Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bazinga'd by God...

God revealed something to me about my current journey/storm/wilderness Sunday night. He reminded me of the woman in the Gospels who bled for 12 years and finally determined in her heart to touch Jesus, and be healed. She KNEW He was her only hope for healing. For joy. Peace. Hope. Victory.


So she touched Him. And He healed her. Her faith made her well, and she went in peace. (I sort of figure she didn't go all that far!)

Like we humans tend to do, we allow doubts and life to get in the way of what God speaks to us, get in the way of His revelation. So today, I asked Him to confirm His Word again. Really reveal Himself to me, in a clear way that would resonate.

He gave me this, via a dear friend on my FB page....


I sort of feel like God just whispered "Bazinga"  ;)

Today, Friend, ASK HIM for what you need. Not just what you want. What you NEED. Do you need healing? Then ask, seek, knock, and BELIEVE. Do not give up. He is more than capable and more than willing to heal your heart. He wants you to fight through the crowd, go against culture, go against society, even go against the rules, and TOUCH HIM. No matter what it takes, no matter what you sacrifice to grasp at His robe. Reach out.

He is there.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

When "The End" Isn't Enough...

Have you ever been in the midst of a storm, and someone tried to comfort you with the fact that in the end, Jesus wins, and the devil loses, and none of this earth-stuff will matter eventually?

Probably, at some point.

Did it help?

Probably not.

Because no matter how strong we are in our faith, when we're in the midst of a personal storm or trial or hurt, all of that "The End" stuff doesn't really help much. We believe it, of course. We look forward to it as a Christ-follower. But it feels too far away to bring comfort to the here and now. Too surreal. Too unknown.

Sure, we're ready for the "no more tears". We're ready for the constant Presence of God. We're ready for no more night, no more darkness, no more fear or anything evil. Of course!

Yet we're still very much human. We still want a resolution to our problems on THIS earth. We still want hope that there is good for us on THIS earth. We still want to see redemption and restoration and renewal on THIS earth.

I think Jesus understands this, and that's why He prayed that heartbreaking prayer in the Garden before He was arrested.

He was human too, remember.

So I don't think we should feel guilty for feeling this way. It's understandable. But it's not life-giving or freeing...so we definitely shouldn't stay there.

What if...what IF we could live as if that far away, unknown, surreal, "one day" promise of Heaven and God's constant Presence was as certain as next week? Tomorrow?


What if we could somehow embrace it as the most certain thing we know, the most real, the most concrete, even more guaranteed than our lunch plans? What if we could actually live out that belief daily?

Would it help?


I think that's the problem. We believe in eternity and what God's Word says about it. But we don't focus on it. We focus on today and this world and the struggles of right now.

(again, understandably)

But what if...

Think about it today.

If "The End" isn't enough for you as a believer, I think that's a sign of a much bigger problem than the one you currently face. (and the one I currently face)

It's about perspective, focus, and where we're looking. At Jesus and things eternal? Or the temporary worries of this world?

Please hear me. I'm not downplaying those worries. AT ALL. After all, my heart breaks daily.

But I don't want to stay in that.

Do you?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Forget the glass - a fresh perspective

I posted today over at www.girlsgodgoodlife.blogspot.com  on the matter of Perspective.

Is your glass half empty or half full? Are you Eeyore or Pollyanna? What does GOD want you to be? What is HIS perspective?

Come chat about it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fearing the Finish Line

Something struck me today, as I read updates on the Boston Marathon tragedy. I saw that the London Marathon was dedicating their race to Boston, which was really nice.

But then I wondered - how can any runner ever cross a finish line again without at least flinching?

Seemed a fitting analogy for me today.

I don't know a lot about literal races, besides a few flashbacks of elementary-school-field-day terror. ::snort:: Those afternoons were more full of anxiety than adrenaline! When it was my turn, I would panic. I hated being in front of everyone, passing a baton or hopping in a potato sack or carrying a spoon on an egg. I mean, really, how is that fun or anything but torture for a shy first grader?

At least there were sno-cones after.

I don't know a lot about literal races, other than to avoid them because a runner, I am not. But I do know (especially lately) a little bit about this race of life Paul mentioned in the Bible.

