Thursday, September 27, 2012


If a marriage falls apart.  It probably wasn't some huge thing that happened out of nowhere.

Most likely it was a lot of little things.

Little cuts.
Little disappointments.
Little issues.
After a while these little issues turn into BIG deals.

I use this marriage example because the parallel is so easy to see.

(Just for the marriage is great!  Not perfect but great!)

So...back to little things.

These little issues in our lives, if left unchecked, can choke out our joy and rob us of blessings.

We all have our little things.

Maybe it is jealousy.  Maybe you struggle with a critical spirit.  Maybe you have a grudge against someone.  Maybe you are an emotional eater.

There are numerous other examples but you get the gist.

These things don't keep you from living your life everyday.  But they do interfere with how your life is lived.

I have been struggling with something I considered "little" lately.  I have prayed about it and even felt nudged by the Lord to do something about it.  But I had successfully convinced myself that it wasn't a big deal.  It was just a little thing.

Well I don't know if you know it or not.  But God cares about everything in our lives.


He is a one-stop God.  We are His children and everything that we deal with catches His eye....especially when our lives are littered by our little issues.

Because He is faithful, He will speak to us and direct our path.

This week in bible study I was reminded of this truth in God's holy word.  Luke 16:10 says, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much."

This verse can easily apply to our stewardship over material possessions.

However, this isn't exactly what God was saying to me.

He knew I was dealing with an irritating little issue.

My prideful attitude and unwillingness to deal was showing something much deeper.  I couldn't be trusted.  


If He (God) can't trust me to deal with small issues then how am I ever going to deal with bigger things?

As if water had been thrown into my hit me.

That is not how I want God to view me.

I trust Him so much.

I want Him to trust me.
I want Him to entrust things into my care.

So....I had to deal with my little issue.

As always, the peace of God's presence washed over me once I took the initial step of obedience.

It wasn't easy.  Dealing with stuff never is.

Let's be people that are willing to deal.  Let's not let the little things turn into BIG deals.

Let's be trusted.

Monday, September 24, 2012

That shade of blue...

This is a shade of blue that signals change in Georgia.  (I took this picture while lying on my back deck.)

It means that Summer is on its way out and Fall is next in line.

It means cooler mornings and less haze.

It means football, leaves changing, and Halloween is upon us.

I took a walk after church and let my eyes really enjoy the blue sky above me.  The wind tickled my hair as it blew around my face.  It was fun to see, smell, feel, and enjoy God's gorgeous creation.

We had a full weekend.  But today there was time to go at a slower pace...and we did.  Shep shot his bow and slept in the hammock swing.  I went for a walk and then came back and did absolutely nothing...except take up space outside.  Zeke took a long and much-needed nap.  Ava played in the sandbox and collected acorns.  Caroline watched all of us from the hypnotizing lull of our swing.

It was like a long exhale from a tiring week.

But I just couldn't get over the brilliant blue sky.

It lit me up.

It made me smile to think that my God thought up that color...and then broadcast it upon the heavens for us to enjoy.

I certainly did.  Hope you did too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


How I love Thursdays!

I anticipate Thursdays all week long.

Why?  Bible study day. 

For some reason our ladies group has met on Thursdays for as long as I can remember.  It is a little bit like a preview for church on Sunday.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not saying that church days are the only days that I get fed spiritually.  That is not true at all.  I am responsible for opening God's Word on a daily basis.  He speaks if we will make the time. 

But I love the people part.

I love Sundays because I get to see my church family.  I love the hugs, the smiles, the tears, the corporate worship, the testimonies, the salvation stories, the baptisms and so on.

Wednesday nights are fun too but usually rushed.  The kids have Awana and I spend the entire time in the choir room.

BUT Thursdays are super special to me.  It is for the desperate ones.  And I certainly fit into that category.  We come in with all of our stuff.  We shoulder each other's burdens.  We pray through tears.  We believe for miracles.  We take our time.  We talk about some hard stuff.  We are challenged, convicted, and hopefully a little bit at a time...changed....for God's glory.

This morning our video was on Daniel being thrown into the lion's den.

This is one of the more familiar stories if, like me, you were raised in church.  We were talking about this one in pre-school.

One interesting fact I did not remember was that Daniel was in his 80's when he encountered the lion's den.

Also, the fact that I can toss "lion's den" around in such a casual way means that I have given in to the notion that this wasn't somehow terrifying.

Lions.  Real, huge, hungry, predatory lions.

Have you watched Animal Planet lately?

