Saturday, February 28, 2009


A side note: This post was inspired by the courageous women in my bible study and the great conversations we have. Beth Moore's video lessons are usually the topic of conversation, although we occasionally discuss flying garbage. 

I am in the middle of Beth Moore's bible study on Esther. We've arrived at the point in the story where Queen Esther's destiny, and that of her people, hang on one decision: Will Esther summon the courage to appear uninvited before King Xerxes, a choice that could be her death sentence but could save the Jews of Persia, or will she chicken out?

Esther didn't want to put her life on the line. She probably preferred her plush palace lifestyle to the king's sentence of death (yes, the king is her husband). One couldn't request an audience with the king of Persia in the mid-400's BC; one had to be summoned. The penalty for violating this law was death.  It didn't matter that Esther was queen. She, too, had to be summoned. Esther's surrogate father, Mordecai, told her to go the king and plead for the life of the Jewish people, who were marked for annihilation. Esther balked. Her first reaction was, I can't go before the king. He hasn't asked for me! He could put me to death! Mordecai reminded Esther that she, in addition to being queen, was also a Jew. She could be put to death for that reason alone. Or she could choose courage and go before the king. She would risk her life, but could potentially save herself and her people. What's a girl to do?

It wasn't luck that crowned Esther as Queen of Persia. An orphaned Jewish girl doesn't get chosen randomly out of hundreds to be the next queen. Her Heavenly Father placed her there to save her people. Mordecai said, "...and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) And she had! Esther realized she must go to King Xerxes. She accepted that which may transpire: "And if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16) She entered the King's presence, he offered her the gold scepter in his hand (consider it a pardon for appearing uninvited), and he eventually agreed to help her.  Esther's courage sealed her destiny.

Now imagine the story differently. Imagine that God put all of the pieces of the puzzle together except one, the piece He gave to Esther, and imagine she kept it. She could not place the final piece. She chose the path of less risk; she forgot to trust God; she acted selfishly. She chickened out and failed to plead with the King.  Her destiny, and that of her people, would forever change.

We encounter many decisions each day and most aren't life-changing. Paper or plastic? Regular or decaf? To shower or not to shower? (ok. maybe that's just me). What will you do when the next big one comes along? Will you choose courage? Esther did! Consider that your decision could unlock the destiny your Father has planned for you. I learned this week that the most frequently given commandment in the Bible is: be courageous. (Thank you, Beth Moore!) What does this tell us about our lives and God's plans for them? We should expect to encounter choices that require courage. We should pursue God's Will courageously. And when faced with difficult choices, we should remember the blessings that await when we live with courage. 

It may not be long until someone says to you, "...and who knows but that you have come to ________ position for such a time as this."  When that time comes, and it will, be courageous.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Flu, Day 11

Yes, that's correct. Over each of the past eleven days, at least one person in our home has had the flu. One day there were four of us. I guess it would have been too easy for everyone to get sick at once. We had to spread it out. My husband had the flu shot so he was safe but, not to be outdone, he came down with strep. Here are some random thoughts and photos from the past few (or eleven) days.....

1) Injured on the job? Involved in an automobile accident? Watch Family Feud. There were approximately seven dial-a-lawyer commercials during one episode. I couldn't believe it.

2) Home with sick kids? I found the bright side: I cleaned an entire room, all at once. That never happens.

3) Drake and Josh is really, really funny. Or was it the fever?

4) Balloons are entertaining, especially when they reveal hidden talents. See (very amateur) video:

5) A daughter willing to make up some fun for her younger sister, while I lay in bed, is a treasure. Thank you, Taylor!
Pics from the fashion show:  


The stylist

6) It can be hard to get warm when you have the chills. 
I was desperate a few nights ago, so I grabbed our dog. That girl can put out some serious heat. I give her a ten hot water bottle equivalent. She doesn't get as high a rating for good looks. (Sorry, Lulu. It's just the truth.)

7) Let me turn this into a public service announcement. The flu is everything it's cracked up to be.  Do what your doctor suggests. Which leads me to this, because I know what you're thinking:

8) Yes, I'll get a flu shot next year. (if I had a dollar for every time...)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Origin of a Call, Part III

This is what can happen when I get a "big idea": I get excited, motivated, and if it doesn't materialize right away, I lose interest. My desire to support the people of Africa has not waned. I have been patient as the idea takes shape. It may take five or ten years to develop, whatever "it" is, and I am happy with that. Several times I have thought to myself, and laughed, "Why am I being so patient?" It is a direct result of God's lessons on timing. I cannot will something to happen if it is not His appointed time. I can be diligent and obedient as I prepare, but those ideas that originate in Him will come to fruition by His hand, not mine.

