A prayer for two boys….

(Two boys in my son’s 9th grade class were involved in a serious accident last week, and both have been in the hospital ever since. The boys and their families are being prayed over constantly by so many. My heart has been so heavy for all those involved as they sit and wait. As they brace themselves for each new report. And as they long for their boys to wake up. If you have a moment, would you join me in praying for these two…)

Lord God—the Almighty One, mighty to save and incomparable in power,

In times like these we realize just how powerless we are. How dependent we are on You—on Your will, Your plan and Your presence.

Father, our hearts are broken for those who have been hurt, and for those who are hurting with them and for them. We cry out against the pain, against the fear and the unknown.

We long to turn back time—to stop this from ever happening. But once again we are reminded of our powerlessness, our weakness.

God may that awareness draw us to Your power, Your strength, and Your grace.

Lord, two young souls lay in broken bodies. Bodies which have been battered, bruised and scarred. Unreachable by those desperate to once again hear their voice, see their smile, feel their embrace. Deafening silence permeates a room which should be filled with chatter, with laughter, with life.

Father, right now we ask that Your voice would go where human words cannot.

Jesus, would you speak, even now, to the hearts of those boys. Will you whisper words of hope, of peace, of grace. Of life.

Lord God, with but a word you spoke life out of darkness. Will you speak once again.

With but a word you pushed back the sea. Will you speak once again.

With but a word you healed, redeemed, forgave, saved. Will you speak once again.

And God we trust that while we may never hear Your voice speaking to the boys, you are indeed speaking even now. You are whispering words of love. You are speaking words of truth. You are breathing words of healing. You are singing words of delight. 

God we trust that the voice of God can go where human words cannot.

And we believe that in the darkness, You are shining light.

In the quiet, You are speaking grace.

In the brokenness, You are making new.

And in the heartache, You are healing.

Jesus, we commit these boys to You. We trust them to Your care. We place them in Your hands.

And Lord we ask that You would strengthen their parents and families. Flood each soul with Your peace—peace that doesn’t make sense. Peace that stronger than fear. Draw their hearts ever closer to You. Infuse them with strength. Sustain them with Your power—the same power that triumphed over sin and death.

God we are fully dependent on You. We stand here broken, with empty hands raised to You in full surrender and trust. Be glorified in this Jesus. And as your children heal and recover may they become living breathing thriving testimonies of Your grace, and mercy and power.

It is in the powerful, healing, sustaining name of Jesus we pray, amen.

The voice of God can go where human words cannot.jpg

Three powerful words to remember when GOD seems far away…

When flood waters rise and unrelenting rain pours from the sky, God where are you?
When fires rage, consuming everything in their destructive path, God where are you?
When hurricanes churn in open waters, terrorizing those in their paths, God where are you?
When a grim-faced doctor reveals a life-changing diagnosis, God where are you?
When nations war against nations, people against people, brothers against brothers, God where are you?
When children are buried, marriages dissolve, and hurting souls take their own lives, God where are you?

I AM here.

The words float toward earth—billowing echoes from the throne of Heaven.

I AM here, the echo repeats, Closer than the air you breathe, nearer than your beating heart.

I AM standing beside you, giving you strength.

I AM whispering peace in your ear.

I AM holding your hand as you stand in broken disbelief.

I AM stroking your hair, catching your tears.

I AM waiting within the pages of My Word.

I AM longing for you to look to Me.

I AM the Sovereign God who promises to never leave you nor forsake you.

I AM brokenhearted with you. I AM grieving with you. I AM saddened with you.

But I AM also the author of Hope, and dear one, your story is not over, this moment does not define you. This storm will pass, and you…my precious child, you will be stronger, braver, bolder. You will be changed because you saw Me in the midst of the storm.

For when you see Me—when you look past the visible, into the face of the eternal—you will never be the same.

This is my promise to you:

In Me you will find strength and peace and rest.
In Me you will find hope and courage and wisdom.
In Me you will find refuge and protection and light.

In Me you will find….life.

Tonight, may you feel the arms of Love wrap around you tonight and the presence of Peace surround your weary soul.

Jesus said, _Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest..jpg

*This post is an excerpt from an earlier post titled God, where are you?

Pain—life’s motivator

“Pain is a great motivator.”

