Enough…enough…ENOUGH!

This morning the kids and I were singing a few worship songs together to start our school day. Don’t picture it in your mind as an angelic scene: often it’s more like me singing, hoping the kids will join me. Sometimes they do but sometimes they’re also reading Dog Man.

The song returned again and again to two phrases:

I will be content in every circumstance…

And

You are Jireh, You are enough.

We sang the word “enough’ so many times, it did that weird thing words do sometimes where you look at them for so long they don’t seem like they’re spelled right or make sense anymore.

Enough.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.

 

Psalm 141:3

 

Instead of flipping open our devotional for the day, I decided to flip to Philippians 4 (try saying that three times fast) to think about these words Paul wrote.

The ones that are familiar are the ones we like to say just before we do something big, like talk in front of a large group of people or run a race or enter a boxing ring.

Ya know, sporty stuff.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

But Paul seems to have something else in mind. Notice the verses that precede that famous one: 

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [And then comes the clincher:] I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

It seems like Paul’s talking less about hitting home runs and scoring goals, and more about actually finding a way to be content in God — who is enough — in every circumstance.

I wonder: is finding contentment in every circumstance way more challenging than home runs and high scores?

That Hebrew name for God — Jehovah Jireh — is a name that means God will provide. It’s just found once in Scripture, when Abraham doesn’t sacrifice his son, Isaac, because God provides a ram instead.

And I imagine it takes believing in Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides the sacrifice, to find contentment in every circumstance.

When the situation seems dire…
When the ends don’t look like they’re going to meet…
When you’ve found a way into something you’re not sure you can find a way out of.

Or maybe even just:

When your kids are frustrating you so much you want to scream…
You don’t think your spouse will ever quit hurting himself…
Or you forgot to get dinner out of the freezer, you just got home and it’s 7:00 pm on a school night.

Paul has found a secret that he wants to share with the Philippians, and I want to share it with you:

God is enough. He gives enough.

He is enough when we’re at the end of our rope, the end of our day, pulling the last straw at the bottom of the ninth.

He is enough, even when we’ve made bad choices and we turn to Him and say, “I’ve messed it all up! I’m sorry! Please help! Please come!”

He is enough for every circumstance we’ll ever face. He will show up enough. He will give enough. It will be in enough time. We will have enough because He is enough. He is all-sufficient, and everything we need.

Precious friend, I’m not sure what you’re facing today. But I’d love to encourage you to think on this one truth this week:

You are loved by a God who provides enough.

He loves you enough to come for you. He loves you enough to forgive you. He loves you enough to die for you.

When the world feels not-enough, and you feel like you’re not-enough, don’t have enough, can’t ever be enough, rest in the God who is enough, and has more than enough for you.

P.S. Did you hear what I made for you? I created a new resource called Guided Sacred Space. It’s a series of Scriptures with prompts for prayer that are meant to invite you into a quiet moment with God, perhaps differently from how you normally meet Him, or perhaps for the first time if you’re new to spending time with God. I hope this resource serves you well and welcome your feedback!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Eight Things This Pandemic Can Teach Us

The prayer went a bit like this:

“Lord, my heart continues to live in a swirl in these pandemical days. I wrestle with my own decisions. I wrestle with others’ opinions. I long for these days to be done but trust You can use them for my good and your glory.”

And that was enough to pull me in to start asking the obvious next question:

How does God use something like this for our good and His glory?

Three of my favorite words for hard moments — hearkening back to a time when I had to clean up the mess of a sick kid in the night — are “Teach Me, Jesus.

And this was a moment for asking: Teach Me, Jesus. What can you teach me here?

And y’all. The list was pretty long. 

Definitely long enough to share. So I will.

But first, do you remember that beautiful promise from Romans 8:28? “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purposes.” 

Let’s ask that question together: 

What could He have in mind for you and me right now?  

I asked “What Can I learn Here?” and the answers came quickly: 

1. To tame my tongue

2. To walk in humility (especially with regard to our certainty that we understand all the things)

3. To think carefully/not follow the crowd but search Scripture, pray, and make choices accordingly

4. To learn how to love people who think differently from me

5. To recognize the devices of the enemy at work and avoid his traps

6. To improve my kind communication skills

7. To inspire more prayer

8. To encourage the consistent effort of listening to the Holy Spirit

I scribbled those words down and sat back to look at them. It amazed me to think: if we are willing to lean into it, God can use these strange and uncomfortable circumstances so powerfully in our lives.

