Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 285)







Thanks to the few brave people who responded to my post on needs and God not being American with either an email or comment. (The rest of you get an emphatic PSHHHTTTT!)

This line from a friend made me ponder a bit--" . . . there is a line between having faith that God will provide and expecting Him to do so." One man wrote, "God doesn't hate wealth or the wealthy" which I thought was a good distinction to make since there are committed, wealthy Christians who know how to use their money to God's good.

Another woman proposed that God does not change and therefore His ideas about needs don't either. I can buy that, but found myself thinking it doesn't mean He relates to all people the same way. A crude example would be a diabetic who NEEDS extra insulin. God would supply that need, but that doesn't mean He'll give ME insulin. God hasn't changed, but relates to people individually.

A couple of people suggested God only promises to supply the BASICS, like food, clothing and shelter. Another said "God supplies OUR needs," again driving home the fact that God makes personal calls for individuals.

Matthew 6 talks extensively about God meeting our needs, and specifically addresses basic needs like food and clothing (See Matthew 6:31-32). But in verses 7 and 8 I see that personal, individual element again. Jesus said, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

If He knows what I need before I ask, He is intimately aware of me, right? And if He's intimately aware of me, He knows what I lack which may not be what you lack and therefore is a need for me but not you. (Did you get any of that?)

I suppose the best way to say it is the way this reader did: "He will provide what you need to fulfill the purposes He has for you." That will mean different things for different people. This reader added, "if He wants you to witness to Donald Trump He might give you millions! :)"

I've settled with the idea that needs ARE subjective. Our basic needs are the same, but what I need is different than what you need and since God is a personal God, we can rely on Him to meet our distinct, individual needs beyond the basics. He knows what they are more than we do according to Matthew 6:7-8. When I wonder whether a want is truly a need I can ask Him for it and let Him decide if it is a necessity.

Clear as mud?






Ladies Man and Princess Dawdle have been gone all week on a missions trip. It's been awfully quiet around our house. Drama Queen has been here, but she's working. At first we were like PARTY TIME!, but now we kinda miss those boogers. They come home tomorrow. YAY!

But one advantage to having kids gone is the little cleaning that needs to take place as a result. Shoes aren't scattered all over the kitchen. No books or electronics are left laying around in the living room. I've saved money on groceries and don't have as much laundry.

But still . . . they're not here . . . sniff. How in the world will I have enough material for the Quick Takes?!






My mother-in-law gave me some furniture polish. It does a remarkable job of bringing out the beauty in the wood and even seems to repel dust. My only problem is it has no smell. Nothing! I have a hard enough time mustering up the oomph to actually clean, but when my house doesn't smell clean after I've exerted the effort, well, it just doesn't seem worth it, you know? I want to walk in the door and smell the clean and therefore have proof of my work.

Ugh. Now I have a new dilemma. Do I go for beauty and cleanliness or for the impression of clean in the aroma?

Yeah. I have a hard life.






Nothing says you're old like, "You're due for a colonoscopy." Guess who got to hear those words this week? Yeah. Ick.






Can anyone tell me where the term "pair of pants" comes from? It doesn't really make sense to me. Yes, it is a pair of pant legs, but they're not separate. You can't buy one pant leg. You have to buy the whole thing which is really just one article of clothing so why do we call it a PAIR?






I've been making a lot of guacamole at home lately and Drama Queen and Ladies Man asked if I could get them the same tools I have so they can make it themselves when they move to college. I was happy to oblige, but got to wondering if maybe Drummer Boy might want them too. He's the quintessential bachelor who eats one meal a day and Drama Queen thinks he subsists on fast food, never ever cooks and could care less about making his own guacamole, but I decided to ask him to be sure.

Drummer Boy (in pure DUH tone): Yeah! I'd like that. I'm trying to eat more organic.

Which is super funny since the first thing we saw when stopping at his apartment was a box of Captain Crunch, but I'm taking him at his word.

I already got your avocado slicer, Drummer Boy. Prepare to show your sister what you can do!






Soon the migration of my peeps will begin. Sigh. We already moved Drama Queen into her new place with my mom, though she won't actually live there for a couple weeks. Princess Dawdle starts school August 13th and we move Ladies Man to college on August 21st. I'm starting to think my house is going to be this quiet all the time. Princess Dawdle will still be here, but she's been known to disappear into her bedroom for hours at a time.