Maybe you should.

Then you (and I) would give God and Daniel a little more respect.

The bible says that an angel shut the mouths of the lions.  (Daniel 6:22)

The lions probably wanted to rip Daniel to pieces...they just couldn't.  Their maker had decided to close their mouths. 

Beth (Moore)  paralleled this verse in Daniel with a passage from the New Testament.  1 Peter 5:8 says:

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

Even though we are not Daniel and don't have to worry about literally being thrown into a den of lions we are still being hunted.

So.....things haven't really changed that much in thousands of years.

The bible warns us to be alert.  Be on guard.  Stay faithful.  Trust God.

If we do that....He will shut the mouth of the lion again and again and again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tired of Being Tired

This is the type of post that I hate writing.

The main reason is because I have to face myself...and who wants to do that, right?

I am tired.

Not sleepy.
Not groggy.


I went for a quick walk tonight.  The sun was on its downward journey and there was the slightest feel of Fall in the air.  I plugged in my earbuds so I could listen to my music without having to hear my thoughts.

Have you ever done that?

I listened to some of my favorite tunes.  I walked at a fast pace trying with each step to will away this funk that I find myself in.

As I silently sang along the words seemed to fade away.  I couldn't quite seem to find a song to say what I feel.

The truth is I don't think there is one.

Shep and I seem to find ourselves worn out from fighting some battles that have lingered for years.

These are not battles against each other.

They are issues that we are facing together.

Obviously one of the most difficult we face every single day is continuing to believe that God is going to heal our girl.

10 years of sunrises.
10 years of sunsets.
10 years of birthdays.
10 years of Christmas mornings.
10 years of therapies, doctor visits, diaper changes, g-tube feeds, and the list goes on and on....

We have felt and lived every single one of those days.  And for over 10 years we have ardently held fast to the hope that God has told us that He will heal our daughter.

If you think this gets easier with time...think again.
If you think people are always kind and encouraging.....think again.
If you think that we don't struggle with our faith....think again.

If that were our only mountain it would be hard enough.  But we have more.

We have other issues that seem like towering giants around us.

Without God's intervention  in these areas~ we are sunk.

These pressures face us every day.  Or maybe I should say we get up with them staring us right in the face. We wake up to the same fears and doubts.  Time has only intensified them. 

Will we give up?
Will we back down?
Will we tuck tail and run?


But sometimes you're tired and you want to....even if you won't.

I have studied enough of God's Word to know that many of those who followed Him were allowed to stay in troubling seasons for long periods of time.  Joseph sat in a jail cell for 14 years for doing what was right.  The list continues.  Start in Genesis and follow Abraham's life to watch a man who had to get comfortable with waiting.  John ends God's Word by writing the book of Revelation while he is banished to an island for punishment.  There he waited and there he received the vision of God's grand finale. 

Don't you know that these people thought they were a bit out of their minds? 

Don't you know that they experienced the same kind of tired that I am talking about today....thousands of years later.

The same God that asked them to still asking His children to wait today.

Time can teach trust like nothing else can.

But time can make us tired too.  And today I am tired.  I am tired of being tired. 

If I have offended you with my bluntness I am certainly sorry.  But I believe God can handle my honesty. 

One of my favorite passages in God's Word is found in Mark chapter 9.  It is a father with a broken heart.  I believe that he was beyond tired too.  His son was demon possessed and had been since child hood.  He had watched his son foam at the mouth, be thrown to the ground and into fire and water,  gnash his teeth, and have seizures.  Can you even imagine?  Day after day.  Night after night. 

Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered.  "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
"If you can?"  said Jesus.  "Everything is possible for him who believes."
 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:21-24

  I think that it is a little bit funny that Jesus asked the dad how long his son had been this way.  Jesus already knew the answer.  Duh.  He is God.  But I think he wanted to validate this dad's need to talk about it.  This dad needed someone to hear just how bad it had really been.  And even though Jesus already knew...he gave him the chance to speak publicly about  his private pain and the years of watching his son suffer. 

But the second thing that strikes me is his utter honesty.  No games.  No frills.

That is how I came to this keyboard tonight.  Tired.   AND tired of being tired.

Like this dad I just needed to say it. 

 "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lessons from the Marsh

Shep here.  I am 42 years old.  As long as I can remember I have loved to hunt and fish.  And as long as I can remember I have been pursuing these enthusiasms with cobbled-together equipment.  Don't get me wrong.  My dad bought me a rifle that will shoot straight and kill anything in North America.  That was in 1991.  My first rod and reel were not the entry level Zebco 33's that most kids start with- they were a solid step and 1/2 up from that, and they landed more fish than I can hope to recall.  Still, compared to the other outdoor enthusiasts that I have known, I have always felt a step or two behind when it comes to equipment.

