Believe Boldly

Scripture uses “courage” and “boldness” (including derivatives) over 110 times. In the New Testament, Paul exhorts believers to courageously live out their faith in 8 of his 13 letters to young churches and new Christ-followers.

To live boldly, we must believe boldly.

How do we live and believe boldly? Regardless of background, challenges, or circumstances, we can incorporate intentional practices into our daily routines. These practices help us grow in faith, and they provide space for the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out. Let’s explore three such practices:

Pray Boldly

  • Suit up daily in the armor of God, piece by piece (Eph 6:10–20). Then boldly advance onto your battlefields of life under Christ’s banner.
    • Pray in Christ’s name. Pray as Christ’s representative, asking God to move for the benefit of his Kingdom on earth according to his will.
    • Courageously believe that our good, faithful God will respond. Pray daily with anticipation, even if just for 10 minutes at the start or end of your day.
    • Keep a prayer journal to track how God answers your prayers.

Work Boldly

  • Join Christ’s work and embrace your calling as his ambassador to your workplace mission field (2 Cor 5:17–21).
    • Earn the trust of co-workers by demonstrating honesty, integrity, respect, and genuine care for others.
    • Pray: before calls/meetings; as you walk through your workplace; for co-workers, including difficult personalities.
    • Remember that excellent work is excellent work, no matter what type of work it is.

Stand Boldly

  • Believe your identity as God’s chosen, beloved daughter. He has given you full inheritance rights through his son, Jesus Christ (Gal 4:4–7).
    • Strengthen your faith by building on the foundation of God and his Word. Commit to reading a passage of Scripture each day, including study Bible notes.
    • Cultivate a heart of gratitude by praising God for who he is. Name at least one new thing each day for which you’re thankful.
    • Affirm daily that Christ in you is enough. For everything.

Sisters, God created each one of us in his image. And through Jesus, we have been adopted into his family. Our identity from here through eternity reigns as daughters of the Most High God. Believe boldly as you walk and work with Jesus today.

Join together with working women across the country as we breakthrough boldly, belong boldly, and believe boldly. How? Check out

Let’s pray. Gracious God, “courage” and “boldness” can feel daunting, especially when we struggle with exhaustion, uncertainty, abrasive people, and the darkness in our world. Give us eyes to see others as you see them. Grant us grace as we seek you in our work. And draw us near so we may grow in our love and trust for you and others. Amen.

Boldly Belong

Some days we need a suit of armor to protect us in our workplace battles. Women often juggle performance scrutiny, gender inequities, and heightened competition as we navigate workplace dynamics and advancement opportunities. Many of us live behind a mask so co-workers won’t know too much or get too close. Yet we continually assess those around us. And something debilitating takes over when we compare ourselves to others and seek approval.

It’s called Imposter Syndrome: the overwhelming sense that––without our mask––we’re nothing more than an imposter at work or in life. 

Imposter Syndrome wilts our confidence and feeds these lies: “You don’t belong here. You’re not good enough. You’re nobody. You don’t have what it takes. No one cares about you.”

Many years ago, a working mom-to-be suffered with Imposter Syndrome. Her name was Hagar (Gen 16:1–16). While the cultural and social contexts of the story fan flames of injustice and mourning, the foundational truth stands firm: God see us. In the midst of challenge and heartache and uncertainty, God sees you. The one and only God who created the heavens, earth, and everything in them also created you. He knows you intimately. He lovingly created you with specific talents and passions for specific purpose in this season of life. And he’s calling your name.

Hagar hated her circumstances so much that she ran away. But when she encountered God, she engaged in two-way, prayerful conversation with him. She experienced his grace and comfort. She believed him. And she gave God the name El Roi, meaning “God sees me.” 

The only person (man or woman) in all of Scripture to give God a name is this runaway, pregnant, Egyptian slave girl––an outsider and “nobody” by all standards of her day. Through her encounter with God, Hagar shut down the lies. And instead, Hagar believed God who says: “I see you. I love you. I’m calling you to this place. I created you for purpose. I will be with you always.”  

Friends, our unchanging Lord wants us to build the foundation of our faith and our daily work on these same truths. Jesus sees you. Jesus loves you. Jesus has called and equipped you for your work. Jesus has created you with specific purpose for this season (Eph 2:10). Jesus will be with you always (Heb 13:5, 8)

You belong in the sisterhood of Christ-followers. And you belong as Christ’s light-bearer in your workplace mission field. So with faith-shields interlocked, let’s boldly step into who God created us to be. 

Join together with working women across the country as we breakthrough boldly, belong boldly, and believe boldly. How? Check out

Let’s pray. Almighty God, thank you for seeing us and loving us, even when the darkness of isolation and doubt creep in. Jesus, you alone are the immovable Rock we need as our firm foundation. Thank you that you love us perfectly and your love never changes. Holy Spirit, grant us strength day-by-day to silence lies and remember that we belong with you and the sisterhood of believers. Amen.

Our Path to Purpose

What’s our purpose in life? Why are we here? What are we supposed to do each day, each month, each year? Do all of us have a purpose, or only some of us?

Throughout history people have pursued transcendent purpose in life.

Aristotle, a Greek philosopher from 3rd century B.C. said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Happiness? How do we define happiness? That seems to miss the mark.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 19th century American poet, disagreed with Aristotle. Emerson suggested, “The purpose of life is NOT to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” This sounds good, but it remains vague.

Paul David Hewson, a musician, songwriter, and philanthropist, was born in 1960. You may know him as Bono, the frontman for the Irish band U2. Bono shared his view on purpose: “When you align yourself with God’s purpose as described in the Scriptures, something special happens to your life.” Aligning ourselves with God’s purpose––God’s will. THIS describes how we set our compass toward purpose-filled life.

As we journey through life, where would our path take us if we set our compass toward purpose-filled life?

In my “BC” years (“before Christ”), I lived with a desperate need for purpose. I did everything I could to generate lofty goals, outperform expectations, and fill my emptiness with activity. Even though my life looked shiny and bright on the outside, I languished in a dark pit. I struggled with depression because nothing I did brought me any closer to finding my purpose.

Then a friend gave me the book Purpose Driven Life. As I read it, I started down a new path that brought me to Jesus. I set my compass to what God promised would bring purpose to my life.

One of the first Scriptures God led me to was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This IS God’s will for you. This IS God’s will for me. FINALLY! This is where we find our purpose. Paul’s message to the Thessalonians is the same message for us today:

Choosing Christ unveils our path to purpose.

In three short verses, Paul tells us how to find the path to purpose in our life. View these as stepping stones across a creek which allow us to cross into the richness of God’s will. Paul gives three specific stepping stones in our path to purpose:

  • Be joyful always. Be glad, be delighted, be full of joy! You would think that for someone like me named “Joy” being joyful would be easy. Unfortunately, all of my life I have struggled with being joyful. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This doesn’t mean, “Delight in God and He will give you what you want.” It DOES mean, ”Delight in God, and He will place His desires upon your heart, and they will become your desires.” This is how the Holy Spirit works in us to bring joy. Paul’s command “be joyful” means “choose Christ and His joy”. Our response is either “yes I will” or “no I won’t”. 
  • Pray continually. Prayer doesn’t come naturally for most of us. We learn to pray. And one thing we have to learn: Prayer is a two-way conversation between us and Jesus. In two-way conversation, we show interest in the other person, ask them questions, and allow them to respond. God wants us to connect with Him in prayer, and choosing Christ in prayer means we believe He hears our prayers, we expect that He will respond, and we give Him the opportunity to respond by waiting and listening.  And Paul takes it one step further by saying, “Pray continually.” Pray moment by moment. Cultivate a dialogue with God throughout the day. This is something I’m still learning. God wants to be a part of our thought-life, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in busyness. Sometimes we need to hit pause and pray.
  • Give thanks in all circumstances. Paul says we’re to be thankful IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. Not all circumstances are good. We live in a fallen world with fallen people. Understanding the difference between “thankful in” versus “thankful for” has helped me to persevere. Storms will come. For all of us. You may be in the middle of a dark storm right now. You don’t have to be thankful FOR that storm. But, in the midst of our storms and our fears, we can find peace and hope when we turn to God. He will redeem our storms as He shepherds us forward in purpose.

Friends, God has created a path of purpose for each one of us. As we continue moving forward with Jesus step-by-step, God transforms us to be more like Christ. He wants us to live in the fullness of Christ in all circumstances.

You can live in the freedom that comes through choosing joy regardless of circumstances.

You can take hold of the strength that comes through learning to pray continually.

You can bear witness to Christ by giving thanks in all circumstances.

And you can get excited about living a high-impact life in God’s will.

This is God’s will for you today!

You have an incredibly important purpose in life, marked out by God Himself. Choosing to walk with Christ unveils the steps in our transcendent purpose. More on this next time.

Why This Workplace

Why God? Why do you have me in this place?

Many of us wrestle with finding transcendent purpose in our daily work. The type of work. The people in our sphere. Unhealthy stress. Inadequate pay. A lack of understanding by others––and no desire on their part to truly know us. Work can easily feel like a grind or a necessary evil rather than something we would choose to do. If we had a choice.

Full-time workers spend more waking hours each week working than any other activity.

The good news: In this season of life––no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in––we can see redemption for our daily time and effort. And we can experience peace and purpose in the here and now. How? By seeking God and His perspective of our work.

God is a worker. A creator. A provider. A sustainer of life. And since the beginning of time, God has continued working as a Master Strategist. Sometimes we see the way He encounters us and orchestrates His unmistakable plan. Sometimes He works behind the scenes. But God never stops working for the benefit of His beloved creation. And the expansion of His Kingdom on earth continues workplace by workplace.

When we place our trust in God, part of our faith journey includes seeking Him and trusting Him in our work.

While God may not reveal all the details of why He has placed us in this workplace for this season, we can rest assured that He has prepared specific good works for us (Eph 2:10). So let’s consider four areas of purpose in our current work. Use these as prayer points to talk to Jesus about your specific work and workplace.

  1. The work itself. Excellent work is excellent work no matter what kind of work it is. By working with excellence: you glorify God (Col 3:17, 23) and you represent Him as a critical workplace ambassador (2 Cor 5:17–21). Additionally, working with integrity (thereby becoming a trusted worker in your role) establishes you as an integral part of God’s kingdom expansion. Don’t diminish your potential impact by thinking your work isn’t important or your workplace isn’t on God’s radar. God invites you today to join in His Kingdom work through your work. Bring the power of prayer into your work by: praying before meetings, doing a prayer walk through the halls, and praying for patience as you encounter difficult or mundane tasks.
  • The people at your work. As you work with excellence and integrity, you earn the respect and trust of coworkers. This lays the foundation for you to serve as Christ’s workplace ambassador. God has strategically placed you in your workplace for such a time as this. You interact with people on a regular basis that pastors, church staff, and paid missionaries will never reach. You have the opportunity to show genuine care by getting to know coworkers and by demonstrating acceptance, gratitude, grace, and love. Bring the power of prayer into the lives of others by: praying for their roles at work, praying for their personal relationships and challenges, and praying for your interactions with them. And if you learn that a coworker is struggling, ask if you can pray for them, pray diligently, and follow up with them in a few days.
  • A crucible for transformation. We don’t like to think that certain seasons filled with difficulty may actually constitute God’s plan for us. But for many workers, God orchestrates foundation-setting challenges for our stretching, growth, and spiritual transformation. As you endure periods of strain in your work, press into God through His Word and through prayer. Spend some time sitting with Jesus and talking through these three questions:
    • God, what is good in this?
    • God, is there something You want me to learn?
    • God, is there something different You want me to do?
  • The next position. Whether we feel underutilized, underappreciated, burned out, or just ready to move into our next gig, it’s hard to wait for something new to open up. We can actively wait by proactively pursuing new opportunities, but this can lead to discouragement if a new role doesn’t open right away. What I’ve experienced firsthand––and what many friends have experienced too––is that our timing doesn’t always correspond to God’s timing. As you pray for God to open new doors, also pray for His perspective on your job change and pray through these potential delays:
    • Your next position may not exist yet.
    • Your next role may currently be occupied by someone else and God hasn’t prompted the opening of the position.
    • God may want to do more in and through you in your current role before shepherding you to the next position.

Friends, God invites us to join Him as He actively works in every single workplace. Pray for eyes to see, and wisdom to discern, the divine appointments of each day. Your presence and actions at work can directly add to the impact and expansion of God’s Kingdom on earth––in the work itself, in the lives of those you connect with, and in the culture of your workplace. Christ has equipped you with talents and experience, and He has strategically placed you in this season. May you feel His presence, peace, and pleasure as you offer your work and your workplace to Him.

Let’s humbly offer thanksgiving for the invitation to His mission. And rather than asking, “God, why do you have me in this place?” let’s pray, “Lord, show me how I can join you in this place.”


But… God

Mental health has taken center stage, particularly as concerns continue to grow for strained workers and overwhelmed students. Some areas of day-to-day life appear to have recovered from two years of extreme stress, change, loss, and uncertainty. However, behind the scenes, many people still struggle to persevere as they seek strength, encouragement, and renewed purpose in a “not normal” new normal. 

Whether you feel close to God or you’re distantly wrestling with faith questions or you’re somewhere in between, stress makes us feel like we’re clinging to a thin thread of hope.

Recently God has shown me that our thoughts and prayers––our mental dialogue and our conversations with Jesus––can actually drain us of positive outlook and both mental and physical strength. The statements we use in everyday life reveal what we give power to, including statements reflecting a need we don’t see God filling.

In rock climbing, climbers use gear like ropes, harnesses, and carabiners to assist their ascent. But their success and safety depend primarily on the anchors and fixed bolts secured in the rock––which they then hook into as they climb. This portrays our need for secure anchors as we climb daily through real life. Our mental dialogue and prayers must interlock with immovable anchors.

Your words may be different, but here’s an example. As we talk to God about our challenges, we might say something like:

God, I trust you, but…

  • God, I trust you, but… today was really hard.
  • God, I trust you, but… they did this.
  • God, I trust you, but… my car keeps breaking down.
  • God, I trust you, but… I don’t trust myself.
  • God, I trust you, but… I don’t see a way forward.

In each of these statements, we give power to––and anchor our thoughts in––something other than God. These statements about ourselves, others, and circumstances identify what we’re hooking into, focusing on, and elevating above God and his power.

  • “but… today was really hard” gives power to our lack of control or overwhelming sense of burden.
  • “but… they did this” gives power to others and their thoughts and actions.
  • “but… my car keeps breaking down” gives power to our circumstances.
  • “but… I don’t trust myself” gives power to our doubts, perceived inadequacies, and even excuses.
  • “but I don’t see a way forward” gives power to our fears, anxieties, and human limitations.

How can we adjust our mental dialogue and prayers so that we disempower our insecurities, circumstances, and interactions with others? How can we place God’s power above all else in our thoughts?

In public speaking and creative writing, best practices teach us to end sentences and paragraphs with what we want to emphasize or “land”. These final words and thoughts then become our “power statements”. The same is true in the words we use with ourselves and with God. By reframing the order of our thoughts and then concluding with our trust in the Name above all names, we affirm God’s sovereignty, goodness, and control. And we emphasize reliable trust in Him. God is the immovable Rock and His Word serves as our rock anchors.

