If You Are Reading This…

…it is because you are subscribed to Arabah via wordpress. Arabah is going away on WordPress.com 🙂 and you will need to subscribe to the new site by clicking here in order to get updates.

{Subscribe by Memorial Day and as a thank you, you’ll be entered in a surprise giveaway}

Thanks so much, friend.


http://arabahjoy.com }

A New View {Come on Over}

It is time for me to say Revka had her baby and to help with the expenses, she put all her pre-made WordPress designs on sale for $50 (through the end of May, so go get yours) and when I got the email in my inbox I knew. It was time for Arabah to add some color and branch out a bit, like the new buds on my willow tree.

So with Revka’s help (she is more awesome than I can describe) and with a bit of fear and trembling, this post, number 97, will be the last post at arabah.wordpress.com and everything new begins at arabahjoy.com {where there will be a surprise giveaway for post #100, so please come?}

I humbly thank you for walking with me in this dusty place and ask you to join me at our new home. It’s a bit open and empty over there and your presence will sure warm the place up.

If you have subscribed to Arabah via RSS, you will automatically get updates; however, if you are an email subscriber, may i ask you to re-subscribe by clicking here? http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=Arabah&loc=en_US

Thank you, friends. See you at the new view…

Living a “Yes, Lord” Life

A middle of the night phone call wakes me ~wrong number~ and I take it as God calling and get up to hear what He has to say.

“Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in His ways and revering Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land…” Deut 8:6

It was next in my Bible reading plan, and I know it is Him speaking, so I pick up pen and paper and list three specific paths He is guiding me in right now, 3 ways He wants me to “observe.”

It’s the middle one that strikes me most. He’s been kneading it into my heart over the past several months, ever painting a clearer picture of what it looks like: Live a “Yes, Lord” Life.

And I jot this beside it: Practice replacing fear, stress, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed, irritation with interruptions, etc with “Yes, Lord. And thank You.” Allow all of those little things to be triggers for submission to and reverence for Him.

You see, I can sure be a Naaman. You know the story… Naaman had leprosy and Elisha sent a message to him and told him, “Go wash in the Jordan River seven times” and Naaman said, “That just sounds like foolishness! How in the world can that dirty water make me whole?”  (see II Kings 5)

And I do the same thing, say when I’m preparing dinner and a child interrupts for the 13th time and it is back and forth between the dinner and the children (sound familiar to anyone else???) and I start wondering how in the world this kind of halting life- where I can’t even finish a thought- can add any spiritual character to my roots because it sure isn’t conducive to praise and worship and peace and calm and happy feelings.

But then that is the Naaman in me telling God how to best clean me up. {i.e. The long quiet time with the emphasis on quiet. Ahem.}

But God gives me the day as it comes and yes, it’s the dirty Jordan and not at all like what I think should do the trick, but it is the foolishness of the cross, after all, that is the power of God unto salvation.

So He says, “Live a ‘Yes, Lord’ life.”

Do I really think that submission and obedience to God is primarily in the big things, like teaching a class or going overseas or adopting a child or giving financially…or in the “spiritual” things like reading the Bible and memorizing scripture and praying and fasting?

It is bit by bit that a life is lived, little by little that character is forged.

It is primarily the small things, then,  that make me the most like Christ.

Like when the quiet time gets cut short (as it inevitably does) by a child waking up before sunrise and I respond with a “Yes, Lord. And thank You.”

And when the phone call takes twenty minutes I don’t have to give and I say “Yes, Lord. And thank You.”

When the dinner burns and the children screech and Little Bit rebels and I’m not sure how to parent and the pitcher breaks and the bills pile up…”Yes, Lord. And thank You.”

Bit by bit, piece by piece, forging a life of Christ like character.

It’s what God wants of me. Sure, I’ve done some “big” things…but He’s shown me that genuine maturity isn’t in those, it is in the small, seemingly insignificant ones. He who is faithful in little will be faithful with much.

He is telling me to trust Him. He will orchestrate my day and test me to see if I’ll say “Yes, Lord,” moment by moment, again and again.

He wants me to live a “Yes, Lord” life.

It’s the way a wise woman, a noble woman, a woman of character,  builds her house. Bit by bit.

Disarming Fear

I don’t know about you, but certain things about motherhood terrify me. Fear, panic, worry, and anxiety are common to mankind, and females are particularly prone to give in to it. Perhaps you’ve noticed it in your little one?

