When All You Got is Crazy Hot

I don’t know about y’all but I stopped trying several weeks back. I stopped trying to fix my hair. I stopped trying to wear make-up. I stopped trying to do anything except sit in an air conditioned room and beg for mercy. What I’m trying to say, sweet friends, is that I’m hot. And when I stop to think that it isn’t even August? I can’t even. It’s too much.

I’ve been a bad blogger this summer (let’s blame it on the hot) but big things have been taking place. My family and I have moved from a city of about 40k to the cutest town ever with about 800 of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. I’m talking homemade salsa, freshly baked doughnuts and sweet corn delivered to your front door kind of nice.

We ventured out into the heat to have lunch at a little cafe on the square where we immediately announced our presence by spilling an entire cup of pink lemonade on the floor. That’s just the way we roll.

sun

I saw a verse in a friend’s Facebook post and I have been thinking about it all day. It’s in the book of Isaiah and I particularly like The Message paraphrase of it.

While I wait for God as long as he remains in hiding,
    while I wait and hope for him.
I stand my ground and hope,
    I and the children God gave me as signs to Israel,
Warning signs and hope signs from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    who makes his home in Mount Zion. – Isaiah 8:18-22

There is something about these long, hot, humid (did I mention hot?) summer days that seem to be never-ending. They make a girl want to cry out, “How long, O Lord, how long?” Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration but only slight. We’re all just holding on and waiting for October.

There are seasons like that – seasons where success is simply making it through the day. We’re not waiting for cooler weather but we’re waiting for God to move it some way – to make His presence known. Everything seems hot and dry and we’re desperate for something to refresh us. Waiting is tough.

The prophet Isaiah knew a little something about waiting. Things were difficult and God was hiding His face from the house of Jacob. But Isaiah refused to lose faith. He was determined to stand his ground and continue to hope. He was so committed to His God that he offered himself and his children as signs of warning and of hope that would point others to the God who still ruled in Zion.

love

 

May that be our attitude even in the midst of the dryest season. No matter what fear and hysteria the world attempts to instill in our hearts – we can stand our ground and hope.

No matter the anger and anxiety flooding the news and filling social media – we can stand our ground and hope.

No matter the brokenness that invades our homes and relationships – we can stand our ground and hope.

We can live in a way and raise our children in a way that points others to the God who has not relinquished control.

You are loved.❤

darkness

4 Gifts in the Wilderness

In my mind, the wilderness is rarely (and, by rarely, I mean never) a pleasant place to find yourself. The wilderness is the scene in a movie where the creepy music begins playing and the lady running in stilettos from a would-be kidnapper is about to trip over a tree root and fall helplessly to the ground.

A couple years ago, we were housesitting for a friend and I decided to take a walk through the woods. It seemed like a good idea when I began. There came a point, however, when the sun had begun to set and every shadow seemed like something off of a Criminal Minds episode. Let’s just say that the walk back to the house didn’t take me nearly as long as the walk out.

No doubt, you have had your own wilderness experiences.

wilderness

God has recently revealed something to me about the wilderness. The wilderness is not a place of punishment. We think that, don’t we? We look at every struggle and we wonder what we did wrong. We see others living seemingly easier lives and it all seems unfair. I know what you’re thinking – Get outta here with that “unfair” talk. Fine, maybe you don’t use the fair/unfair argument. Whatever. I’m just going to leave it there on the off chance someone else has ever felt that way.

As I study Scripture, I have learned some interesting things about the wilderness. It’s not a place of punishment. But the wilderness IS a place of:

  • Protection: (Exodus 13:17-18) When God rescued His people from the slavery they were enduring, God did not take the quickest route. When I set my GPS, I always choose “quickest route.” But God knew that the quick route held dangers of its own. God chose to lead His people into the wilderness to protect them from the poor decisions they may have made on the fast track home.
  • Passion: (Hosea 2:14) The world is loud and full of distractions. Sometimes, the Lord leads us into the wilderness to remind us of His love for us – to refocus our hearts on Him. He wants to stir up the passion we once had for Him.
  • Prayer: (Luke 5:16) Jesus would pray in the wilderness. In fact, Scripture says that He “often” withdrew to “lonely places.” Have you ever felt incredibly lonely? Could it be that God purposely puts us in those lonely places so that we are perfectly situated to hear from Him?
  • Provision: (Psalm 78:19) If your wilderness season includes financial struggle, there can be a lot of fear and uncertainty. Your God can provide a feast in the wilderness, my friend. God will provide an abundant harvest in a place the enemy can only plant seeds of doubt.

