Our Stories

my story

I’m starting something new on this site because I believe God likes to change things up a bit when we get too comfortable. Change can be scary, but experiencing change with God is like singing off-key (or is that just me?) while we’re in our socks sliding around on the kitchen floor with chocolate smeared on our lips and some good tunes in the background.

Yes. Change with God really is that good. 🙂 And exciting!

So I’m going to continue blogging. But there will be times when I look back and share something God has done in my life; some of my favorite memories with Him.

And I’m going to ask you to look back at your life too.

This isn’t so you feel obligated to share your story. (But you can share if you’d like! You may never know how deeply your story may touch someone.) I’m simply going to ask you to look. Look back and look for God.

Why?

So you can see God in a new and exciting way (see I told you!).

Let’s do this together. Let’s do this to remember God and relive His faithfulness. And let’s do this to encourage and remind each other that the same God who did those things yesterday will continue to be faithful today and tomorrow.

And who knows? He may just surprise us when He opens our eyes to all He has done to bring us this far.

“Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3 NLT.)

The View From My Window

st louis

We were driving 70 mph along the interstate, traveling between a semi-truck and a car whose driver had his nose buried in his cell phone. As always, I grabbed my door handle and reached with my foot for the invisible brake on the passenger floorboard. (Note: My invisible brake only works when my husband notices what I’m doing and instinctively uses the real brake over there on the driver’s side.)

Erratic driving. Speeding. Road rage. Texting while driving (please don’t do it!!). I saw a lot of things like that, scaring me into panic mode. I noticed a car swerving and when we began to pass it, I realized it was another driver texting, his head bobbing up and down as he tried to focus on the road a little and his phone a little more. Moments later, I saw a child strapped in a car seat playing with her feet, innocently riding in the car in front of the guy texting. It terrified me, really.

What did I do besides squirm, cringe, and reach for my handle?

I prayed. A lot.

I prayed for that child in the car seat. I prayed for the guy texting. I prayed for the young woman at the rest stop who was pacing in front of the open hood of her car while talking on her cell phone. I prayed for those riding on motorcycles, especially when they were pelted with heavy raindrops. And I prayed for the semi-truck drivers who were just trying to make a living in the middle of all the madness.

But God opened my eyes to more than those needing prayer, more than the Gateway Arch outside my window on our trip to visit family in Missouri:

Reminders.

I saw crosses. Small white crosses standing alone in front lawns. Three crosses standing tall on a hill. An enormous white cross, the surrounding buildings seemingly miniature in comparison. Crosses dazzled in the sunlight on the tops of churches and quietly rested in the shade alongside the highway as memorials.

They reminded me of Jesus and how His sacrifice has reached so far, changed so many lives, and touched and comforted so many hearts.

And I was reminded and encouraged when I read, “In God we trust.” I spotted those words across hundreds of miles of highway like lovely wildflowers that can’t be contained. They traveled in front of me on bumper stickers. They shouted from large decals on the backs of semi-trucks. I even noticed those words waving to me from across the street at a bank in a small town in Illinois when we stopped for gas.

Sometimes when we look out our window and all we see is madness, when the enemy tries to deceive us into believing the whole world has gone, well, mad, and we’re the only ones following Christ and we’re crazy in doing so, God reminds us of His truth and the fact that we’re not alone in our faith. We don’t have to travel this road alone. God is always with us.

And we have many brothers and sisters in Christ, right outside our window.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT.)

cross

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget the Forgotten

don't forget

I once had a writing teacher who taught to look for the unnoticed, the dismissed things in life and write about them. He explained writers are to use peripheral vision.

I thought about that for a long time. How do we use peripheral vision?

In writing, it means to catch those hidden gems, those tiny details in a scene: the smell of fried potatoes as they hiss from a cast-iron skillet, the man wearing a suit and tie who digs into his pocket, pulling out a fifty-cent comb to smooth his already sleek hair, or the sparrow hopping in the slushy parking lot who stops to peck at a piece of plastic.

But what if God wants us to use our peripheral vision for His purpose?

Maybe He wants you to notice the elderly man who can’t reach a bag of potato chips and not only help him with it but talk to him; you may be the only person he’s talked to in days. Or maybe the teen across from you at the gas station just learned his parents are getting a divorce and he could really use some kindness.  Perhaps there is a woman you see every day who is hiding behind her smile, loneliness slowly breaking her apart.

They are out there. And it’s no accident that you are out there with them.  Let God use you to reach them.

But the forgotten are not always those we’ve never met or those we believe society has dismissed. Sometimes they are those in our lives we simply get too busy to remember.

I know, it’s the Christmas season and you’ve got a million things to do.

But what if instead of worrying about all of those things, you honor Jesus’ birthday by remembering those He came to save, those the world seems to have forgotten.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16 NIV.)

When I’m Gone

suitcases

There will come a day when I’ll no longer be here.   I’ll no longer sit at this laptop typing words about how much God loves you or to encourage you to have faith in Jesus. I’ll no longer bake gluten-free cookies in the kitchen or rush out the door to the store.  I’ll no longer hold up the line talking to the cashier because he’s discouraged, reading his name tag and praying for him the moment I walk away.

I won’t need to pack anything for this trip because I can’t take a single thing with me; my suitcases will sit abandoned, gathering dust.

I will be gone.

All of my things will still be here; books on the shelves and in stacks all around the house, coffee cups in the cupboard and a few in the sink, a drawer crammed with thick fuzzy socks, and probably some chocolate stashed somewhere.

You can have those things if you want them. I won’t need them anymore.

But I’m hoping you won’t need them either. I’m praying you’ll be with me, that you’ll be gone too.

But if you’re still here, if you haven’t been caught up in the air with those of us who have believed in Jesus Christ, if you haven’t been watching how quickly things are unfolding in the world and haven’t been getting ready and now you’re surrounded by questions and fear and shock at the number of those who are suddenly gone, I’ll leave you the most valuable thing I own: my Bible.

You see, I won’t need it anymore. I’ll be at home with the Author.

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  (Romans 10:9-10 NIV.)

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV.)