When you need more energy…

by Kari on September 22, 2014

dorito bag

It all began with that ridiculous poop post. 

I can’t pass a piece of trash on the sidewalk without remembering this:

A man was walking along the sidewalk just as a flashy sports car was pulling up at a traffic light.  The man in the car finished his soda and tossed the empty can out the window into the ditch.  The man walking, a Christian, continued across the street and thought to himself, “What kind of jerk throws his pop can out of the window?  That’s what sin does!”  Immediately he sensed God’s voiced prodding heart: “Sin throws out the pop can, butgrace stoops down and picks it up.”

God had brought this story along my path when I’d refused to pick up the poop. Someone else’s dog poop, mind you. But God bent me low with those words, Grace Picks Up The Poop, and He taught me to stoop down more often than before.

But, really? Do I have to always be the ridiculous person picking up trash?

This time, the lesson was different. I was out for a run. My legs burned, every step was a chore, but I’d finally reached the long downhill leg down Main Street. Yes! Finally! I cruised down the hill running fast and, if I can be so honest, had just passed two other runners and was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then I caught sight of it–the crumpled Dorito bag.

I ignored it. I’m running! It’s not like I have a bag to put the trash in. I kept running.

The conscience nagged. I kept fighting, farther and farther down the hill I went. This is ridiculous. It’s a little Dorito bag. I am not stopping, losing all momentum, and running back UP the hill to get the stupid bag. Besides, those people I passed will think I’m crazy. Isn’t it someone ELSE’s turn to pick up some trash, for crying out loud? I kept running, justifying. But God, I need to save my energy. I’m so tired and if I turn around and run all the way back up that hill to pick up the trash, I’ll be so tired. 

But as I kept running, I felt more tired than ever and it struck me: 

When I disobey I’m drained.  When I run away, I’m running away … from Him. His love. His power.

HIS energy. 

Our lives are made up of a million little choices. We’re always walking–or running–to or away from God. The most trivial–trash–turned my heart around.

I stopped.

And as I turned around, eyes spotting the tiny Dorito bag up the hill, I began to run and to my surprise you know what I found?

A burst of energy.

My legs felt lighter, my heart felt freer, I sprinted up that hill with the wind (Spirit?) at my back, ignored the funny looks and bent down low…

crumpling the piece of trash–and pride–in my hand.

It feels so good to obey.

And as I ran back down that hill, the buzz of holy energy lifted my feet, my heart, my spirit.

See, energy doesn’t come from conserving it…

from holding back…

from putting your needs first.

Energy comes from obeying. 

Why? Because it’s not that we need MORE energy …

It’s that we need HIS energy. 

His energy is the supernatural strength and power  that is for us today, that we can only tap into through one simple secret:


In the small stuff. The ordinary things. The mundane moments.

Only the Holy Spirit can speak the specifics to you today. But know this:

Obedience unleashes His energy in us, the energy we so desperately need today

“…I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:29

{After 10 days, 2 retreats, 3 cities, 4 beds, and about 150 wonderful people, this tired Mama is happy to be home. I’m revisiting this today–SO good and so true. Praying His energy for us this week, as we obey.  Thanks for reading.}



Today’s Amazing God-Story

by Kari on September 19, 2014

photo (80)

So I’m sitting here at Starbucks on the Oregon Coast with my little squirrel-daughter sitting opposite me, sipping a kiddie hot cocoa …

and we are both marveling at God’s love for us. 

Sometimes you just have to share “God stories” right? We know God moves in our mundane but sometimes we just need to share the stories, the real-time stories of how God breaks in and flexes His muscles and displays His great love for us.

He did just that for us, just now.

I’d been bracing myself for a 10-day busy spurt. I flew to a retreat, then a week-long trip with family to the beach, then another retreat that fell on the same weekend as a triathlon event that my husband was competing in with his brother from another state. Basically a whole bunch of family was flying in for the event, but I had a retreat (which I was happy to do!) and the kids — who are serious homebodies — were a little anxious about all the various travels and people and switching hands and who would take care of them during Jeff’s event.

So when, last night, we tucked the kids into bed and we reminded Heidi of the weekend’s plans, she was undone. The kind of crying that lasts and lasts and breaks your heart … not the kind that you just say, “Be brave, move on.” The kind where a Mama’s heart is torn and I already promised to do this retreat but there is no way I could leave my girl like this.

We prayed, she slept. I thought it was ok.

But then this morning was so not ok. In every way. When it was time to go she was completely inconsolable. She’s been extra clingy to me lately and she was just hysterical, crying, that she wanted to be with me, and after 45 minutes of trying to figure something out, I closed my eyes and just prayed, “Please God. Show us what to do.”

