Category Archives: Faith

What a 3-month-old baby taught me about bathroom politics.

Lately, it feels like controversy is constantly all up in my face. So. much. input. Social media, blogs, articles, posts, comments. Everyone has an opinion. I end up feeling like I ought to have a “stance” on everything. And, if I’m honest, as a Christian it feels even MORE like I should have this stuff figured out. (Whatever “this stuff” means this week.)

“Where do YOU stand on this issue?”

Ummm? Honestly, I can’t even explain the dinosaurs. Can someone help a sister out? Because whether it’s dinosaurs or bathroom policies, there must be an actual “right” answer! Right?

But how can so many people have so many different right answers?

And on top of THAT, how can two people who both love God, walk with Jesus, and even study His Word – end up on different sides of the same issue?

I’m exhausted.

My brain needs a break. My answer-finder, stance-determiner, stand-maker needs a rest. Because even if I think I understand what’s “right” or “wrong,” somehow I can still do what is right in the wrong way.

So, I’m calling a timeout.

Have we considered – or maybe we’ve just forgotten – that we aren’t supposed to have it all figured out?

Psalm 131 says, “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful to me. [“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DINOSAURS!?!”] But I have calmed and quieted myself. I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”

Lately, it feels like controversy is constantly all up in my face. Between articles, posts, and comments — there is so. much. input. On EVERYTHING. And then it feels like I should have a “stance” on everything too. But what if I just DON’T KNOW. Then what? Thankfully, I got my answer from my friend’s baby. Not kidding. Maybe it will help you too.Okay, not to nitpick, but, why a weaned child? Why not just any child? Don’t you imagine any child in its mother’s arms as sweet and and at rest?

Well, if you ask a nursing mother, the answer is NOPE.

Just yesterday, I watched my friend Amy hand over her almost-3-month-old son to her husband at bedtime. “Please, you take him. He settles down better with you. He just thinks of me as the food source.”

And it’s true, right? A nursing child, when cradled near his mother’s breast, is constantly looking for an answer to his hunger. It’s difficult for him to truly rest in her arms. My own children would never rest when I cradled them near my chest because they would instantly – whether instinctively or habitually – begin rooting for milk, restlessly looking for something from me.

Is that how I spend my time with God? Constantly seeking answers, understanding, or revelation? More, more, more?

Or can I simply rest in His presence? Can I stop this perpetual rooting for answers or whatever, and be content to be held?

Can I trust He knows what I need, and will provide it at the right time?

There is so much – some old (AGAIN, DINOSAURS.), some new (BAAAAATHROOOOOOMS) – just  so much I just DON’T KNOW. Yes, I’m a Christian. And no, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what’s best. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

But here’s what I DO know.

God is good.

God loves us. (All of us.)

We’re not perfect. (None of us.)

This separates us from God. (All of us.)

But, God doesn’t want even one of us to remain separated from Him. (None of us!)

So, Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin and give us access to God. (All of us!)

But, God will not force anyone to love Him. (None. None of us.)

So, we each have the opportunity to accept and receive this gift of salvation through Jesus. We have a choice. (All. of. us.)

For me, I have chosen to accept this gift from Jesus – the gift of Jesus. I’m different because of Him. In every way that is good, I am different because of His presence in my life. And I could spend the rest of my life trying to put into words who He is and all He’s done. I probably will, actually.

And in the meantime, I’m sure I will keep asking for wisdom and clarity and understanding. That is not all bad. There will be answers to find and stances to take and stands to make.

But when I don’t understand, when I don’t know the answers, may I release the quest to know more, and rest in the invitation to know Him. And by knowing Him, I believe even the way I walk through my “not knowing” will be better, truer, holier, and more loving – more like Him.

 

Lent for the rest of us: 2016 (Free printable reading plan!)

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is on February 10 this year, and leads us to Easter on March 27. Are you familiar with Lent?

I used to get super stressed about this season. Lent. This 40-day journey leading up to Easter… a time to prepare our hearts for Jesus… all He is and all He’s done. (No pressure, right!?)

There are many ways to engage in the Lenten season – prayer, fasting, simplistic living – all with the aim of drawing closer to God. In the past, I leaned toward the Downward Spiral route into “how can I possibly prepare my heart (AND my children’s hearts!!!) to even REMOTELY grasp what Easter really means.” And, being a recovering perfectionist, I can still easily fall into the “All or Nothing” trap. (I can’t do it ALL, so I’ll do NOTHING.) (So healthy, I know.)

This is a simple, meaningful tradition to begin with your children for the season of Lent, leading up to Easter! Enjoy this free printable reading plan!But two years ago, I began a simple new tradition with my children for these weeks leading up to Easter: we read The Jesus Storybook Bible from the very beginning through the Resurrection story. One chapter a day, for each day of Lent.

(If you’re doing the math, don’t despair — the 40 days excludes Sundays — so yes, there are actually more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.)

And you guys – reading this together has been so powerful. (Even if you don’t have children, please get a copy and read it anyway. I promise you’ll be glad you did. I get at least as much out of it as my kids.)

“But Lent and Easter are about JESUS. Why would you start all the way back at the BEGINNING of the Bible? Doesn’t Jesus show up much later?”

I’m so glad you asked!

Did you know that the entire Bible points to Jesus? All the way back to the beginning. As The Jesus Storybook Bible says: “Every story whispers His name.” Where better to start than the beginning?

To help you stay on track with which chapter you’re on, I’ve put together a new 2016 Lent Reading Plan. (And bonus – if you fold it in half lengthwise, it makes a great bookmark!) Click here or on the image below to download the FREE printable file!

Don’t have a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible yet? You can click here to purchase a copy on Amazon. Order quick and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the reading! 🙂

What do you think of this idea? What does your family do to prepare for and celebrate Easter? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

This is a simple, meaningful tradition to begin with your children for the season of Lent, leading up to Easter! Enjoy this free printable reading plan!

Click to open free printable!

 

When you can’t find Jesus.

"What if I can't find Jesus, mama?" The answer that came was for both of us. Maybe it's for you, too.“Mama, what happens when we die?”

She snuggled in close, 6-year-old daughter of mine, worried sick that night about tornadoes and the world and big scary things.

“We go to heaven to be with Jesus, baby.”

Her head cradled in the crook of my arm, eyes turned up toward me, wide and worried, “But what if I die and you don’t? What if I can’t find Jesus, Mama?”

Arms enfold in a fierce embrace. The tears now mine. “Oh, honey. Sweet baby girl.

Jesus finds YOU.”

And He does, doesn’t He? And not just then, but here and now.

Where are you? Have you been looking for Him? Are you wondering? Wandering?

He WANTS to be in relationship with you, you know. He WANTS to be found by you.

DO you know this?

Do you ever feel like you’re looking for Jesus and you can’t find Him? Or worse, that He’s intentionally hiding from you?

This is not my Jesus. This is not the Jesus of the Bible.

The Jesus of my Bible wants to be found by you. The Jesus of my Bible is not waiting for you to get yourself figured out or get Him figured out or attain some height of revelation or depth of understanding.

The Jesus of my Bible simply says, “Come.”

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Tell Him you want to know Him, you want to find Him – take that first step, and see that He’s already taken all the other steps.

Seek Him, and discover He has already sought you.

And you are found.

James 4-8