Soon after the fast I was in a bookstore with my daughter. We spent the entire visit in the kids' section. As we walked to the checkout, we passed tables stacked with non-fiction books. One book caught my eye:
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace.....One School at a Time

I read the back cover and took it straight to the counter. My awareness of the plight of many in Africa, although limited, led me to consider how education might help change the course of the next generation. Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, establishes schools in remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan, with an emphasis on girls' education, with the hope of giving these children a brighter future. The genesis of his organization, Central Asia Institute, is an amazing story. Mortenson attempted to summit K2, the second largest mountain in the world, and as he descended, he took a wrong turn. The path he chose led him directly into a remote village in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan. The villagers befriended him and nursed him back to health (the summit attempt drained him). During his stay, Mortenson came to love the Balti people but was concerned about the absence of a village school. He promised to one day return to the village and build a school for its children. He did. He has since established over 78 schools that have educated more than 28,0000 students.

Mortenson's book is inspiring. It is a lesson in the importance of relationships. It is proof that one person can make a huge difference. It exemplifies the impact of culturally relevant education for people who have never been promised such. It could not have been placed into my path at a better time.

I attended an all-girls' school. I still receive its quarterly magazine. I remember reading an article about the students' desire to devote proceeds of their annual fundraiser to an organization that establishes girls' schools abroad. I received it before I read Three Cups of Tea. The next issue of the magazine, which was published after I read the book, had a larger article that detailed the results of the fundraiser. In it was named the recipient of the money, Mortenson's Central Asia Institute. I saw the article and began to cry. Why? Three Cups of Tea weighed heavily on my mind over the weeks I prayed about specific needs in Africa. I wondered if education was the issue to which God was leading me. Should I attempt to establish a school as Greg Mortenson did? Then the magazine arrived and it just seemed like confirmation. I cried. I read the article and learned the students raised $60,000. It was enough to fund a new school. I really cried.

I have learned a great deal recently. In addition to the books and organizations already mentioned, I have found many others that teach invaluable lessons about Africa, its history, its people, and its challenges. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "The more you know, the more you realize you don't know." That applies to me! But it drives me to learn more, which I love.

This is where I am today.......still learning. My dream is to establish a Christian school in Africa, one that serves the many needs of its community: to teach children, promote public health education, train young leaders, and share with young and old the knowledge of a life in Christ. They need hope, in Christ.

But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish. Psalm 9:18

Monday, February 16, 2009

Origin of a Call, Part II

The days of the second Sacred Gathering were intense. Fasts can be that way. I had a great deal on my mind and searched God's heart for answers to several questions. The search drew me closer to Him, but I did not receive emphatic statements on the issues I hoped He would address. It is funny how we sometimes go to God with an agenda, isn't it? He spoke about HIS desires during those days.....not my "needs." That was a lesson in itself! The passion He laid on my heart was for the people of Africa.

The first evening of the fast I sat in silence, as we often did during our directed prayer time, to allow myself time to listen to God. At that point in my life, I never sat and listened. Doing so would have been unproductive! I could sit and read, or sit and pray, but to sit and listen? It never crossed my mind. Time spent sitting was time I should have been "doing." Now you know this about me, so it will come as no surprise that I was overwhelmed once I sat and listened. (If you are not able to do this, train yourself! You will be blessed.) I sat with my eyes closed and allowed God to direct my thoughts. Suddenly, images of precious African children flashed through my mind's eye. They were smiling, joyful, even hopeful, but there was no doubt they were the faces of children in need. I remember thinking, OK.......that was pretty clear. Mission trip, anyone?

The events of the following two days confirmed the call to serve the people of Africa. They also broadened it. This was more than a call to go on a single mission trip. I flipped through the mail on day two of the fast and noticed our college's quarterly catalog. The cover story? Davidson's medical mission trip to Africa. I eagerly read and acquired a more in-depth knowledge of the health issues faced by many Africans. They are numerous and in many instances, preventable.

The week coincided with Spiritual Life Week at our children's school. Students attend a weekly chapel throughout the year, but during this week they attend daily. Each morning they are treated to a program that may include a special speaker, musician, skits, and more. I received an email about one of the programs on day three of the fast. One of the members of Jars of Clay, an incredible Christian rock group, was on campus to introduce students to an organization the band supports, Blood:Water Mission. The organization promotes and establishes programs to facilitate clean blood and clean water throughout, of course, Africa. Between poring over their website and giving my kids the great inquisition about the program, I continued to learn in greater detail about the needs of the African people. I also began to loosely shape my vision for making a difference.

That ended my three day fast. I emerged with a passion placed on my heart by God. He allowed me the opportunity to feel His call to the African people and learn more about their needs in the same three days. His Providence is amazing! He began to refine my vision not long after the fast was complete and continues to do so today.

