Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I have hot coffee next to me, steaming in my red snowman cup. All of my Christmas lights are on. Christmas music is playing softly. You say, "Christmas is over!" Is it now?

Did you know that contrary to much popular belief, the Twelve Days of Christmas are not the twelve days before Christmas? They are actually the twelve days from Christmas until Epiphany, January 6th.

And this makes me glad.

How we have all hustled and bustled and cleaned and baked and spent and wrapped to be ready for Christmas Day! Like a meal you prepare all day long, that gets consumed in about ten minutes flat, before we know it, that day we've fretted about, saved up for, sweated every small stuff, is gone in the twinkle of a tabletop Santa's eye.

Like a breath of fresh mountain air, like the sun on your skin on a hot summer day, like a drink of ice cold water to a parched tongue, today we can breathe. Go ahead and exhale.

But don't let Christmas go just yet. If we let it out of our grasp and our thoughts too soon, I think we may have let ourselves succumb to the world's view of Christmas. Chuck and I stopped into the local CVS on Christmas Day. Valentine's Day merchandise was already being put on the shelves. Christmas trees are out on the boulevards, tinsel blowing in the breeze. The wrapping paper hasn't even been picked up from the trash, but we are done. Ready to move on to the next thing.

Isn't that how we are? Always ready to move on to the next thing? We even pray that way, don't we? We ask. We receive. We briefly thank God for answering, then move on to the next thing.

But what if the next thing was to be still? To sit with a hot cup in the light of the Christmas tree and breathe it all in. Breathe Him in. The One who came. The One born in the fullness of time. The One whose birth we've supposedly just celebrated. What if, now that the hectic is over, we could really meditate on what it all means?

What if we could sing those songs and really listen to the words now, and mean them?  What if we could open our Bibles, maybe for the first time, and read the age-old story of His coming. Word made flesh. God dwelling with man. God with us. God with me. 

Oh, don't you think we need this?

In a minute, or so it seems, we will hang our calendar and a new year will begin. A new year that holds only Heaven knows what. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Trouble will surely come. There will be moments of unbridled joy, mixed with moments of gut-wrenching grief. There will be days ahead, 365 of them, full of life. Good times and bad times. Sun and warm breezes and rain and torrential storms.

We will need to be filled for the journey. We will need minds renewed, hearts restored, spirits revived.

I will need this for the days ahead.

For the days when it will all seem impossible, I will need to be filled with the story of the virgin, giving birth to the Son of God, to remind me that miracles really do happen!

For the days when I stumble and fall and feel worthless, like I just can't get it all right, I will need to be filled with the truth of His journey. Wooden manger turned blood-stained Cross. Forgiveness for me.

When I walk through the valley of the shadow, I will need to be filled with the truth of the Resurrection, that nothing is utterly dead until God says it's utterly dead.

I don't know about you, but I need to hold on to this. I need to not ever let it go. I need to hold on for dear life to the One who was born. To die. For me.

So go grab that hot cup, and hear Him say,

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls."

Oh, aren't we going to enjoy these Twelve Days of Christmas?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

No Ordinary Christmas

It's very early this Christmas morning and all is calm. I was just thinking about that first Christmas, so many years ago. I wonder if all of creation came to a halt when the baby Jesus took His first human breath. Or surely, when Divinity entered planet Earth's atmosphere, the ground must have shook? At the sound of His first cry, certainly the trees and the mountains bowed.

Truth be told, as the radiance of the Father's glory made His grand entrance into our world, life was going on all around Him. Except for one radiant star, that only a few would notice, it was business as usual.

Bethlehem was overcrowded with people in town to register for the census. Animals roamed the streets. In the pre-dawn hours, street vendors were busy setting up their wares, in hope that the many travelers would spend a farthing or two. Some were still sleeping, some were getting the jars ready for their morning trip to the well. The inn was full. Just another night in Bethlehem. No one even noticed.

No one noticed that in the town of David a baby had been born. No one heard the voice that would one day speak to a raging storm and say, "Peace, be still", let out His first cry. No one noticed. No one cared. Lowly. Humble. Understated. No fanfare. No trumpets. No earthquakes. But I'll bet that all of Heaven ROCKED!

I imagine the Father and all of His angels peering over the banisters of Heaven. Holding their breath. Waiting for the sound. And when it came, that first cry, there must have been cheering and shouting and rejoicing at near biblical proportions. And the proudest Papa ever turned to everyone and said, "That's My beloved Son. And I am well pleased."

It's very early this Christmas morning. Children will be waking soon to see what Santa brought them last night. Families will be getting together today to celebrate. And for many it will just be another Christmas Day. Status quo. Business as usual. Much like that first Christmas. I am so sorry, Lord, for what we have made of this day. So different from that first night.

Christ is not making His grand entrance into planet Earth this time. But He will make a grand entrance into our hearts if we will but receive. There will be no trumpets today. No earthquakes. No moving mountains. But He is here. He is God with us. Emmanuel. If we will just slow down. Listen. Reflect. He still comes quietly. He is still meek and humble of heart.

