Manna in the Morning

If I’ve heard the story once, I’ve heard it a hundred times over in the course of my life. Truth be told, I’ve probably even seen manna in flannel graph form! But ya know what’s cool about the Word? It penetrates the heart and speaks to the soul when the heart and soul need it. And I can’t help but wonder if the Lord knew the manna story wouldn’t hit me between the heart and head until age 33.

Regardless, I’ve become a “manna gatherer.”

So what’s all this manna talk about?

Let me summarize.

(Passage from Exodus 16)

The people of God, the Israelites, are wandering around in a desert and their bellies are rumbling and their hearts are grumbling. They’re worried about where their next meal is going to come from and where their next sip of water is going to be drawn. These people were hot, hungry, worried wanderers.

So God decides He’s going to take care of their need while simultaneously blowing their minds.

“At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread.”

“That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.”

“Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.’ ”

Yes, friends. I believe this was possibly the very first version of “Frosted Flakes!”

Okay, so the Lord does this amazing miracle in the middle of a desert (Birds falling on tents and bread on the campground? Say what?!?!), and then He gives the people some instructions about this quail and bread.

“Everyone is to gather as much as they need…no one is to keep any of it until morning.”

And for awhile, the Israelites obeyed.

“The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone has gathered just as much as they needed.”

Did you catch that?

Everyone had exactly what they needed. Not too much and not too little. It was exactly the proportion they needed. Goldilocks would have been thrilled!

But of course, there’s always some rebel apples in every bunch.

“However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.”

This goes on and on throughout chapter 16.

Moses reminds the tummy-rumbling grumblers of the instructions; some don’t listen and try to manna-hoard; and in the morning, there’s moldy manna. And again, the Lord is gracious and continues to provide for their daily needs…day by day.

So why does the Lord do this? Why doesn’t He just rain down a boatload of quail and a warehouse of manna? Why do they have to go out each morning and gather their daily manna and their nightly quail?

I think the answer is found in 16:12.

“Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” 

God wanted them to rely on Him every evening; He wanted their trust every morning; and He wanted to prove His daily faithfulness to His people and His commitment to their provisions.

In short, gathering manna was an exercise in remembering WHO met their daily needs.

This was the LORD. The self-existing ONE. The MASTER of all. Jehovah. The one, TRUE God. The SUPREME.

The LORD who provided exactly what they needed according to their daily needs. Never too much and never too little.

And man, oh man, have I been living in the daily, manna camp the past two weeks?!?! And ya know what? I think that’s a good place to be. A very, very good place for this “worried wanderer who sometimes lives likes she’s gotta hoard bread and come up with a back-up plan!”

Because every morning, I feel like I’m faced with a task that’s too big, or too tall, or too much for my little self. I find myself living moment to moment, feeding to feeding, task to task, appointment to appointment, call to call, need to need. And at the end of the day, I find myself absolutely astounded at just how well the LORD met every single need.

Securing a babysitter last minute for an important meeting.

An unexpected meal.

An appointment cancellation.

A shortened meeting.


Diapers in the mail.

Text encouragement.

A stranger holding a door.

An extra set of helping hands.

A night of sleep.

A kind word from a passerby.

Extra minutes to read.

I could go on and on as to how the LORD has provided each and every day for exactly what I need.

But as I’ve said before, sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a CROUTON. And sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a SLICE. And sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a BAGUETTE. And sometimes His “daily bread” looks like a GIANT LOAF OF SOURDOUGH!!!

Friends, He provides. DAILY.

We don’t have to fret.

We don’t have to hoard.

We just have to gather.

We have to see His provisions as just THAT. Provisions from a Holy God who desires to not only meet our needs with His hand, but to Also reveal Himself to us.

Because when we have needs and He provides…

our vision of Him grows;

our trust in Him expands;

our praise gets louder;

and our commitment to His mission overflows.

