Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why I'm Glad the Dishwasher Broke

Bear with me. I'm not crazy. Well, for the most part.

Approximately a month ago...the dishwasher died. 
Of course, I did what any normal, rational, middle age wife and mama would do..........I completely freaked out. I mean it.
 I. freaked. out.  I arrived at work, and in my panic, spewed my situation all over the boss' desk.  "I need your help! My dishwasher broke! We go through a lot - did you hear me? - a LOT of dishes....what am I going to do??"

I knew my options. Call my neighborhood appliance store and have a shiny new dishwasher delivered and installed, or (gulp)........wash the hand. 

Now, before you deem me a selfish middle-class brat who doesn't like to get her hands dirty, sprinkle a little grace and soapsuds my way, would you?

I still don't have a dishwasher.

But I do have a sinkload of new memories.
Because when it's dishes's daughter time. 

Teenage daughter time. And if you have one of these special humans of your own, you know just what a sacred space that is.

I wash. She dries.  We listen to Pandora Christmas Music. We talk. We laugh. Because when our hands are wet.....they aren't wired. Because when they are holding on to pots and pans....they are free from Facebook and Instagram.  Because the time it takes to wash and to dry those time we have together............unplugged.
You see, the joy isn't in the clean's in the process of getting them clean.

Last week I was watching QVC (don't judge me). New Instant Set-Up Outdoor Lighted Wire Trees!  Christmas in an Instant!  Five seconds folks - you heard right - just FIVE seconds and Christmas is born!  No more fumbling around outside with the husband trying to get those lights just right.  No more untangling of the dreaded net lights only to find out half are burnt out (after you cover all the shrubs).  No more climbing the ladder in the frigid cold to line those little bulbs of brightness just so. 
Sounds perfect....right?  Hmmmm...I don't think so.
You see, the joy isn't in the well-lit's in the process of getting it lit. It's in the time spent together hanging those said lights...and then discovering they're burnt out, and then taking them back down, and then rehanging them, and then.......well, you catch my {snow}drift..

Perhaps that's why our God instructs us to......
                                         Pray all the time. -1 Thessalonians 5:17

Perhaps that's why our God reminds us to.......
                                         Thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Perhaps that's why our God tells us plainly to.......
                                            Be joyful. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Perhaps it's because our God wants us to understand that
the power of prayer is in the process.  
That it's not about the answer,  it's about the attitude.
That it's not about how rapidly He responds to our requests, it's about how we are renewed and transformed during the time of waiting.
That it's not about the end result, it's about each and every important lesson we learn along the way. Strengthening our faith along the path of defective dishwashers and burnt out bulbs.

It's about the process.

The power is in the process.

{Note: A new dishwasher is on my Christmas list. C'mon, y'all kinda figured that, didn't ya?}

Soaked in Grace (with dishpan hands),

Monday, October 27, 2014

Walls ...And Why They Gotta Go

It started as a simple walk to work.
After all, I had looked ahead at the forecast, and clearly today could quite possibly be the last time in 2014 that this fair-weather-walker-girl would have the chance.

And whenever I walk, He talks.

I'm not sure if He speaks louder, or I listen better, but either way, I heard Him. 

It started with a song...(by the way, I sound like a RockStar when I'm alone)...
                                    And I will praise You in this storm
                                    I will lift my hands
                                    For You are who You are
                                    No matter where I am
                                   And every tear I've cried
                                   You hold in Your hand
                                   You never left my side
                                   And though my heart is torn
                                   I will praise You in this storm

I wasn't all that surprised to hear the lyrics on my lips. You see, I not only love the song, I was in the middle of praying for some friends who are currently struggling with everything from finances to family, from health or hearing Him, from stress to sadness.  And God has been showing me the importance of praising Him in the midst of problems. Singing in the center of storms. Worshiping despite walls. 


I heard the word over and over.

Think Tera, think. The bible story with the walls. 
Joshua. Yep, that's it.
Joshua. Jericho. You know, the walls came tumbling down..... (go ahead, sing it if you know it)

"Is that it God? Do you want me to spend time there today? Is there something You want to show me there today?"

I smile even now as I write, remembering what felt like His warm smile upon me (it was indeed a gorgeous sun), and with a tilt of His head, He whispered, "Yes."

                                    Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Look, I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its fighting men.  March around the city with your army once a day for six days.  Have seven priests carry trumpets made from horns of male sheep and have them march in front of the Ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times and have the priests blow the trumpets as they march. They will make one long blast on the trumpets. When you hear that sound, have all the people give a loud shout. Then the walls of the city will fall so the people can go straight into the city.” ~Joshua 6:2-5 NCV

Can we just stop and and feel for poor Josh a minute here? 
"Let me get this straight God, in the middle of a major attack, you want us to............offer praise?"  Yup.

That's a great story God, it really is, but.......what does it have to do with my prayers? for myself? for others?

My child,
Look at all the walls. They're everywhere.
Some my children built for themselves, some were constructed for them. 
Either way, they are not protection.....they are BARRIERS.

