Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Darkness and the Light

"This is the way God works.  Over and over again, He pulls our souls back from certain destruction, so we will see the light-and live in the light." 
Job 33:29-30 The Message

"Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light.  No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.  I provide plenty of light to live in.""
John 8:12 The Message

Darkness and light seem to speak loudly this time of year.  As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, the darkness seeps into my soul.  I feel this desire to hide away in my snug, warm home rather than face the darkness and cold that seem to be in abundance.  However, this is just not possible, I have to step out into the dreary winter and search for the glorious and scarce sunlight.  In the same way, God shows the world that darkness may seem overwhelming, but the Light has come in Jesus. He pursues us fervently and without ceasing from the darkness of sin and death to the ravishing love Light that is Jesus. Jesus conquered sin and death, we can freely walk in the His abiding love, ever-flowing grace, perfect peace, and complete forgiveness, if we just accept Jesus with our whole heart and allow Him to be the Lord of our heart.  With Him, darkness begins to fade, and we can bathe in the glow of of His love forevermore.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Jesus Calling Bible Storybook" by Sarah Young

fell in love with "Jesus Calling Bible Storybook" by Sarah Young, as soon as I picked it up.  She has done such an amazing job sharing the Bible in a way that young children can understand.  Her language is simple, but beautiful.  I read the stories to my preschool age daughter, and I have her full attention. This Bible storybook is such a wonderful blessing and resource for us parents that want to train up our children in God's ways.  I can see my daughter just absorbing these God truths into her little heart.  This  is such a comfort to me knowing I make a God-sized difference in my daughter's life by reading God's Word to her from the pages of this incredible storybook.  I so highly recommend this Bible storybook to anyone. I want to buy more copies to give as gifts to other families, it just impacts little lives that much as they hear the Heart of God through the written words of Sarah Young.  

You can purchase a copy from your local Family Christian Bookstore or online using the below link (it is on sale this week, what could be better!):

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Lies of Perfection

“You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One, and look to him joyfully, boldly. You’ll pray to him and he’ll listen; he’ll help you do what you’ve promised. You’ll decide what you want and it will happen; your life will be bathed in light. To those who feel low you’ll say, ‘Chin up! Be brave!’ and God will save them. Yes, even the guilty will escape, escape through God’s grace in your life.” (Job 22:26-30 MSG)

Fear of failing has kept my feet nailed to the floor more times than I care to think by the perfection myth.  I logically know perfection is not physically or mentally obtainable, but I still hold myself up to that expectation too often.  It is the "if you can't do it perfect, why try?" mentality that leaves me in bondage  of fearing failure.  I so want to be brave and throw those lies of perfection and fear to the wind every time they grasp me, but I don't every time.  In those weak moments of believing the lies, I Lose big time.  I lose because I don't trust that I'm enough because of Jesus willingly dying to save me.  I lose because I stay stagnant in my rut of self-preservation missing opportunities that God placed in front of me to grow and to better.  I lose because I'm playing it safe by not putting myself out there to serve others denying myself deep connections with others.  I lose because I'm being disobedient to God throwing away the blessing He so lovingly wanted to give.  I lose because I don't share Jesus with others, whether through words or by example.  I flat out lose all the way around and so do those God wanted me to bless because of my selfish fears.  That is the thing that grieves God's heart the most.  You see, God already has equipped me to be brave and to do what He asks of me.  He has provided every strength and provision for every task He is calling me to do.  God never once asked perfection out of me.  He only asks me for a willing and faithful spirit because He's got the rest.  There is no room for fear when He fills my soul and guards my steps of faith.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mama and Her Girl

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG)

