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When Competing Priorities Conflict

Have you ever done one of those mini surveys that asked you to list in order what is the most important part of your life? The categories are typically something like this: Children, Work, Husband, Church, God, Friends. At first glance, it seems pretty simple.

1. God(now guilt conscious because I didn’t get in the Word today) 2. Husband…or is it kids? (probably depends on the day!) 3. Kids (yes, that’s the better spot) 4. Work (well, it takes more of my time than church) 5. Church (no wonder I’ve not seen any of my friends lately) 6. Friends (but then again, many of my friends are at church!)
When doing the exercise with a group there are always different answers. Some individuals rate 1-6 based on what is pressing on their mind. Others number the way they think they should prioritize things. Still others choose to order their sequence in regard to how much time they spend with the person or at the location. So, what’s the real answer supposed to be? Is there really a right answer?
All of th…

Things Aren't Always Like They Seem

They say hindsight is 20/20. If only we knew then - in marriage, in ministry, in relationships, in parenting, in career decisions - what we know now, we might have made different decisions, right? And yet, that's not our reality.

We walk through life either in our own independence and self-reliance or within the Holy Spirit's guidance. We can't ride the fence, at least for very long - and never successfully. Without realizing it, we often live like we really can have it both ways. Independent in self, dependent on God.

We have a choice each day, to either take our dreams and forge ahead or to take them before God and see what doors He opens. That is the hard part. Trusting on either end of the threshold. It takes courage and perseverance to actually walk through many of the doors God opens, even when we have longed for the opportunity. It takes strength, trust and surrendered dependence on our Savior to stop at the threshold and obey God's loving caution tape that warn…

Breathe Deeply of Him!

“The breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4a
For many of us, the reality of the coronavirus of 2020 is no longer defined by a respiratory disease. Instead, COVID19 is focused on and defined by masks, social distancing and creative ways to connect and reopen our churches and places of business. Even for those in the medical field (in the USA), routines are returning to the way they once were – even if staff is still wearing face coverings of one type or another.
This Sunday, our worship leader reminded our church family of the reality of the disease. It is still present. People are still dealing with this disease - even after months of treatment and care. Amazingly, not all have succumbed to death. Some have had the breath of life given back to them from the Almighty! Individuals who have been on vents way too long, according to medical standards, are learning how to swallow again. They are gaining strength. They no longer struggle to breathe. They are living miracles!
Many of …

Sometimes You Just Have to Live Through It!

We all want our days to be picture perfect. Waking up from a restful night’s sleep. Having a good hair day. Birds chirping outside. Sun shining. Clothes fitting well. No family drama or traffic to deal with. A productive day at work (or home) and an enjoyable evening. 

Problem is…

We're tempted to believe that others live that way but that we rarely do. Why?
Because on this ‘reality show’ of true life, it’s messy. In fact, we’re blessed if even one of those things happen in a day! If I could, I'd go for a good hair day everyday. Somehow, it just makes everything that day to seem a bit brighter (Silly,  huh?!)

Or maybe we just don’t notice when things are going good? I bet there are lots of mornings when I don’t really appreciate the fact that my clothes fit and the sun is shining. The only time I notice that there is no traffic to deal with is after a trip to town following a hay-hauling tractor (at 15 mph) or  when I actually have to stop for construction signs for bridge rep…

The Personal Phases of Reopening

While our country begins the various phases of reopening, I have found that I too must face the reality of reopening. Reopening my time, my expectations, my freedoms, my energy and my heart. Without realizing it, I have been on autopilot for the past weeks of the pandemic. Not unlike life before COVID19, I simply did what needed to get done when it needed to get done. My list seems to be never ending, and I have no doubt that yours is too.
The lists that represent each of our individual lives vary dramatically depending on our personal circumstances, our states, our homes, our jobs and our family’s dynamics. For some, the pace has slowed down a bit since mid-March. For others, the pace is more hectic than ever. And yet, we have all shared many similarities over these weeks – face masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing and toilet paper shortages!
As each state eases restrictions, the stress of our circumstances will ease a bit as well. Or, will it? Any time a new normal becomes routine…

Songs of Faith - Come in All Shapes & Sizes

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:1-2
Quite often you will find me standing in the back of the sanctuary on a Sunday morning as the worship hour begins. I rarely am in the same place. Some Sundays I'm able to be in the sanctuary for all of the musical portion of worship, other Sundays I get a song here or there as the demands of the morning beg for my attention. Even with that semi-distracted worship, I usually have a few moments to really connect to a song or two - in at least one of our worship hours. 
Now, however, as we adapt and reinvent what corporate worship (aka virtual worship) looks like, I've missed being able to sing with my church family - live and in person! As each week passes by, I'm missing that element of worship more and more. (Plus, my car radio hasn't worked for several months!) Thankfully, I got a simple text from one of my daughters this past Sunday m…

Are You Feeling Stuck in the Middle?

Today was a day filled with watching blue lines and blue circles. I kept waiting. It kept processing. As each hour passed, I felt more and more stuck in the middle. After several hours of trying to work the process and patiently waiting for results, I realized I was only in the beginning phase. Worse yet, I had no clue when I'd ever see even the slightest flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. Do you know the feeling? My reality today was wrapped up in trying to get Sunday's sermon (as in tomorrow!) to upload onto YouTube. Two different computers, several browsers and literally hours later my project – amazingly – was uploaded. (Praise the Lord!) I didn’t know what to do with my emotions. Scream, cry or simply sit in disbelief! Have you felt stuck lately – at that halfway point of COVID19? Many say we have arrived, others are not so sure. The blue line is moving, but we don’t know how long it will all take to process. In the meantime, we wait and pray. We find creative ways …