Love is Irresistible.

IMG_5835 I had the ultimate joy and privilege to spend 9 days in a country very different than my own.  I had a conversation with my children before I left and asked them, “Why is Mommy traveling to Honduras?” They couldn’t quite answer, so I responded with – God asked me to go, and I said, yes.  I wanted them to know I was clear, I had peace, and when Mom has peace, children seem to have peace.  Funny how that works.

There are so many stories to share from this trip.  As a few of us shared one last meal in the airport during our layover, I asked, “What will you say when people ask you, how was your trip?”  In popcorn fashion I heard, “life-changing” “powerful” “transforming” “new perspective”.  And I would have to agree.  Such a strange notion to feel so at home in a place so far away.  I heard mention the talk of “family” there and in a way only God can bond, I can say I have familia in Honduras.

As the Lord leads, I’d love to take a few moments to share stories as my transitioning brain will allow.  We had the opportunity to each share our story, or testimony, to one another, and over and over again, His redemptive power spoke truth – His story, His love is irresistible.  He gave His life so that we may live, may we feel encouraged and inspired to do the same in sharing His story with those we encounter.

My story today is a personal one.  It took place on an ordinary Saturday, at an ordinary time, in an ordinary way.  Our weekly routine had been to eat breakfast, share devotions, and head out to our project for the day.  This day, however, we were headed to the beach!  So, dressed in swim suits, cover ups, and flip flops, we gathered our belongings to head for the bus.  Before boarding, one of our teammates announced that they were going to deliver 2 beds that were made the day before in the village of Casa Hogar Vida where we were staying.  I was visiting the prison the day the beds were made, but I felt compelled to simply help deliver them – I’m in!

IMG_5718Grabbing the front end of one of the beds, we began the trek.  At first, we walked on soft grass, then we hit a pebbled, uneven dirt road, then we turned a corner and headed down a more narrow, bumpy dirt road, we turned again and headed across a field with a foot-wide worn path, watching for mounds of fire ants, and dodging cow pies.  We slowly turned again and faced a patch of mud left from the evening’s rain.  No way around it, so through we trudged, praying our flips flops would suction to our feet and not the ground.  Soft, earthly mud oozed around our toes and splashed onto the backs of our legs.  Up a small hill we walked, and there before us were two humble dwellings.

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The first group entered the home in front, so my partner and I turned left to head into the other dwelling.  The entrance was not very tall nor very wide.  We turned the bed sideways, and very slowly entered the dwelling.  It was very quiet inside, the environment reminded me of a darkened cave as the only light came through the front entrance way.  In the corner, a small fire was burning, giving off the earthen smell and warmth of a cozy, serene environment.  A small table near the fireplace could be seen where breakfast tortillas were waiting to me made.  The only other element in the small space was a hammock strung from one corner to the other, using up the space.  Just then, something caught my eye.  In the middle of the hammock, was a sleeping child!  He had a dark mop-top-head of hair, he was laying on his back, and his lips were moving in a sucking action.  He mama had warmed him up with a gray, zipped up sweatshirt, and nothing else.  He was sound asleep, so peaceful looking.

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In a instant, I felt led to pray over this boy and for the plans the Lord had in store for him.  It was such an intimate moment, that I didn’t even dare touch his sweet head, but I came close.  His mama had been loving him and his Heavenly Father was tangibly reaching down now as well.  And then we noticed we needed to move the bed so that it would fit into the small space next to the entrance way.  This sweet one was right in the center.  And then I knew, he needed to be moved.

I gently leaned forward, slowly nudged my two hands underneath his arms, and oh-so-carefully picked him up.  Two dark-brown, round eyes popped open wide and he tried to focus on his surroundings.  So as not to frighten him, I moved him close to my shoulder and wrapped my arm around him snuggly.  He quickly gave into his tiredness and nuzzled his head into my shoulder.  And I melted.  Completely.  It was as if I stepped onto Holy ground and was given a moment of sweet irresistible love in the form of small, precious child.  I again felt led to pray, and in a moment of instinctual motherhood, I began to sing over him.  The first song that came to mind… Jesus Loves Me.  And in that moment, no one else was in the room.  It was a moment of sweet intimacy with my Jesus, and in fact, it reminded me of how He so humbly came into the world… just for me.

