My God Is A Cloud-Rider


Before the rains came about a week ago, I was just routinely getting myself dressed when the title for this blog post was impressed upon my spirit. I jotted the phrase down on a scrap of paper in my night stand and left it on my vanity to do some digging into Scripture. One verse kept coming to me over and over again. One that has fascinated me in times past, maybe because I’m a writer and the words are just so poetic.

“He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on the waters. He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” Psalm 104:3

Oh. Be still my beating heart.

If you’re a faithful reader of my blog, you know I’m a little on the sensitive side. My spirit responds to words like these. For all my musings and ponderings, all my passions and imaginations, all my longings and yearnings for things of my God…words like these just make me weep.

For the past 8 years I’ve lived in a tiny town in North Carolina, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from the eastern shore where hurricane season keeps beach residents on their toes and tourists at bay. I may not live right on the coast, but the month of October brings the rains inland and we find ourselves without sunshine for days at a time. If I wanted to live under a canopy of clouds for days on end I might consider moving to Seattle. I hear it rains 9 months out of the year there, but I have no desire.

Because sometimes, it’s just plain depressing.

The past couple of days the rains have been accompanied by some gusty winds. Forget the umbrella. What good does it do to try and shield myself when the wind just blows the rain aimlessly, soaking my clothes, and dampening my mood?

But then verses like Psalm 104:3 come to mind and I forget the relentless rains. I forget the dark clouds. I forget the gusty winds. And I remember…

I remember Who rules over the weather. I remember Who surrounds Himself in splendor and majesty, whose light shines in dark places. I remember Who is enthroned above the clouds, whose home is arrayed in the brightness of His glory. I remember Who causes all things to fit together perfectly like beams being fitted for a house. I remember Who holds it all together.

“He made darkness His covering, His canopy around Him–the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of His presence clouds advance, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.” Psalm 18:11 & 12

I remember Who the Builder is. Stable. Certain. Steadfast. Sure.

I remember Who reigns over the enemy. I remember Who rides in the front lines of battle, whose righteous right hand upholds in stormy places. I remember Who is supreme above the clouds, whose armor is impenetrable. I remember Who causes enemies to flee, whose Name makes the foe tremble in fear. I remember Who fights for those who love Him.

“See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before Him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.” Isaiah 19:1

I remember Who the Victor is. Mighty. Powerful. Strong. Formidable.

I remember Who rides on the winds. I remember Who saves in times of trouble, whose person comes swiftly in gusty places. I remember Who is calm above the clouds, whose presence is peace. I remember Who causes hearts to trust, whose very character makes hope come alive. I remember Who helps those who are crushed in spirit.

I remember Who the Savior is. Redeemer. Restorer. Faithful. Eternal.

“Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will  mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.” Daniel 7:13, Revelation 1:7 

There’s just something about the clouds that give me a holy expectation. I don’t have to muse or ponder, pretend or imagine because I can take this Scripture literally. The clouds make the Sovereignty of God and Supremacy of Christ very real, because I believe that one day they will open up and herald the return of the King. I can long and yearn for these things of God to be revealed.

God is in His heaven and He has not forgotten us. Jesus still makes Himself known to people today, but even for those who don’t know Him, or believe in Him, or even want to recognize Him, one day He will appear and all will behold Him. He will descend from heaven. He will come in the clouds. There is no hidden meaning here. Scripture means just what it says.

There is nothing depressing about this. There is nothing depressing about the clouds. Even when the days are dark and there seems to be no light shining in the sky. Even when the enemy is roaring like a lion and there seems to be no end to evil in this world. Even when the rains come and there seems to be no dam to stop the floods. Even then….

even so…I remember.

I remember Who rules. I remember Who reigns. I remember Who rides on the wings of the wind for I know…I believe…

my God is a Cloud-Rider.    

My Strong Tower


I’ve always loved Proverbs 18:10,

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.”

What is a tower anyway? I mean, I have visions of Rapunzel letting down her hair from the tower which her adopted (albeit, B.A.D.) mother, an evil enchantress,  locked her up in with no means of escape so that her prince charming (oh, the depths of undying love) could climb up her beautiful, strong locks (so jealous) to meet secretly with her.

For real? A tower made of stone or brick so tall with no doors to enter in or out and one lone window at the very tip top. A window in which poor trapped-and-unable-to-escape Rapunzel could only look out upon the beautiful world that surrounded her prison and dream about what life was like…out there…in the magical forests and mystical woodlands.

Hmmmmmm. I think I’m missing something.

It’s just so obvious that the enchantress misused the true purpose of a tower.

A tower was built to be a place of safety and protection. A tower was a place of gazing and watching. A tower was built high so one could see far and wide. A tower was strong and built to last.

But a tower wasn’t meant to hold people captive. A tower was meant to hold them close. To give them comfort. To keep them safe. A tower wasn’t meant to keep all of life out as much as it was meant to preserve the life inside.

And God is just so very good and wonderful about preserving lives.

A tower was built to be a defensive weapon. Watchmen in the tower kept watchful eyes on the horizon to distinguish between friend and foe approaching the city behind the safety of the walls. Towers were sometimes part of a huge complex called fortresses. Friends and allies were allowed inside, but enemies were fought and fired upon. It was hard to get inside a city so well protected. Those on the inside felt a measure of peace and assurance that the guards in the tower were ever alert, always awake, always armed.

No wonder David, the great psalmist, acknowledged God as his Fortress, Rock, Refuge, Shield, Deliverer and Stronghold all in three verses of one psalm!

” ‘I love You, O Lord, my Strength.’  The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge; my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Psalm 18:1-3

How can anyone sing a song like that and not be strengthened in his inner man?!?

But what I love most about Proverbs 18:10 is that God’s name alone has great power, ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower…”

There is power in the name of the Lord. (I think we forget that sometimes.)

There is strength in the name of the Lord. (I think we neglect that sometimes.)

There hope in the name of the Lord. (I think we ignore that sometimes.)

The thing is…we can’t dethrone God. He’s always going to be mighty. And strong. And powerful.

He’s always going to be above all things. And in control of all things. And working out His plan in all things.

He’s always going to be ever watchful. Ever armed. Ever awake.

Even when we think He’s not. He is.

Even when we think He’s forgotten us, He really hasn’t, “Can a mother forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

Even when we think He’s lost sight of us, He really hasn’t, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:6

Even when we think He’s uncaring or unmindful of us, He really isn’t, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:26

We can try all we want to strip God of His character and believe He’s something other than what He says He is, but it’s only a matter of personal belief. God can’t be dethroned. We can’t take away His Sovereignty. Over and over again in Scripture He tells us things like, “I am The Lord, and there is no other…besides Me there is no God…there is no one besides Me…for I am The Lord, and there is none else…”

Sometimes, I think we miss something.

Something that looks a lot like belief. ‘Cause we don’t always act like we believe He is….well…above all!

Because sometimes, instead of finding safety in The Strong Tower, we let down our hair and let the enemy climb up. Instead of using the tower as a defensive weapon, we let the foe climb right in.

Lord, have mercy.

What if, when we start disbelieving, we start calling upon His name? What if, when we start doubting, we start standing upon the Rock, holding up our Shield, blowing our Horn, and trusting our Deliverer to save?

What if we stood tall in our Strong Tower like true watchmen?!? What if?!?

Well, maybe…just maybe…instead of an evil enchantress we might get a prince. And instead of a prison we might get freedom. And instead of fear we might have peace.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me so instead of trying to escape from the tower I think I’ll try running to it. As fast as my little legs will carry me.

‘Cause in my heart I truly believe,    

“No one is like you, Lord; You are great, and Your name is mighty in power.” Jeremiah 10:6

Antics Of A Church Deaconess


I have just completed the first year of my role as a church deaconess.

Before you shut me out because you don’t believe that women should serve as deacons in the church, let me just say, if God appointed Phoebe in biblical Cenchrea, then I believe He can still appoint women to serve in this role today. Phoebe was a woman of means who helped support Paul in his mission work and served the early church near Rome. Women had important roles in the early church and, just so you know, the word deacon in the biblical Greek means a waiter, servant; an administrator or minister.

It’s a ministry role, people! And I just happen to like serving people.

I found out years ago when I gave up my self-employment as a decorative artist back in the nineties (that’s the 1990s, f.y.i.) and took a job working in a very historic old-fashioned soda fountain-slash-pharmacy that God has gifted me for service. I loved all that preparing food and making milk shakes and having a laugh-a-day with the customers. I knew the regulars by the sandwiches they ordered. There she is (big smile), my Egg-Salad-Sandwich-On-Toasted-Rye-With-A-Slice-Of-Tomato-And-Don’t-Forget-The-Pickle-And-Chips! Coming right up. How ya doin’ today?

Yes, I happen to love serving. Call me crazy. I don’t care. The service role suits me.

Being a deacon is more than just serving a meal, though. Sometimes the need is more spiritual or emotional. Anyone, really, can be a deacon at heart. I admit I feel very inadequate at times and I tend to berate myself because I don’t feel like I’m doing enough but remembering that the heart of a deacon is really ministry I only need to look to Christ to show me how to minister.

Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’ Matthew 21:25-28

One of the things I enjoy about ministering is visiting the families placed under my care. When at all possible, my husband and I like to do this together. After all, I’m hearing impaired so someone’s gotta be my ears. Lucky Wayne. The man is a saint.

Before accepting this role, Wayne and I talked and prayed and agreed that we would serve together whenever possible. He makes all my phone calls since I don’t hear well on the phone. He’s actually quite fun to have around. Like when he calls a friend down the street on my cell phone for me and pretends to be me by talking in a high-pitched twiny voice, “Debbie, this is Nina. Are you home? I want to bring you something.”  This is the man I married. I’ll love him forever and ever. Amen.

So we were visiting one of my families a couple of months ago. About 20 minutes into the visit, the battery went dead in one of my hearing aids. This was the one and only time I left my purse at home. I always carry extra batteries with me for this very reason. No purse. No batteries. All I could do was remove the hearing aid and stick it in my pocket. In the process of taking it out of my ear, though, the mold fell off the tube and rolled under the couch.

As Wayne was in the middle of sharing a story or joke, whatever…he likes to do both…I got down on my hands and knees searching for the runaway mold. Upon retrieving it I got back up and realized by the looks on everyone’s faces that an explanation was needed. I think my husband said something like, “I can’t take her anywhere.”

I prayed for the family before we left, but I was thinking someone needed to pray for me.

We then walked across the lawn to this family’s parents’ house who lived right next door. Hey, let’s just keep this ministry-thing going like an Energizer battery! ‘Cause we’re still on charge. Just because I was down one hearing aid due to a dead battery was no reason to quit, right?

No sooner had we begun listening-sharing-and-all-that-other-good-stuff, my other hearing aid battery died. I’m telling you, that pink bunny stopped playing the drums right in mid-strike and left me in complete silence. The nerve. Move over you worthless rabbit, I’m switching to the copper-top.

As I took my last hearing source out of my ear and stuck it in my pocket my husband looked at me and, when he realized what had happened, a very Grinch-y smile spread across his face. He proclaimed intentionally loud enough for me to hear,

“OH GOOD! Now we can talk about Nina!”

We didn’t stay long after that. I was afraid that all my dirty secrets would be laid bare before God and everybody by a husband who claimed it was payback time.

You know, the funny thing is, I almost used my hearing disability as an excuse not to be a deaconess. In some ways, I thought it would be a hindrance. How can I effectively minister to the needs of others if I can’t always hear what they’re saying? If I can’t talk on the phone? If I can’t listen and respond appropriately?

But then, I thought about how much I enjoy serving people. I couldn’t always hear the customers when I worked at the soda fountain, either, but I like to think I made up for it with good service. I think the customers liked me as much as I liked them. I did what I could and I always tried to give my best. Isn’t that all our Lord requires of us?

Serving others isn’t about doing it right as much as it’s about doing it well. And what is right, anyway? How I serve may not be how you serve. God uses my gifts differently than He uses yours, but He’ll use us all if we have hearts willing to serve. All He wants is our best. And I can give Him that.

Like Phoebe. I can serve like Phoebe.

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.” Romans 16:1

A Simple Faith


Okay. So I’m going to regale you with a story.

When I was a little girl I remember getting my panties all in a wad when I went to the grocery store with my mom and watched the grocery store people stuffing bags of chips on the shelf, mercilessly reducing the chips in those bags to rubble.

I wanted to poise my little-girl self with hands on my hips and cry out, “Don’t crush the chips!!!”

If looks could kill.

No wonder there are so many tiny broken pieces of chips in the bottom of the bag. When I was little I didn’t like the crumbs. I wanted my chips completely whole and unspoiled. I wanted them all in one divine piece when I put them in my mouth (never mind the fact they were immediately crushed between my teeth),  but n0-o-O-o-o…the Chip-Crusher had to push and shove and smash. (they’re chips, people! not sardines!!)

I just could NOT understand why it was necessary to shove so many bags of chips onto one measly shelf. Couldn’t the grocery store people be a little gentler? Kinder? After all, chips are fragile. It doesn’t take much to crush one.

Well. I have a bit of irony for you.

I am now the Chip-Crusher. Don’t hate.

Yes. I stock chips at a local Piggly Wiggly.

And yes. I push and shove and smash every single one of my chip bags. Sometimes I think I hear Taps playing as I push my cart from the stockroom to the floor, loaded with boxes of Original, Ripple, and BBQ potato chips.

Breaks my heart to pack ’em in and reduce ’em to rubble like that. Sometimes I still hear my little-girl self, “Don’t crush the chips!” I even feel an urge to tell them I’m sorry.

It’s such an unglamorous job. Stocking shelves and sweatin’ like a pig at The Pig. But seriously, we sell a lot of chips. There’s the ever-so-popular sour cream and onion chips. The green onion chips. The no-salt chips. The jalapeño chips. The hot chips. The dill pickle chips. Then there’s the pretzels in all shapes and sizes, cheese balls, potato sticks, onion rings, and pork rinds (picture me sticking my finger in mouth and gagging. can i say, disgusting? but hey, i think it’s a southern-thang. can you believe there’s actually at least 6 different varieties of pork rinds? Pul-EE-ze).

And I pack ’em ALL in. The more the merrier. ‘Cause chips sell.

Here’s the thing, though. I do a lot of thinking when I work. Except when my stomach is rumbling and I need to feed it. That’s the only thing about working in a grocery store. You can’t get away from the food. Usually my stomach rumbles right on time. I’m very good about packing my lunch because, No, I do not eat the chips.

I like to think of ways to make my work more spiritual. I don’t know. I can’t help it. God is on my mind a lot. So I was thinking how it grieved me as a little girl to see the stockers crushing the chips and how I’m now the one doing the crushing. For some strange reason this bothered me even more.

My little girl’s mind was so simple and basic and pure back then. Not perfect, mind you. But pure in the sense that I didn’t know a whole lot about a whole lot, but I knew a lot about what I knew and I knew  chips were fragile. They were easily broken. In my simpleness it seemed so unnecessary to treat them like they weren’t. What was so hard about stocking bags of chips without crushing them? All that was needed was a softer touch. A gentler hand.

It wasn’t really practical, though, but sometimes practical is good. Simple can be a good thing. Not foolish simple. Or dumb. Or even boring. But simple…easy. Or easier.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t make things so complicated.

Adult-ing is hard work. Sometimes I don’t want to adult. Sometimes I just want to think simple. Like a child. ‘Cause children have a purer faith. Whole and unspoiled.

“People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, 

‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’

And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.'” Mark 10:13-16


Coming to Jesus for salvation was a no-brainer for me. I still remember walking down the church aisle at the age of 8 and taking my father’s hand. He actually got down on his knee to receive me. It wasn’t long after that he baptized me in the river. Things were simpler then. I still believe in my salvation, but I have trouble sometimes in the trusting department. And faith requires trust.

Faith doesn’t have to be hard, but sometimes I make it hard. 

I push in doubt. Smash in fear. And shove in worry.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to crush me. I’m kinda fragile like that.

It’s in this weakness that I feel most like a little girl again. Because I can’t even tell you how much I love it when Jesus places His hands on me and tells me to “Come.”  It’s the thrill of my heart to know I can go to Him when I feel I’ve been packed in like too many chips and there’s all these tiny pieces at the bottom of my heart. That’s when He takes me in His arms and blesses me good.

This is the simple child-like faith I strive for every day of my life. Whole and unspoiled. Because it’s uncomplicated. And, truthfully, I like simple things.

So this is my story, but it’s not over, yet. God is still writing it. It’s a good thing, too, ’cause crushing chips isn’t who I am. Deep down I’m not a crusher. I’m a builder,

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Impromptu Worship


This morning I was feeling a little giddy about sweeping my kitchen floor.

“What’s that, you say?!?”

Yes, I was feeling happy that I could actually sweep any floor at all.

For those who have ever put your back out, you know exactly what I’m sayin’! It’s a Hallelujah-moment when you can move and twist your body in blessed normality after a week of suffering through the pain of just walking across the room. If sitting in a chair was a bear then standing still in one place was a grizzly. Made me act like one, too. (Actually, I think I held up pretty good. If you ask my husband he may testify to this…I think.)

All I can say is…Thank You, Jesus, for takin’ my pain away and strengthening the muscles in my back once again! I can actually breathe with a huge sigh of relief.

My house has been sorely neglected the past week and a half, so today I’m attempting to do a little house cleaning.  There I was…in the middle of sweeping my kitchen floor with some I Love Lucy dvds on the telly to keep me company…when all of a sudden, my spirit began singing,

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature, O Thou of God and man the Son;

Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown. 

When was the last time I heard this song? I have no idea, but this heart of mine has a lot stored up from days of my youth. Years of Sunday School, Bible study, Scripture memorization, and listening to the words of the old hymns of faith week after week have left an imprint on my soul I just can’t wash away.

It’s such a beautiful thing.

Oh, Jesus, You’re my soul’s glory, joy, and crown! 

Anyways, I stopped sweeping right in mid-swipe and went to retrieve my hymnal. After checking the index I sat in a chair and sang all 4 verses. Before I knew it, the tears were flowing and I am…well, what am I? I guess I just love it when my heart sings.

It occurred to me that I’ve had several moments of impromptu worship the past couple of weeks in spite of the fact that my ordinary life has encountered some unordinary circumstances. Like putting my back out. Like learning to keep myself moving in spite of the physical pain. Like making myself do things that my body screamed NOT to do. Like learning how to focus on doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Because I think it becomes extraordinary whenever we have to make changes in the way we normally do things to accommodate the abnormal.

