wonderful girl in the world!!! Becky, I love you so much!!!! You are my best friend and I just want to thank you for always being there for me. You are very special to me!!
Honestly, it kinda cut me. At odds a majority of the time, I hardly consider him my best friend. But to think back on those days…those Fridays when I couldn't wait to spend the night with him. It didn't matter what we did; I just wanted to be with him. And now, I spend every night in the same bed with him, nearly every dinner and weekend with him. There's little novelty left.
This is how I used to feel about God's Word. Oh, I've read this before. But since God's really gotten my attention, since I've decided to follow him whole-heartedly, every day there is newness in God's Word. And every situation I encounter reveals more of His Word and His truths to me. Each morning I ask Him, God what is it you want to teach or tell me? When I am experiencing life (whether it is dirty socks all over the house, dew drops clinging to the bare tree branches or the rain clouds rolling back to reveal a gorgeous sunrise), He reveals to me an applicable spiritual truth.
I am so convicted. How pathetic that I don't look at my marriage with new eyes. Ahg! I feel defeated and clueless as to how to change. And then, in God's foreknowledge, the old Valentine Card saved in my Bible is tucked in James, chapter 1.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whether you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does (vv. 1-7).
I am tempted to throw my hands up and say, Whatever, I give up! I lack wisdom in knowing how to look at my marriage with continual newness. It's seems simple: ask + no doubt that His way is the best way = His answer.
James ends this passage explaining a "double-minded" man. The New Living Translation says, "their loyalty is divided between God and the world." I can't look right and left at the same time and I can't look at the world's (or my) "wisdom" and God's wisdom at the same time. If I ask God for a solution while having my own idea of what will work, it will be my idea implemented, not His and it will fail. I have to be all in: I must believe His solution will be successful and fix my attention on His way.
And like the dew drops clinging to the tree branches in the morning sunshine, I will cling to Jesus while He reveals the how. How much energy that little drop uses to cling to the branch? If it looks the opposite way (down) it's going to fall. If I fail to give God my full attention, I will fall to the world.
Like the clouds that rolled back for the gorgeous sunrise, this season of dullness will disappear too. And as for those dirty socks? Well, those golden heads won't be here forever: love the now. Love the engineer now.
What do you need to look at with new eyes? Maybe your marriage is great and you want newness is reading God's Word. How will you do it? Work? Kids? Will you choose to ask the Lord for wisdom in the how? I humbly ask for prayers of those reading this: that I would see my husband through new eyes, fix my attention on God's idea and love the now. 


Sometimes I have an Ah, duh! moments. And I've been thinking for the last four days, I need to claim the power available to me because Christ lives in me. The process has seemed so elusive to me.
"I also pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great God's power is to help those who believe him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in heaven." Ephesians 1:19-20, TLB
Overwhelmed would well describe the past few weeks for me. So much to shuffle, struggling to manage my time and priorities, tired physically and emotionally of parenting, selfishly wanting time for myself (which one would think is crazy since all the golden heads are in school now and I have the entire school day quiet) and wrestling with connection and communication with the engineer. I haven't quite figured out what to do with myself. I know Jesus holds the answer but how?
As I was preparing to teach on Paul's letter to the Corinthians, I became convicted of needing to take hold of the power available to me. It's like the Starbucks gift card in my wallet that I'm saving for "special occasions," so it remains unused. I have this power "card", but like my Starbucks card, I'm saving it for when I "really" need it. Ah, duh, I need it now. I need it every day. And unlike a gift card, God's power never runs out. God keeps reloading the card.
Lying in bed in the middle of the night, my mind goes full circle. Months ago, I learned and committed to memory: God as my loving Father will meet all my needs, all my physical needs and my need for purpose, peace and power. And He can meet those needs when the  Holy Spirit is ruling my lifeAh, duh, I knew that! I couldn't sleep anymore. Power, power, power kept flashing through my mind. While the sky lightened, I picked up Mark chapter two and power keep surfacing: power to heal, power to witness to the unsaved, power to be Lord of all.
"For the kingdom of God (Christ within me)…is living by power!" 1 Corinthians 4:20
How? I need a plan. To steel the one-liner from the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together." So what is my plan? My plan includes

  1. Self-talk: In my moments of temptation, trial and weakness, I need to tell myself, "I am empowered by the Holy Spirit and that is more than enough power to make it through ___." 
  2. Taking a deep breath, confessing my mess-up and choosing to do the opposite. 
  3. Praying for the one who's driving me nuts. 

