The blood of the Lamb

“What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Oh, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow! No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  (Nothing but the Blood – Robert Lowry)


Hmm.  Such peace in those words – what makes me whole – Jesus’s precious blood!


Dear Friend, where are you at today?  I’m not feeling whole.  I’m wondering what God has for me, for my husband, for us. We feel in a season of weariness.  But today, I’m reflecting on Jesus’s blood.  Last night I listened to the old hymn “Victory in Jesus.”  Do you know it?

“I heard an old, old story how a Savior came from glory,

How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.

I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood atoning,

Then I repented of my sin and won the victory.

O victory in Jesus, my Savior forever! He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.

He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him.

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood!

I heard about His healing of His cleansing power revealing,

How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see.

And then I cried, Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit,

And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory!”  (Victory in Jesus, E.M. Barlett)

{Sigh… These words are a salve to my soul!}

The other day the hymn on my mind was “I Must Tell Jesus” (Really — music is a gift!  And I’ll say forever, there is something about the old hymns that really speak to the soul!  I love them!)

“I must tell Jesus all of my trials; I cannot bear these burdens alone.

In my distress He kindly will help me; He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus!  I must tell Jesus!  I cannot bear my burdens alone;

I must tell Jesus!  I must tell Jesus!  Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.” (I Must Tell Jesus,  Elisha Hoffman)


{Sigh again}.  Today a coworker mused aloud about the world and perhaps Jesus is returning soon.  He asked my opinion on pre-trib and post-trib theology.  I have my opinions – of course I do. But I found myself telling him that I find we (me too) focus so much on our flesh and the natural world, and what is going to happen (that sounds scary and rightfully so!) — that we forget that the purpose of Christ’s return is the unveiling of Jesus Christ – rightful Ruler of this world.  He is coming in power to reign and make all things right! Oh praise Jesus!  I believe, pre-trib/post-trib, regardless, that when the time comes if we need to walk through hardships of the flesh that God will enable us and give us grace.  No one (no one!) can handle in the flesh what Jesus does not give us strength to endure.  Persecuted Christians have flesh and fears too!  They don’t go into persecution thinking they are strong – no, their flesh fails too.  They rely only on Jesus’ strength and power, His blood, His victory, and His promises.  Jesus doesn’t promise that we will not walk through trials or persecution. We too might have to some day endure deeper persecution.  And so, I shared with my coworker a verse I’d recently read: Romans 5:8-9 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Jesus’ blood took our sin.  He died for us while we were sinners.  God’s wrath is not on us anymore!  I don’t know what is happening in the world.  I don’t know what we might be asked to endure, to give up, or to go through.  But I know that the blood of Jesus made me right with God.  I know that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! (John 1:29) I know that His blood gives me victory in life — to overcome sin and trials of all kinds.

Oh – precious is the flow that makes me white as snow and whole!

Oh, victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!

I truly cannot bear my burdens alone — Jesus can help me, Jesus alone!

And so I pray about my burdens, that are so small in light of many other’s burdens, yet I’m too weak to handle them, and my flesh fails me.  And I pray for my little children, the next generation — that they’d come to know Jesus and that their names will be written in the Lamb’s book of life.  I pray that their children will know Jesus too — that until Jesus does return, that they will love Him and proclaim Him and stand strong for His name.   Only the blood of Jesus takes away our sin, and keeps us from the wrath of God.

This same coworker, who asked me about my thoughts on pre/post tribulation, shared a story with me awhile ago that he heard on KTIS:

“Hey, it’s Lisa Barry and when I first heard this story I thought this is so amazing it cannot be true…somebody made this up. Then, come to find out it’s true! Dennis Phillips is a sheep herder and one day a rattlesnake bit one of his sheep in the face! Ouch! The sheep’s face swelled up and hurt her so terribly but what the old rattlesnake didn’t know is the kind of blood that flows through sheep is what anti-venom is most often made from. The sheep did swell up for a couple of days but the blood of that lamb destroyed the venom!! (Do you have goose-bumps yet?) Dennis said, ‘Remember this…a lot of times the serpents of this life will reach out and bite you and they inject their poison into you but they can’t overcome the blood of the lamb that washes away the sin of the world and the sting of death. Don’t worry about the serpent or his bite just make sure the lamb’s blood is flowing through your veins.’ Wow.”

I liked that story, and so I looked it up to verify – here is an article if you want to see for yourself – they do use sheep blood to develop antivenom medicine to give people.

And so I’m thinking about the blood of Jesus — the Lamb of God. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow!

Press on dear sisters — the Lamb of God, Jesus, takes away our sin and saves us from the wrath of God, and gives us victory!  Praise Jesus!

(I love this cross at the front of my church! See the lamb right in the middle!)

Hairy Legs and Life

Hello Dear Friends!

This summer has swept by!  Time truly does fly!

I have not written in a long time.  My mind is ever full of thoughts.  But I’m feeling backwards.  I’m feeling dry.  I’m feeling a bit worn out.