This being a Mama thing is hard sometimes.  My little miss of a girl will test me occasionally with her "I will push all your buttons, Mama" attitude.  She especially likes to pull this attitude out in the middle of the grocery store or while in the doctor's office, or wherever it's the most inconvenient.  Picture a preschool girl melting down rather loudly and a frazzled mama trying to get her girl to just stop already.  You get it, the tear soaked face of a little girl and a mama trying to discipline in love but barely hanging on to her last nerve and shred of I should know how to do this mentality.  It's an awful feeling and an even more awful situation. You see, my first gut reaction is to do what I already know, but that doesn't always work.  What I know to do may work one time but not the next time.  My mama knowledge is sorely limited, and I quickly come to the end of myself.  To be honest, it shows in my frazzled face and my posture that says I just want to crawl in a hole with my girl because I'm so embarrassed and can't believe she is doing this to me right now.  You see, I'm not seeking God in the first moments of my girl's meltdown.  What would it look like if I did?  I think the situation would still be hard, yet God would open my eyes to His direction of how to handle my girl.  I could trust Him to lead me through the meltdown with more wisdom, grace, and truth as I firmly but lovingly discipline my daughter.  Will I get it right every time, no.  Will I still be frazzled at times, yes.  Will my girl still chose to push my buttons, yes.  Will I still try to do it all by myself at times, yes.  The beauty and truth in all this comes down to me genuinely seeking and being aware of God's love and His leading.  He didn't leave me hanging out here alone.  He is always with me just as He promises in His Word.  In my flustered Mama moments, I just need to seek Him, trust Him, hear Him, obey Him, and love Him, and He will surely take care of the rest.  I will be a better Mama because I'm grounded in my God and my girl will learn and grow because I choose to love her enough to raise her in God's precious Truths. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

God's Word Never Fails

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. (Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG)

God's Word never fails....

Let that beautiful Truth rest upon your weary heart. 

Breathe it in deeply to fill your tired body.

Let it calm your racing thoughts.

Wear it as a warm cocoon around your aching soul.

Let it saturate your bone deep fatigue.

Clothe yourself in that ultimate peace.

Not one word failed from all the good words GOD spoke to the house of Israel. Everything came out right. (Joshua 21:45 MSG)

God has you safely in His Hand, and His promises speak of hope and knowing everything will be as it should, according to His Perfect Will.

Let that sink in to every inch of your being and walk in that beautiful Truth and Confidence , His Word Never Ever Fails....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Smooth Sailing No, Faithful God Yes

I like to think of me steering my life like a ship sailing along in calm waters with the wind filling the sails and nothing but blue skies.  It really is an idyllic and comforting thought, flowing along without a care in the world.  Ahh!! How safe and simple it truly would be....

Here's the part where life cues the storm clouds, sheets of rain, hurricane winds, and tossing waves....ta-da!!  Well, my dumb idea just got lost at sea along with my security, my personal comfort, and my naïveté.  Bummer, that didn't last long.

You see, this fake sense of control I like to live in, is just that, fake.  It brings me a comfort for a moment then reality crashes down on me.  I sink into the mire of an aching soul and deep fatigue.  All the plates I had carefully spinning, perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect everything, crash to the floor splitting into a million pieces.  I try to clean up my mess, but I have nothing left and collapse in frustration.

God pulls me up and reminds me of His promises.

"Meanwhile the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. "(Romans 8:26-28 MSG)

I remember then that God has His hand on me.  His Holy Spirit abides in me and It will do for me what I can't do myself.  I then remember all the times God has been faithful to see me through when I thought I couldn't take another thing going the wrong way.
After 3 car accidents, 3 stinky jobs, and 1 difficult post partim after my daughter's birth, I'm still here in one piece thanks to His love and grace.  Believe me, I could have done without the hard things!  Still, it is during such times that I grow strongest in Him. 

So hold tight to His promises and let go of the false control.  He will see you through each and every circumstance.  You are His precious and beloved child for always.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review "10 Things for Teen Girls" By Kate Conner

Let's face it, I was an awkward teen girl, you know painfully shy and unsure of herself.  Ugghh!  I cringe to think about it now, the awkwardness, the uncomfortable silences, the "no one sees me" feeling, the "my clothes are so ugly" problem, the spending Friday and Saturday nights at home with no friends, and the emotional distress of snobby girls who I let make me feel inferior.  What a horrible mess I was during this time of my life.  You see, my family didn't know Jesus, so no one knew to tell me that I was loved deeply by the Savior that He took my sin and shame upon Himself, so I could be made right forever in the eyes of God, my Father.  It wasn't until my my college years that I learned this life-changing Truth, but I struggled so long, and still struggle at times, with the lies I grew up knowing, the lies that said I could never do enough or be valued enough. This makes me wonder how many other teen girls are missing the Truth in their lives? How can we share the Truth with them in a way that they can fully understand, but is grounded whole-heartedly in God's Word?  Kate Conner's book 10 Things for Teen Girls is an excellent conversation starter and learning tool for our teen girls and their mothers and/or their mentors.

