Monday, February 28, 2011


Visions...ever had one? Me either. At least not the angel floating in my room, or miraculously foretold healing of a loved one kind of visions. Not visions I can see with my eyes. The sort of visions I have are the kind I think most of us have...the daydreams, hopes, goals, aspirations, ideas, passions, wishes, etc., that are held for something.

I've been thinking about visions lately, ever since reading this quote on Lysa TerKeurst's blog last week. She recited a quote from her pastor, and I am reciting it again; in fact, I have been reciting it over and over and over in my mind and heart since reading it. It is one of those quotes that I wish were scripture, so I could go underline it in my Bible and commit it to memory, and claim it as a promise for myself. But, since it is not scripture, I am left to ponder it with the Lord and ask Him to show me the truth within it. I do hope that quoting it again here is not plagiarism. I am banking on it being a "borrowing of good wisdom".

If the size of the vision for your life isn't intimidating to you, chances are it's insulting to God.

Hello, my name is Shelly Story, and I am a visionary. I admit it, I have visions, hopes, and dreams for just about everything. As a child, I spent more time on the playground daydreaming than I did playing. As a youth, I spent more time reading than doing anything else. As a highschooler, I spent more time wishing things were different--wishing that I was different--than I did anything else. As a college student, I spent more time trying to create that new self, a new reality of me, than I did embracing who I truly was. And now as a full-grown adult...a wife, mother, and daughter of the King...I have left behind the daydreaming, reading, wishing, and striving selves, and settled on a unique and nutty compilation of all of them all.

I exhaust myself sometimes.

But the truth of the matter is this: as a visionary (that's a euphemism for daydreamer), I often struggle to be still, to be settled. That is not to say that I am unhappy, because I most certainly am not; it is more to say that I am forever tormented by the thought of more. Do more. Be more courageous. Lead more. Evangelize more. Sleep less and accomplish more. Allow God more access to your heart. Think more. Love more. Pray more. Serve more.

Make more impact for the Kingdom.

And while I work my tail off, sometimes I am exhilarated by the length of the "To Do" list. I soar on the wings of accomplishment, praying feverishly while I tick off one item after another, accomplishing everything from dishes to laundry to organizing a Bible study to blogging to grocery shopping to paying the bills to leading a retreat, and on and on and on. And then there are times while I work my tail off, that I am exhausted by the sheer magnitude of it all, and want the world to go away so I can just do nothing. To crawl into bed in the middle of the day and let someone else do it all.

Most of the time, in all honesty, I am somewhere in the middle, striving continually to find balance and pleasure in all the tasks, trusting that God is leading me and that I am following. That is where I have been lately. Living as a bouncy ball, darting back and forth between being fully empowered for service to any and all, and being completely deflated by the effort, wishing full-blown apathy upon myself.

The only force getting me by is Christ. He knows I am not a sit still kind of gal. He knows that no matter harried I feel sometimes, deep down inside I desire nothing else than serving Him. He knows exactly how much I can handle, exactly how far I can be pushed, exactly where my true breaking point is, and exactly what sort of impact I can have on His Kingdom.

So, back to that quote. Yes, I am intimidated by the size of the vision I have for my life, and the size of the life God gave me. I am intimidated by raising 6 children well. I am intimidated by Asperger's and ADD and ADHD and hormones and puberty and tantrums and whining. I am intimidated by blogging and the fear of saying some thing stupid. I am intimidated by keeping the house clean when the snow melts and the kids start tracking in mud. I am intimidated by that desire in me to always say "yes" to one more thing. And I am intimidated by the dream I have that as my kids grow, I will be used even more by God, and that maybe He'd even allow me to do more writing or start speaking.

I said it. I want to do more. No matter how hard I try to shake it, no matter how crazy it all sounds around a life on a farm with 6 kids, no matter what people think of me, no matter how hard I've been praying, I still want to do more. And I'm scared.

I just don't want to get it wrong, to race ahead of God, to try to put my ideas into His will, or to fail. So nearly every day I pray that God will lead me toward only that which He wants me to do, and if today the only place He leads me is back to the sink to wash more dishes, then I'll do the dishes.

Just once I'd like Him to lead me to that nap in the sunshine.

Monday, February 21, 2011


If you have read this blog much at all since its inception in the spring of 2010, you have probably noticed that I don't always have enough time for it. Sometimes, when life gets especially busy or full (or perhaps when life is just normal), I allow my joy of writing to sit on the back burner. It isn't that I want to ignore the thoughts in my head, it's just that many a day I cannot possibly find the crack of time in which to organize those thoughts and put them on paper, er, I mean, keyboard.

In a perfect world, my kids would be quieter. They would keep the house a tad more tidy. They would get straight A's, help each other, and study the Bible when they had nothing left to do. As a result, I would have time to do more of the Bible study that I crave, I'd wander gracefully through a clean house, and I'd blog every day. Aaaaah, the perfect world.

