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Sunday, November 26, 2017


Happy Holidays!

As the season begins, I have been thinking that I would be remiss if I didn’t include a post during this Thanksgiving Holiday about being thankful. While I still think this is true, and while I am (obviously) doing that now, I’ve also realized that this is not the whole story.

I am truly remiss if I am purposely, thoughtfully thankful on Thanksgiving…and not the other 364 days of the year.

As part of my journey into living joyfully submitted, I try to daily find at least one thing that I am truly thankful for. Of course, I’m human and not successful at this every day. I get busy and forget to be purposeful. I have a bad day.

Thing is, if I’m honest with God and with myself, I know I will have many less bad days – and have much more inner peace on the days that are bad – if I do remember to be purposefully thankful daily. So how do I do that? How do I make myself remember something so easy to forget in the business of “doing life”?

Colossians gives us a clue:

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful
Colossians 4:2


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Colossians 2:7 tells us to be “overflowing with thankfulness.”

In addition, the Bible directs us over 200 times to PRAISE God. Praise grows out of thankfulness. In the Word, thankfulness is also one way to show or to give God praise, and so the two are intertwined.

So, what does that mean for you and me in our purposeful giving of thanks?
When I look into the Word, and see that the directives for thankfulness are tied to words like “devote,” “rule,” and “overflowing,” I am convicted that I am looking at thankfulness a little narrowly.

If I am being thankful in prayer (Col. 4:2), and devoting myself to prayer as we are instructed, doesn’t it follow that I should be devoting myself to thankfulness? If I am letting the peace of Christ rule in my heart, and I am to be thankful for that (Col. 3:15), doesn’t that mean thankfulness would consequently also be ruling in my heart? And if I am living in line with these Truths, will thankfulness not naturally be “overflowing” from my being?

Please don’t misunderstand me – I still believe it is important to take time to stop and purposely reflect on those specific things we are thankful for every day, and that upon that reflection it is imperative that we offer our thankfulness in praise to God. But I am convinced there is so much more to thankfulness.

Thankfulness is not only a warm-fuzzy feeling you get when you stop to think about the “pluses” in your life. I Thessalonians 5:18 directs us to be thankful in ALL circumstances. That means on the bad days, when the “business” of living life distracts you from purposefulness, when you’re stressed, when everything seems to be going wrong, and even during times of tragedy.

Instead, thankfulness is a natural result of a life lived in thankful praise according to God’s Truth, and to the peace of Christ ruling in our hearts…a natural outpouring of the awesome realization of who He is and of “how wide and long and high and deep” His love for us is (Ephesians 3:18).

And so, this Thanksgiving weekend – and by His grace every moment hereafter – may I live overflowing with thanks for His “indescribable gift,” and thus for all of the gifts He gives, which flow from His love for me!

Friday, November 17, 2017

I've Been Thinking...

What do you think about?
Where does your mind dwell?              
                                                           I'VE BEEN THINKING

I've been thinking....
about what I've been thinking.

I think about the daily business of living.

I think about responsibilities to my church, family, and home.


Finding a job.

Doing my job.

My health. My husband's health. My kids' health. Political problems, moral issues, world poverty.

The poverty in people's souls.

Sometimes the thoughts we think enter without our actually thinking. They come tumbling in on top of each other, pushing and shoving their way to the forefront, only to lose their spot to the next. Often the thoughts are stressful and worrisome (Are we gong to have to go back to the hospital today?  Is my paycheck going to be enough to cover that unexpected bill? ), frustrating (This laundry is never-ending! I don't like my job. I'm underappreciated!) or intimidating (How am I ever going to pay off my student loans? How do I begin to pray for such a monumental scope of need?).

In other words, worrisome.

The Bible uses another word...

"The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile." Psalm 94:11 

Jesus put it another way:

“Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?” Matt. 6:27

Sounds futile to me.

Futile. I don’t know about you, but for me that description of my thoughts concerning important matters in my life doesn’t sit easy. I am a parent and a grandparent – I am supposed to be concerned with my children’s and grandchildren’s well-being, their safety, their happiness, their eternity. I am a spouse – I am supposed to look to the needs of my spouse and my household. 