And the sweet young Momma joined us, and in a language that goes beyond words, we gave what little we had – time, energy, and  effort to extend a moment of love by giving her something she’s never had before in her 15 years of life – a bed to sleep on.  And we said goodbye, and we walked back through the mud, past the cows pies, and through the ants, down the rocky road, and onto the smooth path that led us to our bus.  And off we went to the beach.

And yet, when I pause, I can still feel that sweet child relax in my arms, and press into the warmth and love of His Father, simply because one young woman decided to say yes.  I entered into an adventure of a lifetime.  And that adventure extends to each one of us each and every day.  If we only listen and act.  His arms are wide, His love is great, His love is irresistible.IMG_5800baby2

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Priorities.

WOFI read this today…. so. so. good.

Often women are overwhelmed by too many things to do (see Luke 10:40) because there are many good choices concerning how to apportion their time (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). To set priorities is to determine what is important to you and how your time is to be apportioned-that is, who and what will take precedence over other parts of life.

Scripture contains guidelines for God’s order:

  • Your personal relationship to Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:33; Philemon 3:8);
  • Your commitment to home and family-especially spouse and children (Genesis 2:24; Psalm 127:3; Ephesians 5:22,25; 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:2-5; 5:8; 1 Peter 3:7) and even to the extended family, as so beautifully portrayed in the relationship between Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17);
  • Your responsibility to employer and tasks assigned (see 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12); and
  • Your service to God through ministries in the church and involvement in the community (see Colossians 3:17).

Once you have these divinely appointed criteria in mind, you are ready to sort out the opportunities that come (Psalm 32:8) and move forward in the most effective and productive management of time and resources. A very practical way of accomplishing this is to list all the tasks before you, consider each prayerfully as to merit and timeliness (see Colossians 2:5), arrange them in order of importance, then proceed to do the most important things first (see 1 Corinthians 14:40).

To be consistent in your priorities, consider these admonitions:

  • Assign God first place (Matthew 6:33);
  • Consult with the Father regularly in your quiet time (Psalm 55:17; Luke 5:15-16);
  • Examine your own heart (Ecclesiastes 3:1);
  • Keep yourself spiritually fit (Isaiah 30:15).

Jesus met with the Father in intensive prayer and meditation to determine his priorities and to prepare himself for each day (see Luke 5:15-16).

Note also these cautions:

  • Put people before things (see 2 Corinthians 8:5).
  • Do not limit your investment in those you love and others who cross your path, to money and gifts.
  • Look for ways to invest yourself, your time, your energies.
  • Family must be more important than occupation since
    Scripture clearly states that there is no success if the family is lost (1 Timothy 3:5; 5:8; Titus 2:4-5).
  • Sometimes you must say no, as did even Jesus when some seemingly good requests for his time did not fit the overall plan for his ministry (Luke 4:42-43).

The underlying principle in determining priorities is always that spiritual values must overshadow worldly pursuits (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Life’s unexpected adventures…

theatre

Church in a movie theater?  Yep.  It works.  Why?  The building is not the important part, the people invite the presence of the Lord to meet them there, or they don’t.  And every Sunday, this place is full.  And I’m not just talking about the people.

My husband is currently on staff with Rock City Church.  People asks how he “likes” it.  Perhaps they even wonder as to how one takes that leap of faith in moving from Corporate America and entering into this world of work labeled “ministry”.  His answer, every time, is “I love it.”

Now, we all are aware that “love it” can take on a variety of meanings.  When asked, “How was that movie?”  “Love it.”  “How was that new restaurant?” “Love it.”  “What did you think about that new app?”  “Love it.”  I’m pretty sure the same connotation is not what Aaron is intending.

Let me tell you, from a wife’s perspective what I see…

I hear many words spoken at the dinner table.  These words are spoken with a fervor, some may say a passion, or words spoken passionately.  Topics range from dreams and visions, to tasks and processes.  Some words pertain to heart lessons, others are stated with a sense of awe and wonder as to the generosity of others.  Words are heard, and yet I see.

I see a purpose-driven life.  I see a sacrificial heart that continues to strive, not only in the daily tasks, but in ways to improve the future of ministry processes, big-picture stuff.  I see dedication to the mundane serving tasks.  I see a grateful heart, one that does not complain about time nor tasks.  I see a heart who is serving his Lord in His skill set.  I see a man who is happy.

