Jan 30, 2015


What force can stop a mother bear when something comes between her and her cubs? 

What floods the heart when one of our children wanders out of sight? Will we not rest until we find them? Will we not be urgent in our search?

I was sitting cutting coupons when the small missing children section on the back of the ads caught my eye. A school photo of a little boy and his digitally aged photo next to it. He disappeared at 9 years old. He'd be 35 today, the same age as my husband. And they're still looking for him after 26 years. Someone hasn't given up the search. 

Do you think mothers resonated with Jesus when He said the Good Shepherd would leave the 99 sheep to find the missing 1 (Luke 15:4)? What's 1 sheep worth when you have 99 others to oversee? A mother might know if it were hers.

Jesus obviously knew. Afterall, they are His sheep. Not one is replaceable. Not one should be lost.

A handful of mama friends have had nightmarish dreams lately. Dreams where  their children are missing. The panic and anguish felt as if it were playing out in real life. In their dreams, some moms had to break down a barricaded door past an armed man to get to their child. Some had to search with no help or aid from anyone around them, people who could have taken up the search as well but were unconcerned, unmoved, annoyed. In my own dream I had to ask a person who didn't speak my language to help. And while some children in the dreams were found, they had been found in horrible situations, had been abused or were being abused when their mothers finally found them. Still other children were yet missing, the mothers still frantically searching as their dream ended. Their children had been snatched, had been hidden away, had vanished without a trace. Each mother's heart raced and ached as the dreams ended, shaken to their very core. 

While these dreams could be just excused as a terrible nightmare among any number of dreams, I believe The Lord is speaking to His Church. The kind of fierce determination a good mother has to keep and protect her children is God-breathed; that's His character. He's stirring the mothers, those who can't imagine losing any of their children, who will put up a fight and stop at nothing to get them back.

He knows this because He made us this way. And His children are missing. And He is not content to rest until He finds them and heals their wounds, calms their fears, restores their dignity and wraps them in His love. 

Begin with praying for your role in this as a mom. One of my mom friends who had one of the dreams I described was called out of the blue and given the scripture  "Listen, you women, to the words of the LORD; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament." (Jeremiah 9:20 NLT)
It's time we let loose the heart cry of God for His lost sons and daughters. His children are missing, and they are precious to Him. He desires that none should be lost (John 6:39).

“I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:3-4 NIV)

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— (Isaiah 43:5-6 NIV)

Jan 2, 2015


A mom fully spent and overdrawn on energy and kindness with tears brimming her eyes is not how I imagined Christmas to go (wondering if Mary the Mother of Jesus felt this way also leading up to the birth of her son?...) After a particularly trying week my unworthiness was evident to those daily living with me. Most aware of it myself, the depth of my despair greatly increased; I could not stand my own presence. Not having a moment to process any worthwhile thought, I fed on the garbage my fed up mind could produce. Unworthiness and condemnation grew and overcame me. I was defeated.

The Lord was still speaking during this time, however. His faithfulness and gentleness never ceases. It astounds me. Had I gone to seek Him when He was speaking to me, I could've avoided the pit of despair I sank myself into.

He'd whisper one word to me over and over: Showbread...showbread...showbread...

I had heard that word before, I knew it had something to do with the Temple.  He'd whisper it while I was putting away the mounting laundry, while I was out running errands I didn't want to run, while I was hovering on tired legs over a full sink that reminded me of what a dirty mess I was. Showbread...

I'd love to say I dropped everything and ran to look up what the Lord was speaking to me so sweetly. But I pushed it aside along with everything else that mattered. The clean sweep of "distractions" left me lonelier and feeling more helpless than ever. 

How could I come before God in this Season of celebrating Him when I've done anything but celebrate Him? 

Still feeling guilt and shame, He whispers Showbread. So this time I go look. I can't ignore the whisper any longer and I'm intrigued. 

Here is what I found on www.the-tabernacle-place.com:

The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It measured 3 feet by 1.5 feet and was 2 feet, 3 inches high. It stood on the right side of the Holy Place across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests baked the bread with fine flour and it remained on the table before the Lord for a week; every Sabbath day the priests would remove it and eat it in the Holy Place, then put fresh bread on the table. Only priests could eat the bread, and it could only be eaten in the Holy Place, because it was holy.

“Showbread” also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence. The table and the bread were a picture of God’s willingness to fellowship and communion (literally speaking, sharing something in common) with man. It was like an invitation to share a meal, an extension of friendship. Eating together often is an act of fellowship. God was willing for man to enter into His presence to fellowship with Him, and this invitation was always open.

Jesus exemplified this when He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes and the sinners of Jewish society. But this was more than just a gesture of friendship on earth. Jesus came to call sinners to Him, make them right with God, so that they could enjoy everlasting fellowship with God.