We're seeing a big change on our horizon and it's weird. Not terrible. Just weird. I've spent nearly a quarter of a century with kids (and LOTS of them) in my house. I've had more noise than I ever thought I could tolerate and now it's crickets and stillness. Again, not terrible. Just different. It's gonna take some getting used to.

So, come home and see us, my darling children! Don't let your mother become a cat lady.

(And if you've read this far, you're begging them to give me some fodder for these weekly updates too, aren't you? Kids, my readers need you. OBVIOUSLY.)



And that's all I got today, folks. Enjoy your weekend and read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.



Monday, July 21, 2014

God isn't American


I've been contemplating wants versus needs lately. Which of my desires are truly needs and which are just things I want? It's an important question to consider because Philippians 4:19 tells us "God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." If something is truly a need, God promises to provide it.

I am bothered by the idea that needs are subjective. What I consider a need may not be considered so by someone else. I feel it a need to send my kids to college, yet the women I met in Uganda last summer would find that a luxury. They only needed to keep their kids fed. Can I count on God to provide funding for college? Business owners in America are told they need to have a website and internet presence to make it, but can the same be true of businessmen in Haiti? We Americans tell ourselves we have to "look the part" and maintain a certain image to succeed in our world, necessitating things from manicures to expensive clothing to state of the art facilities. There is some truth to it. I follow the reasoning myself. I buy new outfits for speaking gigs to look my best so I will be taken seriously. I color my hair so as not to be dismissed as old and out of date.

I want to believe that my American ideas are truly needs (and therefore things I can count on God to provide for me), but one thing eats at me.

God isn't American. Does He account for culture in determining needs? Does He view needs the same for all people? Does He consider where I live in His assessment of my needs?

I ask the question because I want some comfort when I have anxiety over money. I want to trust God will meet my needs, but don't know what qualifies as a need. Because God isn't American, does He view needs the same way I would?

I have no answers, friends, but would love to get your thoughts. Let's start a dialogue, people. What do you think?



Photo Credit: Denise Krebs

Friday, July 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 284)







We had a fabulous time last weekend on our little getaway to northeast Nebraska. The kids put us in a festive mood from the start by getting all decked out for the holiday.




We ended up borrowing a 12 passenger van since we had a our whole family plus my mom and The Girlfriend and The Boyfriend. You should have seen the looks we got as we piled out of that thing. We stopped at a gas station and as the kids filed out people just stared as if they were thinking, "They just keep coming!"

We spent the day and night at my sister's and had a fabulous time hanging out with our extended family. (Thanks to The Girlfriend for the great pics!) Let's call these Fun with the Cousins.






Can you believe my mother is a GREAT grandmother, twice over?! (Please let me age like my mother, please let me age like my mother, PLEASE LET ME AGE LIKE MY MOTHER! . . . ) Here she is with her youngest great granddaughter and my lovely sister-in-law.


And more Fun with the Cousins . . .




On the way home we added my nephews to the mix bringing us to 11 people. We decided to swing back the long way home and went to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Here's a great pic The Girlfriend got of our whole clan (minus her, of course--boo!).







While at my sister's we also celebrated my nephew's birthday. Remember me telling you about a special surprise Ladies Man was making? Now you can see the finished product (and the happy little recipient).


That puppy is made out of cardboard and a crap ton of duct tape. It even flies!







You will be happy to know Kevin's sensitivity improved after his bad answers last week. I'm not sure if the pressure of looking bad on the Quick Takes got to him or what, but I'll take it.

Ladies Man was talking about chafing (Just don't ask. I promise, it's better this way.) and for some reason I was transported to my childhood self.

Me: I used to chafe between my thighs when I was a kid . . . cuz I was . . .

Kevin stopped me mid sentence.

Kevin: Don't go there. That's not who you are anymore. That doesn't define you.

Me (pleasantly surprised): THAT was a really good answer. You have just redeemed all your bad answers.

Kevin: Make sure you put it on the Quick Takes!

Later we were standing somewhere waiting and he slipped his arm around my waist.

Kevin: You're kind of a little person.

Me (never using the word little in any way shape or form to describe myself or expecting to hear it from anyone else, ever, ever, NEVER): Wow. You are just FULL of good answers today!

Kevin: Just telling the truth, babe.

See how this guy gets under my skin?






One of my dear readers emailed this week, wanting to know if she could see a picture of Elmo. She said, "it would be delightful to see who I am saying prayers for!!" Here ya go, friend. And thanks for the prayers.


