A Good Show

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Years ago, my friend Denise and I were talking about concerts, a particular Christian band came up. “If you ever get the chance to see them in concert, go,” she advised. “It’s a good show.” Can you believe that the phrase “a good show” chines in my head periodically? It’s been incessant since I’ve first contemplated writing this post; and that was quite some time ago.

A good show.

I don’t know what teaching I was listening to but I can almost assuredly accredit a teaching to my asking the girls one day: “Am I the same person at home as I am when I am in public?” Thankfully, without hesitation, they answered, “Yes.” Now, before you get your hackles raised, I confess that my family, especially Bob, is the most apologized to person in my life. Our communication skills, or rather, lack thereof, has caused many a wave; sometimes tidal-like in nature. He gets under my skin like no one else has or can, and I’m sure it’s the same for him. We rub each other in ways the grocery clerk never will so we squeeze out the ugly in each other that Christ would refine–if we’d give it to Him–which I’ve been making a conscious effort to do. I honestly don’t want to mistreat my husband, that’s probably the same for him as well. Thankfully, we’ve had years of purification so our stormy waves aren’t as frequent and they are not on the scale of what they once used to be–thank God.

The point is, in my essence, and in my character, I am the same person within my four walls as I am without.

Mum also had shared something she saw that goes along with today’s God’s Word Girl. She remembers watching something years ago where people who worked for Christian t.v. were interviewed. They said so many of the guests were incredibly rude, nasty people. Their sweetness was reserved for the camera. That was disheartening to hear. What the world needs is authentic people. In particular, the world has need of authentic believers in Jesus Christ. Imagine what it would be like if our neighbors saw the attributes of Christ in us without our homes and realized, by the sincere display of love and respect that we have for our family members, that that is what goes on inside of our homes. People, it shows.

I’ll never forget the evening we had the grandparents come to celebrate a birthday. As is our practice, my three daughters and myself were peaceably working in the kitchen like a well oiled machine after our meal. I happened to look into the dining room and catch my mother-in-law watching us, just silently observing. It wasn’t creepy, mind you, she looked thoughtful. Was it because their home life was on the tumultuous side?

We must have the courage to ask the hard questions, especially when it pertains to ourselves. Would our spouses say we’re all sweetness around the pastor but we are bitter roots at home? Is the mainstay of our homes peace, joy, and love? or do we have children who can’t leave fast enough and get away far enough from us? Are we courageous enough to ask our family members and those closest to us how we can be better? Can they approach us and tell us what about us irritates them without us justifying ourselves and becoming angry?

When we were dating, and Bob and I were in jest with each other, I’d sometimes hit him on the the head. Mind you, it was playful taps. Why? I don’t know. I never gave it much thought. But when he asked me to quit, I did. Bob didn’t make many requests, (he still doesn’t), so if it was important enough for him to mention, and I wouldn’t have listened, we may have never gotten married and have the beautiful family that we currently have. That’s not an extreme thought; it’s the little foxes that destroy the vine.

Are we heeding our family members/friends? Respecting them? Loving them? Being at peace with them? If that is our normal, people will realize this truly is our authentic selves and desire it for themselves.

I leave you with two thoughts:

1. “There is never a reason to be unkind.” ~ Ravi Zacharias. But when we are, as we most assuredly will be, let’s repent and apologize. And be encouraged to remember that the more we practice self control in our emotions the better we will become at it and our behavior towards others will follow suit.

2. Be mindful that the pastor isn’t always present, but Holy Spirit is. He hears everything we say and sees everything we do. He’s not present to accuse, but to correct. If we ask Him the hard questions, He’ll answer; if we obey, we’ll change. Life will be better, guar-an-teed!

Join me today in being our authentic selves; not the fleshly, worldly selves, but the Spirit within us selves. God bless you as you journey on the way.

Seek the LORD

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In 2 Chronicles chapter 14, King Asa was off to a good start. He did what “was good and right in the sight of the LORD his God.” He removed the idols, commanded Judah to seek God and keep His commands, and defeated the Ethiopian army who was twice as large as him because he cried out to the LORD.

In chapter 15 Asa honored a prophet by bringing certain reforms such as restoring the altar of the LORD before the vestibule, offering sacrifices, and making a covenant to seek the LORD their God with all their heart and soul. Judah rejoiced at the oath, God was found by them, and He gave them rest. Asa brought into the house of the LORD the gold and silver utensils that he and his father had dedicated. It was good times.

In chapter 16, trouble arises in the form of King Baasha. Instead of seeking the LORD as Asa had done with the Ethiopians, he takes the silver and gold from the treasuries of the LORD’s house and the king’s house to pay another king to take care of it. Of course it’s more involved than that but you’ll have to read it yourself to get all the details.