NOT. (I know full well that there is no such thing as a perfect world here on this earth. It's just a fun little delusion of mine to pass the time while I pick up yet another mess.)

Anyway, my point is that when life is life--a completely zany string of events at the end of which I barely have the energy to brush my teeth, let alone compose a blog post, and since the blog post about which I may have been thinking about at noon is long gone anyway--it is all too easy for me to just ignore the blog. To ignore the thrill I have at expressing myself through the written word. To ignore the desire I have to inspire someone else. To wonder if I should be blogging at all.

Isn't that how the enemy works, though? We find something in this life that we really love, something that we believe can bring glory to God and possibly even joy to someone else, so we go after it. And we are exhilarated until we hit one measly road block, which is bound to happen, but then he swoops in. That scaly, slimy, slithering meanie worms his way into our mind and starts spewing lies like venom. who do you think you are, trying something like that? do you really think you have time for that?? you are a nobody. go back to that sick and wash another dish!

Or something like that.

That battle between desire and time, between inspiration and condemnation, between longings of the heart and lusts of the flesh, has been my battle for nearly a year now. I have soared on the eagle's wings of inspiration, only to crash land in a pile of stinky laundry. I have prayed and wrestled, and lately, I've even fasted, hoping for the clear direction that I believe should be following me around as a blogger. And every time I have no more time, I doubt and wonder.

So it was that one day last week, in the midst of my self-doubting state, that I was looking at all the behind-the-scenes settings for the technical aspects of the blog site, and I saw a tab called "stats". How it is that in nearly a year I had never clicked on it is beyond me, but nevertheless, I had not, and so I did. And I was stunned.

Did you know that my blog has had over 2,200 hits in less than a year? That's pretty cool! And it excited me quite a little bit until I looked at the map that also sits on the stats page. It was at this moment that I went from excited to stunned. My humble little blog, written from my humble little house, in the middle of my humble little life, has been read by people all over the world!! Here is a list of some of the countries that have checked in to read about a Nut:

United States
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

And so it is that I am completely stunned. God is allowing an amazing thing to happen to an ordinary person, and I still cannot believe it. I keep clicking on that feature and whispering "Really, Lord? Really?! You have allowed me to speak beyond my borders??"

I will not pretend for one second to know what the good Lord has in mind for me or this blog or my husband or my children or today or tomorrow or next week, but I do know that for now, I am inspired. I want to write, and I want to trust God to help me raise these children well and get the house cleaned.

He stuns me. I think I'll go tap dance on a snake.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The ugly meter

Pinocchio had one. An oh-so-unfortunate lie-meter planted directly on his face. Poor kid. Can you imagine taking that to school in the 1st grade? Or for me, having the tree on my face that would have inevitably resulted on carpet-cleaning day? That would not have been pretty. {{shudder}} Today I am wondering if Pinocchio was blessed or cursed by his nose. (And there really is a good reason that I have Pinocchio on my brain. Bear with me.) Let's ponder...

One could say it was a cruel reality for poor Pinoc to have his greatest weakness so publicly displayed for all the world to see. Wasn't that just setting him up for ridicule, having a nose that grew with every untruth he uttered? Couldn't it have been something more subtle like an ingrown toenail or a toothache?

Or, on the other hand, one could say he was fortunate. Tell a lie, see a direct and immediate result. Pinocchio's nose was the instant feedback he needed at just the right time, so that he could stop his perpetual lie-telling. What a great way to learn a new behavior! (I know there are many a day I wish that my own children were graced with a nose the likes of Pinocchio's. It would make my job so much easier!)

The reason I am thinking about Pinocchio today is that just the other day I was praising God that I don't have an "ugly meter" on my face. (No, that is not my way of saying that I think my face is beautiful.) I was driving my muddy van over muddy roads, late as usual for our destination, with a van load of 6 hyper children, and I was glaring at the road as I fumed. I was ticked. I was stressed. My heart rate was at least 227 beats a minute and my jaw was clenched. I was not in a good state.

Why, do you ask?

Because life was being life and my kids were being kids. My husband was out of town. One of the 13-year-olds did not get his breakfast the first time I told him to. Or the 7th. There were crumbs on the floor--again. The sink had dirty breakfast dishes in it and no one had volunteered to do them. The sun was not shining brightly enough to warm the air so I could take a walk, but even if it had I would felt trapped indoors by my hyper brood. My hair did not straighten as well as I like it to. And the icing on the cake was my 3-year-old whining about the poorly placed toe seam on her too-small tights.

It was then that I lost it.

In grand fashion, I whipped the offending tights off of her legs while she wailed, and unforgivingly stuffed her chubby little body into a fresh pair, while she continued to wail. That's what you get for growing!, my actions screamed through my self-justified frenzy. Now let's go to church!