Drama Queen took these pics for me and when she emailed them she titled this one "Your 5th child." I think that's an overstatement. For sure. Right?


Now tell me, who couldn't love this little guy?






I was driving behind a plumber's or excavating truck the other day that was barely running. It puffed blue smoke and sputtered and was pretty beaten up. That in itself didn't instill much confidence in me to think of hiring their services, but the slogan written on the tail gate confirmed it. It said, "Call us or screw it up yourself."

This gave me two thoughts. First of all, is it wise to insult your potential customers by assuming they will screw it up? And secondly, one could interpret their slogan (especially if you take into consideration the awful condition of the truck) as "Call us and we'll screw it up or screw it up yourself." Either way, it's not good, right?

Nor is it good or perhaps even normal to think so hard about stupid stuff like dumb trucks in front of you on the road. Sheesh.






And here's another thought I had this week. Why is going to Walmart such an excruciating experience? Nearly everyone I know can't say Walmart without a sigh or grunt. Everyone hates going there! What is it about Walmart that makes us all dread it and cringe at the thought? We get good deals, although I hate how they are constantly moving stuff around in the store, and the way they carry something until you can't live without it and suddenly discontinue it, or how there's never enough check-out lanes open or how it's nearly impossible to get in and out quickly, not to mention the enormous amount of money I drop there.

Wait. I just answered my own question, didn't I? How about you? Why do you hate going to Walmart?






It would be completely depressing to end today's Quick Takes on a Walmart note. Bleck! So I'll tell you that Ladies Man and Princess Dawdle have been gone this week, traveling with a Christian singing group. They will be doing two performances in our area this weekend if you have a yen to see them. Saturday night they'll be at our church at 7:00 and Sunday night they'll be at Lincoln Berean at 7:00. It's always an inspirational concert. Hope you can make it.




And that's a rap, folks. Have a terrific weekend. For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.



Friday, July 04, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 283)







Happy Independence Day, everyone!


We're excited to take our clan on a little road trip to my sister's in Northeast Nebraska to celebrate. The whole bunch is going along and we're set to have a grand time. My brothers and their families and even some of my cousins are making the trip too so it'll double as a family reunion of sorts. My sister's family LOVES the Fourth of July and does it up good so we're bound to have a blast.

This, of course, insinuates that there will be little sleeping and I'll probably be super grouchy mom by Monday, but let's not think about that. Let's savor the moments of togetherness this weekend and whoop it up.






Kevin and I got all peopled out over the weekend. We went to two big weddings, one on Friday night (with Drummer Boy--woot!), one on Saturday afternoon, attended a big church service Saturday night, had a big celebration at our own church Sunday and a band concert Sunday night. My introvert status was confirmed when I couldn't do anything but hang around the house all day Monday in a fog. I'm serious. I don't think I even took a shower until 10:30 PM. And I've officially converted my husband to an introvert as well. At some point in the weekend he looked at me and said, "It's a little much" and he was toast on Monday too. Despite people overload we did have a good time, though, as this picture proves.







Ladies Man is constructing a little surprise for his cousin's birthday and needed some heavy duty cardboard. He went down to Sears and picked up the thickest cardboard I've ever seen. Carrying two huge sheets, he could hardly get in (Thanks to our neighbor friend who stopped while walking her dog to open doors for him.). He's eyes were all lit up when he came in, reminding me of him at 5-years-old.

Ladies Man: Look at this stuff! I barely got it in my car.

His hand stroked the surface of the huge sheet.

Ladies Man: I really only needed one sheet, but I took two. I forgot how awesome cardboard is!

I'll send pictures of his creation AFTER his cousin sees it. He should get the first view, right?






Drama Queen and my mother had a major bonding moment this week when they GOT TATTOOS! Yes, my MOTHER got a tattoo with my daughter!


My mom has always acted younger than her age and I've always loved that about her. She is no fuddy duddy Grandma! Mom went first and was way cooler about it than Drama Queen who was a tad anxious about the procedure until it got started.




And here are the finished products. Mom got a rose and Drama Queen got a picture version of Proverbs 16:3.









My husband is giving me some really BAD answers this week.

I was playing my sax in church on Sunday and on the way there I felt it necessary to inform him of the cost of such service.

Me: These are really hard lipstick days. It's hard to know what to wear. 

I chose a lip balm with a little color in it.

Me: This one doesn't leave as much residue on my reed. But it doesn't have as much color either. See what I sacrifice for you?