I do have a boat now.  Its a Sears Gamefisher of unknown vintage with a 1956 Johnson on the back.  I wish I could tell you that it ran like a top-  but the last time I tried to crank it, all I got was tired.  Anyway...

Me and Scott (my brother) and Brian (my best friend from law school) were sitting in the rain.  We borrowed 3 kayaks from a good friend of mine and took them to St. George Island for our much-anticipated annual fishing trip.  We had multiple delays-  drove all through the night and watched the sun slip up out of the churning Gulf of Mexico.  That moment was meaningful in a way that I may try to describe in another post.  But as I said, the Gulf was churning. 

Crashing waves + novice kayakers = three broken rods, two reels out of commission, a frothing surf full of fishing tackle, and a decision that perhaps the bay would be a more reasonable location to catch our quarry.

And that is how we came to be hunkered down and huddled up in the Appalachicola bay.  We had paddled almost all the way to Goose Island before the rain caught us.  The wind was howling in off the Gulf, rolling across the slender spit of land that separates the gulf from the bay and slapping our kayaks around like a housecat playing with a freshly caught mouse.  I don't know if they make anchors for kayaks, but I do know that we didn't have any.  So, we slid the kayaks up into the thick marsh grass surrounding Goose Island, turned our backs to the wind and hoped that our makeshift docking station would hold.  Behind us the sky grew darker as the clouds rolled one on top of the other, racing toward Carrabelle- afraid they would run out of ammunition before they made landfall.

I don't know how long we sat there with the rain running down our backs, laughing, cracking jokes about, "The Three Stooges Fishing Show," and actually mostly enjoying ourselves.  You see, this was not our first rainstorm or our first fishing trip...or our first rainstorm during a fishing trip, and as any true fisherman knows, there is more that can go wrong with a fishing expedition than just about anything else devised by man.  I think it has something to do with being unable to breathe under water.  But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the beauty that was there.  I am not from the low-country, but I have come to long for it.  Watching the rain fall on the rising black ribbons of marsh-water, snaking through the sawgrass I could almost hear the call of the Seminoles that had gathered oysters here long before the white man arrived.  I could smell the fertile aroma of salt and shrimp.  And I sat huddled there with my brother and my friend.

At some point it became apparent that the storm was not going to grant us respite any time soon, and somebody finally said it.  "Well, we ain't gonna get any wetter-  Might as well fish."  And fish we did,  We bailed out of the kayaks, put some shrimp on the hooks and began slipping through the mud, drifting our rigs through the rising water that curled through the marsh.  It was beautiful, watching that lone bobber drift, drift, drift and then get tugged under the surface by one of the many Redfish that call that bay home.  And if you have never had an 8 pound redfish on the other end of a fishing pole, in about 4 feet of water, mud and reeds, splashing and pulling- well, you ought to some time.

Fast forward to Monday.  I showed up to work early to try and catch up on the two days of work I had missed.  39 e-mails.  Uncounted voice messages.  And then it happened- I got hacked.  My last 30 days worth of e-mails along with all my contacts got completely wiped out.  All of a sudden my phone started expoding with caller after caller letting me know that my e-mail account had been hacked, and making sure that I was not actually "stranded in Madrid, mugged, without money, issuing a desperate plea for my 1,000 closest friends and colleagues to wire funds to an undisclosed account in Spain."  That's right.  Spain.

Well I dealt with that problem all day.  I am sure my blood pressure exceeded safe levels. I had hoped to get at least partially caught up at work, and instead, I was dealing with wave after wave of frustration.  Mercifully, 5:00 finally arrived, and as I was heading home I began to pray something like this:

"Lord Jesus I need your help.  I am in an awful state.  I need to be good for my family when I get there.  Please help me.  Thank you.  All this stuff, God is just bearing in on me.  I can't seem to get ahead.  I feel like I'm letting folks down, and it doesn't look like the storm is gonna let up any time soon.  I feel overwhelmed by things I can't control.  Help me Jesus."

And whether by God's nudging, or my own longing, my mind drifted back to the Marsh, and I heard God say to me, "You are not going to get any wetter, might as well fish.  Find the joy, son.  It's all around you.  Look for the beauty...I promise its there.  Stick your nose down in your daughter's hair and smell it.  Take it all in.  Fish, son.  Its just a little storm."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Her own step of faith

Here we are.  The estrogen part of my brood.  My girls and me getting some snuggles on the beach.  This was taken on our trip this past June.  I love it.

