Archive: November, 2010

Challenged by the Calendar

As I survey the train wreck that appears to be my schedule for this week, I begin feeling a bit flustered. My fluster(ation) mixes with a dash of fear, a sprinkle of stress, and a heavy helping of over-commitment. My temperature bubbles to a slow simmer.

I crack open our squeaky mailbox and notice a postcard stamped, “Report for jury duty Monday.” At this moment, the firecrackers shooting through my veins ignite any spiritual fruit that may have been growing and kill it.

I huff, puff, and kick up the snow as I march back into the garage. I crinkle the unwanted mail in my fist and think, “I need this week to be easy and it’s not going to be.”

There is Christmas shopping to do, bills to pay, cleaning to pick up, and now a court case to attend. The to-do list that used to be neatly tied up in a perfectly sectioned bow quickly unravels into a knotted monstrosity. One little pull from just the right string and the whole thing unravels.

Did you notice all the personal pronouns above?

My emotions,

My stress,

My shopping, and

My schedule?

Do you see the presence of God in this at all? Or do you see someone enslaved by her calendar?

In order for us over-extended mammas to maintain a God-centered perspective, we must ask ourselves, “Who are we serving?” Our ‘to-do’ list or our Jesus?

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes our well-meaning selves are more concerned with keeping our schedules than keeping Christ in the center of them.

This time of year, it’s easy to be tempted. We are tempted to become more in touch with ourselves and out of touch with Jesus.

The Bible says we are to have the following attitude when it comes to our calendars:

“What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil, James 4:15-16 (New Living Translation).

The question isn’t what are we going to do, but what is God calling us to do? What does God want on our calendar? When is God calling us to say “no” and when is He calling us to say “yes?”

So, how do we make adjustments in our sometimes worldy calendars?

We begin praying and thinking – we begin “prinking!” We prink, prink and prink some more. We think about God’s Word. We pray we will live it out loud. We pray that we will step away from the wreckage of a capsized day and He will be glorified because of it.

Think about your week for a moment.

Are you drowning in the pitfalls of tomorrow so much that you are missing what God has for your today?

Is your calendar reflective of the call of the gospel? Or is your schedule all about you?

So sweet sisters, the next time we decide to pencil something in, let’s ask ourselves, “Will what we’re about to schedule bring us closer to God or farther away from Him?”
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Topsy-Turvy Heart

Sunday mornings are always a challenge for our family of five. We race against the clock to get out the door in time to make it to the early service. This Sunday is no different except that we are later than usual. I toss a set of clothing at each child with an order to dress themselves and I ask my husband to check on their progress while I get ready. Before I know it we are sitting in church just as the music comes to an end.

Fifteen minutes into the sermon I observe my 6-year old son bend over to pick up an escaping crayon and that’s when I notice his attire.

Pants… on backwards.

Shoes… on the wrong feet.

Shirt… also on backwards.

Ugh!

Now, it is not unusual for me to look down at my sons feet only to discover his green blinking LumiNators pointing awkwardly in the wrong direction. However, a triple wardrobe malfunction… this is a first. Frustrated, I pull my son in, shoot a quick disapproving glance at the appointed clothing inspector and send them both to the bathroom for some rearranging.

I am slightly annoyed, but it is funny, too funny for me to really get upset. As I wait, I consider my own disorder. I wonder what God thinks when He finds me completely out of sorts. Not in my outward appearance, but on the inside, in my heart. Like the times when…

I neglect my quiet time and my prayer life is lacking.

And because my prayer life suffers so does my attitude.

And when my attitude is bad my flesh enters into battle with the Spirit for control.

And the condition of my heart reaches a critical danger zone.

Have you been there?

It’s depressing, because just like a 6-year old should know how to put his shoes and clothes on properly we also should know better than to leave our hearts unprotected. After all God’s Word clearly instructs us…
And it’s true. A heart not maintained continually in the Lord is a prime target for an all out attack and the things that will spring forth from it are often ugly and costly to us.


But, the good news is, just as I pulled my son in and sent him for rearranging; Jesus also gently draws us back in and faithfully sorts us out. He restores our topsy-turvy heart to its upright position in Him.

Praise His name for that.

And He’s not frustrated or annoyed, He just offers us tender mercy and covers us lovingly with His grace.

Praise His name for that too.

I’m learning to guard my heart by habitually praying David’s wise and anointed words…
How is your heart today? Have you been guarding it or is it a little topsy-turvy?