                   The people of Jericho were afraid because the Israelites were near. They closed the city gates and guarded them. No one went into the city, and no one came out. ~Joshua 6:1 NCV
No one can get in. That's true. 
But more importantly, you can not get out. 


Walls of insecurity.  Walls of excuses.  Walls of jealousy.  Walls of fear.  Walls of uncertainty.  Walls of worry.  Walls of selfishness.  Walls of despair.  Walls of greed.  Walls of comparison.  Walls of anger.  Walls of unforgiveness.  Walls of hurt.  Walls of separation.  Let's face it, even our Facebook page is called our.......Wall.  And although it offers us a way to connect in some ways, doesn't it also serve as a wall that has taken away a part of our human face-to-face interactions?

I kept walking.  He kept talking.

There's only one way to tear down the walls my daughter..........Praise.

Are you kidding me?  
With everything I'm going through? With everything they are going through?

    "But God....I'm hurting."  "But's not fair."  "But God....I'm angry."  "But God.....I'm scared."  "But God.....I can't."  "But God......I'm worried."  "But God.............."
That's right. You heard right. The Power is in the Praise.
the act of expressing approval or admiration.
the offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship

Praise.  It's what we do for Him. It's what we bring to Him. And when we do.......the enemy runs.
                                So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. ~ James 4:7 Voice

Arm yourself with it.  
Use it. 
Raise your hands. 
Raise your voice. 
Bring Him the offering of.....Praise. 
There is nothing more powerful.

 When the priests blew the trumpets, the people shouted. At the sound of the trumpets and the people’s shout, the walls fell, and everyone ran straight into the city. So the Israelites defeated that city. ~Joshua 6:20       

You can do it my friend. We both can. Praise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"There's No Room"

 "But Mama", his shaky little voice cried, "there's no room."

We had just entered the Kindergarten cafeteria. Nineteen little bodies with backpacks stuffed like sardines on their side of the morning breakfast table.  I could see the terror in his eyes.  I knew that look.  
I know that look.
Those wet blue eyes translated those two small words in one split second:
No room = Not wanted.

Been there baby boy. Mama's been there.
Those teary eyes used to be mine.
And sometimes...............they still are.

"Um.......there's like totally no room at our table." (the 80s had a language all their own, amen?)

"Oh shoot, I didn't know you wanted to go, there's just no room."

I often wonder if Mary felt the same way when her and Joe arrived at the inn.

 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 
Luke 2:7

But guess what?  This wasn't a Holiday Inn.  This wasn't simply a case of late arrival. The word used for "inn" is this case is translated as "guest room"..........not a paid establishment complete with a hot tub, wet bar, and room service.

Mary and Joe weren't late.
They were REJECTED.

Certainly they had family in town, after all, they were returning for the town census.

There WAS room.
They didn't MAKE ROOM.
Not for an unwed pregnant teen and her unshaven older beau.

At age 43, I still struggle with the "there's no room" moments.
That's not easy to admit. Perhaps even a bit embarrassing.
But I've learned over the years that what really connects us, what really binds us, what really allows us to relate and connect isn't sharing our strengths, but our weaknesses.
So here it goes.... 

At age 43, I sometimes feel.......

*left out

Am I alone? Do you ever feel this way?

Perhaps from a friend? a coworker? a classmate? a church member? a spouse? a family member?

But God. 

How awesome is our Creator to allow the birth of his own Son to face the "no room at the inn" in order that we may belong? In order that He may understand?  In order that Jesus himself may cradle and comfort us in the "no room" moments truly knowing and experiencing the ultimate feelings of rejection, literally from birth on......

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free"

.................. Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown."
Luke 4:18,24 

There's going to be times this side of heaven when "there's no room" moments will sting. And pierce. And feel as though someone is driving a stake right through us.
He knows that feeling too.

So what's a girl to do?

Cry out to the King.
Rest in arms of the Redeemer.
Seek Solace in the Spirit.
And with a softened, grateful, trusting heart; 
remind herself daily.........
In my Father's world, 
there is ALWAYS room. 

 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
1 John 4:4

 Accepted as His,

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ugh. I'm an Unprepared Prayer Fail!

What's wrong with me Lord?
You know me {all so well}, so I guess there's no use in trying to dance around this, so {deep breath}, here it goes...........

Lately, I can't seem to get though a prayer. {gasp}

Not even the one You taught. {double gasp}

Not without a wandering mind.  

Truth be told, sometimes; by the time I reach 'who art in heaven' head art in the grocery list, or the game schedule, or the last post, or the future tweet, or the plans I have for tomorrow, or.......well, you get the idea God.

And then the guilt sets in.

Good Grief Tera, what's wrong with you? 
How can you not even PRAY without losing your thoughts?
  {which quite frankly often feels more like losing my mind}

Perhaps someone reading this can relate?   {please?!}

{And I know guilt is not from you God, and I know that you know the concerns of my heart, and I know that you love me no matter what, and I know that you don't judge me as a "bad pray-er", but I don't want to wander...not during my precious time alone with you. Not during those times that I want to intercede on behalf of those who's concerns and worries (including my own) I want to lift to you in conversation. Not during those times I want to offer you thanks and praise for all you have done and continue to do. No, I don't want to wander.}

So tonight, this wandering-yet-determined-minded girl decided to face this looming prayer fail dilemma head-on.

