The Record Player

I have a record player in my head. Any time I am feeling down, or insecure, the record player starts playing. It’s a voice that goes over all my accomplishments. In high school you did this…When you were in college you did this…Remember that time you did that one thing? And all these things are the “good” things that I feel like I have done. Places where I have excelled. Things I have mastered. Memories of me being great. Basically a list of all my righteous deeds. 

The other day I was having an interesting conversation with someone about different religions and the main point that we landed on was “good works”. I was explaining that in Christianity, we don’t believe that our good works save us. The only thing that saves us is the work that Jesus did on the cross. His forgiveness of our sins. All the good deeds in the world won’t get us into heaven. Just the grace of God that is offered us through belief in Jesus. 

Now, I know these things. I’ve been taught these things for a long time. But that record player still exists. My list of good deeds makes me feel better about myself. Boosts my confidence, soothes my low self-esteem. Justifies my behavior. (Maybe I messed up here, but look, usually I’m a good person!)

Last night I heard the record player turn on, but instead of listening to the voice, reliving all the good memories, I stepped back a pace, and questioned why this record player even existed? Why do I do this? 

I have been trying to take these thoughts captive today. Bring them to a halt. All those good things do nothing to give you worth. Your worth comes from being loved by Jesus. He is one that has done all the work, not you. 

This last Sunday I watched the first episode of the second season of THE CHOSEN. If you have not watched season 1, I highly, highly, highly, recommend it. You can get The Chosen App, free, in your app store and see all the episodes free. Season 2 is just starting to come out. 

Something that really stood out to me was the foreignness of Jesus. He said and did things that the disciples were not expecting, took them off guard, had them constantly guessing what was going to happen next. This stood out to me because I feel like now, so many years later, we think we have Jesus figured out. We have the scriptures to read, we know the stories, we have developed elaborate traditions around the life and work of Jesus. He fits very comfortably inside a beautiful box. We are very comfortable with the Jesus that exists in our heads. And that comfortableness makes us complacent, stuck in our ruts. 

Watching The Chosen brought home to me that I don’t have Jesus all figured out. He is his own person, God in fact, and I do not understand all of his ways, nor do I perfectly walk in all of his ways. And I feel empathy with the disciples. They didn’t get it right away. In fact, even after three years of walking with Jesus, (in person!) they still messed up sometimes. And my heart feels full of thankfulness at the grace Jesus gave the disciples and that he gives me, now. Yes, I’ve been walking with him, most of my life, but I still sometimes completely miss the point. My record player turns on and I cling to my own good works, completely forgetting that I am saved by Grace, Jesus’ work on the cross, His Forgiveness. My worth comes, not from being a “good” person, but from being a child of God. 

But Jesus

Easter = Hope

Imagine a life without hope. 

You’ve got an addiction? Sucks to be you. Guess it will kill you in the end. 

Family dysfunction? Guess you got unlucky. Too bad. 

Fear is ruining  your ability to live a normal life? Oh well. 

You’ve got wounds from past trauma? That’s life. 

Incurable sickness? It was nice knowing you. 

Going to die soon? I guess that’s the end of your brief existence. 

There are two words in the Bible that one of our preachers pointed out was the most beautiful thing ever written…

But, Christ….

Lord. Savior. Messiah. Emmanuel…Jesus. But Jesus.

[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,  and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

    because he has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

    and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free, 

    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:16-19

But, Jesus. 

I was stuck in my sin. Dead, unable to help myself in any way. But Jesus. 

I was damaged goods. But Jesus. 

I was lost. But Jesus. 

I was alone. But Jesus. 

My eternal soul was sentenced to hell. But Jesus.

Surely he took up our pain

    and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

    stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

    and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

    each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all. 

Isaiah 53: 4-6

As we enter this Easter weekend may the Hope of the Lord fill your life. 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 9-13

But Jesus. 

I was lost, but now I am found. I was dead. But now I am alive. I was depressed, anxious, alone, broken. Now, I am healed. Part of a heavenly family. Secure. 

But Jesus. 

Happy Easter everybody.

