Sunday, February 4, 2018


Just like most of the country, this has been a very cold winter here in Tennessee.  In the twenty years I have lived here, I don't remember it being this cold for THIS LONG.  This year, winter is longer. It is colder. It is harder. 

When I was younger I don't think I fully grasped three truths about seasons.

1. I have no control to keep or change the season I am in.
2. Seasons change. 
3. I have to change with the seasons.   

Here's some stuff I have learned. 

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons;"                (Daniel 2:20-21)

When seasons change, I can tend to panic because I don't like change. I fear the unknown.  I finally came to understand that just because I am not in control doesn't mean things are OUT OF control. Just because I don't like change, doesn't mean change isn't necessary.  

And ultimately in every season I must always remember that The Season Changer is God Himself.  And my choice - which He allows me to have - is whether I will trust His love in every season or not. 

I cannot explain the reason that we have seasons of suffering, or seasons of grief, or seasons of pain.  Long ago, I resigned as God's Public Relations Representative. I used to feel it was my responsibility to make God look good to people who thought God looked bad. Who did I think I was?  Only the Holy Spirit can explain the ways of God to someone who is confused. And only to someone who wants His answer. Only His Word, revealed by the Holy Spirit, gives us any true answers.  

I cannot explain the ways of The Season Changer. I can only explain that when I have asked Him, He has been there in the difficult cold winters of life. I can only proclaim that although there is rain, He brings life. Sometimes I can see the growth that results from a difficult time. And sometimes, I cannot.   Although there is pain, He brings healing.  When I have sinned, He has forgiven. What I have destroyed through pride and selfishness.. He has repaired.  When I felt lost, He continued to lead. When I let go of Him, He held on to me.

Why? I don't know why.. except that He is faithful. He is love.
He is in control. 
Even when life seems out of control.  

The only way to make it through each season of life is to put your life in to hands of The Season Changer.  And to ask for the otherworldly faith to endure and believe while you are enduring.

You can choose to believe me.
Or not.
You can choose to call out to Him.
Or not.

In a few weeks, for sure, I will be picking daffodils and putting them in vases all around my house.  This I know before I even see it. 

""Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord"
Psalm 40:4

Friday, January 12, 2018


I saw a quote on Facebook the other day that made me laugh. It read:  
"Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger - except for bears.  Bears will kill you." 

The reason it is funny is because it is so obvious. OF COURSE A BEAR WILL KILL YOU.  

No one posts sarcastic posts on social media about how irritating bear behavior has become. There aren't long articles about the shock associated with their bear-like propensity toward eating people.  There is no pious judgment of the Bear Population on Planet Earth. Nope. They are bears. They are acting like bears.  When we venture in to Bear Territory we expect to be eaten alive. We never expect the bears to change their nature.  Bears will be bears. The End.  

Sometimes...I wonder.....when I see my Christian brothers and sisters so offended at the way sinners continue to sin on earth.. I wonder at their surprise.  I wonder why they are taking the time to express their disapproval of it all.  I cringe at their venomous posts and rants about how evil our society is. I want to ask, "You're surprised?  As if God allowed His Only Son to become sin for us..  because.. because.. why?  Because we are basically nice people who have a bad attitude now and then?"  

Uhhhh.. no.  All of our natural state are separated FOREVER from a HOLY GOD.  WITHOUT HOPE. WITHOUT A FUTURE.  As we sing and praise and worship God together, isn't it because we are so thankful that HE SAVED US?  Doesn't the mercy of God take your breath away?  Of all people on earth, the Body of Christ should be the first ones to have compassion on a sinful world.  To grasp that they are sinning because they are sinners.. just like we were.  

The exasperated exclamations of utter disgust at the diabolical hearts of men and women is sad to me.. coming from the mouths of people called to speak of Jesus.  Their disappointment in our leaders.  Their utter shock that sinners are sinning, and are cold-hearted and selfish, arrogant, rebellious, hard-hearted creatures.  The belief that they are justified in being disgusted by it all. reality...

The World is Acting Like The World

Everyone accepts that when you go in to the forest, a bear is going to want to eat you.The bears are acting like bears.  In the same way - 

The world is acting like the world. 

