Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So much "drama" ;)

I used to joke about how I write because I can't do anything else.

That's not really true, because I write for a WHOLE lot of other reasons than that! ;)  But I've never been coordinated enough for sports, never had an above average voice for singing, or a natural musical ability, or artistic talent for drawing or painting.

Recently, however, I've gotten involved with a ministry for young adults (ages 18-30ish) that has changed my life in so many positive ways, offering a family of friends during a time in my life that otherwise would be devestatingly lonely. This group has helped me branch out not only in my walk with Christ but in other ways - like acting!

Yep, that's right. You heard it here first ;) 

I've been in two dramas so far and I am loving every minute of it. We're performing what they call "human videos" for church groups and youth groups in the area, that are proving to be so powerful. Youtube some of them (they're popular, and done around the entire country so there's a lot of them out there to watch) One is the Lifehouse "Everything" human video, the other is "Break Every Chain" (Jesus Culture version).

I'm in one tonight that is supposed to be watched by nearly 200 students, and can't wait. It's so fun being on stage and participating in something bigger than yourself, something that you know God will use to touch hearts and save souls.

So think about it. Is it time for you to branch out? Try something new that you haven't before, something that could be really good for your heart, something that could reach someone else and change your perspective on the negative in your life? Something that you felt God nudging you toward but you held back because it isn't your normal?

It might change your life.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seeking the God who Proves to be Good

Read the following excerpt from the book I co-wrote with Robin Jones Gunn (pictured below goofing off with me) called Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His, and see if you know anyone like this:

“All it took was that one kiss after the archery lesson, and I readily agreed to be Steven’s girlfriend. We spent a lot of time together. We hiked in the hills behind our houses. We swung on the swings at the park. At night I would sneak out of my house to go to his. He would sneak out too, and we would sit on the grass in the warm summer night and watch the moon. And we always kissed.
Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His
When Steven wanted to go further than kissing, it only made sense. That’s how things worked, right? I thought about the movies I had watched. The characters in them fell in love just like me, and then they slept together. Deep down I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t want to lose him. I didn’t want him to find another girlfriend. I was sure if I gave Steven everything he wanted, we would stay together forever. Since I was so sure that I loved him and he loved me, I willingly gave myself to him.

But before the summer was over, Steven gave me some awful news. ‘My family is moving away.’”

Lamentations 3:25-29 in The Message says, “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst.”

If you know a young woman who is pursuing a Steven in her life, take the time to write out Lamentations 3:25-29 for her. Take her out for coffee, give her the verse, and pray with her. Make her feel cherished and loved, not only by you, but by the One who created her.
I was the woman in Lamentations who diligently sought, but I sought the wrong thing. I was seeking after was a worldly, impatient love. I wasn’t seeking the never-ending, no-strings-attached love from my heavenly Father. But God proved to be good to me even though I didn’t deserve it. And He is continuing to prove Himself good to me every day.

Encourage the young woman to pursue the only One who continually proves Himself good. Let her know that He can turn those who are diligently seeking what is wrong (as I once was) into young women who diligently seek His good and perfect will.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Until Our Hearts Catch Up

This week, I started attending a class for women who, like me, are trying to make sense of someone else's choices and the reality that our lives will be altered forever because of them. As suspected, I felt old wounds opening immediately, which is exactly why I put off participating in a class like this. At the same time, I heard things that left me thinking, I've heard this dozens of times from countless friends. Why do I feel like I'm hearing it for the first time?

For example, I know that it is not my fault when someone chooses a sinful path. I know that sin makes us stupid and can drive nice men and women to do the unbelievable. But as I sat there hearing, “What happened wasn’t your fault” again, I knew God wanted me to take the words in in a new way. My heart clearly had not gotten the message yet.

This new season of healing from a painful series of events is teaching me that our heads and our hearts have completely separate time lines. No matter how intelligent we are, our hearts can be slow learners. It's like when we recognize that our faith is completely based on head knowledge and long to let God's truth take hold and make a difference in the way we live, think, and approach Him. Today, it hit me how kind God is in allowing us to take something into our heads long before our hearts can grasp what He is trying to tell us. In that time, He sends the message again and again, until we finally wake up and realize, I think I have only been pretending to believe this, but I really do want this to be real for me. Suddenly, we understand what has been holding us back from moving forward.