I praise God for His everlasting faithfulness!  A name of God that I’ve especially valued this year is El Roi – the God Who Sees Me.  This name is found in Genesis 16:13.  Hagar’s story is told in the whole chapter.   Ever feel like you don’t like your life circumstances – Hagar can identify!  She ended up pregnant by Abram (Abraham) when Sarai (Sarah) – her mistress- couldn’t get pregnant.  Since Sarah couldn’t get pregnant but God had promised Abraham a child, Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham.  Hagar conceived. Oh, family drama!  Can you picture all the emotions, drama, and feelings?  A man and his wife, want kids, can’t have kids, are promised kids by God, but still no kids.  And Abraham was in his 80’s!  Since they aren’t getting pregnant – or getting younger, Sarah gives her servant (presumably a much younger woman) to Abraham.  What was she thinking?  Hagar gets pregnant.  Do you wonder what Sarah thought then?  She couldn’t get pregnant by Abraham … but Hagar could.  Did she feel that she was “not good enough?”  And now Hagar was not just her slave, she also a woman whom Abraham had slept with. Ugh – drama. Right?  Emotions – for sure.  Even if that was common practice in their day, Sarah and Hagar were women, just like us!  I try to picture my emotions if I were Sarah, and if I were Hagar.  Hagar is pregnant, her body is changing, her hormones are changing.   Sarah is not pregnant -she and Abraham aren’t pressing their heads together at night talking about their baby or God’s amazing goodness. No.  Abraham has a child of his own seed growing – but in Hagar’s womb.  Sarah is jealous and starts to mistreat Hagar.  Drama, right!?

What kind of emotions were going through Hagar?  Hagar had been a slave girl to Sarah and “yes ma’am” was likely a way of life for her.  But then she is given to Abraham, and knows Abraham in a way only Sarah should have. Slave to wife.  Very different roles. Was Hagar confused? Was she just doing her duty?  Did the growing baby cause nausea or heartburn?  Was she excited to see what her baby would look like?  Did Sarah’s new attitude towards her confuse her, since it had been Sarah’s command in the first place that sent Hagar into Abraham’s bed?

We know that at some point Hagar reached her breaking point and she finally runs away.  Maybe now she wondered how she’d raise her baby. Did she have family she could return to?  Where was her next meal going to come from?  What was Hagar thinking now?

Then in verse 7 – “The angel of the Lord found Hagar and said to her, where have you come from and where are you going?  She answered, I’m running away from Sarai, my mistress.”  Then the Lord told Hagar what was coming, and sent her back!  Talk about circumstances that are not your choosing!  There Hagar named God The God Who Sees Me.

The God who sees. Me. You.  He sees us in our circumstances.  He knows where we are. He knows the circumstances beyond our control, and the ones of our own making.  He knows our attitudes.  He knows our feelings. The God Who Sees Me.

How I’ve needed the refuge of that name this year!  The God Who Sees Me – who sees the circumstances I and my husband are in.  The God who sees the work I am in. The God who sees where I am and what I’m doing this very moment.

Hagar knows circumstances that she didn’t choose.  So do you. So do I.

I shaved my legs this morning – no big deal for an almost 40 year old woman – right?!  It’s routine.  Sometimes my legs get harrier than they should – according to culture’s standards.  But God made hair to grow on my legs — having hairy legs is normal.  It is a circumstance that I don’t control.  It’s such a part of life that I don’t even blink an eye at either shaving or being hairy. Yet the other week I was talking to a tween just entering the stage of puberty.  Hair growing in places other than her head is new to her. Shaving is new to her.  She admitted she shaves her armpits now, and “it’s sort of annoying.”   She mentioned she hasn’t started shaving her legs yet. She peered at my hairy legs.  Ooops … maybe I should be a better role model of shaving!  But at the same time I’m so glad I’m comfortable in my skin, and hairy legs no longer embarrass me! I’m so glad my husband likes me smooth, and accepts me hairy!  I’ve already had to walk the road of puberty, and I’m now far away from puberty and in the stages of development, I’m closer to menopause.  Life changes.  Circumstances we don’t choose.  Just part of being human!

All this to say – it’s life.  We don’t choose our bodies, or having hair on our legs.  We shave hairy legs because that is what our culture does.  But my value isn’t in shaving or not shaving.  Hair on my legs is just life.  I feel like that is a lesson I’m learning lately — life happens, and sometimes that is just the way it is.  Some things are direct results of my choices.  Some things are results of other’s choices.  Life.  Just life.  Living life.  Growing up — it’s not just puberty that is a change… so is every stage!

Hagar recognized God as the God who saw her – knew her circumstances, knew her name, saw where she was at.  Knew her life.

I’m just living life.  I’m in circumstances both of my own choosing, and of which I have no control.  And sometimes it hard.  And sometimes it’s confusing.  And sometimes it’s good.  But just like hair on my legs — it’s all just a part of life.  And God sees me.  He knows me.  He made me.

God, our Creator, calls us by name and knits us together in the secret place. He creates our bodies – and puberty! This God ordains each day of ours before one of them comes to be. This God loves us with an everlasting love.  This God is the God who Sees.  Oh what a God He is!

Press on dear friends!  Every time we shave, may we be reminded we are just living normal life, in a fallen world, under the watchful care of our good God – the God who sees us!



Glimmers of Hope

Good Morning Dear Sister in Christ,

It’s an early morning, I’ve been awake several hours.  I find myself whistling and singing alternately, the words ringing in my mind: Some through the water, some through the floods.  Some through the fire, but all through the blood.  Some through great sorrows, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.

I’ve been in a night season for too long.  My heart has been heavy.  My gifts have been idle.  My mind has been negative.  My spirt has been weak.  My thoughts have been numerous, my journals abound.  My joy has been small.  My faith has seemed frail.  My body is aging.  My vitality seems buried.


But God…

God has been strong and has carried me.

God has been faithful and has stayed beside me.

God has been whispering, asking me to listen closer.

God has been working, my prayers not unanswered.

God has revealed Himself in new ways.

God has granted sleep when my mind can not rest.

God has asked if I want to know Him more, deeper, and truer.

God has hidden His face, but only to ask me to seek with more passion.

God has provided.

God.  His name is great, and He is greatly to be praised!

