Now what?

Have you ever sat in church feeling like the entire message was written for you?
The topic, the passage of Scripture, the keywords of the outline, the illustrations ... each one hitting the target drawn on your heart?
Yesterday was that day for me.
We had a guest pastor filling our pulpit while our shepherd was away.
He is a tender, thoughtful, godly man who possesses a superb ability to craft sentences and create word pictures that draw you into the center of his message in a tangible way. You feel like you are THERE - standing next to Jesus as He heals a blind man, raises a child from the dead, and gives new life to a woman who has been suffering from sickness and isolation for twelve years.
I had no idea what the Lord had planned for me when I walked into the sanctuary Sunday morning. I entered with a light heart, and I left with a tear-stained face and sense of wonder at the incredible timing of a God who knows what we need long before we do.

It has been a long time since I wept silently through a sermon. I did not even try to stop the tears. I let them roll freely down my cheeks because - I needed to feel. I needed to embrace the truth that was pouring into my heart and mind through the words of a man who so clearly loves God, and people.

His passage: Mark 5:21-34
The story of the woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years and followed Jesus just so she could touch His robe - and find healing.

I have read this passage and heard this sermon a dozen times or more, but never like this.
Never have I wept for this woman. Never have I felt her pain. Her sorrow. Her loneliness and isolation. Never have I noticed the tenderness of Jesus' words when He speaks to her. I never saw HER.
Until yesterday.

I am going to pause in my personal reflection for a moment and insert my notes from the sermon.

The Woman:
- separated from everyone because she was "unclean" according to Levitical law
- she cannot worship in the temple with God's people
- everyone knows of her ailment because she is 'unclean' and, because of the type of sickness, assumptions are made, gossip is spread, shame cloaks her
- 12 years of isolation
- 12 years of bleeding, most likely anemic, exhausted, shamed, rejected, never touched - forgotten and ignored

But then ---> She hears of this man - Jesus of Nazareth
He has healed a demon-possessed man. He has healed a leper - another untouchable - just like her.
Maybe he can heal her too? No one else could help her, but maybe this man would be different.
She went after Him - pressed in with the crowd surrounding Him - seeking only to touch His robe. (She was willing to put all of her hope in a piece of cloth!!!!!!!)
She touches Him and INSTANTLY her body is healed.
Jesus felt His power leave His body - stops - asks, "Who touched me?"
The beauty of this question: He knew who touched Him. Jesus SAW HER. He knew her suffering. And He called her "daughter." Affectionate, personal - intimate. How long had she waited for such tenderness?

Why do you do what you do?
Why do you invest in others?

-------> Because of people like her - and a Savior like HIM. <--------

Hopeless - Hurting - Helpless people need to know they MATTER. To the Lord. And to us.

We give our all to others - because God gives His all to us.

- there was a lot of need
- He was surrounded by a multitude ... hundreds, if not thousands of people

BUT ---> the woman was not lost to Him! HE SAW HER!!!
Jesus is Savior to ALL - and He notices, serves, and ministers, to the ONE.
She was "no one," but she was everything in that moment. He knew her - He saw her - He stopped for her.
Jesus accommodated the ONE.
Jesus is a Savior who can do what no one else can.
He heals the hopeless - the helpless - the hurting.
He heals and He SAVES.

If I am honest, I see myself in the woman. Not all of me, but the Michelle of my past.
I see her in the women who sit on my couch broken and weeping over deep wounds and thick scars.
I see her in the babies and children who cry themselves to sleep each night because they have no one to hold them.
I see her in the addict who hides and isolates himself because of his shame.
I SEE HER. Everywhere. And my heart breaks for her.

The tears that rolled down my cheeks on Sunday represented deep sorrow for the intense loneliness and pain that envelops so many, but the tears told another story too. "You have a job to do, Michelle!"
The Lord is giving me an increased passion for those who are neglected, rejected, and forgotten. It is growing at an intense rate, and I have absolutely no desire to stop it.
There are hundreds, thousands, millions of people drowning ... and there just isn't enough rope.
BUT ---> my God is SAVIOR of ALL.
And He sees,
He ministers to,
and He heals
the ONE.

Why do you do what you do, Michelle?
Why do you invest in others?
Because of people like her - they are everywhere.
And because a Savior like HIM. He is ALL in ALL!

Lord, thank You! I was profoundly affected by the message You chose to speak through Your faithful servant. I was surprised by the intensity of my emotion, but I was not afraid of it. You are creating a new heart in me, a heart full of passion and drive, and though I have no idea what You are doing, I am willing to find out - and follow where You lead. Prepare me, Lord. I know I am not ready. I still try to wiggle off the altar instead of lying still in quiet surrender, and I'm sorry. I am a willing vessel, Lord. I just have a lot of cracks. Seal them and strengthen me so I can be the woman I need to be to obey You and lovingly serve others. Brokenness surrounds me, Lord. I cannot just walk by and pretend I don't see it. The brokenness cloaks human hearts who need to be seen, touched, accepted, and loved. LET ME SEE THEM, LORD. Let me see them. And then show me what to do next.



One of the hardest things about humbling ourselves before a holy God is the fact that 
humility requires dying to self,
while our sin nature seeks to preserve self.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11


This and that.

This has been a good week, and a difficult one.

It was a good week because every single day was a gift from a God who loves to give good things to His children. The gift of LIFE is precious, and cannot be taken for granted. Every day we wake up with the ability to walk, see, hear, think, work ... we are BLESSED. And we need to acknowledge that blessing. "Let me live that I might PRAISE YOU!"