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. … Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” (John 6:35, 49-50)

God so desires our fellowship that He was willing to come to earth from heaven as our “bread of life” to give eternal life to all those who would partake in it. At Jesus’ last Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus described Himself as bread again:

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’” (Matthew 26:26)

Jesus’ broken body is our only access to fellowship with God. Today, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or communion, to remember this important truth. And today, as in the day of Moses’ tabernacle, God still desires to have fellowship and sit down for a feast with His people.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

I was in tears, as you can imagine, when I discovered what the Lord was wanting to show me. That He desires fellowship with me--always. He was my Showbread, that Bread of Life, so that I could commune with Him anytime. He made Himself the open invitation always before the Lord for me. My unworthiness had nothing to do with whether I could come to Him or not, because He took care of that on the cross. He made it apparent to all the world, not in a secret cove somewhere, but up on a hill scourged and naked showing all the world what He was willing to do so He could have me. 

So I come. With all my ugly and neediness, all my baggage--and it is not too much for Him. The invitation is always open for me to come. So I will run to the table where He offers Himself daily to be my Bread of Life in the presence of my Father. I am wanted here. 

There is a song that I've been singing lately by Audrey Assad called Lead Me On based on the 23 Psalm. It has all new meaning now that I understand what it all means. With raw abandon I sing it now with full assurance of its truth. 

You are my shepherd - there's nothing I shall want
Beside still waters You lead my spirit on
Your hand beside me no matter where I walk
Through darkest valley Your love is not far off.

And I will dwell in Your house forever 
Lead me on

I fear no evil, for You are with me
You set this table before my enemies
And You anoint me - You overflow my cup
And they will follow me, Your goodness and Your love.

And I will dwell in Your house forever 
Lead me on

Your rod and Your staff are a strange mercy
In a world where I'm not yet home.

Oct 15, 2014

October Reflections on Proverbs 31: Day 13, Verse 13

13 "She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands."

What's so significant about the resources she collects? Plenty! There was great wisdom in the choices that she made. You'll see both not only have many uses that benefit her family, but they also have a strong Biblical sigificance as well, providing us with some awesome spiritual parallels.

Wool comes from sheep. Lanolin can be gleaned from wool in it's earliest processing stage (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool). Lanolin is used in a lot of creams and lotions and has healing properties (it's actually used as a cream for breast feeding moms). Wool is hypoallergenic, has dual thermal properties (holds heat in, keeps heat out), flame resistant (firefighter garments today are made from wool), absorbant (the earliest cloth diapers were made from wool), breatheable (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool).

The spinning process of wool helps "the individual fibers attach to each other, so they stay together" (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool). The little fibers are coarse and help them stick together when spun. Because of it's thickness and durability, wool was used by Roman soldiers as a breastplates. There is strength in unity!

Hold on while I toe the line of cheesy--I want you to grasp this! God's Word gives us the picture of Jesus, The Lamb of God. He's our Provider and He does so in many unique ways. He's not limited to Savior alone. He clothes us in His own garments, the "wool" of Himself. He's the Healer Who soothes us with His healing balm. We who are clothed are able to soak in His Spirit, to "absorb" all He has for us. He provides us with our Breastplate of Righteousness because He gave His life for us. It quenches the fiery arrows of the enemy. He holds us together in the fibers of His love. We are strengthened because of Him.

Flax is planted in winter and harvested in late spring. It has "long strong fibers" that can be used for many things. lt also has "sky-blue flowers that open only in the morning...one of the most beautiful of all crops when flowering" (https://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/flax.php). One of the best times I personally can meet with God is the morning. There is something to be said about starting my day in presence of God, giving Him the first fruits of the day that seem to set the tone for the rest of the house ("If mama ain't happy..."). 

There is a tedious sun bleaching process flax must undergo before it can be worked into something new. A woman of noble character is not above the process; the harvest of blessings she is able to give her family is worth the effort. Physically and spiritually--do not despise the process.

"The scientific name of flax is Linum usitatissimumUsitatissimum means 'most useful'" (https://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/flax.php). Flax seed is a food source, linseed oil comes from this plant, it's stems can be used as wics for lighting, measuring lines, and the most important linen. 

"The Scriptures teach explicitly the significance of linen when used as clothing; it is the righteousness or righteous acts of saints. Put another way, it represents personal holiness and suggests that the person clothed in linen is in a condition suitable to approach God. In fact, one of the synonyms for a priest is one who 'wears the linen ephod'" (https://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/flax.php). 

A woman of noble character helps oversee the holiness in her home. We are not off the hook letting our husbands (or even the church) take full responsibility. 