Dear Sister, are you with me, feeling weary in life, in spirit, in body?  I could say it’s age, as I creep upon the big 4-0, but it’s not.  One day I was talking to my sister.  I was sharing some of my heart and I teared up.  Her 4 year old daughter came in the room.  Pretty soon the little girl was crying (she wanted to talk to her auntie, but mom said wait!).  My sister said in an amused voice, “The feelings are mutual it seems.”  My little niece had a heart that was sad.  I had a heart that was sad.  No matter our age, we as women have tender hearts that seem to be easily hurt and buried.  All women.  And men too.  I’m convinced.

We live in a fallen world, and our world shakes with the results of sin.  Every area of life.

I’ve repeated over and over that “our battles are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and authorities of this dark world.”  I find myself needing this in my personal relationships, as I listen to the news, in the realm of the unknown people that effect me (leaders), as I watch everything happening at a national and global level.  Satan versus God, that is the truth.  And God wins.  That is the blessed truth, and wonderful assurance for my soul.

I’m in a season of seeing glimmers of hope. Finally.  It feels like two years of struggle.  It feels like a long desert season is finally starting to see signs of life.

For starters, I’ve actually started to enjoy my Bible again.  In my Bible reading over the last 2 years, I went from a lush valley of awe, to a desert of dryness.  Praise God He walks us through both!  I’m starting again to want to be in my Bible more and more.  Precious women — please pray to God that He gives you hunger for His Word.  Years ago I read through the Bible in a year.  I haven’t done that since, but I’ve been led to study and read in various ways.  Let me encourage you — when you are in a dry season emotionally and spiritually — the Word has to be present for there are the very words of life! But not in a guilt inducing way. Not in a “must do this on my own strength” type of way. Not in a race or even any man made pace! If one verse is all you can meditate on for the day or even a month, do it!  If listening to praise music and crying your eyes out is all you can muster strength for, do it!  If listening to the Bible being read to you for 10 minutes is all you have time for, do it! If a short devotional is all you have time to read as you are in the bathroom, then do it!  If you and your toddlers can memorize a verse or passage together, do it! (I’ve heard that involving your kids is very helpful!  I personally love kids music that is Bible verses set to music!  And I have no young kids, but many of you do.  They are sponges, and if your soul is thirsty for God, they are likely willing participants in however God might direct you to seek Him in the season of motherhood!)  If all you can do is sing some praise music, do it!  I’ll tell you, 2-3 hymn choruses puts my mind in a better place!  Even in dry seasons – please do whatever it takes to connect with God in even the smallest of ways!

God is so gentle, and so patient, and so good!  He is always calling us to Himself in deeper ways, if we are open to hearing him!

How is God working in your life? How is He calling you to seek Him?  It what creative way can you make time in your life afresh for Him?

When my husband first started working overnights, I was lonely.  I was anxious about sleeping. So I purchased a download of Bible verses read with peaceful music playing in the background.  I fell asleep to this nightly for many weeks. Even now, some days I pull it out and just listen as I drift off to sleep — it keeps my mind fixed on things above!

A couple months ago, I had nothing to give God.  I was emotionally and spiritually dried out. I wanted to be in God’s presence, but just couldn’t! I had heard an analogy of bringing a teaspoon to God. So I did.  I decided to push play on the most recent download of a Bible reading app. It was not a daily reading, and it jumped around in the Bible.  I had no idea what the daily portion would be, but I knew I needed something in the Word.  I determined I’d listen to whatever was being read that day.  It happened to be Psalm 100.  The whole reading took less than one minute, but that one minute spoke to my soul.  I pushed repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  In 10 minutes, God had moved into my heart in a fresh way.  I needed those 10 minutes.

Dear Sister, God is the God of hope.  He is the God of all comfort.  He is very present and real.  Are you seeing Him?  Some days of this season, I felt he wasn’t near.  He was.  Some days I felt he didn’t care.  He does!  Look at this verse I found: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has appeared saying, ‘I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.’   When I read this verse, I stopped.  I thought on these words: I am indeed concerned about you.  That sentence right there — that is soul food!

Oh, I am so grateful for glimmers of hope.  I am so grateful God is the God who Sees.  I am so grateful that God will never leave me or forsake me. I know the same is true of you as well – God is with you!

I will choose to praise Him. He is Lord!

Press on!  The Lord is with us!

It Is Well With My Soul

” When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll.  Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say: It is well, it is well with my soul.  Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blessed assurance control: The Lord has regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul.  My sin — oh the bliss of this glorious thought: My sin – not in part, but in whole – has been nailed to the cross and I bear it no more! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul!  And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.  The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend — even so, it is well with my soul.”


Hello dear Sister in Christ,

Yesterday I attended a funeral of a woman who died of Covid.  Yes, she was older.  But still.  This year has been full of trials. Full of sadness.  Globally, nationally, indivudiually.

It’s been three months since I’ve written here.  My journal is full of my own thoughts, struggles, and trials.  There have been good days.  There have been hard days.

Yesterday as we sang, “Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come – let this blessed assurance control: The Lord has regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul,”  I was struck afresh with this truth.  Life on earth is a gift, and each day holds so much goodness.  God offers numerous pleasures and blessings. We have sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smells that are wonderful!  The earth is full of God’s beauty.  Yet Satan fights us.  The final “fight” is death.  Praise God that for the believer “absent from the body is present with the Lord!”  But in our life on earth, we will face trials.

I looked up the word buffet.  It means: “to strike against or push repeatedly,” or “a violent shock or concussion.”

Has not this last year sort of felt like one blow and then another? Haven’t most of us struggled in many ways lately?

Yet, there is a blessed assurance.  A truth.  A reality.

It is this: The Lord has regarded our helpless estate and has shed His own blood for our souls.

Praise Jesus for shedding His blood for us! Yes, there are repeated blows and shocks from Satan.  Praise Jesus, He has already defeated Satan!  Satan may “crush His heal.”  But one day Jesus will “crush Satan’s head.”

