Dear To-Do List, I am breaking up with you.

Dear To Do List

It’s not that it hasn’t been interesting and I know we got a lot done together.

But you are in the way. You are not really my friend.

You tell me what to do every day and when I don’t get it all done, you beat me up at the end of the day telling me that I didn’t do everything I needed to do.

But who are you to tell me what I need to get done today?

I’ve had enough.

It’s probably not even your fault.

It’s mine for believing you and I are the ones who can do the most good with my time.

But God has only given me a certain amount of time and I cannot get any more of it.

So you have to go.

God knitted into me my purpose and you have distracted me and stolen too much.

Until I started asking Him to take my to-do list and show me what HE wants for my days, you were my idol.

Enough.

You are not my god.

I’m not going to worship you anymore.

God is my God and I haven’t been putting Him first most of my life and asking Him what HE wants me to do each day.

See? He says The Holy Spirit is here to guide me and I believe Him.

The days I ask HIM to lead me are the MOST satisfying days in every way (even though usually I didn’t do what you told me to do or even what what I thought I needed to get done.)

The most UNsatisfying days are the ones where I try to do stuff MY WAY and in MY TIMING.

It’s funny. I have found that usually the thing I can’t get out of my mind is the very thing I actually need to be focusing on, but most of the time until now I’ve pushed that stuff out of the way to stay on schedule – for you.

What God has shown me is that I don’t have to try to figure out how the days are going to look.

My friends cannot open doors He’s shut.

And my enemies cannot shut doors He’s opened for me.

I know. You probably don’t think I’m perfect enough for God.

You wonder if He even wants me.

He does.

And the truth is I don’t have to be perfect.

My God is not looking for perfection. He is looking for people willing to give Him their time – giving their lives as a living sacrifice for what HE wants and not just doing what we want or what other people tell us we have to do.

It’s okay if you forget or throw this letter in the trash.

Because if I forget, then tomorrow, I will wake up and break up with you all over again.

Sincerely, Me

 

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I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

The camp showers were 3 minutes for 25 cents.

Mommy bk k blog shower coins 1

My daughters were each in a shower and I would hand them shampoo, soap, or put another quarter in when the water shut off. Probably nobody likes to run out of hot water with foamy soap still all over.

Suddenly my heart completely ached for kids I don’t even know who don’t have a mother to help them through life.

I was moved to tears for them again in that moment.

The Holy Spirit overwhelmed my heart.

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up all I really wanted was to be a mommy and a wife.

Most of the time when I answered that question I was met with disapproving looks as if that’s not enough of an answer.

But it is.

It is enough.

As it turns out it looks like I will be a mother figure to many homeless teens in Alaska. Who would care for them? Here I am, Lord. Send me.

THAT is pretty amazing and I’m honored that God is doing this with my life. I don’t have to know HOW He’s doing this but I will keep following this dream He’s put in my heart as He keeps opening doors. (You can read more about this in the Alaska Homeless Teen Stuff here.)

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

SUCH a cutie boy, right?!

I smiled and gently explained that being a mommy and leading, training, and loving children is a very big job and is very something. He smiled back and I could tell he was believing this was truth (and it probably wasn’t meant in a disrespectful way at all.)

There is NO “just” in being a mommy or wife. (I believe that if it was a paid job, either of those would be on the highest scale ever. I know we’re all willing to do these jobs without pay but it’s just something I think about when it comes to the money and finance world and how it would blow the executives, presidents of companies, doctors, and lawyers away if they could all SEE a mommy or wife’s worth written in dollar amounts.)

But EVEN IF I was “just” a mommy and wife, that is absolutely “enough.” Whether people feel Called to adopt or are naturally Called to be a parent, it’s enough.

When did the world turn into such an

I-need-to-be-entertained,

everything’s-a-competition,

if-I-like-cheese-and-you-don’t-I-will-be-offended,

it’s-all-about-me-selfish

kinda place?

