“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
~ Jeremiah 17: 7-8

Ground stepped on can feel quite shaky.  Like mountain soil slick with rocks refusing to let our feet hold firm.  Overwhelming like a field so vast it confuses our feet into indecision.  Unfamiliar floors weighed by foreign walls standing in hello to an 11 year old freshly disposed of girl from the back of a police car left standing in a home that is not home.  I know that girl.  I was that girl.  Perhaps you too know some of the terrain I am referring to.

As the new year begins rolling with increasing steam one idea thread has popped up and stood out above all the rest.  This social thread has been both a challenge and a personal call-to-action of sorts.  It’s one simple word in theory but put into practice, anything but.  What one word would you pick to camp on for the whole of 2018?  Not just a word, but THE word, intentionally and prayerfully chosen to flagship the year forward.  One word to think on and grow from.  What one word would you choose? What word should I choose?  Overwhelmingly, the word that resonates above all the rest for me is rooted.

Why rooted?

In short, without roots we are rootless, swayed left and right, up and down by a relentless wave of shifting sand.  A plant up-rooted can’t survive the elements long, and neither can we.  Nor can a plant pick and dust it’s self off to be self-planted once again. A plant needs planted by hands outside it’s self.  What I have been discovering and learning for quite some time now is that if we know not who we are by knowing whose we are, then left to ourselves we will seek to fill and define most everything pertaining to our self.  But life, this fleeting life we have been so graciously given, is not about us at all.  We so easily forget that we are created with one purpose, to glorify God.   Roots that God plants are strong, sturdy, and fruitful.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being ROOTED and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.                       ~ Ephesisans 3:  14-19

To be ROOTED is to TRUST

Becoming rooted is the surrender and opening of tight-clenched fists to become sifted and planted by the hands of the great I Am.  It is foundational, unshakable trust.  Trust that is not in myself or of myself, or even planted in others beside myself, but trust that digs into God and God alone.  Roots planted by and in God go deep, deeper than I can even begin to understand.  They survive the chaos of storms and circumstances and remain green and un-withered despite drought.  They are roots void of anxiety.  Regardless of external surroundings, God is the fruitful bedrock that sustains.

May this year be a ROOTED kind of year.

This girl once orphaned is orphaned no more.  Nor is she captive to fear.  For I know myself to be adopted in and grafted into the vine that is God’s family.  I am forever His.  In Christ I know who I am and whose I am, and that truth roots and grounds me in a love like no other.  It’s soil I need to be reminded of often and a truth too easily forgotten when storms rage, circumstances roar, and people do what people do best, sin.  The heat can remain and the drought may linger, but God is an unquenchable well.  So this year, yes, I deeply desire to remain deeply ROOTED.  God grows amazingly beautiful things from deep roots.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen.”                                  ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Don’t Wait for Tomorrow What You Can Settle Today

It’s been a while since I last wrote, I admit.  In the time between Winter ending and Spring beginning I have taken extra moments to rest.  In these moments I have been able to disconnect in order to connect more fully to the people most precious to me, my family.  I have seen a year pass and in this time reflect on the milestone of my father’s home-going.  Just this week I received official word that the estate handling had finally found an end.  This business of walking through the valley of the shadow of death has finalized, settled, come to completion.  For now.

And on goes life.

Winter has gone, Spring has come and already it’s preparing to give way to Summer.  Time spins round so rapidly it’s hard to believe that all this new color will fade to Fall in a mere few months.  Time collects so much, leaves so much, and in it’s span of the space between the dots God works change in the landscape of our life.  God changes things, He changes us.


I have discovered death to be just one of the tools God can use to remind us of the important things, or rather, what should be the most important thing:  the reality of God in our lives, changing us, using us.  I admit that even as I write my thoughts are spinning in a million directions and my heart is heavy.  This week has brought with it news that is as hard to read as it is to understand.  Another senseless and cruel bombing took place in England followed by news of the sudden death of a childhood youth instructor who was kind, humble and a selfless servant. Shocking news.  Hard news.  Every day news hits with another harsh reality of just how hard, bitter, ugly and cold the world’s landscape is becoming.

