Helicopter Hubby

by Michele McCarthy @MicheleRMcC

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.                                                                                                                                         Psalm 50:15 NASB

“Are you asking me to be a helicopter husband?” my other half inquired. It was my first day attending Lifestyle Christianity University, on a hot, 100-degree Texas day. I didn’t want chit chat, I wanted out of my embarrassment and the blazing heat.

I hadn’t realized I’d locked my keys in the car until after the school day ended. I needed my husband, feeling helicopter-ish or not, to bring me a spare set of keys. You know, swoop in and save the day, save my bacon. The bacon currently frying on the parking lot. SOS! Please rescue wilting princess from the cruel heat.

Of course, he remembered right at that moment what we’d often recited while raising our boys. A book called Parenting with Love and Logic by (Foster Cline and Jim Fay) we’d read had stressed teaching responsibility to our children by giving them choices and expecting them to follow through. Part of that involved refusing to bail our children out when they ran into difficulty.

We did not believe in being hovering helicopters ready to fetch and deliver our child’s forgotten ________ (fill in the blank).

Forgot your lunch for the tenth time? Sure, not a problem. I was in an important business meeting, but now on my way.

Forgot your homework for the fifth time? No problem. Here I come, straight out of the dentist chair.

Next thing you know, that kind of thinking could turn into any number of situations…

Forgot your college term paper? Your portfolio? Your business papers?

Which would undoubtedly lead to…

Forgot your bail money? Be right there, sweetie pie. Let me grab my helicopter keys.

Now, as I stood soliciting my own bail out, I knew my husband would kindly and gladly bring my keys. He is that kind of man. He would also definitely have fun teasing me about it. He is that kind of man, too. Even as we spoke, I could hear him beating his chest to simulate a hovering helicopter noise.

I also knew I’d be double checking I had my keys in hand before slamming my car door shut—for quite some time to come.

The incident did make me wonder if God ever feels like we treat Him as a helicopter Father. Do we call on Him only when we need a bail out? Is He our go-to only after we’ve exhausted our own efforts?

It’s not that He doesn’t want us to shout out for help, but is that the only time we call on Him? Do we ever enjoy His presence, just to enjoy His presence?

I have definitely had a few shout outs in my time on this earth. And I’m pretty sure I haven’t had my last. God never teased me, nor did I ever feel the vibrations of a helicopter hovering when He “rescued” me with a word, direction or correction. He is that kind of God.

May I never take for granted the relationship I have with the Father because of the price Jesus paid for me on the cross. May I make calling on Him part of my daily routine. Because I believe the Scripture: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18 NASB).

TWEETABLE
Helicopter Hubby – insight on #GodsLove from @MicheleRMcC on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father; the Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve, no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: How do you practice an appreciation for the presence of God?

Rest First

by Michele McCarthy @MicheleRMcC

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NASB

God’s call to rest isn’t crawling into bed with a good book (though who couldn’t use a day or two of that now and then)? It’s a much greater call—to live from the place of rest every day. It can take the form of relaxing tense, scrunched up shoulders, choosing to breathe easy in the slow lane of the store or freeway, or trusting Him to promote the call on our life as we keep our focus on our Father.

I have been learning that for me, rest is choosing to be still and listen for daily direction.

While attending a short ministry school, one of the staff members asked me if I wrote. Sure, I thought, grocery lists, to do lists, and the occasional prayer journal. I shrugged and told her, “I kind of write.”

“You should write about your journey to help other people,” she suggested. As outlandish as the suggestion was, and as insignificant as my story was, her words stirred my heart. So I began to write.

I completed my amateurish, boring, sad story of my journey within a few months (book writer skills not included). Pounding computer keys, I put on paper what I thought I was supposed to write. The End. Then I voiced, “God, I’ve written the story, it’s up to You now. I’ve no idea what to do next.”

