For When Your Heart Needs Proof

scripture doodleWhat do you do when times are difficult? When you’ve trusted until you’re tired and you’ve endured until you’re empty? What’s your response when well meaning folks toss Romans 8:28 your way like it’s a magic cure all for whatever ails you? Or, better yet, when they send you a pretty picture of a waterfall with some catchy cliche.

Go with what you know.

Fake it til you feel it.

What’s a person to do when you don’t know what to do?

If you’re Zechariah, you say, “Prove it.”

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” – Luke 1:18

Prove it. Because what you’re saying does not match up with what I’m seeing.

Oh, it’s easy enough to judge him. But who hasn’t, at some point, yearned for just a little tangible reassurance.

When you’re trying to pay your bills from an empty bank account. If you could just prove it, Lord.

When you’re sitting next to someone you love and they’re fading fast. If you could just prove it, Lord.

When you feel completely alone in the midst of a crowd. If you could just prove it, Lord.

Sometimes, God chooses to offer a little proof. He does not have to do that. He does not “owe it to us.” His love for and commitment to us was heart sugar cookiesettled on the cross and, if he never did another thing, we can never question his devotion. God loves us and his son has the scars to prove it.

Yet, sometimes, he takes pity on us doubting Thomases. He hears our cries for proof and he shows up and let’s us touch the scars (John 21:24-27.) A healing takes place. A check shows up in the mail. And we feel better – for the moment.

Then, another trial comes. A period of darkness comes upon us. Suddenly, we need proof again. And the time after that and the time after that. We begin to place our faith in the proof. That isn’t faith at all.

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 21:29

As much as our hearts may long for proof, that is not where the blessing is found. The blessing is found when we believe that our God is a promise keeper. The blessing is for those who knew that God would provide even before the check came in the mail. The blessing is for those who believe God is good even as t hey say good-bye to someone they love. The blessing is for those who believe what God says and not the lies of this world.

“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from The Lord.” – Luke 1:45

I have been Thomas more often than I care to admit. Show me and, then, I’ll believe.

Zechariah and I would have gotten along really well. I hear what you’re saying, but I’m going to need some proof.

Who I long to be, however, is a woman who believed what the Lord has said. I long to be Mary, a young virgin girl told that she would give birth to the savior of the world who then says, “Alrighty then. So be it.” {That might be the Stacy paraphrase.} She didn’t doubt or question or demand proof that God could do what he said he was going to do. Scripture says that she was blessed because she believed the Lord was going to do what he said he would do.

Lord, let that be me. Some days, I’m just not there. But, mercy, how I want to be.

Five Things Friday: 5 Coffee Mugs and What They Say About the Drinker

coffee cup1This has been my favorite coffee cup for almost 12 years. My husband bought it for me while we were on our honeymoon. It’s cute, isn’t it? This cup belongs to a person who has time to wrap two hands around a sweet little mug of something warm and leisurely sip its contents. The owner fills it up with tea because *gasp* she doesn’t even care for coffee. The owner is someone who can stay up as late as she wants because she can sleep in as late as she wants. This person showers every day and never shows up somewhere smelling like bodily fluids.

Ah, let’s all take a moment and remember those days.

Okay, let’s move on.

*****

This cup belongs to someone who still enjoys a little pretty in her life. It has to coffee cup 2have a handle because there is always a baby on her hip and her hot beverage drinking for here ever after will have to be one handed. It is dainty and delicate because little hands are not yet reaching and grabbing and wreaking havoc. This cup says that she is a little busier than before but, still, completely in control.

*****

coffee cup 3A year or two goes by and another kid or two joins the crew. The owner of this cup realizes that dainty doesn’t cut it. A sturdier cup is needed. It can still be cute but, for crying out loud, it needs to hold more of that precious caffeine. She has decided there is definitely something to this coffee thing and mocks people who drink tea.

This is the kind of cup that gets reheated multiple times and left in various places around the house. This cup becomes a friend. A confidant. A faithful sidekick in the midst of crying babies and potty training toddlers. Yes, the owner loves this cup.

*****

Then, kids four and five arrive. There is no time for pretty or breakable or reheats or refills. This woman needs her coffee coffee cup 4ever warm and ever ready. It is the kind of cup a girl guzzles from because ain’t nobody got time for sippin’. She needs a cup that is as comfortable in the kitchen as it is in the car. It needs to go to the grocery store, to archery practice, to the park and to the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom. Any port in a storm, baby.

*****

coffee cup 5Then, the coffee drinker reaches a point where she no longer cares which cup she drinks out of anymore. Possibly, on a random Friday morning, her desk looks a little something like this.

As she sits down, maybe she notices a little cold, leftover coffee in yesterday’s cup. Perhaps she chugs it down before starting the new cup. Unless you think that’s really gross because, then, we will just pretend she doesn’t do that.

These coffee mugs belong to a master multitasker who can feed a baby with her left hand and drink her coffee with her right while teaching the four year old her ABCs and typing out a blog post about coffee cups. She plays La La Loopsies while doing the laundry and teaches division while changing diapers.

Never get between a woman and her coffee.

****

What does your coffee cup say about you?

What Motherhood Means to Me

I believe in kids in the kitchen measuring and mess making.swinging

I believe in playing in the rain with rubber boots and purple umbrellas.

I believe in cereal for dinner and drinking the milk out of the bowl. 

I believe in story time with actual books containing actual pages.

