The Worry Hidden in Perfection

Meet a dear friend of mine. Let’s call her Mandy.

Mandy has never called herself a perfectionist. In fact, she believes herself to be the exact opposite. You might say an imperfectionist…or as she says, “I’m more type ZZ than type A!”

Mandy’s dresser has been covered with clothes (outside the drawers) since she and her husband married.

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Mandy’s dresser in her first apartment…note her husband’s (we’ll call him Tim) dresser which is perfectly clean. Not much has changed in 10 years!

When company comes, they can often find unpaired socks in the kitchen next to pizza crumbs under the table. But Mandy doesn’t mind. She believes it shows character. Continue reading

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How to find God in the Bible

Many times when I’m worrying, I hear

Read your bible.

I just heard it the other day from my mother-in-law, a woman who cries when she thinks about Jesus giving up His life for us. This lady has a soft heart of faith. She shared that when she doesn’t know what to do about a situation, she reads the Bible before she goes to bed and when she wakes up. Through prayer and in time, she comes to an understanding of how to handle the issue.

I believe her because

God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edge sword.
Hebrews 4:12

I believe the best place to find God is in His Word. But when we go to read, it’s important to think about what question we’re asking as we read. Too often I have asked,

Who am I in this story?  Continue reading

What No Mother Can Do

It’s the week after Mother’s Day and I’m still riding the waves of chocolates and the promise of a new-athletic-wear-shopping trip. I’m still exercising in my old college t-shirts. It’s about time for some new gear!

Our local Christian station is also coming off a Mother’s Day high. I feel like I’ve heard the Plumb song “In My Arms” enough to perform it for Plumb…in other words, a lot! If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen when you get a free moment.

As I listened to the song for the 8th time in 2 days I realized Plumb and I could be besties. The song is a melancholy lullaby inspired by her son Solomon. She describes his baby beauty, his growth, and that someday

clouds will rage and storms will race in but you will be safe in my arms.

rains will pour down, waves will crash all around but you will be safe in my arms.

Continue reading

I Never Knew This About the Plagues

I’ve heard the story of the 10 plagues a gazillion times. I’ve seen the movie Prince of Egypt about a million times.  If I thumb through the 3 or 4 kids Bibles we have at the house, the Exodus account takes up about half of the Old Testament stories.  The account of the 10 plagues is a well-worn story.

 But God’s Word is living and active.

Embrace_Words

And I learned something new about the plagues…rather, something new about God through the plagues.

See, whenever I heard the plagues story, I thought about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and that God is super-duper powerful.

The aforementioned are still true.  But there is so much more to learn about our God.

So here are 2 things I learned:

1. God used the plagues to set His people apart.
In the 4th plague, the one with pestering flies, God mentions in Exodus 8 verse 22-24 that

On that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people.

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And again with the plague on livestock, God tells Pharaoh in Exodus 9:4 that

But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.

God’s distinct, chosen Israelites were also protected from the plague of hail, the plague of darkness, and the plague on the firstborn.

God wanted Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Israelites to know that He was not only powerful enough to choose on whom the plagues would land, but that He also had chosen a people to be distinct and separate from other peoples.  A people that He loves enough to come in and rescue from 400 years of oppression.

This theme continues all throughout the Israelites story.  As they wandered for 40 years in the desert, God set them apart with the 10 commandments…with the unique ways of winning battles…with circumcision…with His peculiar provisions…and just think – their identity as set apart started when no flies swarmed their houses.

This identity is not reserved for the Israelites.

We as modern-day disciples have been adopted into the royal priesthood of believers.  1 Peter 2:9 proclaims that

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are set apart just as the Israelites were set apart from the Egyptians.  And just as God flexed His muscles in choosing the geography of the plagues, He reveals His supreme power in choosing to adopt us, little ole’ you and me.

It is like curling up with a cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream) to know that I am God’s special possession, distinct and set apart.

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Nice and cozy-like

2. Our God is so so so so so so patient.

Pharaoh pulled a bait and switch 4 times on Moses and God.  Four times Pharaoh said he would let God’s people go if Moses would just ask God to remove the plague.  Four times Moses went to God and prayed for the plagues to subside…and four times God dispelled the plague.  And, you remember, four times Pharaoh hardened his heart and changed his mind.

If I were Moses, or God, I would have gone bananas on Pharaoh for repeatedly lying.  I’m a total rule keeper, and if we make a deal, I expect you to keep up your end of the bargain especially if I’ve kept mine.

Let's shake on it!  By the way, neither of these is my hairy hand.

Let’s shake on it. By the way, neither of these hairy arms are mine.

But our perfect and holy God is extremely patient with Pharaoh.  He relents each time Pharaoh lies.  In Exodus 9:15 God notes His restraint

…by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.

God knows Pharaoh is jerking Him around.  But He doesn’t destroy him.  He’s patient.  He’s long-suffering.

This same God who’s restrained with the Egyptian ruler is also patient with me.

This awesome characteristic of God is described in 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sometimes I fear that God is going to give up on me – get tired of me apologizing for my worry and my lack of self-discipline.  I wonder when my forgiveness is going to run out.  But if God is so so so patient with Pharaoh (who consistently hardened his heart), how much more patient will He be with me who’s heart is weak and pliable?

I can’t wait to read the Exodus account again and discover something new about God.  I believe that when we know God more intimately through His Word, our trust in Him grows.  

So I challenge you this week to revisit a familiar story.  Read with new eyes and ask yourself

What does this story teach me about God?

Leave a comment sharing what you’ve learned!

Happily linked with:
The Time Warp Wife
Raising Homemakers
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home