Friday, March 29, 2013

Pointing the way...

Recently, I heard shocking news about the passing of a friend I knew from several years ago.  We had not kept in touch nor seen each other for many years.  But yet… hearing this news has touched me deeply.  I can’t quite shake it… each time I re-visit the thought of her passing, my heart breaks anew.

The more I contemplate these feelings… the more I sense what I am truly grieving.  I am grieving a young mom who left this world so very early - oh, how my heart breaks at that thought!  But I am also grieving some missed opportunities.  I find that I’m asking myself a painful question:  Did I ever share with her… really share… the hope, the joy and the peace I find in calling Jesus Christ my Savior & Lord? 

You see... these aren’t just bumper sticker slogans for me, or empty words to post on a facebook status… I’m being as literal as I can be with mere words.  I have really experienced those living, growing qualities in my life!  No theological debates here... I'm not your girl for that.  But... if you want to hear a simple, honest account of what I have experienced to be true in my own life... then, oh my friend... let's talk!!

Do I mean to imply that I am somehow living a “perfect” life – free from troubles, failures, hurt?  No – far from it!  But, having a spiritual relationship with God through Jesus Christ gives me an anchor not only in the "good times" ...but also in those days in which the storm winds blow.

I am NOT saying that my friend did not have a faith of her own.  The point is, though, that because of the time that had distanced us… I just have no idea where she was at in her life journey.  Did she encounter a life storm?  Did she have an anchor to hold on to?  Did she long for someone to come along side of her to share a burden that was too heavy to bear?  Could I have planted a seed years ago that could have made a difference?  These possibilities swirl in my mind, though I’ll never be able to resolve them fully. 

But, instead of stagnating in the grief of the unknown & the unchangeable… perhaps I can use it as a reminder to share what I’ve found with those in my path… today.  And, that brings me to YOU.
I want to ask you a self-reflective question:
Do YOU have the hope… the peace… the love… the light from Jesus Christ living within you...
an experience that is beyond worldly explanation?  

If so… may I gently remind you to let that shine? There are those within your circle of influence that need what you have… don’t forget to share it freely!  If you feel as though you have somehow lost connection to those qualities you once felt so strongly… call out to God & ask for His healing work within your spirit.  Or, maybe even reach out to someone around you that can help encourage you and lift you up in prayer.

If, however, you read those words and know that those qualities are missing in your life… I want you to know - you are within reach of them this moment!  Those qualities (and so much more!!) are found in the person, the work of Jesus Christ.  As incredible as it sounds… the truth is this:  He lived, died, and rose again… to pay the price for our sins and to make a “bridge” for us to have eternal life with God.  When we truly begin to grasp the depth of it - we begin to see it as the most beautiful love story we could ever imagine.  It is the most amazing gift you have ever been given... you need only to accept it! 

As one who has simply walked these steps in her past… I urge you: begin an honest conversation with God! Call out to Him & invite Him to show you the truth & knowledge & eternal life found in His Son, Jesus Christ.  You may feel an immediate desire to accept His gift of Life today… right now!  If so, I have included a brief outline at the bottom of this writing to guide you in the biblical steps of that decision.

If you are hesitant to take that step today… my prayer for you is that He will bring someone along side of you that has already accepted His gift of Life so that they can encourage you & share the love that now blooms inside of them.  Perhaps in a Bible-believing church near you… or perhaps by even reaching out through this digital screen you are now reading.  I do not hold myself up as some sort of “perfect” Christian… but I would be honored to help point you to the One who was Perfection on our behalf.

In the precious name of Jesus.... I wish you a very Happy Easter!

One of the most simple outlines of prayer I have ever seen is called the "ABC prayer".  In it is found the Biblical steps of beginning a saving relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

... and remember... it is not about reciting the "perfect words"... it is about speaking their meaning honestly from your heart.

(A)dmit you have sinned against God & repent.  "Repent" simply means that you are turning away from those sins.

(B)elieve in God's Son, Jesus Christ... that He alone is qualified & has paid the price for those sins by dying on the cross & being raised from death by God on the third day... that He has made the way to eternal life with God through his sacrifice.

(C)onfess Jesus as your Savior and your Lord.  As "Savior" means acknowledging Christ's work as the only means of overcoming your seperation from God (your sin) and as "Lord" means committing to following His Lead in your life.

Friday, October 7, 2011


The following blog entry was posted over at a few weeks ago... it finally dawned on me that I should at least get blog credit here, too! After all, I do have that twice-a-year blog quota to live up to... ;)

When Brittany first asked me to share a few thoughts with you here… I was thrilled! The very process of assembling words together is just one of those ways God wired me to experience enjoyment… I can get lost in it. For hours! Sometimes, though, the process can be a bit painful as God uses it to reveal a particular problem that needs attention. This particular project turned out to be one of “those” times.

