Growing Closer to God

This is the Day I Almost Died



Hello, November 20th! I am so happy to see you!

I bet you don’t know what day of the week Nov 20th was on in 2005. Well, I do.

It was a Sunday. The Sunday before Thanksgiving. It was also almost my last day on earth.

It’s funny the things we don’t know. I am a pharmacist. I am a healthcare provider and I did not know that you could die from a stomach bug. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can. You can absolutely die from a stomach bug and I almost did.

On November 20, 2005, I was 31 years old. I had been married to my husband, Bryan for over eight years. We were living in our new home.  Our daughter Ellie was three years old and our son Sam was nine months old.  Our lives were full!

We went to church that morning, and then out to lunch with family. I did not feel 100% myself, but I had no idea what was coming.

When we got home from lunch, I felt unusually tired so I went to lie down. Bryan was watching a basketball game while Ellie played and Sam took a nap.

Early that afternoon, my symptoms started. It was a very bad stomach virus. I had not had a stomach bug since I was 16 years old. I guess it came to me with a vengeance, because it hit me fast and hard!

I was very sick for hours and I found myself completely lethargic, lying on the bathroom floor. I managed to pull myself up and look in the mirror. I looked gray and I was scared.

The TV was on in the den and I was in our master bathroom. Bryan had no idea how fast things had progressed or how seriously ill I was. I did not have the strength to call to him loud enough for him to hear me, so I crawled to my bed and thought I would just sleep it off. As I started to drift off, I felt God urge me not to sleep. About that time, Bryan came in to check on me.

He panicked when he saw me! I had never been this sick before. He called my Mom to come over and stay with the kids and we drove to the ER. At this point, I was very dizzy and things were blurry.

By the time we arrived to the hospital, by kidneys were shutting down. My pulse was around 170 beats per minute and my blood pressure was 65/39 (normal is 120/80). The doctors told Bryan to call the family. This was a serious situation we were in.  They also told Bryan that if I would have tried to “sleep it off,” I would have died.

A whole team of folks came over to start working on me. Over the next few hours, they gave me EIGHT liters of fluid in order to make my kidneys start working again. I was given multiple antibiotics and was monitored very closely for the next few days. After several days in the hospital, my body began to improve, but I was not out of the woods yet.

Over the next six months, I struggled with more dehydration. I continued to have virus-like symptoms and was in and out of the ER getting bags of fluid. My resting heart rate was between 115-130 bpm (normal resting is around 70 bpm), so my heart was working like I was running a marathon at all times.  This made me lose significant weight.

I weighed under 100 pounds even though I forced myself to eat. Everything went straight through me and I was a mess. I had no energy…none! I could not take care of my family. I was out of work and I wondered if I would ever get better.

I would lie in my bed or on the couch asking God what was He trying to teach me?  I would be home alone throughout the day, and would say, “please let me learn whatever lesson I need to learn so I can get back to my life!”

I went through anxiety and bouts of depression like I had never experienced in the past. I wondered if God heard my cries. I wondered if this would be my new normal.  I prayed and prayed, begging God to fix this, but my body would not get back to normal.

My primary care physician was perplexed with what was going on with me. I was so young. Why could I not get better?  I saw every kind of specialist under the sun in hopes of finding an answer to this illness.

Although it took a full year for me to get back to having 90% of the energy I had before, life did get back to a more normal state.  Slowly, my body recovered, but I was not the same person I was before November 20, 2005.

This time in my life was dark and uncertain, but do you know what happened through this experience? I gained a fresh appreciation for the little things in life. My marriage grew stronger and I learned that every single day is a blessing from God!

I grew closer to God through that experience like never before.  I came to the end of my rope and I had a choice to make.

Do I believe God to be who He says He is, or not?

I decided to believe God and somehow, someway, He would work this illness for good.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  ~Romans 8:28

So here we are again…It’s Nov 20th.  It’s the week of Thanksgiving.

This is the season of Thankfulness.  It is the season of Gratitude!  I believe one of the keys to living a happy life is to have a grateful heart.  Being grateful to God for who He is and all He has done for you, is the starting point.

You see, when your heart is set on being grateful, there’s no room for complaining.  When your heart is set on being grateful, there is no room for bitterness.  When your heart is set on being grateful, there is no room for unforgiveness.

Sure—life is hard. Sometimes it is really hard!  People let you down. Sickness comes.  Dreams are broken.  Money is uncertain.  If we look hard enough, we can always find something to complain about.