Can I just say? Sometimes I think my whole life has been learning how to accommodate my ‘abnormalities.’ In fact, I’ll tell you the honest-to-goodness truth. When I found out I had a brain tumor back in 2002 and the doctor told me there was a very good chance I might lose ALL of my hearing in my left ear I actually said, “Well maybe God has been preparing me for this my entire life!”

Since I was born with hereditary, degenerative hearing loss I learned early on how to read lips fairly well. Not perfectly but well. It was such an amazing thing for me to realize that losing my hearing completely would not mean the end of the world.


I just love how God gets in a plain ol’ ordinary day. I love how He stops me in the middle of sweeping a dirty kitchen floor and calls me to worship. I love how He stopped me in the middle of a painful day just last week and called me to worship in spite of the pain. He sang to me that day, too. (You can read about that on my Facebook Page, Reflections On The Word.)

See, God gets in the middle of my messy days, no matter what. Whether I’m cleaning my messy house with Lucy Ricardo making messes on the tv screen or I’m pacing my house praying my little heart out fighting waves of panic and fear for those I love, I just love how God stirs my heart to stop and worship.

How can I not cherish and honor the One who has captured my soul with the light of His glory, the wonder of His joy, and the beauty of a crown on my wrinkled brow?

To focus praise on Jesus in the messiness of life is worship.

He is the fairest of them all. I guess my spirit just responds to that and my heart just had to stop and tell Him. So sing I did…

Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands, Robed in the the blooming garb of spring;

Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing.*

And this woeful heart cannot be woeful forever when Jesus gives me a song to sing.

*(Fairest Lord Jesus, Anonymous German hymn, source unknown)

Digging Wells


Yesterday morning I read Genesis, Chapter 26.  I’ve only read it at least 100 times in my life, I guess. I don’t know. I haven’t really counted, but I just love it that God’s Word is always fresh. Like when I read something 100 times and one day…BAM…God says, “Park here. Take a deep breath and dig in.”

Abraham’s son, Isaac, who was the son of promise who became the husband of Rebekah who gave birth to Jacob and Esau, had a season of digging wells. I never thought much about this, but I kinda feel like I’ve been digging a lot of wells in the last decade or so. And the enemy just keeps filling them in.

Isaac was living in the land that God had promised Abraham would belong to him and his descendants. Famine had come to that land. Isaac wanted to go to Egypt to wait out the famine, but God told him to stay put.

“Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.” Genesis 26:3-5

So Isaac obeyed the Lord.

And God blessed him.

In spite of the famine.

“Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great house hold, so that the Philistines envied him.” verses 12-14

Uh-oh. Envy isn’t exactly an emotion that brings out the best in people.

Isaac’s father, Abraham, had dug some wells in the land and the mean-green-with-envy-Philistines decided to fill them in with dirt. Then the king of the Philistines, Abimelech, told Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” 

So…Isaac did. He settled in a valley and began reopening the wells his father had dug, choice wells because they were fed by an underground spring. The best of the best. Highly desirable. And they were rightfully his, but alas…the herdsman of the land quarreled with Isaac’s herdsman and claimed the first well as their own so Isaac named that well, Esek, meaning contention.

Isaac dug another well and there was even more quarreling so he named that one Sitnah, meaning enmity. I think he began to realize that this wasn’t just about a well. The Philistines’ jealousy was causing Isaac so much grief that he decided those wells weren’t worth fighting for. So he moved on.

I mean…he really moved. Like packed his bags and moved his tent, all those flocks and herds and all his house hold. Away to a place where he dug another well that no one tried to take away.

And Isaac had peace in that place. He called it Rehoboth, meaning wide open spaces. Because he said,  “At last the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.” verse 22

I just couldn’t help myself. I stopped and I wondered…why didn’t Isaac fight for what was rightfully his? Why did he give up? Why did he yield not once, but twice?!

It wasn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to dig a well in Isaac’s day. Wells were dug by the sweat of man’s brow. We’re talking back-breaking-labor-intensive-work. Yet, to work so hard and not be able to enjoy the fruit of his labor? REALLY?

What can one really do with a contentious bunch of people, anyway? Who wants to labor hard digging wells then labor even harder trying to keep the enemy from quarreling over them or filling them in with dirt?

Maybe Isaac realized this wasn’t a battle God was calling him to fight. Maybe Isaac trusted God to give him well-watered wells without envy-riddled-Philistines making his life miserable. Maybe Isaac just trusted God to give him something better.

And that’s exactly what God did.

God gave Isaac Wide. Open. Spaces.

Oh. How I love that.

