What’s the next right thing today? #AnywhereFaith

This week, we celebrated my son’s birthday and he loved every minute of it.   The next morning, he told me, “It’s  still my birthday” and asked for a cupcake.

There’s nothing like a good celebration!

And,  here’s another reason to celebrate—it’s the one-year anniversary of the release of my book,  Anywhere Faith.

Thanks so much to you for buying the book, reading it, sharing it with others, studying it with small groups, and sharing about it on social media.  You blessed me and encouraged me, and I’m grateful.  Here’s a little encouragement for you today:

As a teen, I attended some huge youth conferences with my church and they tended to have something in common:

There was always a tremendously dynamic speaker who had a jaw-dropping testimony of God’s grace: He did drugs.  He was in a gang.  His girlfriend got pregnant and he made her have an abortion.  He was an alcoholic, who was addicted to pornography, and homeless.

Then He met Jesus.

By the time the testimony was over, the altars were flooded with teens crying and praying for God to save them and use them.

But my story didn’t seem to fit in.  They’d ask if anyone felt “called to ministry” and I’d raise my hand and pray that God use me “anywhere” and send me “anywhere.”

Only, how could He use a girl like me?  I’m relatively boring and surely the world truly needed displays of God’s grace and mercy on a grand scale.

I prayed and searched for God’s will for my life, but I didn’t end up in foreign missions or traditional full-time ministry.  So, does that mean God didn’t call me after all?

Now, that’s my story.  How I struggled to truly let grace seep deep in my soul.

How I searched so hard for one “big calling,” that I overlooked the impact of daily obedience and the calling to follow Him right here, right now, serving Christ by serving others in small ways every single day.

Your story might be like mine.  Maybe you desperately want to follow Jesus “anywhere,” but you can’t see where He wants you to go.

Or perhaps your story is entirely different.  Maybe you have that testimony of radical transformation, but you feel like an unworthy vessel, unfit for His use.

“Calling” is a tricky subject for Christians.  It sometimes trips us up into a mess of confusion.

We talk about God “calling” me to do this or “calling” me to do that, but we don’t always know what that looks like day in and day out.

And sometimes we miss it entirely.

When I wrote in my book, Anywhere Faith, about following God anywhere He calls us to go, I shared some truths about “calling” because God wants all of us to follow Him, whether that’s around the world, across the street, or in our own homes.


Your past, your present and your future don’t have to look like anyone else’s in order for God to use you.  anywhere-faith

Maybe He called you to foreign missions or full-time ministry.  Maybe He called you to pray for the teachers at your kids’ school or to help young moms who need encouragement.

If we obsess over what someone else’s calling looks like, we can sometimes miss what He has planned for us.

God uses the ordinary. He uses the everyday and the mundane. He uses the untrained. He uses the sinner who repents and the prodigal who returns. He uses us despite our past and even sometimes because of it (Anywhere Faith).


I’m not a speaker at conferences talking about deliverance from addiction.  Today, I have played Play Doh with my son, scheduled doctor’s appointments for my kids, prayed for my family, written to you, washed dishes and laundry, and performed a million small and seemingly insignificant tasks that are actually ministry.

Sure, the disciples traveled with Jesus, witnessed miracles, and even healed and performed miracles themselves in Christ’s name.

But the calling wasn’t all glitz and glamor.  They packed light and traveled far. They left families and jobs behind to pursue Jesus.

Jesus told them to bend low, to do the dirty jobs, to wash feet, to love outcasts, to touch lepers.

He asks us to humbly serve others every day, too.

Your calling might not be to a stage or arena; it may be to faithfulness at work, witness in your community, and ministry to your family.  Every “calling’ is significant to Him.


We can get so caught up looking for big visions for our future that we miss the ways He asks us to serve today.  I’ve done it myself, praying desperately for God to show me “His will for my life” instead of His will for this moment.

Let’s ask God to show us the next right step and walk that way.  We can trust Him with our future.


God isn’t looking for the flashiest vessels; He’s looking for yielded vessels…
He uses the humble, the willing and the obedient (Anywhere Faith).

May we be yielded today, humble today, and obedient today as we follow Him “Anywhere.”

5 Things This Introvert Is Teaching My Extroverted Daughter (and what she’s teaching me)


My daughter is an extrovert-to-the-power-of-10.  At 18 months old, I realized she could not have a day at home and be happy.

Could.  Not.

If I did not put that child in the car seat and drive her somewhere every single day she would end up a screaming mess of frustrated babyhood and I would have a mom meltdown.

