Friday, February 25, 2022

Timehop Reminders and Memories

Do you ever have one of those nostalgic days when you find yourself cleaning out a drawer, and suddenly you find a photo or item that instantly ushers you back in time? 

Maybe the technology at your fingertips supplies the reminder.  

I'm referring to the fun feature on social media or google photos that provides Timehop Reminders or Memories. It enables us to see and relive places we were on this exact day one, two or three years ago and more. Now don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the faces of my sweet children pop up, and the memories certainly bring to light how much they grow and change in one short year! The reminders are good. They cause me to make a conscious effort to slow down and savor moments with them, because they are growing at warp speed!

But, I am also reminded how those reminders can be a tool of the enemy to steal our present joy. Suddenly a really good, productive day becomes sad or filled with past guilt or regret. Before we know it, we have spent too many minutes lamenting a time that once was.

Memory. Some say it is our most treasured gift. I agree it is beautiful and certainly something to never take for granted. But, what about the hard memories? What do we do with the thoughts that cause us to remember friendships or loved ones no longer present? Or a life that looks drastically different from our present one?

I don’t think we need to live long on this earth to encounter hard goodbyes. We are naturally moving forward in our story. That forward movement means there are things which naturally change.

The wise Winnie the Pooh once said, “The only way to get to where I’m going is to leave where I’ve been.”

So simple. So true.

Isaiah 43:18-19 is one of my favorite reminders in scripture:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Recently, I shared lunch with a dear friend. This very subject came up. It is much harder not to dwell on the past in today’s world of constant reminders. Yet, dwelling in the past serves to hold us hostage there. It is impossible to appreciate today, in a world consumed with yesterday.

Jesus walked this earth before the printed or digital photos and social media reminders. He lived each day, noticing those right in front of Him. He lived in the moment; not staring at the past or fretting over the future. In His infinite wisdom, He knew how we would struggle with letting go of the past. He provided words in scripture to provide the answers to the hard questions of when and how to let go.

Heavenly Father,

Some days are hard. Some memories are hard. Help us recognize when a past memory is a tool used to steal our joy in you and the effectiveness of our faith.

Help us to “take those thoughts captive” IMMEDIATELY and not allow them to take one second of our present day. Help us to surrender those memories to you. Redeem our past mistakes with your Grace and help us to walk in the newness of today. Help us to see the NEW pathways you are providing. The blessing of the NEW relationships you are bringing into our lives.

The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy all that you are doing presently in our lives.

 We speak your name over his antics.

We choose to live in the gift of today ..Amen


Monday, February 21, 2022

Worship Louder than Worry

What do we possibly do when we honestly have no idea what to do? When the worry is overwhelming. When the disappointment is too much. When we struggle to hope or dream again. When it seems like every door is closing. How do we respond?

First of all, if you are in any of these places right now, let’s pause together. I might not know you or your particular situation, but I am praying over you. In this moment. I am not brushing past this with a Mary Poppins smile or rose colored glasses. But my prayer is, that after reading this, you lift your eyes and dare to take on the impossible with a renewed determination to fight for your happy again, and to take steps to healing. You are worth it. There. Is. Hope. Because, hope is not in a feeling. Hope is not tied to a particular outcome, or place or circumstance. The true source of all HOPE is Jesus. And He is the ROCK that never rolls. He is the constant. The same yesterday, today and forever. He is not detoured by accidents or human choices. Nothing catches him off guard. He loves you. He is fighting for you. You can lift your hands, even in this moment and worship HIM. Let Him wash over your tired heart.

 I remember some of the hardest moments of my life, overwhelmed with questions and disappointment. I remember whispering the name of Jesus…And, Friend. He heard. I felt His presence like I have never felt Him before. And I have never been the same. I have never got over Him. I still have moments of struggle and worry. But I have never doubted the presence of the Lord again.

About 10 years ago, I started a Gratitude Journal after completing the powerful Ann Voskamp study, “One Thousand Gifts.” A simple practice of writing down 3 things we are grateful for at the end of every day. I was skeptical at the promise of it changing my life. I could not have imagined how much it would.

When we consistently choose to be thankful, our thoughts and perspective changes…possibly even BEFORE the circumstances change. The following is an exerpt from an article from  PositivePsychology entitled The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief:

When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.

By consciously practicing gratitude every day, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful and positive nature within ourselves.