We are friends, children, members of our society, members of the body of Christ…all of these titles come with privileges – and great responsibility. It is difficult to not worry.

So, how do we stop the futile worrying?

The Bible tells us that we worry because we doubt. According to James 1:6, when we doubt we are "like a wave of the sea, tossed by the wind" and "double-minded, unstable in all [our] ways." 

Does that description of life ring a bell to you? It does to me! When I am worried, I am definitely NOT stable, and I DO feel as if life is rocking “like a wave of the sea.” We doubt we can handle the situation; and more precisely, we doubt God will (ouch!). Now, bear with me…I know it’s hard to swallow being a Christ follower and being told you doubt Him. The first time I was confronted with this Truth, I had an internal argument that went something like this:

Me (to myself): But, I trust God! I know He is mighty to save, loving, just, and works things for my good…

Internal voice: Then why are you worried?

Me: Spirit, is that You? It’s only natural to worry, right? I mean, I do trust God. But what if the worst happens?

Holy Spirit: “But”? Do you trust Him or don’t you?

Silence on my end as I contemplate the meaning of “double-minded” from this new perspective.

Holy Spirit: Are you really trusting Him if you want to be in control? If you think you know the best outcome and worry that it won’t happen, rather than honoring Him as Lord and Creator, the Beginning and the End, and submitting to His decisions and his timing? (More silence from my end). Are you truly trusting Him, truly honoring Him, if you can’t be thankful for the many, many blessings you do have? If you can’t rest in the Truth that His Grace is sufficient?

Not long after this (mostly one-sided) internal argument, I came across this verse (coincidence? I think not…)

Romans 1:21: ...although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts." 

Futile. Worried.

God’s word to the Romans still applies. It answers my question “Isn’t it natural to worry?” The answer is yes, it is natural – of human nature, the flesh. We do not glorify Him as God with our complete trust. We forget to be thankful and rest in His sovereignty and control. It’s then that we begin to worry futilely. 

Jesus clearly told us we will have troubles. The thing is, we can either dwell on the troubles, or dwell on Jesus. We can glorify Him as God. We can be thankful that He has already defeated every worrisome circumstance we will ever encounter. 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
                                                                     John 16:33


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why I am Joyfully Submitted, Part 2

Why I Am Joyfully Submitted

When I began this blog, I shared the beginning of my journey into a greater dependence on – and deeper submission to – Jesus my Savior. Today’s post will delve a bit further into what it took to get to this point, and to continue to grow in my walk. It is my sincere hope that some of what I share with you will resonate, let you know you’re not alone, and give you hope in your own submitted walk.

In that first blog post, I shared a verse from Jeremiah that has come to mean so much more to me in the last two years.

Jeremiah 29:11

One thing I remember from that life-changing day…opening my Bible and turning to Psalm 23 – that beautiful passage that reminds us that Jesus will take care of us, lead us to “still waters,” comfort us, and “restore [our] soul.” Boy, did I need those still waters! And my soul…I was falling apart. I was alone when I heard the news.

It was supposed to be a simple surgery – to remove a gallstone blocking his bile duct. I told everyone not to worry about making the drive to Indianapolis. It would be over in an hour. We’d likely be home the very next day. I packed an overnight bag.

The morning of the surgery – a scope, really, to retrieve the stone – I got a muffin and coffee from the coffee shop in the hospital. It was early; I had the whole waiting room to myself and choice of TV station. I said a prayer for an uneventful, successful surgery. I enjoyed my muffin. I drank my coffee. I watched home makeovers on television.

In 50 minutes the doctor came out. His smile was tired. The surgery went well, he said. He had no issues getting the scope through the ducts to find what he was looking for. He said it wasn’t a gallstone, that he had retrieved the mass for biopsy.

I had no awareness of the expression on my face. I was numb. My brain was numb. I heard the word mass. And biopsy. I watched his face and tried to nod. The word cancer pierced through the numbness like a knife, and stayed. I heard nothing else.

Someone guided me back to the room we would become very familiar with over the next several days. I called my mom. The only words I can recall from that conversation were, Me: I’m scared. Mom: I’m on my way. I hung up. I fell apart.

