Stinking Thinking

March 15th, 2018

My flesh is so conditioned to act and think a certain way that when I’m convicted about something big and tangible in my life….I teter on the edge of WHAT TO DO or how to hyper-focus on it! Case in point; SHAME. Shame is not all unhealthy or ugly. For most of us, it feels that way and more. No one wants to feel shame. No one wants to be burdened with hard ugly embarrassing shame. It slays us. Rocks our world….forces us down and reveals all the truth about us.

For me, I’ve felt a lot of shame in my 51 years of life. Maybe I was trained to be ashamed. If I did anything wrong or fell short, shame would swoop in and envelope me as if it were my god. Don’t get me wrong, shame is useful. It moves us to repent, to change whatever it is we’re doing wrong. But, not all shame has to do with a deep dirty sin. Sometimes, shame can be a feeling we have about something that just comes natural in our lives.

Such as, feeling shame for having a struggle.

I’ve thought about my writing for the last many months and how Debbie Downer it has to have been for anyone reading and I felt shame. Oh, what a shame my posts have centered so heavily on all my dang problems!! Such a waste of writing. But, no. No way Jose is that anything to be truly ashamed of. Every ugly moment has been useful to me and to others. My painful journey isn’t just for me. God has plans to use it for others too. My suffering has not been in vain. My pit dwelling has not just been for me to wallow in and die. God has and will continue to use it to encourage others (if I will be honest and share it).

Not everyone’s life is honky dory! And if yours is, praise Him and glorify Him because He wants to use even that to love on others! There’s nothing wrong with having an easy life or zero troubles. It’s rare, but it’s also useful to the Kingdom of God!

I have had a hard lesson in faithfulness this last year. I recognized so many of my weak spots were jam packed with faithLESSness. In spite of my calling on God to help me, deliver me or save me from whatever struggle I was dealing with….I realized just how tiny my faith in what HE WAS ACTUALLY doing with my life really turned out to be. I’m talking T I N Y!

Who puts God in such a tiny box?

Me, you…everybody! I’m studying in Hosea right now and perhaps doing a little cowarding down at the reality of a people so bent on disobeying God. I mean, who does that? Then, I face my true self and say….ME! I am no better than any of the people in Israel who turned to this or that instead of God.

My life has been turned upside down and truthfully, I feel like I’ve gone to hell and back in the last 19 months. Still, God stayed steady with me and all my brokenness. He never left me (even the times I felt absolutely all alone!) and He orchestrated some very important moments to get me where I am today.

Homeless but not hopeless.

It’s been simple to focus on all the loss. Satan has hung signs all around me many times to discourage me and wreck me for all that was seemingly going wrong in my life. I read them….pondered them and then turned right back to Christ. He has lifted me up, pushed me forward and provided a way when there really didn’t seem one to be made.

I am convinced that my moments of stinking thinking were blocked and guarded by God. He made sure I was without anyone to grumble to, except Him. He made sure that I had to turn to Him. He kept me close to Him and every time I thought I needed someone to complain to….He made sure He was there.

He wanted all my stinking thinking.

You’re welcome, world.


Someone is hurting more than me. Life is over-whelming and difficult to the point of hopelessness for someone besides me. Let your love fall all over them and help them to see beyond the circumstance. You have a perfect plan. Let it be known.

Boldly Ask

March 10th, 2018

Confession: I withhold blessing from myself because I’m an idiot.

Let me tell you how ridiculous I can get…when life gives me lemons, I completely forget to make lemonade (which is my favorite drink, by the way). Instead, I squeeze the heck out of my lemons and then rub my own eyes with the same fingers I just used to squeeze the lemons.

I have this terrible mindset that I must suffer. Even in moments of redemption or blessing. I catch myself feeling guilty for being blessed or given another chance.

I don’t know why I’m like that, perhaps…it has something to do with the way I was raised. Everything in my life was conditional. If I did THIS then I could earn THAT! It sounds stupid, I know. But, I’m convinced that I get what I deserve and if it’s a blessing, I am sure that it must be a mistake!