And one day He will come again. And this time He WILL come with a trumpet blast and with tens of thousands of angels. He will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And not only will Heaven be cheering, but all creation and every knee will bow.

Merry Christmas, dear ones! God loves you so, so much. He sent His only Son. And the earth stands still. All of Heaven is rejoicing. A Son is born. A child is given. The Prince of Peace has come. May His peace be yours today and everyday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Promise Fulfilled

Four hundred years had passed.
Four hundred silent years.
No prophets spoke.
No God-words from burning bushes.
No messengers sent from Heaven.

The people waited.
They ate. They drank.
They married.
They lived. They died.


They knew the promise. They remembered.
They waited. It had been so long.
So long that some stopped passing on the promise to those who would come after them.
Some stopped looking.

In the fullness of time.

On a day like any other. The Promise.

With the cry of a newborn baby, the promise was fulfilled.

The Promised One inhaled the very air He breathed into existence.

Word made flesh. God born dirt. Clothed in flesh and bone.

Lowly shepherds bowed before the baby.

Wise men came with gifts for the child. 

From babe to child to man.
He breathed our air.
He walked our sod.

They misunderstood Him.
They rejected Him.
They sought to end Him.

They beat Him.
They bruised Him.
They nailed Him to a tree.

They killed Him.
They buried Him.

He rose again!

Years have passed. Silent years.
No prophets speak.
No burning bushes.
No angel visitations.

We wait.
We eat. We drink.
We marry.
We live.
We die.


Where is this coming He promised?

We know the promise.
We remember.
We wait.

We wait so long that we forget to pass the promise on to those who come after us.

We stop looking.

But in the fullness of time. 

On a day like any other.
The Promise will come again.

No baby's cry, but a cry of command, 
with the voice of an archangel
and with the sound of the trumpet of God, 
the Promise fulfilled. 

No swaddling clothes but a robe dipped in blood.

Eyes blazing like fire, 
and on His head many crowns. 
A sharp sword coming from His mouth 
and an iron scepter in His hand. 

King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

Not only lowly shepherds. 
Not only three wise astronomers.

At His Name, the name of Jesus, EVERY knee will bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and EVERY tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

No one will misunderstand this time. 
No one will escape.
No one can beat Him.
No one can bruise Him. 
No one can nail Him. 
No one can kill Him. 

He is coming again. 

Every single prophecy about His first coming was fulfilled. 

Jesus Christ, 
the same yesterday, today and forever, 
has also promised His second coming. 

It's a certainty. 
It's as good as done.   

Are you ready?

If you're not sure today if you're ready for Jesus' return 
or if He should choose to tarry, that you will go to Heaven when you die, 
don't wait another minute. 


Monday, December 09, 2013

"What Child Is This?"

"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." (Luke 2: 12)

What child is this who laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping?

This child was a sign. In the Greek, that word meant that He was the finger-mark of God. He was Savior, Christ and Lord all in one verse (v.11). He shone with the radiance of the Father's glory and was the exact representation of His being. (Heb. 1: 3)
This child was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger, not in a palace as would have been befitting a King.
His little eyes would one day weep over Jerusalem and her sins. They would cry over the death of a friend.
His little hands would one day touch the blind and they would see. They would touch ears and they would hear. Those hands would cleanse the leper and drive out the fiercest demon. When His hand would raise, storms would still and winds would lose their breath.
His cry would turn into a voice that would stop hurricanes with a single "Hush." His voice would comfort an adulteress. Speak with love to a sin-full woman. Laugh out loud when the lame started dancing. Call men to follow Him. Teach multitudes. Pray to His Heavenly Father. Cry out in unimaginable pain nailed to a Roman cross.
His heart would be filled with compassion for the hurting, the poor, the abused, and the down-trodden. A heart that bursts with everlasting, unconditional, out of this world, love for you and me to this very day.
Those little feet would one day walk the dusty roads of Galilee, searching for anyone who would dare to listen to His words. They would be anointed with perfume from a broken woman's alabaster box. One day those feet would walk the road to Calvary.
What child is this?
This is a child that angels watched. Shepherds greeted. Kings worshipped. Learned men listened. Fishermen followed. Sinners dined. Crowds cheered. Blind men and lepers called out. Crowds jeered and cursed. Officials flogged. Governors condemned. Roman hands crucified. Women anointed. Gentle hands buried. A stone rolled away. A tomb empty. A Savior alive!
What child is this?
It was written about Him in the ancient Hebrew scroll. "Unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9: 6)
He was anointed to preach good news to the poor. He was sent to bind up your broken heart, and proclaim freedom for whatever has you captive. If your world is dark today, He came to give you blessed release. (Isaiah 61: 1) He came to turn your ashes into beauty, your mourning into gladness, and array you richly in a garment of praise, to replace that spirit of heaviness you've been wearing for so long. (Isaiah 61: 3)
What child is this?
He is the one who read those very words on that scroll in the synagogue one Sabbath evening, and sat down saying, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
What child is this?
"Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God's people. And they sang a new song, saying:
   "You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
   and with your blood you purchased for God
   persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
   and they will reign on the earth."
 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:
   "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
   and honor and glory and praise!"
 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
   "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
   be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"
 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped." (Revelation 5)
What child is this? He is The Christ, the Son of the Living God. The child who began His life in a wooden manger and exchanged it for a wooden cross. The child who began His life in a stable and exchanged it for a throne.   
This is Jesus the One and Only!
Wishing you a blessed and exceedingly Merry Christmas from our house to yours! May you know His abundant love, mercy, and grace. May you make it your life's passion to seek Him with all that is within you, worship Him with every fiber of your being, believe Him always, and to chase hard after Him until you see Him face to face.      

