Summer is drawing to an end and it really, really bugs me. While my California friends are eagerly awaiting fall temperatures, those of us in Minnesota are getting ready to say goodbye to an incredible California kind of summer.
This was a rare summer for me; one where I really felt that I took advantage of it. I treated it more like I did when I was a kid. I went slower. I went out to coffee – and lunch – and dinner, for that matter, – often. I walked a lot and we grilled almost every night. I enjoyed long quiet times with the Lord sitting outside with a Bible, devotional, and journal in hand. There are advantages to growing older.
I love to read and I love, love, love, my Kindle. My favorite part about the Kindle is that I can underline phrases and quotes that stand out to me. Then all of the underlined portions from all of the books get compiled together so that I can save them forever and ever, Amen.
After I read the last page of a book, I have a little routine of going to my back to my saved notes and re-reading each quote one more time. It has a way of sealing the message in my heart.
The last time I finished a book I got so caught up in reading my saved quotes that I ended up going way, way back to the things I had saved from dozens of other books from years past. There were so many worthwhile things I came across and I wish I could sit down with you and talk about each of them one-by-one-by-one. But I can’t.
What I can do is share some of my favorites. I hope some of these resonate with you also. And I hope you grab hold of the rest of your summer.
Time is like spilt milk. It can never be put back in a bottle.
Tragic, isn’t it, how love can tumble a soul?
I was…but now.
When we pray and nothing changes, many times as believers we use the outcome as an occasion to alter our theology to match our experience. When we do this, we stop pressing forward in faith to find out why the natural world didn’t line up with what we expected.
Friend, stop being surprised when wounded people act wounded; they will continue to hurt you until they are healed.
And though the enemy still had power on the earth through our agreement, our good Father will always bring life out of everything that the Devil comes to destroy.
Your heart comes alive when you are doing what you were created to do.
Failing to receive enough nurture, affection, and love can be just as damaging as abuse, betrayal, loss, and abandonment.
Apparently middle school had chased me into my thirties.
There’s no brilliant formula for being a super-Christian.
Jesus, you need to get right up in this mess. I’m about to spiral and quit. Please show yourself, now!
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
This was celebration. Setting aside the stresses of everyday life, if only for a moment.
I want to laugh at the days to come. Help me see what you see; the grins, the jokes, the twinkle in their eyes. Help me behold all that again, in my children and my husband.
When you find yourself on the cusp of strongholds being released, the enemy marches in double-time.
Most people let their moments slip through their fingers, half-lived.
You cannot see the unknown until you release the known.
Why do we give circumstances power over us?
Your race isn’t suspended because the storm blew in. God knew the storm was coming.
Expect to be challenged. The enemy won’t go down without a fight. But expect great progress.
They were saved but not strong. Redeemed but not released.
Yet, the strings were still there, sewn into my skin. They pulled and tugged in a way I couldn’t describe.
What was weird was that this man standing beside her didn’t check off every box on her list. Not even close. But he checked off boxes she hadn’t even known to draw.
These were the families she used to detest, mostly because she envied that kind of stability.
She closed her eyes, spoke words to a God she’d only just met, and waited until the anxiety went away.
The gospel calls us to hold tight. But it also reminds us that we are already being held.
I wonder how often I’ve elevated the good work of pointing women to God’s Word over actually opening and studying Scripture myself.
Sometimes I think I’m just another project for her, a lump of clay to sculpt and mold into something else, something worthwhile.
I realize again the narcissism of the pain I carry. I struggle to see beyond it. Beyond myself.
The excitement and passion of first love often wears thin as you journey through all the waves and storms of life. But the deep, abiding love and commitment that replaces it is far more satisfying.
Sooner or later, sorrow and tragedy are part of everyone’s life.
The sacrifices we make for Him will lead to blessing for future generations.
Teach your children character – not rules.
At that moment I understood what it meant to be blessed. To be granted something beyond measure, beyond deserving, beyond myself.
I can hold on to you with fierceness, even in love, but if my hands are around your neck, eventually I’ll kill the very person I want to save.