This week was difficult because the Lord is still working out my feelings of failure, struggle, and angst as a mom of special needs children. Dennis and I spent hours talking through everything on Sunday, with me weeping on his shoulder more than once. He encouraged me and challenged me with the truth that the Lord is allowing us to see what our reality looks like - in great detail - and it is what we need to see. We are the only advocates our children have, so we must become excellent observers and researchers of who they are in order to be expert witnesses for their defense.
I feel like a student studying in a life-lab. Behavior, attitudes, aptitudes, learning modalities, emotional strengths and weaknesses, personal habits, personalities ... all of these play a part in what they need academically and socially. And they all matter.
I teeter back and forth between hope and despair about every-other-day, but the Lord is quick to tip my chin up toward His face and remind me that He created my children exactly as He wanted them to be, so I must think and act in TRUTH remembering that each one is "fearfully and WONDERFULLY made." God has a purpose and a plan for their lives, even with severe dyslexia and all that comes with it, and His plans always come to fruition. Thank You, Lord that You love my children with a perfect and everlasting love and will never, ever stop the work You began when You called them to Yourself. 
I need Your help to disciple, parent, and educate them because I cannot do it on my own. I am so willing to do what You want me to do for them, Father. Show me what it is. I will follow You.

Today was a Field Trip day!
We spent an hour at the OCMA with some sweet friends.
Yep, you read that right. ONE HOUR.
The museum was much smaller than we anticipated, and my crew is not exactly a sit-and-observe-and-contemplate-art-for-hours kind of crew. But that's okay! Exposure counts!
We did see some interesting and unique exhibits, one of which was an entire room filled with one piece of art made entirely of red lasers. They LOVED it!
We looked at and commented on every piece of art displayed, and my friend and I enjoyed watching the kids interact with the different exhibits.
It was a good day!

~~~ Dennis and I thought my cell phone contract was ready to be updated, which meant I was *finally* going to cave in and purchase an iphone. (I KNOW!) Sadly, however, we were mistaken. HIS phone was upgraded, but I must wait another seven months. Oh well, I have already held out for seven years! What's another 210 days? Oh, yes. One more detail. I have to purchase the PLUS model because I cannot see the regular size with my aging eyes!!! I would have to put glasses on every time I wanted to look at the phone. Sheesh.
The best part was what happened in the store. The Rep was probably no more than 25 years old. He was jolly and eager to help me. Nick was his name. I greeted him, told him I would like to do an upgrade, and set my purple flip-phone on the counter - at which time he promptly yanked his head back in shock. I laughed out loud and said, "It's a flip-phone, Nick!" He screwed up his face, looked at me, and said, "I was just about to say - what IS that thing?" HA HA HA. I still laugh just thinking about it. (Does anyone over the age of 40 remember the cell phone that was the size of a small TOASTER?)

Reason #223 why I love homeschooling!
Not only do we get to stay at home and work at our own pace, we get to do school on the floor!
Wrapped in blankets!
My kids have no idea how much freedom they have.
I would have thoroughly enjoyed curling up under a blanket when my teacher read out loud, or while listening to my peers give their oral presentations.
So thankful for this blessing!

We are currently studying Pioneer Life, so in an effort to be "crafty" I came up with a simple activity to reinforce the log cabin life experienced by those brave enough to explore "the west."
Wouldn't YOU like living in a house made out of frosting and pretzels?
During a brief visit to a discount store, we found a few old-school toys that we picked up for our G3 days. Among them - a large tin of Lincoln Logs. How timely and perfect for our current study.
I think Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie spent about two hours creating and designing that day. It was wonderful.
Every activity need not be dramatic, it just needs to enhance the lesson, and for us, a few pieces of wood and some pretzels did the trick!

~~~ I came across this quote recently, and love the simplicity of it.

To be entirely safe from the devil's snares, 
the child of God must be completely obedient to the Word of the Lord. 
The driver on the highway is safe, not when he reads the signs; but when he obeys them. 
~ A . W. Tozer 