2 Timothy 4:7 says "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

I want that. But not feeling it today.

I'd imagine there's a lot of runners out there who are tempted to give up. Whose muscles cramp and whose sides split into spasms and whose heads throb. Runners who feel like they're never going to make it across, feel like the end will never arrive, feel like victory is always another quarter mile out of reach.

And now, there are very real runners out there who have to deal with the finish line not even being a safe place to reach.

Isn't that just like the enemy -- to make us afraid of the finish line?

Let that sink in for a minute, and then let it determine how you're going to respond. I'm working on it too, don't worry.

He wants to steal our victory. In any way he can. He wants to make The End seem like another threat, rather than a glorious finish. But for believers in Christ, it's so much more than we can ever imagine. The very definition of "good".

Right now, my side hurts. I have shin splints and a headache and muscle cramps. The finish line looks ages away, so far away I might as well just collapse right here and close my eyes.

But where is the victory in that?

There's not any..

And that the very reason all these professional runners are running in London and the same reason most if not all of the Boston runners will continue to race as soon as they can. Because NO ONE is going to steal the victory from them.

Is our (yours, mine?) attitude the same about our race? Are we going to let the enemy steal the victory?

Paul made it successfully across his finish line, without flinching.

Will you?

Will I?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

$581 worth of a life lesson...

Some days just don't go as planned.

For example.

I walked outside this morning with my 4 year old to go to school and work, and...flat tire. My first thought was "oh no", my second thought was "I guess my tire light sensor wasn't lying after all" (don't judge me. It has before!) and my third thought was "at least it's here in the carport and not on the side of the road.)

Then I thought...I really wished I had learned to change a tire.

I took Little Miss back inside, and began the round of phone calls to figure out who could help us put the spare (thankfully, a full size one) on so I could get her to school. My mom offered to come pick us up and take us to school and work, but that would only delay my problem. I couldn't get the car fixed alone if I was at work.

Finally worked that out, got the spare on, and took Little Miss to school, not quite an hour late. Not too bad! But that was after she had a meltdown over something that's a really long story, leaving both of our nerves shot and me finally telling her "We're just going to pray."

And yes, that really did fix both of us.

Then I went to the tire store and confirmed just as I thought and others had told me - I needed two new back tires. Like, they were so bald the guy behind was almost mad at me.

So my free patching job (there'd been a giant nail in the flat) turned into a few hundred bucks for two NEW tires and rotation. Sigh.

I sat and waited. Drank my Sonic coke. Texted. Facebook'd. Wrote on my new story coming out next year. People watched. Rinse and repeat.

They finally called me to the counter, and when they'd taken the tires off and done a mechanic check they'd discovered I needed new brakes.

I know now you're probably thinking I'm falling for the stereotypical scam, "girl alone in auto store is fair game to any charge they can think of" but no...my brakes had been squealing for some time now, and I'd be procrastinating. So after debating having the brakes fixed there or somewhere else for cheaper, I decided to do it then and there, because missing another half or full day of work next week would make it all balance out in the end anyway.

That added another few hundred dollars. Sigh.

Back to my Sonic drink, texting, goldfish crackers, writing, and now, a headache.

After 3 hours, the front desk guy started joking about getting me change of address forms.

Eventually, I looked up and saw my car driving out of the parking lot. I texted my sister and said "Either they're done and test driving, or someone just stole my car. At this point, I don't really care either way." ;)

The car came back. Brakes and tires all set. Me, $581 bucks lighter. (or rather, heavier, as some of it was put on the credit card)

And just in time.

A torrential downpour started right before I left, and there was flash flooding in the streets on my way to work. Crazy hard rain! And I realized something...

Though it cost me significantly, I was perfectly safe and protected and had everything I needed to get where I was going - and that is priceless.

I can apply that same truth to my personal storm, and you can too. God is equipping you right now, even in the waiting room, to have everything you need for your future. Even though it might feel boring right now. Even though it might feel painful right now. Even though it is costing you right now. There's a reason and a purpose and that is for your good, and God's glory.

I made it safely to work, my tires firmly gripping the road the entire way, whereas just a week ago in our last rainstorm, I had nearly hydroplaned a dozen times on the highway. I drove through flooded streets and beside trucks that splashed water over the top of my car, with zero consequence or sliding around or even fear on my part. I ended up behind an overeager driver, who apparently liked to tailgate, and had to test my new brakes several times, with zero problem.

I was safe. And I made it to my destination.

You will too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Giving Jesus your last Cheddar Pepper

So I'm getting real today, like, all-but-naked-soul real. Bear with me. (Bare with me? haha. Sorry. Couldn't resist)

The last few days have been rough. One of those times where you catch yourself praying "Jesus. I know you're there, I know you care, and I know you're enough. But I need you to show me. Prove it. Give me something. I NEED YOU." And then you feel embarrassed guilty over your own neediness. Even though you KNOW God never tires of that...you still feel and embrace the lie.

Rinse and repeat.

It's exhausting.

Anyone relate?

So today I prayed. Asked. Needed. Waited.

Had a pretty good day, started a little rough, and fought back some anxiety with Scripture. Did my thing. But wasn't FEELING it. Was going through the motions of doing what I knew was right and what needed to be done out of obedience, and to be honest, a bit of desperation. But my feelings never caught up.

It's exhausting.

Anyone relate?

I had an appointment at 11, so on my way back to work, I grabbed Sonic and was munching in the car on the way. Listening to KLOVE Christian radio and chewing and trying to remember not to speed through that particular part of downtown again so I didn't get pulled over (again. ahem)

And it hit me.

Mid bite of cheddar pepper, with zero "reason" or trigger...it hit me. The Holy Spirit. Right there, in me, in the car, so palpable I would have experienced zero shock had I actually seen a glowing figure sitting in the seat next to me, holding my greasy Sonic bag with a "Told ya I'd show up!" grin.

I finally felt it. Felt Him. Had the blessing of my feelings catching up to my heart and mind and everything matching for a few glorious moments.

He was worth the wait.

I somehow managed to keep driving while my spirit soured and I thanked God for coming for me. Truly, all I could do was offer Jesus my last cheddar pepper through delirious "I love you" tears. There was nothing to set that off but the love of Christ for me. That was impossible for me to conjur on my own or even hope for. It was all Him.

I could BREATHE.

I tell you this crazy story not in the hopes that you'll get totally weirded out and stop reading my blog, but to get totally real and offer the hope that Jesus will come for you too. His Word promises when we seek Him, we'll find Him. And that He reveals Himself to us. It's just in His way and His time.

I never would have thought to pray earlier that morning "God, I really need something from you, a touch, a gesture, a confirmation for my bleeding heart, so can you please invade my spirit and share cheddar peppers with me at 12:30 today?" Never crossed my mind.

Didn't need to. It crossed His.

If you feel ignored, abandoned or forgotten by Jesus today...please give Him a chance to wow you. In your own way, in His own way. Just seek His face, obey regardless of the feelings attached, and wait on Him. Believe He has good things for you and wants to share His presence and peace with you in the midst of your trial and storm.

Ask. Seek. Obey. Trust. Wait.

And maybe you'll get cheesecake ;)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When oceans rise...

This song always heals my heart a little.

Whether your heart is heavy over the Boston tragedy yesterday, over a personal storm or a combination of both, I hope it heals yours a little too.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fiddle lessons and tattoos...

So I went to the Miranda Lambert/Dierks Bentley concert last weekend (the really awesome husband of my really awesome friend provided a free girls' night for us! Score!) and it was great fun. The 3 of us girls ate dinner first at TGI Fridays, had good seats at the concert, took lots of pics, and laughed and danced and whistled and sang, and lost our voice - all that good concert stuff.

And I left wanting to take fiddle lessons and get a tattoo.

Miranda sort of has that effect.

I've always wanted to see her, because I've enjoyed her music for years. I discovered her when she was brand new with "Me and Charlie Talking", and have followed her career closely ever since. She just seems so real and approachable, (and is only one year older than me) not to mention the lure of her edgy lyrics. And now that her image is mellowing a bit since getting married, getting older, and winning every award known to the country music industry, I REALLY like her more ballad, slow-song stuff. (Plus, she and Blake are just adorable. Loved when she won something a year or so ago, and it was like her 4th time on stage, and she looks at Blake and says "We need to start going to church!" hahaha).


While I was there the other night at the concert, I got caught up in the "girl power" of it all. That feeling of independence and "I've got this" and "who needs you anyway" that screams of gasoline cans, shotgun shells and all things woman-scorned.

Wow. Dangerous doesn't even begin to describe.

But it seems so innocent, right? So feel-good. Caught up in the moment of it all, what woman can't relate to that message? That desperate need to grab a gasoline can and/or a shotgun and let loose on all the hurt that's been bottled in her for weeks? Months? Years? Decades? Or even let loose on (gasp) the person that did it?

Miranda says in her songs what we're (as women) all thinking/feeling and are too afraid to say. And if you argue with me, I'll call you a liar. It's in all of us, whether we're willing to admit it or access it or not. Why do you think she's so famous??? Because we GET her. We GET it. And we sing along to express it.

But guess what? At the end of the day, Miranda's make up comes off, her guitar gets hung up, and her spiked boots get exchanged for pj's and house shoes like the rest of us. At the end of the day, the walls come down, or maybe even crumble against her will. The beer doesn't last forever. Neither does the high of a stadium of people applauding. Because - she's a real girl. She's cried on stage before. She's cried in interviews. She's cried in award shows. She's a real woman with a real heart and while I have NO idea of her relationship with Jesus, she has the same fears and insecurities the rest of us do, the same struggles and trials and outside of Jesus, she has no lasting answer for them. She just sings what we're all afraid to even hum. And that's why I'm drawn to her, and probably why you are too. We're drawn to that "bad a**" image because we long to be like that. To be that hard and guarded and protected because it looks easier. less painful.

It's not.

Here's truth:

I went home on a "I am woman, hear me roar" (and watch me cut up and burn things) high, and the next morning, felt empty again. Because any high from the world doesn't last. It can't. It's temporary, and fleeting. "The morning after" is ugly. Always. Think about it - hang overs. One night stands. They all go away and that's why people get addicted, they have to have that feeling again, they have to rebuild the wall and decorate it yet again before anyone sees what's inside. Before anyone sees the vulnerable places.

How exhausting.

There's so much I can say there, but won't right now because of lots of reasons, so how's that for being cryptically vague? ::wink:: But I will get real enough to say THIS (because it's more important anyway) - that the next night I went to a women's ministry event at a local church, and the speaker (Lisa Revere) is the author of a brand new book called Girls With Swords.

Talk about girl power, huh? lol

Oh NO. This book, and this speaker, and her message, is so far beyond any temporary high of "girl power" you could ever borrow from a concert. She brings in the message of women accessing God-power, and it's so much more permanent. And, well, powerful. She sheds light on the concept of wielding the sword of the Spirit (Word of God) in a new way that is just, so....YES. You really need to get her book if this is striking a chord at all!


Instead of hardening your heart, I heard a message on the power of being vulnerable and real. Instead of revenge, I heard a message on the power of forgiveness and second chances. Instead of shutting down, I heard a message on the power of opening up. How God uses all of those things in our life that we view as weaknesses for His glory and our good in HIS strength.

That's what I want. Because there's no "morning after" in that. There's new mercy every morning there. There's joy. There's hope.

And God's Word is not just a feel good platitude. There is REAL power there that we, as believers, are not dipping into, out of fear or lack of faith or lack of belief or just pure laziness. What a tragic waste! It breaks my heart. For others, and myself, because I'm just as guilty in part of the above list.

That's going to change.

Will it for you?

Check out the book, please. Check out Lisa's website. Check out  John and Stasi Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries. http://www.ransomedheart.com/ All of these messages from these speakers, while not directly connected to each other in any way, go together and offer life - because they offer Jesus.

I'm still a fan of Miranda's music. I'm still drawn to her and would love to meet her one day and ask her if she knows Jesus. Would love to hang out with her and ask her about the stories in her life that have led her to write the lyrics she writes. Would love to see her stay married to Blake for 30 more years and have 2 or 3  adorable, cowboy-hat wearin' toddlers. Would love to go boot-shopping with her and see if she has any tricks regarding shooting a bow and arrow.

But she doesn't have the answers.

I know where those are.

**HOWEVER, I'm not completely dismissing the idea of fiddle lessons and tattoos ;)  **

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Not sure if you've heard any of Brit Nichole's album "GOLD" but it's fabulous! Has really been ministering to me lately. Here's one of the songs from that album, Stand.

I hope it encourages you too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I posted today at www.girlsgodgoodlife.blogspot.com
Come chime in with us there on not growing weary in doing good...and what happens when we do!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Step away from the Benjamins...

Let's get real today about money...

Last Sunday, my pastor shared a point in his sermon that I think I KNEW, but hadn't really stopped to dwell on before. He was preaching from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. I know you're probably familiar with the verse "You can't serve God and mammon."

Most people translate that to mean money, and that's the common understanding of it as well as the common use for it in the everyday sermon. And that's true. And rings true. But the real translation comes down to more along the definition of "stuff". (that's not Hebrew, or Latin. That's Betsy-ese.) Basically, "any material possession."

This very much so includes money. But not only money. So those of who don't have money to serve in the first place, or who have money but don't struggle with obsessing over it or serving it, miss the deeper point. We think "oh, I'm safe here. This doesn't apply to me."

No no. It does.

Because this could mean your car. Your house. Your TV. Your Xbox. Your computer or sound system. Your book collection. Your motorcycle. Your signed poster from a famous actor.

Or go abstract with it a little. In which case, this could mean your job, which brings in your money. This could even mean your ministry, if you become obsessed with trying to bring enough money for your cause.


See how easy it is?

We can't serve God and mammon.

Which basically comes down to, we can't serve God and ANYTHING ELSE. Because anything else outside of God becomes an idol.

And He tends to knock those down.

What is your idol today? What is your mammon? What are you serving?

Dwell on this verse a little and not just skip over it this time. See if  the Lord convicts you on anything like He did me. It's worth digging into!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kids say the darndest things...but so do parents.

I wrote this article for Nicole O'Dell's CHOOSE NOW ministry, as my monthly column there.

"Get Out of the Way Already"

Timely for my own heart. I still love how I write things I feel prompted to write, and then weeks later, God uses it to speak to ME again. He wastes nothing. In fact, it's almost like recycling ;)

I hope the article encourages you. Here's a hint on the topic - Kids say the darndest things...but so do parents.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Beauty of the Waiting Room

I've been reading a lot lately, through various sources, on the topic of Waiting. (I capitalize that because it's so vital. So heartbreaking. So essential.) And God's been teaching me a lot on the topic.

Sometimes we have trials in life that are born of sin. Consequences. Oh, yes. Our choices can bring about dire results, either intentionally or unintentionally. So we wait to get through that refining period of repentance  like David. He sinned when he lusted, committed adultery, and then murdered to hide his sin. He had to live out some pretty harsh consequences because of that. (death of his newborn son and a lifetime of discord in his family)

But there's also times, like in the case Joseph, we get stuck in a pit or prison (or both!) and are forced to wait because of someone else's sin and consequences. We're victims.

And there's times even still, such as in the case of Job, where there is no sin involved at all and it's a trial to test us, purify us, and draw us closer to the Lord. Even in these times, waiting is still agonizingly hard to do. Maybe even more so, because we don't understand. We don't see. Job didn't get to see the conversation between Satan and God about his journey. He didn't get that assurance. He just had to live it out and wait.

But here's the thing. None of these, not even David, were ever alone.

Max Lucado writes about God's Waiting Room, and how the difference between His waiting room and a typical doctor's office, is that our Great Physician comes and waits with us.


I feel like someone reading this today might need that reminder. If you're stuck in a waiting room, as we all have been, are, or will be, you're not sitting there by yourself. God sees you. He's waiting with you. And his appointments are divine and never, ever delayed. He doesn't waste your time or His. You're right on schedule.

Here's the beauty of the wait. There is always victory.

Maybe not (probably not!) in the way we'd expect. Joseph, while hunkering down in the pit, hearing the heartless laughter of his brothers above him as they bartered for his selling price, never once imagined he'd one day be chief assistant to the greatest king in the land. That he'd, years later, be responsible for feeding the world and saving countless lives - AND reconciling with those very brothers in a way he'd never be able to if he hadn't had to go down to Egypt.

Job was restored above and beyond all that he had lost. He probably never once imagined God would replenish him so thoroughly. He got to learn who his real friends were throughout it all, as well. He was better off for it afterward. Stronger. More dependent on God. And while he might not have had a pride issue before his trial, he DEFINITELY didn't have one afterward. (just think on all those passages in Job that record his convo with God, about Who God is and who Job was not)

If you're in the waiting room today, you're in good company. I'm in good company. The magazines might be outdated, so I'd advise grabbing a copy of the Word instead. Don't worry about the clock or the stale coffee. The Great Physician has plenty of manna - just what you need for right when you need it.

And soon - SOON - your name will be called. And it will be your turn.

You won't be left waiting forever.

And you'll never be left waiting alone.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The first Bazinga

Do you ever feel like giving up?

Like ditching whatever storm you're in, hardening your heart, throwing up a few walls, and forcing yourself not to care?

Like distracting yourself with the temporary lures of the world?

Like giving in to the voices of defeat that whisper "It's pointless." "Things will never change." "This is impossible."

Sometimes, when our storms go on and ON, it's tempting to do any or even all of the above. Think about why bars are so full. Why rehab centers are so crowded. Why one-night stands are so prevalent. Why credit cards are maxed and closets are full of clothes that don't fit anymore. We substitute for Jesus and binge and indulge either physically, mentally or emotionally to distract. To sate. To numb.

I've been there.

Recently, in fact. Like, two days ago. (not in a bar or in rehab! I mean, in the temptation to go a direction I didn't want to go because of pain)

But here's what I realized.

Where do those voices come from? The voices of defeat, resignation, despair, and discouragement?

Not from God.

Right? Right.

So... if it's not from God, it's from the enemy.

The enemy is the father of lies.

So...do I listen to those lies? Do I obey those voices?


And neither do you.

Allow me the faith to declare that maybe, just maybe, those voices are coming because victory is on it's way. If I give up, give in, and surrender to anything outside of God's perfect will, perfect plan, and perfect path for me, then the enemy wins. He has me right where he wants me - out of the game. Benched. Ineffective. On the sidelines, rocking in the fetal position while the game goes on around me.

I'm pretty sure Easter is a clear reminder that the enemy doesn't win. And he won't win in my life either. For all your "Big Bang Theory" TV show fans, I like to think of the Resurrection as "the first Bazinga".   :)

Think about this...

What happens if I give up? Defeat.

What happens if I keep going? Well, I don't know for sure right now. But I know Romans 8:28 is alive and well and active in my life and so are the rest of God's promises to His Beloved. Even at the worst, that sounds a whole lot better than defeat. Even at the worst, God will provide for me as I seek Him first, take care of me, and give me life abundantly. He will give me the desires of my heart as I delight in HIM. 

Not too shabby. :)

Here's another thought.

When people ask me in interviews what's my best advice to aspiring authors, I always say DO NOT GIVE UP. Because if you quit submitting your manuscript to agents and editors, if you quit trying to be published, you are guaranteed never to be published. Duh. Just a fact. But if you keep going in the face of rejection, you have a shot at reaching your dream.

Pretty logical reasoning there, but we (I) forget to apply it to my non-writing related life so often. You probably do too.

Bottom line? I can't control my circumstances, but guess what - my circumstances DO NOT control my faith.

I don't know what your storm is today, but all of the above applies to you too.

So, my public announcement for the day? I'm not giving in. I'm not admitting defeat. I'm going to keep fighting. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep writing and baring my soul to the world to encourage others. Keep the word of God alive in my heart. Keep surrendering to JESUS - not to the enemy and his ridiculous lies. Keep believing, keep having faith, and keep striving NOT to fix my own circumstances, but to rest in His peace. To let Jesus fight for me when I'm too weary to even pick up my Coke Zero much less battle in the spiritual realm.

He is Warrior. He is enough.

My response to the enemy is therefore, today, twofold. Ahem.

1. He is risen!!!!