And that is all I have ever wanted and/or prayed for my husband.

Is everything hearts and stars?  Dear Lord no.  Ministry is messy.  Just no way around it.  People are messy, therefore, anytime people meet together – mess.  Add in the ingredient of sharing the Lord’s message, you get a side of Satan.  And yet, my husband is happy.  And my heart is content.

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Yesterday, we celebrated.

Two years.

Hundreds of volunteers gathered to share and receive.

We ate, we took pictures, we shared stories, and vision was cast.

And I’m so proud to call Rock City my home.  Not because I’m a staff wife, simply because here,  I “get” to honor and glorify His name. I GET to join with fellow brothers and sisters, locking eyes on the mission of reaching the lost and the spiritually restless in Columbus Ohio with the message of Jesus.

He IS at work amongst this gathering of followers.  He alone receives all credit.  He has a purpose and a plan, and it will prevail.

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Pastor Chad will be starting a new series this Easter Sunday.  Perhaps you too have been wondering what God is really up to?  What is this day-to-day faith living really all about anyway?

One way I’m learning to live out this thing called faith is by simply doing the “next” thing.  After our big bash on Sunday, we began the process of cleaning up, and we  noticed that there were several trays of food left over.  Not wanting it to go to waste, we tossed around some ideas of what to do.  The Lord has connected Rock City with several community outreach organizations, so we had a conversation.  A decision was reached, I was given information as to the location, and we loaded up the mini-van.

Funny thing I’ve learned, this “next step” thing is often taken only one at a time.  The kids and I had a plan, this their first day of Spring Break.  And yet, we could not locate the destination, so we attended to an appointment, and I took a moment to recalculate.  Should we go back and try again?  Should we forget the trip all together?  Should we try another source and re-evaluate the error of our journey?  THIS, my friends, is the adventure of life with God.  When put to prayer, I knew.  Recalculate, see this thing out.

And so we did.  And we found our error.  But I knew this was really no error.  God’s timing was simply not yet revealed.  I had a sneaky suspicion a story would ensue.

We did, in fact, arrive at a church called St. Sophia.  It is a Greek-Orthodox church.  From the outside it appeared dated, and the size was humbly small in nature.  I knocked on the door, and the bark of a small dog could be heard.  Within a few minutes, a man emerged.  He was dressed in a black smock, black head covering with white, wavy hair protruding, and he was talking on a cell phone.  I smiled.  I waited.  He talked slowly and calmly with the person on the receiving end.  He did not appear rushed by my presence, and in fact, welcomed me in.

While waiting, I gazed around at the inside of the building. Surprising, it was beautifully ornate.  Several ornate portraits  hung with care, ornate moldings in gold lined the room separating it into two small areas.  I would guess that perhaps 30 people could be seated comfortable, and though it was neat and clean, the air smelled aged and stale.

He ended his phone conversation.  Apologized for the wait.  I introduced myself and stated my purpose.  Then he instructed me to pull around to the side where we could load our donation more easily.  Happy to oblige and to share my findings with three pairs of eager eyes staring out the van window, we relocated  and started to transport our meager wares.  As my son and I brought in the trays, I noticed two things:

My demeanor was unusually jittery, and my son’s demeanor was calm and collected.

Though he kept to the task, Austin’s spirit lingered a bit.  He was intrigued, perhaps a bit entranced by this strange new man.  He spoke kind words of gratitude, and that our “timing” was perfect.  He inquired as to my son’s name and engaged him in a bit of wordplay.  He spoke of the men that would gather as a consortium that evening and the following morning, discussing world issues and solving international catastrophes, all over our meager donations of bread and chicken.  He saw this banquet we were bringing as more than a meal, He saw it as a means to reach the “leftovers” of society with the provision of Jesus Christ.

And standing in this small basement room with square tables and folding chairs from the 50’s, I could barely breathe.  I wanted to stay. I wanted to leave.  I knew my heart was being pricked.  And as I drove away, I knew I would retell this story with a heart that burst with tears.  For today, I was given the privilege of standing in the presence of man who very much represented Jesus in the flesh.  I read in the Bible of those who pressed into Jesus just to be able to touch his robe, I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I did not feel worthy, even to pray a few words with him.

