The Only Option

I once had a dream in which a tornado was barreling toward our home. I remember thinking—my only option is to speak against it (use my God-given authority paid for by His Son to make it disappear).

Our house isn’t particularly safe. Living in Ohio we hardly ever have tornadoes large enough to level homes. There was no place to run and hide, death was coming, and if I didn’t take a stand we would surely die.

There was a peace that filled me once I realized that my only option was to trust God. I mean either the tornado would have to obey or I would meet Jesus. Either way it was a happy ending and I knew I was acting exactly as I should be. I was who I should be.

I raised my hand and called out firmly (defiantly), “STOP!” And just as the tornado touched my yard line, it dissipated into mere mist.

A visiting speaker during our ministry school once said, “consider it a gift when you hit a point in which God is your only option.”

We are so bent on doing things ourselves, striving and strategizing our own efforts and plans. Even as we face our giants we fight and struggle before relenting to a higher power.

And we go father still when, broken and defeated, we blame God for our state of being and begin to doubt in His Goodness. When all along He was ready and willing to fight our battles for us.

Miracles tend to happen (like tornadoes disappearing) when we don’t allow ourselves to think or feel and we just simply give it all to God. When we recognize that without Him we don’t stand a chance and that He works (desires to!) through us!

In marriage, Aaron and I had formed an agreement, a vow that divorce would never be an option. But we never made those same vows to God! Vows to never let doubt be an option, or fear/worry. That we would have no other option but to trust Him….this new perspective has given me a lot to think about.

We value our marriage so much that we set these vows in order to protect it. How much more should we value and protect our relationship with God??

I believe now is the time in history in which we need more men and women of God who are all out of options. That we would finally break free and become who we were made to be when we’re backed into a corner and have no other way out. That God would move and shine bright in those moments. And that we would never doubt Him again.

If you feel you’re in that place, if you feel your out of options….give in to His. Activate the gifting and authority Christ paid for that you’ve let collect dust. Recognize the Holy Spirit within you groaning to burst forth, and surrender it all to God, win or lose…He has the final say and to Him be the Glory.

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A Mighty Wind

Journal entry: July 7th, 2017

A storm is coming. As I write, I can hear the constant stream of thunder. I watch the dark blue clouds roll in from Upper Sandusky and feel the electric excitement and slight tinge of fear, even now.

This storm seems to be, so far, the worst looking this summer. Appearance is always more intimidating…but even the sparrow knows you hold tomorrow God. I’d add something else there—the sparrow knows you hold today, this moment and the next.

It’s almost too dark to write now. The clouds are almost overhead. The wind starts…strong gusts breaking every dying branch off of our oak trees and blowing away every bit of dead debris and discarded trash by the roadside.

I am reminded of the Holy Spirit. When people say He is like wind, I think the image they envision first is that of a gentle breeze on a hot summer day. The Holy Spirit is God in us—He is very much like the windy storm or even a whirlwind. He comes into our hearts and washes us. He blows away our trash and any obstacles between us and God.

He breaks off our dying branches with great and mighty gusts of His power. And yet, through it all, He shelters us in the palm of His hand. He comforts us and sets us back on our feet.

Praise be to God!

I pray that I will always meditate on God’s Word and revelations when I am afraid. The Lord is my refuge! The Word of God is like milk and honey. It sustains me, calms me, and reminds me of God’s everlasting love and goodness.

Thank you, God….for storms.

Marriage or Singleness?

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24

I married Aaron straight out of high school and never looked back. Our choice went against worldly reason and many around us believed we would fall apart—like so many young couples in our society today.

They didn’t view us through the lens of Christ but through that of the world. We knew our vows were being spoken before God and man. We knew that God would be the head of our marriage. And we vowed that the word “divorce” would never reach our lips.

Feb. 22, we celebrated 8 years of marriage, which doesn’t include the years we spent building upon our friendship beforehand. Aaron is the only true God decision I’ve ever made. I know without a doubt that our marriage was destiny and God planned and Aaron would agree.

I suppose the reason for this post is to discuss the importance of singleness and marriage. That we should find completion and joy in both!

There is a push for young people to marry and have children, a romanticism in movies and tv shows surrounding marriage and a melancholy and impatience surrounding singleness. As if “I’m single” = “I’m lonely and desperate!”

The Apostle Paul, a man who was called to singleness, held some differing views on marriage. He talks about marriage almost pitying those who enter into the union. Why? Because he loves the freedom he experiences as a single man to pursue God. Marriage, in his eyes, is a distraction from wholehearted surrender. A concession for those who have no self control and would sin otherwise.