Admitting this about myself really is a punch in the gut to WHO GOD IS and how He feels about us as His children. He isn’t a game playing kind of God. He has a pure love for His children that doesn’t involve any bartering or earning of His blessing. He loves us with abandon. He sees our hurts, He knows our struggles and He longs to meet us there and love on us in spite of what we convince ourselves He should do.


So, why do we get sucked up in such silliness as punishing ourselves when life goes awry?

Is it because we have a deep-seated understanding of our sin and cannot move forward through forgiving ourselves (even after asking God to forgive us)?

Is it guilt? We feel guilt for something and cannot let it go or even humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness?

Or does it even have to do with sin at all? Could it be we struggle with martyrdom syndrome and feel it’s our job to do all the punishing for God?

Maybe it’s none of those reasons at all. For me, I think I could write a whole book on how to wreck myself just by over-thinking my life and it’s challenges.

I’ve just spent a year and a half trying to figure out why my hard-working husband lost his very good job. Was it something to do with us? Have we or had we been feckless or rotten followers of God and this was some sort of deserved punishment? Had we gotten haughty, prideful or even too good for our britches?

In all these long months of searching for the answer, never….NOT ONCE did God say, “You people were so lost and off track!”. There was no shameful scolding, no go sit in the corner til you have suffered enough and certainly there was no roll over and give up, you’re done messages either.

Instead, God LAVISHED love on me, on us. He reassured me over & over that He was God and that He loved me. Month after month, I prayed for direction and the whole time….HE was directing us. Only, I didn’t see it because many times it didn’t look like the kind of directing that made any sense.

See how I think? Psycho much?!

Here’s what I’m learning:

My path to where I’m supposed to be is going to unfold exactly how God designs it. I don’t have to worry and fret to convince Him to do anything MY WAY! He is God and He has a plan.

The best part? I can live joyfully in the waiting.

I never have to punish myself or tear my clothes to be worthy of any blessing or answered prayer. God wants to bless me and I want to receive it! Why would I squander His goodness? Why would I wallow in doubt what He planted in truth?

I am b l o w n away by how He has blessed us and put us on a new path. It’s only right that I live like that and celebrate every sweet moment that leads us to the place we belong. I can BOLDLY ASK HIM to do whatever it is I need of Him. I can pray with great expectation and know that whatever the answer is, it will be right because that’s who HE IS…the God of right-ness. My faith has grown by leaps and bounds during this time in our lives. I’m not who I was in 2016 and I’m glad! I know I can trust Him and I never have to place suffering onto myself.

Thank you that you are working out a plan that is like nothing I could ever imagine for myself. Every rotten moment of punishing myself had nothing to do with you and everything to do with me! Thank you for loving me so much and opening the door for me to live and to do it with an abundance straight from YOU!

Hit That Altar…or The Floor, Whichever

February 26th, 2018

Want to know what you’re really like? Experience some sort of loss or stress and there you will most likely see the real you. It may seem unfair to think of yourself like that because we all experience rough patches and WHO WANTS TO BE JUDGED BY THAT? Right?

Over the weekend, the packing and moving hit a terrible crazy point. Emotions were flying, arguing (intense fellowship’n) over every little thing and finally a ridiculous blow-up! Yea, we are intense!

Every single ugly day of the last year & a half sort of came to a head right in the middle of the disaster of a garage. All the anger, pent up frustration and even RESENTMENT for what we’re having to do just poured out!

I can’t answer why it had to reach that point but I felt God stop me in my tracks once I slipped in my rainboots and fell to the floor of the disgusting garage! Yea, mama down. On the floor.

Talk about get your attention.

I didn’t get what I deserved but I certainly got the shaking I needed and I instantly thought of all the grace….heaps of it that God has poured onto me and my life. What am I doing fussing about things that just need to get done? Whatever my part in the chaos….I had to get over it and move on.

So, when you’re struggling with just coping with the awful, terrible, ugly parts of your life – the Holy Spirit is there with you. You might be blind to Him at first….but if you stomp around a little bit you too just might find Him after you hit the ground!

Whatever it takes, Lord. Get my attention.

I’m weak. I lose sight of the prize and I act out like I have no good sense. Thank you for righting me when I’m wrong. Help me to be more like you and less like me.

