Let us SEE You even through tired eyes

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

“Mom, you know that verse that says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?” my son asked me as we walked through the grocery store after school one day this week. He went one, “well, if I had to say that about myself right now, I would say ‘I am beat up from the fight, crawling to the finish line because I can’t stand up, and trying really hard to have faith that I’ll make it.’ ”

So, my son is a little prone toward the dramatic. Especially in light of the fact he is talking about coming to the end of his sixth grade year. But I can so identify with how he is feeling. This time of year often leaves me limping along in my personal race too.

Maybe it’s just the fact that we know summer is almost here and the pace of life will slow down some, which makes us realize the intense pace we have been keeping all year long. Maybe it is the push to get as much done as possible before kids are home for the summer? Or maybe it just is what it is. Whatever the reason, I feel worn out and tired. Getting out of bed in the morning seems like an accomplishment in and of itself most mornings.

I have these vague memories from early September of me getting up before the alarm went off in order to pack healthy lunches with little encouraging notes tucked inside. I remember having each person’s laundry done and put away by Sunday night, with clothes for the next day picked out the night before. I seem to remember having these awesome folders where each child’s school forms and information were neatly stored until needed.

Fast forward to present day, where I willingly write lunch card checks so I don’t have to make a lunch (I mean $5 for lunch saves me at least 10 minutes in the morning, that’s totally worth it right????), my son is digging through the dryer the morning of school to find a shirt to wear, which looks as wrinkled as it sounds like it would. And school forms? Can we just go back to the days when those things were safety pinned to our kids shirts and then repined to send back?

I start to feel so guilty about feeling worn out. I mean, there are people in this world with real problems and real reasons to feel exhausted. I don’t really have a good reason, but I still feel spent.

And yet, Paul himself referred to life as a fight, which implies there are times it will be hard and even painful. He also said he finished the race, not that he ran the entire time with his head held high, his steps light and fast, and without getting winded. Maybe it is ok sometimes to limp, crawl or be supported by someone else as we run in our race toward our real Home.

I am human and I get fatigued. I am emotional and often allow my feelings to lead me. God knows this about me and yet, He loves me (and you!). He knows our weakness and He knows sometimes life feels like it is too hard for us. But I think those times can actually become His greatest blessings. After all, when I can’t do it on my own, I have to trust Him to get me through.

It is when I am at my weakest that I am able to SEE Him as my strength.

When I have nothing left to give, but am able to meet the needs of others, I SEE Him providing through me.

When I am so unfocused that I can’t write a curriculum lesson, and I cry out to God to write for me and He does, I SEE His Presence flowing through me.

When I want to pull the covers over my head and hide, and yet I ask Him to help me get up and He does, I SEE Him as the source of my strength.

When I feel overwhelmed, flustered, and grumpy, and ask Him to help me, and when He quiets my heart and brings me rest, I SEE Him as the giver of Peace.

Maybe being worn out and tired isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Maybe this is exactly where God wants me to be so I can SEE Him more clearly. And maybe, this is the day when my Precious Father will carry me for a bit along my race, as He fills me with His strength and lets me rest in Him.

We will finish this race! Let’s support each other, love each other, pray for each other, and encourage one another along the way!

And please don’t judge me if you see my kids in horribly wrinkled clothes today! 😉


Sometimes we all need to let our “Daddy” hold us along the way

May We SEE How You Provide (even when we don’t know what we need)

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:2


Have you ever taken a drink, not realizing how thirsty you were, and then suddenly found the cup empty as you reach for more? We often run so hard, go so fast, and have so much on our overloaded plates, that at times, we fail to see our own basic needs, or the trouble we are headed towards if we do not stop and take a drink.

I was able to SEE God’s provision this weekend in a beautiful way, as He provided a glorious drink of water I didn’t even know I needed.

A few months ago, my incredibly generous parents called to say they wanted to give my husband and me a weekend vacation for our anniversary. They would pay for the hotel, and come take care of our kids! (I mean, seriously! they are amazing!) I mentioned that we would love to visit Charleston, SC and next thing I knew our anniversary trip was booked!

My mom kept mentioning how good it would be for my husband and I to get away to focus on each other and our marriage. I listened politely thinking, “we’re ok, I mean busy yes, but we are doing just fine.” However, I am not one to turn down a free trip, so I started packing.

