Sunday, September 18, 2016

Third-Wheel Faith

When was the last time circumstances forced you to crash a hangout with two best friends? It is the worst. Everyone knows you're not as close as the two of them. I know it. They know it. The spot on the floor I stair at while they laugh at their inside jokes knows it.

Even if they don't rub it in, it's still awkward. Of course it's worse if they don't have the social skills to briefly stifle all their fun memories from the past month right in front of you.

In those third-wheel friend moments, I typically think to myself:

Yes I know you guys are bestie-friendy.
Do you think I would really be here third-wheeling it if I had a choice?
Note to self: never make an outsider feel like this when they're around me and my close friend.
I wonder if I should offer to take selfies of them?

As awkward and irritating as being the third-wheel friend is, so many people settle for a third wheel relationship with God.

Third-wheel Christians have placed their faith in Christ, but remain codependent on another Christian's relationship with God to feed them spiritually. They see themselves as not really that special to God, not as spiritually advanced (whatever that means), and not deserving of intimacy with him.

They think that being around a godly person will by osmosis make them know God. Every word they hear about the bible is a third-wheel Word. Every story they tell is a third-wheel story about someone else, not their own testimony. Every prayer is a third-wheel prayer.

Maybe they don't see themselves as worthy of a genuine relationship with God. Rather than running to their father for prayer, worship, and bible study, they settle instead for 140-character, insty-bible-art, inspirational quote, third-wheel leftovers to sustain them.

We are instructed to be around godly people (Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise becomes wise) and the biblical offices of pastor and teacher are intricate to our growth as believers.

But for some, their entire spiritual nourishment comes from lapping up the overflow of another believer’s life rather than going to the Fountain for themselves. Third wheel Christians get encouraged by a teacher, author, pastor, or mentor but become codependent on them to meet with God on their behalf. Blogs replace gods word. Authors replace time on your knees. Other people's stories take the place of your own stories of transformation. However zealous and inspiring other people's walks with God seem to be, it is no comparison to meeting with him yourself.

Breaking down third-wheel barriers does not mean isolating yourself from the body but strengthening your place in it. When you taste and see the goodness of the lord for yourself, you can serve and love the body of Christ. In Christ, you are worthy to meet with him. If you are his child, his spirit lives in you already.

The closeness of God is intended for you. You are not an exception. When suffering comes, and the storm rages in your life, another's believer’s intimacy with God can encourage you, but it will not sustain you. Only a faith that lives itself out in obedience to the word will persevere through the storm. (Matt. 7:24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.)

So be around other believers. Listen to teachers, read books with discernment. But go to the fountain of life for yourself. Dive into the word of God for yourself. Don't be content to let someone else experience the presence of God and tell you about it.

At some point, probably this week, you will experience the joy of being a third wheel. You'll be...

The one friend not as close as the other two
The only one with kids
The only one without kids
The only one not engaged
The oldest one
The youngest one
The weirdest one (that's me)
The only one not _______

That's ok. Endure it with grace and a sense of humor.  

And know you are never a third wheel to God. His love and intimacy, his conviction, his word are meant for you in Christ. If you have the desire to know him, love him, follow him, then he has already been pursing your heart. Not just your friend's. Not just your mentor's. Your heart. Run to him for yourself. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Short Boring Testimony

Whenever I tell my testimony, I always feel a little bad. Here is my story: I grew up in a strong Christian home.  I felt God drawing me to salvation at age seven. God saved me. I was baptized. The end.

Some would say I'm a teeny bit on the dramatic side. I like a good story. So sometimes, I try to spice up this story with glamorous hand gestures and theatrical pauses. I try to get as much drama into my three-sentence testimony as humanly possible. But it's still just a boring story with a boring beginning middle and end.

I've heard "every testimony matters," "I wish I had a story like yours," but I've often wondered if my story was missing something. If I should have had a time in my life where I doubted God, grossly rebelled against the Bible, threw a spiritual tantrum against the church, but I didn't really. Of course I've dealt with struggles, made some stupid decisions, been selfish in relationships, and have disobeyed God plenty of times, but -- nothing that makes that good of a story.

Truthfully, when someone asks how I came to Christ, I usually spit out my story and then tell David's, like "I'm sorry you had to just listen to my boring story -- but David's got the story you really want to hear, so let me tell his." That usually gets a reaction. I live vicariously through my husbands salvation experience -- I'm that much of a story-glutton.

