20,000 Words

Did you know that the average woman speaks about 20,000 words a day? (Not a scientific statistic.)  Well they clearly have never met Livi.  She most definitely speaks minimum 40,000 a day!!  But, if we’re being truly honest, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  One of the things on my “must work on myself in this area” list is to be quiet more, i.e. shut up Lindsay.  Writing doesn’t count does it!? *Insert winking smiley face here*

It’s funny how we are each communicating all day long.  Sometimes on social media, sometimes over email, other times in our own head, and even more often verbally.  We often hear about reflective listening skills and it’s importance in the transmittal and receipt of communication.  When someone is expressing something to you, you demonstrate active listening by stating “What I heard you say is [blank].”  We also know that before we fire back with our first instinctive response we take a deep breath, process the information we just received, and then craft a response from a place of grace-giving love rather than hurt-filled anger.

What we sometimes forget to realize is we are constantly transmitting communication with our Savior as well.  When we are too busy to have our quiet time.  When we cuss at the driver that just cut us off.  When we go to bed and realize we completely forgot to pray all day.  Or even when we look in the mirror and all we see is flaws and imperfections.  All of it is communicating loud and clear to our Lord and Savior.

What are you communicating to God today?  How are you communicating with God?  We are all broken messes, and we will forever have areas in which we can improve.  God loves you, he loves me, and he wants us to live in the freedom that the saving grace of Jesus Christ brings.  In a relationship with Christ, we can be messy and be forgiven.  We can know the true meaning of unconditional love.  Take this grace, take this freedom, and run with it my friend.  Love others, love yourself and most of all, love Christ.

Ephesians 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Psalm 17:6 – I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Christmas In August

So the first Christmas catalog arrived in the mail yesterday!  You know the kind that has all the random stuff that would make great gifts for all the random people in your world?  As I casually flipped through a few pages I found myself thinking of people, like “oh, my sister would love that” and “oh, this would be perfect for our neighbor from two years ago.”  The excitement of bringing joy to others is contagious.  The more I flipped through the catalog the more I wanted to buy and the more I imagined joy on peoples faces when they opened their gifts.  It was a beautiful daydream (I was good and didn’t immediately place an order for half the catalog).

If giving gifts at Christmas brings us so much joy, imagine how much joy Christ must have when he gives us gifts.  Every moment of every day we are receiving various gifts from God.  Whether it be an encouraging word from a friend, the ability to get up out of bed, or a hug from a loved one, each moment is a gift.

The smile on God’s face and the love in his heart when he carefully crafted each moment of your life is beyond our ability to imagine.  He loved you so much that he flipped through the catalog of creation and hand picked each and every moment to gift to you in life.  Nothing was done by chance.  Everything is good, even the bad messy times, because you are loved and cherished by your creator.

Stop to see the gifts around you today.  Look at the gifts that were given to you by God and lift up prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings you have been given.  Thank God for his love and his heart of giving.  You are cherished beyond measure.  By his grace you can receive everlasting life.

James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.

Nehemiah 9:6 – You alone are the Lord.  You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them,  You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before you.

Revelation 4:11 – Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and because of your will they existed, and were created.

1 Timothy 4:4 – For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;

Psalm 148:2-5 – Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!  Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!  Praise Him, highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens!  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.

John 3:17 – For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

 

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Cuddle Time

A father is a girl’s best friend. He is the one she runs to in times of trouble. When she is stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, he is the one she calls for help. Dads make the best playmates too. They always have way cooler ideas than mom.  Every little girl dreams of marrying her daddy. (Livi is convinced she is going to marry Reed when she grows up.) Fathers are our protectors. We know they will always be by our side.  No matter what age you are, you are never too old to crawl up in your daddy’s lap to cry, laugh and just cuddle.

Not everyone has Mr. Wonderful for a father, though.  This world is broken, and so many fathers are broken too.  It’s hard to fathom a God who is always there for us, worthy of love and trust and praise when the only example of a father we’ve ever known has let us down time and time again.  Addy’s heart gets broken into a thousand pieces every day.  As a mom, you grieve for your child’s pain and you grieve for their loss of fullness of life.  It’s hard to imagine a father who is present, engaged and tenderly loving when you’ve never had one before. 

Stop and think for a moment about what the perfect daddy would look like.  Not necessarily the father that you had, or even the one that you wished for, but the perfect daddy filled with love, compassion, understanding, joy, grace and mercy.  Think about his smile and the love that would shine from it.  Think about the sound of his voice saying “come here my sweet, sweet child.”  Imagine his arms, wrapped around you as you lay your head on his shoulder.  Take a deep breath and feel the security and warmth that comes from his arms.  Hug him tightly and snuggle deep into his lap.  Tell him your heart, tell him your fears, tell him your insecurities.  Pour out everything while you look up into his eyes feeling the love that is being poured into you.

That is our relationship with God.  He is our good, good father.  Run to him in your times of trouble.  Run to him in your times of joy.  Run to him in your times of sorrow.  God wants nothing more than for you to crawl up in his lap and cuddle with him every day.  If you ever have trouble praying, just close your eyes and imagine cuddling with God.  Then let your heart lead as you look into your father’s eyes.

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 119:76 – May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

Psalm 9:9 – The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

2 Corinthians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.

Psalm 116:1-2 – I love the Lord, for he heard my voice, he heard my call for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

 

Super Girl!

Duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh Super-Girl!  (Batman theme song modified for Livi.)  That child is something else.  Her personality is effervescent and fills whatever room she walks into before she ever opens her mouth.  She is all girl with her sparkle skirts, voluminous amounts of jewelry and funky colored nail polish, yet she also likes Lego Batman and Ninja Turtles.  For a recent school project the kids were to make cars out of cardboard boxes and take them to school for a “drive-in” movie.  Her car was a Batmobile painted in Rainbow Dash colors.  That is Livi.  She is Super Girl!