As I mentioned, I started off with excitement, but after a few days of contemplation and a smattering of prayer, I found myself just staring at that blank page on my screen… wondering why in the world I had even thought I should do this. I had absolutely nothing to share! And, worse… now I was ‘stressing’ over it. If you’ll forgive the breach of grammar, I’m going to give that feeling a special name for a moment: overwhelmedness.

I do not welcome overwhelmedness… but, it has been visiting me quite a bit lately. It produces very tangible, physical symptoms… racing thoughts, muscle tension, and a stressful sensation that just seems to radiate from within my core. It feels very much like a switch that gets turned on without my consent. But, how can that be? I mean, I’ve memorized Philippians 4:6-7 and everything! When Paul says “Be anxious for nothing…” he seems to imply I have a choice in the matter. If it’s happening on a sub-conscience level… where’s the choice? I’ll just admit it plainly to you… I’ve had an argumentative tone with God on this one.

(I don’t recommend that position!)

And, just like that (did you hear the finger snap?) … sitting here, staring at the blank screen, it hit me. Instead of bemoaning this overwhelmedness & searching for ways to escape it, I should think of it in a different way.

Picture this movie setting with me:

we’re in the heart of the nuclear reactor control room. The employees are working frantically at their computer screens to save the world from the horrors of a nuclear meltdown. Red lights are flashing and that mind-piercing, pulsating, buzz-siren (used in every movie scene like this) is going off. Can you hear it? Can you feel that sound vibrating through your body?

…that’s what overwhelmedness is! It’s that warning sound… signaling that danger is imminent. Imagine how absurd it would seem in the movie… watching the employees scramble & fuss over how to shut down the siren, ignoring the fact that there was a reason it was going off. They turn off the siren… and it comes back on. They turn it off again… and it comes back on. It would almost be laughable, right? Except for the part where the meltdown actually happens and all is lost!


Ouch! I’m not the only one seeing this, right? That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing… just trying to shut down the siren - never even realizing that there might be a reason for it!

So… if this overwhelmedness is really just a warning… then, what is the danger it is alerting me to? As I contemplated the word ‘overwhelm’, a clue emerged from within the definition. (yes, I *am* a word-nerd… I’m good with it, let’s just move on!)

Somewhere at the root of this word is the idea of something being toppled & destroyed, as if by a big wave. Overcome. Overpowered.

Hmm… let’s walk through this, then: This increasingly frequent anxiety I’ve been feeling is a warning. I believe it is warning me that something is in danger of being overcome or toppled. But, what is that something?

I think it’s me!

Here’s why: I profess Christ as Savior and Lord in my life. Claiming Him as my Lord means that I give Him control of my life… He is in charge. If that is an active, ongoing reality in my life… all is safe! There will never be a wave that could overcome Him! It. can. not. happen!

But, here’s the thing: Although God is all-powerful, He doesn’t use that power to establish rule of our lives. He gives us free will to choose. If I usurp His seat of authority in my life (you know, take charge of things myself!)… guess who is going down? That would be me! I’m no match for the smallest of waves… much less the rolling, churning waves of stormy seas!

Wow. I just didn’t see this one coming at all!

So, as abruptly as this process started, it ends the same. For now… I’m just sitting with these thoughts and thinking through what changes I need to make… identifying the areas of my life where I have ‘taken charge’. The fact that He has brought me here to share this process with you tells me that some of you may be dealing with similar issues. If so, I would love to hear what thoughts have been stirred within you... ~d

Friday, January 28, 2011

...choosing the gift

I came here not really sure what to report about 'my one word' progress... at first glance, I wanted to say that it's not really coming along very well. I certainly don't spend as much time thinking about the word 'choose' as I thought I would. But, on closer inspection, it might be going better than I think.

A couple of weeks ago, by seemingly random occurrence, I came across a book entitled 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart by Robert Morgan and it has become an instant favorite for me. What really makes the impact, I think, is the first 1/4 of the book. He doesn't just jump immediately into the verses, but instead steadily builds a case for the practice of scripture memorization. I was totally sold by the first few pages!

It doesn't take much reflection for me to recognize that "hitting home" feeling as God's work within my heart. I love it when God places a feeling of excitement & joy within my heart... 'cause it's just a flat-out amazing feeling! Way better than anything I conjure up about the insignificant things of the world I am often drawn to. I'm not sure I can really put it into words adequately, but there is a huge difference between my joy and His Joy. They're not even in the same ballpark, friend!

