Surprised by Life

when God gives a fresh wind of faith

I've had a very hard last few days friends. Our technical problems at The MOB Society are driving me batty (BATTY I say!) and I sat at my breakfast table this morning totally overwhelmed by my lack of ability to do anything about it. (There are people working on it, never you fear, it's just a slow process). I poured out my heart to a few close friends, and asked them to show up with dark chocolate, fresh bread, or Prozac...you know...whichever they had handy...all things I thought might ease my immediate discomfort and bring some peace to my weary heart.

Then I poured out my heart to God, praying my old, familiar, go-to prayer, "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!" (from Mark 9:24), and did my best to choose to believe He heard me. I asked Him to provide, to protect, to heal, and to guide.

Thankfully, God knew what I really needed.

a fresh wind of faith

That’s the definition of new mercies every day. That’s the way He meets us in our mess. That’s the way we can experience God’s faithfulness in the tiny minutes of each day.

Early in the day, we were invited to spend the morning hanging out with our church's backpack ministry. Some local VA State Troopers were scheduled to be there doing drug dog and TAC-team demonstrations, and I knew our boys would love it.

They did.

VA State Police Demonstration

 

VA State Police Demonstration

After the demos, we all went into the sanctuary and had an opportunity to listen to one of the Troopers talk about being on the TAC-team (all I have to say is thank GOD for our protectors...really...next time you see one thank them for all they go through to keep you safe) and then ask their own questions, but the best part, the part this mama needed so much, came at the end.

Three children came to the front of the sanctuary, laid hands on the Troopers who knelt before them, and prayed over them. My youngest was one of them.

His prayer was the most precious thing I have ever heard, and I stood there weeping as I realized that God was giving me exactly what I needed most that day, assurance that the hearts of my sons, and yours too, are safe in His capable hands.

There was no prodding on my part to get my little guy to pray. We hadn't discussed it beforehand, and he certainly wasn't just having an "on" day. In fact, he'd been in trouble all morning (OK...all week). But in spite of his behavior on the outside, there is a glowing fire of tenderness toward prayer, and a heart that really wants to be good even when it's so much easier to be bad. I saw it today...and it was good.

Dark chocolate, fresh bread, Prozac, and even coffee are all good, but there's no refreshment on earth that can blow a fresh wind of faith and courage into a mama's heart like seeing God use her children to bless others. It was a direct answer to prayer, evidence of a God who sees and hears His children's pleas for help.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." Psalm 23:1-3.

Most often, we want God to swoop down and just fix everything that's ailing us. And the truth of the matter is that He can. The God of the universe is fully capable of a snap of a finger, or a blink of an eye that would turn our worlds upside down, bringing us everything we've ever prayed for. But that doesn't happen very often. Why? Because this God who loves us with a love so deep we can only begin to understand it prefers to get in our messes with us, and lead us into a deeper relationship with Him in the process.

That's the definition of new mercies every day. That's the way He meets us in our mess. That's the way we can experience God's faithfulness in the tiny minutes of each day. Not that He should swoop down and change it all, but that we should simply offer Him what faith we have, and beg Him to help it grow. He will.

I'd love to know friends, how has God restored your soul this week? Met you in your mess? (If you're reading via email, click over to join in the comments!)

Photo Credit

when giving up on the right way to blog is the best decision ever...

I freely admit to neglecting this little online space for the last few months. Turns out writing a book, and then another book (I'll tell you about that a little later!), planning for another book, and running a multi-author contributor blog is pretty time-consuming. Especially when you add in homeschooling, and trying to stay connected with the people God has placed in your every day life too. #OneBeautifulThing

I've stressed over this space more than I care to admit over the past four years of blogging here. I've wondered if it was all it could be, hoped it would be more, planned projects that never materialized, series that got cut short, and tried so many things that just didn't work.

But along the way, a few things did work. And much like Henry Blackaby's sage advice in Experiencing God, I decided to join God in what He seemed to already be doing in my life. Every time I've tried to make this space something seriously special, God has redirected me to a bunch of boy moms who desperately need to feel understood, normal, and like their worth comes from something other than the their sons' behavior.

I can't shake it...this feeling that maybe a big part of the reason God put me on this earth is to encourage mothers of boys, and stand in the gap for "those" boys who are the more difficult of the lot. So instead of fighting what God is so obviously trying to accomplish in my life, I decided to embrace it. And that, my friends, is why this space has been so quiet lately.

But I miss it.

I miss having my own space to just write what I want to write, when I want to write it. I miss having a space to be me. Because while a huge part of my calling is to be a boy mom, I'm actually much more than that.

* I'm a prayer girl (I recently learned that my grandmother was too...maybe that's where I get it).

* I'm a girl who wants to say "yes" to God, no matter the cost.

* I'm a Word-lover (capital) who loves to share the way God meets me there, and opens my eyes to His great power.

