Home Base.

When I was 10 years old, my dad took the position of pastor at Emmanuel Community Church. Six weeks later, my mom died suddenly in our kitchen while sitting at the table. She had been reading a book, and drinking a cup of coffee when she began to collapse.

Needless to say, it was a rough beginning of my tenure at Emmanuel Community Church. But our bond became strong, and we stayed together, and for the past 28 years, I’ve grown up at ECC. And come to think of it, the church has grown up with me too.

Last night I began the “speaking tour” for my book Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels. I will be traveling and sharing the messages of the book at various churches and venues across the country over the next several months.  I hit the road on Friday to speak in Erie, PA, and Buffalo, NY.

Last night I was able to start by speaking at ECC.  Home. What a logical place to step into the batter’s box.

As I stood in front of that room of women, many of whom are close personal friends, I marveled at how God had brought me to that moment.

And even that very spot.

You see, the church has grown and changed over the past three decades. The place where I stood and spoke last night is now called “The Commons,” and it’s a large gathering room with round tables for discussion and a little kitchen window in the corner for snacks. But it used to be our sanctuary. And the very spot where I stood last night is where my dad stood for years when he would preach. Now we have a bigger sanctuary (they say it’s called the ‘Worship Center’…) and the building has been remodeled.

But before the room became “The Commons,” as it is now, it went through some other transitions.

While it was still the main sanctuary, my dad got remarried, to the woman I now call “Mom.” I was her maid of honor, and stood up in that wedding – exactly where I stood last night as I spoke.

That room, in its original form, was where I sat through sermons, performed in children’s musicals, attended VBS weeks, and where I learned to love those people who became my church family.

I attended Sunday school classes behind the sanctuary in a little room with ugly red carpet.

When the room was remodeled to include a second-story loft, I helped with middle school youth group up there and later taught kids about God’s word using my Grow in His Word for Kids curriculum.

At one point, the room was transformed into a hallway with three classrooms on each side. In that hallway, I first walked past a man name Kraig Cabe. I saw him, but he didn’t see me. We didn’t meet for a few month after that, but eventually, we started teaching a Sunday school class together in one of those rooms – just a few feet from where I stood last night – and we eventually fell in love and got married in that big new sanctuary, er… Worship Center.

That room, that very spot where I stood and spoke last evening, has great significance for me. And I was so blessed to begin my speaking tour right there. It was the perfect launching ground. And as I shared about these things with the ladies and told them some stories from my life (old news to many of them!) they laughed and cried along with me.

And they served brownies. What more could you ask for?

After I finished, these friends of mine lined up to get my autograph in their books. I laughed. “Really?” I said, “It’s just ME!” They hugged me and supported me and got their picture taken with me. And I laughed all the more.

Because who would have thought this dream would become a reality. That God would redeem my life – my story – and use it for His glory through a book with a brownie on the cover and an imperfect girl-turned-woman who is willing to share.

That room, that spot where I stood last night, has been repurposed, reshaped, and put to the best use for each season.

Sounds a lot like me.

And for this season of my life, God has given me the opportunity to share my story. I’m thrilled, and nervous, and excited, and hopeful.

Because God has proven faithful through every season thus far.

And I have no doubt He’ll direct me, around each stop along the way, until I get back home.

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For more about my speaking schedule, or to have me consider speaking at your venue, click on Speaking or Contact in the menu.

What Time Is It?

My education formally stopped with my college bachelor’s degree. However, since becoming a parent I feel as if I should be receiving continuing eduction credits. I’m earning a PhD in L.I.F.E. The syllabus is all over the place. Subjects and tests vary from day to day… ok, minute to minute. But there’s something about being a Mom that’s haphazardly educational. Sometimes all I have to do is listen to the things that come out of my own mouth as I’m teaching my children. I accidentally make statements that resonate in my brain and teach me more about life. If only I could get extra credit somewhere!

I’ve known that being a parent is helpful in teaching. You see I grew up as a pastor’s kid. My parents had two sermon illustrations…. er, I mean kids… and I grew accustomed to hearing about how my brother and my comments or actions would turn into a teachable moment from the platform. Now I’ve got three little life exhibits of my own. They teach me so much.

Just this week my youngest child has been posing a question to me. And if you’re a parent, or if you’ve ever spent significant time with a two-year-old, you know that toddlers are champions at posing questions. They have question posing stamina that can outlast any willing subject.

My little girl has been repeatedly asking me, “What time is it?”

Now, mind you, she just turned two and she has absolutely no concept of how a clock functions or what the time even means. I could answer her with the literal time, military time, or say it’s two bananas past a cantaloupe and she’d be none the wiser. So the fact that she keeps asking me what time it is has become sort of funny… and a tad bit annoying.

I started by answering her straight. She kept asking. I changed over to sarcasm asking her if she had something on her calendar or an appointment she didn’t want to miss. She kept asking. Finally, I became inpatient and uttered, “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

And there it is.

There’s one of those educational statements that I accidentally pulled from my maternal arsenal. “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

Hmmm… I think I’ve heard that one before. I’ve heard it from my earthly father and I’ve understood it from my Heavenly Father. In my life, when things happen that I don’t understand, I become a champion question poser. With persistence and frustration I call out to God saying, “Why?” “Who?” “When?” “What?!”

And I know a statement sometimes needs to come into play. A reminder from my Heavenly Father that, “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

Job certainly learned this lesson. If you read about him in the book of Job in the Old Testament you see a man whose life gets tragically turned upside down. He loses his children, livestock and health. He spends chapters angry with God and he poses the question of “Why.” Later in chapter 38, God responds by posing some questions of His own.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

And it goes on and on… Basically God is telling Job, “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

I know that my little girl doesn’t really need to know what time it is because I’ve got it taken care of. I know where she needs to be and what she needs to do. I’m the keeper of the clock in our relationship and she just has to go with the flow. Wow, again, what a correlation to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He’s the “keeper of clock” if there ever was one! He’s got it taken care of. He knows what I need to do and when and all I have to do is go with it… and trust Him.

Thankfully God is not inpatient or easily worn down by our questions. He’s stable. He not only knows the answer but He’s Truth itself. He’s got it covered. As He tells Job, it’s waaaay bigger than my feeble little mind could understand. I just have to go about my childlike faith and trust Him. I’ve got the easy end of the deal.

So, the next time my toddler asks me what time it is I’m going to take the time to thank God for being in control. He continues to teach me more about life and about Himself through the children He’s given me. And I know that in this continuing education I’m getting I’m going to get some answers wrong and I won’t get all perfect scores. But I’m going to stay in the program and be open to what He’s teaching and where He’s leading.

Who knows, I might just graduate Summa Cum Laude.