She spoke the words so matter-of-factly—as if part of her daily routine. And yet in that moment my world stopped spinning as I absorbed the unintended meaning of her words.

Pain is a great motivator.

I looked around the open gym area of the physical therapy office. I was there for my second visit—finally having surrendered to the limitations and pain of the whiplash I experienced last summer (you can read about that here). For months I have treated pain with over the counter medication and heat—or attempted to ignore it all together. And for months the pain kept getting worse. My range of motion became decreased, as did my willingness to try new things or even experience simple things I used to love, like laying my head back in the sink at the hair salon!

For months my pain motivated me to medicate, withdraw, and retreat.

But all of a sudden my petite twenty-something physical therapist was offering a new way—encouraging me to allow my pain to motivate me to stretch, strengthen and work-out my neck muscles.

“Your shoulder muscles have been doing things they were never meant to do,” she reported during my first visit, while massaging the pyramid of knots from left shoulder. “They have been overcompensating for the weakness in your neck muscles from the injury you sustained. You need to retrain each of your muscles to do the job for which each was intended.”

I didn’t quite absorb her words at the moment, since I was trying not to come up off the table as she worked out each painfully tight knot.

But yesterday as I reported feeling pain while typing away on my laptop, she urged me to use the pain to remind me to do the specific stretches she had printed off for me the week before.

“When your neck starts hurting, don’t ignore it and don’t grab Motrin,” she said, her tiny frame at odds with her commanding presence. “Instead, I want you to let the pain motivate you to stretch and strengthen your muscles, ok?”

I nodded at her, but deep somewhere deep within my soul, I felt myself agreeing with God.

From her audible words, my heart heard the inaudible voice of God whisper:

I want you to allow the pain of this life to draw you to Me so that I can strengthen your faith. When facing pain and conflict, disappointment and heartbreak you have two choices: allow it to draw you away from me or allow it to draw you towards me. In me is strength. In me is healing. In me is recovery. What will you choose?

A massage and a spiritual lesson! I’m really liking physical therapy!

And so today, I will pause from my typing to stretch and strengthen my neck. Knowing that it is not an overnight cure, and that strengthening these muscles and retraining them to only carry the burden to which they were created will take a long time. But trusting that one day the pain will be less and my neck will be stronger.

Today, I will allow my pain to motivate me to do the work I must do so that I can heal, whether that work is neck stretches and exercise, or prayer and spending time in God’s Word.

Are you facing some kind of pain today? Physical? Emotional? Spiritual? Our natural response is to flee from pain, to try and disguise it or ignore it. But what if today we embrace that pain, just a little, and allow it to propel us into the arms of the One who loves us more than we can possibly imagine—even if we don’t always feel that loveable. God is good even when our circumstances are not. Today, just for this moment, will you allow your pain to motivate you to cry out to Him and to do the work that will ultimately lead to healing? And if you would like to leave a prayer request, it would be an honor for me to pray for you as you do the hard work of stretching and strengthening. (I’ll pray for you as I go through my neck workout routine! 😉

Much love,

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Parenting free of fear (even when your kids begin to drive!)

I felt like an idiot crying my ever-lovin’ head off in my kitchen. Thank God no one was home.

What is wrong with me? I cried out, startling the dog from her nap.

I kept staring at the text that had just come through letting me know it was time to schedule my son’s behind the wheel driver’s ed class. I had read the words and then lost it. The weight of a hidden fear I have carried for years erupting like an emotional volcano.

A fear that had begun as a dream….When my son was only two, I had a dream that he was driving our car and crashed. In my dream, I ran to his lifeless little body, sprawled out on the road.

Awful right?! (welcome to my nightmares!)

It was so awful and a dream that has stayed with me ever since. A dream I never told anyone about. And a dream that fueled a fear that I would allow to simmer until that day in my kitchen.

But that day as I stared at my phone I had to confront that fear. And it was hard. I cried. I yelled. I stomped. And I totally freaked out our poor dog!

“God, ask me to write 100 more books,” I pleaded, “but please don’t ask me to let my son drive!!”

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had a full on temper tantrum with God for about thirty minutes. But then, when all my tears were spent and all my emotion laid bare, I quieted.

I took a deep breath.

And I surrendered.

I surrendered my perceived control for God’s full control.

I submitted my fears to His Sovereign will.

