Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Just Try~

Just try.

Just two little words,
and yet in these two words,
I can't help but feel
gentle encouragement,
sweet confirmation,
and a much needed push
from my Heavenly Father.

Just try.

So - - -
I pull out my laptop,
dust off the keys,
make a fresh cup of coffee,
sit in my favorite spot on the patio



And I don't know why.
I can't put my finger on it,
can't wrap my mind around it,
can't define it or explain it -
but for some reason,
a place that once felt so natural
and so inviting,
a place that was raw, revealing,
and so incredibly healing -
now feels daunting,
unreachable, distant.

So - I have stayed away.

But, this staying away
has left me feeling
pent up and full,
unsettled and misplaced,
completely unraveled,
with a whole mess of loose ends.

Because writing has always been
the one place for me
where God has taken all the loose ends
and tied them all together again.

Moments with Him,
just His Spirit and my keyboard,
have always been the moments when
broken pieces were scooped up,
and in the most amazing of ways,
put back together -
not as they were before -
not as I often wished they were -
but always, always, always in a way
that my heart could accept.

Maybe it's because lately
the loose ends
and the broken pieces
aren't from one single heartbreak,
one single disappointment,
one single challenge,
one single mess.

Lately, my heart
has been dealing with a whole lot of ends
and a whole lot of broken pieces
all at the same time.

And it only makes sense
that all these different pieces -
when mixed up all together,
have no choice but to become
one big, huge, tangled mess.

And I remember the words of my sister -

"It's a process you have to work through.
Just like everything else.
You process by writing.
So, write."

Just try.

Just two little words,
but again,
my Heavenly Father speaks them
deep to my heart.

It might be awkward and rough,
it might be uncomfortable and slow in coming,
it might be messy and complicated,
but just try.

So -
here I sit -
processing the all of it
the only way I know how -
one prayer at a time,
one word at a time,
one moment at time.

And amazingly,
my heart is already beginning to feel at home.

Maybe it's not about finding the answer.

Maybe it's not about tidying everything up
in a neat, jagged free bundle.
Maybe it's not about fitting all the pieces together
or making sure all the loose ends are no longer loose.

Maybe it's simply about
over and over and over again
finding God in the midst of it all.

Maybe it's not about making
these shattered areas of my life whole again -
but rather finding my wholeness
in Him
in the midst of all the brokenness.

Maybe it's not about working toward
a finished project,
but rather being willing to accept the finishing work
God is doing in my heart
as I make my way through
the doing,
the experiencing,
the learning,
the living,
the exploring,
the wrestling,
the juggling,
the untangling.

just maybe,
it's not all that complicated at all.

Maybe it is as simple as this:

Just try,
sweet girl.

Just try.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Lacking Nothing~

I'm sure you've heard
the old saying
"waste not, want not".

My mother was as dependable as a rock
about quoting this particular saying
whenever I sat at the table
with a plate of liver and onions
in front of me or
anytime my plate was home
to some sort of creature
that used to reside in the sea.
(Hmm....looking back on it,
 the fact that I'm now a vegetarian
isn't that odd, after all.
But, I digress).

The point then and now is simply this.

It you don't use something in its entirety,
if you fail to
guzzle the very last drop,
swallow the very last crumb,
squeeze out the very last bit,
you may later find yourself
coming up short
and wishing you had.
You might find yourself  "wanting".

One day as I was driving home from work,
listening to my favorite Christian radio station,
a short, simple, to the point statement,
by the DJ got me thinking.

"Nothing is wasted in God's Kingdom."

The word nothing
always gets me thinking.
When used in conjunction
with God's Kingdom,
my mind simply had no choice
but to whirl this thought
around and around and around.

If nothing is wasted,
then everything must be used.

As this idea tried to wind its way
from my head to my heart,
I thought about one
of the most quoted scriptures of the Bible.

And we know that all things 
work together for good 
to them that love God, 
to them who are the called 
according to his purpose.
~Romans 8:28

All things.
Nothing wasted.

God has a purpose
for every single thing in our life.
The good.
The bad.
The happy.
The sad.

It is God's desire
to use them all for good.
Sometimes, though,
I wonder if I thwart His plan.

when I go through a heartache,
instead of allowing God
to use it for good,
in bitterness or anger,
I turn up my nose,
push it away,
and turn my back on the whole thing.

when I don't want to suffer,
I waste the heartache,
because instead,
I willfully choose to
detour around the purpose in the pain,
miss out on the lesson in the tears,
and sadly,
forgo the blessing
that is waiting to be squeezed out.

I want what I want
and in my wanting
I end up in want.

As a child,
I didn't want to eat
my liver and onions -
no matter how many times
my mother told me
they would give me iron
or assured me
they were "good" for me.

And, because I didn't want to,
(when my stubbornness won out
and my mom was wore out)
I didn't.

I went to bed hungry
and in want of something
to fill my stomach
and ease my hunger pains.

It's the same spiritually.

There is nothing wasted
in God's Kingdom
you and I choose
to waste the blessing
God has placed before us.

You and I won't walk away
from the table of God's will
hungry and still in need
of spiritual nourishment
we choose to refuse
the feast God has served us.

Now, as an adult,
I am mindful of mindlessly
throwing away that
which can be salvaged,
recycled, or re-used.
I try to be a good steward
of the money and the possessions
God has lavished upon me.

Shouldn't the same be true
in my spiritual life?

A chance to comfort others
with the comfort I've been given,
an opportunity to learn from the pain
and grow in the strain,
an invitation to become
more like Jesus through it all -
all these are too priceless
to throw out the backdoor of my heart
and into the dumpster of life.

How I (and possibly you, too)
need to glean all I can
from the ALL of my life.
How I (and possibly you, too)
need to reach out, embrace, and guzzle up
every last drop of the pain.
How I (and possibly you, too)
need to reach down,
pull out all the stops,
and squeeze out every last bit of blessing
from each and every teardrop.

How we need to
press on,
so, in the end,
we won't be found in want,
but rather,
we will be found in Him,
in Christ Jesus,
complete, and lacking nothing*.

* James 1:4


Friday, July 5, 2019

Because I Failed Her . . . ~

She sits beside me
as I sit beside my husband.

We are there
waiting for our order.
She is there
waiting for attention.

As my husband
moves toward the counter
to answer a question
about our order,
she reaches for a jacket
as she looks at me and says,
"I love this shirt.
I really do.
It's one of my favorites,
but I hate the way
it is always
inching down in the front,
and I have to keep
pulling it back up.
It makes me uncomfortable,
ya know?
Don't you hate shirts
that do that?"

The shirt she is
referring to
is a low cut,
spaghetti strap style top -
v  e  r  y low cut.

Before I can answer,
she laughs,
and then this precious girl,
no older than
fifteen or sixteen,

"So, how is your day going?"

"Wonderfully well," I answer.
"And yours?"

"Good. Just hangin' out here
cuz there's not much else
going on, ya know.
I'll probably walk home
in a little while."

"Do you live far from here?"
my husband asks,
as he rejoins us.

"No, not too far.
And my dad might
come pick me up -
if he's not still
mad at me.
If he is,
he'll make me walk.
That's just the way
it goes with us.
It's not bad -
it's just us."

She laughs another laugh,
then turns to talk to one
of the young male workers
who is now on his break,
sitting on the other side of her.

And, I hear God's Spirit
telling me to tell her.

In a quick spin on her stool,
she turns to me again.

"So, since you ordered
a hamburger without the meat,
you must be a vegetarian.
How's that working out
for you?"

This time,
I laugh.

"It's working out ok.
I really don't miss meat at all."

She continues with small talk.

We talk about the way
she loves steak
and how her dad
makes the best
out on the grill,
marinated in his
special garlic teriyaki sauce.

We talk about my purse
and how she loves
the black, white, and tan
print pattern.

We talk about everything
what God is telling me
to talk to her about.

Our number is called.
We pick up our order.
I walk out of the door
and out of her life.

As we drive home,
my husband oh so gently says,
"You should have told her.
I thought about telling her,
but it wasn't
for a man to say."

I know what he's talking about,
and he is right -
v  e  r  y

"She probably doesn't
have a mother
or anyone in her life
to tell her.

It was obvious
she wanted attention.
And, it was obvious
she felt comfortable
talking with you.

You should have told her -
honest and straightforward,
but wrapped in love,
like you always do.

Don't let those opportunities
slip by, Stacy.

God placed you next to her
for a reason."

As I sit here now,
writing this,
I see her face.

I see
the innocence,
the loneliness,
the beauty,
the struggle,
the reaching out -
and I know
I failed her.

I know
I failed God, too.

I know
I was given
a divine appointment
I missed it.

And, my heart hurts.

I long to go back.
I long to hit rewind
and do it
all over again.

But, I can't.
The moment is past.
The door closed.
The opportunity missed.
The words unsaid.

And because
I failed her,
I am pouring these words
out to YOU here.

God places
one divine appointment
after another
smack dab in front
of me
in front of you.)

Sometimes I listen
to His prompting
and speak His words.
Sometimes, like tonight,
I don't.

And, as I think back
to the way God leads
and the way
I choose to follow
or not,
I know one thing
to be true.

The only time
I have regret,
the only time
I leave a divine appointment
the only time
I feel like
I feel right now,
is when
I don't listen,
I don't speak,
I don't step
through the door
He has opened for me.

Don't be like me.

Don't miss His
divine appointments
in your life.

Don't hear His Spirit
telling you to speak
and then choose
to listen,
to obey.

Don't miss a moment
to speak a word -
that can
turn a life around,
draw a heart closer to His,
completely transform a life.


Don't find yourself
in my heart's shoes -
wresting with
regret and sorrow
I failed her.

(Note - this is a post I wrote on my Heartprints of God Facebook page on May 13, 2014. God placed it in front of me again today - and upon hearing His voice  - "tell them" - here it is.)


Sunday, June 30, 2019

A God Thing~

hearing God's voice
is easy.

"Thou shalt not steal."

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God."

hearing God's voice
is not.

And really,
maybe it's not
the actual hearing
that is difficult.
Maybe it's knowing if
the voice we are hearing
is truly God's
that makes listening so tricky.

This morning,
as I was sitting
at my kitchen table
working on some photos
for my Heartprints of God facebook page,
I got an alert
on my phone
that I had a message.

The message was from
a former student of mine
who lives in another state -
who is now all grown up -
a husband
and a father.

The message was a Facebook link
to a live church service,
followed by these words:

I know you can't 
be here today,
but if you can watch
and say a prayer
for our children,
that would be awesome.
We are commissioning 
our kids today.
We should be after this song.

I clicked the link
and instantly
found myself
joining this precious family
in worship
and the commissioning service
of their young son and daughter.

After words of
Godly instruction and encouragement
from the pastor,
followed by words of
declaration and commitment
from all of the parents
participating in the commissioning service,
the pastor asked those
who were there today
representing these families,
to please stand
and reach their hands forward
as he prayed over
these young children
and their parents.

I stood up
right at my kitchen table
and reached out my hands
in the direction
of my computer screen
and this precious family.

As the pastor prayed,
tears of joy and thanksgiving
made their way down my cheeks.

To have had the honor
to know this man
as a child.

To have had the honor
to speak words of Jesus
into his heart
and into his life.

To see him now,
with children of his own,
desiring nothing more than
for his own son
and his own daughter
to know and love
the Jesus
he knows and loves.

To be the one
he would invite
to stand with them
in prayer
and as a witness -
what an honor.

Because you see,
six months before
my husband passed away,
my man and I
had sat at the funeral
of this student's father.

because you see,
six months after
my husband passed away,
my sister-in-law and I
had sat at the funeral
of this student's mother.

because you see,
earlier this year
in another message,
speaking about himself
and his two brothers,
this student had left
these words behind:
Thank you Stacy
for all you've done
in our lives.
You've helped us
grow into the men
we are today.

because you see,
just this past Mother's Day,
this student
left this comment
on a photo I had posted
of my own mother and me:
I've decided that 
you're now
my adopted mom.
You've given enough
lectures, scoldings, 
praises and encouragement
through my years
that most mothers 
give their own children.
Happy Mother's day from me
and all of your former children.
Love you.

Today wasn't simply about
and standing up for
and supporting this family
as a former teacher,
but. as. family.

And I tell you all of that
to tell you this:

When I went to bed last night,
I couldn't shake the feeling
that I should
stay home this weekend
and not attend church.

I kept hearing this
over and over and over
in my spirit,
and as I did,
I kept trying to figure out
if it was God's voice
directing me to stay home
or if it was mine -
choosing to be selfish,
choosing to be anti-social,
choosing me instead of choosing "Thee".

after much time in prayer,
I finally decided
for whatever reason,
this was indeed God's voice.

So, I obeyed.

I stayed home
and decided
to spend the morning
working on photos.

that's when the message came.

The very same message -
that -
if I had been attending church -
would have went
un-acted upon
until a couple hours later
when it would have been
too late.

hearing God's voice
is easy.
it is not.

Especially when
the voice we are hearing
seems to be contrary
to what we think
His voice should be saying.

"Stay home from church."

what God is teaching me -
(and maybe you, too)
is this:

God will ask us
to let go
of a good thing
so He can
exchange it with
a God thing.

There would have been
absolutely nothing wrong
with my attending church, -
that is definitely a good thing to do -
if I would have been there,
I would have missed
this very special God moment.

Looking back now
it's easy to see,
God didn't want me
to miss church,
He simply had
a different location in mind.

And I found myself,
once again
with tears in my eyes,
thanking God for
arranging it all
so I might be a part -
even if only via online.

And I found myself
once again down on bent knees,
praying earnestly for
ears that will always
hear His voice clearly,
a spirit that will always
discern His voice distinctly,
and a heart that will always
obey His voice completely.