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46 

While reading about learning issues and trying to figure out how to best serve our children, I ended up doing research on Apps for the iPad and found a plethora of options available for dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.
I wiped the pad clean and downloaded everything fitting and fun for our people, secretly wondering if they would enjoy them as much as regular games. The Lord was good - and success was achieved!
The Apps are stimulating, engaging, and enjoyable, and all three kids ask if they can play - every day. YES!
How thankful I am that the Lord has given man the ability, creativity, and desire to design and create things that serve children who think, learn, and process in a unique way. In decades past they were put in the corner of the classroom and forgotten. Now? The 'teaching toolbox" for special needs is filled with multiple tools - and it is GOOD!

~~~ Happy Friday, everyone!
May this weekend be a time of refreshment and encouragement as you seek the Lord through His Word and prayer. May He put someone in front of you who will offer the kind word that will make you smile, the much-needed hug that will make you feel wanted, or an act of service that will remind you that are worthy of receiving love.
Enjoy your days, knowing that each one is a gift from a Father who sent His one and only Son to die - for you - because He LOVES YOU.


What a man does when he is taken off guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is. 
~ C. S. Lewis 

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 
Luke 6:45


What am I waiting for?

This is one of my favorite views in our home. A sweet little corner right in between the family room  and kitchen. I read this verse dozens of times each day.
It is our family verse.
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

I memorized it when I was in high school as a worship song, and have always loved the power of the command and the beauty of the words.

For the past couple of weeks, I have found myself meditating on those beautiful words in a way I never have before. It is the phrase "walk humbly with your God" that plays over and over in my mind. What does that mean? What does walking humbly with God really look like?

I decided to do a simple word study and began by looking up the main words of the verse in the dictionary. 
I did not want the biblical definitions - just the generic version of each one.

1.  in a just manner; in conformity to law, justice, or propriety; by right; honestly; fairly; accurately.

1.  compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also: lenient or compassionate treatment
2.  a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
3.  compassionate treatment of those in distress

a : to move along on foot : advance by steps 
b : to come or go easily or readily 
c : to go on foot for exercise or pleasure

1.  not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
2.  reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
3.  ranking low in a hierarchy or scale

Even without a biblical lens, these definitions provide an accurate picture of what God requires of His children. I especially like the word "walk." We all know what the word means, but sometimes it is the simple thing that makes the most impact. For me to "walk with God" I must MOVE. And not just any kind of movement - forward movement. Advancing. Easily and readily. For exercise or pleasure. I love that! Walking is a choice - a willful action. And because He commands it, "what the Lord requires of you," it is not an option. Forward movement with the God who created the universe ... what an honor, what a joy!

There is one more word that must be defined. The most important word: God.
The dictionary does not - and cannot - define our God, so I did not even bother opening one. Scripture is the only resource we need to identify, define, know, and understand our God.
So. Are you ready?
Look at THIS!

“Behold your God!
Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
    and His arm rules for Him.
He will tend His flock like a shepherd;
    He will gather the lambs in His arms;
He will carry them in His bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
    or what man shows Him his counsel?
Whom did He consult,
    and who made Him understand?
Who taught Him the path of justice,
    and taught Him knowledge,
    and showed Him the way of understanding?
To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with Him?
Do you not know? Do you not hear?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
'To whom then will you compare Me,
    that I should be like Him?' says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
by the greatness of His might
    and because He is strong in power, not one is missing.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    His understanding is unsearchable." Isaiah 40

Isn't that a fanTAStic passage?

If that is my God ... if He is that powerful ... that gentle ... that majestic ... that trustworthy ...
why do I ever fear?
Why do I doubt Him?
Why do I question His ways?
Why do I allow the trails and tribulations of this world to defeat me and drag me down into despondency and despair?
Behold Your God, Michelle!
And let everything else pale in comparison.
The Lord is the everlasting God!
And He is - absolutely, positively, without the slightest doubt - ENOUGH.

God has told me what is good and what He requires of me.
Do justly.
Love mercy.
Walk humbly with Him.

So - what am I waiting for?


Excellent quote - on prayer.

"The man of obedience is the man whom God will hear. 
The man's obedient heart leads him to pray humbly and with submission, 
for he feels it to be his highest desire that the Lord's will should be done. 
The man of obedient heart prays like a prophet, and his prayers are prophecies. 
Is he not one with God? 
Does he not desire and ask for exactly what God intends? 
How can a prayer shot from such a bow ever fail to reach its target? 
If your soul is in harmony with God's soul, you will wish God's own wishes. 
The difficulty is that we do not stay in harmony with God; 
but if we did, then we should strike the same note as God strikes. 
And though God's note would sound like thunder and ours as a whisper, 
yet there would be a perfect unison - the note struck by prayer on earth would coincide 
with that which sounds forth from the decrees in heaven." 
~ C. H. Spurgeon

I LOVE this.