When we open our mouths... the Good News should be flowing from it.  God already knows the world is sinful - more than we do.  God already sent Jesus to pay for the depravity called humanity.  All He asks us to do is to tell others about His Son. He knows the world is sinful.  The world knows the world is sinful.  
The world is acting like the world.

When we speak we should speak "worthy words."  It should be to say, "Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you.  Jesus is alive and at God's throne right now. He wants to heal you, your heart, your mind. He wants to set you free from the anger, the hate, the jealousy, the rage."

God is LONGING to forgive.   And expecting us to tell them so.
We are the ones who are called to tell them the GOOD NEWS. 

Bears will be bears.
Sinners will sin.
Only God can change a heart.
Only you can let Him.
Why do we keep silent?

OPEN YOUR MOUTH TODAY.. to tell someone that there is hope in Jesus. 

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation."(Colossians 1:21-22)

Friday, December 29, 2017


“Stupid mistake” is a redundant phrase if there ever was one. There is no such thing as a “smart mistake”. Lots of highly intelligent people have made lots of stupid mistakes. According to some, the stupidest kind of stupid mistake is when the person who is making the stupid mistake “should have known better.” People who “should have known better” become people (according to the Perfect Ones) who have “made their bed and now have to lay in it.” ("lie"in it?)  You made your bed. Now lay in it and SHUT UP.
Which is why Psalm 107 is one of my favorites. It starts out by advising “the redeemed of the Lord” to do something. What does it tell them to do? “Tell their story!” This is the OPPOSITE OF SHUTTING UP. They are to TELL THEIR STORY.What story? The story of how “HE redeemed them from the hand of The Foe.” (v2). People like:
  1. The Wandering Ones (v.4-7) They couldn’t find a place to settle, they are never a part of society. They never have a home. The outcasts. The losers. The unemployed. The drifters. They never had enough money. Or food. And their lives were “ebbing away.” To the world, these people didn’t only make mistakes - they WERE mistakes. WHEN THEY CRIED TO THE LORD IN THEIR DISTRESS - GOD HEARD THEM and DELIVERED THEM. And led them to a place to settle, to feel secure and cared for.
  2. The Rebellious Ones. (v. 10-16). These people are the epitome of the “should have known better people.” They knew God’s commands and rebelled and despised His plans. As a result, they were in darkness. They sat as prisoners in chains. Their labor in life was bitter and difficult. They were getting what they deserved. But when they cried to the Lord in their distress, He saved them from utter darkness and BROKE AWAY THEIR CHAINS. He gave them what they did not deserve- FREEDOM AND LIGHT.
  3. The Paying The Consequences of Sin Ones.(v. 17-22) These people had rebelled so completely that they become “fools” as in the “fool has said in his heart there is no God.” GOD? They never gave Him, His Law, His Will a thought. So completely did they disregard God that their choices caused their physical state to bring them to the “gates of death.” When they “cried to the Lord in their trouble” He sent His Word and HEALED THEM. He gave them what they did not deserve - HEALING AND LIFE.
  4. The Storm Survivors.(v. 23-32) These people didn’t make any mistakes, but as they went about their lives they hit a ferocious storm. The mistake they COULD HAVE MADE is to think that God had abandoned them in the storm. They cried out to the Lord and He “stilled the storm to a whisper, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”
No matter the storm, no matter the consequences, no matter the dark days our mistakes bring us
the stupidest mistake we can ever make is to think that any stupid mistake disqualifies us from calling out to the Lord. 
He will hear and He will deliver.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story -
those He redeemed from the hand of the foe...” Psalm 107:1-2
(Feel free to share your story of how the Lord has redeemed you.)
foe...” Psalm 107:1-2
(Feel free to share your story of how the Lord has redeemed you.)