But it will require us leaning into it.

It will require humility.

It will require a willingness to forge our own paths forward, leaning into the study of Scripture, attending to our own ways.

Put another way, it will require us to stay in our own lane, and swim our own race.

I marveled as well to think — nearly all 8 of those areas relate to our ability to communicate. With one another. With an understanding of what Scripture wants to communicate to us. With a heart to hear the communication of the Holy Spirit. To communicate love to those around us — even when we disagree.

So what about you, dear one? Could God use this pandemic for your good and His glory, too?

Will you lean into what He might want to walk you through?

When you arrive at a moment where it’s all feeling too pandemical and just plain “too much,” I’d love to encourage you to pray those same three words: “Teach Me Jesus.”

You might be surprised to find out just how much He has to say — and how He can use this tough season to shape your soul in ways you never could’ve imagined.

P.S. Did you notice how many of those areas relate to communication? If you’d like a weekly dash of communication encouragement, I’d love to welcome you to sign up for my newsletter! 

P.P.S. In case you didn’t, know, we’re celebrating the two year anniversary of our son’s brain aneurism today! If you’d like to join us in Raising a Hallelujah and watching the story yourself, the link to the 700 Club is at this spot, too:

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Grace Always Looks Good on You

Things got a little contentiously edgy at the Collie house recently.

Itchy. Irritable. It’s hard to find the right words but I think you know what I’m talking about.

We had a getaway road trip planned for just after the homeschool community year wrapped up… and then we had to cancel it because it involved a lot of hiking and I think maybe I mentioned a certain five-year-old has a broken ankle?

So Plan B became Plans B, C, and D. And then D got cancelled, because the boot still couldn’t come off… so we rolled with B, C and I don’t know E or F. 

The adventure turned into a vacation/staycation/vacation/staycation/vacation… three separate small trips happening with a day or two at home in between. 

Yep, we might be crazy.

When we got home from the first marvelous week of the staycation/vacation lineup, tensions seemed to be a little high. 

For example…

The contention of who got to ride in which seats in the car simmered close to boiling.

Someone wanted to be the only one to go pick up the dog, and refused to go since someone else was going.

And?

Someone’s half-finished drawing got slightly wet in a bookbag, and life as we knew it was over.

We sat down for lunch and began to try to process what was causing all the hullabaloo, and we finally acknowledged some elephants in the room: Everyone had a lot of excitement for several days. Everyone had a good bit less than their usual amount of sleep for several days.

Basically? Everyone was dang tired.

Sometimes when we have the least grace to give, we’re asked to give the most.

The Hero Hubs and I acknowledged that everyone was probably tired after a long week. We made some gentle requests about how our kiddos could show their appreciation for our efforts at planning a fun and special week for them. 

In a way, I think we mostly just talked about the elephant in the room, and covered it in a blanket of grace. 

Different translations of Psalm 103 change the word ‘pities’ to the word ‘has compassion.’ Either way – what a gift it is that God has compassion on us, takes pity on us, and remembers that we are dust. He remembers we’re fragile and flawed, and likely to fail.

Sometimes we need to be reminded: we’re all dust.

The gift we can give to each other, as we handle conflict and contentious edginess, is to do the same thing: remember that the person in front of us is fragile and flawed, and dust. Acknowledge the elephants in the room – human realities like tiredness, homesickness, or loneliness. 

Pull on a thick blanket of grace.

So, darling friend, as you’re interacting with your co-workers, or family, or friends this week, do you think you could practice seeing them the way the Father sees them… which is also the way the Father sees you? 

He sees our frame: fragile and flawed, yes. But He sees us as worthy of pity and compassion, too. 

Isn’t it incredible: Grace was always God’s Plan A for you and me?

P.S. If you missed our family’s miracle story on the 700 Club a few weeks ago, you can still watch it, AND grab the Crisis ebook I created out of a heart to share a little slice of what we learned in that hard place with others going through hard places. Both links are right here: https://www.carolinecollie.com/links/

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Our Family on TV Last Week

“How’d you feel about being on TV today?” 

