Friday, February 21, 2014

Wet Cloths

Dear Lord,

Thank You that my husband cleaned up the splashed water after our son's bath with a bunch of small cloths that he left there.  It makes me smile to say that, but You know that I'm not being facetious.  Those wet cloths gave me the perfect opportunity to quickly wipe up the twenty square feet of linoleum floor in our bathroom and still have more left over with which to quickly wipe up the sink.  It certainly isn't as good as actually cleaning them, but they worked in a pinch!

Thank You, too, for the idea, even as I sat with a distasteful twist to my mouth as I considered them.  That floor has been needing something for awhile, and the white sink gets lots of little spots on it - they made for the perfect quick fix!  

I would never have thought of a quick mop-up with only water but for those cloths lying there on the floor.  Nothing short of a good cleaning would do, but You have been working on my perspective lately.  To be honest with myself, there isn't any real health issue at work in a floor that has been mopped with water instead of cleaner.  Neither is there in a sink that we don't drink from. If nothing else, the very fact that it looks cleaner makes it worth it.  Not to say that it won't need a good cleaning eventually, but a working wife and mother will take what help she can get!

Thank You, Lord, for turning what I thought was more work for me into less in the long run.  I was able to do a quick mop-up and wipe-down, then to snatch up all the cloths and get them in the laundry in about two or three minutes.  Thank You for that gift!

In Jesus' Name, amen.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Still There

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me for my anger in my sense of entitlement earlier today.  I struggled with feeling rushed and let my thoughts dwell on wanting to get home and eat dinner while given an extra errand to run after work.  It came to a bit of a head when I got home and realized that I had forgotten the requested Redbox movie in the cart.  Thank You so much that it was still there when I returned.

It seems to cut straight through my anger when You show me that kind of love.  You humble me and yet show me Your love, grace, and mercy at the same time.  You really are amazing.  I want to be a conduit of that kind of love.  If that love can cut through my anger, then it can cut through others’.  Please show me how to not react to others’ anger, but to simply show Your love to them.  Give me the wisdom to do what they need - in Your eyes, not in theirs and not in mine.  Help me to shine Your love.

In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stopping By

Dear Lord,

It’s always a nice surprise when my hubby stops by my work, and he did so today.  Seeing his face brought a smile to mine, and I thank You that You gave him the opportunity to do so.  I struggled a little today with being at work, as You know from my earlier prayers, and I thank You, too, for the ability to be with family more than I would have been.  When I struggled the most, You even brought someone else in - our church financial secretary, who brings me a frozen (or hot) chocolate at least once a week when he comes in to volunteer some time.  Thank You for Your ministry to me in those who stop by the church (work) for various reasons.

You know my struggles, Lord, and You always care for me.  Thank You for that, and that I can depend on You - fully.  Thank You that I should depend on You fully.  Your love envelopes me, and I cannot thank You enough.  As I go to sleep, help me to rest in Your embrace.

In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Dear Lord,

As we packed our car this morning with several things to return to our in-laws, as well as our backpacks, and whatever we needed for our two-year-old son, I found myself thankful for trunks.  Carrying the items certainly wouldn’t have been feasible for what takes twenty-five minutes in the car, and multiple trips would have been the pits.  I am thankful that You provided us with a car trunk that can carry enough to be quite useful.  Thank You for Your provision, and for the luxury.

In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sherlock Holmes

Dear Lord,

You created a good imagination in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The concept of the deductive and socially inept Sherlock Holmes has been reinvented a number of times, and each telling has its amusing and rather diverting tales.  When you have such a great concept to start with, it can be difficult to go wrong.  Thank You for the latest of the British Sherlock miniseries to enjoy with friends.  Such “movies” are, of course, even more fun with friends.  

Thank You for giving each of us imaginations, and for the many and varied creations that we conjure.  The gems that shine above the rest can be held very dear - whether in writing, movies, music, or even the right words at the right time.  I thank You that Your glory can be shown through our imaginations, and pray that I would honor You with mine.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Your Ministry

Dear Lord,

I hadn’t really thought of it this way before, but Your relationship with Your children is really like Your ministry, isn’t it?  It is the greatest ministry every undertaken, and one that could only be carried out by You.  To consider the magnitude of that ministry - You created us; gave us free will; hold our world together; sent Your only Son to be the sacrifice to save us from our sins; sent Your Holy Spirit to guide us; are always there to pray to; teach us wisdom and the joy of serving You and others; and even incorporate us as members of Your ministry - I can only smile.

