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I have a confession that needs to be made today. It is something that has plagued me for a number of years and an occurrence (or lack thereof) that I bemoan almost daily.

I don’t have quiet times. I just don’t- and sometimes the weight of not having them is almost overwhelming.

You see- I have 5 kids, 3 of which have special needs. I’m a stay-at-home mom who runs a consulting firm out of my house. I have a husband. I’m active in our church. I try to write and nurture my ministry between snotty noses, feeding kids, and diaper changes. I have no time for anything past what I’m doing most days. I wake up tired and fall asleep each night exhausted. I’m in a season of raising tiny tots and there is precious little more that I do.

Though it saddens me I just don’t have time for quiet times. And it’s become a constant source of discouragement.

Because somewhere along the line I bought into the lie that there is such a thing as ‘quiet time’ with God that must be done daily. Somewhere I started thinking that if my time with the Lord didn’t look like an Instagram picture or a Pinterest worthy photo then I was doing this whole Christian-thing wrong. Somewhere I started believing that if I didn’t have 30 mins of uninterrupted, hot-coffee-on-the-desk, picturesque-mountains-in-the-background-with-birds-chirping-around-me-overlooking-a-crystal-cleat-lake-Bible-time... that my walk was somehow lacking.

Somewhere I thought that this idea of ‘quiet time’ was Biblical.

I was wrong.

Dear ones, as a busy mom and wife, writer, nurse, etc etc etc I have spent too many days and seasons of my life regretting seemingly lost moments with Jesus. I’ve shed tears that my kids don’t see me deep in the Word at the kitchen table every morning. I’ve deeply mourned the supposed empty spaces that I should have been spending time with the Father.

I’ve been so sorely mistaken. And though I would that I could have these amazing moments with God, I’m slowly learning that these types of quiet times are just not in the cards for me during this season of my life. They may yet occur in a different time, but for now it’s not possible.

I would imagine that there are not a few of you that have similar longings. Perhaps you feel the weight of not living up to this idealized facade of Christianity. Maybe you too find yourself regretting that your walk isn’t Instagram worthy. You compare. You feel unworthy. You feel lazy perhaps or even sinful.

I get it all too well.

Today let me encourage you. Let me show you what our Father esteems as a true woman of God... the Proverbs 31 woman.

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”


‭‭Notice there’s not one place here that shows this woman of God sitting down with a cappuccino and diligently spending hours in Bible study? Notice there’s no vases of flowers sitting in the background with perfectly highlighted Bibles laying around?

This season will not always be this way... and I’m learning to not compare other’s seasons with my own. My quiet times don’t exist- at least not in the idealized form I’d like. But I work to daily be about my Father’s business and I choose to stay contented with that. I refuse to live under false conviction that I’m not doing it ‘right’.

God meets us where we’re at. Whether it’s a pretty picture or (in my case) a blurred shot of a busy life. He is good. He understands. And He too is in these moments- crazy as they may be.

Please don’t get me wrong. If I could have quiet times like these with the Lord I would in a heartbeat. There’s nothing unBiblical about them. In fact for those who have the time to spend time with God in this way, I would challenge you to. Everyday. How I long for that kind of time!

But for those of us who’s time with Jesus doesn’t look the way we’d like it to, don’t get discouraged. This passage speaks of raising children, taking care of the poor, being thrifty and running a household well; teaching and working sun up to sun down. The woman of God is BUSY! Did you pick up on that? She’s got her hands and days full! She is about her Lord’s business.

I take such great comfort in that.

My quiet times may be anything but quiet but I see God in my kids faces and He certainly speaks to me through their little voices. I may not get to spend hours in the Word but I get to teach it to my children daily. I may not enjoy that hot cup of coffee each morning before the sun rises with my Savior, listening to the sound of creation awakening but I get to roll out of bed each day with the call of ministry to my family.

Thunder in Heaven

I had a vision where the Daughters of the Most High linked arms, eyes lifted heavenward, palms uplifted in supplication. 
We bowed our hearts. 
Together our knees hit the floor

And heaven rolled with thunder as they hit.

This earthquake shook the foundations of the earth. Into the very pit of hell our prayers reached- tentacles of white light scattering demons everywhere, trembling in terror at the sound of the saints intercession.

The Word was opened, Yahweh’s very existence pouring forth from it’s pages. 
Powers and dominions screamed as the Sword separated bone and marrow, soul and spirit.

And heaven rolled with the thunder of their cries.