Friday, November 15, 2013

Official Noah Trailer

The trailer for Paramount’s highly anticipated blockbuster "NOAH" has finally arrived!
Check it out! 

Synopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise. 

Cast: Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Director: Darren Aronofsky


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Open Letter To The "Haves"

Dear "Have",

I'm a "have not". You call me poor. You call me disadvantaged. You put me in the category "needy".

I'm writing to you today to tell you that I am human.

I'm a living, breathing, human being, just like you.

I often look like you. I'm your neighbor. I sit in front of you at church on Sunday morning. We pick up our children from the same Sunday School classroom. I stand next to you in line at the grocery store. I'm at your child's soccer game. I'm white. I'm black. I'm young. I'm old. I'm skinny. I'm plump.

Sometimes I wear shabby clothes and sit on a street corner. More often you can't tell me apart from most other people. You think you know me. You think that you have me all figured out.

I milk the system, you say. I waste the money that you give me on drugs and alcohol. I get my nails done and wear a decent coat. I see you look at the car that I drive. I'm picky when I want decent food for my children. The kind that you feed yours. "If she's hungry, she should just be thankful for what she gets."

Don't think that I don't hear you.

I get everything for free, because I don't like to work. I lie. I hide income. I continue to have babies so that I can get more money.

Don't think that I don't hear you. 

But did you know?

...that I long to be like you.
...that I never wanted to be in this predicament.
...that I have never used drugs or drank.
...that my friend treated me to a manicure and a pedicure.

Did you know?

...that a kind person gave me the car. It has 100,000 miles on the speedometer that you can't see.
...that Yes! I want my children to eat decent food. Don't you?
 ...and that I AM thankful for what I receive.

Did you know?

...that I can't work because I can't find a job.
...that because the system sucks, I can support my family better on welfare than working a job at McDonald's.

I hear you. I hear you say, "if you're hungry, you'll take any job."

Oh, how I wish you really knew me.

I have hopes and dreams. I love my children with every ounce of my being, and I only want what's best for them.

I just want to be normal.

I just want to feel a sense of security and safety.

I want to have enough. I don't want millions. I. just. want. enough.

Did you know?

...that at this time of year, right before the holidays, I fight the worst depression.

...that I throw up sometimes when I watch TV commercials that show families around the Thanksgiving table.

...that when you see me leave a room, it's because I can't listen to you talk about Christmas shopping,  because what is so normal for you is impossible for me.

I just want to be normal.


Jesus told a story in the Bible about a man named Lazarus and a rich man. Lazarus was a beggar and he and the rich man had both died and gone to their respective eternal destinations. There was a great chasm separating them, fixed and uncrossable. Even though I'm not the "rich" in this story, I feel like there's a great chasm between you and I. No matter how I beg. No matter how I try, I can't get to where you are. I just want you to dip the tip of your finger in some water and cross over to me.

I just want to be normal.
I just want to provide a decent life for my children.
I just want to stop crying.
I just want to smile once in a while.

I just want you to stop judging me.

You don't know me.

Don't paint me with a long brush of generalizations. Some bad apples don't spoil the whole bunch.

If you took the time to hear my story. If you took the time to get to know me.

You would find out that I have more faith in my little finger than you will have your whole life.
Because faith is ALL I have. 

You see, when you're down to nothing, when you're down and out, if you don't have faith that somewhere, somehow, SOMEONE will rescue you, 
you'll hang yourself. 

You are my brother and sister in Christ. And that's the saddest part of all. Shouldn't we treat each other better? We're family. We have the same blood flowing through our veins. The precious blood of our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

Can I be brutally honest with you? Those who you call "lost", "unsaved", "pagan", pay more attention to me than you. When your sideways glances let me know that my chances are better off on the streets, there's something wrong. When no one says hello on Sunday morning or when I'm whisked away before I can set foot in the sanctuary.  

Our big brother told us to be on the lookout for people just like me. When you help me, you are ministering to Him. He left His throne in Heaven to become just like me. 

I'm the one on the corner. I'm the one in the give out line. I'm the one at Kroger looking through the discount expired food table. I may even be the one who looks a lot like you, but has tears rolling down her cheeks on Sunday morning. If someone doesn't help me we'll eat Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving dinner. I'll have to scrape the cheese to put over the noodles. My children's names are hanging on an Angel Tree. 

I have to keep the lights on. It's winter and it's cold and I have to keep the heat on.

Have you ever had to choose between paying a bill and buying food or medicine?
Do you honestly think I like government cheese and day old bread? That I would choose this life?

