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“Sing it in Chinese”

Today I want to share with you these words that I wrote a couple of months ago with a really heavy heart. I wasn’t sure I was going to post it… it’s a little longer than my normal post, a story within a story, but I think the end is worth it.  Already Jesus is healing my soul, and I feel better than I did when I wrote this.  But I’m still asking for the song…

 

One of my dreams died today. Not with a big bang, but with the small “Pfhut” of a candle being blown out by a soft breath. My spirit is cluttered with disappointment and heartache.

But before I get into that, let me tell you a cute little story. (I always try to be positive.)

I like to entertain Oliver while I do boring things, like wipe the kitchen counters or run errands with him, by singing. Now that he’s reached the wise old age of 6, he’s becoming less than enthused about this. Recently I decided to impress him by singing one of his favorite songs with a lot of gusto, really belting it out and hamming it up as he ate his lunch and I folded laundry on our kitchen table.

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We Still Have Jesus

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:16-17

 

Have you ever opened your fridge, so sure of what you’re about to eat, and found that the food you’re looking for was eaten by someone else?

I hate that.

Not only am I the kind of girl who really doesn’t like for her plans to be thwarted, I’m a picky eater who finds it difficult to make substitutions—especially when I’ve made a “healthy eating” plan for my day. If what I thought I was going to eat isn’t there… well, chocolate looks even better.

Yesterday I went to cupboard to grab my favorite kind of breakfast bar, but it wasn’t there.

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Are You Real or Fictional?

 

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:13

 

My sweet daughter came home from Writing Day Camp last summer bursting with news. “I met a real author today!” she exclaimed.

My husband and I exchanged a smiling look over her head. Then she added, “And I met one at school last year, so that makes two real authors.”

“Wow!” my husband said, matching her tone. “And, you live with one!”

She blushed. “Oh, yeah, but…”

But.

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7 Ways to Find Rest at Church

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God…

Exodus 20:9&10a

 

By the time we hit the seventh day of the week, going church can feel like a “have to” rather than a “get to.” We’ve all woken up on a Sunday morning wishing we could stay in bed—but shouldn’t going to church be considerably more refreshing than an hour’s extra sleep?

God didn’t call Sunday a day of rest for nothing. The Sabbath isn’t about “not doing work” (at least not entirely—you can check out what I have to say about that in this post), it’s about resting in His presence and care.

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Lean on Him

Read it!

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.

–Psalm 119:76

Think it through

I have a hard time staying warm. When I was a child, my dad jokingly referred to me as “snake lady.” (Perhaps this is part of why snakes and I are not friends.) Throw in a thyroid issue that manifested after our third baby was born, and now my hands and feet get so cold they start to turn colors. Even in the summer I shake with chills in air-conditioned areas. Trying to sleep is the worst, because my body shakes so much that I keep myself awake!

For years I’ve sought nighttime comfort in different ways.

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Kondo vs. Upton

Almost everywhere I go for this ministry, I hear a version of this question: “Have you read the Kondo organizing book?”

They’re referring to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and the answer to their question is: Yes, I have read it. (I read everything I can about organizing!) And, I completely understand the natural urge to draw comparisons between Kondo’s methods and the ones I outline in Building Your House.

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Organizing You is Back!

I was sitting at a desk in a tiny hotel room in Edinburg, Scotland.

Believe me, I never thought I’d begin a story like that! But just after the Lord called me to write a book, He gave me the opportunity to accompany my husband on a once-in-a-lifetime business trip.

My husband went off to his conference, and there I was in a hotel room in Scotland, completely alone for the first time in years, with nothing in front of me but a blinking curser.

After a few minutes I moved from the desk chair to the floor and kneeled. Lord, I can’t do this. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know how to start writing a book.

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Perspective From the Cross

Read it! John 19

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

(vs26&27)

Think it through

I can’t read through the Gospel of John, thinking about perspectives, without pondering Jesus’ perspective from the cross.

He looked down. He saw his mother, his disciples, his friends, and his loved ones. He cared for them. He saw his killers, and he asked God for their forgiveness.

He looked to either side. He saw two criminals. He encouraged the one who would let him: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

He looked up. He talked to His Father, who I believe heard and loved his son despite the separation brought on by burden of sin he bore.   Then he surrendered his spirit into the Father’s hands.

And through it all, he had the perspective of heaven. Even though he was experiencing things beyond my imagining, he knew the people perpetrating it had no power over him (verse 11). He knew that everything had now been finished so that the scriptures would be fulfilled (verse 28).

He knew that God would win in the end.

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Stop the Debate

Read it! John 18

Jesus answered, “…Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

(vs37&38)

Think it through

I imagine Pilate nearly snorting here—“Ha! What is truth?”—like it doesn’t exist… perhaps because I’ve heard that condescending tone before.

Perhaps you have, too.

When I’ve tried to discuss religion with a non-believer (in other words, when I try to share my joy in Christ with them), I’ve had people look me in the eye and tell me I’m elitist, close-minded, and conceited. How could I possibly think that Christians are right and everyone else is wrong? What is truth?

Here’s the thing: there is truth. The Earth and everything on it exists and came from somewhere. We are either here for a purpose, or we’re not. When we die, we either go somewhere, or we don’t. There is reality. There is truth.

Either one religion has it right and the rest are wrong, or we’re all wrong. Saying we could all be right isn’t a choice. You can’t have it more than one way. You can’t say everyone can believe what they want and still be right. That’s ludicrous.

I believe that God created everything, that He gave us purpose, and that if we embrace his son wholeheartedly we’ll live in heaven for eternity. Yes, that’s “just my perspective”—but I know it’s truth in every fiber of my being.

My pastor recently said that we’ll never debate anyone into a relationship with Jesus. What we can do is love people to the Lord. We can overwhelm them with a sacrificial love from a heart on fire for God.  We can show them unexplainable love that points to Jesus like a burning bush.

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How to Heal a Spiritual Bruise

I’m sporting quite a bruise on my shin today.  It’s a whopper—yellow in the middle fading into a greenish brown, with a lovely pink and purple bottom edge and a sizable bump. It’s almost pretty actually.

I have no idea how I got it.

You’d think I’d remember this one… did I bark my shin on something? Fall down? Bang it with a weight when I was exercising? (Sadly, I do that a lot.) I don’t know why it’s there.

In the same way, I’ll often bump into spiritual clutter that bruises my soul… worries and anxieties that get me down, even though I don’t know why they’re there.

 

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