Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It

Traveling to visit family brings up lots of emotions – good and bad. Hallmark cards and holiday movies don’t help. We feel pressured to have the Norman Rockwell family, and yet our picture of family looks vastly different.

This year I encourage a different approach to the holidays. Consider it mission trip!   Think about all that goes into a mission trip – the excitement building, months of preparation, team building, conflict resolution skills, and more. We can take these skills and use them to their fullest potential when approaching our own families this holiday season. Waste nothing, especially an opportunity to shine, even if you are entering hostile territory.  If your territory is considered safe, make sure your skills are sharpened and packed so that you can quickly wield them in a way to stop even the most dangerous terrorist. Most families have at least one. 

 As 46.9 million Americans prepare to travel this week here are a few suggestions for making the trip. 

 Pack Light

I mean, who enjoys packing?! And we take enough clothes to stay a month! My motto is  “A girl’s gotta have options,” but…don’t be THAT girl. Just pack everything you think you need and then remove half of it. You’re all set! Don’t forget at least one pair of pants with an expandable waistline – just in case.

 Search your heart

Are you going on this little jaunt for you to have a ‘great experience’ and be served? Or are you going to be reminded of how grateful you are for your family and what they mean to you? To serve others, to listen and to love on the hurting broken people you might just encounter around that Thanksgiving meal? Remember, whatever your situation, God’s not finished. Last time I checked, He is still redeeming. You are part of a larger story; it’s not all about you and your week.


Stop and listen to the stories. Yes, even the ones you have heard a hundred times. Really listening might give you insights that you have overlooked. Take notes and ask thoughtful questions. Listening communicates, ‘You matter to me and you matter to God’.

 Embrace Grace

God chose you as part of your family. I know, you are the smarter, wiser, more Bible-savvy one of the bunch, but He picked you. He has graciously chosen you, so be gracious. Being gracious is not what you accidentally become. It takes practice, so start early, work on your mind-set and ask God for help.  


This is your tribe, leave them wanting more and hoping you will return soon. Leave letting them know you are standing in the gap for whatever opportunities your tribe offers; healing, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. Leave them hungry for what they see in you that has nothing to do with the abundance of food left on the table. Leave Grateful. The food may have expanded our waistline but nothing expands our hearts like being grateful. 

 Now go, enjoy your family and Happy Thanksgiving!

Veggie Turkey

Burning Yet Not Consumed

I’ve been taking a class this summer, Christian Coaching, and it has messed with me in every way possible. For those who know me well you have heard me say that ‘it’s hard to be me’. For these last nine weeks that would be putting it mildly! This class has challenged everything in me.

As we began our journey, our instructor, a master coach, told us that the class would be a different journey for each one. She kept telling us to ‘Enjoy the Journey’. I did the polite head-nod-and-smile thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah, on to the next thing.” Bottom line—I planned to go thru the class, check my boxes for the classroom time, homework assignments and other random activities to get my certification and just move right on. Well! What was I thinking??? I spent the first few weeks trying to check boxes, take the assessments and move ahead toward graduation day. Nothing came easy, not even sleep! What was wrong with me? None of the material was really new, after all I do work at a church! (insert eye rolls here) But last week was different. I took a week off to catch up on homework and really dig deep into this material. What I learned was difficult and beautiful. Here’s what I have learned thus far:

  1. Fear can take many forms and stop you in your tracks.
  2. It’s easy to be good at your job and overlook the health of your soul.
  3. Pride disguises itself in many ways.
  4. Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.
  5. To see change you need to stare thru the darkness and focus on the light.
  6. You have to come out of hiding to be in the presence of the Lord.
  7. Little things destroy your confidence. “Do not throw away your confidence—it will be richly rewarded” (Hebrews 10:35-36)
  8. Persistence is necessary for change.
  9. Change is hard work.
  10. Most things that worry you will never happen.

So, as I take an intermission at the halfway point in this class, I am grateful. Grateful for what I have learned, for the people I have met and for what’s ahead. As I reflect on these last nine weeks I’ve concluded that sometimes you are Moses and sometimes you are the burning bush. Right now, I’m burning! At least I won’t be consumed. I’m just burning off the excess and pruning away everything unfruitful….everything hinges on that!

Where Do You Stand?

As I think about this week, the one leading from a triumphal entry to a cross and an empty tomb, I was stopped as I read John 18. Peter, that impulsive one who had just a few hours earlier felt the need to defend Jesus and lopped off the ear of a soldier, now stood waiting to see what would happen to the man he followed and claimed he would not deny.

The scripture says he followed Jesus, along with another disciple, and since the other disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus while Peter “stood outside at the door.” He found himself on the outside looking in.  Looking in at the one who changed his life, the one who saw more in him than anyone else, the one who knew him and loved him anyway–that one. As he looked in, not really in the game, just gazing to see what would happen next, he allowed doubt to enter in the form of a question, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” and as doubt does, he quickly answered “I am not.”

The servants and officers of the high priest had built a fire to warm themselves. Peter found himself drawn to the chatter, the crackling and warmth of the fire, hoping to be included rather than stand out. He inched his way toward them and could hear the questions, the sarcasm and ridicule of the one called Jesus.  He hoped they would not notice him. He had left the place of being on the outside looking in to ‘standing and warming himself’, hoping to blend in. Again, one of the servants questioned him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” and doubt raised its ugly head once again. He denied it and said, “I am not.”

In both instances Peter is close, close to the savior but not engaged. First he is standing alone at the door looking in and then he is standing with the group by the fire hoping to blend in and stay warm. In both locations he is close enough to see what’s happening but far enough away to play it safe. As Good Friday and Easter Sunday approach, Where Do You Stand?



Make Room and Lent

The season of Lent, practiced in churches and denominations around the world begins this week. These six weeks are set-aside for the purpose of drawing closer to God; to seek Him with great intensity.  In the denomination where I grew up, we did not practice Lent.  It was not until I became an adult that I first practiced what was reduced to, “What are you giving up for Lent”.  That question is a great start, but leaning into the season and meaning of Lent, one soon has to ask “How will I repent and return to God with all my heart?”  And from there the real questions that begs answers, “Where in my life have I gotten away from God?  Where have I strayed and how do I renew my passion in the cold places of my heart?”

For the next six weeks my church launches a new small group alignment series, Make Room.  It is designed for one purpose – to help you carve out space for God.  To meet him, to experience him, to quiet the distractions and pay attention to your relationship with God, who is calling us to return to him.  It sounds a lot like Lent.  Same time frame, same outcome.  We can’t make God move, but we can make room.

 “‘And yet even now,’ says the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart . . .’”—Joel 2:12

My First Trip

A few weeks ago I took my first trip. I was met at the car by thoroughly trained attendants and even though I didn’t stay long, it was a pricey visit. I could have gone to a nice resort for a week for less money than my quick trip to the ER. That’s right, I went to the ER because I thought I might be having a heart attack. Now that in and of itself is enough to make your heart have palpitations, but having to decide whether to go to the hospital or to my hair appointment first, was more than my heart could bear.

I don’t have many vices, but getting my hair done is at the top of the list. If I was going to be in the hospital, I certainly wanted my hair to look good and my color really needed a touch up. My appointment had been scheduled for weeks so if I missed it, it could take a while to get rescheduled. If I chose to go to the salon first; what if Jamie had to call 911 while I had foils in my hair? What would happen if my color was finished and the foils needed to come out? Would they let her come with me in the ambulance to complete the job?

Since the Bible has the answer for everything, what does it say about my dilemma? After all, Jesus says that God has numbered every hair on my head. Matthew 5:36 tells me that I “cannot make even one hair white or black.” But I can make it blonde! Still, I am sure God is much more concerned about the condition of my heart. After all, Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart above all else…

“But not a hair on your head will perish. Stand firm and you will win life.” Luke 21:18-19. So I took him at his word that my hair would not perish and made my first trip to the ER. My EKG showed that I have the heart of a young, fit athlete and my hair is once again legally blonde.

Gluten Free

People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

It has been a year; a full 12 months with no bread, except the one small piece that dips into the deep purple of the communion cup and I remember His goodness. That which colors the bread represents that which washes me white. No more stain. The Word made flesh tells me not to live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

He Makes Me Smell Good

I love a good perfume. The search for just the right scent, the one suited for my body chemistry, is worth the hunt. The different ingredients and formulas needed to produce the perfect smell is worth the search and price when you find your prize.

Last week I used my last vapor of perfume.  The one that meets all the above-mentioned requirements. Not willing to settle for a different smell, I waited. On Thursday as I left work much later then anticipated, I sent my husband a message to let him know I was on the way home. His reply, “Be careful, and I’ll have dinner waiting.” When I walked in, there it was, a nicely wrapped box sitting at my place at the table. The table was set, complete with candles, music was playing, a delicious smell wafting from the oven, and The Box.  I knew from the shape and size what was inside without opening it, yet my excitement was not diminished. We shared some hugs, a few kisses, a lovely dinner and the gift. I was like a child at Christmas as I unwrapped the pink paper to find my new bottle of perfume. My perfect scent. As I picked up the bottle to give myself a quick squirt, I became acutely aware of the aroma of Christ. That’s what He does; He makes me smell better. He is the perfect scent for me. Not only is it pleasing to me, others notice and comment. But the best is that it’s pleasing to Him.

2 Corinthians 12:14-15: But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

What could smell better than the sweet aroma of Christ surging through us and up to the Father? Oh how He loves, oh how He gives, oh how he delights in us….and He has dinner ready too!

I Have No Friends

Today I realized I had no friends. Not real ones. It happened around 8:30 am as I pulled my chair to the vanity, picked up my tweezers and turned on the light of truth–you know, the one that magnifies 300X. The shock and horror that met my eyes would make a child scream and run for cover.  Why had no one told me?  It wasn’t as if I had been in a remote cabin for the last month. No, I had co-workers in my office, meetings, and lunch dates with girlfriends and not one had mentioned my eyebrows, not even my husband!

The Bible says that all things are laid bare before the Lord.  Just because I can’t see the stray sin, thoughts or actions, others close to me can and the Lord can.  When the Holy Spirit turns on the light of the magnifying mirror and shows us what we have not seen, it can be horrifying.  Thankfully the Holy Spirit tweezers can pluck the now visible strays in a miraculous way.  Perhaps that’s what Jesus meant in Luke 6:42 when He said, “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.“

Next time you see a log in my brow, be my friend and tell me I have some plucking to do!

A Hinge By Any Other Name

Hinge: A movable joint or mechanism on which a door, gate, or lid swings as it opens and closes, or that connects linked objects.

It’s a small thing really. A small thing that opens into big spaces. It’s the hinge points that move and bend, open and close, allow for entry or keep one out. Welcome. The hinge is moving, hope you chose to enter.