Amazing Grace

It was the last straw.

It had been a crummy week:  forgotten and missed appointments, repairs to the eldest’s braces (again), planning a birthday party, cranky children and cranky momma.

When I found that I was out of shower gel, somehow that sent me right to the edge.

I couldn’t see how I would be able to get to the store to get more any time in the near future.

I was whiny about it.  Oh poor Liz! (extreme eye roll)

Then…God intervened.

My sweet friend Judi brought me a gift …of…you guessed it…shower gel!

How amazing that the God of the universe cares so much about little whiny me as to give me just what I needed just when I needed it.

But God was not done there.

Here is the shower gel she gave me:


Can you read the title of it?  Yep.  Amazing Grace shower gel.  There was a greater message here, and one I needed to hear even more.

Oh, Father!  How Your love soothes me!  In the midst of the turmoil, knowing I would be kicking myself for all the things that have fallen through the cracks, You gave me a message of hope and redemption to set me back on track.

While these troubles I faced this week are really, truly, light and momentary, there are always bigger struggles lurking around the corner, times and places for me to lose my focus and my way, times for me to strike out instead of wrapping in to the Lord.

I know I will remember this gift…from Judi and from God…while I still have the bottle of shower gel.  But I pray that I will remember it always, especially on the hard days.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Mirror, Mirror

I miss the sweetness of a man who loved me just the way I am, warts (and c-section scars) and all!

I know I have the sweetness a Savior who feels that way…He has told me over and over!  In the Bible, He calls me beautiful and His bride.

But sometimes, in my human heart, it is hard to believe that.  I look in my mirror for answers to the inside of me and fail to find them…I find scars instead…and extra pounds…more grey hair…wrinkles.

It didn’t help when recently my almost-date did not pan out (not my fault…totally his readiness-to-date issues).  That “almost” hurts, though, makes me doubt myself, my desirability.

So how do I get back to the truth?  How do I stop believing the negative self-talk, the Liar who is speaking to me oh-so-convincingly in my ear?

It becomes a matter of trust.

I believe that God knows what I need better than I do.  I believe that He will be my Husband and my Best Friend in ways that even Keith could not.  While I cannot physically hug Him, at my darkest points, He sends a physical hug by way of a friend…or a small boy.  Praise Him for that!

But in the daily slogging through this life, I can only trust Him at His word…that He is who He says He is, and loves me like He says He loves me.

An old hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

Did you catch that?  I cannot trust anyone else on this earth like I can trust Christ…not even Keith…and he would definitely fall into the “sweetest frame” category.

So…I will continue to look in the mirror, but will try to see Christ’s covering of blood rather than my failings…be they physical, emotional, or spiritual.  I will try to see me the way He sees me.  I know I will probably fail from time to time…but I know He will not.

It’s like my favorite scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indy needs to take the leap from the lion’s mouth to find the grail.  He realizes that this is the ultimate test of faith, and prepares himself prior to the leap.  It works out for him…and a bridge appears out of nowhere to catch him and take him across to the grail.

My ultimate test of faith came nearly 5 years ago with the words, “Mrs. Wright, I’m afraid he didn’t make it.”

I choose now what I chose on that day.  No matter what, my hope is in the Lord.  He has never let me down…and He never will.  That is my grail.

And, even on the tough days, that knowledge is enough.

I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  – Psalm 27:13-14



I was having some friends over for Memorial Day.  Right in the middle of cooking corn…my stove quit working.

No fanfare, no smoke (thankfully), no funny smell (thankfully)…just no power.

And no reason.

I checked the fuse box.  The breaker had not been tripped.  It seemed odd that a stove, only seven years old, with which I had had no problems should just up and die.

My sweet friends offered suggestions, even to lay hands on the thing.  Fortunately, the corn was cooked enough to eat, so we tabled the discussion and enjoyed our food.

Yesterday, one of them came over and found that the silly thing was JUST UNPLUGGED!

Don’t I feel silly.

But here’s the thing.  The plug was down in a place where I could not reach it, behind the stove.  No easy way to visibly check the plug.  Perhaps not so much “silly me” as “not-so-thorough me.”

Good life lesson for me in this!  CHECK THE PLUGS!

Especially my plug into the Lord…my ultimate Power Source.

Have I been reading my Bible as I should?  Have I been praying?  Journaling?  Praising God instead of just presenting a laundry list of complaints?

But there are other plugs I need to check also.

Do any of my children seem out of sorts and out of step?  Have I plugged in with them lately?  Spent quiet time with them alone?  Let them tell me all that is going on, what they are thinking and feeling?