Somewhere through the numbing fear the thought occurred to find the Bible in the hospital room drawer. I can tell you with certainty that this was from the Spirit. The only conscious thought in my head was “Help me. Oh, God, please help me. I can’t.”

Psalm 23 was the first one I sought out. So well-known it immediately came to mind. I tried to purposely take in the comfort, to imagine still waters around me. The hyperventilating stilled. The fear held fast. I knew God tells us many times in His word to “fear not.” But I didn’t know how to make myself “fear not” when I had so much reason to fear.

I began to turn randomly in the Bible, reading verses hoping to just hear His voice, trying to calm down. Then, I landed on Jeremiah.

“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord…”

I know.

I know.

I. Know.

This so-familiar verse settled in my heart in a whole new way.

God isn’t just aware of what’s happening or will happen. He KNOWS. Intimately. Every detail of every moment, because they are His. I don’t have to know what’s going to happen. HE knows.

He. Knows.

And suddenly, this was enough…in a way it had never been before. I didn’t have to make myself “fear not.” My part is only to let go of the problem that is entirely, hopelessly beyond myself anyway, and hold fast to the fact that God knows exactly what to do. I don’t have to. You don’t have to. Our responsibility is not to fix anything! Ours is to relinquish to God what has always been His, anyway…control.

In other words, submit to His authority.

Trust me, I get that not being in control is scary. For so many years, change of any kind was terrifying to me. I would hide in my room and have panic attacks in secret. And unexpected change? Forget it. I would worry myself sick trying to predict every scenario and plan how to deal with each one. Of course, life rarely cooperates, and often happens in ways we never would have predicted. Not many of us would have expected a gallstone to turn out to be cancer.

But God is not just any authority. He is The Authority. He is The Author of life – every word, every paragraph, every page. The Author of my life. The Author of your life.

In that one passage, in that one moment, God’s Spirit spoke Truth to my heart: God knows this story, beginning to end. He knows what’s happening now, and what will happen as the days, weeks, months, or years go by. No matter what happens from this moment on in this situation, it is under God’s authority, and in God’s control.

That alone was enough. The words sank in and the anxiety and fear literally melted. In one moment, I understood that I had experienced the “peace that passes understanding.” But, even though this Truth was enough to calm me in that moment, God gives so much more in this verse! He not only knows the plans He has for us…He tells us they are GOOD plans!

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

God promises to bring us hope, not harm. Though He may not reveal the details – situations that require us to trust Him build our faith – He does promise us hope, and a good future!

Jeremiah also tells us, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jer. 17:7.

That day I put my trust in the Lord as never before, in full submission. I have not regretted that for one second. Have I had difficulties? Unexpected changes? Pain? Undoubtedly. But have I also had peace through it all?

Exceedingly. Abundantly. Every. Single. Moment. And so, no matter what, I remain completely, joyfully submitted.

There is much more to my story. I have been beyond blessed in every imaginable way throughout the whole of it. I continue to be blessed every day.

But my story is not unique in this Truth: God LOVES you. God wants to bless you, to comfort you, to give you peace and hope, now and from this moment on!

Will you trust Him enough to submit completely, wholeheartedly to His loving authority?

I promise, you will never regret it!

p.s. for more of God’s Truth, Love, and Hope – and more of my story – follow me at, on Instagram (Joyfully Submitted), or on Facebook (Living Joyfully Submitted Blog Page). I’d love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


We all want it quickly. Forgive and forget sounds great when we are the one seeking forgiveness.

But what about when we are wronged? What about when we are hurting, broken down by something someone has done? How about if the offense was so hurtful we just can’t forgive?

Or is it that we don’t want to forgive?

We often tend to take a ‘righteous’ stance when we are on the end of giving or withholding forgiveness, don’t we? We are in the right, the other person is wrong. We are the wounded; we deserve to lick our wounds for a while, to make the other person deal with our pain. After all, they did something terrible, they don’t deserve our forgiveness!

