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Lessons in the Rearview Mirror

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I was driving home the other day, heading East just about the time the sun was going down behind me.  Rolling hills, music playing, little traffic.  Nice and relaxing.
Until the setting sun just about blinded me in the rearview mirror. Blinking from seeing spots, I flipped the mirror up and tried to get back to my relaxing drive home.


Not so fast. God had something to say.
As I glanced back up to the rearview mirror, I noticed the strange pattern of shadows it was creating from the reflection of the sun. I had to squint to see any kind of detail. All the rolling hills behind me were now cast in various shades of shadow. 
I couldn't clearly make out much of anything, and the beauty I was beholding a few minutes before had now turned to ominous shifting patterns of grey.
In true form, I took notice and began to ponder how with one flip of a switch everything took on such a drastically different appearance. I use this function at night all the time, but rarely during the day.
In true form, Go…

Peacekeeping Vs Peacemaking- What's the Difference?

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Being at peace with everyone seems impossible and at the very least, improbable. It hurts to not feel at peace with everyone, because we want to be liked (and drama free) right? It doesn't feel good when relationships go badly. 
But this goes deeper than being liked or eliminating drama. It's about growing into mature people of God. That's why Paul, in Romans 12:18 encourages us to ...do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.
This is actually encouraging to me, because I may honestly do everything I feel is humanly possible, but still not achieve resolution- or even reconciliation in some cases. 
Unfortunately these things aren't always possible, but a transformation of our own hearts and the practice of maturing as a peacemaker is...
...because we can only control ourselves and our behavior,  no matter what the other person does.
(insert big sigh here. Okay 2 big sighs)  There's a big difference between peacekeepers & peacemakers.Signs of a…

Soul Tattoo: What Defines You?

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The Scripture is full of references that talk about the soul and the spirit. It’s so important in fact, that the Old Testament mentions it over 785 times and the New Testament over 103 times.
It’s pretty clear that in God’s big story for mankind, our souls- the essence of our inner most beings- is important to Him- so important that He sent His son to die for our sin, our weaknesses, and our shame. 
Our soul is the thing that makes us unique. It’s how we relate to others and how we understand ourselves. It comprises who we are.
Often our souls feel like a roller coaster- sometimes weary or unsure- sometimes comfortable, content or even at peace. We all have invisible tattoos (so to speak) that make an imprint on our souls… earthly things that work to define us. They may have been in the past or are currently influencing our perspectives.
They can make a mark so deep that the imprint may feel like it will last forever.
So the question is this: what defines you?
Are you allowing your past, you…

Living in the Light

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Recently I was leading our congregation in the old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” I’ve always been intrigued by a particular phrase in verse 1.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father There is no shadow of turning with Thee Thou changes not, Thy compassions, they fail not As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
There is no shadow of turning with God. Think about that for a minute.

A shadow is formed when an object blocks another light source. This means there has to be an external light source in order for a shadow to be created.

There is no light source other than God. He is the source. There is no shadow when He turns.There is no other source of Light and Truth.He is constant, everlasting, and never-changing.Without Him, there is only darkness… not even a shadow!
Mind. Blown.Consider James 1: 17
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.…or I John 1: 5-6
This is the m…

Character Over Comfort & Control

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Control.
We all want it. We don't always get it. Sometimes we get it, then decide we don't want it.
Sigh.
In my life I've come to recognize control as an old familiar acquaintance, continually proving that my sense of having it is simply an illusion. Just when I think I have it, it's often yanked from my groping hands and there's not much I can do about it. 

When we feel like we are in control, we often feel pretty comfortable with it. You may tell yourself you've earned it. You may snatch it away from someone else and justify it. You may hoard it, thinking no one can hurt you. You may sacrifice pieces of your character to have it. You may hide behind it.
When we feel out of control, we often feel frantic. Why are we afraid to let go of it? we feel weak we feel uncomfortable we feel ineffective we feel frustrated we feel exposed we feel like we are floundering, grasping we wonder what will happen and how we'll deal with it
Could it be that God is more interested in your charact…

You Can't Pour From an Empty Cup

You can’t pour from an empty cup. It always sounded good in my head, albeit a bit cliché. Until my cup was crumbling. Then I understood.
We've all been there. We've run ourselves ragged trying to fulfill the expectations of others. Or ourselves.
How can we find a healthy balance?
Check out my new post on this very subject:
Finding Balance in the New Year
With God's help, we can do better.
New year, new start.
New year, new grace.
New year, new perspective.
New year, new creation in Christ.
Happy New Year Friends!

When You Wonder Why

When life smacks you upside the head, do you ever wonder why? Why is this happening to me? To my family? To... whatever!
I took some time to reflect on this in a recent post I wrote for Seedbed.com.
There are four things I identify that help me during seasons of "why."
Hold on to what is good and true.Relax and know that He is still God.Watch for the little, gentle reminders of His love.Guard your mind.
There are ways to get beyond the spiral of the "why." You can find peace. You can find hope. Most often, it takes being a bit intentional.
For more detail on each of these,  I encourage you to read my Four Steps to Take When You Wonder Why.
Blessings on you friend!
Michelle (a.k.a. piano girl)

Stillness in Times of Trouble

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Perhaps you've heard this famous verse from the Bible a 1000 times like I have:

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
I even have it on a beautiful piece of art hanging in my kitchen. This framed photo captures a bare tree in the winter surrounded by snow, cold and complete stillness.



In the past year especially, this verse has taken on new meaning for me as our family has been through the ringer. We have endured trials of many kinds; including personal betrayal, slander, rejection, moving to several different states in one year, job losses, death of a close family member and more. All of this, on top of a previous year of burnout and major medical issues. 
Not whining, just being real with you.
Honestly, it's been hard to be still through all of this turmoil. How does God expect me to do this? There are problems to be solved here! There is justice to be had here! God, where are you?
It was one of those moments I was asking Him this very question when this picture came into …

Showing Love and Honor to Your Pastor's Wife

Recently I wrote about something that is near and dear to my heart: ministry spouses. 
Being one myself, I've observed how people often are unsure how to relate to them, so I offered a few tips in my new blog post called5 Ways to Love Your Pastor's Spouse. (click on the title to read) 
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but a good start... and really, these are things anyone would appreciate!
How do you honor your pastor's spouse? I would love to hear about it!

6 Things to Know About Burnout Recovery- A Starting Point

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About a year ago, I shared with you about hitting a wall and realizing it had a name: burnout. You can read my description of it here.
Honestly, I felt pretty stupid. I thought it couldn't happen to me. After all, I'm a nice person, I try to live right. I have an interesting portfolio and am a hard worker with ethics and integrity. I'm a Christ-follower, minister, wife and a host of other things... and a work in progress.
Then, a wake-up call.


It did happen. It hurt in ways I can't describe. I'm still in recovery, but seeing the light again and for that I'm so grateful.
Writing about my journey is not only cathartic, but also in hopes that I may help someone out there who is also grappling with the same burden. I've absorbed a lot in the past several years, and I hope to share some of that insight with you through a series of blog posts. If this is you, hold on. It will get better. If this is not you right now, perhaps you could pass these on to someone who nee…