Debbie Williamson

Out of the Abundance of the Heart



September 2016



Please Give Me Strength Yet Once More

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The story of Samson (the strong guy with the long hair in Judges 13) begins: There once was a man from Zorah. His wife was barren and childless. But the angel of the Lord came to her and said, “I know that you are barren and childless, but you’re going to become pregnant and bear a son.” (Judges 13:2-3)

And the woman said to her husband, Guess what!? I’m pregnant and it’s a boy!

Then the man prayed to God.

And God listened to him.

Then the man asked the angel.

And the angel answered him.

Then the man and his wife fell facedown and worshipped.

“Terror laced with glory.”

Like the man and his wife, God knows that we are [barren, lonely, angry, tired, despairing, hurting . . .].

But we’re going to become hopeful, faithful, joy-filled, worshippers.



August 2016



It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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2 hugs, looks of disappointment, a meltdown (a student, not me), and unending muttering about what they have to do before I let them use the restroom . . . Hallelujah! It’s time for another year of substitute teaching muddled middle schoolers.

School started 3 weeks ago in our district and I’ve already worked 4 days.

The huggy, smiley, obedient kids are wonderful. They’re easy to like, help and favor.

The eye-rolling, muttering, disrespectful kids are not.

The other day, I had both. I stood at the door after the bell rang to welcome the 8th graders to class.

There were smiles and bouncy attitudes and hooray, it’s you!

And, there were frowns and sullen steps and bummer, it’s her.

I smile and cheerily (maybe annoyingly) say, “Hello. Good morning/afternoon. Glad you’re here.” And they all file in.

Let the games begin!



August 2016



My Stressful, Successful Trip To Barnes and Noble

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my life

The Barnes and Noble gift card was burning a hole in my wallet. But every time I walk into this grand place, I start to hyperventilate. It’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! But with books! And other gotta have stuff!

Greeting cards!

Beautiful journals!

Maps of the World!

Fun refrigerator magnets!

Cute little dishes with quotes on them!


But this is my dilemma . . . why pay full price for a book when you can get it on Amazon? (And, by the way, did you know you can buy really great greeting cards at Trader Joe’s for $1.00! Just thought you’d like to know that the next time you’re about to shell out the price of a GIFT for JUST THE CARD!)

So back to the book dilemma at B & N.

I wander around the aisles again and again having this ongoing internal dialogue between my frugal self and my extravagant self. All the while remembering that I do have a gift card in my wallet that I must use now.



August 2016



A Very Cool Thing Happened on Sunday

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Most people who go to church expect their Sunday mornings to unfold in routine ways. Sing, announcements, dismiss children, meet and greet, offering, sermon, final song. Every church has their own way of doing things — this is our way — but most churches do their thing the same way week after week. And that’s not bad. It’s just the way it is.

And our church too . . . except for Sunday.

A group of nine teens and adults had made a three day trip to a women and children’s shelter our church supports in Baja, California. Yesterday two of the adults shared about their time with the sweet moms and kids who live at Casa Esperanza and the amazing staff who feed and care for them.



August 2016



Launching, Landing and Leaving – Part 2

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(School began in our district today, so I thought I would repost this from last August. Whether you’re launching a precious one to preschool, high school, grad school, or boot camp, this one’s for you.)

As we took our youngest to grad school last week, I remembered all the other times we’d taken her to new places and then said good-bye.

Kindergarten, middle school, high school, Young Life camp, college and now grad school in very far away Indiana.

People ask me all the time if we miss her. Yes we miss her, but we’ve been doing this for 22 years — launching her into her own life and space, helping her land and then, leaving her behind.

When she was 5, we walked her to the kindergarten door at Wide Hollow Elementary School and sent her in. Our first real experience of launching and leaving this baby of ours. We helped her land, gave her a hug, and walked to the car.

(Not so sad, really, that day. She’d been a challenging infant and toddler, so I’m thinking Bill and I might have done a happy dance in the parking lot. Maybe. Can’t really remember. Did I say challenging?)



August 2016



Are You Ready To Be Astonished!?

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Bozo fisherman using a net on the River Niger, Mopti, Mali

God wants our obedience even when it makes no sense.

God wants us to do what He’s asked of us even when all prior evidence and experience says, This is not going to go well.

God wants us to want Him even when we’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

God wants us to believe He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do even when our skepticism simmers and our doubt rages.

In Luke 5:1ff, the people crowd around Jesus as He teaches the word of God. Some space here, people! So He borrows Peter and his boat and asks him to “put out a little from shore.” Now remember, Peter and his friends have been out ALL NIGHT fishing and have just gotten back and are cleaning their nets. I’m assuming they’re anxious to get home and get some sleep before they must be back on the water again. Jesus though, has another plan.



July 2016



Why Kids Need More Empathy

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(With all that we are hearing, reading and experiencing daily, I thought reprinting this short excerpt from Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, by Michele Borba, would be a very good idea.) “What trait do kids really need to be happy and successful?” Over the years, hundreds of parents have asked me that question. My answer surprises most: empathy. More than acing tests or earning fancy degrees, kids — and adults — who understand and appreciate the people around them are better able to collaborate, innovate and problem-solve. Studies show they are happier too. What trait do kids […]



July 2016



The Dark Side of Me

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I was jealous the other day and made a jealous comment. To a friend. Whom I love. Shoot. I don’t like it when I let my dark, selfish, jealous side come out my mouth. So I confessed to the Lord this sin and asked Him to help me again stop this movement of unhelpful, unloving words rolling out into the public arena. I’ve learned there are no take backs once they’re out there.

This isn’t the person I want to be. And it’s a yucky feeling when it happens.



July 2016




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I sit and type and look across the street at the two flags flying at half-staff . . . again. They wave in the wind from their place half way up the flag pole. It’s becoming a common site, seeing these flags fly in that middle place.

Baton Rouge, Nice, Dallas, Istanbul, Orlando, Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino . . .

Will it ever stop? Or is this the new normal?

And in our city, while waiting to check out with her daughter at a CVS, a woman was randomly attacked by a guy who came up behind her and slammed her on the head with a liquor bottle. She died several days later.

What do we do?

What can we do?

I can’t walk into Target anymore without a niggily, icky feeling creeping up my spine that maybe this will be the next place of violence. Does that slouchy, baggy clothes guy have a gun? What would I do if he starting shooting? Where would I go?

Or what about the library? Or Costco?

Is our city the next place to be the focus of the world? Crawling with people from CNN?



July 2016



How Not To Say The Wrong Thing

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My dad is in the hospital again. In the fall it was for pneumonia — pretty serious and we all kind of prepared for the worst. But, Hallelujah! he got better and went home. Because he got so much better, the doctors decided that he was a candidate for hip replacement surgery.

Hip replacement surgery.

Did I mention that he’s 94?

He had the surgery last week and is wanting to come home.

My mom and I talked on the phone this morning. She was apologetic that she hadn’t gotten any news out about his condition. I assured her it was okay she hadn’t emailed and that if we wanted to know, it was our job to check in with her and ask. (And our family motto = no news is good news.)

This conversation triggered a memory of an article I’d read about who gets to do what in a time of crises. I googled it, found it, and shot it off to my mom.

It’s called the Ring Theory, and the motto of Ring Theory is:

Comfort IN; Dump OUT.

Here it is for you to read and tape to your refrigerator. And email to everyone who loves you.