I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but my husband and I had not spent a fun weekend away from our kids in six years. (Had it really been that long????) See, when you’re in the thick of parenting, career building, home projects, church service, and school volunteering the time just passes as you doggie-paddle to keep your head above water. Since my head was still kind of above the water, I didn’t see I was in trouble. I didn’t realize my muscles were getting tired, or that I was hungry and thirsty. I had gotten used to the status-quo: short interrupted conversations with my husband, life beginning to revolve around outside expectations, falling asleep in the middle of reading my daughter a book, an evening spent staring at the tv thinking that counted as quality time with my husband…..(anyone experience this or just me????)

I had accepted the status quo as enough. I was just fine and my marriage was just fine. I had become complacent with the status quo, and couldn’t see the danger I was headed towards. Now, I’m not saying that my husband and I were headed toward any kind of separation or anything like that, but we were headed further and further apart as we slowly began living separate lives under the same roof.

I am so grateful for not only generous parents, but wise parents as well. Parents who are willing to get involved and point out a potential pitfall you are headed toward. They have been there, and done that after being married almost 50 years! They don’t get involved often, so when they do, I tend to listen 🙂

They recognized the road we were on and lovingly and generously offered a detour. My husband and I left our kids in their capable hands and headed out of town. Within the first hour of getting to our destination, we realized how desperately we needed this. Sitting at dinner with my husband of 17 years, looking into the same blue eyes I have loved for over two decades, I felt my soul drink deeply from a cup that was lovingly handed to me by my precious God.

We spent two glorious days together exploring a city rich in history, reflecting on two decades together, and marveling at God’s sweet blessings on us.

There is a reason Jesus called Himself the Living Water. Not only does He give us eternal life, but He sustains us as He continues to fill us with Himself. I had no idea how thirsty I was, but He did and He provided through my parents generosity.

I am so grateful for this weekend, and our time away. I feel as though my eyes have been opened to see my husband and our family in a new way. I have been reminded how important it is to take time for each other, even if that means it will take some effort to make it happen.

I am grateful to my mom and dad for their wisdom and generosity, I am grateful to my husband for loving me and leading our family so well, and I am eternally grateful to my God who sees our needs and lovingly provides for them in both big and small ways everyday.

“Lord, we are all so thirsty for You, and yet, oftentimes we don’t even realize our thirst. Please open our eyes to SEE our need for You, and bring us to Your Word where we can drink from Your Living Water which is the only way to satisfy our parched souls.”

*the picture at the top is from the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, S.C. We spent three hours enjoying that beautiful place.

May We SEE the Battle, and Fight

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. Ephesians 6:13

It is hard to live on this planet and not see the battle that is raging around us. Not battles between countries, nor political battles. Not battles between law enforcement and angry citizens, nor battles over rights and religion.

But the battle which rages and fuels all those battles; the battle between good and evil. This battle has been raging since the world began, and will continue until the world, as we know it, ends.

The brilliance of our enemy’s battle plan is to blind people to the fact we are in a battle. He loves complacency, misdirection and fear. Those are some of his greatest weapons. He stirs up people to think they are fighting one battle, without realizing the greater battle raging around them.

There is a real battle going on and it is impossible to deny. Evil grows all around us and hearts are being turned away from God as the enemy prowls around looking for people to devour.

However, good is stronger than evil because God is stronger then satan! And God has already won the war. But we are called to fight.

Obviously, we cannot fight on our own. Just as a soldier would have protection and weapons, God has given His children protection and weapons so that we can stand against our enemy and fight back.

I just got done writing a children’s lesson on the armor of God, and while I’ve read that passage many times, it was as if God opened my eyes to see it in an entirely new way. I saw our armor in a whole new way that excites me, and drives me to my knees in praise and pleading.

The Belt of Truth. Just as a belt surrounds our waist, we must be surrounded by God’s truth if we are to stand against our enemy. Surrounded in truth: reading God’s Word everyday, praying for spiritual insight, thinking about Jesus, listening to Godly wisdom from others, speaking truth, singing truth, literally surrounding ourselves in Truth. There are so many lies and half-truths out there. We will most certainly fall to the lies, if we are not surrounded by Truth.

Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate covers the heart and lungs, and Jesus’ righteousness covers the hearts of those who trust in Him. His righteousness literally covers us so that we can stand before God. Satan cannot accuse God’s children, because they have been redeemed and justified by Jesus Himself.

Shoes of the Gospel. Our “Gospel shoes” give us both the ability to stand, and the reason to move. We stand on the Gospel and because of the Gospel, and we move so we can share the Gospel.

