Did you Inhale?

I stood mesmerized by the floating and dancing in the sun’s rays. Moving my arm like I was cutting through water I stirred the air before me, then paused to watch the wake.

Tiny bits of dust twirled and hovered. The sunlight illuminated the large quantity of dust floating through my bedroom. I turned from the window to look back into the room, and the dust was gone. At least it seemed that way, but I knew it was ever present. Whether dancing in the light, or hiding in the dark, the dust remained.

As I watched the performance in front of me, my intrigue turned to disgust. All I could think was, I’m breathing that. I had no idea how much dust was in the air until the morning’s light brought it to my attention. Our air filters were just replaced, and dollar signs danced in my eyes as I thought of a home air cleaning system.

So I stood frozen, staring at the tiny invaders and said it aloud this time, “I breathing that.” The breath of my words started more spinning and movement.

Dust isn’t the only unwelcome guest in my home. When I turn on the television or radio or pick up a magazine or book, those people, those words, those situations walk right in through the front door. And I’m breathing them in. Without completely comprehending it, I invited them.

Over time, I’ve realized I decide what to inhale. I can choose a television show with an uplifting message, the transforming power of God’s Word, or Christian radio with encouraging songs. Or I can select programs with compromising situations, magazines with unrealistic photos, and I can sing along to songs with inappropriate lyrics.

When I hold things to the Light (John 9:5), I get a much better perspective.

I’m not saying I don’t ever listen to rock-n-roll, and I’ve seen my fair share of inappropriate movies and tv shows. But let’s get real. Whether you believe it or not, everything we see and hear in a day sinks down into our soul and settles there. It’s what we breathe.

Each morning now I look for them – my dust dancers. And it’s a reminder for me to inhale wisely.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Carol

How Bad Do You Need It?

My husband needs a haircut. Sorry, honey. But you do. He was going to cut it over the weekend but the haircut place he usually frequents closed down. He walked back in the house with hair carelessly dangling over his ears.

“Why didn’t you go to the other haircut place across from the mall?” I questioned him.

“Too much trouble,” he offered while the hairs danced around his ears and stuck out their collective tongues at me.

Sunday morning as we rode to church I glanced at the handsome driver of our mini-van, but all I could see was hair. Hair needing to be cut. I sat thinking he should have gone to the trouble. He was looking wooly – in a ruggedly handsome manner of style. But he needed a haircut nonetheless.

“You really need to get your haircut,” I tossed out.

“Yeah, I know,” he said cutting his eyes at me in a daredevil kind of way.

He obviously didn’t see the need as great as I. I would have planned a babysitter, driven across town in traffic, and waited forty-five minutes reading the latest haircut magazines all in efforts to cut my locks.

Do I treat God the same way? How much effort do I put into finding time to meet with the Father? Do I pass on my time with him because my schedule didn’t line up just right? Maybe I say, “Too much trouble.”

Or do I make time with Him? Do I put aside everything else and jump through hoops to find time alone with my Maker?

I do both. Some days, I do jump through hoops, and I am always blessed and leave Him looking beautiful. And on other days I say “Too much trouble,” not with my words but with my actions. And guess what? I walk around with menacing hairs galloping around my head. They tell all the world NOT of the places I have been but of the places I haven’t.

So, if you see my husband, nonchalantly offer him a haircut coupon. If you see my Father, tell Him I’m coming I just have to get through some traffic to get there.

**This post was originally posted in November of 2008. We are busy with the last days of school before summer. Well – that and my son broke his foot on Sunday! :( Never a dull moment. In any case, I haven’t been getting time to write lately. I hope you enjoy this re-run.**

Blessings,

Carol

How Do You Know if God is Calling You to Ministry?

He told me to ignore the call of God, and it was the best advice I ever received.

I was sixteen. God had been working on me. Not like cleaning out a few cobwebs kind of work. He was knocking down walls and rearranging the basic structure of things. I knew, well I thought I knew, that He was calling me to some type of ministry.

I pictured myself in the Amazon rainforest passing out tracts and cold chills went up my spine. Each intake of breath felt heavy, like I couldn’t get enough air. How do you know?

How do you know when God is calling you to a deeper place with Him? How do you know if God is asking you to be in ministry? Or even more daunting – missions? Just the word brought to mind the tiny black and white photos of the missionaries in the back of the Open Windows devotionals we used to read at the breakfast table.