Hanani, a seer, basically told Asa that because he did not rely on the LORD he would have wars; gone was the rest and the good times. Did Asa take this as an occasion to repent? No. He threw Hanani in prison and “oppressed some of the people the same time.” After this, Asa became diseased in his feet, a terrible malady. Yet in all of his suffering, “he sought not to the LORD.” My Bible makes this pitiful note: “To his shame, Asa is known as one who did not seek the LORD.”

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV

God’s not an ogre. I think He sent Hanani hoping that Asa would remember how good He had been to him, and that he’d repent, and seek Him, so that He could bless him again. Sadly, Asa did not.

Another note in my Bible, at least in part, says that “partial devotion to God results in spiritual mediocrity and sporadic communion with the LORD.”

“Sporadic communion” I get, and my self-check showed me that I’ve been guilty of it. There are times when I have wonderful fellowship with the LORD and times when it’s not so grande. I’m not necessarily sure what my note would include as “spiritual mediocrity”, but I was kind of thinking it was along the lines of what separates a believer from an unbeliever and how obvious a difference it is to those looking on. To be of a truth, I was feeling slightly defeated.

Then something happened. I felt prompted to take something to the car hours before it was time for us to go. While I was outside, our elderly neighbor came home with a trunk load of groceries. I carried them into the house for her. Had I been inside at that time, I never would have known that she was gone let alone come home and was struggling to get her purchases inside. She thanked me profusely.

When I came back into my own house, I heard the Spirit say, “You do hear Me.”

Sometimes we make this walk with God too difficult. It’s not about following a bunch of guidelines or rules. Yes, I have a preferred physical place and time in which I like to meet with the LORD, and I would recommend that to everyone, but we can get caught up in routine and go stale. I think that’s what was happening to me. That’s why it meant so much to me when the LORD let me know that I did hear Him, and by following that simple tiny prompting, I was blessing Him and my neighbor. Guess what? I didn’t hear that in my corner in the morning; I heard it while I was going about my day.

I’ll give you another example about seeking and heeding the LORD. Beth had saved tithe money. There were several people that she wanted to bless who are in “small” ministries who do not receive pay or recognition. She wanted to encourage them that God sees but she also knew that they would not receive money from her because she tried that before. Suddenly it came to her to order homemade soaps from a woman at church and give those instead of the cash.

“Is it wrong, Mum, to buy soap with the tithe to bless people?”

“I don’t think so.”

She placed her order. Not only were the recipients blessed by her gifts of soap and the handwritten notes that she enclosed, but the woman who crafted the soaps was extremely blessed. She was literally crying out to God, asking if she’d heard Him correctly about doing her small business because she wasn’t getting any orders when Beth contacted her and placed a rather large order. What if I had been rigid with Beth and said, “No, all of the tithes must go to the church”?

Let’s not make our relationship with the LORD difficult. Let’s seek the LORD, listen to Him, and be available. Let’s be present in our bodies, souls (mind, will, emotions), and spirits. We can do this. Join me in keeping that place and that time, yes, keep those “set appointments”, but then let us continue with that mindset of fellowship throughout the day, letting Holy Spirit direct us as He will. It’s so rewarding.

God bless you all!

A New Word

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For quite some time the word from the LORD to us has been: “I will have My way.” And I must say that that word was delivered repetitively and with great force. On January 22, that Word was changed.

“My name is written across your forehead. It is My name that prevents you from being burned in the fire. It is My name that keeps the waters from overtaking you. It is My name that causes demons to flee. It is My name, My power inside of you, that accomplishes these things. Outside of Me, you are nothing. Who are you, O man? but it is Me who receives the glory. All of the glory is Mine.”


The girls pointed out to me that the word is no longer, “I will have My way”, but “The glory is Mine” as in, it’s here. Lest you doubt God’s intent with this word, I’ll present scripture to uphold it.

 “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22:4 KJV

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2 KJV

“And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.” Mark 1:27 KJV

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17-18 KJV

“I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8 KJV

At the LORD’s prompting, I have also penned a question repetitively in my journal. It is asked in various ways but boils down to what I feel I am to share with you now:

“Get ready, it’s coming. Indeed, the time is at hand … Now is the day of salvation. Now is the time when those who purpose to hear My voice will hear it — All will see My might, but only those who comprehend will understand it.”


I liken His coming to me with words such as these to the scripture: “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 KJV

Will we perceive it? Will we believe it? Will we receive it? We get to choose our participation level. I hope you will join me, with minds, hearts, and hands open wide, in positioning ourselves to perceive, believe, and receive all that the LORD God Almighty has for us in the now.

Have a blessed day!