The Bible says that the Lord has assigned me my portion and my cup. It is what it is. I sometimes think that maybe it's so that you can be put to the test.

Will you see the face of Jesus when you look at me? Will you value me as a person enough to give me a hug even if I don't smell so swell? Will you stop assuming and stop others from talking trash about me?

I just want you to know me. Because you don't.

Thanks for listening,
A "have not" 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Geez! I hope that got your attention, because I really need you to read this and help me out! 

Last night I was so inspired by the words of a fellow blogger.  I don't even know how I came upon her post, but it really got me. It got me so much that I just couldn't sleep. Now, there's nothing in her post to indicate to me that she's a Christian. She may be or not. Right now it doesn't matter to me. Her words rattled something inside of me, and it has brought a little discussion on my Facebook page as well.

After reading this blog post, I did what many of us do. I start clicking other links within that post, and to call it going on a rabbit trail would be an understatement. Only this time, it led me somewhere. It led me to an idea, and that idea took on life and breathed in my face, 

"YOU could do this!" 

Tucked away in a far corner of my church on the eastside of Detroit, is a gem of a ministry. It's a food pantry. It's called "My Father's Business", and that friend, is exactly what's going on in there. 

MFB is run totally by volunteers who have been serving for more than a decade. I know most of these volunteers because my husband and I had the amazing privilege to be the directors of MFB for quite a few years. These are good people. These are Jesus people. They are His hands and His feet, loving and caring for the poor, as if Our Savior Himself were there on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. They do it because they love the Lord and they love His people. They have His heart, because, don't you know, He loved the poor! 

I'm stepping out in faith here. I'm stepping out of the proverbial boat. I'm jumping off the cliff.

This is where you come in. 

I want to help, but I can't do this alone. 

The holidays are almost upon us and that means that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. 

I would like to bless My Father's Business with the ability to provide 50 complete Thanksgiving meals to those who come for assistance. 

It costs on average about $40.00 for one meal. I'm talking about the stuff I would serve my family. Not substandard. If I wouldn't serve it on my Thanksgiving table, it won't be good enough to buy for someone else. 

$40 x 50 meals = $2000.00

Forty dollars is all it would take to provide joy to a family sitting around their Thanksgiving table, without worrying about how they will have to skip a bill to provide a holiday meal for their family. A warm, cozy, nutritious turkey and all the fixin's. 

The single mom trying to make ends meet.
The senior on a fixed income.
The family whose Daddy just lost his job. 

For some of us, forty dollars is a drop in the bucket. 
For some of us, that's a few less trips to Starbucks this month.

 But for some, it's down right impossible.

I'll do the shopping. I'll do the delivering to the pantry when it's all gathered.

 Visit Paypal and send $40 to,
and I'll take care of the rest. I'll even give you a receipt, if you request one! 

I am SO very thankful for your donation!

If you can't do $40, maybe $20 would be easier, and I can link your money with another $20 donor to buy a meal. Whatever you can do would be so helpful. Maybe you can only donate $10.
Five dollars would be greatly appreciated!
No gift is too small.
It's that simple! I'll do all the leg work! 

You'll get the blessing!  

If we raise more than the required amount for 50 meals, the rest will be donated to
My Father's Business.

You can check back to this post periodically, and I'll post our progress in the comment section. 

So, I'm kinda sick to my stomach pushing "Publish" on this one, but that's what faith is. 

What's the worst that can happen, right? No one responds and I'll look like a fool.

But, but, but! If YOU respond, and the next person responds, and the next, and the next, WE can accomplish something amazing for those in need and for this great ministry! 

I need your help!

Will you help? 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy Third Birthday, Mister Man!

Mister Man…

On this, the weekend of your third birthday, Gigi doesn’t have a lot of words. You probably don’t know what writer’s block is, but Gigi has it.

But my heart. What is my heart? Broken? Full? Yes. A little bit of both.

I'm kind of a mess right now. You can ask Jesus. He has to listen to me go and on, every day, all day. He's so patient isn't He?

But how could I not write to you again? Each year since it happened. Each year a letter. Each year fingers to the keyboard sending words to you.

Each year one year closer.

To Jesus.

To you, Mister Man.

If things go the way of the natural order of things, I should see you with my own eyes soon. Soon is relative, but I can't wait to lay my eyes on you, sweet baby boy.

But you're not a baby anymore, are you?

I asked Jesus this morning how that works? Are you still a babe in His arms, or do you grow each year like you would if you were here? I wish I knew. It doesn't really matter, I guess, but I would like to know how to picture you in my mind.

I picture you three. I picture you walking like a little man. I picture you catching balls and learning how to throw overhand. I'll bet you've learned to ride a tricycle and do you love puzzles?

Something I read said that a three year old understands the concepts of "now", "soon", and "later".

I get that.

Now you are not here.

Soon I will see you.

Later, we'll all be together. Your Mama and your Daddy, and your two beautiful sisters. Gigi and Pippy, Grandma and Grandpa, your aunts and uncles and cousins.

Each year that passes is one year closer to you.

Until then...

