Yes LORD, You Have My Attention NOW!

2015-06-20 10.21.12Let me set the stage. I was upset. OK, truth-be-told, I was downright mad. Why? We had a fight. The whole family – all four of us were fighting right in the parking lot of the rental car place. Please know that I had a head start on getting angry, because it was just last night when I first learned that I would be my husband’s chauffeur to the rental car place this morning. We talked about his trip to Minneapolis, but I heard that in the context of July, not June – not this week, not THIS weekend! Admittedly, my fault – I clearly missed it – but I was selfish, inconvenienced, facing the reality of unmet expectations – Mad!

TODAY was my family reunion and tomorrow is Father’s Day. How could he do this to me? “I” had plans and even though I was trying to get a grip on myself, my oldest daughter, unknowingly, stirred up all of my emotions and I lost the fight.

To my husband, she says, “Wait a second, where are you going?”

“Minneapolis!” He responds, “I have to work!”

She shoots back, “When was someone going to tell me this? I thought we were going to breakfast.”

“Breakfast?” I darted, “No! Dad’s going to Minneapolis and we’re going up north for the family reunion.”

In further shock and now in an even higher high-pitched tone, “WHAT! Are you kidding me? I’m not dressed for a family reunion, I thought we were just going out for breakfast and how was I supposed to know we had a family reunion? If we’re going to a family reunion, we have to go back home (25 minutes away) because I need to change, I’m not wearing THIS. Are you kidding me?”

[Insert additional drama from, now, four emotionally charged people.]

My husband asks, “What time does it start?”

10:00!” While looking at the clock that reads 9:52, “…And we’re an hour and a half away!”

I think you get the picture… We’re late and I’m upset that I don’t have a husband to join me at the family reunion, he’ll be gone for Father’s Day AND two teenage daughters with really bad timing to add to the dilemma.

As I drive away, the car is silent. I needed that, at that very moment, because my head was spinning. First, I wanted to justify that I had every right to be upset and that it was fine that I vented. After all, I had these feelings pent up for almost 15 hours so I was finding any excuse that I could to rationalize why “I” wasn’t the one who was out of line.

Then my irrational thoughts start moving to analysis of the problem. How did this happen? How did she not know? What do we need to do to communicate better? Why do I feel so angry with this whole situation? I ultimately knew that I couldn’t control any of it.

Slowly coming down from the adrenaline of it all, my attention was redirected to the radio; the Christian “Weekend Top 20 Countdown” was on. I knew that this is exactly what I needed, a song lyrics to help me get re-centered and help me come to grips with this. I was just starting to calm.

Then it happened. I’m stopped at the stop sign and I looked to the right as my eyes followed the car speeding past. Already looking to left and no cars coming, I pull out. Seconds later I hear, “Mom! Look out!”

I didn’t know what was happening and I didn’t know which way to look. I just kept my eyes forward, slammed on my breaks and prayed, “LORD, NO!”

I no sooner thought the words and a maroon mini-van came speeding, as if in slow motion, from my right. As I gauged its speed and the timing of it’s ability to clear my path in my peripheral vision I actually thought, “We’re going to make it!”


I felt a pressure on my chest; it was the airbag. Not fully grasping that, I looked to my left now, only to see the mini van sliding across the highway with the front-end now facing back at me. My car idled to a stop on the other side, debris everywhere.

People appeared from every direction. I sat in the drivers seat in shock, wondering what just happened?  Am I OK? Yes.   Are my kids ok? As I searched for the answer they were tugging at my drivers door. “Mom, open the door!”

I unlocked the door and my oldest daughter embraced me with a hug. “Mom, are you OK?” That’s when the tears started to flow. “Yes… Are you guys OK?”

That’s when I saw the mini van with it’s back door slid open and I thought, “Oh NO! Was there a baby in the car?” I tried to run, hollow heels were clicking across the pavement, and I quickly approached the van. Shaking, but speaking, she says, “We’re OK! Are you guys OK?” I looked in and there were two beautiful brown-eyed little girls looking at me and a reverse facing toddler playing with his Elmo shoe. They were OK.

“Oh Thank You God!”

So God got my attention and this is what he said, “This is how quickly you could lose them and your life be changed forever. You may be disappointed that the weekend isn’t what you had planned, but guess what, roll with it. It’s not worth the fighting, it’s not worth the hurt feelings and it’s definitely not worth the anger. Inconvenience? I’ll show you inconvenience, now you get to deal with insurance companies, deductibles, collision centers, lack of transportation and a $175 ticket for not yielding to the right-of-way that until now you took for granted. Oh, and by the way, it’s not about you, it’s never about you so you better get your priorities straight.” Love, God

So we made it to the family reunion; five hours late. There was an applause when we entered the room and it felt GREAT! My Facebook page is streaming with praise and relief which in and of itself warms my heart to have so many caring friends. As for the car ride to and from the reunion… none of us uttered another harsh word and we had a very spiritual and God-pleasing conversation about how lucky we ALL were. If I would not have slammed on my breaks, she would have t-boned us at 45-50 mph; it could have and would have been so much worse.

