Everything Has a Season

Have you ever done something for a long time and then had to face the fact that the season for that activity was coming to an end?

In 1991 I began the homeschool journey with my 3 little boys. Little did I know that God would add 4 more sons, and that He would allow that educational journey to last 26 years. It was hard to face the end of that season. “Homeschooler” had become part of my identity, just like mother, daughter, granddaughter, wife, sister…

When my last son graduated, I had to learn that my identity was not what I do. Some parts of our identity never change. I will always be a mother, even when my children are grown. I will always be a daughter, even when my father is no longer living.

Many roles in our lives come and go. They are seasons that are part of us for a time and then something changes. We change jobs, we change cities, we change ministries. All of those things are temporary. When they have served the purpose that God had in mind, He begins to prompt us to move on to the next season He has for us. And this is where I am right now.

I am at the end of a season that I have seen as fruitful and fulfilling. I have seen this time minister to others and I have learned so much from the Lord as I have traveled this road with Him. I have clear confirmation that it’s time for this season to end.

But, the problem is this. It has become part of my identity and I’ve wrestled with who I am if I step away from this now. It’s just like the lesson I thought I had learned when my boys were done with their schooling. I am at the same place—where I must remember that my identity is not what I do. My true identity is who God says I am—nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps you are there too.

Maybe you have seen the little cartoon of Jesus facing a little girl. She has a small teddy bear in her arms and Jesus is reaching for it. What she doesn’t see it that He has a new, larger teddy bear behind his back.

Now I know that we aren’t supposed to always want something bigger and better from God. It’s not about having MORE. What it is about is being obedient and trusting that the Father knows what’s best.

In March of 2010, I felt the Lord calling me to write a weekly devotion and for the next 11 years, I added a post to this website every Monday morning. Now, I have the clear direction that this season of weekly writing is over. It’s time to move on to what God has next for me. It’s a little scary because I don’t know what is ahead of me, but it’s also exciting because I know God has something good in store. He always does.

This doesn’t mean that you will never hear from me again. It just means that I cannot commit to a weekly post anymore. The website will stay up for now, and all the posts from the past 11 years are all there. Thank you for following along and reading all these years. Thanks for your encouragement through your comments both online and in person. I hope the words the Lord has given me have made a difference.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

Take Time to Be Present Today, Because Only God Knows the Future

On Wednesday, July 21, I woke up with a sense of anticipation. I was going to spend the afternoon with a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen since February. We’d talked on the phone often, but because of the pandemic, we hadn’t been able to get together in person for months. Our plan was to go thrift store shopping, something we have enjoyed occasionally ever since we met 4 years ago. We spent 3 hours together that Wednesday, joking and laughing and just enjoying each other’s company. When she parked in front of my house, we sat and talked a little longer. I remember telling her how much I valued our friendship as we hugged. We made plans to get together again soon.

Two days later she began experiencing COVID symptoms and by that Sunday she was admitted to the hospital, struggling to breathe. And now, after being in ICU for 7 weeks and on a ventilator for 5 weeks, she is fighting for her life. Last week she had a stoke and underwent emergency brain surgery in the middle of the night. Though the surgery accomplished what they hoped it would, we may not know for many weeks what her quality of life will be in the future.

In another completely different example, I remember a day almost 2 years ago when I stood in the middle of a family gathering and hugged one of my sons. I remember his arms around me as I told him I loved him. Two days later, he would completely cut off communication with my husband and I. That relationship has not yet been restored but I pray daily for healing and reconciliation. But again, just like the situation with my friend who is still in ICU, only God knows the future.

I don’t share these things to make you feel sorry for me and the struggles these events have caused. I share them because I want to encourage you to make a conscious decision to be present in the moments of life because we don’t know the future. I don’t always make that decision, but sometimes I get it right. In both instances I just shared, I was fully present in the moment, I gave and received hugs and words of love and life. When the hard times hit, I had those moments to look back on. I have memories of when life was good and not hard.