Then recently I was listening to a sermon (okay it was a sermon by my husband. It's the worst when your husbands sermons convict you.). David spoke of the blood of Christ not only paying for our sin, but also paying for our goodness. In other words, in the eyes of Christ, our sin and our own attempts at righteousness are the same thing. We are born into sin, destined for hell. Every good work we do is actually evil because it springs from sin. Being a "good person" and being a horrible person have the exact same result outside of Christ because "there is no one righteous, not even one." 

I saw with fresh eyes what exactly i had been saved from. God saved me from being The Good Girl.

God saved me from my sin, but he also saved me from my own miserable attempts at goodness, saved me from my own self-righteousness. Instead of good, I got to be The Saved Girl. God saved my soul, gave me a new life in Him, a new heart and rescued me from my own selfishness and ultimately from hell.

Now when you're in middle school, The Good Girl and The Saved Girl look a lot alike. I should know. But time reveals the heart. One will last, one will fade. One will persevere through every storm, the other will crumble. One has been changed from the inside, the other keeps up a nice image until that isn't rewarding anymore, which it never is without an all-consuming Savior. One has the goodness of her savior imprinted on her heart, the other manufactures a kind of worldly goodness that dissipates during trial.

My Jesus saved me from being The Good Girl from a Christian home, nice to everyone, making good grades, staying a virgin, and who ultimately goes straight to hell because she has not been rescued by Jesus. He saved me from being a shiny, squeaky-clean girl on the outside who is hollow and empty on the inside. There is no such thing as The Good Girl outside of Jesus, just a cheap, straight-A disguise that will certainly burn away.

I praise God for my story and I pray it for my children. I praise God that He didn't just scrub my outside, but that he overtook my life. He didn't let me go despite my struggles. My story is anything but boring because my God is anything but boring.

If you have a testimony like mine, if you were The Good Girl because He saved you at an early age, praise God. Never think that you manufactured your own goodness, or that God is somehow pleased with you for what a good person you are. God is please with his Son Jesus. He was pleased to crush his son so we could have salvation. He is pleased with you because you are in Him.

The next time you're around a Good Girl, don't be deceived. I sat next to many Good Girls through my childhood and teenage years that said all the right things, yet were far from God. Encourage the Good Girls in your life to love Jesus and to base their goodness on the cross. Encourage them to dig deeper, past a well-behaved exterior, to salvation. Praise the work of Christ more than the works of The Good Girls.

If you have a testimony like mine, tell it with joy as I am learning to do. Your God saved you from your own pointless goodness and gave you the holiness of Christ instead. What God has started in me at age seven, he will finish. I guess that's a pretty good story after all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why Mommies are the Greenest

Lured by shameless click-bait, I stumbled on an article the other day teaching me obvious ways to Go Green. As I was reading, it struck me how many of these things I already do. Despite my best efforts, I accidentally turned green. It got me thinking that mommies with littles are probably the most environmentally conscious group out there. Move over tiny-house people, we show you how it's DONE.

Green tip: Use less water in the shower
Green mom: What is this shower you speak of? You mean throwing water on myself while praying my kids can't reach the box of markers? A military shower has nothing on a mommy shower.

Green tip: Drive less
Green mom: No carbon footprint here. Because I never leave the house.

Green tip: Don't preheat the oven.
Green mom: Oh yeah -- I do have an oven.

Green tip: Do less laundry
Green Mom: Pull shirt from hamper. Smell. Faint scent of spit up? Good for another wear!

Green tip: Brush teeth without running water
Green Mom: Or wonder around lunchtime, "did I brush my teeth at all today?" Forget again until bedtime.

Green tip: Use fewer paper napkins
Green mom: Use one spit-up rag for every. single. thing. The things accumulated on this rag by the end of the day would make for some very interesting biology experiments.

Green tip: Recycle cell phones
Green Mom: Done. My cell phone is also a chew toy, a fussy-time distraction, a flashlight, a video player, and something fun to hide from mommy so she gets that crazy look in her eye.

Green tip: Use fewer cosmetic and skin-care items.
Green mom: Check. "Putting on makeup" now means a slather of base and a puff of powder. I've also slowly and shamelessly incorporated baby products into my cosmetic routine. Baby lotion, baby soap, baby oil, whatever is easily accessible in my 10-minute sprint to get ready. (Was that Sephora or Desitin? Oh well!)

