Sunday, March 15, 2020

An Opportune Time

There is much going on in our world today that we don't understand and can't control. I can say this is unlike anything I've experienced; chances are you can say the same. This can leave us scared, anxious and fearful. Some are upset and disappointed. At times our emotions change as fast as the CDC's recommendations, but I want to encourage you to use this time for your good and God's glory. Take a few moments to consider the following -

Check Your Heart
Last week as this all started to hit a bit closer to home we, as a sports loving family, had a discussion. First the Big 12 Tournament was cancelled and then March Madness. When the NCAA cancelled spring sports, I told my daughter it was possible her freshman track season may not happen. She was upset. 

It was then we had to step back. It was a great opportunity to check our hearts and truly see what was number one. Sports are good and teach countless life lessons, but they can be an idol in our lives. This break in our normal routine and our response to what is missed is a good opportunity to check our hearts. Do we truly live out Deuteronomy 6:5? It says, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." How about Exodus 20:3? "You shall have no other gods before me."

In this time of unknown, we must remember TRUTH. It can be easy to be consumed with what we don't know and worry about what is to come, but it is helpful to remember what we know. A few verses that bring me peace and perspective are - 

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done." (Genesis 8:21)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

 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. (Jeremiah 29:11)

As we look to the future it's powerful to remember God's faithfulness in the past. Remembering who God is (faithful, powerful, present, good, etc...) helps us trust Him more and equips us to live out the suggestions that follow. 

When events are being cancelled and our lives aren't as busy, we must remember there is always something we can (and must) do. Friend, we can pray. We can cry out to God, the creator of the world, the one who has planned the future and understands what we don't. He instructs us to cry out to Him. We can ask for help, wisdom, patience, whatever it is we need. Pray for your family, your church, your friends, doctors, leaders, all who come to mind. God hears and answers. 

"Then you will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." (Jeremiah 29:12)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

As I mentioned we are a sports loving family, so we understand the importance of practice. Every competitor knows they must improve their skills and work on them daily; the same can be said for believers. It's one thing to know what the Bible says, but it's another to do it. As I thought about this today a few of the first things that came to my mind were about using my words wisely, controlling my thoughts and being content. God provides endless directions and priceless wisdom, it will benefit us and those around us if we live out His Word. Here are a few verses to get you started -

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Know God and Make Him Known
Our lives for the next few weeks will most likely look different than we expected. The change in schedule will most likely give us time to do things we normally don't; as we wait we can waste our time or make the most of it. One of the best things we can do in this time is get to know God more. Without the need to go to another game or event, we can spend time in God's Word and prayer. We can cultivate the relationship we have with one we never have to be seperated from. 

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ... (Philippians 3:8)

As we get to know God it is important to remember we can also make Him known. In a time when others are anxious and losing hope as believers it's important to live out 1 Peter 3:15 - "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." 

Friend, the situation we all face should leave us grateful for the faith we have. Times like this remind us we are not in control, but hopefully they will turn more to the One we know has everything under control. I write these words for you and me because this isn't a winter storm that will be over in a few days. We're all in the unknown together, but through it all may we remember the One we know. Our world has changed, but our God has not. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Someone's Watching

AP Photo
This weekend the Cyclones enjoyed one of their biggest wins in program history. Iowa State defeated Baylor and ended their 58 game win streak in the Big 12 Conference. Added to the excitement was the fact that the back and forth game was tied with 0.1 seconds left.  It was then ISU headed to the free throw line and Ashley Joens hit the game winner. Then the celebration began.

Cyclone fans everywhere were thrilled! Including those gathered around the screen in my house. Earlier in the game, my daughter Jaylyn was disappointed because she wanted to be in Ames, but as the intensity increased on the court hers did the same in our home. It truly was a fun game to experience even from afar.

There was more than joy from a win. Our pastor often encourages us to let life preach because if our eyes are open God is always at work. This was true even as I watched a basketball game. My daughter Jaylyn wanted to be in Ames because she wanted to watch her favorite Cyclone, Maddie Wise, play in her last home game.