Now, I’m pretty sure she goes through withdrawals after two days off school because she must see friends every day and if she’s not seeing them in person, could she please call one of them on the phone?

I, on the other hand, like home-time, family-time, quiet-time, me-time, creative-time, thinking-time, and I hate the telephone.  I pretty much disintegrate emotionally if I’m out of my house too long more than two days in a row.

But God made me her mom, so we’re in this together and maybe we’re both better because of it.

5 things This Introvert is Teaching My Extroverted Daughter:

1. Be comfortable with who you are when no one is around: If you’re uncomfortable with yourself when you’re on your own and it’s quiet, then something’s wrong.  You need to know who you are and like who you are even in the silence.

2. Family comes first: Sure, it’s exciting to hang out with your friends and I’m so thankful you’ve chosen good friends to be with.  But family always comes first.  It’s too easy to be nicer to those outside your home than it is to be kind to those you live with every single day all up close and personal.  Don’t take family for granted and don’t treat them worse than you treat your friends or even strangers.

3. Sometimes it’s better to think about what you’re going to say before you say it: Pause.  Think.   Then Speak.

4. Quiet is not the enemy and boredom is just fuel for creativity:  If you’ve squeezed out all opportunities for quiet, rest, and unscheduled time, then you’ve squeezed out time with God and time for God to speak to you.

5. It’s okay to say “no”:  You don’t have to answer the phone every time it rings.  You don’t have to do everything you’re asked to do or go everywhere you’re asked to go.  Sometimes saying “no” is the healthiest and wisest thing you can say.

5 Things My Extroverted Daughter is Teaching Me:

1. People matter more than to-do lists and tasks.  It’s okay to leave the to-do list until tomorrow and spend time watching a movie or sitting with someone, playing a game, or just talking.  God’s heart is for people first above agendas, plans, and projects.

2. Ministry always means loving people.  It’s not possible to be a vessel fit for God’s service if I fail to love people.  Being an introvert is not an excuse for being self-focused or for acting like the world is all about ‘me’.  Ministry requires compassion, unselfishness, kindness, generosity with time and resources, and absolutely requires loving others—whether you’re an introvert or not.

3. Most things really are better with a friend.  Sharing experiences with others opens you up to new perspectives and ideas.

4. If you’re always worried about what people think, you miss out on a lot of fun. Sometimes you just have to risk it and put yourself out there, even when it’s uncomfortable or unexpected or unknown.  Be silly.  Have fun.  Do something new even if you won’t be great at it.  Learn to laugh at yourself.

5. A room full of new people is just a room full of potential new friends.  So don’t be afraid; just enjoy the adventure!

 Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him (Psalm 127:3 NLT)

I originally shared this post a few years ago, but I’ve been thinking about it again recently and wanted to share it with you all once again!
Originally published July 2014


She Carried in Peace with the Food Tray

colossians 3

Last week, I wove through hospital hallways to visit with a dear family friend who was dying.

She allowed me to sit with her, to pray with her, and I was the blessed one to enjoy some time by her side.

While I visited, a steady stream of people filed in for treatments and check-ins, visits and more.

But there was this young girl.

She carried in a tray of food that I knew right away would be left uneaten on the table by the bed.  My friend didn’t want any of it, didn’t have any appetite, and didn’t want to be forced to eat.

I thought that was the end of it.

Then this young lady returned.  She sat gently by the side of the hospital bed.

She said, “Let’s find something light that you might like to eat.  Is there anything on your mind that sounds good?”

They hunted together through the menu on the iPad, finding choices that just might be okay and even picking out ice cream for my friend’s husband.  And that was that, dinner would be served.

Later, as I said my goodbyes and tried to find my way through the hospital corridors back to the elevator (I always get so hopelessly lost!), I saw the young girl with her trays and her menu lingering outside another room a few doors down.

And I thanked her.  Oh, I truly thanked her. I looked her right in the eyes and said how much I appreciated her bringing such cheer and gentleness to those who needed it.

Maybe she thought I made a whole big deal out of a whole lot of nothing that day.

She works in food services.  She delivers trays of food and takes dinner orders from hospital patients day after day.

What, she might have wondered, was so special about that?

But to me, it was the most beautiful ministry.  She took all that time, listening patiently to patients who are in pain, who are frustrated by limitations and people pushing at them all the time to do things they don’t want to do.  They don’t want to be here and they don’t want to eat this.  They don’t want people filing in and out of the room All.  The.  Time.  They probably just want to be left in peace, to put the whole ordeal behind them and just wake up one day and be healthy again.