“Kinda weird.” With a half grin, Blake answers. His post-bath-time wet hair is spiky in every direction.

Turns out I have a kid who has been on the front page of the New York Times. His face has graced the pages of our local newspaper and TV station, his voice has echoed across the air waves on the radio around here. 

And he couldn’t care less, but I’m beginning to recognize what he does care about.

Blake basically asks for the same thing just about every day. It’s something most kids ask for. It is something most human beings are asking for, but they don’t always know how to ask.

He brings me tiny Lego creations and wants my eyes to take in the creativity. 

He scribbles stick-figure comic strips that I’m not totally sure I “get.”

He draws folding surprise pictures, and wants me to open the flaps to see what’s inside.

He’s asking what we’re all asking: Do you see me?

When I stop what I’m doing to really look, I say yes.

When I stop what I’m doing to really listen, I say yes.

Yes, I see. Yes, I really see.

What an impact it made on Nathanael when he realized Jesus saw him before he knew he’d even been seen. Perhaps quiet and meditating under his own fig tree, in his own garden – Jesus commends Nathanael as ‘an Israelite in whom there is no deceit’ and between the lines it seems He says, “Before you were called, before you were willing to come, I saw you.” 

When we realize we are seen, we also begin to see a little more clearly.

So what can we learn from a kid who doesn’t care about his miracle story being told to the masses – but wants his Mama to see his Lego creations every day?

  1. We are all kids who want to be seen the most by the people who matter to us the most. So let’s pay attention to our people. Let’s turn our screens off, put our phones down, make eye contact, and really see, really hear, really be present for our spouses, our parents, our children, our friends. Your fully-here presence says Yes, I see.
  2. We are all kids with a Father who sees us. He isn’t distracted by a cosmic iPhone in His pocket. He really sees you, beloved. He really hears your prayers. His fully-here presence says, Yes, I see. Yes, I hear. Yes, I care.

This is loving God and loving your neighbor: to truly love, we have to truly see. And to receive God’s great love for us, we have to believe we are seen.

Can you slow down this week to see, darling? Dear one, precious child of God, can you hear El Roi whisper, “I see you?” You are fully seen and known, and miraculously – so loved, so so loved at the same time.

P.S. If you missed the 700 Club story this week, you can watch it, and grab the Crisis ebook I created out of a heart to share a little slice of what we learned in that hard place with others going through hard places. Both links are right here: https://www.carolinecollie.com/links/

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Me, Eating Humble Pie

Question.

Has anything happened lately that forced you to take on a little more humility than you’re generally interested in wearing?

There’s a comedian the Hero Hubs and I find very amusing, and he talks about going to parties and putting his foot in his mouth, because he steps into conversations he doesn’t know anything about. His conclusion was that he should probably join a group and say: 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Can I still stand here?”

Last week I started a conversation with my husband that felt urgent, but I didn’t handle it with care. And it was the type of conversation that deserved to be handled with care. Honestly, I timed it all wrong. I hadn’t really thought it through. His natural response was to be defensive.

When we began unpacking what the trouble was, I could see the poor choices I’d made. And a big fat heavy weight began sitting on my chest. I realized that owning a mistake, apologizing and working it out is every bit as challenging for adults as it is for toddlers – and perhaps even more so.

I was grateful Mark took the time to be honest with me about why he felt the way he felt, and I was reminded that admitting mistakes, talking and processing hurts, and finding a way forward to peace is really dang hard, but man, is it ever necessary!

That kind of communication isn’t just necessary for our marriages – it’s also a part of a vibrant faith.

The heavy weight that sat on my chest when I didn’t want to admit my mistake or apologize to my husband has a name: shame.

And shame likes to communicate its own unpleasant message: You’re a failure. Your mistakes are proof that you’re not good enough. You just plain downright stink. You’re a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

As that weight sat on my chest for a moment the other morning, though, I also heard a different whisper. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit communicates, too.

Yes, you make mistakes. But your mistakes are why Jesus died. They are covered by His grace. They do not define you. 

You are flawed, but not a failure. 

You are forgiven and redeemed.

Once I could turn my heart toward Jesus, it was easier to remember that admitting I’ve made a mistake does not equal admitting that I am a mistake.

