Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Entering into The Fullness

Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It's not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you're already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it's an initiation ritual you're after, you've already been through it by submitting to baptism.

Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.

So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.

Don't tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They're a lot of hot air, that's all they are. They're completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.
Colossians 2:11-19

As I read these verses I want to jump and down, pump my fist and yell, "YES!"

This is The Good News!

Christ is The Fullness.

We cannot add anything to what He has already accomplished for us.

We never could and never will be able to.

He is enough.

He is so much more than enough.

To enter into the fullness I need to simply accept it.

It has already been taken care of.

It is mine.

It is yours.

Accept the gift.

It is finished.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Woven into a Tapestry of Love

Our Father is so faithful and patient.

I am so often unfaithful and impatient.

I was well on my way into a full on temper tantrum, pity party this morning.

"Can't I just take a break from being The Mom once in awhile?"

"Why can't I just roll over and pull the covers over MY head this morning?"

"I NEVER get to sleep in...."

You get the idea...

It was not pretty.

I knew I was in a wrong place.

I knew that I needed a change of perspective and that I was being ungrateful and relying on my own strength.

I am so glad that for once I chose not to wallow too long in my self made pit.

I'm so glad that our Father listens even when I am getting it wrong, that He doesn't turn me away and tell me to "get myself straightened up".

He is so good at doing that for me...

When I let Him.

I pulled out Colossians and dove in right where I've been reading....

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery.  -- Colossians 2:2

A tapestry of love....

God is love....

He's Sovereign....

He works everything in my life for my good.... (Romans 8:28)

Nothing can happen without His permission... (Lamentations 3:37)

His tapestry of love is in the process of being put together.

It is all around me, because I am a part of it.

So, being awoken before I would choose, serving my family even when I would rather go back to bed, is part of His tapestry of love.

As I get to know God more and more I am more in touch with who He is, with how He works and what He is doing in my life.

As I get to know Him, I am more confident in His love; trusting that He knows what is best for me.

Then, my mind can be at rest.

Life and peace come when I live by the Spirit. (Romans 8:5-6)

Thank you, Father for calling my heart to Yours this morning. Thank You for the gift of life. Please help me to know You more and more so that I can be confident in Your love and have a mind at rest in You.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Mind at Rest

Know that I'm on your side, right alongside you. You're not in this alone. I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we've been shown the mystery! I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or "the Secret." -- Colossians 2:1b-4

To have a mind that is confident and at rest. 

I love that! 

I have been slowly reading through Colossians in The Message. 

It has been so good to take it slow and savor what nuggets of Truth the Lord is uncovering for me.

"Know that I'm on your side, right alongside you. You're not in this alone."

Immediately, when I read that, I thanked the Lord for the people who live those words out in my life.

I have been so blessed to have friends in my life who are on my side and are walking this journey right alongside me.

I am not alone!

What a precious gift it is to have friends in my life who speak Truth to me, who encourage me, who challenge my thinking and continually point me to the Lord. 

"I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God."


Held together with other believers, in the bond of love, making a beautiful tapestry as we continue to learn all there is to know of God! 

Now, that is a purpose for life, isn't it! 

"Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery."

So, the way to have a confident mind that is at rest is to keep learning about God and to keep my focus on Jesus.

Too many times, I am so far from this.

Too many times my mind is anything but at rest and so far from being confident.

But it is often my friends who help me to get back to the place where I am focusing on Christ. 

They remind me of what I know is True about God and His Word.

They help me back to a mind that is restful and confident.

Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. Thank You that You want us to know You. Thank You for weaving me into Your tapestry of love and providing me with sweet sisters in You who help me to know You more and remind me of what is True. Please use me to help them on their journey, pointing them always back to You. Please help me to know You more and to focus on Jesus. Thank you that as I do this, You will keep my mind at rest and confident in You.  Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That's what I'm working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.  -- Colossians 1: 27-29 

 I'm finding myself being drawn to hymns this week.

Well, so far, two hymns...

But the themes are so foundational to our faith in Christ.

He is all that we need.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Anything else we try to depend on will fail.



—Edward Mote (1797-1874)

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

A friend shared this verse with me today and it goes right along with this as well:

A man without God is trusting in a spider's web.  Everything he counts on will collapse.  If he counts on his home for security, it won't last.  At dawn he seems so strong and virile like a green plant; his branches spread across the garden.  His roots are in the stream, down among the stones.  But when he disappears, he isn't even missed!  That is all he can look forward to!  and others spring up from the earth to replace him!  -- Job 8:14-18

I'd like to say that all I am relying on is Christ.

