Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I have become accustomed to phrases like "I can't do it" and "it's too heavy," followed by the phrase "mommy do it." For my young son, this phrase is a cross between asking for help and assurance that mommy really can do what he needs.

A man with leprosy said to Jesus, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus says to him, "I am willing . . Be clean" It is that statement that is also a request. It is knowing that help can be given. (Matthew 8:1-4)

I try my best to not ignore my children. When they request something I typically respond - I recognize them and let them know what we are (or not) going to do about it. My kids expect an answer, an action, a word, an explanation. They don't throw out requests to me without waiting for my answer. They expect something.

The leper expected something. An answer, an action, something. He didn't speak to Jesus just to say some words and then walk away. He came to Jesus because he was in need. He had probably tried every home remedy, lived apart from those he loved, agonized over this disease and then he was able to say "Jesus do it." This phrase that asks with expectation and states what Jesus can do. 

Out of great love and compassion, Jesus says he is willing. I can't help but think of how I talk to Jesus. Is it that great mix of expectation, questioning and affirmation of who Jesus is? When I ask in that way, am I better at waiting around for an answer? Could that be part of the child-like faith Jesus talks about? Asking and stating: "Jesus do it."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"But Jesus was sleeping." 
(Matthew 8:23)

There is a story about Jesus sleeping on a boat. A fierce storm comes and Jesus stays asleep. The people on the boat frantically wake him and Jesus tells the storm to stop (which it does). 

Can't you imagine an exhausted Jesus awoken from much needed sleep? Not excited to be awake and basically rebukes both his friends and the storm (read the whole thing: Matt. 8:23-27). 

There is a lot to contemplate and learn from this story, but one thing that made me chuckle over the last couple of weeks was the human-ness of Jesus. He needed sleep and he was so tired that he could sleep through anything. I think I know that exhaustion - with a baby having a cold, then teething then getting her 6 month shots, I've been awake multiple times each night for about a month now. I really do think that I could sleep through a horrible storm - in fact, it may be easier to sleep through a fierce storm than through the cries and screams of my little girl :-).

But this story made me realize afresh my own error in not taking seriously the human-ness of Jesus. Jesus is fully God and fully man and that is so difficult to wrap my brain around (haven't yet and probably never fully will). There are times when I and others seem to glorify the apostle Paul as the way we should live life, as the model for what it means to follow Jesus. This isn't bad to do, but I think it is wrong if we consciously or subconsciously discount Jesus' life and the way he lived because he is God. It is as if I brush off his words and his examples saying "but that's just Jesus" or thinking "surely what Jesus meant by his words was _____." I read about Jesus and seem to forget that He is the one I want to emulate, not someone who was/is deeply affected by Jesus. Again, I pray "Jesus, I am desperate for YOU."

Monday, October 20, 2008


If you have spent much time with 2 year olds, "no - do myself" may sound familiar. This phrase is common around my home these days. I am thrilled that my son is trying, he is growing up, he is learning, but I also get tired of hearing him whine as he tries and gets frustrated at not quite accomplishing his task. At the same time, I smile when my son looks up at me after trying something and says "mommy, I can't do it." After I help him, he is so grateful and happy and I love to help him. When he whines, I often tell him "all you have to do is ask me for what you want because I love to help you."

I think that Jesus often says that to us: "ask me for what you want because I love you."
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door
will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and
to him who knocks, the door will be opened. . . . If you, then, though you are
evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your
Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew

When my son asks for something, I don't just ignore him. We talk about it or I give him what he asks for or I explain why it isn't possible. When I ask God for something, do I wait for him to speak to me or do I cross my fingers and hope he doesn't ignore me? Do I wait for Him to talk to me about it, to give me what I ask, to tell me what I need to know about the situation? I'm afraid that I miss out too many times when I ask but don't wait to receive. I lose out when I knock but don't expect the door to open. I often turn away before I'm given what I ask for.

Am I really asking for God, receiving God, finding God or am I actually saying "no - do myself"?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . 
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"
- Jesus (Matthew 6:19, 21)

Your heart is with that which you treasure. You value that which is on your mind the most. Your priorities show themselves in how you spend your time. 
What do I spend my time doing? What is on my mind most of the day? What gets the most importance today? What does my list of priorities look like? Does it match my actions and thoughts? How do I spend most of my time? 

How willing am I to part with my possessions? How freely do I write a check to someone in need? How freely do I write a check for something I want? Am I willing to ask and listen to God? Will I ask how I can join with Him in changing the world? Am I willing to follow Christ? Am I willing to love the people He loves? 
I needed Jesus to break my heart today, and He did when my husband brought home a copy of a letter written to the Church in the U.S. from the Association of Evangelicals in Southern Africa. Click on the link to read it and also consider joining the Micah Challenge.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Today my 2 year old son had a friend over to play. Whenever his friend picked up a toy, my son, with his arms already full of toys, would chase him around saying, "mine. mine. mine." I kept saying to my son, "Let's share. You have so many toys and all your friend wants to do is play with just one. Please share."

As this scene played out over and over, I couldn't help but think that the same is true in my life. How many times do I have so very many "toys" and yet I say "mine. mine. mine." whenever someone else may want or need them. Sharing as a life-style is something Jesus addresses time and time again. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us to not store up treasures and as soon as we think to disagree with him because we really think we must store up for the future, he immediately tells us not to worry because he loves us too much to not take care of our every need.

If I ask my children to share their prized possessions (right now their toys), shouldn't I be willing to do the same? Shouldn't I be willing to share what is in my pantry, at least one of the coats that hang in my closet, some of those books that are collecting dust? How about sharing my home, sharing my time and energy, sharing the money that I've so carefully stored up over the years? 