Green tip: Turn off the lights
Green Mom: If you turn ON the light and my baby is sleeping, I will turn out YOUR lights permanently. It's amazing what moms (who room with baby) learn to do in the dark-- get dressed, put on make up, find matching-ish shoes.

Green Tip: recycle trash:
Green Mom: My egg cartons are painting pallets, my toilet paper rolls are Christmas angels, my snack-food containers are piggy banks. There may not be one single piece of packaging that hasn't found it's way into my kid's toy box because....

Mommies are the greenest (and it's actually kind of fun).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In His Shadow

I have always prided myself on being spiritually independent. I got my first taste of God's Word at age 12, and I have never looked back. I love the word of God. I love Bible studies, sermons, commentaries, digging into truths of God and discussing it, writing about it, teaching it. I have also prided myself on not needing a guy to hold my hand spiritually. I don't need my husband to be my small group leader. I don't need anyone to chew up spiritual truth for me and spit it into my mouth -- I can feast on God's Word by myself. I want to be a wife who doesn't need to be spiritually propped up by her husband. I don't want to be a spiritual burden on his shoulders when he's already lifting up so much. One of my fears is living in the spiritual shadow of my husband. I believe my love for God and my independent pursuit of God are some of the reasons David fell in love with me. But in the past few months, I've frankly hit a wall. I've been slow to read, slower to pray. I've honestly felt kind of spiritually lethargic. Like I just don't have the mental or spiritual energy I should have.

The past few months, since the birth of my daughter, I have been honestly exhausted. Having one child is a life change, but two? In BKK? Yeah -- it's twice the joy and exhaustion like I have never lived. Being a mom is joy indescribable, but it demands everything you are in the day and -- yeah I'm still getting up in the -- night. For the first time in my life, I am just too tired to read the Word like I want to. And when I have the time, I don't have the desire. Not a very pastor's-wife-like thing to admit. As weeks went by, I could read a verse here, a verse there, but it never felt like enough. Priscilla Shirer once said her quiet time with God was sitting in the bathroom in the mornings while three pairs of little hands banged on the bathroom door the entire time she was in there. That's reality, people. I kept feeling guilty for not reading more, studying more, desiring more. Days turned into weeks. I'm also the type who doesn't want to read "a little." I tend to be a perfectionist which means if I can study all-in, I won't study at all (messed up philosophy). I have a couple of close friends (without kids) who joyfully ask me what I'm reading and what God is teaching me. Sometimes I just want to respond "God is teaching me how not to scream at my three year old when he spits at me." I don't think that's what they want to hear.

Still, in my weakness, God pursues me. One evening after the kids were in bed -- like many nights before, David and I were talking about The Lord. He was sharing what he had been reading, what he was learning, and I was absorbing it all, so thirsty to hear it. I realized that in this moment, at this time in my life, I sit in my husband's shadow. It's funny how the place you thought you despised can end up being the sweetest place.

My husband, so full of mercy and patience, has taken my hand. He knows I'm exhausted. He knows what my days are like. Instead of heaping more "to-do's" on my plate, instead of making me feel guilty, or that I need to manufacture desires in my own strength, David gently leads me.

It's nothing formal or organized, he just lets his own spiritual walk with God wash over onto me. He talks about God with me. He reads verses to me. He mentions something from a sermon he listened to or a book he's reading. He has agreed to read the New Testament with me (something I would have been waaay too proud to do in the past.) I read at my own pace (which means sometimes a few verses every other day), and he discusses it with me as we can. With tears even as I write this, I can't even begin to explain what this has done for our marriage. God has used my own spiritual vulnerability to create in me a deep love for God and a love for my husband like I have never experienced. He is a picture of Christ to me. It is marriage, beautiful. I know I won't alway be at this place in my life. I look forward to one day picking up Beth Moore again, memorizing scripture, dusting off that Jeremiah commentary, but right now, this is such a defining time with my husband.

To strong wives: With all that is in me I tell you, please let your husbands lead you spiritually. I can't explain what freedom there is when you just lay down your own pride, your own image, and collapse at the feet of Jesus. Lean on your husband. It's not weakness, it's marriage. I was so afraid David would think less of me if he had to "lead" me but it's so the opposite. It took me being emotionally and physically exhausted to get to this point, but you don't have to wait that long. Pursue Christ with everything in you, but don't be so independent that you sever the beautiful work God wants to do through your marriage as One flesh. Don't shrink back, but also don't take over. Maybe your husband hasn't stepped up because you haven't stepped back.