I heard this song this year, Mister Man. Every time I hear it, something gets in my eyes and they leak. You probably don't know anything about that, do you? The Bible says that there are no tears in Heaven.

I want to share the song with you. I also want anyone reading this tonight, who is missing someone who has gone to Heaven, to hear it and be comforted by it's message.

So, my precious little guy. How do I end this letter?

I'll end by taking another look at your sweet face on the picture and by kissing those little lips so tenderly.

I asked Jesus to give you a kiss and a giant hug for me and wish you a Happy Birthday. Did He do that? I'll bet that He did. He is so good!

Now, you are not here.

Soon I will see you.

Later we will all be together.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Mister Man!

Gigi loves you so.

1 Thessalonians 4: 14 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's The Big Deal?

Much to the dismay of many people, we waited. Waited for news that Kate, of Will and Kate of course, had gone into labor. With baited breath we watched Facebook and Twitter and Fox News for the royal birth announcement. Would it be a boy or a girl?

"It's a boy!" announced across the news wires. 
A future King, third in line for the throne, had been born! 

As if we hadn't waited long enough, now we would wait again. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I waited four hours. Staring at a wooden door, flanked by bobbies. Four hours. Moving from in front of my computer screen, to carrying around my iPhone, lest I miss the world's first glimpse of the bundle.

It was worth every minute of the wait. Cute as can be, out came Will and Kate with the yet unnamed future king in their arms. The crowd cheered. I smiled big. I got tickled when Wills put the car seat in the back of the car, wiped his brow, and drove away.

Then the wait continued. What would they call this bundle? What would be his royal name? Charles like his granddad? Edward? James?

George Alexander Louis

The news came today. Not my first choice, but a good, solid, kingly name for sure.

So, what's the big deal? Why does any of this matter? Why are we so fascinated, mesmerized, and capable of losing ourselves in the drama of a royal family way across the pond?

I think it's because we're sad.

I think it's because we're angry.

I think it's because we're drowning in our own bad news.

I think it's because we can't turn on the TV or look at Facebook without being inundated with bad news.

We just want some good news.

We just need some hope that the world is not such an awful place.

We just need to know that while we fight and clamor and judge and argue, good things are happening.

We just need to know that we can smile again.

That every once in a while it's okay to laugh.

That every once in a while it's okay to be silly.

That every once in a while a baby is born and if that's not a symbol of hope, I don't know what is!

Hope for a future.

Hope for better than.

Hope for a different way.

Hope for more love and less hate. 

Hope for smiles instead of furrowed brows.

A time to laugh. A time to dance.

A time to embrace and mend.

A time for peace. 

God! How we want peace!

How we need peace.

Not in the sweet by and by, but HERE, in the land of the living.

Days where we live well. Laugh often. Love always.

Days where it's all right to be excited about a baby born to a real-life prince and princess.  

Days where we open our eyes and hear the birds, feel the breeze, smell the flowers.

Feel the very breath of God on our faces because He's that close.

But consumed with all our stuff, stuffed, smoldering, spewed, hurled, we don't see Him. 

We don't smell Him. We don't feel Him.

We don't hear Him say, "Unto us a child is born." 

The One True King.

The Royal Lord of All.

He will one day judge the quick and the dead. We need not.

That my friend is a very big deal.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

"There are souls in this world who have the gift of finding joy 
everywhere and of leaving it 
 behind them when they go." 
~ Jean Paul Richter 

I hope you're having a joy-filled weekend!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

There Will Be A Day

 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 

 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 

Revelation 21: 1-4 NLT

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Prescription for Anxiety

Disclaimer: I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 
(Philippians 3: 12-14 The Message)

The apostle Paul was human, just like you and me. If you have time to do a wee bible study, look at 2 Corinthians 11: 23-28. You'll see that this guy endured and suffered more than any of us could ever boast about. 

We think we have problems? 

Yet this is the same guy, who in his letter to the church at Philippi, mentioned joy four times, rejoicing eight times, and gladness three times. In fact, in Philippians 4: 4, he says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" A double dose of rejoicing! He then goes on to tell us to be "anxious for nothing". 

Don't worry. Don't be anxious. About nothing. About NO THING.

We don't have to be anxious. We choose to be anxious.

But there's another choice.

How about the next time {and there will be a next time} anxiety comes knocking at your door; when the letter comes, the report is bad, the bank account is empty, the child has got us at our wits end, how about we put into practice what we can learn from Paul (Phil 4: 9)?

Think about something else.

Something true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
(Phil 4: 8)

Prayer + Asking + Thanking = Peace
(Phil 4: 7) 

I want to live there.

I can choose to live there.

What about you?


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Won't Be Reading Your Blog Anymore

Dear sister blogger,

I won't be reading your blog anymore.

I have read, and watched, and pondered, and prayed. Prayed hard. For the last year or so, something hasn't been right. It's kind of been like eating something that had a generally good taste, but something in it just wasn't right. You just can't put your finger on it?

So I continued to read. Watch. Ponder. Pray. Pray hard. Little by little the light began to shine. Call it spiritual discernment. Call it intuition. Call it Holy Ghost enlightening. Whatever it's called, I got it.