Truth be told, I had been praying. I’d been praying about that weekend for months, knowing it’d be tough. But every time I prayed, I sensed God’s Spirit saying, “Trust me.” I’d thought about trying to switch things up, make other accommodations  etc. but I kept sensing the words, “Trust me.”

I even wrote “Trust me” in big letters across that weekend on my big calendar. So when I looked at it this morning, those words scrawled across the top, I knew what I had to do.

As I sat there praying, the thought did occur to me, if there was someone I could have with me, who Heidi knew and loved, they could stay with me in my room at the retreat and be with her while I spoke. Then we could still be “together” and still do the retreat. But I didn’t know anyone, and couldn’t imagine calling someone with a few hours notice to ask them to give up their weekend.

We prayed.

I went upstairs and got on my knees, looking up the # to contact the retreat coordinator. I wasn’t even sure what I would say but figured I’d need her #.

Just then, to my amazement, a text popped up on my phone.

One of my dearest friends, my prayer warrior, whose daughter just happens to be Heidi’s best friend.

“Hey, we are thinking of coming to see you at the beach this weekend! Do you know anywhere we could stay?”


Are you kidding me?

I quickly send her some cryptic texts basically saying YES PLEASE COME I WILL FIND YOU A PLACE CAN HEIDI BE WITH YOU????????I’LL EXPLAIN LATER.

Oh, God You are so good.

Long story short, my dear friend and Heidi’s best friend, are meeting us at the beach, staying with me at the beach, and they’ll be playing and sand-castling while I’m preaching God’s Word with passion knowing my Heavenly Father LOVES me so much.

The topic of our retreat?

The love of God.

That we are CHILDREN OF GOD and that God our Father LOVES US. 

That when He says, “Trust Me,” it’s because He is trustworthy.

He loves us. He will take care of us. Even when we, like little children, are fearful and clingy and crying, He bends down low to make miracles happen … just because He loves us.

THAT is the same God who loves YOU.

Trust Him today.

Thanks for reading.



Unearthing wonders

September 17, 2014

We heaved over the heavy blue vinyl and drained the last bit of summer straight out. I watched the water soak down into the soil. “The next time we set up this pool they’ll be 6 and 8.” Not sentimental by nature, but this was the eve of Retreat Season. The last real night of […]

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I don’t wish you were anyone else…

September 15, 2014

When we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  ~ The 8-foot long aircraft carrier USS Nimitz stretched across the back yard. Bent over the top were Jeff and Dutch–Dutch holding the electric sander while Jeff guided his little hands, carefully smoothing out the wooden top of the massive battleship.  For days Dutch had been begging his […]

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When your God-dream is dying…

September 12, 2014

Now, as several years have passed and I can see this story in the rearview mirror of my mind, it makes sense. The surrender and the beauty of God’s fulfillment and timing. God DID resurrect His dream in our hearts and made it all come to pass. It’s so crystal clear now. But then it was cloudy. Confusing. […]

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Missionary Mama

September 10, 2014

{Today we welcome Laura M. Thomas, a fellow blogger with a passion for glorifying God in the midst of the mundane. I pray her words resonate with and encourage you today…} ~ From the ages of 19-25, I traveled to 20 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East just to share the love of […]

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The importance of periphery

September 8, 2014

It was down by the river, watching spiderwebs, when the words really made sense. The importance of periphery.  The weeks prior my prayers had been on repeat: “Um God, I just don’t know how it’s going to work.” My restful month was great, but September was just around the corner, where I continue my four […]

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That one word that changed my life this month.

September 5, 2014

I had peeled back the tin-can lid earlier that day for his snack. Such a simple motion, a finger in the metal ring, pulled back it reveal all the deliciousness of pears which moments earlier had been hidden there underneath. His eyes had danced as he held his bowl with both-hands, up close to his […]

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Putting the simple back into homeschool (and life)

September 3, 2014

It was one word that caused the seismic shift in my mindset. That forced me to wipe the school slate clean and reevaluate. It came out of left field, but then again it confirmed everything I’ve ever wondered–and agonized over–with regards to my son. The word? Asperger’s. It’s true, for the almost 8 years of his […]

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Finding your family’s foundation (I’m back.)

September 1, 2014

Hi. I’m back. I’m hoping you are still here(?), you who are so full of grace that you heartily blessed me in this Sabbath month I just enjoyed. As I mentioned before, it’d been 7 years of pounding out these words, and life has picked up speed and this Mama just needed … to breathe. […]

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