Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday in His Word | Strength

I sat down to my computer tonight, all set to dive into the "bread of life" verse from John.  Then I opened up Blogger and read through comments from Monday's post about the Momnipotent T-shirt idea nudging its way into being, spawning a way to raise money for moms dealing with domestic abuse.  And — BAM!! — God did it again, this time through a lovely comment from Steph who blogs over at Mommy The Teacher.  In her generous support for this fledgling T-shirt project she offered up a fabulous idea for a hashtag campaign, a sharing of stories of moments when we wish we were momnipotent.  
Maybe ask moms to share their thoughts or funny pics or stories of being or wishing they were MOMNIPOTENT...all in 180 characters of course! Start a movement!!!
Yes.  Oh sweet yes!

I love the humility of this — lifting up moments we wish we could be more, we hope for superpowers, we know we need God's strength and support.  I love the joy of this — celebrating the moments when we've got it together, get it right with our kids, and feel God in our parenting efforts.  

So moms, and friends and spouses of moms, let's strike those hashtag keys and share Momnipotent Moments.  Let's strike up conversations about the faith and fumbling that is parenting.  Share a snippet of a story on Twitter or snap an Instagram and freeze a moment in time.  Either way, use #MomnipotentMoment so we can lift each other up, learn from one another, and maybe even share a laugh or two.
That's what this Momnipotent campaign is all about.  We're not truly all-powerful.  But we know who is: our great and glorious God.  And we know that when we open our hearts and minds to God, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  So we can laugh at our humble, fumbling attempts with our kids.  We can ask for help to get us through the hard days.  We can be secure in sharing our mistakes and our missions accomplished.  We can be generous in lifting up and helping out other moms in this mission to do our blessed best by our kids and our God. 

Today I challenge you to pick one specific action from the following list.  Talk to God about it in prayer, and promise to follow through in the name of glorifying how God blesses the ministry of motherhood.
  1. You can buy a T-shirt through (quick though, only 18 days left to meet the 50 shirt goal).  Fifty percent of all the profits will go to the Domestic Abuse Project that supports families dealing with domestic violence.  
  2. You can spread the word about the Momnipotent campaign.  Email a friend, share the link, tweet about it, post it on Facebook, or take the radical face-to-face conversation approach.
  3. You can invite others into honest conversation about the humble, humorous and heartfelt adventure that is motherhood.  Share your story on social media, using #MomnipotentMoment to be a part of the collective community.  Share your story with your sisters, mothers, spouses and friends in the flesh, lifting up the ways God gets you through the tough spots and up onto the mountaintops of parenting.
  4. You can say a prayer for moms everywhere, trying hard, oozing love, squeezing out every bit of energy for their families.  You can say a special prayer for those moms who feel threatened by their spouses, who don't feel safe in their homes, who worry about the health and well-being of their children, who fear the moments when their loved one turns vicious and violent.  Ask God to be with these moms, to give them the power to make a change, one baby step at a time or one big leap into a safer life.  Ask God to point them to resources and mentors and friends who can help them through the fear to where they can see faith and strength and hope.
Let's pray this verse for all the moms in our lives, and especially for the moms with seemingly insurmountable struggles like domestic abuse.  And then let's pray it again for ourselves.


You know this human world teases us into believing we're supposed to face our challenges like rugged individuals and figure them out all on our own.  You also know we often fall into that trap, whether we are afraid to appear weak, afraid our pleas for help will be rejected, or afraid of leaning into our faith in you.  Release us from these tortured ways of thinking.  Lift up our gaze until we focus clearly on you.  

Remind us that when we share your vision, when we aim for the peace and joy that you offer, we can indeed do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  When we aim to please you, to serve you, our humble efforts are enough to invite your power to be made perfect in our imperfection.  You can work through our wrung-out hands and our worn-out feet to spread your deep and abiding love, even if we feel we have nothing left to give.

When we turn our eyes to you, our hearts and minds to your word, we will never be empty.  You fill us up with your strength and stamina.  You fill us up with your wisdom and will.  You take the gaping, God-sized holes in our hearts and fill them with your holy love and grace.  All you ask us to do is to believe.  Just believe.

Today we lift up mothers everywhere.  Moms of newborns, overjoyed at your miracles and overwhelmed with sleep deprivation.  Moms of rambunctious toddlers, constantly vigilant for safety hazards and tempting troubles.  Moms of tweens and teens who strain towards independence and power, striking out at their parents to clear a path towards their unique identities.  Moms facing times of trouble, with more questions than answers and more worries than certainties.  And especially moms looking for shelter and reprieve from the dangers of domestic abuse.  Give these moms your help.  Your strength.  Your plan, step by step, for their welfare, their hope, and their sanctuary.

Lord, help us to see where we can serve you in this effort of lifting up mothers in their daily challenges.  Show us where you need our prayers, our time, our talents, our treasures.  Connect us into a community that cherishes moms, both the official ones with children and the gifted ones who nurture others, not because they are bound by family, but because they are inspired by your love.