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“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” John 9:35 KJV

I highly recommend you take the time to read the whole 9th chapter of John. Do it with some commentary; it’s a fascinating read. In case you don’t take the time to read it, here’s a thumbnail version of the story:

Jesus was passing through when He saw a man blind from birth. Like a lot of religious people, his disciples wanted to know who sinned, the man or his parents (v. 2). I remember going through a phase with Bob several years ago. When things would break he’d ask who broke it. Nobody broke whatever the item was. We didn’t sit around while he was at work and see how much stress things could take before they broke. “It’s nobody’s fault, Bob, it simply broke. Years of use, I suppose. Does it have to be somebody’s fault?”

Jesus answered that it wasn’t anybody’s fault per se (v. 3). We live in a fallen world. Stuff happens, and sometimes it’s really crappy stuff, like being blind from birth. But that wasn’t, and it still isn’t, God’s doing. How can I say this with such conviction? Because of what followed.

Jesus gave the man an opportunity to exercise his faith. Ever hear the saying, “Here’s mud in your eye?” Jesus took it literal. He spat on the ground, made clay of the dirt, anointed the man’s eyes, and told him to go the pool of Siloam, which was over half a mile away from where this encounter took place, and wash. The man didn’t “Yuk!” or question what had happened. To his credit, he obeyed. Imagine being blind, walking through crowds, with goop on your eyes, to heed a command that seemed ridiculous. He was rewarded by his obedience and went away seeing. If it was God’s will for the man to be blind then why did Jesus, the Son, who always did what He saw His Father doing, heal him? (v. 6-7) It is God’s will to heal. If it isn’t, then we are out of God’s will when we seek help. That’s a rabbit hole.

What transpires in the following verses is an inquisition as to whether or not the miracle is legit. Some of the neighbors doubt (v. 9). The scribes and Pharisees did not believe until they called the parents of the former blind man (v. 18).

The parents testified that he was definitely their son. However, because they feared being put out from the temple, they would not testify as to how he received his sight. Instead, they sicked the arrogant, religious lot on his son, saying he was old enough to give an answer for himself v. 20-23).

Here’s a young man with backbone. Please go and read the whole account. I can’t do it justice here. He refused to let go of his miracle and speak ill of His healer. He was so bold and resistant to their sneers that they banished him from the synagogue (v. 24-34). Now we come to brought me to tears:

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

John 9:35 KJV

Jesus heard what happened and found the man. Think about that. How many times have you suffered rejection for the sake of your Savior? How many times have you felt misunderstood for your faith and your adherence to what God has whispered in your ear, even by those closest to you? How many times have you felt thrown to the wolves with no one to defend you when you were in the battle of your life? How many times have you received something so wonderful only to have others try to belittle it or steal it away? We’ve all been there, so we can imagine how lonesome this man felt. Jesus was aware of his situation. Jesus found the man, which means He was seeking the man. Why? Because He took this man’s persecution for His sake personally. This man forsook the company of hypocritical religious snobs and was rewarded with the company of Jesus.

Are we willing to do that? Are we willing to forsake religious traditions? Are we willing to cling to what we know to be true in the face of contempt? Are we willing to take a stand for Christ when family, friends, employees, employers, even society, are hostile toward us because of Him? If so, He’s looking for us, to reassure us, to comfort us.

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 KJV

Where suffering for the Gospel’s sake abounds, so also the comfort of Christ abound.

We are also given these verses:

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23 KJV

“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” Hebrews 11:25-26 KJV

Being a castoff isn’t fun. It doesn’t feel good. But the reward for the loneliness, rejection, and hostility we sometimes experience for remaining faithful to Him is fellowship and company with Jesus. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Join me today and let this post sink in. When we suffer for Jesus’ sake, He is seeking us to find us and wrap us in His arms.

Booty Call

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“And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;

And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.

So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.

Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” 1 Samuel 30:1-4 KJV

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV

Talk about a bad day capping the top of a mountain of a series of bad events.

It’s been a tough row to hoe for several years now. Many of us are distressed. We want relief. We’re tired of waiting and we’re tired of warring. I suppose many of us could relate to David as we look at this particular scene. I’m not going to go into great detail because I already wrote about this incident in my post, “Lone Follower, Encourage Me, encourage me”. I will say, though, that I wonder how many of us are taking the time, even though we are battle weary, to encourage ourselves in the LORD and inquire of Him as to where we should go from here. I believe I have a word for you today . . . if you can/will receive it.

“And David enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” 1 Samuel 30:8 KJV

“And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.

And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.

And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. 1 Samuel 30:17-19 KJV

(The bold print and the italics are my addition.)

“David recovered all.” This used to excite me, and it still does. But today I’m going to go further because the LORD, in His goodness, has given me fresh eyes to dig a little deeper in this particular chapter. He showed me something a while back through another minister and since it resurfaced today, I believe it’s something the good LORD wants me to present to you.