So at the age of 33…with 3 kids to care for, a husband to love, clients to counsel, a home to steward, family to love, friends to pursue…I find myself gathering manna at the dawn of every morning–trusting in His provision and believing in His promise.

So I ask of you a simple question to ponder.

Where are you gathering your bread this morning? 

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Books, Books, Books: A June Give-Away

So of course, our sweet foster baby is going to need a book collection of her own, so I went ahead and started that right away! You aren’t surprised, are you?!?! Ain’t nobody need to wait to buy a baby a book!

I’ll keep this short and sweet since there’s a baby to feed, reading to do with a soon-to-be 1st grader, and wet hair to dry. ALL THE BUSY around here!

So what book am I giving away? 

I am giving away TWO copies of Lift the Flap Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones (the author of the absolutely fan-tabulous Jesus Storybook Bible).

And why am I giving away this book?

Three reasons!

  1. I LOVE the way Sally Lloyd Jones summarizes and presents the Gospel to kids!
  2. Every child at every age and every stage needs to hear the Good News!
  3. The flaps! Oh, the flaps, flaps, flaps!

So what are a few of my favorite line(s) from this book? 

I can’t pick; I really can’t. There are too many, and so I refuse to answer my very own, bolded question. I like them ALL.

So how can you win a copy of this book? 

In the comment section below, share your favorite Bible Story-Truth and on Wednesday at 10AM (EST), I will select TWO winners!

Happy flap-lifting!



Deep Waters, Transitions, and the God of Rescue

sI can’t explain all that these last six days have been for our family but suffice to say, “We’ve been at not only a beautiful place of abundant joy, but also a place of complete and utter dependence.”

When you receive a newborn on a Friday afternoon, nothing adequately prepares you for all the changes that come alongside that diaper bag and that car seat. Nothing. There is no wading in and getting your toes wet. There’s no slow saunter from the shallow end to the deep end. No. It’s just a cold, hard, fast jump from the high dive into the deep waters.

It’s been beautiful, friends, and it’s also been overwhelmingly NEW. And QUICK. And DEEP.

And with that NEW, and that QUICK, and that DEEP has come some serious re-orienting and re-adjusting to not only our home and our family life, but also to our schedules, our capacity, our goals, our expectations, our routines, our sleep patterns, our eating times…our EVERYTHING.

And though a majority of all the adjusting and changing has been smooth and sweet, it’s still been a transition; it’s still been a change. And I don’t know about you, but for me…transition requires trust. A whole lot of needy, dependent trust. And though I would like to say I have flawlessly trusted the Lord and relied on His all-sufficient power, I can’t say that. I just really can’t.

So as I was reading through some passages in Isaiah yesterday afternoon, I was struck by the situation of God’s people.

Quick summary: God’s people are in trouble, and they are looking for help. 

See, I told you it would be quick.

And here is what some of the people did when they found themselves in this place (paraphrased passages from 30:1-2, 16; 31:1). 

They carried out a plan, but not God’s.

They made an alliance, but not with the Spirit.

They went down to Egypt without asking for God’s direction.

They took refuge in the protection of Pharaoh.

They sought shelter in the shadow of Egypt.

They fled upon horses.

They went to Egypt for help.

They relied on their horses.

They trusted in their numerous chariots.

They trusted in their strong horsemen.

And here is what God said to what some of them did (paraphrased passages from 30:7,15; 31:1). 

Egypt’s help is worthless and empty.

In returning to me and resting in me, you will be saved.

In quietness and in trust, you will have strength.

Woe to those who don’t look to the Holy One.

Woe to those who don’t consult the Lord.

The Egyptians are man and not God.

Horses are flesh and not the Spirit.

Now, trust me, the judgment upon God’s people and their looming-dooming destruction is NOT anything like receiving a newborn on a Friday afternoon. I get that. I admit that. But here’s what rang similar in my heart and soul as I read these passages.

When I face change, I can either run to Him…or I can not. 

I can rest in His provision, or I can clamor and rely on that much-needed nap.

