Thursday, January 22, 2015

HE-art Work

Can I be real? I mean, really real?

Isn’t that what we all want, is to feel safe enough to be transparent?

All the years that I was a single mom were hard. Really hard. I lived every day on the edge. On the edge financially, emotionally and mentally.

I struggled immensely. I experienced betrayal, foreclosure, repossession and bankruptcy. Dealing with my ex-husband added a lot of unpredictable, volatile challenges into my already challenging load.

There were scenes. Some were like scenes you’d see on the TV show, Cops. “Whacha gonna do when they come for you?” Yes, that show. No, they weren't coming for me. 

I suffered shame, embarrassment, and heartache to the umpth degree.

While enduring all these things, I went to work, church, family get-togethers and church functions wearing a calm, happy face.

I served on mission committees, stewardship committees, played piano in the worship band, taught Sunday school to pre-teens and toddlers. I was room mom and team mom. All this I did while stuffing and suffering inside.

I learned at a very young age how to put up pretenses. I’m okay. We’re okay. We’re all okay. Only I wasn’t okay.

Often I was the object of emotional abuse or received bad news, and stuffed it down on my way to church or work. I’d show up, put that smile on my face and pretend like everything was fine. When I lost my home I just acted like it was a trip to the post office. Bankruptcy court was just a stop on my way to work. I pretended like stuff didn't bother me. 

I stuffed and stuffed, until I no longer had much emotion about anything. Over the years I’ve noticed that callousness and apathy has set in. I covered up and hid behind different masks. I haven’t been a complete 100% pretentious person, but any pretense and covering up enslaves and holds me back from being who God created me to be.

I have to add though, that I wouldn’t trade those hard years for what I’ve gained with the Lord. I’ve learned that He is an intimate, loving Father. Jesus became my Husband. I learned how to trust God and my faith grew. God was and is my Rock, Redeemer and Strong Arm who was and is always right here. He has been my refuge and comfort through all the toughest of times. I’m fully convinced that nothing can or will ever separate me from His love.

I became fully convinced that the God of the whole universe is the God of the Bible who sent His son Jesus to take our place as He went to the cross on our behalf. 

After losing my mom this past December, I got somewhat of a wake-up call.

I need to have some HE-art work done. The Lord Jesus is the artist and I’m his subject. The best way I know to have this He-art work done is to join a ladies Step Study group through our Celebrate Recovery Program at church. 

This is a safe place where I’ll be able to uncover the hidden emotions that I’ve stuffed for more than 45 years. The plan is to spend the next nine months digging, uprooting, planting and growing. I want to let God work His artistry in my life, as He chisels, whittles and repaints. 

We’re all God’s handiwork. His artistry compares to none else. 

Galatians 5:1 tells us, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." 

If you’d like to know more about Celebrate Recovery, visit It is a Christ-centered recovery program for any and all who have ANY hurt, habit or hang-up.

Under reconstruction,


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Are You Done with Church?

Several days ago I shared a link to a blog post on my Facebook timeline titled, “The Rise of the ‘Done with Church’ Population” by Thom Schultz. The actual blog is at

At first I was surprised by some of the responses. Then my immediate response was “I’m not surprised.”

Rather than respond to everyone who’d commented on Facebook, I felt it better to respond here on my blog, so not to continue a long stream on Facebook. Then everyone who commented or clicked like on the original Facebook post won’t keep getting notifications.

In Thom Schultz’s article, he mentioned that the leavers (for lack of a better term) weren’t new Christians or new members of any certain church. These are people who are done with church, but NOT their faith.

They’re not finding another church somewhere else. The ones leaving are those who were active, doers, who volunteered regularly. As stated in Schultz’s blog, “the church is losing its best.”

After I shared this blog link on Facebook and read the responses, it was from people just like those described in the article. Strong, long-term, seasoned, passionate believers in Christ who are still strong believers in Christ.

I, too am a seasoned believer. I’ve always been involved at some level as a volunteer wherever I went to church. Since 1983, I’ve been a regular member (I don’t like that term, but don’t know what else to call it) in four churches; that’s four churches in 32 years. The prior three churches I attended have since split or simply dissolved.

I’ve been burned out, hurt, disappointed, disillusioned and misled. But I’ve also gained a family, incredible, lifelong friends, grown in my relationship with God, had opportunities to serve Him in various and exciting projects, felt connected and experienced true community. The local church and church at large, is comprised of imperfect people like me.

I’m guilty of pride, judging, partiality, people-pleasing and whatever else turns the unchurched off. I know I’m not alone in this. It’s shameful but true.

But laying my personal thoughts aside for now, in order to respond to this issue, I skimmed the Bible from Acts to 2 Peter, which is full of letters of instruction to the early churches.

We know about the first churches as described in Acts 2:42. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 5 has more about their growth and continuing in power in one accord.

In Romans 12:9-16, it’s clear how Christians are to behave and operate. I Corinthians 12 details spiritual gifts, talents and oneness, even in diversity in the body of Christ.

Much is mentioned in I Corinthians 14 about order in church meetings, focusing on edification.
First Timothy 3 details the qualifications of overseers (deacons and elders) in the churches.
Hebrews 10:24-25 reads, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

For the sake of time, I won’t elaborate because I need to read all this for myself. I encourage you to do the same. It’s clear though that God does have a purpose for His church.  

Have we lost sight of His purpose for the church in America? I think we have. Yet, there is no perfect church or group of believers.

Personally, if I joined the “done” population, I’d miss terribly the fellowship I have with other believers. I need the accountability, friendships, companionship and support. We aren’t meant to do life alone. 

It saddens me that the word “church” has become a bad word.

We have an enemy, the devil, satan. I feel sure that it’s his plan to dismantle the church one person at a time. The church is the very instrument God uses to reach the world.

What would happen to this world if we all became a member of the “done” population? 

What we should do about this obvious growing issue, I don't know. Maybe what we're doing now. 

Talking about it. 

I'm still not ready to join the done population. 
(to leave a comment, click on the comment link below)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve.
We’ve heard over and over how this is the most wonderful time of the year.

For a lot of folks it’s the time of year they simply endure, waiting anxiously for it all to be over. All the hype, commercialism, melancholy and bittersweet emotions that this time of year brings to some.
Or most, for that matter.

This Christmas Eve as I sift through Christmas cards and sympathy cards, I realize this time of year will never be the same for my husband and me. 

I just lost my mom 12 days ago.
My husband lost his mom right before Thanksgiving.

I’m not going to try to craft together impressive words on how to do grief during the holidays.

Many years ago, my divorce was final two weeks before Thanksgiving. I entered that holiday season trying to navigate unknown waters into the single parent life.

I got through it. Not on any merit of my own though.

Surviving the holidays as a newly divorced, single mom could only be done through God’s precious, intimate compassion that He poured out in my life during that time. That’s how He responded to my tearful pleas.

God’s response to any child of His far exceeds how we respond to our children or grandchildren. When they’re hurt and crying, we rush to their side, scoop them up speaking tender words of comfort and immediately do whatever it takes to bring healing, no matter how big or small.

When I first got the news about my mom, I didn’t immediately draw near to God and let Him do what I know He desired to do, which was to bring me comfort and peace. I withdrew from having quiet time with Him for days. All I could think was how untimely her death is; how I didn’t get to say goodbye or have any last moments with her. I questioned Him as to why He took her when He did.

By doing this I was making it all about me, which never turns out well.

So, longing for the comfort and peace I’m so familiar with that comes from God, I turned to His word, as well as my mom’s worn and tattered A.A. Reflections devotional.

Pouring over the pages where she’d highlighted, underlined and written brief thoughts began my healing. That is the first of many things God has poured into my lap to bring comfort as I continue drawing near to Him in my grief.

I know the holidays will never be the same. But I also know that this time of year is STILL the most wonderful time of the year because it marks Jesus’ birth and life, being the greatest gift ever given.

That will NEVER change. And because of that, no grief or pain will overtake me as I hide myself in Him. It is possible to have joy, peace and comfort during difficult times, not just at this time of year but all year long.

If you have a personal hurt or grief that this time of year only intensifies, joy, comfort and peace can be yours too.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3.
Rather than pull away from Him, we can draw near to the God who saves, who is near and who will heal.

Then we can celebrate Christmas and this time of year with joy, peace and comfort, instead of simply enduring it.
Finding comfort during the most wonderful time of the year,

Saturday, October 18, 2014

That Name! Part 2

My last post left off where Peter and John had healed a crippled beggar on their way to temple.
The full story is in Acts 3. The book of Acts has come alive for me like never before. Maybe it’s because of what’s happening in our country and world today. Acts might be a good model to go by in these days we’re living in.

After Peter healed the lame beggar, crowds gathered to see what all the commotion was on the temple porch. When they saw the once crippled man leaping and walking around praising Jesus, they were amazed and filled with wonder.
Peter then began to explain what just happened. He gave all glory and credit to Jesus Christ, who the people had earlier rejected and sent to His death. He boldly addressed everyone explaining the truth of who Jesus is, including the prophetic history foretold about His coming.

The “men in charge” got angry because they were teaching about Jesus and His resurrection. They arrested them and threw them in jail.
What did they do that was so criminal?
Here’s the charge: Teaching in the name of Jesus.
The truth is Peter and John were a threat to their priestly power and authority. Just like Jesus was. Of course, they would never admit it.
Their reason for arresting Jesus and His followers, persecuting them and trying to stop the spread of the gospel was blasphemy of God.
But the leaders weren’t concerned about God. They used God to promote themselves. They didn’t look into the history of scripture and see that everything the prophets predicted was and is coming to pass.
This is what Peter was explaining to the crowds that day. Everything leading up to the coming Messiah, Jesus, was just as it was written on their scrolls.
So they locked Peter and John up until their hearing the next day.
Speaking in their defense Peter addressed the rulers and elders saying, “If we this day are judged for a good deed alone to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who you crucified, who God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole “ Acts 4:9-10.
The leaders admitted that a notable miracle occurred. They marveled that Peter and John were uneducated men, had been with Jesus and now taught boldly with much knowledge of scriptures. Aware that all of Jerusalem knew about it, they worried how they’d look if they convicted Peter and John.
They decided to severely threaten them to stop spreading the gospel. Before releasing them, they commanded them to not speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus to anyone.
Did it work?
So what’s the reason today that we can’t speak the name of Jesus? What are our government leaders, principals, superintendents and politicians so afraid of?
Oh, I know, the claim is, “it’s offensive to others.”
Is it because Jesus addresses the condition of our hearts and souls? Does this threaten man’s power and authority?
Why can’t a student bring a Bible to school to read during their lunchtime or later when classes are over? What’s so criminal about that? We’re told we can pray, but not in Jesus’ name.
I’ve personally been told I can’t post a flyer with the word Jesus or Christian on it.
The spread of Jesus and Christianity hasn’t stopped, despite persecution, being arrested and simply told to stop.
We’re supposed to have freedom of religion in this country. If we’re told to not talk about Jesus, pray in His name or display evidence of faith in Him, yet other religions are free to do so, is that, in fact, admitting that Christianity IS NOT a religion, but a relationship?
Could, should, would Christians today be as bold as Peter and John? Will the U. S. government someday knock on my door and threaten me for asking such questions?
Will they one day outlaw the name of Jesus on blogs and other social media platforms to stop the spread of "God so loved the world, He sent Jesus"? 
It didn’t work 2000 years ago, so I suspect it wouldn’t today.
In Jesus’ name,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

That Name! Part I

I was reading this story in the book of Acts the other day and saw something I've never seen before. It seems that people haven't really changed much since the time of Jesus' ministry on earth, and after His ascension to Heaven.  The mere mention of His name would either make folks squirm or smile. And speaking of Him by name, praying and ministering in His name and so on could get you into a lot of trouble with the law back then. Sounds familiar in our day and time, doesn't it?

Not long after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and filled the disciples, just as Jesus promised, Peter and John went to the temple one day at the usual hour of worship.

Worshippers were entering the temple courts, including the political, religious and government leaders who had recently arrested Jesus, mocked, beaten, slapped, spit on and sent Him to His death.

All the people were obviously aware of their sin, as they had come to pray and offer their animal blood sacrifices to cover their sin, for which Jesus had just done, but they rejected.

Outside the temple were the usual beggars, lame and sick people asking for money and gifts for the poor as the crowds entered the temple.

A lame man saw Peter and John through the crowd and asked them for money. I wonder if he knew they’d been with Jesus who was recently crucified by the very leaders entering the temple. He’d also probably heard that this same Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. I’m sure he’d also heard of the thousands of new Christians nearby.

When the disabled man spoke, Peter stopped and looked straight at him.

Their eyes locked.
Only the sound of goats, lambs, and doves could be heard in the background.

Peter, full of the Holy Spirit and probably overwhelmed with compassion, felt a burning boldness to do more than just give this man money.

As the dust swirled around the disabled man from the passing crowds, Peter walked over to him and told him he didn’t have any money to give him, but said, “what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” Acts 3:6 (NKJ).

He did this right in front of the crowds and all those important leaders!

Immediately the disabled man’s feet and ankle bones received strength, after being this way for over 40 years. Peter grabbed him by the hand and pulled him to his feet for the first time in his life. The man started joyfully leaping and praising God, as he went into the temple with his new friends. I don’t imagine it was a quiet, reverent scene. Oh, no.