Friday, December 8, 2017


My husband and I were driving down a country road near our home in Pennsylvania. It was August, 1991. To say it was a hot day does not fully describe the suffocating, gates-of-Hell humidity or the feeling of being a cookie baking in a 900 degree oven when standing outside. It was HOT, HOT, HOT. As we drove, we came up behind a woman who was walking on our side of the road. The road was surrounded by fields of corn. Just hot, sticky, mosquito infested fields. And there she was, walking. I felt bad for her. I whispered a quick prayer for her and thanked God for an air-conditioned car... all at the same time. And then I forgot all about her. 
I should mention that my husband and I were about to open an inner-city church in less than a month.  He was going to be a pastor and I was going to be a pastor's wife. WOW.  God had opened doors for us to be affiliated with a huge, church in another state and they were serving as our overseers. We were thrilled about God giving us the opportunity to serve Him that way.
I don’t remember where we were going that day, but it was about an hour south of our home in Camp Hill. About three hours later we were driving home on the same road. We came up to a small grocery store/gas station and my husband made a last-minute decision to stop and get gas. As we pulled in to the gas station, the woman who was walking on the side of the road three hours earlier was walking in the other direction now and was exactly where we were stopping. 
Three hours earlier I’d prayed for her and three hours later she was right in front of my face. She was walking right by the gas station.
I walked up to her and offered to buy her something to drink. She immediately accepted my offer. I felt good watching her drink an ice-cold soft drink. I bought her a second one. She was not a well cared for woman. Her face was dirty and pimpled, she was missing multiple teeth, her hair was long and sweaty and stringy, and her clothes were worn. She smelled bad. MY plan for our interaction was to buy her whatever she wanted in that small grocery store, and then be on my way. God had a different plan.
“Is there anything else you want?”, I asked. “Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?” 
“Are you going anywhere near Camp Hill? I could use a ride home.” 
What? She wanted a ride? In our car? Now? Really? Really Lord? You want me to let her drive in our car? Lord, she might be a serial killer. I don’t want her in our car. She’s all sweaty and stinky. I’m afraid of her a little, Lord.
I said “Sure. Hop in.” 
As my husband drove, I turned to speak to her. I’d like to say it was because of interest and concern, but the truth is, I wanted to be sure to be able to disarm her if she took out a gun or a knife. She was explaining that she had walked to visit her boyfriend who was in prison. She was telling me stuff and I was half-listening and half-watching for her robbery and/or murder attempt. And then He spoke:
“Would you lay down and give up your life to serve and minister to her?” I thought, “Duh, Lord. We are laying down and giving up our lives to serve and minister to her and people like her. Of course. YES!” Proud of my humble answer, I continued to listen to her speak. And then He spoke again:
“Would you give up your actual life just for her? Your physical life? Just so that she could live forever?”  Ahhh.... well now, that was a more difficult question. I considered it. I considered dying at thirty-nine years of age for JUST this woman.... and my answer to God was that IF by my death... and through HER testimony.. MANY, MANY, MANY would come to Him...(and someone might write a book and do a movie about my sacrifice?) then my answer was “YES. I would physically die just for her... assuming of course my death would have a GREAT, GREAT, AMAZING IMPACT on kazillions of souls.”  Proud of my humble answer, I thought the questions were over. And then He spoke again:
“Would you give your son’s life? Would you allow your son’s life - his physical life - to be given just for this woman?” This question sucked the air out of my heart. Why would You ask such a thing?  Why would You require such a thing?  My son? My only son? My only child? The joy of my life? Philip? Philip? My most precious treasure on earth? No matter how many ways I tried to create a scenario where allowing Philip to die for this woman made sense or would be worth it - I could not find one. For a couple of million souls? No.  My son? I wished I had a different answer, but who can lie to God?  So.. I gave Him my  honest answer:
And then He spoke His last two words to me. 

“I did.”
He became a stranger to me. “THIS is what You mean when You say, ‘Love’..THIS is LOVE?” It was alien to me. I could not comprehend that Love. I did not have that kind of love. What I had been identifying as “love” wasn’t even close to what He feels for me. For us. What love is this? When we got home, I fell to my knees in broken repentance. “Father, I know nothing about love. Teach me. Fill me. Change me.“  
From that day until this moment, I remember that whatever I do... whenever I do it... has to be whatever it takes to who ever needs to take it.  I cannot have that kind of LOVE unless I allow Him to cultivate it in me.  In every situation, with every person I know... nice, not-nice, good, not-good, pure or evil.. He is teaching me love. 