The echo of our voices raised in thanksgiving,
supplication, joy, sorrow, and beseeching left principalities deaf... rulers and authorities mute.

The holy ones are praying!

The daughters of the King are united!
The Warrior Women are marching forth!

Heaven rolled with the thunder of our footsteps and Hell’s gates dissolved at the reverberations of it.

When our heads bow and our knees bend, when our arms raise and our mouths open.

When we PRAY

Thunder rolls in heaven and the real battle begins.

Are you ready sister? Will you join me in this war? The war to end all wars?

May our war be fought on our knees,

on our faces,

on the floor.

Gird up dear ones-

And let the thunder of our prayers reverberate throughout eternity.

The Cutting Edge

I've been struck very much lately by the power of words. Written, spoken, heard, passed on- words have such weight in our lives. Parenting foster children has shown me a whole new level of the cutting action of our words. Many of my 'kids' over the years have come from homes where they heard a lot of words- many angry, many condemning, arguing and full of complaining. Many many without love or wisdom. Often even years later, these children will have moments of reflection, terror at times, sadness at others, remembering words that were spoken to them. Some haunt them in their sleep and waking hours, other are a balm to their little souls.

But all have weight.

All cut deeply.

Whether by cutting apart frail self-images or skillfully cutting away unneeded lies from a soul- the ability to separate things within a person is a powerful thing.

Words matter.

My kids are no different than anyone else though. All of us can remember harsh words spoken to us, or high praise from a loved one. Each make their own mark do they not?

Our tongues have the power to uplift and encourage, to correct and refine, to promote and enhance ourselves and others. Our words can shed light, give freedom, and even give life (Proverbs 18:21).

Alas, they also have the power to do just the opposite. Words on a sharp tongue can cut down, discourage, hurt, abuse, condemn, belittle, and destroy. Words can lie, hide, ridicule, and inflict life-long wounds.

What power we wield when we open our mouths!

And yet, I would guess that many of us don't particularly have any major issues with evil tongues. I'm not sure many of us (myself included) give enough forethought each time we utilize our voice boxes. I myself am not known to cuss, or to verbally abuse people. I work hard on not being a gossip or slander anyone. I imagine many of you are similar. We've worked hard to keep clean mouths. And yet, there is so much scripture given to minding our mouths that I am continually amazed at the instruction for using these voices of ours.

Look at just a few of the things the Word would say for when we open our mouths (or in other cases, keep them closed.)

1 Peter 3:10 (NIV) For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be ALWAYS full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Philippians 2:14-16 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. (Anyone else get hit right between the eyeballs on this one?)

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but ONLY what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 15:4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Matthew 15:11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes OUT of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

Psalm 34:13 ...keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

Proverbs 12:13-14 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble. From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.

Proverbs 12:18-19 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Proverbs 15:1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Proverbs 18:1-8 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream. It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

Oh dear friends, so much of this is convicting to me. I may not be erring on the side of 'bad' but am I intentionally pushing towards the honeyed wisdom, discernment, and knowledge that is spoken of? We can do more! May we of gentle tongues and wise words! This is so much more than not cussing or using the Lord's name in vain. It is not simply not being mean to people, gossiping about them, or spreading rumors. It is the chance to be totally set apart from all the noise that the world hears day in and day out. It is the opportunity to be radically different in our communication. It is the ability to speak LIFE into others! It is the chance to change someone's moment, hour, day, season, job, stress-level, outlook...for good. Better, yet, for GOD! Our mouths are swords, and yielding in the right way, with the the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be a force for change in people. We can use His words to cut out sin, to help separate lies, to excise bad thinking and the speech of others that may have taken root in someone's soul. We have a cutting edge! But we must use it with One who can wield such a mighty thing- our Great Physician. As the Psalmist (141:3) writes, "Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." May it be to us too!

Proverbs 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Yesterday's Testimony

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

Testimony for the Christian is an odd thing. Many new believers fear speaking God's truth in their lives aloud to others at first. Other believers may be struggling under the silence of shame despite being freed by Christ's blood. Some speak from a place of embarrassment or dishonor rather than victory and freedom. Still others have no issue proclaiming to the world what Jesus' forgiveness has done for them.

And then most stop there.

Have you ever noticed how our testimonies tend to be in a vacuum? We tell stories of our past life, our new life through the cross; what changed and how God transformed us... and then we stop.

As if our testimony is over.

As if our testimony is a single-story, told statically, with a beginning, middle, and an end.

I think we've cut ourselves short. And certainly the work of our Redeemer as well.