He says these things without commandment from God (1Corinthians 7:6). And so we are at liberty to either take his personal viewpoint or leave it. But I’m not saying that his words aren’t wisdom or Spirit led, only that what he says holds an undertone of emotion due to his experiences which are one-sided and non-objective.

His instructions for both married and single folk are important but his feelings should not make you feel ashamed for choosing marriage or particularly righteous for choosing singleness. The fact is, Paul stands for a small minority of people who do not struggle with passion or desire for physical intimacy. Paul was called to a life of sacrifice, suffering, constant travel, and unwavering focus.

I believe that through both Paul’s commitment and God’s design, he existed apart from this particular need/distraction. Otherwise, his heart would’ve been conflicted and he may not have been so selfless in his ministry.

In other words. Paul was made to be single so that he could do what only a single man could do. Not everyone has that call in which the only ministry focus is reaching the lost and not also ministering to our spouses and rearing children.

The Takeaway:

Pursuing singleness can be as disastrous as pursuing marriage if that is not what God has called you to.

So the core lesson here is what does God want for you and your life? What do you feel called to? What do you struggle with or have passions for? God isn’t looking for copycat Christians who want to be exactly like Paul, or Peter, or John…etc. He wants you to be _______ (insert your own name). No one else can be you!

And ultimately, He wants you to mirror Jesus. Not in every detail (for example, you don’t have to be a carpenter or travel on foot as a missionary), but He wants you to love like Him, obey like Him, and have a relationship like they share (Father and Son).

If you do these things you will please God and fulfill your unique call and destiny whether you are single or not.

In all honesty, I feel like Paul did a disservice to those who were married. No doubt because he had never experienced it for himself. Marriage, in many ways, is our design—from the moment Eve was created from Adam and they were joined because God said: “it’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

He created marriage that day and said it was good. The Bible is filled with marriage, the symbolic representation of Christ and the church (His bride). And how else are children born but through the union of man and woman?

I can personally attest that marriage has taught me to love better, has challenged me to grow as a Christian, has destroyed selfishness, and has broadened my spiritual impact because two oftentimes is better than one. (Even in singleness you need strong Christian companions/friends/family).

As for singleness, I’d like to say that I would’ve grown up far faster (worldly speaking) had I learned to be single for awhile before I married (I struggled to be independent on my own). Buying an apartment and facing life alone would have hardened and stretched me—I would have learned to first depend on God instead of meeting those needs in a spouse.

I found Aaron when I stopped searching and just followed after God. So gentleman and ladies—enjoy the single life, make sure your identity is in Christ and not in finding your “soul mate.”

Romance God. Chase after His heart first—because at the end of it all it really is just you and Him.

Earthly marriage is unto death, not eternity. Once we leave this life we are married and one with Christ. And so remember your first love and you will love everyone else all the more wholly. Including your spouse or future Mr./Mrs.

May God bless you wherever you are, and give you the righteous desires of your heart as you journey ever closer to His. Amen.

“Unplanned” Movie Review & Discussion

The story behind Abby Johnson, once a leading director for Planned Parenthood—now a pro-life activist.

I must admit, it took me a few years to watch this movie because of the subject matter. I am obviously pro-life and work with children on a weekly basis. Now I’m also a mother which sheds a whole new perspective on the matter of abortion.

It wasn’t long before I was bawling (the movie begins with Abby’s defining moment—which led to her immediate resignation from PP). From there, it then backtracks to her college days where, like many of us, she was young, naive, and oh so rebellious.

Movie Summary:

Separated from her Christian parents, she quickly fell into the devil’s schemes of deception and sin. She was intimate with a boy, became pregnant, and (out of fear/convenience) had her first abortion.

Later, she married the same guy, and quickly wanted out. He cheated on her and she divorced him—but not after discovering she was pregnant again. Hating her ex and not wanting to be tied to him she had another abortion.

In the midst of all this she became involved with PP, and even had one of her abortions through them. It was one of the most traumatic experiences for her because of the pain and blood loss—something that PP had not told her would happen.

Despite this, she was convinced into supporting PP and even working there after attending a college job fair. They fed her more lies; “it’s not a baby yet, you know?”, “PP’s goal is to lower the abortion rates not raise them.”

It was her first job. And it involved running out to the cars and hurrying patients indoors before they could hear anything from the pro-lifers shouting through the fence bars at them. She truly believed she was helping women and many of the pro-life voices were so full of hate that it deepened her commitment.

She moved up and up until one day she was appointed director of the clinic. This didn’t come quickly—she had remarried a good man and had become pregnant, this time, keeping her child against PP’s advisement.