Shield of Faith. Satan attacks with arrows of lies, deceit, half-truths, and tricks. He knows he cannot take God’s children away from Him eternally, but he will do everything he can to make them ineffectual for God’s Kingdom. He seeks to turn hearts away from God. Faith in Jesus is our protection. Knowing who Jesus is, and who we are in Him is how we deflect those arrows. When our faith is in Jesus, He becomes our shield, which means satan’s arrows strike Jesus instead of us! Those arrows are no match for The King!

The Helmet of Salvation. Just as a helmet protects a person from a deadly injury, our salvation protects our lives from being snatched away from God. While satan will attack, he cannot remove God’s children from His hand. Satan may win a battle, but he will never win the war because the names of those who know Jesus are engraved on His hands.

The Sword of the Spirit. This is the only weapon in our armor, and it is the only one we need. What is more powerful than God’s Word? With His Word, He created the universe. And with His Word, He will one day destroy satan. God’s Word is so powerful that it is what Jesus Himself used to fight satan in the wilderness. God’s Word is the most powerful weapon of all, capable of changing the very core of man. However, just as a soldier must pick up his sword to use it, we must pick up God’s Word so we can use it. We must read it, speak it, pray it, talk about it, listen to it, and meditate on it. We must know God’s Word so we can use God’s Word in battle.

Prayer. While prayer is not officially listed in the armor list, it is no less important in our arsenal of weapons. I read an amazing quote by John Piper that I believe sums up the purpose of prayer beautifully: “Prayer is the walkie-talkie on the battlefield of the world. It calls in for the accurate location of the target of the Word. It calls in to ask for the protection of air cover. It calls in to ask for fire power to blast open a way for the tanks of the Word of God. It calls in the miracle of healing for the wounded soldiers. It calls in supplies for the forces. And it calls in the needed reinforcements.”

We must admit that we are in the battle of all battles, and we must put on each day, the armor God has given us. Surround yourself in truth, ask Jesus to cover your heart with His righteousness, run with the Gospel, ask Jesus to be your shield, battle confidently, know God’s Word, and pray.

“God, raise up warriors to fight boldly and confidently, knowing that You have already won the war!”

Two Edged Sword

May we SEE You While We Wait

I seem to be suffering from a mild case of writer’s block. Curriculum lessons have become harder to write, my thoughts are a jumbled mess, and yet non-existent at the same time. Even writing a grocery list feels overwhelming. The former grief counselor in me, knows that grief can cause distraction and focus problems. I am being patient with myself (as patient as I can be with deadlines looming;) and trusting the One who wrote The Book in the first place, to help me write lessons from His book, for His kids.

As I wait, and trust, and slowly write, I keep reflecting on a beautiful song by Francesca Battistelli called, “Holy Spirit.” It has become my prayer the last few weeks. I played around with the song and some of my dad’s and my aunt’s gorgeous pictures. I ended up creating a slideshow which I wanted to share here. I pray that as you listen to the words of this song, your heart will be stirred by the Holy Spirit and you will become more aware of His Presence. Waiting is hard, but waiting in the power of the Holy Spirit can become a beautiful time of rest and refreshment.

You can download this song (and her entire album which is INCREDIBLE) by clicking the following link:


Help us SEE You in the Darkness

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (and the darkness) I will fear no evil, for You are with me…..” Psalm 23:4

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“He restores my soul….”Psalm 23:3


I have always hated darkness. As a child I was talked into crawling through a “touch tunnel.” Sounds all well and good, but you are in a maze in total and complete darkness where you must feel your way out; you cannot even see your hand in front of your face. Even thinking about it now, makes me shiver.

As a child, I thought darkness referred only to the absence of light, and if I could have a night-light at all times, then I could chase the darkness away.

Of course, now as an adult, I know that darkness comes in many different forms. Some forms of darkness can easily be chased away, while others have the power to consume you.

The darkness of a loved one’s death, mental illness, a psychological trauma, abuse, a scary medical diagnosis, a broken marriage, a wayward child, can all threaten to consume us. The darkness of these realities seek to overtake the light.

This past week, the world lost a precious woman. Questions like: “Why?” “Could I have done something?” and “How did I miss her pain?” nag at our thoughts day and night. Answers are few, questions are many, and grief is palpable.