When I labor hard to reopen wells that have been closed off and filled in by an enemy who comes against me again and again, maybe it’s time to move on. Maybe God doesn’t want me depending on the old wells that bring all that grief and strife. Maybe God doesn’t want me seeing those wells as my only source of water. Maybe He wants me to draw from new wells.

Maybe God wants me to dig new wells in wide open spaces!

Sometimes God says it’s time to move on. To leave the old wells behind. To let go of things I thought were rightfully mine. Sometimes it’s not a battle God wants me to fight. There will always be those who want to make life difficult for the child of God, but when the enemy comes filling in my wells it doesn’t mean God’s hand is against me. It means His hand is leading me to more spacious places. To something better.

In seasons of famine, when everything within me wants to flee, sometimes God says “Park here. Take a deep breath and dig in.” There in the middle of the valley, God gives me seasons of refreshing. He leads me to my own personal Rehoboth. Where I not only drink freely from my well, I can breathe more freely, too.

Because there’s room to grow, room to prosper, room to roam…

and peace…blessed peace.

And I really love that.

The Call To Perservere


Perseverance is described as “the patient endurance of hardship; persisting in a state or enterprise in spite of difficulties and discouragement…” according to the New International Version of my Life Application Bible published by Zondervan.

Several New Testament writers talk about perseverance. Here are a few of them:

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3

Rejoice in my sufferings? I’ll try.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:36-39

Don’t shrink back? I’ll give it my best shot.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3 & 4

Consider it pure joy? I’ll never make it. Rejoicing is hard enough.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8

Make every effort?!? Okay. Okay, already. I get it. For crying out loud….

Perseverance….it’s not my best trait. BUT, it’s something I’ve come to realize is very necessary in my walk of faith. When I think of “patiently enduring” I almost have to laugh. Only at myself because I know Me so well. I’m not what you call an extremely patient person, but I do think I’m enduring…

enduring in the sense that I know God “will complete the good work He has started in me and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

I am not about to give up on myself!! I WANT to produce this quality of Christ that is so perfect and complete. I may not reach this perfection in my earthly body, but one day…ONE GLORIOUS DAY…I will see Jesus face-to-face and on that day I will be perfect. Until then, God is forever “working it out in me.”

Thank heaven for that!!

One of the prayers I frequently pray is Psalm 138:8,

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of Your hands.” 

To think, there is actually hope that this perseverance I struggle to characterize in my imperfect, little self will actually produce something of great value and worth in God’s sight.

When I think of seasons of hardship and keep them in proper perspective I can actually find something to rejoice in.

When I think of seasons of difficulty and keep my eyes on Jesus I can actually believe and save myself from a lot of inner misery.

When I think of seasons of disappointment and keep my mind on Forever I can actually find great joy.

Because this moment in which I am living, in light of Forever, is very short.

Whatever I’m facing, whatever I’m patiently enduring, is but a speck when compared with all of eternity. These moments here on earth are really just one long season of waiting…

waiting for something bigger and better and more beautiful than anything I can possibly imagine.

And so I patiently wait…

God is all about patience, perseverance and perfection.

Over and over again He teaches me, trains me, and tests me

to build a faith within me that anchors me, ables me, and arms me

to take a good look inside of me, above me, and around me

that I might be a child of the King who keeps a proper perspective.

This world is full of people who have no saintly help, no earthly hope, no heavenly home to look forward to.

Deep within me is a longing for this heavenly home. God has placed it inside us all, but some don’t even know what this longing really is. It’s the place where Jesus is preparing our forever-ness.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Perfection takes time.

It can’t be rushed. There are many more who still need to be brought into the Kingdom. Jesus has many more glorious riches to bestow and more great rooms to build.

And this is why I can patiently endure. This is why I can persevere. This is why I can strive to rejoice, to not shrink back, to consider it pure joy, to make every effort. This is why I can wait…for those who seek Him to find Him, those who find Him to know Him, and those who know Him to love Him.

Because my life on this earth was meant to draw others to the Savior and, somehow, God uses my faithful perseverance through hardships, through difficulties, through disappointments to speak His Truth, shine His Light, and share His Love. Oh, yeah.

Yeah. Okay, already. I get it.

And I am so very grateful God never abandons the work of His hands.

It Was One Of Those Days–Part 2!


Have you ever wondered why we seem to be able to keep ourselves together better in the roaring storms of life than we do in silent showers?

Or how we seem to hold ourselves up better in the bigger trials than smaller struggles?

Or when we seem to press on better through major distractions than minor frustrations?

Yeah…I’ve wondered myself.

When I’m having one of those days, it’s usually the little things that pile up until they become a mountain of turbulence threatening to spew out hot bottled-up feelings and fiery pent-up emotions. I’m the type of person who has to let it all out with a good cry.

