Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Value of a List

Lists are good for remembering.

They’re also good for clarifying.

And for motivating.

And for focusing.

And for…well, listing!

I like to make lists—grocery lists, gift lists, to do lists, project lists, goals lists…. But I recently discovered another helpful kind of list.

Several months ago, I found myself in a moment of panic as I realized that I was just days away from being engulfed in an extraordinarily busy and demanding season of ministry. I knew it would include little sleep, tight deadlines, and large needs. It was a the sort of moment that descends without warning…or escape. Continue reading

Want a Clove?

We didn’t eat sugar in our house growing up. But we did eat cloves. Okay—we didn’t eat cloves; I did.

It all started when my mom gave them to us in church (instead of  breath mints) to help us stay awake. She recommended that we suck on them, which my sisters did; but I found they were much more effective when chewed.

Years later, in college, I found I was often struggling to stay awake during class and even at work. With a very full schedule, sleep was at a premium. I remembered the value of cloves, and I filled a small container to keep on my person. It really helped—even if some people did make fun of my odd habit. I always offered they could try one, but they usually declined. At least I could stay awake—when I really needed to!

But the ultimate in clove-eating came this week when I ate them…because I was hungry! I was waiting on someone for lunch and experiencing starvation-like pains in the meantime. (Well, maybe not starvation-like, but pretty severe!)

In desperation, I searched my desk drawers for something…anything…to eat, and that is when I saw my old container of cloves. And, yes, I ate them—not just one or two, but probably fifteen or twenty. (Incidentally, I found that cloves have a way of warming your stomach on the inside—quite helpful for short-term hunger control!) Continue reading

When the Ball Is in Your Court

My journal entries have included a lot of question marks lately, and I’m learning a lot about waiting on the Lord. His timetable isn’t mine…it’s better!

Waiting is far from my favorite pastime, yet, believe it or not, sometimes I wait unnecessarily. Sometimes we wait when really we should act.

The other day I read in Ezra 10:4, “Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee….” Ezra had just told the people what they needed to do to restore their fellowship with God, but he couldn’t act for the people. He could only share the truth and then say, “The ball is now in your court—you must do something about it.”

Yes, there are times we need to wait on God, but sometimes we use waiting as an excuse for disobedience.

What are times when the ball is in our court? Here are a few: Continue reading

Tell Me My Shoes Are Outlandish!

Unlike my sisters, I was not born with a strong sense for fashion. Even a few unfortunate snapshots of me as a little girl display my unique taste of color combinations. And to this day, I occasionally need an outside perspective.

At a recent church retreat, I asked my friend if a particular pair of newly acquired shoes looked okay. She suggested they may look better with a longer skirt (which I now know meant “floor length”!), and I put them back in my suitcase for later.

Later happened to be today, and I cheerfully showed them to her at work as I passed by her office—about 8:03 this morning. “Déirdre, do the shoes look better with this?” I fully expected her enthusiastic approval, but she shook her head and said, “I don’t think it makes much difference.” Then she couldn’t help it and laughed out loud. We both laughed, actually. (Later she described the shoes as “severely glamorous in a not-so-fashionable sort of way.”) Continue reading

Miraculous Problems

Are you facing a miraculous problem?

Yes, I know, that sounds like an oxy-moron. After all, everyone has problems—often plenty of them, but the last thing we call them is miraculous. Miracles solve problems; they don’t make problems, right?

God’s Word tells of many miracles. We love to read of how God delivered the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. We love to tell children the stories of Daniel in the lions’ den and Gideon’s victory over the Midianites. We wish we could have been there when Jesus fed over five thousand people with five loaves and two fish or when Esther was used by God to save her people. We may even wish we could have been the one to kill Goliath or to lead the Israelites as God leveled the walls of Jericho.

But we tend to forget that in every one of these examples of miraculous deliverance there was first a miraculous problem—a problem that God allowed and maybe even placed in that person’s life so He could show His power. Continue reading