We are each Super Girl in our own way.  We balance kids, work, relationships, marriage, home maintenance, errands, cooking, and so much more.  We take so much onto our plates that there is little room left over for ourselves.  There’s little room left for God.

Today you have permission to take off your Super Girl cape.  Give yourself grace to not check all the boxes, to not get it all right the first time, to not be everyone’s everything.  Be messy today.  Instead of doing your makeup, take that time to have a cup of coffee reading your Bible.  Instead of cooking dinner, serve cereal and use those extra minutes to do a devotional.  Skip the bath with the kids and take those minutes to pray with your spouse.  Those extra few minutes you spend in the Word will refill your Super Girl tank for the days to come.

1 Chronicles 16:11 – See the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Psalm 143:8 – Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 16:8 – I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Forgotten People

Who are the forgotten people in your world?  Who are the people that you look past each day, the people who you don’t see?  Maybe it’s an elderly relative in the nursing home, or a coworker that you’ve never really talked to.  It could even be your next door neighbor.  We each have forgotten people in our lives.

Life is busy and life is full.  Too full.  Between home maintenance, job, kids (fur babies count!), relationships, church, God, and on and on, the list never ends.  There’s never time for Me much less anything additional.  But in the busyness, sometimes we don’t stop and look around us.  Who are the people surrounding us in our busyness that are lost, hurting, lonely, and needy?

Those people need someone who will take the time to stop and love them.  Stop and fill not only their earthly need, but also their heavenly need.  Maybe that means having your kids do an art project (checking the ‘mom box’) and delivering the artwork to the nursing home one morning.  Or maybe that means baking some cookies and delivering it to your neighbor.  It could look like you inviting your coworker to lunch.  Write down your favorite Bible verse on a scrap of paper and hand it to the homeless man with a five dollar bill.  Stay late after Bible study one night to hear the heart of a woman in your group.

There will always be hurting people in this world.  It’s not our job to fix them or solve their problems.  But it is our job to see them, to love them, and to share Christ’s love with them.  Look around you.  Look at the hurting people that you see.  Pick one, just one, and love on them today.  Then in a few days pick another and love on them.  Keep loving on people as Christ calls you for His will, for His purpose and for His glory in your life.

Hebrews 13:16 – And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Matthew 5:42 – Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Philippians 2:4 0 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Matthew 5:4-10 says “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

 

Can You Let God Know?

Do you ever hold back from God?  Like you’re praying one set of words while in the back of your mind thinking another?  Or maybe you don’t pray because you don’t want to have to talk to God about it?  Sometimes being afraid to tell God because you know in your gut if you tell him about it he’s going to do something about it, and that’s totally not what you want?

Recently I was writing an email on my phone.  No clue what it was about but my brain was telling my fingers to type “can you let the client know” however my fingers actually typed “can you let the God know.”  Its funny how a few small words make you stop and think.  Can I, Lindsay, let God know?  Can I honestly stop right here right now and tell God about it?  If we’re going to be honest, maybe the answer is no, sometimes I don’t feel like I can.  I’d love to say “yes, I always turn everything over to God right away” but that’s not the honest truth.  I want to be in control.  I want to know how I feel about it before I let someone else take the situation away from me.  I want to appear to be good and righteous, not broken and sinful.

Those few small words, that small little one word typo, changed my day; changed my week.  That one small action allowed God to break through in my heart and reveal an area that I needed to grow in.  An area that I needed to turn over to Him, to surrender to Him.

Today I want to challenge you, can you let God know?  Do you let him in to those scary, lonely places in your heart?  Look for Him in the small ways and in the small moments today.  Let God in, let Him take the lead.  The love and mercy that you receive will change not only you but those around you.

John 11:13-15 – Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins – even those you do in secret.  Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Psalms 51:1 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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Bent Pages

Recently a chunk of pages in my bible got bent.  It was in my bag, pages side up, and stuff was put on top of it which bent a bunch of pages.  The ugly kind of bent, not the pretty “I use my bible a lot” kind of bent.  Like right down the middle of the pages big ‘ol chunk bent.  I hate ugly bent pages.  Maybe it’s just my neuroticness (is that a word?) but it makes it look less valued, less desirable, less perfect, in my mind.

I’ve tried to make the pages flat again by setting heavy books on top of it for a few days.  Didn’t work, still looks all bent up.  I thought about the clothes steamer (and the iron) but was worried the pages would disintegrate from the water and heat.  My pages will never be the same again.  The chunk in the middle will always have the appearance of folds and bends and messiness.

My life is full of bent pages too.  Bad decisions, permanent consequences.  Lots of messiness.  Failures.  I tried so long to flatten the folds in my life.  Hide them, cover them up, pretend they didn’t exist.  Overcompensate because of my guilt, my shame, my fear.  It was a failure.  I wasn’t a failure, but my cover up, “I don’t want to admit my failures” was a failure.

Today I stand before you free.  Free from the guilt of divorce.  Free from the shame of a child out of wedlock.  Free of fear of what others think of me.  God set me free.  He gave me hope in a new life.  He gave me joy in his everlasting love.  He gave me mercy in salvation through Jesus Christ his son who died on the cross for me.  He gives me grace in His daily blessings in my life.

You can have the same freedom, the same grace, hope, love, joy, mercy.  Turn the pain over to God.  Literally hand it over to him.  Fall down at his feet and surrender all.  Your pages will never be unbent but they will be made perfect in their imperfection.

2 Corinthians 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 3:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Chris has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Acts 13:38-39 – Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.