Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Forget Your Shoes!

What thrilling news we received this week. Our former lead pastor, John Stumbo, was brought back from death's doorstep over a year ago and has been recovering from a rare illness for these many months since. You can see, bit by bit, that his strength has been returning to him, though he is by no means running races or anywhere near where he was before this all hit. But, this week he announced that his ability to swallow has been restored. This has been prayed for by so many people, locally and around the world, for so long. Praise the Lord!! What a blessing.

After my initial reaction of excitment and praise to God our healer, my secondary reaction was one of grief for myself. You see, I prayed fervently for many months, and then occassionally as his name came to mind, and then more recently, even when I thought of him, I just forgot to keep praying. I realize that God didn't need me to pray the exact day John was healed, but I just feel like I missed out a little. My desire is to always be on my toes, ready to give and answer, a warrior equipped for battle and ready for the call whether that be prayer or giving or action. How embarrassing, the call came and I was... what? distracted? I didn't hear it ring? Was I too tired? or maybe bored with the same prayers?

This theme has been in my face for a few weeks really. I've spoken with broken hearted people and have had no encouraging words. Not wanting to speak my own opinions into situations, I've prayed, "Lord what's the truth, what would you have me say here?" *crickets* "Why can't I hear you, Lord?" I pray and I don't have passionate direction to my prayers... almost like they're a little forced. So I feel like there's opportunities before me to pray or encourage or bless and they're passing me by. It's like I'm watching strike after strike cross the plate and I'm just standing there.

To use another sports picture, it's like I'm asking God, my coach, "Why didn't I get to play in the game?" And, it's not that God is looking at me and thinking, "Sheesh, I'm not even sure I want you on the team" or "Well, this was a tough opponent and we only wanted our best players out there". But maybe He's saying something like, "You could have played, but you're not wearing your shoes". Oh!

So today I'm looking at what have I been doing to be prepared to give an answer? How have I been ordering my days so that my prayer life is active and has room to respond to God's prompting? My Bible has been mostly shut for a few weeks. My prayers have been often self focused, mostly complaining or arrows of "help" sent up. Though there have been moments of intense prayers as well, they are random and sporadic rather than intentional.

So, what's the good news? The good news is that God is God. His will will be accomplished. I can celebrate John's healing along with the daily prayers, and the ones who fasted from ice cream for all these months because my team had a victory! Even though I wasn't on the court at the moment of victory, it is a victory and I am thrilled. And, this isn't over, I still have opportunities to "play", whatever my role might be.

What a thrill to remember that the King of Kings chooses to use us to accomplish his plans. You know what? I'm going to make sure I've got my shoes on!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I heard a powerful testimony this past weekend, one of healing and forgiveness and overcoming. I love how God can use our most painful experiences, our failures, and mistakes, for His purposes. He redeems them! Today Mia misread her math assignment, quite frankly she assumed she was doing her doubles subtraction work, which is very easy for her. She knows you can just look at the the bottom number and that's the answer. 16-8=8 But, doubles work was yesterday, today the answers needed a different approach. Mia is a hard worker, she gets 100% almost every time, and she takes pride in that. Today, she got most problems wrong. This was devastating. Suddenly, she hated math, she hated school, she did not want to redo the work, she was a bucket of tears and frustration. Once again, the theme of redemption popped into my mind. I always circle the incorrect answers and put stars on the right ones. As the kids correct each mistake, I turn the circles into a smiley face or a puppy depending on my mood. This makes it fun for the kids, they get a secondary "reward" even if they didn't get the first star, and helps clarify which ones have been made right. Today though, I needed to go above and beyond to show her what can happen with old mistakes that are redeemed. Today's marks of error, signs of her mistake, were turned into beautiful princesses complete with starry wands. I cried through the whole thing. What a gift the Holy Spirit prompted me to give her. She was thrilled with the result and I was able to tell her, through my tears, that no matter what happens in her life she can always go to her Heavenly Father for redemption and he will make something beautiful from it.

You always have choices. You can crumple in defeat, and quit when you make mistakes or are hurt. You can hide and pretend they didn't happen. You can lash out and hurt other people, leaving a trail of further devastation behind you. Or you can allow God to change you, redeem you, and use those things for beautiful purposes that He has planned in advance for you.

Lord, my paper of a life is filled with lots of circles. Even the few stars I have are mostly just luck! But I turn myself into you for correction and healing. Make my mistakes, failures, and hurts something beautiful! AMEN!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Yes, yes, I know there's a giant eye on my blog. At least I finally got the Christmas music off. I've been here 2 hours trying to post a new "spring-ish" picture for our header but, since I mostly use my phone to take pictures these days, it posed a few problems for me. One is that when the phone and blogger communicate apparently blogger doesn't get the message to "shrink to fit" the picture. I sympathize with the phone. I've got a few people in my life who don't get the message sometimes, too. *sigh* But, we patiently make do with what we've got for now and plan to pour more time into making it perfect later. In the meantime I've used up most of my mental energy and it's way past my bedtime so... no new post. I can't wait to get back though! I really do love blogging.
Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff