The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

Tag Archives: Prayer

When Jesus Asks for More

Welcome to all who are stopping by from Proverbs 31 Ministries today. I hope you’ll make yourselves at home. If you like what you find, feel free to subscribe to my monthly posts by signing up on the side bar. Or if you’d rather, we can connect on Facebook or Twitter.  Better yet, I’d love to meet you in person! I’m still scheduling speaking engagements for the upcoming year, so let me know if you’d like me to bring a message of encouragement to an event near you.

Over at Encouragement for Today, I’m sharing about that one small thing that has changed my life in a great big way. It’s a little prayer I learned when I was sixteen years old, and nearly three decades later,  I still pray it every day. Because I’m learning that in order to experience all of Jesus, I need to give Him all of me…

“I think Jesus is asking me for more…” my friend admitted as we lingered over steamy mugs of earth-brown java in the balcony of our small town coffee shop.

Her slender fingers broke her blueberry muffin into bitesized bits and she held my gaze as she fumbled with her food.

Our lives had been twined for years. We’d shared maternity clothes and potty training woes; carpooling schedules and marriage tips. We’d shared bleacher seats and book recommendations, prayer requests and parenting concerns. But just recently we’d begun to share the wee morning hours of our Saturday mornings.

Desperate for sisterhood in a season of diapers and discipline, short nights and long days, we hauled ourselves out of bed in the dark before dawn now and then and shared an hour of coffee and conversation before our children woke.

We were sleep-deprived and weary red-eyed, but we were learning the simple joys of bedhead beauty and yoga pants, unfiltered honesty and unbridled tears. And little by little, we’d  begun to share more than motherhood’s steps; we’d started sharing our strides of faith as well.

“What do you mean?” I asked in response to my friend’s forthright words.

“I don’t know,” my friend hesitated, her lips pursed into a soft pink question mark as she fumbled to explain the burden on her heart. “Lately I’ve been feeling like Jesus doesn’t just want just a part of my life; He wants all of my life.” 

I sipped slowly and pondered her words. And for a moment, I let my mind shuffle back to when I was  a sixteen-year-old girl lying beneath the stars at church camp.

That was the first time I’d been challenged to make Jesus my greatest dream, and the first time I’d had to admit that He wasn’t my defining desire.

I’d given Jesus my heart as a little girl, and I’d fallen in love with His lavish mercy and constant kindness. I’d valued His friendship and treasured His Word. But when the adventure of life had stretched before me like an undiscovered road, I’d wanted to blaze my own trail. I was content to have my Savior to travel beside me, but I wasn’t interested in inviting Him to lead and guide me. I wanted Him to fix me when I was broken, but I didn’t want to follow Him along the broken way.

I wanted all Jesus offered, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to offer Him all of me.

My friend squirmed in her seat and swatted a strand of hair that had slipped from her messy ponytail. “I don’t know if I’m brave enough to give Him all the pieces…”

Her honest declaration dangled over those muffin crumbs between us, and the first rays of morning light slithered through the dusty window beside us.

We peered beyond the smudgy glass and watched the sky alight with the pink-hued promise of a new day. And finally I asked in a raspy whisper, “So what are you afraid of?”

Quiet tears welled in my friend’s eyes; then she exhaled a jagged sigh. “What if I don’t like the life He’s dreamed for me?

The aroma of warm bagels and dark espresso beans wafted through the air, and I reached over those muffin crumbs and wrapped my fingers around my soul sister’s trembling hand.

I knew that flavor of fear. I’d drunk from that deep well of doubt for years.

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God’s Plan for Our Weakness

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.  

Whether you’re an old friend or a new one, I hope you’ll stay a while. And if you like what you find, don’t hesitate to subscribe to my blog or find me on  Facebook or Twitter so we can stay in touch. Better yet, I’d love to meet face to face.  I’m scheduling speaking commitments for the 2016/2017 school year. I’d  be delighted to join you at a special event this year.
Over at Encouragement for Today, I’m talking about how God has a plan for our gaps as well as for our gifts.  And I’m preaching that truth right here today, too, so keep reading and be encouraged!

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************  “Maybe God is asking you to serve out of your weakness instead of your strength,” my friend murmured as she reached for my hand and gave it a knowing squeeze.

We were curled up on the couch in the middle of a toy-riddled living room, ourconversation rising over the roar of the children playing at our feet. The baby cried. The toddlers argued. And the preschoolers swung between song and laughter. But those whispered words rose above the noisy chaos and pierced my heart with clamoring clarity and I wasn’t sure how to respond.

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We were just ordinary women sharing our dreams and our hearts over coffee and kids.
We certainly didn’t have life all figured out, but we’d learned that it’s far more fun to chase Jesus together. So we brought our worries and our worship to God right there on the alter of that spit-up-stained couch.

We prayed over our marriages and our children, our personal challenges and our private battles. We asked for perseverance in the daily grind and a sense of humor for the long-haul. And year after year, we begged God to take our humble lives and use them for His glory.

It was an audacious request, really. We were just moms who spent our days changing diapers, not changing the world. But time and again, we’d seen God answer that simple prayer. He’d opened doors for us to serve Him in our homes and beyond, and He’d infused our dreams with vivacity and vision.

For the first time in my life, I was comfortable with the me I’d been created to be and didn’t feel compelled to apologize for who I wasn’t. I could identify my gifts with gratitude and admit my limitations without guilt. And I was content to stay in that place, living from a place of quiet confidence and serving God with passion and purpose.

But then this ministry opportunity had fallen into my lap, and I’d asked my friend to join me as I prayed for wisdom in my reply. I’d assumed that I’d get a quick “no” from the Lord and move on without glancing back. After all, the job I’d been offered didn’t make sense. It didn’t line up with my natural gifting or maximize my personal strengths. It didn’t plant me in my sweet spot or ignite my personal passions. And the timing didn’t even make sense. My hours were already stretched to capacity with five little ones and a busy household.

Yet, after weeks of prayer, I felt in my spirit like God was asking me to say YES to this dubious invitation.

“I must be hearing wrong,” I’d told my friend when she’d asked me about it that morning on the saggy plaid couch. “I mean, why would God ask me to do this? I can think of a dozen people who are better equipped for the job than me.”

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Why Every Marriage Needs a Good Fighter

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

Whether you’re an old friend or a new one, I pray that you’ll be blessed as you linger in this place where faith is spilled and souls are filled.

If you like what you find, I hope you’ll stop by often or find me on Facebook or Twitter.  Better yet, I’d love to connect with you in person. I’m scheduling speaking commitments for 2016 and I would be delighted to join you at a special ministry event this year.

Over at Encouragement for Today , I’m sharing about how God used a wise widow to turn this floundering wife into a warrior!

I hope you’ll hop over to P31’s website and be encouraged. But before you go, keep reading and don’t forget to sign up for my give-away at the end of this post.

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  They spent the lazy days of summer building a secret kingdom in the woods.

They chopped and hauled, created and imagined, and together they designed a refuge where their stories came to life beneath a canopy of emerald green.

They were were pioneers and explorers, artisans and travelers, and their extraordinary tales stretched across the canvas of an ordinary July.
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Sometimes when the melody of their laughter seeped through the open windows as I washed the dinner dishes, I found myself wishing I could  lasso time with those old frayed ropes that hung like dingy curtains from the gnarled branches beyond the trees. And, now and then, when the sky birthed the orange of sunset and the dish water morphed from blue to brown, I’d grab my shoes and follow that path into the woods where whimsy reigned queen and imagination ran free…

“Let’s pretend that these stones are really diamonds…”

“And these big boards are super strong walls for our house…”

“And let’s say that that big branch is our watch tower.”

“Yeah! We’ll take turns sitting up there and looking for bad guys…”

“‘Cause we have to work together to protect our treasure…”IMG_5596

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And so it went–creating and playing, dreaming and defending– until one fitful August day when those siblings who had worked together to build a dominion of delight decided to stage an epic battle between the trees.

They whittled slender swords from lifeless sticks and carved bulging bows from fallen branches.

They sculpted arrows and shaped shields, gathered pine cone grenades and collected acorn bullets.

They divided alliances and formed teams; devised combat plans and scripted strategies.

All except for one.

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How to Speak Hope When We’re Short on Words

“Mommy?”

She was sitting in the hot sand next to me, making a sandcastle with her little orange shovel.

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“What, Honey?”

I turned my head to hear my six year old’s voice above the roar of the incoming tide.

She shifted her body and stared at me like we’d just met.

“Oh, nothing….” she said, acting surprised that I was beside her.

I raised my eyebrows and waited for my little girl to explain herself.

Suddenly, her lips curled into a smile and she began to giggle.

“I thought you disappeared,” she exclaimed with a breathy guffaw and an unladylike snort.

I patted her knee with my sand-caked hand and stared into her baby blues. “I’ve been sitting here all afternoon.”

“I know,” she said with an impish shrug, “But usually you’re talking, and that’s how I know you’re here…”

I laughed right along with my daughter, not sure whether to be offended or entertained by her honesty.

Then I swallowed my giggles and replied in the most serious tone I could muster, “I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes I don’t have anything to say.”

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My bone-a-fide chatterbox cast me a wary look and waggled her head in disbelief. Then she turned her attention back to the sandcastle between us and retorted, “Well, it’d  be better if you’d just say something so I don’t feel like I’m all alone here.”

I smiled at her logic and scooted across the hot sand, my movement narrowing the gap between our sunburnt legs.

“I’m not sure what to say,” I told her as I added a shiny shell to her castle’s leaning tower. “But I’ll sit right here beside you so you don’t get lonely.”

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If You Give A Boy A Stick…

Of all the poems I’ve written for my children over the years, this is one of my favorites. Joshua loved to play with sticks when he was little, and one day when we were out playing in the trees, I watched him leaping around excitedly with a great big stick in his hand. And in that moment, I prayed the prayer that sparked this poem: “May Josh thrill to your Word like that, God!”  When I found these scribbles written on the inside cover of one of my old Bible study books today, it seemed like the perfect follow-up to this post

 

If You Give A Boy A Stick

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If you give a boy a stick,

He’ll move a mound of dirt,

And chances are before he’s done,

He’ll have mud splats on his shirt.

If you give a boy a stick,

He’ll plow roads and winding trails,

And chances are before he’s done,

He’ll have sludge beneath his nails.

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If you give a boy a stick,

He’ll trench tunnels where he lingers,

And chances are before he’s done,

He’ll have muck stuck to his fingers.

If you give a boy a stick,

He’ll excavate some rocks,

And chances are before he’s done,

He’ll have gravel in his socks.

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