Monthly Archives: July 2013

In the trenches

Sometimes the stresses of life have hit me in a big way — crazy things like thieves breaking in or two years of panic attacks.

But sometimes… most of the time… my stress has piled up in the little everyday stuff. Things like spilled hamster cages and floors covered in socks, legos, and pencil shavings.

Getting past my kids’ preschool years has worked wonders in this department, but somehow, there are still “those days.”

When Jarod was out of town a while back, my 6:30 wake up call was the sound of Jaden’s head hitting his headboard during a seizure (a condition he’s faced since birth).

The next crisis was an overflowing toilet, defiled towels, rug, and floors.

My mission of the day was to chase down a newly prescribed medication for Jaden, so while I mopped, I conversed with pharmacies, doctors, and the hospital.

I ended up spending the day with four kids in the car, eventually procuring a few sample packs of his pills, albeit only half the promised amount.

In keeping with the tone of the day upon our return home, I dropped — and broke — a gallon of milk on my kitchen floor.

And my final mistake was allowing my seven year old to sleep in my bed. His unconscious flailings kept me awake till 2:00 am.

Some days things roll off my back, and then there are the days that I Just. Can’t. Take. One. More. Thing.

The bickering, the noise, the clutter, the chores that never end, and the interruptions make my chest tighten and my head spin.

It seems so silly, after I’ve witnessed and been a part of life and death matters, to allow the stressors — which come from gifts — to make me crazy.

But that’s life.

And that’s sanctification.


I need Jesus just as desperately as I mop and telephone doctor’s offices as I do in trauma.

The God of Isaiah 40 who “will not grow tired or weary” offers to “renew my strength” whether I’m in a major life crisis or teaching my children how to resolve petty arguments.

This too is my refining fire.

Lord, please give me grace to embrace this process.

Things I am learning in these trenches:

  • I need the nourishment of God’s Word more than I usually think I do.
  • I must force myself to stop — to be still in God’s presence. I need to go outside, drink in the blue sky, sunshine, and bird songs. (And for just a few minutes ignore the backyard clutter I see from my lawn chair.)
  • I need to get back up from my lawn chair and faithfully plod on.
  • I can combat the “blues” in some surprising ways, like eating bananas (said to reverse depressing moods!) or taking magnesium (a natural stress-reliever).
  • A minute talking with a friend or loved one on the phone or in person is far more encouraging than social media.
  • Following a purposeful calling is more energizing than mere busyness.

When I fall down you pick me up,

When I am dry you fill my cup.

You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God,

Worthy is Your Name!

(You Are My All In All)

His name is worthy. Worthy of my devotion. Worthy of this uncomfortable sanctification process.

What are you learning in your trench?


A dare to leave your comfort zone

In Your Beautiful Purpose, Susie Larson writes:

“If we live in the comfort zone and make accommodations for self-preservation, that zone begins to shrink. Even what we know begins to diminish” (126).

A couple years ago, as I battled intense panic attacks, most of the world was outside my comfort zone.

  • Driving a car was out of the question.
  • Shopping prompted feelings of derealization.
  • Going to church produced anxiety and claustrophobia.
  • Sitting in a restaurant with my husband made me uneasy.
  • Venturing anywhere completely new stirred even greater panic.

I really just wanted to stay at home.

At home, I was safe. I could distract myself with kids and responsibilities, or I could escape everything with a nap or a book.

But as I sought help for the anxiety surrounding my yet-to-be-diagnosed adrenal fatigue, I learned about the dangers of living within my comfort zone. It would only make things worse. My world would grow smaller, and I would grow increasingly fearful. Just as Susie Larson says, when we “make accommodations for self-preservation, that zone begins to shrink. Even what we know begins to diminish” (126).

So I reluctantly forced myself to keep going out, to push past the discomfort and face all that was unsettling. By God’s grace I didn’t go crazy, I avoided developing more phobias, and I grew from the lessons and interactions God had for me “out there.”

This concept applies in so many areas of our lives, but most importantly, on a spiritual level:

“Consider carefully what you hear,” Jesus continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Mark 4:24-25)

We are made for growth, for transformation, and for others. If we make life about us and about our comforts, we will tragically miss our whole purpose for living on the earth today. (Larson 127)

Jesus said:

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Have you become unsalty? Are you living for comfort rather than God’s passions?

There is a world out there in need of salt and light.

We tend to hide ourselves away from it or else blend into it.

But, we’re called to leave those comfort zones and be salty and luminous again.

Is God calling you to do something today?

Speak up?

Share your testimony?

Push past panic?

Make a commitment?

Make a confession?

Go where He’s leading you?

There is a lot of disturbing stuff going on in our broken world. And as Kay Warren says in Dangerous Surrender, “If we’re not disturbed by the world in which we live, we will be consumed with the trivial, the insignificant, and the temporary. We will spend our days pursuing all the wrong goals, living by the wrong measurement of success, evaluating our legacy by the wrong standard” (21).

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve been “disturbed” on some level.

But don’t just shake your head.

Take that step out of your comfort zone.

Do the next thing God is calling you to do.

Maybe it’s:

  • memorizing Scripture with your kids.
  • standing up for the abused and persecuted.
  • becoming a prayer warrior.

You probably already know what it is. If not, ask God; He knows.

I was challenged to pray this prayer this week. Will you dare to pray it too?

I want every minute of my life to count for You. Awaken me with fresh passion, fiery faith, and a renewed resolve to follow hard after You… May Your power be evident in and all around me. May Your love flow freely through me. Keep me from evil and from harm, and help me to live a life full of faith, rich in holiness. Increase my capacity to live and walk by the Spirit. Awaken Your passions within me that I might be quick to obey You. My life is in Your hands. I trust You and will follow You, Lord. Change the world through me. Amen. (Your Beautiful Purpose 133)

**How is God stretching you today?

Choosing my special child


I’ve blogged about my son Jaden before. Actually, I could probably write a pretty interesting story about him every day.

Oh yes… when we chose our dear boy, we had no idea how many scares we would have, nor how many scars he would someday have.

Thanks to his special needs and fearless nature, this child would eventually fall off a roof, drink gasoline, and endure a hundred (provoked) wasp stings. He would do his best to ensure I never received a “mother-of-the-year” award. (What kind of mom lets her child do those things?) Having him would mean trouble finding a babysitter, seizures in the middle of church, lots of stares in public, and far too many doctor visits.

Join me at Gillian Marchenko’s blog today for the rest of this article:

Choosing My Special Child

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