Instead of going through the motions of service without treating any of the patients like real people…and instead of getting snippy about uneaten trays of food…this young lady  accommodated.  She smiled.  She waited without pressuring.  She spoke quietly and nodded with understanding .

She brought peace right into that room with her.

I learned from her once again the ministry of the small.

In the book of 1 Chronicles, tucked into a listing of the Very Important People in David’s reign is one name that stands out to me:

Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, being a man of understanding and a scribe. He and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni attended the king’s sons. Ahithophel was the king’s counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend.  Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king’s army. (1 Chronicles 27:32-33 ESV).

The king had counselors and scribes, attendants for his kids, and army commanders.

But Hushai was the king’s friend.

And the ministry of friendship, though it may seem so small, has great value to the king.

We can long to do big things and make big impact, but perhaps God is calling us to be a friend or mom or wife.

Or to pour ourselves into a job that brings us low in order to serve others and carry Christ’s peace to them.

Twice in the same chapter of Colossians, Paul echoes this thought:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

Whatever we do, big or small, may it be in His name today.  May we give thanks for the opportunity.  May we work heartily for Him, knowing we serve Jesus Himself.

His presence in us makes a difference for those around us.

How Gray Hair is Worship

I was 24 years old and headed home from the hospital after having our first baby.

My husband took me through the drive-through of a fast food place to compensate for 48 hours of hospital food and I popped the passenger’s side mirror down for a look at my new Mom face.

Two days ago I was an ordinary woman.

Now I was “Mom” to a tiny pink creature snuggled into her carseat.DSCF2165

Did I look different?  Could the miracle be reflected on my face, not just in my postpartum body?

I looked into my eyes, examined the reflection critically and hopefully, and then I found it.

My first gray hair.

No one told me about this.  They promised that my brown locks might change after delivering a baby, but I was hoping for curls or at least some waves in my stick-straight hair.

No one said I’d begin to go gray the moment I gave birth.

Dear women, we need to keep each other informed about these things!

So, I just had to absorb the shock right there while staring into the car mirror.

There have been other moments since then, of course, the slow acceptance of the changes that Mom-life brings:

More gray hairs.

The putting aside of jeans that do not now and will likely never fit me again.

The loss of sleep and “me” time.

The inability much of the time to finish sentences, remember why I came in the kitchen, or call my children by their rightful names without first running through every other child’s name.

And the hardest of all, the accepting of the post-C-section body in the full-length bathroom mirror.

But after mild shock (or perhaps a private cry) and the eventual resignation, there’s something deeply beautiful about this idea:

That Christ gave His very own body up for me…..

Surely I can give of my very own flesh to others.

It’s not just a mother’s privileged sacrifice, but this is ministry and this is Christ-love.

That’s what Paul tells the church:

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

How do I care for my son in 2 a.m. feedings and all through the day every day?  I’m nurturing him with my very own self, putting aside my own agenda and desires to satisfy him, love him, pour health and growth and well-being into him.

Paul says he did this, cared for the church so much that he tended to their needs and nourished their faith with spiritual food brought forth from his own unselfishness.

He didn’t just share the gospel of God.  No, it went beyond that, to the very giving over of his life also, all because he loved them.

Yes, Paul laid his body down for the church, for the lost, and ultimately for Christ, enduring the beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, storms, imprisonment, snake bites and more that came with His calling.

Our calling likely requires sacrifice, too.  Maybe not the same as Paul’s.  Maybe not the same as a mother’s.

But God calls us to lay self down and pick up that hefty splintered cross daily to follow Him.

Sometimes I want self-protection instead, comfy ministry without sacrifice or self-denial.  I want my rights, my privileges, my agenda and my plans.

Yet, here is my calling, a ministry to my family, a ministry to others…..

Long ago, a man named Darrell Evans sang:

I lay me down…

I lay it down…

I lay my life down…

A living sacrifice to You

In order to lift up Christ, I lay this down.

All of it.

And you?  Has God asked you to do this, to care for another as attentively and sacrificially as a nursing mother pouring in life to an infant in her arms?  Has He asked you to share, not just the Gospel, but your very own life, as well?

Perhaps for your husband, for your children.  Maybe for the struggling young mother in your church, the single mom, the homeless and hurting, the young children sitting in your Sunday School class?

This is our daily worship, the sacrifice we lay on the altar for God’s glory and for Christ’s name.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Her Own Pizza: With Jesus, It’s Personal

My youngest waltzed out of the pizza place carrying her own personal-sized cheese pizza like a treasure.

It started last fall when we mapped out the activity schedule for the year.  One night a week we rush from school, to ballet, to church, leaving exactly 30 minutes to scarf dinner in the car.