You could probably care less about me reading your blog. You have thousands of followers, tribes, and friends. One little ole me won't matter a hoot to you, and that's okay. But I feel the need to give you an explanation. I'm usually a cut and run kind of gal, but not this time. I feel that too much is at stake.

I started blogging eight years ago. At that time, people would say, "What's a blog"?

Enter Blogomania! 

According to Wikipedia, in 2011 there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.

What has followed, has become that "something's not right" taste in my mouth.

Sister blogger. Your readers are watching you. They are reading you. They want to be like you. They want to write like you. They copy your writing style. They start groups like you do. They admire, revere, imitate, and secretly envy you for your success. 

I've been there. I've done it. I secretly wanted to be Beth Moore for years. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for delivering me from that one! If He had wanted two of her, He would have made her twins.

Do you understand the immense responsibility that is on your shoulders when you hit that "PUBLISH" button every day? You have been given much, and much will be required of you.

I admire your attempts to let your readers know that they are not alone. Not alone in sickness, in dire financial straits, in the throws of diapers and bottles and messes made by little ones hanging on skirts all day, every day. Not alone in depression, marital struggles, sinful behavior, and workplace madness.

It helps to know that the feelings we have are not particular to our own sinful selves, but that many share those very same feelings. We need community. We need to know that we are not alone. But sometimes it seems that the blogs are doing their job in that regard, all the while leaving the most important thing hanging on the clothesline, flapping in the breeze.

The Blogosphere~The place where misery loves company.

It's an epidemic. 

One is feeling tired and overwhelmed, so she reads multiple times a day about being tired and overwhelmed. 

One is struggling financially, so she reads blog after blog about being in debt.

One is sick, so she reads blog after blog about pain.

Hey! Thank you for telling me that you're sick too. But please point me to the Healer.

Thank you for telling me that you're struggling financially, just like me. But please point me to the One who promises to supply all of my needs.

Thank you for telling me that you're tired too. Tired of bottles and diapers and messes, and meals and little ones hanging on skirts all day, every day. But please point me to the One Who says, "Come to ME and I will give you rest."

Point me to a Book. God-breathed. Living and active. Point me to my Bible, not another blog post.

When the housework is done. When the babes are napping. When the sun is going down and the house is quieting.


Thank you for telling me that you struggle with anxiety and depression too. But please point me to the One who says that if I keep my mind staid on HIM, I will be kept in perfect peace.

Thank you for telling me that your marriage is a struggle some days. But please point me to the One who in His Word spells out the EXACT instructions for a healthy marriage.

Thank you for telling me that you sin. Just like me. But point me to the Cross. To the One who died for my sins and who has, will, and always does, deliver me and lift me out of pits, out of mud and mire. The One who sets my feet on solid, firm rock.

The ONE who I can't explain how He does it, but He does it! 

Because, sister blogger, someone hangs on your every word today. That's evident by the numbers in your stats. That's evident in your book sales. That's evident by the figures in your bank account.

They want the numbers. They want the book deals. They want the TV interviews. They want the growing bank accounts.

They want to be like you.

Oh! Please, sister blogger.

Tell them to want to be like Christ.

"Imitate God, since you are the children he loves." (Ephesians 5:1 GWT)

That's why I won't be reading your blog anymore. I will keep reading those blogging sisters who point me to Jesus. Those who have encouraged me, loved on me, made me laugh and cry, but always, always, always, pointed me to Jesus.  My only hope. The One who will take me out of my misery, not feed it. The One who speaks His love words to my heart anytime I need them through the pages of His Word.

So if you don't see me commenting anymore, you'll know.

You probably don't care.

But I won't be reading your blog anymore. 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thus Far Has The Lord Helped Us

Last fall, we were seriously entertaining the thought of moving out of the place we've called HOME for the last 22 years.  One morning, the weather had become too cool to have my quiet time on the patio, so I was cozy in the back room of my house, window cracked, a blanket on my lap, looking out of the huge window that overlooks that patio. With the thought of not having another spring and summer to sit in my backyard during my quiet time, I began to weep. 

"We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands". (Proverbs 16:1 TLB)

As it turned out, we didn't move. God would have us be here, in this place, at this time. He has assigned us this portion and this cup for another season.

Fast forward a few months to this morning. As I arranged my journal and my Bible and my devotionals, I sat back with my hot cup of coffee, and wept again.

If I've ever doubted the faithfulness of my God, all I have to do is look around me, at this place, at this yard, on this patio. It has become my Ebenezer.

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us." (1 Samuel 7:12)


This is my Ebenezer.
Here is my memorial.
Here do I see
"Thus far has the Lord helped us."

I don't need a journal to be reminded of the years I have spent here on this patio. There were days when I laughed out loud here. There were days when I cried out loud, afraid the neighbors would hear. 

I've prayed hard here. I've sobbed here. I've fought for my marriage here. I begged God for my children's lives here. I've prayed for wombs to be miraculously opened. I've implored God for babies to be okay. 