When I received the news of her death, I was unable to process anything for awhile. I heard the words people were saying, but the words just could not make sense. My friend was never without a smile or a joke. I never once left her presence without a smile on my face. She loved Jesus, her family, her friends and anyone in need. She treasured God’s Word and she spoke it often. How could she be gone?

As time passed, the numbness gave way to sadness, the sadness gave way to anger, and the anger gave way to guilt. In those moments of complete confusion and disorientation, I felt like I was back in the touch tunnel. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see God’s purpose. I couldn’t see why He allowed this. I couldn’t even pray.

This blog is dedicated to seeing God in my everyday life, but what happens when it is dark and you can’t SEE Him?

You hold tight to who He is, and you ask Him to turn on a night-light!

If you have godly friends (and/or parents), you call them and ask them to pray with you and for you. You cry out to God to help you. You beg God to help the others affected. And you begin speaking out loud, who God is.

Darkness does not change who God is. God is good (Psalm 136:1). God is love (1 John 4:8). God is in complete control of this world (2 Chronicles 20:6). God is working all things for the good of those who love them, even when that means temporary, yet unimaginable pain (Romans 8:28). God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He is our shield (Psalm 28:7), our refuge (Psalm 46:1), our stronghold (Psalm 18:2), our rock (2 Samuel 22:3). He is our salvation and our strength (Isaiah 12:22).

God feels our pain and holds us close. He “hides us in the shadow of His wing” and sets our feet upon The Rock.

The day I heard the shocking news, I sat in my car for an hour. I went from feeling nothing, to gut wrenching pain in a matter of moments. As I was emotionally back in the touch tunnel I cried out to God. It was not a fancy prayer. In fact, it went something like, “Daddy, help!”

And He did. He turned on the night-light through a friend who prayed for me, because I had no words. He held my hand in the darkness as He brought the truth of who He still is to my mind. He hid me in His wings as the numbness gave way to pain.

I still have no answers, and my heart still hurts for my friend’s family. I don’t know why the darkness was allowed this temporary victory. But this I do know: darkness won this battle, but God has won the war!

My sweet friend was and is a child of God. She had given her heart to Jesus and knew that she was forgiven. His blood covered her sin: past, present and future. She is His and He is hers. (I can still say “is” because she is with Him right now).

We are still left in the dark in so many ways, but we cling to The Light. I pray that good will come from this. Let’s pray earnestly for transparency in relationships, especially in the body of Christ. I’m so not perfect and neither are you. Let’s be real with each other. Let’s ask “How are you?” and mean it! And let’s not be afraid to answer that question honestly!

Let’s earnestly pray that the church will lead the way in addressing and helping to provide for those with mental illnesses and emotional pain. It is a complicated and highly debated subject, but Jesus never ever avoided complicated and debated subjects. We live in a broken world and have to acknowledge that brokenness affects all of creation, including human bodies and minds. Let’s follow our Savior’s example and not judge, but love.

And let’s shine the light of Jesus into each other’s lives. You never know when someone is groping through the darkness, unable to SEE in front of them. We can shine the light of love and of truth into the darkness as we remember and reflect on who God is.

Just as Mary Magdalene discovered early one Sunday morning as she wearily walked to a garden tomb thinking that darkness had won; there will be times when the darkness will win a battle, but praise God, we have a victorious risen King who has already won the war!

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (and the darkness) I will fear no evil, for You are with me…..” Psalm 23:4

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“He restores my soul….”Psalm 23:3

May We SEE Your “Winks”

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'” 2 Chronicles 20:17

Have you ever noticed that the enemy likes to aim his arrows at your weakest point? He is not stupid, and he knows where we struggle most. We all have that one area (sometimes several) that we constantly fight God for control over. Maybe it’s anxiety, fear, finances, marriage problems, parenting concerns, job stress, jealousy, bitterness, or any number of other issues. We try to give it to God, but then take it right back out of His capable Hands.

I certainly have my fair share of weak points and earlier this week satan began firing his arrows fast and furiously at those vulnerable places. I became instantly defeated and weary. “God, not this same battle again!” I cried in my heart “I can’t do this. I just want to give up.”

It is amazing to me how I can go from a spiritual mountaintop to the deepest valley in the blink of an eye. I guess standing on a mountaintop with your arms raised in worship makes you an easy target. I certainly felt like an easy target earlier this week, as my thoughts turned to what was wrong and away from the One who is Right.

Yesterday, I woke up still feeling defeated and asked God to show me a glimpse of Him. I was meeting with a sweet friend early in the morning. We meet occasionally to encourage each other in our different writing projects. We sat down and laughed at the fact that neither one of us really knew what we would talk about that day. We didn’t have a plan, but God certainly did.