Of Course It’s Hard

February 23rd, 2018

There isn’t a spot in my house that looks or feels normal. Not one room has escaped my wrath of sorting and packing. I’ve pulled out boxes of stuff that haven’t been touched since we moved in and I’ve let go of so many things that I know we just do not need. Not all of it has been awful, just some of it. Moving is like looking in the mirror. You cannot do it without serious reflection of your habits, faults and weaknesses.

My reflection is saying, “Let it all go!”.

I suppose I’ve been packing up my heart (much like I’m packing up my house) for the last year and a half. I’ve packed up dreams of my hubby finding a great job nearby so that we could carry on as if nothing terrible had ever happened. I’ve packed up hoping that we wouldn’t be forced to do EXACTLY what we’re having to do right now (moving sucks!). I’ve packed up all the ways I’ve gotten comfortable about my life and traded it for a constant uncertainty that just won’t let up. I’ve packed up relationships (I know those don’t end – but hanging with the ones you love when you move far away is almost impossible). I’ve packed up my security and I fear I may never feel safe again. I’ve packed up my trust in people. You’d think I’d be mature enough to see all of this as a passing thing… but, I never knew how badly a long jobless season of life would hurt me or my hubby.

I’ve written about perspective here before and I’m not so damaged that I can’t reach inside somewhere and find a way to put all that’s happened in perspective. I KNOW things could be so much harder than what we’ve experienced. While we’ve suffered, we haven’t endured what we deserve. Thank you, Lord. Still, my pain is real (to me) just as it is to anyone suffering through hardship.

Pain, I’m learning…forces us to grow.

I’ve confessed my anger many times and I will tell you, the human mind and heart aren’t easy to manage when life keeps rolling over you and smashing you to pieces. My faith has been an anchor to hold me in place and believe me, I’ve wanted to just do what I want to do and to just feel what I want to feel. But, that’s not how God leaves us. He is hope-filled and life-giving when we are at our most hopeless and looking to give up!

One week from today, this house will be empty of any trace we were ever here. I’m happy and sad, scared and excited, looking ahead and trying NOT to look back. Isn’t it crazy how we root ourselves to places? I’ve got a future, no matter how it looks today and I can do what feels hard or impossible. With God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37)!

This is Just a Test

February 15th, 2018

My life the last year has oftentime felt like a big ole test. Some of the days, I zinged right through the questions…other days, I sat dumb-founded looking over every section of the test (my life) begging God for some multiple choice questions just to have a 1 in 4 chance to pass that sucker!

Truth is, we usually earn exactly what we deserve.

Today, my hubby is back in the cubby hole lockdown of a testing center across town for the 2nd time in the last 2 weeks. On purpose!

He’s taking one of the hardest tests an IT nerd can take, the PMP or Project Management Professionals test. This test only has a 50% pass rate, it’s that difficult. Just to qualify to take the test, a candidate has to acquire countless hours of actual experience and attain difficult educational credits as well and a few other time consuming qualifications. They do not just hand out this certification. The qualified or certified PMP’s are a very small gaggle of people.

He’s good enough to join that group. I know it.

But, that test.

Whew, it is a killer!

What I know about Jesus in times like these is that HE IS ABLE to open up any mind and pull out any lost info from whatever brain cell it takes. All the studying can begin to run together and the mind can just go numb with knowledge….but, Jesus. He can spark a flame where dustbunnies have taken up residence! 50% pass rate shmash shmate!

He can do it. With God’s help, he can pass!

I know every good & perfect thing comes directly from you. It is an honor to make it this far in the PMP process. I pray over my very smart and willing husband that you will work through him as he sits for hours today taking this test. You know exactly what he needs and you even know the final outcome. I implore you….help him pass! Either way, I trust You. I believe You. I love you.

I’m So Sorry That Happened To You

February 13th, 2018


The #metoo movement makes me sick.

In any church, 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males have experienced some sort of sexual assault, abuse or molestation. Step outside those walls and that number grows exponentially. Why? Why is our world so depraved? So sick? And why does it just continue?

I don’t have the answer, other than to point directly to sin and its grip on the world.

I know that sin. I’ve been a victim of another’s sick twisted thirst for pleasure. I could scream to the world my own #metoo story. It’s ugly and filled with pain but I do not live trapped there as a victim. For years, I struggled with shame and guilt for a crime I didn’t ask for. God didn’t leave me there — He filled me with grace and opened my heart to forgiveness. Still, I’m a #metoo person.