I’m learning alot about me, and faith.  I’m learning of God.  It’s been a dry season spiritually.  It’s been a dry season socially.  It’s been a dry season relationally.  But I was reminded of one of the names of God:  Yahewh (Jehovah) Nissi — God is our banner.

This name, God is our banner, comes from Exodus 17:15.   In Dr. Youseff’s October 2021 devotional, My Journal, he writes, “When we praise Yahweh Nissi, we are waving His flag.  We are proclaiming to Satan, the enemy of our souls, ‘I am under Yahweh’s magnificent oversight.  I am under Yahweh’s protection.  You cannot destroy me, and you cannot thwart God’s purposes in my life.'”

Ahh! It truely is well with my soul!  I am under God’s protection, under God’s wisdom, under God’s victory.  How?  Because of the blood of Jesus! I claim Jesus’s blood because I’ve asked Him to be my Savior and Lord.  I claim Jesus’s victory — because He purchased me with His blood.

Yes, Satan does buffet, and this year has been challenging on many levels.  For you too, I know, I’ve heard your stories.  Satan pushes, shocks, and repeatedly strikes.

But precious Sister, for those of us bought with Jesus’s blood, we are under God’s banner.  Praise Yahweh Nissi!  Praise Jesus our Savior!  Praise God, for despite Satan’s efforts, it is well with my soul!  Oh Sister, if it is not well with your soul, in this moment, may you run to God and find Him to be your peace and your protection.   Jesus bought you, God is over you, and victory is yours.  It might take many battles, but stay in God’s presence until you too can say: It is well with my soul!

Press on!


Check out these videos:

Losing Weight While Eating Hot Fudge By The Spoonful!

Tonight I ate hot fudge by the spoonful.  I am not kidding. 

The other day I bought Smuckers Hot Fudge while shopping because I had a recipe I wanted to make.  I made the dessert, ate the dessert, and enjoyed the dessert.  I even ate the last half piece of dessert for breakfast one morning — really.  Just a half piece of dessert: no protein, no fruit, no cereal, no oatmeal.  Just dessert!  And I enjoyed every second of breakfast that day!  (Dear Mom — it is not true that sugar for breakfast spoils my day. Maybe if this is the habitual norm.  But my dessert for breakfast the other day did not harm me in any way.  In fact, it gave me a sense of joy!)  But then my dessert was gone.  The half botttle of hot fudge still waited patiently in the fridge.

So I ate a spoonful one night when there was no other chocolate in the house.  Just 1 spoonful.  Then I placed the jar back in the fridge.

The next night I had another spoonful.  Just 1.  Back in the fridge.

But the next night, I ate 4 spoonfuls.  And I never opened the jar!  You see, I had read a recipe for hot fudge that talked about being so good you’d never want to buy another jar again.  I have nothing against my jar of Smuckers.  Obviously I like it.  But just for fun, I thought I’d do a side by side taste test.  I think the homemade won.  I mean –4 spoonfuls!

By the way, this was after my evening workout!  I’ve been so proud of myself.  I’ve actually been working out lately.  I used to work out, and enjoyed it.  But then life hit.  I stopped working out and for about 10 years, working out has been hit and miss.  The last 7 years it’s been mostly non-existant.  But for the last 15 weeks, I’ve done something most weekdays!

And I’ve continued to eat just how I normally do.  But while eating my delicious spoonful, the nagging thought came:  You can’t lose weight eating hot fudge all night, even if you work out!

I paused after spoonful 3. True.  Likely very true.  But, what if I was loosing weight in another way?

What if the baggage of “you shouldn’t do that” or “eating this won’t help” or “control control control”  needs to be lost.  I’m not advocating for no self discipline.  I’m also not advocating for living only for the pleasure of the flesh.  Of course not.  That is a whole different issue.  But the lies of Satan about pleasure, beauty, weight, what you should eat or not eat, and comparison of what others eat and don’t eat run rampant in our culture.

But I’ve been thinking on this: “…In His right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

The hot fugde was a pleasure.  So was eating dessert for breakfast one morning.  And both did me no harm.  Sure, eating only sugar all the time does harm your body.  We know that.  But when is the last time I ate dessert for breakfast?  And when is the last time I shoveled in the hot fudge by the spoonful with no ice cream?  Can’t remember doing either in a long long time.  And probably won’t do them again for another long long time!

I’m learning some things about life.  We pile on so much pressure.  We let “you shouldn’t do that” consume us.  We compare.  We criticize.  We try to perform. We have weight on us that is not on the body — but on the heart.

And eating hot fudge (by the spoonful) is not healthy.  Agreed.  But neither is the pressure to be that we heap on ourselves day after day.  We just are not aware of it.

So dear ladies — I hope you enjoy a simple pleasure today.  And moms out there … a memory of mine is the rare occasion my mom let us have “backwards day” and eat dessert before the main dish and veggie — how fun!  Press on dear ladies!  The gift of pleasure is a gift!  Isn’t God good to us!

4:30 AM

There are a couple things that you should know about me:  1) I am a morning person to the core.  2) I have always been able to sleep well.  I fall asleep easily, and for the most part sleep the whole night through (maybe waking sometimes for a bathroom break or two, but easily returning to sleep).

This is my norm. So when a few years ago I started waking up starving around 2 – and trying to fight off the desire to get up and eat – unsuccessfully, I got annoyed.  Until I learned to just get up, grab a quick snack, and head back to bed!  Lately though this doesn’t seem to bother me as much — yay! (Maybe a little snack later in the evening has helped?!) It was also a few years ago that sometimes God would wake me up in the middle of the night, not with an appetite for food, but for Him. I learned to love praying in the middle of the night and sometimes spending time in God’s Word when there were no distractions!  This was not an often occurance, but whenever it did happen, it never interfered with going back to sleep or feeling rested the next day.

