Friday, September 25, 2015

The Empty Places

A very full bowl. Mrow.
My morning is greeted with a mrooweeoww.

"Yes, yes, I know," I tell Scout the Cat. Her food bowl is empty.

The dog's bowls are empty.

E's lunchbox is empty.

And, y'all, my coffee cup is EMP. TY.

I brew a cup, and the Keurig starts blinking. Empty.

I add water. And now, the Brita pitcher . . . empty.

This is a normal morning at my house. And sometimes, I feel like I just go around filling up empty things.

I'm not complaining. It's my job description: Fill 'em up with good food. Fill 'em up with encouragement. Fill 'em up with knowledge and manners and hope.

But when do we get filled? When we are running on fumes from all that filling . . .

Who fills us?

If we're lucky, we have supportive families and encouraging friends and inspiring sunsets. But that's not always the case. And if there's one thing I've learned, especially as a writer, it's that we have to refill the well, or it most certainly will run dry. 

A few years ago, on a whim, I reached for a little fuel. I started by simply reading a daily devotional Bible, and it developed into a three-step routine that's been going for five or six years now, filling me with the nourishment that I didn't even know I was starving for. 

"But you are a shield around me, O LORD; 
        you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. . . . 
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, 
        because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands [of empty bowls, pitchers, and lunchboxes]
        assail me on every side." 
                                  Psalm 3:3, 5-6 NIV, MVF (Mama-Fied Version)

Trust me. If you don't already spend this daily time with God, just. do. it.

(Are my kids the only ones who love this video? :) 

Throughout this process, I've grown to realize that God's presence is enough. It's enough to fill the incessant cycles that drain our days. We don't need to rely on humans or accolades or stuff to fill our wells. 

We simply need Him.

Could the Bible tell us this any more clearly? “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else" (Acts 17:24-25 NIV).

When I read about mamas with unfulfilled hopes and see my neighbors with empty nests, I want to shout this at them. But I refrain. Sort of.

Like yesterday.

"Good morning!"

"Morning!" I press pause.

"Whatcha doing?" 

"Reading my Bible . . . or actually having it read to me. I have this app--you can download it on your phone--that will read it to you." (Easy, now.

I press play.

"Ooh, he has a nice voice." She smiles.

And I do too . . . because I know that by filling our own wells, we spill hope all around us, soothing the empty places, and giving the nourishment that they don't even know they're starving for.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ready for Battle?

If you follow the film industry at all, you've probably heard about a little film called War Room that released this past weekend. A couple of brothers wrote and produced a film on a relatively low budget, cast a Bible-study author as the star, and somehow battled to the very top of the box office on opening day (beating out Straight Outta Compton!?!)--making this film evidence of the very tenant they set out to proclaim.

Prayer is a powerful weapon.

Last December, I screened a rough cut of the film (SO moving, SO good), and since then I've been watching in wonder as this story unfolded. 

My part in the story alone is a miraculous one: I was to write a 128-page book on prayer strategy for kids. 

Um . . . "God is great, God is good"? . . . 

Yeah, talk about unequipped. But in January, an hour-long call with Stephen Kendrick laid out the structure of PrayerWorks. He told me that they were praying for me. And I felt it. With a prayer strategy in place, I worked through the outline--and prayed. Hard. Within a month, I had a 14,000-word manuscript delivered. On time. 

Miraculous. :)

Trust me: this is a story you want to be a part of. This is a story that will change your life and, I believe, can change our world. 

Go--right now--and buy tickets to see the film. 

And I wouldn't be doing it justice if I didn't include a little Miss Clara: 

Okay, so see the film. But don't stop there. 

These guys, with B&H Publishing, have created a whole arsenal of resources, for all ages, to maximize the power of prayer in your hands and to instill that power in the next generation. 


Still not convinced? Just turn on the news. 

There is a battle going on out there. And there's not a man-made weapon that will stand against the enemy. It's up to us to fight the darkness that's closing in around us. Sharpen your weapons, go to battle each day, and we will bring light to this darkness--through prayer.

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