I can seek the shelter of an 8-hour night of sleep, or I can rest in His strength.

I can search for that schedule stability and battle for that secure routine, or I can safely dwell in His all-knowing omniscience.

I can trust in my ability to multi-task, or I can consult the Lord with my plans.

I can run for the approval of others, or I can turn my face heaven-ward.

I can reason in the recesses of my logical mind, or I can trust in the sovereignty of His almighty, perfect plans.

I can find security in the temporal, or I can find salvation in the eternal.

I can find rest in the finite, or I can find rescue in the infinite.

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS have two options. 

And though there is nothing wrong with naps, routines, logic, and supportive affirmation from others, I cannot depend on finding true peace, quiet security, and forever rescue in those things. I just can’t.

In fact, Isaiah 33:2 summarizes my current need in such a beautiful and concise way that I want to pen it all over my mirrors, and all over my walls, and all over my arms.

I’ll personalize it for me, and you can do the same.

“O Lord, be gracious to [me]; [I] wait for you. Be [my] arm every morning; [my] salvation in the time of [transition] and trouble.”

Friends, I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but here’s what I do know:

We have a Savior who can be trusted in ALL times, in all transitions, and in all troubles. 

Praise be to His name for He truly is our quiet peace, our secure dwelling, and our resting place!


“Mommy, I Never Want That Feeling Again.”

When the words came tumbling out of his mouth, I wanted to throw-up. Literally, I felt sick to my mama stomach.

I wasn’t there when it all went down and honestly, I’m really glad I wasn’t. There are just some moments this mama would rather not witness, and this was one of those. But Daddy was there, and there is such comfort in having your daddy behind home plate as you spill tears on the baseball field. And though Daddy shared and recounted the details from his perspective and after the fact, little boy filled in a few more gaps (a few days later)–gaps that pushed me to my praying knees.

Short story…

Our #9 was up to bat. He was the last batter of the inning and the game. Grabbing his bat and confidently lining up his feet, he took a swing….like he always does. But for the very first time (in 6 games), he hit the tee. Toppling to the ground with the ball dropping a few feet in front of his feet, Coach Daddy grabbed the tee and set it again. Honestly, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if he had hit the next ball or the next three, our player was already upset. But to make things a little worse and a little more humiliating, he hit the tee another three times. Absolving into a puddle of disappointed and embarrassed tears, Daddy called the game. With his head hung low and tears falling down his face, he walked to the dug out.

His Papa had a conversation with him. His MaeMae had a conversation with him. His Daddy had a conversation with him.

I’m not sure all that was said in each of those conversations, but I know there were validating words shared, encouragement spoken, and perseverance encouraged. And yet…I’m not sure that any of those conversations changed the way our little boy felt.

Our little #9 didn’t mention a single word about that Wednesday, evening ball game until two days later…when I finally brought it up. And to be honest, I’m still a little shocked that he never brought it up. And yet, kinda not.

Standing at the kitchen sink, I simply said, “Daddy told me about your game on Wednesday. I’m sorry you had a difficult time. Do you want to talk about it?”

From his hung head and his shy face, I could see his answer from the kitchen.

I didn’t push.

Continuing to clean the counters and tidy up the kitchen, I half-expected him to move on, but a few seconds later, he said, “Mommy, I’m not playing baseball anymore.”



“I’m sorry to hear that. Why have you made that decision?”

“Mommy, I never want that feeling again.” 

Ugh. (insert: sinking heart feeling)

Our #9 never wanted to feel those feelings of embarrassment again; he never wanted to feel the angst of disappointment; and he never wanted to feel the sadness of failure again.

And his solution to all of that?

Avoid baseball and stop doing the very thing he loves so much.

My heart was sad and yet, I really understood it. It made sense. In fact, it made perfect sense.

