Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Living free of unforgiveness <3

Last night it was so warm and still in the house that I turned the air on for a bit…this morning I switched to the furnace…oh my…tis the season!

This morning I read a section in a book of prayers for your grandchildren about forgiveness. Prayers for them to forgive quickly and sincerely. 

With all prayers of intercession for anyone, the pray-er must always bring him or herself under the same prayer.

As I read about the importance for all of us to truly, deeply and sincerely forgive; I felt my own convictions.

One of the Scriptures was Matthew 5:44-45:

I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV

This is a teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One I say I follow. 

If He is my Leader, then this is my example. 

So I have to stop this morning and step back from the culture I live in and the voices inside me and around me that speak a different teaching and really examine my heart. 

Do I love my enemies?

Do I bless others when they curse me?

Do I do good to those who hate me?

Do I pray for those who have spitefully used me and those who have betrayed and/or persecuted me?

And by “me” I can tell you that anyone who has done any of the above to any of my people…may as well have done it to me; and better for them if they had done it to me instead of one of them. 

So no. 

I don’t measure up well. 

I carry grudges and ill-will wishes for others who have done any and all of the above to me or to those I love. 

So I have to acknowledge that in this teaching, I have missed the mark.

I have sinned. 

And in my failing, I fall on grace. 

In my confession, I find forgiveness extended to me and thus, I am empowered and equipped to live counter culture and I choose to forgive. 

He gives me grace to extend grace. 

What an incredible gift He has given to us, His children.

Be blessed today….Let us ask God to call to mind those against whom we still hold a grudge. 

Yet again, we can lift up our battered and hardened hearts and ask Him to soften them and shape them even more today into the image of the One who forgave us all.

He is able, even when we are not <3

Who are you listening to?
t-shirt designed by TheWarriorShe <3

Well it’s Thursday and with the writing challenge on Instagram and my little foray into the commitment to do a weekly Facebook Live…I am feeling a tad overexposed and vulnerable. 

So it is fitting that I find myself needing to get ready to go and sit on a panel for the MOPS group at our church this morning for the first time ever. 

I was honored to be asked a few weeks ago if I would do this and to be honest, it was sort of uplifting to the soul to think someone, somewhere in our church thought I might have something to add to any kind of panel…

but this morning I am full of doubts and insecurities because I have no idea what sitting on a MOPS panel means…I don’t know what the expectations are and what the topics will be and if I will even remember what it was like to navigate those preschool years with our own three. 

I fear I will apply the wisdom gained from thirty plus years of mothering and gloss over the reality of the inadequacies I felt as every phase of our children’s lives brought new strategies and lessons and joys and heartaches. 

And the three very different personalities in our children meant a brand new playing field…every single time…

My empty nest friends and I sometimes talk about how we remember some parts of those years and others are graciously erased by time. 

We also look at the culture our children are raising children and realize God put us in that phase in a very different world setting and while we still know how to lay down the law regarding sneaking snacks from the pantry or sass-talking…we have no foundation for issues facing young parents today. 

And as I try to figure out how to transition my attire from the summer clothes I sweated in yesterday when it was literally 90 degrees…to layers to get me through the cold front that is sweeping over the midwest…I feel like perhaps the sweet leaders of this ministry were scraping the bottom of the barrel when they asked me and I hope and pray I can come through for them. 

This week I had several exchanges on Marco Polo with two women who do what I do through writing, speaking and podcasting. 

We talked about how there is a voice in the back of our minds who is constantly reminding us why we probably have no business encouraging others, speaking hope and life, sharing teachings and insight because….look at the messier parts of our own stories and well…we need to just quiet down and realize who and what we are. 

Only guess what. 

We know who and what we are. 

We are women who love Jesus and know the difference He has made in our lives. 

We know what we are capable of without Him and we know that with Him we can do abundantly more than we could even think or dream or imagine. 

We know we are His and that He stands for us and intercedes for us. 

We know that we are sinners saved by grace and thus saints. 

We know our identity is found in our relationship with Him and we are not defined by either our failures or our successes. 

And we will silence the voice of the enemy of God and we will follow the voice of our Leader. 

