Introducting: The Wait!

I am pleased to announce the release of The Wait: Encouragement for Single Women.  If you’ve heard my testimony, you know that I didn’t get married until I was 40, and for me, waiting for the right man was HARD!  I doubted myself, I doubted God and I doubted the existence of a good man who would love me.  But God was faithful, and He really did give me more than I asked for or imagined.  God taught me a lot during those twenty years of waiting and this book reveals those lessons.

If you are thirty, or forty or fifty and single, you are not alone!  Fifty percent of American adults are single and single people make up the majority of some congregations.   If you are content, that is wonderful!  But if you are not, get this book.  It will encourage you, give you direction and put wind in your sails.  If you’re married, get a copy for a single friend, sister or daughter.

May God use it to awaken passion for His Kingdom and faith to pray for the fulfillment of the desires of your heart.

My friend, Lee Grady, wrote an awesome Forward.  Through his ministry, The Mordecai Project, thousands of women all over the world have been empowered and released to pursue the call of God on their lives.  Check out www.themordecaiproject.org.

To purchase, click on the Buy Now on the Home Page.

Adventures in Jamaica

We just got back from visiting Marvin’s parents in Jamaica.   We spent ten days at their home and three days at a resort; it was a great trip.  The boys experienced some invaluable things, and I thank God for His provision that made it all possible.

The boys picked mangoes from a mango tree and limes from a lime tree, both in grandma’s front yard.  At home and along the road they saw colorful trees laden with ripe fruit.  They learned that fruit and flowers are abundant in the tropics.

They slept in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning: sticky sheets, fans on full blast.  That’s what summer nights were like for me growing up in Brooklyn, and yet my suburban boys had never tasted that discomfort.  Surprisingly, they didn’t complain but learned the value of cold showers in the morning to cool off.

They saw the beauty of a coral reef and squealed at a live lobster, before the poor ugly thing was roasted on the beach.  They ate it, and put their snorkel masks back on to find more treasures in the sea.

They got to blend into a nation of brown faces.  Almost everyone was black, from the policemen to the beggars, from the owner of the resort to the wait staff.  Marvin’s family is very dark; his father boasts direct descent from the feisty Maroon tribe.  But in this world, though so different from our upstate New York suburb, the boys were comfortable and happy.

They squinted, trying to understand the fast, sing song Patois of their uncles; they gave up but enjoyed the attention, playfulness and love.

They saw poverty: tin shacks and beggars on the street.  And I had the perplexing task of explaining it to a six year old: “What does poor mean?”  “Are we poor?”  “Why are they poor?”  I responded in a way that would hopefully inspire both compassion and motivation.  You’d better believe I took the opportunity to make a big plug for doing well in school!  I wonder how long I can use those tin shacks as a motivator for completing math sheets.

They had to wait, A LOT and learned, indirectly, that not every place on earth values speed and efficiency as much as America.  This agitated their flesh most of all.

They endured scores of mosquito bites, chased lizards and learned that in Jamaica, dogs are not pets, but guardians.  You don’t pet them or talk to them; they live outside and they eat scraps from the table; there is no dog food at the store.

Isaac learned that Legos are the universal language of boys, as one boy around his age stopped to admire his new Lego truck and talked about the one he just completed at home.

They received a lot of positive attention from adults everywhere they went, as children are, though firmly disciplined, generally loved and valued there.

I’m so grateful that our boys got to be immersed in such a different culture for a couple of weeks.  We hope to go regularly – to bond with family and to expose them to things that will expand their world.

“Mommy, Why?”

Mommy, why didn’t God make me an animal?

Because he wanted you to be a boy, a smart, handsome boy who will one day be a big, strong man like daddy.

Our 5 year old son has been asking all kinds of questions lately.  The infamous Whys.

Why did God make me brown?

Because brown skin is beautiful and He wanted you to have it.

Each question brings a 3 second struggle as the gears in my mind grind to find an answer appropriate for a 5 year old: short, true, encouraging and comprehensible to a growing mind.

