How Her Marriage Was Transformed by the Power of Unconditional Love

The word love is thrown around flippantly yet it’s the most powerful force that exists. But not just any kind of love – unconditional love. 

It can change your life if you’ll believe it like Christy did.

Christy was miserable in her marriage and wanted relief from the pain.

The following is an interview with Christy and how she prayed the strangest prayer, got an unexpected answer and changed the course of her life....

Cucumber Memories - Excerpt from a Cancer Journey

I lay the two freshly picked cucumbers by the sink, dusting off some of the garden soil that powders their bumpy skins. They’ll make for a crisp snack of slices later.

Returning to the table, I sip coffee and consider the day’s tasks. As I mindlessly raise my hands to my face to massage my morning face awake, it happens. I’m brought back in time by a smell – what is it? I inhale again. It’s an old, familiar smell; the scent of cucumbers and soil. I close my eyes and am transported decades into the past, standing in our old childhood playshed near the garden.

I can smell the musty floorboards and unfinished chipboard walls.

Spotty memories bubble up....

Feeling "Fat"? We Need to Talk... [a Pep Talk On Body Image and Loving Yourself ANYWAY]

Show of hands – who has heard a friend say, “I feel fat”?

Or been the one to say it?

I’ll raise my hand for both.

Friends, this rampant body image issue is a problem. We’re believing lies about ourselves and each other, and it’s eroding our joy, stealing our sense of self, and sapping our purpose. It’s nearly impossible to live out your purpose when you’re busy criticizing yourself.

I know.

I’ve struggled with body image for as long as I can remember. Whatever shape or size I’ve been - swollen with pregnancy, bloated from gluttony, or so gaunt my rib and hip bones protruded – I always felt like I was too big. Too fat. If I could just lose more pounds, THEN I’d be happy. THEN I’d finally feel really good about myself. And, probably beneath all of that, was a deeper hope; ‘then I’ll finally be acceptable’.

Let me tell you, I’ve traveled all the way up and down that scale, and have never found that magical number. What I did find though, is something better.

I found  freedom from the tyranny of hating my body...

The Surprising Power Of Condolences (And How You’re Teaching Me to Be a Better Friend)

In about six years, cancer ravaged my mom’s body. Her sixty year old frame looked about ninety-five by the time cancer was done with her. And watching it unfold – watching the disease hunch and disable her was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

When finally, mercifully, she was allowed to leave her body behind, e-messages and Facebook condolences from friends and family – and from Mom’s friends and family - filled my screens.
I didn’t think condolences would mean so much. But they did.

Thank you for taking the time to say anything when it’s hard to know what to say.
Thanks for thinking of me and my family. For praying and sharing memories. It all meant so much.
I felt loved. We all did....

When Christians Burn Out

I have beaten my share of dead horses.

Most of the time, I hate quitting. Whether it’s a job, a friendship, a project, or a ministry, my commitment continues even past the point where it is profitable. I figure every horse has its ticks, so quitting isn’t an option just because things get a bit difficult.

It’s not just stubbornness though, that keeps me going when something is difficult. I desperately don’t want to quit something if God’s intention is to have me weather a storm. When that storm hits then, and whatever horse I’m riding at the time begins to wobble, I try to stay on it until I have the clear and unmistakable go-ahead from God to let the horse die.

God takes His time in letting us know it’s time to move on though, doesn’t He?

There’s a wrestling that needs to happen – with our attitudes, assumptions, even with God himself. It can take months or even years before He reveals the next step. The hardest part is not knowing, in the waiting, whether we’re hanging on for the sake of loyalty or stubbornness, or because we’re truly waiting on God’s direction.

While we simultaneously wait on God and continue weathering the storm, we can get tired. Exhausted. Burned out.

It is possible to burn out even doing what God gives us to do.
​(And we don’t need to feel badly about it when it does.)

I should clarify. When I say we can burn out doing what God gives us to do, I do not mean to justify fleeing from pain. Burnout is also not the fatigue one gets from holding too tightly to what God asks us to let go. I also do not intend burnout to mean tiring from relying on ourselves instead of Jesus' provision.

Think of Elijah hiding in a cave, or David becoming weak and sorrowful. Both men were doing their best to follow the Lord, but at some points felt like they couldn't take it anymore.

Part of the wrestling we must do is to sift our motives with Jesus.

In my own state of burnout, I had become weak and sorrowful. Exhausted, irritable, and easily overwhelmed, I revisited the passage that had once inspired me into ministry in the first place. The true worship outlined in Isaiah 58 had once compelled me to serve the poor and homeless. The Lord faithfully led me to a perfect opportunity where my children could also join in. But five years later, feeling drained and used up, I read the passage again and discovered something I hadn’t seen the first time around.

​“The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.”

It is simply assumed we will, at some point, become dry and weak. For the Lord to give us water when we are dry we would need to first become dry. A strong person does not need their strength restored. No, this promise is for someone who, while serving the Lord and doing what He has asked, has become weak and dry and in desperate need of refreshing.

This promise is for the obedient, burned out servant.

In the Isaiah 58 motivational call to service, there is a built in caveat for weakness and dry seasons. We will become weak and dry, and not because we’ve failed, but because we’re human. And it’s okay. God’s got our back and will refresh us. He will restore our strength and we will “be like well-watered gardens, like an ever flowing spring.”

If you are in a dry spell or feel weak and empty and all used up, let this encourage you. 

You are not failing

You do not need to feel guilty or believe your efforts were wasted. You also don’t need to feel guilty or lazy for needing and taking rest.

Receive the gift of rest, using the time to refocus your thoughts on Jesus. Trust him to grow the seeds He gave you to sow. He’ll bring the results. The more we trust Him with our stress and junk and weakness, the more room we have for thankfulness. The more we practice thankfulness, the more joy and peace we will experience, even in our weakest moments.  

Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, thank Him for what he has done, and the peace of God will fill your hearts as you live in Christ Jesus.” ​Philippians 4:6