To be so in love with, and so connected to God that my prayers are His prayers because I want nothing unless He wants it first ... 
this is what I want!
Teach me, Lord. I am willing.


The WHO matters!

I love having this in my kitchen so I see it, and read it, and think about it e v e r y single day. It elevates my thoughts toward heaven and reminds me that I can do nothing on my own, even though I often attempt to do so until the Lord thwaps me in the face and reminds me that I need HIM!

As I walked past this plaque today, however, it struck me that there is one word in the phrase that must be defined with crystal clarity. THEE.
'Thee' is not a theological word. It is not a Divine word. It was used in everyday language centuries ago to define any human being.
Without knowing the hymn from which these words are borrowed, or the One to whom they were addressed, it loses significance and profundity.

I do not need any human being every hour like I need the Lord.
Dennis, my children, family, friends, sisters in Christ ... they are wonderful gifts from my Father. They encourage, support, and love me when I need their comfort and strength most. And I am grateful.

The past six weeks have been difficult. Never have I struggled, battled, and fought so hard at the beginning of a school year. The burden is beginning to ease, many tears have relieved the pressure, and the Lord is showing Himself faithful as He gently pushes me in the direction He wants me to go. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean NOT on your OWN understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will make your paths straight. Do NOT be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5,6,7

There is no one else whom I should trust, depend on, or pursue more than the Lord.
He is ALL I need.

This song showed up on my playlist today ...
it is fitting and perfect.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I've been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone, I overcome

Oh, I could stop and count successes
Like diamonds in my hands
But these trophies could not equal
To the grace by which I stand

In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone

In Christ alone will I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
And only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness, to my need

Now I seek no greater honor
Than just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses
And to the glory of my Lord

In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone


This and that.

This has been a good week!

COMMITTED on Monday night ... such an encouraging time in the Word as we applied I Peter 5 to our lives and discussed the fact that our responses cannot be dependent on how we feel, but must be based solely on TRUTH. And obedience must follow. I think every one of us felt Scripture thwack us in the face at least once during our time together, but we left encouraged and convicted to know God's Word BETTER and seek Him MORE. Oh, how I love these nights with my girls!

On Wednesday I spent a few hours getting to know a sister I have served but never met. She is part of our Orphan Care ministry. About a week ago she sent me a note asking if we could meet, so we sat on my couch talking nonstop for two hours asking each other 64 questions before I asked, "So, why did you want to meet with me?" Without skipping a beat she looked at me and said, "I wanted to make sure you weren't crazy since you are running this orphan ministry!" I responded, "And the verdict is?" She laughed and said, "Oh, you are as crazy as everyone said you were! But it is a good crazy." HA HA! It was refreshing to welcome a stranger, and say goodbye to a friend. We wasted no time on trivial matters, just jumped right into the heart of life, confessing struggles, sin, and our passion for ministry. How thankful I am she chose to reach out to me, and how blessed I am that God brought her into my life "for such a time as this." Only He knows why our paths crossed now - and I am excited to find out the "why!"

Movie nights with the kids, conversations with Dennis, births of new babies, couples preparing for marriage, opportunities to serve ... this was a good week!

Another highlight of our week was having our G3 again!
We have not seen them for over a month due to vacations and the start of the school year, but on Wednesday they were BACK - and it was wonderful!
Isaiah woke up Tuesday morning declaring, "I cannot WAIT for tomorrow!" "Why?" I asked. "Because the Guskes are coming! The Guskes are coming!" 
Thank You, Lord, that our children are as invested in this ministry as we are!
We spent the morning at the park as we always do, and then for a special treat, we went to visit Dennis at work. That's right! We parked their 12-passenger beast (we always swap cars) and trekked across campus to make our way to the School of Education where I kept all nine of them as quiet as possible while Dennis finished up a post-interview debrief and then walked into the room and bellowed, "HEY, EVERYONE!" 
Hugs and high-fives and many smiles followed until we exited the building 17 minutes later.
We came home to enjoy "quiet play" so everyone could unwind and relax after our morning adventure.
Man, these kids are good for us! Thank You, Lord!

After reading the book, It's So Much Work Being Your Friend, I was on the hunt for an old-fashioned rocking chair. 
I want a place for my littles to sit and "move" when they need to without being disruptive, or just to relax in while doing schoolwork or listening to an excellent audiobook.
I put a note on social media to see if anyone had a lead on one, and lo and behold, one of our former students responded, "Yes! I have a rocking chair for you!"
He delivered it this week - and it is exactly what I wanted. 
Solid and sturdy, able to endure hours and hours of rocking.
I am eager to incorporate this piece of furniture into our daily lives - especially our schooling.
Thank you, Shaun! 
We appreciate your generosity and kindness very much! This chair will be well-used - and enjoyed.

Micah and Luke spent the entire summer working 25+ hours a week to save up enough cash to purchase their own laptops.
They (and Caleb) have been sharing one computer for two years, and the time came for Micah and Luke to have their own devices in order to complete assignments and be faithful, diligent students.
They worked hard - and they were rewarded for their efforts. WELL DONE, gentlemen! Enjoy!