I wanted to include a photo because I want you to remember these faces when I tell you about my 7 year old's big step of faith.

Of course, the biggest step of faith was when she asked Jesus to forgive her sins and come live in her heart.  That was last year but I am getting to see glimpses of His work being played out in her little life already.  One instance occurred yesterday and I couldn't wait to share.

I wear a blue cord on my right wrist most of the time.  I got the idea from Beth Moore's bible study "Believing God".  During the study she encouraged us to wear a blue ribbon tied around our right wrist as a physical reminder that we are to believe God.  Not just believe in Him...but to actually believe Him about something specific. 

Beth's concept was taken from Numbers 15:37-41. 

 I am not currently doing this study.  But this exercise made a lasting impression on me and I have chosen to continue to wear my blue cord.  After all, I am believing God to heal my daughter and I could use all the encouragement I can get.  Even if it comes from looking down at my own wrist. 

To be honest this blue cord has just become part of my daily wardrobe.  It stays on all the time.  I never take it off.  When it finally wears out I just replace it with a new piece of cord. 

About a year ago Ave took some moderate interest in the blue cord.  She asked me why I wore it all the time.  I explained to her that it helps to remind me (and others) that I am believing God for something.  In my case, I am believing God to heal her sister.

She never said anything else about it.  My explanation seemed to quiet her interest and so I thought the subject was dropped.

Until yesterday....she found my roll of blue cord.

She came into my room and asked if she could cut a piece and wear one too. 

I explained to her again that it had a special meaning and that it wasn't just something to do for fun.

She said, "Momma, I know it means that we are believing God to heal Caroline." 

Well, what could I say to that?!?

She has watched and listened to me talk about my faith for a long time.  I reckon it is time for her to get her feet wet too.

It was a tender moment as I cut the cord to her length and tied it around her sweet 7 year old wrist.  Her face was beaming.  She was totally owning this event. 

As her mother I was beyond proud. 

I pray that this trend continues in her little life. 

Big faith is never a bad thing.

When I finished tying the cord on her wrist she immediately ran over to Caroline's wheelchair and showed her the blue cord.  It was her little declaration.  She was saying..."Look Caroline, I believe and I don't care who knows about it!"

The entire encounter left me so humbled and entirely happy.  What a gift!  Her own little step of faith pushed me along in my own journey.  Amen!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finding my way

Shep was gone this past weekend and it was a busy one.  He enjoyed a 4 night getaway with his brother and best friend.  They went fishing and had a ball.  I used to be such a jerk about him leaving.  Thankfully God is and has helped me with an attitude adjustment.

We all need a break.  And Shep is always always so accommodating when I have a special trip planned.

But, like I said, it was a crazy busy weekend.

Zeke had his first two soccer games.  Ava had her first ever classroom project to present.  My trio got to sing for our Relay for Life event.  Ava had an eye exam and a fitting for new glasses...not to mention church, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, and running errands in between.

My mom and dad came and helped a good bit along with our sweet Linda.

Needless to say, I don't sleep well when Shep is gone....and this time was no exception.  My mind kept racing.  I heard every noise that our house makes.  Plus Caroline woke me up off and on every single night.

The time ended up flying by just because we were so busy.  I don't know that that is a good thing.  But it was still the case.

Saturday afternoon my mom and I had a chance to slip off for a few hours and spend some time together.  It  was good.  It always is.  My mom and I have always had a great relationship (especially if you skip over the 3 rough middle school years :).

I don't give very many people the right to speak into my life.  It has to be someone I trust and respect.  She has the right.  Even if I disagree with what she says, she is my mom.  I trust her.  I know her love for me.  She has proven herself for the past 35 years. Again I may not agree, but I listen and respect her voice and wisdom.

She began to express some concern over me.  Her words hit a soft spot. She had noticed my fatigue, irritability, heaviness, and inability to lighten up or unwind.

As she spoke I found myself feeling judged and offended.

If you don't know me then you don't know that usually what I feel comes across on my face.  It is very difficult for me to conceal my feelings.  So she knew that I was hurt.

It wasn't that I was angry for her pointing these things out.  It was that I knew she was right and I didn't know what to do about it.

Sometimes....things just are the way they are.

Well mom and I are absolutely fine.  I heard her heart for me.  There is no lingering aggravation toward her at all.  In fact I took her concern and brought it before God.