God’s next beat anything I could have done on my own

I met Linda Evans Shepherd in California, both of us from different states. I misunderstood her to say she was a publisher, since she’d “published” several books (no snickering, I’m new at this). Because of her comment, I knew she’d know how to publish my book, right? So of course, I had to introduce myself. She graciously invited me to the AWSA conference the next month as a protégé.

Attending AWSA felt like I found home. These ladies loved books and loved the Lord even more. I began to wake up with children’s book ideas. The Lord led me to begin working with a writing coach. I felt Him nudging me to attend two different writers’ conferences. My appointments there encouraged me in my projects. I even met a publisher who expressed interest in my book.

All of this was the result of simply obeying what I believed the Lord had called me to do. He’s done the rest. Which brings me to my point.

Rest.

God calls all of us to enter into His rest. First is the rest of salvation: trusting in the work Jesus did on the cross to cover every one of our sins; accepting His gift of grace, understanding we are saved through no efforts of our own. “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:9-10 NASB).

But there is a second kind of rest. We need never strive while following Him in obedience. As Greg Winfield wrote on faithmessenger.com: “Entering into God’s rest takes place after we have done the will of God in any given situation and are waiting to receive the promise.” We can rest in His power and in His wisdom, trusting that He will be faithful to complete what He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

Our work is to rest in Him.

TWEETABLE
Rest First – wisdom from @MicheleRMcC on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father; the Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve, no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: What does God’s rest mean to you?

Seeds and Supplies

by Michele McCarthy @MicheleRMcC

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.                                                                                                 Proverbs 1:5 NASB

Piles of notebooks, paper, crayons, pens and backpacks line the shelves that greet incoming store customers right now. Back to school talk rings in the air. “I hope I have Ms. Smith this year,” or, “I can’t believe summer is almost over,” or “Whose class are you in?”

New school supplies feel like promises yet to be fulfilled. Empty notebooks await new ideas and crisp, unread books beckon. Office supply stores and bookstores smell of organization and potential. A glimpse down the aisles, messy from the crowds of buyers, unleashes memories of beginning many new school years myself.

Some dread heading back to classrooms and harbor only bad memories of school. Some fail to strike a balance between work hours and school, squeaking by on overload. Others muddle through the school day only to get to the pep rallies and social functions. Some anticipate the year with joy, excited to learn and grow.

People attending church can have varied motives as well. Some slip through the doors then back out again, subconsciously fulfilling an “obligation” to check the box. Some listen to fill their storehouse with knowledge. Others are excited to worship and anticipate revelation from the Holy Spirit they can put into practice.

These variations in response to hearing the Word of God remind me of Jesus’ parable of the sower. The Good News seed was sown, but some seeds were snatched away before ever germinating. Other seeds sprang up quickly, but in the shallow, rocky soil, they were unable to grow roots and withered. Still some seed fell among the thorny weeds, and as they grew, the worries of the world choked out the plants. Finally, some seed fell on good soil. The Word was heard and nourished and produced a crop-thirty, sixty or one hundred times what was sown (Matthew 13:1-23).

Last fall, I enrolled in school to learn more about living out my Christian faith. I didn’t want what I knew to be stored away, never to be applied. I might be a life-long Christian now with grandchildren, but there is always room to go deeper.

And go deeper I did—I found a more profound identity in Christ. I learned to love like Jesus does and to step out like the believers in Acts. I was given a way to read Scripture that assures His word is spoken both into my mind and heart.

I will forever be learning. Yet the more I learn about Jesus, the more I realize I don’t know.

God wants us to seek Him with excitement. His mercies are new every morning. His plans are fresh each day. Bad memories and dread will never describe our time with the God who looks at us with love in His eyes.

He longs for you to look up and see His smile. Be His student, for in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,  for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate,  equipped for every good work”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17). He will fill your empty notebook and tutor you in the truth. It will be worth the effort.

TWEETABLE
Seeds and Supplies – insight from @MicheleRMcC on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves, reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. It is a reminder of how important and influential our words are to children. In Daddy and Me, daddy’s form is left to the imagination. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father. The Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: What has God taught you about Himself lately?

