Forgiven

Have you seen the One For Israel YouTube channel? Oh my! Those who share their stories mesmerize me with their transparency and joy in Christ.

Last week I watched Jonathan share his story of learning to forgive a man who tried to kill him. Jonathan endured a horrible beating, five and half months in a coma and waged the internal battle of doing as Christ commanded, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” ~ Matthew 5:44, or seeking full justice against the man who hurt him.

Jonathan suffered at the hand of a fellow officer, Korish, while they were both serving in the army. Legally Jonathan had every right to hold Korish accountable. With one word from Jonathan, Korish would be sentenced for decades for his ruthless behavior. Not only that, Jonathan stood to be financially compensated for his suffering. All Jonathan had to do was say the word, and he’d see justice served and compensation fill his bank account.

Enter Jesus.

As Jonathan struggled to make the right decision, Jesus began changing the lives of many of Jonathan’s family members to the degree that Jonathan also started seeking Jesus and reading the bible. One day as Jonathan studied his bible he came across the Parable Of The Unforgiving Servant, (Matthew 18:21-35). Jesus told shared this parable to remind his listeners that we are all called to forgive, just as we are forgiven.

What an incredible emotional, psychological and spiritual battle Jonathan must have gone through. Can you imagine walking in his shoes?

The world screams for punishment of the foe and reparation for the injured. Jesus encourages forgiveness for all.

Jonathan’s story resonated with me is because, truth be told, there are a few people in my past whose memory make me cringe because of the pain associated with them. At the same time, my mistakes have caused others pain and to think of them now, I’m ashamed to admit the truth.

I wonder if Jonathan’s story resonates deep within you also. Maybe you’ve been horribly wronged and now you want restitution, payment of some sort. Or maybe you’ve walked in Korish’s shoes and you’ve hurt another person and are desperate for forgiveness, to make amends.

What should we do? Neither decision is easy to make. To whom shall we turn to ease our hearts, to free us from the pain?

Jesus.

Jesus teaches us to forgive just as have been forgiven. Yes, there are times when forgiving and seeking forgiveness feels impossible. But it’s not impossible. God says, “all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.”

So today my friend, I pray you will find peace through Christ just as Jonathan has done. Seek to forgive and to be forgiven. If you don’t know the first step to take, seek the Lord, He will guide your footsteps towards healing.

I am praying for us both. Because I too need to forgive and be forgiven. Together let us boldly approach the throne of God and seek His holy face and may we be forever changed for His glory.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8

For those who would like to view Jonathan’s full testimony please enjoy the attached video and may you be blessed.

Until we meet again, may God bless and keep you,

Empty Envelopes

Bah humbug!

The Covid Grinch has dashed our dreams of reconnecting our senior living community residents with their loved ones this holiday season. We are in a Covid hotspot and because of state restrictions, no one except medical staff are permitted inside the building until after the New Year. Which means, I have the pleasure of hand delivering resident mail to their rooms.

When I first started passing out resident mail I was certain that due to the impact of Covid and limited family visits, there’d be tons of cards, letters and packages delivered this holiday season.

Boy, was I was wrong.

As I sorted each person’s mail, I began to notice a pattern in who received mail and those who did not. Amazingly enough, only 10% of our residents consistently received and sent multiple letters each day.

I noticed something else, those who had the most incoming and outgoing mail were Believers. Because of my tenure I knew that these were the same folks who were always seen connecting with their neighbors and staff members within the community. What I was seeing played out in mail delivery confirmed one thing, these folks were walking out their faith in one of the few ways left available to them, snail mail.

Which led me to reflect on my own life and ask, do I live out my life for others to see Jesus in me?

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying we should act so as to garner praise from man. Loving Jesus means loving our neighbors by first seeking a relationship with Him. The more we spend time with Jesus the more He changes our lives, which in turn impacts those around us.

I believe Jesus works in our hearts and lives so that when we follow His leading to show encouragement, love and support, we do so in a manner that reflects our Lord.

Working in senior health care has given me the opportunity to put on the “fast forward 30 years…” lenses. This unique view allows me to pay attention to the lives I serve and to understand the value of choices and consequences. I’ve watched for years, those who believe God has a plan for their lives, make an impact for Him, by connecting with loved ones and community members whether it through a kind word or by sending out letters.