The thing is, you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else. If you’re not, then you’re going to be blaming the wrong person when you’re miserable.
Why you? None of us are exempt from terrible things happening in our lives. Leading a charmed life is a myth. Sooner or later, something will swallow us whole. And sometimes the only way out is like Jonah in the whale’s belly. We just find ourselves thrown up on the shore of something solid that we can build on.
One overwhelming encounter with God is meant to lead to countless others, each taking us from glory to glory – in this lifetime.
It is the fact that we declare that we believe in forever, yet we live as if this is all there is.
Live for Heaven and you will enjoy this world immensely.
Forgiveness has to do with the past. Reconciliation and boundaries have to do with the future.
The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer, nor those who say they believe in prayer, nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean these people who take time and pray.
God is doing more things in our country in these messy days than most people realize.
That means absolutely everything that happens to us – every suffering, every affliction, every hardship, every disappointment in life – is meant to challenge our man-made view about the love of God.
Lesson one is don’t try to defend yourself. You can’t do it. You have to leave that to the Lord and to others.
There’s a shallowness that busyness creates.
The clanking sounds accompany Marley’s pitiful admission, “I wear the chain I forged in life…I made it link by link, and yard by yard.”
Here’s my favorite picture in this story. It’s the father. Still standing on the porch. Yet to leave his post.
But I do know this – this right here is just the prelude. Dress rehearsal. The intro. One of these days each one of us is going to get called up and given the chance to join our voices in a song we’ve never heard, yet we’ve known our whole lives.
One of the mysteries of music is that two can achieve together what one never could do alone.
If we’ve put our trust in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we don’t have the option of bowing out of the “whole evangelism thing” as a reticent friend of mine says.
We are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart.
When someone of great significance in our lives makes us feel like our belonging is more of a question mark than a security blanket, we become very sensitive to even the slightest hints of rejection.
If writers don’t show me their struggles, I can’t trust their advice.
People who care more about being right than ending right prove just how wrong they were all along.
I think that C.S. Lewis said it best: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
I still believed that God existed and he’d sent Jesus to secure our eternity through his sacrifice, but I didn’t believe he would come through in the present. I lived out a practical atheism in many ways because I didn’t really expect God to act – or maybe even to care.
You and I possess both a cross and a crown.
“When you are completely abandoned by your natural father, you are utterly adopted by Me. In a sense your father has renounced any claim he had to you and your children. Now nothing stands between us. You are all mine.” …From that moment forward I did not look for anything from my father.
We do not grow in discernment by labeling people and things.
Never fear that God is not at work while you wait. He’s doing what no one else can. If your eyes could only see how God is moving all those chess pieces around the board for maximum impact, it would blow your mind.
Pileups happen. Especially in families. The ties are so close that the same cord that hangs one tangles all.
Was getting out of the pit worth the results? Was it worth not just accepting the family status quo but believing God for a better way? A healthier way? Was it worth being misunderstood? Was it worth being told you think you’re better than them? Is it really possible to still treasure what you love most about your family’s ways but exercise the prerogative to dump what you don’t? You bet it is.
It’s the unleashed anthem of a freed soul.
We walk down an aisle and promise “till death do us part,” but God only knows who will part first.
Despite our expectations, heaven is where all the action is.
I think He usually waits for us to cry out so He can remove all doubt about who came to our rescue.
Their urgency didn’t stir him. And his love for them never changed. He alone could see the future and know the perfect time and the perfect way to answer their prayers.
I’ve called you to this not because you have all the answers but because you’ve learned to run to me with your questions.
How much time did you spend serving strangers this weekend compared to serving your husband?
Maybe you heard our prayers, but you didn’t give us the things we asked for because they were lesser things.
We forget that to be truly great, we have to help our spouses be great.
How might God make this mess into a message? How might God use your current chaos to make you into a man or woman who walks by faith, not by sight?
How does my story fit into God’s greater story of redemption?
Ooookayeeeee. Yep! I got carried away. In fact, I enjoyed this exercise so much…
I think that I will do it again sometime.