My husband did NOT feel my pain.

Kevin: It's not for me, honey.

In other words, it's for God.

Me: Ouch!

Kevin: Well . . . Just telling the truth.

Me: Wow. I think a better answer would have been, "Oh I know, honey. What would I do without you?"

Kevin: Oh I know, honey. What would I do without you?

Too late, buddy.

Later that evening we were driving through town when he got a little too close to the car in front of us for my taste. I had just taken a drink and couldn't say anything so I pointed and grunted.

Kevin (obviously thinking I am overreacting): I see him.

Me (after swallowing): Now how was I supposed to know that? You were reaching for your sunglasses and didn't even have one hand on the steering wheel. I didn't think you saw.

Kevin (politely not rolling his eyes but wishing he could): I had it.

Me (feeling more than slightly annoyed): I'm sorry you have such a high maintenance, stressed woman for a wife.

Kevin: You're not a high maintenance, stressed woman . . . most of the time.

Me: You are really not giving good answers today.

Kevin: Just gotta tell the truth, babe.

Grrr. Who wants to volunteer to give my husband sensitivity training? It's a good thing I can't live without the guy.






And now how about some "sick nasty" as my girls would say? Ladies Man was sitting on the kitchen counter talking to me the other day, his feet dangling and swinging, when I noticed his enormously long toes.


His second toe is as big as my pointer finger! You realize this is "sick nasty" because not only does Ladies Man have ugly banged up feet, but they smell as bad as they look, and I stuck my finger in there! It took me all of two seconds to wash my hands after that pic!






I know you're all dying to hear how Elmo is. The critter perked up considerably after I peeled ALL his shed skin off of him. You wouldn't believe how much bigger he could open his eyes after I pulled it off there. I think he did have a touch of something though. A lizard can get a virus, right? Drama Queen  had a couple of sick days last week with a terrible headache and dizziness. I wasn't feeling too great on Saturday either. Elmo acted like his head was bothering him too. Could he have caught something from us?

Nonetheless I worry the guy is getting super lazy, just letting me do EVERYTHING for him. Now I have to do his shedding for him too? I also think he has a bit of a sight problem. He used to catch his worms himself, but now he just hangs his head over the dish until someone comes and dangles one right in front of him and then he STILL misses them some times.

And now Drama Queen is talking to him, telling him how lazy he is. That can't be good for his self-esteem, can it? How is that going to encourage him to be better, to rise above his disabilities? And what does it say about me that I consume so much time with him? My children won't have to worry about me becoming a crazy cat lady, but what is the equivalent in this case? Loco Lizard Lady? Goony Gecko Gal? Or just Bonkers Broad?



Oh my, let's not give my kids any more fodder. Enjoy your holiday weekend and read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.



Tuesday, July 01, 2014

How Should Christians React when Archaeological Finds Disprove the Bible?


Anybody up for a little academia? On last Friday's Quick Takes, I mentioned I was struggling with the question of how Christians should handle archaeological finds that dispute the claims of the Bible. I'm not just sitting around mulling over deep questions of life (usually--my IRL friends just shush). I've been taking a couple of Bible classes this summer and this was one of my assignments. Since a few of you asked about my conclusions I thought more of you may be curious. So today I'm posting my response. Here ya go, people. Knock yourselves out.


Before we panic about a discovery that “disproves” the Bible we need to consider the nature of archaeology. “Archaeology is . . . an art and science, meaning it is directed by certain fundamental scientific principles universally accepted by archaeologists; and its evaluations draw upon human interpretation . . .” [1] It may be difficult for a 21st century scientist to understand the 1st century use of a particular artifact so one offers an idea. But is this interpretation truth? How might personal backgrounds and bias creep into the analysis and search? Is it possible to be completely objective when weighing evidence? People often find what they’re looking for to make their own case. For instance, numbers can be skewed in different ways to better represent a specific position. It seems very convincing that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest toothpaste, but if we think of that as a percentage, 80% doesn’t sound quite as impressive. “The historian is rarely presented with the luxury of possessing a complete, detailed account of past events or viewpoints.” [2] Blanks are filled in with human supposition, often to support a definite point of view.