What if I asked you what yesterday's testimony was?

What did God do in your life 24 hours ago? How did He work through your words and actions the day before? What did He refine and renew in you? What was being sanctified, what was being put to death? What new and exciting thing did He reveal about Himself yesterday?

Let me tell you my testimony from these last 4 days. Last Wednesday we got an unexpected surprise- my parents came to visit. In their 70s, my folks are full-time RVers so our family doesn't get to see them very much. Usually 1-2 times a year is about all we get, so it was a welcome visit. About 2 hours after they arrived, my daughter came to tell me her neck was hurting. Long story short, she has a history of infection from wounds she sustained in a car accident last year. Before I knew it, we were emergently driving the 4 hours up to St. Louis to Children's Hospital for surgery. I spent the whole of the next 3 days away from home- not only not seeing my mom and dad, but not with my 4 other kids or husband either.

But God was in this. As you can imagine, the logistics of having 5 kids is not easy thing to work out even in the best of circumstances. Having something so unplanned happen and trying to figure out life on super short notice is usually impossible. But God knew. He sent my parents to hold down the fort, watch the kids, keep a semblance of normalcy during a stressful time. He KNEW! What a thing! In the midst of illness and surgery, being gone and alone... He provided completely for us. It wasn't ideal. It wasn't perfect. There was a LOT that felt bad. And yet, it was so completely obvious that He was in control and would be, in a very tangible way... Jehovah Jirah.

It may not have been 'our' plans, but His were more complete. More planned. More prepared. Yes, God was surely in last weekend's testimony for me.

You have a testimony from yesterday too.

Dear ones, our testimony do not have an end. Just as God promises ongoing protection, renewal, refreshment... presence. So also should we be constantly proclaiming this continual work within us. His day-to-day work in our lives is no less part of our testimony as our conversion was. Each minute of God's guiding hand, each moment of GodStuff is part of our story.

We should be telling that too.

We should be telling it regularly.

Because our story... HIS story of our lives is unending, eternally being written and provided for. Therefore let us proclaim the whole of our testimony- yesterday's, this morning's, last hour's, and all our tomorrow's... until He takes us home.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples Psalm 105:1

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. Psalm 107:2

I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. Psalm 118:17

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
1 John 1:1-4

Eternity Stamped In Her Eyes

Imagine a world with me for a moment where we all had one goal. Where all of our focus was on one thing only- a long sought-after destiny that the entire world was working together to reach. Like an Olympic team training for the gold, imagine a singular laser focus towards a united end-point. A point completely bought into by every single member of the team, one worthy of the complete and utter dedication of each individual- to the sacrifice of family, friends, even our own identity. Can you imagine it? Where every single decision was made with that final destination in mind. Where every interaction with others pointed to furthering the cause. In short a life wholly devoted to a single, endpoint in mind- reckless in fervor, utterly sold-out to the prize. 

What a thing to behold! 

What a lifestyle to attain!

What a God Who is worthy of such abandon!

Dear ones, I’ve been challenged of late to up my game. I believe the Holy Spirit is challenging us all to MORE. If indeed our calling is to walk like Christ then our vision must be like His was as well- laser focus on heaven, single-minded in winning souls to the Father, reckless in word and deed to radically alter the trajectory of Man. 

If only everything we said and did was filtered through the light of heaven! What a veil to see the world by! Jesus saw no less than eternity in everything He did. He spoke with forever words. Every decision, to go or stay, speak or stay silent, turn left or right was made with His Father’s house in mind. He walked with feet directed by the eternal, his every step dictated by how each would echo in eternity. 

It was a radical lifestyle. 

May we dare to walk in those footsteps?

How would this single end-game change the way you live dear sister? What would it alter in your words and actions today? Who would you speak with? Which paths would you walk? What about your life plus change to join such a Cause- wholly abandoned to its Purpose? 

Today join me in walking in the path of the fearless. May we find a new lens to see the world through; viewing every situation- good, bad, or ugly- as a way to further glorify our Heavenly Father. To walk and talk, thing, speak, and act within the light of eternity here on earth....