I searched for a solution that didn’t break our budget feeding a family of 5 dinner out and discovered the power of pizza.  One large pizza for about $9 feeds all of us.

Problem solved.pizza

But systems like this take some trial and error before they are perfected.  At first, I ordered a pizza with half pepperoni and half cheese, trying to please everyone’s pizza palate.

The trouble was that we then ended up with too many slices of cheese and not enough pepperoni.

Sigh.  Middle class problems.

(Actually, I’d prefer mushroom pizza, but I choose not to push it.)

So, one week I dared to change things up a bit.  I asked for a whole pizza of pepperoni and decided my cheesy daughters would simply have to pick off the meat.

Not long after I ordered the pizza, though, the phone rang.  It was the manager from the pizza place.

“I’m looking at your order here, hon, and I noticed it’s for a whole pepperoni pizza this time.  I just wanted to make sure I made your pizza right and that this wasn’t a mistake.”

Whoa.  She had been paying attention to me.  More than just a cheerful greeting when I walked in each week, she’d actually cared enough to know what I typically order and to notice when it changed.

So, I casually mentioned my predicament.  I only need two slices of cheese pizza.  A whole pepperoni pizza is too much pepperoni.  A half and half pizza is too much cheese.

What’s a mom to do?

“No problem,” she says, “I’ll make a pizza with just two slices without pepperoni.”

And she did.  Every single week from September to April she made us a custom-order pizza without being asked.

Last week, though, I walked in to pick up our pizza and our amazing pizza lady wasn’t there.  People we didn’t recognize were making pizzas and slipping them into cardboard boxes, so I knew we were probably not getting our two special cheese slices that week.

The next day, my phone rang.  It was the pizza manager again.  She was apologizing to me…profusely…that she had been away at a meeting and no one else had remembered about our special pizza order.

Really, I assured her, it’s fine.  I’m amazed by you, truly.

When I picked up the next week’s pizza order, she had it waiting for me on the counter, fresh and hot.  And on top of the large pizza was a small box with a personal cheese pizza just for my daughter as an apology for the lack of cheese slices the week before.

In a world with so many people, so much selfishness, so much demand to fit into labels and boxes, so much pressure to conform, so much mass-marketing and crowd appeal, one personal touch stopped me during my weekly rush from place to place.

I put the pizzas in the minivan and halted at the door, shaking my head.   One incredible pizza manager was digging deep in my soul.

Because ministry and Christianity and Jesus aren’t about statistics, labels, boxes, conformity, arena crowds, generalizations or stereotypes.

With Jesus, it’s always personal.

How often do we forget this?

…Treating ministry like it’s successful only when it’s big ministry, only when the numbers measure up.

…Expecting God to work the same old way for every single person, judging others for making different choices than we do, acting like our way is the only right way.

…Pulling out textbooks instead of listening to people.

…Shoving others into the confines of expectations and labels and never allowing a bit of room for grace or for growth or redemption….

In Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley reminds me that Jesus:

chose twelve apostles from among hundreds of disciples.  He gave preferential treatment to three of the twelve.  He didn’t heal everyone.  He didn’t feed every hungry crowd.  He stopped in the middle of a  virtual parade and invited himself over to Zacchaeus’ house.  Why him?  He ensured that strangers would live and allowed Lazarus to die.

Why didn’t Jesus treat everyone the same?

Because we’re not the same.  We’re uniquely created by Him and He loves us, knows us, cares about us…



We can say it, recite it, sing it–echoing Jesus’ words: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34 HCSB).

But we need to mean it.

Love others just as Jesus loved us: sacrificially, humbly, with grace, and yes—personally.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Guest Post and Giveaway!

We’re throwing a little party here today in honor of Pastor Appreciation Month.  So, grab a slice of cake and enjoy this post by John P. King over at Smoking Newspaper.  He’s a former pastor who has written a funny and insightful book about lessons learned in ministry.

And what would a party be without a present?

So, I’m going to give away a signed copy of his book.  All this week, I’d love to hear from you just one thing that you have prayed or will be praying for your pastor.  One word or a quick sentence is fine.  Let’s encourage and inspire one another to pray for our pastors this month. It’s okay to duplicate others’ ideas.  If it’s what’s on your heart, just share it!

Leave a comment here or on Facebook.  Each comment gets you an entry and I’ll draw the winner using random.org and announce it in Saturday’s post.

And by all means stop by John’s blog and check out his devotionals. He’s even posted the first chapter for you!  If you don’t win the book, you can find it on Amazon.com here: Don’t Smoke the Newspaper and Other Lessons Learned by a Pastor.