Here were Peter and John, who the leaders already knew were Jesus followers. The same Jesus who the crowds who’d just witnessed this miracle had demanded the prisoner Barabbas be released in Jesus’ place sending Him to His death. These two guys had just committed blasphemy in all their eyes.

They all thought if they killed Jesus, their threat of power, money and pride would be gone. I’m sure some were aghast at the seemingly disrespect of the holy and serene quietness of the temple, as this man entered with Peter and John praising the name of Jesus by which he’d just been healed.

I feel sure Peter and John didn’t shush him. I bet others wished they would’ve.

The lame man’s body was not the only thing healed that day. His heart now was like the other thousands of new Christians, bursting with joy, as he began his new life with Jesus. I imagine he must’ve joined the rest of the Christians, after Peter and John were arrested for what they’d just done. Those bad boys.

Stay tuned as the story continues when Peter and John were arrested and jailed for reaching out to a poor, disabled beggar in the name of Jesus.

In Jesus’ name,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

State Of Our World and Moving Forward

It's been really hard to write lately. I've been thinking and focusing a lot on world events, tragedy, despicable crimes, murders and sicknesses overseas. Fellow Christians are enduring unspeakable persecution while here at home my personal world continues on peacefully and comfortably.

How do we take in the reality of what's happening in the Middle East, and continue in our daily lives here? What can we do here at home to help what's going on in our world? That's a whole separate subject for another day and another post, so I won't even go there right now. Except to say this: PRAY! Pray like never before for our country, fellow Christians everywhere, leaders and government.

The fact is, while our American lives on U.S. soil continue peacefully, we have our jobs to go to, families to take care of, financial responsibilities and on and on.

I've held off on starting a special blog just for single moms in light of world events. Then it hit me, this is the best time to reach out and create an online space just for single moms. Now is the time we all must move forward into the plans and work God has prepared for us to do. What are your gifts, passions, talents and abilities? God gave them to you to use. Use them now! Don't stop or continue procrastinating. Because of what's going on worldwide, the time is now.

Writing and single-parent ministry are my passions. Because of world events, I am spurred on even more to get with it and move on in the work God has for me. I hope you will too.

Single Moms! This is just for you. Follow this link to

In His Grip,

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I want to be ........

I want to be ____________. Please fill in the blank.
Here are 10 suggestions that might help:
1.       …like her (add name) _______ because she’s pretty and thin.

2.       …successful in my career

3.       …financially comfortable

4.       …married

5.       …a mom

6.       …like them, popular and accepted

7.       …free from physical pain

8.       …healthy and well

9.       …live my dream to be a _______ (fill in blank)

10.   …young again
Too often I’ve been personally consumed with all my wants and desires, that I missed what God had for me.

Have you? Are you always wanting, wishing and longing for something? A desire. Fulfilled dream. The need to be fulfilled. We all have an insatiable longing for fulfillment. In our jobs, marriages, singleness, in retirement, life.

I recently heard an incredible message at church that jolted me out of my self-consuming haze. It challenged me to return to that place of abandon and surrender to the Lord that I know brings true fulfillment.
The message was about being ready; ready to meet the Lord when He returns. That day will be experienced by everyone, whether you’re a believer or not. We will all see Him. Some will be ready. Some won’t. As I think about that day, my longings and desires to be like someone else, to be successful, smarter, prettier, thinner, whatever, are fading in light of reality.

Being ready for THAT DAY takes a lot of preparation. It’s parallel to what a bride does before she meets her groom to pledge her abandoned love and commitment to him for a lifetime. That’s a day she has dreamed about and looked forward to her whole life. She thinks about it, talks about it with her friends, plans and daydreams about that day. She wouldn’t dare meet her groom without proper preparation.
I want to be ready when I meet Jesus face to face, whether it’s by me going to heaven or Him returning in my lifetime. I want my focus to change from trying to fulfill all my longings and wants myself, to being fulfilled and excited as I prepare to meet Him.

Something has happened since I’ve intentionally taken my focus off all the things I thought I wanted, and just focused on the one thing that really matters, which is Him. It’s not effortless because the world tugs and pulls, bringing clatter and chaos along with it. What I’ve noticed is opened doors to things that support my dream career. I’ve noticed a rest and contentment. I’ve noticed that the fulfillment I’ve longed for is becoming my reality. I feel His fresh touch again.
I want to be ready for my Groom, adorned with grace, mercy, wisdom and love. I don’t want to be clothed in selfishness, sinfulness and self-centeredness. I want Him to find me busily about His business, not trying to force my own way. I want to meet Him at the altar prepared and ready.

I want to be ____________. What is your answer? Share it below.
In continuous preparation,