Trust, Surrender, Loony!

I was at the lake a couple weeks ago, and there was a single loon lazily floating across the surface of the water (not in this pic - he was too far out to get a good shot).

I was struck by his radiant peace. He simply glided across the water, sometimes lifting his face to the sunshine. It seemed that he didn't have a care in the world.

He lived that carefree gliding life for hours, and then his countenance changed a bit. I could tell he was beginning to look for something - he was hungry. Sure enough, he started to dive. I was SHOCKED by how long he could stay under and how far he travelled under the water.

And then, he must have found what he was looking for, because he resumed his lazy float.

"This is trust and surrender" whispered through my spirit.

Trust and surrender is what I'm being called to right now, and boy, oh boy, it's a challenge for me!

Make it happen
Give it all you've got

STRIVING is how I've lived my life. The grades, the resume, the title, the promotions, the great business idea, the's what's driven me to create and do my very best.

Business and making money while providing value is something I'm good at. It's something God has gifted me with, and I really enjoy it. But somewhere along the way, I allowed the motives of my heart to get twisted.

Instead of working from a place of joy and creating with God (SO FUN!), it became "I must provide for my family"...I began to operate from a place of fear instead of trust...from lack instead of abundance.

Enter stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, tears, and about 50 too many pounds on my poor stressed out body.

It took me a while to realize I can't...I never COULD...."make it happen" on my own. It's always been the Lord blessing and providing for us, whether I gave Him proper credit or not.

That loon taught me something - I need to "be more loony" 😉

Enjoy the sun on my face
Feel the cool water against my skin
Trust that when my belly begins to rumble, the meal will be there
Surrender to the One who put me here and now for a reason
Create and serve for the JOY and out of love
Tune in to His presence and voice

Live right here right now, without fretting about how everything will work out tomorrow.

Thank you, Lord. Your promises are always yes and amen. You are True and Faithful and Loving. You give me all I need - You're a good Father who loves well. Thank you for so gently teaching me to trust and surrender 💕

"They all wait for You to give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good." Ps 104: 27

Be loony today, friends 😘


On Fear...


I used to be fear.

In the first few years of our marriage, Luke travelled for work more than he was home. You'd think I would have just grown accustomed to it. Instead, I sat in a stew of fear and dread and imaginary funerals. It was a horrible existence for me every time he packed a suitcase.

The birds of worry and fear not only circled overhead...they had a permanent nest there. The noise, smell, and mess under a nasty bird's nest is no place to live.

This morning, I woke to those familiar voices of fear whispering in my ear.

As I went to Luke, snuggled up in his arms, I was about to say "I'm afraid, will you pray for me?"...when I heard the Holy Spirit say "DON'T SAY IT. DON'T AGREE WITH THEM."

Instead, I simply hugged him and told him I loved him.

I will not speak the words "I'm afraid" because I recognize the voice that is suggesting that I live in fear today. It is the voice of the liar, and I will simply not agree. I will not use my voice to speak lies.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..."

Lord, please apply your perfect love to the parts of me that are being tempted by the voice of fear right now. You ARE perfect love - thank you for casting out fear!

Fear, I reject you. I do not agree with your lies. You must go.

I will set my eyes on Jesus.

I will worship.

I will rejoice and be glad in this new day.

I will testify of His goodness.

I will agree with the Spirit within me and His peace, joy, patience, love, and goodness.

My flesh has been crucified with Christ, along with it's tendency to fear. I now live and walk by the Spirit of God Almighty.

I am free...I am free indeed!


What is Truth?

 Please read before you jump to comments and accuse me of being a heretic ;-) 

John tells us in 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God..." 

And later in 4:6 he says,

"We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us..."

I laughed out loud at that! What a convenient thing to say! 

In this era of so many shouting for the spotlight and claiming to be of God and operating in His Truth...doesn't it sometimes seem like EVERYONE is saying, "We're from God...if you listen to us you know God too! And everyone else is wrong!  Everyone else is lying!"

