Monday, February 28, 2011


On a regular mom day, many years ago in our home, my son came marching through the kitchen with his toy tool box, followed by his best friend from next door. They looked like very determined little men as they paraded through with eyes straight ahead. I was working at the sink, but paused long enough to ask them what they were doing. My son kept walking without a response or a moment’s hesitation, but his friend quickly called out, “Surgery.”

Deciding this was a comment worth pursuing, I paused in my work to follow them. When I arrived in the den, I saw my son standing on the back of the couch removing his father’s stuffed duck from the wall while his friend was getting out the plastic saw. Apparently, the decision had been made that their toy tool box contained the proper tools for performing an operation, needed or not, on my husband’s treasured wall hanging. After some words along on the lines of “stop” and “don’t” echoed through the room, the duck was returned to its rightful place on the wall and the boys set off, looking for their next victim.

I’m not sure what surgical success they could have actually attained with a plastic saw, but they were very serious about their work. And that’s when I was reminded of some habits in my own life.

God means what He says. What He says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.
Hebrews 4:12 (The Message)

Sometimes, I long to see changes in my attitudes or behaviors or sometimes I am looking for answers to questions and concerns in my life. I run around, kind of like a chicken with my head cut off (as my momma used to say), asking advice, researching books and hunting for answers. Often, these efforts are about as effective as surgery on an already dead duck with a plastic saw.

When I choose to go to God’s word for my counsel, life change, attitude adjustment or new thought pattern, I find a tool that has real power for achieving actual results. I love that the book of Hebrews tells us His word is powerful enough to cut through everything, even my doubts and defenses. As I read God’s word, copy it, meditate on it, say it aloud, pray it and memorize it, the power only a real tool can deliver is at my disposal.

So how about you? Where are you struggling today? Are you choosing to work diligently, but using ineffective tools? What if you put away the plastic saw of your own efforts and starting using the powerful scalpel of God’s word? God’s word is a powerful tool for whatever surgery your life needs today.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Making Mistakes

There were those big brown eyes. You could get lost in the pools they formed. There were the chubby cheeks and the delightful thunder thighs. There was the perpetual smile on his face. He was the most precious thing I had ever laid my eyes on and God had given him to me. How could I be anything but totally and completely in love?

My firstborn son caused emotions to rise in me I did not even know existed. Yes, I was crazy about his father but, wow. These mom feelings were a whole new ballgame. And out of all that love and emotion came a deep desire to be the best mother I could possibly be. Parenting was something I desperately wanted to get “right.”

But here is my sad news. I didn’t. That sweet baby boy God gave me was completely deserving of the perfect mother, but frequently I just did not manage to get it right. I made mistakes. Lots of them. When people ask about my mistakes as a mom, my first response is always, “Would you like them alphabetically or chronologically?”

So what happened? Did I channel my tiger mother too much? Or not enough? Did I not have enough knowledge of parenting? Did I not love him enough?

Have you ever asked yourself similar questions? Have you ever, like me, wanted so badly to get something right? Did you also find yourself on the failing end of that equation? If so, I have some good news for you.

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

Before my son was ever born, God knew I would make mistakes. He understands all of my weaknesses better than I understand them myself. And like any loving parent, I think my heavenly Father smiles at my attempts to get it “right,” even if that means I make a big mess in the process. He graciously comes alongside me and says, “It’s okay Bettina. My power is made perfect in your weaknesses.”

So how about you? Where are you frustrated today that you have not been able to get something “right” that you desperately wanted to do well? You only need to open your hands to God who wants to use the very places where you are making mistakes to show His strength in you.

That precious baby boy who had such a mistake ridden mother? He is an incredible man today that makes his mom smile. If you asked him about the mistakes, he would probably softly chuckle and smile and tell you he didn’t remember any. That’s just the kind of man he is – a man who had a mistaken ridden mom and a God who showed off His strength in those very weaknesses.