Lord, I Want My Life Back!!!

Never saw this coming

School shootings. Terrorist attacks. And now this coronavirus. Lord have mercy!

Schools are closed, church is live-streamed and vacations are cancelled. Even if you’re confident that danger is far from you, personal change, challenges and crisis happen everyday. I’m not talking about inconveniences like toilet paper shortages or a long line at the post office. I’m talking about the shocking, heartbreaking, disturbing bombshells.

  • The marriage is over.
  • The job ends.
  • The car’s wrecked.
  • The money’s gone.
  • The diagnoses is pronounced

…and your life is irrevocably changed or altered in a way you didn’t expect or deserve.

Just say NO!

When it happens, there are two immediate and visceral reactions.
The first is NO!
You don’t like it, you don’t want it, and you don’t agree with it.
Just NO!

When NO doesn’t turn into YES no matter how much you cry, beg, plead or pray, the next reaction is often WHY? Why me? Why now? Why ever?

It seems fair to ask why. But do you really want to know why or do you just long for the lost to be found, the broken to be fixed, for the stolen to be returned. Really … you just want your life back! Am I right?

Read More

How To Trust God’s Goodness Even When …

Goodness, God! What are you up to?

Quarantining an extrovert who depends on PUBLIC speaking to make a living? How is that gonna work? Can I celebrate God’s goodness in light of these circumstances?

Are you asking a similar question?

To answer, start with what you know to be true. I KNOW God loves me and called me to write of His faithfulness, proclaim His name and teach His Word. Ironic that now I have no place to do that.

I have to remind myself of God’s goodness.

I look to the Bible for hope and inspiration and I find that God doesn’t promise fame and/or fortune and/or pain-free smooth sailing.

He simply asks me to trust him and to be faithful as life unfolds. Even when I don’t understand. When I absolutely want to know more. Especially when the outcome looks bleak.

I question, 

Not with my eternal future but with my RIGHT NOW circumstances. If you question, look no further than your Bible.

Read More

Creating New Normals

What is your new normal?  

In the midst of a nationwide quarantine, there are gobs of suggestions to ride out the days till life returns to normal.

  • Exercise
  • Scroll Facebook or Instagram
  • Watch television
  • Organize closets
  • Clean everything in sight.

One of the ways I’m coping with this crisis is by reading my Bible. It’s one of the best ways I know to connect with God, recall the myriad ways He rescued His people, redeemed dreadful situations,  conquered enemies and multiplied miracles.

Why the Bible? 

The Bible is engaging, historical, comforting, educational, transformational and entertaining but I haven’t always thought that way.

When I first started following Jesus in my 30’s, the ladies in my small group told me to read the Bible, but sheesh, such a big book. Where do you start?

My Study Bible has 2335 pages – not counting the maps or the concordance.

2335!

That is a lot of pages.

If the Bible intimidates you with its thees and thous and dosts or seems overwhelming just by virtue of its girth, take heart. 

Read More

Be Not Afraid. God Is Still On The Throne.

 

 

Three word sentences can change your life.

If you heard …

Congratulations, you’re hired!
or Hurrah, you’re pregnant!
or You’re cancer free!
It would dramatically change your life, wouldn’t it?

Several years ago, Mr. 4-Ever (that’s my man) and I joined a dinner party group.

At first, we just got together to eat and play games. We talked about the weather or the game or our kid’s latest escapades. It’s grown into a safe haven, a place to share new recipes as well as  life’s triumphs and challenges.

It’s so special, we don’t post pictures on Facebook or tweet about our time together. It would feel like a breach of privacy.

I LOVE YOU

There is a bond between us that blossomed from casual conversation to committed comrades. The three word sentence, I LOVE YOU is heard often.

When a kid acts up or a basement floods or sickness strikes, the three word sentence I NEED HELP is responded to with love, compassion, meals and prayers. 

Read More

How I Kicked Trouble In The Teeth

Count it all joy?

Mr. 4-Ever and I had been in the car for 5 minutes of a 12 hour trip when a car pulled into our path and Dave had to make a quick adjustment to save our lives. Unfortunately, I was drinking a large bottle of frappuccino and when he made his heroic maneuver, and I spilled half the cold, sticky, sugary drink down my front. It splashed into my hair, dripped off my necklace, and soaked my top down to my bra!

Count it all joy?

Earlier that week, on a trip to Florida, I felt something hard in a mouthful of pudding. When my tongue kicked the hard thing out onto my hand, it was the crown from my front tooth! I was 1700 miles away from my dentist with a scheduled speaking event the next day.

Count it all joy?

The same week, an email from the publisher started with,
“Hi Dave and Robyn, I’m sorry to tell you that the truck carrying 5000 of your “The Widow Wore Pink” books to the distribution center caught on fire and ALL of them burned.

Count it all joy?

Girls! Do you have days, weeks or seasons like this? How do you face bad news and big inconveniences?

Stuff happens. And when it does, God’s Word says to count it all joy.

Read More

Your Path to Peace Takes Work

Get over it!

When little kids fight, they flare, they pout, they tattle, and they make up. It’s over! As we get older and get into conflicts, we tend to foster bitterness, hold onto grudges, and plot retaliation.

That is exactly the opposite of God’s desire for us. He created us to live in harmony with Him and with others. Hebrews 12:14-15 specifically says, “WORK (emphasis mine) at living in peace with everyone, … Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

That’s right, we have to WORK at living in peace with everyone cuz we each have opinions and systems we believe are the correct ones. We all have soft spots and past hurts that we want to protect. When we bump into someone who triggers us, it’s super easy for an offense to grow, bitterness to take root and our version of justice to be meted out.

The right – but hard thing to do.