My sheep
hear My voice,
and I know them,
and the follow Me.
~John 10:27

Speak, Lord.
Your servant is listening.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Real Deal~

My grandma,
born and raised
in the deep South,
was a spunky lady,
to say the least.

She had a dry, witty
sense of humor
and was famous
for her one-liners.

While her words
always brought a laugh,
they also revealed her wisdom.

Long after the laughter faded,
her words
resonated in my heart.

As a young, single woman
in my early twenties,
I often traveled by myself.

I thought nothing
of getting in my car
and driving seven hours North
to see my parents,
or ten hours East
to spend time with my sister.

My parents, however,
worried about my safety.
Time after time,
they cautioned me
of the dangers
of traveling alone.

One time,
this familiar
topic of conversation
came up
while we were visiting
my grandma.

"I don't know why
she insists
on traveling by herself,"
my mother said,
as I sat right beside her
on my Grandma's couch.

"I keep telling her
to get a man's hat
and place it
in her back window.
That way,
it would at least
look like a man
was traveling with her.
For all they know,
he could simply
be taking a nap
in the backseat!"

Without skipping a beat,
my Grandma leaned forward,
looked directly at me
and remarked,
"Forget about the hat, honey.
Get a man!"

Laughter spilled into the room.

Then Grandma continued.

"Who wants
a silly ole hat
when you can have
the real deal?!"

And of course,
for all practical purposes,
Grandma was right!

I understood
my mother's reasoning
and felt her love for me
in this odd request,
but I had to agree
with my Grandma.

What good would a hat do?

It was, after all, just a hat.

At a quick glance,
it might give
the appearance
that a man
was along for the ride,
but appearances and reality 
are two totally different things!

Could a hat
change a flat tire for me?

Could a hat
take the wheel
and drive for me
if I got tired
and needed a break
from the driver's seat?

Could a hat
protect me
from a would be assailant?

the hat was merely
for show
and would only provide
a false sense of security.

I didn't need a hat.
I needed a man!

As ridiculous as I found
my mother's idea to be,
I couldn't deny
the joke was on me
when it came to my spiritual life.

I had grown up
in a Christian home
and had attended church
from a young age.

I knew all about God,
the Bible,
and what it meant
to look like a Christian.

In fact,
anyone who spotted me
cruising through life
would have been sure
to notice my Bible,
my Christian lingo
and my Christian ways.

if they would have gotten
close enough
to peer into
the backseat of my heart,
they would have discovered
all these
were just for show.

I was traveling life alone.

I had religion,
but what I needed 
was the man, Christ Jesus.

It wasn't until
my earlier thirties
that I traded in
my religious facade
for a true, vibrant,
living and breathing
relationship with the Lord.

Through the power
of the Holy Spirit,
God became real to me
for the first time in my life.

Now, my Bible
is no longer on display
for all to see,
but instead,
it's words
are hidden in my heart,
guiding, leading and transforming me
little by little,
day by day.

The words I speak
are no longer spoken
to impress others
with my spirituality,
but rather
to impress upon others
the beauty and freedom
that can be found
in a relationship with Jesus.

I pray each day
God will take
the wheel of my life
and live
in and through me.

I am no longer satisfied
with religion.

I am no longer content
to live a life
"just for show",
and why should I be?

Think about it.  

Can religion
forgive my sins?

Can religion
create a new heart in me?

Can religion
live in and through me?

Can religion
feel my hurt,
understand my fears,
or speak to my heart?

No, only Jesus can.

Why would I want to settle 
for anything less 
than Jesus?
...and why should you?


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Rose-Colored Glasses~

Have you ever
seen yourself
in the behavior
of someone else?

everywhere I look,
through unexpected Stacy-sightings,
the Lord has been revealing to me,
the real me.

Minus a sugar coating
to sweeten each revelation,
these new insights
have been pretty hard to swallow.

It's easy for me
to fool myself
into thinking I am
something (or someone)
I'm not.

when I look at other people
and then compare my behavior
in light of theirs.

Sure, I'm hopping mad, 
but at least my temper 
isn't as bad as his!

Wow, I can't believe 
how critical she is. 
I would never judge 
someone else 
like that!

I hear you laughing.
You know exactly
what I'm talking about
because you, too,
have said or thought
the exact same thing!

We humans are funny creatures,
aren't we?

And yet,
there's nothing like
catching our reflection
in the actions of someone else
to steal the chuckle
right out of us!

Why is it
we have such
a hard time
seeing the real us?

Good or bad.
Positive or negative.

Those with a chip
on their shoulder
often see in themselves
qualities, gifts and talents
the rest of us
can't quite see,
while those
with a poor self-image
have trouble spotting that
which is so obvious
to everyone else.

I think it is because
we tend to look
at ourself and others
through human eyes.

But God,
He sees our heart.

And, it is the ugliness
in my heart
that has been popping up
in the least likely places.

I really shouldn't be surprised, though.

A few days ago,
after getting
an unexpected heart-revelation,
I decided to pray
the same prayer David prayed.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
~Psalms 139:23-24, NLT

The great I Am,
the Lover of my Soul,
the Spirit of Truth,
is He.

and often painfully,
He is revealing me ... to ME.

The real me.

Not my reputation,
but my character.

Not who I like to think I am,
but who I really am.

it hasn't been pretty.

it's exactly what I need.

Unless we come 
face to face 
with real us, 
we will never come 
face to face 
with our need for a Savior.

The closer I get to God,
the more I realize
just how wretched I am.
(You, too?)

The more I learn
of His spotless character,
the more I discover
the sinfulness and filthiness
of my own.
(You, too?)

The deeper I fall in love
with my Savior,
the more I humbly bow
before my God
and thank Him for
the gift of Jesus,
the gift of salvation,
the gift of redemption,
the gift of re-creation.

This means that anyone 
who belongs to Christ 
has become a new person.
The old life is gone; 
a new life has begun!
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT

but surely,
one revelation at a time,
God is remaking me
into His image.

At times it is
and down right humiliating,
not to mention,

I am learning
to let God search me
and try me,
and then,
to miraculously change me.

Upon Godly inspection,
I am definitely not 
who I thought I was.

But, hallelujah,
thanks to Godly sanctification,
I'm not who I used to be either!


Monday, June 17, 2019

The Seen and the Unseen~

I often think,
and have even went so far
as to tell some people,
if my husband
(who passed away three years ago)
was somehow able
to come back now,
he would take one quick look at me
and exclaim,
"Girl! What happened to you?"

To which I would reply -
"You! You leaving is what happened to me!"

Now three years later,
in so many respects
and is so many ways,
I have no doubt
I would be
almost unrecognizable
to the one
who knew me so well.

For starters -
I feel as though
I have aged
at least thirty years
in the last three.

Make no mistake about it.
Grieving is hard work.
It is taxing and exhausting -
and yes, spiritually.

Tears that fall uncontrollably.
Sleep that comes sporadically.
Reminders of loss that pop up unexpectedly.
Forward motion that happens hesitatingly
(and only by God's grace and strength -miraculously).

My hair, grayer.
My face, deeper wrinkled.
My stamina, weaker.
My breathing, more labored.
My eyes (I fear), a bit dimmer.

To be honest,
sometimes I
even look in the mirror
and ask myself,
"Girl?! What happened to you!?"

Grief definitely changes you.
Sorrow no doubt affects you.

And while my physical appearance
would definitely
catch my husband by surprise,
once he got over the shock
and spent even the tiniest
amount of time with me,
he would soon discover
I have changed in other dramatic ways, too.

A slowing down and soaking in,
a taking notice of, marveling at, and giving thanks for,
a deeper realization of what matters most,
a greater understanding of the brevity of life,
all interwoven and completely intermingled with
a dire urgency to make each moment count.

An intentionality and purposefulness in each "yes" or "no".
A uncompromisingly bold resolve to not
be swayed by the opinions of others,
be governed by the approval of man,
be sold-out to the system of this world.

A deeper, truer faith and an unswerving desire
to surrender my plans for God's,
to submit my will for God's,
to hold on if God says so,
to let go if God says so,
to trust all the way,
to obey all the way,
to serve, honor, please
and glorify
my God,
not half-way,
not two-thirds of the way,
not three-fourths of the way,
not even 99.9% of the way -

No. Matter. Who.
No. Matter. What.
No. Matter. Where.
No. Matter. When.
No. Matter. Why.
No. Matter. How.

To seek first His kingdom.

To walk by faith, not by sight.

To lean not on my own understanding
but in all my ways to acknowledge Him.

To be transformed by the renewing of my mind
so I won't be conformed to the ways of the world.

To desperately pant for God
the way a deer
desperately pants for water.

To desire His truth in my inward parts.

To worship my God in spirit and in truth.

To live a life worthy of the calling of Christ Jesus my Lord.

To die to self that His Spirit
might live in me, and through me, despite me.

Yes, if my man looked closer,
he would discover
soon enough,
that alongside
the obvious,
not to be missed,
can't help but be seen
physical "decay"
and wear and tear of grief,
there has also
risen up in me
a deeper spiritual strength
that cannot be missed.

A strength that
no doubt
was born out of my sorrow,
a direct result of my grief.

we do not lose heart.
Even though 
our outward man
is perishing,
yet the inward man
is being renewed
day by day.

For our light affliction,
which is but for a moment,
is working for us
a far more exceeding and eternal
weight of glory,
while we do not look
at the things
which are seen,
but at the things
which are not seen.
For the things which are seen
are temporary,
but the things which are not seen
are eternal.
~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

It's interesting,
how sorrow and strength
can be so interconnected.
How what feels
as though it will
completely break you,
if placed in the hands of God,
is what becomes
the very thing
that will make you -
and more humbly
desperate for God.

And, I often think,
and have even went so far
as to talk about it
with the Lord in prayer,
if my husband
was somehow able
to come back now,
he would take one quick look at me
and exclaim,
"Girl! What happened to you?"
but then,
then . . .
upon closer inspection . . .
he would take another look,
smile a smile uniquely his own,
and with the nod of his head, remark -
"I like it.
I do.
I like these changes a lot, Beautiful."

Me too, Handsome. Me, too.

I'll gladly take the unseen
(even if they come
at great cost to the seen)
any day,
and every time.

. . . being confident
of this very thing,
that He who has
begun a good work in you
will complete it
until the day of Jesus Christ.
~Philippians 1:6


Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Voice of My Father~

My father passed away
over fourteen years ago,
and yet, at times,
it seems as though
time has stood still
since I saw him last.

In my mind's eye,
I can see him still -
sitting out on the back porch,
legs crossed,
one leg resting atop one knee.

And of course,
those long legs of his,
cowboy boots.

One arm is resting on the arm rest,
while the other one,
bent at the elbow,
is providing his head
with a bit of rest, too.

While I vividly recall
his mannerisms and gentle ways,
it is the words he spoke to me
that I remember most.

I think this is because
he was a man of few words.

Even now,
I hear his voice
of instruction, guidance, humor and spunk.

In winter:
Don't forget to pack a sleeping bag
in the trunk of your car.

In summer:
If you get a flat tire,
make sure when you pull over
you aren't parking on tall, dry grass.
You wouldn't want to start a fire.
Oh....and watch for snakes.

In fall:
Isn't that the prettiest harvest moon
you have ever seen?
(It's easy to see
where my own
love for the moon
comes from.)

In spring:
Watch for snakes.
(Snakes seemed to be
on his mind a lot).
The weather is getting warm
and they'll be coming out.

In conversation in our home:
Talk nice.

When traveling:
Don't drive too fast.

After dinner:
How about warming us
a piece of that peach cobbler
and putting a little shot of ice cream on it?

When shopping:
Let's just pop in here for a minute
and see what they have.

When someone in our family was angry:
Why are you mad at me?
I didn't throw any rocks at your dog.

When referring to me:
How's Daddy's Darlin'?

It is these phrases, these words,
that now give me comfort,
keep me packing a sleeping bag
in my trunk
during the cold months of winter,
keep me watching out for snakes,
and smiling.

It is no different
with my Heavenly Father.

Every day, in my heart,
I hear his voice
speaking to me, too.

In relationships:
Love another
as I have loved you.

In trials:
Be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world.

In decision-making:
Acknowledge me
and I will direct your paths.

In my mistakes:
Confess your sins to me
and I will forgive you.

In my fears:
I didn't give you
a spirit of fear.
I gave you love,
power and a sound mind.

In my day-to-day life:
I am with you always.

I am so thankful
for my earthly father.
His wisdom and love
guide me still.

Yet, I am most thankful
for my Heavenly Father,
The Giver of all good gifts,
the One who gave me
the precious gift of my earthly father,
the One who knows me better
than I know myself.

It is HIS voice
that leads me into
the paths of righteousness.

It is HIS voice
that leads me to
my eternal home.

It is HIS voice
I want guiding me
each and every day.~

(Re-posting in honor of Father's Day and my Daddy's birthday, June 22.)


Thursday, June 13, 2019

All I Need~

I never knew 
what alone felt like 
until one hot August day.

Standing on the sidewalk
leading to my college dorm,
away from all that was familiar
and smack dab into
all that was foreign,
I knew.

My parents had made
the long trip with me.
Mile after mile,
hour after hour
we traveled
until we arrived
at the next chapter
of my life.

What seemed to take
forever to pack
was unloaded in minutes.

Tommy's Truck
{Photo Credit}
Now, my parents were leaving.

As I stood on the sidewalk,
watching my parents drive away,
tears fell without reservation.

But then,
through blurry eyes,
I saw the red of brake lights.

The truck headed
to the side of the road
and stopped.

Moments later,
my father stepped out
of the truck
and began walking
toward me.

As he did,
I walked to meet him,
happy for one more
moment together.

As we met,
he took my hand in his
and said,
"One friend, Stac.
(My Daddy always called me Stac.)
All you have to do
is make you one friend
and everything will be fine.

One friend.
That's all you need, Darlin'."

He smiled a smile
that was bittersweet,
then, he turned
and walked
back to the truck.

This time,
I watched the brake lights
disappear into the distance
and then,
out of sight.

My father's words,
stayed with me.

And as usual,
Daddy knew best.
One friend later,
"everything was fine".

One friend
made all the difference.

Now, years later,
I remember His words,
and I smile.

You see,
Daddy's darlin' has found
the ONE friend
that sticketh closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24)

His little girl
has found the ONE friend
who loves her enough
to die for her.

I've found THE ONE
who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life,
and everything is fine.

Yes...Daddy knew best.

This ONE friend,
is all I need.


Thursday, June 6, 2019

For His Name's Sake~

I don't tell you this to boast,
but to make a point.

When I was little,
I almost never got in trouble.
(At least not while I was
 outside the walls of our home.)

I never got sent to the Principal's office.
I never had a "run in with the law".
I was a good kid who always tried
to be on my best behavior.

Like I said,
I don't tell you this to boast,
but to make a point.

And, my point is this:
How I behaved reflected on my parents.

I knew what I did would either
bring them praise or....

I knew this
because my father
had told me so.

"Stac, (my daddy always called me Stac) 
wherever you go and whatever you do, 
remember this. 
You're a Mitchell. 

You're wearing my name. 

When you were born 
I proudly gave you my name 
as your own. 

Wear it proudly. 

Never do things 
that will bring shame to you, 
to me, to your mother, to your sisters 
or to our family name."

Now, I have a new name.
I have been adopted into a new family.
I am now a daughter
of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I now wear HIS name.

As a Christian, I, too,
have a responsibility
to be on "my best behavior".

Not to bring praise to me,
but to uphold the name of my Heavenly Father,
to live my life for His name's sake.

As a Christian, 
my behavior is directly interwoven 
with God's reputation.

Through reading God's Word
and the guiding of the Holy Spirit,
you and I have come to know
the true character of God.

He is merciful and just,
forgiving and kind,
faithful and true.

We know who God really is.

But sadly, not everyone does.

Your life may be the only Bible some people read.
 ~Author Unknown

When our behavior 
tarnishes God's reputation,
His true character is in jeopardy 
of never being seen 
by those around us.

When we call our self a Christian,
we are wearing Christ's name.

As our children, our neighbors and our co-workers
watch us living out our lives,
are they seeing Christ for who He really is?

As we
drive down the street,
shop at the local grocery store,
step into the movie theater,
cheer on our favorite team,
wear our favorite outfit,

are we helping others
to focus in on who God is


does what we do
make is difficult
for others to see God at all?

Are we bringing glory and honor
to His name,
or are we tarnishing His reputation
by our un-Christlike behavior?

What is your life telling others about your God?

What is mine?

Are you and I ruining God's reputation?

Or, are we living in such a way that the beauty of His character is
                         and oh, so very inviting?

Are we living our life for His name's sake?

Let your light so shine before men 
that they may see your moral excellence 
and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds 
and recognize and honor and praise and glorify 
your Father Who is in heaven. 
~Matthew 5:16, The Amplified Bible


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Oh, So Extravagantly!

From where I sit,
on an iron chair
in our front yard,
I see it.

Extravagant love,
right here on display,
for all to see.

chances are,
anyone else sharing my view
would simply see
one Texas red yucca plant
after another
after another
after another
after another -
lining both sides of our yard.

So many so
that to an unknowing eye
looking on,
it might appear as though
there are too many;
that one or two
would be sufficient.

But, that's not how he loved.

"Look, Handsome!
Aren't they beautiful?
Oh! I love them!
Such a beautiful salmon color
and just look how they sway in the breeze!"

Joining my man
on a trip to the post office,
we were driving through
the mail drop off lane
when I spotted some
(you guessed it)
texas red yucca plants
in full bloom.

My man looked at me
and smiled,
and then off we went
to take care of the next item
on our "to do" list.

It wasn't until the following year,
when all these tiny little yucca plants
started poking through the gravel
along the rock dividers
lining our yard,
that I realized
how very well my husband listened
and how very deep my man loved.

Now, years later,
on a day like today,
when our yuccas are in full bloom,
all I see -
even beyond their magnificent beauty,
is the extravagant love of my man.

Would I have been happy
with simply one or two?
But, love -
true love -
always goes above and beyond.

Just look at national cemeteries
on a day like Memorial Day,
where here in America
we remember those
who gave their lives
that we might enjoy ours.

Just look at Calvary,
on a day like Good Friday -
and every single moment
of every other day -
where the world over
we see the
width and length
and depth and height
of our Savior's love.
extravagantly on display.

true love
is nothing short of

The woman with the alabaster box,
on bent knees,
washing Jesus' feet
not only with her hair,
but with her tears.

Paul, a self-proclaimed slave of the gospel,
thanking God
and exuberantly rejoicing
that even in a jail cell,
the good news of Christ
is being proclaimed.

Christians the world over
persecuted and killed
for standing out
and standing up
for the One
who gave all for them.

This is love.

Above and beyond.



Lord, teach me to love.
Not just a little.
Not just a lot.
Oh, so extravagantly!

Lord, help me be willing
to love with no limits,
to love with no restrictions,
to love with no bounds.

Because really,
is anything less,
truly love?


Monday, May 20, 2019

When We Choose To Not~

I don't know why
(well, I do know why -
it was raw, messy,
and took absolutely
everything out of me)
when I was little
and my stomach
would feel all out of sorts,
I knew the cure
that would end all of my discomfort
was simply to
(yes - I know)
throw up,
but I did everything within my power
to not.

To not have to deal with that.
To not have to go through that.
To not do the one thing
I really needed to do.

"You just need to get
whatever it is
that doesn't belong
in your body

Words from my mom every time
I found myself in this situation.
And, of course, she was right.
Once I finally did,
I always felt so much better.

Throwing up -
as uncomfortable and as messy as it is,
is simply the body's way of
ridding itself of something -
that left inside the body
has the potential to cause sickness or even death.

And as uncomfortable as
throwing up is -
(even writing about it is somewhat uncomfortable)
there is a blessing to be found at the end of it.

Which in a very round about way
leads me to the last several weeks,
this post,
and this question:

When it comes to spiritual toxins -
like bitterness and unforgiveness,
why aren't we willing
to go through the messiness
of purging these from our heart?

Why do we allow
the very things that
steal our joy,
rob us of our relationships,
and create havoc in our lives
to stay?

And again,
I know why -
because it's raw, messy,
and can take everything out of us -
mainly our pride,
our need to be right and in control,
our desire to win at all cost.

Don't be too quick to overlook
the very last word
of that very last sentence -
with residual bitterness and unforgiveness
there is definitely a cost.

A high cost.

For us.
For the offended
and the offending party.
And yes,
even for innocent bystanders
caught in the crossfire.