~~~ I am currently devouring books, one by one, and WOW is the Lord using them to challenge me, and strengthen my mind and heart for the future. Every book is about persecution, orphan care, holiness, or learning issues. Perhaps I need to throw in something in that makes me LAUGH! Any suggestions? (I like Calvin and Hobbes!)
Can you imagine living in a world withOUT books? I know men did it for thousands of years, but right now we have access to some of the greatest, intelligent, godly minds that God created. There is so MUCH to learn, there are so many books to read ... and not enough time.
Lord, will you place the books in my hand that YOU want me to read so I am using my time purposefully and so I am filling my mind with TRUTH - and what matters. Give me wisdom, Lord!

~~~ Happy Friday, everyone!
ENJOY your weekend and take the opportunity to serve someone who needs you. Even if you don't 'want to.' Serve because it is RIGHT. And good. You won't regret it!


Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible. 
~ Albert Mohler


Here I am. Use me.

I received this text from one of my girls on my birthday:
Look forward to seeing how God will use/encourage/sharpen and bless you this next year.
My response: 
I hope He will use me MORE than He ever has!

I keep thinking about her words. And mine.
The Lord continually encourages me, He never ceases to rub incredibly rough and uncomfortable sand paper against me with the goal of refining me, and He blesses me even when I am faithless.
He does all of these things because He wants to and because it delights Him.
But using me? That decision rests heavily on my shoulders. 

When I was in college, one of my favorite professors, after breaking down the Romans passage about being a pot in the hands of the Potter said, "God cannot create a beautiful vase when He only has enough clay to make an ashtray. What have you given Him to work with? Can He make something beautiful out of your life because you are fully surrendered and trusting Him, or are there only a few scraps available because "you know best?"
I was blown away by his statement twenty-four years ago, and it still knocks me off my feet today.

I am not a selfish person, refusing to serve others or to give when it is needed. But I can be lazy, choosing do no 'nothing' instead of 'something' simply because I don't feel like it; and I can fall into the trap of insecurity, focusing on my weaknesses rather than moving forward in obedience and letting the Lord take care of the details. Both of these leave work undone, needs unmet, and people unserved. And according to Scripture, this is not acceptable.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-13

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:18-20

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Luke 9:37, 38

If I am called and commanded to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, be a doer of the Word rather than a hearer, share the truth of the Gospel, accomplish the good works created by Christ, and roll up my sleeves to work in the fields of the Kingdom ...
I better be WILLING to do so!

Can God use unwilling humans to accomplish His will? Absolutely. Does He? Yep. 
But what He wants are hearts that are fully surrendered to Him.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Luke 9:23, 24

I lived far too may years contributing to my faith, rather than being COMMITTED to my faith. Praise God that He has been so gracious and longsuffering with me. The turning point was the death of our son, Matthew. Delivering a son without life pushed me to my knees, where I cried out, "What Lord?!? What do You want from me?" His answer was quiet but resolved. "I want all of you, Michelle. Every piece of who you are, body, mind, and soul. I want ALL of you."
I remembered the words of my professor. "God cannot create a beautiful vase when He only has enough clay to make an ashtray. What have you given Him to work with? Can He make something beautiful out of your life because you are fully surrendered and trusting Him?"
And it was on a hospital bed in the darkness of night when I answered Him. "I want to be a beautiful vase, Lord! I am giving You everything I have. It is not much, but use it as You will."

And now, in the year of our Lord, 2016, I echo the same.

Use me, Lord. With all of my sin and brokenness and pride - use me. As You will. I am willing - and wholly surrendered. Keep me there, Lord. As a wise man once said, "The trouble with a living sacrifice is that it is always trying to crawl off the altar!" I know I will squirm and fight and have eyes filled with frustration and fear when control is taken away from me, so in those moments - HOLD ME FAST, Lord. Remind me of who You are, what You  have done, and fill my mind with Your promises. I want to be a willing sacrifice, not a rebellious, tiresome, obnoxious sacrifice that puts a stench in Your nostrils and makes You wonder why You even bother with me. I want to serve You, Father. I want to serve the Kingdom. I want to serve others. From the greatest to the least ... I want to be used to encourage and comfort others while being refined and made to look much, much less like me - and significantly more, like YOU. Here I am Lord. Use me, I pray, in Your name. Amen.


Trust HIM - not men.

Half our fears arise from neglect of the Bible
~ Charles Spurgeon

Sometimes a quote can stand on its own.
But supporting it with the Word of God is always a good thing!
Lord, make us people who trust You more than we trust the thoughts, words, and actions of men.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in His ways! You have commanded Your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Psalm 119:1-176

I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food. Job 23:12  

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work

II Timothy 3:16-17

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:10-11

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2


To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men. 
~ A. W. Tozer 

"You will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 
But the one who endures to the end will be saved." 
Matthew 10:22

“If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18,19


One purpose. One voice.

Last night I opened the front door to welcome a group of women into our home for one purpose:
to Praise the Lord!
Twenty-two women with different backgrounds, different personalities, different convictions and perspectives who all have one thing in common - the most important thing - CHRIST.
I asked everyone to bring their favorite Scripture verse/passage, or one that is particularly encouraging to them right now. After we began our time together in prayer, each woman read her Scripture passage and shared how the Lord uses it to encourage, comfort, challenge, and convict her.
What a precious time it was!
Some of the women were nervous, some were eager to share, some confessed personal sorrows, some cried, and they all willingly exposed their hearts to us. It was beautiful. No matter how different we are, no matter how put together we may seem, we all struggle. And we need each other.
As I listened to my sisters express their trust in the Lord and their need for the Lord, I thought of these verses.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:23-25

It is a precious thing to witness Scripture come to life, and that is exactly what happened last night.

After an hour of reading and discussing God's Word, we spent time in worship.
I chose seven songs from my teenage/young adult years that have always been special to me, and our sister, Patty, drew us into a sweet time of worship together as we lifted our voices to praise our God and King. Joy. Joy. JOY!
When I was a teenager, our youth group would meet in someone's home on the first Sunday of every month to sing and pray together. It was my favorite youth event, and what I wanted to re-create last night. How thankful I am that these women were willing to join me!

We ended our time standing together, holding hands - in prayer. 

For 150 minutes last night, none of our differences mattered. We came together for the singular purpose of praising the Lord, and Scripture came to life - again.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5, 6

Thank You, Lord, for the absolute beauty of the body of Christ!


A Christian's suffering shows the world 
that Jesus is more valuable than whatever life can give 
