At this season of the year, do not be afraid

“The angel of the Lord said to her, “Do not be afraid.” Luke 1:30

Do you mark certain passages in your Bible? Can you highlight on your phone Bible app? I don’t know.  I haven’t really read the Bible on my phone, even though I downloaded an app a few weeks ago so I could better relate to my younger mom friends!  I’m just used to my “real” Bible! The one I can hold in my lap and underline with a real pen!

underlined Bible

Lately I’ve been underlining the phrase that the angels kept saying right off the bat to the one they were sent to give a Godly message-“Do not be afraid.”

God sent the angel Gabriel to give Mary a very important, life-changing message and after he greeted her, he said, “Do not be afraid.” Mary was greatly troubled by this being suddenly appearing and talking directly to her. Troubled? I’d be so knotted up in fear I wouldn’t be able to respond. And the angel dares to tell her not to be afraid?

An angel appeared to Joseph, whom Mary was betrothed to be married, in a dream and the first words out of the angel’s mouth were, “Do not be afraid…..”

The angels in the heavens over the shepherds the night Mary had her miraculous baby named Jesus were also told not to be afraid.

Something totally unexpected happens in the life of these people and they are told not to be afraid. Right. Of course they were afraid. Startled. Terrified. Perfectly human response!

But I’m thinking that the reason for the admonition to be unafraid is that once their adrenaline died back down to normal so they could think, they were encouraged to consider the message. Yes, it was clearly unorthodox. Mary was told she was going to have a baby but not from Joseph and not from any other man.  Joseph was to take Mary, knowing she was pregnant but not by him but by a Holy Spirit, whatever that was. The shepherds were told to go worship the Messiah who was just born as a baby in a feed trough there in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary had to rely on what they knew from their Jewish teaching that Jehovah was indeed their God and they were to trust in Him and how He was moving.

Later, when Jesus gave final instructions to His disciples on the night of the Passover meal, He told them “when I go away the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Then He said to them,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25-27

peace I give to you

This passage is not only underlined but held close to my heart. I have to return to this passage over and over because the enemy likes to tell me otherwise.

To so many of us, including me, this seems to be the season of “get it all done as soon as you can while still maintaining some semblance of normalcy in the home;” or,  the season of “I must do something tangible for everyone I know right now so they’ll think nice of me and because this is what we do at this time of year only.”

Somewhere along the way, the “Should-a finger” begins to wag. You know, that ugly nagging old finger; the enemy uses the “should-a finger” when we crash in to bed at the end of a very busy day and the “should-a finger” begins to accuse. You should-a done it this way-the way you saw it done on Pintrest or the way your friend does it- her decorating, her baking, her outdoor decorations, and those lovely Christmas cards of all the family dressed exactly alike and smiling. How DID they get that baby to smile on cue???

The world, including a whole lot of well-meaning Believers, gets caught up in all the hoop-la. They just have to decorate, send out cards, bake, all while carrying on the normal routine of their lives. When you enter their inner world, their bedroom, their closet, their kitchen, their heart, you’ll see cracks and crevices of not-put-togetherness. Trust me.

And that’s when I have to run to my treasure trove of Scripture such as the one in Isaiah 26:3.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Thee, because they trust in Thee.”

Perfect peace. His peace. That peace He promised that would not look like the world.

Yes, I have to make the conscious decision to move away from the accuser and in to the Truth of what Jesus promised. To the Word. And truly, I’m put at ease when I dwell on Jesus. That’s what He wants us to do! He is not a religion! He is not a plastic or ceramic baby doll in a manger at this busy season. He’s real and wants us to trust in the promise of His peace. So I do. And experience the reality of His peace.

So what does leaning in to the perfect peace of Jesus look like?

On Wednesday evening a couple of moms and their children came over for chili and cornbread. I had stressed over having enough for whoever came, thinking surely more were coming. They just had not taken the time to let me know. But once the moms came, in my spirit I gave the evening entirely over to the Lord. What He had in mind was exactly what transpired. Time with a couple of moms who needed to pour out their heart; and time to pray. No frills, gifts, or fanfare.

Listen. All the extra giving and card giving and crafts and baking are not bad in or of themselves. But all this can be distracting us from focusing on who Jesus is and why He came. Distractions are definitely one of the enemy’s greatest tricks.  The enemy also delights in posing as the “should-a finger” causing in us that over wrought feeling of not accomplishing all that should be done at this season.

“Don’t be afraid to simplify. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart and……be thankful” Colossians 3:15.