The sooner
we purge these toxic feelings
from our heart
and our life,
the better.

When we choose
to not 
rid ourselves of these,
left inside,
these spiritual toxins
have the potential
to not 
only bring death
to our relationships with others,
and possibly even
sickness and death
to our physical body,
but worse of all,
death to our relationship with God.

We know the answer
to this problem.

We know the cure
for this "disease of sin".

And, I wonder -
why do we choose
to not humble ourselves,
to not admit our faults,
to not share our grievances,
to not seek for and if need be
to not offer forgiveness?

Why do we choose
to not
whatever it takes
to purge our heart?

And the greatest question of all:
Can we really afford to not?


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Have You Noticed?

It's May.
So, it's not surprising,
as I scroll through my Facebook feed,
I see them everywhere.

Moments of time
captured, recorded, and measured
in side by side
"first day of" and "last day of"
school photos.

I think it's safe to say,
without this visible documentation -
the dramatic changes that take place -
even in just the span of ten short months -
might be overlooked,
completely missed,
not truly taken notice of.

Last week,
on two separate occasions,
(both in the aisle of a grocery store,
oddly enough)
brief conversations with friends -
who I hadn't seen
since the first few weeks following
the death of my husband -
became a Polaroid-like moment for me.

"Oh Stacy! You look good -
not so very tired like
the last time I saw you.
You do, you look fantastic."

"It's so good to see you, Stacy.
You're looking good - really good.
My heart was so worried about you.
It's good to see the joy on your face."

It was in their
"before" and "after"
words of me,
I discovered two things:

1. I didn't know then,
I was walking around
looking so very tired and joyless.

2. I didn't know now,
that I wasn't.

To me, I was just me -
making my way through life.

One day rolls into the next
that rolls into a week,
a month,
a year,
and ultimately,
our life.

We aren't often aware
of the subtle, gradual,
yet often life changing ways
are lives are changing
right before our very eyes.

The one pound of weight gained
again and again
that now has us twenty pounds overweight.

The one piece of paper stacked
again and again
that now has us buried in clutter.

The one night of no sleep
again and again
that now has us looking well beyond our years.

That one excuse of "I'll do it tomorrow"
again and again
that now has us still so very far
from reaching our goal.

What would our lives look like
if we continued to portray them
in before and after photos
long after we don our cap and gown
and walk down the aisle,
diploma in hand?

Would we live our lives differently,
more intentionally,
if at the end of each year,
we looked back
and took an honest inventory
of how our life has changed
over the course of twelve months?

Would documenting our progress
or lack of it,
spur us on,
shake us into action,
find us applauding and celebrating,
or shaking our head?

Life is happening
whether we are
aware of it,
or not.

And maybe, just maybe,
if we were
more aware of it,
we'd be getting
a whole lot more living
out of our life.

Just a Saturday afternoon thought.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Not-To-Be-Missed Blessing~

One of the greatest blessings
of walking through a hard season,
(because yes, blessings are here, too -
precious, not-to-be-missed, blessings)
is the blessing of knowing.

That moment when -
in the midst of
heartache and sorrow,
trials and tribulations,
upheaval and change,
betrayals and battles,
at the very core of your being
you come to know God.

I think we would all agree,
it's one thing to know about someone,
but it's something entirely different,
to actually know someone.

And all to often,
the knowing -
the true knowing of God,
happens in the very places
we wish wouldn't happen
at all.

When all is well,
when all is rolling merrily along,
when life is happy and good,
we see God's hand -
we acknowledge His goodness -
(I hope),
we recognize His presence in our life -
(at least we should).

But oftentimes,
in these times of good,
our knowing of God
is merely in relation to
what He is doing in our life,
how He is providing in our life,
who He is "serving as" in our life.

Just look at David.

Just look at Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.
~Psalm 23:1-3

Here, in green pastures,
surrounded by still waters
and a time of restoration,
life is good.
And it is here,
in these verses,
where David refers to God as his shepherd.

Notice the psalmist is focusing on
what God is doing,
how God is providing,
and who God is "serving as" - his shepherd.

Notice, too, in these verses
David is referring to God as "He".

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness.

And as much
as we would love to stay right here,
we all know -
life isn't always
green pastures and still waters,
and so,
the psalmist continues:

Yea, though I walk
through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup runs over.
~Psalm 23:4-5

And it is here,
in the places we'd
rather not go,
rather not find ourselves,
rather not be, -
the valley of the shadow of death,
and in the presence of our enemies,
that we come
to truly know God.

It is in these places of life,
(if we allow these places
to draw us in close to our God)
that we go from noticing
what God is doing,
how God is providing,
who God is serving as -
and we begin to know
the very presence of God.

No longer is David
referring to God as "He".
No - in these verses,
God has become
a very personal "You"
who is
intimately and personally
caring for the psalmist.

You are with me.
Your rod and Your staff comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil.

Yes, indeed.

One of the greatest blessings
of walking through a hard season,
is the blessing of knowing.

That moment when -
in the midst of
heartache and sorrow,
trials and tribulations,
upheaval and change,
betrayals and battles,
at the very core of your being
you come to truly know God.


Friday, May 10, 2019

This, I Know This~

There's not a whole lot
I know a whole lot about.

But, this -
I know this.
In fact,
I consider myself an expert.

I know the heart of a mother.

As a teacher and administrator
for eighteen years
and a Director of Children's Ministries
for seven,
I have met and known
an incredible amount of mothers.

From sitting with our knees
tucked up under our chins
in chairs designed for those
much younger than us,
to standing outside my classroom door,
to late night phone calls,
to notes left behind on my desk,
to prayer requests and prayers
prayed together on bent knees, -
I have been face to face with
the heart of a mother.

From mothers who
never finished high school and
felt so ill-equipped to be a mother,
to mothers who
had diplomas and degrees and yet,
felt so ill-equipped to be a mother.

From mothers who
with humble eyes bent low
and hands outstretched,
asking to borrow money from me
until the next pay check,
wondered how not having enough was
shaping their child,
to mothers who
having "more than enough"
wondered how their affluence
and easy life style was
shaping theirs.

From mothers who
were divorced and broken
trying to find their identity
while helping their children find theirs,
to mothers who
were stay-at-home-housewives
trying to find their identity
while helping their children find theirs.

From mothers who
wanting only the best for their children
felt over-controlling, outspoken, and out of line,
to mothers who
wanting only the best for their children
felt too-passive, easily manipulated, and out of control.

From mothers who
had lost a child
through miscarriage, death, or divorce
feared the future with one less,
to mothers who
expecting yet again
feared the future with one more.

The heart of a mother.

It is giving, sacrificing, loving, caring, mending, nurturing, correcting, listening, instructing, molding, yearning, desiring, lamenting, pondering, inspiring, empowering, encouraging, teaching, releasing, embracing, refining, defining, determining, questioning, believing, hoping, willing, and unrelenting,

In the heart of a mother,
I have seen the heart of our Heavenly Father.

A heart that will stop at nothing
for the good of her children.

A heart that will give its all
so that all might be given
to her son and to her daughter.

A heart that
even if it costs its own
will give and give and give.

Yes, I have seen and known
the heart of a mother.

And, It. Is. Beautiful.

If the heart of a mere human,
flawed and imperfect as we are
can be this beautiful,
how beautiful still is the heart
of our Heavenly Father?

I'm not there yet,
because the vastness of His heart
is unfathomable, incomprehensible,
without boundaries or end.

But the more I
sit with my knees tucked up
under my chin at His feet,
or stand in His presence
with hands lifted high,
or kneel before Him
with humble eyes turned down
and outstretched hands,
the more I come face to face
with His heart.

No, I'm not an expert
on the heart of our Heavenly Father,
but from the glimpses I have seen,
It. Is. Beautiful.

It. Is. Beautiful. Beyond. That. Of. A. Heart. Of. A. Mother.

It. Is. Beautiful. Beyond. Description.

It. Is. Beautiful. That. We. Can't. Even. Imagine.

We see bits and pieces of it
in the heart of a mother.

We see the height and depth of it
on Calvary's cross.

But, one day -
one day we will see it
face to face.

There's not a whole lot
I know a whole lot about.

But this-
I know this.

I can't wait to spend eternity
becoming an expert on
the heart of our Heavenly Father.

{My beautiful sister and sweet nephew}


Monday, May 6, 2019

Thunderous Applause~

Have you ever done it?

Admittedly, (and ashamedly)
I have.

Sometimes, (dare I say most times)
it happens before I even realize
it is happening.

The way you drive through a stoplight,
only to get to the other side
of the intersection
and find yourself asking
"Did I even look at that light?"

The way you grab your jacket,
take your last sip of coffee,
latch onto your keys
and head out the door in the morning,
only to get in your car,
drive half way to work
and find yourself asking
"Did I remember to lock the front door?"

It's not a case of being forgetful,
it's more a case of not being mindful.

We get caught up in the moment
and our natural self
goes on autopilot,
reacting and doing
without us so much as thinking.

And while driving through an intersection
without being mindful of the light is not good,
and while not remembering
whether or not you locked your front door
might keep you wondering about it all day,
there is a kind of natural reaction
that is far worse than either of these.

A compliment is given.

An award is handed out.

A round of applause is heard.

A pat on the back is felt.

And . . . we
soak it in,
and stand up tall.

Without even thinking,
without being mindful at all,
we takes these forms of praise
and we claim them as our own.

And, we forget what Mark Twain
so quaintly and boldly reminded us of:

"Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; 
but it is lightning that does the work."
~Mark Twain

Before we even realize it is happening,
without being mindful of it at all,
self goes on autopilot,
and we
steal God's thunder.

Because you see,
any good thing in me,
(and dare I say)
any good thing in you -
any accomplishment,
any success,
any victory,
anything at all
that causes those around us to
stand up and take notice
the way thunder catches our ear -
is simply a direct result of The Light,
His light,
working in us.

It is not us,
but God who deserves the praise.

It is not us,
but God who deserves thunderous applause.

When people in our life,
somehow miss "His lightning",
and only notice the
reverberating sound
of His mighty work in our life,
it is our first and only duty
to direct their eyes to Him.

Only, we often don't.

Caught up in the flattery,
knee deep in compliments,
riding high on the accolades,
we say "thank you"
and allow His thunder,
(a direct result
of the work of His hands
lighting up
our gifts,
our talents,
our less than perfect efforts and attempts)
now mistaken as ours,
to shine in the spotlight.

We may be the one heard,
the one noticed,
the one who others see,
it is our
and our only appropriate response
to point all the applause
back to our God,

we might look good,
and we might seem impressive,
but it is God who does the work.

May we never forget
to give Him the glory.

May we ever be mindful
to sing His praise
in thunderous applause.

(Sharing again from January, 2016)


Thursday, May 2, 2019


As I hung up the phone,
I could hardly breathe.
The news was simply too
wonderful to contain.
In fact, I felt as though
my heart would burst
with joy and excitement.

My husband and I
were going to have a baby . . .
a dream come true.

This wasn't the first time
I had heard these words
from the doctor
or experienced this overwhelming
flood of emotion.

Twice before,
I had been able
to surprise my man
with this same, wonderful news.

Twice before,
I had been able
to watch
as his face lit up,
and his eyes sparkled.

We both loved children,
and having one of our own
was a dream we both shared
and talked about often.

Twice before,
I had also known the
deep sorrow and silent grief
that rips your heart apart
when you lose that little life
before you've even
had a chance to meet
your son or daughter face to face,
or embrace and tenderly kiss them.

This time was going
to be different, though.
I just knew it.

I could feel hope
running all through out my body,
from my head to my toes!

I had lost my father
eight months earlier,
and I felt as though
this was God's way
of bringing new life
back into mine
and joy back into my heart.

I could hardly wait
to tell my husband
and the rest of the world.

Even though my faith was strong,
and my hope sure,
I have to admit,
there were moments when
I would start to worry
about losing this precious little one, too.

When those moments came, however,
God was always faithful
to send a reminder
to keep me hoping.

Like the time
I was sitting
in a hospital waiting room,
waiting to have some
routine blood work done.

I started to feel anxious,
but before I had a chance
to dwell on these feelings,
a beautiful little girl,
about three years old,
came and sat down
right next to me.
As she did,
she placed her arm
on top of my arm
resting on the arm of the chair
between us.

We talked and laughed
and had the best time.
After a few minutes,
I asked her
what her name was.

"Esperanza," she replied.

"What a beautiful name.
Your name means HOPE
in English, doesn't it?"

She just smiled,
but her mother nodded and said,
"Yes. Yes it does."

I knew this because
Esperanza was the "girl" name
I had picked out
for this new little one.

Hadassah Esperanza Sanchez

Esperanza - Hope,
because all through out this pregnancy,
God had filled my heart
with hope.

Upon hearing her name,
instantly my fear vanished
and hope ruled my heart.
God was with me and everything
was going to be just fine.

Weeks flew by and soon,
at my six weeks Dr. visit,
I was able to not only see
my little one,
bu to hear the
beating of its tiny heart.

"Your baby has a strong heartbeat.
Everything looks and sounds terrific!"

Still, as the days went on,
fear tried desperately
to steal my joy.
With each moment of fear, though,
God was faithful to send me
a hope-filled moment
to hold on to.

Like the time I was driving
home from work
and caught myself once again
fearful of facing yet another miscarriage,
yet another heartbreak.
Turning a corner,
a sign at a church
beckoned for my attention.

for all the world to see,
(or at least those driving
down this street)
were God's words of hope.

Now the God of hope
fill you with all 
joy and peace in believing,
that ye may abound in hope,
through the power of the Holy Ghost.
~Romans 15:13

I instantly pulled over
to the side of the road,
found a pen and paper,
and copied down
this powerful word from God.

