Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Relationships and Redemption

In every friendship or relationship, there is a common hope that they will grow and flourish. There is something inside of us that longs for a 'happy every after' story. We dream about it and work to make that happen.

But in reality, relationships are a challenge. The bridging of values, lifestyles, interests and sacrificing for another are simply hard things to do! No matter how much we dream of the perfect fit, some relationships will not endure the stress. 

When differences appear and tensions arise, prayer can change situations, attitudes and ourselves. For the Christian, we know God can transform, change, heal. We cannot change others, but prayer opens us the door for God to step in and answer. God desires transformation, but does not demand it. The gift of free will allows us to choose to say Yes or No to Him. 

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Take notice of the first two words: “If possible …”

This implies that sometimes you can do what’s necessary to have peace, but if another person isn’t willing or isn't capable of working toward peace, sometimes it isn’t possible to live at peace with them.

Unless two people in a relationship are humbly willing to come together and do the work, sometimes we have to learn to move on when a relationship doesn’t.

Even if your situation doesn’t allow for relationship reconciliation and you find yourself saying a necessary goodbye, redemption with God is still yours for the choosing.

God can redeem your life, even if damaged human relationships don't come back together. 

Reconciliation or not, God will breathe redemption into the shattered pieces of your story and create something new and more beautiful than ever before. In His way. In His timing.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Silence, Solitude, Sweat

I am a habit runner. Not a running fanatic, not a competitive runner, but one that knows if I don't run at all, the ability to run will vanish.

A habit runner does the same things, the same way, almost every run! My routine consists of a regular running day with a regular running route. Part of the routine involves listening to podcasts.  

Recently, I've been aware of the value of practicing stillness and quietness. There is always noise around us, but to find inspiration and soul searching, requires a deliberate attempt to find quiet times and places. A new practice I found was during morning walks, leaving the ear buds at home and simply walking and talking to God.  

A recent morning found me preparing for a run, but with a new phone, the Bluetooth ear buds would not connect. The old fashioned wired ear phones would not fit in the new phone. Minutes passed trying to get this to work. The first thought was I cannot run without something to listen to, but this was run day and the only day to get it in! 

A new plan was to pray while running, so off I went. Beautiful morning, heart ready to pray outload, but I soon realized I couldn't' talk and run at the same time! Decided to continue on and try a different way and soon fell into the soothing sounds of birds singing and feet hitting the pavement. 

Soon, inspiration began flooding my soul. Thoughts, ideas and parallels of life began forming. 

One recurring inspiration contrasted different kinds of run with how to embrace life challenges, projects or seasons

Most new ideas begin with Excitement. We love something Fresh, something New.

In life or during a run, we begin at a good speed with good energy. The finish line or completion is still a ways ahead, but the burst of inspiration creates energy.

Another phase is Building or Continuing.

In a run or moving towards a goal, the newness will wear off, and energy begins to wane a little bit. This is a great time to find a good pace to keep. A mind set of determination to continue will combat the tinges of fatigue that hinders advancement. Keeping strong, eyes on a place to land is where determination is needed. 


When fatigue or challenges slow us down, this is the time to keep the goal in sight, move slower, but keep moving steady, and focus on each step. Being consistent and not allowing excuses or reasons to stop you will propel you to reach your place. 

My earbuds began working for this week's run, but the lesson I learned will stay with me awhile! Hope this encourages you to find value in: 




Wednesday, June 28, 2023

"This Is Me" - Chasing Beauty


Sometimes, we just want a deeper peek into someone's life! I am all about the details, the more the better! When we learn things about others, we are bound to find a connection and share a common thread. That is how friendships deepen.

It is a true joy to share an encouraging word for women here on the blog, but transparency and opening up real life experiences offer an avenue to connect deeper. 

So, today is the first "This Is Me"' post. A real life story from the week about the quest for beautiful hair!

As I age, my grey hair seems to multiply! It is not a devastating issue, but one that is becoming a bit harder to control. For years I've used quick and easy products to cover the grey without doing anything permanent. This has worked for a long time. Then I moved to a semi-permanent solution and found a product I loved. Easy to use with great results. Now it is hard to find. 