But, how often is that not true in my life on a day to day basis?

I pray that my life today will be built on the Solid Rock...

Everything else is sinking sand and spider webs.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On my mind

What is on my mind, should I say, in my mind, is so important.

The thoughts that are going on in my head affect what I do and say.

When my thoughts are whirling and accusing, I find myself lost and overwhelmed.

My thoughts can separate me from Jesus.

When I allow myself to listen to and believe lies, I am locked up in a prison of darkness and despair.

Those lies filling my head are toxic to me and everyone around me.

Recognizing those lies and shining the bright light of Truth on them causes them to shrivel and die.

Lies lose their power in the Light of the Word.


Far too often I find myself wallowing around in the dark, dreary places. 
But when I choose to step into the Light, He lifts me up. 

I've been reading Colossians the past few days and I have not made it out of Chapter 1 yet. 

This morning these words have been speaking to my mind and my heart:

You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one.  -- Colossians 1: 21-23

I am so thankful that because of what Jesus did for me on the Cross through His death, I can stand before God, holy and blameless, without a single fault.

Now that is something to keep my mind focused on!

I was reminded of this hymn today and the words speak my desire today.

May the Mind of Christ, My Savior

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It takes time


It is illustrated all over life.

Growth takes time.

A huge tree starts out as a tiny seed.

It doesn't just spring up out of the ground one day a full grown tree.

The seed has to be planted in the right conditions – good soil, the right amount of sunlight and water – and given time in order to one day end up with a tree. 

And what about people?

Having carried six little lives within my body – five are currently in my care and one is with Jesus – I have experienced first hand how they each started out as tiny, tiny bits to eventually seemingly growing before our eyes as they dig through the fridge. 


Growing from a tiny life within to a grown person takes time. 



I know this and accept that growth takes time in the physical world, so why have I not made that connection in the spiritual world?
I am starting to see that I believed that spiritual fruit – things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. – should just suddenly appear in my life (or in others' lives for that matter). 

No wonder I get frustrated with myself for not being more loving or joyful or patient.... growth takes time. But I wasn't allowing for time and the right conditions to produce growth. 

I just want the fruit and I want it now!

But, alas, that is not how God works in our lives.

I am currently reading "Dancing with My Father" by Sally Clarkson. 

In the chapters I read yesterday and this morning she addresses this reality.

"Spiritual training takes place over a long period of time – from baby to mature adult; from immaturity to godly wisdom. Learning to dance isn't an instant accomplishment; it's a lengthy process of learning (and sometimes relearning) to let go of these things that bind us in order to be free to hold the hand of the Lord, as He is the source of joy. He will teach us the dance, but we first must empty our hands so that we are free to hold His hand."
"God is not so much concerned with my immediate gratification as He is with the development of my soul."
 "God doesn't grow us in character and joy quickly. He has a long-term perspective for me. He sees the training process over a period of years and is always seeking to move me ahead in my character."

Growth comes through tests and trials that God allows in our lives.

And growth takes time.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  -- James 1:2-4

While we are going through these tests and challenges, it is usually painful or at least not very enjoyable. But going through them and learning in them and from them is worth it.

I was thinking about the joy that comes from passing the tests and how this is illustrated in marriage. 

My husband and I have been married for almost 17 years. 

Not as long as some – as I think of my friend who had been married for 61 years when he went home to be with the Lord – but long enough for me to see the beginnings of the fruit of joy that comes from our growth together in our relationship. 

We had no idea when we were first in love and dating what deep joy would eventually come into our lives as we learned to live and work together as one flesh. I can only imagine that the joy and love will deepen and grow as our children grow and move on to their own lives apart from us. 

These fruits are part of a faithful marriage. 

But they do not come without time, tests and work. 

It may seem as we look at others' lives that they may have it easier than we do. We many not want the trials or tests that God has allowed in our lives.

"Often it seems we would rather have another life – any life – thank our own. Somehow we think if we lived a different life, it would be easier for us to grow in faithfulness and spiritual character. Yet it is in accepting today with all of its issues, in accepting God's will and training grounds that we learn the secret of joy in His presence. It is in being faithful to our own set of tests that we become mature and fitted for the ministry He has called each of us to accomplish. "
 "Our integrity as people of God will come by walking the path that He has given to us. We will not have this fulfillment, satisfaction, or joy if we compromise our ideals and resist the tests that God puts in our pathway."   -- Sally Clarkson in "Dancing with My Father"

Thankfully, we do not have to walk this path alone, nor do this work in our own strength.

