Saturday, March 26, 2011

Never underestimate the power of a water bottle

(I was just reminded of this writing from a couple of years ago.)

Have you ever had an argument with God?  I am ashamed to admit, my answer would have to be yes!  And unfortunately, this particular June day is a prime example.  

I started the day by running late to get my three year old princess to her parent’s day out so I could dive into the enormous list that had been leftover for two weeks.  Needless to say, my heart was not in a “God mood” at the moment.  But, it is so funny how God will meet you right at the moment you need him, whether you think you need Him at that moment or not!

After leaving the house at least fifteen minutes late, I noticed the “raggedy man” that puts business flyers on people’s doors in my neighborhood.  I had a heart twinge, but my phone rang and I soon forgot the man.  Upon arriving at Hope’s school, her teacher tells me that ‘water day’ was changed to today and since Hope was out sick on Tues, she did not get to tell me.  So, she now needed her swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, etc.  Not with any gentle spirit involved, I got back in my car and drove 10 minutes back to the house to get Hope’s necessary supplies, and again, passed the “raggedy man.”  After retrieving the necessary water gear, I got back in my car and this time, turned the radio up loud to praise and worship music to drown out the self serving thoughts that were consuming me by this point. You know, the “My day NEVER goes as planned; I am ALWAYS behind…waa-waa-waa!”  I once again passed the “raggedy man,” but this time, I turned down the radio a little because I found myself saying out loud, “Give him a water bottle?”

After delivering the water goodies to Hope’s teacher, I got back in the car, and this time God was saying very loudly, “Kim, when you get home I want you to get a water bottle and take it to the man you keep seeing.”  I start saying, out loud, “God, um, no! What would I say?”  (You know as women, we always think there would HAVE to be a conversation involved!)  As I turned onto the street that leads to my rear entry drive, THERE HE WAS!  I then found myself saying (again out loud), “Are you serious?  It’s just a water bottle! Come on, impact the Kingdom? Over a water bottle? God, if you want me to impact the Kingdom, shouldn’t I at least give him money for lunch?”  It was as if God was saying, “Good idea! Glad I thought of it!”  Then I found myself saying, “Well, I guess next you want me to invite him to church?”  God said, “Now you are getting the idea!” 

So, I literally pulled into my drive way, quickly announced to my 9 year that I would be right back ~ “I had to make a delivery for God!”  My 9 year old said, “OK.”  You know, I at least expected him to say, “Wow Mom, what are you doing?”  Oh well, so much for anyone else in my house enjoying a little drama.  Although, I do have hope for my 3 year old daughter!  Anyhow, I gathered up a cold water bottle from the fridge, cash from my “ice cream man” stash, and a card that we get each week from church to hand out to other people to invite them to come.  Imagine that God actually may have wanted me to have an opportunity to use one of these for someone other than my best friends!

As I was getting in my car, I began explaining to God, “I will do this. I don’t know what I am supposed to say (again the conversation issue worried me), but I will only do this if I come to the end of my alley and I see this “raggedy man” immediately.  Otherwise, I am so out of here!”  Do I even have to share what God did next?  Let’s just say, I didn’t even have to pull out on my street to see the man walking directly my way!  No turning back now!  I pulled up one street and parked my car.  I got out and said, “Sir.  Excuse me.” As he walked toward me, I then said with what sounded a little like nervous laryngitis, “You are going to think I’m crazy, but God told me to give you this water bottle and buy you lunch.”

I did not expect what happened next.  He took the three items from me…the water bottle filled with cool water, the money for food, and the little business card with our church’s information on it without hesitation, and looked me right in the eyes with tears and disbelief in his eyes and said, “God Bless You!”  I was speechless.  Standing in front of me was no longer the “raggedy man” that was sweaty, dirty, in soiled clothes, with dirty hair, and who definitely had less than the number of teeth that a person is meant to have.  Standing in front of me was a beautiful man that was created in God’s image. 

As I got back in my car, I watched him put the money in his wallet, look at the water bottle, and study the card regarding our church.  Then, while driving off, I rolled down my window and simply said, “God bless you and have a good day!”  I watched in my rear-view mirror, through my tears, this man, transformed in front of me, take that card and put it in his front left chest pocket and pat his pocket, as if to make sure it would not fall out.  I found myself in that moment thanking God for the delays of my morning because without them, this beautiful man would not have been put in front of me not once, not twice, not even three times, but FOUR times.  I would not have had the gift of being blessed in a way that I could never have imagined was going to happen on this very normal of mornings. 

I found out that God truly will give you the words, and courage, if you will just obey!  And it will be the perfect words, at the perfect time, in His perfect way. Even if the first words He has you say to someone are introducing yourself as a potential crazy person!  :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I haven't been sleeping well lately.  I have been restless.  I am not typically a person who dreams a lot in their sleep, but that has been different lately.  Last night is a good example.  I had a dream that I was in a dark room with a blanked out computer screen and the only thing I could see was a small word written in brackets at the bottom of the screen ~ [Details].  That's it.  What do you do with that?