How about my friends?  Is there one who seems disconnected right now, either from me or from all, whom I need to reconnect with?

Are there things at my church that seem to be a bit strained lately?  People who are usually there but are not, either physically…or emotionally?

The circuit has got to be completed for the power to flow…power from God, down the conduit of me, to the people He has placed in my life.  If any parts of the circuit are broken…my parts or their parts…it just won’t happen.

Praise God that I know that HE will always keep His part of the circuit flowing toward me and all the work He has for me!

All I can do is keep plugging along (bad pun, I know, but strangely appropriate).

 Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

– Psalm 20:6-7

All the Way

Does this ever happen in your house?

Mom, I finished cleaning my room.

Are you sure?

Yep.  It is totally done.

Would it pass my inspection.

Sure would!

Okay, I will be up in a minute to check it…

Wait!  Let me just check it again…

Now, I have great kids.  Their attention to detail, however…leaves a bit to be desired.  Well, a lot to be desired.

I try to tell myself that they are just kids.

But it still ticks me off, I have to admit.

Then, however…I think about my own “chores” assigned by God…

Love your neighbor as yourself?  Hmm…let me check on that…

Be a good steward with my finances?  Hmm…did I really need that new whatever?

Feed the poor, take care of the needy?  Hmm…maybe it’s not time for You to check on that one yet…

Honor God above all things, and love Him above all things?  Hmm…

That really puts my kids’ behavior into perspective.  I guess I need to cut them some slack, since I have been cut LOTS of slack.

Where is the balance, though?

In a recent discussion with my 11-year old, I told him that learning to obey me is training for learning to obey God.  That is definitely true!

But it is also true that I am one of their first examples of grace…and sometimes as that model, I fail, and fail miserably.

There is an old hymn written by Fanny Crosby ( that goes as follows:

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.

When showing grace to my little ones…to the world…my example should be that of my Lord.  And, if I follow His lead, I will complete my tasks all the way, and help them learn to complete theirs in the same manner.

Darth Vader and God?

One day last spring, I taught the boys while wearing a Darth Vader mask.  Really.  I even did the voice.

The reactions from each of the boys were priceless.  My “cool” thirteen-year-old got a case of the giggles.  My ten-year-old’s already big blue eyes got even bigger.  My seven-year-old looked at me as if I had lost my mind, and the five year old smiled a big goofy smile.  They all paid a bit more attention, though–at least for a few minutes.

Let’s face it, school is not always fun.  Especially not towards the end of the year.

We needed a little tension break after a hard day of work.  It helped us all refocus and continue.

I probably should do that kind of thing more often.

After all,  God does that kind of thing with me as well.

His shake-up moves go from the ridiculous to the sublime and everything in between.

Right now, though, the lesson is a dagger, and I am left staggering under the blow.

I will get through it, and He will be there, but it is still painful, and I wish it weren’t happening.

But…God knows best, and if I am going to let Him be God of my life in one area, I have to let Him be God in every area.  No holds barred.  For real.  For keeps.

I had always heard the story of the shepherd breaking the leg of the wayward lamb and then carrying it until the leg healed.  As the story goes, by the time the leg heals, the sheep has learned obedience and to follow the shepherd.  I am not sure there is any truth to this story – a cursory look of information on the web would say it is not.

Regardless, it is true for me.  Sometimes I need the holy two-by-four upside the head to get me back on the right path, headed in the right direction, back to the side of the Shepherd.  And I thank God for the two-by-four to shake me out of my comfort zone.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 Peter 1:6-7

Full of Worms

Our lesson at Wednesday night Bible class was about bugs.  We were buzzing like bees, dancing like butterflies, and crawling like beetles.

Then we started talking about worms.  Even these four year olds knew that worms are good for the soil.

“Teacher, teacher!  They are good when they are in your garden!”

We can’t see always worms, yet they make a difference.  Without them, the soil can contain more harmful bacteria (they will eat the stuff) and not be as rich in nutrients (worm casts contain a lot of food for plants in the form of nutrients).

Worms are not the attention hoggers of the animal world, preferring to do their work in the dark, moist soil instead of in the light of day.  But even still, they are necessary.

How many things in my Christian walk are like that!  Others may not see them, or even esteem them if they do see them, but they are crucial to me surviving and growing in this Christian walk.

Nobody but me knows how closely I am resting in the Lord, as most of the activities that support this are done alone, in private.

Or do they know?