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Thankful Hearts


It’s hard to be thankful when…


Your mischievous child throws a snowball in your back when you pick them up from school;

Someone eggs your house and doesn’t have the guts to fess up; or
You notice the beginnings of gray hair, age spots, and wrinkles on a thirty something face.
Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful.
Having a heart of thanksgiving isn’t something we manipulate on our own.
A person with a genuine heart of thankfulness has an unexplainable thread of peace woven throughout their lives. They anticipate the presence of God in every situation. They see the treasure in every pile of trash. They see promise behind every heart break. They acknowledge discipline in the midst of the lesson. They notice God’s hand because they have a relationship not just a religion.
They choose to be swallowed up in God’s Word rather than spit out by their circumstances. No matter what happens, thankful people make a habit of stopping, pausing, and choosing.
Stopping– to acknowledge something to be thankful for in the hard times;
Pausing– to acknowledge God’s love and discipline no matter what season of life they’re in;
Choosing– to keep their eyes on Jesus until His powerful peace is unleashed.
Thankful people make the choice to respond in a God-honoring way despite their feelings.
They allow irrational feelings to catch up to rational choices.
There is such a thing as thankful people.
There are beautiful reminders all around me and in Scripture of people who exhibit a peaceful, thankful spirit no matter what life throws at them.
My grandfather was a POW in WWII. As the prisoners lined up in front of a firing squad, he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. For no apparent reason, the German soldiers lowered their rifles and spared the prisoners lives. He later escaped and came home. 
Before Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, “He got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before,” (Daniel 6:10). God spared David’s life. David’s reflection of thankfulness and obedience changed lives.
And Paul, bless his heart, even from jail never prayed a prayer without giving thanks.
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:16 NIV).
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy…. (Phil. 1:3-4 NLT).
Paul cultivated a continual attitude of praise and thanksgiving toward God in his own life. And he did it amidst some very tough circumstances. How did he do it? Because the cross was central in his life and he was thankful.
Just how full is your praise basket?
Do you have a pattern of praise and thanksgiving in your life? How full is your praise basket? Are you empty or are you overflowing? Has life robbed you of your praisin’ Jesus moments today?
This new year, let’s choose thankful hearts no matter how hard life gets. No matter what Satan throws at us, we will keep our baskets full.
Let’s shake off the excess weight of hardship and taste the joy of thankfulness– not just today but every day. If we do this, peaceful, gracious, and merciful God girls will emerge and lives will be transformed.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Star Quality

Do you ever find yourself mentally challenged by the tasks set before you? You know, the daunting jobs that you have to do, but really don’t want to.
I do.
For example, I am less than thrilled about…



Getting up early.

Grocery shopping with my children.

Paying bills.

And cleaning, um… anything.

In fact I have grumbled to my husband about getting up earlier than I want to. I’ve also argued with him about paying the bills because he’s the numbers person, not me. And I am certain that I have whined into the sympathetic ears of my girlfriends about all of these things.
But honestly it never does feel right. Oh, don’t get me wrong in the moment it feels just right. It’s after, in the quiet mental reflection that gets me every time.
It’s the glimpse of the guilty woman in the mirror that gets me every time. Guilty of selfishness. Guilty of ungratefulness. Guilty of complaining when I have every believer’s reason to rejoice.
It’s the Truth that gets me every time…

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As aware as I am of the things that I do not want to do I can not risk losing sight of the things that I do want to do, like…


standing blameless and pure,

shining like a star

and holding firmly to the Word of life.

J. Vernon McGee paints the picture beautifully, “When we go out at night we see the stars up there. When God looks down on this dark world, He sees those who are His own as little lights down here.”
We are stars, yes, but our star quality constantly comes into question. Are we dull and dim, weary and washed out by the temporary or do we have a shimmering, sparkling radiance about us because of what awaits us in eternity?
Every time we fight the nagging urge to groan at our portion in this life our star quality increases. We dazzle more brilliantly against the troubled backdrop of this bleak world. And we maintain our unblemished position as children of God.

Instead of looking at our not-so-great jobs with dread and disdain lets be radical by delighting in them and embracing them as an opportunity to enhance our star quality.

You are a star. I am a star. Unlike the world. Imperfect to most, but unique to One. We are stars. And we shine for Him.
Father, forgive us for the complaints that seep out of our hearts and off of our tongues. God we desire nothing but to be the shining little lights in this world for you to look down upon. Lord, thank you for your Word and for your Grace and for the Hope that we have in You.
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The Shadow of Bad News


“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties,” John 16:33 (MSG).

Several years ago, I find myself uncomfortably seated in a waiting room. I casually turn back the magazine pages to pass the time. I think to myself, “I wish I never felt that lump.” Now, I am suffering through mammograms and ultrasounds to determine whether or not I have cancer.

The next two months are full of waiting, wondering, and worrying.

The word “suspicious,” is on the lips of every doctor. One test leads to another. The next test leads to a procedure. The waiting in between test results, phone calls, and appointments is excruciating. What if I have cancer? What if I can’t have children? What if I die?

