Chosen Parents

You are the parent God chose for your child.

Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutual; the plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly three decades 12657360_10207170306008051_3018063976232311083_oago, we brought our first baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. The ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknesses and what a superb reality!

My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hope with certainty that His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our lives changing us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future–mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. 12657229_10207170304128004_2826006339242221287_oGod would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengths and the weaknesses to guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Extra Insights
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from God:  eternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His child–to be made perfect through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. Becoming His child is the key to becoming the parent your child needs. If you do not have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father, choose to change that today! Many resources are available here.

SCRIPTURES: Psalm 127:3; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 10:35; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1; Matthew 17:28

Originally written for Handivangelism, Heart-to-Heart Magazine

Chosen Nuggets to Ponder

We had the joy of a roomful of friends to watch The Chosen with last night. It’s been our choice for Bible Study for a bit now. Every episode has some profound truths that are easy to overlook as you try to live the Christian life. Last night had so many nuggets of truth to ponder, I just had to share. 

A follower of Jesus contemplating the challenges of following Jesus says, “I guess I didn’t think through how this would work.”

  • LOL Isn’t that the truth?! Following Him doesn’t go ‘as planned,’ and you simply can’t fathom the challenges you will face. (THANKFULLY!)

Matthew explaining his choice to follow God: “It wasn’t hard to leave it all behind even though I was comfortable. Numbers didn’t make the world clear anymore.”

  • What brought you to God? What life management technique/understanding ‘stopped working’ for you?

Phillip speaking to Matthew as he grapples with his perceived deficiencies: “What you think you know doesn’t matter. You have everything you need.” Later, they talked about Matthew’s desire to make up for ‘lost time,’ and Phillip replied: “You didn’t lose time; it was just rearranged.”

  • Ever thought you knew something, only to find out your knowledge was scanty at best—and often just wrong? Ever doubt that you have all you need for the problem you are facing?

Matthew explaining his desire to write down what Jesus said: “I hear people quarreling about His words, misquoting Him and misunderstanding Him. Writing it down should help.”

  • I sure am glad it’s written down, but we still do much the same, don’t we?

Jesus responding to Phillip’s inquiry about time to visit a friend as they traveled through an area: “If we don’t make time for friends, we won’t have any.” Later Jesus talked with Peter who expressed impatience at how others spent (wasted) so much time thinking about unimportant matters. Peter was frustrated at being slowed down, and Jesus said, “If someone else’s concerns are slowing you down, maybe you need to slow down.”

  • We need each other. And sharing (giving & receiving) experiences and viewpoints is critical to understanding.

Nathaniel, portrayed as an architect devoted to honoring God, experiences a tragic failure that leaves him feeling ‘dead.’ He describes himself as having died of hubris (pride). Sitting under a fig tree (love how they expanded that verse 😊), he cries out to God, “I did this all for you. Do you even see me.” When Jesus delivers the well-know line, “When you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” we all felt that hope of believing he hears our desperate cries.

  • Have you given your all only to have it fall apart? Seeing your righteous rags—your best for God–exposed as filthy rags is devastating, humbling.  Jesus redeems it! Hallelujah!

Valuing differences popped up repeatedly in the episode. Not passing judgment on others—or even on ourselves was powerfully displayed through Philip’s and Jesus’ words: “You don’t know your impact.” “Everyone has been called for a reason. I want every voice heard.” “You, Simon, could be nicer, but you are leader. I will use that later.”

  • It’s hard to set aside our preferences and look through Jesus’ eyes at one another. But it delights His heart and improves our lives.

I hope some of these touched you and you’ve enjoyed this. The Chosen is a unique series…not Scripture, but the creative license is well-researched. I highly recommend it. It will challenge you in your walk…and ideally drive you to the Word.

I’d love to hear how God speaks to your heart in some of these…I know I love a Bible Study that leaves me thinking about it the next day. Hearing others thoughts is awesome – we really do need each other!

Dove Notes: Where’s Your Trust?

What was the point God?

Ever have a “Why, God?” morning. I recently did. The details aren’t really important. Suffice it to say I was face-to-face with the reality that my best efforts appeared to have produced nothing…one of those ‘your righteousness is nothing but filthy rags’ revelations.  

