Monthly Archives: July 2014

life beyond the 51/49 principle

The 51/49 principle. That’s what my daddy calls it – the not so scientific (much less highly spiritual) approach to making decisions.

Your gut leanings . . . 51% in one direction; 49% in the other. When in doubt, go with the 51%.

When making smaller decisions, the 51/49 principle seems to carry less weight. When making larger decisions (those choices involving critical, life paths)? Well, the 51/49 principle is a bit harder to digest. Personally, I prefer the 99/1 principle when choosing a critical, life path—a two-by-four to the head that clearly says, “This is the way; walk in it … ” (see Isaiah 30:21). Unfortunately, that kind of clarification has rarely been my privilege over the years. Instead, I’ve learned to trust my gut, even when it teeters within a few percentage points of taking the alternate (often times, less desirable) path.

Sometimes, 51% is all I get. But every now and again, a 99% shows up . . . maybe even 100%, and there is no need for agonizing deliberation. I am grateful for those occasions; I’ve learned to be obedient to them as well.

Like three weeks ago, when I walked through an open door that (trust me when I tell you) wasn’t even on my radar – not one little bit. Three weeks ago, I was heart-deep in wedding preparations—a season filled with enough emotional trauma to clutter and confuse reasonable thought processes. Choosing the color of my toe-nail polish was a struggle, much less choosing a life-path. Still and yet, a choice presented itself, one that would not only alter my life, but also the lives of my family. That decision?

After fifteen years of being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve decided to take a job outside the walls of my home. Instead of homeschooling my children, I’ll be teaching someone else’s children – fourth graders at a small Christian school just down the road. If this opportunity hadn’t come about in the way that it did, I wouldn’t have had the courage to walk through this door. Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have had the strength. A year ago I was busy giving away all of the contents of my teacher boxes in an effort to lighten our load prior to our move to this community. After hauling that mess around for years, I had no intentions of ever, practically using any of it again. I kept one banker’s box, the contents of which are less practical and mostly sentimental.

And so, I’m starting from scratch, walking down a road I never imagined I’d be walking down again, and I’m doing so with a 99/1%, two-by-four affirmation in my pocket that will, undoubtedly, buoy my “want to” as this season unfolds. It may not make a lick of sense to others, but it makes perfect sense to me. Accordingly, I offer no apologies or explanations to the naysayers; I simply walk through this open door in obedience, knowing that the favor of God and the shine of heaven rest upon me.

This is my next, and I’m ready to turn the page, ready to let go of any previous notions of what I thought I should be doing (those 51/49 wranglings of the heart) and ready to step into the 99% I know that I should be doing. It’s just that clear and, relatively, simple. How grateful I am for a reprieve from the constant, internal debate regarding my next!

I don’t know where you are today as it pertains to choosing a life-path. Maybe you are contentedly walking with a 99% affirmation in your heart; maybe less contentedly, hovering between your 51 and your 49. I understand them both. This is the life of the faith . . . walking forward with God and trusting that, even when it’s with a 51/49 affirmation, he will establish your steps as you go and strengthen your witness for his glory and his renown.

Step on, friends. Step forward. Step always with God. These next steps matter. You can make them confidently, knowing that, wherever the path leads, you’ll never walk alone. Not ever.

Rest in the company of our King today. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

PS – The winner of Leah’s study, HeBrews: a Better Blend, is Rebecca! Please be in touch with your mailing address, friend.

Into the Cloud

I came across a verse this Sabbath afternoon while working my way through HeBrews: a Better Blend. I don’t think my author-friend, Leah, meant for me to park my thoughts at this particular verse for any length of time; nevertheless it parked alongside me, keeping company with my soul for the last several hours.

“The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” –Exodus 20:21

Where God was.

Where was God? In the cloud – shrouded by thick darkness. Moses knew it; the Israelites knew it. Still and yet, they allowed their fear to overrule any measure of faith. Moses? Well, he’d been down that road with God before, back in those beginning days when his fear might have kept him from the greatest faith-adventure of his life. Instead of giving into the fear, Moses approached the darkness—the burning bush, the throne of Pharaoh, the Red Sea. Why?

Because God was in there, in those places of great testing. Moses, better than the Israelites, valued the presence of God and understood that, sometimes, it’s in the darkness where the Light is most radiantly revealed. God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. But in the darkness, when we cannot see clearly for the thick fog surrounding us, God’s light is a holy, welcome resource.

We should not fear the unseen. Just because we cannot see the light doesn’t mean that the light isn’t waiting for us just beyond the veil. Sometimes the way through is clear and obvious. Sometimes, it’s only by taking those initial steps of faith into the cloud that the light will be revealed. Sometimes, it’s our steps forward that bring the sacred flame into focus.

Not long ago, I stepped into the cloud to meet with God. Was I afraid? A little. But like Moses, there was a greater fear that penetrated my heart – The fear of not taking those steps forward. I think that Moses, like me, clearly knew that God had something more for him (beginning at the ripe young age of 80) . . . something beyond the routine of sheep-tending on the plains of Midian. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with sheep-tending. Sheep-tending is a good living unless God wants to move our tending to the other side of the pasture, or in Moses’ case, the other side of the Red Sea.

Every now and again, we have to be willing to let go of good pastureland in order to take hold of God’s Promised Land.

And so, I said “yes” to God and stepped into the thick darkness surrounding my “yes.” Do you know what I found once I did?

His extraordinary “yes” on the other side, brilliant light radiating deeply into my heart and bathing my soul in peace. Why? Because God was there. God is there, and God wants me to be where he is.