Many believers are left looking around and wondering who's "right".  All the back and forth causes disunity, and the enemy LOVES that because it results in a whole bunch of Christians who are doubtful, apprehensive, and fearful.  It's pretty tough to step out when it seems that the ground under your feet might shift any moment. 

This quest for TRUTH (God's Truth with a capital "T") is what ultimately brought me to the feet of Jesus, so this is a topic near to my heart.  

I knew there was a God, but I didn't know how to find the True Him.  I heard from Catholics, Mormons, atheists, Lutherans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Evangelicals....everyone willing to talk with me in person, and about 100 more online. Everyone claimed to to have the corner on Truth, but they all disagreed.  That's a long story for another day...but let's just agree that Truth matters. (read the basics of my salvation here)

Especially when it comes to the eternal soul-saving things of God, Truth is crucial.

So how do we know WHO TO BELIEVE?

I have great news for you: Truth is not dependent on you or how you're feeling.  God's Truth is all about HIM, not you.  At first it might feel uncomfortable that you don't get to define "your truth"...but if you try to live in that way of thinking for too long, you'll realize:

a) it's exhausting to try and be your own god and

b) since you're human, you change.  Therefore "your truth" will change.  How TRUE can it be if it changes every time you're moody, hungry, grumpy, sleep deprived, or have your feeling hurt? 

The even BETTER news?  Truth leaves clues!  

The clues that God leaves might not be the types of clues you might see on CSI...He's not leaving a trail of footprints, fingerprints, or DNA.  But He leaves clues none the less.

TEST what's going on in your church, friends. Look for the clues.  If it's operating in Truth, then you can rest assured that you can step forward in faith to exercise your spiritual gifts.  The ground under your feet will hold.

Let's look at a few clues to look for - things you'll be able to see, feel, hear, and experience when you're in a church that's actually operating in the Truth of God and who He is:

1.  Fruit.  There should be basic core teaching about the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5).  "Fruit" is basically a way of saying "evidence".  A church that doesn't teach on the fruit and doesn't hold it's members to an expectation of their lives being transformed and fruit being evident...well, they might be shying away from that teaching out of fear or a lack of understanding about how the Holy Spirit operates.  

2.  Look for a generous, action-backed love.  "You'll know you by your love", right? (John 13:35)  But not just love TALK...the love WALK is where it's at.  "Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:17).  Fellow believers are FAMILY.  They are all of one BODY.  Does the left hand not care if the right foot has an infection and needs special care?  Of course it does!   Love within the body of Christ should evident in the way we pray with/for one another, serve one another, support one should be a VERB.

3.  Look for Freedom.  Ahh, sweet freedom!  "Who the Son sets free is free indeed" (John 8:36) and "the Truth will set you free" (also John 8).  Free people are joyful people!  If people in your church are walking around crushed by shame and condemnation, and held in bondage with no hope of getting free...there's a problem.  A church operating in the Truth of God will have the tools to help their people get truly and fully FREE.  Thank you, Jesus!

4. Gifts of the Spirit are being used for the benefit of the body.  1 Corinthians 12 gives a good list of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives believers.  The purpose of the gifts are primarily to "edify" (build up/encourage/strengthen) the body (Ephesians 4).  Now, there is some foolish talk about the gifts only being made available to the early church...but I can testify with full confidence that that's a false teaching.  

5. The ministry of the Holy Spirit should look like the ministry of Jesus. God - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - is ONE.  And God does not change.  In other words, the same types of things that God did in the Old Testament and Biblical New Testament, He is still doing right NOW.  
     a) The message should be the same as Jesus's: "Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand" (Matthew 3:2)
     b) The works of the devil should be destroyed (1 John 3:8)

     What does it look like for the works of the devil to be destroyed?  It means that people are saved by the forgiveness of their sins.  It means that broken bodies are healed.  It means that tormented people are delivered.  This is another area where the misinformed/misguided teach that all these things stopped with the death of the initial apostles.  But I assure you - I've seen the demonized set free.  I've seen sick and injured bodies made whole.  And I've seen the worst of the worst (namely, me!) saved by the blood and transformed from glory to glory into new creations.  Get your hopes back up, my friend ;-) 


It's true - do not believe everyone who proclaims "truth!"  And I was only joking about believing the spirits that I tell you to ;-)  You don't need anyone to tell you...God Himself has told you!  He shares His heart, His identity, His's all written plainly in black and white.  He leaves clues - you CAN KNOW when you're in Truth (or not).  

Don't settle for less than the fullness - the life abundant and beautiful church family - that God has planned for you.  Seek after God and His TRUTH with all you have!


You CAN hear His Voice

I hear it all the time: “WHAT IF I’M HEARING WRONG?!”, in a panicked and fearful voice from a precious brother or sister in the faith. 


“What if He actually wants me to do this instead of that?”

“What if it’s just my own voice or intuition?”

“What if I MISS what God has for me because I’m hearing wrong?”

Despite how people “feel” about it, we CAN KNOW the voice of God speaking to us.  I’m prompted to write about this today because I believe God wants to reassure His kids.  He wants us walking in confidence and peace, and in full assurance that we know His voice.


The Lord brings three things to my mind every time I hear someone say these types of things:

1.     “Did God REALLY say?...”

2.     “There is no shifting shadow in Him”

3.     “Check the fruit”


Let’s start with #1.  Remember the very first lie that the serpent ever spoke to humanity?  The Word says in Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said,…” 


He’s “crafty”…sneaky, manipulative, and tricky.  He didn’t come right out and speak a bald-faced lie.  Instead, he sort of came at it sideways and out of the corner of his mouth.  I can almost see his slithering body and shifty eyes as he hissed “did God really say…?”  In his craftiness, he knew that he could merely suggest a lie, and it would lead humanity’s thoughts down a rabbit trail of lies and half-truths…down the deadly slippery slope of doubting their hearing of God’s Word.


So, friend…keep that in mind when you begin to think, “what if I’m hearing wrong?”  That very question slithering into your thinking is likely from the enemy who’s working to steal from you.


On to #2.  James 1:17 is such a beautiful description of our Father:  “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”


There is no “shifting shadow”, no “variation” in our Heavenly Father.  He is 100% light and truth and wholeness.  He doesn’t change His mind.  He doesn’t lead you down one path and then cruelly yank you in another direction.  His daily living Word speaking to you will NEVER shift or vary from the solid black and white truths in His written Word.  He is a FIRM foundation.  THE Rock – the most precious Cornerstone of all we believe in.  HE NEVER MOVES.


So, if what you’re hearing in your ear makes it feel like the earth is shifting unpredictably and dangerously under your feet, it’s not the Lord.


Don’t misunderstand – God will certainly lead us in new directions that surprise us…maybe even in some directions that we don’t always want.  But know that He’ll lead us with His peace and joy, and in connection to His Word. 


I remember a particularly challenging time when the Lord asked us to downsize dramatically.  We sold our “dream home”, we sold/donated over half our belongings, and we moved to a house less than half the size we’d been in.  And boy, not everyone was on board.  Some of our kids were downright angry about it!  And there was grief as the pieces of my identity that had been wrapped up in that big fancy house got yanked out by the roots (the longer we resist sanctification the more difficult it’ll be to get started).


But my husband knew that he knew that he KNEW that God was inviting us to make that move.


One blessed day I had a crazy experience as I stood in our tiny new kitchen with 1970’s brown appliances and wood paneling….an inexplicable joy became a physical sensation.  It was like a giant bubble began in my belly and just tickled it way up and out of me.  I couldn’t help but smile and giggle while standing in that kitchen that every ounce of my flesh did NOT want haha!  That inexplainable joy comforted me like nothing else.  A peace that surpassed understanding blanketed me as a mother tenderly tucks her baby in with a soft quilt.  The SITUATION wasn’t what I wanted, but His Word stood true.