Using the scenarios above and switching the order of our thoughts would sound like this:

  • Today was really hard, but… God, I trust you. (John 16:33)
  • They did this, but… God, I trust you. (Hebrews 12:1–3; Romans 12:21)
  • My car keeps breaking down, but… God, I trust you. (Luke 12:27–31)
  • I don’t trust myself, but… God, I trust you. (Romans 7:15–25; Romans 12:1–2)
  • I don’t see a way forward, but… God, I trust you. (Psalm 23)

Friends, using words secured in the foundation of God’s truth changes our perspective. We’re not trying to trivialize our challenges or condemn our current thought patterns. Instead, we focus on giving our power statements to God as we hook our lives into good and immovable daily anchors.

Here are truth anchors to hook into today: Jesus loves you. He stands with you and shepherds you step by step. He’s calling to you now.

Respond with a short prayer, “Jesus, I love you. Holy Spirit, I need you. Heavenly Father, I trust you. Thank you for your grace, strength, and faithfulness. Please lead me forward today. Amen.”

Set Aside Your Mourning Clothes

On the Friday Jesus died, two women named Mary watched as a faithful man place Jesus’ dead body in a new tomb (Matt 27:57–61). Both Marys loved Jesus and had remained near him throughout the excruciating crucifixion––even when other disciples scattered. Both women mourned Jesus’ death, now just hours ago. Both women wanted to honor Jesus by anointing his body with spices for burial (Mark 16:1).

But observance of the Sabbath required the women to wait until Sunday.

Thirty-six long hours. Of waiting. Wailing. Bemoaning unspeakable grief. Their teacher and Lord slain. Their friend gone forever (or so they thought). Their hope slashed as confusion darkened their hearts and minds. Have you ever experienced the overwhelming weight of uncertain waiting and heart-wrenching grief? If so, think about how you felt as you tried to comprehend what happened.

Imaginative Prayer #1: Imagine yourself with the two Marys on Friday night and Saturday.

  • Sabbath represented a time of delight in God and remembrance of his faithfulness. Yet this Sabbath plunged them into a time of deep mourning. Jesus, the Son of God, had just been crucified.
  • If you were there with the women, not yet knowing of the resurrection, how would you have felt? How could you have sat with them in their grief and comforted them?
  • Psalm 94:17–19: “Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
  • How does this passage speak to us in times of heartache and anguish?
  • If you have experienced a season of anxiety or loss, pray these words from Psalm 94 to God and ask him to comfort you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask him to revive hope and a spirit of joy within you, even in dark circumstances.
  • Pray the words of this psalm and ask God to bring comfort to the people you know who need encouragement.

On Sunday morning just after sunrise, likely dressed in “mourning” clothes, the two Marys headed toward the tomb. They knew that touching Jesus’ dead body would make them “unclean” according to religious law. They did not care.

As they approached the cave, they could see the large stone sitting beside the entrance. Who had moved it? The Roman guards were M-I-A. The women cautiously entered the burial tomb… but… wait… where was the body? A man in bright white clothes told them, “Jesus has risen! He’s not here! Go, tell the disciples!” (Mark 16:1–7).

Imaginative Prayer #2: Imagine yourself with the two Marys on Sunday and Monday.

  • If you were there with the women on Sunday, not fully understanding what Jesus’ resurrection meant, how would you have felt? What would your conversation entail as you and the Marys left the empty tomb in your mourning clothes and went to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive?
  • Imagine now it’s Monday. Jewish tradition included a 7-day “shiva” or mourning period after a person’s death when family and close friends gathered at the house and remained in mourning clothes. Culture accepted the hiring of “professional mourners” paid to cry and wail as a depiction of the deep grief felt by loved ones. However, imagine you’re preparing to meet the two Marys and other disciples to head to Galilee to see Jesus again. Could it be true? Is he alive? You hesitate at the door, wondering if you should still be wearing your mourning clothes.
  • Then Jesus appears in your room. He smiles his big, warm smile as he looks into your eyes. And he assures you, “Set aside your mourning clothes. Death is defeated and I will raise you to eternal life. It’s time to rejoice!”
  • Philippians 4:4–7: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • Jesus, the Son of God––the Source and Sustainer of life––has indeed overcome death once and for all! Breathe his eternal breath––in and out. Slowly: IN 2, 3, 4… HOLD 2, 3, 4… OUT 2, 3, 4.  Once more: IN 2, 3, 4… HOLD 2, 3, 4… OUT 2, 3, 4.  Now pray the words of Philippians 4 above and ask God to help you soak in his peace.  

Friends, the last two years have been a time of prolonged loss, anxiety, and uncertainty for many of us. And whether or not we remember when we put on our mourning clothes, many of us struggle with when we should take them off. Wisdom affirms that grief entails a process which looks different for each person and each trial. As believers, part of the healing process includes setting aside our mourning clothes as we hold fast to our Savior and courageously look forward to the season ahead.

Let’s close today’s exercise by sitting with Jesus. Pray through these words he shared with his disciples on the night he was betrayed: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

We will have trouble, but Christ has defeated death and overcome the world! Amen!

Finish Strong Day-By-Day

Who cares how we started? Can we turn the spotlight off our past hurts and failures? Can we extend a hand to help lift each other up?

I don’t normally start a blog this way, but today I’m in a fighting mood. Why? Because many of us are weary, worn out, beaten down, and ready to give up. And I’m ready to fight for us all.

I’ve been there.

I know the struggles. I know the dark places. I know the desperation. I know what it feels like to be lost and alone. Even in a sea of people.

Many of us wrestle with not feeling good enough. We’ve heard it. We’ve believed it. Now we’re living it. We just can’t seem to get it right. Relationships. Family. Work. Diets. Money. God.

Some days we can hardly keep going. Maybe we fell again into our pit of desire. Maybe we can’t pay our bills. Maybe someone we love left and we’re carrying the shame and guilt. Maybe we’re afraid of what others think about us––or maybe we’re afraid what they’ll think when they hear about our past.

This messy life isn’t what we signed up for. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

But precious friend, God confirms that it doesn’t matter where you’ve been. The start of your journey doesn’t define you, and it will forever remain behind you. Our “finish” has yet to be written. Finishing strong begins with one good, God-centric next step.

Start here: What do you want your “finish” to look like?

For some of us, life today feels like a marathon. We got a slow start. We may have an injury from the past that keeps flaring up. We undoubtedly get tired and feel like we can’t go another foot, much less another mile. But as we keep pressing on step after step, we get into a rhythm. Our pace quickens when we realize that physically we can go farther. But then the battle brews in our heart and mind. Will we give in and turn around? Will we give up and stop? Or will we persevere and cross the finish line with arms held high? When we run with Jesus, we don’t run aimlessly. He has a new path marked out for us.

“Let’s throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. And let’s run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1–2).

For others, life today feels like a 10-round fight in a boxing ring. We made costly mistakes early on. We may have moved left when we should have swung right. Certainly we’ll take some jabs. We’ll get knocked down a time or two. But we’ll also get back up. We’re not alone because we’re with Jesus. And when the bell rings on those early rounds, we’re smarter. We’re wiser. We’re better prepared for what’s next. As Christ-followers, we continue a long legacy of fighters who didn’t give up. They fought the good fight and won. And so will we.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). 

Whether life feels like a marathon, a boxing match, or something else:

  • Each day we find nourishment for our souls as we turn to God’s Word. Soak in His life-giving truth.
  • Each day we can draw strengthen, encouragement, and support from trusted sisters and brothers in Christ. Find a community of running and sparring partners.
  • Each day Christ fills us to overflowing with His peace. His power. His Holy Spirit. Let’s get on our knees and be honest with God about our weaknesses (1 Corinthians 12:9). And He will shepherd us forward.

When we trust God to train us and sustain us, He will transform us from the inside out. We will never be the same again. And we will rise to victory.

How do you want to finish?

Before the inspirational rally of “Boston Strong” and “Vegas Strong”, people united under the moniker “Finish Strong.” Let’s finish strong together. It doesn’t matter where or how any of us started. Finish in step with Jesus. Finish together with sisters and brothers by your side. Finish and say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

May I pray for you? Father God, some days we can’t think about finishing strong. Or finishing at all. We’re sinking in our circumstances. We’re strained by our past. And we don’t see how we can turn things around. But Lord, You can. Help us persevere. Continue to strengthen and transform us as we turn to You. And please forgive us when we doubt You. For if we’ll fight the good fight to the end––if we’ll finish the race and run with You––our faith will be a strong tower that cannot be shaken. Thank You for Your faithfulness to us. Amen.

Our Greatest Work

As we continue to emerge from a long season of uncertainty and isolation, we eagerly look ahead and begin envisioning new goals and even new dreams. How do we find re-energizing purpose in our everyday life, regardless of circumstances?  

Matthew 14 shares the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000+. This is the only miracle besides Christ’s resurrection recorded in all four Gospels (Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:30–44, Luke 9:10–17, and John 6:1–15), so it represents a pivotal event in the lives of Jesus and His disciples. The crowd is numbered at 5,000 men PLUS women and children, leading some scholars to estimate that the total crowd could have numbered 20,000 people or more.  

Imagine yourself in the story. Who do you identify with when you read the accounts of this event?  

If you were there that day, would you be in the crowd running to meet Jesus? Would you be one of the disciples trying follow Him to a solitary place? Would you be the young boy with five loaves and two fish (John 6:9)? While we often focus on the actions of Jesus or the crowd, God gives us insight through the disciples themselves.  

Let’s explore the context of this miracle.  

Mark and Luke tell us that sometime before this day, Jesus had sent out the 12 disciples two-by-two on a short-term mission trip. Jesus sent them with no money, no food, and no supplies to surrounding towns with His authority to preach repentance, drive out evil spirits, and heal the sick.  

While the disciples were gone, Jesus learned that John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. As Jesus mourned, the disciples returned and excitedly reported all that they had done and taught. Jesus then shepherded the small group to a solitary place where they could spend quality time together.  

But God had a divine appointment for Jesus and the disciples on the other side of the sea.  

Crowds amassed and Jesus’s compassion poured out through a long day of healing and teaching. The context leaves us to wonder, what were the disciples doing? Were they sitting at Jesus’ feet learning and getting equipped for future ministry? Were they focused on crowd control? Were they stealing away to nap after the “mountaintop high” of their amazing yet exhausting short-term mission trip?   

None of the accounts tell us for sure, but as the day neared an end the disciples encouraged Jesus to send the crowd away so the people could find something to eat.  

And Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” 

The disciples had nothing to give. Fresh off their breadless, moneyless, supply-less mission trip, they could not provide for themselves, much less for this enormous crowd. What could they offer? All they could do was bring one young boy’s five small loaves of bread and two small fish to Jesus.  

Jesus worshipped God the Father giving thanks for the provision and the miracle about to unfold. Then He took the five loaves and broke them in half. Creating 12 small offerings (ten bread and two fish), He gave one to each disciple to pass out. The disciples took their one piece and went into the crowd, working as the hands and feet of Christ among the people.  

And after all 20,000 had eaten and were completely satisfied, 12 basketfuls of leftovers remained: One basketful for each disciple to carry in awe as they celebrated the miracle, they had just participated in.  

This long day concluded with an act of undeniable proof of Christ’s sovereignty and His desire for the disciples to carry out His mission. Their mundane act of service transformed into great work for the glory of God.  

How is God inviting you to join His mission? 

As Christ’s disciples today, we too are called, equipped, and invited to join His work in the world in our everyday workplace mission fields: 

  • Called to walk with Jesus day-by-day and be transformed in His likeness by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 
  • Equipped with “loaves and fish” –– our gifts, talents, experiences, resources, positions, and circles of influence that we receive and then offer back to Him through our work and service.  
  • Sent with Christ’s authority to join the good works He has prepared specifically for each one of us to do (Ephesians 2:10). 

Friends, all of us are created in the image of God who works. And all of us work, regardless of the type of work we do and whether or not we’re paid for our work. Jesus invites all believers to live as His disciples and to work as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:17–20) –– right where He has strategically placed each one of us in this season.  

As you look forward into this new year, consider this: What provision of “loaves and fish” has God entrusted to you?  

Make a list of gifts, talents, experience, resources, and positions you have. Prayerfully ask Jesus how you can work as His hands and feet in your everyday circles, distributing your “loaves and fish” for His glory. This is our greatest work! Let’s join with Jesus and praise Him each step of the way. Let’s joyfully carry the overflowing basketfuls of blessings which display His continued love, care, and compassion for the lost and hurting people in our world.  

No Room in the Inn

Year after year as we enter the Christmas season, we recount the story of Jesus’ birth. We celebrate the wonders of God’s grace and power on full display. Recently however, I realized that many of us overlook a key aspect of the story. Here’s the Cliff Note version:

  • The angel Gabriel visits the virgin Mary and reveals that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26–37). Mary is to name her son Jesus. This fulfills the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means God with us. The angel confirms, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
  • Joseph, being a righteous man, plans to end his engagement to Mary when he finds out she is pregnant. But an angel tells Joseph not to divorce Mary because the child she carries is conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18–23).
  • As Mary nears the time to give birth, God prompts Caesar Augustus to take a census of his kingdom (Luke 2:1–5). This requires Joseph and his betrothed wife, Mary, to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Jesus will be born in Bethlehem, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2.
  • After a long trip with Joseph, Mary goes into labor. “She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6–7). A healthy baby boy’s earthly story begins.
  • God sends an angel to appear to shepherds in nearby fields (Luke 2:8–20). God’s glory shines all around them and a choir of angels sings praises to God for His promise to those who will believe in His son. The shepherds then hurry to Bethlehem to see the Savior of the world.

The angel affirmed to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God!” Yet Mary gave birth to God incarnate in a barn because there was no room for them in the inn.

If God has the power to send angels to appear and speak with people––and if God has the power to prompt pagan rulers to fulfill His will by requiring a census at the exact time when Jesus will be born––wouldn’t God have the power to open up a room at the local Bethlehem motel? Yes. If He wanted to. So why didn’t He?

God chose not to make room for Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the inn.

Could it be that God wanted others to see, experience, and go tell about the birth of Jesus? I can imagine that as a new mother, Mary may have preferred privacy and protection in a hotel room rather than placing her precious baby in a feeding trough. And yet, God’s grand plan made Jesus available to all people from His very first hours of life.

And “Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Clearly God intricately orchestrated all of the details of Christ’s magnificent birth and the fulfillment of prophecy. However, until this year, I haven’t thought about God’s plan of “no vacancy” in Bethlehem before Joseph and Mary arrived. This new revelation has many lessons for us today. Here are two that God is teaching me:

  • Hard blessings: As we join with Jesus, obstacles and hard circumstances turn into hard blessings. We may feel like there’s no room for us in the inn, but God asks us to remain joyful, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thes 5:16–18). Turning our focus to Jesus and trusting Him IN all circumstances allow His peace and glory to draw others in. Through our hard places others can experience God’s grace and power. Our hard places then become hard blessings. Our circumstances don’t get easier, but we receive blessing as we see others meet Jesus and encounter His love and faithfulness. What are some obstacles or hard circumstances you’re experiencing right now? How might God be able to turn them into hard blessings? How might He be inviting you to join Him in these hard blessings?
  • Treasure God’s workings: Like Mary, we may not always understand the big picture of God’s will. However, we grow in our relationship with God as we treasure our interactions with Him and watch Him working in the lives of others. And we grow in our relationship with Jesus as we treasure Him as the Greatest Gift. What does it mean to treasure something in your heart? What might it look like to treasure the Christmas story and Jesus’ birth? How is God working in your life right now, and how could you treasure this?

