Perception vs Reality

If I told you it takes two to equal one, you’d likely tell me it’s not a mathematical equation that makes much sense! But let me explain.

My mother was an artist. When I was a child, she would point out objects and ask me what I saw. I recall vividly an impatient conversation I had with her regarding a tree. She asked, “What color are the tree trunks in our yard?” With all of the confidence of a mature 10-year-old, I answered, “Brown, of course.”  She lovingly directed me to look again.  I replied impatiently, “Brown! Can’t you see they are brown?” She gently pointed out that if you looked closely, they were not brown but a rich, deep gray. My mother taught me to see the natural beauty of this world with my eyes, not with what I perceived in my mind.  

There are a lot of lessons in that encounter with a tree trunk, but perhaps the most important one is to look at life more closely. See things as they are, not as how we assume they are. We must overcome our perception in order to see reality.

I believe there is timing involved in the revealing of reality. People say that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, but I don’t think that is accurate. Rather, life doesn’t give us more than God can handle. Sometimes it is His gentle peeling back of our perceptions that reveals God’s truth. One way He does this is through nature.

God’s creation speaks to His people. Nature witnesses to the character and intent of our Creator. Unfortunately, many worship the creation, missing God Himself – the passion and depth of genius that He holds. But it’s always God communicating with us through His creation. No one knows us as intimately as Him.  

Some years back I experienced a devasting loss. I spiraled, becoming numb and unresponsive. I didn’t know how to begin life again. I had no emotional strength nor direction, unable to give or receive. I was lost to myself and to those who loved me. 

One morning, as I left the emptiness of my once full home to return to work, something colorful caught my eye. A few blue flowers sat tucked away in some dense green leaves. It was soothing to see new life. The flowers were a bright spot in a dark, unwanted season of my life. Those little pops of color felt somehow encouraging. Curious to know what they were and how they got here, I inquired with my neighbor. He said the flowers were just weeds, and he had weed killer if I wanted some.  But I had had enough of death.

Weeds have a negative reputation as unwanted pests. But those flowers on my walkway were a gift I wasn’t going to refuse. I felt I had something to look forward to again – at least for that short walk to my car. Soon the blue flowers grew into a blanket, covering the once drab dirt and stones along my walkway.  As silly as it sounds, the weeds brought a smile back to my face. These things of beauty didn’t ask anything of me; they were simply present for me every morning. I loved seeing their blue hue amongst the most beautiful deep green leaves. They flourished under the warmth of the sun, and their simple beauty helped me feel the warmth of the Son once again. How funny that my connection with God was rekindled by a simple flowering weed! I began to take solace gazing at them while sipping my morning coffee each day.

But as time passed, the mornings began to feel colder. Winter was approaching, and soon the flowers would disappear. One day after a few weeks, I had to hunt just to find a few bright pops of color. My familiar morning greeting card was slowly disappearing, and I felt that familiar sting of loss settling over me once again. I was angry at myself. It all seemed so silly, and I felt stupid.  They were just useless weeds that grew wild in my yard, but I was heartbroken. I yelled out loud in frustration, grieving yet another loss in my life. 

But, in that moment of anger and frustration with myself, tears started to fill my eyes as I stared at the weeds. My perception had been that the beauty, the gift, was in those little blue flowers that winter came to steal. But how could I have missed what was in front of me all this time? The leaves! They were shaped like hearts! The blue flowers were nestled amongst deep green hearts. The leaves were the support, the richness, that made the flowers pop and capture my attention. Without those heart-shaped leaves, the flowers would have no support or protection while waiting for the warmth of the morning sun.

It is the heart of Jesus that has felt every imaginable pain that tries to overtake our lives. It is His heart that always brings us back to His path that life tries to knock us from. God knows how to guide us to His plans for us. There is always a path to restoration, and His heart desires to draw us in.

I failed to see the heart-shaped leaves each day not because of poor vision, but due to the depth of personal pain and loss. The brightness of the flowers caught my attention, but the eventual revelation of the shape of the leaves was my graduation day. In those early days, I could not find direction, so I clung to what caught my attention. But what I really needed was to cling to God’s heart.

Even when we feel we have no vision for the next moment, or when we are lost and cannot see a path back, God provides for us. The Bible reminds us to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and to lean not on our own understanding. God’s love is a place of rest and renewal. 

