Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Mind

I've been reading through Romans.

Limping through it, really....if I'm being honest.

It's a brilliant book. (Which is perhaps why I am stumbling through it.)

With all its mentioning of salvation, faith, righteousness.

I'm just finding it all a bit difficult to digest these days. And oddly so, it seems. Many respectable Christians I know - site Romans as their most favorite book in scripture.

And here I am - chewing on it and gnawing at it - floundering a bit.


There have been some easily digestible nuggets.....some clear-cut words that have pierced me right where I've needed them to.

Like the first few lines of chapter 12, for instance.....

I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.....

Do not be conformed to this world
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind

Conformed verses transformed.

It's easy to conform. All you need is exposure to some culture or some way - and a weak, willing, or complacent will.

But to transform...


To have total change radiate out....this takes the Holy Spirit! This requires time spent in His presence!

And all the scripture goes on to say - it involves the renewal of the mind.

Our minds need to mind, essentially.

It's that simple. And it's that complex.

But what does that look like, really? How does a mind become whole, healed, holy?

The same way our hearts and souls do..... the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says it best....

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

'From the Lord who is the Spirit'. Yes!

But we must place ourselves. We must decide to sit under His lordship. And when we do - when we bask in His glory and hand it all over - even the hidden crevices of the mind - transformation is sure.

The addictions, the lust, the anger, the recounting of hurtful events, the festering, the mental adultery, the malice, the depression, the fear....

All of that can be tended to as He strengthens us to be the gatekeepers of what goes in and out of our brains. 

Thinking about what we think about - this is healthy. 

Being aware of what our minds are entertaining at any given moment....thwarting the prideful dreams and the lust-filled images and the desire for revenge and the dark negativism - making them!

And it's yours in Jesus.

Hmm. Maybe Romans isn't so bad after all? Stay in the Word with me friends. He will meet you there.


Thursday, July 25, 2013


Some days all we have is a moment....a second, reach out for Him.

Certain hours....are so brim full that we scarcely have an instant to pause.

Much less, pray.'s in the praying, the seeking, the focused longing - that we often times see God's glory manifested in our lives.

Last week's Lectio Devina post....about the slow and steady study of scripture - will not be bunked here. There is purpose in that practice. So much so....that we should all make a point of sitting in the Word for a while rather than high-tailing it straight through.

Does it take some discipline? You bet.
Is it a bit of a sacrifice? Yes.
Is it worth it? His presence always is.

Therefore - slow, set-aside sessions with the Lord are a must.


I am a Mama.

And I'm aware of the demands that plead after me daily....I'm aware of the chaos, and the loud voices, and the messes, and the tiredness, and the constantness of it all.

I'm with you.

But hear this:

We don't have to wait until all is quiet and well and open and free to lift up our hearts to Him.

Therefore, I humbly ask that you take a look at.... breath prayers.

I was first inspired to mention this practice here on the blog....while reading this post. And after doing a bit of research - I discovered that many of the Christian greats incorporated breath prayers into their daily living. And with each of them - there was divine reward in it, divine revelation, divine presence.

And I think we all need and want a little more of that, yes?

What is a 'breath prayer'?

It's a short petition that can be uttered in one breath's time. One inhale and one exhale of a moment - that's all ya need.

"Calm my anxious heart, Father."

"Take the rage and give me patience, Lord."

"Renew a right spirit within me, God."

"Jesus, I confess the doubt - fill me with faith"

"Rid my mind of impure thoughts and fill it with righteous ones, Lord."

"Remind me I'm Yours, God. Show me I'm sealed."

"Hush the fears, Father"

"Teach me to be genuine, Jesus."

"Speak to me and speak through me, Holy Spirit."

 All these (and the plethora of others you could come up with to fit your own bents) - they can be pronounced right in the middle of our ordinary living. No candles. No knee bending. No hand folding. No retreating necessary.

While we shouldn't let these short and spontaneous prayers replace our focused and settled in sessions with the Savior - we can add them in as we journey through each packed full day. 

 And after a while - like breath filling and emptying the lungs - praying in this way can become automatic. Unceasing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) at it's finest, indeed.

These breath petitions - they can bring us back to Him....they can keep us in Him.

And as one who wonders away quite often.....

I'm in need of that.


