Walking with God: About Faith and Favor.

Whenever I get the chance I like to take a walk with God. Literally. The following is what I learned during our stroll around the neighborhood…

God’s favor isn’t about our personal pleasure, it’s about His purpose. It’s when we truly understand this that we truly become useable by God. Don’t listen to the prosperity preachers. They have it all twisted. God’s favor is not about your financial gain, a new car, new clothes, worldly comforts. And, if that is your view and expectation, you will be sorely and eternally disappointed. Not that you won’t get some of those things, it’s just that if you don’t use them properly, it will be ALL you get. You will have received your reward. A small, temporary, fleeting reward in the grand scheme of things.

I’ll say it again. God’s favor isn’t about our personal pleasure, it’s about His purpose. Look at Mary. She found favor, but do you think it was easy to have her life interrupted just as she was about to marry the man of her dreams? Do you think it was easy for her to be shunned and made fun of as she tried to convince people that she was still a virgin while looking like she was carrying a beach ball under her frock? Thank God, she had the faith to accept God’s favor.

What about Noah? Do you think it was easy to build an ark big enough to carry two of all of God’s creations…without help? Do you think it was easy to know everyone thought he was crazy? Thank God, he had the faith to accept God’s favor.

What about Joseph? David? Moses? And Jesus? What about Jesus? Do you think it was easy to be betrayed; to suffer the cruelest most inhumane death possible? Thank God, he had the faith to accept God’s favor. And the list goes on and on. Thank God, they had the faith to accept God’s favor.

Lord, I ask that you help me to have the faith to accept your favor and the strength to do what needs to be done. I know without You, I am nothing. I also know that I need Your strength.  I need You. Thank you, Jesus, for being my Lord and Savior. And for choosing a plain old, everyday, run-of-the-mill girl like me to take part in your grand plan. I am favored, indeed. And I am honored. Help me to make you proud today and everyday. Amen and Ehmen!

Happy Anniversary: Celebrating Love. Past. Present and Future.

holding handsWriter’s Note: This was a note  wrote to my friend on the first wedding anniversary that she had to celebrate alone. Neil’s death, just seven months prior, usurped the life and love that she knew and, at least for a long while, it looked like she might not survive his death. But, she did, and, today, three more wedding anniversaries later, she is doing very well. God has ushered in a new life and a new love and, while she still misses Neil everyday, she is learning to keep moving forward…just as God intends. Happy Anniversary to my Friend. Enjoy the love. Past. Present. And Future. Amen and Ehmen!

To my friends who mark their 20th wedding anniversary today, one from heaven and one from here on earth. Thank God you had each other and that the heart is the one connection that will never go away; the place that heaven and earth meet and you will remain united until you are once again in the same place at the same time. I love you two with all my heart and I’m praying for your peace and comfort today, Denny.

I can still see his eyes—as beautiful blue and as comfortable as a favorite pair of denim jeans. I see them light up every single time you walked into the room. Even after more than two decades together, just your presence made him smile like a young schoolboy falling in love for the first time. And that cute and jovial little chuckle. The Neil chuckle, I call it. I can still hear it every time you’d say or do something silly, which, thankfully is often.
I’m sure your marriage wasn’t perfect. No relationship is. But, your love; well, your love was perfect.  And as you mark this anniversary of your matrimony with a saddened and clouded heart, just know that your Neil is just on the other side of those clouds smiling like a young schoolboy falling in love for the first time. He loves you, this I know, with a love that transcends all time and space. He loves you. Past. Present. And Future.

God Even Loves Us Goofballs…

At the end of the church service, I hear God tell me to put my hand on a stranger’s shoulder and tell him that He loves him. So before I had a chance to argue or ignore, I just did it. It went something like this: “I don’t know why, but God loves you. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I am sure he has His reasons. Ok, wait. Look, I don’t know why I felt He wanted me to tell you, but he sure does. Sorry, I goofed it up.” Thank you, nice guy, for not treating me like a nut, but smiling and saying thanks. And reminding me God even loves goofs like me.laughing-smiley-face-clip-art-clipart-laughing-smiley-emoticon-512x512-90d0

Savor the Silence…

Writer’s Note: Just before Thanksgiving last year, I spent a weekend at a monastery. Knowing that God was clock photocalling me there for a little ‘Me and Thee Time,” I went. And, boy, am I glad I did. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew WHO to expect. As promised, He met me there and taught me more in a few moments of silence than I could learn in years of busyness and bustle. Thanks for reminding me of this, Dear Lord, as I have let the loudness of life take its toll on me this week. Back to the stillness, to the silence, to Your Peace! Happy Sunday, y’all. May you find Him in all that you do.

In the silence, I sit. The only sound is the ticking of a nearby clock. Tick tock. Tick tock. The echo of minutes, of hours, of time passing by.