We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.  -- Colossians 1:10-12

Yes, growth takes time, but it is so worth it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Christ Alone

I was just sitting here in my chair snuggling with my warm 5 year old daughter.

As we were snuggling, I have to confess that I was also reading emails and checking my Facebook pages, but I don't think she minded. She was just enjoying some mommy time, that for her has become rather rare.

As I read what is going on in the lives of my friends and family and as I considered my own life, once again I was reminded how much we all need Jesus.

I have friends in every stage of life, one just said goodbye to her husband of 61 years for the last time, and another is beginning the journey of motherhood. I am smack dab in the middle of mothering, while my sister will soon have two kids in college and one in high school. My dad just retired, and my husband is in the midst of his career....

One thing we all have in common (besides blood running through our veins) is that we all need Jesus.

He is all we need.

We can't do this life without Him.

Oh we all try it.

I know I do.

Yesterday I was giving it another try.

All alone.

Trying to slog through it all. Carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

For just a minute or two that whole martyr thing is almost fun.

But then it starts getting unbearable.

And gross.

Oh the terrible thoughts I start having when I am trying to live this life in my own strength!

But He always gets my attention.

Little comments or questions start to chip away at my self imposed prison.

At first those reminders make me so mad!

There's nothing the matter!

I'm doing just fine, thank you!


Eventually I realize that I am once again playing the game. Trying to do it all alone.

Eventually I have to give up.

Because I can't do this on my own.

None of us can.

But He can.

Oh yes, He can!

It is so ridiculous how I resist coming to Him and admitting that I have to wandering around on my own again.

I can almost see Him gently smile and softly shake His head.

Oh how good it feels to crawl up into His lap and feel His arms come around me. To feel the warmth of his breath. To know that He is here.

To know that I am His.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Prayer from Colossians 1

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, 
we haven't stopped praying for you, 
asking God to give you wise minds and spirits 
attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding 
of the ways in which God works. 

We pray that you'll live well for the Master, 
making him proud of you as you work hard 
in his orchard. As you learn more and more
how God works, you will learn how to do your work.

We pray that you'll have the strength
to stick it out over the long haul—
not the grim strength of gritting your teeth
but the glory-strength God gives.
It is strength that endures the unendurable
and spills over into joy, thanking the Father
who makes us strong enough to take part
in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

~ Colossians 1:9-12 ~ 


I haven't been super faithful about praying for my kids. But as I read this today I realized that I wanted these verses to be true for them. I want them to be true for me and my husband, and for you too!

Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will.

A thorough understanding of the ways God works.

Working hard at God's work, watching Him closely, following His example.

Full of the glory-strength that only He can give. 

Spilling over with joy and thanksgiving.

Strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful He has for us.

Once again I see that it is all about Him. He is our Source, He is our Example, He is the Creator and the Planner and the One who gives Purpose and Wisdom and Understanding. 

He provides the work and the strength to do it. He fills us with joy as we follow Him doing the work He has prepared for us to do. 

Oh Holy Spirit work God's love into my life, into my kids' lives, and my huband's life. Continue to draw us always back to You. Be first and foremost in our minds and our hearts. Open our eyes to see You all around us. Help us to be God revealers to all we come in contact with. Thank You for being our All-in-All.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Clear Vision

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything 
God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, 
something less than total commitment, God will 
clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! 
Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. 
~ Philippians 3:15-16 ~

I've never been much of a goal setter.

So when I read these verses in Philippians about keeping focused on the goal, I always feel a little uncomfortable.

I got too focused on the fact that I am not good at setting goals in my own life, so then I would start to feel inadequate, like I was not very spiritual because I have a hard time with goals.

But I'm realizing something.

I don't have to figure out what the goal is. This goal has already been established. I just need to make sure that I continue heading towards it.

Because the goal is not an it, it's a Him.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, 
experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, 
and go all the way with him to death itself. 
If there was any way to get in on the resurrection 
from the dead, I wanted to do it. 
~ Philippians 3:10-11

Jesus is my goal. 

Knowing Him, experiencing His power, partnering with Him in His suffering and going all the way to death with Him. To be raised by His resurrection power.

I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. 
But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, 
who has so wondrously reached out for me. 
Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I 
count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye 
on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. 
I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
~ Philippians 3:12-14

Knowing what my goal is is vital.

Steering clear of what will hinder me from my goal or turn me away onto another path is also vital. 

Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running 
this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there 
taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you 
to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; 
sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. 
They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. 
Those who live there make their bellies their gods; 
belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
~ Phillipians 3:17-19 ~

There is so much that can distract me from reaching my goal of knowing Christ. So many "good" things. So many not so good things. 

