Friday, October 30, 2015

Warrior Princess Training

My daughter was afraid to brush her teeth.

Afraid to make the short trek down the hall and to the left to the bathroom, where in her seven-year-old mind, something lurked dark and deep. A fear unnamed and yet not unknown, a familiar fear that caught her in a cold-fisted grip too many times to count. You never knew when it was going to grab and clutch, you just knew at some point, it would again.

She wanted me. My company. My presence down the hall.

But I knew she needed More. Needed His company, His presence.

The only way to fight the dark is with light.

I told her I’d be right there, in the kitchen, and she could do it. But she couldn’t, and the tears came, hysterical and sure. I wiped her cheeks and whispered reminders of who she was. Daughter of the most High King. Child of God. Beloved.

She tried again. Failed. Feet frozen in fear right at the start of the hall.

This went on for a solid half hour. False starts and foiled attempts.

I finally pulled her back in close. She begged me to come with her. Bargained. Pleaded. Bribed. I said I couldn’t, that this was important. She needed to remember who she was. I promised I’d come as soon as she made it in there and turned on the water.

Then I leaned in tight and whispered a secret. “Remember—you have a superpower.”

She blinked, eyes hoping, wanting to believe but not quite able.

“A real superpower. Not like Elsa’s. Because of Jesus in you, fear doesn’t control you.” I whispered softer. “You control the fear.”  I told her to rebuke it in Jesus name. That when she did, because of her authority as a follower of Christ, it had to leave. It had to.

She lined back up, shoulders back, staring down the hall. She whispered something soft. Then whispered again. Teary eyed, panicked, spun back to me. “It didn’t work, Mama!”

“Did you say in Jesus' name?”

Her head dropped. “No.”

“That’s the most important part.”

Red faced, puffy nosed, swollen eyed, she tried again. “I rebuke fear in Jesus’ name.” She took a step.

She. Took. A. Step.

Crying, speaking louder. “I rebuke fear in Jesus’ name!” Another step. Tiny and slow. “I rebuke fear in Jesus name.” Stronger. Clearer. “I rebuke fear in Jesus name.” Tears came fresh as she trod out of my sight and around the corner, interrupted only by sporadic, tear-soaked and broken declarations of “I want Mama!”

My heart would burst. “Keep going baby! I’m right here.” I wanted to go to her so badly. But victory was more important than comfort.

Crying harder now, but speaking louder now. “I rebuke fear in Jesus’ name.” Shuddering breath. “I rebuke fear in Jesus’ name!”

The water turned on. And I ran to her side.  We celebrated, with foamy toothpaste grins and high fives and victory dance from her beloved stuffed giraffe.

Sometimes, my heart is seven, and I’m standing paralyzed in the hall, afraid to go any further. Afraid of the door behind me shutting forever and afraid of the one around the corner that I can’t see. Afraid that maybe I’ll get there, and it’ll be locked too. Afraid that I’m truly alone and on my own and the goal ahead of me is too large, too impossible, and too risky.

And then my Wonderful Counselor, my Prince of Peace, my Comforter, leans in close and reminds me who I am. Whispers that the same power that resurrected Him resides in me, and I am never alone.

I blink, eyes hoping, wanting to believe but not quite able.

I whisper His name.

And I can take a step.

My foot weighs a thousand pounds and I realize that maybe I don’t want the destination so badly after all.

That it’s too much. Too uncertain. It hurts too bad.

But victory is more important than my comfort.

So I walk.

The next week, she came to me from her bed in the nights, tears flooding. “Mama, I’m scared something’s going to happen to you. I can’t sleep.” Struggling breath. “I can’t make the bad thoughts stop.”

I walk her back to bed, my tired eyes desperate for sleep. I knew she’d pass out hard and fast if I allowed her to sleep in my bed with me—but no. There was another battle to fight. A bigger one than either of us knew.

So I tuck her back in her own room, the fear so strong now she can barely breathe around it. I hug her close as she cries, praying for peace, and remind her that the devil is a liar.

And I remember how often I forget that. How often I let the bad thoughts fly free. Let them circle and swoop like vultures, picking at the remnants of my joy. Snatching hope with sharp beaks. 


I tell her that the fears she has were not true. That we were safe. And that God had a big plan for her. That because of what she had been through and conquered already, she was special. Her heart was sensitive for a reason, and this was training. Warrior Princess training.

She pulled the covers up to her chin and half covered the smile trying to peek through the tears. She liked that. “Mama? Have you finished your training?”

I let out a half laugh, half cry. Finished? No. I still fall. Still get up. Brush off the dirt and smear the sweat in my eyes and get back into the ring, despite the blood stains. Stronger. But definitely not finished.

I only shake my head. “No, baby. I’ve come a really long way. But I’m not done yet.” I kiss her, tell her that I’m going to bed and she had everything she needed to fight. She had Jesus. She had memorized Bible verses. And she knew what to do with them.

Then I prayed over her, anointed her forehead with oil, and walked out of the room.

Because sometimes, the only way to teach the warrior to fight is to give her a war. 

She stayed. She fought. She won.

And I realized the power in being still. In pausing in the thick of our individual battle fields, breathing deep and knowing who God is and who we are in Him. Yet our instincts are to duck and dodge, to cower low, not brave the front line. Never that. Our defaults shout to run to safety, to Mama’s room, to pretend like it’s all a bad dream and bask in false security instead of the real kind.

We are fully equipped. We only have to utilize the weapons He already gave us. Victory is ours.

When we stay. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015



A myriad emotions compacted into tight, manageable packages.

They're such a mystery. How some days we prattle long before an empty room or a lone mirror. So much to say and no one listening.

How some nights we stand in a solo spotlight, hundreds of eyes riveted, and open our lips--yet nothing escapes.

Sometimes, we have so much to say, the words get stuck. They clump and ball in the back of the throat like a wad of tears. Refusing to budge. Resisting release.

So we pace. Back and forth, side-eyeing the pen or the keyboard like an enemy instead of an ally. Some nights, it's both simultaneously. Friend or foe, yet to be determined with every keystroke. The line between love and hate is fine, especially when self-drawn in the sand. Rejection and failure clamor for top billing over confidence and courage.

Some nights, it wins.

Some nights, you win.

And some nights, you yank the cord from the wall.

And that's not to speak of the words we didn't say.

Perhaps the most dangerous kind of all, the words fully formed yet restrained. The words that tango in the gaping silence between two people, the words that twist and float and flutter right out of reach. The words seeking discernment in eye contact, the words begging for clarity in hugs. The words that ache to promise but burrow deep. Words that crave safety yet are too scared to come out of the dark.

They say words are weapons, for words can never be taken back.

I say words unspoken are far more lethal.


A myriad of emotions combusting out of tight, manageable packages.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

When the Monsters Come...

Have you seen the movie The Village, starring Bryce Dallas Howard?

It's an intense, somewhat creepy film about the power of suggestion, human nature, and the search for innocence. In the movie, a group of people start a colony to avoid crime. And yet, crime comes just the same. These families live in a secluded clearing surrounded by woods, in which they believe are inhabited by fearsome monsters who are attracted to the color red and repelled by yellow. The villagers and the monsters have an unofficial truce - the people don't go into the woods, the monsters don't come into the village.

Meanwhile, the character played by Bryce is named Ivy, a big-hearted young woman who is blind, and is madly in love with Lucias, a simple man of few words but one who is fiercely loyal to Ivy. He's loved her for years, but would never let her know. Yet she draws it out of him as only she can do.

There's a scene where the monster has violated the truce and is attacking the village. The people are frantic, scrambling into basements, dead-bolting doors, screaming. Ivy is waiting in her sister's cottage for Lucias, her entire family in the basement behind her. Her sister raises the trap door from the floor and demands Ivy get inside. But Ivy stubbornly stands in the open doorway of the house, determined to wait for Lucias. "He'll come for me," she proclaims in a shaky voice. "He always comes."

She's blind, and can't see that the monster is drawing nearer and nearer to the open front door where she stands. Yet we know she senses the danger, because she's sweating and trembling and teary-eyed with fear. Yet she stands, regardless - arm outstretched, fingers waiting. Trusting. Believing he will come for her.

The monster draws closer, Ivy trembles harder, and then, in a split second - Lucias. He appears in slow motion, grabs Ivy's outstretched hand, whirls her around into the safety of the house, and slams the door literally just in time.

It might be the most romantic thing I've ever seen.

It's what every female heart longs for - security. True love. Loyalty. Protection. It's every deep well inside a woman's heart bursting to life in one ten-second film clip. It's almost unbearable to watch. And yet you want to cheer, even while you're fighting back tears, because it's just so beautiful and perfect.

Not that long ago, I opened the door to a bad situation that had me in over my head. I wanted out. I wanted safety. I wanted to slam the door, but was too afraid of the repercussions. I was frozen in fear. Fear of "what if". Fear of "it's too late". Fear of "this is inevitable."

I was so burdened, I almost couldn't breathe. I went into the restroom at work, locked the door, and with my forehead pressed against the wall, I asked Jesus one desperate, honest, gut-wrenchingly heartfelt question.

"What do you want me to do?"

The answer, so swift and personal and intense that I got chills from head to toe, came immediately.

"Hold out your hand."

The scene from that movie I had viewed months before played through my mind, except it wasn't Lucias or a romantic interest twirling me to safety. It was Jesus. The danger was about to plow me over, and He was right there, watching. Ready. Waiting for my cue.

Jesus doesn't force Himself. He longs to rescue us, but He doesn't impose. I had to make the decision to hold out my hand for rescue, or be devoured.

Standing in that bathroom stall, sobbing, I literally shot  my hand out. Arm fully outstretched, fingers reaching..

And that was the end of it. That was all it took. It was over from there forward.

Oh, I had to walk through the tangible steps of removing myself from the situation, yes. But that was the easy part. The hard, nearly impossible part, was that crucial moment of decision. That mental, emotional and spiritual shift that had to take place first. That moment where I realized I couldn't save myself, that I lacked the know-how and desire to carry it out. That only Jesus' strength could be made perfect in my weakness.

Holding out my hand that afternoon changed everything.

What will it change for you?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Door Keeper

There's a girl.

A girl in a storm.

Wind whipping her hair into tangles against her face. Swirling dark clouds gathering fierce. Rain and tears racing in rivulets down her cheeks.

But this isn't a typical storm. This storm is indoors.

And she's running. Down an endless hallway, futile attempt to outrun the tempest overhead. Feet slipping on the wooden floor, rain puddling at her feet. Soaked through, shivering. She can't escape.

The hallway is lined with doors. Tall doors, short doors. Ornate doors framed in gold. Doors painted blue and doors painted red. Doors lined with ivy and doors with frosted glass.

She tries one, desperate for escape. It's locked.

She tries another, eager hands wrestling slippery knobs. It's locked too.

All the doors are locked.

The realization sinks in reluctantly, a scratchy wool blanket on wet skin. The storm is pressing in, and she has no where to go. Frantic, she beats her fist against one door, then throws her full weight against another. She yells, screams. Her voice echoes in the stillness as she bounces like a pin ball from door to door. No entry. No admittance.

The doors are locked.

Weary, she sinks to the floor, pulling her knees against her chest. Her breath comes in heaves, her body wracked with cold and fear. Panic grips, cutting colder than the rain clinging to her clothes. She has no where to go. She can't open the doors.

She can't fix this.

She can't control this.

She's stuck in the hallway.

Half numb, she vaguely remembers the last time she was there. The last time she knew the firmness of those doors, the hardness of that floor. It'd been so long. How had she gotten out that time?

Muscle memory moves her fingers into her tangled hair. Finds a bobby pin wedged into a curl. She frees it, studies it between limp fingers. Then she remembered.

Last time, she'd picked the lock.

She'd forced her way in.

She tightened her fist around her only hope. She could do it again. She held the key to her freedom.

But had it been freedom? Somehow, she'd still ended up back in the same hallway. Back on the floor.

Thunder cracks above. The clouds release a fresh torrent of rain. She huddles deeper into herself, the pin biting into her clenched palm. She had to get up. Pick a lock. Force it open.

Force her path.

If she didn't, who would?

He told you to wait...

The whisper came, a breath on the wind, so faint a reminder she'd almost missed it. Who had told her to wait? Oh, right. Him. The Door Keeper. He'd told her to wait in the hallway.

But surely He hadn't known about the storm coming. Why would He tell her to wait in the storm?

She slowly sat upright. Ready to stand. The bobby pin burned in her hand. It would do the trick. Then she wouldn't have to wait anymore.


His voice came again, from inside her this time. Familiar and painful and too wonderful to contain. She swallowed against it. She was cold--so cold. She needed to get warm. Pick a door, and get warm. If The Door Keeper wasn't taking care of her, she'd have to take care of herself.

Please wait.

Thunder shook the hallway. She couldn't breathe, she was so cold. She had to fix this.

Trust me. And wait. 

She couldn't ignore Him. The pin dropped from her fist.

She shifted her weight, rolling onto her knees. Lifting her face to the rain. The doors were still locked. She was still trapped. And it was still storming.

Yet... I trust you.

Instant warmth flooded her body, coursing through her veins. Surrender wrapped a down-soft blanket over her shoulders, casting off the damp. The intruding rain couldn't seep in now. No, it flowed straight off, taking layers of self-sufficiency with it. Removing the outer grime of pride. Washing anxiety and doubt right clean until all that was left shone blood-red and white as snow.

And at the end of the hallway, the simplest of doors flung wide open.

The Door Keeper had come.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Thanks to all who entered the giveaway! I sincerely loved reading your comments :)

I randomly drew a winner for the autographed copy of LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES and that winner is....


CONGRATS! Please email me at and let me know your mailing address. I'll get this free autographed copy to you ASAP!

Thanks again, guys, and check back for more posts and giveaways! :) Also, follow me at my author FB page for even more opportunities at

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Enter to win an autographed copy of my brand new release 


It's simple :)  

Just leave a comment on this blog answering any (or all!) of the  prompt questions below,
and ta-da! You'll be all signed up. I'll draw a winner Monday, June 22nd!

Prompt questions:

Do you believe there is truth in fiction? (why or why not?)
Was there ever a time when your life was significantly impacted by a novel? (if so, tell me how!)
Why do you love to read?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Confessions from an Over-Thinker

Sometimes I take myself WAY too seriously.

Please raise your hand. Tell me I'm not alone?

Sometimes I over-think (okay, I always over-think) Everything can be FINE. Good, even. And then, somehow - I'm sucked in. Sucked down. Mood change sweeping in like a cloud cover. Dark gray, swirling mass, for no real reason at all. Fear of this, fear of that. Regret from this, ache for that. Worry over the future that crowds out the joy of now.

It's so easy. That swirling dark mass of mood comes and hovers and lingers and casts long shadows of lies. Lies that don't even make sense when you really break them apart. What's wrong? NOTHING.

Yet somehow, everything.

And then I think about people that have "real problems" and guilt seeps in like rain soaking deep. It just makes the mass thicker. The sun is up there. Somewhere. But that mass refuses to let the light of Truth penetrate.

Raise your hand?

There is nothing on this earth that truly satisfies outside of God. It sounds so preachy, but cliche truth comes from truth anyway, and it's there none the less, and until we really grasp that fact, we'll be swinging aimlessly at clouds that refuse to surrender to our wispy-thin blows.

No relationship, no friendship, no thing, no object, no item, no song, no feeling, no financial figure, no car, no routine, can satisfy for more than a short time. And those who believe that somehow they can, are constantly fighting to obtain that next thing. And then the things take over, and the swirling mass becomes thicker, darker, heavier...heavy with all the things. And we're swinging at clouds that won't dissipate, wondering what on earth is wrong with us, and it's just us, and we're alone in the gray madness.

Raise your hand?

See. We're never alone. All these struggles...they're not new to man, and they're not new to Jesus. (such grace there). The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9) No new struggle, no new mood swing or bad day or failure. We all fail, and fear, and regret, and ache, and long, and strive, and struggle, and carry things not meant for us. It's so easy to take it all on and instead of enjoying the beauty of now, we glimpse and then focus on that one potentially dark cloud on the horizon. Just the acknowledgment of that cloud makes it grow.

What-if's develop so, so fast. And are far more dangerous than a hurricane.

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

God gives us good gifts. Good relationships, good friendships, good music, good family, good feelings and food and provision. I can attest to this. These are gifts from Him. All is grace. But He is still the ultimate gift. He never changes. He never fails. He never lets go. He loves. He gives. He provides.

The Father of the heavenly lights...

The only Light that can break that swirling mass of mood-clouds, the only Light that can penetrate Truth through the dark places of fear. That can pierce the hovering what-if's.

We don't have to keep swinging wild to break up the clouds. We can rest. And His light burns that fog right away, and we bask in His light. His love. It's the only permanent Thing, the only real Thing, that can help us to enjoy the beauty of the things He gives.

Count your blessings today, count your gifts. Count the beauties of now, and get your eyes off the horizon clouds that might or might not even make it to you.

And then watch the Light start shining through.