I’ve been there and felt that. In fact, there have been many moments throughout the course of my life when every part of my feelings were shouting after a yucky-failed-hard-negative experience, “I NEVER WANT THAT FEELING AGAIN.” And during those times, my mind has emphatically nodded its head in agreement urging, “You’re right. You should absolutely avoid ________ in order to prevent those feelings from ever happening again.”

Have you been there too?

Maybe it’s been a failed work experience with a new task or a new job?

Maybe it’s been a disappointing friendship or maybe even a failed marriage?

Maybe it’s been a hard ministry experience or a difficult service opportunity?

Maybe it’s been a yucky experience trying to lose weight?

Maybe it’s been a difficult go of implementing new, life-disciplines?

Maybe it’s been a really painful church experience?

Maybe it’s been one-too-many, awkward dating experiences?

Maybe it’s been an uncomfortable situation with a person in authority?

Maybe it’s been a series of unsuccessful job interviews?

Maybe it’s been a miscarriage?

Maybe it’s been a terrifying public speaking experience?

Maybe it’s been a hurtful leadership experience?

Maybe it’s been a “loved and lost” experience?

Maybe it’s been a social experience gone terribly awry?

I don’t know what it’s been for you, but I imagine there’s a possibility you, too, have struggled like our #9.

Saying something along the lines of, “I never want that feeling again.”

And because you never want that feeling again, maybe you’re now engaging in a whole lot of avoiding? Maybe you’ve given up and walked away? Maybe you’ve made a litany of excuses? Maybe you’ve hung up the towel on something you once loved and really enjoyed?


Rewind to my conversation with our little ball player…

“I understand that, buddy. That was a really yucky and embarrassing experience; I’ve had those too. But ya know what? I think it would be really disappointing if you let your fear scare you from your joy.”

There was silence.

“So I think it would be really awesome if you spoke back to your fears and gave yourself another chance and another experience.”

There was more silence.

“Because I think there’s a little boy who really loves to play baseball and would be really disappointed if he let one, failed experience take control of all the good experiences.”

And then there was a little smile and a glimmer in the eye.

“I think I want to try again.”

Giving his head a rub and his arm a squeeze, I simply said, “I think that sounds like a good plan, buddy. A really, really good plan.”

Dear soul, I don’t know where you are or what “home-plate experience” you’re fearing or what “tee” you’re possibly avoiding, but I pray you will face those fears…take those thoughts captive…and stand again. 


Because like our little guy, you’ll never experience that next, awesome “hit” unless you get back in the “batter’s box!”



36 Moms @ the Pool

Gracious, I was just at the pool this afternoon and oh wow. Mamas, there are so many “kinds” of us. SOOOOOOOOO many.

So, let me just list a few as we head into this water-filled summer because I’m tellin’ ya… after this post, you’re gonna be lookin’ for all these mamas at your local pool and addin’ to the list.

There are the moms who…

  1. Have designated themselves as the real lifeguard.
  2. Bring half the grocery store with them.
  3. Pack the stroller, pack-n-play, inflatable napper-thing, and all of Wal-Mart’s pool noodles.
  4. Thought the pool was hosting a photo shoot for the cover of SwimSuit Illustrated.
  5. Bring avocadoes and knives for snack time.
  6. Did their hair before they came.
  7. Give free, unsolicited swimming advice.
  8. Conduct their own swimming lessons in the middle of the pool.
  9. Are dressed for a private, European beach.
  10. Seem afraid of their children getting wet.
  11. Use the kiddie pool as their free, three month subscription to e-Harmony.
  12. Forgot the sunscreen.
  13. Use a bottle of sunscreen per hour.
  14. Are possibly sippin’ somethin’ other than water out of that bottle.
  15. Are wearing a pair of LuLaroe leggings…in the water.
  16. Still believe white t-shirts act as camouflage when they’re wet.
  17. Allow their child to eat a 6-inch sub while swimming.
  18. Are playing “shark” in the middle of the 18 inch- deep pool.
  19. Spent more money on their suit than I did on my family membership pass.
  20. Forgot they brought kids to the pool.
  21. Are terrified of their husbands drowning their children.
  22. Are nursing in the pool.
  23. Bribe their kids with 50 cents to try the slide.
  24. Appear to have reached the color of “red-hot lava.”
  25. Forgot that everyone was listening to their pool-side phone conversation.
  26. Bring their color-coded pens and their summer calendar to get some serious planning done.
  27. Are attempting to discreetly explain to their small child why another woman has her breasts almost entirely exposed in the splash pad.
  28. Are doling out slices of Velveeta like its her job.
  29. Are mercilessly dunking their child to expose them to their water fears.
  30. Are sportin’ a pair of jeans and sippin’ a latte…and NOT sweating.
  31. Continuously yell, “I’m tellin’ your dad when we get home!!!”
  32. Just dropped 30 bucks on “Walking Tacos,” Corn Dogs, ice pops, and RC Colas at the concession stand.
  33. Are swimming laps with their small child adhered to their back.
  34. Are trying to keep their mascara from running.
  35. Brought three, different types of flotation devices. Just in case.
  36. Brought Cheetos with no wipes.

