Tag: security

One Thing We Have in Common With John

It’s weird to think of having anything in common with the people we meet in Scripture, and yet, what an encouragement, right?!

A couple weeks ago as I was preparing an Easter sermon, something struck me that I hadn’t really thought about before.

In John, the apostle, I notice something positive I aspire to, and a weakness we share. Read what John wrote…

John 20: 1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

This is both cool and comical!

I love it that John is so grounded in the unshakeable knowledge that he is the one Jesus LOVES!

We are too – each of us as if we are the ONLY one! Like a proud parent, if Jesus carried a wallet, your picture would be in it and He’d want to show it to others with delight! This is the mindset we aspire to – that we would walk into each day with the assurance that we are beloved. No matter what we do or don’t do.

But then, the part that makes me laugh. Here’s he’s writing about the resurrection, but John makes a point of telling us TWICE that he beat Peter to the tomb. He ran faster!

I might be tempted to say “What a guy thing!”, but in our family the women are just as competitive as the men. There is this temptation in each of us to compare what we DO to what others do, even though Jesus tells us it’s not about what we DO, but about what He has DONE for us.

No matter how fast John or you, or I run, we can’t outrun God’s grace.

When we compare, there are two pitfalls. We either get sucked into pride because we’re better than, or despair because we’re worse than. Jesus wants us to know that we aren’t better or worse, but unique and beloved.

John isn’t the only one. Peter compares his life to John’s too.

John 21: 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believersthat this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?

When I’m tempted to compare myself to others, this is what I hear Jesus whispering in my ear: “What is that to you?”

Later, Paul writes, “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Phil.4:11 NIV

One writer notes, “The Greek word rendered ‘content‘ here denotes more than just a throwing up of arms in reluctant acceptance. At its root it literally means: ‘to be satisfied to the point where I am no longer disturbed or disquieted.'”

“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Phil. 4:13 MSG

May we live this day secure, not superior.

Confident without comparing.

 

Dear Friends

Dear Friends,

It is a stormy, gray day here. The pool is closed for the season, and most of our kids are starting school today. The tops of the trees are already tinged crimson.

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There is such a cornucopia of all the feels.

Grief at the end of a glorious summer…

Good bye to some of the rhythms and relationships that come with vacation, lake time, and outdoor sports…

The excitement and uncertainty that comes with new beginnings and new locker combinations.

Maybe even more than January 1st, September marks a BEGINNING.

We’re inside more, and more dependent on information – the weather report, full email in-boxes, school forms to sign, volunteer requests, schedules to keep straight, more meetings, the up-coming election, the WORLD situation for Pete’s sake!

September can feel like JUST. TOO. MUCH.

So, two quick thoughts and then you can go drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

You know I’ve been on a bit of a sabbatical from the blog this summer. You’ve been kind to encourage me and inquire when it will be over. It’s been good, and the Lord has prompted me to work on some other writing projects that I’m both excited and scared about.

As I’ve prayed about this space and whether/how to continue, the one thing I’ve been concerned about is clogging your in-box with anything that’s not a value add to your life. We are overwhelmed with so many good resources! So I’m going to be more careful. I will post less, and try some shorter posts (We’ll see how that goes!) but I pray God will use what He gives me to send you for His purposes and that you will be encouraged.

My friend James preached at our church this past weekend. In his message he shared the irony that the statue of Atlas holding the world, outside of the Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan is across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In the cathedral is a statue of Jesus as a boy, holding the world in His hand.

So this September, in the midst of busyness, take a deep breath and remember, Jesus holds the world. You don’t have to.

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The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Psalm 93:1

When You Feel Like an Angry Toddler

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

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Standing in worship, it felt like I was singing through gritted teeth.

The words were there, but not the heart.

I was having a toddler moment a few weeks ago – frustrated, confused and metaphorically crossing my arms, and stamping my foot with cries of “LORD! I. DON’T. GET. IT!!” Continue reading

When You Feel Unvaluable

My top three strengths are “activator” and “achiever” and “woo”. That means I really, really, really want to do ALL OF THE THINGS, to be awesome, and to have you like me.

So it stung, hearing the words. Out loud.  Again. A phrase similar to others I’ve heard over the years.

My husband John was recounting his day and a meeting he had had with a member of the church who had listened and given insight on the future of our faith community. John and his colleague in the meeting asked this awesomely awesome guest to return for another hour of conversation.