But you know what else? When we look hard enough, we can always find something to be grateful for, too. Why don’t we choose to focus on that, instead?

So, hello to you November 20th, 2018!  I am so grateful to see you!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!


The night I knocked out my front teeth…


When I was 11, I had a crush on a boy that lived nearby. Let’s just call him, Greg.

Greg was three years older than me and when you’re an 11-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy seems like the coolest person on the planet. I thought he was a super cute but he had never even noticed me.

One summer evening, my Mom and I were coming home from my piano lesson. It was getting dark and had rained earlier that day. When we pulled into the driveway, I could not believe my eyes! Greg was standing in my backyard!

Lucky me!

My Dad and Greg’s Dad were friends.   That evening, Greg and his Dad had stopped by to talk to my Dad about some farm equipment.

An important part of this story comes from the fact that I grew up on a farm where I spent most of my days outside. I had a rectangle-shaped trampoline in my back yard that I jumped on a lot and I was pretty good at doing flips.

You need to remember that this was back in the ‘80s when there was no such thing as a NET around a trampoline nor was there padding around the metal frame.

No sir! That is not the way we did things back then. Safety was not really that important.

Us ’80’s kids just got on that rectangle springy device and jumped and flipped and laughed.  Sometimes, we would fall off and smack ourselves right onto the ground. No worries, though. In our perseverance, we would get right back up and go at it again. It’s a wonder any of us survived the ‘80s!

Well, on this particular evening, when I saw Greg in my back yard, I quickly devised a plan.

As soon as my Mom parked the car, I told her that I needed to go talk to Daddy. I ran out to where they were standing, and in an effort to try to impress Greg, I said with confidence in my voice, “Hey—I can do flips on that trampoline over there. Want to see?”

He said, “ok”, so off we went. I got on the trampoline with complete self-assurance!

This was my chance!

As Greg stood on the ground in front of me, I started jumping. I put everything I had into that moment and jumped higher than ever. I wanted it to be the best flip I had ever done. When I felt the moment was right, I gave it all I had and I did my flip.

I flipped so fast and strong that I over-flipped.   My toes hit the damp trampoline mat and I lost control. My body flung forward right towards Greg. I let out a loud scream as my face fell towards the edge of the trampoline. My mouth hit the large green metal post that held the springs in place as my body did another flip over that bar. I landed flat on my back right where Greg was standing.

This was not the magical moment I had envisioned.

There I was, lying flat on the ground with Greg looking down on me. “Are you ok?” he asked with nervousness in his voice.

I was shocked, embarrassed and mortified about what just happened. I tried to salvage my pride by jumping up to my feet. I knew by the pain I felt in my mouth that something bad had happened to my teeth.

It was dark, so I could not tell if I was bleeding or not, so I got real close to Greg’s face, opened my mouth and said, “Is it bleeding?”

He did not answer me, but instead, just looked at me in horror. In a panic, I asked again, only this time, louder, “I said is it bleeding?” He looked at me like I was some kind of monster and said, “you might want to go inside.” I ran inside and looked in the mirror. It was a bad sight.

My two permanent front teeth were hanging by their roots and blood was everywhere.

Needless to say, the hope I had for Greg to fall in love with me that evening went right down the drain as I headed with my Mom and Dad for an emergency dental visit. Thankfully, and miraculously, the dentist was able to save my teeth.

My whole point of running out to see Greg that evening was because I liked him and I wanted to prove to him that he should like me too. I wanted to impress him with my skills and I wanted him to notice me.

My actions were driven by my pride.

God teaches us in His Word that we are to be humble, not prideful. We are to position ourselves rightly before Him and others. It is not a prideful spirit that brings honor, but instead, it is a humble spirit that obtains it! (Proverbs 29:23).

Plain and simple. God hates pride.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. ~Proverbs 8:13

In almost every example of pride that we see in the Bible there is a link to failure, not success.   God resists those who are prideful, but he gives favor to those who are humble. (Proverbs 3:34)

My friend, don’t let your pride prevent you from living the life God intends for you to live. Humble yourself before Him. Humble yourself before others.  Consider their needs above your own. Forgive quickly.  Love deeply and serve Jesus wholeheartedly. Do not be motivated by impressing people.  Be motivated by the love and humility of Jesus.