To strong husbands: The number one way my husband leads me spiritually is through his gentleness. He speaks of The Lord so joyfully, it awakes a love for God in me. He eagerly shares verses with me and asks for my opinion. He praises me and adores me. I NEVER feel spiritually ashamed of myself around him. I NEVER feel like I'm in competition with him, like I could never measure up to him. I NEVER feel like he expects a spiritual checklist from me. Some nights we watch Netflix and don't talk about God at all and I don't go to bed feeling guilty. His leadership of me is an overflow of his love for God. He truly makes me feel like his partner, not "parent and child" or "teacher-student." Your wife wants to feel cherished, secure, adored -- all the things God already feels about her. She wants to be wooed. So woo her to the feet of Christ.

This is a pretty vulnerable post for me, but it's just where my life is right now. I'm so thankful for a Savior who pursues me. I praise God for bringing me to the place of submission to my husband's spiritual leadership. I pray for a lifetime of discovering more blessings found in this thing called marriage.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Your Oh-So-Beautiful Selfie

 The other day I was scrolling along when i came across the same kind of beautiful pics i see every day:

Beautiful selfies with husbands. Beautiful selfies with babies. Beautiful selfies with friends. Beautiful selfies in beautiful nature settings. Beautiful selfies with hands on hips. Beautiful selfies everywhere.

Then I saw you.

Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but your selfie was -- um -- not so flattering. The camera angle was all wrong. Your chin wasn't positioned the right way. Your hair was -- uh -- sloppy ponytailish, (like sweaty-gym ponytail, not pinterest ponytail). You could have used the ol' "crop" feature. And have you heard of a filter?

It was frankly a bad picture.
And it was the most refreshingly beautiful thing I have seen all day.

You are with your child, and you are obviously so authentically joyful, it stops me. You have a smile -- like a real smile. Not a trout pout or a sexy smirk or a trained-camera cheese. It's a real genuine caught-up-in-the-moment smile. Your child looks happy too. Not the tired smile of "Let's take 10 pictures so mom can look good in one of them" smile (I so do this!), but a real, "I'm having so much fun right now" grin.

Then not only did you keep this not-so-flattering picture, you posted it. For the world to see.

I just have to say thank you. Your picture has shown me real beauty. And it's made me wonder. What kind of woman posts a picture like this? I mean a sweet, but not-so-flattering picture?
A confident woman.
A woman with no ego, no self-worship.
A woman who doesn't crave a steady stream of "likes."
A woman who cares more about the moment she's living than the picture that captures that moment.

That's beauty.

God, help me be that woman. Let me be that mom. A mom who doesn't use my husband or my kids as props to get the perfect picture of me. 

I'm definitely not this woman right now. I wouldn't have posted this picture. I would have taken a few more back-ups, so what if Josiah's eyes were closed, right? But not you.

As I look at my own daughter, (totally bald and still a little snotty from her lingering cold) I am swept away by her beauty. She is the most beautiful baby in the entire universe to me. And I want her to be convinced of her beauty throughout her life-- the beauty her God gave to her. The idea that anyone would make her feel insecure makes me want to mama-bear someone real fast.

Your "beautiful" picture made me think about the kind of mentor I want pouring into Abby someday--- someone like you. Our girls are drowning in insecurity. They see perfection everywhere they look. And they're not seasoned enough to know that behind most perfect pictures is a complete disaster. Many of their Christian leaders speak about confidence in Christ and then live out a subtle, yet very real form of social media self-worship.

Of course Im not talking about being cute or stylish or trendy, or even posting beautiful selfies -- all great things in moderation. Some of my own mentors are the cutest little fasionistas out there (and they post cute selfies too), but theyre also realnever seductive, never immodest, never plastic.

As Christ followers who want to raise up a future generation of girls, we have to allow Christ to transform us. We must take every post captive before the Lord. Because they're following. They're "liking." They're copying US. They need to know that our source of joy is not found in building an entourage of admirers but in cultivating praise for the Lord.

I pray one day Abby will have a Godly leader in her life who will be real. She may be cute and trendy but please God, let her be real. Let her mentor not speak Jesus in small group and then quietly follow the allure of the world. Let her be physically healthy without being in love with herself. Let this womans social media pictures not entice Abby to run after a shallow and sickening type of beauty that is gone in an instant.