This man epitomizes the humble servant.  I can only imagine He has served the Lord for years.  He has very little in the eyes of the world.  His congregation is not doubling every week.  He is not know by thousands of people.  I’m guessing by the age of his flip-phone, he does not have too many twitter followers or facebook friends.  He may not even know where his own next meal will come from, and yet he possessed this inner peace that simply overtook my spirit, and drew my son’s in even closer.

Does he hold less value than the pastors leading mega-churches all across the world?

I would venture to say He holds more.  His purpose, though different than others, has a value that can’t be calculated.  For He is living out our greatest command:

Luke 10:27 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

THIS was the best part of the day.  Though only spending a few moments, my children witnessed a man who loves God. We will remember this for a long time to come.  Thank you Rock City for this opportunity.

What could happen in your day today?

Sitting here by the fire…

fireplaceMy husband has truly become a fire-making expert.  I truly love to sit in the evenings by the warmth of the flames.  Several times we’ve enjoyed a rented movie, other nights we find ourselves playing a family game or adding to our puzzle table, tonight I had a chance to grab a book, and I find myself reflecting a bit tonight…

snowIt’s been a wonderful Christmas vacation.  The ability to sleep in several morning is such a special treat, we’ve needed it.  Three winter sports have provided several activities, and yet Christmas Day we stayed in our pjs for the entire day.  And then snow!  What a great treat over this vacation time.  We’ve built snowmen and today chose some family sledding time!

ChristmasWe’ve hosted a family gathering time, enjoyed some skating around the roller rink, takin in a movie at the theater, and spent some Christmas money while shopping for special treasures.  We’ve drank lots of hot chocolate, enjoyed our chocolate fondue, and roasted marshmellows for smores in the fireplace.

But more than anything, I’m enjoying time to place some focus on simply cherishing the moments as they come.  I’ve sat with my son as he explores his new technology, asked questions and listened to answers as to who is “texting” what as new relationships develop, and I hear him giggle with his sister over bunk bed sleepovers.  I’ve joined our middle one in painting nails, and shopping for new boots, and setting up activities with friends.  She always remembering to thank me, to hug me, and even to apologize for times when she’s messed up.  I’ve snuggled with the youngest, and sang songs over puzzles, and listened to her retell all the funny parts of cherished movies.  And my heart is full.

And I watch my husband.  I listen to him share.  And I’m so thankful for a job that provides joy, and fulfillment, and satisfaction in taking pride in excellence for the Lord.  And I hear Him dream again.  And it’s music to my ears.

And I know that I know that I know that my heart is content in this family focus.  I’ve noticed how the stretching and the slight off-kilter of a full-time job has rocked my physical body and my spiritual soul.  I’ve needed a time to refocus.  I’m taking better note of what I feed my body.  I’m making sure that I’m looking for opportunities to release some endorphins.  And most importantly, I’m inviting the Lord into my life in perhaps ways in which I’ve slowly neglected Him before.  This sense of off-kilter is a great indicator, and I’m thankful to be able to take inventory.  I’ve realized that sometimes the Lord’s plans don’t include an instruction booklet or a pretty wrapped up bow on top.  Sometimes He simply asks me to trust and obey.

BibleAs another amazing year comes to a close, and I think back over the whirlwind of transitions, I am grateful and most proud of one constant – the word of God.  This marks my third consecutive year of reading through the Bible.  I’m not looking for a pat on the back, I’m simply amazed and grateful to the Lord for his patient endurance in loving me and extending grace daily.  This is my act of worship.  It grounds me.  I learn more and more every year.  Whether I grab time in the morning over breakfast, or grab it just before bedtime, this constant shows me one thing – I love to do it.  It’s no longer out of duty, or guilt, or shame, it’s out of love.  Can’t wait to start in Genesis all over again.

family photoFrom our family to yours, Happy New Year!!

One step at a time…

Been thinking about this concept in so many ways.

Life lived one step at a time.