Doing the Jesus Thing

I was jerked awake this morning in the early hours by a weather alert on our phones. The emergency signal had me jumping up, grabbing my glasses, ready to go gather kids into the basement. I was sure it was a tornado warning as the news had been telling everyone to stay alert for that kind of weather. My husband rolled over, grabbed his phone, and told me it was a flood warning. Not a tornado. I sat on the edge of the bed, heart pounding, totally confused. Ok. I don’t need to jump up. Lay back down. We don’t live in a flood zone, the only thing that’s going to happen to our house is for the unfinished basement to get flooded, which it does regularly during heavy rain. I laid back down, but now my heart was still thumping loudly and it took me a long time to get sleepy again. Instead I lay there and listened to the rain and the thunder and lightning and I thought how wonderful it is to hear these things from the comfort of my warm cozy bed. 

Lightning is an issue for our property. We have a large lot, almost half an acre, and during our almost fourteen years of living here, we’ve had three large trees struck and killed by lightning. We’ve also had another tree blow over onto our house. And we’ve had a chimney get blown over. 

I lay in bed and remembered these things, but also remembered that no one got hurt. Insurance helped cover the costs of repairs. And we only have two large trees left. In my constant optimism, I was sure they would be fine. 

Surprisingly, no children ran down to shelter in our room. I’ve got several kids who are not fond of thunderstorms. 

Of course, while I was happily weathering the storm in my cozy bed, there were other people dealing with flooded houses, blown over trees, and other weather-related disasters. 

We have a tendency to do this. As long as we are happy, we can forget about other people’s suffering. 

I read an interesting article yesterday in The Atlantic about the barge that is stuck in the Suez Canal, affecting the world’s shipping industry. The article was talking about how everyone is suddenly becoming aware of the shipping industry and how our goods get one from one place to another. And how this awareness is something that the large companies don’t want us to have. The stores want us to see goods and products that we like and then buy them. They don’t want us to think about underpaid factory workers in poor countries who labored to make those products. They don’t want us to think about this system we all participate in, where the poorest people in the world are taken advantage of so that we can have all the cheap things we want, whenever we want them. If we all actually thought about this when we were shopping, we might make different decisions about what we buy. 

Same theme. I’m fine. I’ve got what I need. I don’t need to think about what other people are going through. 

I’m reading a good book called The Guardians by John Grisham. In the book, a small organization works at helping inmates who have been incarcerated unjustly. People who are innocent. They spend years on each case. It’s a nonprofit. They don’t get paid. They eek by with donations and fundraising. The story is essentially about people who are purposefully looking at someone else’s problems and turning their own lives upside down in order to help those people. I don’t think it’s an accident that the main character is an Episcopal Priest. It’s a very Jesus thing to do. 

Love your neighbor as yourself. It sounds so simple. Sure, I can be nice to people. But, can we look past our own contentment and ease, and purposefully try to see the problems of people around us? Can we turn our own lives upside down in order to help people in need? Can we lay in our warm comfortable beds, listen to the rain, and pray for those whose homes are being flooded? Can we check on family and friends and acquaintances who we know might not be in as safe a position as ourselves? Can we offer our own warm residences as a place of shelter for those who are out in the storm? Can we take our eyes off ourselves and see the people around us? That is, after all, the Jesus thing to do. 

Altar Call

I sit in the church pew.

My heart is heavy.

Life has been hard.

The service ends.

The call goes out.

Anyone who needs prayer, please come forward. 

I rise from my seat.

Make my way to the front.

Two saints step forward.

Head bowed, with tears, I try to explain my need.

Strong hands on my shoulders. 

Strong voices raised.

They come alongside me.

They pick up my burden.

They invite me to come with them,

And we enter the throne room.

They plea on my behalf, 

They entreat.

Together we lift our hands and say,

Help.

Please.

And I feel the Holy Spirit,

Washing over me.

I feel new strength,

Entering my heart.

I feel loved and seen.

Hope sparks again. 

We exchange hugs.

I turn and leave. 

Again reminded,

I am not alone.

My Valentines Weekend

I’m going to start this blog with a big shout out to my parents who babysat our kids all weekend and gave Andy and I a kid-free Valentine’s weekend. Yay! We had a stay-cation at home, went walking in one of the Urban Wildernesses here in Knoxville, had some great Thai food, took a long drive in the countryside today and watched several good movies. 