I relied so deeply on the brightness of the flowers, their cheeriness and beauty – but when those flowers disappeared, they revealed what had supported them (and me) all along: the heart-shaped leaves. In the same way, the heart of our Creator was holding me. No matter how lost, numb, or hopeless we may feel, no matter how empty or dark it seems, God will get our attention. He’ll draw us back to His path for our lives. The next spring, I finally saw how those heart-shaped leaves unfold. They unfurl as two halves that mature and join to form one heart – thus proving it takes two to equal one.


I Want to Know What Love Is

God speaks to us in a way we can understand. He builds on our individual likes, experiences, and giftings. He communicates with us individually, and He uses our interests to reveal His nature to His children. If we look and listen discerningly, we can see that He is in constant communication with us. He is a loving Father who never misses an opportunity to speak into our lives. He has a direct connection to our hearts. 

I had a moment of connection with Him recently. As I was listening to the Oldies station, my mind was on auto pilot, mindlessly singing along. But suddenly auto pilot switched off, and I heard every word clearly, as if the song was speaking directly to me. The song is by Foreigner, written by Mick Jones: “I Want to Know What Love Is.” 

Thinking about love can take you down a path you no longer want to walk. Memories of love can remind us of the hard lessons of life that we are determined never to repeat. I looked up the lyrics and read them aloud as if hearing them for the first time. There was a message here that I wanted to hear with my heart, not just my ears. “I want to know what love is. I better read between the lines; in case I need it when I’m older.”  

Our first teachers of love – as wonderful as we may believe they are – are other broken, incomplete folks. As the Book of Romans states, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But the God who created this complex universe is the designer of true love. And we were created to connect our heart to His; we are created to love and be loved by Him. There is no greater love than the love He has for us, His children. 

One of the most profound lessons I have learned about love is that other broken folks can’t fix our lives or heal our hearts! Only the master Creator, the Designer, knows what love truly is. Only He is fully capable of reviving our hearts and healing all the broken places and pieces.

But what is love? It has been redefined by the world to be all about self.  How many relationships are based on how the other person makes us feel, or what they do or give to us? However, our greatest living example of love is selfless: Jesus. As he walked through His life both on and off the cross, He died to self.  

Receiving God’s love is rooted in knowing who we are and what we are created for. Mick Jones, in writing this hit song, was looking for truth.  He obviously had been through relationships that failed. He had been through experiences that left him disillusioned and feeling empty. The lyrics tell us that he was still trying to understand love!  

As Christ-followers, understanding true love – God’s love – gives us strength to make choices out of His love, not our own selfishness. His true love, which never fails, has the power to restore our broken hearts and lives. We live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, so our love outside of God will fail, but the love that God has for us doesn’t fail. 

Our circumstances can be devastating at times, but if we know that our identity is found and rooted in the God who created us, and if we carry understanding of the love of Christ for each of us, then we are equipped to keep on keeping on. When we face defeat in body and soul, and when the enemy says there is no hope, His love holds us steady. 

Mick Jones said the following in an interview about this song: “Don’t know where this song came from…probably written by a higher force” (2014).  I think one line of the song reflects that: “Through the clouds, I see love shine; it keeps me warm as life grows colder.”We serve a mighty God, and He is all around us, speaking to our hearts.  He is not limited to a particular person or place – only to the condition of our hearts. Are our hearts open or closed?  Listen! He is speaking.  Believe! For it is out of our relationship with our Creator that we find love as it is meant to be: freeing and strengthening. Love is not a burden that we place on the shoulders of another broken soul; it is found in Him. His love never disappoints, never fails. He will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). When we “know what love is” and that knowledge is firmly planted in our beings, then we can truly love and receive love, and we will never lack. “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again’” (John 4:13



“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” ~Proverbs 19:11

Our church is in a series called “Wisdom of the Ages” and we’ve been challenged by our pastor to read through the book of Proverbs this month. This series was planned quite a while ago, and Pastor approached the congregation with a request for responses to four specific questions:

  1. (Parents) What do you wish your children knew?
  2. (Children) What do you wish your parents knew?
  3. What would you tell your younger self?
  4. What do you wish your pastor knew?

These questions must have created a flood of emails, letters, and maybe even a few phone calls for the church office. It took most of us a while to respond (probably because we were each trying to think of a nice way to say what we wanted). As I typed out my response to each of these questions, it was difficult to decide what to include… so many situations came to mind. I would imagine you felt the same as you re-lived some family tension, or disagreement, or even an estrangement between family members that can no longer be reconciled. 

How quickly did that offense come up in your memory? – Was that hurt made dull by the passage of time, or had it been erased by reconciliation? When you answered Pastor’s questions, did the opportunity to share your heart weigh on you as you wrote the words to “that” person or were you holding back because it. Just. Hurt. Too. Much. There’s no way for me to know, but as I’ve been reading Proverbs, I’ve been taking some much needed solace from the certainty that somebody must have learned these things not just before me…. but learned them the hard way

We are the lucky ones who can read Proverbs from the vantage point of being a Christian with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to live by these sayings without help. “Don’t be offended.” This is nearly impossible without Christ. Especially now. If we’re able to avoid being offended, it seems we manage (without trying) to offend someone else. 

This is where I believe Proverbs 19:11 brings us back to reality. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger.” It is up to my discretion to get angry… or to show the grace of God when I’m tempted to take offense. The Holy Spirit helps me make that choice in that moment. My knee-jerk reaction toward anger can be held back in Christ—Who will reveal to me the deeper reason for the offense. “…and his glory to overlook a transgression” moves me beyond that quick meanness and on to an understanding of where the offense is the most painful. I’m so thankful we don’t have to look at that pain on our own. We can “overlook” (look over, dissect, understand) the hurt in the good and healing company of the Comforter. This verse has been such a blessing to me!

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Not Just A Sunset

There is an old childhood song with words to the affect “over the hill and through the woods to grandmothers house we go.”  Well, it wasn’t to grandmothers’ house that I so many times drove down a winding narrow roller coaster of a road. It went through the woods and up and done more hills than I wanted to count. I always considered it a pain in the…you know where to drive this road.  This former cab driver did not like using the slow gear to drive anywhere. My patience was thin, but it took me to a dear friends house so many years ago.  That graceful southern home belonging to my friend is gone.  Replaced with a well more “functional” house.  The friendship like the house is sadly no more.  

One thing I noted about this road was that if you drove on it when the sun was setting.  Well, every time you reached the peak of one of those ridiculous hills.  The sky opened before your eyes, and you could see the sunset straight ahead. It appeared so close that you felt as if you could become part of its incredible beauty. It was a private time, a special time I felt when God was revealing his incredible work of art. Nobody else at that moment had the opportunity to share that view. I alone was presented with the privilege of nature at her most colorful splendor.  That exhilarating moment always left me wanting for more as I anticipated the next top of the hill view. They were special moments that all too quickly were gone as I made the turn into my destination.

I remember remarking to my friend how beautiful it was and how since it was the road to her house, she must have enjoyed it so many nights coming home.  She took me totally by surprise by saying “It’s just a sunset, what’s the big deal!” 

I think to God, it is a big deal!  There will never be another one just like it. Just like there will never be another one of you or me.  That makes it a big deal!  A one-time event, a one in a zillion unique experience, and being with unique lifetime opportunities.  And like the fleeting sunset we are here to gloriously shine as His individual creation. Yet, unlike the beautiful sunset of each day, we are more precious to Him.  The sunset has an appointed time to display its splendor and fulfill its purpose. I am no scientist, but I know the colors and design have a meaning for the coming day.

So, I have been seeking the answer to the question I hear in my heart that the Holy Spirit is asking.  What has God placed in my heart for each day that I am here? Has the up and down hills of my life distracted or perhaps prevented me from displaying the beauty of my life?

Have I allowed the responsibilities and sometimes the drudgery of everyday life to push it aside?  How many times have I been in a hurry to a goal and skipped over the gentle tug nestled in my spirit. How many “for such a time as this” have I not answered the call placed ever so gently into my heart. 

We humans tend to think that there is always another day, always another opportunity. In my youth I seemed to have no perception that strength and opportunity would ever run out.  Perhaps proving the saying that “youth is wasted on the young.” I think you have to grow old to understand the full impact of that statement. I have lived long enough and attended enough funerals to know that longevity on this earth is not always the end story.   

What has God placed in our hearts for such a time as this? Has time and life pulled us away from the path spoken to us for a season. Maybe even this season that you find yourself in?

Perhaps for some of us it has been so long that we have a hard time acknowledging the truth our soul knows. Recognizing the gentle whisper by the Holy Spirit. You know that little nudging inside of us that wants to prompt us to the truth our heart already knows. Maybe like me, you already recognize the path but are timid in your trust of God to fulfill what your heart dares to dream. Maybe, just maybe you are fearful of the personal cost. Leaving your comfort zone is never well, comfortable. Maybe it is standing and perhaps speaking truth in a society that is working diligently to silence the morality of truths purpose.  What can be said to encourage you, encourage myself?

Perhaps this moment it is a path that seems to place you alone, apart from “others.”  But as God’s child are we ever really alone? As I looked back at the heart calls I put aside and not answered, I was reminded of the story of Esther from the Old Testament. I was seeking some miraculous moment that would rationalize my past choices.

It is the story Jewish tradition has based the celebration of Purim on.  The base root of that word is “pur” as to purge.  Most of us know the infamous line that Mordecai sent to Queen Esther moving her to into action “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther acted on these words and history was changed. We all are acquainted with our call is in this season. I am convinced it takes faith and boldness to answer those calls placed on our heart by a loving God.  Whether it be to stay or go, to speak or to be silent. Maybe a dream to create using a talent left dormant up until now.  Perhaps it is to stand for what you know is right when others will fall away. I believe that is Gods never-ending grace for His children.  Some choices will only present themselves once. Other opportunities will call us to choose the same principle multiple times.  Whatever is your God given path my prayer for all of us is that like Queen Esther when called for “such a time as this” we seek clearly His guidance and answer in confidence and show off our unique beauty to a starving world. 

Proverbs 3: 5-7 The Passion Translation,

“Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions.

With all your heart rely on him to guide you and He will lead you in every decision you make. 

Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. 

Don’t think that for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong.”

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That Five Letter Word

There are not a lot of words in the English language that can invoke the same level of excitement and dread as this 5 letter word can. When we have a lot of it we’re excited, when we have just enough of it we’re content, and when we don’t have any of it we’re afraid.


There, I said it.

Let’s be very clear, I am not one of those people that enjoy talking about the M word. I don’t bring it up in casual conversation and I can’t maintain a flowing narrative about it.  Now, all that being said I DO have a respect and an appreciation for every stage money has to offer. My family has faced financial hardships in the past. We have found contentment with having just enough and with having more than enough. We have gone through seasons where we needed financial help FROM others and seasons where we could be the financial help TO others.

So, yes I understand the ins and outs of money. Still doesn’t mean I enjoy conversing about it or writing about it.

But here we are, so let’s get into the weeds a bit shall we?

There’s an old saying that a lot of people use out of context when speaking on the subject of money. And I’d be willing to bet you might’ve even used it before;

“Money is the root of all evil”.

Sounds familiar huh? We often use this saying to justify a financial hurt, loss, or misuse. It fits the narrative that some may feel about money when they see others thriving financially and they’re striving to survive. But in actuality this saying is taken straight from scripture in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil..”

Did you catch that? The love of money, not money itself, is the root of all kinds of evil.

It’s also really important to understand the context behind this particular piece of scripture. 1 Timothy is a personal letter from Paul to Timothy full of guidance on how to lead and love the church. Timothy was a young church leader with a strong foundation in the faith passed down to him from his mother and grandmother. Paul offered him Godly counsel and a fatherly love all throughout his letter, including the famous line on money. Paul was laying a foundation of stewardship that would be communicated through Timothy to his church, that his church would then spread to their families and that those families would teach through the generations.

We must teach the next generation to trust in the lack as they trust in the gain. We must show them how to sow so they know what it means to reap. We must practice good stewardship in front of them so they have those skills to pass down to the generation that comes behind them. We must affirm them the same way Paul affirmed Timothy. What does that look like in today’s world?

 “It’s ok to have money and it’s ok to spend money. But when that love for money becomes more than your love for God, THAT is when evil takes root”.

“When you start chasing money more than you’re chasing God, THAT is when evil takes root”.

“When you find your identity in your bank account and not in Christ, THAT is when evil takes root”.

Money may be a sore subject in your household or, maybe it’s not. Wherever you find yourself on the subject the absolute truth is found in Christ and faithful stewardship is a way we honor what Jesus did for us. It’s up to us to lay the foundation that the generation behind us will build on.

And yes, that includes money.

Christ in Your Home Christian living family Handling Life's Problems


“I hate you”!

I hear my 9 year old (at the time) daughter scream, followed by the familiar sound of a slamming door. I sunk to the floor in the living room and could feel my heart break into a thousand pieces. I thought I had at least until she was 16 to hear those dreaded words! I felt angry, hurt, disappointed, and sad. My 9 year old managed to inflict all that on me with a three word sentenced. She had offended me.

I picked my momma broken heart off the floor, pulled myself together the best I could, and entered the lions den (i:e, my daughter’s bedroom..)

Before I finish that story, let me give you some context before you have time to assume. See, what you don’t know is at the time of that dreaded “I hate you”, we had just made our second big move in 3 years, she was starting a new school in a new state, and her dad and I were living separately. Perfect ingredients for a little kid to feel some big emotions.

I scooped her up, held her close, looked her in the eyes and said,  “You don’t hate me. You’re just hurting”. She nodded yes in agreement.

Now, make no mistake after the tears subsided and we were both calm we had the conversation about how we don’t say things like that to ANYONE no matter how mad or sad we are.

What was happening in my young daughters heart came flying out of her mouth. Her hurt and her pain all came flying out at her intended target, me, hitting its mark perfectly.

“…what you say flows from what is in your heart”

Luke 6:45 NLT

So often it’s the ones closest to us that can hurt us the most. They know what buttons to push, what triggers to pull, and what wounds to bother. So how do we navigate our household, our family life, or any relationship without constantly being offended? Two really practical things:

#1) Realize you are not invincible. Give yourself grace. You will experience pain. You will be hurt. You will be disappointed. You will get angry.  Allow yourself to feel those emotions but don’t unpack your entire life and live there.

“Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships” Proverbs 17:9

(replace friendship with marriage or relationship if you need to!)

#2) Get to really know the people you do life with. That includes your spouse, your significant other, your friends, your co workers, your kids. Once you know someone’s story, once you know what makes them respond and react the way they do you’re less likely to live offended. Does this take work? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Once you know what is in a person’s heart you’re able to look past the hurtful words and still offer them grace.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses”

Proverbs 10:12

If I didn’t know what was in my daughters heart when she threw those words at me I wouldn’t have been able to overlook them and love her the way she needed me to in that moment. Really seeing past peoples hurt and seeing them for who they truly are is a lot like how God sees us. He sees past our greatest flaws and weaknesses. He sees past our greatest sins. He sees  past our most serious offenses. And if the goal is to be more Christ like everyday, I think the best choice we can make is to start seeing people (yes, even those in your own family that are the hardest to love sometimes..) as Jesus sees them.

Because not everyone wants to be seen by everyone but, everyone needs at least someone to see them.

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You Look Like You Could Use a Drink

Stressed out? You need a drink.

Disappointed? You need a drink.

Unfulfilled? You need a drink.

No, I’m not talking about the drinks that come by way of a neon sign and a frosty glass. Not a pretty colored drink with a tiny umbrella either.

The drink I’m talking about is much stronger.

In a really familiar story from the gospel of John we see Jesus having a conversation at a well with a Samaritan woman. (It’s important to note that at this particular time, the Jews and the Samaritans were hostile towards each other’s cultural and religious practices. So this interaction between Jesus and this woman is a huge deal!)

Jesus and the Samaritan woman have a casual conversation about needing a drink of water from the well. Jesus tells her if she knew who he really was she would be asking HIM for a drink! The absurdity right??

Jesus says in John 4:13-14

“If you drink from Jacob’s well, you’ll be thirsty again, but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never be thirsty again. For when you drink the water I give you, it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding you with endless life!” 

Imagine never thirsting again? Imagine the freedom that comes with that? Imagine living in such a way that no matter what your circumstance or situation you are satisfied.

It’s possible friend.

