The Sweet Breath of Heaven


fruit of the spirit artHope. Joy. Peace. Love. These are the words that best describe our Father and are the very things He desires for us. And, the best part is that all four are ours for the taking. The trick is to fully breathe Him in. For when we fully breathe Him in, we can’t help but exhale a sweet breath of Heaven into a world gasping for air. It all starts with us. Or, at least that is my take on it. Happy Sunday, y’all!

And God Says…

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

Romans 15:13

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

Job 32:8

But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

The Prodigal Daughter


Writer’s Note: Two years ago this month, I went through a very difficult time and, though, due to current circumstances, I still can’t really talk about it in detail, I am happy to report that I came through it and am better for it. God showed Himself in more ways than one and took care of every little detail. What others meant for evil, God used for good. No matter what you are going through, please don’t ever give up on God, because I can promise you that He will never give up on you!

From my God-Journal, May 27, 2013

As the sun started playing peek-a-boo from the other side of my window dear godearly this a.m., I lay in bed praying. Soon, however, I started thinking about everything that is going on in my life and found that my prayers had all of a sudden turned into worry. When I discovered I was worrying, I returned to praying; then worrying; then praying; and so the morning went. During my last prayer stint, I heard a whisper deep in my spirit. Two words began to encircle my churning mind: prodigal son.
Prodigal son? What, Lord? What on earth does the story of the prodigal son have to do with me right now? Why would You compare me, Your child who loves You dearly, to this wayward character in the bible?

Grabbing my bible, I studied inherently the story outlined in Luke, Chapter 15, Verses 11-24, and then began to once again pray. I sat down at my computer as I often do when I feel a teaching coming my way. The words below are what I heard.
“Don’t be so literal, my child. Daughters can be prodigal, too, and the inheritance you squander doesn’t have to be financial. Child, do you forget that the day that you accepted My Son, You accepted Me and that when you accepted Me, you became a co-heir in My Kingdom? Go read Romans 8, Verses 14-17.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. But if we are to share in his glory, we must also share in his suffering.”

“Yes, but,” I found myself contradicting, “what exactly are you condemning me for, dear Lord? I know that I am Your child and I know and look forward to my eternal inheritance in Heaven. I also understand that I have to share in Your suffering in order to share in Your glory. I haven’t turned my back on that and I haven’t squandered it, have I?”

As I closed my bible and opened my eyes once again, it was if the Teacher had gotten up from behind His desk at the front of the class and walked over and stood beside mine. Though I readied myself for stern correction, I felt a gentle rain of love, patience and grace wash over me as He instructed my hands to turn to John 16:33.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The word “Peace” leapt off the page and at THAT moment it all became clear. Oh my, I thought, I am a prodigal daughter who has been squandering the very heart of my inheritance as I have essentially handed over my peace to people, circumstances and situations I was never intended to deal with on my own.

Oh, thank you, Lord, for your patience with me and for standing in the field, arms wide open, just waiting for me to return to your offer of peace in the midst of distress and turmoil and heartache and pressure; for the inheritance of peace that is born of Your guarantee to cause everything to work together for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose…people like me.
Father, you have made me rich with this inheritance of peace, and I thank You today for these most difficult and trying times and, most especially, for this reminder that I can have peace through it all, because You are in me, and I in You. Help me to stand firm as we traverse this valley together. Amen and Ehmen.

Pondering “On Purpose”


From my personal “Dear God” journals. Did you know that the best prayers are really just converdear godsations; a real, two-way chat between you and your Heavenly Father? You talk and you listen…the latter being the most important, especially when the other conversationalist is your very Creator. In recent years, I have enjoyed putting those conversations on paper, starting my morning with God’s Word, a blank page and a desire to get closer and learn more from my Father in Heaven. Much of what I write stems from these early morning sessions. This morning I invite you into my private God time in hopes that you find a word or perhaps two that speaks to you. And, remember, you, too, can talk to God. You don’t need fancy words or a specific time and place. Just talk to Him like you would a friend. He’s always listening…and speaking.  Amen and Ehmen! 🙂

Hey, God.

I’m sorry about letting work and things get in the way of our time together this morning, but here I am. Better late than never, I suppose. Help me to stay right here with you, mind, body and spirit until we have had this very important one-on-one time together. Help me to stay committed as I know that this is what is needed to get me to the next level of your will and purpose for me. It is what is needed to help me learn to move aside and let you do your thing….your way….in me. It is what is needed to get the education that You want me to have, oh Teacher. Lord, help me to turn everything else off and “just be” with you. I don’t want to be that kid that is texting and surfing the internet the whole time their parent is trying to talk to them. Billie has done that to me and it doesn’t feel very good. And, honestly, I’ve done it to people too and there is no way that I got everything that I should have and could have gotten out of the time spent with them. Satan is happiest when we bow to our flesh or his temptation and will do anything to drive us to distraction when we are trying to do what is righteous and what is good. He will do anything to close our bibles and clog our minds. He will do anything to keep this time between us from happening, but anything is possible WITHIN my power in You, in Jesus’ name. Help me to stay in Your Name, dear Lord. Today and every day. Amen and Ehmen.

Dear Child,

You are Mine and I am proud of you. Your enemies may distract you, but they can never take you away from Me or My love. You are special. You are talented. You are finally beginning to open the gifts I have given you. I know it is hard for you to just sit in front of this blank page with a clear mind focused on just Me and My purposes for you. But, I will say this again and again until you hear me. Your desire to seek my perfect will is what matters the most and that, together with My power, is all that is needed to get the job done. You are My child and I am your Father. I will always be there to gently correct you when it is needed and will always do everything out of love and for your best interest. And, in serving your best interest, I will always be fueling you to fully and completely fulfill the purposes I have laid before you. You will get there, my Child, as long as you stay with me. And it will be more glorious than anything you can imagine. But, also know this, it is a process. My will for you is ongoing. There are checkpoints along the way; tasks that will be completed and fulfilled, but your purpose is not one thing, one end result. It is not one book to be written or even published. That may be part of it, but it’s not the end. Your responsibility in fulfilling your purpose continues until you come home to Me for eternity, and the end results of your fulfillment of that purpose will, like you, live on for eternity. Not just until the end of the age when I return to gather all of my belongings, but after My Kingdom has come as well; for your purpose, just like the purposes of all My children, is to spread the good news to and fro across the earth, through the ages and all generations, and that has eternal implications. There are people that you and only you can reach for the Kingdom and these are people within your personal sphere of influence today as well as people who you don’t even know and even some that aren’t even born yet. I don’t expect you to understand it all. You can’t on your side of Heaven, but you do have to trust Me. I’m proud of you for wanting this more than anything; for wanting my Will and Purpose for you more than material or worldly things. I have heard your cries and pleas. I know you are ready to “get started”, but I need you to understand that THIS is “getting started.” Just stay focused on me; stay in obedience. Keep communicating with me daily and, yes, stick with our morning time together, not because I want to give you another rule to keep or hoop to jump through, but because I want undistracted time to truly develop and grow you; to touch you spiritually and to deeply love you. To help you fulfill your purpose from me as that purpose can only be fulfilled through Me. Let that seep deep into your understanding, dear child. Any purpose from Me, must be fulfilled though Me. Oh, the plans I have for you. Now, go about your day, dear Child, and know that I am with you every step of the way. It really is all good, when I’m in the picture. Shalom.”

Oh, my dear Lord, thank you so very much. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I lay here smiling broadly and deeply breathing in a sense of peace and joy that can only come from you….such a far cry from where I was less than an hour ago when this exchange started. I was knee deep in work frustrations, which I allowed to start, before my time with you, and, yet, just as You always promised, you brought me back into Your Peace and Purpose. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I cannot wait to go back and see what was written as I am always astonished by the wisdom, love and beauty. I can’t always see the entire picture when I’m typing. I get an idea, but nothing like what I get out of it when I read it. Thank you for communicating with me like this. What a precious gift. I love you, dear Father. And I praise you as I strive to always live in Jesus’ name, Amen and Ehmen!

I Heard It Through The Grapevine…



It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks to us and draws our attention to things that fence of faith grapesHe wants us learn. I have written in the past of the many things He has taught me through the grapevines that grow along the trellis and fence in my side yard. The vines were here when I moved in and at first, while I found it cool to have grapes every July and August, I never really gave it much thought. Then, a few years ago, God started using it as a teaching tool for me; and, today, I actually wonder if its existence is the very reason this became my home. The lessons are that powerful.

Anyhow, back to what brought me to the subject of grapevines again. Yesterday, the daily bible verse provided by the You Version Bible app on my phone drew my attention to John 15, a chapter in which Jesus paints a beautifully, detailed picture of Himself as the True Vine of Israel. In John 15:1-2, He says: “I am the true grapevine and 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.”

As it is one of my favorite teachings, I opened my bible and studied every word of this chapter and, as I contemplated getting ready for church, I felt compelled instead to head outside to my grapevine. Pruning shears in hand, I stood and looked at a very daunting task. Though pruning should be an annual thing, I am ashamed to say I haven’t consfence of faith grapevine crazyidered it since the last time three years ago when I wound up having to call in a professional. Oh, my, so many vines, branches and twigs twisted and wrapped tightly everywhere! You can barely see the fence nor the couple of trees that live nearby. And you certainly can’t see the actual trunks of the vines. Just like last time, I was completely overwhelmed.

And, yet, I felt one of those, what I like to call, “God nudges”, and decided to just start. I chose a portion of the vine that had overtaken one side of my fence. I cut, I pulled and tugged and then cut and pulled and tugged some more. It was such a tangled mess that parts of my fence began to break away and splinter off as I pulled the twisted, ofence of faith brokenvergrown branches away. And, it was then that I heard God’s whisper deep in my spirit.

“This, my child, is why I want you to be thankful for those times in your life when I prune you. Just look at what happens when the branches of the vine go untended.”

I immediately dropped my pruning shears and stepped back to take it in. What I noticed most was not the growing pile of crazy, curly branches already cut away or the still daunting task ahead, but the fence which stood before me weakened, damaged and broken.  The branches had weaved their way through the gaps in the fence and weakened it to the point that, as I tugged the intertwinings, huge pieces of the fence broke off and splintered, falling to the ground. It was disheartening and yet enlightening at the same time.

I pictured in my mind that the fence represents our faith in God; and that faith is what separates a true believer from the world. When we are not pruned and are allowed to grow wild, not only do we become fruitless but our fence of faith will eventually fall away, leaving our lives unclear and tangled and our eyes set more on the world than on our precious God.

On the bright side, we all have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with not only the Master Gardener who is always willing to prune us for our ultimate joy and His ultimate Glory, but also His Son, an awesome and dedicated carpenter-by-trade who will always, in all ways, help us to rebuild our faith, no matter what, just by asking.

Thank you, God, for my grapevine—the one in my yard and the one in my heart.

Amen and Ehmen.

A New Lust for Dust!


Writer’s Note: For those of you that know me, you know that sometimes the most simple things delight and amaze me. Today’s focus is dust. Join me in showing those little dusty, dirty-looking, but most lovable particles the respect they deserve! May a little dust brighten up your day! Happy Hump Day!

Hey, this just in from Uncle John’s Bathroom reader (never mind say yes to dust for blogwhy I was reading it): Did you know the sky is actually not blue, but black? That dust particles and droplets of moisture in the air reflect sunlight to make it blue? See there, even things we think are just a pain–like dust–have a greater purpose. Hmmm…and we came from dust and to dust we will return. I have a new respect for dust. I almost feel guilty for owning pledge.

Flying High: From Earth to Heaven.


vapor trail and neil for blogWriter’s Note: As I stepped outside, my eyes were automatically drawn heavenward. Blue, it seems, is the color of this beautiful May day as nature celebrates with a sky clothed in the most brilliant hues of blue. But even the sky in all its splendor isn’t what really caught my eye. Instead, it was the feathery white brush stroke left by a big metal bird that appeared to be heading south for the summer. Now, I realize that vapor trails are a common sight on any given blue-sky day, but they hold special meaning to me. They remind me of my good friend, Neil, who left this earth way too soon; but, more than that, it reminds me that God is real. Like the rainbow is a symbol of a promise to all of us from God, the white brush stroke of an airplane is a symbol of a promise to me—a directional arrow perched in the heavens and pointing to my purpose here on earth; to write, a specific story as well as other words that lead people to that place inside themselves where God is patiently and lovingly waiting. If you haven’t already read this piece, I hope you will take some time today. It’s a true story. I know because I lived it. Oh, and, Denny found the ripcord on her parachute. God made sure of it.

Neil, you know I’ve written more in the last few years than I have my whole life. We talked about it on more than one occasion; about how clear it was that this was what God had purposed and how it was, undoubtedly, the reason for the eternal friendships that He had so carefully orchestrated between you, me and Denny.

In five short years, I’ve written page after page of happy things, sad things; of tragedy and hope. It hasn’t always been easy, but God always seems to take over and the ink will suddenly freely flow.

But, when it comes to recounting that day, now two years past, tears have always seemed to drown out the words.  And, yet, I know must try. It’s too important. It’s critical that others know just how real God is and how He orchestrates events for our greater good. The story of December 8, 2011 is proof of such. May I never forget or take for granted the love and responsibility with which God has gifted me.

The story actually started in early October when I began searching for air-fare to come for a visit just before Christmas. I was planning to fly in on Dec. 10th, which also happened to be my 50th birthday. Already struggling a bit with this milestone birthday and not wanting Denny to feel like she had to put together some sort of celebration, I thought it would be easier to just travel that day.

To paint the picture more completely for you, I had been bidding on tickets through Priceline for several weeks trying to get the best deal. For those of you who haven’t ever used Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price,” you have to submit a method of payment along with an offer for airfare on selected travel dates. If your offer is accepted, your credit card is charged and you are the sole owner of a non-refundable airline ticket.

Anyhow, somewhere around mid-October—after two weeks and a dozen or so rejected offers —I decided to try one more time, after which, if unsuccessful, I would just outright buy a ticket. I logged on and filled in all the information along with an even lower price than I had attempted before. It was a long shot, but I figured I had nothing to lose. I was ecstatic when it was accepted at almost 40 percent less than the going ticket price. God had answered yet another prayer! My desire to be there with my friends obviously lined up with His will for me.

But, wait. The departure was 7:05 a.m. December 8, 2011. December 8th?  It was supposed to be December 10th. December 10th was the dreaded birthday and the date my work vacation started. God, however, obviously had another plan and what I thought was a mistake turned out to be yet another affirmation that He is always, and in all ways, in charge.

And, so, in the early morning hours of December 8, I sat back in the seat thankful that even on a full flight I had somehow managed to get a seat all to myself. Again, there was God, showing me that He was always looking out for me and that He knew I had much to think and pray about, especially on this day.  Like how in the world I was going to get through this trip.  Barb was gone. You were very sick and Denny was quickly slipping into a pit justifiably described as hell on earth as everything she knew and loved was systematically being stripped away from her.  She was looking more and more like a female, modern day version of Job. I hurt for her, to the core of my being, I hurt.

As the stewardess stopped momentarily in front of my seat to close the overhead compartment, she gave me a sympathetic nod. My pain, obviously visible to even a stranger, quickly liquidated and turned into a stream of tears.  I had so hoped that I would get there in time to say goodbye to Barb, but instead would be attending her funeral.

Oh, my dear God, how quickly life can change. Not just Barbie, but you too. Just a few months before, you were both so full of life, running circles around me, all the while smiling the most infectious smiles I have ever seen. Now, I was on my way to Canada to say a final farewell to Barb and to be by you and Denny’s sides as you both continued to maneuver your own deep, dark valley.

I sat back in my seat, ear buds tucked tightly in my ears and cranked up the Christian tunes. There was time for a lot of prayers between the airport runways of Atlanta, Georgia and Edmonton, Alberta.  And, as soon as the plane took off, the praying commenced.

During a short layover in Denver and before boarding the final leg of my day’s journey, I texted Denny to see how she was doing. She had been pretty emotional the night before when I talked to her, but was adamant that she would be the one to pick me up at the airport. I begged her to let one of our other friends do it, but, as per usual, she got the final word and she would be there waiting for me.  Period. She didn’t reply to my text, however; and I presumed she was probably busy with Barb’s funeral planning and taking care of you.

Back on the plane, I started to get more and more anxious. Denny was going through so much heartache and seemed to be beginning to struggle a bit with her faith.  She was finding it hard to fight anymore; her strength understandably gone. Just as this illness had stripped you of your physical muscles, Denny was feeling stripped of her spiritual muscles. She still loved God. She still believed in Jesus and she still believed in heaven. In fact, those were the only things that made any sense to her at all anymore. Yet they seemed so far away and her heart continued to crumble under the weight of it all.

And here I sat on this Canada-bound airplane wondering why God would possibly interject me into the world of such wonderful people, just as your world’s began to unravel. What could I possibly do to help? What was His plan? Why you? Why me? Why now?

My mind, my heart and my emotions were swirling like a hurricane as the plane taxied down the Denver tarmac and I again turned on my music, once again getting lost in my own little world of praise, worship and prayer. About halfway through the four-hour flight, “Hold My Heart” by Tenth Avenue North came on and I was immediately transported back to exactly one summer before when my previously-planned visit turned out to be a time of support as Denny’s brother, Stevie, had tragically drowned just the week before.

“One tear in the driving rain, One voice in a sea of pain Could the maker of the stars Hear the sound of my breakin’ heart? One light, that’s all I am Right now I can barely stand. If You’re everything You say You are Won’t You come close and hold my heart.”

As the song pervaded my heart on that day in late June, I turned every word into a fervent prayer for my friend, Denny, pleading with God to please—just as the song beseeches—to come close and hold my friend’s heart.  As the song continued, I began to feel a sense of peace and then an inexplicable nudge to open my eyes and look out the window. When I did, I saw something that I shall never forget. Right there, on a canvas of deep blue sky and billowing clouds, were clouds in the distinctive shape of two strong hands gently cradling a heart. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and quickly reached for my camera, but when I looked back up, the image was gone. I may not have gotten the picture with my camera, but it was forever etched into my memory and heart to be recalled many times in the days and years to come—including that December day in 2011 as I traveled once again to see my friends.

Leaning forward in my seat, I wondered if perchance God might give me another sign. Praise and worship lyrics still dancing in my ears, I studied the clouds, but no matter how hard I tried, I saw nothing. I then looked towards the ground, thinking perhaps I would see something there. Still, nothing. I settled back into my seat disappointed, but continuing to pray when I decided to try one more time.

Sitting forward once again, I pressed my forehead to the window pane and gazed at the sky like a kid waiting for Santa to appear in the Christmas parade. The sky at this point was cloudless and there was nothing really to see when all of a sudden a streak of white shot across blue sky. It happened so quickly, I almost gave myself whiplash snapping my neck to the left to see if I could see the plane that obviously just left this trail. However, I saw nothing.  “Man, that was way too close,” I thought to myself. I didn’t think planes were allowed to fly so close to one another.  Not to mention, that thing must have flying at the speed of light. I settled back into my seat quite perplexed and a little nervous. If that was a mistake by air controllers, perhaps I should be worried. And, if it were a message from God, I didn’t get it. It was not near as obvious as my previous experience.

As I continued to ponder what it could have possibly been, the flight attendants began preparing the cabin for landing. I turned off my iPod as instructed and began stowing all of my belongings for landing. In less than a half an hour, I should be on the ground and on my way through customs. My emotions shifted from anxiety to more excitement as I knew I was about to see the people who had become so near and dear to me.

Having visited several times before, I had become somewhat of a pro at maneuvering through customs. I breezed through and, luggage in tow,  followed my fellow travelers through the concourses and hallways leading to the lobby where you and Denny usually waited for me.

Walking through the doors, I looked around for Denny. Not seeing her right away, I figured she was probably hiding around the corner and laughing at me looking around like a lost puppy. She loved to make me look like a dork and, to be fair, I often did the same to her. I loved when we would make you laugh with our silliness, and when I knew all you could do was shake your head, it made me laugh, too.

In a calculated effort to outsmart her and maintain at least a shred of my self-professed coolness, I stepped to the side and looked down at my phone. As I peered back up, I saw a couple of familiar faces walking towards me. It was Alex and Trina.

“Good,” I thought to myself, Denny had decided to take a break and ask for help. We exchanged hugs and I started into my story of how customs didn’t try to give me the third degree for once. As I used Neil’s name a few sentences in, I noticed Trina’s eyes filling with tears. Alex’s face grew dim and right there in the middle of the Edmonton Airport, I heard these words, “Brenda, Neil passed away this morning.”

Neil, I’m telling you, the world came to a screeching halt right then and there. It just couldn’t be true. Maybe I had fallen asleep on the airplane and was having a nightmare. There was no way that you could leave this earth this soon. There was no way you could leave your wife or your struggling church. There was just no way.

I began to hyperventilate as my sweet friends, themselves sobbing, guided me to a nearby chair. And, right there, in that moment, it all became clear.

I looked down at the airline ticket in my hand. The December 8th Priceline ticket I held was far from a mistake. I was pre-destined to fly in on this very day as support for my dearest friend now plunged into the darkest hour of her life.

And that streak against the sky; that was you, my sweet friend; it was you, doing a fly-by and letting me know that you were indeed ok.  I could always see the passion in your eyes when you spoke of flying; how exhilarating it was for you to play high above the earth, amidst the clouds and along the very threshold of Heaven.

Yes, my dear Neil, every single time I see an airplane etching its own beautiful, feathery brushstroke of white amongst the clouds, I think of you and I know in the deepest reaches of my heart that you live in a constant state of that same exhilaration multiplied by infinity. I thank our awesome God every single day for writing me into you and Denny’s story and for this new symbol and hope and joy.

Keep flying, my dear friend. We love you. We miss you. We will see you again, but not before we fulfill this purpose that God has placed before us and for which you played and still play a pivotal role.

But please, Neil, please ask our Dad in Heaven to guide Denny’s hand to the rip-cord on her own chute. I know that I know that she will safely land on her feet, but the freefall sometimes takes her breath away and, even today, two years later, she seems to forget.

Let this day–December 8, 2013, be the day that she feels your love and His love to such a degree that she can once again see life from your high-flying and heavenly perspective. Amen and Ehmen!

Sending much love from earth to heaven,

Brenda (aka “Wife Number 2)

God is the Silver Lining…


Dear God,

Tonight as I stepped outdoors to go for our evening stroll together, I took pause when I saw a darkening sky. I debated for a moment whether or not I should go and then decided to go back inside, grab an umbrecloud with silver lininglla and get to stepping. I don’t like to miss time with You.

And, as usual you didn’t disappoint. As I walked along, I felt Your Presence urging me to look up.  And there, Your sky became a theatre and the story You told, just like You, will stick with me through thick and thin.

“My child, thank you for trusting me enough to come on this walk,” I heard you say. “And, because of your obedience, I have something to share with you.”

“Look up, child. Though there are dark, ominous clouds rolling in, there are also white, puffy clouds with silver and gold highlights perched ever so gently in the blue heavens. Those white clouds, blue skies and beams of sunshine represent Me. And, even though, storms may roll in, I Am always here. Just on the other side of that dark cloud and whatever it may bring, I, your Father, your Creator, exists, working even in the storm to bring about good. Don’t forget, my child, that this is My story. I Am the Author and the Producer and I control the outcome.  And, this Good Guy, won’t ever be finishing last.  Just breathe through the storm and know that all dark clouds will eventually pass and you will see Me in all My Glory, smiling and proud of your obedience and faith. Here, child, take a bow with Me.”

Love,

Brenda

Writer’s Note: I wrote this in my personal God Journal a couple of years ago. I decided to post it today, because it is another living example that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. Trouble, in many different forms, did come to me over the weeks following this conversation with God and, to this day, I firmly believe that this reminder is what helped me to traverse those very difficult waters and come out on the other side better than before. Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6 says: Trust God with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” I’m continually learning this lesson by experience and, oh, what a difference it makes in my life. Things are just so much easier. Thank you, God, for continuing to direct my path. Amen and Ehmen.

And the Word of God says…

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NLT)

John 16:33

 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT)

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (NLT)

It Really Happened…And It Was Funny!


I know www.amenandehmen.com is mostly about spiritual things, but, because God has a great sense of humor and because we are made in His image, I hope you get a chuckle out of this. It really happened yesterday and it really made me laugh. Have a happy day!

So, I’m having a little trouble with the shift mechanism in my car and decide to call a dealership to discuss. The conversation went a little something like this:

Man: “Hello, service department, how may we help you?”laughing-smiley-face-clip-art-clipart-laughing-smiley-emoticon-512x512-90d0
Me: “Hi, there. I seem to be having problems with my shift.”
Man: “I’m sorry, ma’am. You will have to be a little more specific.”
Me: “My shift isn’t working properly.”
Man: “Is it something with your engine, ma’am?”
Me: “I don’t know. It’s my shift. That’s all I know.”
Man: “Ooooh, wait a minute, are you talking about the gear shift?”
Me: “Yes! What did you think I was talking about?”
Man: “I’m sorry,” he said, laughing by this time. “I didn’t hear the F”
Me: “Ohhhh,” I said laughing in return. “That shift is funny.”

Sometimes I don’t have a filter. LOL. But, you have to admit that was pretty funny! 🙂 

Prayer to the Almighty Puzzle Master


Writer’s Note: This is an excerpt from my personal God Journals written several years ago as I was going through a particularly rough patch. Things were changing in my life, some painful, some confusing and all of which would turn out to be the beginning of a whole new journey for me, an exciting journey that has brought me to this place at this time, a place in which I live and breath closer to God than I ever imagined was possible. Never give up on God, my friends, because He never gives up on you! This I can promise.

Hey, God, it’s me again.puzzle pieces heart

It’s 5:11 in the morning and though I’m concerned about not getting enough sleep, I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit that I should go get my computer and write a little this early morn. I had prayed last night for the Holy Spirit to come upon me and inspire my writing so that I am writing what you need me to write. So here I am.

When I look back on my life at the difficult times, I can always find positive things that came out of the hardships I faced. All believers can do this, if they truly have faith and trust in You. That faith and trust is what allows us to give up dwelling on the negative and firmly grasp the positive. It has been my faith and trust in You that has gotten me through this most difficult year. And, though, I am still in the midst of trials and tribulations, I can actually see Your masterful and powerful hand moving throughout my life, shifting the puzzle pieces around, snapping them in place, one at the time. It’s my faith—my  ability to see the puzzle picture of my life slowly coming together—that keeps me going.