It’s true!

On the other hand, those who choose to isolate themselves from Jesus and the world tend to live a life of depression, loneliness and fear. Their choices cause them to walk forward into the latter chapter of their lives angry, bitter, frustrated and often alone.

Oh how I wish they knew the hope, the joy that comes from knowing Jesus!

Do you remember the AT&T commercials called “Reach out and touch someone?” The jingle was a cheery reminder to pick up the phone and call your loved one.

Learning to be a good friend, seeking opportunities to surround ourselves with a community, be it small or large, is one of God’s commandments for us as Believers and it’s also good for the soul.

Friends, we need each other. God designed us for community and relationship, first with Him and then with everyone He places in our lives, now and into our 80’s, 90’s and beyond!

My encouragement to you today is this:

Grab your bible and read, worship, pray, meditate and give thanks to the Lord above for all He has done. You are blessed!

Next, ask God to bring to mind those who need a friend. Maybe there’s a neighbor, niece, grandchild or a friend of a friend who’s going through a tough time. Send them a card letting them you know you are praying for them. Send them a copy of an article you’ve read that reminds you of them. What about forwarding a coloring page to complete that has a bible verse printed on it? Here is one of my favorites https://karladornacher.com/freebies/

Friends, there are a multitude of ways we can love our neighbor but let it begin with Jesus. Seek Him first, ask Him to lead you and to show you how to help your fellow man.

Lastly, be the example. Share God’s love with those in your life, whether its a kind word to the grocery clerk, mailman or your neighbor. Send encouraging notes, cards or an email. Make the phone call. Whatever it takes within safe reason, do so, remembering that God designed us for community.

Every day we see it on the news, hear it on the radio, people are suffering through this pandemic. You’re included in that number. Life is more challenging than ever, so ask the Lord who could really use a smile, a kind word, a prayer or a card? By reaching out to your loved ones, you are showing the love of Christ to others and in turn will be blessed with His joy.

In closing, I want you to know, I am praying for you and asking the good Lord to keep you safe, meet your needs and bless your life.

Until we visit again,

Merry Christmas my friend!
Stay safe and love God!

Sage and Sweet Peas

“And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:15

Hey Friends!
I’ve got to share what God did this evening when I was in the community garden.

Let me preface this story by just stating, God knows our hearts, right down to the tiniest details. In these few moments I’d like to share a sweet reminder of how much God loves each one of us.

Earlier this week I was taking stock of my spice cabinet to see which ones needed to be restocked and wouldn’t ya know it, my sage was running low.

I tried growing sage in my whiskey barrel this season but for whatever reason it didn’t take off so I figured, “well, I’ll stop by the market and pick it up before the holidays,” because frankly, what’s cornbread stuffing without sage?

If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out on a treat, it’s wonderful!

To continue the story, I made a mental note that next year I’d plant more sage but in the meantime, I asked God to provide sage for this year.

A small request right? Right. Inconsequential really when you think of the multitude of things we face in our daily lives. And yet, I’m still trying to build this relational walk with God where I talk to Him about everything, small stuff, big stuff and even sage.

So as I was was watering in the tomatoes, over walks an elderly couple and the husband ask if I’d like, what else? A small handful of sage! I quickly said yes! and tell them that our family loves this herb and we use it all the time.

We exchange pleasantries, I thank them for the gift and quickly tell God thank you as we each go back to our garden chores.

Ten minutes later my fellow gardener comes back with an even bigger bunch of sage!

What an answer to prayer!

Can you believe it?

I was so touched by the gift because instantly I knew the amount would carry us through to next season.

Y’all God is so good!

But the story doesn’t end there. A little while later as I’m plucking green beans, the husband comes by again, and asks me if I like flowers.

“Absolutely, why do you ask?”

Shyly, this sweet elderly gentleman pulls from behind his back, a small bouquet of sweet pea flowers.

With tears in my eyes, I managed to eek out a thank you as he quickly walked away. I’m sure he thought I’d been out in the sun too long!

Sweet peas are my favorite flowers. I swear y’all I scared the poor man with my reaction. I was so touched by his gift.