Please understand I say these things because I have been there. I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of someone’s “righteous anger”…and sadly I have been on the supposedly “righteous” end. I have learned (and am still learning daily) that only one human being ever lived whose anger was truly righteous, and that man was Jesus Christ. Now, I know I’m no Jesus. No one is. No one could be. Thankfully, I can say with joy that He has taken that burden from us. He was righteous because we can’t be. There is nothing righteous about us. The Bible tells us “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, emphasis mine) When we consider someone else’s actions, and judge them to be wrong - even sinful - and take offense, treat them badly, continually bring up all the other actions of their past that seem to support our judgment, or even simply make a point of not speaking to them because we find their presence distasteful, we are judging their sin from our perceived superiority. After all…we would never behave in such a manner. We say to ourselves “yes, the Bible says we’re all sinful…but thank God I’m not THAT sinful!”

But if we read that verse again, and do so in light of what Jesus taught, we begin to see a bigger picture than our own perspective affords us. Consider these verses, spoken by Jesus:

But I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, “Raca,” is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says “you fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matt. 5: 22)

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matt. 7:1-2)

In Matthew 5, “Raca” is a word that means “empty” used in reference to a person to mean “empty headed,” or a fool. Basically, name-calling and judging. The Jewish leaders considered this wrong enough to be punishable by law. Jesus considers it a curse, serious enough to put us “in danger of the fire of hell.” When we demean others, look down on them, call them names such as “sinner,”  “cheater,” “druggie,” or worse names, we are cursing them! When we say they are no good, foolish, ill behaved, or more specific descriptions (“he’s controlling,” “she’s easy” “all they do is gossip”) we are showing contempt, and considering ourselves to be better than they are.

We are judging.

It may all seem like truth to us. By golly, we know what the Bible says is wrong! But Jesus says don’t do it! We are not righteous; therefore we do not have the right. Remember Matthew 7: 1-2? Jesus is very plain…”Do not judge.” And He doesn’t stop there. He goes on to explain that if we do judge others (and who doesn’t?), we will also be judged in the same way we judge others, and in the same measure we used! OUCH! What if Jesus judged us the same way we judge others? Because we know the Bible, or because we believe we have a good grasp of what is right and what is wrong, or because we are Christians, or “godly people,” we judge people who do not meet those standards to be “sinners.” But guess what? ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So, what if Jesus looks at our shortcomings and judges us “sinner”?

Loved ones…our standards are NOT God’s. We see some sins as worse than others. God just sees sin. So, if He is judging us according to how we judge others, where do we stand? Where do you stand? Where do I stand? Do we want to be like the man in the parable, who was forgiven much (that’s us…forgiven ALL by God through Jesus) but turned around and demanded of a fellow worker (that’s the others around us) to pay something he knew he was owed?  Remember what happened? Because the worker turned around, after being forgiven, and was not forgiving to his fellow sinner, the master judged him according to how he judged another. He was ordered thrown into prison and tortured until he could pay what he owed. The point: If we withhold forgiveness to “punish” someone else, we, too, will be punished! (This is why you may have heard that when you forgive, YOU are the one set free!)

Most of us, at some point, have felt as if someone “owes” us something. Something they did or said was hurtful to us; they behaved badly; they spoke harshly or disrespectfully. They broke our trust. We are hurt, and we are angry.

We think they should see things our way (after all, we are right! Just look in the Bible…)

We don't just want an apology, we want a heartfelt apology (and of course we get to judge if it's truly heartfelt!).
We think they should suffer as their hurtfulness has made us suffer.

We think they should be punished, to get what they “deserve.”

We want them to endure shame a little longer, believing that not only should they feel bad, but they should feel bad until we think they’ve been punished enough.

Let me repeat Matthew 5:22…

“…anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment.”

Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (emphasis added).

When the world tells us we have the “right” to be angry, Jesus tells us otherwise. Jesus says “…all have sinned” (Romans 3:23, emphasis added). When we look at another in comparison with ourselves, and judge their actions to be more sinful than our own and deserving of our unforgiveness, we forget that God has a different perspective.

…all our righteous acts are as filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6).

And still God forgave us.

Can we do any less?

Thursday, March 30, 2017



I have a confession to make to you. I have been out of sorts for the past couple of days.

