Monday, June 27, 2016

Does God really love me?

I was going to attempt to revise and reshape this entry from my journal, and when I began it struck me that everything I wanted to share was written already.

I want others to know that God loves them and created them just as purposefully and perfectly as He showed me I was.

So here is a direct quoted excerpt from my journal.

Psalm 139:13-16 “For You formed my inward parts, you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret; and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed. And in Your book they were all written. The days formed for me when as yet there were none of them.”

Luke 12:7a- “ …but the very hairs on your head are numbered…”

Lord Jesus,

 I am overwhelmed by Your creation and love of me today. Reading the verse about the hairs on my head has sparked an idea of creation in me. You didn’t just haphazardly wave Your hand and toss me together, as an afterthought or as a last minute thing.

My existence did not come as a surprise to You.

~You took Your time with me~

You picked and selected each and every portion and part of me like a divine recipe.

You knew and chose- You wanted me exactly how I am and I am the perfect combination and mixture that You chose to honor You, praise You, and point others to You.

I’m blown away by Your preciseness. If Your word says the hairs on my head are counted, then so is each cell, skin piece, and platelet of blood.

I have this idea in my head of You creating- standing over a mass of living, heart-beating cells and using a paintbrush, measuring spoons, and divine perception to put me together.

Your majestic, Holy fingers shaped my face, eyes, nose, mouth and ears. You chose to make me 5’2 ½” tall. You formed my toe nails and my finger nails. You chose the exact shade of color for each and every strand of hair. You formed my mind. You chose critical thought and organization. You chose to add a heavy dose of music love to my soul. You knew one day You’d speak to me through it. When you created Lily of the Valley thousands of years ago You knew that I’d be walking on my road one day, smell them and deem them my favorite flower. You added dashes of determination and work ethic. You delighted in choosing my talents and gifts. You blessed me with a singing voice to praise You alone. You created my heart to burst with care and affection for those in need. You pulled from Your apothecary of combinations the exact portions of tenderness, gentleness, meekness, and love.

I am Your image-bearer! When I look in the mirror I need to remember that I reflect You.

My heart for mercy is a reflection of Yours. My generous spirit is but a fraction of what You desire to give.

My exact days have numbers attached to them and you knew this day would come when You’d overwhelm me with divine understanding into Your heart of creation.

All of my steps are ordered and You’ve prepared good things for me to walk in one day at a time.

You are Marvelous… this my soul knows very well....

 Linking up with some wonderful writers over at

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Confessions from a former list maker

~Finding freedom from achievement-based love~

I used to pride myself on the lists I could make and accomplish. Did you see that “pride myself” part? Yea… how many times have we all said that phrase? I’ll give you little insight into my prideful list making, consider if this hits a nerve with you.

In the morning, I’d get my handy little note pad, with lines of course, and make my list of duties for the day. These were things I wanted to accomplish and would feel good if everything was crossed off, especially if I could do it by 3pm because then I could enter into the super-mom realm.  I would list them, sometimes alphabetically, in order of importance and by category…..control-freak anyone?

In case you are wondering, my grocery lists were in categories, by isle of the store. I had a separate list of dinners for the week.

Here’s the kicker though, when I crossed things off the list, my “worthy meter” would go up a little. My worthy meter determined my worthiness of love, acceptance and ability to contribute to life.  Achievement based, conditional love.

So the major issue and fear I faced at the end of the day was if there were things I could not accomplish, I felt like the day was a failure…. actually that I was, in fact, a failure. If my list was completed I’d wave it around like an Olympian gold medal, shaking my little imaginary empty cup for others to fill it full of love and worthiness. If I didn’t finish the whole list, no one saw the list, even the things I’d done. I’d sulk and be surly to my family, which was an expression of how I felt worthless inside.

My worthy-meter determined my worthiness of love, acceptance, 
and ability to contribute to life.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Review of the Military Families Bible

What a privilege to be able to review a beautiful bible such as this! 

I was given the Military Families Bible- Holman Christian Standard Bible version by Lifeway B&H publishers to provide a review.

The editors first include a page about God’s plan for Salvation. This is a great piece to include in the first few pages, as many pick up a bible to read without knowing exactly what being a Christian is or how to find the verses about it. 