While these disciplines are different from fruit, they are instrumental in making fruit, just as worms are necessary to make a healthy garden.  These disciplines are the inner workings that make fruit possible.  Without them, the results will be different, not as good.

When I am not following my discipline of regular prayer and Bible reading time, I am not as apt to see another’s need…or to respond in a Christian manner to it.  Without soil that has been tilled properly in the Word, and enriched by prayer, I may pass by on the side instead of meeting needs that I have been called to meet.

When I am not disciplined in my quiet time and growth time, I become impatient and mean-spirited, not focusing on loving others as I love myself, and letting my mouth get carried away to places that are ugly and less than helpful.  I the grow these weeds instead of good fruit.

Shame on me if I allow myself to get into this position.

Jesus told a parable about different kinds of soil, and I will end with it.  I pray that with my proper care of the soil of my soul, worms and all, I can be the good soil!

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” – Matthew 13:3-9

Sun in My Eyes

With the lengthening spring days, the sun is higher in the sky in the morning…and right in my eyes on part of my morning walk.

As I travel the road, I weave in and out of shadows and light, sometimes blinded as I turn a corner or walk between the outline of houses. The other day, as I came around one corner, a school bus was headed down the road toward me. Except for the small headlights on the front of the bus, I could not see the bus at all, only the glare of sun streaming around.

You know, that’s how I want to live my Christian life.

I want people who meet me to be so dazzled by the brilliance of Christ that they can see nothing else.

A big part of how people see me, of course, is based on my attitude.   Am I looking for opportunities to be that light for Christ, or am I, quite literally, hiding my light under a bushel?

I have a quote on my bathroom mirror that is based on a sermon I heard a few weeks ago:

Expect Divine Appointments Every Day

These appointments can come in various shapes and sizes, not always what I expect.  Whether it is as a friend who has a hug of encouragement; a widow who can say to a new widow/widower, “I get it;”  words on a page that touch someone; or as a mom who gives empathy to her own child, I can serve our living God…
…but only if I am looking to serve Him.
Lord, please help me to be willing and able to look outside myself each and every day in order to see the opportunities You put before me, to further Your kingdom and accomplish the work You have purposed here.  Amen.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – Matthew 5:14-15

How We Communicate

I was out running errands yesterday when I got the following text from my eldest:

Tanner just puked.

About ten minutes later, I get another text:

Matthew just puked.

Now, this was not totally unexpected in our house.  My eldest and I had had the virus earlier in the week.  We thought it had missed the others…obviously not.

After praising God for a son who can deal with vomit and for other kids who have pretty good toilet aim, I finished my shopping and headed home.

At each stop light on the way home, I started the texting brigade to deal with the fallout of this situation.

There were plans to change, rides to set up, prayers to solicit.

But, praise God, by the time I got home, all was prepared and a busy Sunday could continue, minus the puking part of the Wright family.

Texting often gets a bad rap.  I have heard people say it is not a replacement for face-to-face communication.  I agree with that whole-heartedly.

In this situation, though, a microburst of information to different people had to go out, and I made wise use of my time at stop lights to take care of the details of things.

In my opinion, this situation was quicker and easier to deal with for all the parties involved by having the technology and using it to my advantage.

Our communication with God is just the same.

God understands our “hail mary” prayers, and I think honors them.  When the going gets tough, the tough go to their knees, mentally if not physically.

But that does not substitute for quiet time with God, listening for His small, still voice.  That is often hard to do in our busy-busy-hurry-hurry world.

The how is not the important part, nor the where.  As a busy mom, I have kept a devotion book in my bathroom for years.  Sometimes the only alone time I have is a few minutes behind closed, locked doors while I take care of other matters.

Nowadays, for me, that time usually comes during my daily walks around our neighborhood.  Some days, I raise my hands in praise, some days I have tears streaming down my face.  Some days, I do most of the talking; some days, all I do is listen.  But either way, it is quality time, alone with the One I love the most.

This past week, while battling the aforementioned virus, I had a hard time walking…anywhere.  I was weak as a kitten.  Because I am a creature of habit, my alone time with God suffered.  My fault.  I should have used that time in bed more wisely, but, alas, I did not.

Add no worship service this morning for me due to sick boys, and I am feeling a bit alone.  It happens that quickly.  So, it is time to pray, time to get away for a few moments.  This blog is my admission to you, myself…and God…that I need to get back closer with Him…right away.

Praying for quality time with our Lord for you and for me!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. – Psalm 34:8

Taking Control of the Wheel

Have you had this happen?

A friend and I took our kids and my big ole SUV on a day trip.