Kate understands how to deliver the Truth to teen girls in a way that makes them know they matter, from their opinions to their emotions.  She speaks to them with respect and love, but she does not let them off the hook either by holding them up to the standard of God's Word.  Kate is real with her audience of teen girls, sharing her own faults and struggles of daily living in God's Truth. On page 180 of 10 Things for Teen Girls, Kate writes, "I'm having to practice what I preach-desperately, religiously coming to Jesus and letting Him remind me, 'You are not perfect; I am perfecting you.  You are loved, internally and eternally.'"  Let's face it, we all struggle and we all have faults, but they do not have to define us.  We can come through the tough realities of our world and still be standing because of living in God's Truth.  To be specific to our teen girls, Kate touches on 10 of these specific realities that our teen girls face in the pages of her book, 10 Things for Teen Girls:

2.the beauty trap
5.the heart is deceitful, listen to God's Truth
6.Emotions are not a flaw when in line with God's Truth
7."Smoking is not cool," Kate writes on page 186.
8."Your reputation matters-greatly," Kate relates on page 186.
9."Don't play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention," Kate notes on page 186.

10."You are beautiful. You are enough," Kate says on page 186.  This is God's Truth, this is what sets our teen girls free from the lies of Satan, our enemy, who uses our society to blast these lies in their faces every single day of their lives.  They need to hear this Truth, and it needs to be woven into the threads of their souls, so it cannot be undone.

Through her discussion of these realities, Kate reminds our teen girls of their value in the eyes of God.  His Truth is the only one that matters, the one that allows us to know we are loved no matter what, the one that brings peace and belonging to our souls, and the one that we can abide in eternally. Kate has such a gift from God in how she reaches our teen girls with this undeniable Truth. I take this in knowing that I will share this with my daughter everyday, until she knows this in the depths of her soul. I am praying that this Truth will comfort her, guide her, strengthen her, and fill her with love always.  What a beautiful Truth is the love of our God. Thank you Kate for the reminder of this divine Truth.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Missed My Jesus

"Breathe Me in, rest your soul in Me, and find grace-filled love in Me,"  I heard my Jesus speaking softly to me tonight.  It's been a busy week of work, school, cleaning, and  my sweet girl catching her first back to school cold.  In the busyness, I have missed my Jesus, not because I couldn't find the time, but because I chose to let my weariness rule my quiet times.  It was easier to fall onto the couch and zone out to a good show, or to fall asleep before uttering my goodnight prayers and thanksgivings to Jesus.  I felt the weight of this time missed with my Jesus, as I plodded through another day under my own meager steam.  My shoulders tensed and my patience ran thin.  Still I kept going on in this manner, broken down and melancholy.  What a stinky thing I did to myself and those that I came into contact.  I was a tired, grumpy grouch who wanted to be left alone, not one of my finer moments I must say.  As I prepared for bed tonight, Jesus pursued me with His gentle reminder to draw near to Him.  It felt good to center my focus back to Him, a relief actually.  That is how it's suppose to be all the time. I am so thankful my Jesus pursued me and how He pursues me daily. I need my Jesus, plain and simple, Amen to that!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Discipline: Lavish of Love

A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (Proverbs 13:24 MSG)