When I was pastoring in Oregon, a young man approached me and told me that he believed the Lord wanted him to be a pastor.  As we talked, the first question he asked me as he wrestled with what God wanted him to do was, “What is pastoring like?”  I have to admit that I wasn’t ready for that question.  That one was a little different from the normal question, “What does a pastor do?”  I had heard that question a hundred times.  It’s a whole lot easier to answer about what one does than what something is like.  However, a job description complete with responsibilities of both the spiritual and mundane, and a list of daily, monthly, and yearly activities was not what he was after.  He wanted to know what he would be experiencing, not doing, if he followed the Lord’s call.

I thought for a moment and searched for a description of what my work, what my life, was like.  I took this young man to the pulpit of the church and had him look out over the seats.  I said, “Imagine all of the people of our church sitting in the pews.  Now understand that on any given week, half of them will be experiencing some kind of victory.  Life will be good for them.  Imagine that all the people on the left side of the sanctuary are standing up because they are handling life.  On the other hand, all the people on the right side are sitting down because life is handling them.  They are going through some kind of struggle; a temptation, or trial, or tragedy.  And as they go through, they will come to you looking for help commensurate to their need.”

“Next week, they will all switch places.  The people on the right will be standing in victory, and the people on the left will be down, slogging through the difficulties of life.  And the next week, they will switch back.  And then switch back. And back again.  And again.”

I explained to him that when dealing with the Christian life and the daily ministry we all should be engaged in, the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”  That is what the pastorate was like; rejoicing and weeping.  Only the problem was, as I had mentioned earlier, the people who are toughing things out will always come to you. Unfortunately, the people in victory rarely do.  So you are always tilting to the ones who are “weeping,” whichever side of the aisle they are on.  The pastorate is a see-saw ride of moving from one hurting group to the next from one week to the next.

The look on his face said he was neither amused nor enthused.  Of course, I didn’t want to leave him like that, so I proceeded to tell him what a pastor does.  No, not the proverbial, full job description as mentioned earlier, but the one-line biblical definition.  Most people think that the pastor’s job is to minister.  You hire them to do the “ministry.”  However, Ephesians 4 makes it plain that the five-fold ministry, including pastors, was given to the church by Jesus Christ “…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:12).  As a pastor, he would need to train the people to do the ministry; to rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep.”  If he didn’t, then he would carry the load of “ministry” all by himself, and believe me, if he did, he would either be miserable or he wouldn’t be in the ministry for long.

With an understanding of what it’s like to be a pastor, what are my encouragements through all of this?  They are two-fold.

  1. Get engaged in the “ministry.”  It is not the pastor’s job to do it all.  It’s their job to   train us to do the ministry.  It’s not their job to build up the body of Christ.  It’s their job to equip us for the building up of the body of Christ.  If we aren’t doing our part, the body won’t grow and it will make their job exponentially more difficult.  However, if we are doing our part, then the church will grow and it will make the pastor’s job a delight.
  2. Rejoice!  Remember, the pastor has their own life and family problems to deal with too.  If the only things they ever hear from us are the hardships, it will only make them want to quit.  Pastors take great delight in their people’s triumphs and victories.  Trust  me, as a former pastor, I LOVED hearing about what God was doing in the lives of my congregation.  There was never any jealousy.  It didn’t matter if it was something “ministry” oriented or some kind of encounter with God in their daily lives.  Rejoicing  with my people always made my day.

So as God moves in your life, tell your shepherd.  They really do want to hear about it.  And don’t forget to take your place in the ministry.  Your pastor needs you.

Joy in Christ,
Rev. John P. King, M.A.
Copyright © 2012 John P. King, Used with permission
Verses from the NASB

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Weekend Walk: Fireplace, Meet My Toe

Last week, I walked into the fireplace.

This usually happens because I am:

a.) Doing too much too quickly.
b.) Distracted.
c.) A general klutz.
d.) All of the above.

The correct answer here is D.

Congratulations to you lucky winners!

At first, my injuries seemed slight, but over time I began to hurt every time I put my left foot to the floor.  It wasn’t my whole foot that was sore, just my pinky toe.

So, I adjusted, putting more and more weight on the other side of my foot.  This made walking look clumsy and more than a little bit ridiculous.

In fact, by the next day I was flat-out limping along, all because of one tiny little tender toe.

That night, I climbed into bed only to find that my big toe now had a blister.  This meant I had two toes out of commission.

It got worse.  The following day my entire leg was sore from limping in an effort to avoid both my pinky toe and my big toe.