I’m never very happy with my answers. They always seem inadequate.  But after these 2 questions I realized with delight that the questions started with, “Why did (or didn’t) God make me…” He knows that God made him!  That in itself is profound, life giving and good.  He knows that he didn’t just happen by human design.  He knows that he originated in the mind of God.  That knowledge alone is a most excellent gift.

Parenting is an awesome, overwhelming thing.  The way we answer the questions that begin to percolate up in elementary years are more important than the food we feed them.  We are helping to form their minds, their incredibly growing, complex, innocent minds and that feels weighty and huge.

About a month ago, I broached the, “Never get in the car of a stranger” talk.

When you’re playing outside, if someone stops their car and calls you over, NEVER go to their car – unless its mommy or daddy.

Why?

Because there are some bad people who will want to hurt you.

You mean they say, “Shut up?”

Oh my, the worst this beautiful mind can think of is someone who says, “Shut up.”  To him, that’s as far as evil extends.

And then I had to hide the tears forming in my eyes as I realized that the days will come when we have to tell him just how bad people can be.

He’ll start to learn history in school, ugly history, with all the wars, hatred and strife.  He’ll hear about things in the news.  He’ll see something on TV that is not rated G.  The bigger his world gets, the more ugliness he’ll see.

We’ll have to teach him that not everyone will find his brown skin beautiful and about that part of American history when boys were sold away from their mommies and forbidden to read.  He will learn about it in school, but before then we will have to think of a way to teach it redemptively at home.

And how to treat girls and how to discern danger and how to seek God in tough times.

Overwhelming.

Thankfully, most questions right now are delightfully fun.

Mom. how many stars are there?

When we go in the airplane, can we touch a star?

Why can’t we fly like the birds?

Can I be a Nascar driver when I grow up?

Lots of little discussions that make me smile and cry happy tears.

I am thankful that we have an eternal source of Wisdom from which to draw.  I can’t imagine parenting without Him.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5 NIV)

We parents need wisdom above all else.

The Bigger Picture

Last week I went to a women’s conference hosted by Lee Grady at a Russian Pentecostal church in Philadelphia.  The women who attended represented several denominations and came from all over the place.  The first night about eight women read Galatians 5:1 in their native tongue.  We heard it in Swedish, Turkmen, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Romanian and, of course, English.  It reminded me of Pentecost, when 120 believers praised God in different languages.

Passionate women preached about the importance of being set free from various encumbrances so that we can make a difference in our world.   There were lots of altar calls and each time, women poured forward to receive prayer.  They were released from emotional and spiritual chains and unburdened of years of hurt and brokenness.    I arrived sleep deprived and came back home sleep deprived but the excitement of praying for women and seeing them set free buoyed me up and put wind in my sails.  There are few things more energizing than seeing the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives.

I also loved hearing people’s stories at mealtimes.  One lunchtime I sat at a table with some women from Belarus and Turkmenistan.  I asked them to share their testimonies and discovered that they all had heard the Gospel from missionaries in their home countries.  They were so grateful to those men and women who took a risk and shared the Good News with them.  They had joy in their eyes and a depth to their faith that warmed me. They knew they had found the Pearl of great price and they looked like it.

I’m so glad I went.  Yes, it was great to have a break from housework, diapers and kid chaos, but mostly it was great to be reminded of how large, diverse and amazing the Kingdom of God is.   It was like being transported for a brief moment to a mountain-top and given a panoramic view of something vast and wonderful.  We can become so focused on our little spheres and cares that we lose sight of what God is doing in the bigger picture.  We all need, sometimes, to get out, mix with other cultures, sing different songs, pray different prayers and remember that we are part of a vast company of God lovers.   Hearing each other’s testimonies encourages us and puts life in perspective.

It’s only March.  Try to make it a goal to go somewhere this year that will boost your faith and give you a bigger view of the Kingdom.