Keeping Our Eyes Fixed (Faithful) to Christ


Mark 5:28,34  For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” . . . And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”



Yesterday could be summed up in one word.


Many of you have been praying for my family, and I thank you deeply. It has been a very rough week. My pain and insomnia are so severe that I can’t function very well. By the time I made it for my son’s archery practice, my body and mind had enough. I melted down into tears and couldn’t stop them from coming.

Just a glance at my webpage tabs yesterday, would tell you what I spent my day doing. On the one side were scriptures and commentary on the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garments to be healed, and on the other multiple medical sites were open researching answers for my family’s myriad of illnesses. The woman who had sought medical care had spent 12 years without relief. She was an outcast and now broke with failed medical treatments. I think she might have shed some major tears. Then she hears about this great healer . . . he’s the answer, I just know it!

Do you and I know Jesus is the answer? And if we do, do we also remember that his plan is good for us?  Are you wrestling with a God who just will not fit into a nicely wrapped box? Do you believe that his purposes are greater than your circumstances?

The weight of my family’s health is so heavy that it feels as if my faith might break. I want an outward manifestation that God is good, but I realized last night that I don’t need to touch the hem of Christ’s garment, I have HIM in my heart. Do not take for granted that the greatest miracle in our lives is that when we believe, Jesus chooses to dwell with us. No more law to get to God, the answers are all right there, living with us! Amazing!

So as I close the medical tabs of anxious searching this morning, and determine to trust God’s perfect plan. Maybe he does an outward healing, but I can tell you this much for sure. Our family is changing from the inside out.

We cannot always help the moments of wrestling with flesh, the world, our enemy–we live in the crowded, smog filled, faith-challenging world. But, don’t spiral into fear, depression, and despair because God isn’t answering the way we think he should. A friend reminded me last night, what is God’s greater purpose in my circumstances?

The growth in my family spiritually has been noticeable. My book is in the hands of the publisher. And I certainly can speak bold encouragement into your lives.  None of my physical circumstances have changed this morning, but God is giving peace from the inside out.

Hit the mark of faith. We’ve stepped out of the boat, but we still have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.


Father, you are faithful. Help us to deeply root our trust into the rich soil of your promises. When our eyes fail us, help us to breathe in your testimony of miracles. You still do them today! Break the chains of depression that say God will never measure up to our expectations. Thank you for changing my family from the inside out! Amen



Dressing in Delight: Changing our Outlook on Life

Numbers 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 

Playing dress up was not on my agenda yesterday. I have been battling a cold that is moving in and picking out curtains. To say I was miserable yesterday is an understatement . . . I was even second guessing going out on the planned date with my husband.

But, grandparents arrived to watch the kids and I prepared to leave, such as I am. . . enter Natalie. “Can I pick out your dress?” Dress . . . I was doing well to get out of the house in jeans and a nicer shirt. But, sigh, who can resist a pretty little redhead with big brown eyes who just got to be her daddy’s princess at the Father-Daughter Dance. So dress up it is.


Ready to Dance
Dancing the night away!

A funny thing happened when I put on the dress. I perked up. I laughed and was more in the mood to go out. Not even daddy escaped the wardrobe fairy. He was transformed into dress pants, my favorite of his blue shirts and a tie put it all together. We even took a picture, just as she and he did for their dance. All because a little girl expected elegance for our date.

There is something about putting on a different attitude in the circumstances we are in that can help change the course and pattern of our lives.  When we put on grace, forgiveness, or gratitude that can replace the rags of depression, hatred, and unforgiveness. It doesn’t just happen. We must grab those downward spiraling thoughts and pull them back up out of the pit. Sometimes we need someone to come in and say, ‘You aren’t going out dressed like that!’

Story Telling
Keep those smiles looking good.


Make a date this week and then dress, not based on feelings, but on the event planned for.

Some suggestions that perk me up:

  • A hike in the woods
  • Out with your spouse
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Trampoline with kids (impossible not to giggle)
  • A local band
  • Photography
  • Art class
  • Surprise me

I would love to hear how your date went. What did you talk about? Where did you go? What was your favorite moment? Did you find your countenance improved?

Seeing Through the Pain: Message of Hope

Luke 12:22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?


Dear Page Turners,

A little goldfinch visited today. I am quite sure she was at my window a year ago, her strange behavior the same. She is more interested in what is going on inside our house than anything outside. She sits, looking directly at me, tilting her head. Then she lands on the sill to get a closer look. Neither the barking dog, nor the kids frighten her away.

She is a love note from God. Love notes are moments when God does something that wows me! I’ve received many of them throughout the years, but this was extra special because it reached through the haze I walk through these days and stirred my heart. My problems are deep and many layered, but God’s is faithful.