Has that ever happened to you? Someone does the nicest, most thoughtful gesture and you’re immediately overcome with emotion?

That was me.

Can you see it? Can you see how God uses people, circumstances, situations and multitude of ways to bless His children?

God is so good. So abundantly giving. He knows each of us intimately, right down to what we need in our pantry like a little sage and what small gift of sweet peas will do to bring us such joy.

Friends I want to encourage you to share your heart with God. Tell Him your life, your ups and downs, your smallest wish to your greatest desire and then watch to see Him work in your life.

Pray and wait for the Lord’s blessings. They may catch you off guard and bring tears to your eyes. When those moments happen, remember to thank the Lord. Acknowledge His goodness. By doing so, you develop eyes that are always seeking His presence in your lives while developing a greater intimacy in your walk with the Lord.

Thank you for sharing your time with me today. May you be blessed by our heavenly Father in small ways and in great.

Until next time,

Mom Moves Home

In the past 4 months, I would bet most of you have experienced change. LOTS. OF. CHANGE.

Prior to COVID my husband and I were anticipating a soon-to-be empty nest. June was our deadline to have both of our adult sons out of the home and on their own.

Until the whole world was flipped upside down and our old ways of living turned into a “new norm.”

Not ones who get too upset by change we figured, what’s a few more months? We’ve come this far with the boys at home, what’s a little more time?

But let me be real here. We were disappointed.

Now don’t get me wrong, we love our boys. Like many of you, outside of breaking the law or something like bungee jumping off a bridge, The Hubs and I would do anything for them.

But when our plans for empty nesting flew out the window, we had to seriously take a step back and reevaluate the next timeline. How long would they be staying? When would they leaving? With COVID always looming over our daily lives, would they be leaving?

Eventually our disappointment washed away, we began accepting that we don’t know what tomorrow brings. We can plan and prepare but until the opportunity to actually help our sons move out, we’re all in a status quo.

This was our lives until, 2 months ago, our lives changed yet again. Expectations of a future tomorrow where the it’ll just be me and The Hubs once again flew out the window faster than a fly being chased by a swatter.

Mom moved home.

Yep. You read that right.

Mom moved home.

Dad passed away almost 2 years ago and the grief for mom is overwhelming. She feels lost. No one and no where feels like home. Which is understandable because let’s face it, you can’t live 50+ years with a spouse and expect to go on living as if nothing’s changed the moment the funeral is over.

Grief, loss and loneliness come in waves. They crash into her day like an unexpected tsunami leaving emotional debris and destruction in its wake.

So when the call came that she was thinking she’d like to come up for the summer, I had to be really honest, like, look Ma, we’re at capacity, but if you want to jump in, we’re here to catch you.

Jump she did.

Which basically equates to 5 humans and 4 dogs under 1 roof.

Yikes!

So how are we coping-slash-surviving?

Grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace upon more grace, upon more grace, grace, grace, grace and finally…grace!

Yep. All from the good Lord above.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

God’s grace. My weakness. His perfect sufficiency.

We’ve all come to reside under one roof. Seeking rest and healing from all of our own individual trials. We are broken people with disappointments, hurt, anger, frustration and now COVID. Seriously…if my house isn’t the next Instapot ready to explode I’m not sure what is.

And yet…

God is able. With lots of prayers, God is able to give grace and understanding on a moment to moment basis.

Let’s be real here. It’s not all roses and candy. There are testy moments because of unspoken expectations, misunderstandings when we stop being the poster child of “we’ve got it all under control” and fight our human nature to simply explode on one another.

Prayers are my lifeline.

It’s not easy. Trust me. There are moments when I’m caught in the crossfire of a rebellious adult child and my mother giving me the “you-oughta-do -something-right-this-minute” look.

Yes, there are moments when my sanity is tested. That’s when I walk away. Clearer heads prevail. Emotions, tend to get me in trouble and make matters worse.

God is able.

He alone is abundantly capable to heal our damaged lives while giving us the tools to gracefully co-exist in a multi-generational home.

When we as believers sit at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to lead us in this new life we can find rest, strength, wisdom, grace and every tool necessary to walk with the grace of Christ in the challenges we face.

Yes it’s possible.

