First Response

I’ve found myself thinking a lot this week about my responses, inspired by the Israelites in Exodus, those with Moses and Aaron. The truth is, I would fit in among them perfectly.

They are first a people enslaved, crying out to their God for help. Honestly, I get that from a spiritual perspective. I do the things I don’t want to do – say the unkind word to my husband out of selfishness, treat my son with impatience. I don’t do the things I do want to do – pray with my son in the morning and spend time lifting up his needs to the Lord, give my husband my undivided attention in the evening to show him my love.

There are things in my life I have had to truly wrestle with, stand against, fight to break free from. And in the midst of those battles, there have been those times I have cried out to the Lord for help.

The Israelites are next a people rescued. They are freed from their slavery and in the process, they witness God’s tremendous might and power. Next time you read Exodus 7 – 14, pause frequently and close your eyes and try to picture yourself there. The sights, the sounds, the smells. I’ve never been in a crowd of panic’d people, and I’ve never faced what I would consider a widespread devastating disaster. So in a lot of ways, my imagination is the only thing I can use to try and really absorb what’s happening here. God’s power revealed to the Israelities at this point is terrifying, overwhelming. I can’t come up with a word to portray just how mighty this would have been.

In their defense, the first thing we see them do in Chapter 15 is respond with a song of deliverance. I can relate to this too. There have been times in my life I have sang and danced praises to God, my heart and soul overwhelmed by His intervention in my life. Times I’ve been brought to tears and to my knees because I am so thankful for what He has done to help me, to free me. His works in my life too are mighty, and the things He has accomplished in me are significant and powerful. I’ve never seen Him blow back the sea overnight so I could walk through on dry ground, yet I have seen Him do things that to my mind were impossible – so the power, the might, the greatness of God is still at work today.

And the Israelites and I, we are a people of complaint.

Then the people complained and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’ they demanded. – Exodus 15:24

There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. ‘If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,’ they moaned. ‘There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.’ – Exodus 16:2-3

So once more the people complained against Moses. ‘Give us water to drink!’ they demanded. – Exodus 17:2a

Responses. What I have found myself thinking about most this week is how the Israelites responded to their hardship, to their needs for food and water.

After witnessing God’s power, His might, His abilities on scales so grand that I can barely imagine it in my mind – their first response isn’t to go to God with their needs. Their first response is to complain.

I’ve done it. One day I have praised God for His goodness, His graciousness, His power, having witnessed Him at work – to turn around and complain the next day when the unexpected bill arrives in the mail. When the car breaks down. When a loved one falls ill. When temptation comes and rears it’s ugly head over a sin that I feel I’m just barely defeating.

It’s so easy to complain because complaining requires no faith. And complaining, once it gets going, can really go far. So far as to say words like “if only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt”. In other words, complaining can lead to a place where we take the miraculous work God has done in our lives, and say it would have been better had it never happened.

I don’t want to be a woman of complaint. I want to be a woman of faith. A woman whose first response when faced with a need, with a hardship, with an unexpected situation – is to go to the Lord in Prayer. To pause in my driveway and pray over the unexpected bill I just opened. To sit in the broken car and cry out to my God with my need. To fall to my knees and seek God for healing and help over the news of a loved one. To stand firm in prayer when faced with temptation.

I want my first response to be prayer so that my heart is consumed with seeking God and His power, and so that the seed of complaint has no room to be planted in my heart, no room to take root, no room to deny what God has accomplished, can accomplish, and will accomplish.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

May my responses to the unexpected and hardships be opportunities to live in Faith and worship You, O LORD.

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The Broken, Outdated, No-Real-Reason-To-Keep-It Night

Last night I went on a de-cluttering spree in my bedroom. It was time.
Make-up bag overflowing, clothes poking out of overly stuffed drawers, and the papers, oh the papers…..

I believe a bedroom should be a place that says “Here is where you can relax, drifting away peacefully into sweet slumber and rest.”

The last few months my bedroom has been saying “Here is where you can drop another arm load of stuff from the living room because company is coming over.

(Don’t judge, I know I’m not the only one…)

Trash bag in hand, I began to go through the mountains of STUFF.
It was time to throw away the broken, outdated, no-real-reason-to-keep-it STUFF.
Old make up – tossed. Old lotions – tossed. Old pair of shoes with a hole in them – tossed. And the papers, so many papers – TOSSED.

Then I came to the drawer that held my journals.

All through middle and high school I wrote in my journals. Sometimes meticulously recording events to preserve the memory. Mostly allowing whatever emotion I was feeling to fill the pages. More than once I found myself in trouble because of this.
A teacher I was close too during one of those “troubling times” when someone else read my journal and the ensuing teenage drama followed, said to me “Never write anything down that you don’t want someone else to read“.

I didn’t learn the lesson.

Eventually my journals were taken from me, misrepresented, and then thrown away. In my hurt and anger over the situation, I bought a stack of blank journals, determined to keep writing MY way, without any remorse for the hurt or pain my words may have caused others.

The thing is, I’m not the same person anymore.

Last night as I sat and read through these journals, I was both convicted and astonished. Convicted because of the words I had written. Astonished because it was a clear picture of just how lost I was.

Earlier this week I read Romans 12, and it’s been lingering in the back of my mind.

Romans 12:6-8 : “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”


As I thumbed through painful memories and emotionally focused writing, I had to ask myself WHY. Why was I holding onto this broken, outdated, no-real-reason-to-keep-it life? Then as I found myself questioning that, I felt the Holy Spirit whispering to my soul this…

Writing is a gift, it doesn’t belong to you, it was gifted to you by The One who Loves You Most. Use your Gift Well in This New Life you now have In Christ Jesus.

I didn’t throw the journals away.
Instead, I went to my husband. The only person in the whole world who knows where I keep my journals, and who has for five years respected my request that he not read them. I asked him to burn them. When he asked me if I was sure, I took a breath, looked at them, and then looked at him, and told him I was absolutely sure. I was ready to let go of my life before him, the hurt, the anger, the rebellion, the person I no longer was.


I was letting go of that old life, to fully embrace THIS life. This life with my Savior, with my husband, with family and friends.

The only journal I kept was the one I started after my husband and I married. I kept it so I can journal with purpose.

To write Truths when my emotions try to dominate me.
To write praises of thankfulness for things the Lord is doing in my life and in the lives of those I love.
So that the next time I sit down and look through my “journals” – they will be pages of purpose – pointing back to a Glorious Life Giving Savior.
So that the next time someone wants to pick up my journals and read through them, what they will find will be something that has purpose.

Never write anything down that you don’t want someone else to read.
I think I’ve got it now.

Ephesians 4
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.



Thoughtful Thursday – Cholesterol

I went to my annual physical today at the doctor’s.

Now first, brief back story – Right after turning 27 there was a “health fair” at my then employer. My total Cholesterol was 260, so I made an appointment with the doctor and had my fasting numbers checked where it was 262. Then earlier this year before I left the “work force”, at the health fair again I was checked for a number of 298.

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing since being at home to try and better my health: Continue reading “Thoughtful Thursday – Cholesterol”