Saturday, February 6, 2016

Frosted Windows and Fogs of Doubt

Recently, we were rushing out the door to get to church.  As many of you can imagine this process did not go as Reagan and I might have hoped. Maybe not in your house, but in our house, everyone seems to forget how to dress themselves when we are trying to go somewhere.  "Did you brush your hair/teeth?"  "Change your shirt." "Get a coat!" "Do you have any pants that are clean?" 

Anyway, this particular morning was no different and we were running late.  As we rushed out the door, we climbed into the car and realized that the entire windshield was covered in a sheet of frost.  We couldn't see a thing.  My mind raced with possible solutions-  should we go in the other vehicle?  Where was the ice scraper?  Reagan quickly found something that would work and jumped out of the car and began clearing the windshield.  Due to our running late, he only cleaned off the driver's side of the vehicle and we started down the road to church.  Suddenly, I realized just how uncomfortable I was with not being able to see where we were going.  I knew we were moving- I could feel it, and slightly see the landscape passing by outside my side window.  Yet, I could see nothing, but a sheet of frost when I looked ahead.   It felt very unsettling!  I could have distracted myself with my phone or by talking with the boys in the backseat, but the unsettled feeling would have still been there.  Only when I looked at Reagan, who was driving, did I feel at peace.  I realized that he could totally see everything and that he was a trustworthy driver.  I trusted him, and I felt a peace.

Honestly, I felt that way spiritually too.  Recently, God made a move for our family that led us right out of our comfort zone.  I knew He had moved us, but I couldn't see what was ahead.  Nothing, but a cloud of uncertainty fogged my perspective.  I could let myself get distracted by life or by the relationships in my life, but my anxiety would have still been there.  Only when I looked to the "driver" of my life- the Father- would I feel peace.  When I looked to Him, I realized that He is trustworthy.  He has never failed me, and I can have peace even when the road ahead is frosted with doubt or questions. 

Eventually, the frost dissipated and I was able to see the road ahead clearly.  The same will be true during this season of change.  Eventually our spiritual eyes will see and understand clearly all that was hidden when the first step was taken. 

Friend, if you are in the midst of an uncertain season, you can trust the driver.  He will safely lead you until the path ahead is clear.  Rest in Him and His character when the fog of doubt is heavy. 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Boys and Spray Paint

Tucked into the fold of countless trees, my boys, along with several of the neighbor kids, have created a fort at the end of our cul-de-sac.  With walls of broken branches, discarded tin sheeting, and any additional scrap found from garages, it has become a place of refuge and ownership for them all.  They even "marked" it with spray paint in order for others to know that it was claimed, owned, and for their use only.  There is only one problem.....

They do not own it.

Not one plant.... not one tree.... not one patch of dirt that the fort is on.....

None of it is theirs to own.

This land does have an owner- one who is oblivious to the "squatters" on his property. Ha!  Yet, my sons believe wholeheartedly that the small patch of privacy they have carved out of the wooded lot is theirs- theirs alone.

As I have thought about that this week, isn't that true of us?  We look at "our" homes, cars, jobs, money, and property wave them about as flags of our earthly success.  Yet, who truly provided for it all?  When we begin to recognize that the Father is the source of all that we hold in our hands, it becomes easier to trust Him with it all.  We can trust that He will provide when the need is greater than the resource.  We can trust Him when He calls us to give our allotment to others trusting that it was never truly ours anyway.  We can trust Him because we are merely the caretakers of His resources- it is all His, His alone. 

This also frees us from chasing after significance in and through possessions because our significance is in Him.  It also frees us from the "rat race" of get it all and have it all because He is the ultimate source of ALL that we truly need.  We no longer have to live in fear of the "what-ifs" in life.  Instead, we rest in the knowledge that He has overcome it all and through Him we have grace to overcome as well.

He is truly all that we need.  Truly.

How about our kids?  Am I stepping on toes now?  Who gave you your children?  The Father.  Who knows every intimate detail about them- including the number of hairs on their head?  The Father.  Who loves them with a deep, abiding love - great enough to die for them? The Father and our living sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ.  Our children are His.  We are merely their earthly caretakers.  Have you entrusted them to Him?  Do you parent them in a way that is honoring to the Father, their "owner"? 

Unlike the owner of the woods, our Father is fully aware of the "claims" we stake in life.  Often, He challenges our claims through trials and challenges so that we might finally recognize the source of all- Him.  His longing is for you to see and know, deeply and intimately, that He alone is all you truly need. Truly.


