Sunday, May 29, 2011

The "G" Word

I was riding home in the car the other day with my kids and we were talking about what was going to happen today at church. The church I serve is saying goodbye to 3 of our pastors as they go on to serve in new ministries that God has called them to. My kids probably have heard some of the conversations around about the pastors leaving, but it dawned on them that they were actually going to be leaving soon. My sweet Mikayla had a difficult time when we moved last year (her best friend was moving away, we were moving and Hannah Montana was ending her TV series; the last one put her over the edge J). So as I was talking about their 3 pastors leaving, Mikayla piped up, “All of them are going! I’m going to have to get better at saying goodbye!” Yes, it is a lesson of this life: there will be many goodbyes we have to say. Some of them come through moves, some through graduations, some through death, etc. Most goodbyes are bittersweet, as there is the pain of something that will never again be the same, mingled with the hope of a new life that is waiting. I opened up my email today that had one of my devotions in it and the verse today was Psalm 33:20-21We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” So like Mikayla, I’m still learning how to be better at saying goodbye. I know that in those goodbyes God is with me helping me and shielding my heart from the pain. At the same time I trust God in the goodbyes, knowing that they are not the end of the story. God is working for good in the new life that is offered to each and every one of us. We just have to accept it and walk into it. So tonight my heart is a little heavy with the goodbyes, yet I know some joyful helloes are coming. I know that God is closing a chapter in my church’s life and I look forward to walking into the blessings that await in the next chapter. I look forward to some company on that walk….   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I completely admit that many times I am scatterbrained. I have a whole lot of things going through this small brain of mine. I also get sermon ideas, blog post ideas, grocery lists, birthday present ideas, etc. that pop up at a moment's notice and take my focus off of whatever I was doing. I seem to have this same problem during my prayer time. I will begin my prayer (and it can be in a quiet room, in my bed, in my car, etc). and it can be with my eyes open or closed (well unless I'm driving then I promise they are always open :-), but no matter where or how I am praying, my attention gets diverted to another task. A good friend of mine says to keep a piece of paper near for when those thoughts creep up and then you can write them down without worrying that you will forget and then go back to focusing on your prayer. Still, I find that I can get confused when trying to pick up where I left off in my prayer. Well I wanted to share with you something from my personal retreat that I took last week. First, as a sidenote, let me just tell you how great it is to get away for some time with God. I got to a great place called Sienna Center in Racine, Wisconsin. I go with my accountability group (a few women who are also in various forms of ministry). One thing that we do while we are there is to engage in some form of creativity. For some that is needlework, water color paintings, drawing, card making, writing and beading. We bead jewelry, book marks, zip clips and prayer beads. It is this last one that I wanted to share about today. Below is the picture of the prayer beads I made (I displayed it on a rock down by the Lake Michigan; I find it Holy Ground to pray by the waters of the lake).

Each bead represents a member of my family (myself included), as well as the church and the world. For each of my family, I had a bead to pray about the joy in their lives; the works (now or in the future) of their hands; for those things that tempt them or lead them into sin; and for my children, one for relationships: those friends that they have now and whomever will be their future significant other. As my fingers walk along the beads, I am able to keep focused on who and what I am praying for and if for some reason I have to stop for a moment I can look down and see where I was at. I found it to be a deeply meaningful experience to put together these prayer beads. I spent time going through all the beads to see which ones I thought would best represent to me that person. It has been a blessing to pray using this wonderful tool and one that a lot of love went into creating. Which brings me to my final point. There is something sacred that happens when we engage in creativity. It is something God has intended for us. So often as we get older we leave creative things to the side thinking we don't have enough time, we are not "talented enough" or that it's simply for children to engage in. WRONG! God speaks through our creativity and restores us when we connect with the gifts that God has given us. So go ahead, do something creative today. Sit down and color a picture (whether you have children or not), go collect things outside or cut out pictures from a magazine and make a collage of some sort. Go by some beads and put them on a string, it can be your first set of prayer beads. Let me know how it goes or feel free to leave other ideas in the comments.
Blessings of creativity to you!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It's spring, so I've started to hear the yearly groan about dandelions. I may be the minority but I LOVE dandelions. It may be because of my children, especially one of them who calles them "dandy-fly-ins." I love that they bring a smile to their faces and that they love to pick them to bring smiles to other's faces. It may be the fond memories I have of blowing on the dandelion seeds and "making a wish" as they became those white fluffballs. But I think it's mostly because it reminds me of one ofmy most favorite devotions. It is from my Woman's Devotional Bible and as strange as it sounds, dandelions have taken on a theological meaning for me. So I thought I would share it with you today:


By JoAnn Morrison
From the Women's Devotional Bible

Dandelions! No matter how carefully I try to pull one up, I never get the whole thing. The root stays deep in the ground, threatening to grow up and blossom again.

But despite their bad reputation, dandelions are pretty little flowers with their yellow strands all tucked neatly into the center. And truly they are the most beautiful of all flowers when presented clutched in a child’s dirty little hand. No one gets yelled at for picking them. Perhaps they grow only to be used and enjoyed by children.

Dandelions are ignored or attacked, never nurtured or cared for, and yet they always bloom profusely. They demand no pampering or special attention to yield their bright blossoms; they pop up in fields, in lawns, and between cracks in the sidewalk, even in the best neighborhoods. Can you imagine trying to grow them in a garden? They’d sneak through the boundaries and pop their sunny yellow faces up in the surrounding lawn. They would never stay put!

Christians should be more like dandelions. Our sunny yellow faces should be a reminder that simple faith has deep roots that are impossible to dislodge. Our vast number would show the world that even through we are not fancy or pampered we are evident everywhere, even in the best neighborhoods.

We should be as easily accessible as a dandelion. Jesus was. We need to get out of our gardens and jump across the boundaries that keep us where people expect to find us. We need to show our sunny yellow faces in all the spots that need a little brightening up – the crack in the sidewalk or the lawn of a country club.

I hope the next time you see one of those "annoying" little dandelions, you will stop to think about how God can be using us to be one of those sunny little faces who pop in another's life to share the Gospel message. Maybe when you see those white little fluffballs that they turn into you will remember that just as they will blow their seeds around to grow all over again, that we too are called to blow our seeds of faith and spread the Good News to the ends of the earth.