No it’s not easy.

It’s a bumpy ride. This is life and family. Not the Instagram version. I’m talking about the dark side. Unspoken hopes. Old hurts resurfacing. Bad habits driving everyone bonkers. Tears, arguments, curse words. All of it.

Maybe you’re like us. Kids and parents are knocking on your door and you’re watching your freedom and empty-nest expectations evaporate right before your eyes and you’re wondering if you’ll ever have quiet again. Or maybe you’re the ones forced to go back home and it feels like failure.

What then?

Pray. In every conversation. In every moment, seek His wisdom and then do what He asks you to do. Sometimes He’ll take you out of your comfort zone to engage in challenging conversations. Sometimes the Lord may ask you to step out and pray openly for your family at the evening meal which may start a firestorm.

Good.

Just remember, God created families. He loves your family and wants your home to be filled with love, grace, joy and peace so that you may be the example of all the goodness of God to a waiting world that destroys and tears apart families.

I hope this encourages you today to remember God’s goodness in every part of your life, whether it is empty-nesting, feeling the squeeze of family members moving in or if you’re the one moving home.

May you take time to honor the Lord and thank Him for it all.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise!” ~ Psalm 111:10

Until next time,
Blessings and best wishes,

A Praying Momma – NOW!

Today is the day we suit up in prayer for our families, children and spouses.

This morning I was convicted by a video of a young man who reminded believers that the time was “NOW” to pray! “NOW” is the time to honor and revere the Lord! “NOW” is the time to be obedient to God and to wait on the Lord’s every command.

NOW!

This young man’s words shook me to the core. I’ve gotten comfortable in my prayer life. I know I’ve been lax and one day I will answer to the Lord for my failings.

I stand ashamed.

So much time has been lost. So many things I should’ve said, done, believed, acted on and said and yet I did nothing. Those moments are completely lost to me with one exception, they stand as reminders that I have a choice today; do the same as yesterday or turn and ask God for forgiveness, the strength to march forward in battle for our families and to create a burning desire to follow His every word.

So Momma’s, wives, sisters, daughters, aunties, grandma’s – women of the world, stop what you are doing if it is not of God’s design and turn. Turn back to God, NOW!

Pray for your own forgiveness. Accept His holy grace and stand up in faith, as prayer warriors for yourself and your family and friends.

The time is NOW!

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

Nothing will change the future like beseeching the hand of God to hold you close, change your ways and give you the power to stand in the gap for those you love. I’ve heard it said, “”if your prayers are not changing you, then change your prayers.

NOW! Is the time ladies.

Grab your bible, a journal and pen. Find a quiet spot and hit your knees in prayer. Fight for your families in prayer. Write their names down and lift them before the Lord, one by one, day after day and don’t give up simply because you can’t see what God is doing.

Have faith. Trust in God ALONE and lift your voice in thanksgiving and praise to our heavenly Father.

God’s word says: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~ John 5:16b

Ladies, you can do this. If you are reading this then I believe God has blessed us with the opportunity and heart to pray together. I encourage you this day, to let go of the past and start fresh this moment. Today. NOW!

I will join you. I will pray for you. God calls us to pray as one body and we are united through the blood of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

May our voices storm heaven on the behalf of our loved ones and those who need God in their lives. With shouts of thanksgiving and praise let us enter the presence of the Lord!

NOW!

Until next time, remember you are loved by the Father!
I am praying for you!

Who Are You?

Yesterday I was listening to Margaret Feinberg’s podcast, The Joycast session called “Get Out of Your Head” with Jennie Allen.

During the podcast Jennie Allen shares that she believes there are 3 core lies that we as humans tend to believe about ourselves at any given time:

  • I am unlovable
  • I am worthless
  • I am helpless

This really got me to thinking about my own life as a child and now as an adult and how those 3 little lies which carry so much weight and direct so many actions and have the ability to shape everyday decisions.

I mulled over what I heard in the podcast and really started asking myself, is this true? Do I navigate life from a place of a lie? My brain argued with my heart…yes…no…yes…maybe. Ultimately, the truth hit me hard.

Sometimes.

Being human is hard. Let’s face it. Years of old tapes, bad relationships and decisions compound our daily walk. And as always, satan is always whispering garbage in our ears.