Stumbling upon a clearance rack this week, was a box of hair color in a beautiful shade for $5.00!  It was permanent, but I decided to give it a try. With the box opened and directions pulled out, I began carefully following the process. Feeling confident, I lathered up the solution, which at the time had no color. After the setting time, I returned to the sink and found deep dark color spots on the bathroom floor, rug and even on my toes! Apparently, not careful enough! 

But the hair color is beautiful and next time, more caution will be used!

I read something sweet this week. As women, we love beautiful things. For ourselves, our homes, for taking in all around us. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Stumbling on Resilience


I love jumping into new things! Something will capture my attention and I dive in, often without looking deeply into it or evaluating whether it will be useful for me. New things inspire me, new months, seasons, books etc. 

An email came in from one of my favorite authors - Time Warp Wife. A ladies study was going on about "The 7 Virtues of a Proverbs 31 Woman." I immediately bought the book and joined the study! It didn't matter that I would already by 3 lessons behind, I saw it, liked it and joined in!

Once the book arrived, I knew it would be better to slow down and start at the beginning. I set the book aside, but still receive the weekly emails. .

Whatever week the study is on(!), the topic is Resilience. This is the ability to adapt to difficult or stressful situations, emerging stronger on the other side. A virtuous woman might not have the ability to solve her problems, but she has faith in the One Who does. She knows that every broken piece of her life is safe in the hands of her Savior and Lord. She knows that God specializes in miracles. He replaces the stench of death with life and gives hope where all hope is lost. Because of this unshakeable faith, she can laugh without fear of the future.

Resilience comes from friction - from stress or circumstances that may be hard. These times will come in our lives, we cannot change that. BUT, we can control our response. When we go through hard times, we can either get bitter or better. This captures the heart of resilience. The idea that we have a choice in how we respond to the trials we face is profound and empowering.

But as we choose to trust God to walk us through, we understand we need God’s strength, His guidance, His enduring love to help us through the storms. But He alone is the source that can bring us to the good on the other side as well as walk with us every step of the way.  

Resilience is dependent on the choices we make. We can either lean into God, using our trials as opportunities to grow through adversity, or we can choose to let adversity embitter us. There’s something beautifully resilient, deeply faithful, and remarkably hopeful in the choice to be better, not bitter. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Father's Day Week - Tragedy to Triumph

The week of June 9 - June 17, 1989 is a week forever etched in my story. It is where I experienced my greatest loss as well as the greatest gain in my life. Looking back even now, 34 years later, the variance of emotions from mourning to hope in the span of a few days still astounds me. But it is a story of God's grace that alone can bring tragedy to triumph. 

The circumstances surrounded 2 of the most powerful influences in my life - my father and my husband. June 9, my father was tragically killed. Although I never doubted for a moment of his love for me, my father made some devastating life choices that brought painful consequences to his family. He gave me a lifetime of fatherly advice, but set an example before me of a path I would take great strides to avoid. Choosing a lifestyle of sin and darkness can quickly escalate and overtake ones life. Priorities, habits, relationships can be left behind to follow the irresistible call of addiction. As Father's Day weekend is approaching, I am able to reflect with gratitude the treasure of knowing a father's unconditional love but mourn the losses that took his life. 

This tragedy happened just 8 days before my wedding. Ceremony plans had been months in the making and our family agreed to continue on with the event as planned. Although the tragedy of my father's death was forefront in our minds, a celebration of love gave a beautiful distraction from the grips of grief. That day, our family got a glimpse of grace. 

Another celebration takes place this weekend - our 34th wedding anniversary. A marriage, not perfect by any means, but a source of joy, commitment, faithfulness and sacrifice. My husband entered the role of my greatest influence. Once a Daddy's girl and now a wife, the difference was being led in the ways of integrity and godliness. Faith, values and integrity guided our choices as we began our new life. God knew exactly what I needed and my husband is more than I could ever have imagined. 

The fruitfulness of our marriage produced 3 sons. My view of fatherhood dramatically changed as through the years I watched my husband love our boys unconditionally. With high expectations, he modeled a life of discipline, self control, sacrifice, faith and integrity. He is leaving a godly legacy and daily projects the model of a godly father. 