So, for the most part, I go to bed early (9:00 is my ideal!) and sleep.  My ideal wake time is between 6-7, but sometimes I like to stay in bed and cuddle, think or read.  Sometimes I hop up and get laundry going, or make a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls that my husband loves!  I don’t like to HAVE to be up and out the door if I don’t want to.  And I like to go to bed later sometimes.  But all this to say, I need and like my sleep!

However, a couple years ago I found myself awake at 4:30.  I was frustrated, crabby, and crying.  I had not been sleeping well on and off for quite a while.  My job was stressful and stealing my joy.  My husband I and felt stuck in life.  And I couldn’t sleep.  I had woken around 3, and was still awake, tossing and turning and trying to get my body back to a comfortable relaxed mode.  I had to be out the door by 6:30 to get to my job that started at 7:00, that I dreaded because of short staff and high stress. Let me tell you, for a morning person, I did not like getting up and out by 6:30.  And not sleeping between 3 – 4:30, knowing from eperience that I’d be exhausted and trying to sleep at 5:30, made the morning all the worse!

Contrast that with one day this spring when one of my 4:30 mornings became a memory morning.  My husband has been working overnights.  So even on his day off, his body still sometimes stays on “work schedule.”  One early Saturday morning, he was awake, and up — likely around 2.  Around 4 I woke up to use the bathroom.  Instead of going right back to bed I found him and said good morning, got my hug, and headed back to bed.  But I was hungry, and craving muffins.  I didn’t have any muffins in the freezer.  So I got back up.  I told my husband I was craving a muffin.  He sweetly suggested we swing by Perkins later and pick up a muffin for my breakfast. (I can make muffins, but the idea of a muffin date was fun!).  But then a few minutes later he said, “Unless you want to go now — Kwik Trip is open.”   Now… 4:20 in the morning?  YES!!!  So I pulled on clothes and we hopped in the car.  The birds were already singing, the air was cool, and the sun was just starting to lighten the sky.  We got to Kwik Trip and I changed my mind, got a donut and juice … and a muffin to take home!  We ate in the car, the sunrise now starting to spill over the sky.  Beautiful!  Fun!  And something I had never done … an unplanned breakfast date at 4:30 in the morning!

What a difference two mornings make!

Why do I tell you this?  No reason really — it was just on my mind.  But really — a morning can make a lot of difference.  The morning Jesus rose from the dead changed the world. If He had stayed dead, he would have been just like every other zealous religous leader.  But Jesus is not a person… but God Himself, incarnate in flesh.  And death could not hold Him!    So each day we get here on this earth is a gift.  “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord!”

So dear sisters in Christ, whatever your day looks like today, whether you woke happy or grumpy — may you praise the Lord and trust in Him!  Press on!



How Is Your Heart?

“I’m struggling.”  I voice the words outoud that whine and entangle themselves in my soul in countless ways. 

“I don’t know.”  I shrug my shoulders heavily, my body echoing the heavy thoughts that swirl in my head.

Tears escape.  Seems I’m always crying.  Sometimes I can control them (barely).  Usually they just tumble out, and at that point I need the release of emotions, so I let them come, not caring how red my eyes get and yet deep down bothered that I’m bothered.

“Why is this so hard?”  I muse inwardly and often outloud into the dark night around me. Why indeed?  I know that God is Sovereign.  I know that God is good.  So why does this question bubble up so much in conversatons of my mind.  I know Truth.  So why does this curious question refuse to be silent, and why does the need for an answer torment me?  There is a reality that I won’t know the full answer here on this earth.

So I console myself with the words of Habakuk: “How long, oh Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear?”

I repeat the words of the Psalmist: “Oh God, be not silent! Answer me quickly!”  “The Lord is an ever present help in time of troube.” “Why are you downcast oh my soul?  Put your hope in God!” (Ps. 83:1, 102:2, 46:1, 42:5)

I wonder why prayer and reading my Bible seems so hard lately.  I don’t even seem to know what to think about some things.  I feel I don’t know what to pray.  How can I pray if I don’t even understand my emotions and thoughts or wants?

And the words from Twila Paris’s song ring in my head, “Life is hard…” They repeat and repeat and repeat, stuck like a record player.

I wish I could say these days happen rarely, yet lately it seems far more frequent than I want to admit.  {Sigh.}


“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12

“I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.   I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Phil. 4:12-13  —  True. I know this.  Yet I find myself having to confess discontentment.  Or I know that Christ is my strength, but I don’t feel strong or content. How long does it take to actually learn this?

“Life is hard —  but God is good.”  The Twila Paris song records again in my mind, this time the sentance finishing.  “God, you are good”  I say aloud.  Then I have to repeat it, because it doesn’t feel true.  In fact it feels not true.  I tell myself that feelings lie and God is good. I find my brain arguing back … well, what about _____?  That’s not good!  “God IS good,” I say louder.  The nagging doesn’t give up and resounds again, yeah, but not in this area of life.   Arrgh!  “God, You are good.”  I say it again.  The nagging whisper of doubt is silenced, but only briefly before coming back to bother me from a different angle on another day.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”  I like the idea of things working for my good. But all things?  Even where I’m at right now, even what we are facing? Even certain things I’m facing.  Good?  They don’t “feel good” and actually it seems like they are not good.

And the battle continues.  Sins in my heart surface.  It is often easy to focus on the external sins, but to God the sins in my heart are also things he wants to change, to purify, and to redeem.   They are what He went to the cross for — to save me, but also to sanctify me.  Scantification — the process of becoming more like Jesus.  And Jesus knows the sins in me that keep me in bondage.  He knows the lies I’m listening to, and He wants to free me.