As time passed, it became clearer to Abby that PP was actually pushing abortions over their other services, lying to patients about the risks, side-effects, and mental trauma, and manipulating women into killing their children instead of taking a neutral stance.

Abby witnessed more atrocities, the near death of a high school girl who was forced into getting an abortion by her father, the valuing of money and image over women’s health and safety, the heartless way they handled patients and worst of all—their unborn babies, was almost too hard to stomach at times.

Finally Abby’s defining moment came, one that would forever change her. She was called in to actually witness an abortion on an ultrasound. She stood in shock as the doctor, like some awful predator, pursued the baby, who struggled and fought to avoid him. In mere moments he had succeeded and the baby was ripped apart on screen for her to see.

She put in her resignation and faced for the first time the full weight of guilt and shame at what she had done. Hundreds, thousands of precious humans killed…and she took part in it, as well as in the death of her own two children.

PP sued her on unfounded claims and she walked free with the help of a lawyer and her new pro-life friends from Coalition of Life. Who has often prayed outside her clinic.

God walked her through repentance and self forgiveness and she has now dedicated her life to “life.” Literally so, in that she is a mother of seven children, a pro-life author (Unplanned is based off of her book), created and manages an anti-abortion ministry called “And Then There Were None,” which helps women leave the abortion field and regularly attends conventions and speakings.

Honestly, I thought the movie really opened my eyes to what happens in PP and other abortion clinics. The numb self denial and deception, the brainwashing, the dehumanizing way they treat babies and even the mothers is sickening when viewed from outside in. But to these women who are involved, they really don’t see it. They have no idea they are chained down and actually in many ways—anti-choice, anti-women, anti-life, and anti-God especially.

We see this anti-God in how Abby and her coworkers talk about church and their Christian families during the lunchroom scene.

Abby was told from the beginning that abortion was necessary, that they were merely a clump of cells, often formless and unable to feel pain. She saw the desperation in women and wanted to free them from it—not realizing that it only added to their pain and suffering. When she finally witnessed an abortion from the viewpoint of the fetus—she knew immediately it was life and capable of fear and pain.

The last shred of morality within her cried out and longed to save that which was innocent and good.

The modern day feminist is truly the death of femininity. The nurturing, life-giving aspect of women is being squashed and replaced with the pursuit of knowledge and power. The God of self.

After this movie I couldn’t help but hold my son close. Disgusted and ashamed of the ways we inadvertently support PP and it’s views in our society.

From the food we eat, clothes we wear, music and media we listen to, words we speak, makeup we plaster our faces with, and healthcare we empty our pockets to…

Vaccines, food preservatives, taxes…we’re the biggest supporters of the thing we hate. We keep these places in business and we propagate the need behind them.

Today, I researched ways in which I could fight against the grain of injustice. I discovered which major food/beverage companies support PP and even utilize fetal cells in the creation of its products. The list was insane! The abomination is so interconnected and hidden that even Gerber got away with it!

If you’re interested in this list here is the link: https://www.kingdomclaritylabel.com/news/a-comprehensive-list-of-food-companies-and-products-that-use-senomyx

This list I’m sure is not all-inclusive. But a good start—fortunately, the less processed foods and drinks you use the less likely it is affiliated. I try and stick with store brand and unprocessed items myself.

As for vaccines, I know almost all of us had many that were on the list. Both in childhood and given to our own children. The most recent of which, the COVID vaccines are no better (Project Veritas uncovered the truth behind their usage of fetal cells). Unfortunately, this knowledge isn’t exactly power over the vaccine mandates because in order to justify not complying over religious reasons—you would have to hold this stance with everything else.

In other words, I’ve seen healthcare workers file religious exemptions over this and still lose their jobs because they had either had other vaccines with fetal cells in them or had/have products in their homes that use fetal cells. You could claim ignorance if it were true, but because of the worldwide web—we have access to these facts one way or another and have to live with what we know.

I’ve recently made the decisions for my son to have his normal vaccines, I hold a stance against the COVID vaccine on accounts of it being dangerous/experimental and unnecessary. I also stand firm against it because of the political agenda behind it. But above all else I should stand against it for the fetal cells, the genocide of innocent children that was used to create it.

Should I also avoid all other vaccines that are affiliated? Polio…mumps…measles etc? It is a messy situation we find ourselves. In which we too have been brainwashed and have grown numb to the grey of this world. The line is blurry between good and evil at times…this should not be.

Lastly, I look into ways I could be a pro-life activist and saw that the options were rather limited. Not so in a spiritual sense but in a “what can I do with my own two hands” sense.

