Monday, June 24, 2013

Daily verse or actual reading?

These days it seems that we are looking for quick service, quick reads, quick deals. If I open a blog and it appears it will take me longer than a few minutes to read it the chances of me reading it are pretty slim. I suppose that’s why I like getting a daily bible verse sent to my phone, it’s just one verse and almost always pertains to some current situation of my life. Short and sweet that’s what we’re after, that’s what I’m after.

I’ve been challenged in the past with “I don’t have time to read the bible” and it often came when it appeared to others I had all the time in the world to just sit and do nothing but read. Today my world is so full I have little time to even hang out with my kids let alone sit and read so I like the daily bible verse even more.


I always hated when my mom would be answering my question and then throw in the “but” part. “But” is rarely, in my opinion, followed by something good. Depending on how you view it, this is one of those times.

Daily bible verses rock. BUT that isn’t enough, that isn’t what one can call “reading my bible daily.” If you wrote me a letter and I only read one sentence then called you and said “Loved the letter, I read it daily. One sentence at a time” how would you feel? Did I really read your letter? No, I read a sentence of the letter but I can’t possibly see your whole intent, your whole heart, if I didn’t read the whole letter.

Sitting down and reading the bible will look different for us all. For some that will be 15 minutes and a chapter or two, for others it’ll be an hour of a whole book. The point is reading your bible, spending TIME in God’s love letter to us, is more than a verse a day.

So, if I were to ask you “Do you read your bible” what would you say? A sentence of the love letter or the whole letter?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Father's Day Past

It’s a few days late but, I wanted to pay tribute this Father’s Day to two men in my life that will forever leave an impact on my heart—my grandfathers.

My earliest memory of Grandpa Critser (my mom’s father) is the camp meeting in Anderson, IN. I remember the smell of the air, an aroma that had a hint of sweet to it. I remember he’d lean down during service and whisper “remember, ice cream after this.” But my favorite memory of camp meeting week was on the last night when the candles were passed out. The room would dim and one by one candles were lit across the auditorium, including mine. And then all together we’d raise our candles and all you could see was a sea of flickering lights. As a little girl it was an awesome experience to be part of.

My last memory of him is when we went to visit my grandparents just before he died. There was a moment when it was only he and I in the room and he took my hand and through tears said “Only God is more proud of you than me.” Many moments in the years since I’ve reflected on that special moment, my grandpa loved God deeply and is the only man to ever enter my life that made me feel utterly and unconditionally loved. I am so thankful God made Morris (Bud) Critser. I miss him more than I could possibly explain.


My earliest memory of Grandpa Saathoff (my dad’s father) is riding on his lap as he mowed the pasture. I loved doing that! His arms were big and strong and he held me tightly as we’d make the turn to start the next lap. I also remember he’d never let me win playing checkers or battleship, when I’d start to cry he’d laugh and say “well, you could always try to beat me again” and we’d play another round. I never felt like he got tired of me; I never felt I was a burden to him. In years past, he was a confident man, proud to be an American, could fix anything and appeared to have no fear. In him I learned how a man should act.

My most recent memory is my dad and I having to help position him in bed because he’s too weak to do it himself. My heart is heavy because time is drawing to a close and I will one day not hear his voice. Last night I had a dream, he and I were riding on the tractor mowing a huge open field. We were laughing and his strong arms were once again wrapped around me. All was right in the world. I’m so thankful God made Glen Saathoff. I will forever draw upon the strength of the days past.

Father’s Day is a moment for us to pause
and give tribute to the men that are the reason we are alive.
If it wasn’t for my grandpa’s having my parents I wouldn’t be here
and I wouldn’t have had the privilege of knowing
the two finest men to ever cross my path.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What will others say?

Years ago I attended a funeral; she was my mom’s friend of many years. As I sat listening to various stories come from the front the large overflowing church I was overcome by the common theme in all the stories…she was a woman they longed to be. I remember leaving and thinking “I wonder if anyone would feel that way about me right now?”

Ask any parent if they are guilt free from their parenting of past days and they’ll laugh at you for being so silly to ask such a question. Ask any person who spewed harsh words in the moment if they regret doing so and they’ll give a look of “of course!” To say one can live regret-free or guilt-free is to imply that person never does anything wrong, never says anything wrong, never acts inappropriately and we all know that’s not possible.

My mom’s friend wasn’t perfect, I’m sure she had bad days and rough seasons of life. But it was clear to me the day of her funeral that her bad days didn’t define her, she didn’t allow them to become larger than who she was on the inside. Her legacy was a good one and that happened one good choice, one good word, one good action after another.

Today I encourage you to pause and reflect on your own life; what will people say about you at your funeral? I have thought about what kind of person I want to be for a long time now, something I use to never do. I work at becoming the kind of woman I long to be…the woman like my mom’s friend was…the kind of woman God will be proud to say “She’s my daughter!”

If you don’t like who you are then the good news you can BECOME.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

You Will Not

Isaiah 43:1-3 "But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.When you go through rivers of difficulty,   you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you."

It doesn't take much looking around to see the hurt, the fear, the uncertainty. Many of my friends are struggling in one fashion or another and today my heart is heavy that I cannot lift their burdens. If I have learned anything in this life it's that there is always good and bad going on--what we choose to focus on is what shines the brightest. 

Today my sweet friends, choose to focus on the passage found deep within Isaiah...if you are a Christian, if you have accepted that you cannot do life on your own, if you understand the desperate need for One bigger than you then this is for you--"You will not be consumed, you will not be burned, you will not be consumed. I love you." Say it out loud, shout it out for all to hear, do whatever it takes to etch this truth into your soul! It doesn't say "hopefully you'll endure through this" it says "you WILL NOT..." 

Life is hard. I know. Don't just hang in there....rise above and focus on the good.