1.  Is there an area of your life that you have staked a "claim"? If so, what?

2. How does it feel to recognize that the Father is the resource to all that we need in life?  Upsetting? Freeing?

3.  What changes do you need to make as merely caretakers?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What is Your Name?

What is your name?  No, not the name that your parents gave you or even the name that your friends call you.  I mean what is the name you call yourself deep within.  The name that no one knows, yet you hear it repeated in the echos of your mind.  Perhaps it stems from a past wound that has never quite healed.  Maybe it was that one comment that stung marrow deep?  Does it reflect a history that seems to parade itself before you with each failure or trial?

Here are a few that seem to come to mind..... Failure.  Forgotten.  Unloved.  Broken.  Sick.  Addiction.  Used.  Ugly. 

So, what is your name?  We all have one.  Our enemy makes sure of it and he has whispered it repeatedly in your mind.   The world has certainly given you one.  In the darkest of moments, that name screams from within with the purpose of defeat. 

In Daniel, four of God's chosen young men were given new names too.  When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, captured Jerusalem, he chose to bring several of the young Israelite boys with him to Babylon.  They were "without physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace." ( Danie1:4)  For three years they would be trained before entering the king's service.  The chief official selected new names for each of them - ones that were more suited to the world they found themselves in....  Daniel became Belteshazzar.  Hananiah became Shadrach.  Mishael became Meshach.  Azariah became Abednego.  Why is this important?  Our world, too, gives us new names that seem to reflect the world in which we live- anything that will make us forget our homeland and our heritage.

Daniel went from "God is my judge." to "protect his life."  Hananiah went from "the Lord shows grace" to "command of Aku."  Mishael went from "Who is what God is?" to "Who is what Aku is?" Azariah went from "the Lord helps." to "servant of Nego/Nebo."  You see, the enemy not only gives you a new name, but he gives you a false representation of your history, heritage, and future.  It will often mimic your God given identity, but with a very different purpose.  The enemy does not want you to truly see your identity through the eyes of the Father.  Instead, he hopes you will settle on the false imitation because then your impact on this world is limited.  Children of the King shackled to fear with our false name(s) engraved on each link. 

The One True God sent His only Child to this broken world for the sole purpose of giving us a new identity- His.  You are not Failure, Forgotten, Unloved, Broken, Sick, Addiction, Used, or Ugly.... you are REDEEMED, CHOSEN, HEIR, LOVED, VICTOR, HEALED, and NEW.  You are His beautiful bride- Sought and bought with the blood of the perfect lamb!   My dear one, your value is unmeasurable!

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.  Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, " Abba, Father."  So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." Galations 4:4-7 NIV

I ask again, what is your name?  REDEEMED HEIR

1.)  What "worldly" name has plagued you?  Do you see how the enemy has used that name to restrain you from your God called destiny?
2.)  What does it mean to you to recognize yourself as an heir of Christ?  How can that reshape your thoughts and inward attitudes?

Challenge:  Write your "worldly" given name on a piece of paper and destroy it.  Then, allow God to free you from that burden.  You might even write out a Christ given name in it's place.  For example, "Failure" is replaced with "Victor in Christ".....  If you feel comfortable, share your story with me!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Sometimes I am left scratching my head at my sons and their different personalities.  One is always timid and has to be pushed into new or unfamiliar territory while another jumps at such opportunities.  Instead, I often find myself pulling his reigns back in an effort to encourage him to slow down and savor the moment.  Another son is very detailed and precise and agonizes over the smallest of details to make sure all is correct. 

Recently, when traveling, I allowed two of my sons to place their hand on mine while I shifted the gears of our manual transmission car.  One jumped at the opportunity as he has wanted to drive a vehicle since he was in diapers- well, almost! The other was hesitant and unsure of the experience.  I gave both of my boys the same experience, but with two distinct purposes- to build confidence in one and satisfy the eagerness of the other. 

I think this is one of my hardest struggles in parenting- knowing when to push them and when to pull them back.  Knowing when to rush in and assist and when to allow them the struggle.  Knowing when to give them freedom and when to love with restraint.  Too often, I fall into the pit of comparison to determine my steps.  It seems like there is comfort in being in the "normal" category.  Normal behavior, normal size, normal dress, normal struggles equals not being alone or different.  Yet, when you or your child do not fit in that category, it can leave you heartbroken. 

The Father never meant for us to look towards comparison for security!  He is our security for He alone is using circumstances to shape us for a future that only He can see.  Our Father has never made a mistake and our differences and challenges did not slip past Him and will not hinder you from His perfect calling for your life.  Instead, they will be used for our growth and His glory!  Remember, He knitted you together in womb and is the only One who knows His perfect purpose and plan for you and your children. 

