“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” – Job 8:21

Posts tagged ‘divorce’

Shifting Scenes – Key 3

I sat in the front seat of the car while my mom went into the grocery store on a quick errand. The sky was a clear shade of blue today; no clouds were handy to block out the sun that beat down on the pavement with an intensity that Marylanders were beginning to accept as the new normal. Busy shoppers walked back and forth between their cars and the store.

As I watched the scene from the windshield of our minivan, I noticed a young man walking across the parking lot to the curb. He was listening to a huge set of earphones and doing a little jig while he walked. Instead of watching where he was going, his eyes were locked on an iPad that he held in front of his face. He only looked up after accidently walking into the curb and risking dropping his iPad on the cement.

I couldn’t help chuckling as I watched this young man who was so distracted by his interaction with technology. He had no idea what was actually going on around him because he was so focused on his virtual world. Aren’t we sometimes like this too?

There are always going to be things to distract us from what really matters: living every moment for God. Thankfully, we have a loving God who knows our weaknesses and who promises to give us strength to do what He calls us to.

Focus is the opposite of distraction. In Psalm 119:15, David tells us how he combats distraction when he says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” He keeps his focus on God by constantly thinking about his Word and by “fixing his eyes” on what God has done.

What do you spend your time thinking about? Technology? Friends? Circumstances? These things are all appropriate in their time, but they can begin to overshadow more important things in our lives if we don’t consciously take control. Ask God to help you keep your focus on him.

Key #3 is taking action. How do you consciously shift your thoughts to God?

A few weeks ago, Elaine had the great suggestion to write out your thoughts and prayers to God in order to sort them out. I’ve certainly found that this has helped me!

Christian Devotions Speak Up!

On Tuesday I was interviewed on the Christian Devotions’ Speak Up radio program! Speak Up has hosted interviews with people like Twila Paris, Aaron Shust, Jim Daly, Ken Ham, Alex Kendrick, the Duggar Family, and Blimey Cow!

You can listen to the interview using the embedded media player or by listening at this audio player. The part with my interview is from 10:30-31:30.

Also, go check out some of the other great interviews on the main website! Christian Devotions Speak Up

Be on the lookout for a full-length post tomorrow.  =)

Your Treasure – Key 2

For a little over a week, people from around the world have been united around their respective TV sets as they watch the 2012 Summer Olympics. We’ve cheered for our favorite competitors, felt their crushing disappointments, and shared in their joy as they come out victorious at the medal ceremonies. In a small way, we feel as though we have traveled alongside these national heroes on their journey to Gold.

But in reality, we only see a miniscule part of the journey that these men and women have traveled to have the opportunity to compete in the Olympic games. We see the culmination of years of intense training in these short two weeks. The winning Olympians have invested literally thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars into training for the games, occasionally even experiencing foreclosure or bankruptcy because of their choice to compete.

So why do they do it? Why spend your life pursuing something even though it means sacrificing so much? They do it because they want a Gold medal, and they are willing to train, spend, and focus in order to get it.

We can learn a lot from these extremely dedicated men and women. Jesus says in Luke 12:34 that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What do you treasure? Probably not a Gold medal, but what is it for you? Good grades? Lots of “likes” on your Facebook status? Or do you treasure your relationship with Jesus above all things?

In a world where there are so many things vying for our attention, we have to make a special effort to keep Jesus as our treasure. Olympic athletes plan everything around their training schedule so that they can devote hours every day to getting better at their sport. We can learn from this in planning our time to best pursue our Treasure too.

Key #2 for keeping your thoughts on Jesus is to make Jesus your treasure. What ideas do you have to do this practically? I’d love to hear!

The Skink

All eyes were fixed on the man at the front of the room. Nobel Laureate John Mather, a respected scientist and NASA employee, was giving a lecture to the large crowd that had gathered to hear him speak. The room barely had enough space for the eager assemblage; several sets of people chose to sit on the floor because there was not enough space in the chairs. No one dared to make additional noise for fear that it would cause them to lose one of the precious words that came from the scientists’ mouth. Everyone knew: hearing this lecture was the most important thing they could be doing at the moment.

Enter: the skink. It started as a flicker at the corner of my eye. I turned, but didn’t notice anything strange near the group of people sitting by the glass doors. Soon I was lost in the speakers’ words.

Flash. I saw something again, and this time the girl next to me had also turned to look. A second later a little lizard had crawled into the room by coming under the threshold of the glass doors. Several people on the outer row of the audience were watching, amused, as the intruder scuttled along the base of the wall in search of a cool, damp place to settle down. The girls sitting against the wall were not quite as amused.

Then a second skink popped its head out from the doorframe to join its friend in looking for a break from the sun. People in the crowd continued to point and chuckle quietly as they noticed, one by one, the drama unfolding on the side of the room. The lizards had stolen the show.

Do you have lizards ruling in your life right now – things that seem so important that they distract you from hearing the Person whose words are the most vital part of your life? Ultimately God should be the star of the show in our lives. Psalm 104:34 says it this way, “May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.”

What do you spend your time thinking about? Maybe you are tempted to spend every waking moment analyzing and re-analyzing a problem if you have had a divorce or other tragedy happen recently. But no matter how many times you go over your problems, you won’t be able to solve them alone! Remember the One who should be on center stage.

Tell me, what do you do to keep your thoughts centered on God? I’d like to highlight some of your ideas in an upcoming blog series!

Peace in the Bizarre

It was my mom’s birthday, and my mom, sister, and I were entering a small salon where we would get manicures to celebrate. When we arrived at the front desk, a short Asian man with spiky hair came towards me. “You ready?” he asked in a clipped accent. I sat at the table while he finished setting up.

He began by rubbing the surfaces of my nails vigorously with a sandpaper board. I was getting worried at the scratch marks appearing on my nails. “Is that good for them?”

“No.” He answered matter-of-factly.

“Umm, are you sure you should be doing it then?”

“No.” He paused for a second to look at me, and then went back to work.

“Okay…” I glanced over at my sister where she was waiting. She shot me an alarmed look.

The man transitioned to trimming my cuticles. To get my mind off the sharp object in his hand, I tried to make conversation.  “So, how long have you been working here?”

“This my first day.”

“Oh, okay…so what did you do before this?”

“Nothing. Just this.”

My attempts at conversation were failing. I saw his work license on the side of the workstation. “How do you pronounce your name?” I asked curiously.

“Oh, that not my license. That is picture of twin brother. I’m filling in for him today.”

“I see.”

Then I looked down at my fingernails. Three of the nails had red marks where blood was oozing from the cuticles. “They’re bleeding!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, that nothing.” He grinned mischievously. “This morning I was giving pedicure and lady moved just like you doing. Almost cut off my finger.” He showed me a bandage on the end of his finger and peeled it up so I could see the ugly wound underneath. “Poor lady, she didn’t come out so good. You should have seen it.” He made an ominous gesture with his hands.

This is a humorous (but true!) example of one of the bizarre circumstances that can enter our lives every day. Maybe the circumstance in your life is just as bizarre but not nearly as humorous. Maybe you are still trying to convince yourself that your parents really are getting a divorce.

I have good news for you: there is a way for you to have peace even in the middle of your most difficult trials. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” When your mind is on God, all your troubles dwindle in comparison to His all-consuming nature.

What trials are you trusting God through today? How are you working to keep your thoughts on Him?

P.S. – Come back next week to hear about the rest of this manicure visit!

All This Time

Britt Nicole is my favorite music artist because of the honesty in her songs. In, “Don’t Worry Now,” she sings frankly about the pain she experienced because of her parents’ divorce.  In one of her most recent songs, “All This Time,” Britt praises God for being with her all through all the hardest parts of her life, beginning with when she turned to Him after her parents’ divorce. God is her most constant friend because of their shared experiences.

If your parents are divorced, I’m sure you’ve been through some rough things. Besides the actual divorce, there are countless issues that come up after the divorce that you have had to work through. Thankfully, we are not alone in these experiences. God, our dearest friend and closest advisor, is constantly with us. Each new issue is a chance to grow closer to our Father. He has promised that he will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and we can rest in His companionship.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to listen to Britt’s new song. I’m hope you’ll like it as much as I do!

An Opportunity

ImageThe counselor’s office was neat and businesslike; the only identifying feature being a gold, engraved nameplate. My slightly plump interviewer flipped distractedly through the papers on his clipboard before clearing his throat and settling in for his umpteenth college interview that day.

He began with the questions I had expected from an interview at a Christian college, and he nodded politely as I responded, but I could tell that he had probably heard the same thing many times over. The next question was a little different: “What is the biggest spiritual lesson that you’ve learned?”

I thought for a minute before answering. “Well, I’d have to say it was through my parents’ divorce. My dad left when I was very young, and I didn’t grow up with a constant father in my life. But through the years God has been so faithful to take the place of a father and to show me his love in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.”

The counselor’s eyes grew more intent as I spoke, and I saw a change in his demeanor. He asked a few more questions about the subject and seemed genuinely interested this time. When I was done, he nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, thank you, that’s excellent.”

There have been several instances like this where I have been able to share specifically about God’s love because of my parents’ divorce. Guess what? You have this same opportunity if you have gone through a challenging time in your life! People – believers and nonbelievers – are usually more willing to listen to you if you have learned something through personal experience.

Psalm 66:16 says: “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” You have a responsibility to share the things you have learned about God – whether that is in the context of personal conversations or even to an audience! He has given you your particular circumstances and lessons for a reason. What is something you’ve learned through a hard time in your life? Leave a comment and tell me about it. I’d love to hear!