The only option was to volunteer at a pro-life pregnancy center near me. In our hometown this is called, “Voice of Hope.”

I had gone through the programs myself when I was pregnant since we are a single income family and they had such a surplus or resources like toys, diapers, wipes, clothes, and even free ultrasounds for women who can’t afford it.

Despite this, there is little else that these centers offer. At least that is the voice of many secular women looking for emotional support and financial help.

Women complain of the religious components of these programs, having to take lengthy courses in order to receive free clothing and such, and feeling misunderstood when it comes to their needs and wants. Most of the women who go to these centers are already planning on keeping their babies so it isn’t exactly reaching those who are on the fence or who are wanting abortions.

There is, I believe an answer for every need and it’s unique to each person. That is why I don’t personally discredit the existence of these centers. The truth is, every pregnant woman has multiple resources and paths to take—-not all of them are easy, but society still favors the women and her success.

Churches should be the ones to come alongside hurting mothers. Families, parents, grandparents, husbands….they all play a vital role in child-rearing! This “feminist” culture is destroying the family and in destroying the family they are destroying women and their function to create life and nurture it. Instead we are told to work, pursue our own dreams and careers and abstain from anything that would hinder that. Much like what Abby discovered at PP when she wanted to start her family.

It’s time we start redefining as a nation what we stand for and what really matters. If we really wanted abortion, suicide, domestic violence, divorce, drug abuse, neglect and child abuse, alcoholism, and poverty to drop we wouldn’t shrink back as a church but press all the more forward.

We know that you cannot stop evil by committing more evil. (Like fighting fire with fire),

We know what these people are needing in to their lives! What they are missing and trying to fill with meaningless short-term happiness/gratifications!

Jesus.

And it’s time the church learns what it means to love like Christ again.

Love is the only thing that will talk a person off of a cliff edge. It is the only thing that will reach them.

And so I ask what will you do to fight injustice? In what ways will you love and support your hurting women and families in your life or in your town?

Conflicting Dreams

“The mark of humanity is in the looking up, the mark of the believer is in the looking in.”

The stars…

They make you dream of transformation, discovery, and mystery. A transcendence or release from the cages of what was and what is.

Humanity, since it’s beginning, has sought the stars. Charted, studied, and reached out in longing toward them, like so many bugs in a jar.

Star Trek and other science fiction works do well to capture our intrigue, sweeping us up in its progressive ideals and future outlook where mankind has fully matured as a species.

Matured or more specifically—“evolved” into something more. As if our existence and purpose were centered in our collective betterment. And as if we could ever hope to achieve such a feat by hard work and wits alone.

I’ve always loved Star Trek and the utopian future it painted, where humanity had overcome its evils and discovered new life amidst the sea of stars. But it’s merely a childhood fantasy to believe that we humans possess the ability to grow at all, apart from God. In other words, what we share in the outcome, we differ in the process.

While the rest of the world is looking up, we look within. While they are reaching and striving—we are kneeling. And therein the action lies the truth. As one seeks self transcendence the other acknowledges a power in which all transcendence flows.

The Tower of Babel is an interesting story of humanity striving for greatness apart from God. You see, we all want transcendence—but there is only one way to acquire it.

“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me (Jesus).” —John 14:6

To most of the world, transcendence is through the mind. Mental control, knowledge (science), or meditations—which conjures up this image I’m sure.

For the atheist it is all knowledge. To the spiritualist it is all God. To the Christian it is one God who created all.

As I read one of my many Star Trek novels, I realize that they represent our modern day secular world and it’s socialistic progressive ideology to the T.

They look at the story of Adam and Eve differently. Not just in that it is symbolic to them (not real), but also in its purpose. Christians see dependency on God as the “good”, and Adam and Eve’s decision as the “evil” which led to exile from the physical garden and God’s presence.

This understanding is the foundation of why the rest of the Bible is important and vital. It is the story of our redemption that could not be won through our humanity, only through the Son of God.

When the humanist reads this story, they paint a different picture. Of mankind elevating itself by choosing independence from God and His “cage”. That the garden was like a nursery that we had outgrown as a species. And God?….that we had outgrown Him most of all.

This is important to note because first, it is the very lie the devil had whispered in Eve’s ear.

“(The devil speaking)…For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” —Genesis 3:5

Second, it is a misconception of what freedom is. Progressives believe that things like morality and the law (whether Biblical or literal), are binding. As if they enslave us, when truthfully it is the lack thereof that binds us with many chains.

The devil cared not about Eve. He wasn’t handing her a gift but a curse!