"There is significant, important value in a time where we shut out all other distractions and focus on God in a time of closet prayer. (Matthew 6:6) But there is also room - and great value - in every-moment-of-the-day fellowship with God." - John Guzik in the study guide for 1 Thessalonians 5

"Breath prayer is discovered more than created. We are asking God to show us his will, his way, his truth for our present need." - Richard J. Foster in Prayer

"Thoughts continue to jostle in your head like mosquitoes.To stop this jostling you must bind the mind with one thought, or the thought of One only. An aid to this is a short prayer, which helps the mind to become simple and unified." - Foster quoting Theophane the Recluse in Prayer

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees before the Blessed Sacrament." - Brother Lawrence

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Sometimes you have to let things sit before they sink in. have to let ideas simmer - before they come to full flavor.

And more times than not - it's the steeping that melds things together well.

Us.....with all our quick fixes and fast dinners and hurried demeanor's....we're drawn to the instant. And we're repulsed by the process.

But's not a fly by night thing.

It's not something that can grow into something grand- through one moon's rising.

No. To needs to be fed.

And so.....we feast. We take in scripture bites at a time.

And can lead to a faith that is rounded out and full. And I want that! A skeptic like me....oh.....I crave that: a sure, seasoned, certain faith.

But the knowing and the growing in Christ - they shant be hurried.

This kind of thing can't be tapped along or tinkered with just every now and then.

Faith - it has to fester in fertile soil, friends.

It has to be nourished, practiced, processed.

Slowly. Deliberately. Seriously. 

But what does this look like?

Consider....Lectio Devina.

This ancient method for reading the Bible - it calls us to a different brand of quiet. It asks us to abandon the hustle. It doesn't allow us to bring in our worldly hurriedness to the studying of scripture.

Unfortunately...I'm known for the jostle....the hustle and bustle and spin. And so my tendency is to approach study....this same way. My notion is to fling open the Bible and rush through my chapter for the morning...pray a quick 'Help me, God' and go on to the next pressing thing.

But doesn't leave room for the Spirit to speak. 

And you and I.....we need the Spirit to speak.

So while this isn't the 'be all end all' method - perhaps we should try it for a bit. A season maybe? I just know something good will spring forth.

What exactly is Lectio Devina? It's Latin for divine reading. I would define it poorly so please....I implore you....check out this post from Bible Gateway. It's a short and superb explanation. But from what I've novicly gathered myself (and from what I'm starting to practice) this method of study is made up of four parts:

1) Lectio (read)
2) Meditatio (meditation)
3) Oratio (prayer)
4) Contemplatio (contemplation)

*Lectio: To slowly read. To put down the urge to rush through. To really roll around in the text.
*Meditatio: To hush ourselves. To set aside our tendency to force fruit. To concentrate simply on Him and what He wants to do.
*Oratio: To lift up what He lays on our hearts. To hand over. To converse with the Creator.
*Contemplatio: To hear Him. To be still. To have the Spirit minister to us. To grow in the knowledge of Christ.

All good. All needed. Worth a try.

While a fast verse here and there can be such an encouragement...and while a 'read through the Bible in a year' program can be super beneficial - that's not what Lectio Devina is about. urges us to resist the longing to move encourages us to grapple with a small portion of scripture during each session. Because it's easier to digest modestly-sized morsels than it is to digest heaping mountains.

So...pray about it. Do some research. And perhaps you'll join me?

If this has spurred you on to pursue the Lord more deeply - in any way - then this post's purpose has been fulfilled....participant in the above method or not.

Oh, may the Lord meet us in the slow and steady seeking. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Digging In

The load of laundry in the dryer is on its fourth 'fluff'.

The school papers from last year are fluttering about the school room as I turn on the ceiling fan.

There are game pieces littered throughout the living room.
And at this point...I'm refusing to walk through my house barefoot. I've put my foot down on putting my foot down.


My floors are filmed over with yuck.

All this...and I spin around our home all day doing pick ups and sweep ups and round ups...

...and still... the unfolded laundry, and the papers, and the game pieces, and the filmed floors - remain.

It boggles me.

But it shouldn't.


When you keep your kids at home....your home is gonna look like it.

When you cook and bake....your kitchen is gonna show it.

When people sit around your table...the cup rings and crumbs will prove it.

And all's good. Messy....but good.

It means life is happening. People are pulsating. Memories are in the making.

But it's also true...that I am the one responsible for making this rent house a place of growth and restoration.


And yuck floors aren't so great for that.

The season I'm in...calls for a lot of quick cleaning spurts. But really, every once in a have to go deeper.

You have to get to the grime by really scrubbing....beyond the surface.

So today...I'm whipping out the mop and doing just that here in my home.

