Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Social media reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. We can hide behind a screen and post our self-righteous words and passive-aggressively bully those we consider inferior to us, but He always sees what's in our hearts and eventually He will allow us to be exposed to others!!

Lord, I desire to have a clean heart before you. Please allow me to quickly confess when I have done wrong and may I truly consider others more important than myself. Would I continue to plant Your word deep in my heart and walk in TRUTH!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Love, God!!

We have a friend who Tim has been meeting with for the last couple of months. This friend surrendered his life to the Lord shortly after they started meeting and he is excitedly allowing himself to be discipled by Tim. One thing we feel is vitally important in order for people to have freedom in Christ, is for them to see themselves as Christ sees them. There is a danger for people to stay so mired in guilt and shame once they surrender to Jesus, that they never really experience what it means to be free. Their past weighs so heavily on them that they cannot fully embrace their future.

Tim told our friend he had an exercise for him. He wanted him to write a letter from God to himself. He wanted to see how this friend really thought God viewed him as he began his new journey. The letter was as poignant as anything I have ever read and brought both Tim and me to tears. If our friend can continue to own these words as he moves forward, there is no telling what the Lord will continue to do in him and through him…

Dear son,

This is your creator, your Heavenly Father!

I designed you for a purpose! Although you may not know your purpose, I do. Have faith that all that I do is by design and not by accident. Trust that your life has not been a waste because I've been watching you and I am a forgiving God! I am a loving God! I knew you were going to be a sinner! 

I knew you would have kids out of wedlock! I knew you would be a habitual adulterer! I knew you you would be a user and abuser of drugs and alcohol! I knew you would be a liar! I knew you would let your wife have an abortion! And in spite of all of this, I STILL LOVE YOU! I sent my son to die for your sins because I knew! All I require of you is spelled out in My Word...1 John 1:9! Remember this verse! Do you believe me? Do you trust me? If so, why do you not forgive yourself? Why do you carry all of this shame and guilt with you? 

Now, you have got to decide how you want to live the rest of your life! You have been guessing and running for a long time! Aren't you tired? There were so many times you were close to giving it all to me only to hold on to your worldly desires. Well, it's time! It's time to let go. I have big plans for you and you have got to trust that they will fulfill you more than anything you've ever experienced! 
I will be here, waiting with my arms open! Waiting for the son I love and created.
There is nothing you can do to earn what I have for you! Nothing to prepare for! Just trust me and love me.


Your Heavenly Father, your redeemer,


I would encourage you, especially if you are struggling with guilt and shame and in truly believing what God says about you, to write your own letter from Papa to yourself. His love and forgiveness washes you clean!!

He loves you…He really and truly does!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Come Together

Our church has 2 services every Sunday morning. I usually go to the first service and then stay for the beginning of the second service so I can see people and then I come home to get lunch ready for my family. I actually love that little bit of time by myself and I usually drive the back country roads home because it is very therapeutic for me. In the 3 1/2 years that we have been at the church, there is something I have witnessed every single Sunday (unless I ride home a different way). There is a little, old, wooden church I pass that has only ever had one solitary truck parked beside it. One truck. Every Sunday. For at least 3 1/2 years. Does anyone else find that strange?

(It's hard to see in this picture, but there is one truck parked to the left side of the church.)

I've tried to imagine what could have transpired in the life of the driver of that truck that would cause them to drive to church to meet with no one else every…single…Sunday…! I don't know if it's one individual or a family. I do know that there must be hurt and pain in their lives to do this every Sunday for as long as they have been doing it.

After a month or two of driving past and seeing this lone car each week, I decided maybe they were waiting for a sign from God before they moved on. You know, maybe a, "Let something happen that shows me You care and notice I am here," kind of thing…so I started honking on my way by. It may sound strange, but I wanted them to know someone saw them there all by themselves every week. I have considered pulling in and asking them why they continue to meet week-after-week on their own. I have considered inviting them to church with us. Not sure what that would look like. Maybe a, "Hey, I can't help but notice you're the only one here every week so, if you ever get tired of talking to yourself, come join us at The Cross." I have allowed common sense to prevail, though, seeing as I am a lone female on my way past. I'm not sure what I would be met with should I approach them so I just continue to drive by and honk.

Every week I am struck by the sadness of it all, though. I am struck with the fact that pain, bitterness, unforgiveness, arrogance or some other strong emotion has to be at the root of it. I mean, the simple act of driving to church every Sunday to meet by yourself seems like quite an exercise in futility, but maybe that's just me. Stay home in your pajamas and worship Jesus if you're going to do it by yourself. They have either been hurt and resolved to never let anyone get close enough to hurt them again OR they think that their way is the only way and so if no one is going to join them then they will just meet by themselves. 