(It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.)

And life is NOT a competition. Your race is your race. Period. And wherever you are is just right for God to use you and your story.

Whatever God put in your heart to “be” when you grow up, I believe it’s enough.  And if people laugh when you tell them you want to be a dancer or singer or whatever, let them laugh.  (The way someone treats you is usually much more about his or her heart condition than it is about you.)

I believe in you and God believes in you.  He created you and knows your most intimate dreams. Sometimes we let the world tell us what we “should” be doing instead of following the dreams God wrote into us.

I heard someone say he wanted to be sure and use up all his talents and gifts so that there was nothing left by the time he meets God face to face. That’s pretty cool.

The job the world says you “should” have and the job God’s put on your heart to do may be 2 different things. (For some people it’s a blessing to have already discovered this and to shake off the world’s opinions.)

Believe in you.

People can go a long way just hearing someone believes in them. We are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (even when we’re thinking about ourselves.)

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

[Note:  I can’t leave this without adding that physical needs being met aren’t the only needs that desperately need met. Emotionally being there and believing in them, modeling integrity in all things and sharing Jesus with the kids in our care are also VERY important. Some kids have physical needs met but are starving for a deeper love that God intended for a mother to provide.]

[More:

Something we do at our house is called, “You are my favorite kid.”

I used to be a nanny and care for many kids. 2s and 3s are my favorite ages (and now, teenagers, too.) At one preschool job the most difficult child in a class of 24 3 year olds I taught was my favorite kid. Actually none of the other teachers enjoyed his company but he just had something special about him and I tried to be sure he knew I valued him.

We lived in Texas before this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. When my kids’ friends used to come over and they’d set the table or help in some way I’d say, “You’re my favorite kid.” (And it may only last 5 minutes til the next kid swept the floor or said, “I’m sorry” while looking into someone’s eyes and then that kid was the favorite kid.)

We’ve said this for years now and the other day my oldest daughter and I were talking. Everyone likes to hear that he or she is a favorite and many people never hear this in a whole lifetime. We are excited to get to take this favorite kid thing with us to the homeless teen place. Everyone there will get to hear “You’re my favorite kid.” (Sometimes my kids even say this to me. I love it!)]

Stuff God’s Been Teaching Our Family (Without A Car) In 2014

We lived without a working car for 6 months (on purpose.) God has taught us A LOT. This is some of what we learned.

~

My kids learned:

-We don’t need a car to live.

-Fast food is NOT what people want when they are walking everywhere.

-When I give food to homeless people it will be something healthy.

-People feel like they have an obligation to offer a ride if you’re walking. It’s a pity thing. (It shouldn’t be.)

-The way people look at you when you’re walking is pretty rude.

-Homeless people are probably stronger than anybody thinks they are.

-Employers are unsure if they should hire you when you don’t have a working car. They wonder if you’ll get to work.

-I learned we can do stuff even without a car.

-We can walk farther than we think we can.

-Any place is in walking distance if you take the time.

-You buy less things ’cause you have to carry stuff home.

-People eat a lot more than they need to.

-Walking is a work-out and it builds muscle.

-You feel better when you walk.

-We were blessed with 2 legs and 2 feet to be able to walk places. Some people aren’t.

-If you’re willing to help someone there needs to be a genuine love. Don’t just do it to check off the service hours on your list. Attitude matters.

~

What my husband learned:

I don’t NEED a car.

God provides what we need.

A car can add stress. (Also not having a car can add stress.)

~

Stuff God has been teaching me:

-When you’re walking places there is less of a hurry. It may take 30 minutes to walk some place when it takes 5 minutes in a car. (I love NOT being in a hurry!!)

-We are too busy …and we’re kinda selfish.

-Most people don’t really want to be bothered by other people’s needs. I was doing that, too. I liked MY schedule. I liked MY life. MY day. MY hours. MY time. MY whatever. But that’s not how we’re called to live.