Comparison  can become dangerous in our faith walk as it often robs us of our joy, peace, and focus. Even more dangerous, is that it robs us of intimacy with the Father as our eyes shift from Him to others.  Suddenly, they become the standard by which we live and determine what is good and right. 

The enemy loves to use comparison to make us feel a "false security" in our sameness or to make us feel isolated because you are different.  Both responses draw us to the wrong conclusion that it is all up to us.  Rather than looking to the One who created us for His purpose, we look at fellow creations.  Would you criticize a plate for not being a bowl or a knife for not being a spoon?  Yet, we make such comparisons daily about ourselves or our children. 

Recently, the Father is teaching me to seek after Him for guidance in parenting each of my children, and allow Him to grant me wisdom in their uniqueness.  I find such comfort in that.  I often repeat to my boys that I just want them to follow Christ and His leading- that is our view of success.  So, I have to be prepared that often that journey will not follow the main path of society.  Yet, what greater legacy could I instill in them, but to follow Him wherever He leads?

Today, are you struggling with a lack of joy or peace in a situation?  Could it be that comparison is distracting you from His perspective or will?

How is fitting in the norms of society comforting to you?  How is it difficult if you do not fit in those "norms"?

If the Father has created you for a special purpose, how does it feel to know that your challenges and struggles are not without purpose and will not prevent you from fulfilling the calling He has for you?

Praying for each of you today.... Blessings!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Over the weekend, our area was hit by some fierce storms.  Many friends and family members are dealing with the remaining damage and necessary repairs.  It is a heart wrenching thing to experience and yet most of us with tread through a storm at some point in our life.  Storms can be physical- like the ones this weekend- as well as mental and emotional.  Here are some common threads of storms....

There is often a calm and stillness before the storm hits.  In the minutes before a storm arrives, there is often a calm quiet and stillness.  The wind disappears as trees will stand as soldiers on duty- not moving.  Sometimes there will be a sweet scent of approaching rain.  In life, a storm will often follow a period of happy contentment as difficulties and conflict will seem non-existent.  All of life seems to put off a sweet scent of favor.

Storms can build slowly or arrive suddenly.  Storms can build over a period of hours or days when you can prepare and plan while others seem to knock the breath right out of you with their random suddenness.  The same is true with the storms in our life.  Some we "see" coming and do our best to prepare- maybe a relational conflict or issues with a child.  Other conflicts seem to shatter our peaceful lives within a heartbeat- a job loss, an unfaithful spouse, a doctor's visit gone horribly wrong...  Both are painful and equally devastating.

The ripples after a storm can extend well beyond those directly affected.  Storms will always have the most impact on those directly affected, but the ripples flow out encircling countless others in the waves of sorrow and grief.  After a storm, businesses who are impacted are unable to help their customers.  Family members may have to put off plans and duties to rush to the aid of loved ones in need.  Life rarely continues as "normal" for a community as a whole.  The same is true of emotional storms...  Often those in the center of the storm do not see the effect it is having on others as they are too encompassed with their own damage and pain.  Yet, the ripples do have impact on lives....the closer you are to the storm, the more ripples you will experience.

The "choice" of who is impacted can seem so random.  One house could sustain such heavy damage that repairs are impossible and it will need to be torn down while the house next door may only have broken limbs off of trees.  Whole towns can be affected while other communities had no damage or impact.  Life struggles, too, can seem so random.  One family may be devastated while close friends may never seem to face the harsh winds of trial or heartache.  However, our Father is never "random" and the harsh storms we face always have a divine purpose to draw us to Him.  Painful?- yes. without purpose?- Never. 

Dealing with the aftermath of a storm can take much longer than the storm itself lasted.  Repairs to homes, vehicles and such can take days upon days.  Depending on the severity of the storm, months or years may even be required to fully restore things.  Emotional damage after a life storm may take great time from which to recover.  Unfortunately, you can not put a "rush" order on healing.  Seek after Him and rest in His timetable and healing process for you.

It's always best to be in the storm shelter when the storm hits.  Being safe and secure in the storm shelter when a storm hits makes a huge difference in the kind of aftermath you will face.  Oh, isn't this true in life as well?  With those life trials come, we desperately need to run to the shelter of the Most High God!

"Thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name's sake lead me and guide me." Psalm 31:3 RSV
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55: 22 RSV
"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8 RSV
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." Isaiah 26:3 KJV

"To know God as He really is- in His essential nature and character- is to arrive at a citadel of peace that circumstances may storm, but can never capture." Catherine Marshall

Impact Questions:

1. Are you being hit with a "storm" right now?  Are you in the ripples of a storm that has hit someone close to you?  What impact are you struggling with currently?