* I've been surprised by the life God's given me. It isn't what I thought it would be, but is so much better.

* I'm a photographer wanna-be, intentionally searching for beauty amidst the chaos of life.

* I'm a book-writer.

Really, I'm just me. And so I've decided that's what this space will specialize in. The real me, and everything God's teaching me.

It would feel a bit narcissistic unless you understood that I'm one of those people who just can't keep these things to herself. You know those days when you find an amazing product, and it's just so good that you HAVE to share it with all your friends?? (Hello social media). That's my life. It's who I am. And so...

* I want you to know the power of prayer too!

* I want you to know the thrill of saying "yes" to God too!

* I want you to experience the living Word of God, and it's power to change your life!

* I want to help you recognize and cherish the surprises of life, embracing them as God's great gifts to you!

* I want to help you look for beauty too, because choosing to see the good in your life changes everything!

* I want to write to be a blessing, and I want to share with you all that God's taught me about Himself as I've walked the writing path!

In other words, I'm done trying to accomplish anything specific with this site, and ready to to start sharing little bits and pieces of who I am and what the Lord's taught me. It won't win me any awards, and it certainly won't put this blog on the top of the charts, but I'm more OK with that now than I ever have been. It's a good, no-stress place to be. Just me, and whoever God brings to join me.

No promises. No schedules. No worries about SEO. Just as God leads me. I'll save all of the promises and schedules and SEO worries for that other blog I run (wink wink)

on slingshots, arrows, and spears {or feeling totally unprepared for battle}

My writing timeline for the next two years reveals a lot of words that need to fall to the page. Words about mothering, raising boys, prayer, and giving hope. We start a new homeschool year at the McGlothlin Home for Boys tomorrow. A year of soul-pouring, teaching, and practicing patience with little learners.

And I've set a goal for myself to be more intentional with life this year...less tossed to and fro by the winds of loss, and more grounded in what I know is true.

But I do wonder...

What in the world have I done that makes me the person to write these words, pour into these boys, stand on what is true?

So many good things are on my to-do list these days. I'm living a life I love, doing the work I've prayed for the opportunity to do, and using my gifts and talents in a way that brings me such incredible joy. But sometimes I still wonder if God knows who He's dealing with.

I knelt at the altar today and told the Lord He needed to remember how little I bring to the table. I think He smiled a crooked smile as I told Him about my average-sized platform (you know...the one that won't catapult a book directly to the best-seller list?), my messy (at times) house, my intense desire to get up insanely early to work, but inability to do it (yet).

I reminded him that my boys are just boys, and that no matter how many copies of Warrior Prayers He's sold, and no matter what happens with that message, my boys are just regular old disobedient children who need a Savior just as much as their mama does.

I opened my hands in surrender as I counted the number of times I've preached a good blog sermon, but failed to make it happen at home. And I handed over the education of my children, knowing that in the end, whether we homeschool or don't, their future is in His hands.

I feel totally unprepared for the battle that's coming this year. And I'm not sure why God has chosen me to fight it–in all my average, messy, unorganized glory...

My only battle equipment consists of prayer and a willing heart. But maybe that's all that's required?

Slingshots, arrows and spears

Joshua and the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho with nothing more than trumpets, and maybe some slingshots, arrows, and spears (Joshua 5). The wall that stood between them and the promise of God must have looked like an enemy far too big for their measly weapons.

But their hearts were filled with faith in God, and as it turns out, that's all they really needed.

Their faith inspires me to do my own circling of sorts—around my upcoming book launches, around our new homeschool year, around friends and family who are hurting, situations that rest out of my control—my circling happens in prayer.

And I know this:

There will be times when we feel like Joshua at the battle of Jericho. Our weapons of warfare may fall sadly short of what we think is needed to win the war. But God hasn't asked us to win. He's only asked us to be faithful in the battle.

#SurprisedByLife

 

So I circle the walls and ask God to make them fall.

For the mamas who need Hope.

For God to help me produce a joyful place for my sons to learn.

For all the words that will fall on the page.

And God's crooked smile? I think that's Him reminding me that He often chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and the weak to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:27).

If so, I'm positioned right where He needs me.

"Lord, make something of all this that makes You look good. Use all of my weaknesses to give Yourself glory. Use my mess, and the way You've been so faithful to meet me in it, to bring another mama hope that You can do the same for her."

Amen.

Just glimpses today

There's nothing really to say. Just glimpses today.

#SurprisedByLife

Two boys crawling around in a muddy creek...faithful dog hot on their heels.

#SurprisedByLife

Sheep love...no words really.

#SurprisedByLife

The caption of which should really be, "I peed in the water." (But he didn't).

#SurprisedByLife

We went to the fair, and this is what happens there.

#SurprisedByLife

Having an active dog now is freeing us up to find ways to enjoy life outdoors. We're investigating all kinds of trails and fun places for Toby to swim in our area. What an unexpected blessing.