And sometimes we will stumble…and sometimes we will put our foot in our mouth…and sometimes we will get it wrong and sometimes we will get it right…but all the time…is His time.

Who are you listening to?

What is God calling you to do that the devil is trying to say you have been disqualified to do?

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Ephesians 3:20 The Message by Eugene Peterson

Meditate on THAT voice today <3

When we resist rest <3

I had a thought all ready, to end this week and then God scrapped it this morning and you can just stop and give Him a high-five because it was long and complicated and this one is just short and sweet. 

As you may know, most Tuesdays and Thursdays I get to go spend either a half or whole day with our four grandchildren while mom and dad are working.

Either way, I usually end up with the nap time routine.

Caroline never stops moving and talking from the moment she rolls out of bed in the morning, so she goes out pretty quickly.

Joel, however, is convinced he doesn’t need a nap but his behavior without one convinces us he does. 

We read a couple of stories and we turn out the light.

As he gathers his blankets and stuffed animals close, I tell him the longest, most boring story I can make up and then depending on how tired he is, he fights it or drops off to sleep. 

If you have ever spent two minutes with a preschooler it will come as no surprise that it is when he is MOST tired, that he fights sleep with the most wiggles and energy. 

Mildly tired Joel will gently drift off somewhere mid-story. 

Over tired Joel will use every last ounce of mental strength to force his body to remain in movement of some kind.

His feet keep inching to the edge of the bed, his droopy eyes are held open in a stubborn stare. His shoulders are tensely hunched and drawing tight as I rub his back, until finally I have to tell him he HAS to lay still. 

Perhaps because he is the third child, he doesn’t realize I have no power over him to actually stop him from wiggling and so eventually his still body no longer resists sleep and his breathing relaxes and he rests. 

I look at those lashes laying on chubby cheeks and watch his chest rise and fall so peacefully and wonder why he didn’t choose this path to begin with. 

I sense God often looks at me and wonders the same thing. 

Every invitation to encounter God through Christ involves a promise of peace and rest. 

Come to Me, all you who are heavy laden…weary….burdened…and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Let the peace of Christ rule in you hearts…you were called to peace…be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Cast your anxieties on to Him…he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Take my yoke upon you…learn from Me…for I am gentle and humble in heart…and you will find rest for your souls. 2 Corinthians 4:16

When we are resisting rest…when we are striving and pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion…when we are tense and in constant motion…it is difficult to feel God’s love and peace and comfort and rest. 

Yes, we must work hard and put good effort into our tasks, but don’t forget to rest.

Everything that needs to be done will still be there after you are refreshed. 

Enjoy some rest this weekend. You and your loved ones will be so thankful if you do <3

Oh Esther…you still have lessons to teach me <3

Everywhere I turn the past week I am running into studies of Esther. 

I selected it as my next reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app (and the way I stumbled across reading plans is because I was trying to sign up for the all-church study we are doing and I have yet to find it on my phone…but I have been enjoying a couple of good ones in the meanwhile…)

About Day 4 of it, I realized I was seeing posts from other people on Instagram based on the same study and I realized it was from Love God Greatly and there is study in progress for those who order through them. 

Today it popped up in another devotional email and so I am thinking God is speaking out into the cosmos about Esther right now and I don’t want to miss an opportunity for sharing some nuggets I have uncovered and have you miss out on the refining of His word in YOUR life so…

Here is one gem I got that hit me fresh from a book of the Bible that I would have thought I had read and studied to the point that I could say I got all there was to get out of it…but as the donkey would say to Shrek…it’s like an onion….there are many, many, many layers to all people but more importantly to God’s Word and there is no end to learning that we can find when we take time to sit at His feet and let His Spirit teach us. 

In the second day of the study, I found this perspective on the King that gave me a new angle on what God is showing us about us and about Himself in the book of Esther:

Based on the opening passages in Chapter 1, we see the King hosting a huge and luxurious and extended banquet and in the midst of all the partying he calls for the Queen to be brought out and displayed. 

She refused. 

And all the empowered women of the modern world shouted “Amen sister!” but please, as we label this King a male chauvinist pig, don’t miss the lesson about our own humanity and struggle with pride that can play out in equally ugly ways.

The King responds with fury and then adds to his inappropriate response the seeking out of poor counsel and the whole thing ends with a complete banishment of this queen from his presence. 