So, through my tears, I asked God, “Why? What was the point of all that effort, God? So, why do you ask so much of your children if it isn’t going to make a difference?”

Quietly God asked me, “Were you trusting in your efforts or me when you followed my commands?”

My head knew the right answer, but my heart couldn’t hide the truth. Honestly, I had hoped ‘right-doing’ would produce the results I wanted…including no pain, no worries. Things weren’t working out the way I wanted.

Almost instantly, a stray thought appeared. (Side note: It’s taken me decades to realize that’s the Holy Spirit and tune in to what He wants to say.)

Earlier in the week, my husband had told me about a weird interaction he had with a hawk when he went to feed our doves. It had seemed just an oddity of the week, but the random reminder made me realize it must apply, so I went to my husband for a re-telling.

When the enemy attacks…

Our doves live in a new, luxurious, mostly critter-proof cage. This past week when my husband began to unlock their door, a hawk swooped in between him and the cage, wildly crashing in the muddy ground. The predator gathered itself up and flew into a tree and just sat, watching. It was a bizarre scene.

As Craig shared the story, God gently spoke to my heart:

“Child, your faithful obedience creates a predator-proof refuge! The enemy acts as if you are his prey to frighten you, but trusting and obeying me keeps you safe. Did you notice, he landed in the dirt – not even touching Craig or your pets. All is well. Trust me.”

That you may know ME!

My heart melted and soared at the same time! God prepared that answer for me days before my mind would even formulate it. He used a word picture that my heart and mind could grasp. We have a kind, loving Father who will do whatever it takes to purify our understanding of Him.

Obedience to the Word pleases God. It is a tangible way to express our love for Him – and it produces good, BUT it is not where we are to put our trust. Right doing – obedience – is not what produces the good God intends.

Good and perfect gifts come only from God above…and they are GIFTS, not results we produce. Relish the revelations He gives and trust in His love!

Behold, I Make ALL Things New…

The Words of the Bible are vibrant and alive. As you read and study His Word, you will find yourself in the stories. This is a beautiful sharing from a sister-in-Christ who felt Mary Magdalene’s story merge with her own. May God use it to help you feel His love personally!

I felt trapped in a world I couldn’t understand. My Lord – the one who delivered me from daily torment, the one for whom I had left my home, the one who had the words of life – was dead. I knew He was real…the changes in my life were real. But it seemed to be over. What would happen now?

I didn’t know what to do…so I did what my people have done for centuries. I went to the tomb to honor the life that gave me life. But even that door closed to me! My Lord’s body was gone.

I ran for the disciples; they came back and saw it too. But then, they left. I had nowhere to go. Strangers asked why I wept…how did they not know the horror of the last few days?

I begged the one man, “If you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

I couldn’t bear that He was gone. I just wanted Him back. His presence, His voice, His guidance. How could I live? Why should I live? Nothing mattered but finding Him.


My heart leapt. It was HE! I could get back to living like before! Falling at his feet in relief, I thought of the trips we would take, the wisdom he would again share. I would follow Him all of my days on this earth.

Jesus, said, ‘No.’ But He gave me direction, a mission to accomplish! ‘Go to my brethren…I ascend unto my Father…and my God…your Father and your God!’

Suddenly, I knew! The teachings of the last three years were unfolding in real time! All that Jesus taught was coming to life! Joy and anticipation rolled the darkness away as understanding began to grow. The Words were not only Life…they were my life. Just like I had thought but even better, even grander than I knew! I would follow Him but in a new life that would produce more life. Just like He had said! The events of the last days had broken my heart – and that made room for greater understanding and new life!

What looked like the end, like horror and suspension of everything good…became the door to deeper and higher communion with Jesus! Now I could follow Him through eternity’s paths, not just earth’s roads. What had been so amazing now paled as I saw my Lord ‘make all things New.’

It is our journey to ascend to the Lord…to our Father…to our God.

Will you join me?

Thank you to the Sisters-in-Christ involved in the Bible Study that paved the way for the Holy Spirit to personally impart this truth. When we walk in His paths and seek His face, His blessings pour forth. How will you seek Him today?

