He was terrified of the giant looming over him. “I can’t do it; I won’t do it,” he said over and over. This giant did not have a physical form, yet to my son, it might as well have been Goliath.

The giant was his fear. The reason: a mandatory 3-5 minute speech he had to recite in front of his 7th grade class.

The day my introverted son found out about the speech assignment, he freaked out. The assignment seemed impossible. He began planning his escape: Maybe I’ll get a contagious disease! Hopefully we will have a blizzard! Can’t you just homeschool me? Do you think Jesus might come back before speech day?

He fretted and worried, he planned and plotted; but the fact was, he had to memorize the speech – and use inflection, gestures, varied pitch, and maintain eye contact! (I am SO glad I didn’t have to do the assignment!!!)

After enlisting Google’s help in finding some possible speeches, he decided on Tim Keller’s “True and Better” sermon. My son began the hard task of memorizing a four minute speech. He read it over and over. He listened to the audio. He said it at dinner, in the car, and to the dog. Then he had to add inflection and gestures. He had to force himself to maintain eye contact, and to stop fidgeting. He had to endure constructive criticism from his parents and his eight year old sister (her criticism was received about how you think it would be!) He moaned, he groaned, at times he cried. But he did it. He worked for it. He was picking up the stones preparing to face his giant.

The night before his speech, the giant got bigger and more threatening. “I just can’t. What if I mess up? What if I don’t get an A?” The giant stood there taunting my son; willing him to give up. My son pulled the covers over his head.

I wanted him to forget about letter grades. He had prepared as well as he could. I was so proud of his effort. In my mind he had earned so much more than a letter on a piece of paper. He had prepared to fight his giant. We prayed, asking God to fill him with courage and strength. We boldly asked the Lord to fill him with power – the same power He gave David, Moses, and Daniel.

The next morning, he gave his speech. My introverted terrified son stood up to his giant and swung his slingshot. And the giant fell. My son was still scared, he was still uncomfortable, but he did it! I was so proud of him! We celebrated his accomplishment without yet knowing the grade. After all the grade was just a letter, it couldn’t possibly convey what he had learned or accomplished.

The grade was posted, and I was ecstatic to discover he made a high B! I was thrilled for him. I ran to hug him expecting to find a happy relieved 13 year old.

“I didn’t get an A,” he said not meeting my gaze. “I didn’t do good.”

Oh my heart! How do I get him to stop focusing on the result? How do I teach him that real growth, real progress comes from the process of learning? How do I make him see that I would be prouder of a C he worked hard for, than an A that came easily?

But then God held a mirror in front of my own face. How often do I measure my worth by my performance, and by what others think of me? How often do I measure my value by my accomplishments, by “likes,” by numbers of blog followers? So often I treat Colossians 3:23-24 as if it says, “Whatever you do, work at it will all your heart, as if working to please people.” When in truth it says,

“Whatever  you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

People are people – flawed, sinful, fickle individuals. We award perfect performance and applaud worldly success. We change what we admire, we grow bored of what impresses us.

But God doesn’t change and He doesn’t measure us by what we do. He doesn’t value us by our resume. He loves us because we are His. He applauds our efforts, even if we fall on our faces. He cheers for our attempts at following Him, even if we trip along the way. And He has a reward in store for us that is far greater than anything this world can offer. Compared to eternity with Him in heaven, an A or “likes” looks pretty pathetic right?

So let’s embrace these teachable moments with our children, and ask God to use them to teach us as well. Let’s keep working at living out Colossians 3:23 as it is written. Let’s try to delight in the process and the journey, instead of focusing solely on the outcome. And let’s celebrate the small victories, the stones thrown at our giants, as we fix our eyes on the One who loves us unconditionally.

Much love,

Lessons in the Snow


You can sure learn a lot from snow.
Snow teaches great lessons like:
How to survive the front lines of the battlefield known as the grocery store at T minus 12 hours till storm time.
Why it is important to pick up dog poop before sledding down your backyard.
That waterproof pants are worth the investment.
That central heat and warm showers are vital to having a happy mommy in the house.
And that for some reason being snowed in results in cooking like you are expecting an army to drop by your house at any minute.

Snow can also teach much deeper spiritual lessons:
It can remind us that Jesus came to wash our sinful hearts and make them white as snow.
The value of slowing down and just being still (and warm!)
That our beautiful Creator delights in creating beautiful things for His children.
And that not all frozen precipitation is created equal.

Our latest winter storm reminded me of our first winter in NC –
Born and raised in Florida, I had very little experience with frozen precipitation when we moved to NC in 2002. When the first “flakes” began falling that December, I was ecstatic! I ran outside to fully take in the scene. My grandmother happened to call at that moment. I joyfully shared the glorious news with her and mentioned that I was surprised to learn that snow bounced.

