Cohabitating with Ladybugs


Since we moved to this house nearly three years ago, we’ve experienced massive ladybug infestations. Some seasons are worse than others and mostly affect my back porch, but almost anytime of the year, I have a few who live indoors. For whatever reason, even though they’re bugs, ladybugs kinda make me happy. Maybe it’s because they make cute little girl clothes with ladybugs on them or that the harmless, polka dotted creatures remind me of spring. Whatever the reason, I’ve learned to cohabitate with them well.

Each day I find one or two, mostly in my kitchen. Today, I found one just hanging out on a wooden spoon, so I tapped the spoon to knock her off on the counter. (I assume they are all girls since they are called ladybugs.) I didn’t mean to, but I accidentally dropped her in the sink, right in a bowl full of water. Since I’ve inadvertantly done this before, I know they aren’t proficient swimmers. So quickly, knowing this was a life or death situation, I engaged in an emergency water rescue. I helped her out and onto the counter. Legs were squirming, so I felt the mission was a success and sighed in relief – until a minute later when I found her unresponsive. I went as far as placing her higher up on a planter and took this shameless photo op – just in case. I prayed for resurrection. Not. Even. Kidding.

Good news! A little later she was gone (and not dead in the bottom of the water tray). This isn’t an Easter story btw.

As I moved my little ladybug, the phrase cohabitating with ladybugs came to mind. Hello Holy Spirit! Of course He took this moment to teach me a lesson and prepare to move me to a new place with Him. He showed me: I am willing to cohabitate with ladybugs in my home, but I’m not a great cohabitator elsewhere. Many of us aren’t. At church or restaurants or just plain out around people, I get annoyed when they misbehave. I expect behavior of them that they may not be mature enough to demonstrate. I’m not even talking about kids – don’t get me started on that.

I forget that lost people act lost. New Christians still often “act” lost. It takes time to grow up in the faith. I look back on my early and even later behavior and can blush in embarrassment over what I fool I was – and still can act at times. I’m still a work in progress. So is everyone else. And once again, I’m reminded, I’m not the Holy Spirit Jr. I’ve gotta let them be who they are, yet still participate as God allows me in discipling them. We are all called to do that. You know, “Go and make disciples…” (Not go and make saved people.)

All this to say, no matter where you are in your walk, you likely need some growing up. I totally do! Please never let go of the concept that you will always need continuing discipleship. Also, remember that others do too. What you do know, find a way to share that with others who might be newer to their faith. Gently, kindly, helping them along, not beating them with your Bible.

With this in mind we can cohabitate with other believers much better and act like grown ups around the lost. They are watching! Finally, remember this: if you accidentally knock someone into a bowl of water, or just plain wound someone, do what it takes to help rescue them. 🙂

Grace and Peace to you,



Beyond the Burn (Not Sanders)


In an effort to be a healthier me, and I admit that I want to get ready for bathing suit season, I’ve begun working out regularly. For the first time in my life, I’m enjoying it. Forever, as far back as middle school (junior high back in the day) I have hated all forms of exercise. No exceptions. Well, volleyball was tolerable. Since I married a gym rat, an actual person who loves to work out, I have spent more than twenty years watching him enjoy what I hate. All that to say, this is kinda nice, enjoying a good workout.

So the other day I’m working through a leg routine. I’m on a step thing – don’t know what you call it – and I’m doing these lifts. I stand with half of both feet on the edge and lift up. I wasn’t doing that many reps, so one day I thought I would try more. Sure enough, after adding five, I felt this burn in my hiney, so of course I stopped. That’s what any true exercise avoider would do, stop when you feel the burn. The next time I did those same exercises, I did enough to feel the burn and stopped again. A few minutes later, when I was on the treadmill, I thought about the fact that I stopped at the burn and decided the next time to go beyond it. I did, and surprisingly, it didn’t kill me. I was sure it would.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be a gym rat and will likely only do enough to get by most times. I’ve spent more time today looking for a fan for my little home gym than I have on weights. But I have learned something significant through this. I need to go beyond the burn for the workout to be truly effective. To that end, I’m doing more reps, and for cardio, I’m increasing the incline and speed in practical intervals. I’m feeling the burn daily now.

As I do with most all things, I see a spiritual connection. Sometimes what we read in Scripture burns. It says we shouldn’t do something we love doing, or it may say you should do something you’ve been dragging your feet about for years. I learned years ago, for Christian growth to occur and for me to actually be more like Jesus, I have to go beyond the burn of what’s comfortable. I have had to give up activities I like and attitudes that have served me well over my years of taking care of number one. I have learned to forgive the unforgiveable and love the unlovable. Neither of those things are easy. What I gained from going beyond the burn, however, is always worth the discomfort, worth the pain in my hiney. I can think of no situation ever where God has asked me to do or not to do something and I find myself later regretting it. On the contrary, I can give numerous examples how going beyond the burn in my spiritual life has reaped great reward and produced surprising fruit.

Okay, now you. I’m not trying to talk you into working out. Do it or don’t. What I am encouraging you to do is this: Go beyond the burn in your Christian faith. Even when it feels scary, follow where He leads. If He prompts you to give up a relationship or habit, trust that it’s for your good. If He leads you to have a conversation that’s totally outside of what is comfortable for you, go beyond the burn of embarrassment or shyness and have that conversation. In all areas going beyond the burn will lead to a more effective you.

Not that this applies in any way, but yesterday I saw a sign for a home gym that said, “Sweat is fat crying.” I might get that along with the fan. 🙂

Peace and Joy to you today,