Monday, September 26, 2011

Shake it out!...

This week we celebrate the birthday of one of our 3 kids...

Today I was in the store looking at cards, and they were pathetic! (No wonder we love your beautiful cards, Cindy!)

Things like...'may your day be bright and full of light'... or 'have a rich year with whatever you want the most'... or 'your birthday makes us think of you and we are glad you came our way'... like I said, pathetic!!

Then I started thinking about the way each of our kids (and now their kids!) open their cards... they snap off the envelope and shake out the money! It never is about the card. (I think I can write better card expressions than whoever 'they' are.) So we just send our usual love & hugs... and they proceed to shake the contents out.

You know how it is when your mind gets a picture of something, so I started thinking about 'shaking things out'...

I thought about shaking out the truths that are contained in my own Bible, which reminded me there cannot be any shaking of my Bible... the end pages are too full of notes, quotes and special things! If it is REALLY special to me... it finds it's way to either the front flap or the back flap of my Bible... to be enjoyed more fully, over and over again.

When we shake open something that was lovingly written especially for us, good things will fall out! Good things 'fall out' of God's word every day, every morning when I open it, out pops something I've never seen before, or an old truth reaffirmed, strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

My dad used to end every phone conversation by saying 'shake the love around'. There is nothing more profoundly life changing than shaking the truth right out of God's Word and into the pages of our hearts.

We have been given a book full of love, love from our Father straight to our heart. It is bursting with His promises, His love for me has been written on every page. It's FULL of all I want and all I need.

I am shaking harder, and the contents are falling into my life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The big red check...

No... not money!

I'm talking about that 'check in your spirit'...

Do you know what I mean?

It's that caution in your heart that immediately raises a big red check mark or flag, that says...

Something isn't right about this person, this situation, or whatever it might be. So slow down, take a close look and see what is causing this check...

Do you pay attention when you sense a check mark in your own spirit?

I think that God gave us as women a sense when something isn't quite right. I don't mean that we go around looking for bears behind every bush, but...

I have learned that usually there is something to it when I feel that 'check in my spirit'. I think my mom shared about this when she spoke at christian women's conferences, it's for sure that she spoke about it to us.

Perhaps it's as simple as the spirit of God speaking and cautioning us... maybe it's something He designed into our makeup.

I haven't felt that big red check for awhile, but I know I will again, and even though it may not be as serious as a lurking bear... it signals caution, and there may be a good reason for it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Beware of leaning...

I like order.

I function better when loose ends are tied down, relationships are smooth, and circumstances don't get me riled up. Don't we all!

When things are unsettled or uncertain... I begin to meander in my mind and run the whole series of what to do, how to do it, should I do this, or that, or what??

God says:

'Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart... and LEAN NOT to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.'

This verse not only says clearly what I should do, it says very clearly what I should NOT do!

I'm afraid my tendency many times is to begin to 'lean' as I seek solutions to what may be going on.

I know I've told you before that I love a good visual picture. I like a message that is clear and to the point. Even if the message is long, it's the bottom line that I carry away with me. (maybe it's as simple as the fact that I can only remember that much!)

Not only does He tell us to trust Him with all of our heart... what follows is something that I need to remind myself of just about every day...

Lean not to your own understanding.

Like this little guy in the cartoon, he leaned and then lost his balance, probably not even aware that his feet were about to slide out from under him because as he leaned, he stepped onto a banana peel...

Not only should he not have leaned in the first place, the perils it brought were more than he bargained for.

If we begin to lean, we can loose our footing, and the consequences will appear before long. The thing that I love is that there is no gray area here. God is clear. Trust Me with ALL your heart... DON'T lean! When I begin to lean, I always have to go back to the place of obeying the second half of that verse.

My own understanding is limited. My own understanding includes my past experiences and some common sense, and what God has taught me to this point. It also includes what His Word says... but it doesn't include what God already knows about the whole situation or about the future... until I trust Him with it. ALL of it! Then He begins to 'unfold' the right answers.

Trusting God with every circumstance and relationship doesn't leave room for the 'leaning' part. Those are His words, His instructions.

I love it when His Word says it so clearly that even my 'leaning tendencies' are left with no wiggle room!

THAT is safe ground!

Monday, September 12, 2011


When my mother and dad went to heaven 10+ years ago, (one year and a day apart)... I went through a dark period in my own faith.

Two very important things I have learned in the past 10 years:

Much of my walk with Jesus through the years was based on the strong faith of my parents, it was as if THEIR faith was MY faith.

I know in looking back, that I rode on their coat tails for a lot of my christian walk. If I was worried, or fearful, I was okay with it because THEY were okay with it. They had lived through their lives and learned who their safety net was. I sensed that and thought that it was the same for me. They 'did the work' of learning God's ways.... I put that on like a warm coat, and felt safe.

When they died, I felt the normal feelings of grief and sadness, we were very close. But I also had an additional grief... where did my faith go, it seemed to have disappeared, and God seemed so distant.

This first great lesson God taught me was... the same God that was THEIR God is also MY God!

It was later that I re-learned... 'He was there all the time'... I was already His, from the time I invited Him into my heart at 5 years old.


The things they learned and lived in their lives were not mine simply because I was their child.

That may seem so obvious, but it wasn't as clear to me. Just as my parents learned to know God through their daily walk and obedience... so do I.

My life is my own responsibility, and what I learn of God is coming because of my choices, not theirs.

Yes, they taught, they lived and they showed me by example, but it is not MY experience until and unless I have obeyed God in the ways He is teaching me. His plan for my life is for me. He has a special blueprint with my name on it. The title is "Sonja".

We begin this life with a clean slate, even though the sin nature is there, and what we do, what we choose, how we live, how we obey God... is what we are filling the slates of our lives with.

Sometimes I feel like my slate is coming along pretty well...

Other times I know that it looks like a confusing mess.


Above all, I know that HE is the one who enables me to add, eliminate and clarify what it written on the slate of my life, and it is never too late for the confusion and the mess to be cleared, organized and made right!

A couple of lessons I'm learning as I journey onward...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011



This is a wall in our son and daughter in law's home, and the minute I saw it I loved it. They have the sign right next to a huge clock and the whole thing struck a chord.

What does it mean to pray big??

I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean praying for huge ideas of 'pie in the sky' stuff, although I do pray for the things that are the desires of my own heart, and once in awhile I know that I veer off into praying for things that are sort of like cotton candy... even then... I know He understands.

No, I think PRAY BIG means to pray KNOWING that our God is able to answer BIG requests, BIG needs, BIG concerns, BIG problems. The BIG things that are part of our lives, the things that are way beyond what we know how to solve... the BIG things.

Sometimes I pray big, and then after time passes, and the answer didn't come the way I had hoped, it fades out, and I sort of stick a 'please Lord' onto the conversation I am having with Him, after I've wrung my hands and pleaded for His help. I am sure I have stopped short of His answer when I didn't see it come the way I thought it would, or when I thought it would.

But maybe it's even more than this.

Maybe PRAY BIG means 'go ahead, stand straight up and trust that He is going to answer this!'

I think it means that my PRAY BIG is backed by all of the promises of a God who IS big! He has said 'go for it'... trust me with it... trust me for the answer! You can PRAY BIG because I am a BIG GOD!