I had not told my friend about my inner struggle and weariness, we just started talking about a writing conference we are soon to attend and read each other’s latest writings. We spent two sweet hours together and then she started to leave. As she was leaving, she looked at me and spoke the sweetest kindest words to my heart. She encouraged me not to get overwhelmed with temporary fleeting things, but to keep my eyes fixed on eternity and the God who is forever. I wanted to stand there like a fish with my mouth hung open. How did she know? Did she know my inner battle? But then in that moment, I knew she was speaking God’s words to me. It was as if God gave me a “wink.”

A wink can express such depth of emotion. When my husband winks at me across a room, I know that wink is just for me. It conveys love and affection and sometimes an inside joke. When I wink at my kids as they are taking the stage in a recital or giving a presentation, I am telling them (through the wink) that I know they can do it and that I am cheering for them. A wink is an expression of caring and support.

I felt like God winked at me yesterday through my friend’s words. He reminded me that struggles on this earth are temporary, and have already been defeated on the cross. While I may still have daily battles to fight, He has already won the war! I can give my fears and frustrations to Him, and in return He will give me contentment. After all, this world is not my permanent home. As long as I keep an eternal perspective the arrows seem to lose their effectiveness.

Satan is still trying to fire those arrows today, but today I have surrendered; although not to him. I have surrendered to God. I have waved my white flag and asked Him to fight the battle. I am hiding behind my Shield, tucked safely in “His righteous wing.” It feels much better here, and I can raise my hands in worship, not fearing being an easy target because God is all around me.

“Lord, thank You for fighting our battles and thank You for providing reminders of Your love. Thank You for Your “winks” and may we SEE those winks when You give them. Help us to become those “winks” for others by being open to speak Your truth to others today. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

May We SEE You as our Power Supply

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:19


“Mom, I only have 22%!!! I’ll never make it! What am I going to do???”

My son had forgotten to charge his school ipad the night before. He has been amazingly responsible with charging it each night, but on this particular night he simply forgot. In a typical day he comes home with 35% battery power left. Obviously, starting with 22% was not going to cut it. He plugged it in that morning, but we had to leave the house in 25 minutes and it would never charge that fast.

We got in the car and he had 41% battery life. “Mom, what am I gonna do if it runs out? How will I get everything done? Will I get in trouble?” My boy was bordering on full blown panic. “Sweetie, all we can do is pray and ask God to help you get through today. We can ask Him to let 41% be enough and He could do that, but if He doesn’t, He will still get you through the day.” My son, looked less than thrilled with my advice, but resigned to the situation, we prayed.

As I drove away from the school, I tried to prepare myself for the Bible study I was going to. I started going over the lesson in my head, and praying for the morning, but I could not stop thinking about my son. Worry crept into my heart and “helicopter mom” started to make her voice known. “Should I email the teachers? Should I take him the external charger thing my dad gave us? Should I pick him up early?” Thankfully, the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit made itself heard over my anxious thoughts; “pray and trust” is what that voice said. “But God, it’s an ipad…can I pray about an ipad?” In light of the crazy big problems going on in this world, I felt somewhat ashamed praying for an ipad. “Pray.” I felt the word again in my heart.

“OK Lord. I am so embarrassed to pray this prayer right now. Christians are facing persecution and death today, terrorists are engaging in acts of pure evil, families are saying goodbye to loved ones. There are people who need You in such huge ways today, and I am sorry to ask you this, but could you provide my son with enough battery power to get him through the day. Will you power his ipad and let him SEE You in this day? God, I trust that you can, but even if You don’t, please give him the strength and courage he will need to endure the day. Thank You for listening to my prayer and for caring about what concerns each of your children.”

My heart was suddenly and completely at peace. God had replaced my anxiety with the peace only He can give. I went about my day, had a sweet morning of Bible study and went that afternoon to pick up the kids from school. As soon as I saw my son, I asked him how the ipad did. He looked at me and smiled a triumphant smile, “I still have 35% left! I used it all day, but I only used 6% of my battery! I guess God answered that prayer!”

I was dumbfounded. I mean, I knew God could but I wasn’t sure He would. I was so thankful to my God who simultaneously cares for the hurt, the sick and the dying, and boys who forgot to charge their ipad for school. What an awesome and personal God we serve. My son got to SEE God in a huge way that day, and God set the stage for me to SEE Him in an even bigger way days later.

