Category Archives: Discipline

focuses on the spiritual disciplines

Looking back for the fun of it <3

I thought it might be fun to share the very first post in case you all had better things to do than scroll back through 1,691 posts.


I can’t believe how many that is.

I am not bragging, I am seriously laughing at the thought of the sheer number. And that’s just the ones I published. Apparently there are twelve drafts lurking out there somewhere to be revisited some day.

So for a little stroll down memory lane, here is my first one published. I didn’t even know how to insert pictures back then, but they have become as much a part of my journal as the words…so here we go…

Post #1 from October 12, 2013

I hope your day is going well. Mine started a little earlier than planned. Apparently, the coffee clock is set ahead an hour and the call of caffeine beat out my alarm.

The extra time is great because it allowed me no excuses to head to the Y. Turns out the place is pretty empty at this hour. This works for me as I am a little intimidated by the whole workout thing.

By the time I had made my way through the machines and headed to the free weights part, the late crowd was filtering in. As I pumped iron, my core pulled in and my lip curling in agony with each repetition, I took in the scene around me thanks to the big old mirror we have to face.

To my right was a guy with 40 pounds in each hand, doing some kind of bicep thing with the same amount of ease that I flick my curling iron. He had a spider tattoo on his arm that was roughly the size of my upper torso.

Behind me and to my left was a young man that I think should have been at school today. He couldn’t have been more than 15. He was doing push ups. A lot of them. And with his legs not only straight out but one crossed over the other. Seriously.

I considered asking Spider Man to help me carry my 5 pound weights back over to the rack and calling it quits, when another gym rat rolled by in her wheelchair. Her weights were resting on her one and only leg as she maneuvered into an empty spot next to me. As she began her exercises, I put on my big girl pants and finished my work out.

We are all at different levels based on our abilities and limitations, and the amount of time we have devoted to the discipline of exercise. As I walked to the car, I remembered that a year ago I was sitting on the couch recovering from a surgery, which worked well since I was unable to walk on a foot plagued by plantar fasciitis. Progress.

It’s like that in our faith walk as well. We have a mixture of abilities and disabilities, a life that has dealt us some great things and some tough things. But with discipline and diligence, we apply the tools of training – reading and study of the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, obedience – and we grow and prosper in the Spirit. We are all at different places with varied levels of progress. But we are working toward the common goal of bearing the image of Christ.

 I pray today you are encouraged by those around you who are seeking to grow in the Lord; not comparing yourself to others. Sense the joy of growing in God’s timing as you rejoice in what He has done in you and look forward with great expectation to what lies ahead. Keep at it and don’t grow weary! Stretch and strengthen and grow!

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Bear with me, I am having a moment… <3

I am scrolling through the pictures downloaded to this Journey website over the years.

Seven years to be exact.

Today marks seven years since I slipped my first post on to this site and hoped and prayed someone and yet not too many would see it.

I was scared to put myself and my heart out here on the internet but this guy here kept encouraging me to do it.

He saw something in what I write that he thinks others need and so I swallowed back fear of exposure and fear of rejection and I started showing up.

I kept it quiet and I told God we should keep it small and God told me to be quiet and not worry about numbers – small or big.

Just do the thing He lays on my heart and let Him worry about the rest.

So seven years have passed.

As I scroll through the pictures this morning I see faces who no longer gather around our table or occupy a space where we can give them a hug. Some are gone by death and some by decision.

I see faces that have been added through the years that don’t replace the ones gone, but continue the faithfulness of God’s kindness to us through the years.

I see wrinkles appearing on my own face and weight fluctuations and changes in hairstyles.

There have been two houses, several computer changes, guest posts from friends and family (that usually did better than anything I write…I’m not bitter…honest…teehee).

Family gatherings, travels around this country and beyond, holidays and birthdays…all the journey that was lived day by day in just the ordinary and extraordinary of God’s mercy and grace.

The comments from some of you here on the blog or out there in the real world when you say you read it and it encourages you come at just the right time to let me know God is still using this for His purpose.

And my heart spills out over how He has given me a place to journal where I can meet with you and share how He has shown up in all the seasons in such amazing ways.