I decided, then and there,
to commit this particular verse
to memory.
The next time Satan tried
to bring doubt or fear
to my heart or my mind,
I would hold up
my shield of faith
and quench his fiery dart
by boldly proclaiming
the hope in my heart.

Weeks turned into months -
three to be exact.
Then, my hope died,
right along with the death
of the tiny life
I had carried inside me.

I was devastated.

This time was suppose
to be different.

How could this be happening again,
especially after God
had been so deliberate
in His attempts
to encourage me
to keep hoping,
to keep believing?

I felt totally and completely numb.

To be totally honest,
I felt as though
God had been teasing me.

He knows the
end from the beginning.
And, He knew this pregnancy
was going to end
just like the two before it.
And yet,
He kept dangling hope
out there in front of me.

My numbness soon turned
to anger and bitterness.

Time went by
and I struggled
to keep my relationship
with the Lord
vibrant and strong.
I had walked with the Lord
long enough to know
His true character:
all love, all mercy, all wisdom,
all the time.

I knew God loved me
and only wanted the best for me.
I knew He was always
working all things for good
and for His glory.
I knew what Satan
meant for harm,
He could and would
use for my good.

My head knew all of this,
but my heart,
oh my heart.
It felt betrayed.
It had dared to hope.

Then one night,
as I was reading in Psalms,
God, in His tenderness,
revealed to me
the true substance of the hope
He kept placing in my heart
during those three months.

And I suddenly realized
my hope
had been completely misplaced.

All that time,
I had been placing my hope
in the life I carried,
not in the One
who was carrying me.

God did know
how this pregnancy would end.
He knew my heart
would once again
be broken into a million pieces.
He knew all of this,
and because He did,
He was preparing me
for this loss
by placing seeds of hope
into my heart.

Not hope in my baby,
but hope in HIM.

Tears filled my eyes,
once again,
as I found myself
on my knees
thanking my God
for being
all loving, all merciful, all wise,
all the time.

Over and over again
in the Bible,
we find verse after verse
leading us to the only one
we can truly
place our hope in.

Be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen your heart,
all ye that
hope in the LORD.
~Psalm 31:24

And now, Lord,
what do I wait for?
my hope is in You.
~Psalm 39:7

Happy is he that hath
the God of Jacob
for his help,
whose hope is in 
the LORD his God.
~Psalm 146:5

Blessed is the man
that trusts in the LORD,
and whose hope
the LORD is.
~Jeremiah 17:7

Now, years later,
I would love
to be able to tell you
my heart no longer feels
the pain of these losses,
but that wouldn't be true.

Not a day goes by
that I don't feel the hurt.

Yet, through the hurt,
I have chosen
to keep placing my hope
in my God.

As I allow
the God of hope
to fill me
with all joy and peace in believing,
I abound with hope,
through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever been
disappointed by God?

Have you ever felt as though
He dangled hope in front of you
only to lead you to heartache?

If so,
I encourage you
to take a closer look.

Could it be,
like me,
your hope was misplaced?

The world and all that is in it
will let us down,
abandon us,
and leave us brokenhearted,
but our God -
who is
all love, all mercy, all wise,
all the time, -
never will.

Put your hope in Him
and I guarantee,
you won't be disappointed.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

All. Over. Again.~

What started out as
"a little something for the birds"
has now morphed into
a whole lot of something for me.

"I think I'll pick up a little something for the birds,"
my husband had said one day.
"With the winter months here,
let's be God's way of feeding them."
With a wink and a smile,
he was out the door.

His little something turned out to be bird seed.

And while his choice of seed
must have been delicious,
we all know,
besides being a tasty menu item for birds,
seeds are also amazing encapsulations
of potential new life.

Spring has proven this to be true,
as now,
smack dab in the center of our yard,
a not-my-kind-of-grass
has started to make its presence known.

Here, there, and even over there,
this unwanted, unwelcome grass is sprouting up.

Not wanting this grass
to take over the entire yard,
I found myself
wrestling back and forth with myself
about what to do.

"Just look at it.
It's everywhere!
What good is pulling it out going to do?"

"Yes, that's true.
But, are you content
to live with this grass,
day in and day out?
Is this what you want
in your backyard?"

"But, Self -
take a good hard look!
Do you know how hard
it's going to be
to pull out each clump
of this new grass?
C'mon! It's going to be
nearly impossible.
And besides,
for each one you pull,
who knows how many new shoots
are just waiting
for the opportunity
to pop up!"

"I know. I know.
It's not going to be easy.
But, honestly, I
don't think living with it
is an option.
I don't want this grass in my yard."

Finally, (and thankfully)
the strong-willed side of me
outweighed the lazy side of me,
and the decision was made
to remove this grass immediately.

My plan of action -
soak this area of the yard,
and then the following morning,
one clump at a time,
pull these babies up by their roots.

Today was the following morning.

As I sat on the patio,
drinking my morning coffee,
e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y comfortable and content,
I gazed out at the unsightly grass awaiting me.

And, I realized again
what we often fail to remember
and what we often tend to forget:
Sometimes a decision will need to be made
over and over and over again,
if we are to reap the desired results.

In order to get myself
up out of my chair
and out into the yard,
I had to decide
to tackle this project
all. over. again.

And, because I only made a small dent
in this ever-increasing grass population,
I will need to make this same decision
tomorrow morning,
and the morning after that,
and many, many mornings after that,
all summer long.

It is this need to re-decide
and re-commit each day
that has me pondering anew
these words of Jesus:

But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say,  "There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!"

Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?"
~Luke 14:28-31

Before we start,
we have to count the cost.
Before we start
we have to decide if we are willing
to start again tomorrow,
and the day after that,
and the day after that.

Do we have what it takes to finish?

Starting is only profitable 
if we follow through to finishing.

And, starting isn't just
a one time deal.
The kind of starting
that leads to the finish line
is a kind of starting
that starts again each day.

It's the kind of starting
needed not only for
ridding my yard of unwanted grass,
but also for
completing a degree,
paying off a loan,
losing the extra weight,
breaking free from the addiction,
reaching retirement,
raising a child,
making it to "til death do us part".

It's also the kind of starting needed
to be a disciple of Christ.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, 
you cannot be my disciple. 
But don't begin until you count the cost.
~Luke 14:26-28

Every moment,
of every day,
we have to decide
all. over. again.
to follow our Savior.

It's the kind of starting needed
(with the precious, ever-present help of His Spirit)
to walk away from temptation,
to overcome evil with good,
to do unto others as we would have them do unto us,
to be salt and light,
to face persecution,
to take up our cross and follow Him,
to run the race before us, finish, and finish well.

Relying on God has to begin 
all over again every day 
as if nothing had yet been done.
~C. S. Lewis

It's not enough to decide to start.
We have to keep deciding
all. over. again.
until we finish.

(This same grass showing up in my yard again this Spring 😩
has me remembering this post from April 2017.
I hope you don't mind me sharing it again.)