I googled "focus on Jesus", "fixed thoughts", "looking to heaven", and I did indeed find some help for my boggled brain, but I continued my search....


 A prayer to prepare {the focus of my mind and soil of my heart}.
 And a ten cent notebook {to  s l o w  down, and write out each and every concern and praise}.

I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of it before, or perhaps I just didn't think a "good Christian" should have to prepare to.......Pray.

But why not?  

If I decide to make a cake, but don't have the ingredients....
If I decide to go grocery shopping, but forget my wallet and list....
If I decide to clean the house, but don't have the supplies I need...
If I decide to take a drive, but don't have the keys or a tank of gas.....
In each case, I need to prepare.  
I need to prepare if I want to succeed.

It doesn't mean I'm means I'm wise.

So my friends, tonight; covered by grace, and equipped with a ten cent notebook and a prayer to preprayer........

This going to pray.  
Perhaps you'll join me.

Much Love,    

"Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!"  Andrew Murray

Monday, April 21, 2014

Put Away Easter.

Monday morning. The day after.

I woke up early. (I usually do, but thought perhaps the jellybean hangover would hinder my wake-up time)

I spent approximately ten minutes curled up in my favorite chair with Jesus. (a little less than usual, but I had lots to do, you know)

I put down my bible, took a deep breath, stood up and declared (to myself and my shaggy pup-the only two awake),
 "Well.....time to put away Easter."

As the words seeped out of my mouth, a bad taste followed.
  Put away Easter? 

Of course, I was referring to the half-eaten chocolate bunnies, the new sidewalk chalk, the magic bubbles, the overflow of plastic green grass that I'm certain I will be vacuuming until the pine needles arrive....BUT....

I slumped back in my chair, and thought......

After the early morning church service, the baskets filled with goodies and treats, the decorated egg hunts, the food (oh, the food!), the moments spent and memories made with family and I....


Do we relish the celebration, but resist the challenge?  

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go, tell my followers to go to Galilee. There they will see me.” ~ Matthew 28:10

Go. Tell. Show the world. Let your light shine. Love one Another. Take care of the less fortunate.  Give to the poor. Forgive. Serve. Walk humbly. Speak to encourage. Turn the other cheek. Build up the kingdom. 
Show. People. Jesus.

let's not put away Easter. 

Let's LIVE OUT Easter.

Grace & Hugs,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wait up!

Do two walk together
    unless they have agreed to do so?  Amos 3:3

I walk. 
I just do.  It's not on purpose. It's not even something I'm really aware of.  It is simply MY "normal".  I do have a couple of walking buddies who share my need for speed, but for the most part, I'm often told, "Sorry, you walk too fast for me."  "Sorry, I can't keep up."  My own kiddos have been known to cry out "Mom, wait up!" My dear hubby has even told me, "I can't go on a walk with you Tera, you're ten feet ahead of me."

It has me wondering how our pace may also affect our spiritual walk with those who surround us in this life. 
Could it be that others may not want to walk with us.....
simply because we won't slow down enough to walk beside them?

Or perhaps the Nikes are on the other feet..
Do we choose not to walk with others.....
because we feel as though we just can't keep up?

Either way, the outcome is the same. 
We walk alone.

It's easy to return home from an inspiring conference.....or awe-filled worship service.......or uplifting bible study.......filled to overflow with Holy Spirit energy and fist-pumping Hallelujahs, but how do we react when others on our path don't share in that enthusiasm?  Do we race ahead to Judgement Corner and impatiently wait for them to arrive? 

Or maybe our path is heading in a different direction.  We have thought about visiting a new church, or joining a bible study, or attending our first conference, but because this road is one we're not used to walking, we choose not to go at all....fearing the entire trip will consist of cries to "WAIT UP!"
.....or worse, that we will end up at the dreaded Dead End. Alone. 

Friends, can we decide to walk together, with the knowledge that pace matters?  That in order to walk TOGETHER with those we love - whether it is a spouse, a family member, or a friend - that we must worry less about crossing the finish line first and more about completing the race together?

We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. ~ Hebrews 12:1a

I don't want to walk alone in this life.  You don't either.  It's not how we were created. 

We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things.  We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25

So let's be intentional with our walk - not just our path  - but how we walk...and the speed at which we walk.

Let's choose a grace journey over a guilt trip.

Let's choose to love our walking partner, even if it means slowing down.

Let's choose to swallow fear and join the walk, even if we have to shout 'WAIT UP!' from time to time.

Let's choose to walk..............TOGETHER.

But it is you, a person like me, 
my companion and good friend. 
We had a good friendship and 
walked together to God’s Temple. ~ Psalm 55:13-14

See you on the trail,