That night back in 1985, I think I lived out Proverbs 16:18 which says: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”  I learned a big lesson through that experience.  Today, I am no longer doing flips on trampolines and I am keeping Micah 6:8 close to my heart.  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Grateful for you!



When God Speaks at Wal-Mart



Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

~Philippians 2:3-4

Did you catch how clear these verses are?  Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition.  Whew!  Now that convicts me!

I think most of us want to be patient and self-less people and in theory, we know these are attributes of followers of Christ.  This is not news to us, but I wonder if you, like me, ever struggle with actually living it out in your daily life?

Too many times I look out for my own personal interests instead of the interests of others.  It is as if MY time is more valuable than someone else’s time.

The other day, I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way home from work, just to pick up a few items.   I only needed THREE things.  Of course it was a Monday and of course it was getting close to 5:00 pm.  Looking back, I realize maybe this was not the best idea I had ever had, but regardless of my lack of judgment, there I was.

I was making great time zipping through the aisles UNTIL I went to checkout.  I made a quick pass through and examined the checkout lines.  The self-checkout line seemed to be a mile long.  I noticed a lady wearing strappy red shoes at the end of that line and I felt sorry for her.  I quickly went to find a faster, full-service line.

As I quickly pushed my buggy along the aisles, I found a checkout line with only one buggy in it!


I jumped in behind a young lady and her toddler and waited.  This lady’s buggy was full, but I felt sure it would go fast.

As I waited, I watched as the young lady in front of me was having trouble with her toddler misbehaving.  The toddler was picking up items and dropping them one by one.  I found myself getting irritated because it was slowing down the checkout process, but I remained positive and still felt sorry for the lady with the red strappy shoes in the one-mile self-checkout line.

As the young lady’s last items were scanned, I felt happiness in my heart until the young lady dug around in her purse and whipped out a stack of coupons.

I resisted from letting out a loud sigh of despair, but I could not hold back the look of disappointment that came to my face.

“Oh no,” I thought.  “Maybe the self-checkout line would have been quicker.”

The cashier started scanning each coupon and of course some of the coupons did not work.  Some were out of date.  Some were for products the young lady did not even purchase.  Some had restrictions on them.  One by one the coupons were scanned and I was relieved when the last one beeped with success.

Just as I thought it was almost my turn, the young lady scanned her credit card and wouldn’t you know it?  It would not work.  The cashier did not know what to do and said, “There must be a problem with the machine.”


After trying several times to get the card processed, the cashier had to call for the manager to come over and help.

As I looked up, the lady with the red strappy shoes (who was in the mile-long self check-out line) was exiting Wal-Mart with her paid items.  I mumbled under my breath and made a mental note to always choose the self-checkout line.

It was too late for me to change lines now.  I was stuck.  It had been a long day and I was busting at the seams to get home.  I was frustrated.  I was tired.  I just wanted to leave Wal-Mart.

It was then that I felt God’s Spirit speak to me.

Through my frustration and impatience, God reminded me of those verses in Philippians about valuing others more than myself.

My heart began to soften and my frustration faded.

As I watched the young lady struggle with her toddler, God reminded me about how hard life is.  He brought to my mind how difficult it was for me to complete a Wal-Mart shopping trip when my children were toddlers, and how being a Mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

As I watched the cashier desperately try to process the young lady’s credit card, God reminded me of my first cashier job in college.  I, too, felt insecure when something went wrong with the credit card machine.  I thought back to the time I meant to charge a customer $15.00 but instead, I charged them $150.00.  I was so nervous as I called my manager over to help me correct my mistake.

Right there in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, God convicted me about my attitude and He reminded me of the importance of showing compassion, patience and kindness.

When I finally did get to checkout with my three items, the sweet cashier told me it had been a hard day for her and that she was sorry it took so long.  She also told me she was new as a cashier and was still learning.  I smiled and said, “It’s no problem.  I’ve been there too.”

I believe one of the biggest “proofs” of our faith is how we treat other people.  When we get frustrated, complain or mumble, we do not please God.  What pleases Him is when we use kindness and patience with others.  He is pleased when we put someone else’s needs above our own.

The truth is, I had a bad attitude and was in too big of a hurry that day in Wal-Mart.  I am grateful the God of the Universe spoke to me and reminded me of His Truth.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where your patience is running thin, I hope you think about these verses in Philippians.  I hope your heart softens and you show the love of Christ in that situation….even if you’re in the middle of Wal-Mart!


Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
~Colossians 3:12

Make a Memory!