Anyway... I absolutely believe He led me to this book, this idea... in His timing. Everyone, of course, is familiar with the idea of memorizing scripture. It certainly doesn't require any further explanation - but what was different was the connection that I felt inside my spirit to CHOOSE that particular discipline right now. I almost hate to use the word 'choose', because it's really more of a "want to" than a "choose to". I was drawn to it like... well, like me to a piece of chocolate cake! (sorry, give me a sec... I totally cracked myself up by typing that!! *LOL*)

But perhaps, in the daily walk... it does require me to choose. I have to choose to keep the idea in front of me on an ongoing basis. I have to choose to practice & recite... even when my day is busy. I have to choose to be proactive & find the techniques that work best for me. I have to choose daily to pace myself, not give way to the urge to race through the book. (I prefer to devour books, so that's a toughie for me.)

And, as I consider it more closely... perhaps the biggest challenge I will have is to choose to keep this effort before Him at all times - to keep it part of my relationship with Him. I can't be tempted to run off & try to accomplish "for" Him. I don't think that is His intent.

Because, as I continue to think here through my keystrokes... I am seeing that He is clearly the one doing the work within me: He has given me the desire - I didn't create it myself. Plus, He is giving me the ability to recall more scripture already than I first thought possible - I'm positive that's not my own doing. (Seriously - I've hit a stage in life where my memory is noticeably weaker than a few years ago... so, I know He is providing in this area!) And, He is showing me different areas of my life in which I could incorporate His Word that I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

That's an incredible gift, really.... and, not so hard at all to choose!

If this has in any way whet your appetite to investigate the book I am referring to... you can get a decent peek into the book at this link:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Choose this day...

wavering (v): to sway to and fro; flutter.... No, that's not my word, but it is descriptive of "My One Word" journey. In other words, I've had a hard time 'locking in'. I started off with a general idea, but it took a while to 'boil down' to the true essence of what (I believe) God was placing in my heart. There were a few places along the way where I could have stopped & chosen a word that was a little more comfortable... but I've learned that doesn't usually have the best outcome. Especially when I sense God is encouraging me to go beyond that place.

So, "My One Word" for the upcoming year, is packed with a little more challenge: Choose.

choose (v): to select freely and after consideration.

I'm drawn to the fact that it's a present tense verb. Whenever you utter it, there is a sense that you're acknowledging you have options before you NOW. It's kind of a demanding little word, actually - it expects an immediate answer. For me, that can be a little uncomfortable.

To provide a little contrast... if I think of the word "choice", I think of a decision already made, or a decision yet to be made. That word seems to give a little 'wiggle' room... it's all about something that's either done & over with... or, something that is still off in the future. That's much more comfortable... I like things that can wait until tomorrow. And, truthfully... I can easily ignore a word like that. Put it on the shelf for 'later'.

I really liked the word "purpose" for a while... it was such a nice, cozy noun. I could have crawled up there & took a year-long nap. I also liked the word "deliberate" (as in the adjective describing someone who considers carefully)... great description, but still not demanding much. Yes, it would call me to strive towards a particular character quality... but, I think God was calling me to more. I sensed Him saying... "contemplation is good, but you need to incorporate a little more action." I needed a verb. A word of action.

I'm reminded of a portion of Joshua 24:15... "Choose this day whom you will serve..."

Every day I wake up & draw breath... is "this day". Each day, I choose... will I serve my Lord by following His path for my steps? Or, will I choose to follow my own comfy-cozy plans? Either I make the conscience decision for Him, or I make the default decision for 'self'.... but, I can't forget that either way... I choose.

So, now it's your turn. Some of you have shared 'your word' already, but if not... I'd love to hear from you (comments below, facebook, in person... whatever.) I hope to be able to share how God is using this process in my life during the upcoming year...And, I would LOVE to hear of ways that God is moving you & growing you through this process, too.

Let's choose to encourage one another!

(If you want to use the comments section below, you don't have to have a blogger account - just use the 'anonymous' tag. It helps me connect your post with YOU, though, if you leave a name or initials inside your comment.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My One Word

I guess I should, at least, acknowledge how long it's been since I was last here... but let's not waste good time & words on that. Is everyone ok with that? (crickets chirping) Ok, then... good! Moving on.

For several years now, I've been moving away from the standard 'new year's resolution' idea little by little. I mean, really... what's the point? Do you ever hear people talking about their resolutions in, say... April? September? I don't!

But, there is still a part of me that enjoys the newness of January. Remember new school supplies every September? They were just exciting in a way. Crisp, clean & inviting. How about a brand new car? Pristine & flawless. It all represents a new beginning, a fresh start. Who doesn't like that?