Thankful for the reason we go crazy at this time of year. Take a few minutes each day and say, “Lord, I lean in to Your peace today. I choose to rely on You this day. Help me to rest in You no matter what. Thank you, Lord!” Then, you’ll be a blessing to those around you as you experience His peace. It will come over you in a beautiful profound way. I guarantee it.

Do not be afraid to lean in to the Father this year.

Do not be afraid to let go of those things that really aren’t important.

Do not be afraid to say no. Not this year.

Do not be afraid to give thanks; out loud; multiple times a day!

Do not be afraid to give out smiles and hugs and love to others.

Do not be afraid to receive. Do not be afraid to give.

To Him be the glory. Amen.


The Kindness of God

children being kind

“The Lord’s loving-kindnesses indeed never cease; For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB

Who knows the story of a young man whose name is fun to say? Do you know anything about Me-phib-o-sheth? Check out Second Samuel 9. Or…..just keep reading! 🙂

King David began wondering if there were any relatives in the house of Jonathan, Saul’s son, who was also David’s very best friend; his covenant friend. Truth be told, as the king of Israel, it would have been within the culture of the day for him to kill off all the blood family from the previous dynasty. But David didn’t inquire so he could go kill them. He asked so he may show the kindness of Jonathan his friend.

The king summoned Ziba, the servant of Saul’s household. (By the way, the new king was also allowed to slay all the previous king’s servants–they hear and keep family secrets, too!). Ziba  may have quaked a bit in his dusty sandals as he fell prostrate to the floor of the palace. David gave the kingly sign for him to rise and answer him.

“Is there anyone still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” asked King David.

“There is one son of Jonathan; and by the way, he is lame in both feet,” answered Ziba. “He is Mephibosheth, living in Lo-debar.”  David had Mephibosheth brought to the palace from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth bowed low before the King. After all, he knew what David the King was allowed to do. He was aware this could be the end of his life. He was in for a total surprise.

“Don’t be afraid,” said the King. You can stop quaking in your sandals now.

“I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.” Kindness?? But I’ve been living/hiding in Lo-debar all these years!  A dry and parched land! Hey! In case, you’ve not noticed–I’m the lame son. No one thinks I can do anything so I just subsist in Lo-debar where nothing is growing!

“I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul.” Wow. That’s a lot of land! What are you up to?

“And you will always eat at my table.” The king’s table? Here? In Jerusalem? My crippled no good feet under the table of the king? Forever? Who are you?

Mephibosheth most likely had never heard the history his dad Jonathan and this king David had with one another. He didn’t know that his dad and the king had made a covenant with one another that stretched all the way into their descendants forever. (First Samuel 20). They made a pact with one another; a binding covenant between them and the Lord God that they would not cut off the Lord’s lovingkindness from one another’s houses-from all their descendants forever.  David kept that promise that day when he had Mephibosheth brought to his palace.

David was a promise keeper.

As we, in the intimate gathering of our church, were asked to ponder this story in II Samuel 9 in yesterday’s service, the pastor challenged us to call out what part of the story jumped out at us. One member directed us to verse 3 where David said he wanted to show God’s kindness. In verse one David asks his servants if there was anyone in the house of Saul he could show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. The pastor reminded us that indeed both David and Jonathan had made a covenant between them and the Lord to show the Lord’s lovingkindness to one another’s descendants forever.

Mephibosheth did indeed move to Jerusalem where he dined at the table of the King for the rest of his life. Surely they had quite the discussions of their lives and the memories shared of Jonathan. Perhaps David described his day with Goliath; or he quoted some of his poetry from his writing days–those poems he sang as songs to the Lord–the Psalms in the middle of our Bibles.

But the Lord spoke to my heart later that afternoon. I wondered if Mephibosheth ever thanked David for bringing him up out of Lo-debar; out of the parched land into the palace for the rest of his life. The story was not about whether he thanked David. The story was about David showing God’s kindness to the last living descendant of the house of Saul. It was about David keeping his promise not only to Jonathan but to God. It was about God’s lovingkindness being shown to an undeserving young man. A man who was and would always be lame in both feet.

I had to get on my knees and ask God to forgive me. He gently reminded me that I had longed in my heart for some friends to thank me for their gifts I had given last Christmas. And when would they be giving me a gift? After all…..

The Lord disciplined me in my spirit after this message on David showing God’s lovingkindness. In giving gifts this year–whether to family, friends, ministries, strangers, it is always about showing God’s lovingkindness–not ever ours. Then it is a true God-given- no-strings-attached gift. Do you see? If the story mentioned that Mephibosheth had expressed thanks, then the story would be more about a man being kind to another man. No.