Stellar, Shelly, just stellar. If I was in the running for Mommy of the Year, I am certain my name is now OFF of the list. {{sigh}}

So, as I was driving to town in my awful state, to put on my happy face and tell everyone that life is "busy but good", I felt a familiar nudging of my heart. And suddenly I was thinking about Pinocchio. I was wondering what I would have looked like in that very moment, if I was graced such as Pinocchio. If my face somehow had displayed my ugliness towards my daughter and her siblings.

It was in that instant that I praised the Lord I don't bear an ugly-meter on my face. I admit to you that most of my sins are secret, hidden, masked sins no one knows about until I admit them out loud, and since I am not growing trees or warts or boils on my face every time I sin, I can walk around with a pretty good front on. Now, that is not to say I am perfect and I never sin publicly. I surely do. But, by God and His grace only, I have been transformed by Him into someone who does most of her sinning in her heart. (Not sayin' that is a good thing, either.) I am definitely a work in progress. And I am more grateful that ever that I have a Savior who, for no other reason than His immense power and love, chose to die for me. I deserve nothing else in life other than the salvation He has already given me. Why do I ask for more?

I praised God Sunday that He made me very aware of how ugly I can be sometimes, and I praised Him for choosing to reserve the ugly meters for cartoon characters. Now, if only I could quit sinning altogether, we'd be all set.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 1st Peter 3:4&5

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All is well

Last October, Dan and I were privileged enough to hop on a plane and serve on a Pilgrimage weekend. If you have never heard me talk about Pilgrimage, you must not stand near me very often. I talk about it a lot. Really a lot. (I'll bet a few of you can vouch for me on that one :) But I love it so dearly and it is one of those things in our lives that, for me anyway, gets me as close to Heaven as I can get on this earth. It's not a temporary spiritual high, a mountain top experience off of which I will inevitably tumble, or the place I find God every six months so that I have to then go back every six months. It is, instead, the place where my heart is drawn closer to Christ and never is the place where I am in community with the Body and this world is shut out...and it is the place that for three days I get to be sold-out to Christ in everything I do without looking like a looney. I may be a Nut, but I don't want to be a looney.

Anyway, at that weekend in October, I learned a praise song that has yet to leave my heart. It is perfect for me and my life and my trials and my hopes. My hope is in Christ, yet I live in this broken world, and I am not always as strong as I could be. I waver in wondering if I'm doing it right. I grow tired of waiting for answers to prayers. Etc, yadda yadda.

You get my drift.

So, for your reading pleasure, I would like to share the words of this song with you, words that chorus through my head and my heart and bring me comfort. Enjoy.

All is Well
He lowers us to raise us, that we may sing His praises,
Whatever is His way...all is well.
And though the seasons change, still one thing remains,
whatever is His way...all is well.
All my changes come from Him, He who never changes.
I'm held firm in the grasp of the Rock of the ages.
All is well with my soul
He is God in control
I know not all His plans
But I know I'm in His hands

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3rd John 1:2

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I feel a blog post coming on...

It's there. Lurking. Growing. This thing inside of me that will one day break free and live on its own.

No, I am not pregnant. It's a blog post!

Hello, my name is Shelly and I was once a blogger. I loved being a blogger. Blogging, for me, was such an outlet to the constant barrage of thoughts swimming in my head, thoughts that much of the time I truly desired to share with others. (I find that strange to say out loud, and yet, it is true.) I am one of those weird gals who actually enjoys writing and teaching and speaking and leading, although most of the time I barely have time to go potty by myself, much less write or teach or speak or lead. And so, amid the husband, kids, the dog, the schedules, the friends, the families, the church, Pilgrimage, etc, and yadda yadda yadda...this blog that I birthed in March of 2010 has, ahem, struggled to stay alive. In fact, it has sat completely dormant since October of 2010 and I have lived life without it. But I must admit that I miss it.

I miss letting my creative mind run free for the right words said in the right way, to express even a fraction of the excitement I feel over the Lord and what He is doing. I miss hearing that I said something well enough to touch another person. I miss laughing at myself for being That Dork. I miss knowing that even from my tiny, cluttered office in my tiny, crowded house in my tiny neck of the woods in my zany momof6kids world, I can still impact Christ's Kingdom here on earth.

I do so love this blog.

So, here I sit on the first afternoon I have had totally and completely to myself in months, being soothed by the clickity clack of my keyboard, wondering if anyone is still out there willing to read His Nut Speaking? Will any followers return? Is this blog merely a dime a dozen in the big world of blogging, tweeting, and surfing that we do on the internet, or can it, in fact, have an impact?? I console myself with the truth that God only knows, but that I must try. To the best of my ability, without forsaking my hubby, kids, schedules, family, friends, or church, I shall try yet again to be a blogger.

Thank God His power is made perfect in my weakness.