D.O.G. – Depend on God

My devotion time was led by Hyzer this morning…our 18 oz. grand-dog who spent the night. Opening my prayer time with a plea for God to speak and untangle the chaos in my heart and mind, I immediately heard the waking whines of Hyzer. And here’s what I heard from my Father.

Want to hear from me? Listen for the whimpers of need.

Meet that need.

Show them how to get the ‘trash’ out and put the nasty stuff where it belongs.

Move around, get some exercise.

Explore with joy.

Learn something new.

Share your food.

Chew on the word.

Search for jewels.

And when you do those things, you will be with me…watching me work, for that is what I do for you.



Growing love

The older I grow, the more I understand that the pure love of God is our greatest need. Age also reveals to me how little I know about loving well. I’ve spent the last month soaking in 1 Corinthians 13 and a powerful little book called, Love is the Greatest by Audrey Williamson. My prayer is that something I share from the treasures I received may bless you in a small way.

In our world, love is such a misunderstood, overused word. Scripture tells us that we love only because God first loved us. Divine love transforms lives because love reflects its source…and God’s love is perfect, unmarred by sin. The love we express, though is perverted by our self-centered expression. That’s not the way love is intended to be.

Love is a growing interest in, an appreciation for and a responsibility to others. Love is designed to meet the needs we all share:

  • to be wanted
  • to be liked
  • to be appreciated
  • to be valued
  • to be involved

“A lover of people is God,” said Moses as he offered his final blessing on the nation of Israel.

Friends, we need to be a lover of people like our God.

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Soak with me in the rare, elusive beauty of love as 1 Corinthians 13 explains it:

  • patient
    • willing to suffer
    • receiving hurts without bitterness
      • being ignored
      • being rejected
      • being attacked
  • kind
    • actively responding not just stoic, stubborn endurance
    • friendly and helpful to those who don’t love them
    • generous toward all, even the undeserving
    • encouraging and complimentary to all
  • without envy – fully content
    • celebrating the advantages of others
    • confident in God’s awareness and purpose in this moment
    • focuses on those less fortunate instead of more fortunate
    • trusts that the good of all is in God’s eternal plan
  • humbly serves
    • primarily interested in the common good
    • does not need to have the spotlight
    • courteously engages
      • considers the feelings and desires of others
      • seeks to see and meet needs
  • lays down its own ‘rights’
    • doesn’t dig in or demand its way
      • not obsessed with being right
      • not intent on justifying itself
    • doesn’t claim to have earned something
    • doesn’t insist that it deserves this or that
    • doesn’t belittle or attack those who feel differently
  • exercises self-restraint
    • noble warrior
    • not ill-tempered or riotous
  • chooses forgiveness
    • refuses to store up hurts
    • refuses to entertain suspicions
  • believes in what God can do
    • expects to find good
    • views the world through eyes of grace
    • looks for the fingerprints of God in every person, every situation.
  • believes in what God will do
    • confident of ultimate victory
    • claims the future
  • unrelenting
    • doesn’t give up
    • doesn’t even grow weary

Don’t you want to be loved like that?

Don’t you want to love like that?


When I first worked through the list, my heart ached at how I fail to love. I do grow weary. Sometimes the future isn’t something I want to claim. I don’t act kindly toward those who pierce me. And it grieved my heart to think of how every failure to love pierced the One who loves me. And in that instant, I heard His voice. Look at you through my eyes. See YOU through my love.

So, I paused…and my heart melted to receive the love I long for…and miraculously, love for others — real love — just like the Word describes it began to well up in me. I committed to asking God to show me who to love each day…to show me the ways I could love better. It’s awesome. Love is life-giving…to others and ourselves.

The Corinthians passage ends reminding us of the outcome of love. Love produces satisfaction, security and life itself. Love is a radiant source of strength and harmony. It is the key to personal maturity and the goal of our lives. Faith, Hope and Love remain. Faith bridges our life to God. Hope is our ever-increasing understanding of His goodness. But love is living the reality of the incarnated Christ.

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on

Who and how will you love better today?

Can others hear your song?

Your song – your story – matters!

You have a story to tell!

