Exciting News Flash!

What’s overflowing in you?

I set up the coffee pot, hit start and walked away. Just like I’ve done everyday for the past umpteen years. When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, I heard the hiss of the overflowing liquid hit the hot plate and the drip, splat, splash of coffee flowing off the counter and onto the floor. Arrgh!

Since my coffee carafe is metal, I hadn’t noticed it was already half-full of coffee from the night before. I’d brewed a new pot on top of the cold pot – ruining both pots!

I had a mess to clean up and no coffee!

As I fussed and mopped and grumbled and wiped, God whispered in my ear. “There’s no room for me to pour my fresh stuff in YOU if you’re already full of yourself.”

Can you say ouch?

It had been a while since I had spent any time in prayer. My Bible lay dust-covered on the bed stand. I couldn’t remember the last time I paid attention in church or spent time in community with women who loved the Lord and studied the Bible together.

That lack of connection was showing up my behavior and demeanor. I was often irritable or discouraged.

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Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Ever been scared? So scared and there’s nothing you can do about the situation? 

I was just there and it wasn’t any fun, but I learned it’s never as hopeless as it seems and there is always something you can do about it.

Dave, who never gets sick, got violently ill. Pretty scary for a gal who’s already buried 2 husbands. He had a fever, chills, muscle aches, light-headedness and stabbing pains through his mid-section. Right away, I was ready to call an ambulance, but he wouldn’t hear of it.

Men!

Of course, I fretted and feared. But then I realized that while circumstances were out of my control, they weren’t out of God’s. I started banging on the gates of heaven for relief, and for healing, and I called in reinforcements to pray with me in agreement.

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Want To Take A Divine Journey?

Perfectionism is the lie that we can earn God’s favor. Or that we need to!

The truth of God’s word is that God already loves us to the moon and back (my paraphrase of Ps.103:11) and accepts us as is (Rom 15:7).

There are many strategies to overcome the compulsion to be perfect that we’ve addressed in previous blogs, but let’s review them before I give you the best bad news and ultimate solution for overcoming perfectionism.

1.

In a blog titled, How Do You Measure Up To Perfection, I suggested that you STOP measuring yourself against what you see in other people. Stop COMPARING yourself to what you think you see in others.  

Replace the lie that you don’t measure up with the truth of God’s word.
He loves you so much, he sacrificed his son, Jesus, to pay for your sins so you could establish an unhindered relationship with him.

No conditions
No catches.
No exclusions.
No performance required.

God loves you with an everlasting love. Jer. 31:3

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What Does Mother’s Day Mean To You?

When I mention Mother’s Day, what comes up for you? 

I’m so happy for you if you are really celebrated, but many women are not.

Mother’s Day can be a tough day for many. Women who have children eagerly wait by mailboxes and telephones and on the edge of their seat to see if anyone will acknowledge their day.

Women who aborted or surrendered babies for adoption often spend Mother’s Day lamenting what could have been.

For women whose mamas have died or those who have crappy relationships with their moms, Mother’s Day dredges up lots of old memories that either hurt or cement the realization there won’t be any new ones.

There are women who are desperate for children, but have none. They are expected to put on brave smiles and exuberantly celebrate those who do.

Women in the throws of child-rearing years – the ones who could really benefit from a day off, are the ones who work overtime on Mother’s Day to make sure the shopping, meal prep, cleaning and decorating is done so their mother or mother-in-law can be recognized and honored.

Even husbands fret and worry about Mother’s Day. Is a card enough? How about chocolates? Should there be flowers?

Changing the narrative of Mother’s Day.

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Changing Seasons

Mothering means lots of changing seasons.

Done correctly, it means there will be sleepless nights and hot tears on your pillow. It means lots of messy moments and endless challenges. It means robust celebrations and a million prayers.

In essence, the role of mother requires you to teach your kid not to require you anymore. It means your kids will grow up and leave you behind. And trust me, you will never be ready for that moment. 

The moment of separation.

When my boy completed his training as a fire fighter in Charleston, S.C., he called to tell me about the details of his graduation ceremony. He was so happy. It made the fact that he lived 1000 miles away almost worth it to know we’d finally be celebrating his dream of becoming a firefighter.

“Mom,” he continued excitedly, “The Chief will there to present my diploma personally. She’ll shake my hand and give me my official badge. I’m even allowed to ask someone to walk on the stage with me! It’s supposed to be a person of importance. A person who has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a firefighter.”

I waited for it. In my mind, I could see us walking across the stage, me beaming with pride and smiling as I pinned the DYKSTRA badge on his crisp blue uniform shirt.

He continued, “Mom, I asked Kym to walk with me. I’m going to marry her this summer and it seemed like the right choice. I didn’t think you’d care. You don’t care do you, Mom?” 

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Where Is God When You Need Him?

Are you in the wilderness?