I know that may not seem like much of a confession to you. But to a deeply Christian woman, out of sorts is a dangerous place to be. Why? Because when I am out of sorts, Satan has a field day.

You see, Satan loves discontent. When we have a discontented spirit, we are susceptible to all manner of his fiery arrows. Anger, frustration, depression, and self-doubt are among his favorite weapons…anything from annoyances to downright lies. For instance, have you ever thought “maybe I’m pursuing this dream of (insert your dream here) because it’s what I want – maybe it wasn’t God I heard calling me to it, just my own selfish want.”? Or maybe you just have this barely perceptible (or blaring) thought in the back of your mind that you really only want success in a certain area for your own gain, not God’s? Or that God doesn’t want you to get any gain/satisfaction/security from your calling, only further His plan? Or maybe that you have nothing to offer of significance, your life is just wake, work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Let me be the first (or the hundredth) to assure you, these thoughts are not from God. Satan is the original expert at making half-truth sound like truth, instead of the lie that it really is. Picture him, all wide-eyed (fake) innocence, in the garden asking Eve, “Did God really say you can’t eat from ANY tree in the garden?” An exaggeration that encourages Eve to reply with an exaggeration of her own…”No, but He DID say we can’t eat from this tree, or even touch it, or we will surely die!”

Sometimes, I’m a little more like Eve than I am comfortable with. I hear Satan twisting God’s good and beneficial truth to make me discontent with all the blessings I have been given. For instance, God’s Word tells me that, while He does not intend me to worship money, He does want me to prosper. Satan tries to convince me that God has no intention of blessing me with good things. Picture him now, still wide-eyed and (fake) innocent, asking me, “Did God really say you can’t serve him and be successful?” To my shame, I sometimes believe this. When I am not focused on Truth.

When I am discontent.

Too many times we expect that if we serve God without focusing on our own needs or desires, that our own needs and desires will not get met.

Let me tell you, beloved of the Lord, nothing could be further from the Truth!

I recently completed a wonderful 23-day devotional by Pastor Rick Warren ( entitled “What on Earth Am I Here For?” The whole thing was eye-opening, but one particular part grabbed me and hasn’t let go.

He writes:

God has given each of us a unique emotional heartbeat that races when we think about the subjects, activities, or circumstances that interest us. We instinctively care about some things and not about others. These are clues to where you should be serving.

I know…this is a post about contentment, not serving. But I believe the to are inextricably connected. Did you catch the key words here? God has given.

God created you. God made you unique. God has given you your talents and passions! How, then, can we not be fulfilled in our needs and desires if we are serving God using our unique talents and passions? God wants us to serve Him, and He wants us to be content and fulfilled doing so! That’s why he gave us that unique “emotional heartbeat”…so that when we serve Him, we are happy, too!

But wait! There’s more! (Sorry…I couldn’t resist).

Can’t we be generally happy, but have days we are discontent, too?

Sure. We can. We do. But it’s not God’s desire for us! The glitch is that we are ‘generally happy’ and not joy-filled.

We need what Paul had when he wrote to the Philippians:

“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation…”

I want what Paul’s got! How do I get some of that?!

Well, here is where we apply TRUTH to combat Satan’s lies. Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life…He is also The WORD of God. So, where else do we turn for Truth, but to the Word!

Paul’s answer to the question of where we find contentment is a verse we probably all know very well:

”I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

But beyond that, when the Word says this, it doesn’t just leave us hanging on how to access this strength. It also says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”

To receive His strength, and thus contentment in any situation, we have to know Him; and to know Him, we must know the Word. The more we know, the more we understand the whole Truth, and how it works to enrich our lives fulfill us and bring joy to our souls…making us truly content.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Let me ask you a question. It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot over the past couple of years. Do you believe the promises you’ve learned, or have read, or are just being introduced to?

Do you really believe them?

Now let me give you a painfully honest answer. For me, it was no. I thought I did. I grew up with Jesus in church. I was taught well, had wonderful, believing parents. They taught me the Bible, taught me prayer, taught me Jesus loves me – not just the song, but the fact. I believed it…and I didn’t. I always believed Jesus loves me in the broad sense that He loves everyone. I always believed I am saved and will go to Heaven when I die. I think what I really thought was that, while He loves us and wants us all to go to Heaven, my life wasn’t “big” enough to bother Him. And when I say big, I suppose I mean important. And because of my spiritual immaturity, I missed a very important Truth.