And so with that a warning:  I’m about to tear down a fence that I’ve been dancing around for far too long.  I generally try to steer clear of writing anything “political” but to be honest, I’m over all the snarkiness.  Politics are not going to change or save us.  Only God can save.  All the ugliness we see in this world can not be solved by the culture’s latest social agenda or terminology re-defining.  You can attempt to re-define marriage and gender but it will never change what God, our creator, has already created and cemented.  Your creator has embedded the beauty of His work in the very fabric of your DNA which can not be re-worked or re-defined.  Your emptiness and fear won’t be solved by divorce, drugs, alcohol, abortion or you fill in the proverbial blank. Our mistakes can not be washed away or re-written.  They can only be owned up to and repented from.  And so, I believe it’s time we start calling out what’s truly the problem and the problem begins with US.  The problem is pride, selfishness, SIN.  The world has a sin problem that we ourselves will not fix or change.  We preach love but if we don’t know the author of love it’s self, how do we even know what real love truly is?   As 1 John 4:19 states, “We love because he first loved us.”

Isn’t anything else we preach or teach just a counterfeit, twisted version of what love truly is or should be?  You and I, we are not God.  We may think we are wise but there in lies the danger.  Proverbs 26:12 poses this question:  “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

To be bluntly honest, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  There is but one God and He nailed the answer to the world’s sin problem, once and for all, on the cross in the form of His son, Jesus Christ.  In repentance we must, must come to the point of accepting we are sinners in need of a savior.  God is the only way.  When death comes knocking, it won’t matter how good you were, how kind you were, how much you gave away.  It won’t matter how much you’ve acquired or how much love and unity you’ve preached from sun-up until sundown.  God is the only way.  The narrow way. Someday, whether we want to acknoweldge it or not, we will answer to the one who created all things, who created us.  What will be your answer?  What will be His?  Will He know you?

I’m a bit passionate about this because death has settled and taught me much this year.  I’m a bit passionate and perhaps more bold because there is this box of un-sifted “stuff” sitting in my basement that is the only remaining evidence of a life lived on this earth.  Most of the contents of these boxes will soon be sifted and most likely shredded and discarded.  There is nothing in these boxes of any eternal value at all.


You see,  my dad didn’t come into this world with anything and he didn’t leave taking anything with him.  He lived most his life cut-off from the world.  He was hard and distrusting and hard to live with.  He was broken but wouldn’t admit that.  He acknowledged a God, yes, but for most of His life belief in God was an unnecessary, foolish complication.  Until cancer hit.  Until death knocked.  God got a hold of him then.  When everything else including pride and self was stripped, the truth and reality of God softened his heart and brought the kind of peace that only God can bring.  Outside the hospital window the day my dad died it didn’t matter how many mistakes he had made or how many times he had gotten it all wrong and messed up.  It didn’t matter what political debate was brewing.  It didn’t matter how much money my dad’s wallet held or what kind of phone sat in his hospital drawer.  It didn’t matter who was president or would be president, just that God was dominate and supreme in his life.  The only thing that mattered in that moment was the issue of being God’s and God’s alone.  To the one about to enter through the doors of eternity, nothing else matters.

So, let’s face it.  I may not be here tomorrow and you may not be here tomorrow.  Death is very real and eternity, well, it’s forever.  Don’t wait until tomorrow to settle what you can today.  Tomorrow may just be a day too late.


“Have you prayed lately”?

This was a question a dear friend asked me quite a long time ago and it has resonated with me ever since.  When the question was first posed I had gone to my friend desperate and in need of solid, real answers.  I needed solutions not another glib christian response to a problem that was beyond controllable.  At first I was angry because I viewed the “have you prayed lately” question as glib and dismissive.  It most certainly wasn’t a how-to response or the advice I had sought, but it was the advice I most needed to hear, most needed to remember.  You see, prayer is powerful.  Prayer can change circumstances but more, prayer WILL change me.  Prayer has changed me.