 So, as I am reading the scriptures this morning and praying, I am still troubled by this dream.  Then it hits me, I am worrying that God is not going to provide the next steps for me in this new ministry my family and I have been called to be a part of.  I had a friend the other night look at me and say, "You are a planner aren't you?"  The answer was a definite yes.  I like plans.  I like calenders.  I love organizational things.  Honestly, I don't think I have purchased myself a new pair of shoes in over two years (I know, that is just sad) but I could go into an office supply store once a week and feel like I have had a shopping spree sent from heaven to buy new file folders and bright, new post-it notes!  (And don't even get me started on highlighters!  That is a separate blog entry in itself!)

Anyhow, he was right.  I am a planner.  There is something deeply wired within me that needs to know the details.  Who? What? When? Where? and most importantly, HOW?  Well, God has strategically positioned me in a place that I honestly have no idea the answer to almost all of those questions.  But He is growing my faith because he is faithful in not only knowing these things for me, but He is proving himself faithful in providing these things for me.

My family and two other families have been called into a position of serving this fatherless generation.  The last two months have literally been a whirlwind, unlike anything I have ever seen in my entire life.  Honestly, the only thing that comes remotely close to this was the 2 year process to adopt our youngest child, Hope.  There is such an overwhelming joy in being able to be confident in the fact that you are in the middle of God's will for your life, but there is such a struggle with this stupid flesh to be in control.  I want to be in control.  I want to be the author on this journey.

But, God is faithful to love me with patience and firmness.  He sure doesn't NEED us to carry out his plans, but how awesome is it that he WANTS to use us to carry out his plans?  It is really ironic.  I actually looked up the word brackets, because from my dream I wasn't as troubled by the word within the brackets as the brackets themselves.  This is what I found:

Square brackets – also called simply brackets (US) – are mainly used to enclose explanatory or missing material usually added by someone other than the original author, especially in quoted text.

Overwhelming.  The way I see it is this.  God is the ultimate original author.  He is the author of the beginning and the end, and obviously everything in between.  So, why in the world would I feel the need to add brackets and the details in between in this story being written by God?  God is in control of every little detail.  Even though he has been showing that, I am still carrying around my own brackets.  Needless to say, I have a little repenting to do, and then it is time to roll up my sleeves and put one more foot in front of the next to step out in faith and rejoice in the details being continually worked out for me.

No more brackets for me!  And I can end that with an exclamation mark! ~ This a reference to my last blog post...I am starting to see a trend with punctuation, and  I am beginning to wonder if this is as odd as the joy that office supplies bring me. ;-) 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

When God says Go

There is a scripture I have been pondering recently.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"  And I said, "Here am I.  Send me!" ~ Isaiah 6:8

I am feeling a bit like Isaiah these days.  I am not saying in any way that I feel that I am a prophet.  What I am comparing is feeling a focused calling of the Lord on my life.  There was such an obedience in Isaiah when he was commissioned to be a prophet for the Lord, but in addition to obedience, there seemed to me to be excitement of things to come (notice the exclamation mark at the end of his declaration of "Send Me!" in my NIV translation).  Now the remainder of the book of Isaiah shares that the majority of the time that Isaiah shared the Lord's prophecies, they were met with resistance and rejection.  This doesn't seem to give a lot to be excited about.  But there can be great excitement in simply being obedient to your calling into service for our great God and knowing, no matter the cost, that the Lord is leading every step of the way.  Surrender is a very exciting place to be!

Far too often in my life I will feel what I call a "heart tug" by the Holy Spirit to move into action for the Lord, but instead of meeting that prompting with a response that can end with an exclamation mark, I turn from it, and sadly, do nothing.  Why?  Because it is easy.  Because I am lazy.  Because I have fear.  Because I worry what others will think.  Because I like my little life in this little box that I have created.  My prayers tend to reflect this theme.  "Lord, please protect my family..."  Why?  Jesus stepped out in ultimate humiliation and pain for us.  Why should I pray for protection?  Why not pray for the excitement to be radically used by Him to make a difference in this world for His glory?

There is a song I love that says, "You won't relent until you have it all.  My heart is yours." I am so thankful that my God will not relent and give up on me.  That He keeps chasing after me, until I am obedient and surrender.  So, this is where I am...

I choose to put my whole life in the Lord's hands.  I choose to allow this mighty God who created the whole universe and still knows every hair on my head to show me where He wants me. I choose to follow.  I choose to trust.  No matter the cost, I choose to Go! 

I have found my exclamation mark! 


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hospitality...In this mess?

I was reading this morning in Romans 12 and when I got to verses 12-13, the words written there stung a bit.  "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality."

