Category Archives: Journey through Lent 2019

Monday check in and check out <3

I am later posting today because I have been very busy chasing grackles away from our bird feeder. 

You know, of course, this involved much googling to see how to discourage them which proved quite a distraction from any attempt at quiet time. 

I finally prayed over the feeder a prayer of protection and release.

You think I am joking?

Think again.

I asked God to protect the food we have purchased for the sweet little songbirds of winter who have graced it daily since we put it out there and cause the grackles to not be attracted to it because according to the way He made them, they will eat ANYTHING…so there is lots of other stuff to choose from over in the fields yonder…and if there IS anything left over after the cardinals and house finches and juncos, sparrows and mourning doves have had their fill…then so be it. In the name of Jesus. <3

I believe in praying about everything so I do.

Ironically when I finally did get some peace about the bird situation and opened up my 40 Day Prayer Guide, the fasting suggestion for the week is to fast from technology in some way. 

I gasped, slightly…I post daily on social media. 

I read the possible suggestions of how you can take a break from say, an app…or checking social media…or from a show or music channel you stream. 

I released air in a sigh of relief….Oh good…a little wiggle room. 

And that’s when the conviction hit. 

The Holy Spirit works with me like that because He understands me. 

He did, after all form me and wire me and He knows that I need very direct communication – clear, concise…the complete antithesis of the way I tend to communicate my own thougths. 

You see, if He talked to me the way I talk…I might think it was just me…but no.

He speaks in brief and to the point ways to me and I know His voice. 

That doesn’t mean I always listen…but I do know it. 

And thankfully, He knows that about me to…so I think He doesn’t repeat Himself or dialogue with me. 

He just patiently waits for me to yammer on in my own head as I process what I know is a specific instruction to take to heart, and then when I have wrestled it to the ground and thought about it from every angle and finally sigh and surrender…

He takes my hand and says…

Alrighty then, let’s do this thing.

So as I mulled over how I could continue to post as normal and share on social media…and just be on for that little amount of time…and as I went through all my reasons why I am better off continuing with the routine of posting (I will spare you the details of that rabbit trail)…it occurred to me that a fast is a fast. 

In fact…I may have heard that still small voice say exactly that…

Laura. A fast…is a fast. It’s supposed to be something you notice that you’re missing.

It’s cutting out the thing and filling any time normally spent on that thing in pursuing God. It’s trading any joy, comfort, satisfaction or fulfillment for the joy, comfort, satisfaction and fulfillment of HIM.

So in light of that, I am taking just this morning to let you know that I will be off the radar this week. 

I will most likely miss YOU more than you miss me…but I hope if you DO miss hearing from me one of these days, that it will make YOU seek HIM more…<3

Be blessed…you are loved…dearly <3

What’s holding you up?

Good morning to you and happy Friday!

Yesterday I spent some of the afternoon out in the gale force winds of Spring chasing the band of brothers as they scootered, biked, shot baskets, hit line drives while their sister busied herself rolling balls down the driveway and into the street. 

Apparently watching Lola try to keep them from blowing all the way to Oz was rather entertaining. 

While I was busy chasing kiddos up north, a tree removal company came and took care of a problem tree that was next to our driveway back home.

It was actually a nice tree.

Growing tall and providing some shade for the basketball hoop in the summer…I have taken pictures of it with icy crystals and snow this winter and loved it…beautiful leaves in the fall…buds in the spring…

but when it was planted, the root system was somehow not freed to do what roots are supposed to do. 

Either it wasn’t planted deep enough or the planter failed to remove the confining bucket it came in and as a result the roots were growing shallow and encircling the base of the tree. 

It looked fine, but it was in a perpetual state of killing itself. 

We can’t always tell the health of a plant or a person by what’s above ground. 

Icebergs…trees…people…we need deep roots. 

What is seen of our lives is substantiated by the foundations that go deep. 

There is only one foundation I have chosen to build my life on. 

What is seen by you, by my family, by the people who encounter me on the other side of a counter – whether I am selling or buying…what my class sees on Sunday morning or you read on Tuesday…it all has to be simply the fruit of a deeper walk…a stronger foundation than I am capable of producing on my own. 

My foundation is Christ alone. 

He is the nourishment and guide and leader and forgiver of my life. 

My roots go down deep for Him because I recognize Him as the source of all my life. 