Jesus. Loves. Me.

Jesus LOVES me!

Jesus loves ME!

Personally, unequivocally, deeply, joyously! The promises in His Word, from His heart, are for ME!

And they are for YOU. He loves you the very same way.  

Recently, I have been asking questions. Questions I technically know the answers to. I know the “Sunday School answers,” as a dear friend of mine calls them.

Yes, I am important to God. Yes, I am called to do His work. Yes, He loves me. Yes, He will lead me and be beside me. These things are all definitely, thankfully, wonderfully true!

But doubt is a sneaky thing. You can doubt without even realizing it’s doubt! Satan loves to use doubt – very often in the form of feelings of inadequacy – to steal our joy and our purpose. Especially, it seems, when you’ve actually found a purpose you feel God calling you to.

I don’t doubt God. That is, I have never doubted His Sovereignty, His Power, or His saving Grace. I believe every word of the Bible is true.

Don’t I? I mean, I’ve seen so much of it in action. I witnessed miracle after miracle when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I witnessed a deep change in his heart and actions as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit, after some severe temptations and misleading from Satan that nearly destroyed us in the summer following that. There have been some very major spiritual battles won in our lives over the past couple of years. That is all God. His love, His Grace, His power, His promises in action.

But what about when we doubt ourselves? I have done a lot of that in my life. So many of us do, in so many ways. We compare ourselves to others – are we as smart/attractive/successful as others. Are we as far along in our walk with Jesus?

I did this a lot when I was younger. I compared myself to my sister, the pretty, smart, outgoing one, whom I looked up to growing up. And to my brother as he became a grown man, the strong, protective, outspoken one, sure in his beliefs and willing to defend them. I, on the other hand, was the more emotionally sensitive one, who struggled for grades past middle school, rarely got asked out on dates, felt like I lived behind a mask of acne, and took refuge in books.

I have finally come to understand that there is no comparison, because we are all exactly who God made us to be. David said:

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14

Notice there is no period separating the two thoughts. There is only a break in the sentence, an elaboration on the first thought…”You made me, Lord – and everything You make is wonderful!”

He made you. And everything He makes is wonderful! Not the same. Not “the things you make to look like this or to be like this are really awesome, God.” Everything. Uniquely and beautifully wonderful.

Sometimes we compare ourselves to ourselves…to what we think we ought to be. Or what we think we ought to be in order for God to use us.

Who am I?

I believe this is a question on the minds of so many of us who would like to be used mightily by God. I also believe it is a tactic of Satan to deter us from following the desire to move out of our comfort zone, to try something risky, to be bold for God.

This is also the heart of the questions I have recently begun to ask. There are many…all of them really. Who do I think I am to try to tell others what I think they need to know, to think I’m “righteous” enough to try to set an example for others? What do I know, anyway? When am I going to find time, or see some results of my efforts? Where do I begin, or go from here? Why do I think I’m good enough at this blogging thing for anyone to even want to read it? How do I get it to where people can see it? How do I know I’m doing it right? How does an unknown small-town girl like me come to think she can make a difference?

The “Sunday School answer” here is, “I am a child of God!” Another beautiful Truth I do not doubt or mean to detract from in any way!

But again, doubt is a sneaky tool of a sneaky adversary.

I am a child of God…but I’m no leader like Moses. I’m no soldier/poet/king like King David, or pure like Mary, or have the grit and courage of Paul. I’m no Billy Graham, or Mother Theresa, or (you fill in the blank).

Guess what? Neither were they. Like so many other great people, not one of these spiritual icons was anyone special – worldly speaking – when they were chosen to lead others, to be examples, to answer God’s call. To obey. You probably already know their stories.

Moses was the son of a slave in such dire conditions that he was put in a river to save his life.

King David was the youngest of many brothers, a shepherd (which was not an especially lofty position!), and so unlikely to be chosen his father didn’t even call him in from the fields when the prophet came to choose the next king! By all accounts, at the time he was a skinny dreamer, not even old enough to join the armies or big enough to fit armor.