-When I help someone, take time for them. People are worth taking the time to get to know. They will bless your life or you will bless theirs somehow. (I mean, besides the transportation factor.)

-When I do feel called to give someone a ride I will NEVER, EVER (EVER) have a look on my face like, “OH OKAY. I GUESS I can put myself out to give you a ride!”  Just… NO.

-Wait on God and His timing. Ask Him to be involved in EVERY part of life and trust Him (even when buying – or not buying a car.)

[VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Please DO NOT pick up someone if you feel you shouldn’t. It’s okay to pass by if you feel worried or have that feeling in your gut that it’s not a good idea. God gave us that feeling for a reason. Listen to your body and trust yourself.]

 

“Daddy? Please help?”

As parents, we think it’s cute when our 2 year old wants to help sweep the floor.

What about when our 10 year old helps fold clothes? We’re proud (even if he doesn’t do it the way WE would do it.)

When our 15 year old does the dishes we still like the help (most of the time.) Sometimes teenagers show a little attitude and decide they know best. They’re still learning – and learn quicker if we let the consequences do the teaching. (Of course – there are times to remove the phone, computer, music, or activities. We give and sometimes we take away.)

It’s pretty amazing when our kids ask us what job they can do and ALSO listen to how to do a job (though there is still some very important learning that takes place when they don’t ask for our guidance.)

Honestly, we CAN do all these jobs on our own AND we actually would do a more careful and more thorough job on each one of them.

~
The thing is when we ask God what job He wants us to do, incredible things happen. He’s not going to make us ask Him. We just (hopefully) eventually get around to realizing this is the best idea.

God does not NEED us to help. He WANTS us to help Him. He ALLOWS us to help Him. He LOVES for us to help Him.

But God is God and He does not NEED us to take care of stuff.

He is MORE than capable of doing everything on His own. He created the whole universe and everything in it WITHOUT our help. (It’s a bit egotistic to think He NEEDS us to do anything, isn’t it?)

When He calls us to do a job, He doesn’t expect us to then go off and try to do it on our own. He expects us to keep asking for His guidance.

Sometimes we (grown ups) decide we know best and we learn from consequences, too. We give God a little attitude sometimes, don’t we? (And He gives and sometimes He takes away.) Yet, He’s still in our corner, cheering us on, always hoping we’ll turn to Him for help.

Sometimes I envision Him looking at me while I try to do a job without Him (which has happened plenty over my lifetime.)

He’s smiling while shaking His head and just waiting for me to ask, “Daddy? Please help?” EVERY time I ask He is there and He is always more than capable.

Because of Stephen (a very special kid)

God calls us in different ways.

Lisa was one of my roommates from college. She was called by God.

God gave her 3 healthy kids, 2 miscarriages, and Stephen. Because of her experiences she can help people in ways I can’t even begin to know how to.

Stephen is a very special kid with very special needs. He’s been diagnosed with multiple disabilities due to severe brain damage from birth because of preeclampsia; He is deaf, blind, epileptic, has a feeding tube, a shunt for hydrocephalus, non-ambulatory (meaning he can’t walk or sit or feed himself,) and Cerebral Palsy.

~~> When God calls you

it usually turns your world upside down. <~~

People are in their house all hours of the day (and sometimes night.) There’s no privacy.

Some of their house has been turned into a hospital ~ for Stephen.

People stare at him because he’s… different.

He’s a very beautiful “different” with a contagious laugh.

He’s here for a reason. God did not make him by mistake.

God has connected many people together because of Stephen.

If Stephen wasn’t Stephen, the nurses, doctors, therapists, and hundreds more people wouldn’t have been connected with Lisa and she wouldn’t have had this opportunity to share her faith with them.

She COULD have cursed God. But she didn’t. She COULD have said, “No. God, this is too much for me.” (…Because sometimes it feels that way.) But she didn’t. She accepted the assignment that she was called to be his mom as a gift and she loves him.