I am so thankful to have a relationship with You.  Thank You for all that You do and have done to make that possible.  Thank You for guiding me back to You when I stray, for always being there to pray to (or, talk to, in other words).  Thank You for allowing me to come before Your throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), for Your forgiveness and cleansing blood that cover all of my transgressions.  I simply cannot fathom the magnitude of Your power, and of Your willingness to use that power to minister Your love to not only me, but to all of Your children.

Thank You so much, Lord.  You’re amazing, and I love You!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Schedule Change-Ups

Dear Lord,

There are so many things that I’m thankful for today, and I love that I get to thank You for them!  Today was such a nice day.  It hasn't even mattered to me that I’m getting sick and that my son is sick.  I’m actually a bit thankful for it, as that was the reason that I got to stay home later than usual today with my husband and son, to then take care of my son this morning while my husband was at school, and head to work in the afternoon.  It was a really nice change-up in my day that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank You that I’m so thankful!  It’s almost like this warm gooey feeling - and even if I’m not a “girly-girl” it’s nice to have those now and again.  I just get to praise You and lift my thanks to glorify You with each new event in my day.  The perspective that pain isn’t bad and is just another of Your tools has also helped me to stay thankful.  That’s a perspective to keep handy in my toolbox - and one I know I will need to use often as You conform me into the image of Your Son!

Thank You for orchestrating my day’s events, and for the schedule change-ups You threw in today.  You helped me do what needed to be done at work, too, even though I only worked for a half day.  I could see Your hand in everything, right down to the timing of my son’s lunch with picking up my husband.  Thank You, Lord, for holding me tight!

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Teeth Cleaning

Dear Lord,

Thank You for my trip to the dentist today.  I know I have asked for practice in sharing You, and You gave me quite the opening today.  I don’t know how far You will take Romans 8:28-29 in the heart of my oral hygienist, but I am thankful to have had the opportunity to share.  I thank You for the chance, the courage to use it - and I thank You for clean teeth!

I always enjoy the feeling of my teeth after a cleaning.  I have to stop myself from rubbing my tongue raw on the newfound ridges!  I am glad that You made me to be easily entertained, but I do find it funny when I find something that is so small so fascinating.  Your creation is amazing!  So I thank You for my teeth cleaning today, and for how You used it in my life.

I pray that You would continue to be big enough in my mind’s focus, that You dwarf any fear of sharing You.

In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Little Voices

Dear Lord,

Thank You for the voice of my little man.  I know that children’s high-pitched voices used to annoy me, but hearing my little two-year-old’s voice as he learns new words warms my mommy’s heart.  It has also changed how I hear other children’s voices.  Thank You for showing me the shift in perspective, that I can hear them without frustration and annoyance.  Help me to reflect more of Your love in that area, and to remember where each child is in their walk - both with You and in life.

I pray that You continue Your work in my son, and that You would call him to Yourself and save his soul.  I plan to be unrelenting in that request, just so You know (which, of course, You do).  Thank You for giving me this journey of parenthood, and I pray that I might keep Your perspective in mind and heart as my husband and I raise him.

In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Reel Her In!"

Dear Lord,

I am thankful that You bring me back to You when I stray.  You send little reminders and checks in my life to remind me that my focus should be on You.  I really appreciate that.  You leave me the choice, yet You remind me of Your joy, and the joy of living for and within You.  How can I not come back to You when faced with the reminder of who You really are and what You have done for me?

Yet, as You know, sometimes I still don’t want to come back.  Thank You for Your forgiveness, grace, and mercy.  Sometimes it takes more than a gentle reminder to turn my foolish heart.  Thank You for the love You exhibit in being willing to exercise less gentle reminders.  I would far rather feel Your discipline for a moment, than to turn from You entirely (if that were possible in the face of Your love and grace).  Thank You, Lord, that You “reel me in.”

In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekly Impressions - Lover of My Soul

Any time I struggle with sin, it seems that the first thing that I need to do is preach the gospel to myself.  If I feel unloved, lonely, despairing, etc., then to recognize that Christ knows exactly what I am going through, and took on all of my sins and the disregard for Him that those sins reflect, and put them on Himself to suffer and die for me so that I might live in eternity with Him.  I owe Him more than everything.  

He didn’t stop there, either.  He rose again to conquer death and lives with a victory that overcomes all evil.  No matter what evil I am going through in this world, He has overcome the world, and He uses my circumstances, etc. for my good and keeps my soul.  No matter how bad or sinful I am, His love covers me with His righteousness, and keeps my soul.