When an offense is blossoming or when bitterness has taken root the right — but hard — thing to do is have a conversation with the person you’re honked at. If you get used to having awkward conversations about little things, you’ll be practiced and brave enough to have a hard conversation when a bigger offense develops.

This past Christmas, as usual, I texted both my grown boys and reminded them to make sure they had Christmas cards in the mail to their grandparents. By implication, I figured they would recognize it as a subtle reminder to send one to me, too. If not a gift, at least a card. After all, I gave them life!

Well. Christmas came and went and nothing from my youngest. New Years was celebrated and nada from him. By mid-January, bitterness and hurt was taking root and I knew I’d have to talk to him.

The awkward conversation.

When he called, I told him,“I’m kinda down. Someone hurt my feelings.”
“Awww, that stinks, Mom. What happened?”
“You didn’t send me a Christmas card.”
Immediately, he said, “Oh, mom, I’m so sorry. It just got away from me. Do you want me to still send you one?”
Without any hesitation, I said, “Yes. Yes I do.”

The next week, I got a lovely non-Christmas card. Since it was mid-January, he had no choice but to improvise. The card had butterflies and blossoms on the front and a beautiful sentiment inside.

Mom, sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner. I love you so much and am very glad I’m your son. You’re the best mom in the world! Love you lots, Eli

One quick awkward conversation cut down a bitter root and restored the peace between us.

God’s plan for peace.

Friend, God knew conflict was going to happen to all of us, so he provided a way of restoring peace and harmony in our hearts and relationships. In Matthew 18:15, the plan is clearly laid out.

“If your brother or sister sins (offends), go and point out their fault (what has you so upset), just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

The Message version says, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.

Don’t ask 45 other people for an opinion. Don’t post the offense on Facebook or send an angry text. Call or sit down with them and have the conversation so peace can prevail. Explain what happened to upset you and come to an agreement to resolve the conflict.

Who do you need to be at peace with and is there a way to make that happen? Is there a hard conversation you’ve been putting off? May today be the day for your peace to be restored.

Prayer: God, I want to be at peace with you and your people. Help me to take responsibility for my part of any issue. Give me courage to have hard conversations the perfect words for peace to be restored. In Jesus Name amen.

Why Your Story Matters

When someone asks you to share your testimony, what you do you tell them?

I love to hear the story of when you first said yes to Jesus, but I want to hear what He’s done in your life lately, too.

The Bible cautions us to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have. (1 Pet. 3:15) That hope starts with your salvation experience and progresses throughout your life.

In 1 Sam 17, there’s a kid named David with a slingshot. But there’s giant called Goliath, covered with armor holding a sword and a 10’ spear. The kid has the courage to face the giant because he’s already killed a lion and a bear while guarding his sheep.

Battles strengthen you. 

The victories in David’s past have prepared him for bigger battles with bigger stakes.

The victory over Goliath makes him famous. Other MIGHTY men follow his example of courage into battles. Men and women were drawn to him. 3000 years later, we are still talking about this kid’s courage and victory.

We all have “giants” in our life. Giants we are stuck with that beat us up and boss us around.

  • Habits we’ll never kick.
  • Relationships that will never get resolved.
  • Sickness that will never be healed.

Emboldening others.

We reconcile ourselves to live with these giants. We give up hope of victory over them and simply accommodate them. Until … we see or hear of someone else who’s killed the twin of our giant. When that happens something powerful rises up in us, too.

Read More

3 Ways To Stop Beating Yourself Up!


Do you beat yourself up for making mistakes?

I was at the grocery store last week and purposely chose a check-out lane manned by one of my favorite cashiers. Alice is fast and friendly and packs my stuff like an engineer.

But as I looked over my receipt on my way out of the store, I realized she hadn’t credited me for a $5.00 coupon.

I wheeled my cart back to Alice’s lane and explained the sitch. Her face fell as she flipped through coupons in her drawer. “Is this it?” she said sharply as she thrust the coupon at me. “It is, thank you,” I said, “Sorry for the trouble.” As she turned away from me, she snarled to herself, “I do everything wrong!”

Whaaat the … ? Moments earlier, we’d had a very pleasant exchange. I’d chosen her. Smiled at her. Complimented her. Affirmed her. Then boom! It had all shifted over an innocent oversight. 

I was shocked, but then, it wasn’t all that long ago, I might have reacted the same way.

What you DO is not who you ARE.

Read More

Super Bowl Sunday & Sacred Moments

It’s Super Bowl Sunday!

My team didn’t make it to the big game, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t watching the Super Bowl. The fridge is stocked with salsa and cheese slices. Wings and pork butt are in the smoker. Beverages are chilling and extra ice is on the back porch. Friends have been invited and reminders have been sent. The bathrooms are clean and the rest of the house is … tidy.

We are ready!

Even if you don’t succumb to football frenzy, you can probably relate to my excitement. Think about the anticipation and preparation of organizing any party, or redecorating a room in your house or planning a vacation.

Don’t you look forward to it? Of course, there is the organizing and preparation and the clean up, but the outcome is worth it, right? Parties and remodeled bathrooms and family vacations are the result of a thousand decisions to culminate an exceptional experience.

Read More

You Can Experience God

 

The holidays are over and the mailbox offers nothing but junk and bills. Winter storms and cloudy skies are the norm. It gets dark at 4:30pm! Flu bugs and close quarters breed bad moods, discord and discouragement.

I was sharing some bluesy feelings with my friend Marilyn* and she gave me some great words of encouragement.

When the days are dark, take heart. God is with you.

Now lots of people will tell you God is good and All you need is a little more faith, but when you are under the cloud of despair, you really need something more than a pat on the back and a platitude – even if it’s true.

What you need is an encounter with God. That’s what happened when the skies were very dark in Marilyn’s life.

Read More