So, not wanting to totally give up that perspective, I have decided to give this a try for 2011: My One Word.

“My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond the past and look ahead. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all of your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single thing. One word focuses on your character and creates a vision for your future.

This idea/movement is led by a church in North Carolina. If you want to check out loads of info/resources/encouragement at their website, you will find them at

I know it's not for everyone, but this idea appeals to me on a couple of levels. One is simplicity... and I really like simplicity! My memory's not exactly what it used to be, but I think I can still manage to keep one word in my mind. With a small amount of effort, I could probably hang on to one word for a whole year. (, there are always sticky notes - and how many words do you have to actually write down?? Just one! See the beauty of this thing??)

It also appeals to my "it's just the way God made me" side... because I am really fond of words. I try to keep a dictionary handy when I'm reading or writing... because I actually *enjoy* using it. And, not many things thrill me more than the chance to learn deeper meanings in God's Word based on word studies. ...So, go ahead - call me a word nerd... I choose to embrace it.

For me... it's just a good fit! I clearly see the opportunity for this to grow & branch out during the year. I may start out seeing my word in one light right now, but end up seeing it in a completely different way in December. Different definitions, different connotations, different applications... they could all come into play with this exercise.

I also see potential for growth & (shudder) change in this process... and, is that always nice & comfy? Uhhh.... decidedly, no! Think "exercise" here - is that easy & without struggle? The answer is absolutely no... so don't even try to lie to me or yourself. (And, for the record, NO - 'exercise' is definitely NOT my word!)

But, if God is in charge of the change, though... is it always for the better? Yes. Without a doubt!

OK, yeah... let's actually talk about that for a minute. I can't help thinking this will be completely useless if I am not praying & inviting God to lead the work. Actually, that is the whole point of this! If not, I'm just back to my old ways - listing out things & trying to accomplish them in my own power. And, besides - inviting God to lead this makes it infinitely more interesting & exciting! Seriously, do you know my God?? He is AMAZING! He can take the smallest, most seemingly obscure point & manifest it into total & complete life change - if you just allow Him to. If you don't yet know Him, I highly encourage you to make your one word "Jesus" this year. Pray & ask Him to open up your heart & mind to all that He has for you within that one Name. Simple enough, yes? Oh - and, don't forget to keep me posted - I can't WAIT to hear about that adventure!

So, as for me... I've spent a few days thinking about my word. Then, I prayed about it - and got a different one! :-)

I'll check back soon to tell you a little more about it. But, for now... why not think about your own word and pray about it? I would love to hear your thoughts... you can leave a note here, or catch me on facebook. I would love some company along for the journey!

Anyone else in?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life lessons on the boat...

OK, I'll just say it: I have water issues. Actually, it's a strange love/hate relationship I have... because one of the most ideal settings I can imagine is a pristine beach hideaway. Something deep inside of me is drawn to that. I very much enjoy walking along the water's edge. I dearly love the sound of the roaring ocean or the gentle lapping sound of the lake. I could sit & fish for hours, if the conditions were right. And, watching a sunset on the water? Nothing better!

But, then there's the other side to that coin. I won't infect you with my curse, but let me assure you... I have an ample supply of very dark imagery in regards to the depths of the average lake or river. I have absolute respect for the sheer power of God's oceans... and don't see any valid reason to get much farther out than knee deep in them. And, don't even get me started on the creatures that reside below sight level of any body of water. I am in awe of God's amazing creations under there... but, interacting with them in their environment? Um mm... no!

Over the years, though... I've learned to reconcile these conflicting thoughts & feelings fairly well. It pretty much goes like this: I enjoy what I enjoy & I avoid the rest..... and I'm good with that! Really! I don't care to be cured of this malady. The rest of the world (including my water-loving husband) is certainly free to engage in their obviously senseless water behaviors... I'll even smile & wave from my nice, relaxing (likely canopied) position from the shore! ...Live it up, crazy people!

(I say that last part in my head... just so there's no hurt feelings!)

And, that all worked pretty well for me until a few years ago... when I became a mom. After only a short few steps into this parenting thing, it became pretty clear that my control systems were going to be challenged. You see, all of the coping skills and carefully placed parameters I had incorporated into my life regarding this subject worked great for me... but, I instinctively knew it wasn't something I wanted to hand off to my children. On the other hand, if water dangers loomed large in my mind before I had children... I promise you the monsters were now infinitely larger! Any parent will tell you... the moment you have a child, danger to your child far outranks any danger to self.

So, what's a land-lover to do here in the heart of Texas... a place with more lakes & rivers than you can shake that proverbial stick at??!!