Fall is in the air and it thrills my soul! It is my favorite time of year as I love the cooler temperatures, the colorful trees, and the smell of pumpkin spice.

This is the time of year when I pull out my crockpot and make chili beans, vegetable soup, homemade chicken and noodles and all of those warm, “feel good” one-pot meals.  

I sip hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), wear wool socks, thick sweaters and boots! OH yes—fall is the most wonderful time of the year, for me.

Some of my most favorite memories are centered around the fall season. Memories of family get-togethers, camping trips, pumpkin patches and snuggling on the couch with those I love on a cool October morning.  

What about you?

What comes to your mind when you think about the fall season?

I worked at Union University (in Jackson, TN) for three years and my Dean, Dr. Sheila Mitchell, would make a statement from time to time. We would be talking about an upcoming conference or a family vacation and she would say “while you’re there, make a memory.”

Dean Mitchell is one of those people who lives her life to the fullest! She has wisdom to know that life is precious and the moments we have are gifts from God. She is quick to tell you that there is always something to be grateful for and that life is too short to be miserable.

Why focus on what’s wrong with your life when you can have a heart of thankfulness and focus on what is right with your life?

Dean Mitchell lives with purpose. Not only does she live her life to please God, but she also lives her life to serve others. She plans creative way to make special moments with her family, friends and those around her. It might be an evening boat ride on the lake with her husband, or a special tea party with her granddaughter.

She knows how to love other people well and she works hard at making special moments with them. When those special moments come, Dean Mitchell fully embraces the moment. She doesn’t just let it slip away unnoticed. She soaks in all in and takes a snapshot in her mind that she tucks away as a treasured memory.

You and I have a role to play in making our life count.

God created you and me for a reason. He has kingdom work for us to do and He has good things in store for us!

It is easy for us to feel weighed down with the many responsibilities we have.

We need to clean our house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go to work and the list goes on. But, we also need to invest in our marriages, plan special outings with our children, show love to a friend in need, serve someone in need and take time to soak in the beauty of God’s creation.

There is much more to life than just the work we need to do.

Be determined this fall season to make special memories.

It is serving others that brings about the most joy so do your part to create special moments with your family, friends and those around you.

This fall season, start a new family tradition. Take your kids on a fun adventure. Serve at a local ministry. Plan a weekend getaway with your husband.

Put energy and time into planning something special as you love those around you.

As your special moments unfold, I hope you will stop and thank God for His goodness. I hope you will stop and soak it all in. I hope you will stop, take a snapshot in your mind of all God has done and “make a memory” that will last a lifetime.

So glad you stopped by!


I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.   ~Psalm 7:17


That was a BIG mistake!


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To say this past spring was stressful, would be an understatement! For our family, it was one of those taxing seasons of life where we had several major life stressors hit us all at once. It felt like my life was caught up in a demanding whirlwind and although I tried to hold things together, I was not sure how I would get through it all.

Have you ever been there?

Have you ever been at your breaking point with everything going on in your life? Have you ever thought you might not survive it?

During this stressful season of life, I worked late one Friday night and picked up a chicken sandwich on the way to Ellie’s soccer game.  This restaurant has THE BEST BBQ sauce, so I asked for a side of it to put on my sandwich.

Yeah, that was a BIG mistake!

When I got to the field, the game had just started.   I was super hungry and could hardly wait to enjoy my delicious chicken sandwich!  I sat down, unwrapped my sandwich and opened the container of BBQ sauce. At that exact moment, out of nowhere, a soccer ball came flying off the field.  It must have been traveling at lightning speed as it headed straight for me.

The soccer ball hit the BBQ sauce container and then it hit me upside the head, sending sticky gooey BBQ sauce all over me! To make things even more entertaining for all those standing nearby, I was wearing a white shirt!

It was not a pretty sight!

I was covered in BBQ sauce.  It was in my hair, on my neck, dripping down my arms and all over my white shirt!  To make things even more fabulous, there are no bathrooms at this soccer field, only a couple of porta potties each with their own hand sanitizer dispenser inside.

Are you kidding me??  Hand sanitizer is useless when it comes to cleaning up BBQ sauce!

So, as the BBQ sauce is dripping down my body, There are no paper towels anywhere in sight and NO RUNNING WATER!

It…was….totally ….awesome (insert sarcasm)!

Normally if this kind of thing happens to me, I can laugh it off and roll with the punches.  Not this time.