“And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.” 1 Samuel 30:20 KJV

The LORD strengthened David and his troops to not only recover all, but to take the spoil as well! Listen people, the devil has been stealing from us, he’s been having a heyday the world around, but guess what? Only those who are encouraging themselves in the LORD, and inquiring of the LORD, and are obedient to His voice to do what He says, recovers all. And I might add, they get the booty. Can you get excited about that? Maybe not. Maybe I caught you on a “bad” day, a glum day, a gray day. Could you, like David, encourage yourself in the LORD? Because I believe I am giving you His direction for today which is pursue, overtake, recover all, and plunder.

Come along with me, a little further, to see what the LORD opened my eyes to today:

“And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord;” 1 Samuel 30:26 KJV

David’s vision was restored. Remember, he wasn’t king yet. He shared the spoil, he gave to people who could possibly affect his future. This is vital for today.

“And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” Luke 16:9 KJV

In plain English, the use of the temporary wealth and riches of this world goes beyond affecting our futures here, which it most definitely can. It goes into eternity by taking with it souls that have been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we have the privilege of seeing what our gifts do here, but I assure you that our gifts have potential for a vastness the likes of which we can’t even fathom. Only Heaven will tell how many souls we have sent on ahead of us through our giving to those who are taking the Word to the world around. It’s mind blowing!

I hope you will join me as I sum up our edict for today:

  1. Be encouraged in the LORD. We MUST begin here.
  2. Pursue
  3. Overtake
  4. Recover all
  5. Plunder
  6. Share

I pray this has blessed you as much as it has blessed me. Be strong, dear friends, and be encouraged in the LORD!

Without a Hitch

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There were tears in my eyes as I stood at the window watching Bob and Dad drive away with our camper in tow. It was time to tuck it in for winter storage. I could hardly believe it, not only the end of another camping season, but nearly the end of another year. My, how time flies.

Bob called to let me know when he was on his way home as we had a family Christmas party so that I would be ready when he returned. He also told me what he discovered when he got to the garage where we’re storing our camper.

“I walked around to the back of the truck and noticed that our hitch was only hanging about 4 inches above the ground. The hitch is almost totally rusted out. The only thing holding the camper on to the truck was the bumper.”

Nearly 5,000 pounds, empty weight. I thought of the hills we descended and climbed this summer, especially the lengthy trip we took for Mum and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary, when we were loaded. I shuddered to think of what might have happened had the hitch broke and the bumper gave way. Granted, we do use weight distribution bars, which is what Bob attributes to our saving grace this past camping season. However, he didn’t use them when he drove it to storage, but what if he had? What if he had continued using them into next summer, how long would it have been until he discovered that the hitch was rusted? What if he hadn’t discovered it until the hitch broke? Would the camper have slammed into Mum and Dad who usually follow us? Would it have drifted into oncoming traffic? Good LORD, the possibilities for tragedy are endless! But God preserved us and those traveling the roads with us.

It gets even better. Where Bob took our camper, the guy “just so happened” to have a like new hitch, the type we need, and asked only fifty dollars for it. That Bob “just so happened” to have fifty dollars in his wallet when the offer came was a rare occasion indeed. Too many coincidences to not see God’s fingerprints all over the situation.

Before I go on, I want to share a video testimony with you.

I cried when I watched this. I was not only overwhelmed by the goodness of God but I was convicted for not being transformed in my mind enough to trust the LORD to take care so that I don’t have to. I realized that I was hauling behind me thoughts of the long winter stretching out before us; the need for coal, for heating fuel, for cooking fuel, and Bob’s thinking that we may need a new furnace. I mentally counted the savings that we have and projected that into the future, wondering how much, if any, would be left for next year’s property taxes and insurances. I actually began dreading the thought of having to go into debt for a new furnace without even knowing for sure that we need one! I felt my chest tighten with anxiety. Then I found this testimony.

Do you believe it? You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but I do. Once, many years ago, Mum heard a testimony about God’s provision. A shopping trip was upcoming. She knew what was in her wallet, she counted it when she left. My brother and I were little and there were certain things she needed. She put the items in the cart, not counting the cost, but reminded the LORD that He’d provided for others, she needed Him to do it for her. When she was at the checkout, the total came to more than she had. She looked in her wallet. It was not enough. She asked Dad if he had any money. “You know I don’t,” he said. One more time she rummaged through her wallet and there it was, the five dollars more that she needed.

“I counted my money before I left,” she said. “I know what I had, and I know it wasn’t there. But then it appeared. An angel?” Maybe. God, definitely.

 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6:25-34 KJV

Take no thought.

Have you, like me, whether you are consciously aware of it or not, been hauling around a trailer full of worrisome thoughts? Are you taking care, when we are to cast our cares upon the LORD because He cares for us? (1 Peter 5:7)

Join me in cutting the hitch loose and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) by thinking these thoughts instead:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 KJV

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and want to thank you again for your positive feedback and encouragement. If you like, please share.