This story was about God being kind to an undeserving man. God being kind to us undeserving folks.seeking human kindness

 He shows lovingkindness to those of us living in the dry and parched no good land like Lo-debar. It’s what He does. This story and the Lord’s kind discipline to his daughter has reminded me that this year when I give it’s from His love. God’s lovingkindness always.’Tis the season to give from the heart of kindness. God’s kindness.

Lord, every single story in the Bible is for a purpose. Thank you for reminding me of Your lovingkindness shown to an undeserving young man; thank you for your gentle discipline to my heart. Giving to others as you so generously gave to me Your Son Jesus who died for my sins. Thank you, Lord, for your lovingkindness never ceases. Amen.

Say it boldly……the Most High is my refuge!

Psalm 91:1


Two nights ago I found myself on the freeway coming home from seeing my mom just as Focus on the Family came on the radio. Since it was Patriot Day, they featured a story of a survivor of 9/11.

Stanley Praimnath had an office on the eighty-second floor of one of the Twin Towers. That morning before coming to work he spent some time in prayer, but it seemed he had something heavy on his heart. He prayed for protection. He prayed, as usual, for his wife and children, but with a heavier heart that morning.

When he got to work he began receiving calls from various family members asking if he was okay. Sure I’m okay, he assured them, puzzled. He had no idea the first tower was  hit by an airplane. Not right away. Suddenly he realized he needed to get out of his building. He told a co-worker that they needed to head out of the building and go home. They entered the elevator and reached the ground floor and walked out the building when a security guard said all was well. Go back to work. Stan told his co-worker to go home–take the day off. She did. And never regretted it.

He walked back into the elevator. He rode back up to the eighty-second floor and got off. Not many minutes later his building shook and lights went off. He screamed for the Lord to bring someone to help him. The Lord did–Brian Clark. With a flashlight! Together they crawled out of the rubble from a plane having hit their building and walked down to the ground floor. But not before Stan asked the man to join him in prayer. Despite the fact that Brian thought Stan was crazy to take time to pray, they did.

Just as the two men made it safely across the street amid flying debris and shards of glass, the plane exploded causing the entire building to implode.

Only later did Stan go to Psalm 91:1 – 9/11 and read, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” He said, he knew because he believed and prayed before going down all those flights of stairs that his God was with he and Brian.

Yesterday I reread all of Psalm 91 and camped on verse 9.

“If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you; no disaster will come near your tent.”

The writer is committing his will; making a claim – If I claim that the Lord is my Most High God and I make Him my dwelling…..then God also makes a promise–no harm will overtake me; no disaster will come near my tent. If/then statement. IF I say and IF I make Him my God, THEN He does His part. To be clear…..God ALWAYS keeps His end of the bargain! He is known to protect and provide even when His people did not claim Him as their God! Even when they whined! (read Exodus)

Why did this phrase jump out at me? I’ve read this Psalm for years. This is another reason I love reading the Bible over and over–He shows me new messages in familiar passages. He makes all things new.

The Lord is showing me that we have to do our part; we have to believe that God is who He says He is. We have to make Him part of our lives–He doesn’t push Himself. We have to make, choose, commit, SAY He is my dwelling place. He is MY Most High God!

I have a deep peace in my spirit when I say He is my Most High because I KNOW He keeps His end of the promise! He will never leave nor ever forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Folks say they are for this sports team, this political party, this church group, this club. they are claiming allegiance to that group of people. I say I’m bi-churchal. I claim allegiance to two churches these days as we are sometimes in town and sometimes at our beach home, but we worship on the weekends somewhere no matter what.

The news may say folks were lucky. But we know better. So many people think or say, well, you were lucky or unlucky when Hurricane Harvey hit our region. Now. I have no idea why some got water in their homes and some did not. I don’t know why so I don’t ponder that. I leave that question in the Most High’s hands. The point is, friends, as we go about our days we make that proclamation out loud that the Lord God Almighty is the one who protects us. He is our dwelling place in all circumstances.

The more I say it, the bolder I am in my faith walk. And the enemy–the one who wants to enter my spirit and create doubt, discouragement, and despair, and who can do it well, has no foothold in my mind which is where the battle takes place.

Take a stand today and say “The Lord is my refuge, I will MAKE the Most High my dwelling.”

The Psalms of David are personal song poems to his Lord. We have permission to make them personal to us. So we boldly say out loud, the Lord is my refuge! Amen and amen!