The #metoo movement makes me angry.

Everywhere you look, celebrities are crying out and some of them in the ugliest forms regarding sexual criminality. The message has gotten garbled in many of their cries. By saying that I am not in any way dismissing their voices. I’m sorry for each misuse of power over any victim; woman, child …whomever! Abuse is abuse and it should be brought to light. No matter the victim.

The USA gymnastic doctor whose long list of victims horrifies me. Like many, I’ve wondered WHY? Why didn’t anyone speak up? The things he did with parents right under his nose wrecks my heart! Dear Lord, why? He deserves the punishment he receives and as a believer of Jesus Christ – I pray for his soul. He, no different than me….needs God and the forgiveness of his sins.

The Harvey W’s of the world seem to be everywhere too. Power exudes greed in too many that believe the lie that they’re entitled to abuse and use women and others for their satisfaction. The vulnerable fall victim too often to the hungry wolves of this stature. No one deserves to be used, exploited or treated as an object by these perverted evil people. Yet, the list of victims goes for miles.

For all of history, sexual crimes have been hidden or covered and not addressed as they deserve. Ask in any group of people if they or someone they know have been a victim or affected by sexual misconduct at some point in their life. I would almost bet there would be some raised hands. Today, we see a movement of people standing up and saying NO MORE.


I can’t stand some of the methods of delivery being issued by the #metoo speakers.

The #metoo movement isn’t the only grossly negligent sexual horror going on in our world. Let’s not forget the sex trafficking business! Children are bought and sold as if they weren’t even human beings. Little tiny children. Many of these young & vulnerable children are oftentimes sold by their own parents!! Who’s fighting for them? Who is beating down society’s doors with pleas of help for them? Who is plastering the covers of Sports Illustrated and other magazines to scream justice for them? Crickets. Rarely do I hear a word about sex trafficking crimes and that disgusts me to the core.

Last Sunday, a member of my church spoke about a series of articles that he’s spent the last year or more researching to write to oust the child sex trafficking nightmare going on all around us. Tim Swarens has been in the dump and more learning everything he could to shed light on this crime of horror. His stories are heart-wrenching and filled with the reality that this crime is bigger than we like to imagine it is.

I’m linking up the articles published by USA Today so far and I challenge you to read them and forget what is the reality for so many. Next time you catch a magazine cover with a young woman wearing nothing but a word written on her body claiming #metoo…. think about the little girl who rides a bike with training wheels that’s used for sexual gratification by a grown man.

I’ll let you decipher the two. Both are victims.

So, my message to the #metoo movement: I’m sorry for what happened to you. I’m angry that someone would misuse you. I’m sick that anyone would think of you as a tool or a piece of property to be used and tossed aside. But, you are powerful. You are not held to a victim stake to burn and die there. You have strength, people who believe you and the hope to fight back any person who thinks otherwise. You can also stick up and fight for the little voices that are held prisoner in a world you cannot imagine. Please rise up and fight for others, those who cannot do it for themselves.

Child sex trafficking is real. Just as real as every casting couch sleaze ball making the moves on a young beautiful woman. Fight for them too!


Who buys a trafficked child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men

The sex trafficking victim who needs training wheels

Boys — the silent victims of sex trafficking

It lights up the brain like crack: why men buy sex?

I’ll wrap up my post with this, the church has a responsibility to do something. We cannot look the other way. What exactly does that look like? I don’t know. For me, I refuse to cover up sexual sin for anyone. Whether it be for a wealthy young celeb or an orphan being sold for drugs. God loves both and He cares about what happens to them. My challenge is for each of us to figure out what exactly it is that we can do to stop the evil dangled in our face.

If you are someone who has experienced such evil…I’m so sorry that happened to you. God loves you and values you even though you’ve been treated otherwise.

Lord Jesus,

Make it known, every ugly sin hidden in darkness by every perpetrator of sexual deviance. Light up every dark corner of our world. Open every heart that hurts for the ones who cannot fight for themselves. Let us stop what the enemy parades as secret! Here, now and everywhere!