Now, let our lives begin and end with . . . GRATITUDE.

Let Go and Trust God

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It was couples night at a friend’s house. Lasagna, cabbage salad, green beans, garlic bread, and two choices of Edward’s pie for dessert graced the table for our menu. Besides food, we feasted on conversation and a challenging game. I laughed so hard and smiled so much that my cheeks hurt. I had a curiosity, though. Our friends that hosted our gathering have six kids. That’s a lot of kids by today’s standard.

I leaned over and asked the wife, “Before you were married, did you discuss how many kids you wanted?” Yeah, if you’re my friend you may get some pointed questions — not that you’re required to answer them, but they’ll come just the same. Besides that, I’ve been tutoring the girls on topics that need to be discussed before commitments are made.

“Actually, I didn’t want any kids, but Jason did. So I agreed to have two, mostly for his sake. But after one look at Rochelle, I was in love. It was love at first sight. I wanted more.”

My friend’s experience was a deep contrast to that of a former classmate that I chanced to meet at the grocery store years ago. This classmate and I weren’t close, but I liked her and we shared some interesting conversations in school. In that brief meeting, we caught up on the highlights of each other’s lives. I was married with children, she married a divorcee and had no children of her own.

“He has two sons that we get every other weekend. That’s enough for me! We spoil them then send them home. I don’t want any kids. I’m selfish.”

I’m selfish. She saw her choice for what it was — selfish. I never forgot that brief exchange with her. It was her choice, but I felt sad for her.

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. It takes a lot of sacrifice. A baby changes everything. I’ll never forget this quotation from one of my sister in laws:

“My kids bring out the best in me and the worst in me.”

They do. I’ve gone to lengths I never thought I was capable of going. I found energy and strength from stores I never knew I had. And I have loved in ways I never imagined possible. The flip side to that is that I sometimes catch glimpses of the ugly parts of me reflecting in their veneer. But I would never, ever change having my children. My life is enriched beyond measure by them. Out of all of the things I could list to regret, their being part of my life will not be named among them.

Not everyone is blessed to feel wanted. Mum and I have a friend who was unwanted by her mother, to the extreme that she wouldn’t name her, a nurse did. Our friend did the proverbial somersaults to gain her mother’s acceptance but she never received it. During her mother’s whole miserable life, she made sure our friend knew that she was not wanted. Why? I don’t know. But hear this: Her mother’s opinion did not diminish the value of our friend’s life. We loved her and our lives were enriched because of her. Unplanned, unwanted, those words aren’t part of God’s vocabulary. When He looks at life He sees potential and beauty.

If you have suffered abuse the way our friend did, it’s important that you know that your parents’ opinion hasn’t changed God’s opinion. He never has nor ever will look at you and say, “Oops!” It can be difficult at times, but I think it’s imperative that all of us move from the realm of basing our value on the opinions of others and ask God to let us see ourselves the way that He does.

Perhaps I am speaking today to someone who is pregnant and you are at the place of indecision. You are afraid, unprepared, and have no support; abortion seems to be the most logical option. Please carry to term the life that is growing inside of you. Science has proven it is a life and according to God’s Word (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139-18, and Isaiah 44:24), God knew your child before you did. Children are especially handcrafted, they are a delight to Him, and they were created to be a delight to you.

Men, you have a voice and you have a responsibility in this. Women get pregnant with assistance. According to Psalm 127:4-5, children are arrows in your hand and there is a blessing pronounced upon the man whose quiver is full of them. Be faithful to the family that you helped create.

Perhaps you’ve experienced abortion and you can’t shake the agony of the nightmare following that choice. No one knows the guilt you’re carrying around with you. I can speak into that. Maybe you’re thinking, Christi, your life is so good and blessed. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You would be right in the fact that my life is good and blessed, but you would be wrong in thinking that it is perfect and without scars.

The delivery of my twins was a traumatic one. I’m not going to go into all the detail of that day or what followed, at least not in today’s post. Suffice it to say, I was still reeling a bit when I discovered that I was pregnant with Rachel. People would smile and ask, “Twins again?” And I’d smile and say, “God forbid.” Having twins was wonderful, but I wasn’t ready for that, at least not yet.

My pregnancy with Rachel was great, I only threw up the first trimester instead of all three. I had half a dose of pain relief so I was fully coherent and cooperative when her birthday came. It was something like three pushes and she arrived, healthy and raring to go. The pain for me came after the delivery. There was a surprise placenta in the afterbirth. Our doctor announced, “I’ll be, there was two of them!” I was devastated. “God forbid” played in my head like a broken recording. I blamed myself.