She sat there looking at and declaring with every little twitch of her head. “He loves you, he values you, and he is providing for you.” She spent about an hour with me her last visit, but I easily dismissed the visit as a passing “interesting” moment until she returned today.

How quickly I can forget He loves me, when the mess of the years problems seem insurmountable. Having her suddenly appear as I walked into the office took my breath away. God knew I needed to be reminded of hope. He knew that I was struggling in my exhaustion to even look for his many provisions for my family. So he made his promise clear through my little feathered example.

Are you soured by circumstances? Cynical about the knowledge that God is good, because all you see and feel is bad? Frantically scrambling to fix whatever is wrong in your life? Come to the window with me. Look at a little bird whose only thought today was to serve her master in a big way.

May I be that little bird for you. Tapping on your heart to remind you that God sees and values you, and he is very much in the midst of your loneliness, your despair, and your prayers!




Fighting Dirty For The Ones We Love

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. 6 For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.…

When was the last time you fought dirty for the one’s you love? Or for an enemy? I’m not talking cheating, I am talking about getting dirt under the nails, sweating, and digging deep into all you’ve got and then giving some more. Valuing that spouse who has hurt you deeply. Treating the bully at work with kindness. Fighting dirty is not based upon changed behavior, it is deeply rooted in who Christ is in us!

We love because he first loved us. God didn’t just give us a list of do’s and don’ts, pat us on the back, and send us on our way. He was and is involved in creation! So much so, that at just the right time, while we were still sinning he came to earth in the form of a human child. He experienced sweat, he had splinters in his skin, and scars on his back from loving us. He knew our struggle with temptation. He knew we were oppressed, and he knew our depression. He fought dirty for us!!

Depression, suicide, hopelessness is a dark and dingy place, because hopelessness is wrapped in lies about our identity and the character of God. I was once smothered in those lies. My son died in those lies. How do we counter such a devious and destructive attack that often begins when we are children?! We battle by getting to know the character of God and acting on the hope he offers to us.

I didn’t know God. Scripture is like sitting across from God and hearing him tell his side of the story. Prayer is a constant conversation (both speaking and listening) with God. Fellowship with other in process believers encourages, challenges, and brings me out of my shell. This is my foundation. As a result, I can’t sit idly by and put on blinders to the suffering of others. I have my hands in the dirt of humanity. Be all in because God was all in for us!


Let me know your story in the comments. How can I fight dirty for you!?

What are Your Tags Showing: REDEEMED

John 19:19 Pilate also had a notice posted on the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

“Your tag is showing.” The lady behind me whispered at church yesterday, as she tucked the sales tag into the back of my shirt. First of all, let me just say . . . I got a killer price on the shirt! But what do you do when your tags of brokenness are showing?

  1. Hide them
  2. Lie about them
  3. Claim them and laugh
  4. Flaunt them

Everyone was labeling Jesus. They were trying to understand this man who claimed to be both God and man. Was he here to usurp power, or lead a rebellion? Was he a prophet? Yet Jesus cared more about who his heavenly Father thought he was. “This is my son, in whom I well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) He did not hide who he was.

For many of us, others see what we think hidden. They see we are unhappy in our marriage; coworkers are painfully aware of our arrogance; friends feel the draft of our hopelessness. Some just laugh and are grateful that it’s not them suffering those problems. Others lean forward and tell us to hide them better. Still others pluck the tags from us thinking they are being helpful.

I can’t hide the tag of survivor of suicide because it permeates from every aspect of my life. I miss that blue-eyed, dimpled chin young man. I miss his laugh, our conversations, seeing him at college, and all the things that were to come. But in this life we will have troubles. I hope you see, though deeply wounded, I will not back down from living! Be encouraged, our circumstances may tag us with heavy burdens. but no matter how may labels show, the original price on my life has been marked out. In its place are the words: REDEEMED! PRICE PAID IN FULL! BEAUTIFUL! WORTHY! JUSTIFIED! FORGIVEN!

Do you still carry the tag of who you were, or has it been marked out by Jesus Christ? Are you convinced, no matter what tags this broken world tries to pin on you, that you are a son or daughter of a risen king! Murderers tried to tack “King of the Jews” above Jesus on the cross. But, I declare that he was and is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Redeemer and gratefully my Savior. That is a tag I don’t care if anyone catches hanging out of my shirt!

Prayer:  Lord, we have tags showing. May your love redeem all of them and lead others to a saving knowledge of who you are. Amen

Learning to Layer Memories

Psalm 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 

Appalachia is a part of me! When everything seems to be haywire returning home, where I met Christ, is a place of retreat, safety, and remembering the joy of my salvation. As my husband departed with work to New York, my kids deposited for some grandma time, I made the solo trip home.