I AM LEARNING LOVE. It takes another Power from Another Place. 

I am thankful I do not need to give my son because He has given His.

Monday, November 27, 2017


My son, Philip, was about five years old. Directly across the street from where we lived was a magnificent playground.  It was heaven-on-earth for a five-year-old boy.  There were swings, and slides, and a huge sand pit.  I could sit on the balcony and watch him play with his friends.   They drove trucks in the sand, they made mountains out of the sand and destroyed them with their trucks.  They spent time swinging on the swings.  It was a good season in the life of my son.. and me.  He spent every spare moment outside, in the fresh air, playing with other children. 

One day, as he played there, I called him inside.  We were leaving to go away for a few days.He needed to come inside, get cleaned up, and change his clothes.  He didn't want to. He wanted to stay and play.  He came inside but it was not with a good attitude.  He did not ASK to leave the playground - I decided it was time for him to leave.  As we drove away from home, he looked with longing at his friends, who did not have a mean Mommy and Daddy like he did.
The next day, we arrived at Disneyworld.  There is no way to describe the look on the face of my child as we walked down Main Street, as he saw the characters walking the streets and we walked through the castle.  To add joy to his euphoria, we would leave the Magic Kingdom during the heat of the afternoons, and go back to the swimming pool at our hotel, and jump in the water, and swim. After a short daily nap, we'd go back to the Magic Kingdom until midnight.  It was like heaven on earth. There was no other moments in his brief existence on earth that Philip had known such a perfect, joyful existence. 

During our days as Disneyworld, if one his his neighborhood friends had called him and said, "Philip, we miss you being here at the playground.  Please leave where ever you are and come back here now. We miss you!"  I imagine he'd say something close to, "Are you serious? You cannot believe how utterly amazing my life is, and the unbelievable things I am seeing and doing. That playground doesn't even come close. My mom and dad are the BEST!"

God taught me something all those decades ago about where I am and where I'm going.

We are living in a little playground now.  It's called earth.  Although we know it isn't perfect, we want to stay here.  We want to live here.  We do not want what we do not see.  

God has bigger and better things waiting. It is insulting to even compare it to something as insignificant as Disneyworld.  It's beyond our present comprehension as we live in this present playground. 

But we have to leave this playground to get there.  
No one gets to stay here forever.  We don't decide.  God does.

This present playground is not all there is.  
God is good.  And He loves His children.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,and no mind has imagined what God has prepared  for those who love him.”  

1 Corinthians 2:9

Saturday, November 25, 2017


My fourteen-year-old grandson was on his way to Youth Convention. His parents were taking him, some of his friends, and his sisters and some of their friends there for two days.  It was a big church-sponsored youth event happening at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.   Everyone was pumped up and happy.  They stopped at our house to deliver "Sam" (my granddog) who was going to stay at our house while they were gone. My grandson carried Sam in to the house while everyone waited in the cars in our driveway.  This boy, handsome and respectful as always, stood in front of our refrigerator and asked if he could take a bottle of water.  AS IF he had to ask.  We always have bottles and bottles of cold water there.  

"Absolutely.. and take one for all of your friends."  

"Really, Mema?  There's a lot of us."


And so he filled his arms full of bottles of water and went out to the cars waiting in the driveway and handed them out....each friend had a bottle of water... and so did my two granddaughters, my son and my daughter-in-law. (Plus some licorice bites, chocolate, and jelly beans.  Yes.. I am one of THOSE grandmothers who always has CANDY in the pantry.) 
He had a smile on his face as he did so.  I'm sure he didn't think about it for more than a few fleeting seconds, but his face seemed to say that he felt like a nice guy handing out water to his friends.

The whole scene took less than two minutes, and yet, a few days later it still makes me smile. Something about it filled me with love for my grandson as I saw him carrying those bottles out.  Why?

He is familiar with our home. He knew there was water and where it was.   A stranger would not know this, but my grandson did.

He is familiar with my heart.  He asked, but we both knew my answer would be a resounding "YES."   

Most of all, I was able to give him what he asked for. 
Nice story. So what? they pulled out of our driveway, laughing and singing and on their way to Youth Convention, I thought about how my grandson's request... and being able to give him something he asked for... GAVE ME GREAT GREAT GREAT JOY. 


