Learning How to Fall

I finished building monkey bars for the boys this past week. Carter could hardly wait to try them out. He nervously climbed up the ladder, grabbed the first bar, began reaching for the next one and suddenly realized he couldn’t hold on. boy climbs monkey bars previewHe started kicking his feet, begging for someone to catch him. David and I kept telling him to calm down and relax his legs so they would hang straight under him so he could turn loose and fall without hurting himself.

When he finally let go, he did not fall gracefully; instead he landed on his arm and wanted to quit. I told him he wasn’t going to quit for the day until he could learn to stop being afraid of the fall. After several nervous episodes and less than graceful landings, he finally learned to extend his legs, relax and fall straight down, landing on his feet.

Navigating through life is a lot like those monkey bars. We are going to fall; but we can’t be afraid of falling. Falling is where we learn humility, experience weakness, and realize that we truly are in need of a Savior. It’s the place where we become aware of our limits, put new safeguards in place, and experience the passageway of perseverance.

Falling is where you gain the definition for the rest of your life. Are you going to be defined by the fall? Or will you humble yourself, own your mistakes, and run to the only Person who will make you victorious?

2 Corinthian 12:9 says, “‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (NLT)

So, don’t be afraid of the fall; be afraid of letting the fall define the course of your life. Get up. Run to Jesus. And try again. After awhile, the falls will become less and less and soon you will make it all the way across the monkey bars. There is victory, just be faithful as you learn to trust in Jesus.


One Letter Changes the Whole Story

There are some things in life that I just don’t question, and my brother is one of them. Stuff just happens to him, so it was no surprise when I received a text yesterday that said, “I’ll be in town tomorrow at 10 to repair my temp crown that I accidentally pooped out today.”

I shook my head and laughed. “Only my brother,” I thought out loud.

So, I called my husband and told him about my brother pooping out his crown. “You mean he swallowed it?” I shrugged and told him that’s all I knew and we just shook our heads and laughed at my brother’s predicament.

Later that night, I stopped  by my parents, “Hey, have you talked to Clay today? He said something about pooping out his temporary crown. What was he eating?”

“Your brother, WHAT?” My mom had obviously not heard the news. I told her all about the text and that I hadn’t had a chance to respond. We kept running different scenarios, hoping that there would be NO attempt to salvage and reuse the crown in any shape or form.

So, I checked my voicemail this morning and there was a message from my brother. He was really confused about the phone call he received from mom telling him to make sure the crown was super clean and sanitized before reusing it and how it may be a good idea to get a new one. He said mom told him about the crazy tale; something about him pooping out his crown and he didn’t know why I would make up a crazy story like that to tell them.

Immediately, I texted my brother and told him to check his message he sent me the day before; I was only repeating what I knew to be true! When we finally talked later in the day we both laughed and laughed. Fast typing, auto-correct or some other technological gremlin changed “popped” to “pooped”. I’m sure glad, too! I had a lot of unanswered, odd, and uncomfortable questions that had been stirring in my mind all day!

So what’s the take-away? One letter folks. Just one little letter changed the whole scenario. A crown that is popped out is WAY different than one that is pooped out.

Check your words this week. One little slip up can change the whole story.

Yaya, Close Eyes!

Yaya and Daniel

We were privileged to have my parents join us at 11:00 service at church today. Daniel, my silly and busy two year old, was standing in the chair between my parents holding their hands during the singing. He was dancing and smiling, just having the time of his life. Then the pastor began to pray; Daniel got quiet and still. As the pastor paused towards the end of his prayer, the back half of the church heard, “YAYA! CLOSE EYES!” David and I couldn’t stop the laughter; and the look on my mom’s face was priceless. She had opened her eyes to check on Daniel during the prayer and he called her out in front of everyone! It was so hilarious

As usual, this made me think a little deeper. Daniel is watching us and he is learning the right and wrong way to do things. He may not understand what prayer is, but he understands that it is a time where he needs to be still, quiet and keep his eyes closed. He has seen us do it enough that he is now learning to recognize prayer other places and not just at meals.