We should be sure that each step we take leaves a footprint we want others to follow—Psalm 17:5

God orders our steps so that every step we take will be one that is pleasing to Him—Psalm 37:23

God’s word keeps us from taking a step on slippery ground—Psalm 37:31

Each step of obedience moves us into God’s prepared place—Psalm 40:2

We need to keep alert and follow the road signs that point our steps in the right direction—Psalm 119:133

Steps ordered by wisdom will keep us from sounding the distress signal—Proverbs 4:11-12

We don’t have to rush our steps. It is wise for us to consider and carefully weigh each step we take in the light of God’s word—Proverbs 14:15

Our steps can be clear and confident when we know they have been guided by
God’s wise direction—Proverbs 16:9

We are not asked to take big steps or small steps, but we are asked to make every step a step of faith—Romans 4:12

There is only one place we need to place our next foot step, and that is in the most recent footprint of Jesus—1 Peter 2:21

Jury Duty, wow…

Yep.  It was my turn. I received the noticed in the mail.  It listed all the reason that WERE NOT accepted as excuses.  Gave me directions to the Common Pleas Courthouse.  Told me to show up Monday, promptly at 8:00.

Well, show up I did – myself and 150 other registered voters of Franklin County.  After a show of hands, I’d say 95% of us were first timers.  None of us knew what to expect. All of us had switched previously scheduled appointments, left families, employment, and all other obligations to be here for our call of duty.

As I looked around at this “random” sampling of people, it fascinated me.  As I asked God to help me see people through His lens, it fascinated me even more.  It was no coincidence as to who I sat next to at any point of the week.  (Even the lady whose cough could be heard around the world). I didn’t feel the need to play a role, I simply started a conversation when I felt led, approached another when I felt so inclined, and even stole away for a few quiet moments when given an opportunity.  In all of the ins and outs, opportunity was available, a purpose was meant to be seen, and a lesson was meant to be sought and caught.

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Looking for an opportunity to attend?

Imagine what it would be like if the God who created us was willing and able to provide exactly what we need. Why would He do that? Because He loves us. He loves YOU. Imagine that.

Intrigued? Curious? Maybe a little thirsty for more?  I know I am!  Perhaps you’re ready for a little getaway?  May I highly recommend 2 days with Women of Faith.  Take a moment to click here to checkout the location nearest you.  Or perhaps, like me, you couldn’t attend the one nearest you, but would entertain the thought of looking to the ‘next nearest’ location.  The Lord opened up an opportunity for me to attend in Indianapolis.  Perhaps He has a similar opportunity for you as well.  You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a glimpse…

Pray about it.  Grab a buddy.  Allow the Lord to do a work.  He might just have am amazing blessing in store for you.

Thanks for this opportunity Women of Faith!

Happy Father's Day!

Tomorrow is an important day!  Sometimes I find myself doing a bit of some eye-rolling when it comes to yet the next “holiday” celebration.  Gift-giving is the lowest of my love-languages.  It can cause great turmoil for me as I want to be able to give a special gift, yet feel so lacking in the creative department.

I have, however, been given the blessing of a child who rates gift-giving at the top of her list.  She is just a flurry of excitement when it comes to celebrating, creating home-made items, and planning special surprises.  I’m just so thankful for her.  She inspires me. And, in honor of this very special day that arrives in the morning, I decided to join in her excitement.

You see, I was given a very special gift by this honoree just 4 days ago.  A gift given in honor of our wedding anniversary.  I am so thankful for this gift, for with it, I can speak the language of my boys – the language of technology, (and lots of pictures!)  I can’t spoil all the goodies in store for our special grown-up boy tomorrow, but I do want to leave a tribute to the one my children call… Daddy.

  • The smiles on these faces reflect you.
  • Austin’s word for you – Hero.
  • Emma’s word – Daddy.
  • Brynn’s word – well she used several, my favorite was the memories of your funny voices.
  • Austin mirrors your… sarcasm… and focus.
  • Emma mirrors your tenderness.
  • Brynn mirrors your humor.
  • Austin doesn’t mirror your… hair line.
  • Emma doesn’t mirror your feet.
  • Brynn doesn’t mirror your bone structure.  To all these things you would say, “Thank you God.”
  • They all hear you say, “I love you”, daily.

  • Their zest for life, they get from you.
  • Their love of movies and music, they get from you.
  • Their sense of style… well, they all like Carolina blue.
  • Their joy of the Lord, they get from you.
  • The way they love their Mother, they get from you.


Thank you Daddy for loving us with kindness, patience, goodness, and faithfulness.  We are learning about the Love of Christ from the ways in which you love us.  We know that you are not perfect, but you lead us to the One who is. You are helping to shape our character in order for us to walk through the plans, and along the path that God has in store for us.  We feel lucky.  We are blessed.  We love you!