2. What could the Father be seeking and/or teaching you through this season? 

3. What is preventing you from running to the shelter of the Most High God?  Anger? Hurt? Discouragement?  Try confessing that to Him!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Dealing with the Grassburr

Recently, I heard my youngest son beckoning me to come to his aid.  Now, as a mom to three kids, I often try to work needs out from my current place of work or rest- being honest!  Yet, something in me knew that this plea was different.  I found him sitting on the floor with a small grass burr or sticker in his foot.  Now, in Texas, these painful burrs grow on weeds in our yards and they seem to stick to anything and everything.  They are very painful when you step on one. 

He was in pain from the experience.  I saw that, in just a few moments, I could relieve him of the pain, stress, and worry about getting it out.  However, he would not let me near the source of the pain.  He wanted me there.  He wanted my help.  He just didn't want me to touch the source of the pain.  Yet, the only way that I could bring him conclusion to it all was to touch and deal with the source of the pain- the grass burr.   Truth is, he was fearful of the inevitable pain that would come from removing it.   Fear was the real enemy here- and a possible lack of trust- because that, and that alone, was prolonging the pain he was experiencing. 

This experience made me reflect on my own experiences.  Times when I cried out to the Father to remove or deal with a painful situation I was facing only to hold Him at bay due to my lack of trust or fear of  "dealing with it".  Our Father allows us to face such trials and times for the exact plan of growing our trust, courage, and maturity.  Often these seasons will be painful, but all have purpose.  Sometimes, the pain is prolonged because we shrink back in fear- denial becomes our masquerade as we limp through a season.  He longs for genuine healing....wholeness.  We, too often, prefer to mask the brokenness than be vulnerable and required to forge into the mess that brings purpose to the pain.  He wants more for you!

"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

Check out the message version of this passage....

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

Too often, we read this passage and thinking that we will never face difficult or painful times, but that is not the case.  Instead, He comes and bears the weight of the burden on Himself until we reach the point of healing and wholeness.  Until that time, we find rest in His perfect peace and comfort.  He is our sufficiency to walk through today... and the following days.  I love how the message says that we will "learn to live freely and lightly."  We learn.... we learn that limping in a masquerade is a burden and yet allowing Him to walk us through that "grass burr" to healing brings rest. 

1. Are you dealing with a "grass burr"?

2. What is preventing you from dealing with it?  Is it fear?  If so, what are you afraid of?

3. Do you trust, truly, that He has your best interest at heart?  What prevents you from trusting Him wholly?


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Nightly Ritual...

Each and every night, I have a ritual that I do.... I tiptoe into the back bedroom stepping over scattered Lego landmines and laundry that has overtaken the carpeted floor.  I, first, pull back the covers on one son who cannot sleep unless he is buried under a quilted sea. He often gets too hot and I find a sticky sweat covered face.  Then, I look to our youngest son who cannot seem to go to sleep with anything covering him.  It is not uncommon to find him curled into a tight ball longing for warmth.  Two boys, same room- yet differences abound.

That is parenting, huh?  Knowing your child so intimately that you know when to pull back and give them freedom to fail and grow as well as when the time is right to draw in close and pour words of wisdom into their hearts and minds.  Do I pull back the things in their life that are harmful or that will lead them into sticky situations?  Do I diligently cover them in prayer daily?  Recognizing that life will often leave them cold and looking for comfort-- oh, may they find it in HIM!  Friends, I do this every single night. As their mother, I cannot rest until I know that they are well tended and cared for in their beds.  Often, this has driven me from my nice cozy bed...

How intimately does the Father know you?

"GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute— you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them— any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers—out of here!— all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations. See how I hate those who hate you, GOD, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies!

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life." (‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭1-24‬ MSG)

The Father knows EVERYTHING about His children.... and He is ALWAYS with them.  There are times when he will allow you to sweat out sticky situations to see areas that you need to strip out of your life.  There are also times when He allows you to feel the chill of a life lived in your own self-sufficient efforts in order for you to see and long for His protective covering.  Yet, He is ever on guard and watching over you.  That is the nature of a loving relationship....a protective Father allowing His child the opportunity to grow and mature.

1. Is the Father revealing an area that you need to "strip" out of your life?  How have you seen His protective covering in your life?

2. What part of Psalm 139 touched you most?  Did any part of the Psalm surprise you?

3. How does it feel to know that the Father is always with you, if you are His child?  Does it bring comfort or make you anxious?  Why?