We need to slow down and be intentional about our relationships with those we love because we just don’t know what might be different when we wake up tomorrow. The challenge to be fully present isn’t an easy one. It means we must learn to stop thinking about the “next thing” and focus on what is happening right now. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all can admit that we miss so much of life because we focus too far ahead. We are too driven by our schedules and our responsibilities to, “stop and smell the roses.”

So try something today. Try to be fully present and really see the world around you, the people you interact with, and the moments that want to just slip by without notice. Make today the day you begin to notice.

“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 (CSB) 

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8(CSB)

Jesus is Always Out of Reach


Jesus is always out of reach? What? Is that a misprint?  No, it isn’t a misprint. It is actually true.

There is a catch though. I believe Jesus IS always out of reach…if we stay where we are. If you can picture Jesus standing in front of you with a hand outstretched toward you, I believe you will never reach him if you refuse to move.

All he requires is that you take just one step toward Him.  Just one step to let Him know you truly want Him. And stretching as far as you can reach without really moving an inch from where you stand doesn’t count. He will still be out of reach. I believe we can pretend we want Jesus and lean forward, stretching as far as we can. But the truth is, if we are unwilling to move toward him how serious are we, really?

The good news is that as soon as you take that step, He quickly closes the gap and draws you into an embrace like nothing you’ve ever experienced.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8


Conformed or Transformed 

Have you ever watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? You’ve seen the before and after, but you can’t actually see the change take place. It’s a mystery how God takes a slimy, fat, little worm and transforms it into a beautiful, delicate butterfly.  To be transformed means to be made into something completely different. 

It’s also a mystery how He can take a lost soul and transform it into something that begins to resemble His son. He makes us more Christ-like the longer we follow Him.  It’s a process, not an instant occurrence. While God says we are changed as soon as we accept Christ as Savior, the outward appearance takes a little while. It’s kind of like the butterfly. When he’s crawling around on the ground you can’t tell that the makings of a butterfly are already inside him. All you see is the caterpillar. No wings. No long legs. No beautiful colors.  It takes time before the butterfly emerges.  The change takes place inside the chrysalis where no eye can see what’s happening. 

It’s the same for us. God hears our cry for salvation. He declares that we are His and then He begins the process of change.  This is also what happens when we hear a word from God about the direction of our lives. We hear what he wants for us and then don’t understand why it isn’t happening. But we can’t see inside the chrysalis. We can’t always see all the work God is doing. We just have to trust Him to do it His way. 

Also, there is a strong temptation to just stay a caterpillar. We blend in with the rest of them and feel safe. We conform to those around us because to do otherwise would be risky.  But God doesn’t want us to be like all the others. He has said we are to be set apart. I would think a butterfly in the middle of a crowd of caterpillars is definitely set apart. Definitely conspicuous.   

Choose today to let your colors show. Unlike the caterpillar, we can choose to be transformed. We have a part to play in the final outcome. We can make the decision to allow God to renew our minds so that we may be transformed. Let God work in your life and transform you into a beautiful butterfly that can show off God’s handiwork and bring Him the glory. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  – Romans 12:2 (NASB)

Great is Thy Faithfulness

The writer of that familiar hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness wrote from firsthand experience. As a young adult, Thomas Obadiah Chisolm had fragile health and spent many months in bed, too ill to work. At the age of 27 he gave his life to Christ and was overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness. He needed God’s strength on a daily basis, but in reality, don’t we all?  He wrote the poem that would later be set to music, as a way of offering his overwhelming thanksgiving to the God who sustained him every single day.

Chisolm’s favorite bible verses were found in Lamentations 3: 22-23 – “Because of the Lord’s great love we are consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
When I think of these verses I remember the Israelites receiving God’s manna every morning. They were sustained daily, just like Thomas Chisolm. And if they tried to store up manna for the future it spoiled. God wanted them to depend on Him daily.

