Love Where you Live

Would you rather be working somewhere else? Would you rather be living somewhere else? Are you wishing your ministry was not this and more like that?

Are you praying “God, Anything. But. This!”

I know how you feel. Yes, Sister, I know. Sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way you had planned.

Rewind, with me, back to 2008.

Everything was going as planned. I had my children. I was staying home doing the mom thing because I had quit work when I was pregnant. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was WAY harder than I ever thought it would be. Yes, there were many, many days it was all I could do to survive. But it was what I always dreamed I would do.Everything was going great.

And then it wasn’t.

The week the triplets turned 1 year old, my husband lost his job. We had one 3 year old and three 1 year old babies. Say what?? For over a year, he applied for 90+ jobs. Try as he may, he was not able to land a one of them! We managed to survive. It was actually a huge blessing for both of us to be home with all those babies, but that’s another story for another day.

With little other options in 2009, my boss welcomed me back to my old position at work.  In fact, she carved out a space for me so that I could work. So, I packed my lunch and headed off to school while my husband took over the mini-van, the diapers, and the sippy cups.

I went kicking and screaming the whole way. I was so mad and hurt and disappointed and frustrated…….and mad. Did I say I was mad?

Fast forward to about 2012.  I’m doing my job, we are surviving, hubby is a great daddy. On the outside, I’m doing pretty good with my job. I do really like what I do, and I feel I’m pretty good at it. On the inside though, I’m whining and still stamping my foot when I pray to God. I wish I were doing something different….smh! Not only do I wish I were at home with the kids, but I still had other dreams I wished I were doing….dreams of music and ministry…doing ‘big things’ for God. But those dreams were not happening. I was doing my day job beause that’s what my family needed me to do.

I realized it’s very likely that my circumstances were not going to change any time soon. But, the one thing I could change was my attitude about my circumstances. I decided I was going to be more thankful to God for where I was than to resent Him for where I was not. I decided to see my job as the ministry in which God had placed me for this season of life rather than pining away for the life I wish I had. I was going to recognize the HUGE blessings I had right before me

It didn’t happen immediately. It didn’t happen overnight. But slowly, ever so slowly, I began to appreciate the opportunities in my life. I began to thank Him for the blessings and provision He had given us. I began to enjoy this work where I was placed.

I had finally become content. I had finally learned to “love where I live”. Being content in and of itself is a gift because it brings peace.IMAG1189

Surprisingly, in the middle of my contentment, another unexpected turn. The opportunity to lead in ministry at my church became available to me. I wasn’t looking for it. I wasn’t trying to make it happen. I never thought I’d get to do something like this ever again. But it did, and I am so very, very thankful!

Learning to be content doesn’t mean you give up on dreams or desires. Contentment doesn’t mean you stop longing and praying. It doesn’t mean you give up. But contentment does mean choosing gratitude for your circumstances and trust in God’s Sovereignty for this season in life. While in the waiting and in the thanking and in the trusting, God, in His goodness, will often fulfill some of those other desires in the process in ways you wouldn’t have ever imagined!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understand. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” Prov 3:5-6

Love Where You Live,


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Silver and Gold

**One of the biggest blessings I receive from WoW gatherings like this weekend’s ReNew Retreat is meeting and getting to know precious sister’s in Christ! But not just me…watching all of you make friends and making new connections is such a joy to watch!! You are my Silver and Gold**


“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  A circle’s round it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

Life is not about the stuff you accumulate or how much money you make. It’s not about your achievements or the letters behind your name.  It’s not about what you drive or your net worth.

Life is about Silver and Gold. It’s about friends, old and new. Those precious relationships mined out of life’s ins and outs. The people we meet that make our lives richer.

I’ve been keenly aware of the silver and gold in my own life this summer: A day at the pool,  sending that selfie from a dressing room ‘does this dress work?’, catching up on the phone, stopping by the office for a quick hug, planning a meet-up on Facebook, attending a difficult life changing event, inviting some over for a party, staying over for dinner, sharing revelations, and studying Truth. All of it precious. All of them Silver and Gold.