I told God that everything she observed and noticed about me was true.  But I didn't know how to change it.

This is what I felt like He spoke back to me...

I am giving you a season of rest.  
For 10 years you have worked and reared your children while they were little.
Now they are all in school.  
I am giving you these blocks of time for your soul to rest and refuel.
It is a rest from the past 10 years and a rest for the next season of your life.

It was incredibly freeing for me.
I have felt guilty about being at home, or volunteering, or not getting a job.
I have been overly concerned about what others think or say about me.

The truth is....this is hard for me.  When you have gone from always having a child in your hand or something you were doing, a lot free time can be scary and even intimidating.

So now I am trying to find my way in this season.  If rest is what God wants for me then I want to soak it up.

He certainly has not called me to a fruitless season just maybe a slowed-down pace.  My prayer is that I will cooperate.  I tend to want to takeover and not trust God.  Only God could take a season of rest and make it one of the most productive times of your life.  He is just good like that!

"He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters
He restores my soul."  Psalms 23

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The fourth man

We are three weeks into our Daniel study by Beth Moore.

Good doesn't begin to describe it.  This is my second time doing the study.  My first trip through the book of Daniel was back in 2006.  I am amazed at the perspective God has given me in just 6 short years.

This week's study focused on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego's stand that landed them into a 7-times hotter furnace.

Of course the story hits its climax once our guys are actually in the furnace and there is mentioned a "fourth man."

Daniel 3: 25 says, "the fourth looks like the son of God."

I find this interesting given the fact that a pagan king was speaking these words.  How would this king know what a son of God looked like?

I don't believe he did.

He just knew that Someone pretty unbelievable was in that fire with these men. Someone who stood out from them but was very much with them. And that somehow these men weren't consumed by the fire.

 This is our God.

With us.  For us.

My week has been a bit scattered.  I have encountered a runaway desperately seeking help and hope, a friend in need of some saving grace, a fierce stomach bug, bill deadlines, homework projects, heaping loads of laundry and it is only Wednesday.  The rest of the week doesn't appear to be slowing down in the least.

I am not walking about in the flames of a fiery furnace, but my life can burn me at both ends sometimes.

My God is with me.
He is for me.
He walks with me every day.

I pray that I let Him be seen by others. I hope that those who brush past see that this girl has a great God carrying her load.

Our lives can be the very backdrop for others to see and experience God at work.

Wouldn't it be cool for someone to look at your life's circumstances and be awestruck by the very One walking around with you?

Let's bring Him some fame!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Bloody Knees

Yesterday we went to our nephew's birthday party.  The crowd that came together was mostly we were pretty comfortable and casual.

After the yummy lasagna meal a few of us went outside to enjoy the sweaty September day.  I was sitting with Caroline out on the front porch when I heard a familiar, yet unsettling, cry.  I knew it immediately.  My little man, Zeke, was hurt.

The cry was loud and immediate.  Sure enough he had fallen going up the front brick steps.

Needless to say, brick is not forgiving in any sense.  So Zeke had himself some bloody knees. 

We went through the moments of trying to calm him down which then lead into the period where he begs us, "Please don't touch it mommy."

Of course the scrapes needed to be cleaned up but they weren't deep at all so his daddy shifted the focus to a walk around the farm instead.

After the walk Zeke was back to himself.  No more tears.  Other than the bloody scrapes no one would have known that he had fallen at all.

(Fast forward about 5 hours....)

Zeke's tune drastically shifted into panic when he was called to take his bath for the evening.


Because pain was coming.  He knew that water and soap would touch those tender bloody knees and it would hurt. 

I sat that on the sofa and remembered many days as a child when I would wince at that same pain...almost anticipating for him.

Then God's gentle Holy Spirit spoke an even deeper truth....

"Andrea you still do this.  You walk through your days and fall.  Sometimes you fall into sin. Other times you fall trying to step onto higher ground and walk more closely with me.  But still I know the falls hurt you and bloody your knees in a spiritual sense.  Yet, you hesitate to come close to the healing waters and let me restore those wounds.  Why?  Because it still hurts." 

Ain't it the truth?!?

Those times of drawing near to God to repent or confess are so hard.  Vulnerability and humility must come forth to even begin the process.  Too often we just avoid it and never let our wounds be cleansed.

Zeke is on the mend I am happy to say.  His bloody knees survived the soapy water and are well on their way to healing.

What about mine?

Job 5:18 "For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal."