Take the V-Day Challenge!

Valentine’s Day is upon us. What does it bring up for you?

Florists, jewelers, chocolatiers, and card companies want your man to declare his love with big bouquets, diamond baubles, and fancy boxes of deliciousness accompanied by a $12.99 greeting card.

Good grief!!!

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday. For many years, I had no man to shower me with gifts. Now, I have a man who thinks practically, not romantically. He is thoughtful and kind, but he is not a flowers and chocolates kind of guy.

At our house, V-Day is Validation Day.

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Trusting God When Life Is Hard

Where do you turn when life is hard? What do you do when you pray and don’t get the answer you need? How do you find the courage to trust God in the worst of situations? 

It was the worst day of Catherine’s life. Her daughter was stillborn. Can you imagine? Ugh, the emptiness, the sorrow. Going home with a full diaper bag and an empty baby seat. Dealing with the hormones and milk filled breasts all the while avoiding a nursery filled with stuffed toys and rocking chairs.

In her grief Catherine was angry and instead of relying on God or leaning into him, she turned her back on him, convinced that God had deserted her and was cruel in a way she could not fathom. 

She became depressed and found sleep elusive so she drank at night to try to help her sleep and slept all day because she was tired and hungover.

She stopped going to church because it hurt too much to see pregnant women and young children. It took almost 6 months before she could even look to heaven. But when she let go of the offense she had against God and asked for his forgiveness and restoration, he flooded her brokenness with peace.

That’s when the healing finally began. She said, “It took a long time and I still don’t understand why it happened, but after I surrendered my anger to Jesus, my faith became and continues to grow stronger. I can trust that God has a plan, even if I don’t understand it.”

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Wondering how we’ll make it through this hardship or that trauma?

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The Enemy of Hope is Discouragement

The enemy of your soul has no shortage of ways to create havoc in your life.  Fear, calamity, doubt, shame, illness, lies … the list goes on. But his most powerful weapon is discouragement.

Last week I was passed over for a big speaking job that I really wanted. I thought I had a good shot at it. I was qualified and available. My fee range was well within their honorarium budget. It was easy driving distance to the venue. I had a great rapport with the event planner. But, I didn’t get the gig. Someone else will be speaking there next year.

Ugh. The disappointment.

For the rest of the day, I was down in the dumps. I couldn’t engage with other potential clients via phone or email. Who would hire me? was the recording playing in my head. I even had writer’s block. But then, who would read my stuff anyway? I thought to myself. I tried to cheer up, but the discouragement was overwhelming. Does that kind of discouragement ever fall on you? 

I’m confident that discouragement is our enemy’s favorite tactic to disable us.

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Do You Take Time To Rest?

Everything I read about a living a balanced life stresses the importance of taking time to rest. 

Really?
Rest?
The thought of rest stresses me out!

I’m too busy to REST!

I have a family to take care of, kids to shuttle, pets to clean up after, a house to run, meals to plan, groceries to buy, food to prepare, laundry to wash-dry-fold-iron and put away.  I have a full time job, meetings to attend, cars to maintain, books to read, a blog to write and a sidewalk to shovel.

Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. We women run from one thing to the next with nary a moment to spare. Who has time to rest?

The fact is that you need to rest as much as you need to breathe.

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30 Day Goals Are Better Than New Year Resolutions

Chances are that if you made a New Year’s resolution, it’s already been compromised. Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions don’t work for the vast majority of us.

Case in point, remember last month when everyone was smiling and cheerful and generous? And then New Year’s came and coasting on all those good holiday feelings, we made resolutions to lose 10,000 pounds and get out of debt, start exercising, stop being snarky and stay in touch with friends and family better … and then … we didn’t do any of it. 

Girlfriend, I’ll be honest, I run out of rockets fast. Setting goals for an entire year overwhelms me.

This year I’m trying something different. I’m setting 30 day goals. I can manage, tolerate or endure almost anything if I know it’s only for 30 days. Can’t you?

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Is It Bad To Do Good Works?

Bridgett was on the brink of a breakdown because she could not say no to anyone. If someone needed a meal, she cooked it. If someone needed a ride, she drove them. If someone needed a place to stay, Bridgett housed them. If someone needed a babysitter, she was there with graham crackers and crayons. 

To most people, Bridgett looked like the perfect representative of Christian faith. 

But the ugly truth of it is that Bridgett didn’t want to say no to anyone. She knew the dark secrets in her past and she was sure that God was mad at her for the choices she’d made.

By providing a hand up or hand out, Bridgett was hands down trying to make up for what she’d done and pay back what was paid in full. 

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Are You Mad At God?

When a woman I’ll call Clarissa approached me, I could tell she was troubled.  I mean, really under it.

She whispered, “I have had several things happen to me and I am very mad at God. What should I do?”

My heart broke for her. I didn’t need to know the details of her life to know what to say to her. I’ve heard stories from so many other women to know that the specifics don’t matter as much as being heard matters.

If that’s where you are, can I tell you what I told Clarissa?

That’s a hard place to be. I’m so sorry this is your situation right now. It’s really important that you not try to handle this on your own. Find a church or a counselor or join a group that will help you process your hurt and get your life back.

Here are 5 keys that will get you on track. 

  1. Remember that God can handle your anger.
    If you need to stomp and storm at the heavens, he understands that.
  2. Acknowledge your pain and hurt.
    It’s real. It’s no lack of faith to be upset with your life or circumstances.
    King David demonstrates this throughout the Psalms. Here is just one example: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” -Psalm 22:1-3
  3. Take responsibility for any part of the mess that is yours.
    Is there anything you need to do, any apologies you need to make, or any restitution to repay?  Do that.
    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. -2 Corinthians 5:10
  4. Forgive anyone and everyone who hurt you and caused you this pain and suffering – including yourself.
    The longer you hold onto it, the deeper the bitterness and longer it will take to get through.
    Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13
    Remember that forgiving someone does mean you have to spend time with them. Forgiveness does not have to mean restoration of relationship.
  5. Ask God to invade your thoughts and dreams.
    Ask him to reveal himself to you and demonstrate his love to you.
    Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – Jeremiah 33:3

Know that God does love you and is with you and wants so much more for you than you have right now.

Today, Clarissa is doing much better. She’s been working with me, and belongs to a community of believers who provided the prayer support and wise advice she needed to break free of the anger.

Now, she has her life back.

If you want yours back,  watch for the free workshop I’m offering on this topic and other aspects of the Christian faith starting Jan 10, 2019 on my Facebook page. 

Is God Your King or Your Body Guard?

 

 

A couple weeks ago, I was speaking at a retreat and I told the story of when I was saved by Jesus. 

My boyfriend had taken me to a Christmas program when I received the good news that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died to pay for my sins and rose from the dead after 3 days in the grave. That because he was raised from the dead, I could be, too.  

That was good news! So I took out a get out of hell insurance policy and got saved.

I was saved ……… but I wasn’t surrendered. I wanted a Savior, but I didn’t want a King. I wanted to rule my own life.

I proceeded to treat God as a body guard. God was to stay out of my way unless my life was in imminent peril, then he had my permission to toss around a lightening bolt or two to save my life.

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Do You Fall For This Lie?

Do you find yourself isolated because you believe the lie that you’re not worthy of help? 

A woman I’ll call Milly went through a season of utter yuck. As a woman of faith, she dutifully went to church but didn’t want to bother anyone with her troubles. (sound familiar?) Thinking that she could will her way back to wholeness, she ended up isolating herself.

When asked how she was doing, she said she was fine.But without anyone to speak life into her, she sank deeper and deeper into loneliness and despair.

Then she heard me talk at a retreat about how the enemy needed her to stay on the fringe of community so he would be the only voice in her head. About how trying to do life on your own is not the way God intended us to live.

It was like a light bulb went off in her head.

She realized that she’d been schnookered into believing that she was an imposition. A burden. Unworthy.

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Does Asking, “Why?” Keep You Up At Night?

I speak at 40 or so Christian women’s events a year so I know what keeps women up at night. One of the biggies is WHY? Why God? Why did this thing happen?

When the world spins out of control or someone hurts me or I lose a precious possession or person, I cry out to God.

But I don’t ask why anymore. I’ve come to realize that I don’t really want to know WHY. I truly only want the lost to be found, the broken to be fixed or the stolen to be returned.

I don’t really care why, I just want my life back!

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