These words ring extremely true now that I am a Mama to a sweet but feisty little girl.  She is bound and determined to do life her way, which is well and fine when she is being well behaved.  However, the days she chooses to do wrong and to disobey, I'm the one frazzled and on my last nerve.  I dish out godly discipline through stern but respectful words anchored in God's truth.  Sometimes, I get through to my girl and the times she's just had it, I let her collect herself in a timeout (sometimes I need the timeout more than she does to collect myself and my wits).  As a Mama, I go through all this with her because I love her so much and want God's very best for her.  Yes, I could choose to appease my girl and let her do whatever she wanted to make her happy.  Let me say clearly and truthfully, appeasement is not real love though it masquerades as such.  It might feel like the loving thing to do to make your child happy.  Truly though, your child is not happy, just miserable because no one would want to be around him or her.  He or she might even begin to dislike who he or she is.  My Mama heart rebels against this lie because I have grounded myself in God's truth, and I have experienced His gentle but firm discipline in my life.  I know the blessing that godly discipline brings, and I utterly want that richness of blessing for my daughter.  I love her so and can't fail her by choosing appeasement. I rest in knowing that I am lavishing God's true love upon her.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Only One That Matters

25 The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that. (Proverbs 29:25 MSG)

Yesterday, I found myself fretting over an honest mistake I had made, and how that would make someone in my life displeased with me.  I was carrying on with a constant barrage of negative thoughts about my character and my abilities.  There I was knee deep in the muck of lies and doubts.  I felt so horrible and anxious, and unable to focus on anything but what I thought the person thought about me.  This fussing went round and round my heart for awhile, until I recognized this situation as a light bulb moment from God.  How silly, wasteful, and selfish I had been for carrying on like I did.  I remembered who I was in Christ, ferociously loved and highly prized.  As such, I didn't have to fret over what I thought someone else thought of me.  Honest mistakes happen, you accept responsibility, and you do your best to make amends to that person.  I did the right thing and that was all that mattered to my Heavenly Father.  When you put it in that perspective, His is the only opinion that will ever matter.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014


"Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me. (Isaiah 43:16-21 MSG)

Words fail me tonight.  God is so amazing and we are blessed beyond words as His beloved.  I can rest with ease tonight, as that promise settles on my heart.  Thank you, God.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trust, Not So Simple

God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. (Psalm 63:1 MSG)

I feel the of hunger this psalmist wrote about slowly seeping into my soul. I find, too, that The Father is beckoning me closer to His strong loving arms.  This is so what I need, but I find myself afraid to completely trust my all to Him as of late.  There is a part of me that holds back for fear of total surrender.  We all have had life fall out from under us at one time or another, and some of us a few more times than that.  That in and of itself can stir up a trust issue, and the need to feel in control.  The funny thing is, is that this only creates large amounts of stress and anxiety.  We get in a balancing act of having all our plates spinning, making sure none stop or crash to the floor.  Yuck!  We burn out, suffer exhaustion, and lack any true peace.  Why are we, why am I, so silly?  Why do we, why do I, carry a burden not meant for human shoulders?  Why do we, why do I run from the Father, who is waiting and willing to help? 
 Oh Father, slow us down tonight.  Speak continually and loudly to our troubled hearts.  May we hear You, stop, and collapse in Your waiting arms.  Help us to give back to You what is not ours.  May we continue to leave it in Your capable hands. Thank you for stirring our hearts to seek You and hunger for You.  Soothe our tired souls with Your quiet peace as we drift off to sleep, fully Yours.  Love You Father, Amen.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Mire of When

"God, how long do I have to cry out for help before You listen?".....
God says, "Look long and hard.  Brace yourself for a shock.  Something is about to take place, and you're going to find it hard to believe."
Habbakuk 1:1-5 MSG

Tonight, I find myself in Habbakuk's shoes asking "God, are you listening to me?"  When I don't hear God speak or see Him move as quick as I want Him to, I can feel so discouraged and disappointed.  My eyes can only see what is NOT happening, and I can find myself in a ridiculous pity party.  I know better, I have seen God work amazingly in my life countless times, but I still doubt foolishly.  I am just like Habbakuk crying out in self-imposed frustration. Our doubts cloud our view of who we know God to be.  He is the One that will answer revealing His beautiful will to us in His perfect timing.  He told Habbakuk, "Hold on, open your eyes wide and clear, peer through them deeply at Me, you will see My great will taking place for your very best."  This is the lens I want to look through when I find myself sinking in the mire of when.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