My God is an awesome God, and nothing can shake His power or His love.  God is bigger than everything… put together… and He doesn’t lose track of a single hair on the head of His loved ones.  I am His… and there’s no escaping!  What a wondrous love!  I seek to hang my head in the shame of my actions, yet He lifts my head and smiles on me as a favored one in His grace.  Christ paid the penalty for my sin and “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)  I am to confess, repent, and then live in His joy.  The joy of His love, of His teaching, of His Victory.  Christ is mine, and I am His.

We (His children) live by the grace of God.  Not only His grace to allow us to draw each and every breath, but the grace He bestows upon us to draw upon His Divine Power for daily life.  We can live daily in His victory, if we can but lift our eyes from the waves of circumstance, etc. to the eyes of Christ.  His piercing, loving gaze.  I am so thankful for my Savior, and I pray that I would be cognizant moment-by-moment of my soul in His loving grip.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Feeding the Kiddo

Our little man often doesn’t eat dinner when we do; he’s two and is usually hungry before we are.  Tonight, my husband took care of the little man’s dinner.  The way my husband plays with and cares for our little kiddo - including feeding him - is really kinda sexy.  I love how he can make it fun for everyone, and really appreciate the dynamic that creates in our little family.

I thank the Lord for my husband who is not only willing, but sometimes enjoys, feeding the kiddo.  His imagination even gives me a show while I take my respite!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Head Massages

Toward the end of my workday, I found myself with a persistent headache.  We had intimate plans for the night, and I warned my husband in a text that I might “require” a head massage.  It was said (well, texted) in half jest, as I had wanted to enjoy sharing humor.  He laughed, but also said that it was good to know.  (I filed that little tidbit away to remember for the future.)

My headache was a little worse by the time I arrived at our in-laws, and, to my great pleasure and relief, my husband went about massaging my head as I ate.  (That didn’t really make eating very easy, but it certainly helped keep the pain down.)  When I finished my dinner, we decided to watch a Castle with the family, and I enjoyed snuggling up to him and took comfort in his presence and embrace.  The headache actually grew worse during the show (ocular migraine status), but I didn’t notice until afterward, due to the show’s distraction and my husband’s comfort - with brief massages thrown in here and there, too.

I thank the Lord for my husband and his head massages.  I also thank the Lord that He chose to take the migraine away during the car ride home.  (Blessings!)  While head massages may not always provide a relief that lasts once the massage is done, they often provide a blessed measure of relief during the massage.  I thank the Lord for my husband’s head massages!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Video Texts

1 Corinthians 10:31
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
While at work today, I received a text from my husband that said, “Your son wanted to tell you something.”  I tapped on the little video, and my two-year-old son proceeded to say, “Hi, Mommy.  I love you, Mommy.”  He then blew me a kiss, and said, “Bye-bye, Mommy!”  Between my husband’s thoughtfulness to record our little man and send it to me, and what Little Man actually said and did, it made my whole day!

I am thankful for video texts, that they are one more thing that we can use for God’s glory.  My husband knew that I would love that, and the Lord ministered to my mother’s heart through it.  (I plan to keep it for those moments when I miss them both at work!)  I thank the Lord that whatever we do, we can do it for His glory.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Good Hamburger

After a long day, my husband and I were able to go out for dinner together.  We had a gift card to Applebee’s, and promptly made use of it - on a Monday night after 4 p.m. (more like 9 p.m.) when all hamburgers are $5.99.  Score!  The best part?  That hamburger tasted so gooood.

It was the Cowboy Burger, and I truly enjoyed sharing the experience of a good hamburger with my husband (especially one we didn’t have to make!).  It hit the spot, and I got to share that with him as we talked and mulled over other things.  Being able to share experiences is one of the things that keeps us close to one another.  To not only spend time with him, but to also let him in on my experiences (and he likewise).  To share our thoughts about things, our enjoyment (or even critiques) of things.

I am thankful for a good hamburger, that it hit the spot after a long day of work, and that I was able to share that with my husband.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cooperative Games

My husband and I enjoy playing League of Legends, which is an online team tower defense game… sort of.  (It’s also free-to-play, which is another reason why we casual gamers play it.)  It has a few different game modes, but the one we play most often (simply because it’s usually the fastest and most “casual” of the modes) is called All Random All Mid (ARAM).  Put very simply, it is two teams of five people with randomly chosen champions (or characters) who duke it out across a one-lane playing field, with the goal of destroying all of the enemy team’s towers in order to ultimately destroy their “nexus” (home base).  Destroy the enemy nexus, and you win.  It’s a fun cooperative game.

While I have enjoyed playing first-person shooters against my husband (my parents used to call this marital therapy), I find that I most often enjoy playing with him toward a common goal.  The Halo campaign, or Firefight have served that purpose in the past, and now League of Legends has taken that role.  We will also play with friends (sometimes against, too).  I really enjoy being able to work cooperatively toward a common goal.