The “what-ifs” paralyze me. The “whys” beg for my attention. I’m tangled up in fear. I try to shake them loose but they ferociously reappear and settle right back. No matter what I do. No matter how hard I try. I ask God to move this mountain of complication, but His answer seems to be “No, I want you to climb it.” This isn’t the answer I want to hear.

The Bible says we will experience difficulties in our lives. So, why do we sometimes think we should get a free pass from hard times?

I wish I could say I responded to my circumstances like King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles before heading to battle. Jehoshaphat knew he was outnumbered, but he also knew he had God on his side. He looked up to heaven and cried, I don’t know what I’m doing but my eyes are on you God. My eyes were not on God. They were on me. I was more concerned with my personal relief than God’s glory. The only thing glorified in my pain was the pain itself.

These moments, illuminated my fear instead of my absolute dependency on God. My response ~ fear, insecurity, and anxiousness. God’s response ~ courage, security, and a calming solution.

I did not have cancer, but I did not have the faith I wanted to either.

During these times, we must remember that…

God is the source of our comfort in difficult times;

Because we believe in God, we are unshakable and at peace;

We stand in the shadow of the cross where there is no bad news;

It’s God’s party and He invited us, not the other way around;

Sometimes, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us (see 2 Corinthians 1:3 MSG);

We have an opportunity to know our God more;

We learn obedience in what we are suffering; and

We don’t have to live alongside trouble alone – God is always there.

The next time we find ourselves standing in the shadow of bad news, how will our soul react? Will we draw closer to God or further away from Him?

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I Am a This Not a That

This post is in response to Bonnie Gray’s Thursday Jam at Faith Barista. The topic is Thankfulness-Your Journey.

As I sit on the front porch, the cool winter breeze tickles my hair and teases my face. I hear rustling of leaves and swaying of trees. I close my eyes and bend into the wind. I inhale my life’s journey and exhale thankfulness.

Today, I am thankful that Jesus made me a “this” not a “that.” I am a “this,” a new creation; not a “that,” a broken person defined by her circumstances.

Several years ago, I was a that.

That girl who was physically abused in her marriage; that girl who was stained by divorce; that girl who tried to take her own life because she couldn’t handle the pain; that girl who shook her fist at God and walked away from Him.

Jesus holds me in these difficult places. The places…

I don’t think I can go on,

The pain aches too much,

My heart breaks too often,

Shame swallows me whole.

Jesus interrupts my thoughts. It’s not all about me. It’s all about God. I realize I’m tired of me and I want more of Him.

Today I am no longer a “that.”

I am no longer defined by my circumstances;

I am no longer a throwaway person;

I am no longer a girl who turned her back on God.

I AM a “this.”

A grace girl loved by her Savior just the way she is.

Now, this girl is claiming her promises…

I will find my Jesus when I seek Him (Prov. 8:17);
I have the Spirit in me (Is. 42:1);
He meets my needs (Phil. 4:19);
I can hear Him (John 12:26);
I anticipate His presence (Prov. 8:34);
I am complete in Him (Col. 1:28);
I am strong because of Him (2 Cor. 12:9);
He knows me calls me by name (Is. 43:1); and
I will forever stand firm in the will of my God (Col. 4:12).

Sweet sister if you feel like a “that” today, take comfort in knowing you are a “this.” “This” dearly loved child of an Almighty God.

How about you? What’s something your thankful for today?

“Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving,” Psalm 69:30 (New Living Translation).

Written Just for You,

I Come with Christ

A broken man clutches a torn cardboard sign full of anxiety and hopelessness. The words, “need help,” are scribbled across the front. He clings to its rugged edges as if it’s the only thing he has left. Behind the flimsy cardboard square stands a somber man who longs to be ushered back into a society that tossed him aside. He craves to be noticed as a man, not a statistic.



His feet slide aimlessly across an empty street towards a destination unknown. Everything he owns is tucked underneath his arm with care. His cynical eyes widen as I roll down my car window.

My eyes meet his in a sorrowful yet desperate exchange. I reach down and grab a bag of food. As my hand briefly touches his, I notice his unsteady fingers peeking out from underneath his moth eaten gloves. I am startled by the weathered appearance of his hands. The overwhelming shock grips me. I freeze. My lips begin moving but I’m speechless. Not one word rolls off my tongue. Not even a “God bless you,” or “God loves you.” I blew it. I place the bag full of hope in his appreciative hand and drive away.

“Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need,” 2 Cor. 8:14 (NLT).

I see him in my rear view mirror. He tinkers around in a personal prison of chronic despair. He probably thinks I am just a nice person who tossed him a quick snack. My heart’s desire was to speak these words, “I come with Christ; do you know Him?”

