Coffee is my thing! I love a good latte. Add in some vanilla or caramel syrup and my heart is happy. Add whipped cream and my joy-levels go over the moon.
About a week ago, my husband, two kids, and I drove down a long rock road, flying up a whole lot of dust on our car, to reach a café tucked back in the woods. I knew soon I’d have that first sip. But, when we got to the cash register, an issue popped up: we didn’t bring enough cash. After my kids’ treats, my husband’s coffee and my latte, we were .50 cents short. Something would have to go…
“I’ll skip my latte.” I told the cashier.
I turned, walked away, completely okay with the loss and sat down.
“(Love) does not insist on its own way,” (1 Cor. 13:5 ESV).
At the same time, I watched my husband mouth something to the cashier. I knew what he was up to! He was giving up his coffee so I could have my latte! My heart jumped at his desire to love me. I felt so cared for. God was providing for me after all.
We all sat down with our treats and I relished in my sugary drink. Yum. Two seconds later, the waitress came over and placed something down in front of my husband, Emanuel. “You get one too – for free!”
Wow! God blessed my husband.
What we lay down for another, God will always pick up and handle. It may not always come in a financial blessing or an immediate gift, but we cannot lay something down without Father God seeing, knowing and taking care of us – as we lay down ourselves, as a drink offering in His hands.
I love how God encouraged us all in this way. We laid down our right, and then God picked up our fight, even for something as seemingly meaningless as our coffee.
He loves us that much. He loves you that much.
What might God be calling you to lay down – so He can pick it up?
Prayer: Father, sometimes it is so hard to lay down to you, especially when we want to cling and hold on to what is known. Help us to lay down our lives knowing that you will pick up our cause, fight for us and protect us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
It wasn’t what my Nana did; it was how she made me feel.
As the oldest of six kids, I was a like a second mom at home. I took care of my siblings constantly. I handled things, especially keeping everyone in check.
Nana would come and get me, though. She’d rescue me away, picking me up in her long white Cadillac. Along the way to her white country house, she’d pull into a rock drive, straight into my favorite place, Little George’s! It was a small convenience store marked by a huge pig out front!
“Pick out any candy you want, Kelly! It doesn’t matter how big it is,” she’d say.
Nana was like this, always giving (taking me shopping, getting me crabs at her house, finding the best corn for us to eat). Always showing up (making a point to get me). Always wanting to be with me (playing cards, making me clean her house – ha!, giving me ice cream).
Nana certainly was super generous, but — I will tell you — it wasn’t what she gave me that blessed me so much. It was how she made me feel. She was consistently patient, thoughtful and welcoming. She was that way with everyone.
Nana is gone now, but I still want to be like her. She never said a bad word about anyone. I tried to talk ill about her friend, who herself, was “a griper”. Nana stopped me. Ironically, that same day, fire ants went flaming up my leg at the lady’s house. It seemed to remind me that. . . mean words do bite!
Nana didn’t talk love, she showed it.
“Love is patient, love is kind.” (1 Cor. 13:4)
I want to be patient and kind in a world that is rushed and panicked. I want to be love, rather than constantly talking about it to my kids. I want to be kind even when things with my husband get tense.
I want people to know me more by how I make them feel, than by the Christianese I profess with my mouth. I’m not sure I’m there yet.
May they know us by our love. Jesus didn’t talk about love 24/7; He IS love. What if we were to love in such a way, people felt it in the fabric of their being?
Prayer: God, only you can help us love more. Help us to experience your love, to show love. Help us to walk in your grace, to release grace. Help us to live by you, to love by you and to walk away from mean words. We don’t want to just be professors of your word, we want to be possessors of it and releasors of it.
You say, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (Jo. 15:4)
Help us remain in you, for then the fruit of love will come easy!
There are people I do not share my hard times with. Of course, I share these times with you all! I love opening up to you (plus, you all listen so well). Thank you for being amazing. Thank you for all the prayers you’ve prayed over the years. I pray for you too.
But, like I said, there are people I don’t share with. Why?
The people I don’t share hard stories and deep emotions with, tend to:
– turn the story back around to themselves, ignoring my heart issue.
– put down what I have shared, telling me, “That’s not a big deal.”
– immediately go to advice-giving.
– spread my story to other people.
– judge me when I am talking.
– not empathize or show any compassion.
Unfortunately, because I repeatedly give unsafe people the benefit of the doubt — I’ve gotten hurt, repeatedly. After a lot of hurt, one must learn. Wise people use discernment in what they share and with whom they share it with.
Have you been hurt by people’s responses too?
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Mt. 7:6)
I forgive people, for they know not what they do — and, usually, they are really trying their best. I take responsibility. I cannot continually go to a well that does not have living water flowing from it.
At the same time, it makes me think — how do I respond to people?
– Am I quick to listen and slow to speak?
– Do I reserve judgment?
– Do I stay calm and patient in the process of their sharing?
I can’t say it is always great (especially with my kids). I too, need help in the “truly-listening” department.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (Ja. 1:19)
A few words can make a huge impact. It is not the wisdom that I carry; it is the heart that God wants us to bring.
What if I were to listen from the heart? What if we were to be the safe people? How might God use us?
Prayer: God, help me! Help me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Help me to ditch anger, for love. Father? I also forgive those who have dissed me when I was sharing. I let them off the hook. Give me wisdom in whom to share with and whom not to. I love you, always and forever. You are my King! You are Lord! You are my everything. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The other morning, I felt led of the Lord to read John 5, so I did. But, what I didn’t know was that within 48 hours, I too, would be unable to walk…
What I read:
“When Jesus saw him (the lame man, at the pool of Bethesda) and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” (John 5:6-8)
A couple days later…I couldn’t walk. I lay on my bed, immobile. The irony wasn’t lost on me.
Let me tell you what happened, from the beginning…
Three pairs of my pants ripped (one of which, ripped: Straight. Down. The. Back.).
This was a sign; I needed to work out. So, I hightailed my growing backside to a gym. At the gym, they told me I should “try a handstand against the wall”. I was hesitant, but I didn’t want to look dumb in front of the group. Needless to say, I tried, but I couldn’t execute it. While going up a wall, my legs fell down, straight down and my big toe hit the ground with all my body-force. Oww!
As a result, on Mothers’ Day, I sat, stuck on my bed, leg iced and lifted. The next day I still couldn’t move. My family waited on me hand-and-foot.
Then, I started up on the internet (a big no-no), which convinced me that I would be immobile for months, if not struggling for years. My mind was spinning. It could be this… It could be that… What if this… What if that…
I continued to lay on my bed; I can’t move.
I tried to hobble on crutches; I am not going to be able to do anything for a long, long time.
I searched more online; I’ll be inside permanently.
My mind settled into the idea – I was crippled.
I wonder, like me, might you also feel crippled? Are there categories of life, in which you have settled into a crippled-thinking? Maybe a habit is crippling you? Or a job? A future? A personality flaw? Where do you feel stuck on a mat, more than able to get up and walk to Jesus? Where have you started to think there is no way forward?
All this internet searching, made me mostly forget about Jesus.
But, soon, I remembered Jesus’ words – the words I read a couple days before, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.”
Yes! This is it, I realized. I am not an immobile victim; I am someone Jesus wants to help. If He carried the cross, certainly He can carry my cross and me to some sort of victory, even if in my mind.
Something rose up in me. Authority came. I said to myself, “I’m not going to sit around here sulking! I am going to the doctor!”
I got up off my mat using crutches, thanks to Jesus, and headed in.
There, I found out, my foot was not broken and with shoes – I could walk again, even right now!!
Get up off your mat, and walk!
My friend, you have authority.
Jesus can help you walk again.
Jesus can help you do anything.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)
Where is a victim mindset keeping you on a self-inflicted mat of defeat? Healing comes to a mind that says, “In this way (in the way God is leading me), with Christ’s strength, I can get up. I will get up. I am going to get up.”
It doesn’t have to look like a huge thing or a huge healing. Just make a move towards Jesus, in faith and see Him move.
There is always hope! Jesus has conquered the world and HE can help us conquer any painful situation we are confronted with, even when the worst pain is in our mind.
Keep the faith – and walk how He’s leading you to walk! He is faithful.