I’m finally learning that we can’t just grab puzzle pieces from anywhere and try to force fit them into our lives, because if You didn’t put those pieces in our puzzle box, they’re simply never going to fit. And, who wants a puzzle that doesn’t fit together? No, I don’t want to create my own picture anymore. I want You, the Creator of the universe,  to be my artist, because I know that Your picture for my life is better than anything I can possibly come up with on my own. Indeed, the sooner I give You full reign and complete creative license over my life, the sooner my picture will emerge as the true work of art, the truly purposeful life I was created for.

God, I wholeheartedly, give it all to you. Right now. Take me and take my talent, work through me. I only want to write your words, words that please you, words everlasting.

Thank you for giving me these gifts. I commit them all to you.

I love you, God.

Amen and Ehmen

And our Almighty Savior says:

Isaiah 14:24: The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.

Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 55:8:

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything your could imagine.”

Pour Out Your Uncried Tears…


Writer’s Note: If we look closely enough, through the lens of our Heavenly Father, we can often unearth lessons of Godly wisdom in our everyday lives. The following is the written account of one such lesson learned while just hanging out with my good friend. I hope you enjoy and take the time to uncover such lessons in your own life. God loves it when we do. And He loves us even more. Blessings today and every day.

We walked out of the hotel heading for the train that would take us to the airport, the first leg of Naomi’s trip back home. How I wished I was going with her. First and foremost, because I knew how very much I was going to miss her, but also because I knew that it was much, much cooler there. Georgia’s triple digit heat and humidity just didn’t mix well with the hot flashes this decade of life had brought me. It was completely amazing to me that the sun’s slumber had provided very little relief and that, even at 6:30 a.m., the air felt almost unbearably heavy.He Collects Our Tear Slide Art for Blog 5.10.15

We boarded the train, reminiscing of how she had left her computer on this same train when she first arrived 13 days earlier and how God had answered our prayers by prompting a sweet man to pick it up and keep it until he could find its rightful owner.  Having spent well over an hour frantically searching for the computer which contained all her passwords and sensitive personal information, she had been relieved to get a late evening call from her husband that this Good Samaritan had called to let him know the computer was safe and sound.

Though relieved, neither of us was terribly surprised, however. God continually seemed to bless our time together. It was always obvious that He liked it when we spent time as a pair and that He had a purpose for us both—not alone, but together. We always said that God introduced us and, on this day, three years later, it was more obvious than ever that our friendship was hand-designed by the Maker Himself.  This angel, disguised as a proud papa who had traveled across the country to see his daughter play softball and who had found and returned her computer, was just one more reminder that God was always with us and always listening.

I looked over at Naomi, clutching her computer case in one hand and holding the bar with the other as the train zoomed along. Though she was still smiling, my personal amusement quickly melted away and I groaned as she remarked how wonderful the early morning heat felt. Easy for her to say, I thought.  She was headed back to Canada and I was being left behind to look forward to yet another day of humid, sweltering sauna-like heat. I looked across the aisle at her again and growled and, as the day’s first bead of sweat made its debut, I began to ponder.

Why, I wondered to myself, does the air feel so darn heavy here? Logically, I knew it was the humidity, because humidity is water and water does indeed make everything heavier.  Anyone who has ever gone swimming in their clothes knows this. I couldn’t help but smile again as I thought back to the first night of our visit when Naomi had jumped into the pool fully clothed and how when she got out, she looked as if she was walking in a full suit of armor.

Wait, that’s it, I thought, that’s why our hearts feel so heavy when we are sad or hurt. Saturated in our uncried tears, the heart, like humid air or water-soaked clothes, gets incredibly heavy. But, God, stands ready to collect each and every one of our tears and to lighten our load. We were never meant to bear life and pain alone.

I smiled again, another teaching moment from God. And, with this revelation, I filed a mental note to immerse myself in His Word as soon as I got home.

And our Gracious Lord says:

Psalms 56:8 (NLT)

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

John 16:33:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”