Moral of the story: Our children are watching. What are we teaching them? Will they see enough faith to recognize unbelief? Will they hear enough truth to recognize the lies? Will they see enough hope that they grow a heart for the lost? Let’s lead them well and point them to Jesus in all that we do.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”                   Luke 11:33 NIV



Dada! Are you?

One of Daniel’s new things is looking for people when they leave his immediate line of sight. So tonight, we left Dada in the pipe section of Home Depot and went outside to look at the flowers. As we came back inside, Daniel starts yelling, “Dada! Are yoooouuu?” He was calling and looking down every aisle. Finally after looking every place we could think of, we rounded the corner and Daniel’s face lit up. “Dada! There. Dada!” After all the looking and calling we finally found where daddy was.

Daniel’s sweet little voice echoing through the store tonight made me think about how often I intentionally look for God. I can read my bible and go to church, but those can often seem automatic. How often do I look in every place possible, desperately seeking my Dada and excitedly waiting to find and be where he is?

What if he is leading me to seek him in a different place? What if I need to turn my attention in a different direction?What if I need to look past all the junk I have allowed in my lives and seek harder than I ever have before?

What if we walked through the store of life and looked down every aisle, actively calling out, “Dada! Are yooooouuu?” I guarantee you Jesus would meet us down the aisle where he is working and invite, equip, and motivate us to join him right where he is. Are you ready?7860a0e620a20b4bdaebca59bd8722ba--typography-poster-typography-design

1 Chronicles 16:11 “Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.”

Victory in Jesus

Yesterday we laid to rest a man of God. As people shared about his life, tears fell from my face. Lives completely changed, paths totally altered, and Jesus always glorified were the echoes of every person who spoke of Mike McDaniel and the life he lead. He showed Jesus through the simple things like repairs and mowing, but also in the bigger things like writing life changing curriculum and investing in men and women with the truth of the Gospel message.

He loved his wife well. They sought to honor Jesus with their marriage and spent countless hours together in prayer and bible study. They ministered to women, men and couples; sharing what their life had been before Jesus freed them and they offered grace, hope, and the promise of freedom for those who chose to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Mike was one of those men who the whole room stopped to listen to when he talked because they knew it was important. He had a way with building deep relationships with men and helping them feel empowered and safe to share their struggles. He was good about following up and meeting one on one with people he knew needed that time. He was a true disciple who created more disciples so that they could go and change the world for Jesus.

We all have our struggles, and Mike was no different; but he never let his struggles have the winning punch. Mike was very honest about his past struggles and that is what propelled him forward to keep helping others who struggle with addiction. Addiction ministry is hard, but Mike knew that he had a calling on his life to never back down in trying to help others overcome. He knew that Jesus was the only answer and he had to let others know that there is always hope no matter how bleak life seems to look.

At the end of the service yesterday, a group of men from a recently opened men’s recovery facility sang “Victory in Jesus”, one of Mike’s favorite songs. It wasn’t particularly on key or something I would hear on the radio; but it was one of the most touching renditions I have ever heard. A few men held a hand toward heaven and a tear in their eye. Others glowed with freedom as they sang of Jesus’ victory in their life. These men weren’t just singing, they were sharing, through song, of the life changing power of Jesus as he was loosing the chains of addiction in their lives and ushering them to the throne of grace. These men were a representation of Mike’s life work. He had prayed for this men’s facility to open for a long time and when it opened, he immediately began investing his life into these men, as much as he could, even when he was sick.

“Victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever. He sought me, and he bought me, with his redeeming blood. He loved me ‘ere I knew him, and all my love is due him, he plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood.” May this be the anthem that we, just like Mike, build our life upon. May Jesus be the life-giving and life-driving force behind every decision we make and every life that we touch. May we, just like Mike, offer all our past baggage over to Jesus and ask him to use it to bring glory to his name. May we pour our lives into others, with nothing holding us back, all for the kingdom’s sake.

The song that Mike’s friend Hal sang, “Give Me Jesus”, keeps replaying in my mind: “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus…Give me Jesus, you can have all this world, just give me Jesus.” That’s what it’s all about. Thank you, Jesus, for Mike’s life; a life well-lived. He sought to honor you and accomplished just that. His memory will forever be held close in our hearts. May he rest in your peaceful embrace in his new heavenly home.heaven