Every life reveals God in a unique way. It is our one glorious opportunity to allow the image of God – which we are created in- to shine forth from our lives.

How we live becomes our song of God. The keys to singing your song clearly are knowing God and knowing yourself! He is your designer; you are made in His image, and He has personally planned good works for you to do. To sing your song well, you must first know the heart of God – and then find your place in His heart!

Hebrews 11:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is working in your life right now, and He writes amazing stories. As Jesus writes your story, you are the apple of His eye. He adores you and writes the story to make you shine brightly!

Journaling your faith journey moves you along the path of knowing God and finding yourself. Growing in grace and knowledge indicates movement! The devil knows God but never moves to trusting God! Like the diamond, faith develops through the pressures of life. Writing focuses your eyes on the journey and moves you forward. The following guided questions will help you hear and sing your song more clearly!


Consider the questions below and again let the Spirit direct your thoughts to how God has revealed Himself during the tough times.

• Has it ever felt like your prayers were unheard or that God ignored you?
• When did you doubt that the things you read in the Bible were true for you?

 (e.g. Did you not feel the love of God or His power?  Did it seem like you were the abandoned child and God only loves someone else?)

• Have you been disappointed by those you thought were godly…or at least more godly than you?

• When have you needed the peace that only God could provide?

 • Have you ever had to make a sacrifice for your faith?  Have you been ridiculed for your belief?

 Faith is very personal and must be grappled with on an individual basis.  We need each other, though, to truly see God.  And we all share some common transition points in life that we can easily relate to another’s experience.  Those crisis points are important windows for seeing God and helping others see Him.  Let the Holy Spirit remind you of the fingerprints of God in such times as these: 

frozen wave against sunlight
Photo by Hernan Pauccara on

• Loss of a loved one

• Celebrations:  graduations, promotions

• Marriage

• Birth of children

• A move

Not all growth is from hard times, though. There are disciplines of faith that move us into Christ-likeness. Investing our time in the Word of God, in prayer, in fellowship and in Worship are key components of spiritual growth. Consider:

• What has helped you grow spiritually the most?  What would you encourage every believer to try?

• How has it helped you?

 • What changes in your life have you made to honor God…in obedience to God?

 • What do you recall about your baptism?

 • Are there other sacraments that are particularly meaningful?

 • Have you ever shared the story of your salvation experience?

 • Do you share with others how your faith impacts your life?

 • Do you have a favorite hymn or passage of scripture?

 • What goals for growth do you have now…where do you see God asking you to trust Him more?

 • What transitions are likely to enter your life in the next five years?

Faith stories are inspiring, beautiful and ever-changing.

Start writing yours today or let me know how I can help you with the form below.

Can YOU hear your song?

Your song is beautiful and sounds like the fruit of the spirit. It sings with the heart of God:

Free Printable Fruit of the Spirit | Fruit of the spirit, Love joy ...


A great place to begin to hear your song clearly is digging deep into the very heart of God. Knowing Him is the key to knowing yourself…and your song.  Fill out the form below for a free guide into the Names (and Heart) of God!

Your Light Will Break Forth!

Yesterday in my prayer time, a question from Experiencing Prayer with Jesus by Henry & Norman Blackaby pierced my heart:

“Do you spend enough time with God to know what His heart is for the world in terms of spiritual awakening and revival?”

To be honest, I had not asked Him. Perhaps I assumed I knew. Perhaps I was too busy telling Him what was on my heart. But I stopped. And today, His Spirit led me to Isaiah 58. You may remember that this chapter centers on the ‘fast God chooses.’ As I read, it thrilled my heart to see how COVID-19 has helped us move closer to the fast God prefers.

hand touching glass
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In the passage, God tells Isaiah to ‘declare unto God’s people their transgressions.’ The outward actions of God’s people evidently were appropriate…they called to Him for justice, they fasted, they ‘took delight in approaching’ Him. But with piercing honesty, God says all of their actions were for their pleasures, in an argumentative spirit. God said, ‘Isaiah, tell them not to fast in that way to be heard by Me.’ God exposes hearts celebrating self…not Him.