Run Where Jesus Walked

by Michele McCarthy

My husband and I just returned from literally running uphill both ways where Jesus walked.

Following His footsteps required going low, beneath the current city level. Once we went low, the rest of the trip was uphill, no matter where we went! Israel is an urban mound sitting on top and old, older and finally the oldest of empires. Layers of ancient civilizations are unearthed daily as Tel (a hill with ruins within) upon Tel are explored by archaeologists. The search is ongoing day in and day out.

Up to this point, there has never been an ancient relic that has contradicted one word of Scripture. Excavating truth is a full-time business in that part of the world.

The last day of our trip we participated in an archaeological dig. Under the guidance of professionals, we sifted through buckets of dirt scooped from a street in the time of King David. Totally surreal!

Talk about the best treasure hunt EVER. I was like a kid in a candy store. We dumped small bucket contents in a box sifter, rinsed off centuries-old debris, and scavenged for ancient artifacts.

There were pottery shards, tile pieces, and several tiny bones. We turned up a small nail—the kind the Romans had on the bottom of their shoes to grip the ground. Clearly the earliest use of cleats ever!

I found a small chunk of a stone jar.

Stone, during the time of Jesus, was considered insusceptible to impurity. Stone containers were used for ritual washing. Every Jewish household would’ve had a stone vessel. Those same stone jars were used for the miracle at the Cana wedding. Even though every find stays in Israel for copious study, I smile, thinking my find could be from an important event in the time of Jesus or David.

I could have stayed all day looking through the dirt, but we headed to the airport. I wondered if I’d ever come back, perhaps as a volunteer at a dig. What a remarkable experience feeling the soil upholding Bible stories literally sliding through my fingers.

Visiting Israel was to open the Bible and step inside. Miles of desert, stone relics, the Red Sea, a 2000-year old fishing boat, the Sea of Galilee, baptism in the Jordan, and the empty tomb seared upon my heart. All sights I’ll now recall as I read the Word. The mass of history found beneath the topsoil of Israel boggles my mind. Scientists dig and dig and dig by hand until they reach Biblical time levels.

We have possession of the inspired Word of Almighty God. Do we realize the fortune we hold? Stories, songs, history—truth literally resting atop our hands. Am I as diligent to dig into God’s Word? To study it, and put the pieces together until it makes a whole?

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 HCSB).

Those centuries-old pieces of glass, nails, and stones will likely end up in a museum, proving the validity of the Bible. We can hold truth in our hands. We can have a relationship with Jesus that roars authentic louder than any historical object ever will.

But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:25 NIV

TWEETABLE
Run Where Jesus Walked – insight on #FollowingGod from Michele McCarthy on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves, reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. It is a reminder of how important and influential our words are to children. In Daddy and Me, daddy’s form is left to the imagination. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father. The Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: What truth from God’s Word are you holding in your heart today?

Sitting in the Middle of My Doodles

by Michele McCarthy

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB

My writing journey is brand new. A few years ago, I felt the tug of the Lord calling me out of bed early dark-thirty to write. It had to be God; I am not a typical dark-thirty girl. My brain would have never conjured up that idea. First, to get up that early, and second to write what He was asking me to write.

The writing turned out to be more than a one hit wonder, so instead of wrestling my husband over the use of our one computer in the house, I suggested I move my writing space elsewhere. Then my hubby surprised me with a new computer, printer, and desk last year for Christmas. Whew, I better take this seriously now!

Of course, that meant we had to rearrange, redecorate, and foo foo up my new writing/prayer room. I was on that project like a duck on a June bug. Order desk, check. Donate big bed, check. Smaller bed to fit with the new desk, check. New bedspread for smaller bed, check. New girly desk accouterments, check. New file folders, sticky notes, pens, check, check, check. It was so fun.

Now, early in the mornings I plop on the quilted white, sage vine covered, maroon flower dotted and starred bedspread to spend time with the Lord. It was several months before I realized I was sitting in the middle of my doodles.