My view of prayer in those days had been so limited, so short-sighted.  In truth, many days it still is.  Through the years this has been the question I have turned to when everything else has failed.  This simple question is the question I ask myself when storms and trials rage like a Kansas tornado and it is also the question I too quickly and easily forget when the sun shines and chases the rain clouds away.  Praying is the single-most thing I need to do more than anything but it is nearly always my go-to last resort.


So why don’t we pray more?

Prayer, in the face of the most difficult circumstances feels akin to an irrational grasp for comfort.  We pray for answers and meet uncomfortable silence.  So we stop praying.  Prayer doesn’t have a physical face or a tangible hand to hold on tightly to.  So we simply don’t pray.  We muddle through life grasping for answers like we grasp for straws.  We wrestle, fight, control, claw our way to the next straw until it bends and fails and then we repeat the cycle over and over again.  After all, doing something is better than not doing anything at all, right? That’s what our human nature to control everything tries to tell us.  Prayer runs counter to the fabric of human nature and reasoning and so we believe the lie that prayer is the white flag of surrender, a giving up on, a doing nothing type of answer.

Jesus had a different response.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  Matthew 18:20

Jesus not only taught prayer, he DID prayer.  He prayed often, for others as well as himself.   In Hebrews we are told that “in the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence,” Hebrews 5:7. In Luke Jesus speaks to Simon Peter, a man who would deny Christ three times, that “Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have PRAYED for you that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers,” Luke 22:31-34.  These two examples, dear friends, are just the tip of the ice-berg.  Jesus’s response was so different than ours typically is and there is so much more evidence showing just how Jesus taught and lived prayer.  For a list of at least twenty-nine other references, you can click and go HERE.

Prayer is powerful. Period.

Prayer saves, prayer strengthens, prayer enables faith.  Prayer delivers us from prisons in the most unlikely of ways.  Don’t believe me?  Then go HERE and read about how a church who was praying earnestly prayed an angel to an imprisoned Peter’s side and delivered him from chains and certain death.  God walked Peter past the guards, through the city streets, and delivered him right to the praying church’s doorstep.  It was such a dramatic answer to prayer that even the people who were gathered and praying questioned Peter’s own physical knock on their door.  Prayer does that.  God, through prayer, does what we never could do or dream of period.

Are you living in a prison?

Is your marriage estranged, broken, hurting?  Do you have a rebellious, stubborn, hard-nosed kiddo that has you at the end of your rope helpless?  Are you disheartened and hurting because we live in a hurting and broken world that every day gets a little more evil, a little more unfathomable, a little more at war?  Is your prison one of your own doing, one of your own making?  Is your prison sin?  Are you tired of grasping for a new straw and watching it fall short, fail?  The denial won’t help.  The words ladies, the words we fling at our husbands in fear and frustration won’t help save a hurting marriage.  The alcohol may numb but it won’t deliver.  The drugs will only destroy your mind and your health.  Self-help books may encourage for a time, but they won’t change the course of our decisions or of those we love.  So, have you prayed lately?  If no, then stop right now and go, just go.  Get on your knees before a powerful God and humble yourself and in repentance and reverence pound and knock on the door of the only one who can truly deliver and save.  Do battle on your knees.  Let the tears fall and soak the pages and battle, wrestle in prayer.  Prayer is anything but giving up.  Prayer is surrendering what we can’t control to a God who is in control, always.  Always.


As a side-note, if you are praying and struggling through the silence and wondering how to push through, here is a link to one of my most favorite tools and resources.  This little book has helped me through some pretty dry valleys and helped me pray through scripture when honestly, I just didn’t feel like praying.  Don’t give up on praying, keep pushing through.  I promise you won’t regret doing so!

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