As the 3rd quarter began Maddie wasn't playing and Jaylyn strayed from the screen and joined a Nerf gun war with her brothers. We called her back when we saw Maddie checking in. From that point on, Jaylyn was locked in...even when Maddie returned to the bench.

The intensity increased. Our nerves kicked in. Even my wrestling boys were watching. There were big shots and big defensive stops. There were lots of things to see and comment on, but Jaylyn's words were about Maddie. She wasn't noticing a great drive or an important pass, but her response on the bench. Every time her team had success, she was the first to cheer or offer a high five. Jaylyn saw every reaction and pointed it out to us. 
AP Photo
As her mom, and coach, I was grateful. She can watch highlight videos anyday and see great plays, but being a great teammate isn't something as easy to observe. All season we've been talking to our kids about this - reminding them WE > me and encouraging them to play together with their teammates. It's one thing to hear it from me, but so much more powerful for my girl to see it lived out by one she looks up to. 

Later that night I found myself thinking about this again. Initially, I was grateful for the important picture that had been etched on my daughter's heart, but then God took the thoughts deeper. Clearly, I'm not the basketball star, but my girl is watching me too. My every reaction doesn't excite her, but she sees what I do and hears what I say. 

My actions are sending a message too. Not only to Jaylyn, but her sister and 3 brothers as well. Friend, the same is true for you. You may not be a "Hero" in a young girls eyes, but even more important you can be a witness for Christ. It's not just the young people who are watching - family members, co-workers and strangers too are impacted by what we say and do. 

When Jaylyn watches Maddie and other favorite players in action, she sees them shoot, pass, play D, rebound and cheer on the bench. When they see you and me as believers, they watch us walk thru trials and interact with others. When we have the opportunity to choose humility over pride, they are watching. When it's time to trust or doubt, their eyes are on us. 

Read the following verses and pause for a moment to think: Does the one who's watching see you live this out?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight." Proverbs 3:5

"Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." James 1:2-3

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14

"Am I now trying to win the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

"Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord." Ephesians 5:22

I could continue, but I'm guessing you get the idea. Pause for a moment and pray asking God to search your heart and bring to mind what others see when they watch you. If something needs to change, ask Him to give you guidance from His Word and help from His Spirit to make the change. 

I'm sure a competitive division 1 athlete like Maddie would much rather have Jaylyn watching her hit the game winning shot or make a key defensive play, but the lesson she taught from the bench is priceless. Some of the things God asks us to live out will be challenging as well, but may we remember they will serve a purpose!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What to do with a loss...

Last Sunday we enjoyed a family trip to Ames to watch the Iowa State women play basketball in the afternoon and then saw our first wrestling meet in Hilton. Jaylyn was excited to not only watch the game, but also for the opportunity to say hi to her favorite Cyclone, Maddie Wise. The game was intense and entertaining. The home team fell behind, but fought their way back only to lose on a questionable foul in the final seconds. It was a heartbreaker.

Following the game, we met up with Maddie. Everyone enjoyed the conversation, took some pics and had some laughs. Jaylyn was thrilled and our little wrestler was Maddie's new #1 fan! Our time together came to close, but soon a lesson would unfold.

This morning there was much on my mind, but it seemed losing was on my heart. This past week my daughter's high school season ended with a loss and so did my son's wrestling season earlier in the month. A good friend's high school career was ended as well. And now the Cyclone loss.

Losing is part of sports and really it's part of life. It's never something we set out to do, but it's something we must handle rightly. This is never easy and it's especially been a struggle for Jaylyn, so this morning I asked her, "Are you glad Maddie met up with us?" Without hesitation she smiled and said, "Yes!" Then I questioned, "Do you think it was kind of hard after a loss like that?" The girl who tends to go into the sad and silent mode with every defeat simply shook her head.

