Remember, Jesus does Love You

I remember when I took this picture. It was September of 2017 when my girls were still in dance. We were rushed for time, hurrying into the parking lot for class. It was always a chaotic rush to get there after school. We were rushing out, ready to get home when I looked up and saw a perfect heart in the clouds. I had spent the summer in bed recovering from a ruptured S5 disk. I still had pain and numbness in my right foot and leg, was still going to physical therapy and was finally able to drive my kids to dance practice. I’m sure my foot hurt. I’m sure I wondered if I could make it to dance let alone on time. I’m sure I was dreading driving home. But looking up and seeing that beautiful heart. It was a huge God kiss.

I needed a reminder that God loved me. Life was really hard at that point. School had started. I was up and walking but home alone for the first time in my life. I had a 4 year old little boy I had to take care of during the day. I posted the picture on Facebook with the caption “Profetic sign over Southport today, Jesus loves you.” I remember later many of my friends had seen the same clouds and posted pictures of it.

If God can arrange the clouds in the sky to make a perfect heart at just the right moment for me. He can arrange our lives to live out our destiny. He loves us and he has perfect plans for our lives. He is taking us all on a journey. Sometimes that journey is really hard and we need to look up and see his glory. I was having a day when I needed to look up and see Him and know how much He loves me. If your struggling with life today I hope this helps you to look up and focus on Him too. He loves you, so much he arranged the clouds for you to see it. He loves you so much he sent his son to show you.

You are a Pearl of Great Price

I had an amazing weekend. I was supposed to be going to the Karitos conference this weekend but due to Covid concerns that was canceled. So instead a few wonderful ladies of God and I met at a beautiful park in Shipshewana, Indiana to create and talk and walk and pray. When we all arrived together one of the ladies a wonderful writer, mentor and friend Rose Calkins, reminded us that we are all daughters of God and “pearls of great price.” Prompted by the Holy Spirit She gave us each a pearl bracelet she had be wearing. I had traveled with a close friend who had received a pearl necklace that morning when she opened her amazon package that contained her outfit for the day. That was gifted to our other friend an amazing visual artist and teacher.

We talked a little about Matthew 13 verses 45-46 which reads in the amplified version, “Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, and upon finding a single pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

I always thought this was a commandment of God to us. To give all we have for the pearl of Jesus. But friends it goes both ways. We are Jesus’s pearls of great price. He gave his life so that we could live forever with him. Within the lifetime we spend with him He creates us into a beautiful, priceless pearl.

According to Bing website “Natural Pearls form when an irritant – usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand – works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.”

Pearls are formed out of adversity. An irritant, a grain of sand or even a parasite. Works its way into the life of the clam. As a defense it is covered with a fluid that hardens and forms the pearl. That’s a perfect example of how the Holy Spirit can work in us.

Life happens, Anxiety, trouble, stressful situations. These grains of sand or parasites could destroy us. But if we allow the Holy Spirit in us to work that irritant begins to make us tougher and we flourish through adversity. We become beautiful because we make it though our pain.

Joel Osteen says in his YouTube video ” Invite God into your Difficulties” that instead of praying our way out of our troubles we should invite God to be with us in and through them.

God uses our troubles to shape and molds us. In John 15 verses 1-7 Jesus talks about how he is the vine and we are the branches. God prunes off the branches who do not bear fruit. He choice of pruning shears is often problems, trouble, uncomfortable and painful situations. He uses these situations to shape and mold us to be healthy branches, just like adversity shapes the pearl.

If you are struggling today, take heart. God will use these situations to make you better, stronger and braver if you invite him into them today.

My Testimony

I listened to a worship class two weeks ago lead by Rick Pino and Todd White. Towards the end they challenged everyone in the class to share their testimony. I can remember a time in my life when I thought I didn’t have a testimony. I never did drugs, never got into trouble. I grew up loving Jesus. When I was little I wanted to be a missionary. When I was in high school I wanted to be a worship leader. I haven’t become either yet but I was always God’s girl. Even in college when I drifted away from my faith I still believed Jesus loved me.

All that changed drastically the day I ruptured my S5 disc in my back. I suddenly in that moment was in desperate need of saving. In the days that followed when I couldn’t walk or get out of bed, I was in desperate need of saving. In My husband and family watching me suffer were also in desperate need of saving. Saving came but so slowly. Climbing out of the pain and helplessness seemed to take forever. But saving still came.

Jesus saved me that day. I injured my back sweeping up my three-year-old son as he ran away from me while I was trying to get him in the car to a doctor appointment. I drove to the appointment after I injured my back. The kind of injury I suffered caused the sciatic nerve in my back to be pinched and my right leg was in severe pain the entire 40 minutes I drove to and from the doctor. God got me home with no car accidents. That alone was a miracle.

Once I was home we were able to talk directly to my doctor on the phone instead of going to the emergency room. They were able to do MRI scans the very next day. God provided me with doctors who were able to treat and care for me for the next 8 months I was in recovery and physical therapy. God has provided me with a neurologist who can provide me with the medication I need for my ongoing never damage in my right foot from the injury. We found a foot doctor. Who performed a foot surgery almost a year ago today which has given me even more mobility.

But God has done so much more in my heart since all this happened. He’s helped me battle fear. He’s given me stronger convictions and I have a better relationship, more trusting relationship with Jesus than I ever did before. He’s a good God who take care of those of us who love Him.

God used what was the scariest, hardest thing in my life and has made it for good. I know he can do the same for you. He truly is a good God.

I Know It’s Hard, But You Can Do It.

My son had his first eye appointment yesterday. He’s six. It was a long appointment and he did really well behaving. A few times during the visit he struggled with the directions of what to do. He would get frustrated and I would hear myself say. I know this is hard but you can do it. Take a deep breath and try again.

After about the third time I had said this I had a God moment. We struggle in life. We get frustrated, We don’t always understand the what’s and whys of life and what’s going on. It’s hard to sit still in life. Sometimes were in the middle of a really big deal. A death of a family member or friend, loss of a job or relationship, but sometimes It’s not as big as we make it to be. Regardless the circumstance God doesn’t want us to give up or give in. Frustration can easily lead to apathy and apathy depression. In these moments when things feel so hard I can hear Jesus saying to us, “I know this is hard but you can do it. Take a deep breath and try again.”

Now as a mom I knew the outcome of the visit. I knew my son was safe, nothing bad was going to happen to him. In life we don’t always have that assurance. In life we often feel like the world is falling apart all around us. How wonderful that we can know and trust that even in those moments God’s got us. It’s hard but he has us protected and safe. He knows its hard for us but its necessary to create who we are supposed to be in him. He knows we can do it with his help. He’s not only cheering us on but helping us along the way.

I have three children and I love them all deeply but theirs something about a mom and a son. That kid clings to me like the other two girls didn’t. He needed me in the room. Folks we need Jesus in the room with us when we are facing our trials. I’m not saying he’s not already there but you need to know that he’s there. Watching, helping, guiding and protecting you. That assurance comes from a close relationship with Him. I encourage you to pray and read your Bible everyday so that you can cultivate that kind of relationship.

My friend if today is a hard day I want to pray for you. Pray that you persevere that you hear Him lovingly encourage you to keep going. Good days are ahead because He has a good plan for your life. You can make it through the hard moments. If I can pray for you today please leave a comment.

How to Have a Winning Battle with Worry

Photo by Kaleigh Sawers on Pexels.com

School started last week and my kids are going in person. That started me to worry. Two of my children came home from the first day of school with stuffy noses and sore throats and that caused me to worry. Doctor appointments for them. Sitting and waiting for a diagnosis caused me to worry. Doctor notes getting them back in school when they were diagnosed with colds caused me to worry. Missing plans over the weekend caused me to worry. Will I get it too, caused me to worry. See I have lots of reasons to worry and I believe you do to. Which is why it is so hard when someone says to you, stop being a worry wort to just stop. For a long time I couldn’t just stop worrying, I needed a plan of attack.

By the way none of the things I worried about happened. Both kids did not have COVID. Both kids are feeling just fine now and both kids are back at school. Worrying did nothing but cause more of it.

Joyce Meyers often compares worrying to rocking in a rocking chair your moving but your not going anywhere. And she’s right. It’s unproductive, it raises your stress level, its unhealthy and it gives you an attitude that anything bad that will happen can happen.

For me I’ve had to take Joyce’s advice and Jesus’s to stop the worry train. When I realize I’m worrying I stop, I pray about whatever it is I’m worried about, Sometimes I have to do this over and over again and then I replace it with something I am thankful with.

Matthew Chapter 6 says a lot about worry. In verse 33 Jesus reminds us to first seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you also.” That is why I pray first. I want to seek God’s will on whatever it is I’m worried about.

I’m also learning to be careful not to talk a lot about what I’m worried about. Our words are powerful. When we talk about worry we tend to dwell on it. We don’t really know what’s going to happen one day for the next or why somethings happen the way they do. We just have to trust God’s will in it.

Finally I thank God for his goodness. He is for us, not against us. If we are reminded of the goodness he’s done in our lives its hard not to trust Him to continue to take care of us. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything (every circumstance and situation) by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your (specific) requests known to God. ”

If we do this He promises in verse 7 ” The peace of God (that peace which reassures the heart, that peace) which transcends all understanding, (that peace which) stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (is yours.)”

Don’t you want that kind of peace! I sure do. I’ve experienced that kind of peace before in really hard times. God is good. He knows what you need when you need it.

Don’t Give Up the Race

Photo by Heart Rules on Pexels.com

My junior year of high school was my last year on the swim team. It took everything out of me. I had a number of sinus infections that season and was having awful nose bleeds after practices. Most of my friends were no longer swimming. I only had a few friends on the team. By the time hell week, yes that’s what it was called, in preparation for sectionals rolled around I was ready to quit. But I didn’t. I continued through the season and placed in sectionals shaving my time significantly. I’m glad I didn’t quit. When the nosebleeds returned after my first week of practice my senior year I did leave the team. I didn’t want to go through being sick for so long again. There were other reasons, I had a better opportunity playing keyboard for marching band which was something I’m glad I didn’t pass up. 


I don’t quit things easily. It takes a lot of consideration and prayer. I often have a really hard time when things end unexpectedly. I’m one of those people who put my all into everything I do. Which is why I try to instill in my children that they shouldn’t give up. Even when it’s hard. If your in ministry, even a small ministry you will have challenges. You will have moments where it just doesn’t seem like it could possibly work. You have moments where you don’t think your goal will get accomplished. And you’ll feel like you want to give up. Call it warfare call it Satan meddling, call it just how life goes these things will happen. But if your doing it for God and He’s given you a vision and a calling for it. He has a way to make it happen no matter what happens in the meantime. In those moments He doesn’t call us to quit, He calls us to finish our race. 

“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord (always doing your best and doing more than is needed,) being continually aware that your labor (even to the point of exhaustion) in the Lord is not futile nor wasted (it is never without purpose.) 1 Corinthians 15:58

Nothing you do for God is wasted, without purpose. Nothing you do for God is insignificant or forgotten. We were made to be bearers of His light. If you shine even for a moment in the darkness you create hope. You show love. You give mercy and kindness. Don’t pass up opportunities just because they seem “too hard” God will make a way.

“Indeed we felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death (and were convinced that we would die, but this happened) so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. He rescued us from so great a threat of death and will continue to rescue us. On Him we have set our hope. And He will again rescue us (from danger and draw us near.) 2 Corinthians 1:9-10.

The trials we face when trying to do good works. They are allowed by God so that we will put our trust in Him to accomplish our goal, not ourselves. If you’re facing something hard today. Let me pray for you. 

Dear Jesus, 

Help my friend to put their trust in you today. Allow them to trust, whatever the outcome of their situation, that it is your will. If you have instilled in them a calling and a purpose and there are obstacles in their way I pray in your name that no weapon form against them will prosper. I pray that they have help, peace, mercy and joy on their journey to fulfilling your purpose in them. Thank you for co-laboring with us to carry on your message. Allow my friend wisdom and strength as they continue to battle and bless them with the fruits of their labors. In your Holy name I pray, Amen.

It’s Time to Move into Your Destiny

When I was in a second grade a group of missionaries from our church came home. They threw a big party and invited us children to attend dressed like the African children. They talked about the village they had been serving in and told us about how the women would “wear” their babies as they worked in the fields all day. That’s all I really remember but I knew that after hearing their stories I wanted to be a missionary.

In fifth grade I went to Camp Allendale during the summer. There was a missionary there. He spent the week telling us about where he served in Africa. He showed us drums and taught us songs from Africa. When I came home I told my parents I wanted to be a missionary. That must have scared them because their answer was “will see.”