Steer clear of the barking dogs, 
those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. 
All they're interested in is appearances—
knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. 
The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God 
leads to work away at this ministry, 
filling the air with Christ's praise as we do it. 
We couldn't carry this off by our own efforts, 
and we know it—even though we can list 
what many might think are impressive credentials.
~ Philippians 3:2-5 ~
I love what it says in verse 15:

If any of you have something else in mind, 
something less than total commitment, 
God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet!

I am so weak. I do not think I can say that I have ever been totally committed to reaching the Goal. But God's Word says that God Himself will clear my blurred vision! Oh I pray that He does. 
I can rely on God at work in me to give me the desire, the energy and the power to reach the Goal. Oh, I am so thankful this is true!

Be energetic in your life of salvation, 
reverent and sensitive before God. 
That energy is God's energy, 
an energy deep within you, 
God himself willing and working 
at what will give him the most pleasure.
~ Philippians 2:13 ~
Oh, Father, please help me to keep going forward towards the Goal of knowing Jesus, of experiencing His power, of participating in His suffering and dying to myself. Thank you that you do not leave me to work this out on my own. Please clear my vision, help me to see where I am being distracted or even veering off the right path. Be at work in me.

God can do anything, you know—
far more than you could ever imagine 
or guess or request in your wildest dreams! 
He does it not by pushing us around 
but by working within us, 
his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 
~ Ephesians 3: 20 ~

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scenes from the Fairy Tale

Sharing scenes from my life today. 

A drawing Josie did yesterday in response to an invitation to a Valentine's tea party.

The back of my front door ~ lots of love flowing.

Josie creating.

 Sophie creating.

Gracie creating.

Girl by Gracie

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Normal

I've come to realize lately that it is time to start moving out of "Survival Mode" and start moving forward in several areas of my life.

Ever since that wonderful day back in July 2008 when I discovered 5 days after my 40th birthday that God was blessing us with another child I have been in a sort of "Survival Mode"; just getting the basics done, allowing for morning sickness, achy joints, a large swollen belly, exhaustion, then on to the new baby, adjusting to no sleep, nursing again, cloth diapers (yep, had to throw in something new for the 5th baby!), adjusting to 5 instead of 4.....

I really tried to just let myself walk through this time without holding myself to expectations that I had to return to "normal" as fast as possible. I have been trying to enjoy the journey more, trying to let God show me how to do this, instead of trying to live up to impossible expectations I come up with on my own or instead of trying to live up to what I see others doing in their lives.

I have done pretty well with this. I have had my days of sinking into the sea of expectations, but I have come out of those times much quicker than I have in the past. I think that I was able to do this because I allowed myself to "be" instead of "do".  Again, I had my struggles, but I think it helped me so much to remember that I was learning something new, adjusting to a major life change and that it was OK t to take my time and find my way through to a "new normal".

As I have been thinking about this new year and what God has for me and our family, I have been starting feel the nudging that it is time to be seeking what He wants to do in me, how I should be moving into and forward our "new normal."

I have been feeling a new desire to more fully embrace my calling as a wife and mother. To go further and deeper with God. To allow things to be stripped away, to grow and be more of what God has made me to be.

That can be a little overwhelming, to say the least.

Yesterday I was reminded of something my sister shared with me a few years ago when I was struggling with my calling. I was feeling tied down and wanting to be free. God helped her see through my words into my heart. He spoke to me through her and reminded me of what is most important. This is what she said:
"I was thinking some more and remembered some thoughts I had as I was reading through Genesis this past winter. When I read the passage about Noah, I thought that building the ark was a really big job for God to ask Noah to do. Yet God supplied just what he needed to do the job. But Noah had to do the work. God is asking me to do a big job of raising three daughters and be a loving wife. There are days it feels like I'm to build an ark so to speak. Yet God provides just what I need day by day to carry out this job as long as I keep my heart and mind focused on Him. If I do it on my own, it doesn't go well and I want to quit."
 I love that!

While I may not be building a huge boat in the middle of a desert where it has never rained, I am doing a pretty huge task, one that I certainly cannot do on my own. But when I am not connecting with the Lord, when I am not spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer, when I am not thanking Him and praising Him and not asking Him for strength, wisdom and guidance, I might as well be trying to build an ark... because without Him I can do nothing.

I am weak. He is strong.

He is my Provider.

He wants me to do well. And I can only do that when I am focusing and relying on Him.

And so, as I walk forward into my "new normal" I intend to stick close to Him. Staying up close under His wing, letting Him show me the next step to take.