A grateful attitude not only changes our hearts, it literally creates new pathways in our thinking. Here is another stunning fact, Gratitude and Worry cannot coexist within our minds. One dominates the other. So, if gratitude can interrupt my worry, I am all for it. Natalie Grant once challenged a crowd to “Not let your worry be louder than your worship.” I captured this quote. In the moments when the worry is deafening. I will choose to raise a hallelujah, instead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Blessed Beyond the Measure of a Date

 A birthday. Everyone of us have one. It is the time stamped date – forever marked in our history- when we entered this world, took our first breath and our story began. It is the beginning date. It is our day. It is used for a host of purposes in our world of identity and calculations. We are often asked, “Do you feel any older today?” when, in all reality, we are no different than we were before the clock struck midnight. Only the calculation of time and years have changed.

For me, each birthday is a gift. I remember those I have known and loved who did not make it to celebrate another one. I am grateful and humbled with the gift of another year to celebrate this life and the many blessings and friendships I have made along the way. 

Today, I turned 42.

My story began February 16, 1980. I recently shared with some of my friends the truth that I have lived a lifetime already in this 42 years. I beat impossible odds as a pre-teen; once told by a doctor I would not live to see my 13th birthday nor would I be able to hold a baby of my own. God chose to fill my arms with not only one but four little ones.  John and I have lived in many places, serving in different ministry stops. We have met and loved countless, incredible people. I have held prominent positions and spent my days nursing babies and homeschooling. I have stood on stages speaking to rooms filled with convention guests, and I have sat on the floor of the church nursery playing blocks with toddlers while singing Jesus Loves Me. I have assisted great, noble leaders, and I have served in unseen positions. I have dreamed big dreams. Some came true. Some did not. At least, not yet. I have loved with the deepest of loves, and I have hurt and been hurt. I have struggled with silent pain, and I have cried along with the precious woman who just found out there is no longer a heartbeat. I have lived with an abundance. And I have lived with little. I have learned neither are the answer.

You see, we are each given a birthday. We do not know how many years will be represented by the dash in between our bookend dates. It is our blessing to spend every day and moment wisely. To invest in the people in front of us. To make choices that honor God and reflect the priorities we hold dear. The choices that, if looking back from the grave, we do not regret.

The simple. The beautiful. The treasured moments often cost nothing more than time.

What if we no longer measured our birthdays in years, but in memories and moments instead? What if we made the phone call? Wrote the note? Scheduled the visit? What if we stopped focusing on how many years old we are and instead chose to measure our lives by the moments which make up those years.

This year, I see a few more wrinkles around my eyes. I do not look the same, nor do I move with the same ease or agility. But I do most definitely still turn up the music, grab my family, and dance like nobody’s business. I sing and worship at the top of my lungs. I literally loose myself in a moment spent with my Jesus, when a verse in my morning’s Bible study takes my breath away. I know how to enjoy a good cup of coffee and a big slice of Reese’s peanut butter cake…and lay my head on my pillow knowing, I am blessed far beyond the measure of a date. ♥

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Did You See That?


“Momma, did you see that?” This has been the phrase of choice for our little Chace lately. At first I didn’t really notice it, until this past weekend. I was asked the question what seemed like one hundred times! It really caught me off guard. At first, my response was, “No, baby- I didn’t see it.” But then, I started paying very close attention. It shifted my focus from what I was doing to what Chace was watching, seeing and playing. I began intentionally watching throughout the day to make sure, when tested by my two year old, I could truthfully answer, “YES! I did see it!”

Wow..what a lesson! What began as a simple Saturday morning game, transpired into a much more intentional way of living for me. Of noticing. This morning, during my prayer time, it occurred to me the reason behind the lesson. I posted this on my Facebook page:

A sweet reminder to freeze frame moments today. Notice details of every conversation with children, your spouse, a coworker, friend and even stranger.

Make eye contact. Smile..Put aside distraction..really notice.

Each conversation and encounter is one of a kind.

May we live intentional lives today. Life is precious. Relationships are dear. Moments are fleeting.


“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” –Psalm 90:12

What if we really practiced what Psalm 90:12 encourages? How would our lives change? How much wisdom would we gain?

I know God’s Word is clear. God says what He means and means what He says. Hidden in this verse is a promise of a life transformed and a life filled with sacred wisdom. We learn from circumstances and encounters with people. I was once given a valuable piece of advice from a wise friend. "Treat every conversation like it is the most important one." Engage and listen for hidden lessons. Some conversations are short and seem irrelevant to our day. However, as a child of God, we know He is directing our steps. He is strategically directing our walk and placing people in front of us. For a reason.

I pray, we make it our intention to notice, to learn, to help and to number our days. We never know when it could be our last day. Make sure those you encounter today know how much you cherish them. Don’t wait to share words of encouragement. Tell them what they mean to you. Thank them for serving you. And by all means, be ready when asked, “Did you see that?”