Saturday, April 21, 2018

Devotion - How to Be Prepared for Trouble - The Glorious Table

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)
We all love a good police drama. My favorite episodes are when they call in a guy (or woman) to defuse a bomb or talk down a hostage taker. One guy steps forward, close to danger, willing to defy great odds. He knows he has expertise and preparation the rest of the world doesn’t have to offer.
The expert has high-level training and has honed his skill through hours of practice. He has learned to mitigate the effects of stress on his body. He uses deep breathing to slow his heart rate and steady his hand. Good sleep and healthy living are serious issues to him, knowing he could get a call at any moment.
Why is he this extreme? What has made him willing to sacrifice time and pleasure to prepare with unusual skills? He knows he’s on call and that his phone will ring when disaster strikes. He expects trouble and has prepared to meet it with skill and strength.

I go about my days without ever practicing bomb-defusing skills. I never check my phone expecting to see an urgent call from the local police negotiations unit. They never request my help. My job doesn’t demand expert skills in hostage negotiations or bomb defusing. It makes sense that I don’t have those skills. It would be utterly foolish if I applied for and got a job in special operations and was put on call, because I’d be unprepared.
***I'll share my secrets for living life as prepared as the bomb expert over at The Glorious Table. Please join me there to read more!**

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Giver Gets the Greatest Blessing - The Glorious Table

Tigist invited me into her home in Ethiopia because I was—and still am—her American sister/sponsor. When my heart was stirred toward orphan prevention, my girlfriends joined me, we pooled our money, and I earned the opportunity to be Tigist’s honored guest.
The inequities of our lives churned inside me during our visit. Our two birthplaces make our realities wildly different. Her entire home is the size of my master bathroom. I have access to medical specialists, while her community has one doctor per 33,333 people. My hard work has the power to significantly change my situation. Her hard work, day in and day out, barely keeps malnutrition at bay.

Trying to make sense of these disparities has been an open, working file in my mind since the day I met Tigist. I need to understand how God is working and what he expects from me. The privilege of my birthplace is a sacred offering I have to give to the world.
Wrestling with these questions has caused unexpected certitudes to appear. The most brilliant is that what I’ve gained by giving far outweighs what I’ve given.
Join me over at The Glorious Table to read the conclusion of this post.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

The One Thing You Need to Age Gracefully - The Glorious Table



Twenty years ago, when I imagined myself mid-life, I curated a mental list of the things I imagined myself doing. I expected my forties to be busy, bustling with action. I hoped for a full family life and strength to check boxes on important lists all day long. I hoped to maintain a sense of style that didn’t embarrass my daughters but stayed unique. I wanted my forty-something self to be doing things that felt satisfying.
Here I am at forty-six, and it’s almost exactly as I expected. It seems to be the sweet spot of both strength and perspective. A peak from which I can see how far I’ve come and am starting to turn my face toward new vistas. Thinking about the future is quite different than in my twenties. Then, life seemed limitless, but now it’s easier to see time’s constraints.
The One Thing You Need to Age Gracefully
I used to think I wanted to age like Sophia Loren. She’s stylish and drop-dead gorgeous; she doesn’t try to be any age but the one she is. She gives off an air of embracing the best pieces of who she is today. Twenty and even forty years from now, reality tells me that my strength will wane–of body and mind. In my eighties, I may not have the eyesight necessary to pluck my eyebrows evenly and apply eyeliner well. Without Sophia Loren’s team of stylists, my eighties are bound to look much different than hers. Already I’m doing regular double-takes in the mirror, surprised by gravity’s power. I’m not putting a date on the calendar for when I plan to let myself go, but I do feel a strong pull to be something significant on the inside and not just the outside.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

You Don't Always Need a Resolution - The Glorious Table



I think I was born loving shoes. In a box somewhere in the attic, I have a pair of white leather baby shoes with my name in gold-leaf on the soles. My habit throughout childhood was to go to sleep with new shoes placed in their box, the lid off, by my bed so that they would be the first thing my blurry eyes would see in the morning. I had a growth spurt during middle school, a few short months after my mom bought me exactly the pair of Nikes I wanted. My shoes were still sparkling white when my toes started complaining. My flabbergasted mom took me shoe shopping again—back to the same store, back to the same Nikes with a purple swish. I loved those shoes—both pairs!
This shoe love made my decision to walk out of a shoe store without a purchase this summer feel crazy.