Remember, this happened at a time when I was already mentally and emotionally drained. I did not have a positive, “can-do” attitude. Instead, I was feeling very low and overwhelmed with life.

Being hit in the head with a soccer ball and bathed with BBQ sauce did not improve my emotional stability!

I really don’t know how, but I managed to hold it together through the BBQ sauce immersion. People around me tried to hide their laughter because they felt so sorry for me. I remained calm but if you could have peered into my soul, you would have seen that I desperately wanted to cry.

Sticky and gooey, I watched the game, but near the end of the game, it started pouring rain like something I would imagine happened during the days of Noah and the flood. We quickly packed up our chairs and ran as fast as we could to the car, but by the time we got there, we were drenched!

I looked like something out of a horror movie. The rain caused my black mascara to run down my face, there was mud all over my legs from running in the rain and don’t forget that my white shirt was stained with dark red BBQ sauce.

It was not one of my finer moments.

We made it home safely in the torrential rainstorm and when I walked in the door, I could not hold it together any longer.

I fell completely apart.

I found a place to be alone and I cried like a baby. At that moment, for me, life felt too hard. It was too much. I felt like I was going to break!

It has been a couple of months since the BBQ sauce incident and do you know what happened?

I did not break. Instead, I survived.

Eventually, the stressors of that season of life settled down and life slipped back on track.

As I write to you tonight, I want to share with you a few things God reminded me of as I think back to this spring:

First:  Life is stressful and there will be seasons of life that make you feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed does not make you a bad Christian.  It does not mean your faith is weak.  It means you’re human.

When those tough seasons come, you and I need to run towards God, not away from Him. We need to remind ourselves of who HE is, soak up His Word and stand firm on His promises. He is always with us. He will strengthen us!  He will never leave us!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

~Isaiah 41:10

Second:  When life feels too hard, it’s ok to cry. Throughout God’s Word, Godly people cried out, expressing their emotions of sadness and despair. Faithful men like King David who poured out his heart to God when life was hard. Blameless men like Job who grieved and mourned over his life’s tragedy. Even our Lord Jesus who, in the Garden of Gethsemane, cried out to the Father as He felt overwhelming sadness and anguish.

My friend, you and I both know that life is not always rainbows and sunshine. Life is hard and sometimes it feels overwhelmingly hard, but our God is good all the time! God wants us to lean on Him and trust Him at all times (and that includes the hard times).

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

~Psalm 62:8

Third: Never EVER bring a side of BBQ sauce to a soccer game, especially if you plan to sit near the field. Take it from me; just eat before the game.

Grateful for you!




What is Maundy Thursday?

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Today is known as Maundy Thursday! What exactly does that mean for us?
It means today is a day to stop and remember!
The night before he was crucified, Jesus met with his disciples to share a Passover meal together. Many important things happened that evening. Maundy Thursday is about remembering those things.
We remember his body that was given for us.
We remember his blood that was shed for us.
“Maundy” is a latin word that means “commandment.”  
That evening, Jesus washed the disciples feet and He gave us a new commandment.  
He gave us a commandment of love!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:34–35
My friend, may you and I remember and live out that commandment of love!
I hope you have a blessed Maundy Thursday!

I hope God never asks me to do that!


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FEAR!  I’m pretty sure we all struggle with it from time to time.  We are fearful of many things:  public speaking, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, losing a loved one, financial hardship, spiders, snakes, and the list goes on.

What about you?  What are you afraid of?

I wonder if in your walk with God, you also have fears.  I wonder if you ever feel afraid that God may call you to do something you do not want to do.

How would you complete this sentence?

I hope God never asks me to do ___________________ because I’m not sure I would do it.

Fear is a normal emotion.  We all feel afraid from time to time.  Some fear is good and some fear is bad.

There is a healthy fear that prevents us from jumping off a 10 story building, or driving 90 miles an hour down the highway.  This type of fear can help us make wise decisions about things that may cause us harm, but not all fear is good.

There is also a paralyzing fear that can prevent us from taking steps of faith.  The Bible refers to this type of fear as “living with a spirit of fear.”  Living with a spirit of fear means we are too afraid to do what God is leading us to do.  Living with a spirit of fear discounts the Holy Spirit’s power, and it diminishes our boldness of faith!  This type of fear does not come from God!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  – 2 Timothy 1:7

Today, my friend, I want to remind you that Satan is the father of lies and he will use fear to place you and me in a state of bondage.  He wants us to doubt God and he wants fear to drive us to being an ineffective Christian.  Satan will use fear to deceive you!

