I think sometimes we get so set on living a life free of guilt, consequence, and pain, that we don’t allow ourselves the grace to mess up And maybe we even get it into our thoughts that God doesn’t allow for mess-ups either, so we live in fear of being zapped for stepping out of line. Well, guess what.  It’s ok to mess up.  It’s ok to make a wrong choice. There is a huge ...

When the boys were little, we learned pretty quickly to gauge our reaction.  If they wiped out on their bike or scraped their knee on the sidewalk, they quickly looked to us to figure out how hurt they were. If we freaked out, they freaked out. If we stayed calm, they’d…well…still freak out, but they calmed more quickly.   Do you ever do that? Fake peace to calm a situation or...

It is impossible to find your stride and develop routines when everything every day feels so disheveled and chaotic. School just got started back, but every day is a new scenario. Work is still a daily TV reality show. Church is just not…church (fellowship and social distance just don’t jive). In this stage of the game, it is easy to feel like you don’t have much to give. And I d...

No matter how many times I tell myself that it’s ok to say “no,” I inevitably recite an exhaustive — yet highly impressive — list of excuses. This is especially true for spiritual decisions.  Whether it’s stepping out of leadership, giving up my turn in the nursery, or leaving the church entirely, I just can’t rest in the single declarative word — n...

One of the many appeals to making the city to country transition was fruit trees. We were so excited. I envisioned eating fruit straight off the vine, fresh-baked pies, jams, and sauces. We’ve lived on the farm for 15 years, and I have yet to make a pie and have eaten very few apples straight from the vine. Why? The trees had not been pruned in years (still haven’t). Vines wined their ...

“I’d rather be in the boat with Jesus than on the shore without Him.”  Dr. David Jeremiah It seems like a simple, straightforward statement that every believer should be confident to make. Yet, when I consider what “in the boat” could mean…would I? Would I rather be in the boat on the turbulent waters of change with Jesus? What about the turbulent waters of can...

“Jacqueline, dear, do not speak unless you can improve the silence.”  (Movie Quote)   I love this line. Even though it was spoken adversely in the movie, there is so much wisdom in these words and such great advice for us as Christ Followers.  Yes, we are called to take a stand for the hope we have in Christ, but sometimes, the best way to do that is to be silent and let God work in the...

The most consistent part of my life is my ability to blunder. Mostly little things, but I do manage some doozies. Nothing I really feel the need to confess right now, but, stay tuned, you never know where this thing might end up!! It’s pretty easy to share the little things. At least they’re usually good for a laugh. But the big things…those we hide in the deepest part of our psy...

I love flowers. I’ve tried a few beds, but they don’t last long in my care. Although, we do have a patch of greenery right beside our house. It’s a cheaters garden really because it was there when we bought the house and just grows on its own. The only maintenance I do is pull weeds from time to time.  Although…I can’t always distinguish a weed from a flower. Some we...

Most spiritual development books I’ve read take a matter-of-fact approach and read more like a staunch “how to” than an engaging novel. The Divine Adventure is different!  Pulling teachable moments from her own experiences, Rebecca embellishes the scene, drawing us in as she seamlessly weaves in Biblical truth amid the beauty of her prose.    FAVORITE QUOTE:  “When ...

Faith is a foundation word for our Christian heritage. It’s the catalysis grace needs for salvation (Ephesians 2:8), and without out it, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Great Faith can bring healing, like the woman with the bleeding issue (Mark 5:34), and small amounts can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not...

There is a place in the Appalachian Mountains that my family and I go to frequently. One of my sons works there right now. There are several different routes you can take to get there. One has a very winding road called “The Tail of the Dragon.” It is an 11-mile stretch of road with 318 curves. The first time I drove it, it was by accident. The curves were so vast that the road fell of...

I met a dear friend at a writer’s conference a few years back. She was a free spirit and such an inspiration to my very locked down spirit. I was envious of her ability to just relax and enjoy. She made public speaking look so easy and effortless. She was a natural.  As I toiled and prayed and worried and over-prepared for my presentation, Angie kept saying, “I’m just showinR...

When my husband had a motorcycle, and I would ride behind him, he was forever coaching me to lean with him into the curve — yet, everything within me screamed counter-balance!  But all my counter-balance did was make his job of keeping us upright more difficult. What eventually worked for me was not to lean right or left but to lean in. When I leaned into him, it centered us and made riding...

As a year begins, I typically have a focus word or an area of spiritual growth that I feel burdened to work on.  Things like prayer, compassion, rooted and grounded, discipline… I didn’t this year…until yesterday.  Satisfied. That’s my word. It’s the longing of my soul.  I need to be satisfied…content….quieted…settled into who I am in Christ and in how that identity is carried o...

“The closer to God you draw, the greater will be your disdain for sin.” Dr. Richard Blackaby It’s easy to play the excuses game and feel justified in sin, especially for a minor sin. “I’m not harming anyone, right?” How about the comparison game? “My sin isn’t as bad as ____________. At least I’ve never __________. “ What I’m actual...

Rest is one of those things we know we need but never get enough. No matter how much I sleep or how long I “unwind,” I still feel exhausted.  But, if you’re like me, you think rest is just downtime or sleep, but apparently, sleep is just one part of the rest requirement.  I’ve been reading the book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity b...

The question asked was, “What’s missing from today’s Christian culture?” No one answered. I’m not sure if it’s because none of us had an answer, or we were just afraid to say it. How would you answer this question? Me? I would say that we’re missing some, “Do unto others” and “love thy neighbor,” and “least of these” kin...

We have so many methods for music and news that we don’t rely on radios anymore. At least not the “boombox” type we used to carry around in the ’80s. Yes, I am boombox old, lol. But God… God used a well-placed boombox to call a man named Ronnie out of the darkness of addiction and remind him that he is still valued, he is still loved, and He is not forgotten.   H...

“You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:5-6   It is my opinion that one of the worst smel...

The movie Evan Almighty takes the story of Noah and gives it a bit of a modern twist. It is a controversial movie among Christians. The portrayal of God and Noah isn’t true to Biblical form; however, there are some great teachable points. One of my favorites is when Morgan Freeman, who portrayed God, poses the question, “When we pray for something, does God simply give it to us or prov...

Why do bad things happen to good people? There are many valid answers to this question. One that I noticed was… Bad things happen to good people to deter good faith. This comes from John 12, after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  “Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the d...

Abraham had a dream…sort of. It was actually a promise that became a dream…and then a longing. He trusted God for it until it took longer than he was comfortable with.  When longing turned to ache, it was almost more than Abraham could stand.  Abraham started looking into his own resources to figure out what he could do to jumpstart this legacy God promise him.  He looked at all the...

In college, I had the opportunity to go to Belarus as part of a mission team. It was such a great experience. I loved being in a different culture, navigating obstacles like language barriers and cultural norms, and getting to share Christ with college students with whom I would not otherwise have crossed paths. I was reminded of this time in Belarus during my reading today. Our team boarded a tro...

“What’s in it for me?” I know this question crosses my mind…often. Sometimes, the answer to this question will win as the deciding factor of whether I serve.   It is all too easy to rationalize that I need to benefit somehow, especially when I already feel pulled in every direction.  But, the hard truth is that Jesus didn’t say, help if you feel like it or arenR...

Faith is foundational. It’s the catalysis grace needs for Salvation (Eph. 2:8) and without out it, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Active faith brings healing like the woman with the bleeding issue (Mark 5:34) and even a minuscule amount can do big impossible things like move mountains (Matt. 17:20). Faith is complex. We cannot see it, but it’s literally the substance and ...

Kindness is not a courtesy… …but that’s how it tends to play out in my life, ya know? I want to be that person, though.  I want to be the one who emulates Christ so well that His traits are first nature instead of screaming at me from the closet… in the basement… with duct tape over His mouth.  Ok, I’m kind of kidding, but for real, it’s hard not to focus on the...

I’m always intrigued when I see that friends I know from different times in my life know each other. As we laugh and share how and where paths crossed, we inevitably say, “Small world.”  And it is.  Somehow, even now, with billions of people, it’s small.  But, I love making these connections.  I love connecting events and people. I love connecting problems and solutions...

He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.   If you haven’t read the book of Esther, I encourage you to do so.  First, because it’s in the Bible and reading the Bible is highly encouraged.  Second, because some cool twists come into play, that makes this story super interesting.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I want to mention a noteworthy part. A part th...

Did you know that nothing can take space in your head or heart unless you let it?  For something to take root and have influence, you have to surrender to it and permit it to take authority.  I have to remind myself of this often because I love to shift blame and pretend I have no choice — I’m helpless to the power of something. Sounds stupid, right?  I’m starting to realize that this vic...

If I had to pick one quote to sum up Tested and Approved: 21 Lessons for Life and Ministry, it would be this:  “The true foundation of success is to know and do the will of God.” (p. 23) Doing the Will of God is our greatest goal as Believers and the ultimate marker of success as Christ-followers — What is God’s Will? — that we love Him and love others.  That’...

“What if your setback is actually a setup for what God has for you next.” Annie Dixon     There is so much hope, wisdom, and promise in this statement. As much as I’d love to say that I readily see this in my life, I do see it in the life of Joseph. Joseph was in line to take over as head of the family, but one setback turned into many, and years went by when he didn...

I am a “cut to the chase” kind of girl.  I like to take the shortest route and find the end as quickly and efficiently as possible. If I can skip a step or two and come to a viable conclusion—perfect! Done. But, a few years ago, at a writer’s conference, I was challenged with these words by Lysa TerKeurst, “The process is the point.”  These are the kind of words t...