The lesson here is simple.

Pay attention and don’t walk into fireplaces.

And value each member of the body, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant.

Just hurting one tiny, seemingly insignificant toe–the smallest toe I have–made life difficult as other parts of me struggled to compensate.

It’s true in the church body, of course, as well.  One small (perhaps seemingly insignificant) member of the body who isn’t obeying God in ministry throws us all off balance, stresses others out, and leaves us limping and ineffective.

Here’s a Scripture verse for the week all about being a healthy, whole, non-limping body of Christ:

 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work
(1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Abracadabra: The Magical Mom Trick

He made rabbits appear out of nowhere.  He seemed to read minds.  He pulled colorful bouncy balls out from behind children’s ears.

The magician at our local library amazed my kids, particularly my middle daughter who checked out four books on magic that day and altered her future career plans.

“I want to be a magician who tells jokes,” she declared.

Today, I am feeling a little like a magician without the recognition and the jokes.  No fabulously mysterious cape, no collapsible magic wand hiding a bouquet of flowers, no long flowing sleeves to stash cards and colorful scarves, and no top hat from which bunnies appear.  My Mom-attire is much less impressive.

And yet, every year at about this time, I perform a seemingly magical feat that defies all explanation, a trick that doesn’t necessarily astonish audiences, but probably should.

I set the family calendar for the new school year.

Astonished? Amazed? Flabbergasted? Speechless?

Maybe you should be.

Or maybe you’ve been waving your own Mom magic wand over the calendar and performing your own special trick for years.  You deserve a round of applause, too.

Even those of you without kids or with grown children can easily find your calendar as overstuffed as ours.

Of course, there are things outside of my control, like the school schedule and when ballet classes are offered.  So, I wait for official announcements and postings, hoping God performs the necessary miracle to make it all fit just right.

Then I sit down and scan the mess.

There are non-negotiable activities that instantly earn a place on the weekly agenda.

There are the things I believe God has asked me to do this year, which I choose to obey.

There are requests from my kids like, “Please will you pick us up from school each day so we don’t have to take a 45-minute bus ride to our home, which is only 7 minutes from the school.”

There are the “Oh please, mommy . . . .” activities like gymnastics, soccer, swimming lessons, 4H, Girl Scouts, fencing (yes, fencing), art and sewing classes.  This we carefully narrow down, allowing each child one activity at a time.

Then there are the 50 other possibilities that are wonderful and good: The Bible studies, prayer meetings, committees, volunteering, and classes I’d do.

When we think we’ve made it all fit, unexpected birthday parties and get-togethers, after school activities, and events squeeze into the corners of Saturdays and evenings.

Of course, it’s all good.  And maybe, just maybe, if I don’t let my kids take swim lessons every time they are offered my daughter won’t make it to the 2024 Olympics.  That would obviously be the world’s loss.

But today, as I was reading in 1 Corinthians, I was reminded of the one thing that sometimes gets nudged out of our lives by the incessant activity we magically jam, cram, and squeeze into our calendars until they burst.

Paul wrote:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV).

Even if we invest our time in everything good and noble, we might be mis-managing our calendars.

Ultimately, speaking God’s language, knowing God’s Word, giving away to the poor, and sacrificing our very lives are all worthy, but even they are utterly meaningless if we don’t do them in love.

So then, what about committee meetings and weekly groups and gymnastics lessons?

Yes, meaningless without love.

Thus, I’ve been praying this year about leaving room for God’s love in our family calendar.

We’ll do what is necessary, what God has asked us to do, and we’ll love our children by allowing them to (within reason) develop gifts and talents God has given them.

And then I’ll refuse to feel guilty for declining to do every other good thing that comes my way.

I want to leave some breathing room for taking meals to the sick and for hospital visits.   Nights off as a family so I can enjoy my kids’ character, not just their hobbies.  Time in my day for last-minute ministry opportunities and helping a friend.

I want the freedom to love others without it destroying a to-do list or rigid schedule.  I don’t want official “ministry” to prevent me from ministering to those in need.

After all, in the end, Paul tells us that “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). Love doesn’t require magic, but it does require time.

How do you manage your busy calendar and decide what to do and what not to do?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Weekend Walk, 06/02/2012

Hiding the Word:

It’s a season of celebration.

Our family is celebrating graduations and the end of the school year, ballet recitals, concerts, plays, birthdays, and the 50th wedding anniversary for my husbands’ parents.

So, on a bright and beautiful day like today, a morning of sunshine and cool breezes on the day after torrential downpour and tornadoes hit our area, it seems fitting to meditate on a Psalm of celebration.

