Monday, November 9, 2015

The bad guy

As my testimony has been shared through various outlets over the last couple of years, a few characters in the story of my life have let me know how much they don't appreciate it. 

Sometimes, the upset comes from feeling like they have been portrayed badly in the story. But occasionally it was because they weren't mentioned at all. Afraid of what someone might think if they step back and look at the big picture, I'm sure they imagine others thinking or saying: "Isn't that Kindall's so-and-so? Why weren't they mentioned? Where were they? Did they just let all of this happen to her and the kids?"

Let me start by answering that last part. Nobody just let anything happen to us. Our circumstances were a result of my bad choices and my pride. Other people's choices affected me, but I made the final decisions on the direction our lives went. 

In response to these characters, it would be easy for me to share one of my favorite quotes and leave it at that...

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. 
If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
~Anne Lamott (Bird By Bird)

But, as I think about all of this again in the light of grace, I realize that it is important to me that people understand that I don't write to make anyone look bad. My story doesn't need a bad guy. It already has one... and he was way worse than any mere human who made hurtful choices.

Actually, whether you write it out or not, the same is true for your story.

The only "bad guy" in your story is Satan. Everyone else is just human. When you realize that, the amount of grace you are able to extend to others (and yourself) increases exponentially.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Not just the forgiveness we have through Jesus, but also the forgiveness we share with others. As I write my story, some awful things that some people did will inevitably be included... but I hope to be able to convey that I no longer associate anger or pain with those people. 

I could continue to wallow in the hurt and pain. I could continue to be in victim mode indefinitely. I could spend my hours writing about the ways others tried to steal, kill and destroy. I could let it eat away at me. 

I could, but I won't. I choose to have life, and to have it abundantly.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. 
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
~John 10:10

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander 
be put away from you, along with all malice. 
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
~Ephesians 4:31-32

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A better promise

More than two and a half years ago, I started this blog as a way to work through my issues and hold myself accountable for all the promises I was making to God as I tried to pull my life back together.

Promise after promise is what I would make, and ultimately fail to keep, over and over. I thought the blog would help me with that, make me accountable and help me stop the seemingly unending cycle of "Promise, fail, confess, repent, promise, fail, and so on..."

Look at those phrases that I underlined. I was working so hard... and still failing... because I didn't understand how to let Him handle it. I kept trying to do it in my own strength.

On some level, I really thought that
this is what God does! 

Not only that, but I was doing it all to please Him, to appease Him, because I knew it was "the right thing." He had been blessing me, and while those blessings were completely unearned, I continued to try to earn them... or at least do what I could to make sure He didn't take them back! My lack of understanding was holding me back more than anything else. 

As I spend more time with Him, immersing myself in the Gospel of Grace, I can't help but see how much I was missing the mark in my promises, because I was focusing on my part of the struggle. Thankfully, over the last several months, that has changed for me. I am learning that He IS the good, gracious, loving God I had always wanted to serve. I am learning how to rest in Him. I am learning to let go.

I don't always get it right. I can't promise you won't pull this up and see a particularly human blog post about "poor me" any time soon, but you can be sure that if you do, it's not because my trust in Jesus or God's grace has wavered at all... only my focus.

I'm very happy to say that, looking back over the last couple of years, there is a difference in this blog...especially the last several months. I'm excited to keep writing and see how it changes more as my relationship with Him continues to grow.

Promise after promise from one of the most fallible people I know (me)... that was often hard to write about. Whether it was all completely necessary or not, God has used it all for good, and I am grateful!

Promise after promise from a God of grace... that is something I look forward to writing more about.

If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, 
then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.
~Romans 4:14

He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 
He keeps every promise forever.
~Psalms 146:6

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise 
could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind.
~Hebrews 6:17

And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. 
You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
~Galatians 3:29

Out with the old... 

In with the new...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Not about the chains

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
Acts 16:25-26

It was dark in the jail cell. So dark, in fact, that the guard had to call for a light to check on the prisoners. The darkness couldn't hide the filth of the jail. The smell was rank. Being underground made it easy for waste and rodents to accumulate. Even the guards didn't want to be there. Only the poorest, lowest-ranking guards were assigned to this place.

One can barely imagine, these days, what a place like that really must be like, much less how anyone who ended up there through no fault of their own could stand it for even a short time. Paul and Silas were there after being unjustly beaten and chained into the stocks. In fact, the punishment was so undeserved that the Roman government tried to let them go quietly the next day. They refused to leave that way and were actually apologized to by the officials, who then asked them again to leave the city.

What happened the night they were in jail, specifically in those two verses, says a lot about the way we should handle our own negative situations, the chains that are binding us.

Focus on Jesus

First, note that Paul and Silas were UNJUSTLY imprisoned. Yet, did they continuously call for the guards or the government officials? Did they complain about their imprisonment while locked in the stocks? Did they tell their story over and over, hoping for some cell-mates or the guard to be on their side? There is no note or mention of Paul and Silas complaining about anything. What does it say they DID do? 

"Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God..." 

They didn't focus on what was holding them down. They already had faith that He would work things out for the good of those who loved Him. So, what was left to do? Rest in His presence with prayer and praise, beginning early and continuing until the earth quaked at midnight.

Keep Singing

How long were Silas and Paul singing before the chains fell off?

"Around midnight..."

What are the chances that this pair had just started their singing when the earth began to quake? If you've spent the day in a dark, filthy prison, does midnight seem like the time of day you'd feel like striking up a song? 

When surrounded by negativity, it is easy to feel despair yourself. As night fell and hopelessness set in for many of the prisoners, Paul and Silas knew that to keep hopelessness from setting in for themselves as well, they had to fight the best way they knew how: Prayer and praise. 

What would have happened if there had been no change to the situation? If their imprisonment had gone on for days or weeks, would they have stopped praying and singing? While they spent this one night in prison, Paul actually spent a total of about 6 years of his ministry in prison. He wrote between eight and thirteen books of the New Testament, depending on who you ask, many of them from prison. I don't doubt they would have continued to sing, even if their miracle hadn't come that night.

Who is watching you?

There were others in the jail with Paul and Silas. While some of them may have been imprisoned unjustly as well, there were likely thieves, murders, and outlaws of all kinds mixed in. Yet, Paul and Silas didn't spend their time preaching to the other prisoners. They didn't order them to repent or to confess anything. They didn't tell them, "Pray with us and be saved!" They knew that nothing they said would make an impact for the other prisoners. The other prisoners merely listened as Paul and Silas dealt with their own burdens in praise and prayer... and what happened?

"the chains of every prisoner fell off"

When you focus on Jesus instead of your struggles, instead of the injustices dealt to you, instead of your chains... it not only impacts you. It impacts those who see it. Your praise could be the thing that breaks the chains of those around you.

But How?

How in the world could anyone go through what Paul and Silas went through... or what you are going through right now... and continue to pray and praise the Lord? 

Paul knew who he was in Christ, trusting Him fully. Paul also knew what understanding that would do for you as well.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. 
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 
~Ephesians 3:17

That trust grows as you turn your focus towards Jesus. Stop focusing on the chains and focus on Jesus. The more you know Him, the easier that becomes. You have to know that He wants only good for you.

He sees you sitting in the dark, feeling chained to the floor. He knows what you need and want. He knows how you feel. Know this... He will break the chains. And when He does it, you will feel them break, but you won't see it happen... because your eyes will be on Jesus.

Monday, October 5, 2015

I want to tell you

I have a half-dozen, half-finished posts in my drafts folder.
I have so many thoughts and revelations I want to share
about what God has done and what He wants for my life, and yours.

I want to tell you what He really thinks of you, who you are in Him.
I want to tell you how He gave us the power to move mountains.
I want to tell you how He brought both healing and forgiveness to all.
I want to tell you how He empowers us in Him to do ALL things.

I could wait a few more days, keep trying to write those things,
hoping that eventually I would "feel it" when I hit "Publish."
Or I could put together a post from my head, instead of my heart,
and hope that He uses it to inspire you anyway.

But instead I have to admit that I don't have the energy.
Life is overwhelming me today. Nothing is going as I planned.
Nothing is happening in my time. Fear is trying to take over.

Yet still I want to tell you all of those things...
because regardless of how I'm feeling today,
regardless of the battles I am fighting this moment,
I KNOW these things are true.

These are not just cliches to be tossed back and forth between hurting people.

These are Truth, the Truth that sets us free.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. 
Romans 8:11

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, 
and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
John 14:12

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

Friday, September 18, 2015

When I don't understand

There is a song we sing at church that I love:

 "When I don't understand, I will choose You.
When I don't understand, I will choose to You, God.
When I don't understand, I will choose to love You, God."

If you ask the average Christian,
they would probably agree with that statement:

"Of course! We should always turn to God, even when 
we are in circumstances we don't understand."

I would have said it myself, back when we were homeless. Or, even before that, when I was making one bad choice after another. But did I really choose Him every time? What does that look like for someone to choose Him in the face of something they don't understand?

Countless times I have fallen into my bed crying. Feeling defeated by Satan, upset at something not going the way I expected, asking God what I did wrong to make it happen the way it did, or why He didn't want the same thing I wanted. Often, I just sulked. The disappointment would zap the energy from my body, sometimes rendering me useless for the night.

"It's not fair God! I trust You, I do... but why...? 
When will ______ change? What are You going to do here?" 

That doesn't really sound like trust though, does it? That doesn't sound like choosing Him. It sounds like getting stuck with no other options so, "I guess I'll see what God is going to do."

As I've gotten to know the real God more, as opposed to the one I thought I knew, I've noticed this happens less and less. Even in disappointment, I can say, "I don't understand, but I choose to trust You."

I know that I love and serve a God who heals. This week when the healing that I was believing for didn't come when I expected it, I took it pretty hard. I came home and made a beeline for my bed. I could feel the energy draining from my as I messaged a friend who prayed for me at that moment.

A little bit at a time I started to feel a little peace. It was just enough to pull myself out of bed and run payroll for my business. Then I went to the bank, and grabbed dinner on the way home. Before long I was messaging the friend to tell him I was feeling better.

My youngest has to have her tonsils out. It's not usually a big deal for most children, but it can be for children with Hurler's Syndrome, which is what she has. I had reason to believe she was going to be healed before our appointment. I believed we were going to go in and the doctor was going to say, "Amazing! They are normal sized again! No surgery needed!"

It didn't happen that way, and I don't know why. Her surgery is scheduled for the end of October and includes time in the hospital before and after for testing and monitoring, and, according to the doctors, up to two weeks out of school.

Do I understand why surgery is still "on" as of now? No.
But I absolutely believe Lauren's healing can come before then.
Even if it doesn't, I will still choose to trust Him.
What does fully trusting Him look like?
I'm still not sure that I know completely. But I'm working on it.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
~Isaiah 53:4-5

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, 
and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
-John 14:12

More on God's gift of healing can be found here:

Monday, September 14, 2015

The God I wanted to serve

It's no secret that striving to be a good Christian hasn't always been easy for me. As I've struggled over the years to be the person God wants me to be, I felt like a constant disappointment.

I believed that if He really knows everything from the tiniest of my thoughts to my stupid mistakes and right on up to my outright blasphemy at times, He's never truly going to be happy with me. Sure, I believed God forgave when I asked. I never doubted my eternal salvation. I knew I was getting in, but if the Pearly Gates were a heavy stone door, I was rolling under it, Indiana Jones style. Barely making the cut-off.

And then I encountered the Gospel of Grace. As I delve into teachings that I've never encountered before, and feel the Spirit move, I am blown away by both the simplicity and the complexity of the Word. Beliefs I've gathered from various friends, pastors, and churches over the years are falling off of my weighted-down shoulders and hitting the ground in a million pieces.

This (negative thing) was God's plan. *crashed*
Everything happens for a reason.  *shattered*
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. *smashed*
When you sin, God is angry with you. *demolished*
God will punish you for your sins. *destroyed*
There are still miracles, today, but not for me. *busted*
God uses pain and sickness to keep us humble. *obliterated*
God created this horrible circumstance to build your character. *disintegrated*

Read those. Do those sound like characteristics of a loving God? Yet, a lot of those are things you will hear in churches on a typical Sunday morning. After hearing them for 35 years, you'd think it wouldn't have been so easy for me to let go of those beliefs, especially if you believe some of them yourself.

Surprisingly, while there were some concepts that took time to wrap my brain around, it wasn't difficult for me to let go of these at all. Why?

A friend of mine put it perfectly. This is the God I've always wanted to serve. The one I WISHED existed... the One who wanted me to love Him without fear.

I wanted to love a God who didn't seem wishy-washy and didn't play favorites. I wanted a God who wanted my family and me well.

I wanted a God who didn't leave me looking at the Bible saying, "I'm never gonna live up to this." I wanted to love a God who instilled confidence in me as I am, as opposed to the nervous tight-rope walking I was doing before.

It turns out the God I wanted IS the God I love and serve... I just didn't know Him as well as I thought I did. So many things I attributed to God, and accepted because I believed they were from Him, were things I should have been fighting... because it isn't God who takes away, causes pain, makes people sick.

I could write on this forever, but I'll leave you with these verses. If you question some of the things I say God isn't... read these and the list of myths above and see which ones align with God's word.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
~John 10:10
He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. - See more at:,-As-Deceiver#sthash.4SAmH4Rp.dpuf
He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. - See more at:,-As-Deceiver#sthash.4SAmH4Rp.dpuf

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the 
Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 
~James 1:17

God doesn’t take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen. 
~Romans 11:29

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah
    that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. 
 For the mountains may move and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
    My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
    says the Lord, who has mercy on you."
~Isaiah 54:9-10

What negative things about God are you believing today that are keeping you from experiencing the joy that grace brings? 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Everyday God

I've prayed big prayers.
I've asked God to cover huge bills, provide housing,
fight for me when I thought nobody ever would... and He has. Every single time.

But what about the little things? What about the everyday provision? Oh sure, prayers go up when I'm running late for an appointment and can't find my keys, but really, God has enough going on. He doesn't really want to hear me ask for help with little things we deal with every day, right?

Blessed with some fresh green beans this week that I hoped to make into a recipe that my kids love, I realized the recipe would be good for a cook-out coming up this weekend. If I was going to do that though, I'd need some more fresh green beans... No big deal, I thought. Maybe I could find a road-side stand or get some at the farmers market this Saturday...

This morning a client let me into her home, gave her instructions for the day, and then said to me, "Could you use some fresh green beans? I have a whole bag and nobody will eat them here."

Green beans? Really? I mean, she could have had too many tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers... but no, just green beans... and a couple of my favorite sweet peppers. She went on to explain that she usually splits her produce with a couple friends, both who were out of town this week.

My first thought was, "Thank You Jesus! I didn't even ask for help here, and You still provided!"

I love that I have a God who doesn't miss a chance to remind me He loves us and cares about my everyday. He isn't just God to those who are in desperate need. He is for us every single day and no detail is too small to escape His notice.

Feeling a little frustrated about your everyday? You don't have to. God cares about every single thing you go through, every single thing you deal with, every need, every thought, every wish, every single day. Ask Him for help now. Trust Him NOW, in the little things, in the everyday. Don't wait until you're overwhelmed with something big.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
~Matthew 6:26
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
~Luke 11:13

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not afraid

An interesting conversation about grace with friends this weekend brought up the subject of our fear of God. Without really thinking about it, the first thought I had flew out of my mouth, "I'm not afraid of God."

I wrapped my brain around what I had just said as I saw the surprised looks on some of the other faces at the table. Maybe everyone should be backing away from me slowly, on the lookout for lightning bolts. Maybe the earth is about to swallow me up. I know God was listening. Did I really mean what I just said?


This morning I looked through old blog posts for evidence of my previous fear. I know that I used to be afraid of God. Honestly, some of them were hard to read. One word kept coming up though.


In one post I commented how God's love seemed a lot to me like the selfish love I'd already encountered in this world. (Love that left me broken, hurting, untrusting.)

In another post I made it clear I was taking John 12:25 literally.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life 
in this world will keep it for eternal life. ~John 12:25

I was totally scared God was going to make me miserable while using me for His plans... with the promise that "in eternity it wouldn't matter..."

If I could just endure, just get through this life without messing up, it would be a testimony for others to see and He would be happy with me... and that all mattered more (to Him) than me being miserable. It was exhausting. No wonder I was fighting Him all the time.

So what made the difference? Why did I stop fearing God?

The Gospel of Grace. Finally learning what grace really is and how it applies in our lives, I'm diving into a deeper relationship with Him and rising to the surface with a level of trust I didn't know I could have. Knowing that I am the righteousness of God in Christ, and that He sees me as perfect (in spite of my mistakes) breaks off the constant performance anxiety and fear of His consequences.

Don't misunderstand, I do believe sin still has earthly consequences. But I'm no longer living under the fear that one wrong move, action, or thought, will bring upon me His wrath or His indifference, the latter of which probably scared me more.

The word "gospel" literally means "good news" and the word it comes from is actually better defined as "nearly too good to be true news." 

A God Who loves me, and isn't watching for the moment I make a mistake so that He can move on to someone more faithful, better suited for His work, or who isn't rewarding my faithfulness with indifference... for a girl who has spent most of her life fearing indifference and abandonment more than anything, that IS "nearly too good to be true news." And yet, I am fully convinced of its truthfulness, trusting God more today than I ever have... although probably a little less than I will tomorrow. :-)

There is no fear in love.
 But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
~1 John 4:18 NLT

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What are you doing?

What are you doing to be a good Christian?

Die to yourself daily.
Make good choices.
Stop sinning.
Love one another.
Feed the poor.
Be perfect.

It seems like Jesus sure expects a lot from us.

I don't know about you,
but I think that list sounds exhausting.
Reading that does not give me joy.
Reading that is depressing.
I can't do those things.
That does not sound like Good News.

If you agree, I do have some actual Good News for you.

Living a Christian life isn't really about DOING anything.

People see that list and are discouraged, I was.
Nobody can do all of that. Nobody can be perfect.

People lose heart because of all the stuff
they feel like they have to do to be a good Christian,
to be acceptable in God's sight.

But really, those changes to your life will be the natural fruit of your walk with Him.

If you are making choices to change the way you behave
and are only doing so through your own effort,
you will fail the moment your human effort gives out.

Spending time with Him,
really getting to know Him,
understanding who He made you to be...
it will make the parts of you that don't reflect Him wither away.
It won't be as difficult as it seems because you won't want them anymore.

And when that happens, you will realize
that the change really did happen in His strength,
and you couldn't have done it on your own anyway.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, 
and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
~Titus 2:11-12 (Emphasis mine)

(In other words, stop relying on yourself to get it right and rely on the grace of God!)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Convincing arguments

One of my kids recently asked me what she could say to convince someone who doesn't believe in God to start believing.

I told her the truth: Nothing. 

Your words alone won't convince anyone of anything. Your actions are what make an impact. Your words will plant seeds, but for someone to change the way they believe they have to look at your life and say:

I want to live like that.
I want to have that kind of peace.
I want the joy that you have.

That's why it's important to remember that making dumb choices after you are saved is not going to keep you from Heaven... but it isn't going to get your friends there either.

Simple and too the point. You are always leading by example, even when you don't think you are the leader. People will know your heart by your actions. Whether they see Jesus in those actions or not is up to you.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Matthew 7:18 NLT

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
John 13:35 NLT

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Best drive ever

My oldest daughter and I were driving this morning when the subject of grace and forgiveness came up. I mentioned how it bothers me when people say one must confess their sins and ask for forgiveness to be forgiven for something. It's a common teaching, but not Biblical under the New Covenant. Jesus himself didn't require it in the Bible.

She admitted she's still trying to wrap her brain around that one because that's what we've heard for so many years. Then she went into a story about how scary it was, years ago during a youth group sermon (at a previous church) when the teacher told them all that harboring unforgiveness would keep them from Heaven... whether they were Christians or not.

I was horrified. "They actually said that? You know now that it isn't true, right?"

She said yes, but didn't seem convinced.

"You are thinking about the verse where Jesus says,

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15 

She was.

I explained to her that things in the Bible have to be read in context. Jesus was preaching the law to people who followed the law... that's what he did. He wasn't giving that command to us who are no longer under the law.

Then I stopped and came at it from a different direction. "If unforgiveness is a sin and God won't forgive us for harboring it, then God himself is sinning by harboring unforgiveness toward us... right? Can God sin?"

Relief swept over me as I saw the light bulb come on for her. She said, "Talking to you about this stuff makes me a lot less terrified."

My breath caught in my throat. Terrified. Her word. I almost cried.

She's right. Reading that verse as a command to us today IS TERRIFYING. Why would a God who loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us want us to walk around in fear that we might not be getting it right?

He doesn't.

Jesus came so that we could have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) He did not come so that we could sit around miserable, picking apart our every move and motive, wondering if we were going to make it in, wondering if we were being good enough.

We don't have to wonder. Here's the answer to that question... We aren't. We aren't good enough to get in. We can't do enough right things. We can't live sinless lives. We are not good enough.... except for one thing... GRACE.

Not grace plus good behavior.

Not grace plus forgiveness to others.

Not grace plus serving at church.

It was already given to us.

Nothing we can do changes that.

You know what that is to me? Good News.

After this conversation with my daughter, she told me that out of the friends she had been hanging out with the day before, she was the only one who can say her mom is also her friend.

Best drive to work ever.

 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: 
Believe in the one he has sent.” 
~John 6:29 NLT

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Don't be surprised

Every day is an exercise in trust;
trust in God and His plans for you and me.

It is so easy to decide what we want
and take steps to make it happen,
praying for Him to bless it as we go.
More often than not, the outcome
isn't what we thought it would be.

We can't say "God is in control,
but I have a plan." and be surprised
when things don't work out as expected.

Often life throws us curve balls
that send us scrambling, thinking,
wondering, and re-planning the future
without even taking a moment to
let God step in and show us what
He wants to happen in the situation.

Resting in His presence, without
trying to plan, fix, and do, brings
His peace and reassurance, calming us
and giving us a chance to take in the
bigger picture that we were missing before.
When unsure of our next step,
our best, most solid choice is to believe
He holds us in the palm of His hand
and sees us as more valuable than
the birds of the sky and flowers of the field.

Believe that His plans for you are good
and will ultimately work out better than your own.

We can make our own plans,
but the Lord gives the right answer.
People may be pure in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their motives. 
Commit your actions to the Lord,
and your plans will succeed.
-Proverbs 16:1-3 NLT
If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and 
thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. 
Why do you have so little faith?
~Matthew 6:30

So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God 
than a whole flock of sparrows.
~Matthew 10:31

Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't laugh

My calves have identical bruises. 

Their death grip
on the bike's speakers
kept me from flying
off of the motorcycle
I'd hopped on the back of
one evening this weekend.

Thankfully I wasn't injured later,
when I fell on my butt
and managed to almost
knock the bike over while
trying to get off of it
without first asking how.

It's weird that I would do something like that, because usually I'm so graceful.

Stop laughing ... I can be graceful.

Years ago I told my oldest that I wanted a motorcycle. She said no. She pointed out that I could barely drive a car safely and that makes a motorcycle a really dumb idea for a mom of four. She won that round. But at least I finally got to ride one this weekend for the first time since I was a kid.

So much is going on these days. I'm excited and exhausted at the same time. I definitely don't have the energy to write anything real at the moment.

I just had to check in.
When I don't write,
I know some of you worry.
Okay, maybe not.

One more thing...
It wasn't a joke.
Stop laughing.

I really can be graceful.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

What's your dream?

Have you ever had God whisper
a question into your heart that
He wants you to ask someone else?

It just happened to me.

Interviewing a possible employee,
impressed by her initiative,
her excitement,
and her research skills,
I was at a loss about
what to tell her or ask her next.

"What's your dream?"

It slipped out before I had a chance to think about it.

Almost explaining the question to myself
as I was saying the words to her,
"Nobody wants to work for me
for the rest of their lives.
What do you really want to do?
What's your dream?"

I had a hard time holding back tears,
I don't know if she noticed or not,
when she said, "I want to be a BioMedical Engineer."

From our short interview  I knew
already, a few of her labels
that would make some say, "Impossible."

Again, words of explanation
to her, but surprisingly for myself,
"I need to know what the dreams
of my employees are so that
I can support them
in whatever way possible."

Contemplating after she left,
I thought about an employee of mine
who is struggling to climb an iceburg
of which I can only see the very tip.
Yesterday I didn't know if she still had a job,
today I want to ask her, "What's your dream?"

If I'm honest, it's about more than her dream.
If I'm truthful, it's about more than helping others.

The combination of overwhelmed excitement
I am feeling is a revelation of my own
about my purpose in this place and time,
and all the possibilities He has coming.

"What's your dream?" is a stepping stone to
"Why have we been put in each other's lives?"
"What does God want from me?"
 and even, "Is this part of my purpose here and now?"

What's my dream? To change some lives,
rock some worlds, solidify some foundations.
And every time I get a glimpse
of how God might be letting me do so,
I can't help but feel overwhelmed with blessings.
and awed by His divine plans and amazing grace.

They are an iceberg of which I've only seen the tip.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, 
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The lie

Nothing like a post titled "Fearless" to work up the enemy, right?

Yesterday morning,
after so long without issue,
panic swept over me.
Sitting outside,
laptop on the patio picnic table,
I attempted work.
To those who saw,
or called or passed by,
I probably seemed fine,
possibly even normal.

But frustration grew
as my mind was flooded,
with so many absurdities,
distracted from my work,
brain in a codependent meltdown.

What did he mean by that?
Why didn't she talk to me?
Is she avoiding me now? Is he?
Did I say the wrong thing?
No one situation, all random.

I stopped and prayed.
I searched through, read through,
and highlighted scripture.
Took a short nap, then ran an errand.
The elephant left my chest.

Codependent meltdown?
After having been freed from
codependency and proclaiming
myself healed to all who would listen,
how could this have happened?
I wrestled with it for most
of the evening afterwards.
Was I wrong about being healed?
Had I made a mistake somewhere?
What was wrong with me?

That's when it dawned on me
what was happening.
I KNOW I am free.
I can feel the difference.
What a fun game
for the enemy to play,
to try to cause doubt to creep in.

Satan didn't win any victories
over me yesterday as I struggled
with panic and and worry.
The only way he could have
was if I had begun to doubt,
if I had accepted the lie
that he was trying to feed me.

Instead, I recognized the lie,
and am spreading the word...

Satan doesn't find his victory in
a moment of your weakness.
He finds it in your acceptance of the lie
that you will never be able to rise above it.

Don't give up!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
~1 Peter 5:8-9

Saturday, May 16, 2015


What would you do if you were not afraid?

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  
Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Guess what I'm doing

I'm writing a book. 

I know, 
everyone says
they want to write a book.

I've decided to take the steps to do it.
I'm taking a class to teach me how to get published.

I'm on the assignment 
where we come up with some titles
and some subtitles and ask friends what they think.

Whatever I decide to use
it will be my working title

I might not use it.
A publisher might boot it.
God might change my focus part way through
causing me to pick something else altogether.

I appreciate your help and your honesty. 

I have been hesitating because 
telling everyone makes it more real
and comes with a bit of accountability. 
I know many of you will be excited for me 
and want to know how things are coming along...

So, here is assignment #1--- 
tell me in the comments here 
or on Facebook 
or on Google+ 
or message me.

Which of these would you want to read?
If you have any other suggestions, I'll listen as well...
but I will probably go with one of these in some form or another.

1. Know Your Worth: Learning God wanted more for me than I wanted for myself.

2. Beyond Survival: Finding out that what God wants for me is better than I could have asked or imagined.

3. Bootstraps: How God saved me from myself

4. Bootstraps: How God intervened when I had sunk too deep

5. Bootstraps: How God intervened when I waded too deep

6. Bootstraps: Too deep in the mud to pull myself out, God intervened

Obviously I like "Bootstraps" It's based on this blog post:

Have questions?
Honestly, I don't have a lot of answers.
I don't have the full picture yet... but God is leading here
and that is the most important thing.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wanna cuddle?

(This week...)

Wanna cuddle?

I looked at the words on the instant messenger and sent back a reply,

I don't even know you.

So? I think you are beautiful.
I want to make love to you.

We had been talking for a few days after meeting in a Christian Facebook group online. I had made sure after an earlier comment that he was clear about my values and beliefs, and we had a few great conversations. At this point, if he had asked me out, I would have said yes.
Now, I'm just annoyed.

I'm not interested in someone
who is only interested in sex.

 I'm not. But we can start there.
I really think you are beautiful.

Beautiful. My mind immediately went backwards...

(A few years ago...)

Crying, replaying A's words in my head,
I followed him to my bedroom.
He was right. I was lucky to even
have him pay any attention to me.

At one point, I interrupted his rant.
Sniffling, I asked him,  
But do you think I'm pretty?

His answer doesn't matter.
My heart hurts knowing how
worthless I felt to allow myself
to be treated that way by anyone.

Some days, when I'm feeling particularly single and alone, and I consider the ways I could feel less so (even though I don't follow through) I wonder if I'm really that different now. Satan is good at trying to convince me that I am the same girl today that I was, that maybe people don't see it because I just have better acting skills.

(Back to this week)

Again I replied, probably too politely.

You don't even know me and
I told you I'm waiting for marriage. 

But I want... (I'm not putting what he said here.) 

I give up.


Convincing you that you are being disrespectful.

He sent a sad face and I ended the conversation.
Later that night, I got another message from him, calling me his lover.

Ummm, No.


Boundaries. You need to be reminded I have them. 

I'm going to cross all of them and hope you still like me.  

You don't think that's disrespectful?

He didn't answer until the next morning, at which point I let him know that I wasn't interested in pursuing anything with him. End of story.

I've had a little time to think about the whole scenario, and have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself. It's not just an act. I really mean it. Several times over the course of the last few days he had called me beautiful. He had said some other really sweet things as well. All things I would have done anything to hear in the past.

The words, "Wanna cuddle?" in the past would have made my heart skip a beat... no matter who the asker was. Not anymore.

Do I someday want a man to think I'm beautiful? Of course. But if my ultimate goal in a relationship is to be loved, honored, and cherished... I know that I can't let my head be turned by someone who doesn't even know me telling me I'm pretty.

It feels good to be able see the changes God is making in my heart, a little at a time... and to know for sure that no acting skills are involved. I value myself too much to let anyone treat me that way anymore... because I know that is how much He values me.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, 
and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize 
that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.
1 John 3:1

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
Psalm 130:13-14

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bootstraps (revised)

My story has been described
as one of a woman
who fell on hard times,
pulling herself up
by her bootstraps
to succeed.
That isn’t completely true.

I didn’t fall on hard times.

I climbed into them,
sometimes blindly,
but almost always willingly.
I thought that the times
that begat my hard times
were the answers
to my misguided prayers.
I never bothered to look
to God and say,
“Is this from You?”

While I can’t say for certain,
it is almost undoubtedly true
that I never asked, in part,
because I already knew the answer.   

The Bible clearly states
God hates sin.
God doesn’t reward sin.
God doesn’t offer sin as a reward.
But if the situations before my hard times
were something that I thought I wanted,
there was no stopping me
from charging ahead,
sometimes even giving Him credit.

The most successful path
to my own personal Hell
was slow and steady,
as it is for most who wander.
No sharp turns or drops.
No reason to make me
think I might be wrong.

Murder, envy, and greed are all
great sins, as sins go.
But, Satan knew he was safer
to turn me into a gossip and a time waster,
an in-denial lover of self,
someone who was convinced
she was in control
of her own life,
who wouldn’t be jolted
back to reality until it was too late.
He was almost right.

Everyone has their breaking point
the enemy no doubt took delight
in watching my struggle
to be in control
right up until the moment
I broke and fell to the ground.

There, on my knees,
I did something he didn’t expect.
I looked up towards Heaven for help and hope.

I believe that God cares more for our souls
than He does for our earthly lives.
He will let things be taken away from us,
one after another after another,
until we realize we have nothing
left but Him to hold on to.

Some of us are more stubborn than others.

God let me do things my own way,
though He has the power

to make me do whatever He wants.

He let me make my own choices, and
He let me make my own mistakes,
knowing that when I finally came to Him
in complete and willing surrender,
it would be real and lasting.

When I finally acknowledged
Who was in control,
I raised my arms 
and waved my white flag.

That is when He showed me those bootstraps
and how to pull myself up, 
by grabbing ahold of His hand.

Thank You Lord,
for Your patience and Your grace.
I will spend the rest of my life telling people
how awesome You really are...
and it still won't be long enough
to show how truly grateful I am. 

(Revised from this post: Bootstraps 12/05/2013)