She was so focused on seeing her friend that I don't think she'd really thought about how Maddie was feeling. I was grateful we could use her example to help my girl learn to walk thru a defeat a bit better. As I shared the lesson with my young people, God urged me to pay attention as well. So friend, you may not be an athlete and perhaps you're not even a coach, but I trust you experience losing in your life. If so, read on; if not, celebrate your success!!

When it comes to losing I've learned there are three important things we must do -

ACKNOWLEDGE IT - I will never forget my varsity coach saying these words to me, "You should feel bad when you lose." I already felt bad and in the moment his statement didn't make me feel any better. Thru the years, I've gained a better understanding and appreciation for what he was implying. As a competitor, losing is not your goal. In life, falling short is not what we set out to do, but sometimes it happens. When it does, it's OK to feel bad. We should feel bad. I tell the girls I coach I'm thankful they feel bad after a loss because then I know they care. When a loss comes, respond to it and own it.

LEARN FROM IT - This same coach offered the following insightful words, "Sometimes losing is better than winning. You can learn more from a loss." Again these words baffled me before they ever benefitted me, but now I understand there is some truth to what he was saying. Losing gets our attention and opens our eyes to weaknesses. It helps us refocus and increases our intensity. If we move past the poor me mentality that can come with a loss, we can learn from it and become better because of it.

MOVE ON FROM IT - It can be tempting to get stuck in our loss. Losing can create fear and doubt; it can mess with our heart and our mind. After we've acknowledged the loss and learned from it, we must turn the page. Our focus has to be forward. We can't change the loss, but we can control what we do because of it.

Our quick visit with Maddie gave my daughter a picture of what to do after a loss and reminded all of us to keep a loss in perspective. Like my grandma always told me, there are worse things in life than losing a game. And like my volleyball loving sister always reminded there's more to life than basketball.

Friend, both those statements are true, but sports and losing can and do impact our life. As believers they also impact our walk of faith. So the most important and powerful encouragement I can share with you comes from God's Word. In the Bible we find instruction on what to do with a loss -

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
 not lacking anything."
 (James 1:2-4)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

More than a Game

I found myself in the gym yet again today...I've been there a lot these last few months, but today I wasn't a coach or a mom, I was a fan. The change of pace was good and I was reminded of much. I had plenty of time to reflect on our 2+ hour drive home from Ames and I'm grateful for all I learned. Perhaps there's a lesson for you as well!

First of all, basketball is more than a game. It is a form of entertainment...especially at the D1 level with the pep band, jumbotron and constant noise. The game brings joy as well...a big shot, nice defensive play and all out hustle bring smiles to faces and creates claps in the crowd. Deeper joy comes when you see the bench celebrate the starters' success and watch a gal offer her opponent help getting up.

Secondly, basketball is not just about X's and O's or winning and losing, it's about people. Without the responsibility of coaching and nervousness of watching my children, I had more freedom to observe. What I saw reminded me of the relationships that are built on the basketball court. The old saying is true - "You won't remember all the games, but you'll never forget your teammates." Bonds are built as you strive to win. People are impacted when you play together. It's vital to remember that the things we say and do are impacting others.

Following the game, my almost 13 year old daughter, Jaylyn had the chance to meet up with her coach from summer camp. She's been looking forward to this for days and enjoyed every minute she spent with Maddie. This reminds me of the importance of role models. At camp, Jaylyn learned skills for the game and today in our conversation with Maddie she heard about life and saw an example of a young woman she can someday be...maybe on the court, but more importantly off of it.

Finally, basketball is something God can use. Driving down today I had a flashback to June when Jaylyn first met Maddie. God clearly connected them that day and blessed Jaylyn immensely through Maddie's enthusiasm for the game and love for the campers. He then kept them connected via social media. Jaylyn even asked her to pray for me last fall when I was in the ER and this winter we've been praying for her as she's dealt with migraines. And today He blessed us as we shared time together following the Cyclones win.

