When Life is Hard

My Childhood Best Friend, Rebekah


I just learned that my childhood best friend, Rebekah, has passed away. She leaves behind her mother, brother, and two teenaged children.

My heart is broken. 

As I learned the news of her passing, my mind was flooded with the memories we made.  There are so many memories and I treasure them all.

Like most childhood best friend relationships, Rebekah and I were inseparable during our elementary and middle school years.  We spent countless weekends together which always involved junk food and staying up late.  I remember us wearing matching outfits and spending hours teasing and spraying our hair before heading out to the skating rink or movie theater.

Before cell phones were invented, Rebekah and I kept our landline phones busy talking to each other almost every night.  Isn’t it funny that all these years later, I still remember her phone number?  We would talk for hours about school, boys, and our life dreams. Our friendship was special and I felt lucky to have Rebekah as my friend. 

Do you know what else made my friendship with Rebekah special?  We talked about our faith with each other.  

Rebekah loved Jesus.  I can remember us staying up until 3am talking the night way and it seemed our thoughts about God always entered our conversation.  We did not have all of the answers to life’s biggest questions, but I knew she believed in Jesus and she knew I did too.  She was a safe place for me when it came to the things of God. 

Rebekah’s faith encouraged my faith. 

Although we promised each other we would be best friends forever, like many childhood friendships, Rebekah and I began to drift apart in high school. She was gifted in drama and singing while I was busy with cheerleading and was discovering my love for science.

We found new friends who shared our new interests, and with each passing year, our connection with one another became less and less.  When we graduated and went away to college, I lost contact with Rebekah. I thought about her often, but we never reconnected.

The news of Rebekah’s passing has broken my heart.  Although we lost touch so long ago, she has always had a special place in my heart.  She was such an important person in my life, and as I learned the news that her life had ended, I could not stop the tears from flowing. 

Rebekah was my childhood best friend.  She encouraged me to think deeply about the things of God.  Rebekah’s presence in my life helped strengthen my faith.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
~Proverbs 27:17

What about you?  Did you have a special childhood friend you felt safe with to talk about the things of God?  Was there someone who helped strengthen your faith?  

What happened to that special friend in your life?  Maybe they have already passed away from this life.  Maybe you are still close with that friend even today, or maybe like my friendship with Rebekah, over the years you drifted apart. 

If it is possible, I encourage you to find that special friend.  Invite them to lunch.  Laugh and reminisce about your childhood.  Tell them what they meant to you all those years ago.  Thank them for being someone who strengthened your faith. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

It brings me such sadness to know that Rebekah has lost her battle with cancer.  I am so thankful for her presence in my life and the memories we made. I know she loved Jesus and I know I will see Rebekah again in heaven.  I look forward to that day!

Grateful for you,

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!


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!




When Bad Things Happen to Good People


Why do bad things happen to good people?

This is an age-old question isn’t it?

You and I cannot earn our way to an easy life. We cannot control everything around us to prevent bad things from happening.

Bad things happen to everyone!

Last week I heard about a lady who found out her 22 year old daughter has cancer. Interestingly, this same lady just went through a terrible illness herself and her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer six months ago. He was finishing his last chemotherapy regimen when they got the news about their daughter.

This lady is a God-fearing, God-honoring, righteous-seeking woman who loves God with all she’s got! Yet, she finds herself plunged into another emotional whirlwind, and she wonders “why.”

This lady cries out to God, “what have I done to deserve this pain?”  She knows God could just speak it and her daughter would be healed. With gut-wrenching heartache, she wonders why God doesn’t rescue her from this trial.

We hear about stories like this, and sometimes, we are the ones living out the story.  Sometimes, the heartache is ours.

My friend, when you face a terrible trial in your life, I want to encourage you that instead of asking “why is this happening,” try asking, “what should I do?”  You see, there are some things you and I can do to help us through those difficult times. My encouragement to you today is three-fold.


Now, many of us think of E.S.P. as Extrasensory Perception or the sixth sense. That is NOT what I’m referring today.  When bad things happen, I want you to remember a different kind of E.S.P. Here it is:

  1. Exercise your Faith

Bad news often leads us to a crossroad in our faith. We must decide what we REALLY believe about God. We need to examine our hearts and ask ourselves these important questions:

  • Do I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God?
  • Do I believe God is who He says He is?
  • Do I believe Jesus paid the penalty for my sins when he died on the cross?
  • Do I believe Jesus rose from the grave and defeated death?
  • Do I believe eternity in heaven is real for the believer in Jesus?
  • Do I believe God’s promises are true?
  • Do I trust God?
  • Do I believe God loves me?