Sin is enslavement just as the flesh, if undisciplined and loosed, is enslaving. It tells us what to do and rules our very existence. And sin is never satisfied until it has consumed its captives onto death.

In the garden we were free of the weight of sin and death and had authority and power that was stolen when we were cast out. We were made to rule the garden and expand it, to co-labor with God in vanquishing the evil on the Earth. That job is ours again, one that can only be accomplished if done together with God.

He is not a dictator, or some long bearded angry entity in the heavens, unconcerned by our souls. He is love—love that came down and became one of us for the sake of oneness.

We exist therefore to love and be loved. We aren’t slaves but servants, we aren’t chained but free, and we aren’t animals evolved but children adopted and grafted into God’s family.

And so, I’ll leave the stargazing to the dreamers. Instead I will look within myself, pursue God and Godly matters—and turn dreams into reality.

There is hope for humanity still…and it rests not in our limited abilities but in His unlimited love.

Maybe it’s time we stop looking up…and start looking in. So that we can then look out at the world that matters most in this sea of stars and do some real good through the lens of Christ.

Floating Fish

Lately, it seems like everyone is being attacked. The world and, more specifically, the church is being shaken down to its core, it’s foundation. People are being forced into taking a side and standing firm in their decisions. Evil is rampant and no longer concealed within the confines of the shadows.

The deepest, darkest fears, sins, spiritual failings, and doubts are floating to the surface.

Quite honestly, I’m tired of the endless trials that I’m being bombarded with from within and without. When will the shaking cease and the dust finally settle? What will happen next before it does?

As I’m typing this, I can see my dying fish floating to the top of its tank after I painstakingly tried to save it from ick only a few days ago. Sadly, a few other fish are also acting odd and I don’t know what or if I can do anything. (This is after I finally was able to finish my tank—after several weeks of waiting on guppies to hit the market again).

This feeling hits me so often these days you would think I’d be numb to it by now. But no, you’d best believe I will do what I can to salvage and protect, even if it’s in vain.

Will I see the fruits of my own efforts? Probably not. I haven’t exactly “done” life with God lately at the helm. I feel often like someone has unplugged me from the source…that “someone” is me of course, but I can’t seem to find the outlet again in the darkness.

I’ve had to choose God—quite possibly for the first time, without the “feeling” driving it. I’ve always wanted God in my life, always loved Jesus, always wanted to please Him more than anything or anyone else.

I know I still want those things, but life has hit us so hard that I’m just kind of numb to those wants right now. I set expectations on God that I shouldn’t have set (just like in marriage sometimes). I’ve doubted God for the first time, not His existence, but His Character…His willingness. An equally idiotic notion on my part, I know, but here we are.

It’s like I’m lost on the battlefield, shooting and running, unable to clearly see my Commander in the chaos. And man is it chaos!

Between the pandemic, the evil political agendas surrounding it, our presidential failure, the ensuing bloodbath in our country and in the world (some are still in the making), the constant lies and fear-mongering media, the stirring of hatred between races/genders/religions/classes/and parties, the death and depression hanging on everyone, and our own personal battles in the midst of it (being a new mother to a willful boy, health issues, relationship and financial struggles)…..

….yeah, I’m pretty spent. And feeling a lot like my floating fish, gasping for air.

I’m constantly chasing that breath of relief in between the chaos. Surviving but not exactly thriving….is this where the devil wants me? Does he think that if he keeps knocking my legs out from under me that I’ll never really stand up?

Aaron and I have made two conscious decisions amidst our shared feelings. One is that we would be more social at our church. Like make an effort to get to know others and be friends, join groups, etc.

For the past several years we’ve typically remained close to only a handful of people and haven’t exactly went out of our way to invite people over or anything. It’s been difficult for us as introverts to really branch out more. But now we see that we were just being selfish and really robbing ourselves and others of so much more.

In other words, now more than ever—-we all need each other. The church “body” must be a body again. We experience the love of God and meet our needs for connection only through each other.

This is huge for me considering that the reason I felt unloved by God was because I was denying His love that could’ve been mine if I had only reached out to my church family. They are a conduit in which His love reaches us!

Depression is really a demonic hold in that it tries to pull you away from what could heal you; friends and family.

Second, was that we had to make a decision. We had to count the costs of that decision or lack thereof. And that is, “will we continue believing what we believe despite what we see or feel?”

For once in my life, I choose God unconditionally, and to believe He is Good apart from what my eyes have seen, apart from what I feel, and apart from what I have yet to believe. Or perhaps, I do believe but it is without faith.

Nevertheless, I openly stand on what I know to be right, not easy. I see now that the Christian walk is not easy, that it paints a target on your back for every kind of spiritual attack…but I didn’t choose this path because it was easy, only because it was right.

God is God. I am not. This world is broken and evil. I must stand apart from it. I am not here to live for happiness. But to serve and grow and overcome. I do not live for myself but for others. I refuse to live this life for myself because it will only end in destruction and an eternal death. I seek eternal life.

I live for love. I stand for love. And maybe, someday I’ll die for love.

Maybe…it isn’t that everything is chaotic but finally clear. Maybe this is what it’s like when the dust has actually settled and we see things for what they are. The good and the bad and even the floating fish in our spiritual tanks.

What side will you choose to stand on? Come hell or high water, what do you believe?

“Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Note: Even when I am not.

Embrace the New Year

I remember the huge celebrations growing up as that clock ticked and the crowd counted down the remaining seconds before “Happy New Year!”

As a child I’d smile, watching the ball drop on TV at Time’s Square, fireworks exploding all around. As an adult I’d cheer and turn to my husband for the customary kiss to start the new year off right. Now…

Now, as a mother and as someone who very much feels the weight of time passing like sand through my fingers, my face is more somber. It’s like I’m saluting the year that passed by so swiftly, the pain and triumphs and milestones that it held, never to experience again.

I see a world that is almost hesitant now, if not just as somber. The joy and laughter are almost hollow in some ways, the crowds are gone, the ball drop? A silent affair.

Are we setting ourselves up to expect more hardship? Forgetting the new day(s) and it’s opportunity for joy and restoration? It’s time we throw our fears and woes back at the devil’s face and say, “this is going to be a great year!”

Instead of new year resolutions, why not try new year declarations:

1. This year I’m going to see miracles

2. This year I’m choosing joy!

3. This year, my family will be reunited.

4. This year, Is the year of revival!

(Insert your own)

Resolutions our what we say to ourselves, declarations is what we say to our spirit and perhaps those words carry more power?

Our minds are influenced by our thoughts and what we feed it daily. Are we feeding on Hope and surrounding ourselves with positivity? Your mental health with reflect what you are focused on and what you have trained your mind to do. The power to transform your life begins with transforming the way you think.

I highly recommend reading “Battlefield of the Mind,” by Joyce Meyer, and coupling that with reading/watching books/videos by Dr. Caroline Leaf, a pure genius of the mind who is also a Christian.

As for your own 2022 declarations, get out a sheet of paper and write down as many as the Lord places on your heart to write and hang them in a place you can speak them aloud daily. It can be a part of your morning routine—setting your mind and heart on joy and positivity before each new day.

And one day at a time…you’ll see God move through your words and they won’t return to you void. Only just remember this…every spoken word from you (and God) will be tested and tried.

You may find yourself experiencing opposition and possibly “the opposite” of what you declare at first. This is the devil trying to undermine truth. Hold fast and don’t stop declaring! This is a spiritual battle but you know who is victorious…your words have power or he wouldn’t be attacking them.

You will win. Trust in God. Keep straight the path ❤️

And Happy New Year…

A Reason To Sing

My husband, Aaron, leading worship in the face of a Covid outbreak at a neighboring church.

These past couple years have hurt. Deeply. Everywhere I turn it’s the same story, like a broken record. Pain—loss—fear. It’s more rampant than ever, and Hope? More scarce than ever.

The church (as a whole) made a grave error. Many turned their backs during a time when the world needed them most. In a lot of ways we collectively said, “Jesus isn’t enough,” and the world heard the message. And a bleak hopelessness set in…

We all carry scars now that we were never meant to carry, particularly alone. The devil has done what he set out to do, and now that Christmas is drawing near—he’s ever more dedicated to his cause. Is not Christmas and the coming Easter worth our final stand?

The two months that bring us Hope and remind us of the giver of Hope are under attack in ways we do not realize. I have friends who have turned from church and God, those who have lost so much these past years…and what kind of Hope can I give them?

Have I lost my Hope as well?

I’ve tasted depression and the void of loneliness that only comes in the absence of God in my life. There, my friends, is where you discover what hell is like. You see, we have a tendency to pull away from what would heal us when we are hurting. As “progressed” as we like to think of ourselves we are far from it!

Without God, we cease to have purpose and therefore begin to die. We can’t fully live without Him—we can’t go against the grain of our destinies.

Last night I read the story of Jonah and how he tried to flee from God and his destiny. As you know, he wasn’t given the choice to back down. After a fierce storm and time in the belly of a fish God had prepared to both discipline and protect him, he finally accepted his call to warn the people of Nineveh.