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions…well, not anymore. I quickly learned that resolutions are counter-productive. Whatever I resolved to stop doing became even more appealing, and whatever I vowed to start doing became ever-more appalling. My focus became skewed by what I couldn’t have or had to do instead of focusing on the right thing.   I do like the word res...

One of my favorite aspects of the Word of God is that it is truly active and alive. I don’t care how many times I’ve read through it or even just read a particular passage; I can always find something new and relevant.  Reading the book of Matthew this past week, I was newly struck by the recurring phrase, “as was foretold by the prophets.” These six words are so powerful ...

This time of year, it is easy to think about those less fortunate and have fallen on hard times.  There is more focus on food pantries, Angel Trees, and shelters as the temperatures drop and the push for Christmas gifts hits full tilt, which is all good stuff! We definitely should keep these things in mind all year round.  But, I don’t want to talk about the Matthew 25 type of “least...

“It’s the little things.”  Have you ever said this?  It’s a very ambiguous statement. “It’s the little things” can be what drives you crazy (which is more often my intention) or what matters most. I’ve been reading many stories recently where people are enjoying the little things more in this season. Some attribute it to having more time to take pa...

Over the years, my husband and I have established a few traditions with our family. Some were cultivated from our favorite childhood traditions, and some were established through new routines with our children. A few of my favorite traditions are opening one gift on Christmas Eve, Friday night family nights with games, movies, popcorn, and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, and the birthday boy g...

November is National Adoption Month!! I have many friends with beautiful adoption stories. One in particular where you could see the Hand of God moving mountains to make it happen. It was awesome to witness. I also have friends whose adoptions stories are not so pretty and have even ended in loss and heartbreak. And then, for our family, we never even made it to the adoption phase.   The uncerta...

I was talking to Derek this morning, and we were discussing some boy stuff…we both have all sons…and he said, “We try to find teachable moments in the chaos.” (Derek Withrow) I thought, ya, know, that’s pretty much “raising boys” in a nutshell. Find teachable moments in the chaos…because chaos definitely finds you. But, it’s usually the all in ...

You know that moment when you are sure you’ve reached your peak? When one more thing has the potential to crash your world down around you and wreck you?  We usually call that our breaking point, but what if we chose to bend instead? What if we flexed with what’s happening to reach toward hope, survival, and joy in every circumstance? This is Bend. International Journalist and Author ...

Waiting is not my forte’. And, although I can appreciate the good waiting does toward developing godly character in my life, I fail miserably at waiting.  I feel like a child in “big church,” squirming in the pew, waiting for the service to end. I look for stuff to fill the time, occupy my mind, and hopefully make time pass faster. It reminds me of what used to happen in my hous...

It used to be that we could feel pretty safe about the influences in our children’s lives until they hit college age and were exposed to more diverse beliefs and cultures.  It seems, however, that radical views are coming into play as early as 3rd grade. And, by middle school, many church-going children have decided they do not believe in God.  Some religions are more evident in how they contr...

In honor of October being National ADD/ADHD awareness month, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks that helped our ADD household survive the school year. Our household was actually a mixed bag of learning complications that we worked through over the years: ADD w/inattention, ADHD, Dyslexia, Visual Processing Disorder, extreme auditory learner (in a visual household)…there are possi...

There is nothing like talking to a friend and hearing her words echo something God is producing in my life and vice verse. It is so validating and confirms that God is at work–not that I should need confirmation, but sometimes, I really do. This past week, I spoke with a friend about some difficult circumstances in her life, specifically her child’s health. I told her the verse that is...

Today is National Step Family Day!! So if you are a blended family, bonus parent, step-something, this post is especially for you. If you are not in any of these categories, please stay with us as there are universal truths here for you too. Cultivating new relationships is difficult in any scenario, but trying to merge two families takes an extra measure of care. Here to give us some “tried...

There is a lot of talk about planning and doing these days, which is necessary, I get it. But it got me thinking about what we’re not talking about and planning for…rest, time to ourselves, “self-care.” During this shutdown/quarantine/staycation season, you may have had some extra time to consider resting, but did you? If you’re like me and mine, you tore through your...

Fourteen years ago, I set out to walk the Susan G. Komen 60-mile walk for breast cancer. I was one of five women on a team and the only one in a different city. The others walked together often and built up their endurance. I…thought of walking and knew I needed to build my endurance, but it just didn’t happen. As you can imagine, going from, pretty much, zero to sixty killed my body. ...

It’s back to school time, and if you are like most families right now, you are not at peace. Every decision has a downside, and nothing feels exactly right. So, how can you put your child at ease when you are uneasy yourself? Here are four things you can do to help ease your child’s anxiety (and yours): Pray with Them I know this is a given, but if you’re like me, you need to be reminded...