Either way, I just don't see the model for this kind of church anywhere in scripture. Even Jesus, God in the flesh, picked 12 guys to hang out and do life with!! If anyone could have survived on His own without the need for mere humans, it was Jesus. Scripture is replete with examples and admonitions to live life together, though!!

Hebrews 10
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

I read this quote this morning and agree with its sentiment completely…

“We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old...We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. We need to renew our faith every day. We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth.”   Marjorie Pay Hinkley
None of us were designed to live in isolation. If that were true then Jesus would never have needed the second great command to "love one another as yourself". The implication of this command is that we will be doing life together. One of my favorite scriptures that pertains to living life together is in Acts 4:32-34

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them.

I am thankful for my friends and the people I get to do life with every week. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet with others who want to know Him better. I am thankful for a community of believers who will rally together to make sure everyone is provided for and that no one has to walk alone unless they choose to shun the love that is extended to them. I am thankful I don't have to do life on my own and I'm thankful my children are learning to live and walk in a way that shows we need Jesus and we need each other.

Lord, thank You for creating us for relationship…relationship with You, first and foremost, but also relationship with each other. May we be ever mindful that this is not only a gift but a responsibility. Thank you for the healthy culture of community You have built at The Cross Loganville. May we be a catalyst of love that draws others to You!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Parlor Time

We were at a rehearsal dinner for a very special couple recently and anyone who wanted to share was allowed to get up and say something about the bride and groom. Various people shared heartfelt comments or funny anecdotes and then one of the groom's grandpas stood up. He and his wife have been married for over 50 years and he said that their secret to such a long marriage in a day when lack of commitment and divorce are rampant was...

Parlor Time.

Parlor time, you may ask? Who even calls it a parlor anymore? How could parlor time ensure a healthy marriage? He went on to explain that after they were done eating breakfast, they took their coffee into the parlor, opened their Bible and read scriptures to each other!

Parlor Time!!!!

Psalm 119:105-112
By your words I can see where I’m going;
    they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back
    from living by your righteous order.
Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
    put me together again with your Word.
Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
    teach me your holy rules.
My life is as close as my own hands,
    but I don’t forget what you have revealed.
The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
    but I don’t swerve an inch from your course.
I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever—
    what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
    I always have and always will.

Parlor Time!

Times will change, emotions will wane, bodies will start to sag, economic well-being will fluctuate...but the Word remains the one constant in our lives that we can always rely on.

1Peter 1:24-25

"People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the Word of The Lord remains forever."

Tim and I may not sit and read the Word to each other every day, but I'm thankful Parlor Time is not unfamiliar to us. I am thankful that the Word is woven throughout our every day lives and that it is the foundation on which we have chosen to build our lives, our family and our ministry. I pray we can always say this is true as long as we are on this earth because we may just only be as strong as our last…

Parlor Time!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


When you mention the word, "home", the memories that one word invokes are as varied as the people who remember them. For some,  home was a place of safety and comfort. For some, home was a place of unconditional love and acceptance. For some, sadly, home was a place of ridicule, abuse and condemnation. Those memories are powerful. They either offer a welcoming beckon to return or an unseen force that propels us as far away as we can get, trying to outrun the haunting emotions that accompany them. 

We were just on vacation in Charleston, SC. It is an amazingly beautiful place, rich in history, amazing food, beaches and botanicals that are pleasing to the eye and offer aromas that surround you and draw you closer. Our family doesn't get away a lot since the vacation budget is way down at the bottom of the totem pole. Thanks to the amazing kindness of friends who let us stay in their vacation home, though, there we were in May...quite possibly the best month ever to visit Charleston. I may, however, be slightly biased because May is the month that the jasmine is intoxicating at every turn!!

At any rate, the plan was to stay for a week. A week of fun, relaxation, not having to plan what's next on the menu for me to fix, watching movies, playing in the waves, experiencing the places we learned about in history...well, you get the idea. I was a pretty happy girl. We didn't tell the kids we were going until a few days before we left and, if you're a parent, the reasons for that need no explanation!! We spent the days before in excitement, though, plotting and planning what we would do while we were there. To say we were thrilled to get away from the responsibilities of life and experience something new would be an understatement and we did until we'd been there for approximately 3 days and then it happened...

They started wanting to go home.


Not to the beach. Not to the park. Not to a famous landmark or a boat ride thru the harbour


Initially I found it a little perplexing and then it bordered on annoying until it hit me...we have created the kind of home environment that draws our kids back, no matter where they are or what they're doing. Home is a place of enjoyment where they are totally accepted and loved unconditionally. It's not fancy, but it's a place of comfort and the place they'd rather be more than anywhere else. 