Our verse for the week is:

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12 ESV).

Last night after my daughters’ ballet recital, families hovered under umbrellas and still arrived soaking wet to their cars.  One man stayed long after most others had left, offering to walk people to their vehicles if they didn’t have an umbrella, holding his over their heads so they could escape some of the drenching.  

I can imagine God covering us with “favor as with a shield” in a similar way.  How it’s all about his grace and kindness to us. How it’s self-sacrificing.  How it offers us more perfect protection than any umbrella off the shelves of Wal-Mart.

Now that’s something to celebrate!

Weekend Rerun:

My Two Cents

Originally posted on May 9, 2011


With beach season approaching, I’ve been thinking . . . I’d like thinner legs.
While I’m placing orders, I’d also love to have wavy hair with no streaks of gray in it.
No glasses would be nice, too.
Yes, then I’d look really great . . . not at all like me, but great.

Fortunately, I don’t really like the beach, so I don’t dwell on these issues for long.  It’s dangerous really to look around at other people and compare ourselves to them, not just physically, but spiritually, too.  While I’m baring the deepest, darkest parts of my soul with you, I might as well honestly admit that I struggle with this at times.

For me, the trap comes primarily when I’m reading.  As a lover of words, I tend to fill every available minute with reading of some kind, even if it’s just five minutes while standing in a line.  And as I read, there are moments when I think, “If I could just change myself in this way or that way, I’d be better able to serve God.”

I don’t have the impact of this woman, the poetic mastery of language like another, the scholarly education like her, the testimony of this woman or the vast Scripture memorization like another . . . When it comes to spiritual matters, I confess I sometimes want to swap out parts of me for what looks better, not really out of jealousy or pride, but just because I long to give to God the best offering possible.

For most of us, our deep down motives are pure and true.  Out of a desire to worship and give glory, though, sometimes we glance to our sides at the offerings of others and feel we fall short.

What about you?  Have you ever looked around and wished you prayed like her, knew exactly what God called you to do like him, knew Scripture as well as she did, or had the same spiritual gift as a friend?

The eye in the Body of Christ wants to be the foot or the hand wants to be the mouth.  Imagine the Body of Christ as a Mr. Potato Head—now how silly would we look?  Unfortunately, when we eyes spend all our time trying to be feet, the Body of Christ is blind and clumsy, tripping all over itself.

“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20). 

Your gifting, your passion, your past, your experiences are all uniquely packaged together by God to form you and mold you into the vessel of His choosing.

And all He asks is that we raise our hands to release what He has already given to us:
the fullness of the talents He has bestowed
and the passions He has stirred up deep in the fires of our hearts
the issues that make us raise our voices as we step onto soapboxes
the service that we wake in the morning excited to perform
the experiences from our past that soften our hearts and make us tender to those hurting in our midst.

Our arms heavy-laden with all that we have received from Him, we then lift it all back up in worship.

We’re the only ones at times looking around to compare the gift we bring to the presents of the other worshipers.  God isn’t sifting through the gift table, shaking packages and estimating value or peeking at the cards looking for the names of the gift-bearers.

It’s just us—watching the gift table and shifting our gaze with embarrassment when another attendee brings in a cumbersome package wrapped in paper all silver and topped with a ribbon so fancy.  Then another lays on the table a gift bag filled to overflowing, tissue paper barely covering the treasures inside and we want to take our gift back.  It’s not enough.  Not for a King so worthy.  Not for a God we adore.

The widow in the temple, though, knew that true worship simply meant giving all that she had, sacrificially placing her “two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents” as an offering to God (Mark 12:42).

Others had given more, even ostentatiously so.  “Many rich people had thrown in large amounts” (Mark 12:41).  She could have watched from the corners of the temple in shame at the earthly value of what others gave and walked away clutching her cent pieces, confident that God would despise a gift so meager.

And yet, she didn’t.   And nor did He.

She gave.  He noticed.

He called His disciples over to learn from her.  Men who would eventually be asked to give up everything—even their very lives—-learning how to give sacrificially from a pauper widow almost lost in a crowd of those richer and more important than her.  All because she “put in everything” when she gave to God.

What two cents are you laying at the altar?  Your spiritual gift, your ministry, your service to your church, your sacrifice for your family, your care for another, your laying aside of personal dreams, your causes, your secret encouragement for a friend.  It’s being a hand when He made you to be a hand and being an eye when He asked you to be the eye in a body of Christ that is so dependent on every organ.

Your two cents is a gift precious to God; He only asks us to give what we ourselves have been given.