I know this in my head.  My heart is struggling.  And I blame.  I blame the circumstances around me (God knows the world, politics, and things in my home — and He wants to scanctify me in these circumstances).  I blame people around me.  I criticize.  And then I grumble.

Sometimes I’m just like the Israelites, grumbling when God rescued them from bondage and led them to the promised land… taking them the long way because they were not ready for what lay ahead.  They didn’t know this reason, but they grumbled none the less. They wanted to go back to the familiar bondage and troubles of Egypt rather than trust God. God let them wander extra long on the way to the promised land, partly because they grumbled against him.

The whispers in my soul say,”Good Christians don’t grumble against God.  Good Christians don’t sin.”  LIES!  We have an enemy of our soul who wants to separate us from God. His purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy.  And he is so subtle in his deceit.  He uses things and people, and shoots firey darts of dissapointment, discontentment, greed, feelings of deserving better, and so much more to keep us from turning to God and to keep us grumbling.  Sin on purpose — no, I’ve been rescued and redemeed!  But sometimes I choose to hold onto bitterness, I choose to disobey, I choose to wallow in self focus or self pity.  And sometimes I’m not trying to disobey at all, I’m simply, as the song says, “Prone to leave the God I love”.

And that is my heart.  How is your heart?  It has been such a challenging year.  I talk with my sister.  She has her own emotions and challenges in her own season of life.  God is good,  we tell each other.  He is gracious.

I listen to a podcast and hear, “No good thing does God withhold from them whose walk is blameless.” (Ps. 84:11)  So why does it seem God is withholding good in certain areas of my life?  Guilt rears an ugly head as I think: I am not blamesless (I know my sins and thoughts).  I find myself striving– and performance based theology is not of God. (Lies of Satan again!)

I listen further to the podcast.  “It is good that I am afflicted, that I might learn your statues.”  (Ps. 119:71) God, it’s good?  Affliction is good?  I don’t understand!  I keep listening because even though the speaker was talking about a challenge I’d never faced, I identified with the emotions.  My own challenges felt the same though vastly different.

“God’s ways are perfect.” (Ps.18:30)  I know this.  Again, my heart is lagging behind.  Oh God, you are my Helper! I need You!

So, where is your heart?  This is the cycle of my heart these last months.  It’s been hard.  I’m sure you can relate.  Sweet sister in Christ, press on with me.  I’m pressing on too, right here with you.

God is good. His ways are right.  (Say it outloud!  Say it again.  Tell yourself this.  It might not feel true.  But it is!)


It’s Valentine’s Day … Is Marriage All You Hoped For?

Hello!  How are you?  One of my goals in life is to be a mentor to the younger women out there. 

I want to be a godly woman and wife.  I want to become the older woman of Titus 2 that can teach the younger woman to love her husband. Not too long ago my pastor asked me: is marriage all you hoped?

Hmm. Interesting question!  Let’s talk!

No!  But sometimes, yes! How’s that!  That is truth that I think every married woman would state.  Listen up younger ladies! And older ladies — please teach me, and be role models for me and other younger women!  Keep teaching us to love our husbands and children at every age and stage!

We are so prone to the culture’s way of thinking — which comes from the deceiption of Satan, the master at subtle deceit.  We buy into lies of self focus, self-worth, happiness, feminism, greed, and so many others without even really knowing that we are doing so.  We believe in the romance of fairy tales.  We are little girls growning up with big dreams.  We want other’s opinions of us to be good based on what they see, so we think we need more, or have to have things that look nice, or post pictures that portray the perfect and good things only.  And, secrectly, we expect our husbands to be our heroes — perfect in every way from day one until day 21,900!

And oh, precious women — we listen to lies if we are not diligent to know the Truth.  Truth of God and His love and plans for us, for our marriage, and for our husbands as well as our children.  So is marriage all we hoped?  No it is not.  We get married, and it does not take too long to realize our husbands are sinners.  Sins of our own even suprprise us as they surface in ways they may not have in the past.  And while we might acknowledge our own sins a little bit, the tendency is to focus more on our discovery that this man we hold up as a hero, emerges with feet of clay.  Meaning, we see our husbands as who they really are — men made in God’s image but who wage war in this culture of lies too!  Men who have their own insecurities and sin struggles.  Men who are little boys at heart — just as we are little girls at heart. Men with big dreams and dissapointments — just like us.  Men whose masculinity is under attack by the same Attacker of our feminity. This is Satan, the Father of lies and disguise, who wants to see our marriages, our men, our children, and us destryed. We all long to be loved, noticed, accepted.  We expect our mate to do all this for us — perfectly.  And they might do some of this really well — but we don’t always notice the ways they love us well.  We tend to focus on their sins, the negatives, and our feelings.  We dwell on what we don’t have. We sin afresh with our own pride (ignore our sins and focus on theirs), covetness (comparison of our spouse or house or things others have or appear to have), and by creating idols of our husband and things rather than seeking God first.  And when we do this marraige feels less than what we hoped for.  And that marriage vow we all repeat:  “for better for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer,”   — we say these words believing on our wedding day that “for better, in health and in richness” will compromise 99.9% of our days.  All marriages have things, seasons, stressors, and inner and outer circumstances that require time, talking, growth, patience, tears, and even suffering.  All wives have sin issues to deal with, and so do all husbands. The majority of marriage is the same as the the majority of life for the single — days of mundane realities, chores, deadlines, work, stressors, challenges, feelings emotions, and busyness.