And within a few days...I'll be exploring this a little more here on the blog, too.

The digging in. The deep cleaning. The focused and set aside cleansing sessions.

In my house...I'm doing the floors. But on the blog...we'll be doing the heart.

Spirit fall on us.

Stay tuned?

I hope you do :)

Monday, July 8, 2013


He was just sitting there on the foot tucked under his little eighteen month old diapered bottom, the other foot dangling....eating a bowl of freshly diced strawberries.

And I sat there, too.

And just watched him chew.


She was propped up on the middle cushion of the living room couch, snack in hand, favorite TV show splashing across the screen, feet just hanging all pigeon toed in four year old fashion.....enjoying a little down time.

And I sat there, too.

And just watched her enjoy.


He was strapped into his booster nice and tight, way back in the third row of the van, twitching his nose, looking out the window....soaking in the scenery.

And I sat there, too.

And watched the seven year old in the rear view mirror.

The way they blink.....
The way their feet sway from perched high car seats.....
The way they swipe wispy hair from faces.....
The way they kick shoes from tired feet....
The way they wipe a dirty mouth with a sweep of a hand....
The way they side sleep - clasping some stuffed animal....
The way they run Matchbox cars up and around a counter....
The way they bounce a baby doll....
The way they gum their Cheerios....
The way they cling to your skirt fringe....
The way they walk - stride short and rhythmic.....

Precious, precious moments.

Simple moments. Ordinary moments. Albeit precious.


We should watch our wee ones when they aren't watching.

We should admire the masterpieces that wonder our homes.

We should take note of them - when they are doing a bunch of nothing, even.

Admittedly....there will be time-outs and the taking away of toys and the reprimands and the embarrassments and the spills and the millions of little insane moments....

but in between frustrations....
in between hurried drives.....
in between drop offs and pick ups....
in between doctor's visits and snacks and diaper bag packing...

Just stop and breathe them in.

Someday you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Something Different

It's the wild ones that ring in the most wonder sometimes.

Down here - the flowers grow in pinks and purples and yellows and blues and reds - along the highways, beside the biways, next to intersections, between sidewalk plates of concrete.

And they grow all wild and free! Seeds that just happened to land and take root.....they spring up in all their glory - all while no human really planned or planted them.

Even the weeds sprout vibrant colors here!

Upon request..... my Dad traipsed through high grass to pick a sweet bunch of gloriously purple native flowers for me yesterday. They are sitting on the counter, next to the stove, in a Henn glass now....making the whole kitchen smile.

Before they were plucked from the ground, however - they stood just above the grass top in a field....holding firm in a sturdy southern breeze. Their deep hue and oddity - all situated roadside in dry Texas brush - naturally caught my eye. A splash of lovely in a straggly field!

 And so we took a pause from our walk and meandered over to take note of the beauty.

Because really.... we should stop and stoop a little more often, don't you think?

And really we should let loose and live free a little more often, too.

Because we Christ-followers - we must be careful to not become too careful. We must be watchful. And tender. And protect ourselves from becoming so stuck in the tradition or habit or rule - that we don't respond to or welcome the Holy Spirit wafting in.

Our plans, our agendas, our schedules, our maps and charts and carefully planned out chapters - should allow for some wiggle room.


Because when we leave wide open spaces available to the Lord - when we admit that perhaps He has an alternate plan, when we see that He is still speaking and longing to move amongst His people, when we realize that indeed....He is still in the business of doing the unexpected - when we bow low and lift our lives up......He shows up!

For far too long I have allowed the known and comfortable to trump the new and different.

I think there is a turning of a page going on here.

A flipping of a leaf.

(Do read this.....for some well-written, wisdom-filled evidence of the shift.)

 It seems as if the tide is changing and the winds of the Spirit are begging to envelope us.


It's up to us.

We decide.

Oh, God help Your sons and daughters! Help us to not put a ceiling on when and who and where you want to touch. Help us to untie our tightly wound knots. Help us to allow Your Spirit to let loose in the ways You see fit. Lest we thwart You!

I just feel it. There's a movement. There's this peculiar reawakening to the power and might and work of the third person in the trinity. It's as if He is groaning and ready...  pounding on the door to let Him our churches, our homes, our very hearts!

It's time!

Like the wild and beautiful flowers that pop up around these parts..... where no hand planted them.....where no master landscaping plan panned out - but simply where the winds carried seed that took root......

Let us be biblically wild! Let us welcome His goodness anywhere, anyhow, with any whom!

Yes, come Holy Spirit, do come!