The last several years I have not been much of a movie person. Mostly just watching kid movies with the family. There haven’t been too many movies that could hold my attention. Watching movies with my husband is hard because by the time the kids are asleep, I’m too tired to stay awake for the whole thing. But, this weekend we watched FOUR great movies. We started off with “Greenland”, an apocolyptic movie with Gerard Butler, then watched an old favorite “Return of the King”. The second night we started off with an Amazon production called “Bliss”, which I would call an artsy fartsy kind of movie that fits it’s self-description of MindBending. Then we ended with “Critical Thinking” which tells the story of an inner-city Miami chess team that won a National competition. 

By the end of the second night of movie watching, I was starting to feel a definite acceleration in my heartrate. I started thinking about how fast the earth is spinning in order to make day and night (roughly 1000 mph!!!). And then I thought about how fast the earth is hurtling through space as it makes it’s yearly journey around the sun (67,000 mph!!!!!!). And I thought about how tenuous our humanity and civilization is. All of the movies showed how quick we are to turn to chaos and violence when we feel threatened or when we feel like nobody is keeping us accountable. And it felt like there was no safe haven here on this spinning ball we call home. I could feel my anxiety rising. 

And then I had to take a deep breath. And I had to re-center my imagination. Instead imagine myself  held in the hands of a mighty God. Sheltered. Safe. The universe in all it’s magnificence and awe simply the craftsmanship of our God. The people whose crazy behavior makes me so nervous, his workmanship too. God is heavily invested in them and I can trust in His sovereignty. God is heavily invested in me and I can trust in his plan for my life. 

This morning during our sermon at church (which we got to listen to remotely while we took our drive) our pastor touched on the Peace that God gives us. A peace that is not dependent on circumstances, but instead allows us to go through the storms and chaos calmly and with confidence. It’s a peace that will carry us through giant meteors hitting the earth, war, illusions, violence, the confusion of our world. 

This Valentine’s Day as we focus on love, I am once again thankful for the Love of Jesus and the peace that he gives. Our closest family members, our spouses, our children…they are not capable of giving us the never-ending, always enduring, never wavering love that we need to live our lives in peace. And while I am Very Very Very thankful for my husband and my children and my parents and all our extended family who love me so well, I know with certainty that their love can’t save me, can’t carry me through every storm, can’t give me the peace that I crave. 

And so I cling even tighter to the promise that Jesus Loves Me…the Bible Tells Me So… And as we rest in his love and his peace we are better able to love our spouses and children and parents and all the people around us.

Happy Valentines to you all. As we spin through space on this dangerous planet, may we live in perfect peace, resting in the love of our God and sharing that love with those around us. 

I am Unsinkable

The other day someone asked me how I was doing and an image came into my mind. Me as a rubber ducky out on the big ocean in the middle of a storm. Waves crashed over me and I bobbed in and out of the water, raced up and down monstrous waves, tossed every which direction. But I was still floating. I couldn’t sink. I was made to float and while I got dunked a lot, I always came back to the surface.  We recently watched the movie EndGame again. Thanos, the villain, has a line where he says, “I’m Inevitable”. And I find myself saying, with the same confidence, “I’m Unsinkable”. 

I can also tell you with certainty, that my confidence does not come from myself. It comes from a lifetime of following Jesus, and seeing time and time again, that he never fails me. It is being faced with crisis after crisis, hardship after hardship, and having the Holy Spirit fill me with His power so that I can press through. Survive. Thrive. It is standing up at Testimony time and saying, my testimony is that I don’t have any dramatic stories of how I fell to the depths and then God lifted me up. My testimony is that he kept me. Kept me from looking for love in the wrong places. Kept me from dangerous addictions. Kept me from being on the wrong side of the law. My testimony is saying, Look what God can do when you give him your life from a very young age. 