The reason we live stressed out, disappointed, and unfulfilled is simply because we search for our thirst to be quenched in unsustainable sources.

Your spouse isn’t a sustainable source. But wait, isn’t it my husband’s or  my wife’s job to make me happy? Nope. Marriage is meant to make you holy, not happy. It’s meant to be treated as a covenant not a cup.

Your kids can’t be where your fulfillment comes from either. And all the parents say “But my kids are my life”! Well..they’re not meant to be! Making your kids the well you draw from isn’t fair or attainable for them. Kids (yes, those perfect little angels..) will unintentionally disappoint you at some point in life.

Your relationships (dating, friendships) are not meant to keep you going either. People are messy! People aren’t perfect! Relationships are complicated. They can be on track one day, and a complete rollercoaster the next day. Trying to pull from that well will always lead to hurt.

Jesus offered the Samaritan woman a drink from a never-ending supply of goodness and grace. A sustainable source that when consumed becomes a flood of abundant life. And her response is yes.


Because she was tired of being stressed out, disappointed, and unfulfilled by the other sources she was trying to draw from.

“The woman replied, “Let me drink that water so I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to draw water” John 4:15

Quit going back to what hurt you over and over again. Quit putting pressure on those closest to you. Quit searching for that quick, easy fix. Quit running back to that well that will run dry.

Instead, respond to Jesus with a ,“Yes, I want what you offer Lord”. Let me find my fulfillment in you”.

Jesus is waiting to meet you at that dry well you’re at. He’s waiting there with a drink that will overflow with peace, mercy, love, and kindness. A drink that will never, ever run dry.

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I Am Your Father

If you read that title in your best Darth Vader voice, you are my kind of people. We are HUGE Star Wars fans in our household and every summer we re-watch the trilogies for family movie night. One of the most iconic moments in the whole saga is when the evil Darth Vader reveals that he is indeed Jedi in training Luke Skywalker’s father. Luke’s entire sense of self comes crashing down and he’s left with more questions than answers about who he really is.

In response, Luke lets out a perfect cinematic scream of “NOOOOOOOOOOOO! That’s impossible”! Talk about some family drama? If you know anything about Star Wars you know this Skywalker family has got some MAJOR issues that stretches across decades and many generations.

(If I just happened to ruin this entire movie series for you, my deepest most sincere apologies but it’s for a good reason I promise! Hang with me!)

As we enter into our May series that is all about families, I can’t help but think of all the times I have let out my own yell of “NOOOOOO” and “That’s impossible”, at the expense of my own family issues. Anyone else been there?

Family, no matter what it looks like, is difficult to navigate. Things are always changing, always shifting. What was ok yesterday is not ok today. What we said last week doesn’t mean anything this week. What worked last month isn’t making any difference this month. It can feel like an intense game of tug of war where one minute you’re pulling that rope with ease and the next your face first in the mud with no idea how you even got there.

Here’s the really good news though.

God doesn’t change.

His ways are solid. His ways are steady. His ways are trustworthy.

David asks God this exact thing when he says:

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”. Psalm 143:10 NIV

No matter if you’re single, engaged, married, divorced, widowed. No matter if you’re a whole family, a step-family, a blended family. Whether you have one child, 10 children, no children. Whether you have been married for less than a year or married for 20 plus years…God wants your household built on the solid foundation of Christ. All other ways are unstable and fleeting.

See, you may change. Your family may change. Your ideas of family may change. But God has never changed.

The God that brought Ruth to Boaz is the same today. (Ruth 4:13-16)

The God that gave Sarah a baby is the same today. (Genesis 21:1-3)

The God that brought redemption to Joseph’s family is the same today. (Genesis 45:1-28)

The God that brought the prodigal son home is the same today. (Luke 15:11-24)

The God that restored Gomer to Hosea is the same today. (Hosea 3:1-5)

The God that transformed Saul to Paul is the same today. (Acts 9:1-19)

The God that forgave the adulterous woman is the same today. (John 8: 1-11)

God is at work telling a story of restoration, redemption, and miracles through your family. No matter what that family may look like in your current phase of life. Don’t buy into the lie that you need to have it all together or be the “right kind of family” for God to use it. Instead choose to believe that Gods foundation is steady, safe, and secure. Choose to believe that He is for you and your family. That his ways are better than yours. That everything else you may try and build your life on is sinking sand.