To Love Others

This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. (1 John 3:16-17 MSG)

I find these verses to be clear and straightforward, but difficult to follow through sometimes.  We all want and need help, that is a given.  However, helping and loving others can be something we want to ignore, because it's scary, because it beckons us out of our comfort zones, because it asks to give of ourselves, because it's risky, because it's costs us something.  How blessed we are that these fears didn't stop Jesus from dying to save us.  In that perspective, helping and loving others, doesn't seem so hard.  I pray we all can follow Jesus and love and help so freely.  Just cling to Him, He will lead you with wisdom and grant you peace to take action.  Your efforts done in His example will never be in vain.  He will use them to highly bless others.  Thank you Jesus for holding us up in every circumstance.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cheerful and Thankful

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

Hmmm, this can be quite hard to do.  Life's difficult situations leave us running on empty, and they leave negative emotions in their aftermath.  How can I be cheerful and thankful for that?  What if I took a step back though and looked at the big picture?  Would I see beyond me to a friend hurting who needs my encouragement?  Or would I see the stranger beaten down by life that just a smile and a friendly hello would make all the difference to him or her?  You see God is working in every circumstance, and I just might be His Hands working in someone else's life.  This is what I need to be thankful for, that God is working in every circumstance seeking to lift me up.  What a comfort to know.  Maybe then I can truly be thankful and cheerful in every circumstance praying always because the God of the universe is always working for my good and to bless me beyond measure, and He also uses me to help do the same for others.  Wow, thank you Father!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Love of Jesus

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (Colossians 3:12-14 MSG)

Love this translation of these verses.  It's a gracious reminder to love like Jesus loves.  He took on our sin and shame, so that we may be with Him always.  Jesus paid the price for you and me, and a high price it was.  He did it freely and willingly because He loves us so utterly and completely.  Take heart in that tonight, seek forgiveness for your sins, trust Jesus as your Savior, and walk with Him always.  Wrap yourself in His love as you drift to sleep tonight, secure and loved beyond measure.

Thank you Jesus for Your unending love and sacrifice to save us all.  Words can't express my thankfulness enough or the peace and love that reside in my heart next to You.  I love You so, and I trust my life to You.  Hold me close always.  I pray all these things in Your Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Learning to Let Go

The moment your child is born he or she is no longer always with you tucked warmly and securely in your womb. You are excited to meet this little person that has been growing inside you for 9 months.  Once born, your joy of holding this little person in your arms is some of the greatest you will ever know.  You love your child instantly and forever.  I remember those moments so vividly, the love, the magic of new life, and the wanting to always protect this precious baby.

Little did I know, that being a Mama is always learning to let go.

The early days of being home with a new baby, you let go of your baby to the care of Daddy or Grandam because you are on the brink of exhaustion.  Oh how hard it is, to trust others to take care of your baby.  You want to do everything yourself and do that everything perfectly.  But you let go anyway, because you can't take care of your sweetheart, if you don't take care of yourself.

Six weeks fly by if you have to return to work, you find yourself filled with anxiety and tears over leaving your baby at daycare.  You feel guilty and overwhelmed for having to do it for financial reasons, or for you as a Mama that needs to work for the balance it brings to your life.  Whatever the reason for you returning to work, you let go, and you find the first days are the hardest, but you find you and your baby find a daily rhythm.

Next thing you know, it's kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, high school, then college or moving out.  Thankfully, I am not even to the kindergarten stage yet, but the time is still fleeting, always passing too fast.  Though, how sweet is the time, I have with my child, breathing in the joys of her new experiences, her innocence, and most importantly her unabashed love for me.  These things far outweigh the moments that sting of the letting go.  You see the letting go is the door opening to the next round of learning, growing, stretching, seeking, living life to the fullest, and loving wholeheartedly.  Rest in that and find comfort in that, as change is the one constant you have being a Mama.