My heart is full!!

I didn't go to college and earn a degree for all I wanted to do was be a wife and a Mama. Granted, it can be a rather thankless job at times, but it was what I wanted to be more than anything else in the world...and I wanted to be good at it. I wanted to create the kind of home that drew my kids back. I wanted them to see something or smell something when they were out exploring the world and have it remind them of home. I wanted them to eat a dish that made them think, "Well, it's good, but not as good as Mama makes." Are these selfish desires or lofty goals? Sometimes the line between the two gets muddled, but they are there none-the-less.

So here I sit on my back porch, savoring the smell of jasmine (He's good like that to let it bloom right as I return) and reflecting on an "almost week" of fun and making memories. Our oldest two children didn't get to go on this trip because they are becoming responsible adults now (*wink**wink*) and couldn't get away so I was happy to come home and see our oldest daughter who was still here. I was also almost excited to find out that when our oldest son left yesterday he forgot a bag of dirty clothes (he's responsible, but forgetful ;0) ) because it meant I could wash them and then drive to meet him this afternoon where he is working for the weekend and have some time over dinner with him. Coming home early has had it's perks and it's made me realize that, while I could maybe have done a lot of things better, I did one thing really right...

I helped make HOME somewhere our family loves to be!!!    

Thursday, May 1, 2014


I used to think that a mom came up with the whole cloning idea…until I became a pastor's wife! Now I'm pretty sure a pastor's wife decided duplicating herself was her only hope. I love what we do! I LOVE the people we call our own and the relationships we have built. I find it a huge under-taking, though. I think what weighs on me the most is the responsibility of it all. If you take this job seriously, if you realize the impact you can have on people's lives (good and bad) and if you see these people as God sees them then it can become overwhelming at times. 

It is a misnomer to assume that the church is filled with people who have it all together. As Tim likes to say, none of us will ever have our tassels turned this side of heaven and so, consequently, the church is filled with the healed and the hurting alike. So many have deep wounds, hidden sins and consuming insecurities that keep them handcuffed and unable to experience freedom in Christ. Seeing women shake off chains and walk in new-found freedom is one of the greatest joys of my heart!! 

As the shepherdess of the flock, it is hard when you encounter so many women and see the degree of their hurt, though. There is a huge responsibility in the counsel given because, as I look at these women I meet with, pray with and seek to give Biblical counsel to, I realize the far-reaching impact of what is taking place. This counsel shared not only affects these women who have sought it out, but it has potential to affect their spouses, their families, their friends and their extended realms of influence.

It is in these times when the weight of it all can seem crushing to me. When I feel like there are so many needs and not enough me to go around. It is then that I must remind myself that it is HE who must do the work and HE who shoulders the responsibility of it all. HE multiplies the time and energy so that there is enough to go around and HE is the only One who can break chains and heal hearts. HE is the one who gives insight and peels back layers to get to buried wounds and HE is the one who leads the way out of darkness and onto the path of freedom.

The key to it all for me and other pastor's wives who find themselves constantly pouring into the lives and hearts of others is this…we must not neglect our own personal time with Him because that is the key to being equipped for all He calls us to do. We must spend time in the quiet place listening to His still small voice so that we can be renewed and so that the words we speak are His and not our own. We must be constantly plugged into Him as our source of strength and not rely solely on our own resources. Some days that seems easier done than others. I know there are so many of you who pray me  and my fellow sisters (pastor's wives) on a regular basis and that means more than you will ever know! Please don't stop. 

Prayers trump cloning any day, but some days it does seem like a viable option!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


This is a post I have recycled, but EVERY YEAR at this time I start contemplating this truth as I become pleasantly drunk on the fragrance of jasmine. 

The view of the jasmine winding up the porch!

It's no secret, if you have read my blog at all, that my back porch is my sanctuary! I have a sign over the bed out here that says, "Come away to a secret place and rest for a while." As I sit out here this morning, the smell of the jasmine winding it's way up the steps is intoxicating! It hits you as soon as you walk out the door or around the corner of the house and it fills me with great joy and leaves me wanting more as I go throughout the day.

2 Corinthians 2:15 says ~ "Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life."

That is the ability we have if we are grafted into His vine...the ability to give off a scent that draws others to Him and leaves them wanting more! Casting Crowns wrote a song and these are some of the words...