Coming to this understanding happens to all of us after we get married.  Guarenteed.  And then when life is the same as it was for us as singles — unmet expectaions, dissapointments, and daily living — we tend to dwell on things that are not true, not excellent, not admirable, and not praise worthy (opposites of what God instrutsts our minds to dwell on in Phillippians 4). We criticise and complain.  We think we need to have something else better — but where do we get the term better and less than from? We wonder what might have been if we made other choices relating to work, kids, spouses, or life in general.  And in all this, we are letting our feelings and flesh rule.  Satan loves to whisper these lies into married women’s souls.  He loves to get us to focus on feelings versus truth.  Well, here is truth: the heart is deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9). Our culture thrives on being feeling oriented. But here is God’s truth: real love is patient, kind, does not evny, does not boast, keeps no records of wrongs, does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in truth, endures all things, and always perseveres. (2nd Corinthians 13).  And here is more truth: God’s type of love takes effort, takes ongoing choices, and takes forgiveness (again and again.)  It takes large doses of humility.  It takes God’s agape, selfless love in us. It takes God’s help and strength. It comes from understanding the cross of Christ, and allowing the cross of Christ to change us.   It goes against our natural, inner person.  It is hard!

So, is marriage all I hoped? No!  But also yes in many ways! I have a man who shares my belief in God.  I have a man who loves me, is incredibly tender to me, and is genuinely affectionate. I have a man who wants to provide for me.  I have a man who smiles easily and maintains peace. He talks with me about dreams as well as things like the insignificant items I want to shop for.  He even listens to me tell long, detailed, stories — half of which don’t matter to him!  I have a man who blesses me with words of love.  I have a man who turns on the porch light for me at night because he knows I like it, even though the dark doorway or house doesn’t bother him.  I have a man who puts gas in my car for me often, just so I don’t have to on a cold morning drive.  I have a man who backs the car into the driveway so I can drive out forward, because he knows it’s hard for me to back it out.  I have a man who can make me laugh over silly little comments, and if he ends up in giggles I get them too just watching him! I have a man who goes to the zoo with me, because I enjoy it.  I have a very special man for a husband.  He is a gift to me! And I have a man who, like Elisabeth Elliot states, is the only kind of man to marry — a normal, everyday man, a sinner.

And then, many woman are married to non-believers, or men who are not good to them. They find themselves married to men whos sins seem “bigger than the normal average man.”   And if we women who have good and normal husbands get trapped in feelings and lies and seasons where we don’t find marriage all we hoped … well then I expect there are some women whose marriages and situations are very difficult and they feel marriage is not anything like they dreamed.  They say marriage is never what they had hoped for.  Is there hope?  Always! Jesus changes lives — yours and your spouse’s.  May I encourage your own growth in intimacy with God; may I encourage talking with your pastor or a mature older Christian woman; may I encouarge counseling from a counselor who will point you to God and His ways and truth.  Mostly, please talk to God about your specific situation.  He will give you the advice you need for your life. I pray all women in every mariatal season will learn to dig into their Bibles and turn to God in prayer.  In Him is everthing we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  He will tell you what is right.  He will — He promises to.  His love is what marriage is supposed to model.  But again, we have an enemy named Satan who is like a roaring lion, looking for someone and some marriage to devour.  I believe God designed marriage to portray a picture of Himself and his love for His people, it is a gospel picture.  Not all marriages do this well — even in Christian marriages, and Satan loves to pollute anything that points to the gospel.

I believe divorce is not God’s plan or original intent. But as we all know, this whole world system is broken.  There is not one area of humanity that is unscathed by the damages of sin.  So today on Valentine’s day, a day the culture tries to define love and romance, I’d like to encourage women of all ages and stages in life to study God’s Word and what He says on marriage, divorce, remarriage, covenants, love, romance, and relationships in general. He has wisdom for all of these areas.  I believe all women, married or single, need to pray and seek God’s wisdom, and ask the Holy Spirit what to do in whatever circumstance they find themselves in.  I believe that decisions are best made regarding any relationship when we learn to find His heart, determine to obey what He says, repent if need, and humble ourselves before Him.   Growing in godliness in whatever way you need to in your marriage (or in singlenss) is your calling.  And, precious women, may I also honestly say: sometimes suffering is what He has for us in order to grow us.  His plan for us is not just ease and comfort and circumstances going great and happiness based on feelings, and a “perfect” marriage or life.  His goal is our holiness and His glory, whether married or single. (And, when necessary, the church and proper authorities are in place to assist a woman who needs.)

So all that to say — is marriage all I hoped? Well, it has some really great parts and is a wonderful gift that God will use to shape and refine us.  But at the same time it does have some really hard parts and things that can hurt us.  However, it is part of God’s plan — family is His idea and institution!  This Valentine’s Day, may those of us who are married be reminded afresh of God’s love, and may we seek to love our husbands with God’s vision and love!  And may those of you not married, who want to be, never give up praying for a man that is from God at God’s time.  And may those of you who are widows have good memories of former times with your spouse. May those older women among us teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. May the youner women among us determine to be teachable.  And may those of you who know the pain of divorce or the rejection of a man know a powerful sense of God’s love for you, and that He is faithful in all situations. Precious women of God — God is for you, no matter your past or present circumstances or story!

Press on! Happy Valentine’s Day!


What Will Next Year Bring?

Happy New Year, dear sisters in Christ!                                                 

What will this year bring?  Do you wonder as I do, I’m almost positive you do.  This past year has been difficult in many ways with politics and Covid, personal struggles, an absence of normalicy, wearing masks that feel suffocating and which remove smiles from our faces, and so many other things.

Over Christmas I read a novel set during World War 2.  World War 2 was from 1939 to 1945.  It talked of food rations, neighbors betryaing neighbors in interest of self-preservation, cities destroyed as bombs dropped, boys forced into adult situations as they were called to fight, women trying to help any way they could, families separated, confusion over who is really on the right side, lies and deceit, girls taken advantage of by soldiers, and other aspects of war that I have never had to face.