You are the perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.  Be our strength.  Be our vision and our aim.  Build us up to do all those things that are pleasing to you.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Meditation

When Life Gives You a Blank Slate, Design a T-Shirt?

I knew I was in trouble when, five days into a new weekly blog series, I realized I had NO idea what I was going to write about for the second Monday Meditation post.  So I prayed.  Day six didn't bring any epiphanies.  So I prayed some more.  And just as I was about to sit down and slog through something, anything, I came across an inspired idea in my Internet procrastination research.

Back story:  I've been ignoring some holy nudges to get more involved in helping people dealing with challenges in our community.  Challenges like generational poverty, institutional racism, learning gaps, domestic abuse, and neighborhood violence.  Challenges that seem overwhelming and daunting from the perspective of one little individual.  So, like the coward that I am, I ignored God's proddings.

Do you ever do that?

You know what happens next, right?  The nudges get sharper.  Louder.  More frequent.  More urgent.

Still my head went deeper into the sand.  And my voice came out in a muffled complaint of a prayer.

But God, I have so much on my plate and volunteering more goes against the need to earn more and, oooooooghhh, where and how is this going to fit in?

This morning God gave a clear and definitive answer.  Little bits, dear Liz.  Little bits.

Pick one issue.  Do one thing.  Start somewhere.

Sure, it might not fly.  But it just might.  (Can you tell I've been watching Kid President again?  When I hear that darling Robby Novak say "Be Awesome" enough times, I start to think about little  things I can do to help others.)

So I'm sticking my neck out, and it's looking like this.

Wait a second... there's no neck there!  Oy.  This could be a bad omen.  This could mean I might get decapitated.
And look — de-arm-itated, too.  No limbs!  

More back story: I started making Momnipotent T-shirts (kind of like the one above) five years ago for our annual church bazaar.  Hand stamped casual tees with a verse printed at the hip. Fun to do.  Fun to wear.  But all that hand-stamping got a little old. That and I've still got about six left in sizes or colors that no one wanted.  I don't like closet clutter. So I abandoned the effort.

But every time I wear one of those shirts, I get positive comments.  I do like positive comments.

So when I read Dale Partridge's blog post about how he made over $33K in one month, and noticed a little blurb about making tee shirts on, I had to check it out.  (A family can only live on public sector salary and cobbled-together income for so long before entrepreneurial dreaming sets in...)

With Momnipotent tee shirt thoughts rattling around in my head, and stuffed-aside qualms about volunteering in the inner city tucked into some cranial corner, God brought the two together with this welcome from Represent.
Whether you're representing a charity, group, or personal passion, Represent enables you to generate funds for free — no hassle, no risk.
Oh.  Charity.  Philanthropic giving.  Well yeah, God, that makes sense.  I could start a T-shirt campaign and raise funds for moms...  Yes!  Moms who are dealing with difficult struggles.  Domestic abuse victims.  I even know of a good non-profit that could use more funds to support those families.  

I'm pretty sure God muttered "Doh!" and slapped his forehead at that point.

Then that little fiery red guy who likes to sit on my shoulder and spew self doubt chimed in.

Who do you think you are?  Oprah?  How are you going to make any difference by selling a few T-shirts?  

Well, little devil dude, I'm not sure.  But I'm going to pray about it.

With that and a well aimed flick of my finger, I sent him flying off his perch.  And I prayed.  And I... Well, I didn't get the clear-cut booming voice of God granting his blessing.  But I did get a rush of excitement and a warm fuzzy sense of peace.  

Sorry.  That's a lot of rambling to get to the pitch.  But I wanted to make sure God got the proper credit for weaving my prayers and doubt and creativity into something he could work with.

The Pitch!

From now until December 1, 2014 (just three weeks from today), you can order a Momnipotent T-shirt or tank top for $18.00 from Represent.  Half of all the profits will go to Domestic Abuse Project, which supports families dealing with domestic abuse.  If we reach the goal of selling 50 items, your order will be shipped within 12 days of the December 1st deadline.  (If we don't hit 50, no shirts, no cost to you.)  To reach this goal, I'm bugging telling everyone in my contact book about this campaign. Won't you share it with a friend or two as well?
Order your Momnipotent tee or tank by clicking here!

In the meantime...
  • If you are looking for a comfy T-shirt, something that says in effect "I am Mama, hear me roar!" this shirt is for you.  If you are looking for something that reminds you of a blessed bit of Scripture (Philippians 4:13) to get you through those less roar-ific motherhood moments, you want this tee.  If you want something in your wardrobe that feels like you are clothing yourself in Christ, this is a good garment for you.
  • If you are looking for a gift for a dear friend, a daughter-in-law, a wife — and if she has children anywhere from one day old to 61+ years wise — this is a unique present that lets her know you think the world of her parenting skills and her faith.
  • If you know someone who is expecting her first child, this is a special welcome-to-the-club gift that says, "You can do it!  And when you fear you can't, God's carrying you in the palm of his hands!"
  • And if you already have T-shirts  galore and no room in your dressers, will you please send up a little prayer for this project?  Thank you!

