All wrapped up- or not?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash                                  My photo of the actual state of my decorating.


The person on the left has it all together matching, perfectly wrapped presents under a pristinely decorated tree.  Meanwhile, my decorations are in a pile, inside a box, clearly not on my tree.

Maybe Christmas preparations aren’t about perfection but in fact are more about honesty and vulnerability in front of the Lord. Maybe it’s not about wrapping it all up perfectly but maybe it’s about unwrapping our hearts and allowing God to deal with our hurts without our pretty little masks of perfect boxes tied up just so.

We don’t have it all together and I for one am tired of pretending. Mothers, sisters, and brothers let the Lord be Lord in your life and let Christmas be Christmas.  A time of humble glory and quiet reflection. You are not perfect and neither am I, but we know someone who is.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know my mess and love my heart. You are mightier than anything I have got myself into. You are faithful to rescue me and gently remind me that you didn’t just come as a baby and die on a cross but that you are a living God, righteous and holy and more than capable of healing my heart. Search my heart Lord, know me. Unwrap my silly pretensions and let me rest in Your glory.  Thank You, Jesus. Amen.


In the Pit!

mingheras-cosmin-150779-unsplashPhoto by Mingheras Cosmin on Unsplash

Gasps for air between desperate cries deliver her message without words.

She has come to the prayer group because her child has fallen into a pit.

As we prayed it became evident, her son was in this crater for a moment in time, for his own protection. A short season, to avoid a plummet to death over an unseen cliff. We praised Jesus for the pit and His infinite wisdom and mercy during this time.

Excruciating for a mother’s heart to see but necessary as the Lord instructs and moves. This pit creates a crisis of desperation. In the dark, you are forced to ask where will I turn? You have reached the end of self-reliance, all the old strategies have failed. Now what?  If your child is under the discipline of the Lord do not attempt to “save” them no matter how painful it is for you to watch. Pray for discernment to know when to bind the enemy and when to rest in the sovereignty of His discipline.


In the Bible see (John 10) Jesus is compared to a good shepherd who wields his shepherds’ hook with mercy and love. Let’s look at a shepherd’s hook. It is a long, brutish device designed to clobber, restrain and move the sheep. Yet when used in the hands of the good Shepherd it guides, protects and disciplines His chosen people. I concede I am a mother completely untrained in the wielding of the hook. There is no doubt in my desire to rescue, I would kill them.

When we attempt to “save” our children impossible questions come to taunt us. At what angle should the shepherd’s hook be created to ensnare the animal’s neck, how will I not crush the larynx in the process? How do you pull them out of a pit without falling in yourself?  You are their mother not their Savior. You were not designed to have all the answers. Your job is to take your desperation and pain to the Lord. We dare not trust in the hook itself but fully trust in the Lord- the good Shepherd.

The Creator has intimate knowledge of His creation; our shortcomings, struggles and the very things we need to survive. His knowledge of us and His wisdom of How to guide, protect and save us should not be bypassed. Do not run ahead and attempt to clear the way for your child, those “obstacles” train their hearts for battle.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3: 5-7

Who or what do you run to when you are in trouble?

If your answer is the Lord you know the process is painful but ultimately freedom will be found. Allow your child to find this freedom.

Prayer: We ask for Your wisdom in this time of anguish to know, is this pit a location for surrender or a plan of the enemy. We submit to Your design for this pit and bind the designs of the enemy in Jesus name. You have our permission to use the shepherd’s hook to guide, protect, discipline, and steady us and our children. We do not know the future but you do. We hear Your voice, help us to obey it. We acknowledge You have the better way. Lord Jesus, we praise You for pouring out Your Spirit on our offspring and for blessing our descendants. So that they spring up like trees amid the grass, their roots run deep to receive the Living water You freely give to Your redeemed. We praise You, Jesus. Amen. (Isaiah 44)

Day trip to hell.


Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

I entered the dark cavern without hesitation. Shadows abounded, giving little reprieve for my weary eyes. The grey attendant, 9 feet tall, accepted my presence as routine and guided us to our destination, the open cell.

I stumbled backward as my eyes surveyed the horrifying and ritualistic behavior in front of me. Her bleeding hand raised a massive hammer. Again and again, she painstakingly pounded potato after potato into sheets. These bloodied sheets were stacked endlessly in room after room of the maze-like dungeon, floor to ceiling. Not a space remained between her creations. Her face bore maniacal glee, frozen in this state she continued her beloved work never once glancing up to acknowledge our presence.


Horrified I cried out to the Lord, “What is this madness, what is she doing?”

“On the earth, she is committing the atrocity of slander and gossip. She pounds out every last drop of pleasure that she receives in another’s pain and misfortune. Judge and executioner of her fellow travelers, she tears down the Kingdom of God and is actively engaged in the kingdom of darkness. Unaware, she is the enemy’s diligent worker.