Prayer: Father, we praise your Holy Name. We thank you for your Son, Jesus. Oh, He is amazing. He is miracle-working. He is the One and Only. We ask you to forgive us of our victim mindsets that don’t believe and that keep us stuck. You are able to do anything. Come and meet us, come encounter us, come confront us in any areas where you see us on a mat. Come and help us walk. We want to walk again! Help us up. Some of us may have been stuck on a mat for a long time. I ask for an extra measure of grace for all of us to get up in the ways you want us to. And, Father? I thank you for helping me. Do it again, Father. Do it again, for all my friends and family on this blog. You can do it! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The football coach proclaimed something like, “You’re out!! You just won’t wait in the pocket, like I want you to!”
The quarterback was afraid of getting hit, so rather than obeying the coach’s command to stay back, he moved out from behind the line to throw or to run, even though the coach’s clear command was — stay put.
The quarterback didn’t want a huge linebacker to pummel him, so he kept fearing and disobeying — by moving out — rather than trusting and waiting to throw the touchdown pass.
Likewise, many of us are afraid of waiting on the Lord. Many times, we fear that in our wait, we will: miss out on something; get hurt by our inaction; miss an opportunity; or be proven a fool. So, we don’t trust God and we move.
Have you ever been there? Maybe God is nudging your heart to wait on Him before applying to new jobs? To sit with Him before speaking out to your spouse? To keep in prayer before putting your house on the market? To rest in Him before moving your mouth?
How are you afraid of getting hit?
In this quarterback’s situation, in the movie, American Underdog, the coach set him up — to repeatedly get hit. Why? So he could learn to courageously wait and overcome.
Bam. I can do this.
Bam. I’m still alive.
Bam. After being hit 20 times, I now know I can take a hit or two.
Friends, I don’t know if you are at all like me, but I’ve been hit a time or two, too. I can’t say that God caused these hits, but I can certainly say my disobedience did. Hits were things like arguments, discouragement, defeat, or bad outcomes. Each hit hurt, but also, each hit taught me: it is a better strategy to trust the Lord than to move out on my time in my way.
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act…” (Ps. 37:7)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” (Is. 55:8)
Better is it to stay with God, to wait in His presence, than to go my own way.
Prayer: Father God, if you are calling me to wait, please give me the perseverance and endurance to do so. Please give me strength in the wait. May I feel your nearness and your presence. May I gain a greater understanding of knowing and loving you. May I rest in the fact that you fight for me while I am still. May I trust you more and more, even when I don’t understand or can’t figure out what you are doing. Truly, you are weaving a tapestry of the greatest story ever. Help me to trust your plan. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ever noticed, its easy to see what everyone else has, but you?
Social media parades this fact in our faces…
She’s changing the world by starting through missions in Africa and is being publicly rewarded. The other gal is hanging out with the very group that rudely excluded you. The old friend is now building a whole sports complex in her backyard and her family always looks picture-perfect. Another woman smiles in bliss with her husband in Bermuda – of course, her body is perfect in that tan bikini.
Youre sitting like a blob on the couch, hair in messy bun, dirty dishes stacked high in the sink and the dirty toilets are calling your name today because they must be cleaned.
Friends, Ill tell you. . . I know what it is to sit in this seat.
From home, it is easy to observe people. Not only in what God is doing in their lives, but also by seeing how good they have it. How happy they seem… All God has given them… What things look like…
In some ways, I havent gotten what others have. Maybe you feel the same way? Like you havent been treated as well? That your marriage got the short end of the stick? That you were treated unfairly or ripped off by people? I wonder, is there sometimes pain in the offering of these things to God?
I get it.
Online, we see peoples best of days, often on our worst of days. With all this in mind, the other day, I prayed to God about my lot. It probably sounded something like this:
“God, I’ve moved around a lot. You know it, and I know it! Father, you know Ive always wanted a garden, but I rent. Why am I going to make beautiful, a rented yard? Thats not my lot…”
But, at the same time, I realized: it is my lot.
Here, it was as if God was saying, Kelly, love your lot. Love your lot, a lot.”
To love my lot, I went out to the garden store and bought a huge box of flowers. I planted them all over my rented lot. New buds of hope. New blooms of life and perspective. Brightness on my ground. Rather than seeing what I didnt have, I chose to beautify and relish in what I did have.
Now, in the evenings, my kids and I go out and look at what has grown. We enjoy our lot.