Is there an area of your life where you are still waiting for your heart to accept what you head already knows? Ask God to help you trust His time line knowing that He reveals each truth that we need at the exact moment we are ready and able to receive it.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

I Don't Want to Stay Safe

When we moved to Arkansas I have to admit I felt out of my comfort zone. The first week we were here, the kids and I drove to Central High School, home to the Little Rock Nine. If you’re familiar with history, then you know the story of the Little Rock Nine. If the facts are fuzzy, here’s a recap that I took from Wikipedia.

The Little Rock Nine was a group of African-American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The ensuing Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, and then attended after the intervention of President Eisenhower, is considered to be one of the most important events in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. On their first day of school, troops from the Arkansas National Guard would not let them enter the school and they were followed by mobs making threats to lynch.

Growing up in California and spending most of my life in Montana, I was as far away from the Civil Rights Movement was as the War of 1812. But being in Little Rock, this history didn’t seem so ancient, especially when the young, beautiful, African American tour guide admitted her mother was one of the Little Rock Nine.

It wasn’t just a tour of the high school that intrigued me that day. It was the drive to where Central High School was that was even more inspiring. We left the new, safe-feeling west side where we lived into a part of town that still felt like 1957. We drove past houses that were boarded up, old businesses that looked as if they’d been left to crumble. I didn’t feel completely safe. This mama wasn’t in Montana any more.

Maybe it was that day, or maybe a few days to follow, that I made a decision. I didn’t want to stay safe. I wanted to leave my comfort zone. I had a feeling God had plans for me there.

You see, all of my friends were FamilyLife staff. The loved on us like I never expected. They brought us meals and offered to babysit. I was overwhelmed by their love. We’d also started attending an awesome church, but walking in the doors it was hard to tell the Civil Rights Movement had happened at all. I could have stayed their and worshipped with those amazing people forever, but something inside didn’t feel right. God had different plans for me. For my family.

That’s the cool thing about God. He has a unique plan for each of our family. It’s amazing really.

What about you? OK, maybe God isn’t calling you to physically leave your comfort zone by driving across town, but is He stirring something else inside? Is He asking you to walk across the hall to another set of lockers? Walk across the gym floor? Walk across the living room and pick up the phone . . . make that text?

God wants us to leave our comfort zones–all of us. Why? Because it’s there where He meets us. When we aren’t comfortable, we look to Him for our comfort. And that’s exactly where we need to be.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A Bad Day

My 11-year-old son just started middle school. Remember those fun-filled years? After a flawless first week of 6th grade, he had his first official bad day yesterday. No one was mean to him; he didn't flunk a test, trip in front of everyone, or get detention because he couldn't get his P.E. locker open and was late to class; it was just one of those "Why is everything going wrong?" days.

Here is a brief recap of events:
He left his P.E. clothes in Core class and had to run back to get them during lunch.
He accidentally kicked his lunch bag, causing his spoon to puncture his yogurt, which then exploded all over the inside of his lunch bag. We can be thankful that A) After three days of paper bags, we decided to go with an insulated one, which contained the mess very well, B) He had already eaten half his sandwich.
He lugged his heavy math book for the entire day, only to learn that it was meant to be kept at home.
His science teacher gave each kid a string of beads to use for a homework experiment and his string broke right after school. All but one bead rolled into the street and under the feet of other students. The one bead that he managed to retrieve worked for the assignment but the whole thing felt incomplete.
He had trouble with his P.E. locker, causing him to dread the first "dress out" day (which is today) more than he already was. (I assured him that EVERYONE dreads dressing for P.E.)

No wonder he slumped in the back seat of the van and groaned, "I have stress." For an 11-year-old, "I have stress" is no exaggeration." After all that, even the simplest homework felt overwhelming. All I could do was listen, comfort him with hugs, hot chocolate, and assurance that tomorrow would be better, help him with his homework even if I knew he didn't really need it, and pray that my promise of a better tomorrow didn't turn out to be a big fat lie.

I couldn't help having flashbacks to my junior high years, and the many bad days that I thought I would never get over but did. As I told Nathan this morning, "I think it's a rule that everyone needs to have a yucky day during the first week or so of middle school. It keeps us from getting too cocky." Doesn't that seem to be the case? No matter how confident we feel (and Nathan is extremely confident), the new routine of changing classes, dealing with bigger kids and mutiple teachers, and more rules than one young brain can handle throws us completely off. And someone we get through it and even learn to enjoy our new world after a while.

What do your remember about middle school? How did you grow through both the bad days and the good?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Register drawing for 12 free books + $100

Join me with your own fistful of chocolate chip cookies for my FREE online study of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God's Purity Plan. (Also, by joining, you register to possibly win a $100 gift card and 12 free books for you and your favorite friends.) Register now--deadline coming soon!