and death can take. 
~ John Piper


From now on - only commas.

The Lord used an interesting text exchange to reveal what is really churning in my heart and Dennis' heart regarding adoption.

Two days ago a dear friend sent me a text which said, "A friend just sent me a note asking if I know anyone who wants to adopt a baby. A woman just delivered her baby, but she does not want to take it home."
Friends, my heart LEAPT out of my chest, and I wanted to scream, "I want the baby!" 
But my thoughts immediately focused on the hundreds of women who have been waiting years for a child of their own. Women who would jump through hoops of fire to have a baby lovingly placed in their arms. Women who cry out to the Lord every night begging Him to give them the desire of their hearts.
There is a baby who needs a home. A family.
And there is no shortage of couples willing to love that precious little life - forever.
Lord! Thank You that You have already decided who it will be.

When I read that note I did not give one thought to gender, race, or physical health. I did not consider the cost, the need for a larger car, or the sacrifice it would require. My heart just started beating faster at the thought of giving that baby a home.
It's funny how quickly priorities change when there is no time to create spreadsheets of pros and cons and ponder every detail. What 'seems' difficult or overwhelming or undoable quickly vanishes when the REAL need is staring you in the face.
I will confess, I have been wondering if I would respond in faith when the moment of truth presented itself, or if I would hesitate because we don't have all of our proverbial ducks in a row. Now - I know! 
Thank You, Lord, for this small test of faith. I needed to know the true contents of my heart, and You showed me with crystal clarity. Prepare us, Lord. Provide what is tangibly needed, but most of all, prepare our hearts, our minds, and our attitudes so that when You say, "Here they are - take care of them!" we will respond with gratitude and JOY. We love you. Thank You for loving us FIRST.

Even more exciting than knowing my own heart was discovering my husband's.

When I told Dennis about the text from our friend he responded, "Find out the details!"
This morning, while spending the day in the mountains with other fathers and sons, he sent me a note that said, "Any update on the child that we are going to adopt?"
Talk about a yielded heart!

In 23 of marriage Dennis and I have not always been on the same page, or even in the same book, but when it comes to respite care, foster care, and adoption - we are united, and of one mind. How thankful I am for this truth!

A few years ago I read a quote that has been locked in my memory ever since. At the time I had no idea what the Lord has planned for the future, but now, looking back, I see how prophetic it was and why He let it connect itself so deeply to my heart.

Do not put a period where the Lord has placed a comma.

The period has been erased, Lord! Show us what is next.



The church's power over the world springs out of her 
unlikeness to it, 
never from her integration into it. 
~ A. W. Tozer


Grateful for LIFE.

The BEST way to spend a birthday!
With these people.

Dennis, Micah, Luke, Caleb, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie,
Thank you for making my birthday special, meaningful, and memorable.
You have already given me the best gift I could ask for ... yourselves!
Thank you for choosing to love me. Every. Single. Day.
Your affection, acceptance, respect, and love make me BETTER, and I am thankful the Lord uses each of you to refine me, encourage me, and motivate me to seek Him and love Him more.
You are precious to me, and I love you.

Lord, You have blessed me beyond measure with my family.
You gave me a faithful, loyal, hard-working, affectionate husband who would die for me.
You gave me seven children. A son, Matthew, who has known nothing but the joy of heaven, five sons who add fun, craziness, noise, and thoughtfulness to my days, and a daughter who is so strong and uniquely gifted I cannot doubt that You Kingdom plans for her.
Thank You, Lord, for each one.
You are a God who gives beyond all that we can possibly think or ask, and every good and perfect gift comes from You because You are a good Father who loves to bless His children.
You have given me 45 years of life. 
I pray You will grant me 45 more so I can mature in wisdom, discretion, insight, and understanding, learning to surrender faster, trust longer, and rest more deeply ... in You.
I love You, Lord.
Thank You for the gift of LIFE.
Not just the breath in my lungs, but the eternal life You promise to those who call upon Your name, believing that You ARE the Son of God - and are saved.
There is no better way to praise You on the day You gave me life than to echo the Psalmist words, "Let me live that I might PRAISE You!"


This and that.

On this, the eve of my 45th birthday, I spent the evening with my family - just as it should be.
Dinner, talking, laughing, and watching an excellent movie. Race.
A movie that embodies trial, persecution, perseverance, determination, pride, humility, and faith.
A perfect movie to push the mind to think about life.
What is the purpose of life?
How should we spend our days?
Do we look upon the face of a man, the color of his skin, his intelligence - or do we look at his heart?
When the moment of crisis stares us in the face, what determines how we will respond? Trust in God - or fear of man?
Thank You, Lord, for the stories of men and women who overcome incredible obstacles in spite of hatred, shame, and persecution, because it propels us to move forward and fight for what is good - and what is right. When others see us stand up in the face of injustice, they just might be willing to do the same. We all stand EQUAL at the cross. There is no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free, public-schooled or home-schooled, whole food or fast food. We are brothers and sisters loving the same Father - and worshipping the same King. Remind of this truth, Lord, every day, so we might "love one another fervently" as You have commanded us.

Our Orphan Care Ministry is official!
We have a logo, our own page on the church website, and on Sunday, November 13th, our church is hosting its first ever Orphan Sunday.
A whole day dedicated to foster care and adoption. I cannot even begin to express my joy, and I know my joy does not compare to that of our families who are currently serving orphans in their distress. They need support, encouragement, and understanding to keep them energized and refreshed during the long days of phone calls, court dates, family visits, and doctor appointments - and the body of Christ should be the first group of people to offer such support.
It is such a privilege to be part of this ministry, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us as we help bring awareness to this overwhelming need in our culture. No child should live her days unwanted and neglected. We simply have to do more.
Lord - provide for these children, reunify families, and create a passion for orphans in the hearts of Your people so no more children have to lie in cribs without tears - because they know there is no one to hear them cry. 
These children belong to You, Father. Please - give them a home. All of them, Lord. All of them.

I have started reading books about the struggles others share when they sit on my couch seeking encouragement.
There is so much I don't know, but I am committed to being a good student - always learning, always seeking to understand, always searching for ways to walk in the shoes of someone else so I can identify with their hearts.
Our pastor recommended this book over a year ago and it has been sitting in my stack of "books to read" ever since.
Depression is not something I wrestle with, but it is one of the difficult challenges many people face and I need to understand it if I am ever going to be useful in the moments when someone looks at me with huge, tear-filled eyes, and asks, "What do I DO?"
This book? AMAZING.
It is a small book, but not an easy read. You feel the intense sadness of Spurgeon through his description of his personal battles, fears, and suffering.
If you have never experienced the depths of depression, you will certainly understand the fierce battle others endure after reading these pages.
This is a "must have" for every believer's library!