And I committed my child to his heavenly Father’s plan.

It was hard, but at the end of my emotional torrent, I meant every word.

For years I have been anxious of letting my son drive. For years I have feared having to let go. And for years I have tried to shove those feelings and fears down, pretending all was well.

But that day as my lack of control could no longer be denied, I remembered something—a fundamental truth I have preached and taught and shared with others, but a truth I had somehow forgotten to apply to myself: the need to allow yourself to grieve.

From my time as a grief counselor, I saw firsthand the importance of taking time to grieve. Those who did the painful work of grief—remembering, weeping, allowing themselves to feel anger, allowing themselves to simply experience the feelings—would eventually heal. They would always bear a scar, but the open wound would heal. But those who tried to shove the grief down, tried to hide the pain or ignore the wound, would carry that wound with them for the rest of their lives.

Maybe because I have worked with children for so long, I tend to put important things I want to remember into rhymes. And because I saw firsthand how important it is to let yourself grieve I put that principle into this rhyme:

Feel and deal and one day you’ll heal. But stow and go and one day you’ll blow.

Catchy right?

And yet so true!

As I dried my tears that day in the kitchen, I felt lighter than I had in years. I had finally allowed myself to feel and deal with my fears—and to feel and deal with the fact that my baby is getting older and the childhood clock is running out.

I have loved being a mom to small children, and even though I love my older kids and find that this stage of parenting is pretty awesome too, I finally realized that I needed to allow myself to feel the loss of the little kid stage, and the perceived control it afforded me.

So much of parenting involves an aspect of grief, doesn’t it? It seems weird to write that, but yet as our children enter a new stage, it means the loss of the one before. And while for some stages that is great! For others it is painful.

I think as parents maybe we need to let ourselves feel and deal a little more, something that is getting harder and harder in this crazy busy world that demands our full attention and constantly has us on the go.

But I know the peace that flooded my heart that day in my kitchen was a result of pouring out my fears and my feelings to the One who knows my heart and invites me to share the burden of my fears, my feelings, and my pain.

Do you need to cry out to God today? Is there a pain or a fear you have been trying to ignore or hide? He awaits with loving arms open to you (even if you come to Him in the midst of a big ol’ adult temper tantrum!) And as you feel and deal in His arms ask Him reveal His love and goodness to you. 

Fear is a natural part of parenting, and yet, by continually taking those fears to God and laying Him at His feet, we can live and parent free from fear (even when letting our kid get behind the wheel of a car!!)

Praying for all of us who are wrestling with fear today (and especially for all mamas of driving children!)

I felt like an idiot crying my ever-lovin_ head off in my kitchen. Thank God no one was home. What is wrong with me_ I cried out, startling the dog from her nap. I kept staring at the

Much love,

An Easy and Powerful Way to Connect With Your Child

My 15 year old son sat crossed legged in the middle of my bed as I dug through our fire safe. I was looking for his birth-certificate and social security card—documents he would need to take to the DMV the next morning to get his learner’s permit. Our fire safe contains a hodgepodge of items: documents, mementos, recordings, and letters. My son tried on his great-grandfather’s ring, marveled at a two-dollar bill and begged to know when he could cash in his savings bonds.

Finally securing the necessary papers, I took them downstairs and placed them in an envelope for their trip to the DMV. After cleaning up the kitchen, letting the dog out, and putting the clothes in the dryer, I returned to my room to put the fire safe away. There I found my son, still sitting in the middle of my bed, surrounded by the contents of the safe and clutching a sheet of paper. His grip was firm—yet reverent. His expression hard to read—but clearly focused. His eyes glassy with unshed tears.

Mentally scrolling through the list of documents, wondering what could have him so enthralled, I asked what he was reading.

He looked up at me—the look on his face is something I will never forget.

“You wrote this to me,” he said, sounding befuddled. 

He untangled his limbs and stood. He held the letter out to me.

“You wrote this to me before I was even born.” His words held a reverence I’d never heard from him. “I….you….I love you mom.”

I was enveloped in his arms. His head resting on my own. His six foot frame towering over mine.

And then he left, the emotion more than his teenage heart could handle. But before he left, he handed me the letter—a letter I don’t recall writing, let alone placing in the safe.

I scanned the first line.

