“Mom, can you get me some lemonade?”

“Hold on sweetie, I’m folding laundry.”

After I finished, the phone rang. After that, it was time to start dinner.

Then, I heard a scream from our family study.

It was my six-year-old son. He had gotten tired of waiting on me to get his lemonade. He got a FULL glass and took it to our study while he played “Animal Jam” on the computer. As I turned the corner walking into the study, I saw the floor, desk and computer drowning in sugary lemonade. In fact, the keys are still sticky as I type this!

Off to time-out he went while I cleaned up the mess.

After his time-out, we talked.

“You know that no food or drinks are allowed in the office. That’s why you got a time-out. I’m sorry you had to wait, but you must learn to have patience.”

As his eyes filled with tears and his little lips quivered, he apologized. I hugged him and said, “I love you, even when you make mistakes. No one is perfect. But, we must learn from our mistakes and not break these rules again.”

Patience is a continual learning process. And, it’s not easy.

In Genesis 16 and 17, we learn that Sarah waited 90 years for a baby. She got impatient. She gave up on God and took things into her own hands. She encouraged her husband, Abraham, to sleep with another woman so they could have a child. Abraham committed adultery with Hagar, who then conceived and gave birth to Ishmael.

Can you imagine that family drama?

When Ishmael was around 13, Sarah FINALLY became pregnant with her own child, Isaac.

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age…” Genesis 21:1-2

As they grew, Ishmael and Isaac did not get along. Sarah defended Isaac, so Hagar and Ishmael ended up leaving. In fact, Ishmael became the founder of the Arab nations.

Sarah’s impatience caused much conflict, tension and pain.

Our choices affect others. The consequences of our sin cause turmoil.

But, there’s an even deeper lesson here. Because of their impatience and selfishness, others were hurt. They gave up on God. Conflict and division were created.

But, you know what? God still blessed them.

He gave them the one thing they desperately longed for. Even after their sins, He answered their prayers for a baby.

I love that. Because I mess up so much. Some of my choices have created conflict with those around me. But yet, after all my mistakes … He continues to bless me.

Remember what I told my son after we finished our time-out discussion? I think that’s what God wants us to hear today:

I love you, even when you make mistakes.

Let Go!

“I want to go home!”

“There are so many activities to do. Look at your friends, they’re having fun.”

“I don’t care. I want to go home!!!!” I was so angry I picked up the Pastor’s hand and bit it. I knew it was the only way. Violence is never tolerated at camp.

Three hours later, my mom walked up the rocky path to the cabin.

I was ten. It was summer church camp … gone bad. I promised myself I would never go again.

I held true to that promise. Well, until two weeks ago. My daughter wanted to go to our church’s summer camp. As soon as she asked, I had a flashback from my childhood experience. Fear and anxiety set in. So, what’s a mom to do? I signed up to be a camp counselor. As moms, we do things we never thought we’d do, right?

As the days led up to camp, I couldn’t sleep. I held on to this verse:

 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Isaiah 43:18

I’m going to be honest, day one was overwhelming. Seven sweet girls, new personalities to learn and camp tours. Then, Mud. Games. Y’all. So much fun, but to get back to our cabin — we had a long hike in the dark, and we were still covered in mud. When we finally got back, we sprayed down with the outdoor hose so we wouldn’t get mud on our suitcases. Then, seven showers before I could shower. Oh my. I finally got to bed around 2a. But, I still couldn’t sleep because I had so much anxiety!!

The next morning, a sweet friend gave me a hug. The dam broke, and I could not stop crying. I don’t know exactly what she said, but it was like God wrapping His arms around me. It was a turning point. God sent someone just when I needed it! I love His perfect timing.

For the next three days, we had a blast! We studied the book of Esther, rocked it out in worship, swung from a rope into the lake, and did the 50-ft zip-line. No anxiety. No fear. No worries. It ended up being one of the best weeks of my life. I’m already planning for next year!

Whatever fear is a result of your past, let it go. God is waiting for you to step out of your comfort zone so He can take you to a whole new level!

Before camp, it was about me. Now, it’s about God.

What are your fears from past experiences? How can you let go and trust God to overcome them?


Tuning Out

“What did you do at school today?”

“We answered questions about our life.”

“Can you give me an example?”

“I was asked what I want to change.”

“What did you say, sweetie?”

“I wish you would listen more.”


Let that sink in.

Double ouch.

I went into serious self-evaluation mode. I tossed and turned at night; I couldn’t sleep. Several days after this conversation, I questioned her more about what she meant and how I could listen better. She eventually said, “You always listen to the big things, but not about the snack I want or how I want to wear my hair. Those little things are important to me too.”

I’m guilty. I wholeheartedly listen when she’s upset or we are discussing a serious issue. If a teachable moment pops up, I drop everything to have a meaningful conversation. But, throughout the day, when the background chatter is overwhelming, I categorize those as “small details”. I dismiss them, and I tune out.

As I prayed about what she had said, I realized something. I do the same thing with God. When there is a big storm in my life, I pray without ceasing. I read Scripture and cling to its promises. But, when everything is going well, and I’m dealing with normal day-to-day frustrations, I tune out from my relationship with God. I trust Him with the big storms, but not the small details of life.

When we originally had this conversation, it crushed me. I felt like a failure. But, now I realize — God used her to teach me a lesson.

“Simpletons only learn the hard way, but the wise learn by listening.” Proverbs 21:11
“Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.” Proverbs 18:15

I must learn to listen … to everything.

Do you remember Jesus’ first miracle? He was at a wedding reception, and the wine was almost gone. To the bride and groom, this was a huge deal. In the grand scheme of things, though, I would consider this a small detail. No one was dying. No one injured. No mass tragedy. To me, making wine isn’t on the same scale as raising Lazarus from the dead. I mean, they just needed more wine. It was a want, not a need.

Jesus still took the time. In John 2, He instructed the waiters to fill six jars with water. Each jar held 20-30 gallons. They then filled the pitchers and took them to the host. The host took a drink and shouted to the groom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”

What seems small to others may be important, even life-changing, for you. Don’t minimize what’s important to you. If it matters to you, it matters to Him. He cares about every little detail. And, He will always listen.