like trying to fly a kite with no wind

Bruce was out-of-town. I thought I would play the role of “fun mom”, at least for one afternoon. The boys had begged me to fly their kite. After finding each boy’s sunglasses (hard to see a kite with the sun blaring in your eyes), we loaded the car for the park. Do they look cool or what?

As I drove towards the park I glanced at the trees. Instead of branches bouncing in the breeze they remained unmoved. Hmmm. Flags hung limply on poles. Uh-oh.

So I prepared the boys, “Hey guys, just so you know, it’s not very windy today. So the kite may not fly.” Immediately Price began whining, “NOOOOO, I waaaant to fly a kite. Whyyyyy won’t it work?”
“Dude, I want to fly a kite too, but we can’t control the wind. I can’t tell the wind to blow. But we will give it a try, okay?”

He settled down as I pulled into the parking lot.

After fighting over who would hold the string and who would hold the kite to help launch it in the air (string being the preferred role), they settled on a solution. Three turns holding the string then switch.

We found a large piece of grass,fairly free of kite-grabbing trees. Quade held the kite while Price took off running in the opposite direction. Low and behold, the kite stayed up. We yelled out, “Let out some string! Let out some string!” Slowly the kite climbed higher and higher.

Price made a quick u-turn as his open space ended in a row of trees. The kite kept flying. That is, it kept flying as long as he kept moving his little feet. Back and forth he ran across the grass until his three turns were over.

Once he stopped running, the kite gently lowered to the ground. He slowly dropped to the ground in exhaustion.

They took a couple of turns. But the experience lost its charm when they lost their steam. Soon the kite lay on the ground while they ran off to play on the tire swing.

Oh the parallels to ministry. And motherhood.

Serving without the Spirit is like flying a kite without wind. It’s possible, but it’s exhausting. I run back and forth. The kite lifts and “things” get done, but it’s all in my effort. I wear down quickly.

The kite gets left in the grass. I get distracted with other amusements. Assuming service isn’t for me since it was so “hard”.

What if I looked for where the Spirit is moving, or where God is working. Wait for the wind to move. Once I see Him moving, join Him. Let out the string and watch the kite soar with little effort. (*see author’s note below*)

My sweet (fellow boy mom) friend, Erin, tweeted this verse yesterday and seeing it was part of His message to me:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

As I begin today, I want to pray for His Spirit to open my eyes to see Him. The same Spirit who was in Elijah, Moses, Joseph, Jesus...lives in me! God’s power can lift my ministry with ease if I chose to join Him where He is already working.

What “kite” are you trying to fly in your own effort? Are you keeping company with God and resting in His power so you can live freely and lightly? 

(Anyone else have the song, “Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height. Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring it. Up to the atmosphere. Up where the air is clear. Let’s go fly a kite!” Just me? well alrighty then.)

*author’s note: I do understand ministry, even with the Spirit, can be challenging and exhausting. We can’t stand holding the “string” forever. Just like my boys took turns, we need to trade off our responsibilities, take turns holding the line. Not view flying the kite as a competition but as a community effort. May you be encouraged today in whatever “kite” you are flying. May you find others to help you hold the string. *love*

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How Childhood Games Reveal Your God-given Ministry

What did you like to play as a child?

Our women’s minister asked us this question. Years ago a seminary professor asked her the same question. She remembered lining her siblings up in chairs & teaching them while her mother cooked dinner. She loved to teach. Yet years of abusive relationships & discouragement had squelched that talent. A gift God had given her laid dormant until she remembered a simple childhood activity.

Stop & think: What childhood game or activity did you enjoy as a child?

As I pondered this question several things came to mind: hours spent exploring the woods behind our house creating worlds & adventures, mothering my 7 Cabbage Patch Dolls, countless hours reading “The Babysitter Club books”, journaling vacation trips, writing down names from tombstones & writing stories about who they were (I know, that’s a weird one!), dressing up & writing plays…

Common threads: creativity, verbal expression & a strong maternal instinct.

This is why I continue to write a blog while I have a six-week-old newborn and three other young children. It feeds my soul and it’s how God created me.

Many people have offered the advice to consider not blogging during this busy season. Their hearts were well-intentioned. It seems like logical advice. Cut back. Simplify my life. But when I heard their suggestion it sounded like they were asking me to stop breathing. To stop being me.

It wasn’t until my women’s minister spoke about individuality and remembering our childhood passions that I understood why I felt that way.

God gave me specific gifts & talents. When I am using those gifts & talents for His glory it is not work it is worship. It is natural and brings me joy.

However, spending my time organizing people’s closets and giving fashion advice…that would be work. Or training for a triathlon… Or planning a wedding…

Jae can organize closets & she and Amber give great fashion advice. Cari loves training for Ironman races. Elizabeth and Carrie can easily plan a wedding. Kathryn and Holly are gifted singers. They all thrive in their element. God is using them uniquely.