~~~ The other day a friend sent me a text asking, "How are you today?" I shared a rather long response describing my struggle and my desire to honor the Lord IN the struggle but that I was still fighting the battle to surrender. This is the conversation that ensued.
My friend: Sometimes I feel like my whole life is God saying (AGAIN), "I am in control and you will LET Me be in control!"
Me: HA HA HA HA - the story of my life! :o) 
My friend: Do you ever feel like God just shakes His head at how stubborn we are?
Me: All. The. Time. With a few eye rolls thrown in for good measure!

How I love friendships that can speak so plainly and honestly about the trials of life - while finding ways to laugh in the middle of the trials. These friends are good for me!

I am having a hard time staying focused on the myriad of items that need my attention every day.
I have many great plans and am excited about said plans, but once my feet hit the floor in the morning, I am running from one activity and need and conflict to the next - and all of my great plans disappear like a mist.
And then - I remembered the Post-it note!
My long-time friend and cherished office product, how I have neglected you!
I ordered a large pack of notes and filled them with words that portray priorities.
There are currently 15 pink squares stuck to the kitchen cabinet, and I have a sneaking suspicion there will be several more joining them in the days to come because there are so many things I want to do. Remember. Think about. Aspire to.
And yet - none of them are as important as putting Scripture before my eyes so I can meditate on His Word all day long.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let Your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
    in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16

Welcome back, Post-it's! We are going to be seeing a lot of each other!

~~~ This is the day the Lord has made ... we WILL rejoice and be GLAD in it!


We can CHOOSE.

Though the feeling of failure that engulfed me for weeks has almost completely subsided, there is a small piece that refuses to leave my thoughts as it taunts, "You blew it. How did you not see that coming? BIG mistake. Get it together, Michelle!"
I have been fighting to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," but the truth is, I have blown it. I have overestimated human ability and underestimated the enemy's desire to destroy. I have not shaken the gates of heaven in fervent prayer. I have not been diligent in the little things, so I should not be surprised that I am not being granted access to the things that matter. I am facing giants I have never fought before, but instead of saying, "The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid!" I am buckling at the knees and looking for an escape.
It's ridiculous.
Thankfully, the Lord has faithfully shown me the areas that need focused attention, and the details are now clear. No more wondering, no more ambiguity. Just facts. I can f i n a l l y see a twinkle of light at the end of an incredibly long tunnel - and it is BEAUTIFUL!

Last night I listened to praise music while reading and writing, and this song got a grip on my heart that has not loosened since.
It always trumps emotion.
Especially when that truth is found in the pages of Scripture.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11

If anyone is struggling to trust the Lord - struggling to surrender - fighting to destroy fear - striving to look forward instead of behind ... 
listen to this song, and be encouraged.
We can choose to be still - and truly know that He is God.

Psalm 46 
The LORD is my refuge and strength
Therefore I will not be afraid
Though the mountains give way
And fall into the sea
He will come and rescue me

The LORD comes to me at break of day
He reaches down to guide me in His ways
Though the oceans roar
In this dark and stormy sea
He will come and rescue me

Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, we cannot be moved
Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, I rest secure

Be still and know that He is God
He will be exalted over all
Come and behold His strength and majesty
Yet He will come and rescue me

Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, we cannot be moved
Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, I rest secure


Now, Lord! NOW!

Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

Lord, there are so many hurting hearts crying out tonight.
The reasons for the heartache cannot be counted, but regardless of the "why" the reality is the same. 
People are broken. They have been neglected, abused, rejected, abandoned, cheated, betrayed. 
They are grieving, suffering, mourning, weeping ... 
and they don't know what to do. Where to go. What to think. How to feel.
They need YOU, Lord.

Some already know You, but feel like You are a million miles away. 
Their prayers seem empty and without answers.
Others are willing to ask, "Who is this man they call Jesus?" but don't know where to start looking.
Others see no need for You but can hardly breathe through their pain.
Father, please! Draw them to Yourself!
Remind the believer that You are the still, quiet voice, and though they do not 'feel You' - You are THERE. "I will never leave you or forsake you."
Show the one seeking answers that You ARE the Son of the Living God who offers them living water that will never run dry and will well up into a spring of eternal life.
"... if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; 
for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. 
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10
And Father, for the one who refuses to acknowledge You, show mercy and save him in spite of himself.

People are broken, Lord. And You are the ONLY One who can put them back together - 
forgiven, restored, REDEEMED.
Hear the cry of Your children ... hear the cry of Your creation. 
They need You. Now, Lord. They need You NOW.
Thank You that You hear our prayers, and though we may not always appreciate the answers, we can trust You to do YOUR will - for Your glory - and our good.
There are not enough words, touches, smiles, or sympathies to heal a hurting heart, but when we offer YOU - the One who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds - we offer everything.
Because every time we take someone to the foot of the Cross - to the feet of the Savior - we have set them in the only place that matters. Your presence.
You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

Thank You, Lord, that no matter how much we hurt, no matter how dark the night seems, no matter how long and deep the valley appears - You are with us. You PROMISE that no one can snatch us from Your hand, and You PROMISE that nothing can separate us from Your love. Help us BELIEVE those promises so we can walk in faithful obedience day by day, even when we are not sure how we will survive the next hour.
We NEED YOU, Lord.
 We need each other.
Teach us to be people who willingly set aside our own comforts and desires so we can serve, love, and pursue those who are in desperate need of Your mercy and Your grace.
Without You we are nothing.
With You - we have everything we need.

Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8



For the student who is a Christian, 
to study and to pray are both essential. 
One thing without the other is not enough. 
You have studied, now let us pray.

~ Suzanne Smith, Math Teacher


This and that.

This week started off GREAT!
Sunday began with worship and fellowship at church, and then we spent the afternoon and early evening on a Duffy boat cruising around the harbor with one of our dear friends.
It was 95 degrees and miserable at our house, but it was a lovely 76 degrees with a fantastic breeze out on the water.
We consumed delicious deli food, listened to music, talked, laughed, played cards, floated in the middle of the harbor so the kids could jump off the side of the boat, swim to the bridge, and promptly jump off of the bridge, and then we docked for a while so people could swim.
The littles had a blast jumping off the dock, and I captured some great shots of them jumping with Dennis. I would show them to you, but I lost "most favored nation status" when I secured D's phone in my pocket after snapping said photos, dangled my feet in the wonderfully chilled Pacific water, and upon rising to my feet heard a distinct "plop" as the phone slipped out of my pocket - and sank to the bottom of the harbor.
It was a very quiet ride back to the boat house.

Thankfully, it was time to renew his contract, so he was able to get a new, and better, phone - for FREE!
(I think my sigh of relief could be heard across three city blocks!)