And the punchline?  I’m beyond grateful for my husband’s ear that was tuned to the Lord, and for his insistence that we obey the leading of the Lord.  Within just a few months of moving and cutting our expenses in half, the bottom dropped out of one of our businesses.  If we’d dug our heals in and insisted on staying in a place despite God’s leading us out…we’d have had serious…SERIOUS trouble. He’s a really good Father.


Finally, #3: Check the Fruit   
John 10:10 tells us that our enemy steals and kills and destroys, but Jesus gives us life abundant. And Matthew 7:16 says “you’ll know them by their fruit”. 


Matthew was talking about recognizing true followers of Jesus by the way they live their life, but I’d like to suggest that a similar test can be applied to our thoughts.


The idea is to pay deliberate attention to our thought life, and to run those thoughts through the filter of God’s Truth.  A thought, word, or action will reflect the nature of the speaker.


A “word” from the enemy will be in accordance with his lying, manipulating, stealing, killing, destroying nature. The fruit will be feelings of confusion, shame, condemnation, “shoulda-coulda-woulda”, regret, heaviness, and defeat. 


A “word” from your own brain will likely be slightly shifty.  I can really only speak for myself when I say that thoughts from my own flesh are highly dependent on how well I slept last night, when I last ate, and what the hormone balance happens to be in my body… “truth” is HIGHLY relative and changes by the moment! Not exactly the kind of thing I want to build my life on ;-)


A Word from the Lord is entirely different.  Since it reflects His perfect nature, it will bear the fruit of His beautiful Spirit.  It will carry a love, joy, peace, goodness, and patience.  There will NOT be a sense of rushing because God’s not in a hurry.  It will feel like the God of all is smiling on you because He IS.  It will be packed with power and truth, but will arrive with an unspeakable tenderness and gentleness.  Even when He’s disciplining or correcting, it will come with a heavy dose of love and gentleness.  He corrects us because He loves us not because He wants to prove He’s right.  He doesn’t have anything to prove.


And if a thought/word brings ANY fear, it’s not of Him. 


Fear of missing out?  Not God – He works all things to the good of his kids.


Fear of failure? Not God – All things are possible for and with Him.


Fear of loss? Not God – even in physical death, we are united with Him.


Fear of rejection? Not God – all who come to the Father through the doorway Jesus opened is accepted with open arms and rejoicing.


Fear of abandonment? Not God – He never leaves or forsakes his children.


Fear of not “doing enough”? Not God – He calls us to partner with Him – to take up His yoke and be linked to Him.  The burden we’re asked to carry is easy and light because HE carries the bulk of it.


So be free of the captivity of your own thoughts, friends.  Get yourself immersed in the written Word, and each time you open that book begin with a prayer of “Show me the true YOU, God”.  His character will shine from the page as you read.  Your heart will be lifted.  Your ear will be tuned to what He says and, more importantly, to WHO HE IS.


As you get to know Him more and more, you will absolutely “Know His voice”.  There’s no greater blessing!



Shalom Shalom - Thank You, Lord!


My beloved Pastor said something profound in a recent sermon when he said with absolute certainty and conviction, "GOD'S NOT MAD!"

The revelation that God isn't mad, disappointed, disgusted, or frustrated with me has been a new way of thinking for me in the last 6 years or so.  God's been scrubbing out the "religion" in me that taught me otherwise, and it's been wonderful, so when my pastor said "God's not mad!", I almost leapt out of my seat at shouted "Yeah!!!" haha!

The story of how the Lord taught me how He actually feels about me is... a lot.  It's long and emotional and stunningly beautiful.  I'll write the details of the experiences I had with Him someday...when/if He asks me to.

Let me ask you this, friend...what if it's true?  What if it's true that God's not mad at you?  God's not disgusted or disappointed with you?  God's not frustrated or irritated with you?  Jesus is not hanging on that cross looking at you mournfully.  