From our mother’s wombs God has knit us in such a way to be used for His glory. My knitting pattern is different from yours. We can’t compare them. Both patterns are unique, intricate, and beautiful…but they are completely different.

Don’t assume what seems to be “work” to you is “work” for me. What may seem like a burden to you may be a blessing for me. 

We waste precious time & energy yearning for other’s gifts & talents. Let’s discover our own passions. Embrace them. Be used by Him!

I also want to observe my children. To study what they enjoy playing. To encourage them in their talents & gifts. To remind them how they can be used for Kingdom Building work.

What did you enjoy playing as a child? Are you able to do something similar now that feeds your soul & ministers to others?

No Excuses {Bread of Life in your hand}

“I am too busy.”
“My kids never leave me alone.”
“I don’t even have time to shower.”

We’ve all said them. Excuses for why we don’t read the Bible. Memorize Scripture. Pray.

Sad to report that those excuses are no longer valid if you own a smart phone (for the rest of you…that’s between you and God. 😉 ).

With all the amazing apps available for phones and tablets these days, we really don’t have any excuse for why we aren’t reading the Bible. It’s like having a healthy, life-giving energy bar {aka “Bread of Life”} in our hand and not taking a bite. It’s right there.

Do you check email on your phone? Facebook?

So in those few minutes you could be reading one verse. Meditating on it.

You could quiz yourself on a verse you are memorizing with a cool “fill in the blank” scripture memory app.

You could pull up your prayer request list (from a password protected app) and pray for a friend.

You could highlight a verse and text it to a friend who needs encouragement.

Need ideas for great apps for spiritual growth and ministry? I just so happened to write a post with the top 10 iPhone apps (some are also available for other devices). Check it out at: Do Not Depart

**full disclosure…I have all the great apps on my phone and still choose to look at Twitter, email and Facebook more than His living Word. Relentlessly replacing ‘me’ with ‘He’. It’s a daily battle!!**

Strength from Weakness-the Josh McDowell Story

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the screening of the docudrama of Josh McDowell’s early years, entitled “Undaunted”. This weekend also included the anniversary celebration of Josh’s 50 years in ministry.

Josh started by serving with Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as “Cru”) in 1961. In 1964 he launched the Josh McDowell ministry and has since written 127 different books. In 50 years he has delivered more than 24,000 talks to over ten million young people and their families in 125 countries.

Pretty amazing right? You would think that he had quite the Biblical heritage to do such amazing things for God. His parents must have done everything right & taught him scripture at a young age. However, nothing could be farther from the truth…

Did you know that Josh was raised on a farm with an alcoholic father who physically abused his mother. He was sexually abused from the ages of 6 to 13 by a man who worked on their farm. His older sister committed suicide.

Just like only our God can do, He transformed beauty from ashes…

Josh began his faith journey by trying to disprove Christianity. He even went as far as traveling to Europe, reading original manuscripts and other skeptic authors just to prove the fallacy of the resurrection. At the end of his research he discovered, in his own words, that “it was true”. He began to attend church and through relationship with the pastor and support of friends He began to follow Christ.

Through mentoring he felt that in obedience he needed to tell his father he loved him (even if he didn’t feel it) and he needed to forgive his abuser (following Christ’s example on the cross…”forgive them Father for they know not what they do”).

Josh was in a terrible car accident during college and was required to go back to the home that brought him pain & shame, to be in bed recovering from a back injury that left him strapped to a board. It was during this time that he was able to share Christ with his father. His father’s salvation led several others in their small community to faith. Just a year and a half later his father passed away.

If Josh had not been in that accident, he may not have had the opportunity for full forgiveness and reconciliation with his father…freeing him to serve others for 50 years!

A turning point for Josh came after a chapel service he attended at Wheaton College. The speaker was calling them to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory.

The problem was that Josh felt he had no gifts or talents to give. All he had was a history of brokenness and failures. In a moment with the Lord He said, “I only have weakness. But I will give all my failures to you to bring you Glory. Every breath I breathe will be to serve you Lord.”

(From L to R: My sister Andrea, My dad John, Josh McDowell, My mom Cathy, and Me)

Josh is a dynamic persona. He is full of life and compassion. Here are some quotes he shared on Saturday that I loved:

“It’s all about relationship not religion. Prayer is more about the attitude of the heart, not the position of the body.”

“One person can make a difference but you have to be different” (not just in the way he lives but also in the way he dresses…a third button on his shirts that is red, a fun belt collection, funky shoes).

He prays: “Lord make me be a blessing for someone today.”

“Nothing is too great for His power. Nothing is too great for His love.”

“I am overwhelmed by the idea that if I was the only person on the planet God would have sent His son to this earth to save me. God who created the universe wants to spend eternity with me.”

You may feel that you don’t have any gifts or talents to use for God’s glory. I want to encourage you that God created you special. Your experiences and failures are unique to you and God can use ANYTHING for His glory. He just asks that you give it all for Him.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

*If you are interested in knowing more about “Undaunted” or Josh’s other ministries, go to www.Josh.org