My grandmother, born and raised in KY, said in her sweet mild mannered way, “Sugar, snow doesn’t bounce. You all be careful up there, cause that’s ice fallin.”

Wait – Snow is pretty much just fluffy ice right?

Um…no. Not. At. All.

About six hours after talking to my Grandmother we lost power. The sleet had quickly turned to freezing rain. And the weight of all that frozen rain took down trees which took down power lines which took out power, like a game of frozen dominos.

The ice was beautiful to look at, but it was also very dangerous. In fact, it proved deadly that year as fatal accidents and severe cold cost several people their lives.

I had foolishly thought that all frozen precipitation was created equal. I was so desperate for a real winter storm, that I wholeheartedly supported anything frozen falling from the sky. I ignored the warning signs that things were going to go real bad, real quick. Granted mine was good ol’ Florida girl snow ignorance, but yet the lesson is still there.

Just because something looks pretty, just because it is different and exciting to watch, doesn’t mean it is safe. Freezing rain clings to everything it touches. It seems harmless at first, but as more and more frozen rain accumulates, the weight intensifies. Trees bow and snap under the weight. Power lines droop and give way. Pipes burst. Engines fail.

It looks beautiful, but it’s disastrous.

It makes me realize that there is so much freezing rain all around us. Not actual freezing rain, but things that look enticing which are actually quite devastating.
Things that promise us great beauty and fun, but leave us weighted down with guilt and despair. People who claim to love us, but leave us alone and broken. Leaders who make promises they never intend to keep. People who pretend to be one thing, but whose actions reveal who they really are.

We need godly wisdom and discernment to see the difference between the true and the false. Or as my daughter would say, we need to tell the difference between the real deal and the sloppy copy!

Of course, this ice/snow metaphor has some serious holes since fluffy snow can wreak just as much havoc as ice. But since we never see that much snow here in NC just go with me!

This blog is all about seeing God in our everyday lives. But it is also vitally important to ask God to open our eyes to SEE the truth around us.
Where are we ignoring warning signs?
Are we so desperate for change that we compromise godly principles?
Are we so eager for something new that we embrace lies that look like truth?

The only way to know the difference between truth and lies is to know, truly know, God’s Word. His Word is the authority. His Word will protect. His Word will give answers. His Word will help us SEE truth.

What if we would run to God’s Word like we would run to a weather app when a storm is approaching? What if we would cling to Truth like we cling to central heat during an ice storm? What if we would ask God to help us see the truth about what was coming at us each day?

What if…..

Much love,

Finding the Mute Button

Some say it’s an introverted thing. Others say it’s a female thing. I’m starting to think it’s just a human thing:


The running commentary in my head:
“I can’t believe I actually said that!”
“How stupid do they think I am now?”
“What did they mean by that comment earlier?”
“Is she staring at me? Do I look hideous?”
“Are they going to think this blog post is awful?”

The never ending second guessing as I lay in bed at night:
“Shoot, what if they took what I said wrong? Did I communicate clearly?”
“Am I the world’s worst parent? Am I totally messing up my kids?”
“Who is responsible for therapy bills for adult children? If I break them should pay to fix them???”
“Why was my husband so quiet tonight? Did he hate dinner? Maybe I can’t cook anymore!”
“Will our house ever look like something other than the before picture in a renovation show?”
“Did I come across too self-absorbed in my blog post?”

Sometimes I get so tired of hearing my own thoughts. I seriously wish I had a self-mute button! I was starting to think this was just me. That maybe I am the only one who deals with this problem, but it turns out others have a ticker-tape like commentary running at the bottom of their minds too!

Sometimes these thoughts and commentaries are simply harmless annoying replays of how we wish we could have said or done something. But other times they are more dangerous. Sometimes they leave doubts; cause us to question God’s purpose, His authority, His love….

Satan knows our “achilles heel” and our thoughts are usually one of them.

Don’t you find it interesting that his first attack on Eve was to create doubt in her mind? “Did God really say not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” (Genesis 3:1) All it took to bring down all of mankind was a simple seed of doubt placed in Eve’s mind. Eve traded God’s best for her doubts.


My doubts are always there, but thankfully so is God. Can you imagine what might have happened if Eve would have called out to God at that moment: “Daddy! Help me! This creepy thing is trying to get me to doubt you. I need you.” Oh what a different world this would be. How God must have longed for her to do just that, and how He would have delighted in coming to her aid.

I don’t want my doubts to cost me God’s best for me. I don’t want to be ruled by what I think others think of me. I want to be ruled and consumed with Jesus and what He thinks of me.

