Small Things

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“Why do I not take the Lord that seriously?” my friend Missy said to me, after showing me a picture of a group of men lying on the floor face down as a Haitian pastor prayed over them. In the group of men were Missy’s husband and two teenage sons.

She’s been in deep prayer all week for her family serving abroad, but admitted to me that it’s not her norm. I too confessed that deep prayer and worship are not my norm.

In fact, I’m a lot like the Israelites. If I’m not on the mountain top or deep in the valley, I quickly forget who God is and choose instead my own methods of self-reliance. Continue reading “Small Things”

God Is At Work In The Ugly

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The trouble, the pain, just keeps coming and coming – piling up, suffocating, and consuming every thought. You search for hope in the darkness. You barely remember the time, a long time ago, when you thought if you just followed Jesus life would go well, easy. But that was long ago, and your very-real trouble seems to far out-weigh the blessings. Continue reading “God Is At Work In The Ugly”

When There Are No Answers

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“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 


I don’t have answers to life’s questions. God knows I have many, many questions. I long for Him. I want to understand Him. I want to follow Him.  But, if I am honest, I also want life to be stable, predictable and easy.  When hard days come, I want to immediately see what God is doing and explain it to myself and to others. Probably like yours, my life has been anything but predictable or stable. Yet, way down deep I have still clung to a secret hope that somehow I could make it be. I like order. I like predictability. I like to feel like I am in control of what the day will hold. Yet life for me, and many of us lately, has been anything but predictable and anything but easy.

A few years ago, I went for a walk around our little farm with my niece Riley. We noticed the change in the season as the cool air hit our faces. Leaves and dried blackberries were falling to the ground. Fallen persimmons were rotting into the earth. The ground was turning brown and crunchy with all the decaying matter. I explained to Riley how God would make something beautiful out of all the ugly, dead stuff the coming spring. I told her we couldn’t see what God was doing but that deep down under all the decay, He was at work.

That walk and those words came back to my mind today. It seems every news story, every conversation with friends and family is full of hard, heartbreaking things that are far from beautiful and seem so utterly out of control. I remembered telling Riley, “God is still at work even when things look ugly.” My mind raced to my own ugly times – like losing my husband to suicide—and other times when I honestly felt like giving up. In the midst of the heartache, I couldn’t see what God was doing. Still, He whispered a persistent, hold-onto-hope and asked me to believe He was indeed ‘doing’. My eyes could no more see His hand than I could see a flower being birthed under the rotting leaves that fall day with Riley. Sometimes it seems like forever to wait on spring in the dark days of winter and even harder to wait on God when we desperately want answers, when our hearts are breaking, and when nothing seems to be in control. It is exhaustingly difficult, but it is not impossible for those who are determined to keep following and trusting God. He has given us (yes given us) a gift of faith (all that we need) to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). He has always been in the business of bringing beauty from ashes, and His Word is full of the incredibly hopeless finding real, stand-on, keep-going hope. Indeed, His greatest miracles came from the most desperate of situations; and I expect they still do.

Yet, it is in the very midst of the trial, in our weakest-of-weak that our Faithful Father asks us to surrender our will to His and believe He can still do great things for us, in us, and through us. Yes, when we finally lay down our conditions and expectations for how things should turn out and say, “God, I trust you more than I trust me, I believe you are at work even when I can’t see you,” it is then—that we find incredible, amazing, hope-filled, hold-onto peace that makes no earthly, logical sense.

Oswald Chambers said, “There is only one thing you can consecrate to God and that is the right to yourself (Romans 12:1).” Yes, the enemy may have intended what you are walking through for evil, but God alone can bring good. Keep your eyes on Him. This hard road you are walking may be the only way someone else sees the only Savior of Souls. That awful situation that you or someone you love is enduring may yield a depth of love for our Lord that could come no other way. It is in reckless abandon to God (not predictability or stability in this life or even the easy) that He tells us we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29-30). And that is no small thing. So keep reading His Word, keep praying, keep seeking encouragement from other believers and keep hoping in God who  is at work in your life.


Prayer: Oh Lord, help me to lay down those things which keep me from experiencing your peace. Take my right to myself, my day, my calendar, my expectations, my need to control, my desire for stability and predictability, even this heartbreaking thing, and help me to live in reckless abandon to You. May I give glory to You no matter what this day brings. May I only desire to stay under the shelter of Your wings, for you are my rock, my protector and my comforter (Psalm 61:3-4).  Amen.


– used by permission of the author 

I’m Not SuperMom

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Recently, I was catching up with a friend, sharing all of the changes to my life (I had several in a few short weeks). She looked at me and said, “Wow, you’re like SuperMom.”

I laughed and casually dismissed the remark.