We were shopping for hiking shoes for our adventure into the Wyoming Rocky Mountains. Because we would be carrying all our belongings in backpacks for a week, our feet would be our most important piece of equipment. This required good shoes. My husband, Scott, had hiking shoes that were worn out. Our girls had never been hiking. They all clearly needed new shoes.
I still had a solid pair I had worn on three previous hiking trips. They bore scuffs, scratches, and soot marks, but plenty of life was left in them. I waffled between the allure of new shoes and the tried-and-true comfort of my old pair. Read the rest at The Glorious Table.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Find Beauty in the Fog - The Glorious Table

The radio deejay warned us to use headlights. Dense fog threatened to slow the morning commute and cause accidents. I felt no fear, but I still used my lights, and I counted on other drivers to do the same. I needed them to be visible as I turned onto a busy road and could see only a few feet in front of my vehicle. My heart thumped as I pressed the gas pedal, hoping no surprise would appear out of the mist. Even our familiar path felt strange and different in the fog. I drove with an extra dose of awareness.




That morning drive was easy compared to the days when fog seems to fill my whole life. I hate those days. Indecision paralyzes me. My stomach feels sour, and all I can think about is how easy and straightforward other peoples’ lives look. I want to bury my head in the pillows, refusing to move until the fog lifts. Even then, I know the only way out of this life fog is walking to the edge of it, one tiny step at a time.
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Three Signs Your Life Is Too Busy - The Glorious Table

Stacy the guinea pig had lived a long, happy life. I, however, felt terrible. My husband and son were adventuring in Canada while I held down the fort at home. Not twenty-four hours into my solo parenting time, I began to feel the telltale signs of strep throat. You can only “mom” so well from the couch, which narrowed my goal to basic survival.
We were getting by on Pop-Tarts, PBS Kids, and amoxicillin when my daughter’s loud question woke me. “Why is Stacy so stiff?” My eyes popped open, and I was suddenly wide awake. The guinea pig was in her outstretched hands, inches from my face. Its arms were outstretched, too, in the final pose of obvious death. My daughter was four. I was sick, and Scott was off the grid in the Canadian wilderness. This was not the moment I had scripted for a serious discussion about death.
We found a Stacy-sized shoe box and then realized we faced a conundrum: burying her. She belonged to my son, who was gone, and it didn’t seem right to bury her without him home. My mind, in its drug-induced haze, offered only one solution. Put her, shoe box and all, in the deep freeze and wait for them to get home.
The boys came home, but life got away from us, and the little shoe box in the back of the deep freeze was forgotten. People usually laugh at this part of the story, imagining a guinea pig alongside our hamburgers and pork roasts. My brother-in-law had a different take. He contemplatively said, “Maybe a guinea pig in your freezer is a sign that your life is too busy.”
Join me at The Glorious Table to finish this essay and read about the lessons I learned about leaving the too-busy life behind.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Are You Raising Kids with a Legacy in Mind? - The Glorious Table

I love old books. Maybe it’s the smell of history that rolls out with the crackly pages. Maybe it’s the tone of authority old-fashioned English gives to the words. Maybe it’s knowing the words are the only remaining living parts of the author. Certainly it’s the look and feel of a proper cloth binding.
Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret is a skinny red book that grabbed my attention for all those reasons. It was printed by China Inland Mission in 1935 and bears the name of its previous owner in flowy script. It was written by Taylor’s son and daughter-in-law, who followed him as missionaries to China.
To this day members of the Taylor family are continuing the work Hudson began in China. During his fifty-one years there, he recruited eight hundred missionaries to join him. They went to China trusting God to meet their physical needs without any fundraising. Hudson used unconventional means to gain entry into the hearts of the people. He adopted Chinese dress and many other customs. The fruit was great. Over eighteen thousand Chinese converted to Christianity as a direct result of his work.
Hudson’s life was full of adventure and service, but also trouble. His family endured typhoons, riots, and fires. They were robbed and maligned, and experienced significant health challenges. He buried more than one of his children in China as well as his first wife. Even so, his adult children followed and continued the work.
Hudson Taylor’s story has always been an enigma to me. I’m drawn to his daring trust in God and the certainty of his call, yet haunted by the cost those things demanded. I need to understand how such faith develops and continues into the next generation. As I read my pretty red book, I wrestled with the juxtaposition of the deep longings of my momma heart. I pray my children will be brave and follow the call of God into lives of daring satisfaction. But this prayer takes my breath away. I can’t help wanting my children to be safe and have long and peaceful lives.
One concern must win out over the other; they aren’t good teammates. I have to choose which fear to heed. I can fear pain and loss, or I can fear missing out on a life of adventure and purpose. If God is who he says he is, the choice is clear. How can I want less than adventure and purpose, even if it comes with sacrifice? If the future demands sacrifice, part of my parenting job must be to prepare my kids to withstand it.
There is much more to the story God taught me - continue with me at The Glorious Table.


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