Really? That’s Where You’re Sending Me?

I didn’t get it. The scripture had resonated. I had written it on a note card and tucked it up on the mirror I used each morning. I read it over and over. My heart answered: “Here I am Lord send me, I will answer the call, I will go, just show me where!’’ Then, I spent years asking God to show me what he wanted, where I should go. The answer stared me in the face every morning as I got up to go to work but I didn’t get it! God was sending me out into the workplace to be his witness, to be his hands and feet.

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:9 NLT

I’m retired now, I don’t get up every morning and go out into the world. I don’t have the same encounters with people who can see my integrity, or lack of, every day. I no longer encounter classes or auditoriums full of students on a nearly weekly basis. The sheer numbers of people I had the opportunity to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus are in my past.

Don’t get me wrong, a great deal of prayer went into my decision to retire. And, although much of my time is spent alone in this life of a writer, I still go out into the world in intentional ways but I’ve changed! Now, I do get it! I know I’m the hands and feet of Jesus as I visit a local grade school each week to help a young teacher friend with fourth graders. And, I know that I’m the one called to encourage my Tuesday ladies as they struggle in a sometimes difficult workplace. I listen and love the members of my exercise classes and we speak of things of real importance rather than superficial pleasantries.

Our workplaces are our mission fields. It's where we “go into the world”. #womenatwork Click To Tweet

I also know that God has asked me to tell you that I was wrong! Our workplaces are our mission fields. It’s where we “go into the world”. We need to drive or walk or fly to work fully aware that we have been called to go and walk side-by-side with our coworkers, our customers, our clients, our students and our patients. To be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I hope, unlike me, you get it! Where ever you work, whoever you see daily, those are the ones you are called to serve and the place God sends you out to work is precisely the place you are called to.

The beauty is that we don’t have to get it to be where God wants us. God is perfectly capable of placing you in the right spot whether you get it or not. Unfortunately, even though you may not recognize your mission, the enemy does. The more effective you are the harder he will work to undermine the mission. Our commute should be fueled with preparation to go into the world and fight the battles that dilute our witness, that undermine our integrity and fail to offer the light that we are called to carry into the world.

God is perfectly capable of placing you in the right spot whether you get it or not. #womenatwork Click To Tweet

So here’s my question for you today. What do you need to help you as you face your daily mission field? Do you need a prayer warrior? Just ask and I’ll pray for you by name. Put it in the comments below or send me a private note. Do you need a daily encouragement as you drive to work? Or, is there something else you need. I’d really like to know!


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Stolen Identity

It all started with a phone call. As the conversation began to unfold I realized that something was not right. I quickly hung up and did a bit of research, my identity had been stolen! It was not my financial identity, but my medical identity. Someone had impersonated me, using my medical history to obtain drugs. I went through a series of emotions, shock, violation, anger, determination. The feelings I experienced are normal when someone steals from us.

We hear of someone who has had their financial identity stollen fairly often. When I filed the police report, they told me that even in my small community there are several reports a day. But, that evening as I was processing the events of the day, it hit me, our spiritual identity is stolen too.

Spiritual identity, you ask? Well, yes! It happens every day to someone. We listen to the voice that says you are worthless, you are not worthy, you are guilty. But the truth is that once we belong to Christ we have a new identity, we are new creations.

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

We have been purchased by Christ’s blood and we have a new identity, but we have a hard time shifting gears in our head. We keep thinking we are that same old person, the one we were before Christ. Intellectually we say, I’m saved, but our hearts do not seem convinced. Our actions do not reflect our salvation. Our thought patterns cling to the patterns of that old person before salvation. Simply speaking, we let our identity as daughters of God be stolen!

Simply speaking, we let our identity as daughters of God be stolen! Click To Tweet

So here’s my challenge, if you choose to accept…let this truth shock you! Then get angry about it and replace that anger with a new determination to think and live and act like the redeemed woman of God that you are. Fight for your identity in Christ!


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Who Do I Follow?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24 NLT

The news in my little corner of the world over the last week has highlighted for me the importance of our choices. We concentrate on the big choices, those we consider for days or months. Those we see as life-changing. But, I’ve come to see that what seems small defines us. That it is the one tiny act of kindness, love or self-sacrifice that changes lives. It is the adding up of all those small, seemingly insignificant choices that make a life.