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  -John 8:44

When you feel God urging you to do something, and you begin to feel afraid, I want you to remember God’s Truth.  I want you to remember that if you are a child of God, then you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you!  The Holy Spirit’s power raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11) and that same power lives inside of those who are saved through Jesus Christ!

You and I are called to be people of COURAGE!  Over and over again in God’s Word, He tells His children to be STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!

Think about that!  You are called to be COURAGEOUS, not a coward!

When you feel afraid of what you believe God is calling you to do, remind yourself that you serve a God that desires to be known!  (Jeremiah 9:23-24, John 17:3)

He loves you and He wants an intimate relationship with you!  (John 1:10-13, John 15:5, Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16)

As you spend time with God, alone, in prayer and through reading your Bible, He WILL speak to you. (John 10:27)

As you listen for His voice, He will direct you on what He is calling you to do.

It is your job to respond to God’s call.  You have only two choices….obey or disobey.  Often, it’s then that the enemy jumps in to bring fear to your soul.

When a spirit of fear hovers over you, you need to respond with courage!  First, acknowledge that this fear is not from God.  Next, go to your knees in prayer and open the Word of God for clarification on how God is leading you.  Last, trust God by taking the next step of faith.  (Psalm 62:8,Nahum 1:7Proverbs 30:5)

Remember that blank you filled in at the beginning of this post?

I hope God never asks me to do ___________________ because I’m not sure I would do it.

What if God asks you to do that very thing?

Will you trust Him and have courage to take the next step of faith, or will you live in a spirit of fear?

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

Let us stand firm on God’s Truth!  Let us be strong and courageous!

Let our faith always be bigger than our fear!

Grateful for you!


A Matter of the Heart!


“But Mary treasured up all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

When we open our Bibles to Luke chapter 2, we find the account of the birth of Jesus, the Christmas story.  The chapter opens by explaining that a census was to be taken and so Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to be counted in the census.  While they were there, Jesus was born.  They had no comfortable place for this baby to be born so they laid him in a manger. 

Meanwhile, there were shepherds living in the fields nearby and an angel visited them, proclaiming the good news that the Messiah had been born.  The angel told them, “This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  A heavenly host of angels arrived, praising God, and when they left, the shepherds “hurried” to go see this thing that had happened in Bethlehem.  They found Mary and Joseph, and they found the baby lying in a manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what they had been told about the child.  

The Bible says all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said, but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

As a woman, I understand what it means to say “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  As women, our hearts are special.  It is in our hearts that we harbor our deepest emotions.

It is in our hearts that we tuck away our innermost secret thoughts and feelings.  

Sometimes our hearts are so overwhelmed with emotions that words are not sufficient to describe what we are feeling.  I think that is how Mary was feeling as she watched the events unfold.

At this point in scripture Jesus has been born and God is revealing His son to the world through angels, shepherds, and eventually, kings from the east.  Miraculous things are happening all around Mary.  She knows her baby is the Son of God and the hope of Israel.  Instead of boasting about all that is happening, Mary sits quietly, pondering her expressions privately, in the safekeeping place of her heart.

This Christmas season, I hope you are overwhelmed with the joy of the Lord as you prepare to celebrate with those you love.  I pray you purposefully set aside some special time this Christmas season to sit and ponder, in your heart, what this baby means to you. 

I encourage you to find a quiet place to read your Bible, pray and reflect on all Jesus has done for you.  As you celebrate the baby in the manger, I hope you treasure up in your heart what was finished for you on the cross.  The Son of God has come and He is our hope and our salvation! 

Glory to God!
Merry Christmas, my friend!

Control Freak!


I like a routine!  I like a plan!

What about you?

Do you like knowing what is going to happen next?  Do you like to be in control of your life?   Have you ever been referred to as a control freak???

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Now, listen my friend, there’s nothing wrong with a plan.  In fact, there are several scripture references that mention the importance of being prepared.  (Proverbs 6:6-8   Proverbs 27:23  Proverbs 31  Proverbs 15:22  Luke 14:28)

Plans are not bad, but sometimes I get stuck in my plan.  I fall into the trap of thinking I know what is best for my life.  As women, we juggle a lot of responsibilities and I think overall, we are planners.  There are only so many hours in the day, and so we have things planned out to ensure everything gets done.