We can’t make it without friends. We need that wide circle of friends to cheer for us and have fun. We need that tight circle of confidants to tell us, “Girl, you’d better put that down!” We need that one kindred spirit to whisper those secrets of the heart. We need to nourish these relationships because we draw so much nourishment from them.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

I love it that I get sharpened by my Silver and Gold. Keeps me humble. Gets me loved. Lets me grow. Makes me More than I am.

Who are your Silver and Gold? Don’t let them tarnish. Polish them as often as possible. In turn, they will polish you, sharpen you. And, you will never be left empty.


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We Belong to Each Other


In a few weeks women in ministry from many different churches and denominations will gather to encourage each other….to be together as One Body….

Originally posted on Women of the Way:

Now more than ever, I’m convinced we must be more about building the Kingdom of God than our own denominations (If you know my story, you know that I am a Heinz 57 mutt of denominations…, I am not against denominations). I do believe building His Kingdom happens better when we are unified.

Roman 12:3-5 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Sometimes, we get in our church box where it’s comfortable and familiar, and we might have the tendency to…

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The Bread of Life

Do you know what it’s like to be starving all the time?

I bet you are starving right now, and you don’t even know it!

I’m not talking about physical food- we usually have plenty of that. I’m talking about spiritual food.

Most of us walk around day in and day out starving spiritually. Oh, you may go to church once or twice a week or month, hear a sermon, or read an exert from a devotional, but the rest of the time you are not feeding your spirit adequately. And when you do feed your spirit, its with junk food….tv, movies, social media, etc etc etc….Not everybody, but a lot of us!

Have you ever eaten a diet of not real food like french fries, hamburgers, and processed food? And then changed your diet to healthy protein, fruits and veggies? And then you went back to the fake food? What happened? You ate stuff- you put stuff in your body….but it didn’t nourish you! You weren’t satisfied. So you went back to the real food (hopefully).

That’s what it’s like when we read the Bible- The Bread of Life.

Photo credit Julie Anna Johnson, WoW2013

Photo credit Julie Anna Johnson, WoW2013

I love the Bible!! I remember when I began to read my Bible as an adult, and the verses jumped out at me. The words became life to me.  Still, I’ve struggled often with reading my Bible regularly. When I did read it, I could feel the truth seeping into my spirit like a gentle rain soaking dry ground. Sadly, I would let too much time pass before I was starving again.

Sometimes, I would study the Bible for a certain topic, to teach a class, or prepare a talk. It would feel so good to study like buttering warm bread straight from the oven, the words would melt in my mouth. But life was so busy, I would usually study when I needed the Bible for a specific purpose. Still, the nourishment was not often enough. (During this time, I’m specifically talking about when I was caring for young children. If you are in a season of caring for small children, read when you can and give yourself some grace. He understands.)

In the past couple of years, I’m trying to get more regular with my spiritual diet (because the kids are older) and with the help of websites and apps, I would have a bible reading plan on my desktop at work. When I had a minute, I would read a passage or two. Sometimes I would even try to read and re-read the same passage all day. The nourishment trickled in like bite-sized gummi bear vitamins:)

Last fall for my 40th birthday, my husband bought me a new, leather-bound Bible. I haven’t had a new Bible in several years, and it was just what I wanted. I have to tell you since I’ve had my new Bible, it has felt so good to turn the pages and read the words straight from the crisp, thin, silver-edged pages. Again when I read the words, it’s like truth seeping into my spirit. I feel satiated and satisfied when I read it.

Hear me….. listening to sermons and doing studies from our favorite authors and getting devotional doses of the Word..all of that is Awesome!! I’m not knocking any of it. All of those “meals” are excellent ways to get nourished. We need a variety to keep from getting in a rut. Oh! but feasting on the simple, yet satisfying Word of God! There’s nothing better!!

When was the last time you had a good meal? When was the last time you feasted on the Bread of Life?

Oh, sweet friend…..Taste……. and see that the Lord is good!


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On the Outside of the Circle


If you see someone outside the circle….pull her in!

Originally posted on Women of the Way:

She sat across the table from me. She didn’t say a word. We were a bunch of women who  attended a workshop together, so the hotel restaurant seated us at one table. Some ladies knew each other and chatted away about this and that. Most of us were strangers. I knew a couple of ladies on my left and spoke to them occasionally, but mostly, I watched the others around me.

I watched to see if any of the other ladies would strike up a conversation with the woman seated across from me.  I thought that maybe I should talk to her. But, I was stubborn. I was grumpy for being at this particular restaurant. I had wanted to go some place else, but for the sake of the group, I went with what they wanted. I selfishly thought “I always talk first, let somebody else talk, why doesn’t someone…

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Mundane or Ministry??


The sacred ordinary is getting easier…what about you?

Originally posted on Women of the Way:

In this pursuit in becoming more like Christ,  I have to stop and ask “am I allowing God to use every area of my life for Him?”

Even though I have been raised in the church, a Christian most of my life, and I love working and serving in ministry, I have been confronted with the areas of my life that I don’t allow God to use as “ministry” . I have been guilty of a mindset that qualifies “church work” as ministry and other parts of my life as just….life. Sure, I’m a Christian in everything I do, but do I allow God access to my job, parenting, etc as ministry?

In his book “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”, Peter Scazzero says “It is so easy to compartmentalize God to ‘Christian activities’ around church and our spiritual disciplines without thinking of him in our marriages, the disciplining of our children, the…

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Being Made in His Image (or..I’m turning into my mother!)

It was bound to happen.

All my life, people told me how I favored my mother…blue eyes, round cheeks, smile. However, as I’ve become older, I notice how I am acting like my mother! It started with my husband saying, “you sound just like your mother when you said that!”…or….”you squinted your eyes just like your mother.”

I mean, I’ve heard plenty of times how women would say they looked in the mirror and saw their mother. That was no big surprise. But, in the last couple of years, I notice all kinds of little habits that are just like her! How I hold my hands, making a gesture, asking a question…..or even how I LOVE my favorite fountain drink on ice in a styrofoam cup complete with lid and a straw! I actually get giddy! (except I love Diet Mountain Dew and momma loves Diet Coke)

The good news is I don’t mind! I kinda laugh to myself when I do something that is just like her. What I find so interesting is that I never set out to try to do any of these things like her. I’ve never sat across the dinner table observing her subtle moves and gestures. I’ve never calculated and taken mental notes to consciously mimic her. Sure, part of it could be genetics. Maybe. But most of it is just from being around her for 40 years.

I’ve been formed in her image from being in her presence so much!

One-Bella-Casa-I-Am-My-Mother-Pillow-70588PL (2)

Now, she’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a carbon copy of her. There’s a lot I don’t do like her (I rarely iron…sorry mom…I just don’t!). So many little parts of her have formed into me from simply being around her that I subtly pick them up!

It’s the same with our relationship with God.

Hopefully, I am being made into His image from being in His presence. When I spend time with Him in prayer, study, meditation, and worship, I began to pick up his characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control and goodness. I began to love people like He does and want to reach out to minister to them.

If I tried to exert effort to act like Jesus, I would most likely fail because I am trying to be something that is not in my nature. But….if I am in His presence so much that His nature subtly changes me, then I find myself looking and loving and acting more like Him. Simply being around Him is going to affect the way I behave.

I think being like Jesus has rubbed off from my mom too!me&mom

So, next time you us zooming down the road, we’ll likely have our fountain drinks in hand!

How about you? How are you turning into your mother? How are you being made into His image??


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