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Monthly Archives: February 2014

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In Which I (Humbly) Ask For Your Help {Please Take My Survey} {Pretty Please}

You know those times in life when a theme kind of develops and defines a certain season?

Like when you know you need to live a healthier lifestyle, so you find the book you bought two years ago but never read. Then you pick up Lysa Terkeurst’s Made to Crave, (that’s an affiliate link, just so you know) dusty as it is, and you start to read it.

While you’re reading it, you come across a great tip about writing a helpful Bible verse on an index card for your counter or your fridge to help you make right choices at snack time.

So you write down a verse from Galatians 5, because it reminds you that because of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God lives in you and gives you power to make healthier choices.

cadence fruit

And you place that Scripture-laden index card right in the middle of your counter, with the fruit, so you’ll see it a lot. Especially at the daily 3pm chocolate-craving time.

It helps. Most of the time.

A week later, your phone rings, and you see it’s someone who will take some energy to talk to. Energy you don’t really feel like expending right now. It’s someone God’s been nudging you about serving more and loving better. So you don’t want to answer it, but your phone’s right next to that index card. And when you pick it up to silence the ringer you see the verse and remember the truth.

So you pick up the phone and keep in step with the Spirit as He shows you each step through that difficult conversation.

Before you know it, the words keep in step with the Spirit start to become part of your normal. You notice them in a devotion you read, a sermon you hear and, of course, on that tiny little index card.

Well, that’s kind of how I came to adopt those fourteen words I wrote about last month. Fourteen words for 2014.

My Fourteen Words

since we live

Because I have a lot to work on. A lot of weak that needs strengthened. A lot of dull that needs shined.

Because I know I need to love more like Jesus and eat more like Lysa Terkeurst and take care of my body more like Jamie Anderson. I want to pursue God’s call on my life to help make Him famous with my words. And I know the only way I can possibly do any of those with excellence or any semblance of balance is to follow every step the Holy Spirit of God shows me.

When The Ball Dropped

I was so all about keeping in step with the Spirit when the ball dropped on December 31. And I thought I knew where the run was headed. I had three goals for 2014 and what I thought was the laser focus to get them done.

Then the temperature dropped to Arctic, and my kids didn’t have school for like an entire month (seriously. There is no way that was only three days.) And the routine I thought I was going to slide right into hit a wall early on. By January 6, I was already scrambling to find the cadence I thought I knew so I could chase the dreams I thought I knew how to get.

The Cadence of the Spirit

The Hebrew word for keeping in step with the Spirit is the same word we English speakers use for cadence. Like the song from that awesome 1980’s commercial for (wait for it) The Clapper. Remember it? 

http://youtu.be/cfgN5tUgjb8

Are you singing it yet? You are welcome.

But here’s the thing about the cadence of the Spirit: He’s the One Who calls it out. Not me. He’s the One Who sets the pace. If I’m seeking His voice, finding His way through the Word of God, I cannot miss it.

To keep in step is to faithfully follow. To find the Spirit’s cadence is to trust that even when the weather goes negative three hundred degrees, and my kids have another snow day, and my writing schedule gets thrown off, I look for ways to make God famous.

In step with the Spirit means when my friend calls and needs me to come and cry with her and talk her down, I listen, and I point to Jesus with my tears and my quiet.

I’ve been listening more carefully for that cadence lately. Finding the faithful in every small step. For my family. For my friendships. For the words I write.

It’s what gets me up before my kids in the morning as of late. It’s what makes me write the way I do. The cadence of the Spirit is literally what keeps me from ramming into the lady in the after-school pick up line who never. waits. her. turn. ever. on any day.

And here’s where you come in. More than anything, I want my words, and my whole life, to point you to Jesus. And I want to do it better here in this place I call my home on the internet. So I could really use your help.

I have this little survey that I wonder it you might take two minutes to fill out. It will help me so much. In return, I would like to send you a small gift that I hope might help you as you listen for the Spirit’s cadence next month. It’s a printable March calendar with daily verses to help you listen for the Spirit’s cadence.

Also, would you consider sharing this post. I know it’s like the longest blog post. ever. But I would love to hear from as many of you as possible so I can make this place even awesomer.

Ready? Set.Click here to take survey

 

Friday Thoughts and Maybe Small Is The New Big

It’s Friday. And I want to write. So I’m joining my longtime friend, Lisa-Jo and a whole bunch of amazing people who bravely write unedited for five minutes every Friday. Check it out here and consider joining in? (Because I know you have a story, and we really want to hear it.)

Today, the word prompt is small.

Start:

We lived in a tiny apartment in the middle of Bayreuth, Germany last year. About 500 square feet, I think. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, dining room and a kitchen the size of my dining room table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we got home, it took us a while to get used to the bigness of our home in Ohio. The spread-out acreage of our yard and its trees. Even the seven-seated minivan felt huge.

And we missed the closeness of the small even though it had sometimes been so hard to live in those nine months.

I think of that living, that adjustment back home, and I wonder at the small of my life in this place. Where I think I want big but know maybe I don’t.

A big house. Big bed. Big blog. Big deal.

I think of it and wonder. Maybe small is the new big.

Because isn’t small where faith grows? The tiny mustard seed that brings big branches and a tree trunk.

Isn’t small where God shines biggest? In the small of my spirit that needs His huge? The small of my unknowing that can’t survive without His always I-Am-The-Rock?

Yes, I wonder, and I think I start to see that small is the new big. And I realize I love small.

What February’s Teaching Me About Faithfulness (It’s Probably Not What You Think)

February was always a hard month for me. Maybe not always. But at least from the time I was 17.

That’s when my friend’s boyfriend shot himself in the head. Five days later, she jumped off a bridge. When my infant cousin died in her crib just about a week later, it was all I could do to stay sane. Literally.

Over the course of three weeks, I went to three funerals and lost my will to stay faithful to the God I had known since I was five. That will got replaced by a burning desire to do whatever it took to keep my friends happy. And close.

Although it made my senior year of high school super fun, that decision also served as a catalyst for some really dumb choices that made me not want to go to my class reunion twenty years later.

For years, every February when I would realize what month it was, I would enter a sort of subconscious funk that made me dread the coming days and the pain I thought I would always remember.

I’m not sure when that pain stopped hurting. But I can tell you for certain it no longer does.

Still, there is a certain mid-winter funk that happens every year. It makes February feel like the longest month. ever.

Tulips for Feb

I find myself dreaming of springtime and daffodils and hyacinths. Easter celebrations and sunnier days and planting gardens and sitting outside at Chipotle. (My fingers are seriously typing faster with every thought of those springtime lovelies!)

I’d like to say this year I have found a way around the funk, but the truth is I have not. Rather I believe God is using it to teach me about faithfulness.

It’s doing what I know I was born to do even when I don’t feel excited to do it.

It’s just starting. Finding my way to the floor on my face and handing the I-don’t-want-to-do-this to the One Who does.

Faithfulness is choosing to stay committed to my dream even when the thing that does the choosing doesn’t want to choose that.

It’s every step, following God’s next. Believing He won’t let me stray. Trusting He’s showing up inside my every daily offering. My hands as they type. My smile as it turns a stranger’s countenance around. My mouth as it refuses to grumble.

And this is where I stand. Faithful because God shows me how.

What about you? What do you think of when you hear the word faithfulness? What about February? Do you like it? Let’s talk about it in the comments.