I also looked up the Great Depression, a worldwide economic collapse during the 1930’s.  My grandma saved each and every plastic bag she could. As my grandma aged and got dimentia, I remember hearing that Grandpa brought some money home from the bank, and she hid it someplace in the house — was her mind remembering times when there wasn’t enough?  I love to shop at thrift stores — always have!  But I remember telling my grandma about something I got at a thrift store, and she seemed almost offended.  Were thrift stores and second hand clothing symbols of times where clothing was sparse?  I don’t know.  I do know my grandma lived through both the Great Depression and World War 2 years.

I have a confession. I don’t like history.  Never have.  Geography and history were jumbled in my mind.  I didn’t care and I couldn’t keep the dates or places straight.  But mostly, I didn’t care.  I now find myself caring more about history, and what happend previously.  The older I get, the more I find I can understand the fear of “what might come” and the worries of economy and politics.  I read stories from the past and see people as people, just living their lives.  Some of them facing wars and things I can not imagine — and neither could they. They were thrown into things just as we have been this year.  So I now find history a bit more intriguing.  I like museums better than I did as a child and young adult.

I listened to Dr. Youssef teach through Revelatons the other week.  He taught of a political figure who will promise peace, but peace won’t last.  He talked of wars and natural disasters. He talked of woes on the inhabitants of the earth. He talked of the restoration of the Kingdom of God.  And as I listened, I thought that every gengeration has faced the unknowns of what comes next — in our own personal lives, and in the nation and world around us.

I praise God that He knows all things, is Sovereign, and determines each season.  I take comfort that even the end has an appointed time (Daniel 11:35). I know for certain that He establishes rulers and their rise and fall (Daniel 2:21).  I read of Isreal’s histroy (which is the histroy of all Chrsitians), and I see that the kings who did evil in God’s sight outnumbered those who did right in God’s sight by a lot.  I know that for each person God ordains their days, and where they will live (Psalm 39, Acts 17: 25-27).  You and I are exactly in the day and time God decided we should be.

Each day is known to God and Revelations, the final book in the Bible, tells what is yet to come.  It is a strange book filled with symbolism and things hard to understand, yet it was given by God for our knowlege, instruction, and understanding.  And there we learn that the end is full of hope — God’s restored kingdom on earth and His dwelling with humanity in all His glory!  His glory is going to be so bright that no sun will be needed! The Tree of Life returns to the scene (last found in Genesis at the Garden of Eden), healing of the nations happens, and pain and suffering are gone!  The book is about the unveiling of Christ Jesus — the reign and rule of His everlasting Kingdom!  Many, many years ago Isaiah wrote of Jesus that, “The goverment shall be on His shoulders.” And, Daniel 7 shows that “His kingdom is everlasting.” Oh, the time is coming! And it is predetermined.  That gives me hope and peace whatever lies ahead in 2021!

In the mean time, what do we do?  We pray for our children to come to know Christ and walk in His ways, to deeply love Him and determine that they will stand for Him despite any trials that come.  We pray they become a next generation of solid believers who pass on the truth of the gospel to their children and the next generation.  We trust in the Lord, despite not understanding.  We pray that we bear witness to Christ. We remind ourselves over and over the words of this song, “I don’t worry o’er the future for I know what Jesus said, and today I’ll walk beside Him for He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”

Press on into a new year! (And ps… don’t think just because I wrote this that the last year has not been hard, or has not been filled with emotional mood swings.  I am writing this to counsel my own heart with truth as well as your heart, for I need the reminder to press on just as much as all of you!)

(PS… my sister sent me this link that puts life in 2020 in perspective in some ways and reminds us that we have so much, even during this pandemic:

Happy Birthday Jesus!

“Happy Birthday Jesus! I’m so glad it’s Chrsitmas!  The tinsel and lights, and the presents are nice, but the real gift is You.  Happy Birthday Jesus.  Jesus, I love You.”

“We give gifts to everyone else on Jesus’ birthday.  Why don’t we give Him more gifts on His birthday?”  (Michael Youseff)

What do you want to give Jesus this year?  I say I want to give Him more time in His Word.  I say I want to give Him more prayer. I say I want to be more loving with His love in me.  I say I want to serve more with His attitude in me.

But I fall short. Giving Jesus a gift becomes sometimes like giving a gift to people — we give it, and sometimes than forget about it!   Praise God for grace!  Praise Jesus He will help us give Him gifts that do honor Him.

Isn’t God amazing? God, in flesh.  Jesus, Lord at His birth.

How often at Chrsitmas, a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth, that the hustle and bustle become busyiness and expectations that leave us feeling a little dissapointed at the end. We think the time with family or off of work goes too fast.  The gifts aren’t as appreciated as we wanted them to be.  We didn’t get what we wanted, etc. Things we want overtake ways we can serve.  Things we do overshadow the calm of quieting our heart before Him. Buying gifts and giving them, or receivig gifts, can sometimes even become areas of self focus and pride and struggle.

Is this because we take our focus off the birth of our Savior? Jesus, God in flesh.  Emmanuel.

Isn’t God incomprehensible that He allows us to know Him?

“Mary, did you know, the child whom you delivered would soon deliver you?  Mary, did you know, when you kissed your little baby you kissed the face of God?  Mary did you know?”

Dear fellow believers in Jesus – May the Lord Jesus Himself, whose birth we celebrate, grant you His peace this season.  May you remember Him and the gift of salvation afresh.  May you love and serve and give with His generosity, His abandon, and His selflessness.  He is with us, and we get to bear witness to Him to all the world.

“Oh come, let us adore Him. Oh come, let us adore Him.  Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

“Fall on your kneees, oh hear the angel’s voices.  Oh night divine.  Oh night, when Christ was born.”

“Happy Birthday Jesus.  Jesus, I love you.”