You see, I have this awesome friend. She has more kids than I can even comprehend caring for on a daily basis. She cooks, she homeschools, she runs them to the various appointments they have throughout the week. She is #momgoals. If anyone is SuperMom, she is. She will of course deny it, saying something along the lines of, “I’m actually just crazy.” But you see, she isn’t SuperMom either. Not really. Because for SuperMom everything is easy. What an incredibly impossible standard to live up to. I’m so glad I don’t have to be SuperMom, and I’m sure she is too. Just being Mom is hard enough, saying ‘yes’ again and again when asked to stretch beyond yourself.

So the next time you see a mom (or anyone for that matter) handling life in a way you can’t imagine, encourage her, but don’t brush it off as being “super”. Know that she’s probably exhausted. She has days that she’s not sure she’ll make it through. And sometimes she just cries because life is HARD. Instead, ask her how you can pray for her and what she needs. Offer to bring her dinner, watch her kids or run an errand. Because I promise you, she’s not “super” on her own.

An Honest Moment

ScaredGirl

Sca­redy cat. What no little girl wants to be labeled. Not only because of the reality that I hated cats, but also because I wanted people to see me as brave. Bold. Courageous. Fearless.

First it was dogs, then it became most animals at the zoo. Don’t forget the Chick-fil-A cow, clowns and the surprising fear of gloves with hands in them. As a young girl, many seemingly silly things scared me very much. I was not timid or shy around people, but I had this desperate need to feel safe and comfortable in each situation. As I got older, the little fears were conquered, but bigger fear came into play like rejection, failure and vulnerability. Continue reading “An Honest Moment”

Me First!

MeFirst4

I recently heard a man tell a story of how he edged out a woman in a wheelchair and hobbled his way to the first seat on the airplane. He told the story almost with a sense of pride. He had been injured in an accident and felt he needed the bulkhead seat for more legroom since his leg was covered with road rash. The woman in the wheelchair was going so slow, that he decided to go around her and race his way to the front. She in fact was looking for a seat that offered more legroom, and he was happy he secured it.

I was gasping inside as he recounted the events. My thought was, “is chivalry dead?” “Has this man ever considered putting others first?” “How horrible!” Continue reading “Me First!”

Thorny Times Of Life

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I stepped on one of those patches of thistles that grow in the grass the other day. I immediately knew what I had done as the pain was intense even after I moved my foot from the evil plant. 

Later, I was thinking about that experience and how in life we keep stepping on thorns. You know, you keep doing that thing over and over again. Until, one day we experience real pain from that choice or action or statement we made. Then we have another decision…what am I going to do to remove the pain of my action?  Continue reading “Thorny Times Of Life”

Andropolis, You’re My Inspiration

Andropolis

On the way home from work one day, I was sitting there, stopped in traffic, trying to decide what I wanted for dinner. Knowing I had pretty much no food at home and my long day was leaving me less than inspired to cook up a masterpiece or even some mac and cheese, on a whim, I decided to get off on the next exit and grab some Chinese food from a restaurant that I hadn’t been to since I had moved further away.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a man in the car next to me scrounging for change in his car. I thought about how I had been there before and hoped he could find what he needed. I went inside and was perusing the menu for what I thought might meet my Chinese food cravings. The man came up to the counter next to me and was counting out the change he had collected. He was still short for what he was trying to order. I paused to ask God if He wanted me to help the man out and in what way.

Continue reading “Andropolis, You’re My Inspiration”

Telling Stories

WhatsYourStory

Stories are compelling and powerful. Through sharing our own stories or hearing the stories of others, we have the opportunity to share our part of God’s story and share in others’ parts as well. Sharing stories spreads the works and moving of God in our lives and the lives around us. That is why at Two Rivers Church, story-telling is so encouraged.

Check out this excerpt from an EFCA article “Let Me Tell You A Story” by Scott Noble. Scott writes about how God uses the power of story and gives a few examples of how to incorporate story into your own life. Check out the full article at the link below. Then go share your story with the world! We would love to help you share your story: 2RC.tv/ShareYourStory

“Story is one of the most powerful devices we have available. From the beginning, God used story to communicate who He is, who we are and how we are to live—profound concepts that are easier to comprehend in the context of story.

Jesus used the power of story through His parables, demonstrating eternal truths and the depth of His love, mercy and forgiveness.

This is a persuasive example of how transforming story can be—in our lives and in the lives of those around us.”

FULL ARTICLE

The Fire Of Depression

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My mind is a forest full of trees of many different kinds and colors and vibrant life. Thoughts move through it like the wind moving the leaves of my imagination; creativity flows like a stream cutting through the rocks. There are mountains and valleys, rivers and creeks, and there is a strong wind of the Holy Spirit moving it all in His dance. I live in this place where I try to make decisions and control the growth of the forest and tend to the trees. I allow the rains to fall out of the sky and the wind to bring life to everything. Continue reading “The Fire Of Depression”