So yes, I read and study and I pray and I fight against my tendency to let my roots be satisfied with what I can gain in the tiny circle that centers around me…it will always be a battle to push past the familiar comfort of self and put in the effort to let my roots push into new levels of reliance on Him. 

I embrace the season of Lent as a time for digging deeper. 

I hope you do as well. 

They will come today and grind out the stump. 

This won’t really take very long. There is hardly even a presence of the former tree except for a few wood chips that they will vacuum up. 

If you feel like your life is choking out, maybe it’s time to check your root system. 

“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay free, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT

Grow deep, my friend, grow deep. 

Love and blessings are prayed to cover each of you today <3 


When you are down and your soul is weary <3

I have a few little tidbits to drop in here today and I almost didn’t post because, like you I would suppose, I get weary sometimes living out my faith on planet earth. 

There are rapid fire decisions being made in our state that are quite pleasing to some and rather scary to others. 

We are increasingly seeing opportunities for desensitization and a blurring of anything that smacks of Judeo-Christian values. 

It is disheartening as it rises up from the media, the government and, more and more, inside our churches and homes and schools. 

Children play war games like it was a Saturday morning cartoon and we wonder why a troubled kid thinks nothing of shooting up the school after a bad day.

In the interest of the rights of some the rights of others are mowed over. 

While we, as Christians are urged to dialogue and see things from different and diverse view points, we are asked to refrain from bringing our beliefs into a conversation…so we remain silent. 

Controversy abounds and often we find ourselves sitting in some contrived and imagined courtroom where we are weighing in on issues that are being presented by a judge and jury of newscasters or social media pundits. 

And it gets discouraging. 

So I come here today as one who sometimes wants to turn off the news, carry the paper from the door step straight to the recycling bin and for added good measure pull the covers back over my head. 

But I can’t, nor should I.

So today I was blessed by the reminder from the 40 Day Prayer Guide from Lifeway that reminded me to pray for our state. 

Yes, the state of Illinois for me, your state wherever you live.

To pray for our leaders – all of our leaders – the ones I agree with and the ones I don’t.

To thank God for those who are Christians and have entered into the arena where laws are made and kept and to pray for them to have wisdom and discernment and boldness. 

To pray for God’s Kingdom to come – here in Lincoln Land, as it is in heaven. 

So I pull my ostrich head out of the sand, and I pray. 

I take courage from the promise that no power is in place that God has not allowed for His plan and purpose. 

I remind myself that kingdoms come and kingdoms go, but He is eternal and I have not placed my hope in the senate, congress, governor, president, European Union, United Nations or the park board. 

They are all filled with flawed humans who are fulfilling their role in God’s plan and whether they know Him or not –

He is …

He always was…

and He will always be. 

So lift your heads and your hearts to honor Him and worship Him alone <3 

Pray for the powers that He has allowed.

Act justly with the people you encounter and treat others fairly, and do not shrink back from sharing the Gospel when the opportunity arises.

Pray for God to speak through you when you engage in debates and conversations and yes, listen, but don’t feel boxed in to compromise with things you know are not true and right.

Jesus engaged in conversations, but He never altered or changed His message – He was here to do the will of God…not please men.

As a sweet P.S. to yesterday’s post, a dear nurse friend of mine sent this comment 

“We check the efficacy of the solution that we clean instruments in each time we use it, to make sure it is pure, undiluted, and strong enough to ‘do the job’. Just a thought.”

Just a great thought! 

Thank you for sharing…what a powerful addition to the concept we talked about yesterday…the “efficacy” of God’s grace…is pure, undiluted and strong enough to worketh…all things…in me, in you, in the world <3

Thoughts of the fasting kind <3

A quick stop in today as I am heading out for errands before work. 

As I shared with you at the beginning of our Journey through Lent 2019, I am using a 40 Day prayer guide offered through Lifeway. They have planned weekly “fasts” and the first week has been fasting from “shopping.”


I work in a store. 

The irony of God sometimes. 

And to add to it, I worked an extra day this week for someone. 

So it has been an interesting fasting concept, to say the least.

But as I have prayed and asked God to help me see where I can apply this fast, I recognize that I do a lot of “virtual shopping” that adds nothing to my spiritual growth and feeds something in me that, while no purchases are made, I am gaining nothing of  value to carry me into eternity. 