Two days later, I sat at the table trying to focus on my quiet time. I was exhausted, had a lesson to finish writing, another to start, volunteering commitments at school, a kitchen to clean, several errands to run, and to make matters more fun my allergies were in overdrive because of pollen. “God, it is 8:00 in the morning and I feel spent. There is no way I can do all that I have to do today. I am tired and sick and just want to crawl back in bed. How am I going to accomplish all that is set before me? Lord, I feel like I didn’t get charged last night.”

That’s when I remembered! “Wait! Lord, you kept my boy’s ipad running all day even though it was only at 41%. Would you help me run all day even though I feel depleted already? God, I can only do this if You supply the power and strength I need. Here is my to-do list. Please, enable me to complete it in Your power and strength.”

Ok, here’s the amazing part: He did! I got more done that day than I have ever done before. He filled me with Himself in such an amazing way. Not only did I get done everything on my to-do list, but because He is the God who “fills my cup to overflowing” I got extra things done. God provided the circumstances for me to get two things done that day that I had been putting off for weeks. I felt energized and strengthened. He made my 41% enough that day. I couldn’t wait to share the news with my son. I thanked him for providing the circumstances which led to me getting to SEE God as my power supply.

I know there will be days when I am just worn out or sick and not be able to complete the items on my list, but I have also learned that I can trust God to provide for my every need; whether by giving me the energy I need or by providing the rest I need.

He has shown me that He cares for each one of us personally. He knows our hurts, our fears, our dreams. He will provide rest when we need it and energy to accomplish what He sets before us. I don’t have to fear not being enough, or having enough, because My God is all I need.

May you SEE Him as your power supply today and trust Him to provide exactly what you need when you need it.

May We Help Others SEE You


“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved”

This weekend brought warm temperatures which beckoned all of us out of the house. We each found projects to work on outside, even my 7 year old daughter. She asked her daddy for two pieces of wood, a hammer, and a nail. She then quietly went to work making a sign. I did not think much about it as I soaked in the warm rays of the sun while picking up branches and pinecones. After 30 minutes or so, my daughter asked me for the “big giant hammer with the black rubber end thingy” aka the mallet. I gave it to her and she skipped off happily. After another several minutes, she called me to see what she had made. She proudly displayed the sign in the picture above. She looked up at me with that “can you believe I actually made this!” look on her face, and waited for my response. I must have hesitated a moment too long, because she said, “mommy, now people will know where to go to get in our house” (duh!!! was hidden in those words).

I must confess, that I never thought our front door was that hard to find: we have a path leading to it, it is in the normal spot on the front middle of the house, there are steps leading to it, but you know, maybe that’s just me 🙂

“Baby, wow! What a great sign!” I quickly added, “um, don’t you want to put it by your tree house though?” (not that I was at all bothered by a random front door sign in our flower bed or anything)

“But I don’t have a front door in my tree house. I don’t even have any walls. Why would I put this there?” was the bewildered reply I received.

“I made it to help people find their way in. Can I please leave it here?”

Suddenly, I no longer saw a random “front door this way sign.” Instead, I saw a truth that I far too often ignore: people need to know how to find truth; and it isn’t always obvious to them.

Having grown up in church, attended a Christian school, and been a part of a Gospel focused family, I can far too easily assume that everyone knows how to find true life; how to find Jesus. I assume that the “front door” is obvious, but to many, it isn’t, they need a sign.

Maybe the sign they need is in the form of a question like: “Do you go to church anywhere?” or “Where do you find comfort during hard times?”

Maybe the sign they need is in the form of a gesture: taking food to some who is sick and telling the person you are praying for them; giving a Bible to someone and spending time reading it together; hosting an Gospel focused Easter egg hunt at your house, or a birthday party for Jesus.

Maybe the sign they need is kind words spoken: kind words to the cashier who has been berated by irritated customers, affirming words to the janitor who feels unseen, compassion filled words to the mother dealing with screaming toddlers at the store.

Maybe the sign they need is an invitation: to church, to share a prayer request, to hear about the One who has completely changed your life.

I am guilty of staying in my “holy huddle” safely tucked among my Christian friends who know their way to The Door, but I am convicted that is not where God wants me to stay. Holy huddles are good for drawing strength, comfort and encouragement, but like a football huddle, the game is not played in the huddle; the ball is not passed in the huddle.