It is the adding up of all those small, seemingly insignificant choices that make a life. Click To Tweet

I see a line of strangers who, in an instant, joined hands in the ocean to form a literal lifeline for a drowning family in Florida. No time to consider. Just grab a hand and become a nameless, faceless individual in a long line of others who offer life. I was proud of my fellow man, I thought, that is what we should all do, just jump in and save a life. Of course, I would do that. Of course!

Then, in my news feed, the driver who hit a bicycle rider on a road not far from home. In an instant, the driver decided to swerve into a bicycle rider. After hitting the rider he sped away. As I read the comments on Facebook I saw anger and selfishness from dozens of individuals. Many comments could be summed up as “if you are in my way you are in the wrong and you deserve whatever happens for inconveniencing me.” I am shocked! I am saddened. I am convicted. How many times have I considered myself and wish to brush away any roadblock, even if it’s another life?

All those small choices we make are really an indicator of who we are and who we serve. I’m coming to the conclusion that the only real decision we must often make is will I serve God or will I serve myself? Christ reminds us that serving God means to deny ourselves. And that is not our natural reaction in many situations. Christ’s call to take up our cross follow him never lets us do as we please.

All those small choices we make are really an indicator of who we are and who we serve. Click To Tweet

The Tuesday ladies and I were talking about this last night. How it seems easier to serve God by doing the one “Big Thing”. We want to excuse those small, daily, inconvenient choices that are set before us. We read in James 4:17 that it is a sin to know what we ought to do and not do it. And sure, we believe this! After all, it’s written in God’s word. But do our lives reflect that belief?  Ummmm, we all hung our heads a bit. We challenged one another to work harder on this. And so I challenge you now, as you make all those small daily decisions, who will you serve? Will you serve the Lord, or will you serve yourself? Attitudes are not excused any more than actions. When our world revolves around us, it does not revolve around Christ.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NLT


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Five Reasons Forgiveness Leads to Freedom

Forgiveness is hard. Most of the time I don’t want to forgive. I’ve been hurt, I’m sad or angry or maybe even afraid. My brain screams, don’t let them get away with this, fight back! But experience tells me otherwise. Faith demands a different response.

1. If I don’t forgive, my faith is weak. We believe the offender should pay, and if we forgive, then payment will not happen. The offender will just do it again. Newsflash! If a penalty is due, the offender will pay. You many not see it, but it will happen. God promises us He will be our defender. Don’t let your faith be weakened by relying on yourself rather than your God.

I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. Exodus 34:7 (NLT)

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. Proverbs 20:22 (NLT)

2. By not forgiving, I weaken, rather than growing stronger. Wrestling with yourself and your attitudes produces growth. Wrestling with the ‘offender’ just offers another opportunity for hurt. It wears you out. The only growth you experience is growing more exhausted.

Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! Proverbs 12:20 (NLT)

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11(NLT)

If I don’t forgive. I can’t heal. Open wounds will fester. Click To Tweet

3. If I don’t forgive I can’t have a healthy relationship. In fact, the damage done to us by holding on will often damage other relationships as well. In our mind’s eye, we have walled off the one who hurt us. We aren’t going to let them do it again. In reality, you can’t wall off another person, they just keep moving away. The only way you can build a wall is to wall in the cooperative, and girlfriend if we are bent on building a wall that means walling off ourselves. When we isolate ourselves, all our relationships suffer.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)

4. If we don’t forgive, eventually, we will regret it. Our lives will revolve around the hurt we’re continuing to nurse. It becomes a focal point in life. That’s a sad life to live. We give the offender the power to continue to attack us over and over. Break free! Forgive!

And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11(NLT)

5. I did not deserve forgiveness, but I got it anyway. So I have no right to think that forgiveness is only for the worthy. We are commanded to forgive. God does not do this to punish us further, he does this to set us free!

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 13-14 (NLT)

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Col 3:13 (NLT)

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86: 5 (NLT)

Girlfriend, we have many good reasons to forgive. Forgiveness is a gift. God not only gives us the gift of forgiveness but He gives us the gift of being able to forgive no matter how badly we have been hurt. People are watching. Forgiving freely is not common. The ability to offer forgiveness proclaims our faith and gives us a life that is free of the burden of anger and resentment. This my friends makes our faith most attractive. Is there anyone you need to forgive today?

God not only gives us the gift of forgiveness but He gives us the gift of being able to forgive. Click To Tweet


Cutting Deep

I got up early this morning and went out to prune my rosebushes. I plant the southern standard, knock out roses. They are hardy. They bloom and rebloom all summer. However, as the summer wears on they get more and more stingy with the blooms, unless you prune them! And one hard truth I’ve learned over the years is that the harder you prune the better they look and the prettier they bloom. Now, I’m not one to cut mine back to the stump every spring, but I do prune pretty hard before they bloom, then as they begin to become crowded with a mix of dying blossoms and new shoots I have to force myself to cut off new shoots. I have to cut back hard if I want them to remain shapely and bloom gloriously all summer.

You know where this is going don’t you? God tells us that those he loves, he disciplines.

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:5-8 NLT

In John 15:1-2 he says:

“My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.“ (NLT)

God is well aware of the lesson of deep pruning and he’s not afraid to cut out all the rot. Click To Tweet

Pruning can be painful! I am not talking about that thorn that poked my thumb kind of pain, I’m talking about deep heartache and many tears. God is well aware of the lesson of deep pruning and he’s not afraid to cut out all the rot and the non-productive. God loves us so much that he is not going to be content with a relationship where he’s all warm and fuzzy and protects us from all pain. But that’s what we often ask isn’t it? When was the last time you welcomed pruning? I know I’m not begging for it, but I’m trying to learn the lesson that when it comes, and it will, I need to lean in rather than run. I need to trust the pruner. After all, if there’s something growing in me that isn’t good for me I want it removed down to the root, to a place where it won’t  grow back.

I need to trust the pruner. Click To Tweet

If you are in a season of pruning, I know it’s hard. But cling to the pruner who waits right beside you through the bleeding and the healing season. Through all the tears and begging for it to just ‘go away’. Trust the love my sister. Your life can bloom with a beauty that puts my rosebush to shame. Don’t choose to get gangly and live a barely fruitful life! Quit wasting time and effort on empty things and fill your life with the truly beautiful!


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My Feet Hurt!

I am that girl, the one who always loved beautiful shoes. I notice shoes, and can guarantee that I will notice yours. Did you know that the University of Kansas even did a study on what shoes say about you?

Well, today, I’m wearing a pair of decidedly unpretty shoes with orthotic inserts. Why?  Well, because of pain, that’s why! I was born with feet that were wonderful for jumping and dancing and gymnastics in my younger years, but which need firm support as I grow older.  I try to forget that and move away from the utility shoe that serves me well back into the things that are beautiful.  I could claim they soothe my soul but in truth, it’s probably my vanity that is best served.

Pain is a powerful motivator.  Not only can pain move me into shoes I would never choose to wear on a day to day basis, it can also move us to give up things that hurt us, to move away from harm and toward safety and the things that are right and good.  God has designed our bodies and our hearts to recoil from pain. It’s for our own good.

At times, God chooses to use pain to redirect our hearts and our lives. Click To Tweet

At times, God chooses to use pain to redirect our hearts and our lives. God loves us, and though he does not want us to suffer pain, he is also wise and knows that pain can often save us from a greater pain. So, when I experience pain what should my response be? I think that I should look closely at the pain for the underlying message. What should I change or do differently, or move away from or move toward to escape the pain? Pain is a teacher, but we must be students and accept the lesson pain offers. We must apply the self discipline to apply the lesson we learn, although if that lesson is from God he will surely walk with us through that pain.

Pain is a teacher, but we must be students and accept the lesson pain offers. Click To Tweet

We are all a bit heard headed. There will be times that the pain will have to increase before we are willing to accept the lesson offered. But if we fail to accept and apply the lesson, we can be sure that our pain will increase until we make a change. God loves us deeply and in his wisdom allows the pain to mold us to a better future.

God loves us deeply and in his wisdom allows the pain to mold us to a better future. Click To Tweet

So, as I accept the painful lesson and put on my orthopedic shoes I should accept the lessons of other pain in my life and look for the change that’s needed. If I choose the wrong change, well, most likely there will be pain there too, pointing me in the right direction. Where is your pain today my friend?  What is God inviting you to change for your long term benefit? Are you willing to look beneath the pain for the lesson? Are you willing to set aside your pride or selfishness to make the change so that pain may subside and your heart may soar free? I pray you are. I pray I am too!

