Credit Cards and Self-Reliance

credit-cards-front-lead5(excerpt) In Psalm 20, the people are lifting up prayers of victory for King David before he enters a battle. Verse 7 highlights that David was not relying on himself for victory, but on the Lord God Almighty! As I meditated on this verse I realized that I had been putting my trust in my own might. Self-reliance was the missing piece of our financial puzzle as I questioned God for His lack of visibility!  I had not seen His hand in our finances because I hadn’t allowed Him room to bless me. I was too busy trusting in what I could see and feel right in front of me, which was an immensely dangerous safety net- my credit card. It was then that I repented of my wrongdoing and asked God to help me place my trust in Him to get us through that rough spot!

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Lessons Learned from my Back Surgery

black wonder womanThere is nothing like 2 months spent flat on your back to give you a new perspective on life. My world quickly went from vertical to horizontal in a matter of days when I discovered I had a collapsed disc in my lowest lumber. I found myself deeply impaired, lacking the ability to walk, drive, pick up my kids, cook or do much of anything else. I was stunned. My initial response to this news was to just keep pushing through. I treated my acute back pain like anything else in life: If I just give it the old college try I will eventually conquer it, right?

So that’s what I did!  I just kept trudging along waiting for deliverance from my pain but changing nothing about how I operated. I would rally my entire might to lift myself out of my car. Once I found myself upright, I would stand there with my head lifted to the sky for a moment, as if to beg God for one more ounce of strength.  For any normal woman, this would be a sign that somethings gotta give but not for me! Besides Wonder Woman had just come out and I was ready to defy the odds with sheer willpower.

Have you ever tried and tried and will power just wasn’t enough? I finally came to a point that putting one foot in front of the other was not sufficient and it was there that I broke. I was scheduled to make a presentation that morning and my only focus was to get there and make it happen. But the fatigue of chronic pain and the emotional toll of being totally helpless, finally had it’s way with me on the side of a road in South Dallas. I sat there in my car crying big ugly tears. There was a man parked in a black truck and I could tell he was looking but I didn’t care. My tears came from the depth of my soul where I usually store them away so no one can see. But this time they erupted from my hiding place and I couldn’t quite figure out how to turn off the faucet.

It was in that state that I cried out to God pleading for him to answer. It’s not that I hadn’t prayed for God to alleviate my pain before, I said my prayers and asked for relief every day, maybe even every hour. Even still, it was a passing prayer, maybe one in which I just spoke the name of Jesus as my prayer. This time I came to God exasperated from not hearing his response. I couldn’t take it any longer and the veneer of self-sufficiency that had masked my prior prayers fell off as I sat and wept that day.

Discerning the voice of God can be a tricky thing sometimes as He speaks to us in many ways and primarily through his written word. But it was this moment in that still small voice, I could hear the Lord say- “Go to the doctor RIGHT NOW, emphasis on RIGHT Now.” that was all the permission I needed to let go of the helm I was so desperately trying to steer. I crumbled like a toddler held in her father’s arms. I needed God’s approval to stop trying to fix my pain and get help. It took several days and 2 failed attempts to return to work for me to accept my superior’s approval to let go too, but I eventually got it there. From then on it was a whirlwind of diagnostic tests and appointments. Soon enough I found relief through surgery and I couldn’t be happier that I stopped when God told me to stop.

Maybe you are going through something, where you feel the weight of the world crashing down on your shoulders. Sometimes our trials feel like a boulder that we fight to push uphill; with every passing second and each slip of the foot its possible, that boulder could overpower you with its great force. We often wear our hands to the bone while making little progress. When someone steps in and says “let me help,” we cling to the success we’ve had; we point out how far we have come with the bolder and with the end in sight we feel that a victory may be cheapened by accepting a helping hand.

What I learned from my back surgery was this… accept that hand. Help does not make you weak, help signifies that you are strong enough to realize your own limitations.



Practicing Prayer

My husband and I pray for each other daily before we leave the house. There was a time I was ashamed by how little I prayed and the fact that this quick prayer of blessing has been the only sustainable form of devotion Matt and I share together in our 3 years of marriage. (I am just being honest what has started and stopped so many devotional helps and reading plans I cannot even begin to name them all.)

I shared this with my mentor, holding up our little 15 seconds of prayer before the Lord did not seem like enough. It is great to have powerful people who know better than you to speak into your lives… “Don’t be ashamed of your small offering to God every morning.” she said, “Take it and build on it, make it routine use it as a banner to show that you are sealing your day with the Lord, demonstrate that behavior for your children and never take it for granted.”

Sometimes the weight of not doing enough can unfairly cast a shadow over the gravity of what you are doing.