Repentance is really just a fancy way of saying we’re admitting our mistakes and asking for forgiveness, right?

These days I think we are longing to plant flags and feel settled on something. A viewpoint on a particular issue. A side or a stance that we’ve taken on something. Even just an early morning conversation that didn’t go how we wanted it to.

Maybe Holy Spirit wants to gently whisper to you and me, “Darling, I want to show you a better way. You think you know what I’m like, what I like, and what I want. But I am so much more than you can possibly grasp. So walk humbly, child, walk humbly.”

I hope this week you’ll brave the waters of communicating with people you love, and with God, about things that really matter to you. Be brave enough to put yourself out there. Be willing to make big mistakes. And then be humble enough to apologize and know that God can use even your biggest flub-ups for His glory.

P.S. Our story will be on 700 Club tomorrow (April 30th) at 9 am and 11 pm on the Freeform channel!

P.P.S. Sign up for my Weekly Email and every Wednesday you’ll have a Scripture to ponder, a story to consider, and some fresh thoughts to improve your communication with God and your people delivered to your inbox!

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Can Better Communication Help You Sleep More Soundly?

Funny story I want to tell you. Our five-year-old (Catriana) fractured her ankle last week. (In case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced like a cat in a tree – CAT-tree-ah-nuh). 

So the fractures aren’t the funny part. Although, it is funny that she seemed only mildly phased, and we got x-rays the next day “just as a precaution” and then discovered two tiny fractures. Well, shucks.

After that big day of visiting the doctor and going for x-rays and being carted piggy-back hither and yon (thank you for letting me say hither and yon) I was settling Catriana in for bed. She sighed and commented: 

“I’m going to sleep very soundly tonight!” (and after a pause) “By the way, what is soundly?”

If you receive my weekly emails*, last week I shared a thought with you that had me pretty amped:

Jesus met people exactly where they were, and He aimed to speak their language.

But what does it look like for us to speak someone else’s language as a healthy communicator? 

When my darling precious little five-year-old decided to use a term she wasn’t quite sure she had a grasp of, she did something really insightful: she checked her own communication to make sure she was communicating what she intended to communicate. 

Like darling KittyCat, we can learn to ask good questions that help us make sure we understand, and we are understood. 

While speaking with our spouse, a friend, or even one of our children we can check to make sure we’re understanding them: “So I think what you’re telling me is _____, but I want to make sure I understand you correctly.” 

Or, “When I use the word, _______, I’m meaning this – I hope that makes sense.” In conversation, we can get immediate feedback to make sure we’re understanding and being understood. What a gift!

I’ve realized when I’m feeling rushed, I sometimes end a conversation with my kids with something like “Well whatever…” and then just walking off. (#momfail) 

Refusing to rush through a conversation or interaction, and slowing to take the time to understand and to be understood: this is a secret ingredient in the recipe for great communication. 

Now what does that look like in our relationship with God?

Surprisingly similar. If we’re communicating with God, we’re better off not rushing, or showing up with a checklist of things that we want to remember to mention before we get on with our day. 

Slowly and consistently bringing our thoughts, emotions and worship to God in prayer is one part of the equation. Reading the Word with the goal of understanding (again, not a checklist!) can also radically impact our relationship with God.

Another part of the equation is sitting still to listen quietly for the whisper of the Holy Spirit.  He isn’t going to shout or clamor for your attention, so it’s in the being still and knowing that some of the most wonderful communication can happen.

We also benefit from refusing to jump to conclusions. We can create space for God to confirm His leading by comparing what we sense in our hearts with what we know to be true in His Word. 

God uses His Word, prayer, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (that thing where you know it in your knower), and even our own circumstances to clarify and verify things He wants to communicate with us.

So, darling friend. Can I encourage you to not rush into a “well whatever” like me this week, and instead take your efforts at communication a little more slowly?

Take a deep breath. Give yourself the space to ponder the response to a question – your response and someone else’s. 

I hope the clarity that results is life-giving. And maybe? You’ll sleep a little more soundly, too.

Sign up for my Weekly Email and every Wednesday you’ll have a Scripture to ponder, a story to consider, and some fresh thoughts to improve your communication with God and your people delivered to your inbox! 

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!