It’s exhausting and downright defeating.

But I reasoned that since there’s at least a chance that I live my life from one of those 3 lies at any given time, and God warns us that satan does nothing but seek to kill and destroy our lives, then the best way to combat a lie is with God’s truth.

I needed to get to the bottom of the matter, if the world and satan constantly try to get me to believe that I am unlovable, unworthy or helpless, I had to ask “Lord, what is my truth?”

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” ~John 3:16

Seriously? I am loved that much? To have the Almighty Father, Maker of heaven and earth, sacrifice His Son, so that I might live?

Now that’s some serious love. And I must be worthy of that love.

Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who God is.

Mind-blowing! Unfathomably believable. I can scarcely wrap my brain around the truth of it all. God. In His infinite love for you and I gave us His Son’s life for ours so that we are able to commune with Him, fulfill our purpose with Him and sing His praises.

Oh the love of it all!

To think that I am loved that much, breaks me and absolutely crushes every. single. lie.

God says:

We are loved by the Father.

We are so precious and valuable to Him that no one and no thing can take us from Him.

And finally, ALL things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.

So take that, lies!

God has the first, last and every single word about our lives and nothing is farther from the lies than God’s truth!

Let that sink deep into your soul. Let the truth of God’s word cleanse every single lie from your life so you may begin again under the truth of God’s love for you. Then take the next step and walk in His purpose and truth for your life.

Until next time,

Really Lord…Tomato Plants?

I’d like to tell you about the goodness of God through the eyes of a newbie gardener.

Like many of you, because of the world we currently live in, I am planting a vegetable garden.

However, with thousands of folks trying to better prepare their pantries in case of a future rebound, plant starts are a bit scarce in these parts, even seeds are flying off the shelves.

But here’s the truth about God. He knows it all before anything ever happens in this world.

Including COVID.

I’m sure we all the felt a bit of anxiety with the news pounding out minute by minute fear. Stores shelves bare while there were mouths to feed.

As if COVID 19 wasn’t enough of a stressor in our lives, our adult sons trickled back home, bringing with them their own set of disappointments, fears and hungry bellies.

But by God’s grace our family saw the Lord’s incredible provision over and over.

Our family is in constant need of grace. We stumble in our walk with the Lord, sometimes falling completely flat on our face.

I say this to preface the story I’m about to share because I want to give God the glory for the blessings He chose to bestow on our little family. We didn’t deserve them. We didn’t earn them and we certainly needed His grace. For His love and provisions, we are changed and are forever grateful for these answered prayers that came in the shape of tomato plants.

Our small apartment did not lend itself to a garden plot so I turned to our neighborhood P-patch for gardening options. Honestly I didn’t hold out much hope of getting a garden plot because the growing season had already started and everything, I mean every plant start, seed packet was gone! Not a single green stem was to be found!

But… I prayed anyway, asking God to open up just 1 little garden spot.

How did He answer? The good Lord blessed us with 2!

Great! But what was I going to plant? Shelves were bare.

Seriously?! All I wanted were the staples: potatoes, tomatoes, green beans and maybe a zucchini plant.

I looked for weeks online and in every store, garden center and wholesaler in the area and couldn’t find anything, anywhere! I was about to give up when on a fluke, I walked into our local Co-Op and there, right by the front door were bushels of potato slips on sale! Amazing!

Trust me when I say, those little slips were in the ground immediately! But what about the other veggies I had hoped to plant; green beans, onions and tomatoes?

I prayed again. I figured “why not?” God heard my prayer about the potato slips, certainly He could hear my prayers for those too, right?

“Lord, can you please help? I’m guessing, 10 Roma plants will hopefully give us enough to can and get on our pantry shelves. Can you help Lord, there’s nothing anywhere.”

I waited.

Two weeks later, one of my residents family members ( I work in senior health care) stopped by the building to ask if anyone wanted tomato starts.

I jumped with glee!

“Absolutely I do!” I told her. A few days later, she stopped by with 2 huge crates full of tomato starts for our residents to plant in the community garden and for anyone else who wanted them.

Want to guess how many I was gifted?

Yep, 10!

Wanna take a guess as to which type?

