He Is Our Home

You would assume that she would be overjoyed at this new life…this new opportunity. She no longer had to live with the shame of her past or her past profession.  This man was offering her the chance to break free and live in a way she never imagined she would be able to. He was offering her a home and a family.  She would have children and grandchildren to live out her days with.  She would have love, security, and the chance to live as others lived.  Isn’t that what she had always wanted?   But the lure of the old life just wouldn’t go away.  The gifts she received from all those men…the temptation was just too much.  So she snuck away, back into the harlotry and prostitution she was accustomed to. She sought after the payment she received… the wool, the linen, the oils and the wine.  It was just too good to pass up. Until…it was stripped away and she had no place to turn.  No place except back to the husband who had willingly taken her, despite her past.  And when she went groveling back, he offered her a welcome far beyond what she felt she deserved.  He offered her comfort and shelter.  He offered her grace and compassion.  He offered her his love. This may be the story of Hosea and Gomer, but it is also our story.  God is a God of provision.  He offers us everything we need for a complete life.  Yet sometimes we are not satisfied with what we have. Temptation shows up…giving us a glimpse at what we COULD have.  And you know the old phrase…the grass is always greener.  So we go in search of “the other side”. We walk away from obedience in Christ. We walk away from spending time with Him.  We walk away from His love and mercy, because something else looks more promising. Sometimes it is the little things like our phone screens where we can find just about anything, or our televisions that we can waste entirely too much time on. Other times, it is something on a larger scale.  We turn to food, drugs or alcohol to satisfy the cravings.  Or perhaps, a little more like Gomer, looking for love in all the wrong places. We find ourselves, much like the prodigal son found himself, acutely aware that our choices were wrong and our mistakes enormous — our hope dissolved into nothingness. That is where our God finds us.  Right there in the middle of our sin places, in the midst of our desolation and hopelessness, He reaches out to not only embrace us, but to pull us in for a great big hug. Through His strength, most definitely not our own, we can turn from those chains that bind us and return to His grace, love and healing.   And when we return to Him, the welcome is always far greater than we feel we deserve.  His arms are wide open.  His heart is full of love and forgiveness.  He is our hope.  He is our strength.  He is our home.

The Struggle to Juggle Series

Is Prioritization a Problem?

Moms who successfully balance family, work, church, community service, and all the other things life hands them have one thing in common: God and family are at the top of their list of priorities. They may look like they “have it all.” In reality, they just have a strong sense of who they are in Christ and have managed to align their priorities with the Word of God. Does this seem impossible to you? It can often be a struggle. Sometimes we can have the best of intentions. “I’m going to do my devotion and spend time with the Lord EVERY day.” “I’m going to make sure to spend that uninterrupted time with my family this weekend.” Somewhere along the way our intentions get led astray by the desire to please, the desire to achieve, the desire to be recognized, the desire to have what others have. We lose focus on the real gift we have been given…our Savior and our family. We lose the ability to prioritize according to God’s word, and we start prioritizing according to the ways of the world.   Are you prioritizing according to the WORD or the world? Perhaps in answering that question, you find yourself wanting to make a change in your life. Let’s face it ladies…women wear a lot of hats. Do you remember that old children’s story Thirteen Caps? Sometimes it really feels as if we are trying to walk around while balancing thirteen caps on the top of our heads! If you are looking to find the balance, to navigate the landmines of life so that you are living life for the One and the ones who are closest to you, then this devotional series will offer you some suggestions on how to prioritize your life according to the WORD, not the world. I hope you will join me for this series, and my prayer is that it makes a difference in your life, your walk with the Lord, and your family.

The Captain of My Ship


I have been working on myself lately. Trying to be a better “me”. I don’t speak in terms of hairstyles or fashion, but more about the attitude of my heart. I love Jesus….all the way to the depths of my bones….I love Jesus. I want to live a life that honors Him and brings Him glory. I am not perfect, and never will be, but I know there is so much more I can be doing to live out His purpose for my life. I have been trying to let go of my negativity. I have been trying to focus on my bountiful blessings. God has been testing me in this lately. I have had some trials and some things that require my patience and gentleness, which is often absent from my repertoire. But through it all, I am trying to focus on what He is wanting to teach me, and how I can grow from my experiences. Psalm 23:3 says, He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. I am trying to stay on that path of righteousness, despite my circumstances. . I am also trying to have a heart of gratitude. I am so thankful for the blessed life I live. I am so thankful for my family, my church, my ministry, and all the wonderful opportunities God gives me to share his word and show his love. God is testing my faith lately. He is calling me out of my comfort zone more and more. In order to be obedient, I am having to trust Him wholeheartedly and know He has great and mighty plans for me. It is always so much easier to stay where we feel safe, where there is no doubt or possibility of failure. But our Father doesn’t want us to miss out on the wonderful treasure trove of opportunities He has for us. He wants us to experience His blessings to the fullest.
Lastly, I am trying to have a humble spirit. Proverbs 3:7-8 reminds us to be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. He knows so much better than I just exactly what I need. He knows so much better than I just exactly what I am capable of. He knows so much better than I how easily I can get off track and start doing things “my way”. So I am trying to stay humble before Him, letting Him be in control. Life is kind of like being on a ship. When I control the rudder, I can easily become shipwrecked. When He is in control of the rudder, I am sailing across the waters into the ocean of my life where His gentle winds guide me and his brilliant lights direct my way. There have been storms and there will be more. I will be tossed about on these turbulent seas of life, but I will not go under. My Life Preserver owns the stars, the skies, and the seas. He holds me in the palm of His hand. As I continue to work on the new “me”, He will be right there steering my ship. I see smooth sailing ahead!

Creating Quality Time With Your Children

Driving home from church, I asked my son, “What did you talk about in Sunday School today?” His reply… “Jesus.” And while I am certain Jesus was mentioned during his time at church, I also know there was more to the discussion that that. My choices were: 1. Take this as the quick and simple answer 2. Spend some quality time creating deeper conversation Quality time with our kids can be tough sometimes. With work, children’s activities, adult activities, church activities, (and the list goes on), we have to be mindful of making time for our kids each day. That might look different for different families, but it is vitally important for the health of your family unit. How do we make sure some real quality goes into our daily lives with our children? Here are a few simple tips that might hel you: 1. Leisure time together… maybe it’s playing a board game, or watching your favorite movie together, playing outside, or strolling through the mall. Whatever it is that you and your children enjoy doing together, make a little time each day to engage in some leisure time with your kids. This gives you the opportunity to unwind and share in a relaxed atmosphere together, which helps increase the sense of connection. 2. One-on-one time… if you have more than one child, you know how hard this can be. Making time specifically for each child can be difficult with the busyness of our days. And while spending time playing and interacting with your children is a wonderful time of connection, the connection that comes from those moments of one-on-one sharing are incredibly sweet and precious. Maybe its a short conversation after school, a talk in the car, or a short walk with one of your kids after dinner. Perhaps it’s the sweet moments just before bedtime, or time spent cleaning the kitchen together. Whatever it looks like in your home, make sure EACH of your children get that unique and special time with you. 3. Open up a book… Reading together is a terrific quality activity. Read a story from the Bible or their favorite children’s book. Have them read aloud to you while you make dinner or drive in the car. Ask questions and discuss what you are reading. Make your children think and ponder what they are reading, and have meaningful discussions about the stories. 4. Traditions and routines… kids love routines and they love traditions. Those sweet holiday traditions that you replay year after year will make beautiful memories as your children grow into adulthood. Your daily routines will have a lasting impact on them, as well. Traditional family vacations, birthday celebrations, and holiday activities create a sense of connection and are vitally important in creating memories and beautiful reflections for the future. 5. Love the Lord together… perhaps the greatest gift we can give our children is the experience of loving the Lord and living for him. Our own lives must be a reflection of this as we model this through our own words and actions. It is our responsibility to teach our children about Jesus, and how to live a righteous life. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Parenting is seldom easy, but it is one of the most rewarding things we can ever do. When the time spent with our children is quality time, those relationships are strengthened, and the bond we have with our children is cemented. We should seek God always for his guidance and direction as we strive to be parents that glorify him in our actions, and that create a loving and nurturing environment in which to lead our children to the cross.

It’s almost two weeks after Christmas, and today I finally took my decorations down. What a task! Garland, bulbs, lights, and figurines scattered across my table as I packed away for another year. As I put everything back in its place, I couldn’t help but smile.
Taking the ornaments off my well-adorned tree, I took a moment to ponder my treasures. “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornaments from 32 years ago were being packed away with a “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament that was bought brand new this year. Hand-made ornaments from school took their place beside beautifully adorned ornaments that were bought in lovely gift shops or given as precious gifts. Ornaments that marked “First Christmas together” and “ First Christmas in our new home” are now packed away with ornaments from all the wonderful, memory-making vacations we have taken. What a sweet thing it is to take a walk down memory lane. What a joy it is to have all those sweet memories tucked inside my heart. They will be packed away until next year, when I will take them out and smile over them all over again. Most likely, something new will be added to the collection that will have a special meaning of its own.
Life is a lot like that. We have special moments, special memories, that we tuck away and revisit on occasion. Along the way, we acquire new moments to add to our recollections. And as we walk through this life, experiencing the joys and hopes, pondering the special moments we have passed through, our Father in Heaven is right there. He is like the tree. He is the base of our lives. And when those special times come our way, we add that ornament to our tree. We place them on those evergreen needles, we secure them tightly, and we stand back and admire the view.
My prayer for you is that your tree is well adorned…that days, months, and years are filled with special moments tied with beautiful bows and hung on the branches of your life. And that sometimes, amidst the busyness of life, you have time to take them, one by one, and really appreciate them, and that you remember those moments with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.

Gather Your Girls

God created us for community.  He created us, as women, to need fellowship with other women.  It was His plan that we come together…in times of joy and celebration, and in times of sorrow and need.

We have a beautiful promise found in His word…that when we come together, He joins us in that place.  He is there in our moments of celebration, and He is there in our times of pain.

Do you have women in your life who walk your victories with you?  And are there women who hold your hand through the toughest trials?  We were not meant to dance through life on our own, but with a Congo line behind us, and our Father in Heaven leading the way.

There is power in prayer, and there is something so sweet and powerful about gathering together in prayer… calling on His name and knowing without a doubt that He hears you.  And knowing that He will meet you where you are, and He will honor the prayers of those praying for and with you.

Believe in that promise found in Matthew. Believe that coming together is powerful.  Rest in the certainty that He is there with you, that He hears you, and that He will not leave you abandoned.  Gather your girls.  He is right there waiting.

 

Anxiety can ruin our day.  It sneaks in through the back door of our minds and grips our hearts.  When it gets a really good grip on us, it is hard to get loose.  But we are overcomers.  God has given us tools to break free from the chains of anxiety, and one of those tools is the kindness of others.  Having someone speak kind words into your anxious heart can be just the thing we need to remove that anxiety.

Do you have someone in your life that speaks kindness?  Someone that can penetrate the depths of your troubled soul with their words of love, concern, and compassion?  What about you…do you speak kindness to those around you?  Are you that source of strength and support to others?

Let’s not allow our hearts to be weighed down by worry.  And let’s help others keep free from that bondage, as well.  SPEAK KINDNESS!  Surround yourself with others who will SPEAK KINDNESS to you.  A lighter, more cheerful world is what we all need😄