Should humans be able to explain and confirm all of Scripture? If we can, what does this say about our God? Is He truly beyond our understanding if we, as humans, can prove everything within the pages of His Word? Even science cannot boast such a claim for there is much that remains unknown. Though advancements and progress are made, we still have no cure for cancer or AIDS. No one can predict the weather with 100% accuracy. It takes as much faith to believe the Big Bang Theory as it does to believe Creation. Why are scientists afforded the luxury of not having all the answers, yet taunt Christianity to prove its every dot and tittle? “There will be some mysteries . . . that will have to wait for clarification; this is how all other disciplines (for example, science) must operate.” [3]

We must remember God does not work within the framework of time. Though discoveries may not be known to us for another fifty years, God knows them now. Our knowledge of them doesn’t change the truth. When developmental hypothesis rose in popularity in the 19th century, God knew the theories would be severely challenged a hundred years later when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. At one time liberals believed writing was not practiced in the Mosaic period and reasoned therefore that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch. Yet later discoveries such as the Gezer Calendar, the Ugaritic Tablets, and the inscriptions in the mines of Serabit el-Khadim proved writing was indeed employed during Moses’ time. [4] What now has been suggested to discredit the truth of the Bible may be proven wrong by a another discovery hundreds of years in the future. Truth remains truth regardless of whether it is known.

We can draw comfort from God’s Word which reminds us, “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us . . .” (Deuteronomy 29:29) God is fully capable of defending Himself. When our faith is challenged by archaeological “proof” we are only accountable to what we know—His Word, His complete trustworthiness, and His indisputable presence in our lives. We remember the Bible, though written over a 1500 year period by over 40 authors, retains a theme of agreement and we trust it. [5] We can and should point to archaeological evidence to support our position, of which there is a multitude, but ultimately our trust must be in Him.

One might ask why God doesn’t just make it all clear now and silence the provocation of the enemy. I suggest it is to develop our faith. Strength comes from training, from working out and facing challenges. If God made everything easy to understand, would we seek Him as hard? Would we become complacent in having all the answers? Perhaps He is sparing us from the plight of the Israelites described in Hosea 13:6, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” With opposition, He’s giving our faith room to grow. We can take heart that a “time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.” (Matthew 10:26) When we don’t understand and can’t explain it, we are forced to trust and sink deep into His promises.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

________________

     [1] Norman Geisler and Joseph, The Popular Handbook of Archaelogy and the Bible, (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2013), 178.

     [2] Ibid, 179.

     [3] Ibid, 78.

     [4] Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2007), 141-2.

     [5] Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett, Is the Bible True . . . Really?, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011), 68.



Okay, now it's your turn. Thoughts?



Friday, June 27, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 282)







Kevin and the kids like to play a game after meals they have dubbed "The Food Baby Game." Basically after filling their guts they see who can make the biggest "food baby" by pushing out their stomachs. Kevin is the master at the game and never fails to bring huge laughs to the kids. He outdid himself on Sunday. We were sitting at Arby's when Drama Queen started and each of the kids gave their best effort.

Drama Queen: Okay, Dad, your turn.

Kevin produced a whopper, like usual, and the kids died. Really, you would think they were five years old! Each took another turn trying to surpass him without success. Kevin just kept plopping that food baby out there to the delight of the kids, but they nearly wet their pants when they heard a dull "pop."

He pushed his gut out so hard he popped his button off his pants! We'll be talking about this for YEARS to come. Classic.






Now for something you don't see every day. Ladies Man and his friend put their personal loves together in one video. (Email subscribers will have to click over to the blog to watch this video.)


Who even thinks of doing this stuff?!






I am worried about Elmo. He just wasn't himself yesterday. He hasn't been eating well, but I assumed it was because he was ready to shed. Yesterday I found his head wedged between his water dish and the glass of his cage. He looked dead. He wasn't, but he's been so lethargic and barely holds his head up. I did a little prodding (I couldn't just leave him that way, could I?) and found some shed remnants he needed to be rid of in places one should not mention, ahem, but getting them out did nothing for his energy level. I put him back in his cage and he immediately smushed his head back against the glass.

Is it weird to ask for prayer for my little lizard? We've been through so much together. Well, technically one should say he's been through so much, at my hand, but whatever. He may not be a soft, furry, cuddly little thing, but he's our pet. And I like him. Also I should mention it has been my personal mission to keep this thing alive for 8 years now. Leopard geckos have a life expectancy of 25 years. He's got all kinds of time! He's got to pull through! My goal is to show him to Ladies Man's kids. Who can say their grandkids have been able to play with the same pet their kids did? We must do it. C'mon, Elmo!