So this week, we will celebrate the Journey of seven years thus far.

Thus far, He has brought us…and I am so thankful <3

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Seeking peace, not compromise <3

One of the hallmarks of the events of 2020 for me is a sense of unrest and lack of peace in my soul. As I was thinking how to start our time together I tried to put some kind of concise word to what I find very unsettling in my daily life and I finally landed on “conflict.” 

Whether it is in our home or out in public or on the forms of media that we have so much access to, conflict/debating/arguing/attacking…these things rip my soul apart and cause me to be anxious and distracted. While some seem to enjoy a good rousing conversation of ideas shared and no answers or solutions of consensus actually arrived upon, I stir and churn in my spirit and desire nothing more than to have everyone agree or pull the covers over my head as I drift off into some safe place away from the noise. 

Neither of these are good options of course as the conflict of our day and age is only escalating and there is life that needs to be lived. The roller coaster of 2020 has been a rough ride for all – some more than others and if you have an ounce of compassion, you are not only feeling your own angst and pain, but absorbing a fair amount of so many others who are dealing with hard things right now. Add to this the ugly commercials and political shenanigans of two parties that seem more interested in being superior to the other than in explaining exactly how they think they can get us out of this mess…and well…I am spending a lot of time meditating on the truth of Scripture and praying and asking God to help us turn this shipwreck around. 

Which is probably the best thing that has happened to me in a long while. 

Because I realized of late that I have grown a bit ho-hum and lax in studying, really studying God’s Word. 

With my stepping down from teaching, I also stepped down from study as I didn’t have that weekly lesson to prepare. I forgot that teaching is the outpouring of study, the end of the means…the means being chasing rabbit trails led by the Holy Spirit. I was relying on some devotionals to feed my soul. Devotionals are wonderful, but they are like cheese and crackers. They help stave off your hunger, but they will never be fully nourishing. They are just the extra before the real meal. 

So I have been returning to the discipline of really studying Scripture and in the midst of all the chaos and confusion, God is working in me His peace. He doesn’t call us to study to punish us, He calls us to study because it is good for us. 

I had a little incident yesterday where what I have been working into my soul, worked out into my day. 

Around 4:00 I pulled into a gas station and realized this must be prime time for people heading home from work. Most of the pumps were occupied, but I saw there was one lane on the far side completely open. 

As I circled around the full bays, an SUV that had come from the same street entrance behind me picked up the pace of approach. I don’t know if it was intentional, but this larger vehicle did a wild u-turn maneuver rather rapidly assuring its ability to back into the pumps I was headed for. I was alarmed to see it was coming at a pretty good rate of speed backwards into me as I was attempting to pull in to my spot. 

Granted it then attempted to pull forward a bit to make room, but by this point what is fondly referred to here in our home as the “Lochner temper” had ignited. I felt hot rage rising in me at the injustice of this car not following me around and using the pump behind me when I pulled in, but instead whipping in for the win. I would not have done that, hence this driver’s choice was an affront to my sense of fair and righteous behavior. 

As my heart rate increased, this SUV began to represent all the personalities of the smug and the oh-so-smart “winners” of this world system that exalts self and laughs at things that are wholesome and godly and pure. 

And that’s when it clicked in me. Wholesome and godly and pure. 

My rage…my anger…my rights..are not wholesome and godly and pure. 

Quick as you please, I gently went around the obstacle. The peace of Christ overruled the temptation to be insulted by someone who may have not even intended insult. And even if he or she did do it intentionally and thoughtlessly, so be it. That’s on that one, not me. 

I determined to just pull in behind another car and wait my turn, and low and behold…there was now an open bay for me to pull into. 

The peace of surrender. 

The peace of not having to win or be right or be first. 

We will be assailed today by all manner of things that will seek to steal our peace. But if we will bow in surrender to the Prince of Peace…if we will live under the authority of His guidance and leading in OUR lives, we will have that peace that passes understanding and we will live with purpose and effectiveness for His Kingdom here on earth. We worship what we bow to. I am learning to bow to God, not the forces at work in this world. 

My prayer for us today:

May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among  you!

2 Thessalonians 3:16 The MSG

God bless you as you grow in surrender to Him alone <3

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