I still vividly recall the day the girls were riding their bikes in the driveway, the twins on their two wheelers and Rachel on her plastic three wheeler. She was frustrated because she couldn’t keep up. She came to me, tears trailing her dirt-stained face, and crawled up onto my lap. “Mummy, why don’t I have a twin?” Then I cried. God forbid.

I carried the guilt for years, literally. Then one afternoon, while we were camping, Mum says, “Chris, you have to quit blaming yourself. The doctor said sometimes the stronger absorbs the weaker. We don’t know but that if that twin had tried to develop, we may have lost Rachel, or you, or both of you. You’re just going to have to let go and trust God.”

She was right. We’re not meant to carry past regrets or sins.

What I’m dealing with now, now that my baby factory is beginning to shut down, is how I brow-beat Bob into ending reproduction in our family. I was afraid. While still in the hospital, recovering after Rachel’s delivery, the doctor sent a surgeon down to see me. He pointed out what looked like gravel under my skin in my mid-section. It was my intestines. The sheath covering them was thinned and torn by my pregnancies and I’d eventually need surgery. The fear of another pregnancy tipped the wagon of the grief and guilt I felt over losing Rachel’s twin. No, I didn’t have a baby in my womb ripped out, but I prevented another from coming when in my heart I wanted at least one more.

Selfishness is a terrible thing. I was so absorbed in fear of the future and guilt over the past that I put an end to Bob’s and my dream of having another child. *sigh*

I get it. The pregnancy may have come as a shock to you. It isn’t what you want, ending it will be the easiest thing to do . . . or will it? Will you, like me, cave to selfishness? Or will you take the time to pray and study all of your options before choosing which path to take?

Maybe you walked down that road called “choice” and found the end of it to be a brutal taskmaster. You can’t take it back, much like the choices I made, but you wish you could. Everyday you feel the darkness of the nightmare. You ended a life. Where do you go from here?

Join me in taking Mum’s advice: We’re going to have to let go and trust God. There is forgiveness and redemption for the choices we have made. Beyond that, let our voices be heard. Let’s face the fear, refuse the guilt, and share our stories. Someone needs to hear that they are not alone, they are loved and wanted, and they are not beyond forgiveness.

And please, as a postscript, during times of election, speak for life by voting for representatives who will support and defend the waiting to be born. Dare we trust leaders who don’t value the lives of those most vulnerable among us to value our lives?

The Healing Dreams of Our Youth

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There I was, wondering where to go from here, and God sends help in two forms: a book from Andrew Wommack entitled How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will and Dutch Sheets’ Give Him 15 daily devotions. For the past two weeks he’s been taking excerpts from his book Dream.

That dreams give us a reason for getting out of bed in the morning is a gimmie. That dreams inspire us to achieve goals and reach heights we never thought possible is a gimmie. If we are living our dream job then we will never work a day in our lives is a gimmie. But on October 25th, Dutch shared the story of Wilma Rudolph and a light was cast on dreams that I never saw before.

Wilma Rudolph was the premature twentieth child of twenty two. (And I thought my paternal grandparents’ brood of 13 was many). It was doubtful that she’d survive. Her young life was further complicated when at age 4 she contracted double pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9 she removed her brace and began the hard work of learning to walk on her own. By age 12, she could walk unaided. She became a star basketball player and sprinter in high school. At age 16 she won a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympic Games. Before the Olympic Games at Rome in 1960, she set a world record for the 200 meter dash. In the Games themselves she won 3 gold medals. Not bad for a premature baby who doctors had little hope would survive let alone thrive.

Dutch Sheets concluded with yet another facet of dreams from Wilma’s story: Dreams heal. It does appear as though it was Wilma’s want to walk independently that motivated her to her great achievements. That really stirred my brain about the power of a dream. Can that longing raise a person from a sickbed, pull a person out of mental darkness, put water to the flame of emotional trauma? If the power of a dream could cause a young girl to discard a brace she depended on, and she would not only go on to walk but to run and win gold medals, what could it do for us? It’s something to think about, isn’t it?

Enter Denise

Denise had a dream. She wanted to have a prayer ministry. As a very young woman, her sister made fliers for her announcing her phone number, desire to help through prayer, and confidentiality. She posted them around town, anxiously awaiting the multitude of the needy to reach out to her. No one called. But that did not squash the desire to meet people’s innermost needs through prayer.

Fast forward. As a young mother, and as a homeschool project of sorts, Denise participated in Operation Christmas Child by having her son and daughter each fill a shoe box of items for needy children around the world. When they were grown, she volunteered for collection week for O.C.C. at the church she was attending. Beyond supplying cookies, she didn’t specify her exact role as a volunteer and “fell” on the prayer team. Sounds too coincidental, doesn’t it? Not long after that, she received an email from Samaritan’s Purse about her application. Thinking it was spam, she deleted it. Then came a follow up phone call. That’s when the dots were connected between the relationship of Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. To this day she does not remember filling in an application but here’s what came out of it: She is the official prayer team coordinator for O.C.C. for one of our local counties. She is responsible for praying for the ministry as a whole, praying at any (local) events they might participate in, in person monthly meetings, a zoom prayer meeting every 3 months, and going to collections at churches to assist in any way she can and pray over the boxes before they are shipped. I personally believe larger things are coming for Denise.