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

How I long for a heart like this! To be poured out for Him on the altar of sacrifice for the sake of others. To live with eternity stamped on my eyes so that I look at every difficulty in life as an opportunity for people to see the sufficiency of His truth and His power. How I long to remember that whatever I’m enduring is temporal. Eternity awaits, and how I handle this situation will bring me an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. -Kay Arthur (Lord Give Me A Heart For You) 

Fabulous Footwear

Lately my middle son is going through a shoe phase. Or I should say, a shoe LESS phase. Twice now we’ve loaded into the car, driven to our destination, gotten out… only to discover that the kid has no shoes on (insert the mom-face-palm here). This last weekend was especially painful, we were out of state at a wedding that three of the kids were in. We stayed one night at a hotel and, I kid you not, every.single.time Jonah left the hotel room he forgot his shoes. E-ver-ry tiiiiiimmmme people! By the end of the weekend I was seriously considering having him tested for a stroke or brain injury of some kind…

But I digress- today I wanted to talk about the importance of footwear… namely WEARING it but also making sure you have the right kind for each occasion. What style we have is dictated by the situations we know we’re going to be in. Soldiers wear boots, runners wear sneakers, hikers wear hiking boots; you wouldn’t find me in high heels on the beach for instance (actually you’d be hard-pressed to find me in heels anywhere… #momlife) but you get my drift. Anyone who has worn the ‘wrong’ shoes in a situation I doubt makes the same mistake twice.

WEARING shoes matters. It helps us actually get out of the house (or out of the car and/or hotel room in Jonah’s case). It protects our feet from harm so we can go do what we need to do,

WHAT shoes we wear matters. In many situations what we wear matters a great deal… it helps us do our jobs better (soldiers, firemen, flight nurses!), perhaps it enables us to be more efficient (runners), it protects us from injury or wounds (hikers). Keeping our feet protected and appropriate is vital to many situations- rarely is there a situation where no footwear whatsoever is recommended.

In real life we need shoes and we need the right shoes. In the ‘realer’ life, our spiritual life, we need shoes as well. Not only the wearing of them but the right ones for the mission field you’re walking within.

Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…. 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

Dear ones we have to make sure we’re putting on our spiritual shoes, ones that will carry us on mission to wherever God has called us. The Gospel, this amazing good news of Christ’s forgiveness, is THE reason we’re leaving the house everyday. It is THE most important thing we carry with us minute by minute. We don’t leave our houses for work or school, the movies, the park, or running errands without shoes. Neither should we be leaving our houses without our feet fitted with the Gospel of Peace. Even moreso… the READINESS that comes from that Gospel.  A runner is ready with his sneakers, a paramedic is ready with her boots, a scuba diver is ready with his flippers, a ballerina is ready with her pointe shoes… at a moment’s notice, no matter what the situation calls for, they are ready to act because they have the proper footwear.

This amazing Gospel, knowing it, speaking of it, witnessing to it, proclaiming it, spreading it… fits us with spiritual shoes that are always appropriate for whatever situation we find ourselves in. 1 Timothy 3: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

Know the Gospel.

Be fitted with it’s readiness daily.

Proclaim it in your mission field.

Walk it out, bring it to the lost… and wear out the soles of those shoes winning souls for Christ!

Middle of the Mystery

For the last month my women’s Bible study group has been under significant spiritual attack. All but just a few of us have had major illness or injury occur to us or a direct family member since starting a study about ‘having the heart of God’. Tonight in the middle of the study we found out one of the lady’s mother tragically died. We were vaguely aware of the attacks but this sent the group into overdrive and grief has overwhelmed us.

The battle is so. very. real dear ones. The war for our souls, our hearts, our welfare and very health is ongoing. Scripture does not mince words with the cunning and pure evil of Satan. When it speaks of a roaring lion who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy... its being deadly serious- our Bible study group can personally attest to these very things just within the last 4 weeks.

In the middle of the onslaught tonight I cried out to God. How can we possibly stand against such an enemy? How, dear Lord can we hold up under overwhelming grief, pain, and confusion? The attacks have been pointed, cunning, personalized, and incessant. How do we bear up, how do we take up our swords when all we want to do is crawl in a hole? Where do we go, how do we escape the barrage of terror?

Lord be near to us!

In the middle of the mystery, in the middle of the darkness and the ache, in the very midst of the enemy’s attacks when all we can see is the blackness of the night that surrounds us, sometimes all we can do is lay still, squinching our eyes tightly closed perhaps, and listen for the Father’s words. If words scurry beyond our tongues and our thoughts turn blank, our situation is heavy with mystery; when we don’t know the beginning from the end and tangled mess laying around us is hopelessly unfixable, then dear ones it is time to praise Him in the midst of the turmoil. In the middle of the great mystery that encompasses us,

Praise Him.

Thank Him.

Beseech Him.

Fall into Him.

Call out to Him.

