New Article: 8 Non-Negotiables for Dads with Daughters- KirkCameron.com

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kirkcameron.com

Lately, I’ve been inspired by the importance of the daddy-daughter relationship and I wrote about it recently on KirkCameron.com. After all, I’m a Daddy’s girl myself!

This was my first article geared primarily for dads and I’ve been so humbled by the response it’s getting and have really appreciated hearing from readers. It makes me realize this is truly a need in our culture today. Feel free to share your thoughts over there and thanks for reading!

8 Non-Negotiables for Dads with Daughters

A couple months ago, my kids were playing upstairs when my two-year-old daughter Rebekah starts screaming at the top of her lungs. I ran upstairs to find that she’d cut her eyebrow from jumping off the bed onto her brother’s train table.

Since it looked bad, I called my neighbor for help so I could take Rebekah to the Urgent Care clinic. After waiting and being seen, the doctor explained that she’d need three stitches. The nurses and I held Rebekah down while the doctor threaded her skin. Her eyes filled with tears as she shouted, “D-a-d-d-y … D-a-d-d-y!”

Read the rest over on KirkCameron.com

Devotional: All for Good (Day 4)


1212536_open_bible Day 4

All For Good

Romans 8:28-30

By the time I entered college I knew I loved people and writing. I also loved learning about God’s word. So I majored in English, minored in Psychology and got my Master’s in Religion. During all that time of intense study, I often wondered how all the pieces would fit together exactly. Some days were really hard in trusting God’s plan. Now being almost eight years out of school, it’s been humbling to see how God was truly preparing me. I’m able to see some of the fruit of that discipline and how all the “knowledge” I gained then is being applied in my daily life now.

The apostle Paul says that those who love and obey God have many promises and one of those is that all things will work together for their good. This is not a promise that our lives will be free of pain and suffering and trial, but a promise that in all the things God allows into our lives, they will ultimately work for good. Why? Because we are in his hands. It is his working and his working is good.

By his grace, God has called us and chosen us for his purposes and plans. And if we are his, he will see us through to the end to our complete conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. In whatever circumstances and situations that come into your life, lean into God’s plan that he is working for the good even when you may not feel it.

Your life and ministry to others really does matter.

When the Christian Life is Easier Said Than Done

photo: fancyfleamarket.typepad.com

Yesterday I went over to a friend’s place to visit. What I’ve always appreciated about this friend is her authenticity when it comes to her struggles in raising three children.

Her husband walked in the door as I was attempting to round up my kids. The three of us got into a good, unexpected conversation about hearing vs. actually doing God’s Word.

“We were inspired by our pastor’s sermon on Sunday. We were encouraged to do God’s will. We were convicted in areas that need change…” my friend said.

“Then we got home,” she sighed.

“The kids were horrible. Things felt chaotic. We exploded a lot and were so discouraged because just a few minutes ago we were so on fire to live for the Lord. It’s as if we forgot everything we’d just heard…”

I continued to listen to her story and couldn’t help but think how she was articulating exactly how I’d felt so many times. Especially on Sundays!

Just the other morning I got up early to read my Bible and journal while my husband did his quiet time. It had been well over a week or more since I had been in the Word. The kids weren’t up and I was savoring the alone time. I thought for sure it would be a good day but within the hour it was as if the house erupted. Or shall I say, Momma erupted.

If you took a peep into my window you wouldn’t have found a gentle, godly woman who had just been with Jesus. Anger exploded out of me toward my kids and I felt overwhelmed by all the change that’s happening with our move, graduation, and new baby. Sadly, I’d forgotten all that I had read.

Shortly after, I was reminded of the verses in James:

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it- not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:23-25

That evening before bed, I prayed and begged God to help me in the areas of my life where I not only fail but fail big time. In that time of soul searching, He showed me how much I need His grace and that this Christian life is a process- a process of sanctification that doesn’t come over night.

And that “doing” the Christian life is pretty much impossible apart from His truth and guidance. Doing good-outward-acts can’t be mistaken for a heart that’s truly been changed by Christ.

His Word has been given to me as a gift so that I would know how to live, but I can’t be changed if I’m not “looking intently into the perfect law that gives freedom.”

I’m thankful that regardless of my imperfections and weaknesses, God is still at work in me. He’s always pursuing me to come back to Him for the healing I need so badly. He knows I’m a work in progress.

And I think more times than not, I need to celebrate and remember the times where He has allowed me to be victorious in the struggles against sin, rather than focusing so much on failures and falling short.

His divine power has given us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3)- even in the challenging times of raising little ones. So as for today, it’s time to shake the dust off, confess & repent of sin, accept His forgiveness & love, and continue living by faith in his son.

Feeling the Crave

This is a guest post I wrote this past weekend for popular author and speaker, Margaret Feinberg. Margaret is the real deal and it was a privilege to be a part of her platform.

Immediately after my son’s birth, he was quick to let me know what his taste buds longed for. He craved milk for what seemed like every hour of the day and on into the night. Without that sweet, nourishing milk, he would cry out in absolute desperation. When his need was met, he was the most satisfied baby in the world.

The desire, frequency, and intensity that a newborn baby has for milk is the same kind of craving we’ve been exhorted to have for God’s Word. While I know that God’s Word is necessary for spiritual growth and maturity, actually spending adequate time in Scripture in the midst of life’s demands is challenging. And sometimes I feel like I crave everything else but God’s Word…

Read the rest over on Margaret Feinberg’s blog and join the conversation.

When You Struggle to See the Light

Yesterday while we were playing on the floor, I stood Rebekah up so she could grab on to the couch and balance herself. She had this big grin on her face as she stared at the wall. She was gazing at the painting we have above our couch of The Last Supper. The light from the sunset shined through our window reflecting on Jesus’ face- not any of the disciples sitting at the table, but just Jesus alone.

It was the sweetest thing. Rebekah looked up at the painting another time and smiled again. And it convicted me.

That beautiful moment reminded me how Jesus’ light shines among the darkness. His light shines into my sinful heart. The sinful heart I’ve had for what seems like… all week- unfortunately! I’d prefer not to have to admit that.

I’ve been angry, impatient, irritable, difficult to live with (just ask my husband), and unable to control my emotions with broken sleep. Did I mention I don’t do well off little sleep?! I’m in a season of struggle spiritually. My time in God’s word has been minimal due to laziness, exhaustion, and my own excuses. I’ve been struggling in this season of motherhood with the demands of a two-year-old and 7 month old, among other challenges.

I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in a deep pit. And I’ve wanted out!

Well on Monday, I was able to get in the Word after the kids were down and read the first two chapters in James. And on Tuesday, I read the third chapter. And on Wednesday, I prayed that God would keep moving and give me the desire to be in His presence even when I don’t feel like it and even when I struggle.

It’s often that my pride says I need to be perfect and have it all together spiritually or else I can’t come to Jesus. But I’m realizing that’s a lie. The biggest lie there ever was.

We struggle and that’s why we need Jesus. We need him desperately and even when we’re ashamed and try to hide our own darkness, we need only to look to the Light. And to keep looking again, and again, and again so that He can do something great and life-changing within us that we can’t do on our own.

Thankfully, the last two days have been perfect nights of sleep for us. I’m starting to see hope again. I pray that whatever struggle or trial you’re facing (small or large), that you will run fast to the Light and cling to Jesus in your struggles.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1:7

Words that bring Life

On Tuesday morning, I crawled out of bed exhausted from a restless night of sleep and being up at 4Am with Rebekah. I sat on our living room chair trying to gain composure as I fed her once again. Then out of nowhere, my toddler John runs right up to us and pinches her face (a common thing these days). She starts crying and I yell out “No!” and for him to “Stop it right now!”

But what you might not see in writing is that my tone of voice was angry, impatient, and piercing. John started to cry because of the way I handled it and my heart ached because I had crushed his spirit.

One of my favorite writers, Ann Voskamp, wrote a blog post called, Why Your Words Matter Most, and in it she says: “All the words I had ever spoken, they are making my children who they are. What we speak into others, this is what they become.”

Growing up, my Dad and Mom told my sister and I that we could do anything we wanted in life. They spoke those words to us over and over again and I started believing them. Now being in my late twenties, I believe their words have really shaped how I view life. I also know of stories of friends whose parents spoke the opposite, and well you know the rest.

I think all of us, though, hold onto lies we’ve been told or lies we tell ourselves. We believe them so much that they leave us paralyzed from taking action and trusting in God. We might even need to let go of certain words (or the way words were said) in the past that remain etched on our hearts today.

This year, I want to make an intentional, disciplined effort to use my words to bring life to others– not death. And I want to lean more on the truth of God’s Word.

Well, after John’s pinching episode, I confessed my impatience to God and thought long about what I wanted to do differently next time. Even though he shouldn’t pinch his baby sister, my reaction should have been more patient and loving. I kissed his cheek several times and told him that Mommy was sorry and loved him very much.

contagious inspiration

I go through weeks where I’m inspired to write and weeks where I just write regardless if I’m inspired or not. The latter is definitely the hardest and not what I prefer, but it’s reality. For a while now, I have forgotten about the things in my life that help keep me inspired and motivated when it comes to using my gifts specifically in writing. Joys and delights like:

Slowly, I’ve been rediscovering these joys more intentionally and I’m realizing that whatever inspires me should in some form or another, inspire another person to move to action. To do something different.

Inspiration should infect other people. It shouldn’t be hoarded. Contained. Or kept a secret.

If the inspiration I receive is all about me, that would be a tragedy. The people who have inspired me the most in life, gave themselves away. And what they had to give was contagious, producing a ripple effect.

I know inspiration in writing will still come and go in the seasons of life, but I want to keep at it. I want to inspire others to take action in ways I will never know about.

What inspires you?

2 Things I really want for 2010

I have a few goals I’ve written down for this year. I gave you a little glimpse of them a few posts ago. I’ll write a few I’ve landed on:

1.) Spend more than 20 minutes in the Word daily. 2.) Exercise intensely 3 or more times a week for one hour. 3.) Write book proposal by July 23, then begin process of sending to agents. 4.) Pray for my husband and son daily for God’s will in their life. 5.) And… go see Avatar this week because everybody else is doing it!

I am happy with these goals as I feel they’re realistic for the season I’m in. BUT, something even greater stuck out to me while I was on vacation. A light-bulb turned on as I meditated on this verse:

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Prov. 3:3).

Steadfast love and faithfulness.

I want my life to be marked by these two things  in my relationship with Jesus and to others. And I sense the urgency in this verse to protect these things by binding them around my neck and writing them on my heart.

I think God is really saying something to all of us here. Perhaps that this wisdom can be easily lost and forgotten. I know people who have lost their love and faithfulness to God and it scares me because I’ve seen the devastation of what it can do. I too, have had times where my love for God is not as vast as the ocean like His love is for me. And it’s evident in how I treat others.

Proverbs 3:4 goes on to say, So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

I definitely want success in my goals for this year. I think we all do. But more importantly, I want the success that comes from loving God and loving His Word.

What about you- Is there anything you really want in your life for 2010?

When it’s just plain hard… to walk in the Spirit

Last Thursday on my way home from work, I noticed something dangerous in the left turn lane. One lady had hit another lady’s bumper. They were handling their insurance info, but their lights weren’t on making it difficult to see them. The one who got hit was frazzled and angered and the other looked humiliated.

As I drove by, I rolled down my window and yelled, “Excuse me… Put your flashers on!”

I didn’t think they heard me so I yelled it again: “Put your flashers on!”

Then all of the sudden, the woman whose car got hit turned around and yelled: “SHUT UP!” really annoyed at me.

By that time, I was too far ahead to respond. But I thought, I’m just trying to keep you safe lady. I understood her frustrations and I probably sounded like I was nagging  but I really was out for her good. They would have been in really bad shape if another car hit them.

I feel that little situation was a good picture of the Spirit’s work in my life lately. There have been several times I’ve sensed the Spirit telling me: “Put your flashers on!” (or that sin is really going to hurt you and others).

I forget that every day I’m in a battle from the time my alarm goes off. Satan wants my heart, mind, and soul. My flesh wants to be critical, impatient, unloving, angry. It wants to steal my joy and keep me from singing (and writing.)

And I admit that some days are just plain hard to walk in the Spirit. I am so selfish and sometimes it seems like the more I try to grow in God’s word, the harder the struggle is.

But I’m trusting that God is doing something. He’s disciplining me. He’s teaching me to yield in obedience, instead of saying “shut up!” He’s letting me know that with God’s power, I have the ability to be led and controlled by the Spirit any time and any place.

I’m not sure if those ladies ever turned their lights on or not, but they reminded me of something that day.

Do you ever feel like walking in the Spirit is like taking one step forward and two steps back? Any interesting crazy holiday traffic stories out there?

the day my true love died

1212536_open_bibleJeremiah’s been reading through the book of John for one of his seminary classes. Last night, he was thrilled to tell me all about what he was learning while I was cleaning up the kitchen. And I love that I get to be the one to glean from it. He then blurts out, “I’ve gotta watch the Passion.”

It’s a little late. It’s like 2 hrs. long and it’s not one of those movies you can just pop in and play. It takes mental and emotional preparation… is what I’m thinking. I thought about doing my own thing and not watching it with him, but I decided to get on the couch and join him.

It was my third time watching it (with the exception of a few scenes) and some thoughts came to my mind that have encouraged me today:

  • Jesus’ humanity– even though he was God, he came down to earth as a man and lived in our shoes. He experienced rejection, suffering, hunger, thirst, laughter, tears, and alienation from those closest to him. He understands the pain I experience today.
  • Jesus’ love– he didn’t have to go to the cross for us, but he chose to because it was his father’s will. It was the only way for man to be saved from the penalty of sin. His shed blood on the cross makes us free and alive today. The cross is the ultimate proof of his love for me today.
  • Jesus’ perfectionJesus came as a man but he was holy and perfect in every way. YET, He took on our sins for us so that we didn’t have to pay the debt. No matter where we’re at today, he invites us to come to him in all our sin, brokenness, junk, hurts, habits, the whole 9 yards. What Jesus did 2000 years ago, requires a response from me every day that I live.

After getting my pride behind me, I was really thankful to be reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice and I know it will probably be a while until I watch the Passion again.

And I can’t help but think of Phil Wickham’s song True Love:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gU-ejQxEXk&feature=player_embedded]

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