Science tells us that when alarm triggers the human adrenal glands, we respond either by 1) fighting or 2) “flighting.” As Christians, there is a third option we have at our disposal, one clearly taught and modeled all over scripture. I consider this to be one of the most important things I can train my daughters in.

Let me illustrate….

When a trainer encounters a horse that demonstrates anxiety, the first thing she does is train him how to put his head down in order to relax. Doing this releases endorphins and helps combat the anxious behaviors. {Besides, the horse cannot “run wild” with its head down.}

{Click here to read the rest….}

Rich or Impoverished? I wonder.

Dear Journal,

The kids had ice cream cones for the first time today.

That’s the thing about living overseas and coming back home: there is so much to discover and learn. When we first arrived back, Husband went to Walmart to purchase an atlas.

“Why are you buying this; you don’t have a TomTom?” the cashier asked.

Husband didn’t have the heart to ask what on earth a TomTom was. We had to learn about GPS’s and RedBox movies and what in the world American Idol was and about credit cards accepted at drive through’s.

A lot changes in a few years and today the kids learned about ice cream cones.

It was fun to see them discover something yummy and happy. And yet…

A piece of me wondered if we trade real riches for little yummy happies, impoverishing ourselves in the name of “treats” and “affluence.”

We do it with trips to the nail salon and trips through Starbucks drive through and shopping sprees and little meaningless purchases and pill popping and seeing what others are doing and following suit. Ever mimicking those around us.

We even specialize in being consumers of all things “christian.” It is just the way we do life in the west.

And in so doing, are we fancy looking “empty calorie” Christians, instead of being nourished and rich rooted ones?

I wonder.

I wonder at Grace that allowed me to live in a place where these things are not possible. Where all we had was each other. Where toys and treats and gadgets were replaced with people and serving others and pouring yourself out.

Where there were blistered feet after walking miles in sandals, humping a back pack with precious truth inside….not a trip to the pedicure place.

Where I got the haircut of my life for 55 cents …lordamercy…but got to share the Precious Name with a woman with scissors, someone who had never ever heard it before.

Where workbooks and second hand bible studies were unheard of but the pure milk of the Word was in abundant supply. At least in our home and on our walls and written in our hearts.

Where every morning I was wakened by street vendors and hawkers and school children running from mice and I thought I’d go crazy with the smells and the noise and the fact that floor cleaner was simply not available….but where I looked out and saw through God eyes and heard with God ears and touched with God hands.

Where we were targeted and pickpocketed and cheated and taken advantage of and spit on….and considered worthy by God for such an assignment??!

Where instead of internet and ipod was the Breath and Whisper of God.


So as I watch children eat ice cream cone and ask for seconds with a bit of a pout when I say “no”…. I crack a little on the inside. I want to go back.

I want the shirt on my back to soak through again with sweat from the effort.

I want the chance to have blistered feet again.

I want my children to pray for others when they look in a shop and see idols.

If it comes down to it, I want them to know about the man without legs who sits begging in front of the noodle shop, not about ice cream cones.

Truth be known, journal, I’m scared. Because I’m not sure I know how to live in this affluence. I’m not sure how to raise my children here. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to stand the tsunami of consumerism and me-ism and have-it-all-now-you-deserve-it-ism.

God. How do I do this? Help me!

“I am your portion,” He reminds me. “And your very great reward. Keep your eyes on Me.”

There will surely be chances to try to make a name for one’s self. There will be opportunities to better one’s financial standing. There will be pursuits and little compromises that come knocking and the gang will all say “join in the ride!”

It’s just the way we do life in the West.

But El Elyon says, “Make yourself empty so that I can make you rich.”   “I am giving you a good land.”   “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance.” (Numbers 18:20)

Have we given up our rich, goldy inheritance for worldly possessions and lifestyles of ease? Oh Lord, have I?

Let us not, O Sovereign Lord, let us not!

As I ponder the riches of Him, my appetite for the treats and treasures of the world turns to repulsion. Lord, my sweet Jesus, who have I in heaven but You? You are my Lord; I have no good besides You. (Ps. 16:2)

May it ever be, Lord, till my dying day, may it ever be.

Send me and spend me, Lord. Send and spend.

Leaving a Legacy Worth Imitating

Field Day 2011. Groups of moms stand around and chit chat. I chase two pre-schoolers.