I’ll deal with all of this inconvenience and all things considered – I’m happy to. I have my life, I have my family and I have a God who loves me enough to get my attention and remind me what REALLY is important.

Jeremiah 29:11-12, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

Sinner In the Middle


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 16

Do you remember the game Monkey in the Middle? Two people stand a distance a part and the person in the middle is trying to intercept the ball. Should they catch it, the thrower becomes the new monkey.

In Numbers 16 we have a situation of “Korah in the middle” and there is one big problem with that. God and Moses were playing toss and they never asked Korah to play; he just jumped in. Just like a big bully on the playground, Korah intervenes by trying to spike the ball which was a very bad move on his part. The moral of this chapter is, “Don’t get in the way of God’s plans, especially he hasn’t invited you to be a part of them.”

That’s exactly what Korah did. He built up a rebellion against Moses and Aaron and had their own agenda; and that agenda was not God’s. Even worse, they were jealous of Moses and Aaron and took it upon themselves to rise against them and they succeeded by bringing a lot of people down with them, but never got to Moses and Aaron.

How does this play out in our lives? We read and know the will of God, but we see an opportunity to impose our will. We do this for a lot of reasons (selfish ambition, boredom, impatience, jealousy, anger, etc.), but the primary reason is sin. God has a plan for our lives, but in our sin we craft a better idea; our idea. The result – we jump into the middle of God’s plan and try to get him to move toward us, instead of us moving toward Him.

The results were not favorable for Korah, his men, and 14,700 innocent Israelites who were affected by the plague that God began due to Korah’s rebellio. It’s a big mess and the chapter doesn’t have a overtly happy ending, but there is a clear message here and that message is that we don’t want to get in God’s way. Today I am reminded to pray to God as Jesus did, “42 Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

Wait Until Your Father Gets Home


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 11

I was fortunate to have an at-home Mom when I was growing up. There were days when my two brothers and I were a bit too much for her to handle. Generally, she would hold the line and usher the discipline, but there were those other days when our energy could not be harnessed and we would see her finger point while she declared those haunting words, “You just wait until your father gets home.”

Once we heard that, our attention shifted from the playfulness, rebelliousness and rambunctiousness to strategizing what we could do to minimize the spanking that awaited us when Mom told Dad about her day.

I remembered this when I read the first verse of Numbers 10. “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” Uh-oh, God’s mad! Rightfully so, He helped them escape slavery and what does He get? Tribes of Israelities complaining that His provisions are good enough for them.

If I read between the lines, God does not like whiners and complainers. As a matter of fact, in this passage, He gets very angry. Fast forward to today and I look at my life as it relates to this message and I’m guilty! Guilt of praying for things and circumstances that will make me happy. I may not be praying for meat instead of manna, but I do pray for material possessions, relationships that are challenging and for things to work out “my way.”

Shame on me! I hear God reminding me of 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Today I’m going to hold my head high, I’m going to be thankful for all God has blessed me with and praise Him for all He has given me and done for me. I appreciate His words this morning to put in perspective how we need to recognize the blessings and all He has done for us, instead of complaining and whining.


Leadership Into Trouble


Today’s Devotion: Exodus 32

Exodus 32:22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil.

This verse jumped off the page. Aaron is making excuses to justify the sin of the Israelite people. Are you kidding me? Since they are prone to sin, Abraham, and ultimately God, are supposed to not be angry and forgive them automatically?

They can’t get off that easily. I don’t know if I can say this, but the worst thing is that Aaron (the leader while Abraham was gone) should have been keeping them in line, but instead he jumps right in and recruits them to supply their gold to build and idol, and he goes right along and worships the golden calf right along with them!

Sadly, I can relate. I am the oldest of three, I have two younger brothers. I remember when my parents would tell me to watch my brothers because they had a quick errand to run. It wouldn’t be long before their car pulled out of the driveway that we started down the path of mischief. When my parents got back home they would look at me and with a stern and disappointed tone, “Sarah! What did you do?!” Oh I can still remember how it felt to hear those words. That face on the kitty from Puss-n-Boots at the top of this blog post, Yah… that was me. Guilty! Caught! Busted!

Of course, I didn’t know what came over me. I was given a little piece of responsibility and I blew it! I not only DIDN’T stop my brothers from doing wrong, I participated in it and sometimes even came up with the idea. Yes, my parents punished them, but I carried the guilt afterwords knowing that I undermined their trust.

This seems to parallel what happened when Moses when up on the Mountain to meet with God. “The cats away the mice shall play right?” Well, God was mad first and Moses persuaded Him not to punish them, but when Moses witnessed the mess for himself, even he got angry and acted on his anger.

We have to be aware of when we are given an opportunity to standup against the crowd, the temptation of fun, the festivals of idolatry, and the golden calves of our day. Yes, people are prone to sin, but that doesn’t mean that is our excuse for not living righteously and standing firm to keep people from participating in wrongdoing. God has entrusted us with the opportunity to know better. Not only do we need to take responsibility for ourselves, but we have to be especially careful what we lead others to do.