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel I'm moving to the rhythm of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating in the secret place
Cause Your love is extravagant

It is in the secret place with Him that we take on the fragrance of Christ. As I sat here this morning contemplating Him and singing to Him, I become a little more fragrant to those I will come into contact with. Some, who are unfamiliar with the fragrance, will not be able to identify what it is, but they will be forced to acknowledge it none-the-less.

Thank you, Papa, for creating within me a desire and an awareness of the fragrance that comes from spending time with You in the secret place. Would my life always be a fragrant offering that draws others to You...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Half a Century

Tomorrow I will be half a century. Growing older doesn't bother me, especially when I consider the option, but it does seem a little crazy to think I'm about to turn 50. I don't have an aversion to the number, but there was a time that 50 seemed so old to me! There's something about hitting a significant milestone that tends to make one rather contemplative and I am no exception. It's taken 50 years to learn some pretty valuable lessons and here is a snapshot of a few of those lessons.

* I am loved!

Probably no lesson has been so easy nor so hard to truly own than this one. It was easy because my formative years, when I learned what love really looked like, were spent with a mom and dad who made this lesson easy to understand. They taught me what unconditional love really looks like. Comprehending that God was a loving parent was not a stretch for me because loving parenthood had been modeled for me consistently. For that, I will be forever grateful.

At 20, after repenting of my sins, I began to walk with the Lord. To say that He has shown me how deep His love for me truly is would be an understatement. Just as I learned with my parents, He has taught me that true love is unconditional, but must have clearly defined boundaries. Love is lavish, but love has responsibilities and turning from that love has consequences. Without daily affirmation of His love for me, I know that life would be terribly void of meaning and purpose.

23 years...23 years of loving and growing with the same man. 23 years and 5 kids later, I couldn't imagine having a family that would bring me more joy and help me understand in a more profound way how fun and messy and fulfilling love really can be. Whether it's been 23 years of full-time ministry, attempting to merge 2 wills in as painless a way as it was to become one flesh, gazing at a sweet newborn face after birthing their huge bodies, hours spent nursing, 17 years of homeschooling (which have been awesome and stressful all at the same time), bedtime snuggles, glances made my way for affirmation during an at-bat or after making a basket, midnight counseling sessions or hours spent involved in kitchen creations (because I firmly believe "food is love")...all of it has ultimately shown me that I am capable of giving and receiving love to the point of physical pain!!! Extending true agape consistently has been the tricky part of love, though, because sometimes I just don't feel like it!!

* Walking with Jesus is THE most amazing struggle I have every engaged in!

I surrendered to the Lord's relentless pursuit of me when I was 20. It has taken 30 years to begin to subdue the flesh and tame the tongue and I have a sneaking suspicion that however many years I have left will be filled with pop quiz after pop quiz to keep these lessons sharp and in the forefront of my mind.

* Grace is essential!

This could potentially be the most difficult lesson learned over the last 50 years for it is a multi-faceted lesson. It is the tension between understanding that the grace extended is not just for us to horde and bask in ourselves, but it's for the purpose of learning how to turn around and extend it to others...and it's generally required for those least deserving...just as it was for me!!

* Beauty has nothing really to do with what we readily see on the outside!

Defining and embracing BEAUTY is a tricky thing...especially when we are bombarded from all sides by a decidedly different view of beauty than how God defines it. Scripture says that charm can't be trusted and beauty will slip away and that may be one of the greatest understatements ever. All we need do is research the amount of money spent annually on beauty products to realize that the relentless pursuit of outward beauty is real. I believe one of the greatest challenges in growing older is embracing the reflection and the resulting inner dialogue that greets you every morning...embracing the wrinkles and the redistributed body parts...embracing the added weight and our silver crowns. If beauty is not more than the sum total of our weight and dress size, then there is no way that joy can be something we are able to take with us to the end of our days.

* Last, but not is so much more meaningful with good friends by your side!!

I have a few friends I have journeyed with for many, many years and they are scattered throughout the world. One of these friends, Janet, was the catalyst that God used to catapult me into His arms and I will be forever grateful! She and I are in it for the long haul (ever since Mr. Richardson's 8th grade French class) and I hope we get to grow old together. I have friends we have met in ministry and life would have been much more difficult over the years without their partnership and encouragement. I must say, though, that when Tim and I came to this church Papa threw open the floodgates of friendship and I now have more friends than I ever thought possible. Some of you, like it or not, are my safe place to process things and help keep me out from under the bedcovers. Your encouragement, wise counsel and inappropriate cartoons are an integral part of me being able to do what I do. The large majority of you bring me so much joy and some of you make me feel like a proud Mama as I see you learn to trust and grow.

I don't know how many years I have left, but I do hope I'll continue to learn and matter what number is attached to the year!!