If you are currently in the wilderness, there are three things you need to know.

  1. The wilderness is not an accident.
  2. The wilderness is not for always.
  3. You are never alone in the wilderness.

There are gifts in the wilderness: Protection, Passion, Prayer and Provision.

You are loved.❤

Stacy

 

 

Face Your Fear

Gideon was well acquainted with fear. He was hiding from his enemies when God came to him. He felt weak and ill-equipped when God laid out the plan.

Save Israel from the hand of Midian… – Judges 6:14

Gideon considered himself the lowest of the low in terms of potential warriors for the Lord. It seemed that God was really scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one. All he wanted to do was hide and survive.

hiding

It’s a tempting way to live – hide and survive. But, when God calls you out, it is no longer a satisfying way to live. Even when the task at hand seems far more than you are capable of – especially then.

God looked at Gideon hiding from the world and called him a “mighty warrior” while he was still hiding. Knowing how God viewed him gave him the courage to step out and choose more for himself.

It’s tempting to stay within the comfort and familiarity of these walls. In a way, I hide from the enemy. And, the more I stay tucked away inside my safe place, the scarier it seems out in the world. Everything in me wants to simply hide and survive. Yet, I feel God pulling me.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of something and follow a crowd. That’s what happened with Gideon. God called him to save his people and all of the people gathered as if they were prepared and willing to help. Until God gives them an out.

Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead. Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. – Judges 7:3

Here’s your chance. If you want to give in to your fear, you can go home. And 22,000 did just that. The first people eliminated from being a part of what God was about to do were those who lived as slaves of fear.

Then comes one of the best verses in Scripture.

And the Lord said to Gideon… – Judges 7:4

Why is it one of the best? Because, after 22,000 men had fled from fear, Gideon was still standing beside the Lord awaiting his next instruction.

Gideon was not going to go home. In fact, he was going to face the very enemy he had been hiding from when God first came to him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of what God is doing. I want to be counted among those who stayed to fight.

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Have you ordered your copy of Devotions from the Front Porch? If not, it is on sale on Amazon for less than $10.00! Hop on over and get one. Also, if you have already ordered one, please take just a moment and leave a review so that they will keep it in stock.

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Happy Monday, my friends!

Stacy

 

 

Mom Talk Monday: Raising Wishing Flowers

I want to be an oak tree. And I want to raise oak trees.

I want roots that run deep. I want my acorns to fall nearby and plant roots that intermingle with mine.

Every bit of my flesh longs to stay put in the same place and for my children to stay in that place as well. I’m not even particularly picky about the specific location of that place. I’ve moved enough times that I have no ties that bind.

Yes, an oak tree sounds like the perfect life for me and mine.

Except, it isn’t.

I had the strangest thought as I sat in church. I sat listening to the sermon and looking around at familiar faces and I felt God whisper.

I didn’t call you to be an oak tree. I called you to be a wishing flower.

wishingflower

But a wishing flower has such shallow roots. A wishing flower is quick to release from the stem and fly whichever way the wind blows. A wishing flower doesn’t cling to the earth and it is quick to scatter.

While my flesh longs to be an oak tree and to raise oak trees, my soul knows that I am to be a wishing flower and to raise wishing flowers. It terrifies me, friends, but I am committed to living unafraid.

I am to hold loosely to the things of this earth and to teach my girls to do the same. We are to be quick to fly when we feel the breath of God blow even if it means we scatter. Just typing that sentence brought tears to my eyes because I long for my girls to always be close. Yet, I long even more for them to be close to God because that is the only place peace is found.

I can do a lot for them. I can give them a lot. I can serve them a lot. But I can’t give them peace. I can’t give them purpose. Only God can do that.

So, as much as it scares me, they are far safer living lives as wishing flowers in the hands of God than to live as oak trees in my back yard.

Two of My Favorite Ministries

One of my favorite part of blogging is being connected with ministries who do a fabulous job encouraging and loving on people. I have the honor of having posts on both of my favorite sites.

The first is Family Matters. I have been a contributor to this blog since 2010. The people are fabulous. The ministry is a breath of fresh air. It’s just good stuff. If you have ever been intimidated by another mom or felt inferior, this post is for you!

friends

The second ministry that I have come to LOVE for a healthy mix of humor and encouragement is For Every Mom. If you have ever feared being a failure as a parent, there is one thing you need to remember and this post will hopefully bring you some peace and comfort! 

Thank you all for being such wonderful readers! Happy weekend to you all!

❤ Stacy