I'm feeling conflicted about summer. On the one hand there's less activities to rush off to in the evenings. I get to see my kids more. I can sleep a little later and the day lasts longer. But on the other hand the electric bill is higher and I hate hot humid weather. My kids stay up late and leave snack remnants all over the house. And the day lasts longer.

Do I like summer? Hmmmmmm . . .






We were having a family discussion about whether we'd want to host a foreign exchange student. The older kids were all for it. Of course it wouldn't affect them really as they'd be gone to college. Princess Dawdle wasn't sure what to think about it.

Ladies Man: You should get one from Canada, eh?

Very funny.

Me: I doubt they would send someone from Canada. That's hardly foreign.

Ladies Man: The kid that was here from Japan was pretty cool, but he spent a lot of time alone on his computer.

Two thoughts here. One, how would Ladies Man know this if he was alone? And two, it must have been really bad for another teen boy to call it a lot. Drama Queen and Ladies Man discussed different countries and Princess Dawdle remained pretty silent on the whole issue. I wasn't sure what she was thinking. I remembered she got along very well with the German exchange student on her tennis team.

Me: What if it would be someone like Marlene?

Drama Queen: Where was she from?

Me: Germany.

Ladies Man: Oh. Germans are like the pit bulls of humans.

Oh yeah. That helps.






I have spent much of my week up to my eyeballs in textbooks and debating the question of how Christians should handle archaeological finds that dispute the claims of the Bible.

Your eyes are glazed over now too, huh?






It is wedding weekend for Kevin and I. Wait, that didn't come out right. We are already married and have been for eons. What I mean is we're attending two weddings this weekend. And BONUS for me, Kevin isn't playing for either one of them. I'll actually get to sit with my husband at a wedding! This is a rare occasion, people, and two in one weekend . . . wow, jackpot. The sun may not come up Sunday morning. After two romantic weddings sitting next to my handsome hubby I may not want it to . . .



And now I've said too much. I am shutting this train down. I hope your weekend is glorious. To find more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Power it up!



 I am a wimp.

I am. I worry about stuff out of my control and pine away for things that are completely unrealistic. I want my children's lives to go perfectly for them and the thought of life teaching them hard lessons gives me great anxiety.

I know it isn't right, that I'm supposed to trust God. And I know that's how all of us learn, through difficulties, but the thought of my babies struggling or in pain makes me feel like throwing up. With another kid leaving for college in the fall, my nerve-o-meter is way up there. How will he adjust? How will he fight temptations? How will he handle the work load? Will he take care of himself? Will he eat more than ice cream? Will he do his homework without my provocation?

Sigh.

And yet it's these sorts of situations that make me aware of how much I need God. I've done a ton of praying this summer for my son and for myself, that I would learn to trust Him more, that I would know His peace and truly put my confidence in Him, not myself or my bank account or my kid. I've asked for "a word" from Him to soothe my wimpy self. He's given all kinds of words. First He reminded me of who He who is and how He works.

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Psalm 119:68, 71

Then He told me what to do with my anxiety.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

And then there was a word about attaining power.

And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power . . .

1 Peter 1:5 (NLT)

Wait . . . what? God protects me THROUGH MY FAITH?! Can I find power to put away my wandering, anxious thoughts with the right mindset? Is my faith--choosing to believe God no matter what--the key to peace and strength and calm?

Whoa. How can I get me some of this faith?

faith

1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something

2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof

Can I cultivate a strong belief? Can a person will themselves to completely trust?

If I'm patient and persistent, I think I can learn it. In a Couch to 5K program you don't run the 5K the first day. Likewise, I won't learn faith overnight. God doesn't take a magic wand, tap my head and give me instant faith. I have to work at it. It's a matter of choosing. Every time the fear or worry or anxiety appear I am faced with a choice. Do I believe God or not? It's really that simple.

Do you believe God or not?

Faith is not a passive activity. It requires a conscious, deliberate choice. If we believe Him, we choose to trust Him, even when we can't see how He'll work it out. When we get nervous or tense we'll choose Him again. When life wears us down, we choose to trust He's got it handled and press on. Every choice to trust brings us closer to God and His power. Just like training for a 5K, the more we do it, the stronger we'll get.

It's time to power it up, friends! It's not easy, but the payoff is worth it.

And THROUGH YOUR FAITH, God is protecting you by his power . . .

1 Peter 1:5 (NLT)
(emphasis mine)