Tag Archives: righteousness


Fireworks are one of my favorite things in the world! I adore their pageantry, creativity and grandeur. With childlike abandon, I look forward to the 4th of July, researching when all the fireworks displays will occur and trying to squeeze in as many as possible.

foreworks imagesWhat I don’t like, however, are folks who purchase their own and insist on shooting them off into the wee hours of the morning. In the early morning hours of the 5th of July, I felt my house was under siege as the neighborhood booming and banging didn’t stop until almost 2AM. Who could sleep with all the ruckus outside my door?

Unfortunately, I don’t do well when my sleep is interrupted, so today I am bleary-eyed and irritable. I’ve been fervently trying to gut it out without a nap, so I also ardently pray, “Lord, help me get through this day.” Every few minutes I lift up this request because my eyes are droopy and my to do list is long.

Sometimes I feel a bit sheepish praying to God for something so trivial. I rationalize, “He has more important things to worry about like world peace, starving people or decaying morals. He doesn’t care about my lack of sleep.” But in 1 Samuel 1:15, Hannah states, “I am a deeply troubled woman. I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.”

Now Hannah had some real problems. She was infertile in a time when women were judged by the number of children they bore. She was one of two wives – a cultural norm at this juncture in history – and was experiencing a rival wife problem. I’m sure these challenges left her feeling frustrated and devalued. But Hannah poured out all of her problems, her entire soul, to God. Not just the monumental concerns, but the entirety of them.

It is easy to believe God is not interested in my sleeplessness, but God cares about everything. He is faithful and longs to fill our souls with peace regardless of what is bothering us. When we explain our feelings to Him, He bears our burdens. What is important is not the size of our problem, but the time we spend with Him. For it is in His presence, we are changed.

My sleeplessness may pale in comparison to your concerns. Maybe you are dealing with financial woes, relational difficulties, a bad medical report. Your life may be peppered with seemingly impossible situations that won’t be solved by a good night’s rest. But when you pour out your soul to God, when you get really honest with Him, He will faithfully replace your empty with His fullness, regardless of whether He removes your burdens or allows them to remain. Only in prayer do we experience the One and Only life-altering God.

Going to God with whatever is causing your head to ache reminds us that God is able. He is powerful. He is caring. To get through the worries, fears and hurts bring them to Him. So when you are feeling alone, scared or just plain tired, pour your soul out to God and experience the relief of divine arms wrapping themselves around you.

The best way to pray is with deep honesty. To gain that transparency, pray often- frequently opening up your life to God. Even if all you are praying for is a little sleep.

Starting Over

Where did this last month go? In between completing several projects and normal day-to-day activities, I feel I lost an entire month. Oh, I have some accomplishments to show for the time stolen from me via busyness. But towards the end of the month, I began to doubt myself, to beat up on myself, to wonder why I even try sometimes.

When I get this busy, I feel estranged from God. And a chilling panic sets in, that I’ll never be the woman God is calling me to be. Not only don’t I enjoy life, but I let it knock me down, paralyze me with regret and leave me wanting to spend the day in bed.

Almost everyone on the planet deals with the twin giants of regret from past failures and fear of failing in the future. They cause insecurity and self-doubt. Rushing through my days under pressure from deadlines is the reason behind my greatest defeat: letting my failures, sins and broken relations force me into throwing in the towel – into believing my dreams aren’t worth pursuing. Or that I don’t have the ability to breathe them into existence. I rush and push myself through the days and not get what I want. That’s because God gives me beauty all around, yet I fail to see His divinity in the mundane. I don’t see His love shimmering through a cold drink, a dog to snuggle close to at night, a text from someone inviting me into their day. I lose sight of His glory and replace it with my fears.

handsSo I think God had me (and you) in mind when He says in Psalms 37:23-34: The steps of good men (and women) are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal for the Lord holds them with his hand. Instead of giving into our fears, Jesus wants to empower us to overcome them. Because when we fail, He stretches out His hand and offers to help us up.

In getting up, we can set a new course. We can try again despite all our mistakes, maybe because our mistakes have made us stronger, given us wisdom, shown us a better path. Because we believe our steps are truly determined by the Lord, even when we fail, God is there holding us up and providing strength to wipe off the shame and begin once again.

When I get up again, I find myself more of the confident woman God created me to be purely because I’ve gone to Him for help. God understands the wounds of my self-doubt. Even when the beauty of our relationship fades into the busyness of my life, He is there beside me whispering, “I see your wounds. They are not invisible. Your wounds have value to me.”

That’s when relief spreads through my aching muscles and tired bones. A relationship with God is not about being perfect. It’s about growing more dependent on His perfect love. It is opening up, taking His hand and allowing Him the space in my heart to let His power work in me. Every time I depend on Him, I become more of what I was meant to be. And instead of giving in to fear and self-doubt, I choose to joyfully take His hand, get up and start all over again.

Missing Spring

When I lived in Chicago, my favorite season was spring. It was exciting, thrilling, invigorating to see green peeking up under the gray, drab snow. The budding trees, the tulips, the daffodils, the grass, long dormant, perking up to a warm emerald once again. Even the air smelled differently – infused with the faintest hint of wildflowers and roses long before the temperature rose above 50!

Despite the calendar heralding the beginning of spring, it is still winter in my heart. The hush is profound just like newly fallen snows silences the world. Naturalists tell us winter is preparation; there is growth going on underneath the surface. I don’t see it in myself…not right now. So, I resist the stillness, hoping my heart will not become more bruised than it already is.

Early Spring FlowersDuring the winter seasons of my life, I wonder if I’m valuable to God. Am I doing anything significant? How am I contributing? It is during winter I wonder why God has abandoned me, let me down, replaced conversation with mind-numbing quiet. I want to will myself into spring, into the season of enormous growth, of riotous color, of warming sunshine, so I keep busy. But that never works.

I try to see winter as necessary. While we both see my struggles, God sees more than that. He sees the growth within the stillness. The season of preparing. The repairing of my heart so when spring finally arrives, I will be able to grow, to bear fruit, to give.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” If you are in winter right now, you long for spring to replace the fallow ground with verdant fields. Despite the fickleness of the changing seasons in our heart, there is one constant. God loves us. He knows our circumstances. He understands our needs and our desires. Every day, forever, He is our companion, caring for us in ways we can’t comprehend. Every day, always.

Take heart, my fellow travelers in winter. Grab a hold of God’s hand. He will lead you into the spring waiting just over the horizon.