So thanks for posting your adorable selfies. But thanks for posting this one too. Thanks for the reminder that real is beautiful. Thank you for not conforming to the mighty strong pull of the culture to worship yourself and ask everyone else to worship you too. I pray one day my daughter will have a confident, modest, beautiful, and real woman to follow just like you one who loves Jesus with her whole entire self(ie).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Best Mommy Advice I Never Got

 I was exhausted, overwhelmed and insecure when Josiah was born. I read every book and watched other moms, but it's true that nothing can prepare you for your first child -- and nothing could have prepared me for Josiah. He was born three weeks early --- bored in my tummy and ready to see the world and thats pretty much the same spirit that's followed him ever since.

I was insecure to stay in the house with him, insecure to take him out, insecure to breastfeed, and insecure to give him formula, insecure to start solid food, just insecure about everything. I had a healthy baby boy, a great support system, and STILL I was overwhelmed and deeply unsure of myself.

I was also insecure taking him to mothers-day-out. Starting at six months, Josiah went two days a week and....well.... he was kind of THAT baby. He screamed every time I dropped him off, and for the first few weeks, he screamed the entire five hours. He wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep, he would just cry. Some days he would cry himself to sleep from exhaustion. Since then, people have told me that they never passed his classroom and saw him not crying. He was a mama's boy from the get-go (the bond between moms and sons is real, people). At 2pm when I picked him up, he would collapse in my arms, happy to be with his mama again.

When Josiah cried himself to sleep the first week of CLC

God knew my insecurities and he happened to provide me with the two best baby teachers in the entire universe: Laura and Megan -- two veteran moms, each with three children at the time. They were seriously never rattled by my screaming son. They never seemed frustrated or tired of him. They wouldn't even joke about him being difficult.

One random day I picked Josiah up from school and I stayed to chat awhile. I forget exactly what transpired but somewhere in the conversation I remember asking them:

"Do you have any advice for me?"

I honestly cant remember if I was asking about separation anxiety, solid foods or just asking for advice in general, but their response impacted me and I carry it with me to this day.

I was tired and insecure. And I was worn out trying to look like I was not those things.

 I stood before these moms, and I asked if they had any advice to give me. And their response?


Each of them just looked at me and basically said "We have no advice for you because you're doing it right. You're a great mom." And I specifically remember the phrase "Don't change anything."

I was a bit taken back.

Seriously? Did they not see what a mess I was? How my own son was so unsettled when he was away from me? How I packed the same two jars of baby food every lunch? How I didn't have the faintest idea what I was doing or why God gave this boy to me because I was not strong enough to be his mom. Couldn't they see that?

I was a brand new, insecure mom standing before these two veteran moms who not only had a total of six kids between them, they chose to WORK with other peoples kids all day. If anyone was qualified to give advice, it was them. But they didn't.

They didn't give me advice.
They didn't tell me their own experiences.
They didn't recommend a new technique.
They didn't hand me a book.

At the end of a long day, I think God gave these ladies the wisdom to see beyond what I was asking. In a culture where everyone has an opinion, a technique, a book to read, it was amazing to me that these two moms could see that I didn't need advice.

What I needed was confidence. I needed to know that the way I was doing things was absolutely fine, even if it was different from how they did things. I needed two experienced moms to look at me and not mock the new mom who doesn't know what she's doing, but empower me.

I remember walking to the parking lot that afternoon thinking "They actually think I'm doing okay as a mom. Me with the baby who cries all the time. Me who sends baby jars for lunch instead of homemade food. And they said I shouldn't change anything." It was like my burden of insecurity was lifted a little bit.

Im not saying we shouldn't give advice to new moms who need it. I'm saying theres no shortage of it. There is no shortage of opinions. No shortage of books, blogs, and other moms to give us advice whether we ask for it or not (right?). Every mom has her own ideas about breastfeeding, solid food, tummy time, vaccinations, day care, car seats, pacifiers, sleep training, CIO, and everything else.

What we do have a shortage of is shutting our mouths. Maybe we have the exact solution to her problem, but that's not what she really needs in the moment.

