Monday, April 23, 2012


“One-Two-Threeeeeeee!” It was such a brief moment but as I pushed my little guy in his stroller on a walk this morning I sensed God reminding me to embrace and focus on His love and joy! 

I was distracting my little boy from his desire to be out of the confines of his stroller; and as my little guy smiled with delight from my great distraction technique. I got the message.  Keep going.  Stay focused on the joy I have for you.

I too have moments like my little boy that I want to cry out with frustration of where I am at any given moment.  And just like I encouragingly distracted my boy with a, “One-two-threeeeeeeee!” and a zip of a push –my God is doing the same and taking me on a wild ride—distracting me from the things I could so easily become frustrated and crying about—when I let Him. 

Stay focused on what’s ahead—“One, Two, Threeeee!”  I sensed God smiling and zipping me around on our walk showing me the birds, chirping in the trees and the wind wrestling through the trees and even the occasional car zooming down the road. 

My sis using another distraction technique
on my boy while he was sitting in his stroller another time
--that brought both of them joy!
As my boy smiled more and more, I saw he was content to sit in his stroller and enjoy the ride.  Oh, how I want to enjoy this ride..don’t you?

What helps you stay focused on joy and enjoy the ride of life? 

How about trying this the next time you sense irritations beginning to rob you of joy and the peace of His loving presence in this ride of life. Write down this three-letter word on a piece of paper, “JOY!”  Post it wherever you will see it often during the day to remind you what God wants to give you for yourself and for you to share on this ride.  Then with your biggest kid-like voice, zip on into the day exclaiming, “One, Two, Threeeeee!”

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. “ (Psalm 16:11 NLT)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Feed the Panini to the Ducks!

“Panini!”  We giggled and talked  about this squished grilled sandwich on a recent road trip.

I don’t normally crave bread—I just don’t—don’t hate me.  But I have found myself thinking about it often these past few days and remembering this one deli I visited often with some former co-workers years ago…oh they served up a yummy Panini! 

While driving home from a retreat, my girlfriend and I were talking about a story we had heard recently and how the characters in the story reflected our lives in a way.  Panini was the name that just kept coming out when we couldn’t remember the antagonist’s name, Peninnah in the story of 1 Samuel. 

You see Panini had it and Hannah didn’t—but Panini wasn’t satisfied with what she had, and her blessing of many children surely didn’t keep her busy enough that she had extra energy to taunt Hannah.  Maybe Panini’s heart was squashed much like a real Panini sandwich when she saw the favor her husband, Elkanah showed Hannah.  Maybe seeing this favor reigning from the Lord on Hannah, turned up the heat in Panini’s heart stirring up all kinds of evil and jealousy; causing Panini to ooze out all kinds of messy emotions and words. 

Is there a Panini in your life?  Are you acting like Panini?  (We are capable of both)

Can you handle seeing another granted favor and be truly happy for them—even encourage them and help them?

I know at times Panini’s hot, messy, squashed heart may resemble mine especially when I am focused on comparing my life with someone else’s, and not fully believing and living out who I am in Christ. 

I also have experienced a Panini or two squishing and oozing their mess a little too close to my heart.   It is not pretty and just so unexpected.

What do we then do with that?

Have you like Hannah found yourself praying out of great anguish and grief?  Journal pages and hard pavement have been good places for me to pound out the Panini pain.

It hurts to be squished by or like a Panini.   A Panini can squash with harsh words, looks of disdain or maybe there are no words at all to communicate disapproval—sometimes the absence of our encouraging words hurt the most.  Or maybe, it is the ‘un-friend’ action on Facebook, or the absence of that ‘like’ or comment on your Facebook post, right??  (Seriously, we need to live beyond Facebook, but it’s there isn’t it?) 

In the midst of Hannah’s hurt, it says she stood up—and, “…wept much and prayed to the LORD.”  (1 Sam 1:10)  Don’t you just love that—she had the courage to stand and talk with her God in the midst of it all!  Sometimes all I want is a good cry in my pillow. 

This reminds me of what I heard singer/songwriter Beckah Shae say on Girlfriendit Radio a few weeks back, “To see yourself the way that God sees you is the beginning to freedom.”   (You can listen to the podcast of the "Put Your Love Glasses On," show here).

The words stood up and stand is rising up above the page for me both in my Bible and in my head as I think about the truth in Beckah Shae’s comment.  Freedom to stand…YES!

Stand firm, then…(Galations 5:1)

Stand at the crossroads…(Jer 6:16)

Stand firm and you will see the deliverance of the LORD…(Exodus 14:13)

I can’t help but giggle a little as I picture this truth of standing up and believing we are who God says we are, not what some squashed sandwich may express to us…really?!? 

I’m not sure why the word Panini has stuck with me these last couple of weeks, but I’m giggling and I think this is good because like Patty and Lisa also talk about on their radio show, laughter is needed to diffuse the pain and it helps us not water the seed of pain allowing anger and bitterness to grow.  If you wanna get your teary-eyes off the pillow and  laugh some more, keep listening to this particular show, for Patty and Lisa chat with comedian Kerri Pomarolli next…she is a hoot and literally stands up for truth!  

It’s time to stand up girls—seek our God who loves us and has great things for us and take that Panini sandwich and feed it to the birds!  

(Or like me, the ducks I saw on my walk this morning—God loves me this I know, for He reminded me this morning to quit giving the Paninis in my life any volume and feed the Panini to the ducks!  And God loves me no less or no more than He loves you—no joke!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

More and More!

Have you ever just wanted to just throw your arms up—you know give up and quit???

Life can be hard sometimes.  I realized these last few weeks that something or maybe someone or some-thought has been tugging on my heart-my to do list-my brain…

My to do list keeps growing with cares and concerns and God keeps bringing me assignments all the while growing me and allowing me to partake in some awesome new experiences.  In the busyness of the moment I am tempted to say things like, “I can’t do this,”  “This is too hard,” “I’m not cut out for this,” “I want to stop-quit-return to a quiet life.” 

As I realize my nature, my true self prone to run away from what God has for me at times, I see my little boy all this week determined more and more to walk; more and more to get up after each fall, more and more to throw his hands up in surrender and thus smiling more and more

This all reminds me of my new nature-my new self being renewed because of Christ…more and more. (Col 3:10)

When Jesus has the wheel of our locomotive—it is a wild ride!  God has been showing me recently what it looks like to have peace like a river (Isaiah 66:12). 

We had some family photos taken this weekend and I had some time to just pause and stare at some fast-flowing water falling down a small bed of rocks.  I recognized my energetic toddler was mesmerized for a moment with the flowing water and we both paused. 

For a moment—every care from the week behind and the week ahead dissipated in the rushing water and I knew Jesus was close—I felt His Presence and His Peace.   

His peace He gives us—even amidst the chaos of this life. 

If I look at my to do list this week, I sense my heart begin to race a little bit.  Can any one else relate?

Something in me is nudging me to cry out His name…Jesus is here and will help me.

I think I am going to go run into my closet where no one else can see me and just throw up my arms in sweet surrender. 

Go on…you do the same.  Let’s enjoy this ride of life, no matter how hard it is—no matter how scary and fast flowing the rapids become—Let’s live determined to enjoy this life and smile more and more!

In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.
(Col 3:10 NLT)