Our visit brought back memories of conversations I had in the bleachers when I was 20 as well. Back then I wasn't yet a born again believer, but God used the game to connect my heart with a mentor who pointed me to Him. Basketball was just a tool God used to draw me to Christ.

Basketball truly is more than a game. It creates joy, connects people and is part of God's plan. But friend, that's not just true for basketball. It's true for your hobby too! And not just your hobby, but your job as well. What you do is important!

Today was an early birthday celebration for my girl, but also served as a wonderful midseason perspective check for me. In the day to day grind it can be easy to go through the motions and focus on the work, but may we remember more important than the what is the who and why. Going forward may we truly see the people on our path, intentionally pour into them and purposely trust the One who is leading us and we are praying to.

Friend, I hope this look at basketball being more than a game has encouraged you! I pray we're all reminded to live out Colossians 3:17 - "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Joy and Grace - A Connection

Today, December 29th is my oldest daughter, Joy's 15th birthday. As I reflect on her life, this post came back to mind. It was good to revisit, I pray it is a blessing for you as well. 

From December 29, 2015 -

December important day in our house - the birthday of our oldest daughter. Today we celebrate Joy's 11th little girl is growing up. Though this is a day of joy and celebration it is also a day that marks another anniversary. On July 29th, our niece, Grace was killed in an accident, so today we've been grieving her loss for 5 months.

I'm grateful God has blessed Joy with another year of life, but we still don't understand why it seems Grace's life was cut short. I know Scripture tells us God knows the number of our days (Psalm 139:16) and I believe that to be true, but in the grieving process we do wonder why. I trust that's why Scripture also tells us to lean not on our own understanding, but to trust God with all of our heart. (Proverbs 3:5)

It's obvious there are many things in this life we don't and won't understand, but as I think about Joy and Grace today I'm reminded of something I've been learning.

The night of Grace's funeral I remember Joy saying to me, "Mom, Grace was like a big sister I never had. I want to play basketball like her. I want to love people like she did. I want to tell them about Jesus like she did."

Death is hard...grieving is a process. And when you're a mom something is added to this - pain for your personal loss and hurt for your kids as they grieve. Joy was 10 and Grace 20 at the time of her accident and Joy did look up to her, enjoyed being with her and liked laughing with her. Grace was a role model, who took the job seriously and included little people in her life. She shared grace and brought joy.

Awhile back as our pastor preached from Philippians, he made this statement, "Joy and Grace aren't cousins. Joy is a sister to grace." He was not talking about two people in my life, but about things you and I both need.

He came to this conclusion by studying the words in original language. In the Greek, the word for grace is "charis" which means grace, favor and kindness. In the same language, we see the word for joy is "chara", which means joy or gladness.

I'm no scholar, but I've dug into this a bit you see how similar these two words are in the old, original language? There is a connection between the two and it's more than a base word or similar spelling. One commentator kept it pretty simple - joy is grace recognized, while another explained joy is being properly aware of God's grace. Ultimately they both come from Him.

Friend, I know death can diminish our joy and Satan will try to steal it, but when we remember God's grace nothing can destroy it. This isn't some superficial, happy all the time joy, but a fruit of the spirit. A joy the world can't offer and doesn't understand. A joy that still sheds tears and experiences all kind of emotions. A joy that comes from the Lord because of God's grace.

Today, on the 29th of December, I remember Grace with Joy. She's a girl we all loved and now miss. We remember gifts she gave and things she said. Joy dreams of doing things she did and living a legacy like hers too. I also remember Grace with joy. Because of God's grace, our Grace is with Him today and one day we'll all celebrate together again.

Until then, I pray God will continue to pour out His grace on us. As we receive it, experience it and share it, I hope we will be filled with joy because of it. Today, we'll celebrate Joy and remember Grace, but I pray all of us embrace God's grace and experience His joy!