What happened after that? The people of Nineveh repented at Jonah’s warning and the city was saved. But Jonah again needed a lesson from God to remind him how valued each and every soul is to Him.

It reminded me of our own destinies. The church may have turned its back like Jonah on God’s call to save—but I believe, that also—like Jonah, they will be reminded of that call and either will repent and see a revival or completely fall away from their faith (pruned away like a rotting branch from the vine).

Those who turn from God will not find rest or Hope, they won’t even find contentment and wholeness because they’ve denied who they are and why they were created.

But those who heed the call and cling fast to Jesus during this time of trials, will find everything they need and more to withstand the storm yes, but also to heal and mend those who are hurting and point them to salvation. A gift that cannot be taken from you (unless you give it away).

And so I urge you brothers and sisters to turn your eyes back to God. It is very easy to get caught up in the things of this world but we can’t afford to lose sight of what matters most and sink beneath the waves like Peter. There is a reality that is unseen, that is more “real” than this plane of existence. Those who perish do not truly die, those who suffer now do so temporarily and are allowed to do so so that the love of Jesus can be demonstrated on this Earth.

We’re ambassadors from another place, representing the most High God in our words and by our actions.

This Christmas Eve, remember Jesus. Born in a disgusting manger, hiding from King Herod and his men. God on Earth—come to die at our hands, so that we could be with Him forever.

And that…is a reason to sing!

Not Covid, nor death, nor persecution, nor suffering, nor what powers govern our world—NOTHING can take this from you!

He is my reason to sing. Always and forever.

Even when I don’t feel joyful in the moment, or when I’m mourning…More of God is always the answer—not less.

https://youtu.be/UGhmvNGFENE

Follow the Rules

I love being a mother, but 79% of the time I feel like a broken record. Repeating my commandments (rules), and divvying out proper punishments when they aren’t followed.

“No! We don’t play in the dog food, it’s yucky!”

“Please! Stop making a mess, you’ll have to clean it up!”

“No, we don’t hit, son, that isn’t kind!” ….

In the face of a child we see the very raw form of mankind. It’s rebellion and potential for both good and evil, even whilst we are innocent to what is good and bad. We learn very quickly how to lie and manipulate. As if it is second nature to us.

As parents, we have our jobs cut out for us to remove such nature, to restrain it and teach our children to do the same. In order to function as a society, rules and restraints are necessary. Upholding morality and the rights of others is in line with the Will of God and breeds peace and prosperity. And in fact, it also does the body, mind, and spirit good!

Without learning self control we would indulge in our every whim. Drinking what we wanted, eating what we wanted, spending what we wanted, never truly satisfied. Our bodies would suffer from such a selfish lifestyle, and those we love would also suffer for it. Our prisons are full of people who simply couldn’t control their primal urges, who placed their selfish wants above the welfare of others.

As Christians, we know the importance of rules, obedience, and submission most of all. The world views us as “enslaved”, “held back” by our self control. Ironically, they do not see that their selfish (undisciplined) life style is doing that exact thing.

They are chained down by sin, unable to break free of their addictions and selfish impulses, a slave to their flesh and its desires. Is that really freedom?

True freedom comes through self discipline, surrender to God, and following His commandments. When we fast, for example, we are forcing our flesh back into its proper place where it cannot rule us. As creatures of worship we WILL worship something, even if we are atheists! Something will always rule over us—but if God rules over us we will be truly free.

God merely wants a relationship with us, as His children. His commandments and His discipline are done so that we may be free of sin and live a full/prosperous life. As I discipline my son, I do so because I love him and want him to be free to make choices and be independent someday.

What is unpleasant for him today, will reap joy for him in abundance tomorrow as he begins to make the right choices automatically. As other parents struggle with their selfish teens, trying to force them to comply, my son will have already learned and “earned” the fruits of obedience which in turn would lead to freedom.

I see it all around me. People who need set free but do not see it. They come to church wanting a band-aide, someone to fix their problems (the outcomes of their life styles) but unwilling to submit to self discipline, thinking: where’s the fun in being good?, what do I gain by submission to God and His rules?

Such lost souls never really grew up. They hate authority and anyone telling them what they should do, just like children who despise rules, unable to see how they exist to protect them and their rights.

Today, churches are caving for the sake of filling their pews. They want their buildings full and their tithe boxes fuller. They’ve lost the way…they’ve cutaway all the aspects of God that convict the heart and soul to change. The Jesus who flipped tables now is the Jesus who doesn’t really get angry about anything.