I'll spare you those details until Part III. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Origin of a Call, Part I

David challenges us in the book of Psalms to declare what God has done for us.

"I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly."
Psalm 40:9-10

I want to share with you a story of God's faithfulness in my life. The story has just begun. I cannot yet see "the end" but I feel Him at work in my heart, and therefore I know this story is His and worth sharing. I do not need to have an end. I know He will get me there. With God, the journey is just as important as the destination. He calls each of us to something great and it is during the "finding out" that He shapes us for His service. I expect that when I am ready for His calling He will lead me directly to it. In the meantime, I seek Him, He prunes me (OUCH!) and together we walk the path He has set for me.

It was approximately four years ago when LifePoint Church, our incredible church home, led its members to a Sacred Gathering, a fast. We fasted for three days and met each evening for a time of prayer and worship. I specifically remember sitting in my chair during the Gathering, talking with God. I felt His call to something but literally had no inkling as to what. I wanted to know it and do it....right away. I begged Him, "Please, Father, show me where you want me to go. Show me what you want me to do." He answered clearly and somewhat unexpectedly: you're not ready yet. That was a large and needed blow to my plan but it was clear, so I set myself about the task of preparation. I spent more time with God.

Last February, three years after our first Sacred Gathering, LifePoint held a second. The first fast was obviously a success. God blessed us through it. The second fast was so well attended that our Multi-Purpose Center overflowed. We moved to the larger, Worship Center. It was quite a sight, the mass of hungry people walking together to be filled by God. What a moment. The feeling of unity was strong. Everyone was clearly excited and filled with anticipation as we wondered how God would use the fast to guide our church and her people. It was an amazing experience I highly recommend to those medically able to fast (have to throw that in there!). Hunger has a way of breaking down the walls we place between ourselves and God. It intensifies our focus. Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights. I was lucky to get through three.

Prior to the second fast, I was told our church was establishing a partnership with missionaries in Africa. I was very excited. I thought about it occasionally and knew I wanted to visit one day. Then, the second Sacred Gathering commenced and the floodgates of all things Africa opened. They haven't closed.

OK, my time to write for the day has officially ended. There are two precious five-year-olds who want lunch. Now.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I thought it might be nice to explain my blog title. Timing is everything - as long as it is God's.

God's timing is often a mystery. We wait for answered prayer or events to unfold. We wait and we grow weary and impatient. Do you wonder if He hears you? Take refuge in knowing that our God "searches minds and hearts" (Psalm 7:9) and therefore knows every thought in our mind and desire of our heart. He often calls us to wait, but consider the promise for those who do:

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God."
Psalm 40:1-3

One recent day, after waiting patiently for several years to hear from God on a matter I committed to prayer, I began to see God's will take shape. It was a bad day. It was absolutely not how I wanted that prayer answered. We talked, God and I, and although I didn't confess these thoughts, God knew the reality of what lay in my heart: I've been SO patient, God, aren't I supposed to be rewarded? My way?

The answer is yes....and no. I will be rewarded. He will pull me from the mud (I think I'm about half out), He will set my feet on a rock, and He will put a new song in my mouth. He will do those things at His appointed time and, to answer the second question, in His way. If you are sick, do you want a doctor who will make you feel better or one who will make you well? In this case, my way makes me feel better. God's way makes me well. What will you choose?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Have you ever been brought to your spiritual knees?

I have. Several times. Several different ways. Same lesson each time.


God has been so good to me lately. I have felt His presence more often than any other time I can remember. He is right here being the perfect God He is. Several times recently I have been overwhelmed with His presence. I mean overwhelmed. I dropped to my knees, I gave thanks, and for a minute I thought, "Why? Why would God show up in such a powerful way when I sit alone on my couch, reading His Word, just trying to be obedient? Why would He do this for me?" The answers came within seconds and it is so simple. He just loves me that much. He loves all of us that much. And he wants us to surrender.

The call to surrender is powerful. For those of us who hear it, then dig in our heels more firmly, the message is this: you won't get the call if there isn't something to surrender! It can be hard, but the benefits are plentiful because surrender brings transformation. The transformation in us takes place in a way we don't often notice, but others do. It begins when we enter the process of surrendering our lives to God, piece by broken piece. We let go of worldy desires and focus on the desires of the Lord. The transformation begins.

My husband, Pete, and I discussed this several nights ago. The next morning I opened my devotional. The day's lesson referenced two pieces of Scripture. One of those was Romans 12:2. It says:

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what's God will is -- his
good, pleasing, and perfect will."

I guess it's time to pull my heels out of the mud.