Triumph comes through the process of healing. Mourning is a vital part of the process of finding peace. Many tears, anguish and hard emotions were present and often overwhelming at first. Walking through them, taking steps forward and reflecting on the hand of God leading the way, gave peace, comfort and strength. 

Tragedy will always be a part of my life story. But triumph comes when the story is told from the viewpoint of hope and comfort. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 is my story:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

This week still brings up an overload of memories and emotion, But hope and gratitude are what fills my heart. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Practical Ways to Help a Friend in Need

What do you do when you hear a dear friend is sick or suffering?  Immediately, we want to help, to 'do' something. As we ponder ways we can offer help, perhaps our insecurity, feeling of being unprepared or ill equipped can paralyze us and we end up doing nothing. 

We can make a difference in the lives of your loved ones when they need it most when you know how to help.

But often, when we don’t know what to do, or what to say, we make the mistake of doing nothing at all. But it’s during those times that our presence or lack thereof is felt the most.

When a friend is going through a challenging time, our acts of love and presence can bring healing and hope. Check out these 20 meaningful and practical ways to help a friend in need shared by Dr. Michelle Bengston: 

Practical suggestions for helping a friend in need

  1. Ask your friend, “How can I most be of help to you today?”
  2. Pick up the phone and call to check in. Just leaving a cheerful voicemail letting her know you are thinking of her helps.
  3. Send a text message asking her how she is.
  4. Offer to call or come over to pray with her.
  5. Bring a meal to the home.
  6. Offer to take her children out after school to keep the house quiet.
  7. Bring a fun comedy movie and snacks over as a diversion.
  8. Send a handwritten note in a cheerful card.
  9. Take a load or two of her laundry back to your place to do, and return clean and neatly folded.
  10. Bring or send a bouquet of beautiful cheerful flowers.
  11. Leave her an uplifting message on social media for her to find that lets her know you remember her and what she likes.
  12. Schedule a coffee date, and if she can’t go out for the coffee, bring the coffee to her.
  13. Take her to the doctor.
  14. Write out and send her a box of encouraging scripture.
  15. Hold her hand or offer a heartfelt hug. The human touch offers tremendous healing properties.
  16. Walk her dog for her.
  17. Clean her house.
  18. Bring her your recent most favorite read.
  19. Supply her with her favorite chocolate.
  20. Sit quietly with her so she isn’t alone.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Wednesday Word - Perseverance, Character and Hope

 Romans 5:3-5

 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This verse is part of my weekly Sunday School lesson. I'll be the first to admit in the past I have 'cherry-picked' this verse. Meaning I have taken the good parts and pondered them, and discarded the parts I don't like so much! 

Perseverance, character; and character, hope: This is a golden chain of Christian growth and maturity. One virtue builds upon another as we grow in the pattern of Jesus.

 Most every Christian wants to develop character and have more hope. These qualities spring out of perseverance, which comes through tribulation. We may wish to have better character and more hope without starting with tribulation, but that isn’t God’s pattern and plan.

Three things we can take from these verses:

1. God does not waste our pain. God is able to take our pain and purify us. Our trials are a process, they may feel overwhelming, but we travel THROUGH them, and God is always walking beside us. 

2. Endurance wrought by suffering leads us to proved character. God's greatest goal, His unrelenting aim and passion is to form Christ in us.

3. Proven character produces hope because the love of God is poured out into our hearts. Hope has a name and it is Jesus. 

 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

God lovingly enters our suffering. Our hope is not a mere wish, but an assurance because God through the Holy Spirit is pouring His love into our hearts. 

Therefore we say – soberly, reverently – we say about tribulation, “Lord. I know You love me and carefully measure every trial and have a loving purpose to accomplish in every tribulation. Lord, I won’t seek trials and search out tribulation, but I won’t despise them or lose hope when they come. I trust Your love in everything You allow.”

Now hope does not disappoint: The hope that tribulation builds in us is not a hope that will be disappointed. We are assured of this because God has proved His intention to complete His work in us – the proof being the love of God… poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

As we grow, may we keep our eye focused on God's promises. When times are hard, God can create something beautiful.