Wednesday, May 12, 2010


As a child, thunderstorms sent a rush of panic into me. Growing up in muggy Louisiana, thunderstorms are basically a post 3pm, daily event in the warmest months. Needless to say, mucho thunderstorms led to mucho panic. The threat of tornados served as the root of my fear. All those emergency drills at school really got to me I guess!

How ironic that now I LOVE thunderstorms. I find them mysterious, a bit romantic, and most of all spiritual. Thunder is so cool. Lightening so intense. Rain so powerful, yet soothing all at once. They just downright fascinate me. I remember learning in elementary school that thunder occurs when two clouds bump into each other. I smile even now at the description because I use it with my own kids!

For the past 10 years or so, when a thunderstorm begins, if I'm around a Bible I read Job 36:26-33, Job 37 and 38. Here's a teaser for you (because yes, you are going to have to look these passages up): From Job 36

26 How great is God—beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out.

29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
how he thunders from his pavilion?

30 See how he scatters his lightning about him,
bathing the depths of the sea.

From Job 37:
1 "At this my heart pounds
and leaps from its place.

2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.

3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
and sends it to the ends of the earth.

And from Job 38:
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm.

Did you just get chills? God's word provides the most riveting reading experience you can have. Truly. These passages give such great descriptions of God's power and such beautiful explanations of a storm.

Thunderstorms remind me that God has a voice not only inside of us - but rumbling throughout all of creation. This is no wimpy God we serve - but a larger than ALL life God who could remove our breath with a thought if He wanted to, yet, I repeat YET, He gave His only Son to draw us back to Himself. He wants to know us personally. Sometimes we forget the true awesomeness of our God. Thunderstorms today may be a good reminder.

And just for fun - here's another verse teaser from Nahum 1:
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.

God is so much "badder" than Jack Bauer (there's a nod for all you "24" fans!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Too much and Too Little

I'm on a rampage. No, you should not hide your young children in your home, but if you have a messy closet, you may want to postpone that dinner invitation you've been waiting to give me!
I'm on a mission to simplify my life and the life of my family by cleaning out any unused items in my house. When I say unused, I mean even the perfectly good stuff that we just do not touch on a regular basis. I do not have the drive nor the patience to have a yard sale (WAY too many little tags for me), so I'm giving it all away. And boy, is it freeing! I literally feel lighter when I pass this stuff on to someone else who can give it new purpose.
Recently I passed a few vehicles on roads in Lexington just driving along, but packed down with stuff. The entire back seats of these cars were crammed with stuff. I suddenly felt nauseous. We have too much stuff! I think I should repeat myself. We have too much stuff! We just keep shopping and piling and forget to replace what needs to be replaced rather than adding stuff.

Simplifying does not necessarily mean spending less money. My husband was fascinated by this reasoning as I explained that simplifying may initially cost us more money. He already tells me that even when I buy something on sale I have not saved any money. This is what he says, "Did money leave our checking account?" "Yes" I answer. "Then we did not save a dime", he says. Cracks me up every time! Let me explain why simplifying doesn't necessarily mean spending less money. Part of simplifying for me is making the things we do use more accessible for day-to-day living. That may mean we have to purchase some organizers or cubbies or hooks, etc. Money will go out so that simplicity can come in. But junk has to go out, too. All the extra stuff.

The back end of my van is filled with items we did not use that were sitting in two of our closets. I kept getting so disheartened as the items just stacked and stacked. Too much stuff.

There are too many with too little for me to hold on to too much.

Lately, God has been speaking simplicity into my spiritual walk by reminding me that I am to "set [my] heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set [my] mind on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:1-2). The phrases "set your heart" or "set your mind" keep coming up. Usually, that means God wants me to study them and think through them. He's wanting to teach me something.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19-20). There is this whole other place that we as believers reference regularly, but often do not live like we believe it exists. How much would it change things to really focus on the eternal rather than the temporary? How much more does setting our hearts and minds on things above change what we value and spend time on here - in this life? The answer, and it's not easy for me to process either, challenges most of the ways I approach life. The answer is that a mind and heart set on heaven and the eternal should change almost everything about my earthly temporary existence. Too much focus on me or my family. Too much focus on how others perceive me or my home or my outward appearance.

Too much temporary, too little eternal.

The junk of the temporary has to go out so that the eternal can infiltrate my life in a way the changes how I live and love. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has "set eternity in the hearts of men." So God has SET eternity in my heart and I am to SET my heart on things above. Isn't He smart? God has asked me to set my heart on something He created space in my heart to hold. What a great God we have! Always equipping us for what He's asking us to do.

So, I'm simplifying. I'm moving things out so that what really matters can come in and stay for a long while - in my home and my heart.

There's too little time in this life for too much stuff to take up too much room in our hearts.