At one point, we were parking in a parking garage…and I promptly ran my car into one of the pylons in the center of the structure.

No real damage done to the vehicle…just another “beauty mark” for my ride…

…and a bit of embarrassment for me.

As I continued to struggle with squaring up in a spot I knew I had no business trying to park in in the first place, my sweet friend asked if I wanted her to park ‘er.

Increased embarrassment…and more than a little stubbornness.

I hope I didn’t snap when I gave her an emphatic “no.”

Fast forward to Wednesday night services…

A sweet friend told me she prayed for me and the boys as she walked by my house earlier in the day, thinking of how hard it must be at times to be a single mom.

We talked of the common elements in hardship and of the importance of surrender in walking the path…whichever path…the Lord has given you.

I couldn’t help but think about my driving.

Since Keith died, I can probably count the number of times I have ridden instead of driven on both hands.  Only driver in the house, biggest car when we ride with others.  So…I am rarely the passenger.

Except when it comes to the Lord.

There…always…I need to be the passenger and let Him be the driver.

So, I resolve to quit holding stubbornly to the driver’s seat.  Unlike parking my car the other day, I need to willingly give Him my troubles, really just park them at the foot of the cross.

And leave them there.

All it takes is surrender…constant surrender.

Not an easy concept, especially in our pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps American society, but that is my goal.
May I be willing to surrender all the things in my life, both large and small, to Him and His infinite wisdom. 

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? – Mark 8:34-36

Just Another One of Those Days

Last week, it was just another one of those days:

3:39 a.m. – Eight-year old says he can’t sleep and climbs in bed with me.  He rolls around for a bit, can’t fall asleep in my bed, and returns to his own.

4:39 a.m. – Awakened by a horrendous musical sound that I thought was the alarm clock.  Tried to turn off alarm clock only to find it would not go off.  Figured out it was a game on the tablet sitting next to me.  Don’t know why it went off them.

4:40 a.m. – Mistaking the clock setting for 5:00, I decide to get up (yes, I do normally get up that early).

4:50 a.m. – The dog throws up.  The big dog.

5:00 a.m. – Still working on preparing the first cup of coffee when 11-year old comes downstairs.  I shoo him back upstairs.

5:04 a.m. – Go on a hunt for wrapping paper, which I find…along with a large mess in a room that I thought was clean for company tomorrow.

5:05 a.m. – I try to wrap the 8-year old’s birthday presents only to find we have no tape.  Tape hunt begins.

5:10 a.m. – Hear noise from upstairs and go up to shush the two children who are now playing in one’s room.

5:30 a.m. – Hear my alarm going off in my room.  I must have turned it on inadvertently while trying to stop the noise at 4:39.  The beeping makes the dog still in my room start to howl.  The other dog, downstairs, starts to join in the howling.  I rush upstairs before all the boys are up, turn it off, and quiet the dogs.

5:35 a.m. – The 8- and 11-year old ask if they can go to the basement and play.  I figure it is the best alternative and may allow me to salvage my quiet time, so I let them.

5:40 a.m. – The 6-year old wakes up.  Send him downstairs.

5:50 a.m. – I am tired and in need of another cup of coffee.  I still have not done my quiet time, which is the reason I get up this early anyway.

5:59 a.m. – Last child gets up.  Hope of quiet time is dashed for good today.  Start breakfast and the day on a prayer.

I am not making this up.  I couldn’t make up this level of crazy detail.

Yet, that is my life.  Fire to fire to fire.  It can be exhausting, especially on your own.  Especially when all this happens before 6:00 a.m!


These are light and momentary troubles.  I know they are.  They are the results of having a big family and lots of blessings.

The night before, my oldest and I watched The Passion of the Christ http:/  Keith and I had started the tradition many years ago to watch it at Easter time.  As painful as that movie is to watch, I find it a good reminder of just what is important in life.  It helps put “those days” into perspective.

Even when “those days” start before the first cup of coffee.

Kids up early?  Thanks, God, that, with our busy schedules, I have “morning people” for children.

Dogs barking and throwing up?  Thanks, God, for the blessing of our dogs, who are an almost constant source of affection and fun, never mind the protection factor.

Kindle going off?  Thanks, God, for the technology that you have given our world, and that we in our family can share it.

And thanks, God, for our nice, warm home, our health, and the blessing of living together as a family in this great country of ours.

Sometimes the best reminder on a stress-filled day is the pictures in my head of Jesus hanging on the cross…for me.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

– Isaiah 53:4-5