As a doodler for years, my pattern nearly always included vines covered in daisy shaped flowers with little intersecting lines in star shapes all around. By design, I was plopped atop my artwork! In reality, I knew I was plopped in the middle of God’s plan. He has one for me. “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB).

I do think that we are wired in certain ways for God’s purposes. It just takes some of us (cough, cough, me) longer to see it than others.

He has called me to write for Him. My children’s book Daddy and Me, His idea entirely, was just published. Sometimes He has me write a prophetic word for someone on the back of a copy of one of my small watercolors. I love participating in His plans and enjoying the gifting He has given me to accomplish His purposes.

Whenever I sit down on that bed in my study, I know I am sitting in the middle of His ideas, thoughts, and desires for His world. His doodles, so to speak. I hope I always recognize His creativity and join in where ever He is working.

Jesus said…“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34 NASB). If Jesus’ assignment was to accomplish the Father’s work, it is our assignment as well.

TWEETABLE
Sitting in the Middle of My Doodles – insight from Michele McCarthy on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

michele mccarthyAbout the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves, reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

Michele’s book Daddy and Me, is the story of the unconditional love of the Father. It is a reminder of how important and influential our words are to children. In Daddy and Me, daddy’s form is left to the imagination. Every child is free to picture their own daddy and most importantly their heavenly Father. The Father who loves them perfectly, without reserve no matter what, while gently holding each child in His hand.

Join the conversation: Have you seen a relationship between what you enjoy doing and the call God has for your life?

Skipping the Valentine Gift

by Michele McCarthy

A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11 NASB

Ah, the cycles of gift giving! The bountiful, countless gift giving options marrieds appropriate. The “Surely if my husband loved me, he’d make a mental note of any gift I might enjoy, say, for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary. He’d remember the earrings, book or CD I mentioned and tuck the idea-nugget away on the gift giving list he carries in his man-card wallet. I just need to allow him to read my mind” cycle. No pressure there.

Then there’s the “no fail, surprise romantic dinner” rotation. But the steak burned or one of the kids got sick or the business meeting ran long, and dinner went cold. Dinner wasn’t the only thing cold that night.

Close behind: the “Let’s don’t give gifts this year” series. Yet one of you breaks the rule, thinking other said person will break the rule. Oops, the spouse with no gift to give feels like a heel.

All kidding aside, we can, at times, put pressure on our husbands or ourselves…wishing for mind readers that enable becoming the perfect fulfiller of our wants, gifts and dreams—much like the characters in a Hallmark movie. FICTION Hallmark movie, mind you. So much can go wrong and can lead to hurt and unforgiveness.

My husband is a good gift giver; it is often me that messes everything up. One time he bought me a special coffee maker and a beautiful white coffee cup. A sweet remembrance of our trip to Italy and our daily coffee “experiences”—always with a white cup. Poor guy, I hated to tell him I had just decided I needed to cut down my coffee habit. As soon as he has me figured out, I change my mind! Yes, I have returned gifts he has spent precious time finding.

This year, I’m skipping the nicely wrapped Valentine gift. Instead, I’ll offer my Valentine a richer sacrifice. I’d like to become (for him) unoffendable. Yes, what if I never again hold my husband accountable for my happiness, my worth, my value…even at Valentines…gift, no gift, thoughtless gift or greatest gift?

Have I matured enough in my walk with Christ? Am I as easily able to be unoffended with my husband as I am with others? I want to be consistently, kindly unoffendable. In our home. Holiday or not.

Jesus lived it. He gave and gave and whether appreciated or not, loved or not, received or not, beaten or not, He never gave an offended response. He loved continuously and unconditionally. Everyday. Everywhere.

Long ago I received the best LOVE gift ever, one that never fails. Jesus. When He took residence in me, His amazing love toward others, in kindness and truth, was to become who I am. I have the pleasure and power of learning to love like Christ.