We were talking at our housechurch this past Sunday about hindrances people have that keep them from wanting to follow Jesus. I personally know people who feel like becoming a Christian is too big a sacrifice. There are too many things to give up. I would say the problem with this mindset is that they aren’t seeing the big picture. The following is an often-quoted excerpt from C.S. Lewis.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

I think about the richness of my life. I am not wealthy in worldly riches, but my treasures are uncountable. Eleven beautiful, amazing children who add worth to our world. Extended family and friends who love me. A husband who is 100% committed to our marriage and our family. A warm, peaceful home. A meaningful life that is full of purpose. A job that is so varied and complex that I can never grow bored and only rarely feels like drudgery. A church family that comforts, encourages, and constantly pushes me to grow. I am blessed beyond measure. 

There is no sacrifice in following Jesus. I have given up nothing of worth to walk this path. I have in fact gained unimaginable riches. My prayer, my hope, my longing, is that those who don’t have this confidence would be able to take hold of this truth. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Ephesians1:18-19b

Come join me. You too can be Unsinkable. 

For more information, here is a great article you can click on. https://www.faithward.org/how-do-you-become-a-christian/

Always Failing at Something

Do you have that One Thing that is always ready to jump out of the corner and condemn you? Like, you’re walking along, thinking that you are actually an Ok human being. You are handling life pretty good. In fact, you might even be doing well. And then that One Thing jumps out with it’s jeering face and says, Oh yeah? What about this??? And you hang your head in shame. Oh yeah. I forgot about that. I guess I’m not really doing that great. 

For me it tends to be a messy house. I’ll be assessing how the day is going. Ok, lets see. We homeschooled today, that went well. I’ve cooked all the meals. Had some good quality time reading aloud to the kids. I made a lunch for my husband. I’ve eaten healthy today. Got in my workout. Had my devotions. Yep. I’m doing ok. Then here comes the voice. 

Oh yeah? Have you looked at your house?? It’s a mess! You’re behind with the laundry! Those pots have been “soaking” for a really long time. The kids can’t find anything on their school shelf, it’s such a cluttered mess. We won’t even bring up subjects like mopping and dusting! 

And my little ego deflates. Oh yeah. I actually kinda suck. 

Of course, this is a glimpse into just how performance-oriented my self-esteem is. If I am doing good things then I must be good and have worth. If I am failing in any area then I must be bad. Not really worthy at all. 

And unfortunately, there is always something or some area where I am failing. And this means that my default attitude towards myself tends to be rather negative. 

It makes me think about my spiritual walk. Jesus is all about grace. But my default position, when I think about God, is that he is all about law. If you fail these commandments, this is the list of punishments you will get. If you aren’t careful, you will be burned up in God’s wrath. 

I have heard the sermons, I’ve read the scriptures. I know, in my head, that I am forgiven. That Jesus’ goodness covers over all my badness and cancels it out. I know that the Holy Spirit is living inside of me, slowly changing my heart to be more like Jesus. I know that he sees me through eyes of love and grace. But I still wrestle. My default is still law and punishment. Condemnation. 

I’m a work in progress. I have to constantly remind myself that I am loved, forgiven, a daughter of the King. 

So, today, as my brain started beating me up about what a horrible housekeeper I am, I tried to exercise some grace. Yes. The house is rather messy right now. So what? There’s a lot of good reasons why it’s in that state. Is the world going to end if it doesn’t get cleaned today? Nope. Does a messy house mean I am a horrible person? Not really. Are you ever going to get your house clean? Sure, I’m planning on getting it done this weekend! Ok. Then you are fine. You have permission to ignore the mean voice whispering in your ear. 

Romans 3: 20-24

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

What is Your Calling?

Today is cleaning day, and shopping day, and laundry day, and remodel the upstairs bathroom day. It’s busy. I am pacing myself. Or at least that’s what I told my husband when he walked into our room and caught me reading a book. Pacing! Honest! 

I have found in this marathon called life, I have to go slow and steady. So, I had already cooked breakfast for the family, cleared the table, taken two daughters with me and done a week’s worth of grocery shopping, came home, unloaded the car, supervised groceries being put away, checked to make sure that the kids’ bedrooms got cleaned…it was time for a break. And eventually, I put the book down, supervised lunch, got that cleaned up, set everyone to work on cleaning their “zones” (everyone gets a room or area that they have to clean), checked progress on that, and now, it’s time for a break again. 