My daughter’s sign was a vivid picture from God that those who walk in darkness need help finding the light and The Way. Only Jesus can lead them to the door of eternal life and Heaven. How can I show people Jesus today? What sign is God asking me to hold up? What sign is He asking You to hold up today?

May We SEE You in Both the Journey and the Destination

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.…” Psalm 121:1-2

The winding road of death. That is what I called the road our car’s GPS led us to as we made our way to a hotel in the mountains of Virginia. Our GPS settings are apparently stuck on finding the shortest route possible, regardless of the fact that the shortest route takes you on a severe winding road up a mountain. To make matters worse, the road had recently been plowed from heavy snow which made it basically a one lane road. Oh, and it was dark, and it was icy. Awesome!

We had made a last minute decision to leave a day early because freezing rain was forecasted to start early the day we were supposed to leave. However, as we began to make our way up the winding road of death, I started to question our decision: “Is this trip worth it?”

I was terrified; although I tried to hide it from my kids. My husband was doing a great job navigating the sharp turns and avoiding the icy patches. I was grateful for the darkness, because at least I couldn’t see over the side of the road (which by the way, had no guardrails!)

As we were slowly making our way up and down, and back and forth, I began paying attention to how my husband was driving; but for once, not in a passenger-seat driver kind of way. At that moment, all I wanted was to SEE God with us and to know that He was there (although, part of me was convinced we would all be seeing Him face to face at any moment!).

As I sat in the car, I began to see not just the crazy road in front of me, but I began to see the road as a metaphor for life.

How many twists and turns do we have to take in this life? How many struggles to get uphill? How many dangerous things do we have to avoid? And how many times have things seemed to get out of control and required us to put on the brakes?

The road of life is often dangerous and hard to navigate, but we are not meant to travel the road alone!

When we had to make a sharp uphill turn, we had to accelerate quickly to make it up the incline. The times we must go uphill in life (times when we must make a life change, deal with a difficult diagnosis, endure intense emotional pain) we should accelerate quickly to God’s Word. We need to cling to Him and ask Him for the strength to move ahead in His power.

When we had to make a sharp downhill turn, we had to slow way down and shift into a lower gear. There will be times when we are faced with downhill life moments, times when things could very easily get out of control. These can be good moments, like the birth of a child, a life season change, getting something you have waited for a long time for. They could also be difficult things like the death of a loved one, depression, loss of a job. During these “downhill” moments the only way to avoid careening out of control is to slow way down. Stop and breathe in God’s Word. We can’t try to act as if everything is just the same. We need to shift gears, only do what absolutely has to get done and allow God to hold us in His arms. We must allow ourselves time to acclimate to the new situation we find ourselves in. Downhill times require us to hold fast to God and trust His strength to hold us firm.

Avoiding icy patches required a close eye on the road and anticipation of what was ahead. Sin can so easily run us off the road. Sin is good at hiding and blending in. Some sins are easy to spot and therefore more easily avoided, but other sins are like black ice; you don’t notice it until you have driven right onto it. Sins like bitterness, envy, resentment, fear, gossip, selfishness, a judgmental attitude are so easy to run into and cause us to run right off the road. We can deal with “icy” patches by staying in God’s Word so we more easily recognize sin, asking the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts soft to His conviction, confessing our sin quickly and repenting. When we keep our eyes and hearts fixed on God, the icy patches will not be able to keep us from following the road set before us.

The darkness kept our eyes focused straight ahead, where our headlights could light our way. We could not see anything that was not right in front of us. This world is darkness. God is light. As we make our way along our life road, let us keep our eyes straight ahead asking God to light our way, and then following Him.

We did eventually make it off the winding road of death. The road straightened out, my heart rate slowed down and we had a truly wonderful trip! The road was hard, but we were not alone and it led us to a glorious time.

May we all rest in the knowledge that we are not alone on the road of life. Sure, it will get hard and be difficult at times, but God is always with us. And at the end of the road, He is waiting for His children with open arms. For the believer, the end of the road is just the beginning of the unimaginable beauty and glory of eternity with our King! The destination will definitely be worth the ride!

Snowy Mountain Road

(The verse I quoted at the beginning of the post is from a Psalm that my precious Grandmother read everyday of her adult life. She trusted God along the road of her life, and was then welcomed into the arms of her Savior as He met her at her heavenly destination. I am so thankful for her life, her love and her legacy.)