What God thinks of me (and all His children):
I am valuable (made in His very image) – Genesis 1:27
I am wonderfully and purposefully made – Psalm 139:14
I am His child – 1 John 3:2
I am free from the chains of sin – Romans 8:2
I am forgiven – 1 John 1:9
I am securely held in His hand – John 10:29
I am part of His family – 1 Peter 2:9
I am never alone; the Holy Spirit is always with me – John 14:17
I am being transformed to better reflect His image – 2 Corinthians 3:18
I am awaiting my future and hope in heaven – Revelation 21:3-4
I am a child of the light – Ephesians 5:8
I am treasured – Titus 2:14
I am loved – John 3:16

Oh how I long to replace the self-doubt running commentary with Holy Spirit running commentary. How amazing it would be to let myself be consumed with what Jesus thinks of me instead of what I think others think. How freeing it would be to call out to my Abba Father for help when facing the arrows of doubt.

The awesome thing with replacing self-doubts with Spirit-filled truth is that it’s not meant to inflate our ego. Telling myself I’m worth it, I’m good enough, I can do anything I set my mind to, is setting me up for two things:
1) An enormous ego
2) Depression when I can’t do it

However, allowing the Holy Spirit to tell me: “You are loved by your Creator, bought by the blood of His Son, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what He calls you to do,” allows me to see myself as I truly am: a dependent child of the King- loved, treasured and empowered to do the work He sets before me.

After all it’s not about me – it’s all about Him….if only I could fully grasp that!

How could our lives be different if we allowed the Holy Spirit to mute our self-doubt and turn up the volume on God’s thoughts about us!

Much love,

ps – I’m off to ask God to stop the doubts about this post and replace them with His truth! Baby steps right! 😉



To my son the night before you become a teenager

I pause to watch you while you sleep just as I have done almost every night since you came into this world. The bed that once seemed to swallow you, now can barely contain you. I stand riveted to the side of your bed as flashes of your precious life flash before my eyes. The memories play in my mind like scenes from a movie. I can so easily see the eager little baby legs pumping in excitement as daddy brings you to me in the morning. As can almost feel the remnant of the sloppy kisses on my cheek – the ones you used to give so generously. I see your inquisitive toddler self asking me to “’s’plain” something that you wanted to understand. There in the forefront of my mind is your preschool self so carefree and full of laughter. I can see you on your first day of school. I can see the little boy on my counter who just lost his first tooth. I remember the fear your first ER trip brought. I am awestruck at the love you have shown for your family ever since you were born. You are my little boy, yet you’re becoming a young man.

Where has the time gone? You will not understand this question until you are watching your own child sleep someday. I must confess that I grieve those days that have passed, and yet as I watch you sleep I also see other days – days yet to come – and it is like balm to my soul.

I can see you learning to drive. I can see you going on your first date. I can see you learning more than you ever thought possible. I see you reaching for your dream. I see you seeking out a comforting hug when those dreams are harder to reach then you thought they would be. I see us talking through your first broken heart. I see your smile at graduation. I hear the sound of you opening a college acceptance letter.

I can see your life as if a path stretched out before you. So far on this path I have walked closely beside you; holding you, taking your hand, urging you forward. Far to soon though, you will begin to walk along this path without me being so close. Oh, I will be available. I will gladly come running when you need me. But the path begins to narrow and I must begin to step aside.

Oh my sweet boy how I pray that you will stay on your unique path. While it is no longer going to be big enough for me to walk side by side with you, it is always big enough for God to walk with you. Stay close to Him my love. Know that He is there. You will not always be able to feel or see Him, but always trust that He is indeed there. He will show you the way to go.

As time goes on, friends will try and draw you onto their paths. The world will call out to you from what looks to be an easier and more fun path. Do not join them. God has you on your path for a reason. Your path will lead where God wants you to go.

I pray that you will always allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. I pray that I have loved you well and taught you well. I pray that as you continue to grow and become more man than little boy, that we will remain close. I pray that you will always feel comfortable talking to me – about anything. And I promise that I will always try to listen more than I lecture.

I never knew how much grief would be a part of motherhood. I grieve what our relationship used to be. I grieve the little boy you used to be. But at the same time I adore what our relationship is now and what it will be, just as I adore who you are and will be.

You are precious. You are smart. You are special. You are funny. You are a treasure. You are talented. You are a joy. You are loved. Please don’t believe anyone who tells you differently. This world can hurt. Circumstances can hurt. People can hurt. But God heals, God holds, and God gives hope.

I will ALWAYS be here. Always. I am your biggest fan. Your biggest cheerleader. But God loves you even more than I can. He is love and He loves you.

I am so excited to watch your story unfold. I am so happy for this new chapter to begin in your life. I promise I will hold it together on your birthday. But tonight, just for this moment, I will let myself grieve your little boy era. I shed tears for those precious yesterdays. But tomorrow, tomorrow I will rejoice. I will cheer. I will sing – for you.

And I will always, always love you.