As I finish up today, I’m listening to Paul Baloche sing Offering.  I hope you take a moment to worship with me.

by Paul Baloche

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You’re due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

And the Answer Is . . .

Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me . . .But I call to God,
    and the Lord will save me.
(Psalm 55:5, 16)

I failed my driver’s test at least twice.  I say “at least” because I might have blanked out and actually failed it three . . . possibly four times.  It’s hard to say.  It’s enough to tell you that I still refuse to parallel park 16 years later.

So, when a friend of mine in college said that sometimes he just needed to drive, I didn’t get it.  Driving was stressful for me, parking even more so.  For him, though, it was like therapy.  Overwhelmed and overcome, he’d just cruise down the highway with an unimportant and undefined destination.

Today, for the first time, I understood.  Kissing my older girls goodbye and waving to them as they left on the school bus, I walked my toddler to the minivan and helped her into her seat. Then we drove.

As a mom, I’ve generally lost all control over the music in the car, so I let my two-year-old sing for a while about numbers, pirates, monkeys and queens.

Then I announced, “Mommy’s turn” and flicked a switch, only to hear:

Send me a sign: a hint, a whisper
Throw me a line ’cause I am listening
Come break the quiet; Breathe your awakening
Bring me to life ’cause I am fading . . .

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel love
Can You overcome this heart that’s overcome?
{David Crowder *Band singing SMS (Shine}

That’s when I knew why I was driving.  Just like my friend, I was overwhelmed and overcome.

It’s been one of those seasons of ministry and of life when you’re surrounded by death, cancer, divorce, adultery, abuse, child custody battles, the loss of babies, alcoholism, financial crisis, and unemployment.  I’ve been praying for many miracles these days.

In her book, Knowing God by Name, Mary Kassian wrote about El Oseh Phela or The God Who Works Wonders, focusing on the fact that “The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders” (Deut. 26:8). 

She notes the phrase “outstretched arm . . . implies a work not yet fully completed–a work in progress.  The image of a mighty hand and an outstretched arm illustrates that God is intentionally involved in history on an ongoing basis” (p. 66 emphasis mine).

It’s part of God’s character, His name, a promise based on who He is that He sometimes chooses to deliver us with all of the glory of signs and wonders.  And it’s now, not just thousands of years ago for Moses or Joshua, for Elijah and Daniel.  It’s for us, too, which gives me hope when I’m praying for “impossible” requests.

Yet, at times we’re looking for the fireworks, lightning bolts, and parting seas of miraculous intervention, only to overlook the answer He’s already given to our prayers of desperation—through the ministry of others.

That’s why God fed Elijah once miraculously with food carried in the claws of ravens and then fed Elijah miraculously through the generosity of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17).  It was God’s way of meeting Elijah’s needs and blessing the widow at the same time by allowing her to be part of God’s activity.

Sometimes we are the miracle God is sending to another.  We are the blessing He has offered; we are the provision; we are His answer to the tearful prayers in the night.

Not that it’s because of our own ability or volition.  It’s God’s generous way of allowing us to be used in service and His gracious method of linking people together, knowing that we need the connection and relationship that it brings.

At the start of this year, I read Billy Graham’s book Nearing Home and I wrote this in a devotional:

We tend to give when it’s convenient.  We often make decisions based on what’s practical.  We give what we can afford.  We get together when we’re “free.”

But Jesus served others when it was inconvenient and impractical.  He skipped meals, changed plans, took the long way around, gave up time away for those who needed Him and died to save them.  He didn’t stay up on the cross for the sake of a theology or a plan.  He did it for love of people.

My husband said, “often what is important isn’t what’s practical” in our relationships with others.

So, this year I want to major on the important, even if it’s impractical, hard, or downright crazy.”

Starting in my own home and moving out from there, I’m challenged again to follow Christ’s example and make people my priority and passion.

The Message says it this way:

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out” (Romans 15:1-4 MSG)

Maybe we’re praying for God’s intervention in situations and it really is going to take His mighty hand and outstretched arm to deliver.  But maybe we’re praying for the miracles and God’s already given the answer . . . and the answer is us.

So, I’m ending today with the words to another of my favorite songs, a prayer of sorts for God’s people to love people.

Where there is pain, let us bring grace
Where there is suffering bring serenity
For those afraid, let us be brave
Where there is misery, let us bring them relief
And surely we can change . . . Something
(David Crowder *Band, Surely We Can Change)

You can watch the video for SMS (Shine) by clicking here or by clicking on the image from the blog.  Please take the time to watch and listen today!!!

And here’s the link to Surely We Can Change.

You can read other devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King