"So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." (Jesus' words in John 16:22)

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3)

"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." (Romans 15:13)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Afraid of Nothing

Are you ever afraid? Me too. Do you ever wish you could agree with the title of this post and honestly say, "I'm afraid of nothing"? I'm here to share it is possible. I recently learned this, but just this weekend needed the reminder. So, in case you do as well, I'm here to share another story and more importantly a lesson.

I have been afraid of birds for as long as I can remember. I'm not exactly sure when or why the fear began, but I know the fear is real. Sparrows, chickens, it doesn't matter which one, all flying, feathered creatures tend to freak me out. So, needless to say a few weeks ago when my son needed to deliver his turkeys to the butcher, I wasn't the first to volunteer.

Well, life unfolded and I was given the job. And a crazy job it see, because of details you don't need to know and I don't have time to share, we transported them not in our typical farm trailer, but in my oldest son's old minivan. So this bird fearing lady made a 45 minute drive with my two young sons and 14 fully grown monsters, I mean turkeys. My ten year old turkey farmer sat behind me amongst his feathered friends. It took all the courage I had to sit down with just a big piece of cardboard between me and my fear, but I did it and my little guys loved every minute of it.

A few miles down the road, the cardboard started to move. My scream was followed by my boys' laughs. I could see the turkeys flapping their big wings in my rearview mirror as Jed informed me one was sitting on his lap. My heart was racing and my muscles were tight. I simply focused on driving, wanting the trip to end.

About half way there, Jesse says to me, "Look mom, you're afraid of nothing. You're just singing your favorite song." His words had my attention. He was right - in that moment I had peace. Ryan Stevenson's, "Eye of the Storm" was on the radio and I was singing along. More importantly my focus had was no longer on my fear, but the object of my faith. I was singing about the One who remains in control and guards my soul. God is my anchor. He loves me, protects me and has a plan for me. Like Ryan sings, "I find my peace in Jesus' name."

I was so grateful for my little man's observation. I pray it impacts his faith and I know it has strengthened mine. The song had come to an end, but God had my attention. He clearly taught me a lesson and reminded me of an important truth.

Colossians 3:2 says, "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things."

Hebrews 12:2s tells us to, "fix our eyes on Jesus" while Isaiah 26:3 says, "You (God) will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you."

Clearly, God's Word tells us who and what should be the focus of our thoughts. When we live this out, even in the midst of our fears, we have peace.

As I shifted my focus from the ones with feathers I feared to the all powerful God in whom I have faith, my whole attitude changed. Truths about my heavenly Father came to mind, His Spirit filled me and another verse brought perspective. Hebrews 13:6 spoke to my heart - "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" Surely, God can protect me from turkeys as well!!

I can't say that I'll volunteer for this job again, but the last half of our journey was more enjoyable that the first. I relaxed and appreciated a unique experience with my little boys. I'm pretty sure I'll always remember Jed saying, "Mom, it would be funny if you got stopped by a cop for having too many passengers!!"

Now after sharing the story, I hope I don't forget the truth Jesse helped me see. And friend, I pray the same is true for you. I've wrestled with some parenting fears this weekend and have some health ones as well, but no matter what the storm or fear we face I know God can and will be our anchor. The question is - will we focus on Him or our fear?

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Power of Worship

Welcome friends! If you read my last post you know I've been dealing with some health issues. I'm grateful for the messages of encouragement and the prayers you've prayed. I am feeling better and we are currently waiting for an appointment with a neurologist. So for now I still rest a lot while we wait for answers and the next step. Today, I was able to leave the house for the first time in two weeks for a place other than the ER or a Dr.'s office. I went to church and it was the place I needed to be.

The message was powerful and truths were shared that went to my heart. I was convicted and encouraged all at the same time. Our pastor spoke on holiness, which is a chapter in my Bible study book. God brought much to mind from the study I had done and reminded me of the importance of spending time studying His Word.