We cannot forget our mission! Why we exist! It’s not to pat everyone on the back and say “you’re doing fine,” meanwhile they are not doing fine! They’re on a highway to hell! And if we cared about them at all we would risk telling them! We would give them a choice and let me tell you no matter how you put it to them it is a hard choice! It requires self death! A severing of what our flesh craves for the sake of Christ and redemption—eternal life!

Just as the parent who spares the rod HATES their children! So does the church who spares the rod of truth—HATES the children of God!

The church and many of us, care more about what others think of us more so than what God thinks. We’ve grown afraid and insecure, selfish even about our image and our identities (which are wrapped up in church and our positions more so than as children of God).

We worship the image of church, of modern Christianity. We’ve made it an idol—removing the true God from and replacing Him with something of our own liking.

If this makes you feel sick to your stomach good!! That is a feeling every Christian needs to feel again, that convicting spirit that discerns what is righteous and what needs cut away.

I say all of this because we are living in unprecedented times. Very soon we will all have to take a side. We can no longer sit on the fence (the grey area) between the world and God. As persecution rises the church will be pruned and many “churches” will fall away. We need to re-evaluate what we believe and to what extent we are willing to stand on those beliefs.

Would you be arrested for Jesus?

Would you be beaten for Him?

Martyred?

Would you stand on the whole truth (the Word of God from cover to cover)?

Will you clearly say to evil, “this is wrong!” Even as the world attacks you and labels you for it?

As I look at my sweet son, after an ornery episode, I think to myself, “I love you too much to let you stay in that place of disobedience. You’re so much more than that! You have a very good heart and future ahead of you.”

The same goes for all the children out there and adults, who are lost or struggling with their faith. I see them and, if you ask God He will show you what He sees when He looks at them. I see the image of God, I see all the amazing qualities that make them unique and loved, and it’s just all muddied over by sin and deception, like buried gold waiting to be found.

No one is truly whole. Their complete selves. We are only seeing a glimpse of who they are. And it’s God’s joy to help each of us become who He created us to be.

Submit to Him, let go of your “self” and you might actually find yourself.

Eye of the Beholder

On a daily basis we subconsciously ascribe worth and beauty to what we see around us. From the roses in our garden to the new girl on the block.

As I remodel my home and simultaneously search for a literary agent who will take on my first novel, I am left to wonder whether others will value my hard work as much as I do.

As I stated once before, no one will know the blood, sweat, and tears I shed, the time I spent, and nights I burned the midnight oil working. The truth is, the more we work/sacrifice for something—the greater it’s worth (personally).

Take a child, for example, who was freely given a toy. And another who worked hard, completing chores, picking up small jobs in their free time for weeks in order to buy that same toy.

Who do you think will value it more?

I tied beauty with value in this post because often what we value we also find beautiful in some way. There is an inward pull, an appreciation we feel toward it or them.

We are creatures of worship who also crave beauty (I speak of course, of a beauty that transcends what we outwardly see).

When I worked at a window factory, with its drab walls and machinery, I found myself starving for beauty. Those things crafted by the hand of God instead of by man. Sometimes, I would look up from my station and try and snatch a glimpse of the green trees through the high vents. And I would even smile when I caught a whiff of rain, or saw a dandelion seed float past.

Once home, I would immediately head outdoors to my hammock and just soak up the surroundings. Feeling rejuvenated and content.

Of course, to another, perhaps beauty is in the simplicity, instead of in the complex. What I found distasteful, another may find appealing.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Do you see how different we are? Driving through town I often catch people picking through garbage cans and curbside boxes (dumpster diving) the night before trash day. Apparently finding worth in that which another found worthless.

Do you see how wrong we can be? “Oo-ing” and “awing” over celebrities (many of which are quite ugly underneath) while we turn away from those who have a heart of gold beneath their average appearances, wrinkled faces, and plain clothes.

That is why I am glad that God is the one who ascribes our worth. That He is the one who calls us each beautiful, looking purely at the heart beneath our temporary shells.

Jesus died for both the sinner and the saint. He loved us at our worst, at our ugliest moments. He looked at us “mere dust” and called us “priceless!”

If you find yourself staring in the mirror lately, noticing all too quickly the scars, weight gain, stretch marks, wrinkles/blemishes etc. It is time for you say, “I don’t have the power to define my worth—God does, and He calls me beautiful.”

Particularly us women always try to live up to the standards of men. We want to impress them with our looks and personalities—when really all we should care about is pleasing God (which in turn would open the door for the right man to come into your life). Our identity is found in Christ—placing it in anything or anyone else will always lead to disappointment and depression.

I really hope this speaks to someone out there. “You are more precious than rubies…” (Proverbs 3:15)

Your beauty is in the eyes of The Beholder!