Fast forward a couple years and I'm no longer a brand new mom. In fact more and more I find myself as the "experienced" mom in the room (yikes). I'm a second time mom and I have my own stories to tell and my own advice to give. I have friends who are having their first babies and who look to me for answers, and sure I give advice. But when I think of that day at mothers-day-out I have to remind myself that deep-down, advice is sometimes not what new moms need most, even if that's what they're asking for.  Sometimes they just need to hear, "you're doing it the right way. You're a great mom. The way you're doing things is just fine" even if it's not the way I did things. They need to be encouraged, empowered, and reminded that God is pleased with them in Christ.

If you're a godly, veteran mom, please share your wisdom and experience because Lord knows we need to hear it. But please also have the wisdom to see that sometimes when that new mom stands in front of you, exhausted, insecure, and overwhelmed-- she really doesn't really need to hear that her carseat should still be rear-facing or her four month old is too young to start solids, or her cry it out strategy will scar her kid for life...

Maybe what she needs is a hug and to hear "God perfectly matched you with your little one. You are the best mom your baby could have and in Christ you have all you need right at this moment."

Trends come and go. Strategies will change. What's recommended today could be disproven tomorrow. Experts debate, "friends" comment, and most moms rattle off an opinion like its the gospel truth.

In the middle of these shouting voices, your quiet answer of "nothing" might just be the refreshing word a new mom longs for--  the best advice she'll never hear.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Surprised by Diapers

Every night after we put Josiah to sleep, I find evidence of him throughout the house: a giant toy lizard he thought needed to go in the fridge, a stash of goldfish behind the couch, a soccer ball in the washing machine (that is now super clean), toy cars he piled in my purse, and endless hand prints on every glass surface in the apartment. During the day this annoys me, but late at night, it's a sweet reminder of his presence in our home, little surprises (albeit that I have to clean up) of his existence.

I'm finding more that this is how God shows up in my life. I expect to experience God in worship, in my Bible study. In fact I think it's the daily spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible study that train our eyes to see him and our hearts to notice him. But that's where he's supposed to show up. I sometimes think of God like a coach who meets with me in Bible study to train me, then sends me into the game without actually going with me. Nope. Not how it works at all. God meets with me in prayer and Bible study, then he never leaves my side, not helping me live, but living through me. I already know this, yet I'm still always surprised every time he shows up in the middle of an ordinary moment to take my breath away.

Last month, I was helping my sister register for her baby shower, and we scanned a ton of items that my daughter Abby won't be able to have in Bangkok: carseat, huge infant stroller, an actual crib, stuff like that. I was fine with not having all that, I had it all with Josiah and it's just not practical here. It's sounds so stupid, but the only thing I was jealous about were the diapers! She got boxes of awesome American diapers. It's totally my personal opinion, but I think Pampers are the absolute most luxury diaper you can put on a baby. Josiah only wore them for about a month or two and then straight to Target brand (unless I had coupons), but I loved putting that newborn booty in those overpriced pampers. I was sad my daughter would have to take her poops in Thai diapers (ah the suffering life of a missionary). Like I said, I know it's stupid, but it's how I felt.

Then yesterday a sweet friend gave me a huge bag of maternity clothes, perfect for the scalding hot weather of BKK. As soon as I put J down for his nap, I quickly went to try everything on, so excited about my new maternity wardrobe. I got to the bottom of the bag and there were two packages of newborn Pamper Swaddlers diapers she had ordered from the states and never used. I just stood over the bag. They're small packages -- Abby will probably go through them in less than a week, but that wasn't the point. I didn't expect to meet God digging through a bag of maternity clothes in the afternoon. I didn't expect the blessing of diapers, but it came. At that moment I felt God saying "I will take care of you. You're going to have this baby in Thailand, and you will have everything you need. And it's going to come straight from me." What do I need that he can't give me? What is too hard for him to accomplish? Nothing.

Maybe your surprise moment will come from a different place.
God, I never expected to see you in the middle of paying my bills.
God, I never expected to see you while I was filling my car with gas.
God, I never expected to see you while helping my son brush his teeth before bed.
God, I never expected to see you in my hour wait for a table at the restaurant.

What are your "I never expected to see you" moments? If God showed up in the middle of your ordinary day, could you recognize him?

Although I try my hardest, when you walk in the door of our apartment, you don't have to look very far to find evidence that a three year old lives there. A believer's life will have the evidence of God all around it. He will meet you in the hidden places of your day, in unexpected conversations, in stressful situations, in laughter, in frustration, in waiting, and in confidence. Recognize him and lean on him. He will surprise you with his presence and overwhelm you with his love.