In wisdom the woman of noble character selects the right resources that will benefit her family in a variety of ways. Specifically clothing. How we clothe ourselves matters to God. Wrap yourself, your family, in Him.

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (Ephesians 6:13-15)

"I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." (Isaiah 61:10)

Oct 11, 2014

October Reflections on Proverbs 31: Day 11 & 12, Verses 11 & 12

11 "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of his life."

Don't you love it when you can count on someone? It's hard to come by for sure! Remember the dreaded group projects in school? I guarantee there was at least one or two people in every group who relied on the rest of the crew to carry their load. 

Remember the other day when we said that noble character is not forced but it flows from the grace that we find in God? A woman of noble character can be found faithful. 

Faithfulness: one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 6:22). As you live out of the overflow of God's grace in your life others around us will reap a harvest of blessing. The Holy Spirit produces His character traits in you; His own faithfulness born of His Spirit. His goodness will follow you all the days of your life (Psalm 23:6). And all our husbands say, "Amen!"

As much as this is specific to a husband-wife, I can't help parallel this to our Heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus. He believes those things about His bride Whom He loves as well. 

God says you are capable, daughter of the King, because of His Spirit at work in your life (Titus 3:3-7). His grace for you is more than enough (2 Corinthians 12:19). And He has plans to "prosper and not to harm you" all the days of your life (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Come into the grace of God and live out of the overflow of His Spirit at work in your life. Those around us will be blessed beyond measure by the spiritual fruit of faithfulness in our homes.

Oct 10, 2014

October Reflections on Proverbs 31: Day 10, Verse 10

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." 

(Verses 10-31 of Proverbs 31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.)

"Wife" here isn't referring just to a lady with a husband. The root Hebrew word refers to women, wives, mothers: you.

I know so many moms who live under a dark cloud of guilt and shame for whatever reason. Not being good enough, being too hard on their kids, losing their temper, making a mistake, not being like so-and-so, not having that put-together look, their children don't measure up, not having a spotless house, etc. Guilt and shame are some of the two greatest immobilizers in the Kingdom of God. They convince you to keep them around to motivate you to to do more, to do less but they only produce defeat. 

How do we become a woman of noble character more precious than rubies? "Grace, grace, God's grace..."

You see the rest of Proverbs 31 is about all the things a woman of noble character does. But the doing doesn't come by striving. It doesn't come by trying harder. We can do our best to try to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect woman and still end up feeling like a failure. 

It's by God's free gift of grace. Our good works flow out of the overflow of what God is already doing inside us. And it all begins with grace. A stark contrast to the guilt and shame motivators, hope and joy we find in grace actually empowers us to do God's will: to love Him with our whole hearts and to love others as ourselves.

Look forward to rest of these verses we are about to study on a woman of noble character not as a check off list or a comparison chart. See it as a reality of what a woman overflowing with God's grace in her own life can accomplish. To be sure, a woman plagued by guilt and shame cannot not do much if she's bound by defeat. Grace enables us to be the woman of noble character more precious than rubies.

You are a rare find, mama. A treasure more valuable than precious gems. You are priceless. Don't let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. Let God wash you daily (evenly hourly or by the minute for those trying days) in His fresh grace. No amount of condemnation will spur you on to do His will. Only God's grace can produce life, that life to the full. Noble character isn't forced. It flows.

Oct 9, 2014

October Reflections on Proverbs 31: Day 9, Verse 9

"Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." 

  1. 1.
    a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy (synonyms: champion, upholder, supporter, backer, promoter, proponent, exponent, spokesman, spokeswoman, spokesperson, campaigner, fighter, crusader)

  1. 1.
    publicly recommend or support (recommend, prescribe, advise, urge)
Advocate is both a noun and a verb (Merrium Webster Online Dictionary). Mama wasn't giving Lemuel an option for either silence or indifference concerning the helpless. She was teaching him at a very young age the importance of advocacy for those who needed it. Afterall, he was in a position to help them. 

Do you know that we have an advocate? "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). Not only do we have the Holy Spirit working on our behalf, Jesus is our mediator to the Father in Heaven (Romans 8:34). You see, we come to the Father with nothing to offer and a great debt of sin against us. Our constant accuser keeps hauling us into the King's court. We are the helpless, the voiceless, the destitute. Praise be to God that we have an advocate and a Great Defender to take our case before the King and declare us righteous. 

What has been freely done for us we should also readily do for others; it is our great example. Silence in the face of injustice is really passive agreement. Lemuel's mother was holding her son to a principle later found in the book of James: faith in action. Children who don't learn compassion can grow into adults who don't show compassion. Our little children need to know they can make a big difference in our broken world now while they are small. Follow the example of Lemuel's mother and teach them how while they are young.