Before we even made it to the sermon though, the Holy Spirit was at work. He brought strength to one who was weak and joy to one whose heart has been hurting. I don't know where life has you, but I'm going to share the songs we sang and just a bit about how they spoke to me. I encourage you to take some time and listen to the words as you worship our Lord. This is one of the things God created us to do; clearly it glorifies Him, but it also impacts us. Worship reminds us who God is and shifts our focus from self to the Almighty.

We began our time together with Brian Doerksen's "The River." Tears filled my eyes not long into this one. The words -

Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord, I need to meet you there.

 really went to my heart. I'll admit in the past 14 days I've wrestled with some emotions, faced some fears and struggled with wrong thinking. I haven't always taken my cares and concerns directly to Him. This song reminded me exactly what I needed to and always. I pray in the days and years, the trials and joys to come I can cast all my cares on Him. Friend, may you and I not just know our Lord and Savior, may we abide in Christ!

Next up was "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt Redman - one of my all time favorites with many memories tied to it. When it first came out our oldest was just a little guy. Whenever it came on he'd say, "It's our song mom, let's sing it!!" We couldn't sing, but we did it anyway! It was the song God put on my heart the day we found out we were expecting our 3rd child and found out a dear friend lost her dad - God truly does give and take away. A few years later it was a song, and Truth, I clung to as we walked through a miscarriage. It's one that has come to mind as I walk through the unknown.

Today our pastor introduced the song with Job 1:21 - "And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." In a way I feel like the last 2 weeks have been taken away; I've missed more of our kids' events in 14 days than I probably have in 10 years. For 8 days, I barely left my bed. Things were taken away, but yet in it all God was still giving. What He gave didn't necessarily replace what it felt I lost, but He gave us meals and help, He provided time for me to be still and know Him. I blessed His name today and it was good. Do you feel something has been taken away? Like Job are you facing the unthinkable? Like Job will you bless the name of the Lord? I pray you will friend. 

Our 3rd song was another special one from the past - "The Family Prayer Song - As For Me and My House." Eighteen years ago it's one we had sung at our wedding and believe it or not our wedding has come to mind a few times these past couple of weeks. More specifically our vows...I'm so grateful Job is a man of his word. He is sticking with me in sickness. Back then I didn't expect to one day have 5 children, but the words are true - we need each other. My crew is standing strong and helping out as well. We often think of serving the Lord as outside work, but it starts in our home. I'm so grateful we are committed to doing that and am thankful for the perspective check of where the important kingdom work must begin. Have you chose to serve the Lord? Will you do it where you are? 

The final song is a newer one, but speaks of a powerful age old Truth - CityAlight's "Only a Holy God." No matter how our life looks, what season we're walking through or what trial tempts to overtake it's important to remember who God is - a holy God. As we set our mind and fix our eyes on Him our focus shifts, our perspective changes and we remember Truth. It's a reality life is hard. Pain hurts. Life isn't not always fun, or easy. But God. God doesn't change. He is forever holy. He is always good. Forever Faithful. Powerful. He is my rescuer, my redeemer and my Father. Is He yours? 

Friend, I hope I'm not painting a fake rosy picture because trust mind still drifts. We're still living with many unknowns. I want to know what happened in my body, but there's even fear in that. And lots of what if's too. I don't know if the future I had planned will come to fruition. In all honesty, that was true before this health scare, but the past weeks have opened my eyes. Which really is why I write. 

I'm still here and my greatest purpose is to share the faith I know will save me when I no longer am. I know God and have accepted His Son...this Truth brought peace in the moments when my pain led my baby boy to ask, "Mom, are you dying?" We honestly didn't know, but thankfully we know the One who can save us. The One who can heal us. The One who is providing for us. The One who is our peace, our provider and our joy. The One we will worship. Do you? 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the power of worship. Help us make it a part of our daily life. May we always lift your name on high. Help us surrender our cares. May we bless your name, when you give and when you take away. May we choose to serve you and may we know you, our Holy God and good Father more and more. Help us do what you created us to do no matter how our life looks. Thank you for being all we need. Meet each of us right where we are. In Jesus' Name, Amen.