See, the thing is, as bad as that sounds, I know I have a God whose rain is more refreshing than any silent shower, whose hands hold me tighter through every small struggle, whose strength presses me past all those minor frustrations. I need Him just as desperately in the day-to-day of life as I do in life’s fiercest battles.

And He’s not turned off by my tears.

If I can trust God for the big things, I can trust Him for the little things, too, because He’s the God who cares about every little detail of my life. To think that God isn’t in the quieter showers is to say that He doesn’t care. To think that God isn’t in the smaller struggles is to say He doesn’t understand. To think that God isn’t in the lesser frustrations is to say I don’t matter to Him and I know all that is a lie.

If you read my last post, you know I’ve had days lately when I just needed a good cry. Shortly after that long 10-hour work day in which my body was both physically and mentally depleted, I went to spend a few days with my parents in Virginia. My father pastors a tiny church and I enjoy worshipping with these gentle “older” folks who have big hearts and a lot of soul. Besides, every opportunity that I can hear my father preach is always sweet.

There are very few young adults in my father’s church, but there’s a young woman named Pam who attends with her Mom when she isn’t working. Pam is precious. She’s sweet. She’s kind. And she can sing. I love it when it’s her turn to provide the special music on the Sundays I’m there.

I drank deeply as Pam sang, “Will You Hold Me While I Cry?” by Karen Peck and New River. It’s blue grass. Even if you’re not a blue grass fan, this song speaks to the deep caverns in every one of us who’ve ever had one of those days. I’d never heard it before and it didn’t take long for my spirit to respond with tears that flowed freely. I couldn’t stop them. I didn’t even try. Because the words Pam sang spoke to that place inside of me where I know why I love Jesus so. Why I love how He cares for me. Why I love how He loves me. Why I love how He understands me. Why I love how I matter to Him.

Why I love how He cares about my tears.

Because over and over again He’s proven Himself to be my Comforter. My Friend. The One who pours out mercy like a river and love like an ocean when I feel alone. Who reaches out for me with strong hands and a firm grip when I feel weak. Who picks me up and carries me when I have nothing left.

I don’t care how long I’ve been walking with Jesus or how spiritual I think I ought to be, I still have bad days.

I still struggle with laying my burdens at my Savior’s feet. I still wrestle with my inner man and battle with my imperfect faith. I still fall apart at the seams and I still let Him put me back together. I still pant for streams of Living Water and I still long for the Lover of My Soul.

I hope I never get tired of running back to Jesus, over and over and over…

So…gracious me, if you feel like you need a good cry…go ahead. Because when the tears flow…so does the Spirit. He pours out love in a never-ending supply.

Because that’s who God is…He’s love, even when you’re having one of those days.

It’s been one of those days; if anything could go wrong it went wrong

I know I’m feeling sorry for me, there’s a lot of self-pity going on

Tomorrow I will be okay; the dawn will bring a brand new day

I’m sure by then I’ll be fine

Lord, today I really need a friend; I know that You would understand

Would you hold me while I cry? (Karen Peck and New River)   

It Was One Of Those Days-Part 1!


I. Am. Pooped.

Sometimes I’m “too pooped to pop.”

Simply put…sometimes I’m a little more than just plain tired. I don’t know, maybe this term is vulgar to some, but I remember my Mom saying it when I was growing up. I’ve always thought it was kinda funny and it makes me giggle. It helps me down-grade the blahs and lighten up days when skies look kinda gray.

I started a new job a couple of months ago working part-time for the same chain of grocery retail stores where my husband is a co-manager. I unpack boxes and stock shelves on Thursdays, sometimes Fridays, too. I feel the need to remind you that I’m 57 years old.

In the past year, I’ve taken on some other roles, both in the church and in my local community, that have kept me busier than I’ve been in the last 8 years since we moved to our tiny town in North Carolina. Some mornings I wake up and I can’t remember what day it is. I have to lie in bed for a few seconds and think about it. Please tell me some of you have this problem, too. Yes?

No? Alrighty then. Moving on…

I remember being so physically and mentally exhausted a few weeks ago after working a nearly 10-hour day that when I punched the clock and got in my car I started to cry…”Lord, what am I doing here? How long can I possibly work like this?”

Don’t get me wrong…I love to work. I actually like to work hard. I believe God created us to work. After all, He put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and care for it and Paul mentions in his New Testament letters that he didn’t rely on others to provide for him but chose to work at his skill as a tentmaker to provide for himself. I decided early on when I first began working grocery retail that I would pretend I was going to the gym to work out.

(Since hitting my mid-century birthday, I’ve come to realize the importance of keeping my temple clean. Let’s face it, the older we get, the harder it is to keep off the unwanted weight and the extra pounds. I try to walk as part of my fitness routine, but I’ve also had to make a lot of dietary changes.)