Recording What I SEE

I started this blog as a place to journal and record various ways I SEE God at work in my life. Over the past week we have had three snow events, which is a big deal when you rarely get three in an entire winter. In these past 7 days, I have seen both God’s work and His glory in so many ways. Today’s post is both a “thank you” to Him and my own “Jordan Memorial Stones.”

Snow: The pure white snow reminds me of the Holiness of God. The fact that it totally transforms everything it touches, illustrates the power of Jesus in a person’s life. God can transform a dirty, dingy, dying heart into a beautiful, glorious, forgiven heart through the power of His Son; just like He can transform a dirty, dingy, dying tree limb into a beautiful snow covered work of art.

Snowman: As we made snowman after snowman, I began to SEE the transforming power of the Holy Spirit as He takes the forgiven heart and begins shaping and molding it into a new creation. The snowman had to be chiseled out in some spots, and at times, it had to be crushed and remade so that it would be strong enough to stand firm. Wow! What a picture of what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life!

Snow Days: Things really slow down during snow days. Granted it is not all fluffy snow, hearts and flowers, but it was a sweet time of togetherness (at least 90% of the time). I was able to SEE the importance of slowing down and just “being” with God. Just as I had to surrender my agenda during snow days, I saw the need to surrender my agenda during my quiet time with the LORD. It becomes so much easier to SEE God when I am not rushing around to accomplish my to-do list, but trusting Him to enable me to accomplish what He has set before me.

Middle of the night snow storm: When you awaken in the middle of the night to realize that you have no power and that wet heavy snow coated in freezing rain is snapping limbs from trees all around your house, you realize how little control you really have in life. As I laid in bed watching the flashes of transformers blowing and heard the cracking sound of limbs plummeting to the ground below, I began to panic. “God, we have so many huge trees around our house, and we have no power. It is so cold already. What if a tree falls on the house? How will we even get out?” As quietly as the snow was falling, was the voice I heard in my heart which said, “Remember what your little girl said last week?https://jenniferbleakley.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/may-we-see-you-as-the-father-who-is-always-with-us/

“I am always with you, and even if bad things happen, I will see you through. Rest in Me. Trust in Me.” In that moment I surrendered my house, and my loved ones to Him. I pictured Him wrapping our entire house “in the shadow of His wings”, and I went to sleep. The next morning, I discovered 9 huge limbs down in our yard, but not one anywhere near the house! I wish I could fully express the gratitude overflowing in my heart!

Warmth: It was all fun and games until we lost power. Everyone in my house loves the snow, until we get cold! The temperature in our house got to 57 degrees. This Florida born and raised girl was COLD. The snow no longer appealed to me. All I wanted to do was huddle under three blankets in four layers of clothes. I was grumpy and tired. What went from lovely and exciting, in an instant became burdensome and dreadful. Being away from warmth had changed my perspective and my attitude. But then the power was restored! A long hot shower, followed by a hot cup of coffee drastically altered my perspective. I realized in that moment that God is like warmth. When I am close to Him (reading His Word, spending time with Him) my perspective is positive and my attitude is joyful. But when I pull away from Him or neglect my relationship with Him, it is like I begin to get cold, and both my perspective and attitude become very negative.

Don’t you love that God is both snow and warmth? He is justice and mercy. He is all-powerful and yet speaks in a quiet voice. He is the Creator of all and yet He knows my name.

There are so many other ways in which I have seen His glorious presence this week, but I would be typing all day to record them. I will end this post with just one more:

My children’s laughter: The night the snow began to fall, my kids and I took our places in front of the big window. It is our tradition to lay on our backs with our heads by the window as we watch the snow fall. From that vantage point, it appears as if you are flying through space. As we lay there, the dog decides to join in the fun by laying on us, which leads my kids into a fit of giggles. More laughter ensues as the silliness of two excited kids kicks in. We then settle down and carefully watch for big flakes and discuss our plans for the next day: sledding, snowmen, snowball fights. In that moment, I saw the delight my Father takes in His children. My heart was overflowing with love for my two children. I savored their excited chatter, I laughed when hearing their young giggles, I ruffled heads and held hands. I would have given anything for that moment. Then I realized that God did give everything so that He could have those moments with us. He gave His Son so that we can share “moments” with Him for all of eternity!

What a precious, amazing, beautiful, complex, wonderful, indescribable God we have! I pray that you will SEE Him in some way today. Look for Him; He is always there, in the snow and in the warmth!

Our view from the window as the snow began to fall.

Our view from the window