Friends, if Christmas doesn’t feel merry and bright this year, you’re not alone. Many of us continue to struggle through hard places. I invite you to join with me in carving out some special time with Jesus this Christmas. Together let’s ponder His story and the experiences of Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and even the angels. May we gain new insight, appreciation, and encouragement from knowing that even when there’s no room for us in the inn, there’s room in God’s story. God invites us to play an integral role in His story as He expands His Kingdom on earth. To God be the glory this Holy Christmas season!

Thankfulness As Our Purpose

As the calendar winds down on another unprecedented year, we gladly enter this joyful season of giving and thanksgiving. Renewed hope begins to blossom. We open our hearts to new possibilities. And for many of us, we feel a gentle nudge toward understanding God’s call to purposeful daily life.

Have you ever asked God about His will for your life?

I have. I’ve often prayed, “God, tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” Although our circumstances vary, in Scripture God thankfully reveals His will for us as Christ-followers. And what He wants us “to do” starts with how we interact with Him.

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has led me to sit with Him and explore 1 Thessalonians. Paul wrote this letter to a beloved church he established, and he saturates his message with thanksgiving, hope, and encouragement for believers persevering in trials. As I enter a time of transition and uncertainty in my life, Paul’s admonition brings comfort and new insight. This text includes one of my favorite Bible passages which has taken on new meaning as the Spirit highlights and unfolds His truth about thankfulness. As Christians, God desires that we live out thankfulness as a way of life. God wants us to understand and embrace thankfulness as an integral component of our daily purpose. Here’s what Scripture says about God’s will for us:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). 

This is God’s will for you. Paul’s three directives weave together and establish a blueprint as he instructs us to do these things within the context of “all circumstances.” This provides a pattern for purposeful daily living:

  • Express joy in all circumstances
  • Continually and honestly talk with God in all circumstances
  • Offer thanksgiving to God as worship in all circumstances

Understanding thankfulness as our purpose in all circumstances has two aspects––our part and God’s part. No matter what circumstances we face, no matter what trials we’re enduring right now, if we’re standing with Christ we’re right where God wants us to be. And we can flourish in all circumstances as we press into Jesus, allow God to do His part, and join with Him through our part. Let’s unpack this blueprint for purposeful daily living.

First: Be joyful. When we dig deeper into what it means to “be joyful,” we learn that joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). We cannot fabricate joy or create a joyful spirit. Joy grows like fruit on a vine. When the vine remains connected to the main branch, the branch provides life-giving water and nutrients to the vine so fruit can develop, grow, and ripen. In life, Jesus is the branch and we are the vine. God’s part is to grow the fruit of joy in our life by the power of His Spirit. Our part is to remain connected to Jesus through time in His Word and prayer, and to allow the Spirit to cultivate joy in our heart and mind. The fruit of joy nourishes your soul and provides the gift of hope to you and to others. Ask God to grow the fruit of joy in your life. Open your heart and mind to true joy and allow Jesus to live in and through you by the power of His Spirit. This is God’s will for you.

Second: Pray continually. Prayer aligns us with Jesus as we openly communicate with the King of kings, Lord of Lords––the sovereign God of the universe. God’s love and grace empower us through loving relationship as we intimately communicate with Him. We share our hopes, fears, disappointments, and struggles. We receive wisdom, instruction, comfort, and encouragement. God’s desire for our daily life includes meaningful dialogue where we speak and listen––in all circumstances. God’s part includes responding and lovingly welcoming us every time we approach His throne of grace. Our part is to go to Him regularly and repeatedly. You can connect with God through the practice of mindfulness throughout the day. Or you can set an hourly reminder to turn to Him in prayer. Or you can create a rhythm of prayer at a certain time to start and end the day, with a mid-day check-in. Demonstrate your love and trust for God through prayer. This is God’s will for you.

Third: Give thanks in all circumstances. Paul instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. We live in a fallen world, and all of us at some time or another will experience trials, disappointments, pain, opposition, physical illness, and death of loved ones. God does not ask us to be thankful for our circumstances. Rather, He asks us to make an offering of thanksgiving in worship to Him. In difficult times, our offering may feel like true sacrifice. Thankfully we a Savior who truly understands suffering. Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, so that we can enter into eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father. God’s part is to receive our offering of thanksgiving, and to bring comfort as He pours out His presence, love, goodness, and assurance of His faithfulness. Our part is to offer––whether joyfully or sacrificially––our thankfulness for His faithful love, grace, forgiveness, and provision. Praise God in worship, give thanks regardless of circumstances, and see how God’s grace and hope minister to you. This is God’s will for you.

Friends, God desires to bless us with intimate fellowship with Jesus, daily sustenance cultivated by the Holy Spirit, and the power of His presence experienced through worship in the midst of every circumstance. Create a healthy spiritual rhythm and commit to living it out daily in all circumstances. Focus on: intentional openness to the Spirit’s joy; prayer as a non-negotiable priority; and sacrificial thankfulness as an act of worship. As we invite God into all our circumstances and deepen our relationship with Him, we begin to experience more and more what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). And thankfulness unlocks the door to deeper understanding of our daily purpose.

God, what do you want us to do? “Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances. This is My will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Happy daily thanksgiving!

Lies in Dark Chocolate

Research affirms that our happiness increases when we feel seen, heard, and loved. As women, we have an innate desire to belong. Yet most of us continue to experience a prolonged season of isolation as Covid drags on. Normal interactions defy normalcy. Work, school, casual gatherings with friends, church––changed, changed, changed, changed. Possibly forever. Many of us now experience much of life in front of a screen or behind a mask. And even when we can mingle freely, it’s terribly uncomfortable to be the new person entering a group for the first time.

Finding community and cultivating new friendships with people who “get” you and welcome you without judgement––can feel near impossible.

A few years ago I was in a very dark season of life, and I knew I desperately needed community with sisters in Christ. My desperation prompted me to stretch WAY outside my comfort zone. So I signed up and attended a women’s conference by myself. Yep––CRAZY! Going to a community-packed conference without anyone by your side amps up the anxiety meter. During one of the breaks, I went to the lobby to peruse the book tables, and I spotted a welcome friend––a big bowl full of beautifully wrapped dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is my love language, so I gladly took a piece and began to unwrap it as I walked away.

But instead of a soothing sense of joy, the message printed on the inside of the wrapper stopped me in my tracks. It read: “Be your own best friend.”

At a conference designed to develop new friendships, my candy wrapper told me NOT to let anyone get too close. Don’t reveal my real issues, it warned. Keep my secrets, shame, fears, regrets, and guilt HIDDEN. Don’t rely on or impose on someone else.

Be your own best friend. Go it alone. Stay in seclusion. Put your “life mask” on securely every single day, whether or not you wear a safety mask. You can’t trust anyone but yourself. You can do just fine without sharing your messy places with others. My response: LIES! God’s response: LIES!

LIES! All lies! The world has been lying to us. We’ve been lying to ourselves. We’re not fine on our own. We can’t keep going through life stuffing our real life issues into the dark chambers of our heart. We’ll either suffocate or explode. Don’t believe the lies!

God created us to live and work in community as sisters in Christ. We cannot flourish on our own. We just can’t. We need one another. To encourage. To pray. To discern. To mourn. To rejoice. To share life. To walk the journey together. As the writer of Ecclesiastes proclaims: Two are better than one, but three are stronger than two (Eccles 4:9–12). There are women out there who want and need our open and honest friendship just as much as we want and need theirs.

Be the friend you want to have. Don’t be your own best friend––be that kind of friend to someone else. Others need us, and we need them. Yes, cultivating community and developing a sense of sisterhood takes time. Growing new friendships can be hard, especially when we feel like the only “new person” of the group. But we have to take the next step. In Christ’s strength, we can courageously move forward and plant the first seed. We stop giving license to the lies by getting out of isolation and into sisterhood community. Here are a few suggestions for next steps:

  • Pray. Prayer opens conversation with God. Prayer unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives and our situations. Prayer turns our thoughts to Jesus and allows Him to begin speaking as we wait and listen. Be open and honest with God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your next steps. Pray for wisdom to see divine interactions in the day-to-day interactions you have with others. Pray for Jesus to raise up one new friend.
  • Commit. Commit to seeking a small group of like-minded women who want to live out their faith in the whole of life. Begin looking for opportunities to connect. Consider joining a group of working women who also seek Jesus and want to interlock shields of faith together.
  • Invite. Invite a co-worker, neighbor, or casual acquaintance to coffee and conversation. Get to know them, and allow them to get to know you. Consider inviting one or two women to join you in a short Bible study like the 5-day Working BOLDLY Guide: How Christian Women Can Live and Work Boldly as Ambassadors of Christ found on YouVersion or Or take the courageous step of attending a women’s Bible study at a local church, even if you don’t know someone else to invite.

Don’t let the lies of this world and the lies in dark chocolate keep you from seeking sisterhood. Even if you’ve been hurt in the past. Even if you don’t know yet where you belong. Trust Jesus. Try again by His prompting. Take a next step.

Seeing and being seen. Hearing and being heard. Knowing and being known. Loving and being loved. This is sisterhood. Regardless of our messy details. Regardless of theirs. And by definition, sisterhood involves others. We cannot be our own best sister. Be the sister you want to have.

I’m praying for you today, sister.

The Secret to Beautiful Feet

They say “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” but does that go for feet as well? No doubt, some feet exude cuteness and kissability––like plump little baby feet. Some feet look smooth and shapely as they strikingly sport sandals and open-toed shoes. And some feet favor fluffy socks, sturdy shoes, or a comfy pair of slippers year-round.

Feet never had it so good. These days, we have access to more foot products than ever before. We bask in mint-infused lotions, salt-scrub pedicures, and aromatherapy massages. We don individualized shoes for walking, running, hiking, tennis, basketball, and every other activity imaginable. We add gel insoles to comfort. Moleskins to protect. And exfoliating pads to keep feet soft and touchable.

But two thousand years ago feet took a beating.

As Jesus’s disciples carried on his mission from city to city, most people had one mode of transportation: their feet. No cars. No scooters. No bikes. And unless they were wealthy, not even a horse or stubborn mule. People walked. Everywhere. Men. Women. Children.

Town to town. Mile after long, hot, dusty mile. And without telephones or the internet, messengers had to run from place to place spreading news of current events. All that foot traffic created calloused, dirty feet covered in sores. Hardly what we would consider beautiful. But their feet weren’t judged on the way they looked.

Feet were judged on the message they carried. So what was the secret to beautiful feet? Beautiful feet brought good news.

Today, beautiful feet still bring good news. People in today’s uncertain times are seeking hope and purpose and healing. Jesus sends each one of us on a specific mission to live and work with beautiful feet. The apostle Paul put it this way:

“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:13–15 NLT)

Friends, the secret to beautiful feet is a willingness to boldly go and share the Gospel through word and deed.

Beautiful feet carry Christ’s message of peace, love, and blessing. Beautiful feet run to proclaim hope to people in their community and around the world. Beautiful feet walk the journey of life with other sojourners on the way.

So the overarching question for us to pray through today: Do we have beautiful feet?

Do we bring good news to those we encounter? Do we carry a message of love and peace? Do we tell others of the blessing and hope that awaits? Do we run and proclaim that salvation is here? Do we joyfully spread the excitement of Jesus Christ, the risen King?

Maybe you feel a bit calloused. Maybe you fear speaking out because you’re unsure of what to say. Maybe you believe you did your time running with the message and now it’s someone else’s turn to hit the pavement. But how will your family, friends, and co-workers call on Jesus if they never believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they never hear the message? And how can they hear the message if no one shares it with them?

Who has the beautiful feet sent by Jesus? You.

You have beautiful feet. Show the world. The way you carry the message and live out your faith each day is far more important than choosing the “right” words to say. It’s time for all of us to BOLDLY step out in courage. By the way, I love your feet.

For more information on the BOLDLY Faith + Work for Women Conference, check out:

Women & Work: A Critical Crossroads

In the United States, 45 million working women identify as Christian, yet less than one-third actively connect in faith community.[1] Working women––and particularly Christian working women––stand at a critical crossroads with many lacking the support of like-minded women as they navigate challenges of changing work environments. All of us have experienced change and transition in this past season. But whether yours is characterized as a season of loss, new beginnings, or both, one constant remains: you have been created for, and called to, purposeful work in your everyday workplace.

As we move forward together, let’s pave our path with God’s Word. Three theology of work principles can help guide the way.

Principle #1: Working women are created in the image of God who works. In the first line of Scripture, God reveals, “In the beginning, God created…”––or in other words, in the beginning God went to work. The chapter continues with the good, good, good… very good of all that God created. In Genesis 1:26–28, God introduces man and woman as the imago Dei, his image-bearers in the world called to work as his representatives by continuing the work of creating culture and providing for and sustaining God’s creation (Gen 1:28 is often referred to as the “Cultural Mandate”). Before any curses in Genesis 3, God identified work as an intrinsic aspect of flourishing life for humanity made in the image of God. This high value of women and our work stands as a foundation for our daily purpose today.

Principle #2: Christian women are strategically placed by God in our workplaces and our circles of influence. Ephesians 2:10 affirms, “For we are God’s workmanship [masterpiece], created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This verse echoes the good, good, good… very good of Gen 1. It proclaims the purposeful good work prepared for each Christ-follower (who remain the imago Dei) as they incorporate their skills, talents, passions, and experience into their work––in whatever form and context that work takes in this season. Good work may reflect excellence, integrity, and giftedness in the work itself. Good work may reflect a means of provision and flourishing for family and community. And good work may reflect genuine interest in and care for people and relationships at work. All three of these aspects of work––the work itself, the fruit/benefits of the work, and relationships within the workplace––become important factors to lay before the Lord while seeking wisdom and guidance for how to move forward in life and in work.

Principle #3: All Christ-followers, including women, are called to work as Jesus’ ambassadors in our daily workplaces. In 2 Corinthians 5:17–6:1, the apostle Paul addresses anyone in Christ––meaning everyone who believes in, and walks with, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He refers to Christ-followers as God’s co-workers and says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” Christ has prepared an important role in the workplace for Christian working women––that of ambassador. An ambassador honorably represents the king or leader who sends them, and they carry the specific messages of the sovereign sender to the people of the land. Due to their position, they have access to, and can interact with, people that others may not be able to reach. In this way, Christ has strategically placed us as Christian women in our daily workplace mission fields. As his ambassadors, we have the opportunity to collaborate with, come alongside, and build relationships founded on respect with people that church pastors, clergy, and staff will never reach. We have a critical role to play as Truth-tellers and hope-bearers as we bring Christ’s light into our daily interactions. We have a prestigious calling to work as Christ’s ambassador in the work world, regardless of our work context.

Sisters, as we emerge from Covid lockdowns, many of us feel the weight of transition and prolonged isolation, especially in the realm of work. Now more than ever our universal need is connecting in the community of Christian working women to encourage, support, and raise one another up. Christian working women––created masterfully for work of purpose––represent God as we join his work each day. And as we collaborate and walk the journey together as co-workers with Christ and each other, we live out Christ’s Gospel message as ambassadors carrying it to the world.

[1] Barna Group, “State of the Church 2020,” accessed March 17, 2021,; Barna Group, “Behind the Steep Decline in Church Attendance Among Women,” March 4, 2020, accessed March 17, 2021,; Pew Research Center, “In the U.S., Decline in Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace,” October 17, 2019, accessed March 17, 2021,; United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, Current Full-Time and Part-Time Statistics, accessed March 17, 2021,

Our Power Source

Power source issues have overwhelmed many people this year. In February, the mega storm “snowmaggedon” plunged millions of Texans into the dark and cold without power, gas, or water for days, weeks, and even longer. In May, Colonial Pipeline suffered a cyberattack leading to the shutdown of gasoline flow to the east coast, and prompting a regional emergency declaration for 17 states and Washington, D.C.  And just this week, unplanned power outages rocked millions of homes and businesses during record heat in Texas and California. Concerns and hardships caused by faulty power supplies leave us feeling drained and afraid of what’s coming next, and when.

Difficult days of uncertainty and depletion lead to the question: What’s your power source?

Recently as I pondered the concept of our spiritual power source, I began learning the ins and outs of––light bulbs. Yes, basic bulbs that come in a box. We don’t think much about light bulbs unless they burn out or we want to spruce up our space with a new shade or a retro “Edison” vibe. Most of us view bulbs in terms of soft white, clear, or fluorescent with a specific wattage based on a light fixture’s max capacity. So I had never considered the juxtaposition of a bulb in a box fashioned for purpose but sitting with unused potential versus a bulb connected to and illuminated by its power source.

Without a power source, light bulbs exist merely as glass and metal without purpose. However, once connected to their power source, light bulbs brighten rooms and streets and buildings and cities. With the power source, they’re used to create structure and mood and atmosphere. They highlight and turn focus. They protect and guide. They even provide tiny assurances for those afraid of the dark.

Friends, we’re like beautiful light bulbs.

God has fashioned each one of us for purpose with specific gifts, talents, passions, and experience. We’ve been placed in our daily circles of influence with the ability to live as light-bearers illuminated by eternal hope. We embody the potential to brighten dark spaces of the world. But we need to connect daily to our Power Source.

Jesus affirms: You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14–16

You are the light of the world.

  • If you’re shining bright today, bless someone with a smile, word of encouragement, and unexpected act of kindness.
  • If you’re feeling dimly lit today, spend some time reading and praying through Matthew 5:14–16 and ask Jesus to strengthen you, prepare you, and shine through you.
  • If you feel like you’re sitting unconnected in a box today, find a quiet space and read through Matthew 11:28–30. Think about what it means to be connected side-by-side with Jesus in a yoke where he carries the load. Ask Jesus to help you each step of the way today as you connect with him.
  • If you feel broken, know that the Prince of Peace is holding you in his hand ready to heal with wholeness. Read through and 2 Corinthians 1:3–7, Philippians 4:6–7, and John 16:33 today. Ask Jesus to surround you with his unexplainable comfort and peace, and ask him to speak a word of encouragement. Know that you are not alone. Jesus is with you and I’m praying for you.

No matter what stands before you today, believe this truth: You are the light of the world. God created you as his light-bearer in this world. Connect to Christ, our Power Source.

When we’re connected to Jesus, his magnificent power flows through us. His warm light of love shines through us. And even when we struggle through difficult days, we stand together as a beacon which draws others to the hope and safety of our Savior.

You are the light of the world. Stay connected to your Power Source and shine brightly for his glory.

Don’t Be Anxious?

Living our best life––or at least a life characterized by peace, joy, and healthy rhythm––has never been more difficult for many working women. Myself included. Unfortunately, reciting the apostle Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t manifest that fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness… (Gal 5:22-23).

So what happens when our fruit sours on the wilting vine of our pandemic-stricken life?

Does that mean we’re failing? Are we doing something wrong? Are we somehow disgracing God? No, we’re not. Even if we can’t put on a happy face for yet another Zoom call. In times of overwhelming odds and struggle, I often turn to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Two of the first verses I memorized many moons ago when I first met Jesus have remained bedrock verses for my walk of faith:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7).

I know what you may be thinking (because I think it too): Don’t be anxious?  Are you kidding? What we have to recognize is that Paul doesn’t condemn people struggling with anxiety by saying, “Don’t be anxious.” Anxiety is not a sin. It’s a physical involuntary response. Rather, Paul provides encouragement and a way forward by saying, “Don’t give in to anxiety. Instead, take action in the victorious power of Christ.”

Even in the darkest days, encouragement and strength flow from these verses, and a path out of fear and anxiety emerges. We allow Christ to shepherd us through the dark valleys of life as we turn to him in prayer in every hard circumstance. We bring our worries and cares to him. We align our desires with God’s. We ask for wisdom and discernment. We lay down our burdens and willingly open our hands to receive only what Jesus wants us to carry. We let go of our preconceived plans of how things should turn out, and we hold fast to Christ and his unfailing Word.


Yes, worship. Worship in the seasons of sorrow. Worship in the times of loss. Worship in moments of uncertainty and concern. Worship in the frenetic hours of back-to-back-to back overscheduled days. We worship our King––Creator of the universe, sovereign God, Lord of heaven’s armies––who intimately knows us and cherishes us as beloved children. Through worship, the peace of God flows as a supernatural shield around our hearts and minds. We can’t explain it. We can’t understand it. But we CAN experience it. By God’s grace.

How do we experience peace in anxiety-riddled days?

Well, there’s a lot of talk in workplace circles about mindfulness and how to stop the negative chatter in our minds. But mindfulness apart from the power of the Holy Spirit lacks just that––POWER. Conversely, carving out small increments of time––3 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes––to pray through and meditate on Scripture (like Phil 4:6–7) imparts POWER. Prayer and meditation turn our minds from negative stressful situations to the strength of Christ and the peace of abiding in him through ordinary and difficult moments of every day.

There’s no doubt that for many of us, real life has become real hard.

I never struggled with anxiety––until now. This prolonged Covid season of intense loss and extreme stress can bring any of us to our knees. These days, I relate to so many of the women I encounter who carry more responsibility with less time and resources than ever before. But recently, God granted me the gift of a pearl of wisdom and hope. On one of my intense days of struggle, I went back to the book of Philippians. And as I read from the beginning of the letter, I saw that Paul himself––the great apostle––also wrestled with anxiety! Yes Paul. In the same letter to the Philippians with his prescription for how not to be anxious (Phil 4:6–7), Paul reveals his struggle with anxiety (Phil 2:25-30). After sharing about the near death of his dear friend and co-worker, Epaphroditus, Paul tells the Philippian believers that he’s sending their brother back to them “so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety” (v. 28).

Paul wrestled with anxiety.

Paul learned how to navigate the hard places and receive Christ’s peace.

And then Paul shared the instruction of how to do this so that other believers can walk in that peace too.

Pray through Paul’s words slowly. Lift them to God. Fill in your circumstances. Ask God to remove your burdens and guard you with his peace. Choose a few words of this passage and repeat them to yourself as your mindfulness phrase (rather than counting) as you breathe in, and breathe out. 

Breathe in: “Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray and give thanks.”

Breathe out: “And the peace of God will guard my heart and mind.”

Breathe in:  “Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray and give thanks.”

Breathe out: “And the peace of God will guard my heart and mind.”

Breathe in…  Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out… And then close with words or a tune of worship.

Friends, no matter where you find yourself today––no matter what dark valleys or huge obstacles or lonely places or fiery people you encounter––peace, everlasting security, and hope can protect you. Take it from Paul, and countless others like me who find strength in these words. Take heart and flourish in worship as you experience new fruit forming by the power of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…

Cultivating Friendships & Female Allies

Listen to the nightly news, read just-released statistics, talk to a few friends––and you’ll hear over and over again the hard realities of mandated isolation, increased challenges in daily life, and mounting obstacles as working women navigate the lingering effects of this pandemic. Now more than ever we need to forge bonds of sisterhood with the women in our circles.

Since our experiences and daily circumstances differ, no one-size-fits-all remedy will immediately bring forth a new community of supportive, understanding, and encouraging women. However, there are a few DO’s and DON’T’s we can all practice to cultivate authentic friendships and genuine female allies––both at work and in our everyday world at large. Let’s start with the DON’T’s:

Don’t Compare. Comparing ourselves to others destroys happiness and joy. Our world and social feeds are full of poster girls we wish we could be. Women who sparkle and glow. Gals who are smarter, wealthier, more beautiful, more fun. Social magnets who appear to have everything. Girls we know who tout what we desire most. Comparing ourselves to others ignites the fire of envy and jealousy. Comparison kills friendships and allies. Comparison prevents authenticity and hinders our ability to develop relationships without agenda. Comparison opens a trap with sharp teeth of discontent, disparaging gossip, and isolation.

Don’t Compete. Many workplaces breed no-mercy, unhealthy competition. And women moving up the ranks often find themselves thrown into an arena where success requires aggression and no-holds-barred tactics. Without warning, the road between “excellence for the glory of God” and “self-ambition for our own glory” morphs into quicksand and we can start sinking quickly. Friends, regardless of what kind of work we do each day, we’re called to work as if Jesus is our CEO and we report to him day-by-day (Col 2:17, 23). I’m not saying that all competition is bad––as an athlete and someone who sprinted up the corporate ladder decades ago, I believe certain types of competition can be healthy and good. But unhealthy competition breeds anger, bitterness, and a desire to excel at the cost of others. Unhealthy competition is not to the glory of God.

Don’t Condemn. Let’s face it, some people wear us down. Others drag us down. When we’re trying to move fast and pivot quickly, it’s hard to feel like we can’t get ahead because of excess weight we carry for others. Especially at work. It’s easy to begin making assumptions about why people say or do certain things. Storylines creep in and frustration mounts. But rarely do we understand the underlying hurts and backstory of co-workers and even friends. We haven’t walked in their shoes. And their struggles and reactions may be symptomatic of pain and hardship we know nothing about. So when a spirit of condemnation takes root in our heart, it’s time to hit pause and remember Jesus’ words on judging others. With the condemning measure we use to judge others, we too will be condemned and judged (Matt 7:1–5). Conversely, with the forgiveness we share freely with others, we too will be forgiven (Matt 6:12).

These three DON’T’s––Don’t Compare, Don’t Compete, Don’t Condemn––all focus on our thoughts, actions, and reactions to others. Now let’s turn to relationship-building DO’s:

Do Care. At work, we may feel hesitant to get too close to co-workers we don’t know well. Especially if we’re concerned they may actively practice the three DON’T’s. But approaching women with a heart of care and prayer opens doors to deeper conversations. If we drop strategic agendas and instead truly desire to get to know someone––truly KNOW them for who they are, right where they are––our words, tone, and demeanor change. Through prayer (praying for them) and care (simple words or acts of kindness), the love of Christ shines in and through us to the people we work with on a regular basis. Prayer and care will change our heart, and it can often soften theirs, leading to new opportunities for building rapport, friendship, and common goals.

Do Extend Compassion. We don’t know what others have gone through in the past, or what they struggle with now. But the more we can learn about others as we lovingly get to know them, the more we can see what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Understanding often becomes a first step to extending compassion. Compassion isn’t pity. Compassion isn’t feeling sorry for someone. Compassion is rolling up our sleeves and entering with someone into their real life. Think for a moment about difficult times you’ve gone through in the past. Now think about the kind of friend you needed to walk through those hard spaces with you. Whether or not you had a good friend to help you then, you can be that kind of friend now to someone else. Being compassionate towards others means being the kind of friend you’re looking for (2 Cor 1:3–4).

Do Grow Community. God created us to live and flourish in community. Research affirms that our happiness increases when we feel seen, heard, and loved. Ladies, we’re meant to walk the journey of life together with women who’ve seen behind our masks and love us anyway. Promote authentic community by asking thoughtful questions and being willing to share about your life story. Find ways to creatively spend time getting to know new friends and women you work with. Share a meal, grab coffee, or plan a happy hour (in person preferably, but virtual if needed). Go for a walk together and burn off stress as you bond. As you begin your journey together, explore common interests. Tell funny or quirky stories. Deepen connections. And pray about how you might be able to grow a community of two or three women who can gather regularly to encourage and support one another. There’s nothing like knowing someone else is in your corner battling life’s challenges with you.  

As we move forward from this unprecedented season, I think of the words of God to Joshua (Josh 1:9, 10:25) and David to Solomon (1 Chron 22:13, 28:20) as these young men prepared for a new mission, unforeseen circumstances, and undoubted opposition: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.”

Receive these words today as you begin to cultivate friendships and female allies.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.”

Cultivating friendships and female allies takes time, and it requires risk. I know this firsthand. But I have also experienced the incredible rewards. Some of my dearest friends today are women I met decades ago through work. Sisters, be courageous in Christ within all of your circles of influence. We need one another. And God will pave the way as we:

Care, don’t compare.

Extend compassion, not competition.

Grow community, not condemnation.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13).

An Audience of One

Do you ever feel like you’re performing for others? Like the script of your life isn’t what you want to write, but it’s what has been written for you? Or that you’re not really the person you want to be because you’re always trying to please someone else? Or be someone else?

Whether in person, online, or on social media, we spend a lot of time performing for others. We defer to their expectations. We give in to their demands. We try to change for them. And we begin playing a part––a role––in the performance of our life.

If we center our lives on pleasing others, living out each day gets harder and harder. And during shelter-in-place restrictions which cut us off from normal activities, it can feel impossible to create a new life script. Especially if we’re not engaging in life with our whole selves––the way God masterfully created us.

This week, I’m spending time meditating on these questions––and I encourage you to join me: Who am I, really? Who do I want to be? What role do I want to play in my life? Who do I want starring in a lead role with me? Am I someone who has to live in the spotlight, or do I prefer to say behind the curtains stage left? When I am on stage, for whom am I performing? Who is it that should matter most?

As you answer these questions, consider journaling your answers so you can see them on paper and pray through them. Then focus on this last question: Who do you see as your most important audience?

In other words, at the end of your life, when the curtain closes for the final time, who will remain in the seats in front of you?

Most of us perform for a very large audience. Husband or boyfriend. Kids. Parents. Siblings. Best friend. Party friends. Social media “friends”. Old friends we want to impress. Boss. Co-workers. Rivals. Neighbors. People we used to see out on the town. People we sit next to at church (or used to before Covid). People we want to impress. People who looked down on us in the past. People who look down on us now. People we want to influence. People we wish would like us, just the way we are.

Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

Many of the people in our audience don’t know us very well. In fact, some may not know us at all. But as actors in our life performance, we hope they’ll love us in our role. We want them to cheer and clap. We want them to leave inspired and see our worth in the leading role. We may hope for an occasional standing ovation.