And you, my son, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind....if you seek Him, He will be found by you (1)

Confessions of a Plant Killer

Confession: I am a plant killer.

I don’t want to be. I love plants and flowers. But it is pretty much a guarantee that if I bring a plant home, within a few weeks it’s a goner. I can almost hear the poor little cries from the flowers at Home Depot as I walk by, “no! no! don’t pick me…please don’t pick me…I’m too young to die!”

My favorite flowers are hydrangeas. Every year I buy one (or am given one for Mother’s Day) and every year I vow that this is the year I will keep it alive.

The first year we moved into our new house, my sweet husband planted a beautiful hydrangea bush outside by our pond. It was a thing of beauty. But the next morning it was gone! Like all gone – every last leaf eaten by some deer out for a mid-night snack. The next year we planted them in pots by the front door. Those burned to death when we left for 3 weeks in the summer.

This past year I thought I had done it. I had two hydrangeas in pots by my front door which were given to me on Mother’s Day. They survived the summer. They survived the deer; thanks to panty hose balls stuffed with human hair! (yep, that’s a real thing which is absolutely as weird and disgusting as it sounds!!!!)

Was this to be my year? Was my killing spree over? Nope…they’re dead. This time it was death by drowning. We have averaged more rain this year than the rainforest! (perhaps a slight exaggeration), but we have had a ton of rain. Wanna know what happens when that much rain falls on hydrangeas in pots with no drainage holes? Dead hydrangeas!

I was so bummed to lose another Mother’s Day present, and to maintain my title of hydrangea killer. The hideous looking plants continue to sit on my front step in their water-filled pots taunting me. Honestly, they look like they should be adorning the Adam’s Family front door.

Day after day as I sit in my front room and I write, I have a direct line of view of my dead plants. Everyday I think “I should take those out and hide the evidence,” but life happens and they remain there.

However, a few days ago I noticed something that has kinda rocked my world. A constant stream of birds has begun flying to and from my waterlogged plants. A family of robins has claimed my drowned hydrangeas as their own personal bird bath. I sit and watch with fascination as the birds swoop in for a rest, a drink, and a little spritz bath. I smile at their antics in the water and with each other.

As I sit enthralled watching the birds, it has occurred to me that what I have considered a failure has become a gift to these little creatures. My purpose for the plants crashed and burned drowned, but yet the dead plants still have a purpose. Their branches provide rest for this family of robins, and the water provides sustenance and refreshment.


While the plants did not fulfill the purpose I thought they would serve, the purpose I wanted them to serve; they are still fulfilling a purpose – albeit a totally different one.

Their purpose may not be obvious to others. Their purpose may look unimportant and they might look pretty haggard, but they still have a purpose!

Do you ever feel unimportant or maybe even a little haggard? Do you ever look at your life and wonder, “what’s the point?” I know I have!

May I encourage you to ask God to help you see your life through His eyes? Ask Him to show you His purpose for you life. Your life may look different from others (just as my hydrangeas sure look different from others!), but that does not make your life any less important! God made you. God loves you. And God does not make mistakes! He can use anyone for His purpose and glory. Failures are not failures to Him. They are opportunities to start over, to turn to Him, to point others to Him.

Allow God to show you His plan for you. You never know the blessing He may have in store for you, or for others through you. Your waterlogged haggard life may be just what God is looking for to provide life saving truth to someone today. Are you willing to let Him?

Much love,

ps – Feel free to pass along advice for keeping hydrangeas alive? 😉

SEE(ing) into the future

I will confess that getting back into writing after an extended break has been a challenge. Case and point? That sentence took me two days to write! (Did it blow your mind? Change your life?)

I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to simply be present with my family over the Christmas break, but at the same time I really missed the writing schedule that I had set for myself. I always think I loath schedules and routines, yet experience has proven that I do not function well without them.

As I sit down to begin my first SEE post of the new year, I can’t help but look with both excitement and uncertainty at the upcoming year. What will this year bring? What joys, what sorrows, what opportunities, what challenges lie just out of my view?

Honestly, those questions begin to cause a feeling of anxiety within me, until I stop and look:

Look at the One who goes before me. Look at the One who knows each of my days. Look at the author and creator of human history. Look at the One who confidently and authoritatively holds the future in His hands.

When I pause to look and see that God is on The Throne, suddenly the anxieties and uncertainties of a new year fade away. So on this very first post of 2016 I will record my prayer for this year:


Open my eyes that I may see Your Word.

Open my ears that I may hear Your Word.

Open my mind that I may understand Your Word.

Open my heart that I may receive Your Word.

Open my mouth that I may speak Your Word.

While I have no idea what this year will bring, I do know and trust the One who does. And I wait with great excitement to SEE glimpses of His glory throughout my ordinary, mundane, yet beautiful life.