What I find more amazing is that Denise has the occupation of being a regular part-time waitress — and she’s a good one at that. She has a genuine smile that can not only be seen but can be heard in her voice. Many may snub their noses at such an unassuming employ but it has afforded her the luxury of raising her children (while bringing in extra income), flexible days and hours, and now funds the volunteer work/travel that she does for O.C.C. Even the employment that she has molds to the dream that God planted in her heart.

What were your childhood dreams? I ask because I’m going there today. That’s where Wilma went, that’s where Denise went.

When I was a child, I had several dreams. I loved to sing and belted out Jesus Loves Me at the tender age of 5 for all of our neighborhood to hear. I thrived in chorus in high school, bringing in awards, so I thought I’d make it as a nationally (at least 😉 ) acclaimed singer. That didn’t happen. I was, however, the worship leader at a small country church for a time, did some traveling and singing with Mum, who is also a songwriter and musician, and sang “specials” at church up until about 10-15 years ago.

I must have dreamed about being a teacher because I remember lining up my stuffed animals and dolls as a child while I laboriously wrote out lessons on a chalk board and taught them. I would “graduate” from inanimate objects and go on to teach a girls class at church, teach at our homeschool co-op, teach our small Sunday evening Bible study group, and my most pleasurable and rewarding teaching experience of all, raising and nurturing my children.

I dreamed of being a writer. I was encouraged by two of my high school teachers to continue along that vein. I won some awards and was published in a magazine. You are reading me here now. That part of my life always seems to carry over from one chapter to the next.

Out of the things I listed above, my passion for life lies here, at home, with my people. Our former Pastor Chris got the biggest kick out of that, me walking through the church asking, “Has anyone seen my people?”

I once asked Bob, “Why did you want to get married?” I honestly thought sex would be part of his answer, at least in jest. Let’s be honest though, if he wasn’t willing to wait for me, he could have had sex anyway with someone else. He surprised me when he answered me in all seriousness, “I got married because I wanted a family.”

And that, dear readers, is where my heart resides: with family. At my core, since I was a child, I wanted to be married and have children. It is my desire to see married couples strengthened and parents once again treating children like the gifts from God that they are and encouraging them in the biblical training of their offspring.

I guess why this transition from young children to adult children is so hard, is because I was looking at this particular time in my life as being over. I’ve been looking through the wrong lens. I haven’t been seeing it as the experience necessary to pass on to other young families. And how about this? I can couple child rearing to marriage — 20+ years of it. Marriage is difficult at times. Some day I may share how we walked through a marriage riddled with landmines from an abusive past and capitalized on by a job that taxes the mental and emotional parts of a person to the point of destructive habits and divorce for many, and sometimes breakdown for others. The commitments we make may seem impossible to keep at times, but with God all things are possible.

You know, Bob’s reason for getting married is God’s reason for creating you and me. God wanted a family, someone He could talk to and dream with and work with and bless beyond all wildest imaginings. Yes, that’s you and that’s me. We’re God’s dream come true. Let’s start acting like it by joining together as we talk with God and explore the purpose, His dream, for our being here. And just maybe, during our journey of discovery, which might include the dreams of our youth, we may be healed.

In Transition: The Next Chapter

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One of my all-time favorite quotations is, “Change is fun . . . you go first.”

My readers are smart, so I know that you picked up a vibe from my last post, “Growing Up”, (and most likely, posts prior), and saw this one coming from a mile away.

A fellow parishioner, a young mother of three, approached me one Sunday morning and apologized for not calling me yet about the curriculum I’m selling. That’s how our exchange began. I surprised myself by telling her, “You know, it’s the middle of October. School should be well underway by now but we’re done. I don’t know what to do with myself. Being a mother/teacher has been my life for over the last 20 years. If you think of me, pray for me. This is like a major career change.”

That’s when it hit me. God did call me to educate my children. I hope to continue to inject wisdom and knowledge into them for the rest of my life, but our formal education, our pattern and habit of learning, is done. Totally over? No. While I am at this moment writing, the three of them are sitting at the table singing Christian songs and assembling Lego block kits. Not long ago, I was talking on the phone with a friend and needed to break for a moment to answer a question.

“I don’t care what you do,” I answered the girls, “so long as I don’t have to clean up the mess.”

When I returned to the conversation with my friend, I said, “They’re making chalk.”