Hebrews 12: 10-11For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.


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Why I Gave Up Television

The obvious conclusion is that I just didn’t like watching it, but that is wrong. Actually, I found it mesmerizing. But it wasn’t the programming, it was the opportunity to set in one spot, think about nothing and feel no pressure to do anything else that had me coming back night after night. After all, television watching after work in our culture is perfectly acceptable.

I had just come out of a long hard season. I was a single woman and it was a season when I was working full time, completing a Master’s degree, caring for a couple of young nephews and then moving into end of life care for my mother. I was exhausted. There were so many things that had been put on hold for so long I really had forgotten how to live a life that involved social activities, interacting with others just for the pleasure of spending time together and having a clean home to live in. So, I came home from work, picking up take out on the way home many days, and just sat in front of the television until time to go to bed. I can’t even tell you what I watched, because the program I was tuned into was not the point.

Then, one morning as I was reading my Bible to begin my day and Philippians 4:8 jumped off the page and into my heart.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (NLT)

I was watching pretty mundane television and it was the 90’s. Television was not nearly as edgy as it is today. Still, there was not much I could classify as honorable, lovely or admirable. Then, I realized I was just burning up precious hours of my life on things that did not matter. Basically, throwing those hours away! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that all downtime and relaxation is a waste of time. But I do think we burn a lot of hours where we aren’t really doing anything except letting time pass by.

I realized I was just burning up precious hours of my life on things that did not matter. Click To Tweet

So, I turned off the television and I’ve never really turned it back on. I had cable TV and I cancelled it. My little 12 inch black and white TV stayed with me because I had the occasional need to view a video. When I began hosting a ladies small group in my home, I purchased a slightly larger color television. But I never did hook that television up to anything other than the video player. In our home now my husband has a large television in the “man cave” where he watches sports and the weather while reading a book. Occasionally, he invites me to watch a movie with him and I do. We have a television in our living room used by our small group that connects to a video player and the internet because our church subscribes to a service which streams Bible studies. But in between those studies, I rarely turn it on.

And you know what? I have never really missed it! There was no content that was as interesting as the book I read. No content as interesting as the conversation with friends and family, no time as well spent as that learning to cook or working on my writing or studies. I’ve learned a lot of new things and spent time sharing those skills with others. I’ve made a lot of new friends and met and married my husband. All things I would never have done if I had allowed myself to keep mindlessly setting in front of that little black and white box every evening after work.

Periodically, I’m prompted to take a look at my life and how my time is spent.  I want to focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. I want to spend my allotted days wisely. For example, just last week, I deleted all the games off my phone. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that watching television or playing a game on your phone while you wait in some waiting room is wrong, but I am suggesting that you look at how you spend your time.  Are you focused on things that are excellent and worthy of praise? Are you investing the days you have been given wisely and in a manner you can proudly look back over your life and feel good about how you have chosen to spend them?

I want to focus on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. I want to spend my allotted days wisely. Click To Tweet

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:20 NIV


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Last week I was under the weather. I had already made a big pot of chicken and rice soup over the weekend and I had a book arrive on my doorstep that I’d promised to read and offer a review. Friends were checking in on me and my husband was taking good care of me. So….how did I describe all this? A fabulous coincidence? No, I described it as a blessing from my God who had a plan in place ahead of the situation.

Friends, how we look at life and how we describe our journey to both ourselves and others matters! When I say, “it’s coincidence” I dismiss my God and my faith. I have done it, but why?

  • I’m are used to hearing others describe events as coincidence and it’s just a natural response?
  • I am afraid of coming off to “preachy”?
  • I overlook the fact that God cares about even the tiniest things in our lives?

God has promised he will meet all our needs. In this case, it was food to eat and love expressed. That doesn’t mean he will always pamper us (providing a good book). But, you can count on God to meet all your genuine needs.

We need to acknowledge the blessings we receive from God’s hand and having our needs met is a blessing!  Anything beyond our needs….definite blessing! First, we must recognize those blessings and experience gratitude. Then, we must acknowledge the God’s provision.  How preachy can one little phrase “God blessed me today with” or “I’m grateful for God’s provision of” really be? We don’t hesitate to brag on our husbands, our children or our friends. So let’s not hesitate to brag on God either.

Gratitude has a powerful influence on how we live our lives. It keeps us aware of all God does for us. It makes us less whiney and more focused on what we have than what we don’t. It replaces worry with contentment.  It grows our faith.

Gratitude makes us less whiney and more focused on what we have than what we don't. Click To Tweet

Contentment is something that others want.  In order to share Christ with others we need to look like we have something to offer that’s worth sharing. Believe me, the more you are living a life of gratitude and acknowledging the source of every good thing, the more your life will impact other lives. But the more you chalk blessings up to coincidence, the less your light will shine in this world and the less blessed you will feel.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Col 2:7 NLT

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What It Takes to Really Experience Change

Twice a week I go to a deep water exercise class. After several months I’ve begun to see a pattern. There are those who come to work out and there are those who come to tread water and chat. The working out group are getting stronger and hardly miss a class. Some of us are loosing weight and finding that we feel better and enjoy life more. For me, this class has made an amazing difference in just a few short months. It was not easy, especially in the beginning. I had to force myself to go back to class on Thursdays when I was still sore from Tuesdays. But now, after experiencing the benefits for myself, I don’t want to miss a single class!

As I’ve studied James with my Tuesday Ladies we learned that it’s important that we let the word point out areas where we need to grow and then work to make changes in our lives.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22

Just like with the exercise class you can attend church services, perhaps a weekly small group, or even have a daily Bible reading and prayer time. You can listen and read and discuss, but if you don’t do the hard work to put what God reveals to you through his word into action in your own life then you will not develop ‘spiritual muscle’. You won’t display the change that the spirit can produce in your life. You will just be fooling yourself.

I don’t want to be a spectator I want to be a changed woman! Click To Tweet

I have decided I’m not going to be a water treader or use my time in God’s word strictly as a social occasion. I don’t want to be a spectator I want to be a changed woman! Just like I have experienced powerful changes in my physical body, I want to experience powerful changes in my life that come only from applying what I’ve learned in God’s word.

Lessons From a Forgotten Purse

We’d left our home over an hour ago, on our way to Kansas to visit family. That’s somewhere around 12 hours in the car to make the trip. I thought of something I wanted to text a friend and reached for my purse….it wasn’t there! My first thought spoken aloud to my husband, “I forgot my purse we have to go back.” His response? “No!”

I had left my purse just inside the kitchen door so it was perfectly safe but I had not felt so insecure in years! No ID, not a coin or credit card to be had, no phone and none of those other things we carry in our purse to make us feel prepared.

This trip forced me to fully rely on my husband. For some of you, that might be no big deal. But for this woman who spent her life as a single career woman until her late 40’s, it was huge! Let me tell you I was not letting that man out of my site!

My imagination went wild. Thoughts like the bridge over the Mississippi collapsing with us on it, me surviving with no memory of who I was and no ID, yeah I went there. Laugh with me now! In truth, once I got my imagination under control, it was a great trip that offered an even better lesson.

Trust is hard. It’s something we need to learn, but we must also be careful to trust only the trustworthy. My husband loves me and he’s a great protector. In truth, a much better protector than the trusty purse and all the things it contains on a given day. Trusting God is hard too. But he is truly trustworthy. Self reliance may be pushed by the culture we live in, and feminist ideals tell us that as women that we can and we must captain our lives ourselves. In truth, we cheat ourselves out of much by living a life that plans, and schemes and manipulates to get what we want rather than walking the path God has for us.

My Tuesday Ladies and I have been doing an excellent study by Jeannie Allen on the life of David. One of the many great take away’s I got from this study just confirmed the lesson of the purse. Peace is found in walking day by day where God leads. Not in planning a path and begging God to take me there,not in demanding that God show me the six month agenda that lies ahead, but in trusting him day by day to walk beside me and be my protector and my provider. Peace is found in walking day by day where God leads. Not in planning a path and begging God. Click To TweetHe is trustworthy, and that’s a lesson that for me has been hard to learn. On the surface, I walked in trust, but down in the deep private part of me I found worry, insecurity and panic at times.  Friend, if this is you, give it up!  This walking in faith, this is peace!

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Psalm 143:8 NLT