Isn’t it the same with His mercies? Aren’t they meant to be new every morning so that we will put our trust and our hope in the God who faithfully cares for us day by day? He only gives us enough strength for the day and then He wants us to come back to Him again tomorrow for more. He has enough to last a lifetime! Thomas Chisolm lived to be 94 and wrote more than 1200 poems and songs in his lifetime, because he was able to trust God for the strength for each day.

God wants to meet us each morning and pour out His mercies on us. If Thomas Chisolm was able to trust God daily for 94 years of life, we can be encouraged in these trying days in 2021 to do the same. Read the words of this hymn and let God speak to your heart. Great is Thy Faithfulness, O Lord!

  1. Great is Thy Faithfulness
    Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
     There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
     Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
     As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
     Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
     Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
     Join with all nature in manifold witness
     To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
    Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
     Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
     Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
     Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
    Great is Thy faithfulness! 
    Great is Thy faithfulness! 
    Morning by morning new mercies I see.
     All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
     Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

You Can’t Follow if You Don’t Move

Ever played follow the leader?  One person leads and all the others have to follow what they do. The kid’s game called Simon Says is the same principle.

If you’re playing either of those games you would get strange looks from the other players if you just stood there. In order for either game to work, you have to move. Either by actually following the leader’s actions or listening carefully to what Simon says and doing exactly what you have been told to do.

So it is with saying you are a follower of Christ.  If you are following… you have to move. You can’t just sit in your favorite seat at church every Sunday and then go home and sit on your couch the rest of the week. To be a follower you have to be DOING something. What is it that you should be doing? And this is not about works. This is about imitating Christ’s behavior while He walked on Earth.

Here is a sample list. There are certainly more things that you can add yourself after searching the scriptures.

Pray when He says to pray

Serve when He says to serve

Love when He says to love

Give when He says to give

Jesus set the example for everything He wants us to be doing. Paul also said, “follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor. 1:11)  Paul made it clear that we are to become leaders to help others follow Jesus.

Are you following? And are you learning to lead so others will follow?

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” – John 12:26 (ESV)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12 (ESV)

Go the Extra Mile

Simon of CyreneWould you say that your nerves are a little frayed these days? Perhaps your patience is running a bit thin? The past 18 months have been challenging for all of us. We may be having trouble just coping with the day-to-day activities.  And then someone comes along and asks you to be patient a little while longer, to go the extra mile in showing kindness to those around you who are struggling too.

Where did the phrase “go the extra mile” come from? Actually, it refers to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

In this passage, Jesus was referring to a Roman law called angareia. According to this law, a Roman soldier had the right to force a civilian to carry the soldier’s packs for a mile. Their packs could weigh nearly 70 lbs. so it was no small thing to be drafted for this duty. This law was also used when a soldier enlisted Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Jesus. But they could not demand more than a mile. That would be a crime against Rome.

Jesus said to go the extra mile. No one would expect someone to go to all that extra trouble. No one but Jesus.

Why did Jesus say we should be willing to go two miles if we are forced to go one? Why would he want us to go out of our way like that? It show’s the heart of Jesus. Being willing to go above and beyond what is required or expected. Being willing to do something beyond what is deserved. Being willing to show kindness to someone who may have treated you wrongly. In fact, perhaps the act of kindness would be directed toward your worst enemy.

In what ways have you experienced someone going the extra mile for you? How did it make you feel? If we do a kindness to someone not based on whether they deserve it, we open the door for the power of God to take over.

No one really expects us to pray for those who persecute us or to show love to our enemies. No one except Jesus. He asks us to go above and beyond. He asks us to go the extra mile.

In these challenging days, I encourage you to think about what Jesus would do in your circumstances. And think about what He’s asked you to do.

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35 (NASB)

What’s Between You and God? 

