Monthly Archives: September 2014

V is for Value

V is for Value - Blogging through the Alphabet

I just finished watching Mom’s Night Out for the first time. I’ve been waiting to see it since I first heard all the buzz about it months ago. It’s a hilarious movie and one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. But it’s the underlying message that takes it beyond good, clean fun and makes it a movie worth watching again and again.

You  matter. You have value. You have worth.

Why do we doubt that? Several of my favorite words in all Scripture are found in Isaiah 43:1-5 (NIV):

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; . . . 
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you, . . .
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

He made me; He loves me. Nothing can ever change that. Will you pray with me for the women who haven’t heard or haven’t yet believed these words? Will we pray for the faith to truly believe them ourselves?

Ben and Me

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U is for the Unseen

U is for the Unseen

Have you ever felt unseen? Have you ever wished you were invisible?

I have. I remember wishing I could melt into the walls at school. I remember working in jobs where some workers were acknowledged and some were not. I remember the feeling of relief in both those places when I could slip away and hide myself for just a few moments. At least it was a break from the desire to run away or the knowledge that those you were with wouldn’t notice if you did.

Regardless of how unseen I wanted to be or that I felt, there was one truth that would not let me go. God saw me–and He loved me. Nothing else mattered. There was no where I could go where He could not see me (Psalm 139:7). And there was not a single moment when He wasn’t thinking of me (Psalm 139:17).

My parents taught me that truth about God and they demonstrated it with their lives and actions. But there are millions of men, women, and children living around the world today who do not know this to be true. They have never seen it. They have never heard it or been taught that there is a God who sees them and loves them. God’s eyes are on each and every one of us. He sees the little girl in the white dress in the photo above. He sees the little boy in the third row who is hiding behind his brother or good friend. He sees each one beyond the reach of the camera. His eye is on the sparrow (Luke 12:6-7); He knows the name of every one of His sheep (John 10:14-15).

Will you pray with me today that God’s love will reach every single person who feels or who has ever felt unseen?

Ben and Me

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T is for Trust

T is for Trust, Blogging Through the Alphabet

When I was growing up, I always equated trust with the belief that everything would be OK. But when my dad died while I was a teenager, my definition of trust got turned upside down. Nothing felt OK. It didn’t seem like anything would ever be OK again.

But as God has patiently worked in my life, I am beginning to see that trust isn’t simply believing everything will be OK. It’s knowing that it will be OK—someday. It’s the someday that can be so hard to wait for. There are times Jesus heals and restores a person physically. There are times He does not and they are not made whole again until they have died here on earth and are alive with Him forever.

It’s a theme shared often in the Bible. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship an idol, God came down and rescued them. They left the fire unharmed. When John the Baptist was put in prison for daring to tell the king that he was living sinfully, he was beheaded.

And look at Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. He pleaded with God that if there was any other way, to please rescue Him and not make Him face this indescribably horrible death and the separation from God His Father that He knew would come with it. But there was no other way. And for a time, nothing in the entire universe was OK. Darkness fell. Rocks split. An earthquake shook the ground.

But then, after the longest, darkest three days His friends had ever endured, Jesus returned. He was alive and He had started the process of making everything right again. Is everything suddenly OK? No, but it will be. Someday.

And during the in between time? We wait. We pray. Sometimes we cry. Jesus did. God’s people do. This encouraging video from a pastor who was kidnapped and tortured reminds me of that each time I watch it. He felt fear, pain, anguish. He felt alone. God’s people are not superhuman, but by His grace and strength, and with the promise of His forgiveness when we fall short and doubt, we can trust and believe that it will be OK again. Someday.

Ben and Me

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S is for Shame

S is for Shame

Last week, I read a beautiful post by my dear friend Marcy Crabtree over at the Ben & Me blog. She talked about “real life,” resisting the urge to compare ourselves with the so-called perfection we see around us, whether it be online, on television, or wherever else we find it. This week, as I prayed and prepared to write this post, I read the story of Saachi, a woman who listened to the lies about how worthless she was and tried to kill herself. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we endlessly compare ourselves with other women, other families, other ideals?

Consider this – in the thousands of years of human history that span countless societies, the image of the “ideal woman” has consistently changed. Some societies valued small frames and delicate constitutions. Others valued women whose physique lent itself well to bearing children. Some societies idealized women who were warriors; others thought it shameful for a woman to have the role as protector. And fashion – the extremes are endless! In a few short hundred years, American society has valued everything from stretch jeans that squeeze one’s “rear view” into an impossibly small package to bustles that made it impossible to pass through the average doorway!

So where does that leave us? For the Christian woman, we often turn to Proverbs 31 to read of the values that endure and serve as a role model today. But let’s be honest – just reading that list on a day when you’re feeling less than your best leaves you exhausted and at times even feeling defeated. But don’t you see, we’re doing it again? We’re comparing ourselves with the “ideal” woman. That is not what we are called to do. Jesus didn’t tell us to look around and worry about what everyone else is doing. Do you remember what He said to Peter when Peter started wondering what God’s purpose for his fellow apostle John was? “…what is that to you? You must follow me.” 

Peter’s job wasn’t to look around; Peter’s job was to look to Jesus. Remember what happened when he took his eyes off of Jesus when he was walking on the water?

But don’t stop reading there. If you’re like me, you cringe when you think of the mistake Peter made because it reminds us each of the mistakes we make. Keep reading. Turn to Luke 7 and start reading again in verse 36. A woman came to Jesus. All she had to offer Him was her shame and her tears. Her life was a mess. Everyone knew it. There was no hiding it any more. She didn’t say anything, she just came to Jesus and wept at His feet. And what did Jesus say? “Your sins are forgiven . . . Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” What did He do? He forgave her and gave her peace.

May we each be as brave as she was and come to Jesus when all we have left to offer Him is our tears.

And may we have courage to believe Him when He says our sins are forgiven. He has paid for them with His blood. And He has given us peace.

Will we receive it?

Ben and Me

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