But should other people sit in the audience of our life? This pandemic forces all of us to look at the people around us, their expectations of us, and our expectations of ourselves. And it begs us to think about our life today––and what comes next. Maybe finding peace and hope in this new season requires us to start living for an Audience of One: God.

When the curtain closes on our final act, God alone will sit before us. Will we look back and realize that we performed our role on life’s stage while looking at everyone else in the cast but never once directing our focus to Jesus? Or will we gaze into the eyes of our Savior as he joyfully proclaims, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

Whether we acknowledge it now or not, life is lived for an Audience of One. God remains our biggest fan. He wants us to fix our eyes on him and dance like there’s nobody else in the room. It starts with faith. Faith that he exists. Faith that he’s our Director in life, not our critic. Faith that he has lined up the most amazing after-party we could ever imagine, and it will start as soon as the curtain closes!

Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know your Audience. He loves who you really are. And he’s sitting on the edge of his seat watching every scene of your life with the affectionate eyes of a devoted Father. He wants you to play your starring role for him. Will you?

Daring to Hope in 2021

I don’t think anyone misses 2020. For most of us, it became the ultimate year of loss.

Loss of normal life.

Loss of daily work rhythm.

Loss of solitude for some, and loss of community for others.

Loss of connection to a church home.

Loss of health.

Loss of financial security.

Loss of life of beloved family members and friends.

Loss of a clear path forward through escalating uncertainty and discord in our nation.

This overwhelming sense of loss in every aspect of life left many of us with lingering wounds as we struggled to find hope. Myself included.

As the annual chapter page turned to 2021, I wondered how I could muster up hope. I don’t espouse New Year’s resolutions, and wading through unchanging difficult circumstances weighed heavy. But I also recognized the need to walk forward from the losses of 2020.

So I decided to go back to the basics of spiritual renewal: creating and committing to a healthy rhythm of life.

Everyone has different passions and interests, so healthy rhythm looks different for each one of us. The need for healthy rhythm, however, remains universal. Healthy rhythm (also known as a rule of life which sounds so rigid to me) actually promotes freedom and refreshment. Healthy rhythm includes the intentional practice of spiritual disciplines as well as regular engagement in activity promoting physical health.

Healthy rhythm engages our mind, body, and soul.

I encourage everyone to take an hour to pray through: What activities uplift and bring joy and delight to you? What makes you smile and warms your heart? Where do you most often sense the presence of God? What activities help you focus on entering into conversation with Jesus?

As you pray through these questions, start crafting a rhythm for each day, or a rhythm throughout the week. I decided to focus my healthy rhythm on three areas:

  • Meditation on God’s Word
  • Daily exercise
  • Regular activity that brings delight

I’ll share some details of what I’m doing, but please don’t use this as a benchmark for comparison––I only offer this as a sample from which to glean ideas.

Meditation on God’s Word. Before work, I start with a One-Year-Bible daily reading plan, and then I spend 20 minutes in meditation and prayer. My overarching Scripture for the month of January is Isaiah 26:3–4: “You will keep in perfect peace she whose mind is steadfast, because she trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” Each morning, I pray through these verses and meditate on how they apply today.

  • Trust: My God is the maker of heaven and earth, and I stand on the immovable Rock of Christ. He is good, faithful, and full of compassion. He is my strong fortress and my shield, and when I run to him I am safe. He alone is worthy of my trust. Trust is the foundation of my relationship with Christ.
  • Steadfast Mind: My trust in God allows me to turn away from the stresses and challenges of the world so I can focus on him. Part of the mystery of faith is that I have a role to play in my spiritual formation. The Holy Spirit transforms me, but I enter this work with him. The Apostle Paul tells us how we can do this in Philippians 4:6–7: Don’t be anxious. Pause anxiety, frustration, fear, and disappointment. Instead, pray, talk with Jesus, and share your requests. Praise Him regardless of circumstances or outcome. And his peace, which surpasses knowledge, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (See also Romans 12:1–2)
  • Perfect peace: Peace is a gift of God and fruit of the Spirit. As we tend the garden of our minds––as we water and fertilize and nurture with life-giving truth––the Spirit of God makes the fruit of peace grow. This peace sustains us and allows us to flourish, even in dark valleys of life.

Daily exercise. Since I still can’t run due to my back surgery, I spend time each day walking. The times and distances vary, but I’m consistent. My hope is to also start bringing in other types of exercise in the coming months.

Activity that brings delight. I adopted a rescue pup over the Christmas holiday so I’m spending time walking and training her. I’ll admit that we’re experiencing some challenges with this older pup as we help rehabilitate her, and these challenges aren’t always delightful. Thankfully, she’s a love bug and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to give her a safe and loving home.

Friends, there’s no cure for difficult seasons. But instead of struggling with hope, I’m now daring to hope. And after a year like we just experienced, daring to hope is just that––DARING. It takes courage. Our courage grows as we stay grounded on the Rock, keeping our mind steadfast, and allowing the fruit of peace to flourish.

What’s most important is continuing to seek God and his invitation in this season. Day-by-day and moment-by-moment. Don’t let discouragement creep in. It takes 21 days to create a habit, so it will take time for our new rhythms to feel natural and unrushed. The good news: when we prioritize disciplines to promote spiritual and physical health, delight and unexpected new beginnings will grow.

Cheers to 2021! May it reign as our year of HOPE!

The Last Mile of Life

My stepfather passed into glory three weeks ago. He and my mom were married for 30 years. While I’m thankful he no longer suffers, my soul weighs heavy. The last mile of life wrenches the hearts of those left behind. How can we move forward when we struggle to endure the dark waters of mourning and loss? My stepfather trusted Jesus and I know he’s on glory’s side now. But I still mourn, especially for my mom.

Everyone faces life and death crossroads. And everyone’s experiences differ. This year in particular has impacted many of us as we or a loved one walk the last mile of life. Today my emotions remain raw while this season of incredible loss for me and my family wears on. I don’t have facts and figures to try to make sense of it all. Instead, I’d like to share a few thoughts from my heart.

Advocate for someone in need. Several times in the last year, through hospitalization and hospice, my role became that of advocate for my stepfather. When you advocate for someone who is helpless, you’ll never be the same. I will never be the same. My love grew deep as my heart broke for him over and over through each painful episode. In his pain and suffering, I stood with and for him. Friends, if you have the opportunity to advocate for someone in need, don’t shy away.

Show kindness. Last week, we also said goodbye to my 16-year-old boxer pup. Beloved companions epitomize unconditional love and bless us each day. When they pass on it breaks us. A few days ago, a couple of our neighbors––who I only knew in passing as we walked our dogs––came to my house with a sweet card and a bouquet of flowers. Their effort in expressing understanding of grief, and letting us know we aren’t alone, demonstrated the type of one-another love that Jesus extended throughout His ministry. Friends, if you have the opportunity to show kindness in a simple way, take the time to bless someone who is hurting.

Stand in the gap through prayer. We know that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our own, and we may never understand the “why’s” of life this side of heaven. But even when we don’t know what to say or how to help, we can support others––by standing in the gap for them through prayer. Prayer is powerful. Prayer unites our hearts with Jesus and with those in need. And prayer allows the Holy Spirit to prompt us to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. Friends, even if you don’t know what to say to someone in need, let them know you’re praying for them. Go before God the Father on their behalf and ask the Holy Spirit to use words you may lack.

For anyone mourning or struggling to find hope, know that you’re not alone. I’m standing with you in prayer. I encourage you to read and pray through the following three passages which I’ve been clinging to. I prayed these passages over my stepfather day after day until Jesus took him home. In these dark times, Jesus and His Word bring peace, hope, and comfort.

John 14: 1–7

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”

2 Timothy 4:6–8

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day––and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.

Revelation 21:3–5

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is now among people, and He will dwell with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

We may not always have the honor of being by someone’s side as they cross the finish line in their last mile of life. But we can always stand with them and cheer for them in spirit as they press on into glory. May the assurance of everlasting life in Christ bring you, your family, and your beloved friends peace, hope, and comfort today. And if you’re not sure about your eternal future, turn to Jesus today and receive His give of eternal life (John 3:16). You don’t have to say the perfect words; God wants to hear your heart. Humbly pray something like, “Jesus, I’m in need of a Savior. I want You to be Lord of my life. I believe You came and died for all of my sins––past, present and future. So I come before You now, asking Your forgiveness and receiving Your gift of everlasting life. Live in me from this moment on by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Love through me in this world until You return to take me home.” Amen!

Life in the Rearview Mirror

The new normal… Let’s be honest, there’s nothing normal as we head toward the end of 2020 and the upcoming holiday season. “Normally” this would be a time of hope, excitement, and fun gatherings ahead. But instead, we face continuing itchy-mask outings and difficult days characterized by discord and uncertainty. So many of us long for “normal.” We want things to go back to the way they were in February 2020, or October 2019, because no matter how hard things were then, at least we understood our known normal. Living in the unknown of today’s isolation ramps up incredible anxiety and stress, and even a lack of hope.

Unfortunately, looking back wishing for “what used to be” is like driving a car with our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror.

Driving requires attention to the road ahead––with only occasional glances to what’s behind in the mirror. We all know this, but on life’s highway our route unfolds as we go and the unknown nature of what lies ahead poses challenges. Some see the road ahead as the great unknown waiting to be discovered. Others experience it like a pitch-black backroad in the middle of a raging downpour. Whatever our road looks like today, none of us has a device telling us to turn now or exit in a few miles. So here are three practical driving tips to help in these times of prolonged uncertainty.

First, we have to keep our eyes on the road ahead if we want to continue moving forward. You may feel overwhelmed by the view through your world-size windshield. You may cautiously venture out as new opportunities open up. You may feel like 2020’s “Zoom reality” requires you to go fast and furious day in and day out. Though we all experience this Covid time differently as we travel the highways of life, we can’t remain accident-free if we continually focus on the road in the rearview mirror.

Second, it’s important to keep perspective of where we’ve already travelled––in both good times and hard times. Our past history will remain a part of our story. We can learn and grow from our past experiences, but we cannot change them. And sometimes it’s difficult to acknowledge that our past truly is behind us. We have to remind ourselves that we cannot truly move forward if we constantly look back. Keep two hands on the wheel with eyes fixed on the road ahead. And no U-turns.

Third, we need to be mindful of who we see around us. Some people will speed by. Some people we will pass. Some people will weave in and out of our life, and others will stay next to us for many miles. As we navigate our course, switch lanes, and take new roads, we must stay alert. Each decision of a lane change or new direction should align with our desire to continue moving forward.

Why do we focus forward and continue to press on? Because we find hope in what’s ahead. Better put, we find hope in who’s ahead of us: Jesus. Jesus alone provides hope for tomorrow. He promises new life and he ushers in freedom from fear of the unknown.

Jesus is hope for the hopeless.

God confirms: I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Since Jesus remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), we can trust in Him and His promises. He lightens our burdens and offers the gift of hope.

Friends, wherever you are on your journey today, know that you can find hope for tomorrow. If you’re struggling with anguish, sorrow, fear, or anxiety, turn to the Psalms and read the words of other people who struggled through dark times (Psalm 31, 41, 91). These writers chose to end their thoughts on a hopeful note even in their uncertainties. We can too when we place our hope in the one and only everlasting God.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25

“Be strong and courageous, all you who hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24

Please, No More!

The first day of autumn––when the hours of daylight and nighttime are equal in most of the Northern Hemisphere––occurs next week. But for most of us, the fall season has already fallen upon our schedules. Summer vacations (in whatever form they took this year) linger behind us and in social media posts. Kiddos returned to school, whether in person or virtually. We continue to wrestle with daily news of injustice, political unrest, and natural disasters. And now we struggle with getting back into a healthy, life-giving rhythm of life.

But how can we move forward into fall when we continue to grieve the loss of so many aspects of our used-to-be “normal” life?

Like many of you, I thought this fall would usher in the return of normal work hours in offices and schools, eating in restaurants, gathering with friends and Bible study groups, and attending church together within the full community. But COVID-19. It feels like we’ve lost so much this year. And unfortunately, 2020 continues to rebuke our previous hopes and desires for “normal” as day after day we encounter challenges drenched in words we now loathe like unprecedented and pivot.

If I’m being honest, some days I want to cry out to Jesus, “Please, no more! I don’t want to lose anything else!” On hard days like this, I take comfort in these words written by someone who likely felt a lot of what we feel this year:

I am deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.
So I said, “My endurance has expired; I have lost all hope of deliverance from the Lord.”

I remember my affliction and my wandering, which is a bitter poison. I continually think about this, and I am depressed. But this I call to mind; therefore I have hope: The Lord’s great love never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; great is your faithfulness!

“My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, so I will put my hope in him. The Lord is good to those who trust in him, to the one who seeks him. It is good to wait patiently for deliverance from the Lord.

(Lamentations 3:17–26)

No matter our circumstances today, no matter how dire and desperate our tomorrows become, we can always find hope in Jesus. He remains victorious and we share in his victory today (and always) as we dwell with him.

So back to the original question: How can we move forward when we continue to grieve the loss of so many aspects of our used-to-be “normal” life? And how do we share in Christ’s victory and find strength in his presence today? One way is to connect with him in prayer––moment by moment and day by day. We don’t have to create eloquent, longwinded prayers. Short prayers help usher in power and peace. In my April blog, I shared some short prayers to aid in times of fear, doubt, and anxiety:

  • Holy Spirit, I am weak; you are strong; be strong in me.
  • Holy Spirit, I am afraid (full of anxiety, struggling with depression); you are my confidence; be courage in me.
  • Holy Spirit, I can’t understand what’s going on and I’m frozen in place; you are my Shepherd; lead me step-by-step through this dark valley.
  • Holy Spirit, I don’t know what to say to others who are hurting; you are the Author of all life; give me the words and speak through me.

As this year of turmoil and forced isolation continues, I added two more to my list:

  • Jesus, I can’t do this; you can; do it through me.
  • Jesus, I need joy; you are joy; be joy in and through me.

Friends, wherever you find yourself in this season, Jesus invites you to live into the peace and power of his resurrection life. Accept his invitation. Turn from the brokenness of this world and seek the hope and assurance of his everlasting presence. He stands with you in all things. So regardless of yesterday’s trials, you and I can choose to sing today: Great is your faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see!

May we focus on the hope of new mercies today.

A Message for Weary Souls

These days evoke bone-deep exhaustion. As this over-the-top-difficult year wears on and hopes for a summer reprieve or a maskless fall fade, some days I struggle to muster up positivity. I’ve heard I’m not alone. Apparently many of us wrestle with the lack of normalcy, inability to plan a way forward, and uncertainty of how long “this” will last. Even people who affirmed at the beginning of the pandemic that the downtime provided a much-needed time of rest, now confess their longing for the dark tides to recede. But any potential conclusion remains hidden.

After five months in this COVID-19 world, I’m not just physically and mentally weary. My soul is weary.

Two weeks ago I started pressing into my need for soul care. While most of us know how to  proactively care for our physical or mental health (whether we choose to or not), we often don’t understand how to care for our souls. We haven’t been taught the dangers of letting the soil of our hearts go unattended. We ignore the warning signs. And then one day we feel dry and lifeless, with no idea how to reignite our hardened heart.

If any of this resonates with you, take courage! Sit with me and listen to the words a loving father shared with his child:

My child, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:20–27)

Three pearls of soul care wisdom we can gather:

1) Above all else, guard your heart. If we think of “above all else” as a statement of priority or hierarchy of competing influences, what could “above all else” mean in your life today? Before you start work in the morning… Before you give in to a temptation that keeps calling your name… Before you listen to the lies of condemnation from yourself or others insisting you’re not good enough… Above all of these things, proactively build a hedge of protection around your heart. The word for heart here in the original Greek indicates the “internal life” of a person or the whole person. In other words: your soul. And the NET translation says to guard your heart with all vigilance. Guarding our heart takes priority and requires effort. And just a note: guarding our heart doesn’t mean shutting it off to other people, God, or emotions. Guarding our heart means opening ourselves up to God and proactively choosing to soak our souls through choices characterized by the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control).

2) Everything you do flows from your heart. Why is soul care so important? Because letting our guard down impacts every aspect of life. The state of our soul affects us internally through what we think and feel. And the state of our soul impacts us externally through the decisions we make and the actions we take. Spend a moment praying through this statement: Everything I do flows from the core of my being. If your core is saturated with life-giving practices, the outflow of your thoughts, feelings, and actions will reflect a well-watered soul. If your core isn’t watered with life-giving practices, the outflow of your thoughts, feelings, and actions will reflect a dry and hardened soul. What constitutes life-giving practices? These vary by person and by season. Practices could include listening to praise music or an app that has sounds like ocean waves or birds at a lake. A 15-minute break for silence and solitude may bring life to your soul. Reading one psalm a day or praying through verses like Proverbs 3:4–5 or Proverbs 4:23 may offer the living water your soul desires. Taking a nature walk or spending a few hours at an arboretum or the zoo might light a spark in your soul. Be creative, start small, and commit to consistency as you discover what brings life to your soul.

3) What goes in also comes out. We often don’t realize the direct correlation between what we feed our hearts and minds, and the way our hearts and minds react. Recently, my husband and I watched a series about the history of drug trafficking in Colombia. Although informative, the series was filled with harsh realities, including violence and foul language. As the series progressed, I started experiencing repercussions. My dreams became restless. Words I heard in the shows permeated my mental dialogue. And a dark sense of despair regarding corruption and wickedness in the world began to weigh me down. You may not have such visceral reactions, but all of us feed our inner being––our soul––with things we watch, read, do, and listen to. Just like we feed our bodies, so too we feed our hearts and minds. Just like someone who desires good physical health pays attention to what they eat, so too we need to pay attention to what we feed our soul. Consider taking a two-week challenge. Spend the first week taking stock of your soul diet; and in the second week focus on altering your soul diet to emphasize life-giving practices. Keep a journal of your thoughts, actions, and reactions and then pray through notable differences or changes between weeks. When it comes to our souls, being aware of goes in is just as important as recognizing what comes out.

Friends, weary souls warn of our need for life-giving practices. And no matter how long our dry spell, it’s never too late to press into soul care. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.


Sheroes of the Bible

last two months unfolded like an archeological dig. Week after week, I joined a group of women to unlock stories of the past, dust off musty translations, and peer into golden lives of unlikely sheroes. Who are these sheroes? “She heroes” of the Bible. Women easily overlooked, discounted, and even scorned by current-day Bible teachers and readers. Yet current-day sheroes of the faith––my fellow female theologians, pastors, preachers, and ministry leaders––have been digging deep to uncover and dismantle the misconceptions of these remarkable lives. Courageous lives revealing truths so important that God memorialized these women in Scripture until the end of time. Women like:

  • Hagar the runaway foreign slave––the ONLY person in all of Scripture to give God a name. And what did she call Yahweh? El Roi: the God who sees (Genesis 16). God saw her in the dark wilderness of pain, betrayal, and abuse.
  • Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah, who to this day receives insults for her actions (Genesis 38). Yet Judah proclaims, “She is more righteous than I” (v. 26). Clearly we need to go deeper to understand her story, especially since Tamar is one of only five women included in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1), and both King David and his son named their daughters Tamar in her honor.
  • Rahab the prostitute––an unlikely woman in the lineage of Christ if all you focus on is her vocation (Matthew 1). Yet Rahab’s seedling faith proved more steadfast than the faith of Israelite spies, and her legacy lives on in the Hall of Faith alongside Noah, Abraham, and Moses (Joshua 2, 6; Hebrews 11). Let’s not discount the fact that the writer of Hebrews doesn’t have time to detail the faith of Gideon, David, Samuel, or the prophets––yet Rahab rightly receives her airtime.

Through our sheroes dig, we uncovered powerful sheroes like Deborah the warrior judge who also served as Yahweh’s prophetess (Judges 4). We’ve peered into the stories of women cast aside as unworthy, like the unnamed “sinful” woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (Luke 7:36 – 50).  And we’ve sat at the feet of Jesus with Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:38–41), and then watched as she later anointed Jesus with expensive perfume (Mark 14:3–9). Each story has a message for us today as we learn from the faith walk of these sheroes, and borrow from their courage.

Before their encounter with God, many of these women endured broken lives. And story after story prove that all of these women faced times of trial and testing of faith. What makes them sheroes is not that they rose up and made a name for themselves. What makes them sheroes is that within their ordinary lives, they aligned with God and exalted his name.

In the words of Jesus as he praised Mary of Bethany, “She did what she could do” (v. 8).

She did what she could do.

Truthfully, that sums up what God asked of all of these sheroes. It sums up what Christ asks of each one of us. Do what you can do. In your ordinary life, align with Jesus and do what you can do.

Mourn with those who mourn. Stand with those who need support. Encourage the downcast. Love others generously. Demonstrate grace in all circumstances. Give what you can give. Do what you can do. And in all things: pray, pray, pray.

My beloved sisters, God sees you and he loves you. Align with Jesus and exalt his name by the way you live each ordinary day. In doing this, you too are sheroes of the faith.

You can find more information about the Sheroes of the Faith series, including links to videos, at

Robbed of My Right of Passage

Like many of you, I entered 2020 with great expectations. After all, this is no ordinary year. It’s 2020: The Year of Perfect Vision. A year of spiritual growth. A year of culminating achievements. A year of celebration. A year of new beginnings.

But then Covid-19. And just like that, all plans came to a screeching halt.

Lots of big days have been cancelled, postponed, or altered. Weddings. Graduations. Family reunions. Hospital births (yes, even these look different because of coronavirus). Virtual meetings and socially-distanced gatherings try to fill the void and allow family and friends to celebrate together. But no matter what alternative festivities arise, there’s one group of celebrants who feels the loss of their special day more than others: Graduates.

High school. College. Graduate and post-graduate. Seniors and scholars at all levels worked for years to accomplish something worth celebrating. For some, their graduation represents a “first” achievement for someone in their family. For all, graduation signifies a valuable “right of passage” as one arduous-yet-worthy season ends, and a new season of great anticipation begins.

Walking across the stage affirms the culmination of incredible dedication. The official act of receiving a diploma shouts to the world, “You did it!” But with no stage, no diploma in hand, and no procession to the Pomp and Circumstance March, it’s hard to feel the same sense of accomplishment and closure. It’s like watching a grand fireworks display that ends without the customary finale. You’re left wondering, “Is that it?”

How do I know? I’m a 2020 graduate. This is the year of my doctoral graduation.

A wise man once said that the gap between expectation and reality equals disappointment. Years of hard work and the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears led up to what was supposed to be an unforgettable moment in time when I would receive my doctoral hood and descend the stairs as Dr. Dahl. So when plans changed, I had a choice to make. I could lament the new reality, or I could embrace an intimate opportunity. I chose to lay down my expectations and, with a thankful heart, sing a song of praise.

Praise changed my perspective of graduation day, and blessings flowed through my stay-at-home ceremony. Instead of the seminary president bestowing my doctoral hood over my shoulders as others looked on, my beloved husband lovingly “hooded” me in our backyard in a moment I will never forget. And instead of me walking across a stage or in a procession, I later walked a quiet, wooded trail with Jesus. Over and over my excitement overflowed, “We did it!” Even now I tear up thinking about my special day and the tremendous affirmation of accomplishment from the two most important people in my life.

Did my graduation look and feel different? Absolutely. Did I miss having my family and friends by my side? Of course. Was I robbed of my right of passage? Not at all. My eyes remain fixed on Jesus, and I’m still joyfully running my race with Him.

So to all my graduating friends and any graduates out there who may feel a sense of letdown, I want to affirm: WELL DONE! Congratulations on your incredible achievement! What you completed this spring is worthy of celebration, even if your celebration includes only an intimate few. I pray that 2020 remains a year of blessings and new beginnings for each one of you!

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1–2).

The Week After Easter

I heard someone lament last week, “We’re not having Easter this year!” He meant because people aren’t gathering in-person. But I thought, would we not have Christmas because we can’t go to church? Nothing could have stopped the celebration of Easter from ringing throughout the world, even stay-at-home mandates.

The Easter message––that Jesus came to set us free and give us new life––does not change. Even in the confines of a pandemic.

For those who recognize Easter as the holiest day of the year, the fanfare and refreshing of spring normally usher us into a season of thanksgiving and great hope. But this year… This year is not like years past. This week after Easter is a tricky one.

We’re drenched in Covid-19 uncertainty and bad news, and it doesn’t feel good. So friends, will you pause with me for a moment to remember the significance of last week? Last week we followed Christ’s steps from Palm Sunday to Easter. We started in the Hosanna procession with flowing palms and cheering and songs. We left the crowd and joined the 12 disciples for the Last Supper. We stopped outside the tomb and mourned Christ’s crucifixion. And finally on Sunday we reached Resurrection Day – the day lauding Christ as King and His eternal victory over death and destruction.

But this week, many of us struggle to drum up a spirit of celebration in the midst of daily deep sorrow and pain in the world – your world, my world, our neighbor’s world, the whole world. And, for some, Easter services on TV seemed a lot less holy. How do we connect with God in these dark days? How do we try to muster up a desire to continue celebrating the Easter message after Easter Sunday? God’s Word encourages: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb 12:2–3).

Fix our eyes on Jesus. Remember why He came, and why He died. Why did He? Because He wanted His people––you and me––to live with Him forever. Because He had a plan from the beginning to speak the final Word, and reign with love and compassion and goodness and grace. Because He alone is God, and He walked through life on earth so we could learn how to live as He did.

No one could have foreseen the magnitude of coronavirus strife. Except Jesus. Jesus knew that days like these were coming. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33). Jesus came. Jesus died. Jesus rose again, and He invites us to joyfully receive His gift of life after Easter. Take heart! Be courageous in the darkness, knowing that the King of Kings, Almighty God, the Promised Messiah indwells you by the power of His Holy Spirit. And when you struggle with fear and doubt and anxiety (and we all do), here are some things you can pray,

  • Holy Spirit, I am weak, You are strong, be strong in me.
  • Holy Spirit, I am afraid (full of anxiety, struggling with depression), You are my confidence, be courage in me.
  • Holy Spirit, I can’t understand what’s going on and I’m frozen in place, You are my Shepherd, lead me step-by-step through this valley of the shadow of death.
  • Holy Spirit, I don’t know what to say to others who are hurting, You are the Author of all life, give me the words and speak through me.

Friends, I’m praying for you as we continue our journey after Easter. I pray that each day, even if only for a few moments, you’ll fix your eyes on Jesus. Sneak into a quiet place (a closet or bathroom will do!) and sit with Jesus without agenda, just focusing on Him. Allow His peace to fill the quietness. Read John 19 and 20, and imagine yourself sitting outside the tomb on that dark Saturday, wondering, “Jesus, where are you? What’s happening?” Then lay those same questions about these times of grief and mourning before Him. And through faith and trust in Him, take one more step forward. Because of Easter, today is a day filled with the promise of hope and new life. Fix your eyes on Jesus and join the ongoing celebration of Resurrection Day. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Your Christmas Wish

Each year growing up, I made a list of things I wanted for Christmas. I’m pretty sure “a horse” topped the list every single year (and no, I never got one). I definitely knew that in order to get what I truly wanted, I had to be nice, not naughty. Looking back, that’s probably why I never got the horse. Anyhoo… As adults, we don’t worry about making Santa’s NICE LIST so we can get what we desire most. Instead we embrace Christmas as a season of giving, good cheer, and hope for the new year. And as Christians, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

Reconciliation to Almighty God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the greatest gift we’ll ever receive!

At the beginning of the New Testament in Matthew 2:11, we’re told that the three wise men brought extravagantly valuable treasures to the stable where baby Jesus rested with Mary. Upon seeing Jesus, the Magi bowed down and worshiped Him, presenting Him three gifts associated with kingship: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These men of high position recognized this child as Heir to the Throne.

Interestingly, Jesus’ birth is the only time in His earthly life that we hear of Him possessing earthly treasures. And we’re not told what Mary and Joseph did with these expensive gifts. However, in the next story of Matthew’s gospel he writes about Joseph’s dream warning him to leave Israel with Mary and Jesus, and escape to Egypt. They likely left most, if not all, of what they owned behind (Matt 2:13).

Although Christ is fully God and rightfully owns all of creation, He is also fully man. And approximately 30 years after the scene in the stable, Jesus affirmed His lack of earthly, material wealth. He proclaimed, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Jesus’ words seem to indicate that not only did He travel light, but He didn’t maintain His own homestead. Rather, His treasures, literally and figuratively, are stored up in heaven (Matt 6:19–21).

As we learn about Jesus, we see that He embodies the greater gifts in life: love, community, authentic relationships, boldly speaking and living God’s truth, and spiritual health through intimacy with God the Father and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christ’s desire was and still is to share these gifts with others. In Matthew 20:29–34, Jesus encountered two blind beggars on the side of the road who called to Him as the Son of David (a reference to Jesus as Christ, or Messiah). Jesus stopped and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Imagine! The Promised Messiah stopping and asking you, “What can I do for you today?”

These two men asked for their eyesight, and with compassion Jesus healed them. They followed Him, presumably receiving both physical and spiritual sight.

So, what does this mean for us during this season of giving? Two things.

First, FREEDOM.  We don’t have to fixate on––or stress about––finding perfect gifts for others this Christmas. We also don’t have to be consumed with anticipation of what we might receive, nor with disappointment by what we don’t get. For those of us walking with Christ, we have the freedom to live unencumbered and without fear or stress because we’ve already received the best gift imaginable––life with Christ, both now and forever. Embrace the gift of Christ this Christmas! Receive Him anew with delight! Receive Him anew with joyful anticipation of a deeper walk together in the coming year as you pursue Him through His Word and prayer.

Second, AN INVITATION. This season, you’re receiving an invitation from Jesus to seek the greater gifts in life. He’s inviting you to join with Him and with His church. Jesus wants us to experience love, community, authentic relationships, boldly speaking and living God’s truth, and spiritual health through intimacy with God the Father and the indwelling Holy Spirit. This invitation is for EVERYONE!

I invite you to join with me in this: For the next few minutes, sit with Jesus. Set aside the hustle and bustle. Lay down thoughts of material gifts and treasures. With an open mind and open hands on your lap, sit with our Savior.

  • Think about what the greater gifts in life are for you.
  • Think about your greatest hopes and your deepest desires.
  • Think about who He is and why He humbled Himself and came as a baby in the manger.

Now imagine you’re sitting by the roadside, and you hear that Jesus is coming.

  • Imagine Him stopping in front of you.
  • Imagine Him taking you by the hand.
  • Imagine Him asking you, “Beloved child, what do you want me to do for you?”

This isn’t a genie offering wealth or prestige. This is your Savior, offering the best of life with Him. In prayer, look into His eyes and speak your heart. He would love to talk with you.

Friend, I’m praying for you in this season as Jesus offers you freedom from the world’s perspectives, and as He invites you to seek the greater gifts.

What is your Christmas wish?

Running the Race of Life

As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are gearing up for our favorite running day of the year. Even non-runners love the annual Turkey Trot where young and old alike jog in anticipation of the great feast ahead. Then you can eat all the turkey dinner you want AND have a second helping of dessert guilt-free. Okay, maybe that last part is just my tradition.

Unfortunately, I can’t run this year due to a back injury. Doctor’s orders.

As I’ve lamented and longed to run again, a new picture has emerged: Life as a race with hurdles and PR’s (personal records). Scripture says:

“Since we are surrounded by such a great group of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from wicked people, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1–3)

Step by step, here’s what encourages me:

  • We’re surrounded by a large group of people who have gathered to cheer us on––like the crowds on race day. We’re not alone. And we’re stronger together. Others are standing with us, praying for us, and willing to run alongside us when needed. It’s very apropos at Thanksgiving to say thank you to those who support us, to praise Jesus for those who surround us, and to reach out to others to ask for help. God’s plan entails US––WE are in this race together.
  • Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles: Individually we have a part to play in our training and our race days. And the first step is to offload everything that weighs us down, keeps us stuck, or gets us off track. Otherwise, our race of life will feel like the Boston marathon with a full military backpack. The word used here for “throw off” means to jettison something far away from you. Don’t just set your burdens and temptations down––jettison them and keep running!
  • Where do we run? God affirms that our race is marked out for us. This means we’re not running blindly or randomly. Jesus has put out mile markers so that we can continually stay on course. Again, we have a part to play in this race. Our part is to not give up… to keep going… to wake up each day and look to Jesus. And if we don’t know what to do next, perseverance means continuing to do the last thing we know aligns with His will.
  • Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. This is more than looking around for clues. It’s keeping our eyes locked on the One who waits at the finish line. Jesus has written us into His story. He provides opportunities for growth and success. He invites us to join the race as we grow in faith. However, it’s impossible to run a long distance in a straight line if you only look down at your feet, or if you’re fixated on the distractions around you. In order to get to each new milestone, we have to know the way. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
  • Who for the joy set before Him… His joy is you. His joy is me. Jesus endured the pain, shame, and spiritual darkness of the cross in order to pave the way for you and me to spend eternal life with Him. He wants us to run this race joyfully in light of His love for us and His delight in sharing life ever after.
  • He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God: Jesus finished His race on earth. Unlike the priests of old whose work was never done, Jesus finished the work given to Him by God the Father. Completing His ultimate work of providing eternal salvation, He now invites each one of us to join His continuing mission through His Spirit. Jesus calls us to run the race of life wearing His jersey.
  • Consider Him… so you will not grow weary: When we’re tired or confused or distracted or defeated, our motivation to continue stands before us. He smiles and cheers and coaches us. Jesus is our greatest supporter and our greatest fan.

We all have a race to run. If only every day was like an early morning run when the bright sun reflects off a rising mist and the fresh air smells like fall. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know that nothing compares.

But for most of us, our days include challenges and obstacles. Setbacks and fears. The lure of distractions and temptations that lead us off course.

And for some of us, the path forward remains a mystery. Our run has slowed to a walk. Our clear course has eroded into a rough path in dark woods. We pray for a breakthrough to the other side of something––but we wait for the when, where, and what.

Friends, whatever race you’re in right now, take courage! You are not alone. Throw off your burdens and come to Jesus (Matthew 11:28). Believe that He places markers on your path. Talk with Him in prayer and ask for wisdom. Keep your eyes locked on Him, not on distractions and pitfalls. Trust Him as you take one step at a time. And know that I’m running alongside you in spirit, praying for you along the way.

This Thanksgiving, may we band together like a team of runners in Jesus jerseys. I pray your path in this season will be marked by delight and joy for the race of life we run together!

Waiting Out the Wait

I’m not good at waiting. Most of us aren’t. We live in a culture of instant response and immediate gratification. Even waiting out a storm can drag on. “Right now” has become the norm and expectation. But immediacy in all aspects of life is a relatively new phenomenon. In the not-too-distant past, responses and news of current happenings travelled at a snail’s pace. But as pre-iPhone kids, this created anticipation each week as we looked forward to the Sunday paper’s section of cartoon strips. My favorite: the beloved Snoopy by Charles Schulz. I still remember the picture of Snoopy laying atop his red doghouse with ears relaxed and eyes closed. The caption read:

“The best things in life are worth waiting for.”

Such wisdom, yet counter-cultural today. We all want the best things in life. But let’s hurry up and get to the nitty-gritty:

1) What are the best things?

2) How long do we have to wait?

3) How can we possibly lay back and relax when we don’t know the answers to questions 1 and 2?


Before Snoopy, President Woodrow Wilson (28th President of the U.S.) reportedly proclaimed:

“All things come to him who waits––provided he knows what he is waiting for.”

Well therein lies the rub. Many of us find ourselves in a time of waiting, waiting, waiting. We want something new or we want change. We wait for something to happen, but we don’t know what will come next or when. We don’t know exactly what we’re waiting for. We just know we’re still waiting. As Christ-followers, the waiting becomes a crucible for refinement because the “right now” aspect of our culture doesn’t reflect the way God works.

The “best things” in life vary for each person, although often they aren’t “things” at all.  My recommendation for anyone focused on question #1: bring this question to Jesus. Ask Him directly, “What are the best things You want me to seek right now?”

For those of us wrestling with question #2, let’s consider the differences between: passive waiting, active waiting, and patience.

Passive waiting. This type of waiting can feel like we’re perched on Snoopy’s doghouse, but we’re definitely not laying back or relaxed. We feel stuck. Life circles around us and keeps making decisions without us. We no longer control life––it controls us. This feeling of helplessness or lack of direction can breed discouragement, frustration, and depression. We may make rash decisions thinking that any action is better than no action. But whether we sink in quicksand or run in circles, we don’t go anywhere good. Our reality check: many aspects of life ARE out of control––at least out of OUR control. We can’t control other people or their decisions. We can’t control certain circumstances. We can’t control the passing of time. But we can take comfort in knowing that God IS in control. And we CAN and SHOULD take action as we wait. This leads us to: actively waiting.

Active waiting. We can turn times of waiting into positive periods of progress and anticipation because we CAN take important steps. We can control our thoughts, our decisions, our interactions––continually assessing how they reflect our hope and God’s grace, love, goodness, and excellence. We can control the stewardship of our time, talents, and financial resources––all of which have been entrusted to us. We can press into Jesus and trust that since He’s in control, our most important step is to keep in step with Him. We do this through time in His Word as we seek Him with an open mind and humble heart. We do this through moment-by-moment prayer. And going back to question #1, of all the “best things” we may seek in this life, nothing eclipses life in Christ. But this requires patience.

Patience. Waiting and patience go hand in hand. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23) cultivated by the Holy Spirit as we open our heart, mind, and life to Him and allow Him to do His transformative work in us. We can’t manufacture patience. We can’t give it to ourselves. Ironically, when we pray for patience, we often encounter progressively difficult situations. I once shared with a wise counselor my desire to grow in patience, and she responded, “Be careful what you ask for.” Why? Because God won’t give you patience like a coat to wear. Rather, He’ll lead you into situations which require patience, and only by working through those situations with Him will the fruit of patience begin to grow.

At different times in life, we all have to wait. We may wait as God strategically works behind the scenes to prepare what’s next. We may wait because the Spirit has work to do in us to prepare us for what’s next. We may wait because the fruit of patience is growing. We may wait because Jesus continues to work in the lives of other people. We may wait because we live in a fallen world and Christ’s plan of redemption for people and things takes time.

Regardless of why we wait––be encouraged! Active waiting, though difficult, stretches us and prepares us for the best things in life. Active waiting strengthens our resolve and reveals the best path in the race marked out for us (Heb 12:1–2).

Friends, I pray that in times of waiting you’ll boldly seek the One who IS in control. Join Him in what He’s doing today even if you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. May your time of active waiting be for His glory and your flourishing.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and revere and put their trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:1–3)

What CAN I do?

Many of us have experienced seasons of illness and injury––either our own or someone we love. Often these excruciating times of pain, fear, and doubt engulf us like a suffocating suffering. We wake up every morning in painful uncertainty and lay down each night in the same state. Daily we withstand a raging storm––everything circles around but nothing is clear. Movement requires pushing against unyielding barriers. We want to hope for complete healing. We want to throw off the heavy chains encasing us. We want to be released from physical and emotional burdens so we can regain strength and enjoy life again.

But sometimes the hope we cling to feels as secure as a thin thread precariously leading us through the dark tempest. We wonder why the God of resurrection and new life won’t speak a word of healing or reach out His hand to touch us.

I struggle too.

For six years now I’ve been fighting through chronic pain from recurring injuries. The last six months have been particularly hard. Not only does chronic pain make even the simplest daily tasks more difficult, but it prevents me from engaging in my most favorite thing: RUNNING.

Running is my happy place. Running is my time with Jesus when I soak up His inspiration and compose my best work. Running is my primary stress release. So the inability to run stifles my creativity and outlook, and it opens the door to frustration and even depression.

A few weeks ago––after unfruitful months of specialists, procedures, and therapy––I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a long weekend with my sister who’s a physical therapist. On our first day together, she graciously assessed my injuries and treatments. I lamented about my inability to do basic daily tasks without pain. I mourned over my inability to run. And my sister wisely responded, “Yes, there are many things you can’t do right now. But what’s important is to focus on what you CAN do. Ask yourself each day, ‘What CAN I do?’”

Hmmm. What CAN I do?

Simple. Profound. Since that day I’ve pondered the depth of this question. I’ve considered what this means for my daily physical challenges. I’ve meditated on the implications for my spiritual journey. I’ve wondered what impact this question might have for all of us who struggle as Christ-followers in this fallen world.

What CAN I do?  What CAN you do?

My encouragement for you today is to sit at the feet of Jesus and talk with Him about this question. Ask Him: Lord, what CAN I do?

If your challenges relate to physical limitations, relational strife, emotional grief, vocational uncertainty, or overwhelming daily responsibilities: Lord, what CAN I do today?

If you struggle with spiritual reality, how to interpret the Bible, or how to know for sure where your life is headed: Lord, what CAN I do today?

No single answer emerges from this focused yet open-ended question. That’s the beauty and the power: Lord, what CAN I do?

  • Maybe what you CAN do is take a walk outside or slowly take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Maybe what you CAN do is view the project you’re working on today as an offering to God.
  • Maybe what you CAN do is choose to forgive, or apologize for your contribution to a disagreement.
  • Maybe what you CAN do is reach out to someone who knows your grief so they can come sit with you as you mourn.
  • Maybe what you CAN do is pray and fast for a friend in need and then send them an encouraging text.
  • Maybe what you CAN do is to set a timer for 30 minutes and sit quietly before the Lord with no agenda but to be present and listen.

What CAN I do?

The answer will be different for each one of us. But for all of us, the response ushers in freedom and an opportunity to join Christ and others in our journey forward. Even if pain persists, our praise and endurance will transcend our challenges. Even if our circumstances don’t change, our mindset will. Even if we physically can’t run again, the race marked out for us will lead to victory.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1–3

Friend, I’m praying for you today as you ask: What CAN I do?

“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

Amen! Let it be!


Sometimes There Aren’t Words

Sometimes there just aren’t words…

when we sit with others in their grief.

when others try to comfort us in ours.

Sometimes there just aren’t words…

when life comes crashing down around us.

when darkness and despair close in.

Sometimes there just aren’t words…

when anxiety and doubt and shame condemn us.

when regrets of the past rear their heads and gnash their teeth.

Sometimes there just aren’t words…

when betrayals bite and false denials scream.

when the unrelenting hand of fear squeezes with clenched fingers.

Sometimes there just aren’t words…

when the world goes crazy.

when people don’t seem to care.

Sometimes there just aren’t words…

when circumstances confuse.

when no one remains but us.

Sometimes there just aren’t words.

But in those times…

the Holy Spirit speaks what we cannot (Romans 8:26–27).

Jesus lifts us in prayer, crying Abba (Romans 8:31–39).

our Heavenly Father holds us close and whispers,

  Be still, let go, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

For the LORD your God is a mighty savior. He delights in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. (Psalm 91:1–2 NLT)

Sometimes there just aren’t words… But in those times there is Someone who speaks. Jesus alone calms our fears, wraps us in His mighty arms of comfort, and speaks words of true hope and healing. He is love and He loves you. He affirms, “I am with you.” Take refuge in Him, precious friend.


Welcome to My Messy

My life is messy. Let me just start today by putting the truth out there. Of course, you wouldn’t know my life is messy just by looking at me. Like all of us, I know how to keep going in hard times and I cope when I need to. I used to guard the truth of my life, and I would continually makeover appearances of my exterior life so people wouldn’t ask questions about my internal struggles. Although not everyone goes to extreme lengths to conceal what they fear might look “off,” most of us don’t want others to see our behind-the-scenes messy truth.

Since I’m being honest about my messy, let me ask you…

Do you ever avoid talking to people––even your closest confidants––because you really don’t want to share what’s going on behind the scenes in your life? It’s hard enough being real with friends in our “normal” chaos. But under waves of fear or doubt, we don’t know if we should stand on our own or cry out for help. And sometimes that demeaning voice whispers in our ear, “You’re not good enough” or “Your problems aren’t as significant as what others are dealing with.” So we justify our decision not to “bother” anyone else with our struggles.

Whether we recognize it or not, we live in a constant battle for self-worth, fighting against isolation.

In order to inter-lock shields of faith and take an anti-isolation stand, my friend Elizabeth and I have a monthly “first Monday” date for sisterhood prayer and praise. Though we text, talk, and email regularly, first Mondays align and empower us as we seek Jesus and His will. Elizabeth remains the greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known, and we’ve walked this journey of life together for almost ten years. But…

On first Monday a couple of weeks ago, Elizabeth and I were texting confirmation of the when and where. We both have been under tremendous stress with craziness all around. Elizabeth said she wasn’t feeling well, but I told her I’d really like to see her if she was up to it. Then she texted, “I hate to show up like a hot mess! I’m trying hard to get it together. I don’t want to be a burden.”

My response: “You’re not a burden and the whole reason we get together is to join in prayer.” She said she’d come by, but she promised not to stay long.