But, you need not be left behind. Grab hold of one of those moments and don’t let go. Delve deeper and deeper into solitude and into that sweet, sweet place that only you and God dwell.

Oh, how much easier it is to hear Him when you are in the same place at the same time. Oh, how much easier it is to see and feel Him when all else falls away.

Why, I wonder, do people fear silence so much? Why do they treat it as if it were a roaring lion trying to devour them when in reality it is the noise and distractions that are most dangerous? Yes, the truth is that silence is beautiful. It has a rhythm which ebbs and flows and harmonizes with every beat of you heart. It is the foundation of God’s own voice, speaking directly to you. Can you hear him? I can.

Lord, may I learn to embrace the silence and You on a daily basis, whether at a monastery or at home where finding peace and solitude is more of a challenge. May I learn to turn down the volume of everyday life so that I can commune with you and hear the sweetness of your still, small and mighty voice every day. I love you. Forever and ever. Amen and Ehmen.

1 Kings, Chapter 19

11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Her Faith Rises Up like a Phoenix…

 pheonix borrowed from webWriter’s Note: Over the years, I have watched my friend struggle with depression, but, no matter how dark the nights may get, her faith has always managed to bring light to her path. Sure, sometimes she has needed others to remind her, and God always seemed to make sure I was in the right place at the right time when she needed such a reminder. The following is a short snippet of a vision he gave me one night in regards to my friend. It gave me hope for her and for all of those who may continue to struggle with depression, but who never give up on the God who never gives up on them. His promises are real and His love is unfailing, unconditional and never ending. Thank you, Jesus! Amen and Ehmen!

Sometimes it seems as if the darkness overtakes her from the inside out. Satan knows just what to use to cloud her soul, hurling her into an abyss of loneliness, hurt and depression. He knows full well that is harder for her to follow and find comfort in her Great God when her own eyes are shrouded by clouds.

What he can’t comprehend, however, is how her faith can still rise up like a phoenix from the darkest, nethermost reaches of his hellish plantings. And, just when he thinks he has her in his evil grip, the majestic bird adorned with colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet scoops her up and drops her safely in the lap of her Father.

In the Face of Depression

Writer’s Note: As we approach the first anniversary, I thought it appropriate to post something I wrote a few days after Robin Williams’ death shocked the world. It struck a deeply personal nerve for me, just as I know it did for the many who have lost friends and loved ones to depression and/or battled it alongside them.

Aug. 16. 2014She needed something bigger than both of us

The recent death of Robin Williams has stirred up many feelings and emotions for many people around the globe, myself included. Suicide has taken or threatened to take people in my own world and so I know, firsthand, how very hard it is and how deep the wounds of those left behind. They not only are mourning the loss of their loved one, but they often are left to wonder if they somehow failed. If they knew there was a problem, why couldn’t they help? If they didn’t know, why didn’t they recognize the signs? Surely, there were signs.

The truth is there are some people you simply cannot accept at face value; those people who have become so skilled at hiding their depression and true feelings that others have difficulty seeing the reality of a hurting soul trapped in darkness. At least to those outside their inner circles, this seemed to be just such the case with Robin Williams as well as a young man with whom I worked. To the world, both were extremely outgoing, funny and loved by many. I can’t help but wonder if they hid behind a smiling mask because that is what the world expected from them. Did they feel responsible for being the happy one, even when they were feeling just the opposite inside? Did they help and inspire others, while all the while desperately needing someone to help them? Had the very thing that they had become known for become the burden that finally broke them?

Personally, I could see how that could happen. My friend whom I have come close to losing several times in the past few years became highly skilled at wearing a mask when in public. Thank God, she would occasionally slip it off, where we could try to bring everything she was hiding deep inside out in the open. It was hard. It was ugly. It was heart-wrenching. And it was impossible for her to shoulder alone.  She needed something bigger than both of us combined. She needed God. Of course, God was always there, but sometimes she just needed someone to remind her; to help clear the fog and smoke so that she could see His sweet, sweet face; however many times it took.  That’s where we can help. Is it easy? Absolutely not.

I can’t tell you how many mornings I felt a pit in my stomach wondering if this day would be the day I got “the call.” I felt helpless and imagined that this must certainly be what it feels like to have a loved one in a war zone. I suppose in a sense she was in a war zone. She was fighting for her very life, entrenched in heavy battle with satan and his evil army of demons. They surrounded her and, although they couldn’t physically lay a hand on her, they made so much noise and created so much smoke and fog that, alone, she found it hard to see her Creator. What she really needed was to be reminded that satan only turns up the heat when he sees time running out and her victory imminent. It’s his hail mary pass; his last ditch effort.

The thing is, we all have to remember that amidst all that smoke and noise, God is ALWAYS right there. He never leaves. Not even for a single second. Thank God, my friend found His hand again and made it back from many, many days, weeks and even months of wandering in a desert of hopelessness, darkness and despair. She made it to the other side of a very dark night and is today basking in the sunshine once again.

My prayer tonight is that the noise satan so loves to make will be squelched and the smoke dissipated so that all can see Him, in all His Glory. May God’s love and peace be with us all. Amen and Ehmen.

Love goes with you…

A snapshot of Ross and I when I first met him in person. He loved God, his friends and his bikes. When this was taken in the summer of 2009, he had not been able to ride for quite some time. Our prayer during that time that God would shower him in both peace and comfort as he continued his battle with cancer and that pray that he regain enough strength to ride his bikes again. God answered those prayers and Ross took a little excursion on this very Chopper a few months later....God is good!
A snapshot of Ross and I when I first met him in person. He loved God, his friends and his bikes. When this was taken in the summer of 2009, he had not been able to ride for quite some time. Our prayer during that time was that God would shower him in both peace and comfort as he continued his battle with cancer and that he would regain enough strength to ride his bikes again. God answered those prayers and Ross took a little excursion on this very Chopper just a few months before he passed….God is good!

Writer’s Note: Besides Denny and Neil, Ross was one of the first across-the-border friendships I forged. We talked back and forth online and on the phone for quite some time as he battled cancer and it was so special to finally get to meet him in the summer of 2009. What is below was written after my daughter and I visited him again, just six months later in December 2009. This time he was in the hospital and he passed just a month or so later. In our many conversations, he always made me promise I’d write a book one day and include his story. Below is an excerpt of the “Ross Chapters” from that future book. What an awesome soul this man had and, though his battle was hard, his transition to his heavenly home was peaceful and beautiful just as we had prayed…thanks to our Heavenly Father and his dearest earthly friends.

He sat in front of us, cloaked in robes and blankets. His skin was pale with a yellowish tint; his face sunken and pinched. The smell of sickness permeated the hallways, freely flowing into the room and assaulting our senses, trying boldly to break our spirits and our hearts during this most wondrous of seasons.

And, yet, peace—a heavenly, sweet peace—radiated from his very being. At a time when you would expect him to be experiencing relentless pain, he smiled gently and contentedly as if he himself were sitting in God’s lap. He was living completely in the moment and enjoying the love of his friends and family, while at the same time seeming to live in another dimension secretly basking in the glory of God and enjoying his new life of no pain.

His face would especially light up when his “earth angel” was near. It was obvious God had introduced Denny and Ross at just the right time nearly five years ago. His beloved son was lost and Denny and husband, Neil, were the only shepherds that could help him find his way home. God knew it. Ross knew it. Thank God, Denny and Neil knew it too.

And, what a journey it had been. Many miles they had traveled together, wandering side-by-side through many a desert and dark valley. Sometimes Denny led with the other two in tow and sometimes it was Neil. And, then, there were days like today, when it was obvious that Ross was at the forefront where he belonged—the promise land in his sight.


Neil gently laid his hand on Ross’ forehead as Denny leaned over to kiss him tenderly on the cheek. Ross’ breathing seemed to stop as if trying to hold onto the moment; to absorb and pack away as much love as possible to take on his journey. Love, after all, was all that he could take with him on this final leg. Fortunately, it was all that was needed.

Speaking of love, it was through friendship and circumstance that this trio had learned the true, biblical definition of love. Sure, each of them had felt and given love before, but not like this; not the kind of love that Jesus gave; the kind that would make each one willing to lay down their life for the other; the kind that was just as important in death as it was in life.

It’s always pretty spectacular when you realize that God has been working in your life; when you begin to see what seemed like the most horrible of circumstances becoming one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever known. It makes it hard to be sad when you look at it that way—through God’s eyes.

The challenge then becomes to take what you’ve learned and make the world a better place. Not to let all that love be buried or put away in a scrapbook somewhere, but instead to keep it alive; to keep Jesus alive by continuing to love completely and unconditionally.

Happy HIMdependence Day!

Given it’s actually Independence Day, I thought it made sense to re-blog this post. I, for one, celebrate Himdependence today and everyday. On a side note, I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately. It’s just been a busy summer with work and life., the best news being my baby girl got engaged. Crazy how time flies. Happy Fouth, y’all!

amen and ehmen!

I am finding more and more truth in the old saying, “time flies” these days. In fact, the older I get, the old tick-tock seems Happy HIMdependence Day! Finalto sprout bigger and faster wings, hijacking the moments and carrying each and every one of them far, far away. If we’re lucky, the good ones land somewhere in the recesses of our memories to be retrieved and enjoyed many times in the future and the not-so-good just keep floating into the dark abyss of time never to be recalled again or, better yet, they wind up in God’s toolbox where He repurposes them and turns each into something useful.

Actually, the truth is, God promises to always use our stuff. He says so many times throughout the bible and most expressly so in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according…

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