You and I must reason in our hearts and minds what we believe about God.   Where do we stand?  This belief is the framework of our existence. It means everything!

Do we have faith?

Faith is like a muscle. As it is exercised, it gets stronger. BUT–before your faith can grow stronger, it must first be rooted in Jesus.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2:6-7

When we stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ, we have a reason to keep going and not give up!  Rooted in Christ, we realize there is purpose for the pain we are experiencing and we trust that God is working out things according to His will.

Rooted in Him, our heart’s desire is for HIS will to be done, not our own.

Rooted in Him, we believe in what we cannot see.

Rooted in Him, we trust Him.

Even through the hardest trials, we need to keep exercising our faith.  We need to continue worshipping God, spending time in prayer, studying our Bibles, serving at church and obeying God.  The worst thing we can do is quit.  We must persevere!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  ~James 1:12

Step 1:  Exercise your faith, even through the most painful of trials.

  1. Surrender

This second piece of E.S.P. is crucial. The root of this word, “surrender,” means to relinquish possession or control to another, to submit to the power and control of another.

Being a Christian means surrendering to God.

Some things are easy to surrender to God, while other things feel impossible.

Surrender this trial to God.

No matter how hard we try, there are some things we cannot fix. There are some things we cannot make go away. Ultimately, God is in control!  You and I can only surrender to someone that we trust and we can trust God to handle the trials we face.  He is big enough.  There is nothing impossible for Him.

Surrender to God’s agenda.

God has a plan. He has a master plan for this world, but He also has a plan for your life.  Sometimes, His timeline does not match up to our timeline, and often, His holy plan does not make sense to our human minds. We must abandon our own agenda and surrender to His plan and timeline.

Step 2:  Surrender

  1. Pray

Prayer is essential!  We need to pray!  When we are faced with bad news, the first place you and I need to go is to our knees in prayer.

Prayer is one of the most powerful forces on earth!  The fact that we can communicate with the God of the Universe is amazing!  The fact that He actually hears and responds to our prayers is miraculous!

Here are some important things I have learned about prayer in my walk with God:

  • I need to confess my sins
  • I need to proclaim His holiness
  • I need to approach Him with a grateful heart
  • I need to be bold in my prayers
  • I need to be reverent when praying
  • God answers prayers (sometimes in ways that only He and I know about)
  • My prayers matter to God
  • My motives need to be right when I pray
  • I need to be persistent and pray with a heart yielded to God’s will

You and I can pray about anything!  Pour out your heart to God, my friend.  He is listening!

Step 3:  Pray

We never know when bad news will strike, and when it does, we may never be able to explain the “why” behind what is happening.   But, we can tackle the question, “what should I do?”

Remember E.S.P.

Exercise your faith.  Surrender all you’ve got to God and Pray fervently through your heartache.

God has a plan.  We can trust Him!

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

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.



You Need a Break!


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Can you believe that summer is here? You know what that means! No school for the kids and it is time for summer vacation! It is time to go make memories with those you love, get some rest and have some fun! As I think about upcoming summer plans, I am reminded of the importance of taking time away from the busyness of this life to rest and refresh.

When God created Eve, he designed her, in part, as a helpmate to Adam.

“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

You and I were created to be caregivers and nurturers. As women, we are often more concerned about someone else’s needs instead of our own. God calls us to be servants and to put others before ourselves, but it is important to realize that he also created us as people of limits. We cannot keep going and going.

You and I need time to rest and recharge!

I have found it difficult to rest and recharge while I am at home. As I look around my house, there is always something I could be doing. A closet that needs cleaning out, blinds that need dusting, weeds to pull and the list goes on. I have found great benefit in going away from my normal environment to find the rest and recharging I so desperately need.

Now I know what you’re thinking….there is no way I can get away…I have too much to do.  I get it!  We have all types of reasons on why we cannot take a vacation and get away. It will cost too much, there is too much to do at home or at work, going away takes too much effort etc.  Listen my friend, life is short and too precious to only spend your time working.

Your body, spirit and mind need time to rejuvenate.   You need to take a break from all the work.  You need rest.   You also need time to go have FUN and enjoy the people God has blessed you with.

In Mark 6:31, Jesus says to his disciples after a hard day’s work, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”


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In your darkest hour, do you trust Him?



One Sunday morning, I stood in the hallway of my church, waiting to talk with a friend about her upcoming visit to see her Doctor.  You see, she had a strange pain that could not be explained and after seeing multiple doctors, she was told there was a good chance it was cancer.  She had some scans done the previous week, and she was going to find out the results of those scans the next day.  She was in a dark place.