God is saying to you today, that you matter to him. That you are his precious child. That he cares deeply for you. He longs for a relationship with you.

How do I know that?

Because God also said, “I am your Father”.

And He’s really good at being a Father to you and your whole family.

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Coffee with a Bug

I was sitting on my patio enjoying the privilege of taking my time with a good cup of coffee.  No daily rush just relaxed and letting my mind drift.  I spotted an interesting little bug.  I am not a fan of bugs but I believe in live and let live the best that I can.  He was not like any other bug I had seen.  He was a colorful little guy.  Busily going about his day.  He was extremely purposeful.  He showed no doubt in his mission.  Gave everything he had to its goal.  Never stopped to look around.  He was committed to his destiny.  His only distraction was if something got in his path.  He always corrected direction and continued on.  There was no doubt the bug knew its purpose and path and plan for his little life.

In some ways I began to envy him.  In others not at all.  From what I know of science this little guy had no choice.  He was programmed with only one thought. Locked into a life of no choice. Sounds kind of dull and unexciting and certainly restrictive from a people perspective. 

I am pretty sure he didn’t know any other way and seemed content in his life chore.  Or at least so it appeared.

Just about every Christian can recite Jeremiah 29:11.  They may not know it is Jeremiah 29:11 but when they were saved, they heard and adopted it into their heart.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you  Plans to give you hope and a future.”  It’s the “plans” part most of us struggle with.  How many mornings when I walked out of my house, I had wished that God had just written those plans on my fence for me to read.  Then I would know which way to turn, what choice to make.  What distraction to turn from.  What was the most important goal for that day, besides drawing close to him?  Ah but there in that last one is where you find the answer.  God doesn’t give us a map that says turn here, nope wrong way.  Or my favorite thought to myself often after an apparent wrong turn.  “Are you kidding me!”  

We aren’t programmed.  Instead, He has gloriously given us talents, and abilities beyond our wildest understanding.  Not one but many.  Supportive of each other in ways that often don’t make any sense to us.  But as Jesus said to His disciples in John  “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever.  That Helper is the Spirit of truth.”

That truth, if we draw close to it and learn its voice can and wants to guide us through every step, every choice of our day.  Talents and gifts and abilities are gifts to be valued and used to bring glory to our creator.  However, it is the voice of truth, the Holy Spirit, that guides us to fulfillment on both the easy and hard days. 

The “plans” aren’t programmed into our DNA like the little bug.  The plans are placed in our heart when we seek them.  The Holy Spirit is our guide and the Word is our truth.  Without both of them working together it is easy to get lost in the endless choices we face each day.  The little bug had no choice in his life but was secure in his mission.  We have choice and sometimes get off the intend path and our not so secure in our mission.  Unlike the bug we have a loving Lord who sent the Holy Spirit to guide us back when we get “off path.”. 

Matthew 7:8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

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It has been said a thousand different ways in a thousand different languages; the value of connecting with someone. A spouse, friend, loved one, or even co-worker. When there is a heart connection it does something majestic for the soul. I sometimes think “where do we get this from?” or “why are we wired this way?” and I believe the answer is found in Genesis chapter one, two and three.

We see God telling, revealing “’s not good for man to be alone..” and creates Eve for Adam. This is a clear picture we are made for connection. But, notice it starts with our connection with God.

I believe this, we can correctly and in a healthy way connect with others ONLY after we connect with God. If we try any other way it is like getting the cart before the horse.

And when we connect with God it overflows into every relationship we have. When our connection to God is our first priority it flows into every other area of our life. Jesus said “..if your eye is healthy, then your whole body is full of light.” Matthew 6:22

So the question becomes; How do we connect with God who’s name is Yahweh, the creator of the universe?

One, big practical step: Spend time with Him.

This can look like reading the Bible, reading a devotional, reading a Christian book. It can look like taking a walk or a ride. It can look like praying no matter where you are. This can look like worshiping while you cook or drive. Take the time to get the words of Christ into your heart, however it may look in your life.

The whole goal is to make time to connect with God, because He greatly desires to connect with you.

“Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you…” James 4:8 [TPT]