Mrs. Morgan asks if I can help with the name tags and I say “Sure” and thankfully the two preschoolers don’t do a dive off the bleachers while I’m helping, although trying to keep an eye on them effectively prevented any chit chat on my end.

{And I wonder why I always seem just a bit out of sync with everyone else around me.}

While the other moms stand around and talk or sit in the bleachers to watch the races, I take the preschoolers for a ride down the hill in the stroller.

When I get back to Mrs. Morgan, she says, “How does my hair look? I don’t do sweat,”   and I wonder if she is trying to say something.

I watch oldest ditch it several times doing the three legged race…they didn’t even finish! They had to have their legs untied in the middle of the field, the poor things… and then we go for stroller fun again. I walk them up the hill under the trees and marvel at the way the wind plays those leaves. It’s music to my soul.

We find a bench in the sun and I dole out trail mix, one little grubby handful at a time.

That’s when I see it, a stone under the tree. From where I sit, I read the words, “Leaving a Legacy Worthy of  Imitation.”

The graduating class of 2002 gifted it, their imprint on their alma mater.

And I know it: we are all leaving imprints.

For a moment a deep sadness washes over my heart, a grief over pieces of legacy I’m leaving that aren’t worthy. Pieces like bad choices, quick choices, thoughtless choices, selfish choices.

I could stay in this grief, remain immobilized by introspection. It’s one of my signature sins and I’ve spent years of my life doing it.

But Loving Father’s shown me a better way. “Lord,” I prayed one day, “there is so much wrong with me, I don’t even know where to start.”

“You start by getting your eyes off of what’s wrong with you and onto what’s right about Me,” came the reply.

Yes Sir.

It’s a huge jump, going from a self condemning, sin groveling person like me, who frets about all she’s messing up… to one who fixes her eyes on Jesus and basks in His utter, complete  SUFFICIENCY.

“He is able to save to the uttermost…”

Yes, it is a re-training process and a discipline to be sure, but it is gloriously possible!

After the little ones have made lunch off of trail mix, while moms still sit in bleachers, I walk over to the stone.

The smaller print on the stone reads “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing.” Phil 2:14-16

Holding onto the word of life, the sufficiency of Christ, our completeness in Him, this is the key to shining like stars. This is the key to leaving a legacy worth imitating.

I pack up makeshift lunch and with it, pack away the groveling introspection that has become less and less appealing in my life. We walk back through the rustling trees and I run the kids down the hill in the stroller.

“Go faster, mommy!” one of them shouts and I give it my all. We pass a parent who looks at us like I’m a bit off my rocker, a little out of sync. I just smile and nod.

We make it back to the chit chatty moms and the teacher who never sweats and the scores of other parents who know nothing of a stone that reads of legacy worth leaving.

I can’t get the silly grin off my face.

Thank You, Jesus. I’m shining like a star.

He Is

Tears drip down my chin and into our lunch. Oh well, they’ll never know…

A child enters the kitchen, sees me,  and runs out. I hear her telling sister, “Momma’s crying again,” and they all come running.

“What’s wrong, momma?”

I draw them close and tell them, “It’s okay, sillies. Mom is just praying and a lot of times when she prays, she cries.”

It’s true. I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere along a few weeks back, something inside broke, a leaky water pump. Becoming aware of His presence and His nature in a deeper way, I am so easily undone when I tap into it throughout the day.

Mostly, I ponder the awesome character of our God. And I am grieved that I reflect so little of it. I am grieved that I know so little of it. I am grieved of all the time and resources I have wasted pursuing other “good” and “spiritual” things.

I weep broken-hearted tears.

And I pray His names, as I have been studying, digging ever deeper into His nature. Because I know the God who created trillions of stars expended no more energy doing it than it would have taken to make one.

And to this God, forgiving a rapist takes no more love and mercy than forgiving a child for slipping a quarter from her mother’s purse.

His attributes are 100% infinite and self existent. Therefore it doesn’t “cost” Him anymore to create trillions than one, to forgive heinous than “little, white” sins.

He is altogether unique, unlike any other.

So I know no matter how deep and tainted I am, He is bigger.

his grace is greater than my sin

his love is wider than my need

his faithfulness is higher than my shortcomings

his mercies are sufficient for each day

his cords of compassion can’t be broken

his spoken words never expire

This is the One who broke Himself open and poured Himself out and says to me, “Come, eat you all of it.”

So I go.