Monday, November 26, 2012

Serving God

I'm blogging through the topics of my Practicing Glory book, and this week's topic is Service.

As I wrote and edited the book, the Service chapter was difficult. It seemed that every time I worked on that chapter, something happened that made serving God challenging, or caused me to question the way I am serving God.

My friend Maura reassured me that I should not fear the questions. She said it is actually good to stop and ask yourself if you're really serving God the way you should be--because usually you'll realize that you are, and you'll renew your commitment to serving Him in that way.

This week as I again meditated on the Service chapter, I had two things on my ministry to do list. I completely forgot to do one of them (and I think everyone who expected me to do this forgot also) and the other item I simply did not do well. Today as I type this, Blogger is not cooperating with me. Serving God, even in such small things, is not always easy!

I was encouraged and challenged by this verse. 

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. (Galatians 5:25 Message)

The life of the Spirit--a life of serving God--is not just an idea in my head. It needs to happen in every detail of my life. God cares about the little details, and He will enable me to fulfill the ministry He's given me. I can talk to Him about failures and successes large and small.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Twinkies and Pie and Wonderstruck

If you like Twinkies and you're heartbroken by their demise, this is not a blogpost for you. Stop reading right now.

Several days ago my Facebook feed was filled with sad statuses because Twinkies will no longer be available. Many of my friends identify Twinkies with happy childhood memories.

I tried to remember a joyful Twinkie moment. I couldn't. I just remember thinking they tasted funny.

I wondered why I was such an odd child and I came to the conclusion that I didn't care for Twinkies because my mom and my grandma made PIE.

We were kind of a pie-focused family. Pecan pie was the perfect end to a holiday meal. My dad chose pecan pie instead of birthday cake. In the summer my mom and I would pick blackberries to freeze and prepare peaches to can--all with the thought of PIE.

Mom and Grandma made their own pie crusts and never used store bought pie filling. My dad taught me that the appropriate way to greet Grandma when she came to visit was to meet her in the driveway and ask if she bought pie.

PIE was dessert. Nothing really measured up to PIE. Plastic-wrapped Twinkies really can't compare to a warm fragrant piece of pie on your plate.

I'd experienced something fresh and real and wonderful--and the preservative-filled Twinkies that were shipped across the country never had a chance to tempt me.

I see a spiritual lesson here. When I experience the wonder of God and taste His goodness, the temptations of the world seem stale and tasteless in comparison. I recently  had the privilege of reading a sneak peek of Margaret Feinberg's Wonderstruck.

The title Wonderstruck caught my attention when Margaret mentioned it months ago. Wonderstruck. Awestruck by the wonder of God. That's how I want to live my life. I want to be conscious of the reality of God and tuned in to His voice.

Margaret wrote:

God’s infinite nature knows neither beginning nor end; our
Creator is like a vast ocean, fathomless and without bounds, an
ever-rising tide without abatement, yet in my spiritual journey
in the months after our move, I stood ankle deep, baptized only
in the shallows of his presence. I sensed the Spirit beckoning me
to plunge into the cool, shadowy depths marked by indescribable
beauty, those unforgettable moments of life that draw us
closer to God. Allured by the Spirit, I lunged forward.
And I prayed for wonder.

Will you join me in praying for wonder?

Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God

Read more about Wonderstruck at

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wonderstruck: a new book by Margaret Feinberg

My friend, Margaret Feinberg  has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God  (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:

· Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
· Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days
· Develop a renewed passion for God
· Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
· Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved

In a sneak peak of Wonderstruck, I read:

God extends endless invitations to encounter him, yet too
often we sleep straight through. Unconscious of the life God
wants for us, we slumber in the presence of the sacred and
snore in the company of the divine. We remain asleep while
God roosts in our midst. Inactive and inert, we become spiritual
sleepyheads who clamor for the snooze button rather than climb
out of bed. In our dormant states, we miss the opportunities to
experience his many gifts and to know the Giver more fully.
The wonder of God is that moment of spiritual awakening
that makes us curious to know God more.

Thanksgiving was a few days ago. The Holidays have begun. My prayer this year is that the Holidays will be Holy Days--that I will be awake to the wonder of God, alert to His invitations and ready to put His Word into practice.

To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Promo Video, here.

More from Margaret:
Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [], Facebook [], or her blog []. You can learn more about this great book by visiting where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [] for all you savvy shoppers.

So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Surrender..a daily event

I am the Lord's servant. Let it be with me just as you have said. (Luke 1:38 CEB)

The topic of surrender is a summary of the Christian life. God asks us to surrender in life-changing decisions as well as daily choices.

When I blogged last week, I was unhappy with my post. I couldn't seem to put into words what I really wanted to say. I remembered a similar feeling the week before. "What's wrong with me?" I asked myself. "I love blogging on these topics!" I prayed for guidance and suddenly confronted a very ordinary truth.

I was sick. A sinus infection had sneaked up on me, leaving me sniffly and groggy. I know how to fix this, and one of the ingredients of treatment is rest.

So I surrendered. This included choosing stillness over activity. Surrender overlaps with so many other spiritual disciplines. By the weekend I was feeling much better.

And then on Monday I woke up with back pain.

More stillness.

Within the stillness I found time to do a little research for my next project. I picked up the "I need to read those sometime" books.

And I remembered that surrender is a daily event. It's not always a "yes" to a grand and glorious calling.

Now these dirty dishes are calling my name...

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Stillness is probably my favorite spiritual discipline. I crave it, I seek it, I need it.

When I was expecting my oldest child, I read an author's comment (was it Elisabeth Elliot?) that stillness and solitude were important skills for children to learn--not just for their own personal fulfillment but as worship skills.  That made a lot of sense to me, and as my family grew it was important to me that all the children took afternoon naps at the same time. Eventually they no longer needed sleep in the afternoon, but I certainly needed my time of quietness.

Now the children spend that time reading.  I plan our homeschool day around it. All the quiet individual reading time happens at the same time, and they each have their own place to be. My oldest is a very social creature but I think she may be secretly an introvert in the sense that she draws her strength and rest from her time alone reading and doing crafts.

It fascinates me how this daily time of solitude not only enhances my life (I can study the Bible or nap or sit outside with a cup of tea) but enriches my children's lives as well. My middle child is reading a series of historical fiction books. She loves to read, but won't choose reading over other activities, so an assigned reading time is essential.

I am aware that stillness does not come as naturally to many of my friends. I'd love to hear from you about how you fit stillness into your life.

Here are a two links that relate to the topic of stillness.
The online world can be noisy and distracting. Here are some things to do before going online.
I enjoyed this blogpost about finding stillness while gardening.