Yell at Him.

Beg Him.

And then seek Him again.

This walk we’ve been called to is not for the faint of heart. We are at war and there is very real injuries, illness, and casualties. There is surprise attack. There is utter destruction at times. Yet we are not without a General or King who is unsympathetic to our plight. Moreso He is most certainly not surprised by the enemy’s movements or strategy. He mourns with us. He hurts and cries alongside. Our King hates this fallen world as much as we do.

Yet the fighting rages on. Many battles will be lost, many scars and heartbreak inflicted- but we know better. Our eyes are fixed on the endgame, our faith and hope pinned on the eternal.

We know the end. We know Who wins.

So in the middle of the mystery we will put on our armor and keep fighting. We will take up our sword and fall to our knees in thanksgiving.

And we WILL win.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A Change of Scenery

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately and my poor front bed has been begging for attention. It’s got several bushes that, although beautiful, were just planted helter-skelter thoughout the location; neither blossoming well nor growing as abundantly as they should. Don’t get me wrong, none of them are dying, none are not NOT blooming, none are really doing poorly.

They’re just not thriving.

And they’re not in a place where they can truly showcase their blossoms for the world to see.

I mean, I want traffic from a block away to notice them. The potential is there, but their location is not ideal.

So the other day, I did what all gardeners just luuuurrvvve to do- actually more accurately, I had my dear husband do it- I transplanted three of them to three different spots.

And all of a sudden they were NOTICED. Their blooms seemed more vibrant. They complemented the beds we put them in like they’d been there all along. And I swear two of them have doubled in size. I even had a few neighbors comment on them- asking where we’d gotten the ‘new’ bushes.

Funny how that works. Plants we’ve had since we bought the house, that no one has ever noticed, are now thriving.

And all because of a location change.

It was a good call in the gardening department for sure. But it was not without some effort. I’m sure if those bushes had voices, none of them would have been too thrilled about the transplanting process. Getting dug up, uprooted, pruned back, transplanted to a whole new location I’m sure is not the plants idea of a good time.

I can certainly empathize. Changes in scenery aren't always fun.

Last year God took something very dear to me. Rather He forcibly moved me out of something dear to me. Cutting my roots, digging up my heartstrings, transplanting me to a new place. To put it bluntly, it sucked. It hurt. It was unexpected. And I’m still working on re-establishing my new root system.

My change of scenery was not welcome and I certainly didn't like the new view.

These last few days even as I was marveling at how much better my bushes were doing, God has been gently letting me see the parallels.

I wasn’t doing poorly at my other location. I was blooming and growing. But the Master Gardener saw a need to put me in a new spot. A BETTER spot. One where I would grow better, blossom more, and glorify Him from blocks away more brightly.

And just as my bushes didn’t get a ‘say’ in their move, neither did I. Furthermore, they didn’t complain or question me as their gardener, so neither should I question or complain about where my Gardener plants and prunes me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:4-6 ESV

Today I encourage you to know that God’s got this. He’s got you, your circumstances, your soil, your sun, your rain, your flower bed, your pruning schedule- all of it- He’s got a master plan for. It may not make sense. It may hurt or feel super uncomfortable. It may involve new locations, new people, new ministries, or new calling. He may prune away even good growth in order for you to more fully thrive. But it’ll be more than worth it.

So please don’t be discouraged. Please don’t question. Please don’t complain. Don’t wriggle or argue. My bushes didn’t do that to me so we shouldn’t either. Rather simply enjoy your new view and the wonderful, God-given change of scenery.

In His Time

Lately I've had a string of days where nothing has come easily. Actually I think I'm going on more like a month. Having five kids, 3 of which are special needs, our calendar is literally jam packed with appointments, therapy, games, school functions, church stuff, with times in between to eat, sleep, and bathe if we're lucky. I would say 2-3 days of each week is literally back to back items that are all super time-dependent.

Soooo, what better time for God to teach me to slow down and smell the roses right?!

For those who may not know, I'm a RN by vocation, a flight nurse more specifically (or at least I was until this whole writing, speaking, momming thing started a couple years ago), so my life as a whole has been defined by high-speed, high-energy, high-adrenaline. Its not overstating the matter to say that much of my adult life was consumed by life or death split second decisions.

Time matters, seconds count, plans going smoothly is paramount- and my A-to-B personality thrives within that structure.

Yet God has been teaching me more. Not that any of those kinds of things are bad, that kind of mindset can be super helpful and effective in fact... but He's been dragging my feet, usurping my plans, and downright challenging my patience literally non-stop lately.