She accepts help from people she doesn’t know (medical and personal help) because caring for him is a full time job.

I cannot comprehend the faith and energy it’s taken her and Kevin to learn all they’ve had to learn to be his mom and dad. And I praise God for all the people who have been there to help love on Stephen and get to know his family.

I’m writing this ~ because of Stephen.

The truth is we ALL have special needs. Jesus is the answer to them all.

~
Notes from Lisa.

8 1/2 years ago my world was turned upside down. Fear was the theme for the day. I was afraid for my life as well as my unborn child’s.

It was too early, but apparently, it was time.

Some in this world would say it was a tragedy. I call it a true gift. It has brought unimaginable joy, heartbreaking pain, laughter, tears, patience, and humility.

Stephen Sanders was given as a blessing not just to me, but to the world. I would move Heaven and Earth to change things for him, but I would never change him for me.
~
I am thankful for my children in general.

David for being friendly and outgoing.

Micaiah for being willing to work hard even when she doesn’t really want to.

Stephen for teaching me patience by throwing me into the fire.

And Nathan for giving me a fresh look at the world.

God, bless my children as they walk their paths through this life and please take care of my two babies who are already in Heaven with You.
~
Monkey, You are such an amazing little boy. There aren’t words to describe how much I love you. Your strength inspires me to go on when I am worn down. The smile on your face makes me laugh through the tears. And the way you tell me you love me without uttering a word reminds me of what true love is really about. I am so blessed to be your Mommy.

 

3T7B1491 2 website

Hurting from the Inside Out (Quantity vs. Quality -especially in churches)

Recently I visited a church and…

There is nothing wrong with wanting a church, business, school, family, or club to grow.

There IS a problem when the focus is mainly on “the numbers” if the group’s members are hurting from the inside out and they are not being cared for in a healthy way.

Especially talking about churches; If the members are starving for healing, purpose, and love yet the focus is on growing the numbers, there is a problem.

It does NOT matter if you rave about having 300 or 3,000 attendees when so many of the current members are poor in spirit and are not being fed.  Where are the leaders when the people who attend there every week are feeling left empty?

That being said; If the members go to church on Sunday or whenever and then don’t live like Jesus the rest of the week; helping and loving on people God leads them to help and love on, there is something missing. [And of course many people DO help. You know that I know this.]

If we were all doing our jobs then how can there be members in any congregation who have everyday needs not met when they are the very SAME needs they’ve had for years?

And I’m not talking about people who take advantage of others and expect others to take care of their lives for them.

I’m talking about yards needing raked or fences falling down when the family is busy just trying to survive. Physical needs are everywhere. Please help meet them.

I’m talking about people who cannot leave their houses and this may be for physical reasons or emotional ones. Both are valid and people just need to know they matter and that someone misses them.

Yes. Members need to take responsibility to let a true need be known and then we need to help where we are called to help.

And we need to realize there are some people who just cannot ask for help for whatever reasons. We should be looking for those who need help ~ and ask them how we can help.

We don’t need a committee meeting. We need to listen. We need action. God will lead us to the very people He wants us to serve. That tug on your heart is there for a reason.

WHAT IF instead of displaying on the overhead screen how many “bodies” are present, the leadership ministered to the current hurting members in SUCH a healthy way that more and more Christians could keep reaching out to the cities around them?

And I’m not saying preachers, pastors, elders, deacons, or teachers can meet every need. They cannot. But I’ve just about never been part of a church where the elder assigned to us actually takes the time to get to know me and my family; not even over one meal.

HOW can they be shepherds if they don’t know their sheep?

Stop. PLEASE stop counting the bodies and help speak life into the people who are already there!

There is not just ONE group where this fault lies. Members need to be living the way Christ called us to live and help serve when the Holy Spirit moves us to and so do the leaders of the church.