He is my family.  And HE ACTED LIKE HE WAS.

GOD WANTS ME TO ACT LIKE I KNOW WHO HE IS. To know what is available in His home. To know what He has and is willing to provide for me.  
But this requires me to know that I AM NOW HIS VERY CHILD.

This God I pray to is the SAME GOD who walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve..... who called to Abraham, who spoke to Moses from a burning bush, who split The Red Sea, spoke to a young boy named Samuel and who raised Jesus from the dead. 

How can it even be possible that I can walk boldly in to HIS THRONE ROOM?   How can my human brain cells process the thought that He is not just this AWE INSPIRING DEITY.. but my Father?  
Why on earth have I been given the right to call Him "Abba" - "Daddy.' 
How can I even believe that HE CARES about a sixty-something wife and mother and grandmother trying to live out her life on planet Earth?
Who am I to be able to have a conversation with the same God who told Moses to tell Pharoah to "Let my people go!" ??? 
I.   AM.   HIS.   CHILD.

How can this be?

This holy honor.  This royal identity.  This eternal life.
I am his CHILD?

All who put their faith in the righteousness available through the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus can say the same thing:
Say it out loud.  Say it as your heart is breaking, or life is confusing.  Say it when your faith is getting weak. Say it when you are afraid. Say it when you've been rejected. Say it when the world seems crazy.   Say it, say it until you believe it.

"Your Father knows what you need before you even ask for it" - Jesus, Matthew 6:32
My grandson didn't beg for water.  He knew it was there. He knew he could have it. 
Asking was a mere formality. 

Children never beg. They simply ask.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 
1 John 3:1

"I lift my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven." 
Psalm 123:1

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I was forced to drive down a road today that I have been avoiding for more than two years.  It's the road to my parent's house.  More accurately, it's the road that leads to the house that USED TO BE my parent's house.
It's the road I have driven down thousands of times.  The happy road. The Mommy road. The Daddy road. 

Now it is not the Mommy road, not the Daddy road.  It's just a road that used to have happy on the other end.  It brought me to the people who loved me most, loved me longest, loved me deep.  

Without realizing it, I drove on it again today.  I saw a house that is painted maroon that my mother always commented about.  "I love that house" she would say every single time we passed it.  I passed it today and there was silence.  Does anyone care that my mother loved that house?  I do.

I apologize to God for missing my parents.  I explain to Him that I know they are in His presence. I know that are fully alive.  I acknowledge, for the umpteenth time,that I realize they lived long, blessed, happy lives.  I understand that my life was blessed because of their lives.  I realize people all around me are enduring deeper pain than the loss of two parents in their nineties.  BUT....


I miss what used to be. I still do.  "Lord, I still cannot drive down this road.  It's two and a half years and I cannot do it."

"So. Don't."

What?  I don't have to?
OH.  He understands?
OH.  He doesn't care that it's two and half years?
OH.  OH. OHHHhhhhhh.

Sometimes, some "roads" don't lead to happy anymore.  When we drive on those roads, it reminds us that what used to be there isn't there anymore. 

We don't like to be reminded. 

We miss what used to be waiting at the end of that road - a happy marriage that became unhappy and angry and ended; a house filled with children needing to be raised who are gone and grown and don't need us anymore; a life focused on doing God's will that got off balance and lost it's way; a friend who betrayed us; a child who is lost.

We cannot travel those roads anymore.  It still hurts too much.

The God filled with compassion and mercy says, "So, don't."

Let Him heal you in His time.
Until then, it's o.k. to avoid the road that continues to break your heart.  It's o.k. to focus on the goodness of God and not the weakness of humans.
It's o.k. to be broken.
He came to heal the broken hearted

He will heal us.
Because that's why He came.
He doesn't reject us because we are broken.
He isn't disappointed because we are bruised.
It's o.k. to avoid some roads... for now.
He will lead us in the path that we should go. 
And He is always waiting at the end of every road. 
To welcome us in to His presence.
Where there is JOY beyond measure.

"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." 
Matthew 12:20