In high school I wanted to go to a Christian college. I wanted to study music and be a worship minister. My parents said that was too expensive and I went to a public college instead. My dreams of being a missionary or music minister left me there. It became aware to me that I needed a “real job.” So I pursued that. I majored in communication studies and minored in public relations. Met my wonderful husband, got married and  hoped I would be happy in a cubicle somewhere.

I was not, I was actually pretty miserable with my first two jobs out of college. I worked two years at a newspaper and ran myself ragged and then landed my “dream job” doing marketing for an anesthesia  company. I failed and lost that job. And then God began to move me where he wanted me to be. First I worked for three years at an accounting firm where I got my foundation to work in the medical field. I then spent two years working  for a foot doctor and almost 8 years working in a pediatric office. I enjoyed working in the medical field. I felt like I was helping people. I was serving and that  is where my heart had always been.

But I’ve never made it to Africa and although I was part of a praise band for many years it has been about 3 years since we have played together. I think about those dreams. I still want to go on a mission trip. I still want to sing and play piano in other places than my house. But there is a fear of putting myself out there and trying something new. I know that God does not want us to be comfortable but to stretch ourselves to the new thing He has for us. However, there’s a real fear there for me and maybe for others. Of what might happen if we try something new. Will our dreams be dashed again?

In the first chapter of Deuteronomy Moses addresses the Israelites after 40 years in the wilderness. “ You have stayed long enough on this mountain, Turn and resume your journey…”Deuteronomy 1:6-7. 

God does not want us to be afraid of going forward. He takes us to wilderness places but does not want us to stay in the wilderness. He wants us to go forward. The Israelites were given a bad report. They had sent spies to see the land who said that they were “Grasshoppers in comparison to the Nephilim people” (Numbers 13:33) Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the ten spies who said the Israelites could defeat the current inhabitants and take possession of the land.  So many times we get a bad report. Our dreams are defeated or don’t come true, the future looks bleak and scary. But God promises the desires of our heart. We need to move forward to claim them. 


But what if you’re like me and not sure how to make that dream a reality? Pray for doors to open and remember big things start with little things. When God puts a little thing on your heart, do it. It’s amazing what happens when you do. 

Grief is Painful but God can Heal

I lost a friend last Monday. She didn’t die of Covid but of other factors. But since her death I’ve had a lot of anxiety. She has a daughter my oldest age and I can’t imagine her life without her mom. I don’t feel hopeless and honestly the grief I’ve felt is much different that I’m used to. Its painful not sorrowful. I think about all the things she won’t experience. Her daughters graduation, wedding, babies…providing these things happen, all those things we as parents dread and look forward to in the same breath.

Death is hard. I truly believe it is so hard because originally when God created Adam and Eve death didn’t exist yet. I don’t think we are equip to deal with such loss, without him. We weren’t made to accept it. Coping and grieving is not the same as accepting. Only God can heal that kind of pain.

We are fragile. We don’t know when our last moments will be. But we can have peace that God knows and he will take care of us until then and beyond if we believe. My friend death was quick, unexpected and very hard. But God provided, even in this season of Covid, to have the hospital allow her family to be their in her passing. Family helped with the burial in an amazing way and even the funeral home supplied Diet Coke (my friends favorite drink) at her funeral in memory of her. God blesses us even in our grief because he is a gentle good God.

I pray for peace and comfort in the days ahead for my friend’s family. If your struggling with grief, I pray the same for you. Go to God. Try to see his hand in the situation. It will help you see His grace for everyone.

Glasses Change Perspective in Many Ways

Glasses

I didn’t think I needed them

Didn’t realized I squinted or held my paper far away to see

But when I put on my glasses everything became easier

Fine details I missed, paragraphs I would skip made sense

I no longer ignored the long writings of my friends facebook posts

Truth is like that

You don’t realize you need it 

Until someone shows you the lies though its lens

I didn’t realize I was squinting and stumbling in life

Wandering though decision after decision with my eyes closed

Your word put it back into focus

So priorities can shift like sand

The quietness of your truth stands above it all

How perfect is your laws.

The weigh and balance the universe

They keep our paths straight.

-written May 14.

I got glasses about a month ago and I am finally used to them. Its been an adjustment and most of the time at home I forget to put them on or I take them off and misplace them. I was very surprised I needed them. I’ve had good vision since middle school but the optometrist said it was my age and it was time to get them.

My new glasses

God has a lot to say about how we see. How we see each other and the situations we are in. Without wisdom and discernment that we can receive from reading God’s word, life is a lot like I was without glasses. If things got blurry I’d just stop reading, look somewhere else. I didn’t know how to deal with the uncomfortableness of not seeing clearly. God’s wisdom allows us to see a situation clearly so that we don’t have to be uncomfortable or afraid to deal with it.

God also says a lot about what we look at. “The eye is the lamp of the body, If your eyes are healthy your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22

When we look at unhealthy things it effects our body. I struggled a lot with anxiety and much of it had to do with the scary movies I had seen and scary books I had read. I was very paranoid and sometimes I couldn’t sleep when my husband was away on business because of what I had watched on T.V. I had to give up watching those kinds of shows to help control my anxiety. Many friends of mine have told me when they watch the news now days they get very anxious, honestly I do too. What we see affects how our body reacts. It effects our emotions and mood. This is just one example of how we need to be careful of what we watch.

Self care sometimes needs to be diligent and intentional. Sometimes we need to let go of things once we see that they are not beneficial to us. The Holy Spirit reveals these things to us the more time we spend in prayer, study and worship.

God’s Pruning Helps us Stand the Storms of Life

Yesterday there was a short but furious thunderstorm near our house. It started when I was in the grocery store, paused for a brief moment and then let loose beyond belief on my way home. It was one of those summer rain storms with lightning and thunder and downpour so thick your windshield wipers are on full blast and your still straining to see the car infront of you. I hate driving in storms and I was clutched to the wheel praying for protection all the way home. The storm caused an accident on the road a head of me so I had to turn around in a neighborhood and plan another way home. Taking back roads I was nearly there when my phone started ringing. There was no way I could answer it in that storm with my hands glued to the steering wheel so I let it ring until I got home. And found the tree in our front yard split in half.

The call was from my neighbor who witnessed the storms winds break the tree into two. My heart sank into my throat. The tree was a Bradford Pear about 14 years old. It was planted on Mother’s day as a gift for my oldest daughter. We have a second Bradford Pear planted near it that was planted on another Mother’s day for my middle daughter. So that each of my daughter’s had their own tree. My son, who is now 5 and we hadn’t planted a tree for him yet is always asking where his tree is. My husband who seeing and hearing the storm had brilliantly sent everyone downstairs did not hear the tree fall. So as I walked into the house I hunted him down and sent him outside. His heart broke too. “Kelly”, he said,” I don’t know what we do.” Well I knew what we needed to do I just didn’t want to do it. I called a tree service. The kind assessor was their within a half hour and plans were made to cut down the remainder of tree, trim my middle daughters tree and have a tree removed that had been growing out the side of the house for a few years we couldn’t get rid of.

This morning they came and completed all their tasks and well my yard looks so bare now. The birds were wandering around it wondering where their homes and big block of birdseed went. My oldest daughter seemed to be ok except she said, “I don’t like how everything is changing!” I agreed. But reflecting on this whole situation gave me some insights on pruning in general. We had planed on pruning this particular tree soon. We initially were going to do it in spring but with the stay inside orders and Covid 19 about we put it off till this fall. The tree was definitely overdue for pruning. Which is part of why it didn’t survive. God prunes us because he wants us to outlast the storms of life. Some storms are so big they just break you in two and their are people in this world that without God will never recover from those storms. They are just barely surviving, broken. God doesn’t want us in that state. That is why he lovingly prunes us.

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit he (repeatedly) prunes, so that it will bear more fruit, (even richer, finer fruit).” John 15:2 AMP Being pruned is hard. Its taking off old ways and putting on new ways. Do you want to bear fruit? I sure do. I look at the physical ailments I have had to wrestle with and see God using these things to prune me. Before I suffered I never really thought about those who were wheelchair bound or had a handicap placard. God gave me greater compassion for those by placing me temporarily in their shoes.

I recently had to give up drinking coffee and I love coffee. But it did not help me physically. That has been a pruning experience for me. I have been praying for a while about being more healthy. Well that was one thing that had to go. I am thankful for pruning. Storms in life are still hard. But I’ve learned to put my trust and joy in the Lord during them. Pruning teaches you that. It gives you an undying hope in the mist of trouble. When it becomes evident in your life that something is just not working, its time to let it go. It can be a thought process, a habit, a mindset. Don’t resist the pruning. you want to make it though the storm and bear good fruit.