Worse yet, what's a water-phobic mom to do when her husband excitedly acquires a boat "for the kids" ??!!

Sigh... yes, a boat! In case you're not familiar with this thing, it's a device created specifically for taking you & your beloved offspring away from perfectly solid ground... causing you to hover precariously by a matter of inches over dark, ugly lake water to which there is no bottom. You heard me: None!

And, just to up the ante.... sometimes you do this at really fast speeds! Or, you tether said-offspring BEHIND the boat and drag them around the lake ... Golly, there's just no end to that FUN !!

Sorry, that just had to be said....

But, back to my question... what's a mom to do?

She gets on the boat... and she prays!

She prays for the safety of her children & husband... he is driving the boat, after all. But, that's just a start... (Pray without ceasing?? No problem... well, off shore, at least. Funny how a little pressure can make that MUCH easier, huh?!)

She also struggles with every fiber of her being to hold her critical tongue with her husband... running, instead, in prayer to tattle on him to her Heavenly Father.
(As a sidenote, ladies... I don't recommend clinging to that tattling attitude too long - but in dire circumstances, it's definitely a start! Remember, God's not out to change your husband through your prayer - He's out to change you! Let Him!)

She notices the futility of her white-knuckled grip on the side of the boat & confesses her desire for control. She repents of the fact that her desire for control is at it's core... well, a lack of faith in Him. That is... until a few minutes later, when she notices that grip & has to do it all over again.

She prays for a peace beyond anything she can understand, as she pours out her fears before Him in her heart. Each and every fear... as it bobs it's ugly head to the surface.

As a peace settles in, she is able to look around her environment & see some other prayer needs... She might pray for God-given wisdom for those young boys that are surveying the cliff's edge over some questionably shallow water. And, the children that seem unsupervised over at the shore.

She sees the happy faces of her own little ones as they enjoy the day God has given them... and prays to actually enjoy their joy.

And, as she finally is able to enjoy the best part of the outing (you know, those last few moments of pulling up to the dock).... she prays a heartfelt prayer of thanks that all went well.

Finally back on dry ground... she gives a spiritual nod to God, saying "Whew! thanks!! You were really great out there! It was awesome the way I could really feel you out there with me!

As she walk away, she calls over her shoulder "'s OK, I got it from here... but, seriously - thanks again!"... and she thinks " know, it's a shame that prayer couldn't be like that more often."

...or, could it?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Make the time...

Here's how my day started today: Got up with no time to spare... just like every other morning. Rushed the kiddos thru their morning routine, rushed out the door to get them to school on time. My plan was to then rush back home to get in my morning prayer time before heading out into the rest of my day. Sounds great so far, huh?? :(

Well, I had dropped off one kiddo at school & was en route for the second drop-off. Our sweet little community doesn't really have traffic... but there is one spot that gets a little tricky at times & can cause a little driver stress. I don't always encounter that spot, but today I did.... and I received a nasty little honk from another driver. AND to top it off, it was accompanied by a frustrated gesture. It wasn't the really rude gesture (you know the one) - it was just a show of displeasure. But, it was just enough to make my blood boil a little & return in kind. I feel compelled to tell you that I also added a vigorous little wave as I went my way - dripping with sarcasm, but at least I was able to tell my son I was just waving - hoping he couldn't quite perceive the real motive. Yep, add me to the mommy-of-the-year list for that delightful move! ~yuck!~

It happened very quickly, and I was angry at the other driver for all of a few seconds... but then I spent a lot more time being angry at myself & wondering where in the world that comes from. One minute, I'm planning my prayer time & the next minute I'm a short step away from road rage behavior?? What???? I'm pretty thankful that God had Paul include his comment about 'doing the stuff I don't want to do'...

(Romans 7:19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. least I know I'm not alone in this human condition!

But still... it just kind of set a negative tone on the beginning of my day. The good thing, though, was that I was able to come back home & get in that prayer time just as I had planned. After a little heart to heart with the Lord, I really did feel refreshed & renewed and took on the rest of the day with a much better attitude. Not just a better day, but a really enjoyable one with His peace in my heart. A changed day!

It wasn't until later, though, that it dawned on me... if I had truly started my day with that prayer time (as in, before I left the house at all!), I probably wouldn't have jumped to instant anger with the driver I had encountered earlier. I would have already been in His peace at that moment. Now, I'm not saying Christians don't get angry... but I am pretty sure that if you have spent some time in His presence, you're just not going to be as likely to 'go there' with needless anger quite so quickly.

Makes me wonder... if I prayed first thing more often, might I avoid more icky actions in my day that I regret? Hmmm... it's a thought.

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3)