Let us not give the enemy any room in our minds!

We may have escaped the flood waters; our home saved from the fires, or escaped the hurricane force winds. We can say thank you, Lord. Maybe the battle is depression, anxiety, grief or doubt; the loss of a loved one; financial issues; PTSD. There are a myriad of hard places we can be in our lives.

The Lord knows. Count on it. The Lord knew Stan was in a tough place. Stan called on his God. And God delivered him. Call on the Lord today and make Him known.

How He loves to be acknowledged that He is the one who is taking care of you; the One who brought you through the hard time. Not luck. Ever.

Now go out with His joy and be led forth in His peace.

It Matters Not the Size

“….Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40

She held up a onsie with a bordered pink lace tutu.

Just darlin’ we chimed in.onsie with tutu two

Our pastor prayed over the mountainous piles of donated clothes,

“Lord, bless each person who comes to get what his family needs.”

A faithful church member gathered us in a holy huddle

Before we left to make home deliveries.donations

“Lord, bless each life these ladies touch.

Watch over them with Your faithful love.”

Dirty hands and sweaty t-shirt;

Her genuine smile captured my heart.

We handed her a bag of bleach, masks, and trash bags;

A bunch of snacks and a bottle of water.

Our energetic ministry leader embraced her,cleaning supplies

whispering in her ear,

“God bless you, Sweet Child.”

Rows of turkey, ham or peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch bags

For the cleaning crew.

My new found Sister-in-Jesus prayed over the lunches

As the crew entered the building.

Lord, use these sack lunches to nourish

These precious brothers and sisters from out of town!

Thank you for bringing them here to help us!

Bless them!”

Retired from teaching but always a teacher,school supply room

She learns an abandoned school building is now home to the flooded school.

She was led to the new supply room to organize by Monday when school starts.

While sorting and shelving donations, she prayed;

“Lord, bless these wonderful teachers in this their new dwelling for the year.

Bless the children who now have a dry safe place to learn.”

My mentor friend and her husband mucked out homes til she was about to drop.mucking out a home one

Sweet single moms served hot meals to displaced families.


My friend had family emergencies.

She prayed.

My mother, stuck in her second floor

apartment, hemmed in by flood waters, felt

useless. Until she prayed.women praying together four

A onsie or a word;

A meal or a prayer;

Manning the lunch table or driving a delivery truck;

All are needed;

Prayed over;


All in the name of Jesus.

It is a joy to pray for you!

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16women-talking-together

Similar to William Faulkner’s “streams of thought” style of writing many of his southern based novels, it seems my latest journal could just as easily be classified  as “streams of unfocused thoughts”. One page entitled “People who need jobs, Lord” lists six folks; a mix of moms, their adult children, my best friend of twenty plus years, and another friend’s son. I stumbled on this page while thumbing through my journal last night. As I reread the list, I recalled jotting down their names over the summer when each precious friend called to ask for prayer for them or their children to get a job very soon. (Securing a job is always an urgent request). Now, with great exhilaration, I wrote beside five of the six names – WORKING! Next to the sixth name I put – still looking.

As a mentor to four moms from our single mom ministry at church these past three years, it has been the joy of my heart to pray for them and then to witness God’s hand in their lives. But over this past summer the Lord showed me that He doesn’t always answer the way I wanted Him to answer.

Last January I made a solemn commitment to a friend that I would pray for her in her current job position every single day; we were praying for a job change, to be quite honest. She was in a place where her supervisor was not seeing my friend’s true potential or how hard she was working in other areas, even as she was documenting those favorable areas and trying to put her best foot forward. In the wisdom of our Depression era fathers, she did not resign her position. Instead, when the time came for her to search, she did with great abandon, and came up empty. At the end of the job searching time she returned to her position, as did her supervisor to hers.

This summer I had the privilege to be with my friend in her home town for about four days as she recuperated from a surgery. While there, over breakfast one morning, the Holy Spirit seemed to speak to my heart what my friend needed to hear.

“You know,” I said softly to her, leaning in, “you may be in this position to build some character in your supervisor. Maybe you being here in this position is not about you but about those around you. Perhaps the Lord is keeping you here to show Himself to the others in your realm of influence through you. What if this seeming unanswered prayer in our eyes is God gently letting you know He isn’t finished molding your character in this hard place?” She listened. She agreed. Her faith is deepening. Always grateful.

