Friday, October 22, 2010


Early in our marriage we had to make a move across the country, leaving friends and family. The moving van was loaded and it travelled ahead. We drove two cars and hauled two small children and a dog. 

I didn't want to make this move but my husband's graduate training required it. He said I left a trail of tears and huge heel marks in the road clear across the state our first day on the road.

It was slow going. We finally found a hotel that allowed pets that first night in a small town I'd never heard of. We fell into bed after getting our three-year-old and three-month-old to sleep.

Around 4 a.m. we woke to the dreaded sound of a croupy cough from our infant daughter. It scared us as we didn't know how serious it was and she seemed to labor in her breathing. 

We knew the drill for croup in the middle of the night. My husband said he'd get the shower steam going while I changed the baby's diaper. I stumbled toward the bathroom after him. 

I stood in the doorway stunned. I hadn't noticed when we arrived at the hotel but there was something in the bathroom that I'd never seen before in a hotel room. And I have never  seen it since. 

It was a glass enclosed shower stall with a bench inside. There would be no sitting on the toilet in a steamy bathroom for me. 

I felt lost when we started our trip. I didn't know where we were, where we were going or what it would be like when we got there. Loneliness filled my thoughts. 

As I sat on my shower bench and the steam enveloped my daughter and me, I knew God had known where we would be that night and what our need would be at 4 a.m. My daughter began to calm and sleep in my arms. I leaned back into God's presence. 

I was not alone. God knew exactly where I was that night and the encouragement I needed. He would be with me on the whole journey and ahead of me in our new home. 

Where can I go to escape your Spirit
   or from your sight?
Psalm 139:7
Spiritual Sundays has more encouragement. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oh! Brother

Check out Heart of the Matter {Online} for my latest article: Oh! Brother about brothers and sisters getting along. 

I'm sure your kids never fight--but mine do. We're letting God teach us through these times. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pizza and the Prayer Lesson

When my oldest was twelve she started a game whenever we ate out. Who would be the first of our four kids to say, "Thank you"? 

The game stuck. Even though it is now thirteen years later, the habit remains. There are only two children still at home but they still remember to express appreciation when they get a drink or a meal from the drive through. 

On a recent trip to pick up pizza for my son's team, he once again said, "Thanks, Mom, for doing this." I suddenly realized a truth about prayer. 

When my children are so quick to thank me for my gifts, I am happy to provide the treat. I even like to surprise them when they aren't expecting it. 

I wonder if God feels like I do as a parent when He hears His children thank Him for all of His gifts. 

But you are a chosen people,
... a people belonging to God, 
that you may declare the praises of him
 who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Does He delight to hear my thanks the same way that I thrill to my children's words of appreciation? Is He eager to surprise me with blessings when I recognize they are a gift from Him?

How often I glimpse the heart of my Heavenly Father by being a parent. Sometimes it is in the blur of the parenting moments that I hear Him speak the loudest. 

Visit Spiritual Sundays for more weekend encouragement.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chicken Soup for Mothers

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers: 101 Daily Devotions to Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire Mothers
Moms, a real blessing awaits you in the latest Chicken Soup book, Devotional Stories for Mothers. I've received my copy and it is a treasure. 

I am happy to be part of this project with one of my stories, "Busted." I pray this devotional guide will bless many women.

If you want a copy, ask for it at your local bookstore or click this link: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers: 101 Daily Devotions to Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire Mothers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When God Crashed My Party

 For the first ten years of our marriage, my husband was a student. We had our first daughter during  medical school with six years of training still stretching ahead. My husband and I had little time together and even less money in the bank account. 

I found a nearby secondhand store. I used to rummage through the racks looking for bargains on trendy little girl clothes, without the stains. One morning I felt particularly blue. 

We attended a local church each week where the children were dressed really cute. I noticed. How long would we be counting pennies and doing without? 

I wished I could dress my daughter in the latest fashions. I wished I could buy some of those bows in every color to perch on her almost bald head. I really wished I could afford some of those white leather sneakers - the ones it seemed every toddler in the church nursery wore.

I was having a raging, roaring pity party. 

I shifted my daughter to my other hip and continued rifling through the racks. I stopped in mid turn. There on a top shelf was a shoebox with the familiar logo. 

The box held a brand new pair of white leather sneakers with Velcro straps - in my price range. And they were my daughter's size. 

I sat my daughter on the floor and slipped on the sneakers. She grinned and kicked her feet. I stood her up and she stamped her feet making tapping noises on the linoleum. 

"My child, ask and you shall receive." God's precious words in my heart humbled me and wrapped me in His love all at once. 

I threw the pity party but God showed up. I should have invited Him to begin with - into my day and into my longings. He even cares about white leather sneakers. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Travel Lesson

Car trips with crying babies do not bring out the best in marriages. Add pouring rain to the mix and you have a travel experience that everyone would rather forget. 

Early in our marriage, we were on just such a trip, headed home for the Christmas holidays. Our six month old wailed in the back seat and we had at least four more hours before we would arrive at the grandparents. 

My husband had just gotten off a long shift at the hospital and he was not in a patient mood with the baby, the rain or me--and his driving proved it. 

"Honey, you're driving a little fast for this rain and the traffic," I said, trying to sound helpful. My husband growled something that I couldn't understand and that was probably a good thing. 

Well, Lord, that didn't work and I'm really nervous. Could you please speak to my husband in a way he will understand? I am so thankful God hears silent urgent prayers from the heart--in the rain--with crying babies in the backseat. 

In just a few minutes, the familiar flashing red lights appeared in our rearview window. My husband got a speeding ticket. As we started our trip once more, I didn't say a word but I did thank God silently for intervening. 

I learned a huge lesson that afternoon. God is at work in my husband and He doesn't need me to nag or gripe at him. My man needs my respect. He doesn't need me to do double duty as his personal Holy Spirit.

I'm reading an excellent book on this subject if you want to read more. For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn is full of practical statistics about what men really think.