“They’re making chalk?” I could hear the amazement in her voice.

“Yeah, school’s out but we continue to experiment and learn.”

“They’re making chalk,” she repeated in awe.

Yep, stuff like that is still going on. But it’s not the same.

I feel their wings stretching. I feel them reaching beyond these four walls. It’s frightening and exciting all at the same time.

And me? I don’t know.

It feels like too much, this transition with my children coupled with a mile-marker birthday. Why do the decade markers feel so ominous to me? My husband says, “I don’t understand what your problem is. It’s just another day.”

But it isn’t.

I keep on wondering. Where do I go from here? Is anyone else out there feeling it too? Maybe you’re a parent for the first time, maybe you’ve lost someone that you never imagined you could live without, maybe a health issue has blind sided you, maybe you’re beginning new employment or find yourself going back to school, maybe you have been slammed with the sudden realization that you are parenting your parent. Whatever it is, you find that you are with me in transition, change is knocking at your door, but you’re hesitant to open it and discover what’s on the other side.

Maybe, like me, it isn’t the mere wondering about the future that’s getting you but the pondering of the past. Like me, maybe you’re asking yourself, What have I done to amount to anything? I think it all boils down to this: I want my life to matter. Don’t you?

Perhaps because I’m a book person, I like these two quotes:

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“You can’t change the past. You can’t even change the future, in the sense that you can only change the present one moment at a time, stubbornly, until the future unwinds itself into the stories of our lives.” ― Larry Wall

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“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

Sometimes it’s difficult to quiet the fear that comes with the voice of change, but it must be done to keep one’s sanity. I find it best to cast my cares upon the LORD, ask for direction, pray in the Spirit, and return to praise . . . often. That’s the only way I’m going to conquer this season of change in my life. That’s the only way I’m going to conquer anything at all.

The quotation from Larry Wall especially speaks to me. I hear “habit” written all over it. I came across this cute yet profound thought: Habits — you are what you repeat. And then this word of wisdom: It’s not what you begin that matters, it’s what you finish. That reminds me of the scripture verse from 2 Timothy 4:7:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”. . .

Writing this has been my therapy. I believe this new chapter in my life is to introduce productive habits into my daily routine so that I will finish what I have begun and, sad to admit, I have many unfinished writing projects. Yes, I hear you, Bob and Denise. Even more so, I hear You, LORD. Habits aren’t formed overnight but I am willing to be shaped by You. I thank You in advance for Your long suffering and patience and guiding me every step of the way.

Dear Reader, if you have found yourself in a place of transition, then perhaps you will look at this verse from 2 Timothy 1:7 with me:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

What I especially wanted to focus on is “sound mind”. It translates to discipline, self-control. Fits like a puzzle piece into our quotations about habits, doesn’t it?

It makes me think of what I consider to be the mother of all scriptures when it comes to shaping our lives:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 KJV

Renewing of the mind doesn’t happen overnight but little by little. If we are consistent and persistent we will think like Father God and do as He would more and more. We’d have an abundance of the fruits of the Spirit if we’d condition ourselves God’s way. Difficult? Yes, especially at first. Impossible? No. Worth the effort? Definitely!

I hope you will continue to join me on the ultimate transition from planet earth to Heaven. If this has encouraged you, please let me know and share. Let us strengthen one another.

Growing Up

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Today’s post may pull at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. I begin with a poem that I wrote in 2013 . . . before I had the actual experience of knowing what life would be like when my children began to fly. I close with a video honoring the delightful sense of humor that I share with my creative, Barbie loving girls.

Growing Up

Precious little bundle,

listen to her coo.

First a grunt, then a squint,

now a diaper full of poo. YUCK!

Diapers, bottles,

oh no, the binky’s lost!

Never enough day,

never enough sleep,

I never understood the cost.

Earaches, bellyaches, throwin’ up dinner.

How can I run and run yet I’m never any thinner?

Dirty dishes in the sink,

on the counter, in the tub?!

Dirty clothes and debris everywhere,

now that’s the rub!

Growin’ up on Sonshine,

rooted in the Word.

She’s testing her wings,

he’ll fly like a bird.

Beautiful woman-like creature,

handsome strapping young man.

Couldn’t play that game now,

Catch me if you can . . . if you can.

Now my days are all my own.

No more, “I’m hungry! What’s to eat?”

I finally have my silent nights

with no more bed chat meets.

I had the world and didn’t know it,

precious toddler, growin’ tween.

I had the world and didn’t know it,

time gone’s the fastest thing I’ve seen.

Oh for a sink full of dirty dishes,

clothes to wash piled high like a car.

It’s funny now what my heart wishes.

Funny how a child leaves such a deep mark.

~ Written by Christi Marie

For my daughters, who are all amazing in their own, unique way. I love you.

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