Who’s your Identity

Sometimes, we get so busy doing good things, we forget why we are doing them. Even though it is painful, sometimes we have to step back from a ministry. I had to step down from the Toloha Partnership Board for several reasons, but I knew God was asking me to do it. I was confused and frustrated. Then, I began to realize how much I was clinging to that ministry. It had become part of my identity. God wants our entire identity to be found in Him alone. It doesn’t matter how good the things we are doing are, if we are seeking fulfillment from those things, they are not worth the effort. He doesn’t need us to do things, but he wants us to be part of what he is doing. If doing things means losing our identity in Him, He will ask us to stop, come back to Him and then move us somewhere else. Finding our identity solely in him while in ministry (or doing anything in life) is like walking a tightrope. If every day, we are focusing on Jesus by reading in God’s word and constantly praying, it is...
Palms Open

Palms Open

That whole fear of not being good enough drove me to a workaholic faith. The thought of never being good enough translated into never doing enough. I would look at other people’s lives (playing the comparison game) and think they were doing so much more eternally worthy things in their lives. I would go into panic mode and start analyzing what I was doing and what else I could be doing. All the while, I was working so hard to make everything in my life look perfect (which obviously is impossible). And if I wasn’t perfect, I thought something was wrong – so something was always wrong and I was constantly trying to fix myself. And I thought my faith was just “not enough” (there are those two words again). I was totally over-thinking the “faith without works is dead” thing (James 2:26). This morning, I was reminded by my daily Bible verse on YouVersion, that it is so much simpler than that. “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) The more I tried to will myself to do work for God’s good pleasure, the more circles I ran around what really matters. Pretty soon, I would run myself into the ground. Thank the Lord, He does not leave us where we are. And thank the Lord for Bob Goff. It was in his book, Love Does that I was introduced to the “Palms Open” way of living. I’m sure God has tried to run this idea by me several times, but it finally clicked when...
The Guilt of Falling Short

The Guilt of Falling Short

I was so strange as a child. If I thought I had done anything deserving punishment, I would tell my mom and send myself to my room. Most of the time, it was my own rules I had broken. This was at 5 years-old. That’s when I began chasing perfection. And it got worse. I was reading self-help books in middle school. I wanted the perfect life. I was taking it a step at a time. I could always be better than I was yesterday. (Anyone with me?) But I was impatient. I would plead with God to make me “better”. That’s not a bad prayer, but better leads to perfect and that’s really what I was after. A few years ago, I realized that my ultimate subconscious goal was to “make myself perfect.” And when I fell short of that, I would become engulfed by guilt. I was so sick of feeling guilty for falling short. I knew in my head that ultimately God’s grace covers all of me – good and bad, but in daily life I just didn’t embrace that grace. I just wanted be free – to live as I am, love God and love others. I can gratefully type now, God has freed me and is healing me from the years of the imprisonment. It really was like being in a jail with the door wide open, but I was telling myself I wasn’t good enough to be free. That’s the first thing he has revealed. My Biggest FEAR: I am not good enough. See how the goal of getting “better” plays into this?...
Downtime

Downtime

Sometimes, especially after big days when big things happen, we all need downtime when we just spend time “being” with our children. I have found myself too much lately doing things while my kids are here. I’m not talking about being on my phone while sitting near them when they play. (That’s a whole other topic.) And I don’t even really mean actively playing with them. That’s obviously important, too. I’m talking about doing things that are relaxing, for the kids and parents. For us that means things that are quiet and peaceful…coloring, watching kid movies, cuddling on the couch and looking at or reading books, even watching kid TV. Things that are easy. Things that steer clear of a battle. Today was that kind of day. We had the Toloha Water Walk in the morning and we all just needed to veg for the rest of the day. We did everything easy: movies, pizza on paper plates, treats for them, cuddling on the couch. It was a rainy afternoon…perfect… Find out more about Toloha: www.toloha.org So, what do y’all do to veg with your kids? That almost sounds like an oxymoron. Vegging and kids don’t usually go together....
Time Changes Need Superheroes

Time Changes Need Superheroes

I’m not sure who came up with the whole time change idea, but I’d like to have a conversation with him (I’m sure it was a man). I’m not saying it’s bad altogether. I love having more sunlight in the afternoon. But whyyyyy Suuundaaaay??? (read in a groaning whiny voice)??? Why not Saturday!? (read in a cheerful uplifting sing-songy voice) Here’s my case for changing it from Sunday to Saturday: there’s no school Saturday. That’s it. Sure, you may be saying, there’s not school Sunday either. BUT there’s school Monday! Making time change on Saturday at 2am as opposed to Sunday at 2 am, will give our internal clocks 2 whole days to readjust. Mondays are bad enough already, right!? Anyway, if someone somewhere would like to do something with this, be my guest! I don’t need credit for the brilliancy of my idea. Here’s where the superheroes come in: I tried to soften the blow of this throw-off day by letting my kids wear superhero capes to Aldi. I think it actually made things worse. I think they thought they could defy gravity. The two oldest decided to climb up on the counter (where people bag their groceries and there are signs everywhere saying not to climb on the counter and my kids are NEVER allowed to climb up on ANY counter to begin with). Well, one didn’t make it and he came down on the top of his head. Literally the top. I’m still not sure how this happened. So every person in the check-out line, shook their head and made some comment. The entire group was...
On a snow day…