I took my shaky questions to someone I knew would have the answers. Someone wise in the ways of the Lord – my grandfather.

My Pop, as we called him, was a preacher. He retired after 50 years in the ministry, but couldn’t stay away and was doing interim pastoral work to supplement the time he spent in his garden.

Sure no one else was around, I dropped my big question and waited. “Pop, how do you know when God is calling you into the ministry?”

His hands stilled on the mail in his lap as he turned to look at me. “Ignore it.”

I’m sure my mouth hung open because those were not the words I was expecting to come out of Pop’s mouth. “Ignore…God?” I didn’t understand.

“Ignore the calling. The best way to know if God is really calling you is to ignore it. If He does really have a calling on your life, He won’t leave you alone. There will come a point where it will be obvious. You won’t question it anymore, and you’ll know with confidence God’s plan for you.”

I let that sink in a minute, the velour sticking to the backs of my sweaty legs, and took a deep breath. I didn’t have to worry about it. The ministry train wasn’t going to pass by if I was unsure about whether or not to get on board. God would make it obvious.

And guess what? He did.

Perhaps you’ve heard God whisper. And you’ve wondered. Wondered if He’s really speaking to you. Is He calling you to some kind of ministry or the mission field? Is He asking you to open your heart to adoption?

I offer the advice of a wise old preacher and tell you, “Ignore it. Just for a time, because if God’s really trying to get your attention, He will. Trust me.”

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 NIV

****Today is the day!! Today is the release of the Guideposts book I co-authored. If you received this by email, click on the link to my site. Look in the upper right-hand corner. If you are interested, you can order from there. :)

Carol

And What Are You Going to Give Me?

“This one’s for Colin.” My daughter mumbled through the candy in her mouth and thrust a tightly gripped root beer lollipop my way. “That’s nice of you,” I bragged and pulled her free hand through the crowded halls at church to make our way towards her brother’s classroom.

I stuck my head in the door of room E-103 and motioned for my son to come. He appeared with his own small candy bag and held out one yellow, sour Skittle for his sister. I smiled at his generosity and applauded myself for teaching my children to share with each other. No one was forced to save candy for the other.


If all children were like mine, the world would be a better place. Just as I was warming up to sing a few verses of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”…


Join me at 5 Minutes for Faith to find out what happened next. Click HERE to read the rest.


Carol

Not What I Expected

Yesterday, I received a gift. I didn’t know it was coming, and it took my breath away. A simple brown box from New York – containing two of the books I helped write.

Yep. You heard me correctly.

For those of you who know me personally, you are not surprised. I’ve talked and talked and talked….and talked about writing this devotional book for Guideposts. Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood. It’s written by me and nineteen other moms and one dad. (It’s an equal opportunity book.)


And it’s by far one of the most exciting things I’ve done thus far in my writing career. It was finished (well – my part was) last September, and I’ve waited on it like waiting for eggs to hatch.

So, I took the box and slid a knife over the packing tape to reveal the contents. The smell of cardboard wafted my way, but I dug further. Under the brown crumpled filler paper were two books. I gently reached in to hold one in my hand.

I expected to jump up and down all squealy – my normal response for super happy events. But it wasn’t in me. Not because I wasn’t excited about the book. My rapid heart beat was proof of that.

I couldn’t jump and squeal because of the power of God. It was a holy experience. In that moment, the thought that God planned this for me before my birth came whooshing in and took my breath away.

Since then, I have poured through the devotions. (Yes, of course searching for each of mine.) They are beautifully written, and I am honored to be among such talented individuals.

The book was actually written for new moms. It is a yearly devotional with stories and tidbits of wisdom to carry them through the first year. But I’ve been reading it, and I can tell you ANY mom would love it.

My devotions are all centered on the birth and first year of Grace. Rereading the story of her birth and time in the hospital has brought back many memories.


The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. Its release date is April 1, so I’m sure I’ll talk about it some more. And more and more. You get the picture. Will you praise God with me today?

Lord, I am so thankful for the opportunity you allowed to work with Guideposts to publish a book. I am also humbled you would use me. You are a mighty and awesome God. Please bless each of the mothers who read the book. Draw them close with each word. Continue to use me, Lord. Amen.

Carol