The leaders need to do more than just wear the title. Serve the members so that the members can serve others.

What if we all helped each other find the talents and gifts God has gifted to each of us?

Sometimes stuff in the Bible seems to be far away or not very relevant but the truth is; it IS relevant and it IS a Living Word.

I may not know how to help all churches, clubs, or whatever to be the best they can be but what I DO know (because I have been in this place before) and find comfort in ~ is this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3

 

I don’t have all the answers but I know we all need to be part of the solution. I was moved to write this because sometimes we get sidetracked with quantity instead of working toward quality.

 

But I Don’t Have Any Tape (Provision)

I tried to open the classroom door and it was locked.

Our new class has met in 3 different rooms.

There wasn’t a sign on the door to tell us where to go but I opened a nearby door anyway just to check and it was nice to see it was the right place.  Sometimes it’s not easy to be so bold, ya know? What if class already started? We don’t want to bother anyone. What if it’s not the right room? What if they’re saying a prayer? I don’t want to interrupt. etc.

Since it’s possible more people may feel the same way I did and not want to disturb others I made a sign to put outside the old classroom door.

After scribbling a quick sign and picking up the paper I said to the few people in the room, “But I need tape and I don’t have any. Does anyone here have tape?”

Nope.

Walking to the door and not quite sure how I’d attach the paper yet, I kept thinking, “But I don’t have any tape.”

I looked at the door handle and hinges to see if I could tuck the edge of the paper there to make it stay. Not gonna work.

Then I looked down by my feet.

I didn’t even have to take a step closer to it. The tape was just right there. Right within reach was a used piece of tape; sticky side facing sticky side. I picked it up and carefully pulled on the edges wondering if it would be sticky enough to hold a sign to a door long enough to guide people to the new room.

It was.

Stepping back into the current classroom I said something like, “People can’t even say God’s not listening and He doesn’t provide because He just DOES. I was just asking about tape and there was tape. Isn’t that so crazy?!”

The teacher said, “Nope. It’s faith.”

Crazy faith! So many people look for adventure in life and spend thousands of dollars to find it. I wonder if they know that faith is such an amazing adventure every day.

Some may say it was just a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidence. God provides what we need when we need it.

 

And the thing I kept thinking about is this…

It was a piece of tape.

It wasn’t a nail or a screw or velcro or glue or a paperclip or even a rubberband.

 

It was tape – which made me think of this verse:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

God just provides. He’s in the business of doing this very thing. He gives us what we need just when we need it.

God provides Tape 2

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. We love to hear when this has happened in people’s lives. Hearing how God provides never gets old!

[Please note: You are welcome in class at church even if something prevented you from getting there “on time.” We would rather you come share and hear what’s going on in Bible class even if you’re late than to not show up at all. If teachers are upset and this isn’t the case where you worship, perhaps some are focused on the wrong thing. The message IS very important but if nobody is there to hear it then what’s the point? Consider this; Maybe you’ll walk in at the very right time to hear just what God knew you needed to hear.]

 

YOU CAN!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say.
How powerful are words?

I know a Guy who spoke the whole world into existence.

Your words matter.

Matthew 12
34b “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You meet people every day someone else will never meet. Nobody has the same path you have. People God leads across your path NEED YOU to speak life about them and TO them.

When we’re tempted to grumble about people (which happens, like, every day)…

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

the person who cut in line when we only have 20 minutes for lunch,

when the kid at school makes fun of our kid and our child comes home in tears,

the mom who has a bad day and desperately wants to know all this work she’s doing matters,

the dad who works hard and knows his wife and kids want some of his time, too, so he spends the evening playing “catch” when he’s wanting time for himself,

…take a breath.

 

And maybe instead of the first (possibly crushing) words that come to mind,

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

You can do this. You got this! I believe in you.

 

I don’t know how they got homeless.

Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.

~
“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.

And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…

I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.

Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.

My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.

I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.

For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.

I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.