"Don't keep storing your stuff in the hopes that you may use it or need it someday. If you need something, I'll take care of you because I love you and see each of your needs."
(Jesus seems to say this in Matthew 6:19-34

Sunday, September 14, 2008


"Go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'"
- Jesus of Nazareth

So, Jesus is sitting at a dinner with a new friend, Matthew, who collects taxes for a living. Matthew's friends are kind of a shady bunch and tax collectors have a horrible reputation. As they were eating, some super religious people asked Jesus' followers "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" Jesus overheard the conversation and chimes in this response: "Go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:9-13)

If Jesus tells people to go and learn what this means, it is probably important for me to do the same. "Sacrifice" to the super religious people meant doing all the right things at the temple and looking perfect before God and man. Jesus says that God wants lives that are full of mercy not doing out of obligation or show.

I am continually reminded that even if I am doing something "good" or even something God loves, it is nothing if my motive is: to feel good about myself, for others to see how "generous" I am, to do what is expected of me, or to do line by line what Jesus says. If serving at a soup kitchen, organizing food drives or giving money to orphans is just another bullet point on my "to-do" list, I'm still not loving God. My actions mean nothing if I am not in Christ and Christ is not in me. Jesus continually tells us that life isn't about doing but being. And that by being (in Him) our doing is just what He loves. hmmm . . .

Monday, September 8, 2008


My little guy has started talking in a very loud voice. He knows it gets him attention and he doesn't seem to mind - especially when he has to compete for attention with his little sister. I continually have to tell him that I hear him, that I see him and that I care what he has to say - therefore, he doesn't have to talk so loud for me to care/hear/see.

As I read in Matthew 6 (vs. 1-18), it seems like Jesus is saying the same things to us. He talks about giving to the needy, praying and fasting.  Jesus says : "When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets . . . When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men . . . When you fast, do not look somber, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting."

Jesus seems to say, "don't show off to get attention from others". He seems to say, "I see you when you are quite - when others don't know how you give to those in need, when you go to your room and pray to me, when no one knows that you are fasting." He seems to say, "I like your quite, inside voice."

Friday, September 5, 2008


Yes, it's messy. Yes, it's stinky. Yes, there are accidents. Yes, it takes patience. Yes, things finally progress. And Yes, you move on to the next phase of growing up . . . 

Yup, I'm potty training my 2 year old son. And I can't help to think about the correlation between it and my relationship with God. Why does God put up with my messiness, my stinky-ness, my accidents and mistakes? Out of His great love, He shows me how to live. 

One time I was preparing to teach and I asked God what I needed to share and He said "life now." That my life in the present matters. That Jesus came to bring His Kingdom and that Eternity starts now. There isn't a life now and something unrelated in eternity future. My eternal life in Christ began when I declared Him as Lord of my life (Romans 10:9). Jesus' life mattered. To follow Him, we must know Him. To be like Him, we must know Him. He longs to show us how to live. And of course, it looks different than the norm . . . 
Jesus said "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist (fight back at/against) an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Matthew 5:38-42
God - will you teach me to live this, to be this. May you be known as I live in you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


When you have nothing left - when you've sustained a great loss - 
when you are aware of how small you really are - 
when you are desperate for God - 
when you freely give mercy - when your motives are pure - 
when you show that peace is possible - 
when you are misunderstood because you love God -
You are blessed.

I want to be about the things that Jesus is about. But I can't unless Christ is in me. I can't give what I don't have, so I need more of Jesus.  So many people I know are unfulfilled. They pursue their career, relationships, success, money, etc. From what I can see (and I'm including myself) we often think that "doing" will give us meaning, will fulfill us, will satisfy us. As I live my life and teach my children, I have to continually remind myself that it's all about "being" not "doing". Any and all of my "doing" has to flow from me "being" in Christ (and I fully believe that being in Christ results in a lot of doing like Christ).

It is only then that we get everything - life now - life everlasting (we will continue to discuss this in days to come).

God says that "My grace is enough - my power shows through when you are weak" 2 Corinthians 12:9. God seems to says that: people see me when you don't try and do it all yourself, when you don't try to control everything, when you don't try and figure it all out, when you don't try to have all the answers. 


In Matthew 4, Jesus calls his disciples to come along with him and then begins to heal people. Crowds start to gather and follow him around - wanting to see something out of the ordinary, trying to figure out who he is or maybe hoping that he can help them or their loved ones.

As these crowds get bigger and bigger, we move to chapter 5 where Jesus goes to a mountainside and talks to his disciples. This discussion is often called "The Sermon on the Mount," however, was it really a sermon for the masses or was Jesus having a conversation with his friends, the disciples? Perhaps he is preparing them - a foreshadow of sorts - for how His Kingdom really works (those who have nothing get everything) . . . 

The kingdom of heaven is for those who are poor in spirit
Comfort will be given to those who mourn
Inheritance of the earth is for the meek
Being filled up/satisfied is for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Mercy is given to those who are merciful
Seeing God is for those who are pure in heart
The sons and daughters of God are those who bring about peace
The kingdom of heaven is for those who are persecuted because they are righteous

*Note: Obviously, I'm not a Bible scholar, but I sure love Jesus. My prayer is that Jesus will give us eyes to see His words in the way He intended.
This is my journey on being a mom who wants to be all about loving God and loving others. What better way to start than to have a year of immersing myself in Jesus. Of course, my "year" starts with the school year (Sept.) and I plan to weather it all focusing on and obsessing about my lover, Jesus.