Yep, Roma’s!

I tell y’all, God is so good and God does good.

Even when we are freaking out because an invisible giant hits our lives and threatens our very health and well-being. God is still good. Even down to tomatoes.

There isn’t anything God doesn’t already know about us and our hearts. He’s just waiting to hear from us.

What have I learned?

I needed to be more like the ants. Proverbs 6:6-11 tells us this,6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like being called a sluggard. But I was. I am.

I had taken for granted all of the conveniences around me, grocery stores open 24/7, restaurants at my disposal, every amenity I needed was close at hand.and I had gotten lazy because of the misnomer that I had a safety net for those “just in case” moments.

But thanks to COVID I realized just how much of a sluggard I really was!

I’ll admit, our family wasn’t prepared for the long-term emergency that caused world wide panic and depletion of everyday living supplies.

Through it all, God is teaching me that He provides. He provides the security, provisions, health, joy, peace and even tomatoes if only we would take the time to seek Him. Maybe you were like me, scared that the reality of being unprepared would directly impact the well-being of your family. It did impact us on a very real level which has caused The Hubs and I to make changes in our lives on many levels. First of which is our walk with the Lord.

Ya know, I’ve been a Christian my entire life. I’ve loved God from the beginning, even before I started going to church. But what this pandemic has shown me, is that maybe it wasn’t only our cupboards that were bare.

My heart and walk with Christ were also lacking. Sure I read my bible and went to church regularly, but did I actually put what I was being taught into action on a daily basis and not just during emergencies?

I’m ashamed to admit that the answer was a no, I was a spiritual sluggard. Those tough questions helped me to see my walk with Christ differently. I needed to be like the ants not only in my physical life but more importantly in my walk with God. I needed to ask myself and lay my heart open for Christ to bring to light where there was an opportunity for growth.

How about you? What is it that you need to share with the Lord? What is it that wells up fear and discord in your heart? Is it a feeling of anxiety, worry, lacking?

Friend, whatever it is, let me encourage you to God and He will provide. Maybe it’ll be in the form of the next meal, the next bill paid or maybe the next step in your walk. Whatever it is that is weighing on you I want to encourage you to take some time alone with the Lord. He is faithful to hear us in small ways and in large, physical and spiritual.

May you find God to be an abundant provider and your life filled to overflowing with His blessings and love.

Until next time,

Blessings & best wishes,

The Goodness and Sovereignty of God

This morning as I waited for our church’s online service to begin I scrolled through social media and one post in particular caught my eye because it mentioned God’s comfort for His people found in Isaiah 40.

In light of the COVID-19 virus and the high-alert we are living in at the moment, comfort seems to be in short supply lately.

Maybe that’s part of the problem. Our desire for our own comfort. In this day and age, our lives revolve around comfort. As I’m making dinner, I joke to my family about the commercials I see on tv because I am reminded that we are being programmed to believe it is our absolute right to sit on the couch, dial a number and wait to have, of all else, fast food, delivered to our doorstep.

Oh what a world we live in!

Convenience for convenience sake is mandatory.

Too tired to go through a drive-thru? No worries, push a button and 15 minutes later its at your doorstep.

Don’t want to lock your doors? That’s ok, an app connected to your home’s security system will do the trick.

What about cleaning? We’ve got you covered there too, a little programming and voila! your robotic sweeper will get your dust bunnies out the door before you ever step foot inside your home.

We are a people that demands ease. We crave it. We live for it. And frankly, I’m not so sure many of us really know how to live without it.

So when a pandemic hits out lives, our comfort is disrupted and complete chaos ensues.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against apps or programs that aid in our existence. But not to the extent that we forget who God is or worse, start believing that we are our own god. The captain of our own lives without recourse or accountability.

Yet, that’s where I think that’s the road we’re walking.

I for one, don’t want to join the masses.

Not joining in the crowds doesn’t mean my life isn’t effected by pain, heartache and viral pandemics. It is.

In fact, I work for a senior living, so yes, I’ve been living, working and navigating quarantines, fear-riddled residents and fielding nervous family members on how and what our facility is doing to keep everyone safe, all the while, washing my hands, sanitizing every surface and screening every delivery person that comes to the door.