As a church family, we had been praying and I had prepared myself to encourage her with all kinds of wisdom.   I just knew she would be anxious and upset.  I just knew she would need someone to talk to, so when my friend came around the corner that Sunday morning, I was ready.  I was ready to give her the encouragement she needed.

Yeah!  About that.  What happened next could not have surprised me more.

As I hugged her and started to tell her how sorry I was that she was going through this trial, she stopped me dead in my tracks.  She began to tell me how she was NOT worried and I could see in her eyes ….that she really was NOT worried.  She began to tell me that God was in control of all things and He was allowing her to go through this for some purpose.  She told me she knew God had a plan that she could trust.  And then she said something to me that has stuck with me ever since.  She said, “I want my life to bring glory to God.  If me having cancer will do that, then I am ready.”

Whoa!  That was not what I was expecting.

This was not a conversation about her being healed or about it not being cancer.  This was a conversation about trusting the God of the Universe with the outcomes.

I was speechless, and as our conversation ended, I began to feel challenged in my spirit.

Did I trust God that much?

Did I really feel in my heart that I was willing to go through whatever in order to bring glory to God?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”  ~Matthew 16:24-25

This friend of mine had two small children and yet, she was not doubting God because she was going through this trial.  Oh, I’m sure she struggled in her own private place because she loves her family and she wants to raise her children, but she had complete assurance that God had a plan.  She believed with all of her being that she could trust Him…no matter the results of that scan.

I do not know what you are going through today my friend.  I do not know what trial you are facing, but here is what I do know.

I know that God loves you and nothing you go through catches Him by surprise.

I know that God will never leave or forsake you.

I know that even if you or I get the worst diagnosis possible or if a tragedy strikes our family, God never changes.  He is constant.   He is who He says He is.

I know that this life is temporary and the struggles we face will only last a little while.

I know there is a real eternity awaiting those of us who are in Christ.  It will be more wonderful than our human minds can fathom.

Remember….we serve a God who is trustworthy.  Surrender your darkest hour to Him.  Trust Him my friend.  No matter what, trust Him.

I am grateful for you and would love to hear from you! Email me at joy@joytime.org




When Christmas is NOT the most wonderful time of the year…


I am not a coffee person. I know!  I know!  You probably think there is something seriously wrong with me!  Well,  I have tried it many different ways but cannot get past the coffee taste. For me, the coffee bean is not flavorful.  Although coffee is not for me, I do think that people who drink coffee look sophisticated. I am very impressed when I hear folks speak the “coffee language” because I have no idea what they are talking about. Coffee people understand the differences between Mochas, Iced Coffees, Cappuccinos, Cafe au Laits, Frappes, Macchiatos, Lattes, and Espressos. Just thinking about it makes me dizzy.  Just look at this menu below:

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No, I am not a coffee person. My favorite cold weather beverage is hot chocolate!   YUMMMMM!  When it is loaded down with marshmallows and whipped cream, I am one happy camper. I love a cold night when I can wear my fuzzy wool socks, put on my soft, comfy pajamas, and have my favorite mug full to the brim with that warm delicious drink from heaven.   It is something I look forward to as the Christmas season approaches.

What do you look forward to as Christmas gets closer?

Many of us get excited when we pull the Christmas decorations out of the attic and begin putting together our own winter wonderland. We look forward to finding that perfect gift for our loved ones and we smile when we hear Christmas music on the radio. We often sing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but for many people, the Christmas season is not the most wonderful time of the year. For many people, Christmas is full of painful memories, loss and sadness.

My Mother-in-law was admitted into the hospice unit at Presbyterian Hospital the day before Christmas Eve many years ago.   All she wanted was to spend one last Christmas at home with her family, but instead, she was rushed to the hospital in respiratory distress because the cancer had spread violently to her lungs. So that year for Christmas, we all crammed into a small hospital room and spent Christmas listening to the sound of a breathing machine while nurses and physicians came in and out every hour to check her. She was jaundiced, weak and unable to speak clearly. She was dying. We set up a tiny Christmas tree in her room.   We held hands, we prayed, we cried, and we told her how much we loved her. Just as we had done for seven years, our family pleaded with God for healing, but in His sovereignty, He chose not to heal her. She died at the age of 46.

Our family had Jesus with us each step of the way that Christmas. He never left us. He was there to comfort us. He was there to love us. He was our strength and our joy.