I don’t like it when my plans are interrupted.  I don’t like to feel out of control, but the truth is….I am not in control, God is.

In Exodus 3:2 we read about a time when Moses’ life was interrupted by God.

“And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

As Moses was tending his flock, accomplishing his daily “to do list”, God showed up and announced a specific calling on his life.  God divinely interrupted Moses’ life and boy did He have something important to say!  God said to Moses, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

What a task for one man!  An extraordinary assignment—to approach Pharaoh and to free an entire nation of people!  There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. (Exodus 12:37)

It was never in Moses’ life plan to go to Pharaoh about freeing the Israelites.  He did not feel qualified for this task.  He did not ask for this assignment.  In fact, he gave God excuses on why he was NOT the man for the job.

But God’s plan prevailed because God is God and He makes the plans!  (Jeremiah 29:11)

For most of us, God does not typically show up in the form of a burning bush, but:

  • God still speaks!
  • God still calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things!
  • God still divinely interrupts the lives of His people!

Our desire to control our lives could be the very thing that prevents us from living the life God has planned for us to live.

As you make plans for your life my friend, hang on to your plans loosely.  Keep your main focus on loving God and seeking after Him.   

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

God is at work all around us.  Let’s be looking for Him to divinely interrupt our lives and let’s be ready and willing to go wherever He leads!

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”   James 4:13-15

Thankful for you!



Beer cans, garbage and trash everywhere!


Tonight, I was looking through some old files on my computer as I was preparing for an upcoming Bible study.  I ran across this document that I wrote years ago.  I changed the names for privacy sake, but I wanted to share it with you.  I remember this night so vividly and as I read this tonight, it challenged me and made me examine my heart.  It reminded me of who we are called to be…


Life is busy!

With our day planners and “to do” lists jam-packed, we are all bombarded with busyness. If I think back on my life, I can hardly remember a time when my life was not busy. What does it take for us to slow down?

In our busy lives, how can we smell the roses if we don’t even have time to notice them?

In the busyness of my day, when I stop to pray and spend time with God, I am once again reminded that there is more to life than my busy schedule.  He ever so gently reminds me that no matter how busy I think I am, there are opportunities for me to minister to others.

Unfortunately, most of the time my eyes are so fixed on ME and MY “to do” list, I miss opportunities God places directly in my path to serve others.

I forget that I am called to serve.

God showed me an example of this the other night, after church. It was a cold Wednesday evening, and I was tired. Exhausted from chasing 14 preschoolers around the room, singing “Father Abraham” and “Zacheus”, I was ready to go home.

In my mind, I already had the remainder of my evening planned out with laundry to do, baths to give, day care bags to pack, etc. So when my husband, Bryan, came to me and said we need to give Mrs. Baucom and her granddaughter, Elise, a ride home, I thought to myself…

“I don’t have time for that–isn’t there someone else that can take them home?  We do have 2 very small children you know?”

But, since Elise was standing right beside me when Bryan said this, I could not object. So, begrudgingly I smiled and said “ok” and off we went. When we drove up to Elise’s house, I was astonished by the scene in front of my eyes.

I could not believe Elise’s living conditions.

There was garbage everywhere, the yard was full of junk, and the car port was covered with old furniture, boxes, beer cans and anything else you can think of.  The house had broken windows and there was a broken down car in the yard with grass growing out of the hood!

My heart sank into the pits of my stomach as now my “to do” list seemed so insignificant.

As Elise thanked us for the ride and went skipping off into her house, I wondered how many opportunities I had missed to minister to her and her family all because I did not know their situation. I did not know anything about her or her parents.

You know why I did not know these things?  Because I did not make time to find out (I was too busy with my life)!

This family had needs, but I was so self-absorbed I had not even noticed.

We all know the song “This Little Light of Mine.” It originates from scripture in Matthew 5:14-15 which says:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Think about that little song and think about how you are living your life.

I wonder if you have been like me?

Have you been placing your light under the bowl of busyness?

Sometime I am so self-absorbed that I am oblivious to the needs of others.  Sometimes, I consider myself “too busy” to get to know others and lend a helping hand.

Tonight, God reminded me that I need to get over myself!

Jesus says we are the light of the world, not the light of ourselves!

We must get out there and let our light shine because of Him! We need to make others our priority and get to know them.  We need to serve!

My friend, remember to make time to help others; after all, your “to do” list (and mine) can wait.