Cling Tight Dear One

When life seems to keep knocking you down and you start to wonder when will you see the sun again just remember to cling tight, dear one. This has been the four words that God keeps pressing on my heart these last few months. Oh how I wish that I could tell you that the Christian life was all sunshine and roses, but truth is that it’s not always easy. Yes, there are times when It’s full of sadness, disappointment, and hurt, but there are also times full of happiness, joy and love. Thank goodness for that, because can you image how hard it would be to even get out of bed each day if it was only the hard stuff? Here’s what I will tell you — I’ve grown more as a believer in the hard times than in the easy times. Sit there for a minute. It’s a hard truth, for sure, but it’s true. It’s when things are tough than we run (not even walk) to God. It’s not when things are going smoothly. So, what’s one supposed to do when you are buried deep in the middle of the hard times? Well, that’s where these four words come in handy…cling tight, dear one. These four words have been on my mind for months now. Every single time I cry out to God for help, relief or comfort I feel Him say to me, “cling tight, dear one”. Why those four words and why every single time I pray these days? I think I’m beginning to understand and it’s my hope that these four words will...

Behind The Makeup

Over the years I’ve been blessed to serve in ministry at the local church. Most of the time you hope and pray that what you are doing is making an impact, but truth be told you never fully know just what that impact is. A good friend of mine, Michelle Garrison, shared this with me a few weeks ago and I immediately knew that this was something that needed to be talked about with you as well. This is something that many of us wrestle with, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the things that I talk/write about more than anything else: Girlfriends, vulnerability and being real with each other. It’s not easy to do, that’s for sure, but something incredible happens when we start to get behind the makeup. I pray you are as encouraged by her words as I have been…she is not an author, speaker, or even someone that likes to be in the spotlight, she’s a real woman, doing real life and trying really hard to live out her faith and I just love that about Michelle. Her words are from the heart and I know that it will challenge you as much as it did me. As I assessed my face in the makeup mirror this morning, I was so thankful that I was able to hide my imperfections under the mask of makeup. The day before, I hung around the house and wore no makeup. It is amazing how good you feel when you look all put together. On that no makeup day, I wasn’t feeling at my best. Then, my thoughts...

Stop And Smell The Roses – Taking Time For A Year End Review Of Your Life

  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b ESV All the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is coming to a close: the house is a mess, the decorations might still be up, and yet now is the perfect time to stop and smell the roses and make time for a year end review of your life.  As a matter of fact, apart from the major holidays this specific week (between Christmas and the New Year) is my favorite time of the year. Do you want to know why?  Every year I take this week to sit and review what worked, what didn’t work, what needs to be improved and what I hope to do in the next year. It’s not a complicated process, but it is a strategic process that my husband and I do every year. We started doing this about ten years ago and it’s turned into the most thought provoking and productive week for both of us. Chances are you do something like this either mentally or on paper, so why not make a plan and see what you learn in the process. I’m going to share with you what I do, you take it, then tweak it to fit you and your family. Here’s what you need to get ready; paper/giant sticky notes/notepad colored markers/pens/highlighters calendar (last year and the coming year) music (this is very important for me) – I love to listen to “Epic Soundtracks” on Pandora so that I don’t get distracted by the words in the songs. I put those giant sticky notes...

Waiting…Turn Your Wait Into a Verb

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25 ESV Over the last eight years I have spent a good portion of time in a waiting room. In 2005 my oldest son had a traumatic illness occur and thus started the journey of my time in the waiting room. The journey began on August 17, 2005 where we spent 51 days in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) at the local children’s hospital. He was eleven at the time and for about three days we had no idea what was going on with our child and due to the trauma his body was going through he was put into a medically induced coma. Completely clueless as to what was going on and what had happened to our healthy little boy we trudged through those first few days completely unaware of how dramatically our lives would be changed. That was a long hard 51 days for our family, but thankfully our little boy is now a nineteen year old college student. I would love to say he is completely healthy and things are back to normal, but that is just not our reality. There were complications from his trauma and he was left insulin dependent (he lost 90% of his pancreas) and is now diabetic. A few years after that he started to have seizures and so back to the hospital we went in search of answers as to why this was happening to our boy. Tests, exams, scans, MRI’s and everything in between was run to find out what could...

The Joy in Contentment

All of our belongings were either in storage or crammed in the back of our van. And when I say crammed, I mean jam-packed, from floor to ceiling and end to end. Our home, a newly built ranch we’d fallen in love with the moment we toured it, sat on the market, listed for twenty grand below what we’d paid less than a year previously. And then came the move. I should’ve been happy; thrilled, really. It’d been a rough year: a period of unemployment that drained our savings, followed by a couple months of contract work where the three of us lived in a 500-square foot rent by the month apartment. Had you asked me at any point between our first day of unemployment until my husband got hired back on at Union Pacific, I would’ve told you I’d be happy anywhere, so long as my husband had stable work and we were together. But then came the move. The move when the crisis had resolved and suddenly, I began to grow discontent. Instead of being grateful as I had been when I first learned of my husband’s job offer, I began to grumble inwardly. To think of all we’d lost. The result–my growing discontentment stole my joy. But one day, while out running, I took a wrong turn, then another wrong turn, and meandered further and further into a poor area of Texas. A neighborhood with sagging chain link fences, overgrown lawns with patches of brown, broken down cars clogging the streets. Children playing barefoot, some sitting on porch steps, watching. It was crazy hot and so humid,...