Tonight, we did exceptionally well in our first two games, and rather decently in the third.  It was particularly nice, since we had been losing a lot lately, with sometimes poor performance.  Tonight, not only was our performance commendable, but our other team members did quite nicely, too.  We were able to support one another well and push on toward a common goal.  Admittedly, I think God gave us a lucky break, and it was quite pleasant to win.  I am thankful, however, that it isn’t all about winning, and for the chance to work together.

I am thankful for cooperative games, that it gives my husband and I one more avenue to practice being united in purpose, and to support one another.  I thank the Lord for their existence, and for the ability to play them.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Weekly Impressions - Lack of Control

It never ceases to amaze me how wisdom can seem foolish in the heat of the moment.  I struggled fiercely with anger yesterday.  

Little Man was not a happy camper; between his whiny disobedience and plethora of drool, we decided he must be teething.  Nevertheless, I watched my son in the morning while my husband did his homework, and we went to my in-laws’ to put the little man down for his afternoon nap.  He didn’t sleep long, and was already a tired mommy.

Usually, my mom-in-law makes dinner, but she was gone on a women’s retreat, so it was up to some one of the rest of us to cook the tri-tip.  I noticed at 5:00 p.m. that the barbecue hadn’t been lit, and mentioned that it would be good to do so.  It took a bit of banter before someone went and lit it.  At 5:30 p.m. I had finally realized that I needed to feed my little man (he doesn’t always recognize when he’s hungry), and that should relieve at least some of the whininess.  However, I also realized that it was time (or past) for someone to put the meat on.  I said as much, but no one moved.

After a few minutes of trying to sate my son’s unrealized appetite, and no one attending to dinner, I finally took it upon myself to go out and tend the coals and put the meat on.  I had never done this for a tri-tip before, and I was still simultaneously trying to feed my son dinner, while my husband continued his homework.

When my husband realized what I was doing, he stopped me from putting the meat on, and asked why I was in such a hurry to do it right then.  My brother-in-law (who had been listening to me, but didn’t know how to tend the tri-tip) told my husband that the coals were ready, and it was right now or wait awhile.  My husband came out and tried to get the coals the way he wanted them, but they had already burned down too much.  We had to wait for more coals.

I was hungry, tired, and not a little upset.  My husband calmly told me that I was in a state of overreaction.  After a few minutes of seething as I still tried to feed my son, I asked my husband if I could go have a quiet time.  He assented to care for the little man.

As I rocked in the nursery’s chair, I thought about events and what had led up to this moment.  I knew I was angry and frustrated, but as I sat there, I realized that I was very angry.  I have learned that it helps during those moments to think of events in terms of sin.  What sin(s) had my husband committed against me - and, more importantly, what sin(s) had I committed against others?

That took some serious thinking.  It was possible that my husband was being selfish, but I certainly couldn’t pick out anything that definitely pointed to it.  No, the issue was with me.  I knew that my anger - or at the very least, its severity - was sinful.  After more thought, I realized that I was upset not because of what my husband had or hadn’t done, but because there was no control in the situation.  I didn’t have control, and neither did my husband, and I have the tendency to stress out when that happens.

I was tired and hungry and there hadn’t been any real plan for how dinner was going to be cooked.  I could have left it there - my feelings certainly wanted me to lay that at my husband’s feet (quite possibly in accusation) - but it was no less my fault that I was angry.

The battle between my fleshly desires and my desire to please God had quite the war over that.  I knew that I was wrong and unjustified, yet I didn’t care.  I wanted to be angry.  And yet, at the same time, I could see how foolish that was, and was saddened at my foolishness.  The verse, “Cease striving, and know that I am God” came to mind (Psalm 46:10).  The NIV translates the first two words as “Be still.”  To take control of my angry thoughts and feelings, it actually helps quite a bit to be still.  I stopped rocking, and worked to concentrate my thoughts upon God.  He is in control.

The Lord finally won me over, and I confessed to Him and repented by laying control of the situation in His hands.  I certainly didn’t know any better than He did, and my attempts to control the situation had been thwarted by my husband, whom God had appointed as my leader.  I would follow my husband, and thus, follow God.  This step toward humility did a great deal for my anger, though the residual feelings took some time to dissipate and turn toward peace.  Christ had, however, given me peace.

I am thankful for the Lord’s work in me, and that He has given my husband to me as my leader.  I pray that I might take my thoughts “…captive to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5) sooner when next I notice a “lack” of control.  God is always in control - and that, for the good of His children (Romans 8:28).