How can you enjoy and beautify – relish and wonder – over your lot, no matter how bad it may seem? Friends, truly – no matter how bad it looks – there is a lot God has given you. What if, rather than seeing what you dont have, you gain eyes to see what you really do have? What if, rather than hating, you start playing up what is working? What if, rather than complaining, you start thanking God for what is your ground, your body, your family?
Maybe you’ll see that your lot is not only a lot, but now a garden.
“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Phil. 4:10-14 MSG)
Prayer: Father, give me eyes to see – what I do have. Give me a heart to love what you have given me. Show me ways to appreciate and value what youve put around me. I want your view and your hope as it pertains to my lot. In Jesus name. Amen.
Have you heard the song, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus?” This morning, the song’s lyrics resonated in my spirit: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face…and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim…in light of His glory and grace.”
When I turn my eyes upon Jesus…all else fades. The worries. The problems. The fears. The stress. The burdens.
There remains Jesus, the One who saves. There remains Jesus, the One who paid it all. There remains Jesus, the One who empathizes with my pain and struggle. There remains Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life.
But, so often, other things distract me from Him. The schedule of the day clouds my vision. The pressure of people’s needs fills my eyes. Things another woman is doing, pull me, almost subconsciously, in another direction.
What do we do – when we want Him, but get distracted by everything else?
This morning, as I closed my eyes, somewhat pondering this thought with God, what came to mind was: Horses wear blinders for a reason.
What was the reason? I got out my phone to look deeper.
Apparently, horses have 350-degree vision. This means that they can see everywhere but directly behind them. This also means that they can get extremely distracted. A neighboring horse can pull them off track. A plowing machine hooked on them, can appear to them as a predator and cause them to react. A wild and cheering stadium can make a race horse go berserk.
They must have a narrow and limited view on what matters so they don’t get thrown off by what doesn’t matter.
So must we!
How might God be calling us to limit our view today? What vision is actually distracting us more than helping us?
Is seeing social media images leaving us discouraged and sad or is it uplifting us and filling us with things of God?
Is that gossipy neighbor someone God wants us continually looking at and listening to?
Is focusing on portending doom actually helping our mind, or is worry zapping us of faith?
Is our well-laid-out fix it scheme the way, or is prayer?
Is seeing offense our way, or is becoming blind to offense and full of love, a more prosperous road?
Often, as we blind negative things we gain greater vision pertaining to things of God.
Paul, in the Bible, became blind for three days before he gained sight that opened a radical ministry of the Lord. Are you, like Paul, willing to put blinders on in order to see more of God?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. The things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in light of His glory and grace.
Prayer: Father God, You are what I want. You are what I need. You are what I want to fix my mind on. You say, you keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on the Lord. Let that be said of me. Let that be known of me. More of You and less of what I think I need. Be my vision. Be my hearing. Be my hope. Be my all in all. I want you more than anything else. Give me all the grace I need today to keep my eyes, ears and focus on you and show me what I might need to let go of. Show me what I might need to become blind to in order to see more of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A girlfriend, last night, told me, “Kelly, I know you care for me, because you spend time with me.”
She was right; I care for her. Another girl at the table could have said, “Kelly, you love me, because you serve me.” Yet, another, could have noted, “Kelly, you love me because you give gifts to me.”
Loving is giving (giving: words, time, gifts, time, service, hope)…
“For God so loved the world that He gave…” (Jo. 3:16)
Jesus gave His life, so we could experience death-defying love.
Love accomplishes much and it never fails. It takes bold risk. Many have led the way in love…
One woman gave, at least, a year’s worth of savings (some say it could be her life savings), and poured it out as a perfume-offering, a pre-burial anointing, on Jesus’ feet…
“She stood behind Jesus and cried at his feet. And she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair. She kissed them and poured perfume on them.” (Lu. 7:38)
Giving from her heart she gave away her greatest treasure.
Crying, she didn’t care about the Pharisees, who were likely judging.
Letting go, she gave up what she had rights to.
Due to love. Due to honor. Due to someone greater than she.
Another woman, Martha, had her own love-act. She gave up the pressure to please man and to meet societal expectations, by ditching the dinner preparations — to sit at Jesus’ feet. How dare she?!
(But,) Jesus said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Lu. 10:42)
She knew love was her highest calling.
She focused on a ministry to God’s heart, first.
She kept first-things, first.
Beyond this, this verse strikes me: “And as He rode along, the people kept spreading their garments on the road.” (Luke 19:36)
Again, love and honor, to the very heart of Christ prevailed.
They laid down what they owned, due to love.
They shed layers, because Jesus was greater.
They likely recognized, God in their midst, and honored Him.
I want to love Jesus this way, don’t you? But, sometimes things hold us back from extravagant, courageous, all-out love. What are they?
For me? If I am honest, it is: fear.
Fear that the time I spend reading the Bible will make me miss out on something else.
Fear that giving will leave me high and dry.
Fear that if I’m with God, I won’t get a chance to do important things for God.
Fear that I’ll be judged.
“The greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13) “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Ro. 8:28)
Love never fails. And, it is the one thing that — endures forever…
“Love never ends.” (1 Cor. 13:8)
Prayer: Father? We want to love more. We want to love Father, Son and Holy Spirit more. We want to give from deep inner reserves. Because all things are from you, to you and through you — will you fill us with love? Will you help us to pay attention and to have great devotion to love? We want to honor you more. You are our greatest ministry. First, we love you! Give us your grace to sit and to talk, to hear and to understand, to minister to your very heart. In Jesus’ All-Powerful, Ever-Saving Name, Amen.
The mountains were beautiful, idyllic really. Driving, high up, makes you realize huge things can actually — be little. The big mountains in our lives aren’t really as big as we make them. Perspective is everything. To God? From this vantage point, we understand how He can move every mountain. Driving on mountains makes you ponder things like that. . .
Unless, something happens, and jerks you out of your deep thoughts, which is what happened to me…
My husband jerked the car, hard, right. The decline to the right of us was steep. There was no guardrail, no safety net, just a fall. For a second, he lost control.
But, another One hadn’t.
A second later, my husband declared, “Family? The angels must have just protected us. We should have gone over the side of this road down a mountain, but we didn’t.”
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Ps. 91:11-12)
As a family we took a collective sigh of relief, then my 10-year old son blurted out, “You know, when you realize that God really will protect you, you realize that you really have nothing at all to fear.”
My son was absolutely, unequivocally right: What do we have to be afraid of when we know God will protect us? Help us? Save us?
Miles above us is one greater than us. One who sees before we do. One who knows before we know. One who acts before we even conceptualize there is a problem.
When life feels out of control… When you know you should see a ruined relationship… When you believe you should have made a different choice… When you fear you have messed up parenting… Remember. Remember, God has all control to save us from any and all cliffs — despite us.
Isn’t God amazing? Isn’t His protection astounding?
What are you afraid of today? What if you recognized that you have a saving God that is mightier, taller and bigger than any force coming against you? What if you were to look as the mountain as small and your saving-God as HUGE?
Prayer: Father, than you that you are Father. Thank you that you are Protector. Thank you that you keep us in so many ways, we probably can’t even count them all. We are grateful for your protection and we ask for more of it. We love you. We honor you. Help us to trust you more. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
I remember when I went to college. Suddenly, the nearness of my parents was gone. Because of distance, I did things I would never have done infront of them (drink, etc.). Rather than talk with my mom and dad, I got wisdom from friends. Rather, than seeking help, I acted independently.
When someone is distant, they are hard to reach, out of touch. You don’t consult with them as much, you feel disconnected and, sometimes, even alone. You do what you normally wouldn’t do if they were infront of you.
When a Father is distant, children go awry: They’re fending for themselves, fixing problems alone, doing what they wouldn’t do at home, finding answers in other places.
Friends, can I admit today? I have allowed Father God to feel distant. But, the truth is — He isn’t..
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.” (Ps. 78:23)
“I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Ps. 16:8)
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Ps. 145:18)
The truth is — to all who call to be near, they come near. To all who make God they’re refuge, they are right in Him. To all who want Him, they get him.
We can’t let the enemy tell us God is far away. That’s a lie. He is right with us. He cares for us. He sees the path we are on. He has a good plan for us. He is not holding back from us. He wants us, likely, more than we want Him.
He is 100% fully prepared to lead us, guide us, be with us, instruct us and show us our way. God isn’t distant — He’s close and knowing that makes all the difference.
Prayer: Father, I draw near to you and I know, here, you will draw near to me. I want to know your closeness. I want to remain in your love. I want to see you before me in all I do. Pour out all the grace I need today to be near to you, in all my ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.