Pictures of beautifully appointed rooms, recipes with tantalizing photographs, the perfect combination of an outfit and even beautifully penned words and lyrics can draw me away from the adoration and devotion I long to set apart for God alone. 

I listened to the old hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” this morning to begin my quiet time. 

I listened to it twice and I prayed some of the words for myself. 

Prone to wander…that’s me. 

Prone to leave the God I love. 

Like a sheep on a pasture, I nibble one tender blade of grass after another…a flower here…a clover there…and the next thing I know I am lost. 

I am so thankful He is the God who pursues me.

I am so thankful the Covenant Maker is the one who holds the promise to never leave me nor forsake me, no matter where my heart and mind may roam. 

If you are fasting this season of Lent, may God reach into that place where you have set aside something for Him and I pray He meet you full on in that and that He will speak to you in deep ways that stir your heart into greater love for Him who loves you so much <3

Spring Cleaning <3

We are having a touch of long-awaited Spring here and it is most welcome. 

I stubbornly refused to put a winter coat on when I left for work yesterday. I didn’t care what the temperature was or if snow would fly. 

I slipped my feet in some loafers with no socks, donned a lightweight denim duster and headed out. 

To my great delight, my faith became sight and it was 50 degrees by afternoon here. 

The sun was shining, which meant all the dust on all the surfaces was showing off through the sunlight that streamed through winter crusted windows so I did what all good Midwestern girls do on such a day and spent the late afternoon cutting back the roses and pulling all the debris from last summer and fall out of the landscape rock. 

It felt so good. 

With the advantage of an extra hour of daylight, Russ and I were able to take a walk together and eat soup as the sun set. 

I love that Lent and Passover and Easter all fall in this time of year and while I understand if I lived south of the equator it would be a different natural season in which to experience, God put me here and I am thankful to associate this time of year with the rhythm of new life and spring cleaning. 

It makes sense to me as I shake off the debris of dust and prepare our yard for new growth, that I am doing the same thing with my soul.

Opening up my heart and asking God to shine a spot light into the corners opens my mind to a greater awareness of Him and a greater awareness of Him, opens my spirit to seek more of His holiness and purity as He helps me do some internal housecleaning. 

This morning as I presented myself to Him and worked through some of my study materials, I found these words from Valley of Vision:

Teach me to behold my Creator, his ability to save, his arms outstretched, his heart big for me. May I confide in his power and love, commit my soul to him without reserve, bear his image, observe his laws, pursue his service and be through time and eternity a monument to the efficacy of his grace, a trophy of his victory. 

Page 67, The Convicting Spirit; The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of truth trust, 1975

Isn’t that beautiful? 

Picture Him – his ability and willingness to stretch out His arms and save us. 

Picture us – trusting in His power and love and big heart; committing our souls, without reservation, and thus bearing His image…being obedient to His commandments and teachings…actively pursuing ways we are called to serve Him. 

And then…say what???

What is efficacy?

How do I even say it?

So I googled it – you would expect nothing less of me, right?

I am still working on the pronunciation and have decided this may never be a word in my working vocabulary, but it means…

the power to produce and effect, or effectiveness; the ability to produce a desired or intended result.

Let’s plug that back in to the prayer I shared.

Oh wait…before I do…let’s stop and think about monuments. And how we build them to commemorate some big, historical event or to give credit to some great person who made an impact on the history of a culture or country or time.

Let’s think about trophies that we get handed or we long to have handed to us for our efforts or our wins.


Now let’s take a fresh look at the words that moved my heart this morning:

Lord, teach me see You more clearly and assess your Worth more dearly each day so that I might walk uprightly before You and serve You faithfully in obedience to the truth of Your Word.

As a result of this, I pray that the proof of the effect of my life lived out in the days You have given me will stand as a Mount Rushmore of evidence that YOUR GRACE reached out and saved the likes of me.

May my life, Lord, be a visible Super Bowl/World Cup/Green Jacket trophy of proof that You overcame sin and death in me and for me.

May all that I do and all that I say and all that I am and all that I am remembered for point always and only to You. 

God didn’t save me so that I could build monuments or collect trophies.

He saved me to make me a monument attesting to His grace and a trophy of His love.

And so I echo the words of King David…who am I and who is my family that You would do this for us?

Have a blessed day reflecting on His big heart for you…clean some windows…clear some brush and I will see you back here tomorrow <3