You never cease to amaze me with your surprising, wondrous ways of working my weakness into your perfect power.  When I thought I was empty of ideas, you planted a new and faith-filled one in my heart.  Thank you, Lord.  

Thanks for all you do to counteract the challenges in our inner cities, our suburbs, our rural communities.  Thanks for all the ways you work through individual people to reach those in need of a helping hand or a listening ear or an understanding heart.  

Thanks for your loving shelter of families who are struggling with domestic abuse. Watch vigilantly over the women, men, and children who fear emotional and physical violence.  Soften the hands and hurting words of those who inflict such abuse.  Get them the help they need.

Thanks for organizations like Domestic Abuse Project that faithfully and tirelessly work to support families in these times of crisis.  I am grateful for the ways they empower people to make a change, the ways they offer their counseling and advocacy services to help families find peace.

Lord, I pray that you are working in and through this simple, little T-shirt campaign. May it glorify you and the many ways you take humble human efforts and use them to accomplish your higher goals.


Angie Ryg

Today I'm linking up with Anita at for her Inspire Me Monday collection, as well as Kelli at Chronicles of Grace, who hosts the Unforced Rhythms community on Mondays.  These writers are blessings in the Christian blogging community.  If you've got a minute, stop by their sites for some sacred stillness.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five Minute Friday | Turn

I'm spending a lot of time thinking about seasons turning over this week.  The season of 31 Days to Be Still is technically over.  I'm currently focusing on this season of giving Thanks.  And I'm looking toward the light of the Advent season, planning for our upcoming day retreat.

But spiritually I'm also in a new season.  A season of turning inward and upward.  I've been so oriented toward outward expression, that I need some personal, private time with God.  How do I do that while working to build this blog, which I feel called by Christ to do?  Oh, yeah, and work and manage the home front and nurture my Mr. through a stressful time and my kiddos through the ups and downs of being young?

I'm turning to prayer.  More and more.  I'm turning to the comfort of continued conversations with God.  I'm at this weird place of not officially starting prayers with a "Dear Lord" or ending them with an "Amen."  It's just a constant weaving of my internal thoughts with blurts up to God.  And while it doesn't feel structured or purposeful or correct, it feels right.

I'm joining Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday linkup.  Five minutes.  One word.  Resisting the urge to edit and refine.  Because God will do the pruning and perfecting in me better than I ever can.  

You can check out more bits of five-minute goodness by clicking on the button above. May you find words of wisdom and wonder to carry you through the weekend.

Friday, Thank God | Little Bits of Blessings

I am on a personal mission to put the reverent respect for God back into Fridays. Yep.  I know I've said T.G.I.F. at least a million billion times.  But lately the casualness of it all has been creeping up on me.  Shouldn't we be thanking God for every day? As in, "Thank you, God, for this is the Monday  (or Tuesday or Saturday) you have made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it?"  Couldn't we be looking at our weeks as something more than a trial to be survived between weekends?  Wouldn't it be healthier for our souls if we reflected on the good in the week before it drifts away, instead of shooing it out the door like a stinky, dirty dog?

I'm going to try doing that here.  Each Friday.  With a little something I'm calling:

It feels a little more formal and a lot more reverential.  It doesn't flow off the tongue so easily, so we have to slow down.  It leaves us thinking about God, as he gets the last word, instead of leaning into the excitement of the last day of the workweek.

So, without further ado, here are some bright bits from this week.  Some words of encouragement.  And some things that point us back to God and wrap our faith around us.
My Mr. had a rough week.  Crazy-busy with work.  Stretched thin with personal commitments.  Insomnia night after night.  And then he inadvertently left his laptop on the city bus.  Uuuughhhh.  But 36 hours later, he learned that someone had found it and returned it to the bus company.  Aaaaaaaahhhhh.  There are good people in the world.  Plenty of good people in the world.  Thank you, kind stranger with oodles of integrity.

When I found myself on autopilot this week and needing some oomph for my energy, I remembered one of the most darling, positive, and talented people here on earth: Kid President.  If you haven't met him, here's your chance.  I'm sharing the same "Pep Talk" video that I watched this week for a little encouragement and a lot of smiles.  And if you can't get enough of him in this three minute video, there are more waiting for you over at the Soul Pancake channel on YouTube.
One of my favorite 31 Days series I discovered this year is Breaking Religion by Liz von Ehrenkrook at her blog, So I Married a Youth Pastor.  She is passionate about living her faith transparently, even when it comes to those sticky questions where people and churches and faiths don't see eye to eye.  She looks at the parts of being a Christian that are difficult and uncomfortable, and prompts real and honest conversation about them.  I haven't read through all of her posts yet, but the handful I've explored so far have left me nodding and pondering and praying for days.  I think you'll enjoy them, too.

I pray that your week held more good than struggle, that your weekend brings you space to breathe, to be yourself honestly and with integrity, and that you feel encouraged and uplifted.  May you remember, today and every day, that...

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 188:24