Category Archives: Journey through Lent 2019

He wrote The Book…and your story <3

Good morning and happy Friday!!!

We are covered in a fresh layer of snow here in God’s country and the charm of it has perhaps worn off. 

It’s pretty and all; but here in the Midwest, farmers are counting down the days til they can plant and young parents are longing for days when they can shoo their little ones out to play after school and we are all just ready for some green and some blossoms. 


Waiting for new life to show itself across the heartland. 

And that is what Lent is.


But active waiting. 

Waiting to celebrate when God provided the perfect Passover Lamb for us.

It is active waiting because while we wait, we examine ourselves. 

We return our souls to the pilgrimage of remembering what Christ has done for us. 

I am using a 40 day Prayer Guide each morning (free from Lifeway if you are interested) and each morning includes a scripture and some prayer prompts. 

Today the reading is from Psalm 119, verse 37

“Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.” 

The prompt reminded me to praise God, for He is my Life Giver and the Author of Life.

That jumped out at me. 

Author of life. 

As someone who has this bizarre urge to not only write down my thoughts, but I am also compelled by something deep within me to share them, I have a deep respect for the title “Author.” 

To gather up all the phrases and word pictures and form them into sentences that convey some kind of message that is impacting and encouraging and exhorting is somewhat like giving birth to a ten pound baby.

 Every. Single. Day.

When I think of God as being the AUTHOR of all LIFE…and the Author of MY own personal life story and living existence…I am overwhelmed by the tiny glimpse of understanding I can apply to the activity of authoring something. 

So here is the prayer I wrote this morning ….

Heavenly Father God, You have given me life and you have given me New Life and You have given me eternal life. My every breath and heartbeat is from You. I am so thankful for the life you have given me to live. You have authored – lovingly written my life story. Given birth to it. You have threaded my days and moments together in carefully and thoughtfully chosen and loving ways. When I have stepped off script – You have edited and made beauty of my mess and I am so grateful for You. 

How about you?

Can you look over your story and see His hand writing it?

Perhaps you are in a season where the Author seems to have taken you into a plot twist that seems cruel and hard to understand. 

Hold fast, my friend, be assured…He is not finished with your story. 

It will end, beautifully, as you yield it to Him. 

May God bless each of you as we journey through the season of Lent together and prepare our hearts for a most blessed celebration of the Resurrection and anticipate His perfect work completed in each of us when He returns. 

Journey Onward <3

Reflections from Ash Wednesday <3

I am writing this at the end of the day … unusual for me but will be out the door early tomorrow morning and my heart is full. 

We found an Ash Wednesday service being held at a Lutheran Church not far from our home so we headed over after dinner. 

It was somber and reflective and it focused around an old forgotten hymn of their church. 

Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted


Not exactly what the praise team usually starts out with on a Sunday morning. 

The lyrics are heavy. 

But that is what Lent calls us to. 

It calls it to put a pause on the spinning days of our lives and it reminds us that one day it will all end.

It will end for us individually and there will be a final end of all things. 

All the seasons and lives and culture shifts and governments that were destined to be will be finished and we will stand in judgment. 

Everything and everyone who seemed to important won’t really matter so much after all.

We went down for communion and before we ate the bread and drank and cup and remembered what has been done for us, we were looked in the eye as ashes were brushed on our foreheads. 

From dust you came. To dust you will return.

It’s not the message I get on my social media feeds and from magazine covers. 

It’s not what people tell me when I tell them I’m 60 and they exclaim that I sure don’t look it. (Hopefully)

It’s not what I tell myself when I make plans for tomorrow and next week and ten years from now and try to do all the right things to slow the aging that is inevitably progressing despite my best efforts. 

But I know it. 

I’ve stood by enough graves now to know. 

Young, old…ready or not…to dust we will return. 

I will return to dust…

I will go the way of all men and women born on planet earth…

and I will stand in judgement for every thing…

good, bad…intentional, accidental…

thought and word and deed…

the bad I did, the good I failed to do…

the wasted time and errant wanderings…

all of it…

along with the good I managed to do and the evil I avoided…

and the heart that motivated every single moment. 

The ashes on my forehead, like the ashes of all those around me mark me for what I am.

But Christ. 

He finishes my story as only He can.

Because I am also marked as His. 

I bear His grace and He bears my scars.

His blood bought my forgiveness. 

His death bought my life. 

That is how we do Lent, my friends.

We remember <3

Which road will you take?

It is Ash Wednesday and as much as I am a proponent for practicing a “setting aside” time for the forty days leading up to Easter…I am a rebel by nature and have an inward wiring that fights against my best intentions.

I am, like you, a work in progress and there are certain things about me that we have to work around while God continues to refine the nubbins out of my orneriness….

So it was as I went to bed last night that I prayed ….

Lord, thou knowest me. You know the way I sabotage the things that are for my good. So help me to set my heart on pilgrimage tomorrow and Lord, lead me in appropriate ways of reflection. 