The story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22) is just a few verses but the point is clear. That man needed to give up all his possessions and then he could follow Jesus. He couldn’t bring himself to do it and he sadly walked away. He gave up Jesus for stuff instead of the other way around!

Walking with Jesus doesn’t always require selling everything you have or joining a monastery. God gives us good things because He wants to bless us. But when we choose to love the gift more than the Giver we put distance between us and God.

For Abraham it was more than his possessions that God required. He asked Abraham to give up his beloved son for whom he’d waited for many years. But when it came down to the last minute, God didn’t really want Abraham to sacrifice his son, He only wanted to be sure that Abraham was willing to truly put God first no matter what.

For us it may be possessions, relationships, talents, reputation, or position. Any of those can become too important and replace God in our hearts. Didn’t all of those come from God in the first place?  But He never intended His gifts to become our idols.

Are there things in your life that have come between you and God? How do you know for sure? If I were to ask you “what would be difficult to part with if God were to ask you to do so today?” what would you answer? If something comes to mind perhaps it is the thing that is between you and God. It could be that nothing comes to mind. Or it could be that what He asks of you is difficult but you know you would do it anyway. Or it could be the stumbling block that keeps you from truly following Christ with all your heart.

Here is part of the prayer that appears at the end of chapter two in A.W. Tozer’s book The Pursuit of God. It is a powerful example of desiring to give God His rightful place.

Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding. And I do not try to hide from thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival.”

I choose to pray that prayer today. Will you?


What Are You Taking for Granted?

When was the last time you thanked God for the beauty of His creation? Or how about the glorious sounds of music? Perhaps you do this often. But how often do we think to thank God for our senses? You could argue that it is our sense of sight that we use to appreciate creation and our sense of hearing to listen to music.

But I have learned that it deepens my relationship with the Lord when I pause to truly consider the way he’s made me. Yes, I can see the beauty that God has placed around me, but my eyes can also see the smile on my granddaughter’s face. And my sight can help me spot dangerous situations so I can avoid them.

Our hearing is also more than the ability to listen to the birds sing, or to hear our favorite song. We can hear our child crying in the night, or the sound of a warning to avoid something that could harm us.

As I have grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate so many things I took for granted earlier in my life. When I struggled to walk because of a hip injury and surgery gave me back the ability to walk without pain I was so grateful! That has been almost 7 years ago and I still find myself thanking God when I take a walk and feel no pain in my hip.

There are many other examples of ways God has reminded me of the blessings I have in just being able to move and use my senses every day. Things I could take for granted if I let the distractions of life redirect my focus.

My challenge to you today is that you would stop and ponder the ways God has been blessing you through the way your body works. The way He created you is so amazing! Take a few minutes to thank Him and then ask Him to remind you to do so… often.

“I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14 (NASB)

Would You Get Into a Boat With Jesus?

A story that begins in Mark Chapter 4 comes at the end of a long day of preaching. Jesus has spent the day teaching a large crowd by the sea. We pick up the story in verse 35.

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” – Mark 4:35-41 (NASB)

The disciples get into the boat and Jesus promptly goes to sleep. He’s exhausted. The winds pick up and a storm threatens. The disciples wake him in an panic. Jesus speaks to the wind and the waves and they are instantly calm. Then Jesus rebukes them for having no faith. The disciples are amazed that He has so much power over the storm.

If they had been listening they would have saved themselves a lot of stress. They had been sitting under the teachings of Jesus for a while and he had explained the parables to them. They knew they could trust him.

But they missed what he said in verse 35. “He told them, “let’s cross over to the other side.”  He didn’t say, “let’s go out into the middle of the sea and be drowned by a storm.” What he told them was that they would arrive safely.

Like the disciples, we often miss the promises Jesus makes to us. If we would just listen, we would know that the safest place in the world is in a boat with Jesus, even if it appears He is asleep in the stern in the middle of a storm.

Why? Because He has already told us we will make it to the other side.