When God doesn’t answer the prayers of our heart the way we want (and what a small circle of vision we have!!) it is not a time for us to turn our back on Him, tempted as we are, but rather a time to say, with open hands, whatever you have in mind, Lord. You see the full tapestry of my life. I just see this tiny space with the little flashlight pointed at the ground just in front of me. You see way on out there; the other folks in my life; the new opportunities for reaching new folks coming into my life with your love.

What about the answers to prayers of the others on the list?

One mom resigned a position she had held for three years, but burned no bridges. Therefore, a colleague was able to highly recommend her to a gentleman in a related business and offered her a 50% higher salary than what she was making! She is well aware the whole transaction was ALL GOD!

Another mom on the list also didn’t burn any bridges. She waited all summer while God moved some other people such as a new principal in place who didn’t know this mom’s previous semester at the school as a student teacher. Her colleagues put in a very good word for her. She got the call shortly before school started to come on board as a third grade teacher! Her own children are right down the hall in first and fourth grades! Praise the Lord!

In witnessing all the stories this summer of God moving in the lives of these precious sisters in Christ, my own faith has deepened. I’ve learned that when asked to pray I pray. I don’t solve, fix, whine, or worry over the situation. I go back to the true word of God and say back to my Lord, you said you would provide. You said You will never leave or forsake these Your children. You know the end from the beginning and you know best what their individual needs are. So, I give you this prayer need and say “AMEN!” in agreement! You have my sister in Christ and you are already taking good care of her! Thank you!

Lord Jesus, it is a joy to pray for others and an even greater joy to witness your answers, resting in the knowledge that you know the best answer to each person’s needs. Help us all to remember how much you love us and desire to draw us closer to You in all aspects of our lives. In Your name, Lord, Amen.




What I learned on vacation


“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

Mentoring doesn’t take a vacation. It doesn’t happen on “Mary Kay time”–nine to nine.

No, mentoring happens when it’s needed.

This week two moms were in need. One evening I received an epistle on my phone. This mom’s twenty-something son was giving her some grief.  His issues were not going to be solved over texting. One of us, I forget who, punched in the number. I put down my book about the nation of Israel and its rebirth, turned off the music and listened. You know, she told me in a nearly desperate sounding voice, I wish I had someone to sit on the edge of the bed with me and tell me I was doing the right thing with this kid. That kind of support would mean so much.

Thankfully, my Beloved mentors with me through prayer, advice and fix-it skills. In the middle of this week of vacation, he drove up the driveway to vacation with me. After he did a little fishing, he and I had a conversation with this mom, encouraging her decisions and her heart. Before the week was over, she sent me a less long text saying that her son had been offered a job and that the repairs on his truck were not as high as she thought. Though still dealing with some other troubling issues, his mom sees again the working of God in their lives and how He provides faithfully.

Our other mom texted some needs for prayer. Because she was working, her messages came less often. Still my husband and I prayed. Knowing this mom was so anxious about having to be at work and away from her daughter in crisis, I sent her an email, reminding her of how huge God is. He is overseeing her daughter as well as her dad who is with her;

God is over her, mom. I reminded her that when she prays for her daughter, she is really shooting up an AMEN! to God in agreement with His moving and taking care of what she can’t handle.

That’s right. We fix-it moms believe we are responsible for taking care of our children, which means being there for all their needs; intervening in the choices they make; and holding ourselves responsible for their mistakes and poor choices. After all, we believe, it’s our fault for their messes. We gave birth to them so surely we are responsible for every little thing they do.

What, Moms, is God’s purpose! To be aloof? To form the mountains, the oceans, set the sun and moon in motion then go away? To form the child in your womb and let you handle the child from there? What a false belief!

True, we are given these children to raise to the best of our responsibility but not alone!

With or without a husband, we moms would be better off when we live out the truth that God, who formed the mountains as well as that baby in your womb will be a part of your everyday life.

But He is not a God who pushes Himself on any of us! We invite Him into our home and by faith we say, God, take this young man, this young lady, and mold them in to the young people you have designed them to be. Help them through the choices they make. Be there with them when they are hurting and missing a dad, when they are doubting that anyone loves them, that they hurt so deep that they want to hurt themselves. Remind them, God, that they are made for a purpose – to give Him glory. Moms, we must get a hold of the truth that God wants us to let go and let Him take care of our young people.

 Mentors, we are most useful when we do listen to our moms, hearing their torn and broken heart.

We do well to shed a little light on the less perfect road we have traveled in raising our own children, validating to our moms that we are real and have hurt too. Intentionally, and because our moms are yearning to be reminded of what is truth, we share God’s promises with them.