You know that t-shirt that says, "You're testing the Jesus in me!" ? What happens when it's God doing that testing?

These last thirty days have been exhausting and trying to say the least. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, has gone easily. Nothing's gone according to plan. Everything on my schedule has had to be moved, sometimes multiple times. Much of what we do is dependent on other stuff or people doing what they need to; so one thing fails or is delayed and before you know it, the whole house of dominoes has fallen and you find yourself vaguely looking around for the hidden cameras wondering which "Totally Hidden" reality show you've inadvertently found yourself in.

Welcome to my life. Anybody relate?

Any yet God has been good time me and given me so much inexplicable patience. I've taken more deep breaths, given more smiles, rearranged more appointments, given more grace and mercy to people (and myself!) than I ever have in my life. I've been forced to slow down and smell the proverbial roses. After all, unlike my previous jobs, <almost> none of this stuff is life and death.

I admit it's been a total mind-set change for me. And I'm loving the aroma of seeing Him work in me through those undeserved smiles. The scent of His grace and mercy working in and through and towards me. It's been astoundingly peaceful despite what on paper looks life a mess.

More times than I can tell I've found myself humming the words to an old Psalty the Psalmbook song (totally dating myself here!)

In His time, In HIs time,
He makes all things beautiful
In his time

Lord please show me everyday
As you're teaching me your way
That you do just what you say
In your time

In Your time, in Your time
You make all things beautiful
In Your time

Lord my life to You I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing

In Your time.

I've been keenly aware in the last few years of my life that I have this sub-conscious timeline in my head of what I should be doing, where I should be going, what goals I should be meeting, etc. etc. etc. Yet His time is so very different from mine! And more poignantly, He will take care of HIS goals for me in HIS time... not mine.

Not mine.

Whether it be a mundane doctor's appointment that's a no-go or getting my first multi-book publishing contact (insert wink wink and lots of prayers here!) I can rest in knowing He is in control and He does, indeed make all His plans, all His people, all His creation- beautiful in His time.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." NLT

Playing Hide and Seek

Lately my kids have been on a hide-and-seek kick. Generally from each other, though occasionally they just <love> to hide from me... especially when they're playing and I'm not even aware that I'm in the game.

They think it's hilarious to hide when I call them.

The other day after a particularly frustrating round of me calling and looking for my oldest (all the while not knowing she had decided it was hide-and-seek time) I came to my momma-whits-end. I had started by simply telling her it was time to get in the car. She disappeared. After 5 minutes I was generally yelling around the house telling her is was time to get in the car. After another 5 minutes I was actively searching for her and yelling even louder to come.get.in.the.car. We were late. I was frustrated. I had finally realized somewhere along the line that she was in fact, playing the game and not being <completely> disobedient.

And yet she was being completely disobedient.

And now several people would be late to a  function that would make many others have to change their plans as well.

That night my husband and I were talking over the general hide-and-seek situation. As I was bemoaning her general lack of behavior and how it vastly changed the outcomes of our afternoon, God gently reminded me that I had done the very same thing to Him... on more occasions to count.

How many times had He told me to do something and I didn't? I ran away. I hid. Like my daughter I literally went the other direction and disappeared. How much of His Word, meant for my good and instruction, have I disobeyed? Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes I was simply 'playing' a game and not listening, and other times I intentionally and purposefully didn't listen.

I was immediately convicted that my own games of hide-and-seek with my Father have (I'm sure) caused my fair share of frustration and Fatherly angst. Several situations in which I didn't do what I was supposed to ran across my memory-banks. Ugh. I wonder how many people were depending on me to obey? I wonder how much blessing I lost out on because I didn't listen to what I was told? I pondered who I made 'late' and who had to change their 'plans' because I was MIA. Innumerable I imagine.

But God is good, and even in those dark thoughts He reminded me of something else. That just like I had done for my daughter (probably a bit less angry...) He will also come looking for me. When I was lost, He came after me. Yelling my name, searching high and low.

Better yet, HE is never hard to find, because He never plays games with me. If I need Him, He is there- right there, always ready and willing to be together. There are no games, no hide-and-seek, no wondering where He could be.

In that moment and in the moments after, I have found that wonderfully reassuring. I have a God and a Father who looks for me and is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will not tire of searching for His wayward daughter, nitwit that I may be at times.

Deut. 31:8 "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” ESV

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." ESV

Isaiah 41:10 "...fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ESV

Amen and Amen!