I believe in trips to the grocery store with little people hanging off of every limb.

I believe in trips to Target all alone as a reward for the trips to the grocery store.

I believe in cheap sunglasses and five dollar coffee.

I believe in welcoming babies into my bed in the middle of the night.

I believe in bubble baths and kids wrapped in warm, fluffy towels.

20120920-011548.jpgI believe in monster swings and hide-and-seek.

I believe in guilt-free girl time and phone-free family time.

I believe in Little House on the Prairie and Jesus Loves Me, this I know. 

I believe in rocking babies cause babies don’t keep and counting blessings instead of sheep.

I believe in footie pajamas and late night snuggles.

I believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny and taking full credit for being both.

I believe in picnics and park swings.

I believe in camp outs in the backyard – with daddy, cause mama ain’t got time for that.

I believe in saying, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.”

I believe in road trips with windows rolled down and plenty of Dramamine.

I believe in clipping coupons and, occasionally, splurging.

I believe that your family can look nothing like mine, that we can parent very differently, that you can breast feed and I can bottle, that you can have one kid and I can have five, that you can use whole foods and I can use frozen. I believe that, in the midst of the differences, we can still stand together and raise our babes the best we can.

Because, at the end of the day, I believe mothers are rock stars who just happen to smell like spit up.

When God Resurrects an Old Dream (Luke 1)

rainy dayI’ve read a story on the internet several times about a group of farmers praying for rain. Drought conditions were killing their crops and the situation was desperate. They decided to all gather one morning for prayer and, so, they all showed up clad in their overalls. One farmer, however, showed up wearing his waders. Why? Because he didn’t want to walk home wet. The point being that, when we pray, our expectation should be that God is going to answer. Why else would we pray?

The gospel of Luke starts off with Zechariah performing his priestly duties in the temple. Zechariah and his wife were upright and blameless. They loved God and did all the right things. There he was in the temple – an opportunity that came along only once or twice in a lifetime. And, so, he prayed.

We are not told what he was praying in that moment. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, did not have any children. She was barren and, now, they were both quite old. Many believe that he may have been praying about his lack of descendants. One commentator believed that, because of their age, Zechariah would not likely be praying for children at this point.

Either way, an angel appears to Zechariah in the temple and informs him that his prayer has been heard.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” – Luke 1:13

What must have gone through Zechariah’s mind? I’m tempted to agree with the commentator who doubted that, at that very moment, Zechariah was praying for a child. I think he had probably accepted that a child was not in God’s plan for them and was praying about something else. Most likely, he was praying for the coming of the Messiah which, oddly enough, would be intimately connected to the child he and Elizabeth would have.

What struck me in this passage was that God was resurrecting an old dream. He was breathing life back into a prayer that had, most likely, not been prayed in quite some time. What prayers have you and I given up on a little too soon?

Pray without ceasing. That is what Paul says. Do not give up. Do not grow weary. You may be just a moment away from something miraculous.

Pray without doubting. That is what James says. Pray with faith. Pray with expectation. If you’re praying for rain, for crying rainout loud, show up with your waders on. Like the psalmist, present your requests to God and wait expectantly!

Consistency in prayer has, in the past, been difficult for me. I tend to be consistently inconsistent in many areas of my life. Often, it’s just laziness on my part. In some instances, I just do not know what to pray. Other times, I’m afraid of being hurt or disappointed when a prayer is not answered in the way I had hoped or on my timetable. None of those things, by the way, are good excuses.

Whatever it is that you are currently praying for – don’t be afraid to get your hopes up. Wear your waders proudly or, at the very least, carry an umbrella.

You are loved.

Monday, We Meet Again

I fed the baby at 4:00 this morning.

I changed a kid’s wet sheets at 4:30.

At 5:06 a.m., I was awakened {was I even asleep?} by the sound of giggling in the kitchen. I stumble down the hallway to find three children at the breakfast table. In my calmest have-you-lost-your-mind-because-I-can-help-you-find-it tone of voice, I suggested that they make their way back to their beds. They scurried back downstairs as if the devil himself were on their heels. Possibly because, in that moment, I bore a slight resemblance.

At 6:30 a.m., the two year old came into my bedroom demanding the breakfast I had refused her an hour and a half earlier. And, at this very moment – 7:09 a.m., I am feeding the baby again while said two year old cries and begs to watch Dora. {Early nap time, anyone?}keep calm

Let’s recap. I got up four times, started some laundry and completely lost my cool before the sun even came up. That has got to be some sort of record, even for a Monday.

It was not supposed to go this way. We had a rough week last week and I was determined to make this one different. I spent hours over the weekend preparing homeschool lessons for the whole week so that we would be organized. I did loads and loads of laundry so that I would not feel overwhelmed before the week began. I rearranged our school room so that there would be a new energy. And, I prayed. I prayed for renewed energy and excitement for this stay at home-homeschooling-homemaking-mothering gig.

Yet, here I sit feeling like I failed before I ever got out of bed.

I would like to say that I gave myself a firm talking to, fixed my attitude and everything is better now. But, well, it’s only 7:22 and I never give myself a firm talking to until after my second cup of coffee. However, here is what I know. God’s mercies are new every morning, his grace flows freely every minute and kids are very forgiving. Also, it’s never too late {or too early in the day} to call a mulligan. {Look at me using a sports term – even if I did totally have to google it to make sure I was using it properly.}

So, take that Monday!