 The daughter’s mom appreciated the fact that I told her I had been in the psych hospital with one son; had waited in the ER while he dried out from an overdose. I knew the pain she was experiencing with a child who hurt so deep that she wanted to hurt herself. And I reminded her that there wasn’t much I could do but pray.

Lean hard in to the truth that Jesus wants so much to bring me His peace.

(John 14:27).

 So I shared with her that as much as you want to fix your young lady, continue to make her aware of the truths from God’s word that she is beautifully made. It’s up to her to own those truths and believe in them and not the lies of the world and the enemy. I reminded mom that when she leans in to the truth that Jesus is her peace, (John 16:33) she can be a better mom when she relaxes in His presence and releases her anxiety and gives her daughter completely to Him.

Easy to do? Surely not. But true? Absolutely. The God of the universe is ready and willing to take care of every detail of our lives.

We need to step away in faith and trust that he is who he says he is and then watch and see what he does with our children!

My son, the one who spent a week or so in the hospital, is working and paying his bills and has a hope in the Lord that He is taking care of him. The son’s mom is again marveling at how God is taking care of an undeserving son – are any of us deserving? That story is for another time.

557Meanwhile, when not texting my moms, I did have a glorious time on vacation!

Heavenly Father, thank you for not giving up on us, your fallen children. Comfort, Lord, our moms; give them your perfect peace and remind them often of how much you love them. In Your precious name, Amen

Resource: Organic Mentoring by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann


A mindset shift change…it’s up to you

Let the peace of Christ RULE/REIGN in your heart (MIND) and BE  THANKFUL!

Colossians 3:15

Two urgent requests:

Let Christ be master over your mind.

Practice that attitude of gratitude.

How does this work? That’s right. It’s work! It’s intentional living.

The other day I was invited to spend a week in the home of a pit bull who had made himself King of his Kingdom.  I had to learn to win over this animal with teeth and a growl by squelching the fear that had consumed my entire body (we had had an awkward introduction). I needed see him not as a monster, but as this over sized toddler with teeth who would rather lick your makeup off if you were willing. At first the two safe places were the guest room and the front porch, but walking through the rest of the house was a lesson in overcoming fear and playing by his rules. Give me a treat and I’ll let you walk through the house without nipping at your heels or jumping and biting your hands, he seemed to say. Easier said than done but I chose to overcome this fear and physically face it down by forcing myself to let this dog take a treat from my hand. pit bullThe second morning, as I was sitting in the guest room, feeling quite trapped, I turned to Psalm 88. It was the next Psalm in my personal reading. I read the first two verses:

“Lord, You are the God who saves me; (from this pit bull!)

Day and night I cry out to You. (not one bit of sleep that first night!)

May my prayer come before You; (please hear me!!)

Turn your ear to my cry.” ( I’m begging You!)

I prayed those words of David over and over and sensed His incredibly real presence in the room with me. I would survive this week with my friend and neither the dog nor my fear would rein in my spirit. Later, on the front porch, I read all my favorite verses on peace–Christ’s peace and soak in this truth that Christ came to overcome my fear–to comfort me in all things. I lived it out–not just read these as platitudes in the Bible. By the fourth day, the pit bull and I were on friendlier terms and by the time I was to fly home, I had grown a bit fond of the playful toddler on four legs. Christ had won.

The following week my husband told me he had some inner fears of how an inspection on his shop might go. He remembered all the years that the Lord God had taken care of him at the shop, protecting him, providing a living for his family, keeping him and his workers safe and he told himself, that even if the inspection did not pass, God would still take care of him. He prayed. He texted me to pray and then he gave it to the Lord. The inspection passed.

What do you do when something threatens to paralyze you with fear? Do you pack your things and head for a hotel? I had seriously considered it! Do you stay holed up in the guest room? Or throw down a sleeping bag on the front porch? You know who has won when you entertain those thoughts and act on them, don’t you? Fear does.

Everyone has a fear of something or someone or some circumstance. And everyone has a way out–calling on the Lord to sustain you, overcome you with His presence and calm the fear in your body and mind.  Choose to call on Him.  Choose to get in to the Word of God, focusing on those passages that speak to you. Underlining and meditating on them helps you to remember them and where they are in your Bible.

Call on Him or to lift your voice and cry out to Him. He wants to rescue you! He wants to relieve you of the fear and give you His abundant joy and His peace that truly passes all understanding. And when He does and you realize it, then BE THANKFUL! Give thanks to the Lord! Speak His name and thank Him aloud and recognize it was Him who took care of you.thankful heart

These verses may calm your fear, as they have mine:

John 14:27-peace I leave with you….