My work is pretty physical. Between climbing up and down a 6-foot ladder to reach the top of a mountain of stacked boxes, loading them on carts out to the floor then unpacking them, lifting, carrying, bending, stooping, reaching, rearranging, blah, blah, blah…you get the picture…I am literally pooped at the end of the day.

Anyway, back to that 10-hour day when I was so tired I couldn’t help but cry…not only had I hit my funny bone that day on a metal shelf (I actually danced in the aisle, rubbing my elbow, with tears streaming down my face), but I also smashed the middle finger of my right hand, drew blood on my left forearm breaking down a cardboard box, and THEN….the icing on the cake was banging my head on a wire bracket sticking out from the wall that I didn’t see because I have no vision on my left side. I had to hold a paper towel to my head for 5 minutes to stop the bleeding. After that, came the pounding headache. My head was sore for days after.

But, here’s the thing…when I left work that night at 8:00 with a downcast soul, God gave me the most beautiful gift. I drove down country roads with my eyes on the most amazing sunset. At 8:15 I actually pulled over into a farmer’s field of soy beans, parked the car and snapped a sweet picture as a reminder of the goodness of God.

When every muscle in my body was screaming at me, God. Enouraged. Me. He reminded me,

He keeps me and sustains me.

He lifts me up and makes me strong.

He is the lifter of my head.

He never, never leaves me.

He gives me everything I need to carry on, day after day after day, no matter what I’m doing, no matter where I’m going, no matter who I’m gracing.

Not only does He paint the skies, but He colors my whole world, even when I feel all gray and washed out.

When I’m having one of those days God gets right in the middle of it and even in busy seasons when one day seems to run right into another I know each day is a gift. We don’t know the impact we have when we learn to appreciate the length of our days. To think of a difficult day as meaningless and purposeless is to lose sight of the gift. To live as though my life is short in light of an eternity with God is to keep a proper perspective and cherish each day as priceless.

So, when I’m having one of those days, I want to be the kind of person who says to God,

“Teach me to number my days, that I may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

And then, when I least expect it, He will give me a prize…like a sunset.

And I am no longer pooped.

I am renewed.

Superhero Status


I bet you didn’t know I was a superhero.

I didn’t always think of myself as one. Sometimes I still don’t. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am. Then sometimes I actually have to be-LI-E-Eve it!

I’ve never leaped tall buildings in a single bound or stopped a locomotive with my bare hands. I’ve never swung high above city streets on a spider’s thread or controlled the weather with a hammer. I’ve never protected the world with a suit of iron or fought crime with martial arts skills in a black cape. But, I am still a superhero.

I am a superhero in God’s eyes. He has equipped me with a proper suit….“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

He has enabled me with a proper style…“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4

He has empowered me with a proper strategy…“With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” Psalm 18:29

I have an enemy and he is evil, cunning and deceptive. I don’t like him. AT. ALL. I have fallen prey to his schemes many times in my life. I have believed his lies and listened to his proverbs. I have tuned my ear to his voice and turned my eyes to his direction. I have stumbled and fallen, run in fear and tried to hide. I have even wanted to give up.

This is my journey of faith…sometimes my faith has been weak, sometimes it’s been small, but I’m certain of these things…

When I am weak, God is strong. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness”…”That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a-10

When I feel small, God is big. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

When I fall down, God picks me up. “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14

When I listen quietly, God speaks loudly . “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.” Job 37:5

When I look up, God looks down. “I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

My superhero status is only because I have a God who’s the greatest Superhero. EVER. Greater than the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers all thrown together. And more! He has no equal. And I am His child. When He gave me His Name, He gave me His strength. Only through Him can I be so bold and courageous, so enabled and equipped. When the enemy comes against me, I have all I need in my Mighty God. He goes before me. He fights for me. He’s always on my side.

I wish I’d known all this when I was younger, but I’m so glad I know it now. And I just wanted to share it with you. Because we need more superheroes in this world. We need to be a people who rise up in belief that God is above all things. He is Jehovah-Sabaoth, The Lord of Hosts.

“David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:45-46

Oh, who doesn’t love the story of David and Goliath?!? Who doesn’t need to hear these words in these days on the Kingdom Calendar?!? Who doesn’t need to be reminded that even though we may be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” we have a God who has this all-surpassing power just waiting to unleash through jars of clay?!?

Me! I do! I do!

When I feel powerless, God is my Strongtower. He is Lord over all powers, principalities and rulers in high places. I want Him to know that I am His warrior princess because sometimes He calls me to battle and I don’t want to let Him down.

I am a superhero.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Though it’s waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-3, 7 & 11