Without this knowledge and faith, we cannot read scripture and have the Holy Spirit’s power in us to interpret and teach us what we are reading, according to John 14:26 and 1 John 2:27.

I enjoy the Holman Christian Standard Bible version.  The first few pages of this bible have a description of how to use their references and footnotes and also why they made another English translation of the Bible.

They site reasons such as the changing English language, new biblical research available through the internet, and advanced technology in translating more accurately. It also includes the differences in translation techniques and which style they used. There is a great explanation of traditional features and special formatting features they have used. It is helpful to the reader to check out these sections so as to get the most understanding and knowledge out of the format.

The theme, however, of this particular bible is for Military families. Toward the back they have 2 wonderful attributes. The first is a 2-page reference tool for where to look in scripture for situations in life and emotions you may be experiencing. 

This truly points to the fact that there is no situation you are in that is not addressed by God in some way. This speaks to the timelessness and absolute Truth of God’s inspired Word to you and I in this very age. 

2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, 
for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness"

The second is a section with 30 devotions and prayer guides for Military families, written by several authors who have walked the road of military life. It is such a blessing to read through their advice and encouragement!

They have topics such as: Life on the Move, Living Away from Family, Dealing with PTSD, How to Keep from Growing Apart, Releasing our Loved Ones to God and so many more inspiring and comforting topics.

I highly recommend this version to everyone and also in particular for Military families.

You can find this bible online through Lifeway Publishers at Holman Christian Standard Bible- Military Families or on Amazon at Military Families Bible

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Do you notice the Lovely in life?

Looking for Lovely By Annie F. Downs ~ Book Review

My story is like many other women I know – 
the mirror has lied, and the enemy has 
whispered for years, and now we can’t look at ourselves and find anything lovely…”

I have been so moved by reading this book! It wasn’t my first pick because the description made me feel like it was too fuzzy feeling.

I was wrong.

This book is raw, hard emotion and hardcore honesty about Annie Downs’ life experiences and how she made it through to a healthier version of herself.

Annie references Romans 5:3-5 often throughout the book. She talks about being in different stages of each part of the passage.  It reads “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit Whom He has given us.

There were many chapters she talked about the hard things she was going through that I resonated with, and the hard job of first realizing it about yourself and then choosing to do something about it!

The doing something about it was someone was to keep showing up, keep doing what is the right thing and allow God to do the work in you. To persevere while He’s working on you.

Just like a sculptor with a chisel and a large piece of stone, God is chipping and carving away to reveal the beautiful creation He knows us to be. We’ve built up the ugly walls that He has to break away. Our choices in relationships, what we spend time doing, watching or consuming have created a hard outer shell around our vulnerable hearts. We’ve sinned – a lot. It has affected and shaped how we see life and deal with people.

In order to take away the mess, or walls and roadblocks, we have to submit ourselves to some construction. It hurts. Sometimes more than we think we can bear and we want to quit.

 Annie talks about this in her chapter titled “Quitter”. She says, 

In fact, a little more than a year ago, 
I wrote in my journal, 
‘why can’t I quit hating myself?’…. 
which is almost funny 
considering I can quit everything else. 
And that question, the question I can’t quit 
about the hate I can’t quit is the one 
I’ve been trying to answer ever since”.

If you leave the process in the middle before the finished product, 1) you’ll never be fully healed, 2) You won’t experience all of what God has for you and 3) you’ll remain in some state of “broken crazy” as Annie calls it.

Looking for Lovely is the pointed act of looking for lovely things in and around you while going through the ugly. It is a motivator and also a balm. At the end of the chapters she gives a looking for lovely challenge of sorts. To get up and watch a sunrise, go to see a theater production or concert in a historic music hall, picking up a phone to call a friend and tell them the reality of your situation, buy a watermelon with black seeds and the list goes on. Read it and you’ll understand.

Towards the end, Annie talks about what happened on the other side of the “broken crazy”. How her perspective changes. She says:

“I feel like since I gave honest words to the broken crazy 
and started to get healthy around it, 
God has shown up and walked me into more healing 
than I even knew to ask for. 
And in it He is opening my eyes.”

For an eye opening, vulnerably honest, lovely book check out Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs.