Worship and Worry ~ A Tale of Two Sisters

Worship and Worry ~ A Tale of Two Sisters. Luke chapter 10:38-42  ~ The tale of Mary and Martha. One sister, Martha invited Jesus to her house. Yet, she is worried, distracted by many things.  Frustrated she has no help getting the meal ready, angry her sister Mary is doing ‘nothing’… Yet she is doing something… she is doing the one thing that matters. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His teaching.

If I could walk in the sandals of these two women, I can see myself in both of them. I am not easily caught up in housework and fuss. I can easily let go of the daily tasks, to-do-lists and leave the house-mess. But. I am still easily caught up in the net of worry. I am distracted by many things. I might not be actively avoiding tasks for the sake of time with Jesus, but I am actively accomplishing much worry.

I am sitting at the feet of Jesus, yet immersed in worry while I’m there. I am actively sitting at His feet, but worry is looming while my soul is longing to be engaged. I am distracted by the many things I am not accomplishing while I am longing to hear the heartbeat of Jesus. This is not where Jesus wants me to be.

“It’s impossible to worship and to worry at the same time.”

I sang this phrase in worship over our church a while ago. This Truth saturated the room thru a lyric He stirred in my heart. I can not be fully in the presence of God, in worship, and worry at the same time. I must choose. 

I know the truth of both Mary and Martha. I have experienced both. I have been overcome by His presence, fully engaged in worship while doing the dishes and cleaning toilets. And I been embraced by His arms, settled in His love, simply Being with Him and doing nothing else. 

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Today I was given a gift of opportunity. I went running. walking. strutting… whatever you want to call it… huffing and puffing… I slow down. I see. She’s standing there. Beside her car, cigarette in one hand. Leaning back against the passenger door. I hear three words: Abused, hungry, rejected. “Hi” I greet her. She responds with a “hello” as well. This was a moment. God was opening a door to show His love to her. But I walk on…  I’m in a hurry. I am distracted by many things. I need to finish my run, walk, putter… I only have a set amount of time before I must be home. Before I need to pick up the kids from school. Pay the bills. Finish the chores… my mind is spinning.

I keep walking, 1 minute passes, maybe even less. Damn you, Time! And the lie I believe there is a lack of it. I turn around. Screw time restraints. Forget the rest of my putter… I stop. I turn back. I missed it! She’s gone. She’s driving away.

I won’t miss this gift again. I long to be in a routine of worship. I wrongly believed I was. It changed oh so subtly. I have been in a routine of worry. In worry I miss worship. In worry I miss Jesus. In worry I miss the gift to show His love. In worry I miss His presence. In one minute I missed her. 

God still loves me. This is not a beat myself over the head, I suck at following Jesus moment to bemoan and drive me into despair. This is a moment to listen. To learn. To sit at the feet of Jesus. In worship there is never a lack of time. In His presence, He fuels all that we need. In distraction and worry, everything can be stolen. This is a moment of repentance, humility and growth. I am learning ~ I never want to miss the One Thing again.

This is a moment to share. If this encourages you, pass it on! I am thankful for your reading.

In Him, Leslie

Running Prayers

A few days ago I went running –and by ‘running’ I mean trudging along the pavement loudly breathing, feet heavy with each step– picture an elephant running from a lion. yep. that’s me ‘running’. Still. I run. Slowly… surely… at an 11 minute mile pace. I run.

I left the house after piddling around delaying the inevitable workout. I was thankful for an opportunity to exercise in the beautiful outdoors and have some quiet moments to myself while Adam was home with the kids. The primary reason I run is for mental sanity. I’m not really burning off blubber or becoming a body builder with this speed — but I am keeping sane. When I run, I am a better mom. wife. friend. everything. For me, running is more of a mental workout. I worship, listen to sermons, or run in silence. Running is a sacred time of heart racing, muscle engaging moments connecting with my Creator, becoming undone in His presence.  

Within the first few seconds of take off, my excitement for this spiritual workout dwindled and I almost turned around. My knee began to hurt and I talked myself into continuing as a ‘fast walk’. –hey. better than nothing I assured myself– after a few minutes, I began running again. My knee stopped hurting and settled into my 11 minute mile pace and heavy breathing pattern. I was feeling pretty good.

About halfway thru my 3 miles of running blazing glory, my mind was focused on God and listening. I breezed by the family of baby ducklings living on the small lake near our home. I have passed them many times before, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at their cuteness. This time, I prayed a prayer of protection over the ducklings. Within seconds, my thoughts second-guessed this seemly silly prayer and I was surprised the prayer had even crossed my mind. Suddenly the prayer doubt was swept away by the sureness of His closeness. I was firmly settled in God’s presence as my feet clomped along with each obedient step. I felt fully in tune with His thoughts.

A moment later, I came around the bend of the lake and heard a dog approaching behind me. Unsure of the dog being on a leash, I turned around and saw two young girls running down the hill toward the path – one wrestling the dogs leash to keep him pulled back, the other holding a net. As I turned back toward the path, I noticed three more baby ducklings separated from the rest of their family. My heart sank. I knew.

I continued around the bend, and stopped on the bridge –adding more time to my already slow mileage– but my mothers instinct and Holy Spirit prompting, burdened me to stop and pay attention to these girls. I waited to see what I knew was going to happen. The girl with the net scooped up one of the ducklings holding it gently, while the other girl held onto the dogs leash.

“Hey girls, you probably shouldn’t pick them up… ummm… it could mess up their feeding with their mom.” I wasn’t sure what else to say, and these girls weren’t being malicious toward the ducklings, but I knew I needed to say something. After all, I had just asked God to protect these ducklings and I was pretty sure the mother duck wasn’t okay with her baby being caught and cuddled by a human. I think the girls were surprised I said anything or that anyone was paying attention. She replied “Oh sorry” and quickly let the duckling go back to its mother, who was quacking loudly distraught over the whole incident, I’m certain ;).

As I continued my run, I asked God why He prompted such a simple prayer for baby ducks. His response — I care about every detail, no matter how small. Listen attentively for My voice. I will prompt you to pray for greater things — and He did.

When I run, I may move slowly thru the mileage, but I know my prayers are mighty, moving mountains for His glory upon the earth. May His Kingdom come more quickly even now. Amen.

Have you ever prayed a simple prayer only to discover the depth and understanding of it? Share your thoughts! Feel free to comment and follow this blog for more half written records on our journey!

In Him, Leslie 🙂

36 minutes

What can you do with 36 minutes?

Watch a t.v. show… run an errand… eat at meal… have sex… (but please, only if you’re married.)

There are a countless number of things you can do with 36 minutes.  We are given 1,440 minutes in a day.  With this time, there are things we need to do.  We need to work.  We need to accomplish tasks.  We need to eat.  We need to sleep.  (Ecclesiastes 3).

This time is a gift.  Through freedom in Christ, we are not be bound by time, but we are called and challenged to use it wisely.

Can you change your life in 36 minutes?   Yes.  I believe you can.

In 36 minutes, I can waste a lot of time.  I can walk around my house in circles, deciding what I need to be doing, and end up doing nothing.  I can stress out about the nothing that I did when I should have been doing something.  I can look at the pile of clothes that needs to be put away and see the dishes stacking up and stare at the mop that is rarely used.  I can zone out for 36 minutes and then snap out of it thinking, “Where has all my time gone?

Or… I can change my life.

I want to wisely use ALL of the 1,440 minutes given to me today!

In 36 minutes, I can run 3 miles.  6 days a week, most weeks, I run – or walk fast on days I don’t feel like running 3 miles.  Now, it’s not like I wake up every morning thinking “Yea!  I get to spend 36 minutes with my treadmill today!”.  Though the days when the weather is nice and I have the time to run outside, I do say “Yea, I ♥ Running!”  And it takes me less than 36 minutes to run 3 miles outside.  “Yea, more minutes in my day!”  Still most days, I’m with my treadmill.  And it takes discipline.  I know if I invest 36 minutes a day exercising, I will feel better, and ultimately focus less on myself and more on others because I feel good about my health.

But my 36 minutes isn’t only an investment for the outside.  

I can invest my 36 minutes on my soul.  I can pray while I am running.  It’s genius, really.  Multi-tasking.  God has given us the gift of a relationship with Him.  I can spend time talking with Him in prayer while I am running.  Sure, I will probably be a little more winded and out of breath if I’m talking/praying while running – but He understands.  He knows my heart.  Better than I do.  (Ezekiel 36:26).

And my 36 minutes is not all about me.  

In 36 minutes, I can spend time with those I love and those I am called to love.  I can spend quality time with P.A. and our wee Babs.  I can love the person in front of me, as Christ would do. I can spend my 36 minutes focused on someone else’s life.  This is a life-changing investment.

In 36 minutes, I can read the Bible.  This is daily discipline.  It is not always easy.  Spending time with God and learning and studying and meditating on His Word is a life-changing investment.  36 minutes in the Bible will always CHANGE MY LIFE.

Time is a God-given gift.  Every 36 minutes we have is a gift.  

How will you invest 36 minutes today?

Jello.

The other night, we were all sitting on our couch, having some quality cuddle fam time.  My 7 year old Soleil says, “Mommy, your tummy feels good, it feels like jello.”  Sweet, sweet child.  As much as I wanted to defend my mid-section-squishy-ness, by blaming it on the holidays… I ate too much… we just finished dinner… I’m about to start my period… bloated, ya know?  Instead, I just started cracking up!

Promptly followed by 200 crunches.

Seriously, I kept laughing about what she said all night long… and even into the next day.  But what if someone else had said that?  If P.A. would have made that comment, I would have decked him. Whoever coined the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was… well, an idiot.  Words Hurt. They can hurt bad and deeply wound a persons’ soul.

As a Real-Life Pastors Wife, I am sometimes plagued by people’s words.  What do they think of me?  What did they say about me?  What did they say about P.A.?  What did they just say to P.A.’s face?  What did I hear from someone else that they just said about us?

She said, he said, I said, she said, they said, we said, I said, she said.

Ahh!!! Words can be ridiculous!  Because people use them and people are ridiculous!

I have been hurt by word wounds.  I’m sure I’ve hurt others with wounding words.  Sometimes, we don’t even realize our words are wounding – because we are ridiculous.  Words can be a huge distraction.  It can be difficult to heal from word wounds.

Just like jello.  My mid-section will never be the same after 3 wee Bab’s.  I can accept this.  I run an average of 3 miles a day, six days a week, 18 miles per week.  I take Sunday’s off – no condemnation – it’s my Sabbath, people!  I can run, run, run – but when it comes to the discipline of a steady regime of daily crunches, I’m over it.  I just. don’t. care. anymore.

I can walk around with my jello and be just fine. But if I am carrying a word wound – I’m. not. fine.

But there is hope. In Jesus.  I’ve tried other people, places and things to heal my wounds – only Jesus can.  James chapter 3 is a great section in the Bible about taming the tongue.  I’ve read it.  Ouch. But it’s not about perfection.  We will always have something to be healed from.  Or bring forgiveness to.

With Jesus, there is hope to heal from word wounds, watch my own words… and jello weight.

Me + my jello & P. A. after the 10k Dechutes Dash - Bend, OR

New Year’s Failures

On New Year’s Eve, we asked our 3 wee Bab’s, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?”  After several “What’s, Why’s and Who cares???”, they gave us some answers for the taking.

Soleil: “I want to learn how to be a Teacher.”

Parents: “You are already a teacher. You teach your brother and sister lots of things.”

Soleil: “No, I want to learn how to be a real Teacher – a School Teacher.”  She is so literal.  She’s so black and white.  There’s no fooling her.

Selah: “Two”

Parents: We thought, this is an appropriate answer – she just turned two years old and we’ve been saying, “You’re two! You’re two!” repeatedly the last few weeks.

Again, another literal answer from our second daughter. TWO. She will succeed at being TWO for her 2012 New Year’s Resolution.

But what about all of those New Year’s Resolutions we hope for ourselves, which are less attainable?

The resolutions which somewhere, someone’s statistics try to prove ‘That won’t last thru January’ – the ones which will most likely fail.  These are the resolutions which require more work. more prayer. more surrender. more hope.

Is failure our fate?                                                                                                                         Should we just give it up and quit trying all together?

Our sweet son, Salem gave us his hopeful answers.

Salem: “I want to learn how to read, so I can read the Bible” – {insert parental gushing here} – and btw, No, we did not feed him that answer.  Yes, Salem can learn to read in the year 2012.  He will eventually be reading his Bible.  Literally.

His second resolution…”And I want to learn how to exercise, so I can do the treadmill!”

You see, I am not sure this is every little 5-year-old boys dream for 2012; but Salem spent a lot of time downstairs with me, playing with trains or Lego’s, as I logged 938 miles on the treadmill in 2011.  He probably figured, mom does this treadmill thing and makes it look so cool, so I want to learn how. Amidst all of his enthusiasm, Adam & I looked at each other and smiled.  He caught our glance and said…”but I’m to small to do the treadmill”.  Still, he can try… He can still hope.

I don’t think he’s going to give up his dream of using the treadmill so easily.

Adam & I have many New Year’s resolutions for 2012 ~ travel, save money to travel more, walk more closely with God, grow in our marriage and family,  fully live in and enjoy the present moment ~ even the difficult ones.

So, why?  Why do we give up our resolutions, hopes, goals, dreams for the New Year so easily?  Why do statistics somewhere that someone made up, exist to say “that won’t last thru January”?

I think we lose hope so easily.  We don’t want to be hurt or disappointed in life, so we give up hoping and dreaming all together.

2012 New Year’s Resolutions become 2012 New Year’s Failures. And we accept it.

But we don’t have to ~ we can choose to live out our resolutions. We can still hope, be disappointed, dream again, get hurt and hope again. Don’t lose hope.

Let’s prove ’em wrong… why not?  Let’s change the New Year’s failure stats. Let’s all start by using the treadmill, and at least try and make it thru to February.