As we sat side-by-side a few hours later, Elizabeth shared the burdens wearing her out. One by one she laid down her load of heavy work bundles, packs of personal challenges, and discouraging harnesses on her health. From the releasing of this cumbersome weight sprang peace and freedom. And then my precious friend confided, “I didn’t want you to see my mess.” What?! Does she remember who she’s talking to? The words flowed quickly from my lips:

“Are you kidding? Welcome to my messy! My life is full of mess, and you and your mess are ALWAYS welcome here with me!” And I proceeded to take my turn in off-loading the bundles and packs and harnesses of my messy life.

Friends, we all have messy. Sometimes our messy extends from overloaded schedules and responsibilities, and sometimes its rooted in shame, fear, doubt, or comparison. We struggle with keeping enough order in our life so we still qualify as “normal.” But there’s no such thing as normal! Don’t fear the messy places in life. We shouldn’t pretend our messy doesn’t exist or get caught up in overcompensating for it. What can we do with our messy?

Acknowledge it.

Accept it.

Address it––by sharing it with a trusted confidant who will help us navigate the murky waters of messy.

Thankfully we’re not defined by what people see or the degree of messy we experience. Our self-worth comes solely through Christ’s love for us and our identity in Him, both of which are perfect and priceless. These transcend our messy and allow us to find strength, purpose, hope, and transformation as we walk our spiritual journey with God and others.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.  (Romans 8:14–17 NLT)

Despite your messy, you are God’s beloved child. Press into Jesus with your messy, and intentionally step closer today to at least one friend with whom you can be transparent. Real life requires real relationships. I pray you’ll encourage others and invite them into your journey with: “Welcome to my messy!”

Your Life through the Keyhole

Have you ever seen a really old door on a house or stone wall with the thick iron hardware that creeks every time it opens? Back in the day, big heavy doors stood as formidable barriers that couldn’t be breached by force. Yet many of these doors were no match for prying eyes. The huge iron keys required to unlock the latches were so wide that you could actually put your eye up to the keyhole and look through to the other side.

Nowadays we have small metal slits for slender keys, and sometimes only touch pads, so we can’t peer through keyholes to catch a glimpse of something beyond. But imagine walking up to a castle wall and looking through one of those big iron keyholes into a secret garden or a magical hidden world. What might you see?

Now what if I told you that this keyhole view is how we view our life each day?

It’s as if we’re looking at ourselves, other people, and our circumstances through a tiny window. We can see clearly, but our vantage is severely limited. We can’t see what’s happening to the left or the right. We can’t see what’s happening up above or below. We can’t see anything happening behind the scenes. There’s so much going on outside our view that we’ll never truly comprehend everything about anything.

It suddenly makes me feel very small and uninformed about my life.

Thankfully, all of us can turn to someone who sees and knows everything beyond our keyhole view. God. Elohim the Creator. Yahweh the covenant-keeper. The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He created time and lives outside of it. He looks down upon the past, present, and future and sees it all at once.

God transcends our keyhole view and has a complete perspective of our entire life.

And praise the Lord, one of His greatest joys is to lovingly shepherd us through every season. Day by day, Jesus offers His hand as He calls, “Come, follow Me.” Through sun-filled days on the highest mountain peaks. Through the darkest hours in seemingly endless valleys. Jesus sees all and navigates accordingly.

Jesus. The Master Strategist who orchestrates life. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing catches Him off guard. He never takes a coffee break. His love never fails and His mercies renew every morning. Jesus knows every detail about you and your life, including every detail about everyone who will ever touch your life in any way. And He watches over you every second of every day, ready to cover you with His mighty wings.

We may be skeptical at times. We may have doubts about how much God loves us or what He’s willing to do for us. But we see the proof in what He’s already done: He died to bury our sins once and for all; and He rose again to offer us new life in Him. Life everlasting!

“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

We may not know what tomorrow brings. But we can know who will be protecting, providing for, and walking with us on the journey. Jesus. We don’t have to worry about having a limited view as we peer through our keyhole. Jesus––our almighty God––sees everything. He alone holds the ultimate power to prevail in every situation. And He has prepared the way for us beyond what we can see. Turn to the One who leads the way!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2–3

In what ways do you strain to see through the keyhole of your life? How might Jesus be inviting you to turn to Him for hope and the way forward?

How Not to Hate the Wait

Our pace of daily life quickens. For instance, do you remember when email emerged as a life-changing breakthrough––speeding up and expanding communication beyond what we ever imagined? Some of us older cats do. But today, many view email as an archaic nuisance, like snail mail. Why not just text or chat?

In our world of one-click shopping and on-demand streaming, much of life no longer unfolds over time. We expect immediate results. We want what we want when we want it. We require instantaneous life. We hate waiting.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for anything. Or do we?

Yes, often God asks us to wait. But His concept of waiting entails hope and expectation, not delay and nuisance. God’s waiting bears fruit. When we wait and dwell with God, His strength becomes our strength. This waiting opens the door for the Spirit to continue His work of transformation in our lives. This waiting allows God’s plan to become our plan, and even our deliverance.  

Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and courageous, all you who wait––who hope––in the LORD.”

Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.”

Psalm 40:1 “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.”

Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait––who hope––in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”

Psalm 37 demonstrates how we grow in our walk with God. It’s a progression, and the waiting underscores spiritual maturity.

  • First, as we begin to get to know Jesus, we learn that He’s always trustworthy (v3).
  • Then, as our trust in Him grows, we begin to delight in Him and rejoice with thankfulness because of His grace, forgiveness, and protection (v4).
  • Our delight leads us to commitment as we devote our lives to following Him and becoming His ambassadors in this world (v5). Harder challenges may begin to emerge.
  • Finally, as we look for direction forward, He tells us to be still––to let go of all that we hold onto and all that we trust outside of Him––and to wait (v7). In this time of waiting, we lay our ambitions at the foot of the cross. We allow Christ to prepare us for the work He’s calling us to. And we allow His indwelling power to transform us from the inside out.

Isaiah 40:31 reveals the results of our waiting. Strength emerges as the hallmark of those who wait and hope in the LORD. Whether we soar to new heights of an amazing new journey, or run the long haul of a life marathon through new terrain, or walk the slow, hard roads of daily life challenges––we will not tire. We will not grow weary. We will not give up. Our trust, delight, commitment, and waiting strengthen us. And they impact our faith journey as God lives through us and uses us mightily each day in our circles of influence.

In this chaotic and quickening world, waiting can feel like surrender to a foe. The world’s expectation of waiting breeds anxiety and fear. Emotions ratchet up as the focus becomes all that could happen while someone refrains from taking matters into their own hands. In doing nothing, they resolve themselves to someone else’s will. Misfortune watches intently, ready to pounce.

But this doesn’t reflect our expectation of waiting. We wait for our good and holy God.

When we wait for God, we give Him space to work in and through our lives. When we wait for God, we listen and watch and move toward Him in prayer. When we wait for God, we allow Him to be God.

We wait with expectation rooted in His power, faithfulness, and love. Waiting for God doesn’t garner resignation. It elicits hope as we trust that our God––the Master Strategist, Creator of the Universe, and our Heavenly Father––continues to put things in place as He works all things to good. In His timing, our path forward develops and unfolds.

Next time you struggle with waiting, pray through the scriptures above. Praise God for your journey through trusting, delighting in, committing to, and waiting for Him. Praise God for his strength in you, and His perseverance through you, which allows you to soar and run and walk the journey of life in His care and provision.

Don’t hate the wait. Praise Him in the process and let your life be a beacon of hope to others.

Do you have a story of how God has worked through your waiting? Your story could be a great encouragement to others––we’d love to hear it!

Unanswered Prayers

When someone dies, we struggle with the “why”. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? Why didn’t God answer the prayers of everyone else? Why was this life cut short? As Easter approaches and we solemnly remember the Last Supper and the gruesome events that unfolded, the “why” questions of the disciples are laid bare.

Jesus was taken by force from the garden. He was tried for false crimes, beaten to the edge of life, and brutally hung on a cross to die in agony and ridicule.

His disciples and followers watched it all. They had grown up in the Jewish tradition of prayer. And Jesus, their esteemed rabbi, taught them how to pray with new expectation (Matt 6:9–13). Jesus revealed that God knew each one of them intimately. God loved them dearly. Not only is God the Almighty YAHWEH of Israel, He is their adoring Heavenly Father, their Abba.

So imagine their confusion and grief as Jesus’ friends and family watched the horror of events. Their prayers for Jesus’ deliverance and rise to power in Israel went unanswered. God remained silent. What about God as His loving Father? And what about Jesus’ words to them, “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it” (John 14:13–14).

“Ask Me for anything and I will do it.” But You won’t heal someone who’s doing Your good work here on earth? You won’t allow a young mother to live a few more years? You won’t spare a young child with a bright smile and an even brighter future?

On that dark weekend two thousand years ago, what the disciples didn’t know was God’s plan. They waded through darkness, watching evil and injustice seemingly prevail. They didn’t see God’s work of resurrection and new life. They perceived an untimely stripping of Jesus’ earthly ministry, not comprehending the heavenly throne and Christ’s new work through the Spirit––work which now continues throughout all generations until He returns.

Jesus told His disciples, “Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. They will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).

Jesus, one man on earth, then multiplied His good work infinitely through the saints. The Holy Spirit indwells and works through believers for the glory of God and the redemption of all.

It’s true that God didn’t answer the disciple’s prayers for Jesus’ deliverance and rise to power in the way they expected. But God was not silent. He was not MIA. God’s awesome plan of redemption for all people and all things ignited and set a new course for human history.

And our Heavenly Father’s awesome plan continues today in and through His people.

So what about our prayers that seem to go unanswered? Specifically, what about prayers for healing and deliverance that end in death? If God doesn’t answer these “good” prayers that would bring glory to Him, why would He care about any of our other prayers that pale in comparison? Why pray for a new job, a new relationship, or healing from a cold?

Remember Jesus’ words, “Ask anything in My name.” God desires that our hearts would align with His as we grow in Christlikeness. So we pray for His will to be done. We make our requests known, willingly leaving the results to Him and committing to trust and praise Him regardless of outcome. This is how we glorify the Father through prayer. We join Christ in presenting our requests, we trust that He cares for every aspect of our lives (1 Peter 5:7), and by faith we believe that His good and perfect will be done. Even if we don’t understand this side of heaven.

We can’t see the innerworkings of God’s awesome plan of redemption. But in faith, we trust He’s sovereign and active.

And we hold fast to the promise of eternal life with Christ. So what if…  

What if when Christ-followers die, they aren’t whisked to heaven to fly around on angel wings until Christ returns to earth? What if their work in God’s plan of redemption continues from a new heavenly vantage? What if what we pray for on earth is answered, but it manifests in heaven? We know life on earth will end for all of us, but we also know that’s just the beginning. Now we see in part as if through a keyhole, but then we will see through an open door.

We’ve talked in previous blogs about our work in the new heavens and new earth. God’s invitation to join in His redemption plan goes beyond our earthly existence. And Christ affirms He has prepared a place for us in our Father’s house. So why should we think that between the time we leave this life and the time of Christ’s return we will merely be waiting, waiting, waiting… Whatever our part in God’s heaven work, it is worthy of hope and praise!

This Easter weekend, let’s praise and sit in awe of the one true God who promises to raise us to new life through His resurrection power. But let’s also praise Him for the work He asks everyone to join in that plan––both here on earth and beyond. Remember, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father in Heaven, holy is Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” On earth as it is in heaven.

Friends, our struggles through pain, despair, and confusion of losing loved ones are real. But there’s hope in the darkness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

In our mourning, let’s cling to faith. Let’s pray through Scripture and align our hearts with God’s. Through the Spirit’s strength, let’s offer praise to Jesus for His promise of eternal life. Let’s praise Him for His plan of redemption whereby the lives of men and women and boys and girls continue to impact others in this world, far beyond their last moments with us.

Jesus is the God of resurrection and new life! Although we may never understand the “why” this side of heaven, we know that His awesome plan includes each one of us and those who have gone before us. No life is wasted. Christ’s impactful and redemptive work through His people continues on earth and in heaven.

Who Do You Say I Am?

Most of us know the greatest stories ever told. Noah, his ark in the flood, and the promise of the rainbow. Moses parting the Red Sea as the Israelites escaped from Egypt. The baby Jesus lying in the manger with shepherds and wise men paying honor to the newborn King. The empty tomb on Sunday morning.

Often in stories our focus is on the action or the players or the outcome. But the stories of the Bible have another purpose––to turn our focus to the Author of life. To fix our minds on God.

Renowned theologian A.W. Tozer said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” Why? Because what we believe about God affects everything. It affects how we interact with Him. It affects what we believe about ourselves. It affects how we treat others. It affects the decisions we make and the actions we take. It affects what parts of our life we invite Jesus into.

If we believe God is distant, we’ll take matters into our own hands. If we believe God is angry, we’ll walk on eggshells, or avoid Him, or maybe even lie. If we believe God is uncaring or too busy for us, we’ll struggle with finding purpose in life.

If we believe God forgives, we’ll approach His throne of grace with confidence, thankfulness, and relief. If we believe God heals, we’ll stop covering our wounds and allow His healing hand to touch us. If we believe He’s the giver of new life, we’ll unlock the dark places of our past and allow His light to dissolve the shadows and scatter the demons.

God’s desire is that each one of us would truly KNOW Him.

In any relationship, getting to know someone intimately takes time. But God has all the time in the world, and He’s inviting you to sit with Him, learn from His Word, and converse with Him through prayer. Even Jesus’s disciples went through a process of getting to know Him as they heard His teachings, asked questions, travelled with Him from town to town, and shared meals together. In Mark 8:27–30, their conversation turned to what people thought about Jesus. As Tozer said, what people think about God is most important.

Then Jesus asks His closest friends point blank, “What about you? Who do you say I am?”

Today, Jesus asks us this same question. And we may have different answers. Some of us, like Peter, can proclaim: Jesus, You are the Christ, the promised Savior, the Son of God!

Some of us may cling to God’s self-revelation in Exodus 34:6-7, affirming: You are Yahweh, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin. Thank you for your forgiveness and mercy.

Some of us may pray John 14:6: You are the way, the truth, and the life! Open my eyes and my mind to You, and grant me new life!

Some of us may cry out Psalm 23: You are my Shepherd. In Your grace, walk me through these dark valleys of the shadow of death. Bring me safely to the other side.

Some of us may be like the desperate father in Mark 9:24: Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief!

Some of us may affirm 1 John 4:8: God, You are love. Heal my broken heart and my broken life with Your unfailing love.

And some of us may not know what we believe about God or Jesus. To you Jesus says softly, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Walk with Me and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:28-29)

Friends, whether or not we know the greatest stories, the Author of life wants us to know Him. And not just know about Him, but truly know Him personally and intimately as His beloved sons and daughters.

Who is the Author of life? God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, God the Holy Spirit

I encourage all of us to carve out some time today for a conversation with Jesus. And as He asks, “What about you? Who do you say I am?” be honest and open your heart to Him. If you’re not sure how to respond, begin to pray through some of the Scriptures above, or other passages that have been important to you in the past. Allow the power of the Spirit to speak to you through His living Word.

We cannot trust God with all of life and follow Him down unknown paths until we KNOW Him. I’m praying for your time with Jesus today.