That is my first miracle.

I only got drowsy once, a quick stop, stretch of legs and I was good to go. It isn’t humanly possible to drive almost three hours on the amount of sleep I am currently getting. Yet God was gracious! He knew the journey was too hard, so he provided, kept me awake and safe.

My second miracle was walking where Jonathan and I have walked and having joy!

Engaging Memories
Jonathan’s 7th birthday party was held here, in the midst of a thunderstorm.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of layering memories.  It can be difficult walking a path with major landmarks of pain and sorrow. This trip I met a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years.There is always sorrow attached to remembering Jonathan. But when I create new memories, cherishing and honoring who he was by living defiantly and vibrantly a new life each day what was, becomes what is, and opens me to what will be.


Miracle number three. . . friendship!

I do not travel any of this journey alone. The people around me, you readers, are a joy I pack with me. I grow, mature and love more deeply by being with you! Reconnecting with friends, laughing together, hurting together, listening and celebrating life together keeps me honest. Some of the old thoughts of self-worth have been attempting to creep back in, but you remind me that my worth is found in Jesus Christ alone.

How do you choose to remember? You may have difficult memories, but this world is brimming with possibility! We don’t have to be locked into past sorrow or failure. Begin layering memories and mine starts with remembering the joy of my salvation!


Father, thank you for taking me home and allowing me to reconnect with friends and your beautiful creation. I am so grateful for the time Jonathan and I had together. I confess that I don’t always remember correctly. I dwell on the failure, brokenness of my past and leave you out of it. I have gained so much from your presence in my life. I am not alone, my life is filled with laughter, and you invite me into new adventures. Bless the readers as they layer memories with your goodness. Amen



Sanctuary, You keep saying that word . . .

Psalm 73 . . .Still, when I tried to figure it out,
    all I gt was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
    Then I saw the whole picture: . . . {The Message)

Give me sanctuary! For the past few weeks I had multiple excuses to not enter the sanctuary of God. I have literally felt oppressively hot each time I entered, to the point of feeling faint, and this week I was on the threshold of seizures as a result of my severe insomnia. But each time, with equal grit, I entered the sanctuary anyway!

Why? Because sanctuary is where my thinking is reborn. I’m no longer in the vacuum of my own thoughts and see more clearly God’s hand on my life. I am not alone! Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10) How differently the aftermath of my son’s suicide would look if I chose to go through it alone.  So many of us, struggling with depression, become echo chambers as we withdraw from any voice but our own. I have had 42 years of playing my own thinking . . . there might be a broken record or two.

So I sing a new song each week, along with hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ. This Sunday I let the truth of More than Conquerors remind me,  God overcomes every obstacle in my way. I can defiantly proclaim his love, truth, and presence to others desperate for answers. While participating in the sermon–which by the way means conversation–I hear God’s voice. You are not alone. Look around you. Do you think that you are the only one struggling to be here? Communicate your need to me, let me carry your burden.

I encourage you to enter the sanctuary, not out of obligation, but because there is relationship.  I raise my hands to praise, not because I have it all together, or have arrived at some spiritual nirvana! I raise my hands because I am defiant! I have a God who loves and fights for me and I recognize the warriors who surround me.

Find allies in the sanctuary of God.  (Please note, I have been abused by those who called themselves Christians, so I say this with the full awareness that church does not always feel like a place of protection.) But, I have also witnessed the generosity of Christians. I have experienced the provision and good gifts of a God who is not blind to my wounds. In the sanctuary I see that God is just.  We can angrily slam the door on God and Christians for perceived let downs, or we can enter the sanctuary and find our battle never was against each other. We have a common enemy and we cannot defeat him alone. Come to the sanctuary with me and raise your hand in defiance!


Lord, I praise you for placing a fire in me to be in the presence of your people. Thank you for the great music that encourages me and lights our way with the gospel of peace. Thank you for pastors that point to your truth and do not lean on their own understanding. Thank you that you raised your arms in defiance to death and teach me to become more than a conqueror! Amen



When Trauma Has You Frozen, Pray

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

I do not grieve like someone who is a slave to my son’s death. Sometimes, just like the Romans, I need a reminder that I can cry out to my daddy when fear is attempting to chain me again.

Yesterday I met a friend to study scripture and pray together. I made it through all the markers of Jonathan’s death and did not break down. But grief is not dictated by routine or schedule.

As I walked into the restaurant two police officers were waiting in line to place their order. I have yet to overcome a visceral response to police officers, since it was a sheriff who had to deliver the news that my son was dead. Every encounter since has been sweaty palms, shaking, and near breakdown.