And He did. 

My reading in the Jesus Keep me Near the Cross book was from John Piper and as promised, I am sharing a few of the highlights with you.

The devotion is centered on passages from Luke 18 as Piper meditates on what it meant for Jesus to set His face for Jerusalem and how this was so misunderstood by His disciples. 

They saw it as a triumphant finality to the wandering. Jesus was going to take over and establish Himself as King in the line of David. 

This was their moment. 

And while they jockeyed for the positions in this new dynasty that was going to take place when the boys were back in town…Jesus gave them this news…

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him…”

Luke 18:31-33

And like toddlers who don’t want to hear it’s time to pick up your toys and head to bed, the disciples were not listening and could not understand what He was saying. 

And Piper poses this question in his writing:

“Does discipleship mean deploying God’s missiles against the enemy in righteous indignation? Or does discipleship mean following him on the Calvary road which leads to suffering and death?…When Jesus set his face to walk the Calvary road, he was not merely taking our place; he was setting our pattern. He is substitute and pacesetter. If we seek to secure our life through returning evil for evil or surrounding ourselves with luxury in the face of human need, we will lose our life. We can save our life only if we follow Christ on the Calvary road.”

From adaptation of “He Set His Face to Go to Jerusalem” sermon by John Piper; Jesus Keep me Near the Cross, edited by Nancy Guthrie, Crossway Books 2009. Pages 18-19

Lent offers us the opportunity to examine our ways and see how they are lining up with the pace set for us by the One who gave His life for ours. 

By His grace and with His help, I am looking forward to sharing the Journey with you as we make our way to Calvary <3

Monday Things <3

Hello to you and Happy Monday!

We had a seemingly harsh set back to all the Spring Hopes and Dreams I had going as we came out of church yesterday morning to a full blown snow storm. 

Our yard is completely covered in white, but you know it had a good side.

Russ seems to have caught the bug that plagued me and I needed a quiet day so we didn’t feel a bit guilty about just being restful and still all day yesterday and it felt good to do that Sabbath Rest idea the right way. 

We read and rested and renewed.

I am ready to face the week with more energy than I have felt for about ten days, which is going to be helpful because I am behind on EVERYTHING.

So here are some randoms to get us jumpstarted and on our way.



This says it all. 

We really do mimic and imitate the people we admire. 

We pick up their catch phrases and mannerisms.

We start to style our hair and closets after their lead.

What matters to them starts to matter to us. 

And I want to choose Jesus. 

If I admire someone and lean toward them as a role model, I want it to be because I see Jesus IN THEM. 

Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.

It’s a 40 day period that invites us to step away from the normal cycle of every day living and take intentional steps toward “taking Christ’s heart and mission and making it my own.”

It won’t happen if we don’t plan for it. 

What are YOU going to do leading up to Easter 2019 to step into a closer relationship with Jesus?


Here are two things I play to use devotionally:

This was gifted to me by my dear sister, Sonja Reimer…who also christened me with the name “Journey Onward” many years ago. 

This book is a collection of mediations on the Cross written by some of the strong Christian voices that have spanned our church history. 

I will most likely be sharing from the book, but would love to have you join me on the Journey as you read your own copy.

You can order here ——>

The other 40 day plan I have landed on is being offered through Lifeway.

It is free to sign up and you will receive daily emails. 

You can sign up here —->

It sounds like they will be suggesting some opportunity to incorporate a fast each week as well as devotional prayer prompt five days and then a Sabbath rest, which …. see #1 for my feelings towards that concept <3
photo by Rachel Maxwell


If you don’t have a church home, First Christian Church here in Decatur is doing a 7 week series during Lent on the Names of Jesus.

Our sermons are live streamed on Saturday evening and Sunday mornings…

here —–>

and you can watch later in the week or anytime to catch up…

here —–>


I have been praying about trying to do something here on the Journey that would be a community Lent series, but since I never got a clear go ahead on the way that should go…I am just letting you know…it looks like business as usual with an open door for God to lay a series here and there as he would lead me…some sharing from my devotions and my own Lent meditations…and a little bit o’random as the Spirit moves us through the Journey <3


You showing up means more to me than you could know and I love your bits of encouragement to me when you share. 

I am blessed to have this spot on the internet to share my heart and my life and God’s goodness to me with you when  you stop by. 



here is a funny to send you off into Monday with…

Rachel brought the band of brothers and little miss thing to our house Saturday while daddy was working. 

The kids were watching the birds around the feeder and Emmett exclaimed…

“Lola!!!! You and Papi are making the world a better place!!!!” 

I was in the middle of washing dishes so was caught a bit off guard as to how my mundane tasks were contributing to such a grand effort, when he gave me two big thumbs up and smiled enormously and said….

“You are feeding the birds!!!!!”

Wow… I had no idea the impact a few morsels of sunflower seed could have globally but I certainly felt noble all of a sudden. 

Be blessed…feed some birds…make the world a better place <3