"A" - He is Almighty {Who is HE? from A to Z}

I'm up early this morning, sitting on my couch alone, waiting for the littles to roll around and wrinkle their little noses at the world. I'm NOT an early riser, so this morning stillness is a rarity. A perfect time for me to sit in my jammies, coffee in hand, and force myself not to scroll through Facebook or watch an old Top Chef, but instead think a little about our Almighty God.

God is Almighty, El Shaddai

"A" - He is Almighty

I'll actually be doing three posts on the letter "A." Almighty, Angry, Awesome. I love these three aspects of our God. I love the depth and breadth of what they each signify and how they paint a vivid picture of Someone who does and feels and is.

Our God is Almighty. 

I cozied up to my homegirl, Google, (she never judges me for my PJ choices, today's being lime green with pink polka dots and brown terriers. Don't be jelly.) and my other homegirl, Caffeine. And with these two by my side, I learned a thing or two about our Who HE is.

Almighty = El Shaddai

Apparently, El Shaddai is first used in the Bible in Genesis 17:1-2, "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.'" (NIV)

El meaning God.

Shaddai. Almighty. This is where it gets interesting.

The translation of Shaddai to our English "Almighty" seems to be debated. There are a few explanations for the word Shaddai.

First, the root could be the Akkadian word, sadu, meaning mountain. Which would translate El Shaddai directly to God, the One of the mountains. This could signify God's strength and power, but also his dwelling place or a place to go and seek Him, often described in the Bible as in the mountains.

This holds additional significance from a historical perspective. Many cultures and religions have worshiped mountains (Mount Olympus, anyone?) and viewed them as closest too or the actual dwelling place of their gods. Sacred mountains are viewed as a source of power that is to be awed and revered. 

El Shaddai isn't just any old sacred mountain. 

He's the ONE of the mountains. The ONLY One.

Additionally, sacred mountains are seen as the source of something vital. Blessing, water, life, healing. Which leads me to the second meaning of Shaddai. 

Second, is the Hebrew root, shad, meaning breast. Yep. Breast. 

A place of food, nurturing, provision, growth. 

In the Hebrew culture, mountains and breasts wouldn't have the same connection as in our own culture. The connection would NOT be a visual one, but more of action, the two providing food and protection, nurturing those who sought them for sustenance

The second half of the word, dai, is unique to Hebrew and means sufficient. So Shaddai, would also mean self-sufficient. A complete and sufficient source.

He is God Almighty.

The One of the mountains. Our sufficient nurturer and provider. 

As blueletterbible.org puts it, "This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, supplying his people with their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer."

Guys. I GET this. As a mama, as a nourisher, sustainer, protector. But I'm not sufficient in these things. Not like He is.

I love knowing the depth of this meaning and seeing it in context. 

I love that our all-sufficient nurturing/providing/sustaining/nourishing One and Only Mountain was referred to as El Shaddai forty-eight times in the Old Testament, and thirty-one of them were in Job. If anyone needed to remember God's nurturing/sustaining/nourishing Mountainous properties, it was Job. Am I right?

In calling Him Almighty in his affliction, Job was recognizing both the reverence and awe and power of the One of the mountains, but also his ability to nourish and sustain and provide for Job. 

I love that when God first calls Himself El Shaddai to Abram, that He does it combined with the covenant to grow his family to a mighty nation. Highlighting both his power to do so and the fact that he will nourish and sustain the family and nation He is promising.

I love that I understand this side of God more deeply as a mama striving to nourish and sustain and provide for my own little people. I love that He is an All-Sufficient source of these things for me and them. I love that He is a strong, powerful, awe-inspiring Mountain. And I pray I can walk before Him blamelessly as Abraham did.

He is our All-Sufficient powerful, Sustainer, Nourisher, Nuturer, Provider.

Remember. He is ALMIGHTY.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1 (NIV)

What do you think? How does this change and expand your view of God? How are you worshiping Him as ALMIGHTY?

Who is HE? From A to Z {A NEW Blog Series about God's Character}

It's a new school year! And even though I'm not in school, I love this chance to press "reset" and start fresh. New pens, new highlighters, new mindset, new me. And a NEW Blog Series!

I know I've been strangely quiet in this space, and I've been missing it. I've been missing you. I've been missing the time to reflect and discuss and share and learn. Out loud. So I'm returning this new school year, with a series I hope will cause much reflection and discussion and sharing and learning, and also, growth.

At the beginning of the summer, my husband had to go out of town for a couple days. I freaked myself right out while I was home alone with the kids. Like, seriously petrified, people. I couldn't sleep at all. Each night, I was wide-eyed, terrified at every noise and creak and shadow. I texted a wise girlfriend, asking for prayer and calming words, and she told me that she recites the attributes of God in alphabetical order to help her fall asleep. (She is a much better and much more spiritual person than I.) I attempted listing God's attributes in alphabetical order and all I could think of was "Awesome." A. The End.

It got my wheels turning and my heart longing for a deeper understanding of my God. That, paired with my 3-year-old's OBSESSION with the alphabet, and something clicked!