“To my little buddy, I am 23 weeks pregnant with you and this will be the first of many letters that I will write you.”

I sat down on my bed and read the words I had penned over 15 years ago. I have written many letters to him since, but I didn’t remember this one.

I had written of my fears and of faith. I had made him promises and written of all the things we would do together. And about how much I wanted him, how I longed to meet him, and how proud I already was to be his mom.


I made myself cry—reading the letter I still had no memory of writing!!

But my amnesia didn’t matter. All that mattered was that those heart-felt words had touched my son’s heart in a way that I couldn’t have imagined.

I will confess to making a ton of mistakes in this thing called parenting, and no doubt, I will make many more. But I believe that day I accidentally stumbled across something very powerful, a precious tool every parent has in their parenting toolbox—the power of the written word.

My son was able to see the depths of my heart in a way that is easily lost in the torrents of errands, dinner, homework..life. He was able to absorb my words as they were intended, without  a lecture or big life lesson tossed in the middle. And he was able to see me as a person—a person struggling with fear, wrestling with my faith, and longing for my heart’s desire.

I tucked the letter back in its envelope and placed it in the fire safe—right behind another envelope.


This one yellowed, with a different name on the front. My name, in my daddy’s handwriting. Inside were letters my dad had written to me. The first one penned when my mom was pregnant with me.

How had I forgotten these letters?

And so I snuggled into my bed and carefully opened the envelope. I held the sheet of paper reverently as I read of my dad’s fears and joys, his hopes and dreams. Of his faith and his love for his family.

A letter.

Words on a page.

A heart shared through sentences and paragraphs and thoughts.

Such an easy assignment.

Such a vast reward.

You don’t have to be eloquent. It doesn’t have to be long. You don’t have to be a great writer or good at grammar. You just need to be willing to take ten minutes and share a bit of your heart with one you love.

In this day of electronic communication, emojis and gifs, there is something almost sacred about words written on a sheet of paper (or even a napkin).

And even though one day you might forget ever writing those words, they just may end up being one of the most precious gifts you will ever give your child (or anyone).

My sweet child, I love you...Mom

Do you have a special way of connecting with your child? Do you share letters? Or maybe a special date night? I would love to hear about the ways you share your heart and connect with your kids!


Why you might want to buy an old fashion ice tray…

Our ice maker stopped working several months ago. Annoying, yes, but worth spending over $100 for the replacement part—when a bag of ice costs just over $2? Um…no. I’m sure we will eventually get around to repairing it, but in the meantime we are making do with bagged ice and one little ice tray.

Remember those things? Those little plastic trays you fill with water and watch magically turn into ice?


My kid’s minds were blown the first time I made ice the “old fashioned way!”

Over the past few months I have developed an odd, but deep, respect for our little 12-count ice tray.

You see, I have a dog who loves ice. I mean LOVES the stuff. To her there is no greater treat than a big block of ice. (why can’t I think of ice as dessert?? Chocolate cake, ma’am? Oh no, just bring me a giant bowl of ice please!!)



[Side bar story: the first time our sweet girl went outside to a snow/ice covered yard she threw her head up (in what was surely a moment of canine praise and worship of the Maker of the ice mana) before frantically eating her way across the yard—her mouth open like a blue whale feeding on krill!]

Well, since she loves ice and considers it a treat, having ice on hand is, in her mind at least, necessary.

The frozen cubes are also deemed necessary by my teenage son who is convinced that sweet tea belongs at the bottom of the food pyramid—the sweet ice cold foundation upon which all else stands.


And so, with such fervent ice needs, I’ve had to buy a lot of ice (ok, now that I’m writing this maybe we should just pay the money to get the new part!)

But we’re cheap frugal and thankfully our cheapness frugality has allowed me to see something I believe God wants us all to understand:

He can use us, and expand our little efforts, in miraculous ways when we continually draw close to Him.

So back to my ice tray—

This little thing only makes 12 cubes at a time—not nearly enough to keep the dog happy all day or my son’s tea cold each time. So when I would fill the tray in the morning, its contents would be used up by the evening, and either the dog or the boy would be left lacking (I’ll let you decide who usually wins the rights to the last ice cube)

But one day recently I decided to be proactive with our ice situation and emptied and refilled the ice tray every few hours—again blowing my kid’s minds when they came home to find well over 100 ice cubes in the non-working ice maker. (it really doesn’t take much to impress my kids!)

That little tray would rest under the faucet where it would be filled to the top before going into the freezer to do the job to which it was created—being emptied of it’s contents. It would then be returned to the source of water in order to repeat the process.


As I watched our ice maker fill with ice—a mere 12 cubes at a time—I started to see the beauty being reflected in that cold freezer drawer.

When we go to the source of Living Water—when we sit before the Father, whether in deep study of His Word or in quiet recognition of Who He truly is—we become filled to the top with His goodness and His character. Then as we go about our daily routine—to the jobs and roles He has given us—he places a cube of His kindness here, a cube of His generosity there, a cube of His love over there. And pretty soon we have been emptied of what He has given us so that we might return to Him to be filled again, therefore filling this world with the fingerprints of God.

The more we are filled, the more we have to share.

I will never look at my little ice tray the same way!


Much love,


“That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 6:16-19

To the stressed-out Christmas mama…

Dear Stressed-out Christmas mama,

Oh precious maker of Christmas magic; you who thoughtfully chose gifts, decorate cookies, hang garland, applaud at Christmas pageants, hang out at the grocery store more than your own kitchen, and fearfully watch your checking balance dwindle; I promise you that what you’ve done is enough.

It is enough.

You can breathe.


Sit down.

And know that it is enough.

In this home stretch—this Christmas Eve eve—our tendencies as makers of Christmas magic is to do just a little more. Buy just a little more. Make just a little more. Plan just a little more. Wrap just a little more. Run hard at the very end to ensure our people have a wonder-filled Christmas morning. And yet more often than not our sprint toward the finish line adds nothing but stress, fatigue and resentment.

And so today let’s make a pact to take Christmas Eve back! To allow truth to seep into our souls—the truth that there has only been, and will only be, one perfect Christmas and one perfect Christmas gift. And so the pressure is off!! We can’t add to perfect. And we can’t outdo the perfect Christmas. So let’s not even try.

In fact, think about that first and only perfect Christmas for just a minute:

There was no beautifully decorated house. No garland. No twinkling lights. No stockings hung from the mantle. In fact, there was no house! Only a barn. And no Yankee Candle from which wafted the scent of evergreen Christmas meadow. Nope, the only scent wafting was ode de cow manure!
There were no matching pajamas. Only strips of cloth wrapped around a wiggling baby.
There was no feast to be found. No cookies to be iced, and no cider to be warmed. Only two parents watching their new son in awe and wonder.
There was no Pinterest worthy table set to welcome dinner guests. Yet, guests did come and they were in fact welcomed. Guests who most likely smelled no better than the animals napping in the barn.

No, nothing about that first Christmas would have ended up in a magazine spread.

And yet it was in fact perfect. Absolutely gloriously perfect.

And so to my fellow makers of Christmas magic, this year let’s let ourselves off the hook!

We can give gifts without feeling the pressure of giving the perfect gift! We can entertain guests knowing that at least we aren’t moving a cow over to make room for our aunt! We can say “maybe next year” to those things we didn’t get done this time around.

So let’s agree that:

Whatever gets done is what will be done, and that is enough.
Whatever gets cooked will be what is cooked, and that is enough.
Whatever gets decorated is what will be decorated, and that is enough.

For the truth is—the glorious, unchanging, light-shining truth—it is enough because He is enough.



And ponder the Who of Christmas. For as you ponder the Who of Christmas you might just find that the what doesn’t matter quite as much.

Much love and Merry Christmas,


“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14


Why I am trying so hard to avoid the “S” word this Christmas….

And no, it’s not that “S” word!!! (although I do try to avoid that one too! 😉 )

Nor is it Santa (although who knew that word could be quite so controversial in certain circles!!)

No, the “S” word that I am trying so hard to avoid this year is the word…..SHOULD.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I should put up more decorations.
I should buy more gifts.
I should bake cookies with my kids.
I should want to bake cookies with my kids.
I should make 18 side dishes to go with the turkey, ham and roast beef I am serving to my group of 7!
I should feel happier this Christmas.
I should put up cute graphics with my blog post! 😉
I should…I should…I should….

Maybe it’s my age (after all I am finding my 40’s to be so incredibly freeing!!), but as my mental “I should’s” began to kick into high gear this Christmas season, I found myself suddenly asking:

Says who????

Who says that I should buy more, do more, feel more?

Seriously? Who?

I pondered the internal list of should’s and realized that I was the one saying what I should do. So doesn’t it stand to reason that I could also be the one to tell myself to shut up?!?!

And so I did!

And oh my word y’all! It felt amazing!

So many “should’s” have crept into my Christmas over the years.

Some of them are related to traditions (and yet most of those traditions were things that no one even really missed!!).

A lot of my “should’s” come from the ding dang Hallmark Channel! (oh Hallmark Christmas movies how I love you! but how you cause me such angst when I can’t decorate my home like a movie set, or when my people don’t follow the heartwarming script I’d gladly provid, or when my neatly tied-up happily ever after doesn’t happen. And so I will continue loving you and your sappiness, but dear Lord I will stop trying to expect my life to mimic you!).

And still other “should’s” come from my desire to want to look like I have it all together—the joy filled maker of Christmas magic whose heart is at all times awash with the glow of the wonder of the manger and whose inner soundtrack is at all times tuned to “O Holy Night.”

Well, this year I surrender.

There will be traditions that go undone.
There will be pain-in-the-neck-to-hang garland that goes unhung.
And there will be Christmas songs that go unsung.

But you know what? I have a pretty good feeling that Christmas will still happen! That it really isn’t even about that stuff anyway! And that it might even be a pretty good one!

And yes, there are some things we do at Christmas (and all year long) that we just have to do. But those fundamentals (like keeping the humans entrusted into your care alive and educated) aside what if this year every time we start to hear ourselves say a mental “should” statement we replace it with a “can” question?

What if instead of:

I should really make 89 loaves of banana bread for all my friends and family because…well, I made them last year….

We replaced it with:

What can I do to bless those God has laid on my heart this year?

What if instead of:

I should go buy more decorations…

We asked:

How can I make my home an inviting place for my family to gather this Christmas?

And what if instead of:

I should have the perfect tree, matching family pajamas, professionally decorated cookies and well thought out gifts awaiting the wonder-filled faces of my perfect children this Christmas morning….

We asked:

Lord, how can I simply rest in You this Christmas—the only perfect person and gift ever given?

This Christmas is not gonna be perfect at our house: I found a typo in the Christmas cards that I actually remembered to order on time. We may or may not make the annual gingerbread house. Our tree is way too fat. I didn’t put garland on the piano, we have mismatched lights in our bush outside, and my kids are stressed-out, school-burned-out maniacs!

But, you know what? An imperfect “should-free” Christmas sounds absolutely perfect to me!

May your Christmas be should-free and your heart grace-filled!

Much love,

Our Christmas bush tree!

Maybe you are just what this world needs…

I shared yesterday about Surviving Speech Purgatory. Well, today I would love to share my son’s speech with you: 

Maybe You Are Just What This World Needs
by Andrew Bleakley

The all-American hero.
The all-star athlete.
The celebrity.
The A-student. 

Everywhere we look we see images of the ideal person we are told we should become. The one who seems to have it all together—looks, talent, popularity and intelligence. So, we compare ourselves to them only to find that we can’t possibly measure up. So, we try harder and we spend more in a quest to become like them, because surely, we aren’t good enough the way we are…..are we? 

We keep striving and keep fighting to become like the one we imagine we should be; to become just like everyone else around us. Only in our quest to become like someone else we start to lose ourselves, and we start to become like everyone else. But that’s what we’re supposed to do right? Because we aren’t good enough the way we are, are we? 

Or are we? 

Could it possibly be that our differences aren’t that bad after all—that I don’t have to be like everyone else around me? Could it be that the only Ideal Person we should pursue calls us to be different. To stand out. Could it be that God is actually glorified in our differences—in our different talents, abilities, resources and even in our different skin colors and appearances? 

I believe the answer is yes to all of those questions. 

Just look around you. No two things in nature are exactly alike. No two trees are identical. Plants all are different in the patterns in which they are created. In space, we see great diversity. Out of all the billions of stars and planets no two are the same. Consider the animals, think of all the different species out there. And even though two cats or two dogs may look the same, they will act very differently. We are the only species that constantly try to make ourselves into replicas of others. 

 Why? Maybe it’s because we are afraid of rejection.  Afraid of being told we aren’t good enough the way we are—afraid of failure, afraid of being different. But isn’t different good?  

Where would we be without eccentric scientists like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein? Surely, they would have been considered different in their time. Where would we be if they had decided to act like everyone else? If they had been too afraid of having their own ideas or of being seen as strange? What about Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, or even Billy Graham?  What if they too had been afraid to stand out and be different? Afraid of having their own ideas and had just decided to blend in and become like everyone else?

Being different is often necessary for progress and change.  If we were all the same then how would anything new ever get accomplished?  What would this world be like if we all played the same sport or played the same instrument or had the same job? It is our differences that make us who we are and can give our lives purpose and meaning.

We all have unique talents and gifts, and yet we are all part of the human race, and if we are Christians then we are all part of God’s family. So the question becomes how can we be who we were created to be, while still working together to help and support each other.

After all the Bible says in 1 Corinthians that “we are one body with many members.”

 So, while being different is vital in life, we also need to be able to work with others and be able to take their opinions and thoughts. Edison and Einstein were different, but they still had to work with others to get their message and gifts to the world. If we become completely different then we will become isolated and not be able to work together. Being different from others can be a very good thing. But we also need to be able to see things from others points of view, and be able to work with others without letting our differences get in the way.

So is there really an ideal person? Or is a better question: is their an ideal version of ourselves?

Instead of trying to become like someone else, instead of trying to achieve what someone else has achieved, instead of trying to be what we are not, what if instead we tried to become who we were meant to be.

And what if in becoming who we were meant to be—who we were created to be—we just happen to change the world?

If you look around you and don’t feel like you fit in, maybe you aren’t supposed to.

Maybe, just maybe, what makes you different is exactly what this world needs.

My silly, awesome, wonderful, different kids!

































Surviving Speech Purgatory

“Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, but we are in speech purgatory…”

I had typed the words in jest to a friend, however, there is really nothing jovial about seeing your kid stressed out of his mind. This week is speech week at school. The dreaded week when high schoolers must present a 3-5 minute speech they have written themselves. This might not sound like a big deal to some, but to those of us card-caring introverts who struggle with public speaking and would rather have a root canal than stand in front of a group of people, this can be excruciating.


My son has dreaded this day since this time last year. And yet, he loved the act of writing the speech (wonder where he gets that from! 😉 ) In fact, from the first day of the assignment he knew what he wanted to write about. He chose to write about the danger of trying to become like everyone else. He wanted to write about the benefits that can come from being brave enough to be yourself. To be who God created you to be.

I was shocked and excited about his topic choice (since he’s not normally one to “put himself out there” like that.) I was blown away by what he wrote. I wanted to stand up and cheer the first time I read it.

But no sooner than he had saved the document, he realized he would have to present it. And suddenly it felt too hard, too risky, too….much.


He practiced over and over. He fretted. He plotted how he could get out of it. He endured his parent’s “help” and advice.

But in the end he just had to do it. (cause, yep…that’s pretty much how this life goes)

But here’s the thing….he did it!!

Now, we prayed A LOT! Like a lot, a lot. In fact, I don’t think I’ve prayed as hard for something to have a good outcome since my first phone call with Tyndale!!

And yes, it felt a little silly to pray over a speech. To look to Moses and Jeremiah and Peter and remember how God spoke through them and compare that to a 9th grade speech. But here’s the thing…God cares as much about my son facing his biggest 9th grade fear and He did about those Bible people facing theirs and as much as he cares about you facing yours. 

So that thing you are terrified of doing. That thing that gives you hives just thinking about. Talk to God about it. Cry out to God. Admit that it is bigger than you. Admit that you can’t do it in your own strength, and then ask Him to do it through you. 

Prepare as best you can and then….rest in His strength. Rest in His power. Trust in His love. And then just take that first step and invite God to knock your socks off!!

I don’t care if my son gets an A or an F on his speech (ok…I will probably care a little if he gets an F 😉 ) What I care about, what I am so proud of, is that he did it. He faced his fear, he did the hard work, he trusted God and he showed up.

(I am so proud of you buddy!!!)

In fact I’m so proud I will post his speech here tomorrow! 😉

Much love,