Mary was a teenage girl from the least respected town in Israel.

Paul was the most murderous opposer of Jesus and his ministry and Truth.

Before you start to think “Well, these are examples from the Bible, they’re supposed to be against-the-odds examples,” remember that:

Billy Graham was one of four children raised on a dairy farm in the south, who came to preach to more people than any other person in history – in HISTORY! – not even counting his books and broadcast audiences!

Mother Teresa was from Skopje, Macedonia and was raised from an early age by a poor, single mother after her father died. She became known as one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, and was sainted.

So…who am I?

I am nobody, really, in this world. A loved daughter of Christian parents in small town Indiana. In earthly terms, a relative nobody from a little-respected town.

But, it doesn’t matter who I am.

It’s not about who I am. It’s not about who you are. Or who Moses was. Or David, Mary, Paul, Billy, or Mother Teresa.

It’s about God. It’s about His promises. It’s about what He has called us to. All of us. Anyone willing to listen and obey.

Who do I think I am?

God calls us:

A kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6)

A chosen people, a royal priesthood…that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

He calls us to:

Devote ourselves to the public reading of the Scriptures, to preaching, and to teaching. (1 Timothy 4:13)

Preach the word…correct, rebuke, and encourage. (2 Timothy 4:2)

Let the message of Christ dwell among [us] richly as we teach and admonish one another with wisdom through the Word. (Colossians 3:16)


“This is what the Lord your God says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you…who directs you in the way you should go.’” (Isaiah 48:17)

“Your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts1:8)

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. When we doubt ourselves, we doubt God. Because whatever is accomplished for Him, and for His kingdom, is accomplished by Him…we need only to submit, to listen, and to obey.

Who am I?

I am a chosen person, royal priest, obedient follower, Spirit-filled joyfully submitted child of God!

Who are you?