Mamas, we so diverse. SOOOOOO diverse!

Confession: I may or may not be #1, #5, #8, #23, #27, and #36. MAYbe.


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Know You, Do Me

He’s bigger; he’s faster; he’s stronger; he’s older; and he’s a better runner. She’s smaller; she’s slower; she’s weaker; she’s younger; and she’s not a better runner. And this past weekend, it brought some conflict on the trail.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, the clouds were puffy-white, the swallows were flying over-head, the humidity was low; and the trail was covered with the freshness of green everywhere we looked.

And to top it all off, our littles were running ahead, blazing the trail and searching for dragons to slay. Side by side, they were giggling, talking, and stopping along the way to kill a bug or two. Truly, it was a slice of “sibling heaven”—the kind of moments best captured with the lens of your heart.

Things were good. REAL GOOD. For about 30’ish minutes. And then they weren’t.

Absolving into a pile of angry tears and frustrated screams, our littlest lost her trail-running steam.

“That’s not fair!”

“He’s running so fast over me!”

“I can’t win!”

“I can’t do it!”

“I’m done.”

Holding her little body in my arms, she cried and cried. And in between the little sobs and the big sobs, she managed to eek out the following:

“He’s faster than me.” 

And ya know what?

She was right.

I wasn’t going to insult her intelligence or deny her reality. He was, and he is…a faster runner.

So I told her another truth.

“Sweet girl, you may not be as fast as your brother, but you’re still a fabulous runner.”

And then I gave her another word of encouragement.

“Don’t let his run steal yours.”  

I’d like to say she got back on the trail after that good word, gave it her all, and ran some more trail at her very own speed, but I can’t say that.


Because she didn’t.

It made my mama-heart sad.

If you ask me, the “compare game” is a rather rotten game. It takes you nowhere; it leaves you disappointed; and along the way, you pick up a whole lot of junkie-junk which only hinders the “race” you are called to run.

It doesn’t help; it hinders. It doesn’t encourage; it discourages. It doesn’t build up; it tears down. It doesn’t add; it detracts. It doesn’t bring focus; it distracts. It doesn’t grow; it kills. It truly is a terrible, no-good, very bad game.


But we all take our whirl; we all take a spin; and we all roll its dice. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US.

Because while we’re trying to run our race and “do us,” we also find ourselves looking over at that other runner(s).