I've asked for guidance when I had no idea what to do. I've laid out fleeces before the Lord here. You know, "if you'll do this Lord, I'll know it's YOU." Ministry and service to God were birthed here. Ministry and service came to an end here. 

My knees have literally been on those bricks, promising to have no other gods before Him. I've met with Kelly Minter, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer and Jennifer Rothschild here, as they led me deeper still through their knowledge of Scripture. I wrote parts of my book here.   

I mourned my grandson, Noah here. 

I prayed here when I was terrified. I prayed here when I was paralyzed with fear. I prayed here when I was hopeless, helpless and oh. so. weak.

I've prayed here for starving children in Africa, for villages full of people drinking mud instead of clean water, and eating dirt to squash hunger pains. I've prayed for Muslims in Yemen who just want to hear about Jesus. 

I've cried out for healing. I've screamed for deliverance. I've prayed for employment for my husband. I've begged for provision when there was none to be found. 

This place is sacred.

This patio is holy ground because God meets with me here. 

In twenty- two years, He has Never let me down. You heard me, Never!

If the Lord assigns this place to us for the next twenty two years,  I will continue to pray here. I will continue to laugh here. I will continue to cry here. 

I have pressing needs right now, but I will not despair.

This morning, the Lord was here. He came to remind me that He has never left me or forsaken me.

This morning, God, my God, hugged me with His faithfulness.


Thus far has the Lord helped me! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Purpose In Our Pain

Israel's trials in the desert kept their attention on their Provider. Because the manna didn't last overnight, each new sunrise brought the need to look up to the God of Heaven for that new day's sustenance.

There is purpose in our adversity. There is purpose in our pain.

God wants to get our attention. He wants to keep our attention. He wants to remind us of His love. He wants us to know Him more intimately. He wants us to examine our ways.

When I say, sing, and pray, that I want to know Jesus more fully, more deeply, and more intimately, it would only follow that I must encounter Him somehow. I must encounter and go through some things, to give Him the opportunity to show Himself to me.

If I've ever prayed for that kind of closeness with God, my trials could actually be the answers to those prayers. How else would I know? I could only hear and read about Him, but I'd never EXPERIENCE Him. The wonder of Him. For myself. And because He is faithful, He will always show Himself and He is all good.

How could I know that He is a Provider, if I've never been in need?
How could I ever know that He is a Healer, if I've never been sick?
How could I ever know that He is my Strength, if I've never been weak?
How could I ever know that He is my comfort, if I've never mourned?

I must go through what He wants me to go through so that I can see Him clearly, trust Him deeply,  and be prepared for the inevitable trials of the future. I will remember His faithfulness today and be encouraged tomorrow.

I can only depend on God, if I have faith in God. Faith in His ability. Faith in His character. I must believe that God is Who He says that He is. I must believe that God can do what He says He can do.

And He says that He daily bears my burdens.
He says that He daily loads me with benefits.
He says that He is my Friend that sticks closer than a brother.
He is my Friend who supports me day after day after day.
My Friend is exceedingly, abundantly faithful, able, and competent to accomplish whatever concerns me today.

Do you know Him today, as that kind of Friend? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Learning Your Lesson

I remember hearing these words when I was a child about to get punished. "Maybe this time you'll learn your lesson." I also remember the dreaded words that my father would speak when I asked how long my punishment (aka grounding) would last. "Until I say so". That could mean until the end of the week, until the end of the month, or until the end of time itself.

When I had children of my own, I'd like to think that I handled things in a kinder way when it came to discipline. I would ask, "And what lesson have we learned?" Why did I use the word "we"? Like I had a lesson to learn? Surely not! I was the know-it-all parent, saying those words in a condescending, sing-song tone of voice.

Discipline is hard. It's hard to receive it and it's hard to mete it out. It doesn't get any easier as we grow older. It does remain necessary, no matter our age, and it may show up disguised as hardship, trial, or adversity.

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children."  (Hebrews 12:7)

Did you know that God sees redemptive value in our trials? He accomplishes great spiritual work in our adversity. Just like Christ, on the cross, "who for the joy set before him [he] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12: 2) For the JOY set before Him. Jesus suffered willingly, endured selflessly, even unto death on a cross, for a redemptive purpose. My redemption. Your redemption. 

What looked like a total defeat for the Kingdom of God on that day, a total set-back for the Heavenly team, was a set-up for the salvation of all who would later call on His Name to be saved. 

God is so much more concerned about your heart and your eternal destiny, than He is about your circumstance or your comfort. He wants to do a work in you. He wants to do a work in me. 

There has to be meaning in our trials and adversities, or it would just be cruelty, meted out by a cruel God, wanting us to suffer for suffering's sake. 

 "God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."   
(Hebrews 12: 10-11)

Take some time today and ask the Lord, "What changes are You trying to make in me? What lesson do You want me to learn? In what areas of my life will I grow through this trial? "

Then make those changes. Start making the right decisions and the right results will follow. That's the natural order of things. Right decisions produce right results. That's the God-order of things. He wants us to learn our lessons.

I don't know how long our trials will last. It may be until the end of the week, the end of the month, or until the end of time itself, but what I do know, is that they will produce holiness, righteousness, and peace, if you and I allow ourselves to be trained by them.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness and A Christmas Story in a Chinese Restaurant

My post is part of Wayman Publishing's 
"The Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest". 
Head on over for free e-books, a book fair, and great stories about random acts of kindness. 

 photo raoc_zps0fb7dd8c.jpg
Click Here: The Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest

I'll start by explaining what we were doing in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day. Twenty two  years ago, I was pregnant with my fourth child, Kyle. My three oldest were gone for the first time ever on a holiday, spending the day with their Dad. Chuck and I were alone. All of our holiday celebrating had taken place on Christmas Eve. We decided to go out for dinner, quickly finding out that this was not going to be as easy as it sounded. Who knew that there wasn't one restaurant open on Christmas Day? Don't people have to eat on Christmas too? Just sayin'.

After driving all over the proverbial half-acre, lo and behold we found a place to eat. Much to our delight we learned that there ARE establishments open on Christmas Day...Chinese restaurants! I remember feeling a little like a loser. As I looked around the room at the other patrons, I remember wondering what their stories were. How does one find them self in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day? No family? Family doesn't want anything to do with you? Or, like Chuck and I, maybe they had celebrated the day before. Whatever the story, there were a lot of folk in that restaurant, on that Christmas day, twenty two years ago. And every Christmas Day since then.

We decided to make this a Christmas tradition. We haven't missed a Christmas Day dinner at Wong's Garden .. not once. I remember the first year we took Kyle. He was only nine months old and I'm putting it nicely when I say that his behavior was abominable. Most years it was just the three of us. There was one year when my daughter Kelly joined us because she and I had spent the afternoon in the ER with strep throat, and she didn't go to her dad's house. My brother joined us one year, our son Brian another. But Chuck and Kyle and I have faithfully taken our egg drop soup together at Wong's for nineteen years. Last night was no exception.

The scene was the same. In the far corner was a large family, adults and little ones. Many tables were full with couples and foursomes. There was a line for carry-outs. The Christmas tree was up. It's been the same tree every year. A large statue of Buddha sat in the same corner as always. Kyle remarked that he couldn't understand how anyone would worship Buddha. Good question. Christmas music was playing overhead. WNIC...100.3. Waiters and waitresses bustled about and seemed particularly busy and disorganized this year. The owner was helping out and took our order.

A couple of tables away sat an elderly women with gray hair, at a table for four, all alone. She caught Chuck's eye first, and he said that he would really like to pay for her dinner. I asked him if he was sure that she was alone. He was sure. He had checked it out. She was actually done eating and getting her traditional carry-out containers to take home. Our hearts were touched by the sight of her, alone for dinner on Christmas Day. Now I can vividly recall years when we were counting our last dimes to make sure we had some money to carry on our tradition. In those days we would be cut short until the next pay day for sure, but we weren't going to miss this dinner. And there were years we barely had enough. Yesterday, to God be the glory, He is so faithful...we had enough to buy this women's dinner and ours. So it wasn't about sacrificial giving. But it was definitely about something.

When the owner took our order Chuck explained to her that we would like to pay for the elderly women's dinner. No problem. We watched from a couple of tables away when she explained to her that her bill was taken care of, but we couldn't see her face. Here's where it gets good. She bundled up her coat,taking her carryout containers in hand, and proceeded to go out the door. One of the waitresses started screaming for her to come back! She thought the lady was skipping out on her bill! The table next to her started yelling, "No, No, the boss lady said that someone paid her bill!" Whew! Out the door she went.

Once she was gone, "boss lady" came to our table to ask if we were a relative of the woman. Now if we were, don't you think we would've been sitting with her? Just sayin'. Anyway, she told us that the lady had begun to cry when she found out that someone had paid her bill. It turns out that her husband passed away two weeks ago, and her son was a no-show for this very Christmas dinner. Sweet Lord Jesus!

I mean that! Sweet Lord Jesus!! Over two thousand years ago, God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, Jesus. Jesus ... Immanuel...God with us. Over two thousand years later, on a cold Christmas night in Michigan, He is still God with us. He was God with that elderly woman. And He showed her, up close and personal, how much He cares for her. What I didn't tell you is that we almost didn't go to dinner last night. We almost got carryout. But something inside of me was saying that we should go and not break the tradition. Oh, thank you for the promptings of your Holy Spirit!

Do you see how our God cares so deeply and personally for each and every one of us? He knows how many hairs are on that grieving woman's head. Her name is engraved on the palms of His hands. His voice spoke from Heaven. He chose to come to her intimately, in the middle of a Chinese restaurant filled with strangers, and tell her... "I love you daughter. You are not alone. I am with you." And I'm humbled and so intensely grateful that He chose to use our little family to bring His message.

When all was said and done, "boss lady" told us that she had told the woman that God was looking down on her. I don't know if "boss lady" is a believer, if she just said the word "God", if she's a Buddhist, or what. But she gave "God" the glory and so do I. She also told us this, "I have never before seen people like you."

Oh, boss lady, I have never before seen anyone like my Jesus!

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."