I want God's attributes, titles, and character to course through my veins. And my son's. So I'm starting a weekly series digging into the attributes, titles, and traits of our God, alphabetically. There will be some guest posts along the way. Some crafts and activities to do with kids. But more than anything, we are going to reflect, discuss, share, and learn about our God. From A to Z.

I'm super excited! From All Knowing to Zealous. From Beautiful to Worthy. We are going to know Him deeply and praise Him more fully.

Let's do this!

What traits, titles, or attributes of God are you most interested in? Are you excited for this series? Please leave me some love in the comments below!

Fall is for New Friends (also, pumpkin EVERYTHING!)

I'm over at iBelieve.com talking about my excitement for fall bible study, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and gabbing with my girlfriends. Oh... and gearing up to make new friends, too.


It’s Back to School season. My kids aren’t in school (yet), but that doesn’t keep me from eagerly anticipating another “back to.”

Back to Bible Study!

I’m so ready for summer to be over, for the weather to get cooler, for the plethora of pumpkin-flavored confections to emerge from their year-long hiatus, and to get back in the swing of my weekly ministry routine. 

Fall means I can get a Pumpkin Spice Latte… on the way to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)! Or I can get a Pumpkin Smash Smoothie… after MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers)! Or my husband and I can have some tasty pumpkin pie… at our Young Families Growth Group! Fall is seriously the best.

New Friend Season
Get in my belly!
Every activity that took a break for summer is now back with a vengeance. I feel like I’ve been counting down the days ever since summer break began, longing to return to my weekly dose of encouraging and challenging bible study. But most of all, I enjoy the time set aside with my long time friends. 

First Day of Preschool Blues

As I drove the familiar route home, I glanced in the rear view mirror at his sweet face.
“Tell me about your day, Mama?”
I started explaining what happened after I had dropped him off at his first day of preschool. My first full day without my boy since he was born, I think.
He scrunched his nose in dissatisfaction at the beginning of my story. “No! Tell me about MY day, Mama?” He corrected me, wanting me to recount all we had done together, like I so often did.
“I can’t, Buddy. I wasn’t with you today. You have to tell me what you did.”
He frowned again, and my heart broke a little. He didn’t like the idea or understand it much, this new situation where Mama doesn’t know every little detail in his daily life. I don’t like it much either.
I choked back the emotion welling up again, as I recalled the drop off that morning.

When Your Baby Announcement Goes Viral: The #Shareacoke Couple Responds to Internet Fame

Did you see the McGillicuddy's viral #Shareacoke baby announcement? I had the privilege of chatting with this amazing couple about what it's like going viral, and I'm honored to share their thoughts and some of mine over at Her.meneutics.

Soon after Los Angeles pastor Patrick McGillicuddy and his wife Whitney posted their baby announcement video a couple weeks ago, theirs became the pregnancy heard round the world.

Inspired by Coca-Cola’s personalized #ShareACoke cans, the couple cracked open can after can of Diet Coke in what has been dubbed the “best baby announcement ever;” featured on Good Morning America, E!, the Huffington Post, and across the web; and seen by more than 4 million people.
And pregnant couples all over began planning their own clever and adorable ways to outdo them.

After all, we live in an era of personal moments shared on social media, of milestones turned to grand gestures. From wedding aisle dances to surprise proposals, we’ve seen special moments between couples unexpectedly explode as viral videos. (Remember the flash mob style marriage proposal set to Bruno Mars’ “I Think I Wanna Marry You”? That precious little slice of that couple’s life has been viewed over 27 million times in the last 2 years.)

Understandably, we worry about this kind of Internet publicity overshadowing the moment itself. Our cultural love of grand gestures—even I can’t resist watching that flashmob proposal over and over—may build up expectations and lead us to believe that traditional, straightforward announcements are, as one writer worries, “less meaningful, less important, less loving, less special.”

The trend of elaborate proposals and viral announcements has led to backlash. Blogger Kerri Sackville offers this critique:

To me, the whole phenomenon speaks of desensitization. We are no longer sufficiently moved by the wonderful news of a pregnancy. We need more excitement, more titillation; we need the announcement to be bigger and brighter and wittier. We need special effects and pyrotechnics and showgirls and dancers. We need lights and cameras and action, and we need the whole thing uploaded to YouTube so we can share it with our friends.

Yet, many of these videos go viral by accident—after all, no one can really anticipate when a particular clip will be shared again and again and watched by millions. Patrick and Whitney’s video entered my feed through a mutual friend, so I got in touch with them to ask about the announcement and all the publicity they’ve received.

It turns out, the young couple did not set off to ride on the fame of the #ShareACoke campaign or get featured on the morning shows, they were just having fun to share the news with friends. Weeks earlier, with the cameras off, Whitney told her husband, a children’s ministry pastor, that she was expecting. They shared special, private moments telling family and close friends. They didn’t need voiceovers or catchphrases to celebrate—they’d been celebrating their new life already.