This kind of leads into what I’ve been thinking about. How should we let the chaos in our country affect our everyday lives? 

I’ve been observing on social media the different ways that people have been responding to the recent chaos. Some people have completely withdrawn. Deleted their accounts, either to set up in a new place or be done with it once and for all. Some people are ignoring the situation completely, posting fun memes and things designed to uplift the soul. (I appreciate these posts!) Some people are sharing intelligent articles or essays that explain their positions in well thought-out prose. And some people are just very angry and it leaks out in everything that they say and post. 

In the last couple years, I have made it a point to tell my kids that it’s ok to be angry. Being angry is normal. Sometimes things happen that deserve our anger. But, you have to be careful what you do with your anger. You need to find a safe way to vent your anger that doesn’t hurt other people. Mockery, derision, name-calling, screaming, hurting…these are not appropriate ways to deal with your anger. Or at least, that’s what I tell my kids. I sometimes kind of want to tell other people that too. 

All of us are different. We all have different callings on our lives. I think this is a really good time to have an understanding of what God has called you to do. Are you a protector, an educator, a prophet, a nurturer, a peacemaker? A politician? We all have our callings. Me? My day job is a homemaker. I am a peacemaker by nature. I seem to have an inclination towards interceding through prayer. I try to encourage people through my blog. I keep an eye on what’s happening on the political scene. I write letters to my representatives about issues that are important to me. 

I have come to the conclusion that the things that are happening in Washington DC are not in my sphere of influence. While I continue to pray for our country, LORD! Your kingdom come! Your will be done! I have not felt led to join a political party or try to convince other people to join my way of thinking. I have not been put in a position to affect the federal government in any way except through prayer and my vote, and an occasional letter to my Senator or Representative. That’s me. Everyone is different. 

My sphere of influence includes my family of eleven children. My husband. My home. The social workers and various therapists and lawyers I have met on our fostering journey. The teachers and staff at my kids’ schools. My church family. My blogging audience. My social media friends. This is the circle God has put me in. This particular circle does not need to hear my views on Trump and Biden. They need to hear that I love them, respect them, care for them. They need to hear that Jesus is always the answer. They need to hear that I am present in their lives and that I hope that I can help them in some way. 

This is my calling. 

So, how do I let the chaos in government affect my life? More time in prayer, and then focus on doing my calling to the best of my ability. It’s all I can do. 

My Word for the Year

I have seen several people, in talking about this new year that we are in, talk about how they have a Word for this year. There have been some pretty good words that people have picked. I’ve been impressed. 

I have never had a Word for a year, something that I am focusing on, an area I am hoping to grow in. I decided that I wanted to get a Word too. The one that came almost immediately to mind was “Discernment”. And since January 1st, I have been thinking more and more that this is the exact right Word for me. 

dis·cern·ment

/dəˈsərnmənt/

noun

  1. 1.
    the ability to judge well. 

(google dictionary)

As I read the news, watch the conversations on social media, listen to the people around me, I am overwhelmed with how desperate I am for good discernment. The ability to sift the wheat from the chaff. To be able to tell truth from fiction. Wisdom. I need this. Desperately. 

As a Christian, I do have some direction on how to get this discernment that I need. In the book of James, God comes right out and says, If you lack wisdom, just ask me, and I’ll give it to you. (Just make sure you are asking in faith, not doubt.) (James 1:5). Jesus also says, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father if not by me.” (John 14:6). Jesus is truth. If I am wanting to know what the truth is, it would make sense that I spend as much time as possible with THE TRUTH. 

My Dad often told a story when I was young about a goldsmith who gives only one job to his new apprentice. He must sit all day and hold a piece of gold in his hand. After weeks of this, the apprentice complains, he wants to learn how to work with the gold and make beautiful things. The goldsmith nods, throws a piece of gold to the apprentice and tells him he can make something with that piece of gold. The apprentice catches the gold in his hand and then exclaims, Hey! This isn’t real gold! The moral of the story being that if you want to tell the difference between real and counterfeit, you have to devote your time to knowing the Real. 