Proverbs 14:30-a heart at peace gives life to the body….

Isaiah 26:3-your mind at perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You…

John 16:33-in Me you have peace….

Go out with JOY! Be led forth in His PEACE!

When I run, I feel His presence

woman running on the beach

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” Matthew 18:20

While laying there in the foot reflexology, my feet receiving the much needed massage, piping through the speakers I recognized the theme from the movie “Chariots of Fire.” My mind heard Olympic runner, Eric Liddel say, “When I run, I feel His presence.” The quote wouldn’t leave me. When do I feel His presence, I wondered.

Some suppose I “feel His presence” while walking the beach near our home.They would assume, after all, you’re there every weekend! Truth be told, I do feel Him with me, so leaning in I hear His word. And I respond.

women in Bible StudyBut every Wednesday evening from six to eight o’clock I know He is in the midst of our women as we fellowship and hear teaching from God’s Word. We listen, we share, we pray, we ponder and question together. We mentor moms leave, hearts overflowing with gratitude, confident we experienced His presence in our young moms’ faces, in their questions, their laughter, in their total countenance. He was in that vast room filled with round tables and chairs comforting, hugging, hearing, and seeing each one of their souls. If they sauntered in the room, heavy with weariness or sadness, they left with a lilt in their step. Sometimes, they didn’t want to leave. Neither did we. But we were bone tired. Poured out as a drink offering, my sweet friend would remind me.

What drives me to fellowship with these single moms each week? I could be home watching Netflix! I was one of these women in the sense of broken dreams and heartache three decades ago. My husband left me for his career in another state. Determined not to let him drive me to despair, I headed straight into the church office of a pastor I enjoyed on the radio and inquired about their single’s program. God lost no time in providing a job, a healthy single’s group, and best of all, Doris.women in Bible Study two

Doris, in her quirky, self deprecating way, lived a wonderful Christ-centered life that was fun!!! And with her loving me out of despair into wonder, I did feel His presence! Thank you, Doris!

You will read more of Doris in coming blogs. Today just know it’s time to feel His presence …….at the beach!

Father, as I lean in to you, may you speak to my heart what You know best I need to hear. Thank you! In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




Eyes off Your Troubles. Focus on Him


sunset one

“Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” Matthew 6:34

There are those days when our feelings dominate our beliefs. Right? In this culture of “if it feels good, do it” mentality, our beliefs tend to get tossed out the window and we camp on our fleeting feelings to carry us through our days.

That’s exactly what happened to those disciples. Mark 6 tells the story of Jesus and his disciples trying in vain to have a mini retreat to mourn the loss of John the Baptist who had just been killed.

Scene One:  Jesus invited them to get in the boat and push off to a lonely place and rest. But the people, not knowing of their grief, followed them, wanting a moment of time and teaching from Jesus. So Jesus brought them together on a grassy knoll to teach and heal them. The crowd grew hungry and they forgot to bring lunch. Jesus instructed those weary disciples to feed them. They found five loaves and two fish.

Right before the disciples’ eyes, Jesus fed over five thousand people with that small offering. Catch this. Before Jesus gave the food to the disciples to give out to the people, He lifted his head to heaven and blessed the food. All the power that Jesus poured out came straight from His heavenly Father, the Provider. Jesus’ provider  became the people’s Provider. Was this act lost on the disciples? Apparently.

Scene Two:  Jesus tried again to send His beloved tired disciples out on the boat “to a lonely place” to retreat. To rest and to breathe. Jesus hung back to say good-bye to the last stragglers trudging back to their homes, filled.

The seasoned fishermen seemed to be over their heads that night, straining with the oars, the wind was so powerful. After midnight, with the storm still raging, they spotted a ghost out on the water! Scared out of their wits, they screamed and hollered. Basically, they panicked. Jesus, the ever calm one, said to the frantic men,

storm with Jesus

“Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.”

As soon as He entered the boat, the storm abated. They breathed and just stared at Jesus, wondering, not about what just happened, but who was this man?

The next verse says, “for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:52)

Take away:  As I was pondering this, some of my single moms come to mind who have told me their concerns about whether they would be able to provide for their family. A job is on the line, they are laid off right now,  struggling with some bills, feeling desperate, tired and sometimes alone. Such very real concerns. But this story said a few things to me about how similar we all are to the very human disciples.

The disciples had left their jobs and families to travel the countryside with this prophet who had called them. And just recently, they had been hit with the news of a dear friend, John the Baptist, who had been brutally killed. Jesus, knowing they all needed some rest and some time away from the crowds sent them away on the boat.