The study sheds light on what happened:

“The King wanted what he wanted, and when he didn’t get it, he became furious and burned with anger.”

Love God Greatly: Esther, Day 2 devotional

As I pondered the study and the Scriptures and looked at that phrase and let it sink in, I wrote in my journal

“Selfish motives that respond in anger are indications of a need for repentance.”

The devotion points out that instead of overlooking the insult, the King responded with anger. Anger fueled by pride in who he was and what he possessed. Pride in his reputation and his status.

His wants had been denied and his pride and selfishness overruled his reason and wisdom. 

If we get past the whole debauchery of the party and the men and the thought of parading his wife in front of a bunch of frat boys gone wild…and we just focus on that phrase for a minute…

and fill it in with our own here, I will go first….

Laura wanted what she wanted and when she didn’t get it, she became furious and burned with anger.

How about a real life application?

Laura wanted to receive an apology from the company who slightly overcharged her for an item, even after she had been honest about the fact that they had sent it without knowing and then they charged her the full amount and not the discount and didn’t even thank her for her integrity. And when they, instead, insulted her for being petty about such a small overcharge…she became furious and burned with anger. 


That’s what we are talking about here.

We are talking about the rehearsing of an insult and the growing anger as we plan the rebuttal, or the letter, or the actions we will take to justify ourselves to the one we feel wronged us. 

Because it’s easy to look at the King in Esther’s story and see what a jerk he is.

But the point of Scripture is to turn that spotlight back on our own hearts and let God show us who we really are so we can worship Him for who He is.

His example through Christ was to overlook an insult. To forgive those who have not even asked for forgiveness. This is our model for life and our desired response when we sense anger is burning within us <3 

When experiencing technical difficulties, there really is only one place to turn <3

Well I feel I have lived a much longer period of my life than 24 hours since we last visited. 

If you read yesterday’s post, I asked for prayer for me as I tackled an issue with the website and have mercy…the Lord answered but not in the ways you may have expected nor did I hope. 

Because my idea of the answers would have been smooth sailing and a quick fix and on we go, but instead the whole operation was filled with my heart racing, my mind spinning, tears, angst, a message that said “This website is experiencing technical difficulties.” in tiny, plain type with nary a beautiful photograph to be seen and a final act of surrender where I basically came to terms with the realization that it was time to yet again to lay this little slice of the world wide web at the feet of the King of the World. 

And there is a whole lot of beautiful things that happened where four little pairs of eyes took in their Lola’s meltdown and rallied around her in ways that are too precious to even begin to expose to you…and the love of my husband and friends who dropped to their knees and prayed me through…and a song by Hillsong about New Wine that led me to the place where I was able to say…this whole blog thing…it’s Yours, God…and yes, you can take it or give it back…but it’s Yours. 

So this morning as I opened up my plethora of devotionals and such and began to pour out all the thoughts and such in my journal, I ended up with a Psalm of praise that God penned through me and that is what I will share with you today:

Lord, I worship You for who You are. 

As I drove through the fields of corn and beans and sunset last night to get home, the song playing was about how everything belongs to You. 

It doesn’t belong to You because, as a believer I say it does. 

And it doesn’t not belong to You when the world laughs at the whole concept. 

It just does. 

Whether we believe it or not, the world belongs to You and all that is in it is made by Your Hand. 


End of story. 

This is Your world. 

And in that realization, Lord, I drove and took in the fields so wide and full of crops and the endless blue sky with the sun setting and yet rising again somewhere in the distance for other people…and I thought about all the current situations including a website experiencing technical difficulties and what that might mean for me..and a pile of merchandise that needs processing and a house that needs a good cleaning…and zero time to get it all done…and I worshipped. 

Because it’s all Yours. 

All of it.

And so am I.

What confounds me and frustrates me and overwhelms me doesn’t phase You in the least.

I do not need to apprise you of the situation, yet You lean forward and listen to me much in the same way we lean forward and listen to a child telling us in choking sobs about what happened on the playground. 

You already know the end from the beginning, yet You listen to me and hold me in the middle. 

I praise You, not for what You will do, but for who You are and who You are is what makes me who I am <3