Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
As I write this, it’s pouring down rain on the construction site/trash pit that is my lawn.
It’s a very, very long story, but let’s just say that the “simple” covered deck project we commissioned, the one that we believed would be completed in 5 to 7 days, is about 30% completed—and well into Week 4.
My heart is not feeling gentle or quiet—it’s way too cluttered with anxious thoughts.
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.
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
For the last couple of years, my little family has been making fun of all the hash-tagging.
This began when these symbol-led phrases started popping up on the bottom of our TV screen. I think I noticed it first on shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race. (Yes, we still love those two!) #TribalCouncil #Blindside #UTurn
It was just too easy to roll our eyes at those. Soon we were joking in hashtags.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Think it through
I love Peter. Peter who walked on the water toward Jesus, told Jesus exactly what he was thinking, and jumped out of the fishing boat to swim to Jesus even faster. Poor Peter who’s frequently documented as getting it wrong.
Even after Jesus says, “You don’t understand what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later,” (that’s The Message version, very direct), Peter says, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!” Passionate Peter.
He meant well, but he wasn’t listening. He saw the Lord with a towel around his waist, kneeling at his feet, and closed his ears. He closed himself to the perspective Jesus was trying to give him, a perspective of trust in The Master.
So often I see the “messy” areas of my life and I think I know better. Like Peter, I’m passionate for the Lord, jumping into the deep water of this ministry and telling the Lord exactly what’s on my mind. But also like Peter, I get it wrong. I want things to move faster and go differently—it seems so obvious to me how things should be!
I imagine that Jesus is patiently saying, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization. Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live! If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities. How do you want to spend your time?
It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed. We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said:
Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,
that you have brought me this far?
Think it through:
David had a great idea. He wanted to build a beautiful, permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant, which had been housed in a series of temporary dwellings. This idea seemed so right, so true, that he couldn’t wait to get started! But then Nathan, a prophet of God, told David that God said the job needed to wait. Building the temple wasn’t work for David, but for one of his sons.
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel;
I will spare them no longer.”
Think it through
I was disappointed by my pears this week. Two days ago I cut one open and it was hard as a rock, like eating an apple. Today, I picked one up and could tell by the feel that it was overripe. Obviously, the day to eat my pear was yesterday, and I missed it.
But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
Think it through
OK, so I’m really afraid of snakes. Really afraid. I had a hard time featuring this verse because it has the word “snake” in it, and of course the visual image of Paul shaking it off into the fire (my stomach is turning over right now). Every time I read this passage I laugh out loud at verse 6, probably out of sheer relief that the snake part is over. But God spoke to my heart through this verse today, through this snake-shaking image, so there it is.