If I choose to use it: kaboom! His power will always comes through for me.
So what's your plan? How do you remind yourself to claim the unlimited, unending power available to you?


"Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:17
 The ESV adds become in its translation, indicating an future process of change or growing. The disciples weren't yet fishers of men, but would be transformed into what Jesus' will was for them and Jesus would do the work (I will make). Jesus did the fashioning, molding or transforming in his disciples in New Testament times and is molding you and me now if we follow him. Our action of following comes first.
And immediately Jesus left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. Mark 10:29-31
Simon had a mother-in-law, so we infer that he was married. Simon left more that just his nets, to follow Jesus; he left his family for a time (or maybe his family followed Jesus and his disciples.) This rocked me. If Jesus calls the engineer to do a completely time-consuming ministry in which Jesus would work through him and the engineer had to leave our family for days and weeks to become what Jesus intends, I would have a really hard time accepting God's will. I have always held tightly to keeping family before or above ministry on the priority list. This revelation of family in Scripture reminds me to hold loosely. However, I am comforted: Jesus showed up at Simon's house and healed Simon's mother-in-law. Jesus cares about families and will take care of them, providing for all their needs. I'm sure he'd do this even if Jesus hadn't physically walked into the home. He is an omnipresent God. I wonder what the perspective would be from Simon's wife. How many stories would she have of how God provided, cared and healed their family while she was "holding down the fort" during Simon's following?
A day after my pondering, the blue Jays moved in. In my office, I look out a window overlooking the boisterous one's rainbow flower garden. At first I noticed just one blue jay, then realized it was a whole flock. I had never noticed a blue jay in my yard prior to this, so it really grabbed my attention. I wondered why they had moved in and then I recalled the sunflowers she had planted. Food: the blue jays were after the sunflower seeds. Remember that movie, Field of Dreams and that famous voice in the corn field: "If you build it, they will come," ? Suddenly in my head is the phrase, "If you feed them, they will come."
Mark chapter one: fishers of men. If you feed them (literally as Jesus did feed the 5000+ and then 4000+ and figuratively feeding spiritually), they will come. Read through any gospel account, people flocked to him! When they follow, God's Word and Holy Spirit will do the work to transform them.
In the middle of preparing my teaching on 1 Corinthians 3, I see the parallel. Our class membership attendance has fallen from last year. But if follow (and leave my nets) he will make me become fisher of men. And if I feed them, they will come.
Since my calling, I've had the hardest time leaving my nets: my family. Just a day prior, the boisterous one ran off the school bus and asked, "You're coming to my fall walk, aren't you?" In fact, I had not volunteered for this field trip. Intentionally, this was an act of leaving my net. And even now as I work on my teaching, watching the blue jays, her look of devastation rips my heart in two. I know I'm called to teach right now but I'm feeling guilting about "leaving" my family. Knowing I'm following Him, I press on in my study and preparation.
A while later, I indulge in the last piece of Dove dark chocolate from Valentine's Day. (It is fall but, chocolate keeps, right?) I don't believe in horoscopes but I do believe God speaks to us in sometimes bizarre ways. Inside the chocolate foil is a message: "You are exactly where you are suppose to be." Not on a field trip, but parked in God's Word preparing for teaching. So I resolve to do the work God has called me to for this season and allow him to provide and care for my family as I follow.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 4:10
You have a mission you are called to for Christ. What is your "net" right now? Practice flexing your trust muscles and leave your "net" to walk following Him.