It’s Almost A New Year! Is It Time For A Fresh Start?

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3 ESV A brand new year — filled with excitement and anticipation. There is this sense of awe, wonder and expectancy.  This is the chance we have been waiting for to start new, to make a fresh start!  I think this is the reason why New Year’s resolutions get started, because the New Year feels like it holds lots of endless possibilities for each of us. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a great planning week.  Every year during this week, my husband & I get away to rest, recover and relax. We find a sweet little get away spot, bring some of our favorite Christmas gifts and take some time to unplug for a bit. We also use this time to prepare our hearts, minds and family for the next year in our lives and ministry.  It is good to stop and celebrate all that we were a part of the year before, talk about our highs and lows as a family, as well as taking some time to map out what we hope to do in the next year.  It also helps us to reconnect after a busy Christmas season. In taking the time to reflect on our year, it helps us to better prepare for the next year.  It also helps to provide incredible insight as to what worked, what can be improved, what we would drop, add, or change all together. God made my life...

The splendor of God

Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory (Psalm 72:19) The sun began its slow ascent. Colors splashed across the sky in varying hues of red and yellow. It was magnificent. I stared at its beauty, entranced by the way the light pierced the morning’s darkness. A gentle breeze brushed my cheek; shadows fell away around me. I walked on with God’s splendor on glorious display. Beautiful colors filled the sky, and I stood mesmerized by its beauty. Among the breeze was the quiet whisper: You are more magnificent to me. Even more than the beauty of this sunrise is your beauty to me. Like the colors dancing across the sky, I created you. I know when you rise and when you sit. I know you fully and completely. I love you with an everlasting love. I walked on with God’s splendor on glorious display. As the world around me awakened, my spirit awoke as Truth spoke. More than the birds in the air, God cares for me. More than any creature roaming this earth, God cares for me. Just as He placed each star in the sky, He has placed me in this place, at this time. I walked on with God’s splendor on glorious display. The sun found its rightful place as I was reminded that I too have my place in this world. God created me on purpose, and for a purpose. As the sun provides light and warmth, I too have the power to bring light to darkened places. I have a strength, a beauty, a purpose...

Yearning for Rest

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2) The stress had been mounting. Months of questions, of knowing I, the fixer, could not fix anything. Neck muscles had tightened, harboring all the feelings I had felt. My heart yearned for rest, for a reprieve. I did not want to escape, I simply wanted to breathe deeply without interruption. I wanted, if only for a moment, to have nothing required of me. A few hours void of questions, of providing entertainment, meals, and discipline: that is what I longed for. My soul cried out for rest. With my husband’s blessing, I journeyed out of town, alone. I raised my hand in praise as my first evening involved a worship night with Kari Jobe and Christine Caine. Truth filled every corner of the room as thankfulness bubbled within me. Tears from laughter mingled with tears from the weight I had been carrying. Burdens were replaced with restoration. A heart’s cry for rest was replaced with holy thanks. Among precious friends, I exhaled. I ran from nothing, but ran to the One who loves me, who knows me best. Nothing was required of me, nothing expected, only that I be there. There is power and beauty in rest. Matthew 11:27-29 speaks of the rest found only in Him. In Christ alone we will find rest for our souls. In the beginning as God created all, He also created the Sabbath. The Father knew our wayward hearts would need rest....

By The Water – Living Out Loud!

It was a Friday afternoon…and seven of us slipped away, outside the parameters of mobile reception, to give way to life, by the water. For me, this body of water was more reminiscent of all of the season’s demands, pooled in one place…and I needed to visit it. Getting there was a battle…often, life is anything but a smooth sail, but more a topsy-turvy, sort-of sea sickening, round about journey. And, for someone that’s not a lake girl…well, you know 😉 Immediately, I was fascinated by the water’s edge, and the seemingly intentional way that trees clustered & gathered & hemmed in along the rim, completely rooted there. Some arched, leaning over the water, with mirrored reflections in the waves. Some bowed backward, into the darkness behind. My eyes saw right through some of them, and some were loud in rich green, with cookie-cutter leaves. This was the scene, and amidst the late nights/early mornings, belly laughs, heart-crushing cries, and food comas…I just knew that the roots of my heart needed Jesus, more than ever. The thought of me leaning any direction but His was heavy. I was created to live out loud, to be rich in boldness for His name, to tell of the great things He’s done…to brim over with thanksgiving and HOPE! Psalm 105:1 – Hallelujah! Thank GOD! Pray to Him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! The trees on the shore of that big ‘ol puddle spoke to this…they shouted & praised Him by their posture alone. Their roots were drenched in water…the living kind [John 4]. Poised in wonder, they...