Darkness, Motherhood, and Praise

So He has been busy today. The birds’ singing roused me out of sleep this morning, even though it was still dark. As my brain was waking up, my spirit recalled a teaching by our worship pastor, Vince Gibson, about how birds’ songs in the darkness caused the pores, or stomata, of leaves to open up so they could receive the dew of the morning. Vince called us to imitate creation. He said our songs of worship would “open our spiritual pores” so that we could receive the dew of Heaven.

That is enough to sit on all day long. But there’s more.

With this thought in mind, I thanked God for his attention to detail and asked Him for reminders to sing in the dark so that my praise might open up all that God wanted to water in our lives and our girls’ lives.

Then while driving the kids to school, the Lord replayed a comment from Kelly Wyatt last night.  “Praise is dangerous,” she said. She retold how Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns even though they were in prison. All of a sudden there was a great earthquake and the chains were broken and doors swung open for them but also for all the prisoners around them.

That’s the kind of praise that changes your life and the lives of others around you.

As I arrived home I found this leaf.  He doesn’t miss a beat does He?IMG_2641

Then followed a conversation with my friend who is about to have her fourth baby. The two of us talked a lot about peace. And rest. And how do you do that when you have a lot of little people pulling at you all the time. She made this beautiful comment.  God said to her, “You keep asking for peace and rest and then you think you will give it to yourself.”


After I got off the phone I  prayed for her. And for Christ be the source for both of us.  She and I are in very different seasons. She is in the newborn—toddler stage and I’m in the  tween—teenager stage but we share the same desire to be good moms, to love our kids well, and if we are honest, to “do it right.”

And, we both know, we won’t do it right. And that is terrifying.

How Lord? my spirit asked. How do we do this great task and stay in your peace?

For the hundredth time, my thoughts went back to the pending decisions Chuck and I must make for our girls. Time is running out and we must choose paths that will set the trajectory of their lives. But no pressure…right?

Then He speaks.  “Just as birds sing in the dark, you can sing in the dark.”

The Spirit connected all these moments to reveal that the birds don’t have all the answers. Nor do they take  responsibility for God doing His thing or the leaves doing their thing. They just sing. They do their part. The birds trust God to do the rest.

I am not God in my girls’ lives. But I can do my part. I can worship in faith, even in the dark, without answers, knowing that He will open their hearts so the dew of heaven will fall on them. I can praise The One who holds their lives in His hand and be confident that  “as surely as the rising of the dawn, He will respond.”

Yes, praise is dangerous. So sing, even in the dark.






Feasting at His Table

People make me laugh. Heck, I make me laugh. Sometimes it is difficult to communicate and we get in such conundrums.  A couple of menfolk think the WGR November 1st fundraiser is just for women. It’s open to all. A couple of womenfolk think it is only a worship night.  We will worship and invest in God’s vision for WGR  too. And, just for the record, I get sick of fundraisers just like you do.

But in reality, “An Offering of Praise” is best described as pulling up a chair to the Lord’s table for a family meal and meeting.  We will eat together. Enjoy each other’s company. We will thank the Father for all he has done. Then, we will hear what’s on His heart and what He’s working on through Women Getting Real.

It really is a party. And you know, when Jesus and His believers get together in spirit and truth, it’s always a good time. So like you would for any good party, invite your friends, let people know you’re coming, and bring your hearts.

I sense He has a real smile on His face about what He is cooking up. This guy knows all about feasting, and He is inviting you to the table.

Click here to RSVP http://anofferingofpraise.eventbrite.com

Jesus and Pooh

Chuck is investing in Charis’ reading skills. To do so, they were going to begin a “chapter” book (which is a big deal in third grade) and take turns reading aloud. Chuck suggested Winnie the Pooh but Charis adamantly refused, saying that book was for babies.

We were surprised by this reaction because the original story, as opposed to the videos, is beautifully written with great insight and challenging human dynamics. Yes, I said Winnie the Pooh. But her frame of reference is the modern Pooh cartoons that do not always capture the brilliance of author, A.A. Milne.

Anyway, Chuck suggested that he read the first chapter out loud and if she still didn’t want that book, then they would find another. Complete with voices and beautiful “Pooh-isms,” Chuck carried Charis away to the 100 Acre Wood. At the end of the first chapter, he began closing the book but Charis quickly protested. “One more chapter, Dad, please?”

The plan worked and the adventure continued for days. But really, the goal was for Charis to be strengthened as she read alone.

On Saturday we all grabbed books to take to the pool. Charis milled around and then grabbed Winnie the Pooh. Chuck and I smiled at each other. Success. Chuck praised her for being such a good reader and they exchanged inside jokes about their shared reading.

It was such a fleeting moment but it rang in my soul. God has such good stuff for us but we have dulled our taste buds for His original story with our modern day cartoons. Yet undeterred, Jesus entices and pulls us in and whisks us away on an adventure. All the while, Holy Spirit is working, lovingly working on some weakness in us so that we might be stronger. And when we trust Him, listen and follow His example, when we allow ourselves to be swept away, then we find ourselves doing more than we thought we could. And what does God do? He praises us. He encourages us onward, forward, deeper.  What a God! What a Father, Savior, Friend!

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

The Master of mastery

Have you seen the new Karate Kid? There is a scene where  the Kung Fu master tells the boy, “Hang up your coat, take off your coat, drop your coat, pick up your coat.” And repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Not until many days and hours of repetition later did the kid realize the brilliance of the master’s strength, discipline, and character building.

When you are working on mastery, praise and criticism are inevitable. But also irrelevant.

Look to the Master. Let His voice alone be your teacher. Walk through your circumstances with an eye on what He is training in you. Don’t aim for a gold star. Aim for being like the Master. That’s sure His goal…

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  Luke 6:40

Lord, I want You to be my first and foremost teacher. I want to submit to Your training, I want to work for Your loving praise alone. Thank You that You are working all things to make me more like you. Amen

Criticism and Praise

I heard a story a long time ago about a train conductor who would walk up and down the train punching people’s tickets.  He came upon one grouchy lady who complained and ranted and loudly criticized his every move.  As he punched her ticket, he raised his eyes and said, “You hear that, Lord?” And he moved on.

The people in the that box were astounded by his gracious response. So a man several rows back praised him on how well he handled the difficult moment. The conductor raised his eyes again and said, “Did you hear that, Lord?”

Which voice would have rattled you more? The criticism? The praise?  Funny how some people languish over one word of criticism. Others are spun around by one word of praise.  How loud is the voice of God in your life?  Is His voice enough to silence the voices of criticism and praise from others?