I want to overcome this reaction, but am not sure how. My friend, aware of my struggle asked if I was okay when I came to the table. I struggled to not completely melt into tears. She assured me, it is okay if I cry, each moment is valuable, even the hard ones. We began catching up, but the officers sat only a few booths away and I was barely holding it together.

Finally I asked, “Can you do me a favor? . . . Oh, never mind.”

But my friend wisely didn’t leave it at that. “You want me to ask them if there is anything we can pray for them?”

All I could do was nod.

They asked her to pray for their safety, and we did just that. She redirected my overwhelmed feeling into meaningful, and purposeful care for these two men. As a result it also brought peace and calm to my soul.

What are you facing right now that causes an uncontrolled, physical response? It doesn’t make logical sense, but you can’t stop reacting to past trauma. I encourage you, just as my friend took the reigns and led me through the dark moment, to find a purpose in your grief. Begin with prayer. Lift up the person, circumstance, or fear to God who loves you perfectly and can cast out all fear!

Love Always,




Just Another Day: Except it Isn’t


Scripture: Lamentations 3:22 The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”…

Thoughts: How do you turn the page on the hardest days of your life? In three years I have learned:

  • Pray
  • Be with family and friends
  • Pre-prepare
  • Hydrate
  • Laugh
  • Remember
  • Praise
  • Be present in today (pain, tears, joy, love, all is useful to God)
  • Notice blessings
  • Encourage others

Prayer: Lord, you are faithful in my sorrow today as I turn the page on the tragedy of Jonathan’s death, and another year begins. May others learn, live, love and grow because they see your presence in our lives. I find joy today because you are faithful. Thank you that Brian journeys through grief with me.  Laughter is not distant because you have given me Daniel and Natalie. Thank you for time with friends this afternoon. I feel pain, but know it does not last. Your love, instead is eternal! Amen

A Father Who Chooses Us

Scripture: Psalm 68:Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. 5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.…

 Thoughts:  On our wedding day, Jonathan was seven years old. Brian prepared vows for his little package deal; it was important Jonathan know Brian wasn’t just in love with his mother. Brian knelt down, looked Jonathan in the eye and committed his life to loving, caring and cherishing his new son. He had no idea the hardships that would come with that promise, but Brian chose to love Jonathan.

God chose all of us, knowing from the beginning, the weight of  carrying our sin to the cross! Repeatedly he renews that covenant and gives Jesus, his one and only son, to share in our suffering. That is something to sing about! God is described as a desert rider, father to the fatherless, judge for the widow, home builder, advocate for prisoners. Dwell on this verse.

What characterizes someone who rides out into the desert to find or help the lost traveler? What provisions do they take with them?

Who adopts children? What sacrifices do they make?

Who takes the time to judge rightly? How do they treat each case as individual?

Who builds a home for someone who cannot repay?

Who advocates for the hardened outcast?

Any of us can fall into one of those categories of need. All of these actions take time, require much from the giver, and lots of follow-up. I have experienced this first hand. The vows the Lord said to me are what changed my life 21 years ago, peeled layers of sin and pain, and sustains me now. He committed to providing for me, my new baby, and set me free to live a new life.

 For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.…  (Romans 5:6-8)

That kind of love convinced a centurion Jesus could heal his servant by saying the word. That love turned a prostitute into one of the most generous and worthy women in the Bible. God’s love turned a rag-tag-band of disciples, caught in the turmoil of Roman rule and their own sins, into powerful messengers of  love, sacrifice and restoration. God’s love has made it to me into an advocate for prisoners of despair.

You may be experiencing depression. I am convinced, at depression’s core, the enemy attempts to seperats us from the love of God. But, God’s love and commitment snaps the chains of depression (Mark 5:3)!  Addiction, sexual sin, abuse, lying, stealing, anger, wrath are no match for Him. No matter who or what we prostrate ourselves to, God the Father remains faithul. His vows lead him into the pits of our despair, redeeming us, and places on us the cloke of adoption! He loves you, and choses you. Our response is to embrace that love, allow Him to reveal our character, and to SING THE PRAISEIS OF A FATHER WHO CHOOSES US!

Prayer: Father, thank you for reminding me of your vows! If anyone reading does not yet know of your commitment, may they become convinced that you choose them. I do not understand, nor can I explain the depth of your love in adequate words. I was so caught of guard by your answer to my prayer whe I first approached you as an ubeliever.  I am still so in awe of your presence with me when I struggle with despair. Father, reach out to any prisoner, widow, orphan, desperate, opressed person who is crying out to you. Provide a home, friendship, sustance, and freedom to all who need it. Amen!