~~~ Speaking of Dennis, he is scheduled to present his learning disability workshop/lecture next month at Biola University. This is the presentation he prepared for Zambia and Lebanon - and it is EXCELLENT!
Dennis has battled ADHD his entire life and has had to learn how to cope and work against his weaknesses. Even at the age of 48 he has to fight for control of his mind and body and train himself to work within the confines of "normal" social structures.
He understands the struggles kids have in the classroom, on the field, and in their own homes. He has experienced their embarrassment and their shame. Dennis has been labeled, criticized, ridiculed, and judged - even as an adult. He "gets it."
Now that we have five children who are moderately to severely dyslexic, his passion for promoting awareness about learning issues has increased, but his greatest desire is to evoke compassion and sensitivity in others so they can encourage and support those who struggle with these issues.
Learning issues do not just affect the classroom, they affect LIFE.

If you have children or students who struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD/ADHD, or mild autism, please consider attending. You will be encouraged, you will have some "Aha" moments, and you will walk away with a better understanding of what it's like to walk in the shoes of someone with learning issues.
(---> Check out the link here <---)

~~~ Since our oldest boys were quite young, we have read books and watched movies that portray what the "real world" looks like since we cannot travel to see all of the reality for ourselves. Bigotry, poverty, racism, injustice, stereotypes, physical and mental disabilities, orphans, religious persecution ... we expose them to all of it. Because it matters.
We may not be able to live in and experience each story, but if someone is willing to tell theirs? LISTEN. Learn. Seek to understand.
We all want others to walk a mile in our shoes, but very rarely do we take the time or make the sacrifice - to walk in theirs.

The Lord has convicted me and Dennis to ramp up this part of our children's education. Not because our world is out of control with hate, or because bullying and injustice have become acceptable and unchecked, but because it is the KINDNESS of God that leads people to repentance.
Until we get to the heart of a man, we cannot lead him to the One who created it.
God is very clear in Scripture, "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." I Samuel 16:7

Not only do I want to raise young men and a young woman who are thoughtful, compassionate, and quick to serve "the least of these" ... I want my children to SEEK OUT the hurting, the forgotten, the neglected, and the abused. First to meet their physical needs - and then - to take them to taste the Living Water that will never run out or disappoint.
Lord! Please answer this prayer!

~~~ This morning I sat in a cafe waiting for Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie (they take classes at Biola), and while I waited, I observed something wonderful.
I did not notice them at first, but after an elderly gentleman hobbled across the entire cafe to make his way to the restroom, I discovered a group of men who were happily and unashamedly studying the Word of God - right there in the middle of the room.
These men were easily 75+ years old and could have been home watching TV, golfing, napping, or doing a host of other things. But there they were, sitting together, open Bibles at their fingertips, reading and discussing Scripture, together.
What a fantastic reminder that we NEVER arrive at holiness or total sanctification this side of heaven. And these men know it!
As I watched them, I thought, "When I am old and my life is drawing to a close, I want to be remembered with a Bible in one hand - and the other lifted up in praise."

As believers we are commanded to let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith ... Hebrews 12.
Never does Scripture tell us to "slow down" or "take it easy" when we get near the finish line. God knows we will be old and tired with brittle bones and bad knees, but still He says, "RUN!"
So run we must. Full throttle, with everything we've got.
The men I observed today were doing just that, and because of their faithfulness I was encouraged and stirred up to love and good deeds.
Thank You, Lord, for the example of these men!

Luke has been experimenting with my camera lately.
At sunrise.
On the roof.
(That's my Luke!)
While scrolling through my photos, I found this shot, and I LOVE it!
I appreciate his creativity, but what I love most is that he is awed by God's creation, and tried to capture his awe and wonder on film.
There is a verse that seems fitting and perfect for this picture:
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! Psalm 113:3

Enjoy your weekend, knowing the Lord is GOOD and He is sovereign over all.


I don't do it enough - but I want to.

"... praying glorifies God by positioning man in the humblest posture of worship. The creature in prayer acknowledges his creator with reverence and confesses Him to be the giver of every good and perfect gift. The believer's eye is lifted up to behold the glory of the Lord while his knee is bent to the earth in the lowliness of acknowledged weakness.
I believe that the most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty and always depending upon the Lord for supplies. It is to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus. It is to know our personal weaknesses and yet be mighty through God to do great exploits. While prayer adores God, it lays the creature where he should be - in the very dust." ~ C. H. Spurgeon

I came across this powerful quote while reading the next chapter in our book about prayer in the life of a believer.

The phrases that grab my attention:
- humblest posture
- eye is lifted up while knee is bent
- always depending on the Lord
- poor in self, rich in Jesus
- personally weak, mighty through God

Thinking about how powerful, mighty, and sovereign God is - in contrast to me being but dust - I am reminded of these beautiful Scripture passages.

For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens;
(He is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(He established it;
He did not create it empty,
He formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I the Lord speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other god besides Me,
a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides Me.
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45

... for His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and His kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and He does according to His will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand
or say to him, “What have You done?” Daniel 4

The Lord reigns; He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; He has put on strength as His belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. Psalm 93
Aren't these fantastic?
And humbling?

I keep reading the Spurgeon quote over and over again, and each time I do I am convinced/challenged/convicted that it is time to make some serious and intentional changes in my prayer life. 
I do not pray with enough
or expectation.

But I want to.

Lord, make me a woman who understands the purpose, power, and productivity of prayer. I don't want to be a woman who prays "when she feels like it" or in moments of crisis because it is needed. I want to be a prayer WARRIOR. Alert, armed with the truths and promises of Scripture, and always ready to bring any request before You knowing that You care about each one. You command us to "approach the throne of grace with confidence" and "pray without ceasing" - so my marching orders are clear: PRAY! There is no out. There is no other option. Make me into a woman of prayer, Lord! A woman who lives in an attitude of prayer, day and night, unable to think about or do anything else until the burden to pray has ceased, and I have been obedient. As Spurgeon said, Lord, let me learn to pray so I can glorify You - and humble myself. I love you. Through prayer, show me how I can love You more.