For many this Christmas season, there is no joy because they do not know the giver of joy. There is no hope because they have never met the one who brings hope into this lost world.

This Christmas season, I hope you and I will pay close attention to those in our midst who are struggling with sadness and pain. I hope we will not turn a blind eye to them, but instead, I pray we see their needs and step into their lives to bring HOPE. We can bring hope to them because we know the HOPE of the world! We need to tell them that God sent His son into our world to save us. We need to tell them that Jesus is HOPE. He is LOVE. He is JOY. He gives us every reason to smile and sing, regardless of our painful past.

If someone you know is hurting this Christmas season, I encourage you to reach out to them in a special way this year. Invite them to be a part of your family tradition or ask them to come share a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with you. However you reach out to them this season, just be sure to tell them about your amazing Savior, Jesus, the one who gives life everlasting.

Merry Christmas to you, my friend!


Lord, are you listening?


It has been heavy on my heart today to send you some encouragement straight from God’s Word. I know that life can really get us all down. Everywhere I look it seems there is some crisis on the horizon. I wonder if you, too, feel this way.

Threats of the Ebola virus, Enterovirus, ISIS, horrific storms, and the list goes on. If we are not careful, the enemy could have his way in our minds.

You and I must not allow fear to rule over us. We must remember WHO is in control! As chaotic as things seem right now, God never loses control!

Our God is working behind the scenes even when we feel that this world is falling apart. Even though at times we feel that He is silent, He is weaving His plan together.

This is a truth that we must keep close at heart because there are times when we wonder if He is listening or if He is concerned with our problems.

Here are a few verses that I hope will bring you some encouragement today:

  • … I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you   -2 Kings 20:5 
  • For they cried to the God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him.  – 1 Chr 5:20
  • I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill.  -Ps 3:4
  • And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. -Is 65:24
  • The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.  -Ps 34:15
  • And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.  –Ps 50:15
  • As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.  –Ps 55:16,17
  • Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.  -Ps 107:6
  • And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.  -1 Jn 5:14,15 

Over and over again in His Word, God assures His people that He hears them!  He sees them and He is with them.

I want you to stand firm today on TRUTH!   The God of the Universe loves you! He has not forgotten you.

When you feel as if there is no hope in sight, you keep stand firm on God’s Word.  Believe Him to be who He says He is.

Don’t give up on Him, my friend.   Be patient as He completes the good work He started!


Hoping this brings you encouragement today,







When things seem hopeless…



I’m so glad you stopped by my website today because I have a word of encouragement for you!!  I want you to go with me to the book of Ephesians where we find a familiar and powerful passage of scripture in Chapter 3.  Verse 20-22 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  What a powerful verse this is.  It reminds us that God hears our prayers—every one of them.  He is alive and active in our lives even when we don’t feel Him.  I wonder, as you are reading this, how ALIVE does God seem in your life right now?  Is His spirit so alive within you that you feel it is going to burst out of you, or are you in a season where you do not feel His presence?  Most of us have experienced times when we did not feel that God was near, but rest assured my friend, He is always with us and there are no situations too big for Him to handle.

Are you going through a difficult time in your life right now?  Maybe you are struggling in your marriage.  Maybe you are in a difficult situation with your kids.  Maybe you are facing real financial troubles or maybe you have aging parents and you cannot see a clear answer on what to do.  Maybe in your mind, your situation seems hopeless.  Listen my friend—with Jesus, no situation is ever hopeless because HE is the hope of the world!  Go to Him.  Get alone with Him, with your face in the carpet and cry out to Him.  Cry out BELIEVING He can do all things.  Cry out BELIEVING He can do more than you can ever ask or imagine.  BELIEVE He is the God He says He is in His Word.  Pour out your heart with total confidence that He is big enough to work out your situation for good.

When life gets you down, remember what God has done for you in the past.  Focus on how He has moved in your life.  Think back on times when you have asked God for something and He answered you way better than you even asked.  OH doesn’t He just blow you away with His goodness?

Life brings disappointment, heart ache and trouble.  We must remember that God is at work, often behind what we can see, weaving together the pieces of our lives in order to bring Glory to Himself and good to us.  When times seem dark, we must have faith to stand firm on His Truth!

Whatever doubts you have, whatever burden is on your heart today, wherever are you desperate for God to do a mighty work,  GO—-find a quiet place to be alone with Him and cry out to Him.  Get into His Word and remind yourself of the Truth we find in Chapter 3 of Ephesians.  Our God IS able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.  Pray and believe, and watch God work something beautiful out of a hopeless situation.

Give Him all glory and praise for ever and ever!