Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Case of "Inadequate"

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." ISAIAH 41:10

Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to offer. That I'm inadequate somehow. I am constantly surprised that God chooses to use me in service to Him. I'm willing to guess that most of us suffer from a case of "inadequate". Unfortunately it's easy to use that as an excuse to not do what we feel led to do or we allow it to render us ineffective in our service.

John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the sermon "Do Not Eat the Bread of Anxious Toil" he tells a story about walking to class feeling anxious and him deciding to believe that the success or failure of the class lies ultimately on God, not him. He says, "I can't carry the weight of whether this class likes me today, Lord. I can't carry the weight of whether they may ask me questions beyond my ability, Lord. I can't carry the weight of opening their hearts to believe the doctrine of your sovereignty, Lord. These weights are too heavy! They are yours! And I have found that God is not only willing but eager to take the burden of final responsibility for whether the house gets built and the city is saved. And for me that is a great reason not to be anxious in my labor."

This was very powerful to me. As you probably know by now I am a "recovering control freak" and John Piper's example is encouragement to surrender and trust the Lord. God's got it! He can handle it! He will give me strength. He will help me.

It is so easy for me to think that if I were just good enough, prepared enough, and knew all the answers, that those things would make me capable and adequate to do whatever it is I'm trying to do. No wonder I worry! To surrender the "responsibility" of the success or failure of something to God and allowing Him to "do the work" through me is a huge relief. Especially since He is supposed to be the center of everything I do.

"If the Lord doesn't build a house, the work of its builders is useless.
If the Lord doesn't watch over a city, it's useless for those on guard duty to stand watch over it.
It's useless for you to work from early morning until late at night just to get food to eat.
God provides for those he loves even while they sleep."

PSALM 127:1-2

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I've been feeling a little "tossed about" the past few weeks. Not necessarily anything specifically knocking me off balance, but just not feeling myself. I want to write on the blog but the words don't come. My time eaten away by the pressures of things that need to get done. And even in my rare moments of stillness, I'm terribly distracted. Has this ever happened to you?

If I were to articulate some of the highlights of the past few weeks I might like to tell you about my amazing son who has been courageously showing me that he's no longer a little boy. Naturally introverted and a cautious observer, he has been pushing through those walls and participating in ways that challenge his natural bent. That he is playing baseball for the first time ever, not knowing most of the nuances of the sport, but showing up to practice anyway, willing to try his best even though it was uncomfortable for him. That he was asked to be the Emcee for the K-3rd grade Town Meeting at school and he accepted, even though it meant he would have to lead the meeting and talk into a microphone in front of everyone. That he took me on a date, ordered the tomato pie, and without prompting took money out of his own bank and insisted he pay for it.
Can you tell I'm a proud Momma?

So as I stand with my head in the dark cloud, perhaps the best way to find the sun again is to remember all the beautiful blessings going on around me. The way my daughter takes my breath away when she smiles, how beautiful her delicate six year old voice is when she sings, how she dances around the house without a care in the world, and how she instinctively cares for others. I am so blessed!

And in the continuing journey of life that my husband and I are taking together, God has helped Adam turn a new corner as husband, father, and leader of this family. How overwhelmed I am in the new ways Adam is showing his love for me. In his willingness to try God is faithfully revealing to him what biblical leadership looks like (particularly through sermons like "Adam, Where Are You?" by Pastor John Piper) and it's redefining our marriage.

I often feel undeserving of this life I have, full of more blessings then I can speak of, and yet they are all mine! Thank you for your patience as I process through the things laying on my heart right now.

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. " LAMENTATIONS 3:22-23

Friday, March 11, 2011


"I don't want to!" demands the child.
"Well, why not?" returns her brother.
"Just because," she cries.
"Because is not a reason!"

Honestly, I think I've had this argument with myself before. I may not wrinkle up my nose and cross my arms, but my own stubbornness has at times kept me from doing things I know I was supposed to do. Now a days they call stubbornness "strong willed" or "obstinate". I usually see it as "disobedience". What I have come to learn in myself is that when I'm feeling challenged to do something my "I don't want to just because" response usually means it is something I SHOULD do. It's true that "just because" is not necessarily an answer and if we dig a little deeper inside the "I don't want to" we usually find either stubbornness, fear, or both.

We had a great speaker at my church's Ladies Day of Inspiration and she spoke about things that rob you of your joy or "Joy-busters". I took home a new way of looking at worry, fear, & anxiety. She referred to them as "fantasy", which is exactly what they are. We dream up, concoct, imagine any number of things that COULD happen and we allow that fantasy to create worry, fear, and anxiety within us. These fantasies are not based on reality and yet we often allow them to hold us back from doing the things we feel called to do or if we do it anyway we are miserable the whole time."What if" can swallow us up and keep us from experiencing the peace of Christ.

I think most of the time the "what if" is scarier then the "what is".

What are you being called to today?

What truth are you "rejecting" because you are just being stubborn?

Is it really fear that is holding you back?

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Gift of Try

--a poem dedicated to my husband, Adam

You can't promise you will,
but you can promise to try.
This gift of try that you give to me,
displayed by your passionate heart and faithful efforts.
To be who you are and more.
That even when you feel like less,
you want more.

The gift of try births hope.
This hope abounding and
bringing my expectations back to earth.
What you think you want
is the assurance of "I will".
Perfection unattainable
we can only hope for
a commitment to try.
That's all we really want anyway.

Thank you for the "try"
God has planted within you.
Your motivation to step out on the ledge
and the faith you have
to believe God will catch you,
lead you,
strengthen you,
encourage you,
to try your best for us.
That's enough for me.
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