I was reminded of this, this week. I was in the middle of brushing my teeth, my husband was late to work and rushing. He came in and laid his hand on my shoulder to ask God’s blessing on my day. I hear the soft pitter patter of feet rush to our side. It was my 2 year old son reaching up his hand to join the prayer. For that brief moment toothpaste, morning coffee and Curious George playing in the background was not important. My son dropped everything because he was familiar with our routine of morning prayer. Not only could he recognize it from affair but he was eager to join it.  The guilt of insignificance was swept away, as the thought settled it, We are creating an enduring legacy of prayer.

Now for the plug 🙂  “War Room” the latest movie from the Kendrick brothers (Fireproof & Courageous) comes out today. Its all about putting prayer into practice in your life. Very dear people I know are acting in this movie so you should God see it! Matt and I were able to attend the Dallas premier and all I can say is get ready it will challenge and change you.



Running to my Husband & Running to Christ

I cried watching “Tarzan King of the Jungle” a couple of weeks ago. In fact I cry quite often and I celebrate if I make it 2 days without some sort of meltdown. What causes this you may ask? Well…. I am 6 months pregnant! I work full time! I have a 1 year old, We stretch our money at the end of every month and it never seems like enough! I have a fantastic husband, who like all spouses, can sometimes find the worst time to say the worst thing and tip you over the edge of sanity.

This is real life. This is marriage.

I have always been a private person when it comes to crying. No I don’t want you to hold my hand, pat me on the back or hug me tight. Mid meltdown I just want to curl up in a ball in an empty room and cry my eyes out, as I think about how stupid it is that I am crying over situation X (Insert overly dramatic non life threatening situation here)

My husband and I “had words” as the old folks say…I felt the tears welling up in me. Maybe because of the shame of vulnerability, or because I felt the victim and he the guilty party, maybe because of my pride, and maybe because I love him too much to let him see he has hurt me. I went to my bed room and cried. I let it all out, I tried to do it quietly so that he won’t be alarmed but loud enough so he may hear and take pity on me.

What do I want any way? How would I like to see this meltdown resolved? Is separating myself from my husband only drawing me deeper into a pit. So I prayed… Because that is what I do. In a still small voice I felt the Lord calling me out of my private hole I had dug for myself.  Forcing me step by step, to bare my insecurities, my fragility, my hurt.  I want to be strong, strong enough to be offended and be able to give my husband the silent treatment. But… I also want to be weak, weak enough to let myself be held by the one I love, comforted by the very one I felt caused the pain.

So I hesitated, I saw my husband playing his X box, which is his way of escape. Maybe even sometimes his secret hole when things get tough. Although he has told me before that if he is playing a game and I really need him, I can interrupt him, I have never believed it. “He’ll get upset,” I thought, “He’ll have to back out of a game with live players.” Just more of a reason to shrink back into my solitude.

But my mind was made up, along with the encouragement from my heavenly Father…. “Run to Him!” you are hurt,  you are crying, you are stressed, you think you have hurt him, you believe he has hurt you? “Run to Him!” You think he won’t want to be bothered with you? You think he is the one who should be running to you… I don’t care “Run to Him.”

And so I did, tears streaming down my face I timidly tapped him on the shoulder. Somehow the very person I wanted to be farthest from, I wanted to be nearest to as well.  He did seem annoyed… I told him “I need you.” “For what?” he said confused, mid game. “I just do I need you!”

I almost allowed his annoyance at my vulnerability give me an excuse to run and hide again. To allow my pride Lion to roar and say “SEE I told you to stay quiet, stay hurting, stay to yourself.”Silhouette woman run under blue sky with clouds

But I pushed past it. Nothing, not even my husband, was going to stop me from running to the one I loved and needed.

So we sat, I held him tight, I nuzzled under his arm pit, where my head seems to fit perfectly. He didn’t seem engaged, he wasn’t sharing the moment with me. But I didn’t care. I held even tighter, I wrapped my arm around him, I began to stroke his hand, I held on to him for dear life.

Slowly his body began to lose its tension, he held his head back and looked up to the sky. I didn’t have to tell him what was wrong. He never asked. Somehow, we both knew. We knew that my tears were about more that our little argument. We knew that we had each other, and we knew that it would pass.

After minutes in this divine encounter, like many men would, he got up and declared “I’m Hungry, want anything babe?”

I knew it was over. The storm had passed and suddenly all of the weight of life that was pressing me, was lifted from my shoulder. All because I ran to the one who I was trying to hide from.

I learned a profound lesson that day. Isn’t this what we do with God too? When we sin we believe he is disappointed in us, that he hates us and we hide our face. Or when we experience tragedy we feel as if we are the victim and God the offender, and we run from Him.

But what if we muster enough strength to climb out of our hole where we hide our pain, our shame and our guilt? What if we Run to the Lord baring our fragility and throw ourselves at Him, knowing that somehow He can take the pain away? What if we Run to Christ like I ran to my Husband?