But LIFE happened.

 The crowds demanded their attention. They all had to press through their weariness, their grief, and minister. Again. But Jesus also showed them His Father’s provision at the meal when he fed all those people. He knew the crowd wouldn’t get the deeper message that He provided the food.

After that miracle, Jesus once again, showed His power over the creation by calming the storm in front of His disciples. Why?

To show them that He provides. He protects. He is God.

 I know. We’re all like the disciples. Spell it out for us, Jesus. So, you provided for my family so far. You’ve put food in our bellies all last year and the year before. But today, Jesus, it is different. This job doesn’t pay enough and I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep providing for my family. Jesus, I’m tired. I’m lonely.

We all have these times when we are leaning into our feelings and forget to lean into our beliefs about who Jesus is and how He has been providing. He has been our strength. He has protected. He will not stop.

 What do we do? Trust. Breathe and remember who this Jesus is whom we say we believe in and lean into Him. Fully. Right now.

Personal example: Last week we mentors thought we were going to have to meet in the same community building as the rowdy young cub scouts on Wednesday nights. Even though they are assigned the bigger room, our two smaller rooms off to the side of the big room was not going to be large enough for the number of moms and their children we were expecting.

Had we prayed over this change in rooms? You better believe it! And then we reluctantly left it up to the Lord, trusting more in His name and character than in our distraught feelings. And we went on with our lives

I met a gentleman Tuesday afternoon when I went to see those two rooms again and try to visualize how we would manage. He greeted me at the entrance of the community building and when he heard about the single moms ministry, he suggested I talk to the church receptionist one more time and explain that the cub scouts would truly be dominating in size and sound each Wednesday night.

I returned to the receptionist with fellow mentors who met me in the parking lot, and she graciously put us back in our room upstairs along with the room next door for our children this fall. We thanked her profusely. She had realized she could give us those spaces and still have spaces for new adult Bible Studies that would be taking place the same night.

“You have not ’cause you ask not” Lonnie Hayter, Baptist Student Union Director in the dark ages of the 70’s at Baylor University!

adult arms lifted

Believing in and trusting in HIM.

Our provider. No matter what.

Eyes off our circumstances. Focus on Him.

“He must increase. I must decrease.” John 3:30

Father in heaven, forgive me when I forget to remember how much you love me and want to provide for me. Help me to trust you for every single detail of my life and to delight in depending on You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Stuck in a well

“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Have you ever been stuck in a well? Young Jessica McClure was stuck in a well twenty-jessica mcclure twotwo feet deep in her aunt’s back yard in Midland. The world witnessed her complicated fifty-eight hour rescue. Then a collective sigh of relief came as everyone returned to their respective jobs, along with a feeling of warmth and well being inside them

When a person is emotionally stuck in a well, they are oblivious to their surroundings. They only see what is in front of them – their selfish situation, their hopelessness. One evening when I was in high school, my mother entered my room and sat at the edge of my bed. She let me know I was stuck in a well. She said, you aren’t seeing what your father and I are seeing is happening between you and this young man. He is not treating you right. You need to ponder this before you get too far into this relationship. I had never heard of being in a well before. But I was. I’m glad I heeded the concerned heart of my mother and left that relationship.

The apostle Paul was in a well. He staunchly believed that persecuting the Jews who had turned to Christ was just and noble. They were the enemy. He was doing what he could to get rid of these people who believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. Nobody had ever done that, he told King Agrippa. But one day the Lord Jesus confronted Paul head on and told him He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and to stop hindering the spread of the Gospel. Get out of the well, Jesus basically told Paul. See what I am doing.

“I (Jesus) am sending you out to the Jews and to the Gentiles to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18

A dear friend’s daughter, Amy, is currently in a well. All Amy sees is what she wants to see in her own selfishness. Her family sees Amy there in her trapped circumstances.  They long for her to look up. Look up at the One who wants to pull her out. He wants to show her Himself.woman in despair

If you think you have fallen into a well of despair or heartache, please take the time to look up at the Savior who loves you. If you seek for God, he will let you find Him; if you search for Him with all your heart, He will be found by you. Take a good hard look and ask yourself, is what I’m doing helping anyone else? Am I being a help or a hurt? Am I looking at the needs of others or only my own? Is my world only about me? Why am I so lonely and empty? If you can see yourself in a hard place, seek Him.  Proverbs 18:7; Psalm 119:2woman filled with hope

“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1