She is a day visitor to hell. Her time on earth is not yet done; she is not yet condemned to this for eternity. She can turn from her ways, confess her sin, and enter into an agreement with the Kingdom of God and all that I have for her.”

Desperately I fell at His feet. I could not understand this horror, wanting it to stop but helpless to do so. “What do I do Lord? Is there anything I can do?”

“Stand in the gap for her. Confess her sin and ask that I bring her to a place of repentance. I can move her heart, I know her and love her more than you do. Release her to Me, I know just what to do.”


I am not naïve enough to believe I am innocent. I too have built up Satan’s kingdom with my sin. I have participated with the enemy and his agenda for tearing down the redeemed people of God. I have unknowingly gone on day trips to hell.


Prayer: I confess my sins. I engage in actions and words that tear down the Kingdom of heaven and promote the work of the enemy. Please forgive me. Search my heart and know my ways so that you might cleanse me. Reveal to me the places I have agreed with the enemy and neglected the Truth, the Word— Jesus Christ. Each person I encounter or speak of, I will call forth their God-given destiny and giftings and refuse to agree with the enemy’s plans for their life. God is greater than all sin and has conquered the enemy at the cross. All of Your Word is true I surrender to Your Word and will. Have Your way within me. I Love You, Lord, Amen.


1 John 1:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

Do not claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

What does chicken have to do with it?

alison-marras-323022-unsplashandre-guerra-676198-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Alison Marras on Unsplash                                       Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

“Ugh” I lay my head down on the steering wheel. The cold rain spits on my windshield blurring the view of the over-crowded Walmart parking lot. I want to cry.

My four-year-old from the backseat blurts, “What’s wrong?”

“We forgot to pay for the chicken.”

“Okay.” she gleefully announces as she throws off her shoes and demands a drink of water.

“Honey we have to go back into the store.”

“Why mama?”

“We can’t take the chicken without paying for it that’s called stealing.”

The thought of wrestling her back into her shoes and coat before braving the cold spitting rain seemed so horrible. I stopped and thought Why do I need to go back in?  Why is it so important not to steal even if you got away with it? It’s just a chicken. No one knows? Certainly not my oblivious daughter.

So I asked the Lord to help me to understand why sin even little ones are so horrible.

“Because when you choose to sin you choose to spit in the face of Jesus who paid a horrible price for your sin. Do not belittle the great work of the Cross.”

Somehow the misting rain didn’t seem so bad anymore.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for teaching us so much in the little things. Continue to teach us and bless us with Your wisdom.  You give us real-life object lessons to teach our children. Help us to take full advantage of these moments. We repent of the times we have not. Thank You for Your mighty work on the cross. Continue to teach us the full knowledge and power of the cross and Your wonderful blood. I praise You with all my being.  Thank You, for the cross.  Amen.


My cup overflows!


Psalm 23:5-6

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the overabundance that you have freely given me. I praise You for inviting us to live our lives in relationship with You.  Thank You, for never leaving me or forsaking me. Amen

Dishwasher fiasco- saves the day!

As often is the case the text came through first.

“Mom is this normal?” (sent from my teenage son at home with his two younger siblings)
Ugh! was my first response and bursting out laughing was my second.


I certainly needed the laugh as I sat in the wound specialist office learning how to pack my son’s wound. Making every attempt to stave off nausea and keep my face neutral to not betray concern.
On a normal day, the overflowing suds would have angered me or at the least annoyed me. At the time it arrived, it was a perfect gift. It reminded me life would get back to “normal crisis” mode soon enough. I wouldn’t have to endure looking at my son in such acute pain (worse yet I was the one inflicting it) every day for the rest of my life. I would get to deal with far more creative albeit messier troubles.
God is good? And knows exactly what we need when we need it. No human could have devised such a plan of the overflowing dishwasher to restore my thankfulness. But that is exactly what the dishwasher did.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)

The dishwasher fiasco was the perfect gift at the perfect time from the God who knows me so intimately. He rescued me before I asked. God’s tender care for my heart never ceases to amaze me.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for always knowing exactly what we need. For the humor and the unexpected reassurance of Your presence. You are so gentle with our hearts. What a blessing to be known at such an intimate level. You are worthy to be praised and our thankfulness overflows. Continue to meet us right where we are at – in our messy lives. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Surprised by beauty




Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:7-10, NIV)

I transplanted the phlox on the right from the overgrown one on the left only one year ago. I never expected it to take off so well. One day I came around the corner and there it was in full bloom.

Never underestimate the small seeds that we sow. The warm “hello”, the smile and the perfectly timed “sorry”.  With God all things are possible and our small efforts He can transform into beauty.

Thank You, Jesus for the surprise of beauty in our lives. The flowers in bloom, the person who lends a hand, the warm regards of a stranger. Take our seeds that we plant in kindness and magnify them to demonstrate Your love. Thank You, for allowing us to be a small part of Your miracles. Amen.