Of course this will be pay-rolled!  We value your gifts and talents and expertise, so ABSOLUTELY we’ll pay you for your time!”

“Said no one to me ever”, is the place my slightly over-dramatic mind went to as I listened to him.

Validation. Whether you’re twenty-something, or….well, not… we all long for it and even when we get it in one form, we want more, or different.  We’re desperate to know we matter.  We add value.  We make a difference. Continue reading

Among the Ruins

qtThis is my view outside Latimer house where we’re staying while husband John is in meetings.  I know!  Pretty wonderful!  It looks a little like Downton Abbey but with trees around it, on a hill overlooking the Chess Valley in England.

Earlier I was in the library, but it is an unusually beautiful spring day and the English countryside kept whispering to me to come outside.

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All that to say, I’m feeling very British-y.  Our cab driver in London actually said “Cheers, mate!” with a straight face.  I didn’t know that was an actual thing.

Yesterday we walked Oxford and now I’m longing to go back and re-read everything C.S. Lewis wrote.

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I came across a quote from Lewis that really sums up what I’ve experienced over the past few weeks.

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some to see.”

Continue reading

One Quality That Sets a Leader Apart

I look around the conference room in a San Francisco church.

The round tables are filled with high capacity young leaders.  Some have brought with them the early career fatigue of balancing family and ministry and finances, and communities resistant to innovation.  There are too few minorities in the room.  And too few women.  We all know more than we do.  We all wrestle to be authentic and not just tell our “success stories”.  Instead, to talk about our doubts and hopes and fears.

As I sit with these leaders for the day there’s something I notice that sets them apart.  They come with the posture of learners.  They have strength and resolve, but also humility. They ask good questions.  They listen.

They live into the belief that anyone anywhere is a potential mentor, whether younger or older, blue collar or white collar, mom or migrant worker.

We often hear the refrain, “Leaders are learners.” and it’s true.  But it’s important to say more than that.   Continue reading

When You Feel Like You’re Losing Yourself

“We are all so ruined, so loved, and in charge of so little.” Anne Lamott

Our daughter Maggie is getting married in 46 days.

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When she got engaged in November many people asked with concern in their voices “How are you doing?”

“Great!” I responded.  “Austin (her fiancé) is terrific and I’m excited for them!”

And then, last week, driving down highway 100 at 4:00 in the afternoon, thinking of the possibility that Maggie and Austin may move to California (you know, like, at the opposite end of the world, and a continent away from daughter Katy), I found myself sobbing and thinking “I’m NOT ok!  I’m losing my baby!  I’m losing my family!  I’m losing my identity! I hate change!”

I. Am. Out. Of. Control.

Yes, I was a tad over-dramatic, but give me my moment.

Everything feels like it’s slipping, slipping, slipping out of my hands, out of my control, like the gooey “gak” I used to make with the kids when they were little.

Change.  Loss.  New beginnings.

I’m not the only one.  I have young friends who are graduating, some going back to school, and others who are moving, some taking big new risks.  My sister-in-law after much prayer, just resigned from a job she’s loved for years.

Continue reading

Trading Places

Sometimes I’m just in the wrong place.

I walk into Starbucks in the dark of the very early morning before dawn and drop my books and computer in “my” place – the table the baristas say they’re going to put a plaque on with my name in case anyone should arrive before me and not know that it’s “mine”.  My guy Cory’s been known to tackle customers with their eye on my spot.

I sit for a minute and resist the urge to open my computer immediately.  I try to feel what I’m feeling…Anxiety, butterflies, stress…fear??  Yes, fear.

Fear of failure.  Of not adding value.  Not producing.  Ugh.

And then I come across this, scribbled in a notebook I keep in my purse.

Yep.  I have FPSD.  FearPrideSuccessDisorder.  You too?

Continue reading

Hiding in plain sight

Confession:  Some days are just “mess-up-not-good-enough-sin-over-and-over-again” days.

Of course, every day is that in reality, but some just feel more that way.

John has been out of town so I’ve been more (the operative word being “more”) careful about locking up.  The other night after resting secure, I was ready to leave for the day, opened the door, and discovered this:

Yep, not the brightest bulb.

I can laugh this off, but there are other times… There’s the sick feeling I get when I say something insensitive, or neglect to say something, or compare myself to someone else who HAS said, or done just the right Jesusy thing.  The times when pride or selfishness or bitterness seem to win the day and I’m so ashamed.

I think I want to hide, but I realize I really want something else. Continue reading

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