Friends, I don’t want to live my life beneath a cloudless sky if it means missing the beauty of a trust-filled walk with the Lover of my soul. I don’t want sunny skies if it means I cannot have the thickness of God’s presence surrounding me. I don’t ask for the darkness; I much prefer sacred revelation without it. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know when he’s inviting me to a deeper level of trust. This is one of those seasons. Accordingly, I have stepped beyond the veil in recent days, and I have seen with my own eyes and felt deeply within my soul what it is to move beyond my fears and to walk with faith as my anchor.

Have I crossed the Red Sea? Not yet, but I’ve dipped my toes into the waters of anticipation, and I’m ready to make that journey through on dry ground.

This is faith from the inside-out, all the way through to Canaan. God is there. He is my next, and he is my peace . . . for the journey. I can’t wait to read the next chapter in this crazy book called “My Life.” Thank you for joining me on the road.

PS:The winner of a surprise gift from Lisa Dixon is Cindy from Letters From Midlife.

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of Leah’s new study, HeBrews: a Better Blend. It is a fascinating, challenging dig into the life of faith. I hope you’ll take advantage of this soul-stretching resource!

Also, have you heard about my summer-combo book deal? You can secure copies of Peace for the Journey and Beyond the Scars for $20 (includes shipping – USA orders only). I’ll be happy to sign them for you and get them in the mail this week (sent media mail). You may order through paypal using the link below or by contacting me directly by clicking here.


worn out to wearable . . .

“There’s something in there, Elaine. I’m not quite sure what ‘it’ is, but there’s something in there.”

So says my artist friend while staring at a pile of scraps in her attic sanctuary. To the casual onlooker, those scraps don’t look like much. Just a pile of colorful leftovers—cast-offs from somebody’s closet and the thrift store down the road. I cannot see what she sees on the front side of her creating. I can only be thankful for her visioning that leads to a finished product that is both beautiful and functional.

A recycled masterpiece!

In wearing her treasures across my body, I carry history into the present. Threads of yesterday are delicately woven into a tapestry that tells a story. My story.

Scraps to salvaged. Parts to whole. Old to new. Worn out to wearable.

Yes, this is my story. And all it took was the visioning of the Artist to see what I couldn’t see. To imagine what I couldn’t imagine. To pause before the scrap heap and to say,

“There’s something in there. I’m not quite sure what ‘it’ is, but there’s something in there.”

A functioning something. A beautiful something. A recycled masterpiece fashioned by the Master, pieced and woven tightly together by threads of sacred love. History into the present . . . a lot of times past that count toward tomorrow.

So here I am – a garment comprised of yesterday’s scraps, sewn up with a lot of grace-splashes. And it works. I work because I am his work. There simply isn’t any other reasonable explanation for how this is all turning out so well – my life.

How grateful I am for the quiet pauses in a day that lend themselves to creativity. To climb the attic stairs and to imagine through to the other side of the scrap heap. To house (even if just a little) the creative pulse of the Creator within me. To have the light coming through the window to crystallize and clarify the blueprint. To remind me when I so often forget that …

“There’s something in there.”

There is something in there, friends. A holy something. A God something. Whether you’re staring at a scrap pile in the mirror today or whether your work is on the table awaiting a hem line, there’s something in there. The Artist has his eyes on you, and he’s working with the end product in mind.

What you’ve yet to see, he has already seen. What you cannot imagine, he has already imagined. His visioning is holier than yours and his patience enduring. The word on the street is you’re going to be a masterpiece. In the Master’s hands, how could you be anything but? Trust him with and for the finishing details. Give him your scraps and watch him create.

Grace looks beautiful on you, friends. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

PS: If you’d like to learn more about the artist, Lisa Dixon, and how you might secure one of her valuable treasures, please visit her Etsy sight by clicking here . What’s your favorite item? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll enter your name into a drawing to win a secret treasure from her stash. You can also find Lisa on facebook by clicking here.

Summer Book Special – Combo Pack

Welcome to my wedding-centric, crazy world! We are eleven days away from celebrating the blessed union between my eldest son, Nick, and his bride-to-be, Chelsea. My heart is overwhelmed with emotion and anticipation for the impending nuptials and for the new chapter unfolding in the life of our family. I imagine I’ll have some further thoughts in coming days, but for now, I’m sitting back … taking it all in.

It’s a lot to manage, this turning of the page in my story. But God is enabling me to do just that and to find deep joy alongside. Oh the depth of my mothering years! Thanks be to God for the privilege of counting each one of them – all twenty-five of them – and all the milestones that accompany two and a half decades of growing a boy into a man. Sweet mercy – I barely made it through Nick’s high school graduation! How grateful I am for the family that surrounds me and that will, undoubtedly, shepherd me through the next two weeks.

Would you pray for me, that I would be attentive to the necessary to the exclusion of the unnecessary? I don’t want to be an ogre in this season of bliss. Instead, I want to be an agent of God’s love, a dispenser of the kingdom, not a hoarder therein. I want to live and give my mothering best. I’ve missed the mark on several occasions over the years, but by God’s empowering grace and with his perfect peace at my disposal, this won’t be one of those times. Thank you in advance for coming alongside me and supporting me with your prayers. It means the world to me.

Blessings, friends, and as always …

Peace for the journey,

PS: It’s unlikely you’ll see me here at my cyber address for the next couple of weeks. Still and yet, you can always reach me through my contact page. A few closing details:

  • I’m happy to report that the groom-to-be has chosen a winner for Leah’s study, HeBrews: a Better Blend. The winner is Sharalee. Sharalee, please message me your mailing address.
  • Secondly, I want to offer a Summer Book Special – Combo Pack on Beyond the Scars and Peace for the Journey. For a limited time, I am offering both books for $20 (shipping included – USA orders only). Please use the link below to place your order (this is the only link that provides this particular offer). If you’d rather mail me a check, send me a message by clicking on this link.
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