This year, the legislated confinement around the world denies us Christians many of our self-centered pleasures.  Our joyful gatherings, our celebration of love shared and our church families are off-limits. Family gatherings are outside the legal guidelines too. Loved ones are dying alone. Finances are dwindling, jobs evaporating. Families are grieving losses without the comfort of friends’ hugs. All of which prepares hearts to receive the most freeing truth of all. Jesus is all we need to live with joy and fullness.

But it isn’t until Jesus is all you have that you can truly understand Jesus is all you need!

COVID has moved us toward God’s desires by separating us from the things we trust in and rely on for pleasure and contentment. But there are still actions we must choose. The chapter goes on to explain ‘the fast God has chosen.’ His fast – the things He wants us to separate from – brings incredible results!

The oppressed set free – (We are the first to be released!).

The hungry fed – (Our hearts find what it truly hungers for!).

the homeless sheltered – (We learn to shelter in His love!).

and the naked clothed – (Our flesh is covered with His righteousness!).

Moreover, as we Christians humbly receive and honestly share our struggles and longings, others will come to know His glory too! That fast produces God’s desires. Our light bursts forth like dawn and healing springs up – we fulfill the plans He planned for us!

Whenever God commands us to do something, it is for the good of all!

beautiful bloom blooming blossom
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  • His ways produce a well-watered garden…a place of refreshment.
  • His ways produce an enduring spring of fresh-flowing, living water.
  • His ways produce Christians who rebuild ruins and restore foundations.
  • His ways produce streets where people want to dwell.

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy healing shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of Jehovah shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and Jehovah will answer; thou shalt cry, and he will say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedly; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul: then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thine obscurity be as the noonday; (Isaiah 58:8-10)

May Easter 2020 launch each of us on a fast from the things that are of this world – the things that we use to please ourselves – and into a life of delighting in Him!



Where do you need to ‘get rid of the yoke among you’ – stop finger pointing and bad-mouthing?

How can you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted – what hungers, what needs is God bringing to you?

As you seek to honor His commands, Christ goes before you. The glory of God becomes your rear-guard. When you cry, He will say, “Here I am.”


Waiting Room of God

Grief blinds and deafens the heart. Scripture does not record many of Jesus’ followers being at the Cross…but some were there. Others perhaps buried under confusion, fear, discouragement and deafening grief fled the scene of horror. Overwhelmed by a situation they could not control, Jesus’ followers found themselves locked them in a prison of darkness. The truths they heard, the truths they believed were – for the moment – out of reach. Have you sat in darkness like that?

Take heart. Jesus anticipated that happening. Isaiah 53 speaks so beautifully of Jesus and His understanding of grief:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not…Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:3,10

Jesus told them that when He, the Shepherd, was stricken, the sheep would scatter. He is never surprised by our ‘failings.’ He is never discouraged by (or for) us. His faith does not rest upon us. Jesus knows the depths of despair will give way to unshakeable hope. He knows the pleasure of the LORD will break forth.

I like to think that that evening, those who had been at the Cross found their friends and shared the passage Jesus spoke from when He said, “I thirst.” Throughout the horror, the Living Word drew upon the written Word for guidance.

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” John 19:28

Fulfilling the Word compelled Jesus even in His dying moments. The vinegary drink would have helped make His final words audible: IT IS FINISHED!

Jesus didn’t die as a martyr, He died as a victor…and knew it. But some of His loved ones were blinded by grief. The passage He quoted from is an imprecatory Psalm. Those Psalms beg God for justice…they cry out the grief that blinds to the One who heals. Those Psalms confront the evil, the wrongs endured but they deliver you to victory. They take you to praise. In the dark waiting moments, consider the power of these words:

“But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth note the prisoners. Let the heaven and earth praise Him, the seas, and everything that moveth therein. For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.” Psalm 69:29-36 

At some point(s) in life, every disciple finds themselves in the despair of the ‘day after’ – in the darkness of waiting. In Jesus, there is Light and Hope. May we be the disciples who speak the words of hope to the deaf and the blind!

As we draw close to the glory of Resurrection, ask yourself:

• Am I stuck in a time of darkness and waiting?
• How is Jesus the Light for my time(s) of despair and confusion?
• Who needs words of encouragement in the waiting of COVID-19?



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