Tag: meaning

Do You Feel Too Small?

The other day I was working in my “office” and this was my view.

I posted this on Instagram:

Do you see the two people in a canoe on the far side of the lake? They remind me of the first line in a book we used to read to our kids: “The world is big, but I’m so small….”

This morning I’ve been thinking how we can feel “small” in a way that says “insignificant”, or we can feel “small” in a way that says, “Wow! Be inspired. You are part of something bigger than yourself, held and loved by One bigger than yourself.” Whether you’re a teacher or a boss or a mom, I pray this Monday that you have a sense of being part of something great!

Two of my favorite Bible verses seem like they might be at odds with each other.

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

“Who dares despise the day of small things?” Zechariah 4:10

The thing is, our “small things” may also be the “great work” we are not to be distracted from. Our “small thing” may be showing up for a commitment when we don’t feel like it, listening longer than is comfortable, bringing a pot of soup to someone who feels tired and alone, reading a Bible story to a toddler… In each of our small things we have the opportunity to love well, to reflect the character of Jesus, to make an eternal impact.

What is your small thing that is also a “great work” God has given you today?

What if You Don’t Like the Chapter You’re Living?

Last week I spoke to a large gathering of young moms. As I looked around the room of women seated at round tables I saw the fatigue of too little sleep, and the hopeful expressions of “please nourish me with something other than goldfish crackers”.

I know that most of them (probably with toddlers wrapped around their legs), stood in front of a mirror fretting about what to wear and how to camouflage a bulge here or there. I know I did too.

They worried about how much of their true story to reveal. They wondered if the chapter they’re living is important or impossible.

Each of us, married or single, parents or not, old or young, are living a chapter in the larger story of God.

You may not like this chapter you’re living right now. You may think it’s not important to the Storyline.

You see signs like this and you want to hurl something.

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But God’s story doesn’t depend on our setting.

How did Moses feel about his chapter in the wilderness when God was writing a chapter of character refinement?

How did John feel about his chapter exiled on Patmos when God was writing a chapter of encouragement for the future?

How did Peter feel about his chapter in jail when God was writing a story of salvation for a jailer?

How did Joseph feel when he was sold into slavery when God was writing a chapter of rescue for His people?

Or how did Elizabeth feel during the MANY chapters of her life when she was barren when God was writing a chapter of preparation.

In Exodus 3:21 God says to his people in slavery (READ: crappy chapter!):

“I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.”

But this promise isn’t fulfilled until Exodus 12:36! That’s chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 that the Israelites had to trust that God was at work writing a redemptive story even though they couldn’t see it! They had to trust that even in the midst of harsh punishment and plagues and Pharaoh’s hard heart, God was at work. And they weren’t very good at it. Like you and I are often not very good at trusting that God is working in ways we can’t see.

God repeated His promises to the Israelites in Exodus 6, “but they did not listen to Him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”

Sin is when we reject God’s script and try to write another one. We want to snatch the pen out of His hand and write ourselves out of a situation that God may be using for purposes we can’t see yet.

When we moved from Washington D.C. to Minneapolis, humanly speaking there was not enough time to sell our house in D.C. and close on one in our new state before John started work. We had two daughters under 3 years old, and I did not relish the idea of being a nomad wandering in the wilderness without a home (cue the violins). CLEARLY God needed my help with the script. I chose to snatch the pen away and try to write my own story.

And so I made an unethical choice. Before John had formally been offered the job, I whispered in the ear of a realtor friend that he could “unofficially” show our house on the DL while we were away in Minneapolis candidating.

When we arrived back in D.C. I called the realtor to ask if my plan had worked and he had a buyer. He said “Nope!”.

As soon as I hung up the phone, it rang. I picked it up and it was a different realtor who had no idea we were moving, but she had been in our house. She had a couple who had been looking for a home for a two years. She had described our house to them and they wanted to buy it sight unseen at asking price if we were willing to sell it.

And God said “HA!! I will ALWAYS be a better author than you. Trust me!”

If you’re living a chapter that seems like Egypt, seems impossible, it may be that you’re living Exodus 4-11, and like in chapter 12, a teacher recently pointed out to me that you won’t have to leave empty handed. Think about what you may be able to take with you from this chapter you’re living.

 

What is it that you do, dear?

I was putting together a little care package of cookies and flowers for a friend who’s pregnant and on bed rest.

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For months.

With two other toddlers. Active toddlers.

Yeah. Wow.

As I  pray for her and write a note, this is the verse that comes to mind:

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

God gives Nehemiah the important job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, but there are many who would like to distract or deter him from his work – get him to come down off the wall.

My friend has the great work of resting so that God can safely nurture and grow the life in her womb.

Another friend has the great work of finishing her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Another has the great work of gently confronting a friend with a drinking problem.

My 88-year-old aunt who has the great work of praying for the world.

Our “great work” can take so many different forms. But often the refrain that plays in our head is:

“I’m not doing anything important. I’m only a _________________” 

Whatever we’re doing is a “great work” when given by God and done for Him.

What great work has God given you to do that you need to resist distractions from?

If you’re a mom at home with kids this Mother’s Day, remember what Peggy Campolo would answer when someone asked, “And what is it that you do, dear?”

Peggy would reply, “I am socializing two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation.”

Then Peggy would ask the other person, “And what do you do?”

Single or married, mother or auntie, volunteer or paid, we all have a great work – significant work from God.

You are doing a great work. Don’t come down.

Fear, Seasons, and Your Legacy

It’s Fearless Friday, and I’m so excited to introduce another guest writer to you!  John and I have had the privilege of walking alongside Kari and Matt Norman for several (10??) years now.  They are a remarkable young couple who lead authentic, examined lives of faith in Jesus.  You’ll see that from Kari’s words today!

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Last Wednesday my husband and I watched our twin boys climb up the school bus stairs, smile and wave through the window, and head off for their first day of kindergarten.  It was a marking moment, and one I’d envisioned in my mind’s eye many times.

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I had been holding it together so well!  Until the day before… when despite best efforts, I cried at the parent teacher conference when asked if this was my first child entering kindergarten.  I said, “Yes, my first, and my second.”  Pause.  “And my last, all at once.”  Cue the tears.  The teacher reached across the table, held my hand, gave me a look that conveyed genuine care, as well as a nod that seemed to say, “You can hold it together.  Really, you can!  Um, please…  can you?”

She didn’t know that I’d had six miscarriages along the way.  Continue reading

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