I have been thinking about that story this January as I have sought after discernment. If I truly want to know truth, to have discernment, wisdom, then I need to be spending as much time as I can with the Original Truth. Wisdom Incarnate. 

The more time you spend with the Real, the more obvious the counterfeit is. 

We are living in a time when we are being bombarded by everyone’s version of “truth”. And people are angry when others do not agree with them. When someone else pulls out a different theory and says, No, this is really what’s true. It is a shaky, uncertain place where you no longer know who is speaking the truth and who is lying and who is just speaking in ignorance. I, personally, just want it to all go away. I want peace. But, there is a niggling inside of me that says, one day I’m going to have to make a stand. There will come a time when neutrality is no longer an option. And when that time comes, I want to be standing on the side of truth. And in order to do that, I need discernment. And in order to get that, I need Jesus. 

I Don’t Have Any Answers

My mind has been reeling the past two days, watching the news, watching what everyone has to say about the news. And honestly, I don’t feel like talking about it. The press has covered it Ad Nauseum, almost everyone I know has voiced an opinion. (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing!) As I thought about writing my blog today, I thought, well, I should address what is happening in the country. Give my opinion. And I have finally realized that I really don’t want to do that. 

First, I feel like my opinion is half-baked at best. I am bewildered, torn, and kind of feel like I’m in the middle of a blizzard of information and ideas. I don’t know anything and I don’t have any good thoughts to share at the moment. 

Second, I really don’t feel like I have a finger on “What does the Bible say concerning these matters?” I am still searching and praying. I don’t know. 

So, let’s talk about how we’re doing with just life in general right now. 

Do you realize that we just finished a month and half of celebrating: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years? And did you know that it’s a common phenomenom that when you have an emotional high, it’s followed by an emotional low? I for one am sitting nice and firm in that low. My kids went back to school this week and I started homeschooling again. The kindergartner was not happy to start homeschooling again. It’s taken me to Thursday to get him through a normal school day in a normal amount of time. And then this afternoon I got the news that “due to the possibility of inclement weather” all the kids will be home for virtual school tomorrow. 

Wonderful.

Tomorrow I also have to take my 7th grader to get a covid test because he is having surgery on Monday morning. Something that just got scheduled this week. (I’ve never had this doctor’s office move so fast in getting a surgery lined up.) It’s an old complaint. Fluid in his ear causing hearing loss. He already had six sets of PE tubes when he was little. We’ve had a good long stretch of no problems, but now it seems it’s back. 

Our family has managed to stay healthy through all this Covid junk, but it’s concerning to me to hear, every day it seems, of more people I know who are sick with it. My daughter is going to bed right now and told me that she is cold, even though she is wearing really warm pajamas, socks, gloves, hat and is under a blanket. All I can think is that she’s getting the chills that come before a fever. And I just feel tense, wondering if the three days back at school was enough for her to pick up something that will now spread through the whole family. Who knows. We’ll see. And, as I think about it, if this daughter ends up getting sick, it will probably affect the other child’s surgery. Uggh. 

Emotionally I’ve been struggling with feeling like a failure. The old voices are speaking loudly in my head. 

So, here I am, just hanging on, and then the news explodes and everyone’s social media explodes and I get all caught up in it. And I realize. I can’t do this. I can’t let the drama of this dysfunctional country keep me yo-yo-ing up and down. I’m already having a hard time without focusing on what’s happening in Washington D.C. 

Someone suggested on their Facebook that now was a good time to get off the social media and focus on Jesus and His Kingdom. And I have to agree. I need wisdom, discernment, love, patience, power. I’m not going to get any of that by focusing on the world. I will get that by turning my focus back on God. Repeatedly. Over and Over again. Habitually. 

I’m not saying that I’m going to just ignore everything that is happening in the world. I live in the world, my personal life is affected by what is going on out there. But, if I take a look at how much time I am devoting to every activity in my day, social media and the news should not be taking up the majority of my time. (And I can hear my husband in the background saying, AMEN!) 

So, that’s where I’m at. Post-holiday blues, regular stresses of taking care of lots of kids, trying to resolve to spend less time on the internet, more time in real life, more focus on the Real King. 

I’ll talk to you all later.