Can you hear it? Maybe my husband will hum Nat King Cole singing a new song, “unoffendable that’s who you are…unoffendable both near and far…”

I will get my hubby a funny Valentine card to accompany a noticeable shift in my expectations. The key word being my. As I walk out who I am in Christ, I want to increase my love out of the overflow of Christ’s love for me, no gift expected in return or any need to be returned.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB

TWEETABLE
Skipping the Valentine’s Gift – thoughts from Michele McCarthy on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Michele McCarthyAbout the author: A wife to her devoted husband and a mom of two fine young men, two fabulous daughters-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren, Michele McCarthy has served her family faithfully for years. She is now enjoying attending Lifestyle Christianity University and exploring long hidden talents of writing and watercolor. She has written a children’s book, Daddy and Me, that is currently at the publisher. She loves reading, scrapbooking, deep conversations and talking about Jesus.

Join the conversation: How is that gift cycle working for you?

Breaking the Silence

by Michele McCarthy

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20

“I was just calling to tell you goodnight!” I announced to my husband. After all, he was all the way across the expanse of our brand-spanking-new king size bed. My whispered “goodnight” could have been lost traveling through the chasm between us. My cellphone was planted secretly under the bed on my side. When I crawled into bed, I reached down and quietly dialed our home number. Unaware, he answered the home phone on his bedside table just as he was slipping under the sheets.

We’d been married over a decade when we bought our first king-sized bed. I was thrilled. My husband, not so much. He lamented over and over that I would be “way over there” on the other side of the bed.  When he answered the phone and heard my voice, he turned, looked through “you got me” eyes, and I waved to him from the other side. It was hilarious. Basking in my cleverness, I laughed myself silly.

Most every night I “call” my heavenly Father. We connect relationally, sharing heart to heart about the day. I ask Him to speak to me through dreams in the night. I look forward to intimate moments with Him before I slumber.

When I leave the house each day, I’m learning to ask the Lord to lead me to someone who needs to hear from Him. Recently, I was led by the Holy Spirit, at the mall, to speak to a man. Turns out He was a practicing Muslim. This conversation went beyond my comfort zone. Yet oddly enough, I felt comfort and confidence rise up in me. I have only been stepping out for Jesus like this for a few years.

This gentleman kindly tried to explain his beliefs. I listened. Sharing with him how much Jesus loved him and wanted him to excel in life wasn’t hard. I explained that Jesus is the only way to God. We talked awhile but agreed not to debate. He was as passionate about his beliefs as I was mine.

I marvel at the thousands who believed at Pentecost and the stories about the disciples in the book of Acts. But the reality is our stories today continue building God’s Church until Jesus returns.  In Acts 4:29, Peter and John asked to speak God’s word with all confidence, in the marketplace of a community who often didn’t agree with what they said. As they depended on the Holy Spirit to give them the right words, I pray for His guidance as I also speak out.

After a day of attempting to show Jesus to people who may not appreciate what I have to say, I’m ready to lay my head down on my soft pillow atop my king size bed. With a grateful heart, I snuggle deep under the covers, Christ within me, no chasm between us. No span across a king size bed keeping us apart. No cellphone necessary. God right here with me and you, the giver of rest.

Yet, I believe with my whole heart God also wants to shake us awake – to impart boldness to us to represent His love and power everywhere we go (His plan all along). I often feel the Lord imploring us to step out of the “rest” mindset of our church huddle and speak up in our marketplace – because the time of silent Christianity is over!

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV

TWEETABLE
Breaking the Silence and Remembering to be Thankful for God – Michele McCarthy on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Michele McCarthyAbout the author: A wife to her devoted husband and a mom of two fine young men, two fabulous daughters-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren, Michele McCarthy has served her family faithfully for years. She is now enjoying attending Lifestyle Christianity University and exploring long hidden talents of writing and watercolor. She has written a children’s book, Daddy and Me, that is currently at the publisher. She loves reading, scrapbooking, deep conversations and talking about Jesus.

Join the conversation: How has God led you in recent months?