James 2:17 – “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I’m a list maker. Grocery list, to do list, spring gardening list, needs list…I tend to motivate myself by checking off completed items on the lists.
Today, I sit on my couch, coffee in hand, endeavoring to begin a list of things I need as spring approaches. Things I need for my house. Things I need for my yard, my garden, my pets...I am trying to make a new budget, but the list could go on and on. Then a thought occurs to me, and I am convicted. When did all the abundance I have become “not enough”?
When did Jesus become “not enough”?
So instead, I begin to create a list of things I don’t need. I don’t need new carpet; the area rug looks nice and is covering the majority of the room just fine. I don’t need new paint for the spare bedroom wall; it’s not pretty but it’s not hurting anything, either – I only store things in there anyway. I don’t need new curtains; the ones I have are dated, but they’re in good shape and perform the job they’re meant for.
You get the idea. If I truly look at my life humbly, I have more than I ever needed. No, I am not rich according to earthly standards (I just recently realized our income is considered “poverty level”!) But, because of Jesus’ abundant provision, we live in abundance!
I’m not even talking miracles here, though I have seen more than my share of “everyday” miracles – the gifts of Jesus received from willing human hands. No, I’m talking the things we tend to take for granted in everyday life. Do we realize that we have so much that so many others are in desperate need of? I admit, most days I have to answer “no.” But today, thanks to the Lord’s conviction on my heart, I humbly realize how rich I am.
I have a home. No, it’s not fancy, chic, or expensive. It is solid, safe, warm, and has history and character. I have a yard, a garden, and even a back deck I have long wanted. My garden provides me food and saves me money. While some are living without shelter of any kind, I have a home that would seem like a palace to them.
I have food. The Lord graciously gave me life in a country and in circumstances where food has not been an issue. Even during times of struggle, I have never been hungry. In a culture where obesity is a major health problem, we often fail to recognize as abundance the easy availability of such a basic part of our lives.
I have an actual bed to sleep on, and furniture to sit on. Sure, the furniture is mismatched, but it’s also comfortable and feels like home. I am not sitting, eating, or sleeping on the cold ground, on cement sidewalks, or in dirt, as so many around the world are.
I have running water, a working shower, and indoor plumbing. There are people in this world without even these basics, while in addition to these I also have a stove, refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker…luxuries to so many!
I have family and friends, without whom all of the “enough” would be meaningless.
Most importantly, I have Jesus, who gives me life and sustains it. Who gave up His glory, majesty, and the unimaginable abundance of heaven to spend a lifetime here on Earth. Who, on Earth, gave up any earthly comfort and traded His life for an excruciating, unimaginably horrible death, having nothing and totally alone. For me.
For you.
If we have nothing else, this alone – Jesus alone – IS enough.
Friends…we are abundantly rich!
So, how do we learn to live in such abundance? Let’s look at what Jesus says.
In John 10, Jesus tells us “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.  (Italics mine).
The key is to recognize the abundance we have been given as abundance. Not only that, but also to refuse to let Satan steal our abundance. But how do we do that?
How Satan Steals our Abundance
To refuse to let Satan, steal, kill, and destroy our abundance, we must recognize the ways in which he does so.
Satan does not want us to be satisfied, much less feeling blessed, with what we have. He will always bring our attention to what we don’t have in order to distract us from the abundance we do have. His goal is to make us feel deprived, to keep us wanting more. If we are always thinking about the things we don’t have, it’s difficult to recognize and feel satisfied in the abundance we do have. Satan knows that a Christian who is satisfied is focused on the one thing he least wants us to be. Jesus.
So, Satan will distract us with greed, envy, and covetousness. We have things, but we want nicer things, or more, or different, or newer…you get the idea. Most of us can think of something this applies to in our lives, my desire for better looking curtains, or more cushion in my budget for example.
Every year people crowd stores on Black Friday pushing for a bigger t.v., the next model of smart phone, the latest video games or electronics…The list could go on and on. I imagine Satan rubbing his hands in glee as he watches the barrage of commercial advertisements constantly blaring at us about all the things we “need” that will inevitably make our lives “better”. If we listen long enough, it’s very easy to become unsatisfied with the things we do have.
The truth is, even without any of the things we have, when we have Jesus, we have enough!
You might be reading this post and thinking, “that’s easy for you to say, you have these things.”
But let me briefly tell you a story. Last year at this time, I was sitting in a hospital room with my husband who had just undergone surgery for cancer, had consequently become severely dehydrated, and nearly died. Due to illness, I had been unable to work for several months before this, and was now unable to because of my husband’s illness. We had just found out that, because of the cancer and our uncertainty of when his disability would start, our landlord was petitioning the court for our immediate removal from our home. We were broke, and for all intents and purposes, homeless, depending on family to house us until we would have a place of our own. We were now unable to pay our current bills. We lost our car. Of course there is much more to our story…but the point is that it was here, in this period of having nothing, that I learned by trusting Him, by letting Him be my “enough,” I was for the first time truly satisfied with whatever life did or did not supply me. And when I did come to that point of total submission and said (and meant) “Jesus, You are all I really need,” in the middle of having nothing, Jesus began to provide.
In Matthew 6, Jesus commands us “Do not worry about these things…but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” and immediately also PROMISES us, “and all these things will be added to you as well.”
Let me tell you, both from what the Bible tells us and from experience and reliance on this promise, that seeking His kingdom and righteous begins with a submitted heart. One that says, “Here I am, I’m all yours. If this is where you want me right now, I trust you enough to get me through, give me all I need, and to use this for my good as well as the good of others.”
And the rest of my story? Jesus didn’t only provide what I was relying on Him for…he provided abundantly! I now have a home with no mortgage. A van was gifted to us by a member of our church. Our utility bills were generously covered by a fund in University Hospital earmarked for help in just such situations as ours. My husband got his disability…and it covered all of his medical bills (which were over $800,000 – talk about a gift from God!), chemo, and now continues to cover his medications. He cannot work and is still dealing with some complications of the surgery that removed his cancer, but he has monthly income that helps pay our bills. I am working again and, with God’s direction, will continue to pursue my dream of reaching people, and maybe even earning an income, with my writing.
Yes, I may be conventionally “poor” by our culture’s standards, but in Jesus, I have abundantly “enough”!
And my God will meet all your needs according to the
riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4:19