Be Faithful

March 19th, 2018

The world is a beautifully ugly place sometimes. It’s full of wonderful people, places and things but also runs rampant with a darkness that only Christ can light back up!

I don’t expect everyone to understand because each of us walk a different path on this earth. For the believer, I suppose they have a better understanding of the difference between a dark heart and one filled with the love & mercy of Christ.

This morning, I felt the strong pull to clear out my heart of smushed down hidden sin. That’s how the Holy Spirit works. Sadly, many of us are professional stuffers. We learn how to compartmentalize “junk” that doesn’t belong into cubbies of our heart and therefore….stack up unconfessed sin and yuck. For me, I had smoothed over a few things and tried really hard to move forward.

Not happening, folks.

God doesn’t let sin slide by. He holds it in high regard (not that He wants to punish us – but that He wants a RIGHT relationship with us!) and just like every sinner on this earth….He expects us to repent and receive the grace He longs to lavish upon us when we turn over what threatens to hold us hostage!

I confess:

I’m not okay. I’m broken. Ugly. Mean-spirited. UNFORGIVING. Full of jealousy. Resentful. Cruel. Vengeful. A jerk. Sad. Untrusting. Blind to my own sin. Gifted at pretending.

And I could go on.

Let me tell you what God says about me.

I am redeemed and forgiven by God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

I am a child of God. (John 1:12)

I am greatly loved. (Romans 5:8)

I am called to be light. (Matthew 5:14a)

I am an over-comer. (Revelation 12:11)

I am rooted. (Colossians 2:7)

I am not my own. (1 Cor. 6:19)

I am a child of the MOST HIGH GOD and He loves me even when I fall short. How grateful I am that He doesn’t leave me as I am (or can be) stuck in a hole of unrepentant sin. He moves me, pierces my heart and opens my eyes to every ugly thing that doesn’t belong.

I won’t sugar-coat it though…. admitting sin is hard.

My prayer for you and for me is that the Holy Spirit would NOT leave us alone. It’s painful to say it, but I hope and pray that every ugly part of you and me would be brought right up to the surface of our lives. Giving us no choice but to RIGHT IT and right it NOW!

Repentance offers peace. Forgiveness frees us. Both giving it and asking for it.

I’ve had to face an ugly hurt with a friend today. I felt God whisper to me to get it right this morning and I did. The yuck between us was hindering my joy. Even knowing what I know about the situation, the Holy Spirit held me to a higher standard and I deserved it. I knew if I didn’t get it right (at least on my part) that I would never be at peace.

I apologized. I owned any part in the ugliness between us. Peace came over me almost instantly. Then, she responded. No grace offered, no acceptance of my apology. So, I learn a great lesson. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person (really) it’s for you/me.


What a gift forgiveness is to me. Thank you for offering such grace to me over & over. Forgive me for the many ways I mishandle people and more in my life. Your mercy….is new every day.


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.