This was my kick in the britches for today.  You see, God has been providing some amazing opportunities to follow through on these two verses.  I would like to say that I have been wonderfully obedient, joyful, patient, prayerful and hospitable in all of these opportunities.  But, that would also push me into the sin of lying, so I will choose not to go there!  Last week was a hard week.  Ray Don was out of town from Monday to Friday.  The great freeze of 2011 hit and we were home bound all week long.  Just a long week.  My temper was short with the kids, with Ray Don, and with myself.  Needless to say, my biggest downfall was there was a lot of the week being focused on me, and not on Jesus.

We have been given an opportunity to have some precious young guests to stay with us for a night next week while they are traveling through town.  Keep in mind, these are children.  However, I started looking at everything I don't have (materialistically), instead of what I do have, and feeling ill-equipped to host them, let alone anyone else.  The "mess" of my life has been hanging over me.  Broken microwave, ice maker, Hunter just pulled his wooden blinds down and broke them, newly noticed cracks in not one, but both of my leather sofas, a garage door that is threatening to fall apart any day, a crack in the tile in the kids/guest bathroom... should I go on?  Oh, woe is me.  As I begin to focus on all of these things that seem to be unacceptable, or the equivalent to a blemish in my life, I find myself feeling unworthy of having guests in my home.  I become Martha.  I am worried about the house being clean, the food being tasty, the conversation flowing, the activities planned.  Instead, I should be sitting at the feet of Jesus in awe of the great opportunities he is putting in front of me...opportunities to grow in Him, and more importantly, serve his people!

These verses are a great reminder that there is a big difference between joy and happiness.  Happiness is completely dependent on circumstances, people, and things.  Stuff.  But, joy...that is something completely different.  Joy is deeply embedded into our being, if you are a Christ follower, that stems from the hope we have in knowing that this life is NOT as good as it gets!  We have a joy that comes from personally knowing our Savior.  And, the great thing is, that when our gaze is fixed upon Jesus, and not our problems, the patience in our troubles and the faithfulness in prayers just fall into place out of natural obedience!  But then...and this is so awesome, we can openly and willingly put into practice what we are called to do in the next verse...Practice Hospitality.  I love the note in my study bible on this verse:

Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining.  Entertaining focuses on the host-the home must be spotless, the food must be well prepared and abundant, the host must appear relaxed and good-natured.  Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests.  Their needs-whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance-are the primary concern.  Hospitality can happen in a messy home.  It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup.  Don't hesistate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.

Wow.  Thank you Lord for loving me enough to discipline me through your Word.  I have needed a good spat on the backside for my attitude this past week.  So, with discipline comes revelation, and all of this is said to share this ~

Thank you Jesus for showing me through what I don't have or is broken in my life to remind me what I do have!  Thank you for the reminder of the brokenness you have repaired and made whole in me!

I am truly grateful for my husband who at least has a job, even though it takes him from us sometimes a week at a time.  I am grateful for the privilege of being able to homeschool my two youngest which allowed us to stay home and off the streets this week.  I am grateful for a small second microwave we are using until we have the funds to get our built-in repaired (for the second time).  I am grateful for the fact that when Hunter broke his nice blinds, he chose a blanket that says "God is my Strength-Psalm 27:1-The Lord is my strength, Whom then shall I fear?" to hang up until we get new ones.  And I am grateful that God is allowing me to learn what true hospitality is this next week by sending some precious visitors to our home in spite of the messiness of my life.

I am mostly grateful that Jesus loves spite of me!!  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And so it begins...

Every new endeavor always contains one thing ~ a beginning.  And this is exactly where I am.  The beginning of something new and exciting.  I have wanted to blog for a while now.  I am not really sure why.  I don't believe anything I have to say is any more important than what anyone else is saying.  I am not the best writer and am notorious for run on sentences.  I am just a wife and mother trying to live out this life one day at a time.  However, I do believe that God provides every single one of us a story.  A story that is meant to be shared.  This is the story of our life, and He is the author.  I am a continual blank page and if I stay at a place of openness and submission, it is amazing the crazy, good things He can come up with to fill the pages of my life.  Now, don't get me wrong, some of the stories that have been included in my almost 40 years of life (and yes, I am excited to say I get to turn 40 next month!) have been less than fun and most certainly not good, at least according to the world's standards.  But, I have faith in a God that works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans8:28).

So, I am excited to share this journey with you, and if you can, stop by from time to time.  I would love to share with you the adventures of our day to day life! I look forward to sharing the good days, which from a mom's point of view usually includes a day with no one sick, no toys stuffed in a toilet, and no blood.  But I also look forward to sharing the hard days.  Because actually, these are usually the ones that end up being considered the best days.  The hard days are the ones where we get great opportunities to press into our great God that much more! 

Well, it seems I have two kids that need expert architectural assistance at this time...there is some serious fort building going on in the other room!  So, until next time...