Monday, April 25, 2011

Following the line

His rigid frame held the steering wheel in place. The car was silent as my dad focused on limited visibility of the road ahead. The car never wavered from the left lane as he pressed on toward the hotel. When they arrived and were settled in their room my mom asked my dad why he had driven in the left lane the entire time. “The left lane has a yellow line...that's all I could see!”

As my mom told me the story of their road trip, I silently thanked God for keeping them safe. Such precious cargo being led through a torrential downpour by a single yellow line. Little did I know it would soon be happening to me.

His rigid frame held the steering wheel in place. The car was silent as my husband, Greg, focused on the limited visibility of the road ahead. We were hoping to avoid the storms just as we had on our way to visit his family in Arkansas. We weren't so lucky on the way home. The storm raged 4 ½ out of the 5 ½ hour drive. While watching the ominous clouds for signs of tornadoes, I stayed in silent prayer. We finally drove out of the storm and arrived home safe and sound.

This was not the first storm we've navigated, nor will it be the last. But there will always be a yellow line. The highway system was built years ago. The road was in place long before we ever traveled down it. There was a plan long before there was a need.

As we celebrate our Resurrected Christ, we should be newly awestruck by His plan. Long before we were in existence, Christ was born of a virgin. He lived on earth and was crucified for our sins. He ascended into Heaven on the third day to complete His plan...an eternity spent with Him. God had a plan long before we had a need. No matter how the storm rages or how lost we feel, we can look to the line of God's Word and find our way home.

Are you in a raging storm or feel you've lost your way? Ask God to show you the line and He will lead you safely home...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 3:18

Monday, April 18, 2011

A spoonful of sugar

It has been a really long weekend. Up every morning by 5:30am and at the Dallas Convention Center by 8:00am. All to watch my daughter's volleyball team snag defeat out of the mouth of victory. Ya, we lost...several times.

So when the 6:00am alarm went off this morning, I was not a happy camper. Half awake, I made some coffee and started looking through my schedule for the day:
1.write the blog
2.fix website issue
3.write 2 days in my new study
4.lunch w/my girlfriends

Wait...stop right there. I have a lunch date today? YES! I get to spend time with some sweet friends. My demeanor instantly changed. Instead of groggy and uninterested I became energized and engaged. My mind clicked on all cylinders as I planned the days events.

Just like taking a spoonful of sugar with our medicine, we need to mix in some want to's in with our have to's. To do lists can be a monotonous but we can infuse them with a little joy along the way.

Got a long commute to work? Jam out to some of your favorite music on the way. You know, the stuff that you can't help singing along with. It makes you happy. Got a list of errands to run? First swing by your favorite little drink place and pick up something cold and icy. That way every time you get back into the car after each errand, you have a quick tasty cool down to keep you going.

God wants us to enjoy each day we're given. Not enjoy each day after our to do list is complete. But finding joy in the midst of the to do's is up to us...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

Monday, April 11, 2011

Do you live like you drive?

My car stopped at the intersection. As I looked left and right, I noticed a police car in the turn lane. I drove forward and the police car followed a few cars behind. None of the cars driving around me dared to exceed the speed limit...not even one! Drivers kept both hands on the wheel and always used their blinkers when turning. Everyone was on their best behavior.

The very presence of the police car kept the drivers on the straight and narrow. No one was in the mood to pay for their poor driving habits so they played by the rules to avoid a speeding ticket. I know I felt a great deal of stress watching my speedometer to not go over 45mph. It was killing me!

The police officer soon turned onto a side street. I laughed out loud to see how the driving habits instantly changed. The cars around me all increased their speed and began cutting in and out of traffic (without blinkers this time). One driver, apparently inconvenienced by the slower pace, flew by me as if I were standing still. Where was the police officer now?

We may not always have a police car following us, but we are always in the presence of God. God doesn't want us to be uptight and nervous as we follow His 'rules'. But I have to wonder how our behavior would change if we kept His presence in mind. Would we still swear? Gossip? Look at inappropriate things? Lay around being lazy? Make excuses?

Or would remembering that God is with us throughout our day encourage us to try harder? Be more patient? Love the unlovable? Slow our frantic pace to hear His voice?

Are we doing our best to be obedient to God's expectations or are we living as if no one is watching?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Psalm 139:7-8

Monday, April 4, 2011

Failure to communicate

So is she coming over to spend the night?
I don't know, I haven't heard from her yet.
Did you call her?
I text her but I haven't heard back.
But did you call her?
Mom, she doesn't usually answer her phone but she answers texts. I'll hear from her...


If you have a teenager you've probably had this conversation. Text and IM has replaced all other forms of communication. Almost to a fault...

When I was a teenager my family had one phone line and my siblings and I would fight over it. I thought we were a big deal when we got call waiting, but soon learned it was only to preserve my parents' sanity.

I loved chatting away on the phone with my friends. My parents wouldn't put a chair near the phone so we wouldn't get too comfortable. But the floor was fine with me. I'd lay there for what seemed like hours as my friends and I talked about boys, school, other friends...everything!

But now, phone conversations are condensed into a language nibbles. They're not even bite size! Hearing your friend laugh has become LOL and we use :) to show we're happy.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate texting. Sometimes you just need to exchange some quick info without having a 20 minute phone conversation. It's a great tool, just not a great way to communicate.

Ever find yourself talking to God that way? 'Checking in' with bite size prayers or taking a nibble from His Word? I do. I then fool myself into thinking I've talked with Him that day when all I've done is send Him a quick text.

God wants and deserves so much more. As we're reminding our children to communicate with each other face to face, we have to communicate with God the same way. It's true, we won't see God's face until we go home to glory, but we can be in His presence just the same. He wants us to talk with Him. He wants to hear our laughter, see our tears and calm our spirit. He wants face time with us, nothing less will do.

This new generation will have to re-learn how to communicate with each other to maintain healthy relationships. Maybe we should start with how we communicate with God...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29: 12-14a