On a snow day…

On a snow day, home school is hard. I’ve been a bit of a stickler this year and not called any snow days for our little classical academy. One reason is 2 of the public school snow days occurred after I let my daughter go to the beach with Grandma and skip school for 2 days… it was her birthday! I was determined to get on track after the break. And I am certainly affirmed that getting back to our routine was the right decision. As we sat at the table watching the snow gently fall faster and faster through the window, I had a very distracted little girl beside me. She never really sits still for school, but today she was up and down, putting one foot on the floor, shifting her weight from her arms to her bum. She stumbled over words I knew she could read if she was focused. And I wanted to pull my hair out. Patience is a slow lesson to learn… it may be a lifelong lesson. What do you think? Teaching a child to do anything is hard. But just sitting by and letting them figure out a simple addition problem and not finishing a word they are struggling to read is extremely difficult for me. I literally have to bite my tongue and conceal groans of impatience. Sometimes I sit on my hands. Sometimes I clench my jaw to keep from nagging her. And sometimes I fail. My tone of disappointment comes through. I whine like a little child. And then the guilt sets in. I say the things you’re...

Imitation without love = Flattery

They say, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” As Christians, we are called to imitate Jesus. But imitation without love is just flattery – i.e. meaningless empty excessive praise. There’s a constant struggle between my head and my heart. Love for God should come first and the imitation will follow. But there are moments, days and even weeks when I’ve flip-flopped these two. I join the chase for perfection and trick myself into thinking I must appear perfect so I can point to God. What?! That is so silly now that I see it in print. But it’s really the lie I let myself believe. History shows that He uses the most imperfect and unlikely band of heroes to save the world. His own son was born in a stable smelling of manure for crying out loud! So my house doesn’t need to look like it belongs in a magazine and my dishes CAN be dirty! And every picture on my Instagram feed doesn’t need to have perfect light and kids with their hair and make-up……. did I just say kids with make-up!? Wow. (I’m not saying anyone does that, it was actually a slip, but sometimes kids on Instagram do appear like models…how!? My daughter wears mismatched clothes everyday and her hair looks like a bird nest half the time.) …AND my schedule doesn’t need to be full of speaking engagements in exotic places and meetings with publishers who want me to write a book. That does happen for some. And I know a few of them and God is using them to change lives…mine included....
Selfish Strength

Selfish Strength

Confession: Sometimes I pray for selfish strength. I love this verse and have said it to myself hundreds of times. The problem is that when I read or say this verse, what I am really thinking is “I can GET THROUGH all things with the strength He gives me.” Most of the time when I pray for strength from God, it is because I don’t like my circumstances. I am frustrated. I am bitter. I am discontent. Like when I hated my first “real” job and where my husband and I lived for the first 2 years of our marriage. Or when I was potty-training a two-year-old with a newborn and a hormonal 4 year-old. Or when I am fighting temptation to “chase perfection.” Or when I’ve said yes to too many things and wish I could crawl under a rock. My motive is completely wrong when I do this. I want to cause change with my prayer. I want my “bad” circumstances to come to an end…really soon. I want it over. I want to survive without shattering everything I’ve worked for. Today’s daily verse on the You Version App is Philippians 4:13. This morning I read it and realized I’ve never considered the context of this verse, so I read the entire chapter. Paul is writing to the Philippians, people in a church he helped start in the city of Philippi. He has gone through physical beatings and faced adversity from religious and political leaders. He has gone hungry and sat in prison unjustly. He misses the people he loves. And this is what he says, “11...

Morning naptime – GONE!

Help me, Lord, Mr. T gave up his morning nap. He’s coming up to his 18 month birthday and last week. I don’t remember how long the other two kids napped in the morning, but I think he lasted the longest. That was such a blessing for the beginning of our home school routine. Now…ugh! I have not figured out how to do it. It just feels like a three ring circus, but everyone is performing different routines at the same time. I’ve go the 3 year-old, my middle man who is doing well, but needs entertained. Then my little brute of a baby wandering around. Meanwhile, this little almost 6-year-old girl is trying to learn to read. Interruption after fit after head-bonk resulting in wailing after running laps…it’s a hot mess here. And this week, anxiety has started the second I wake up (it has lingered from Postpartum hormones). Oh, hello PMS. I’m not trying to complain, this is just reality and I’m struggling. So, that’s all. We’re gonna get through it and she will learn to read. I’m not worried. Just stressed by all the...
My One Word for 2015

My One Word for 2015

Our house faces due west, so the sun rises over our back yard. This morning, as I sat in my chair facing a window into our front yard, I could see the beginnings of a pink reflection on our street. I took my tea and went straight to look out a window into the backyard. The sun was just peeking over the fence-line. Breathtaking. I don’t care if you like nature or not, a sunrise like that is better than any Monet or Rembrandt. Mornings are my favorite time of the day. I was born a morning person, but after I had kids, I lost some of that super power. Now, I set 3 alarms, and I still cannot seem to swing my legs around the side of the bed by 6:30am. But God is so good, He makes the sunrise later in winter so those of us who miss it in the summer, get to see it in the winter when we need more hope that the sun is up for at least a few hours each day. In the morning, I find quiet. Peace. Distractions are on “do not disturb.” There are few interruptions. I can FOCUS. People 100 years ago did not have so many obstacles to mental focus. True Story. For the past 4-6 months, God has been calling me to slow down. I stepped down from the Board of Directors of Toloha Partnership and I started to hone in on a few things, rather than spreading myself so thin. When I started the One Word to Change Your Life reading plan from the You...