What would it mean to your heart - your LIFE - if God actually adores you?  Delights in you? Rejoices over you?

Pray with me now... "Lord, give me a fresh revelation of your love for me.  Open my understanding to really KNOW your love and delight when you see me."

Ok, now consider Psalm 35:27 (this is just one of MANY that speak of God's heart for you)

Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”

Did you catch that?  The Lord DELIGHTS in your prosperity!

(please stick with me and be pleasantly surprised if you're dreading another "prosperity" teaching) ;-) 

There are two words that I want to really draw your attention to: "delights" and "prosperity"

"Delights" isn't surprising.  It basically means what we commonly think it means.  The word used here is the Hebrew word "chaphets" (my keyboard doesn't offer the proper Hebrew punctuation).  It means delights in, desires, favors, is pleased, has pleasure.  He DELIGHTS.  He doesn't offer something good to us begrudgingly or with bitterness...he DELIGHTS.  He has PLEASURE in blessing His people.  

But let's look at "Prosperity" - this is one that many turn their noses up at because it's too often incorrectly interpreted as "financial wealth".  It's much bigger than that!

The Hebrew word used here is so beautiful:  "SHALOM SHALOM" (all caps mine because I love this word!)

Shalom Shalom means: well, happy, welfare, health, prosperity, peace, favor, good health, perfect peace, rest, safety, wholly

The way I think of it is a peace and wholeness that surpasses all understanding...that is beyond any earthy circumstance... a wholeness of mind, body, and spirit.  

As I dig into the root word of shalom shalom, it becomes even more rich. 

It comes from the root word "shalam" which means to be safe in mind, body, or estate, to be completed, to make amends, to make and end, finish, full, make good, repay, to make/be at peace and perfection, to make prosperous, restore, to make restitution.  

Could there possibly be a better word that describes what Jesus purchased for us?  I don't think so!

There is NO part of your life that God doesn't care about.  Your spiritual life, your relationships, your finances, your health, your family, your eternal salvation...of course.  But shalam is NOT withheld until we enter those pearly gates!  It is for NOW. 

Let me cut the nay-sayer off at the pass right now.  People who resist this Bible truth love to remind us to refer to the book of Job and the unimaginable suffering the poor man of God endured.  It is TRUE that we will endure trials and hardships in this lifetime.  I'm not suggesting otherwise because to do so would be to contradict Jesus Himself.  

And we will all face death.  There is a season to be born and a season to die, after all.

But all the way to the end of the book of Job.  See where God restored him.  See how God healed his body and restored his family.  See how his wealth doubled.  If you'd like me to refer to Job and his suffering, ok.  I see it.  I accept it as God's truth.  And I see a picture of REDEMPTION.  I see a story of faithfulness.  I see a story of a God who delights in the shalom shalom of His servant.

Well...I've gone far enough down that rabbit trail ;-)

What's my point?  My point is to encourage you to seek the true face of the God who adores you.  Wants good for you.  Went to the cross for the JOY of your shalom shalom.  The face of the God who's not mad at you.  The face of the God who delights in you.  The face of the God who came to save, heal, and deliver you.

It's true, friend, that we come to the foot of that awful cross and acknowledge the suffering that Jesus endured for us.  We thank Him.  We adore Him.  We are set free.

But what are we set free FOR?  To grovel at the foot of the cross for the rest of our lives?  To beat ourselves up for being sinners who needed salvation?  To imagine the grief of Jesus and to consider how horrible we are that we are there reason Jesus suffered and to live in guilt?

No.  God forbid!  Jesus suffered in our place - don't you dare let His sacrifice be wasted by taking that suffering back on yourself!

We are set free for the sake of FREEDOM.  To live as adopted (and adored!) children of the King.  To live in wholeness.  To do our part to create "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven"

So be healed by His love for you today, friend.  Be guilt-free in your joy and peace.

And know that He delights in your shalom shalom ♥️

God be magnified!


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