I didn’t swing my car over to the curb out of the goodness of my sinful heart. I felt compelled to stop my car in front of this man for three reasons:

Because my life is radically abandoned to Jesus;

Because a radical gospel reigns in my heart;

Because God’s will for us is to give our lives urgently and recklessly to making the gospel known to everyone.

I don’t want to come with simple niceties –I want to come with Christ.

When we serve the poor whether it’s providing food, shelter, or handing out blankets, we are doing it all with the gospel. It’s not enough to hand out a blanket or serve a meal and walk away. We do these things as we express the gospel of Christ. We do it so God’s glory can be exalted in the midst of a grungy backdrop.

When we come on our own, we meet the immediate needs of the poor; when we come with Christ, He meets their eternal ones.

Lord, it’s been a while since I shared the gospel with someone. When I’m nervous or scared please be the author of my words. As our ministry passes out blankets and gloves tonight, I pray that the harvest of generosity that only flows from You will splash out onto others. Amen.



“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God,” 2 Cor. 9:11 (NLT).


The God Who Hears

I back away from the edge of a bad situation. I escape into a personal desert of my own. The burning sand crinkles in between my toes. The beams from an angry sun twist into optical illusions which make it easier to forget.

I am a woman stained by divorce. For the past several years, it seemed safer to isolate myself in my own personal desert than to step forward and say, this is where I come from; this is my journey; this is how God saves.


Any Christian woman who has dealt with an affair, abortion, abuse, or divorce knows that escaping into the desert is a much better alternative than sitting exposed in the sultriness of scandal.

Have you ever run from the heat of scandal and just wanted to evaporate?

Sometimes we find ourselves in places we never thought we’d be.

We’re hurt in ways we never thought possible.

We find ourselves out of options.

So we run.

I’ve read the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar many times. However, I’ve never unearthed the treasure found in Hagar’s plight before. Hagar proves to be no stranger to scandal or the desert.

She is a servant girl who is forced to mother Abram’s child. She is disrespected, mistreated, and misunderstood in a male driven world. She probably carries a double dose of resentment, hostility, anger, and bitterness deep within her heart.

“Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away,” Genesis 16:6 (NLT).

Scandal wraps its unforgiving arms around Hagar and squeezes. It pushes her into a wilderness of loneliness.

God interrupts her desert bound journey and provides fresh perspective, new possibility and a promising future. He reveals His will, provides instruction, and requests her obedience (see Genesis 16:7-8 NLT).

God informs Hagar, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress,” Genesis 16:9-12 (NLT).

Hagar replies, “You are the God who sees me,” Genesis 16:13 (NLT).

God embraces Hagar in the midst of her desert. He sees her when she feels invisible. He notices her struggles when she thinks no one cares. He gives her a purpose beyond herself.

God provides the faith fuel Hagar needs to walk back into Abram’s tent and pick up where she left off.

Like Hagar, when we find ourselves in the desert, God sees our pain, hears our cry, and draws us to Himself like never before.

The Bible says to remember the desert times. Don’t get discouraged while you’re there because it won’t last forever. The important thing isn’t how you got to the desert but what you do while you’re in the desert.

If today finds you with sandy speckles in between your toes and a desert on the horizon, remember God is with you.

He’s holding you, carrying you, guiding you, loving you, seeing you, and hearing you.

Last Nights Get Together…

Making Bags for the Homeless
Kelli, Michelle, Heidi, and Julie

Thanks Girls!

Amazing Earth

My children attended a Solar System class recently and they learned a lot of wonderful things, but I walked away in complete awe (once again) with our Superior Designer and Creator. God’s love and protection over His people overwhelms me and is clearly evident in His handiwork in the creation of Earth. I felt compelled to share these Supernatural construction insights with all of you.
The Earth’s Size is perfect. Its corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about fifty miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

Surrounding our earth is a powerful Magnetic Field. It shields us from the sun’s harmful radiation and blocks the Earth from solar wind. Solar wind is a stream of charged particles ejected from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. The magnetic field repels these otherwise dangerous particle bursts.

The Earth and the Sun are set in perfect distance from one another. Our temperatures fluctuate roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional deviation in our position to the sun would make life on Earth inconceivable.

Even while the Earth rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph it maintains its ideal distance from the sun. As it rotates on its axis the entire surface of the earth stays appropriately warm and cool each day.
The Moon is also just the right distance for the Earth’s gravitational pull. The moon activates essential ocean tides and movement so the ocean waters do not stagnate. And our massive oceans are also constrained from spilling over across the continents.
Are you in awe? Take a moment and praise God today for our earth and His obvious and extravagant love for us!

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.”

Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)

**Thanks everyone for your comments yesterday! JEDDA is the WINNER of the Matthew West CD** Email me at heidi@averyhome.com with your address and I’ll have it sent right out to you!

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