Are you in a season of wondering if God cares about you or even sees you? Does it seem like He led you into a wilderness and forgot where he left you?

I feel like that a lot whenever I launch a new series of talks, a service, or book. I have a “moment” or two when it feels like I might have misread the signals God sent. That I am all alone and forgotten. That I will die out here in the wilderness.

Then God shows up in some extravagant way to reassure me that I am not forgotten at all. That’s what happened when Almida said she had a present for me. 

I need to tell you Almida is an interesting woman. Her wisdom, life experiences and prayers have been my life line for decades. Russian by birth, she escaped the Nazis by walking across Europe only to live in a refuge camp for months before getting a sponsor in the US. She made a living as a tailor until she married an entrepreneur who made a boatload of money as a building developer. Her husband, Willy, died at 41 in a plane crash leaving her devastated. Her grief was compounded when Willy’s business partner bankrupted the business, depleting her resources and retirement.

Almida is now 87, and resides in an assisted living facility. The pain in her hip is her constant companion, making an outing to any store a major ordeal. She’s frugal by necessity and was never a big believer in “good behavior” gifts. It wasn’t my birthday and Christmas was long gone, so I couldn’t imagine what gift she might have for me.

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Easter Good News

Easter Sunday is here and Lent is over!

Part of me is relieved that Lent is nearly over so I can resume the consumption of chocolate and binge watch television. You would think after 46 days the cravings would be gone, but they taunt me. I have repeatedly whispered, “God, I want to long for you like I long for chocolate and Netflix.”

The glorious discipline of Lent has brought me closer to God and has transformed some of my strongholds into mere indulgences. I have experienced God in powerful ways over the past 40-plus days.

But Lent isn’t about just overcoming temptations or even establishing new patterns. It’s to put me in the place where I anticipate the celebration of an an empty tomb. To synchronize my trust and faith with the RESURRECTION of Jesus. To really believe that because HE lives, I will live, too. 

More than get out of hell insurance.

Jesus’ resurrection has to be more than get-out-of-hell insurance. It has to be the assurance that all the things wrong in my life and in yours can be resurrected.

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Perfection is an Evil Taskmaster

Does perfection impede your progress and alienate you from others?

I used to work in an office with Griselda* who knew everything about everything. She scrutinized every single phone conversation I had, every document I created and every chart I filed – for my own good and the good of the office, of course.

And she didn’t just “supervise” her co-workers. One day, a single mom with two little kids came into the office. While the mom was doing her business, the children got curious and noisy in the waiting area. From her desk, Griselda sternly chastised them into cowering submission, mortifying the mom and the rest of us onlookers.

The cost of perfectionism.

I’m all about doing your best, but when perfection is the taskmaster, and you can’t measure up, it sucks the want-to right out of you. Being told by someone else (or yourself) you need to be perfect wears you out and keeps you from experiencing new things and new people. 

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You Don’t Have To Live In Isolation!

 

What is a blonde’s favorite color?
Glitter.

Why do blondes always smile during thunderstorms?
They think someone is taking their picture.

Judge Free Zones

These jokes make us chuckle because we can all relate to blonde jokes. Everyone has moments of silliness. But in real life, NO ONE wants to look too “blonde”. No one wants to be judged as foolish … or ignorant … or stupid. We all want to be accepted and appreciated.

In days gone by, several generations lived on the same property if not in the same house. The advantage to having such close proximity to family members of many generations is you were allowed to learn from one another. How to:

  • Make a house a home.
  • Prepare and preserve food.
  • Raise responsible children.
  • Handle husbands with respect.

You know what else you get to see in such close quarters?
Problems!
Flaws!
Mistakes!
Which in turn gives you permission to be imperfect.

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Choosing People Over Projects

Balancing life’s responsibilities can be challenging. When choosing between people and projects, know your decision will come with long term consequences.

I recently spent a three weeks in Florida, staying at my parents during the week and speaking on weekends. Conveniently, my Mom and Dad live about 30 miles from Mr. 4-Ever’s folks. Both sets of parents live in “Resorts”, which are really a fancy trailer parks, but some marketing genius figured out that resort sounds a lot better.

When Dave and I made this plan, I told myself that when I wasn’t at an event, I would write during the day, then play in the evenings.

Working vacation is an oxymoron.

I didn’t get much work done and as the days piled up and the projects collected dust, my guilt grew until I was downright crabby! I wasn’t enjoying myself, my holiday or my parents!

It’s not that I’m undisciplined or that all my work was done. It’s that people are more important to me that projects. When I have people in front of me, especially people I love, and more especially, old people I don’t see very often, I want to be with them. Fully engaged. Fully present. With them.

So, instead of writing new material, I’ve been listening to great stories from our parents. Instead of slaving over my laptop, I’ve been playing games and lingering over meals. Instead of locking myself away in an office, I’ve been walking beaches in wide brimmed hats. I’ve been all in. And, it’s been great.

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