And yet, I find myself at peace.

How is that possible? where does my comfort, peace and thanksgiving come from?

Only One. Jesus.

In fact, as I turned the pages of my bible to Isaiah 40, one verse in particular resonated with me this morning, Isaiah 40:11, “He tends His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”

Now maybe it’s because I am a momma and I love how we are told God carries us close to His heart. There is something so tender about these verses and knowing that God, in His infinite love, grace and wisdom, holds us, reminds me that we are loved by God the Father.

The imagery this verse conjures, for me is sweet, precious and tender. A gentle reminder that God is caring for us always. That He loves us so much that He tends to our needs, protecting us from danger, showing us the way to walk through this life in safety and trust in Him.

I am humbled to know that God carries me close to His heart. Just like a momma with her child, God is ever mindful of our every need and quick to provide.

Today I want to leave you with that image and His words of truth and promise.

We serve a mighty God. Our everlasting Savior and loving Shepherd looks out for us, now in this distressing time and always.

So dear friends, my prayer is this, may you rest in the arms of your Lord and Savior. Trust that He will carry you, lead you and provide for you as only He can because He knows you so well.

Until next time,
I am praying for you,

Center Of Your Life

We lived in Oklahoma for a dozen years. I absolutely loved that state!

The people were welcoming. The down home food made me feel like my grandma made it and the landscape was beautiful in its own right. Gentle rolling hills. Rocky crags to hike and climb and let’s not forget the weather.

For a mid-western born and raised gal, I loved the 4 seasons Oklahoma’s weather blasted at us. Yes, blasted. Nothing came at you sweet and easy. In Oklahoma, we’d tease, “You better hold on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!” When storm fronts would roll in.

The rain came down in sheets and pelt your windshield so hard, you’d have to pull over otherwise you’d risk hitting something, a car, a cement barrier, telephone pole, cattle. Yes, cattle. Trust me on this one.

And oh! The hail. Ugh! Don’t ever ask my husband about the damage done to his car one night when tornado warnings flashed in the area and he drove across town to pick up our youngest who was finishing a hockey practice. Let’s just say, after the golf ball sized hail pummeled his car for the 6 mile round trip to and from the hockey rink, his car looked like we’d drug it out of a junk yard! I think that was the first time I’ve seen a grown man cry!

Let’s not forget the winds. Oh mercy me! When the winds would whip across the plains my mom would joke that “they’d take your head off if you didn’t hold tight.” Seriously, 60-70mph winds would tear through the area causing flag poles to become spikes crashing through trees.

All this to say, that Oklahoma weather isn’t for the weak. We had crazy hot melt-your-brains summer temps. In the 100’s y’all! 100+’s!! One summer I thought we were all gonna start growing scales and turn into lizards, it got so hot! No kidding!

Needless to say, you’ve got to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Lots of protection, forethought, undercover parking is a must and plenty of air conditioning and heated seating, because yes, we had ice storms too!

I bring all of this up because this morning as I was reading Proverbs 7:2 ” Keep my commands and live, and guard my instructions as you would the pupil of your eye.”

I thought about living in Oklahoma’s harsh weather. We all know what it feels like to get an eyelash, or a piece of dust in our eye. But what if a sharp object comes flying at your eye during a stormy season, then what? What do we do to protect our sight?

See the analogy I thought of is that there are stormy seasons in our lives. Times when chaos is whipping through our lives. What then? How do we guard our thoughts, minds and hearts when life is unexpectedly painful?

I think this small verse reminds me to always be on guard.

I use to joke that the weather channel was a big deal in Oklahoma. Well it is! And so is the channel of our hearts. We need to always stay tuned to God’s word in preparation for whatever comes our way. Just like we keep a pair of sunglasses or a rain jacket or a snow shovel handy “just in case” its needed.

Preparation is key. We never know when life will take a turn for the worse. When a storm will show up, with winds of heartache shooting their painful debris into our lives.

God call us to…“keep His commands, live and guard His instructions.”

How do we make that happen in our lives? Oh that’s easy sisters. Spend time with God. In His Word. Daily. Hourly. Moment-by-moment. Make Christ your priority over everything else in your life.

Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. That’s opposite of what we’re told. Society tells us that we’re to be #1. Do our own thing. Make our own decisions. But how many times can you admit that a storm has whipped through your life and caught you completely unprepared and you crumbled? It’s happened to me more times than I care to admit.

But you see, God says just the opposite of society. God calls us to Himself. He invites us to spend time with Him, to know Him and to love Him with our hearts, souls and minds.

In doing so, it is God’s guarantee that when the storms of life hit our lives, and they will…we will be fully prepared. We won’t be left out in the cold, the hail, the pelting rain, the heat of our lives, alone. God is with us.

So dress accordingly ladies, there are bound to be stormy days ahead. Grab your bible, talk to God, share your heart and know the good Lord will see you through every single storm.

I’m praying for you sister. As always,

Blessings & best wishes,

A Place For Us

Last week during worship we sang Hillsong’s “Who You Say I Am”.

As my heart settled into worship the words washed over me until the following verse caught my attention, “In my Father’s house there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, yes I am.”

For most of my life I’ve lived under the cloud of not being enough, never fitting in and always living life on the outside. I’ve lived under the shroud of lies that has permeated my life like a slow release poison, tainting every area of my life.

The proverbial black sheep.

But the more I dig into my relationship with God, I can call a lie a lie.

God has a place for me. I have and always will have a place in His home.

Full acceptance.

How often does that happen in our lives?

I know my husband and kids love me. But I also I know that as much as I feel the same way about my family, I know despite my best intentions I hurt and disappoint them. Not so with God.

I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations or demands.

With God, I can simply be me.

There’s no striving, working hard for approval or tip-toeing around Him because I’ve made a mistake.

I am enough, just as I am. The Lord made me, knew me before I was ever born and His Son Jesus died for the love of me.

There’s a place for me, in my Father’s house.

I love those words of promise. They help to heal the brokenness left behind by my own earthly father.

Yes, I loved my earthly father, I’ve shared in earlier stories that I was a daddy’s girl. But for as much as I loved him, too often I was met with words of criticism. Words that left no doubt that I’d disappointed him in some way.

For instance, I remember on my high school graduation night, I was so excited. I had worked hard, won many achievements and was thrilled to be walking across the stage to grab my diploma and embrace the next step in my future. I was so proud.

I turned to my dad in my excitement and said, “I can’t wait to walk across that stage!”

My dad’s response, with a stoic look on his face was, “Ya know, if you’d only worked harder you could’ve been valedictorian.”

I was devastated.

I had studied so hard in my pre-med classes, struggled just to get a passing grade in math class and worked tirelessly to earn seating in the top 3% of my class.

For nothing. My dad was ashamed of me.

Now maybe in his own way, he was trying to say that he thought I was capable of more. And maybe he wanted more for me. I don’t know.

What I do know is that in those brief moments I went from feeling proud, excited and happy to worthless.

For years, I tried so hard to win his approval, garner his blessing with the choices, directions and steps I was taking in my life, only to hear over and over the same sentiment, “Amy, you’re not good enough.”

Breaking free from those lies has taken a lot of effort. You see, folks can tell you that you’re wonderful, but deep down, there’s little voice that condemns, ridicules and laughs at you each time you try to believe otherwise.

Until God steps in and changes things.

I’ve been walking with God my entire life. So you’d think that His promises would’ve broken the chains of lies years ago. Maybe they should have. I don’t think I was willing to accept His truth, out of fear and doubt that they were for me.

It wasn’t until I lost my dad last year, was I able to really hear God’s truth about my life.

Sometimes those we love the most are the ones who either intentionally or unintentionally hurt us the worst. Their words, innuendos, sarcasm can leave lasting scars that I believe only God can truly heal.

We don’t have to stay in the past, repeating the lies in our minds and hearts, making it a mantra that should never be placed on us.

Instead we can choose to listen, embrace and accept God’s truth.

We are loved by our Holy precious Father. We have a place in His house, with Him. Forever. In His eyes, we are His beloved children, washed clean from sin because of His son Jesus.

I want to encourage you to really listen to the words of this song, let them sink deep into your soul, healing it from any lies you were told and making room for the truth that there is a place for you in your Father’s house.

Until next time friend, you are loved by God.