You know…

that runner with the good-looking spouse and the happy, two kids;

that runner with the big house and the nice car;

that runner with the long legs and the small BMI;

that runner with the professional license and the extra credentials;

that runner with the flashy friends and the fancy clothes;

that runner with the extra vacation time and the extra spending money;

that runner with the baby in her womb;

that runner with the new job;

that runner with the out-going personality and the charming wit;

that runner with the healthy immune system and the clear scans;

that runner with the better grades;

that runner with the successful, well-adjusted, law-abiding children;

that runner with the empty-nest and the carefree days;

that runner with the intelligent mind and the organized ways;

that runner with the Pinterest-worthy apartment;

that runner with the debt-free life and the college education;

that runner with the intentional husband and the supportive parents;

that runner with the thriving ministry;

that runner with the stay-at-home job;

that runner with the prestigious position and the important role;

that runner with…;

that runner with…; and

that runner with…

And before you know it, you’re letting someone else steal your run. 


Because you’re so darn worried about running a race that isn’t yours. 

Been there; done that; my daughter is not alone.

But friends, I can’t even imagine how much fuller, freer, and life-giving our lives would be if we could simply embrace the words of Hebrews 12:1-2.

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Did you see it?




Your race isn’t mine and mine isn’t yours. You aren’t me and I’m not you. We run a race that has been marked out for us

And how do we do it?

  1. By throwing off the things that hinder us from running, which would most definitely include the rotten game of comparison.
  2. By running with perseverance, which would mean not giving up when others “win”, or “pull ahead,” or “leave you behind,” or run “a different direction,” or run in a “different way.”
  3. And by fixing our eyes on Jesus, which would mean finding our hope, our identity, and our joy in running toward Him, our ultimate goal and our forever finish line.

Oh, Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you, running the race you have marked out for me. Help me to not let other “runners” steal my run and God, give me the grace to know you and the courage to do me. 





In 6 years…


When I look back on that emergency, January surgery, those 4.5 months of bed rest, your speedy delivery on a Friday evening at 9:07’ish (no one really seems to know), your first months with us, your first recorded milestones, your first friends, your first team experiences, and all of the things in between and after, I am honestly overwhelmed with gratitude and a heap of precious memories.

I know this probably sounds a tad bit dramatic and probably a whole lot sentimental (you won’t be surprised as you read these words later in life) but son, it’s fair to say, “You’ve already lived 1/3 of your years in our home.”

And as I type those words and acknowledge this truth, I am overwhelmed with bittersweet joy. Because unlike some, I don’t want the hands of time to move more quickly, nor the grains of sand to drop faster. I like you “little;” I like you “big;” but I really, really, really like you living in our home (right now).

These little years have flown; these short days have zoomed; and these seasons and birthdays have been tearing past my heart and eyes in record-breaking speeds. And ya know what I want to do sometimes? Sometimes I just want to gather up all the minutes and all the moments and stick them in a very-large and very-safe “time-trapped bottle.”

And yet I don’t.

Because not only is that an absolute impossibility (not even Batman possess those skills), but I don’t really want to do that.

Because if I trap the moments, I stifle the growth. If I capture the minutes, I impede the change. And if there’s one thing I don’t want to do, it’s THAT. 

Because in six years, you’ve taught and grown me so much, sweet boy. SO MUCH. 

You’ve taught me the beauty of “letting go;”

you’ve taught me the joy of loving introverted souls;

you’ve taught me the hopeful belief that change is always possible;

you’ve taught me the healthiness of boundaries (again);

you’ve taught me the excitement of “child-like faith;”

you’ve taught me the importance of gentle words;

you’ve taught me the value of “slowing down;”

you’ve taught me the fierceness of loyalty;

you’ve taught me the helpfulness of “doing you,”

you’ve taught me the sweetness of sibling love;

you’ve taught me the necessity of adjusting expectations and changing directions;

you’ve taught me the power of prayer;

you’ve taught me the significance of consistency and follow-through;

and you’ve taught me the immensity and imminence of the Gospel.

And as I marvel on this 6th birthday at the beautiful and humbling ways you’ve changed and grown, I can’t help but “thank you” for all the big and gracious ways your life has changed and grown mine.

You are a treasure, my son–a blessing unable to be measured and a joy which cannot be compared–and I thank you for all of the many, many ways your life has been used by God to change me from the inside-out, the outside-in. 


Your Mommy (always)