Today, I celebrate ten years since the tragic car accident that took my oldest sister’s life and changed mine forever. You may think my use of the word ‘celebrate’ is strange, considering it was a tragedy, but it was a much-needed wake-up call for this girl. This was not the only thing that happened that year, as some may recall.

            Here’s a recap: I went into 2013 with a broken heart from leaving an abusive relationship; I fell and broke my right arm and underwent fifteen weeks of physical therapy; the accident happened one day after my last day of PT. I broke my left arm in multiple places, my back (more PT and surgeries), and my sister died 11 days after the crash. We lost Mom at the end of that year to cancer and Dad six days later, bringing my year full circle. You may also recall that we lost our oldest brother just two years before, only one day after Mom’s cancer diagnosis.

I don’t wish my year on anyone, but God used it to bring me to Himself, and true to His character, has brought good out of it a hundred-fold. I often think about other tragedies I hear about in the news and wonder how many lives God changed through them. We only hear the bad portions, but God can use them for good like He did mine. I am amazed at the changes in myself since He rescued me from my old life. I have said it before, and I will repeat it – I am in awe of my heavenly Father every day. God gave me a new perspective on everything that day. I realized I was not in control; God spared my life for a reason, and I knew I better start paying attention.

I see it as a rescue, and I thank God for that almost every day. The first time I heard Lauren Daigle’s song, “Rescue” I sobbed. The lyrics resonate entirely with me, and I still cry every time I listen to them because I know what Christ Jesus rescued me from.  

God continues using my past abuse to help me relate to other women through the ministry He gifted me. I am not only learning and growing through my classes at Liberty University but have experienced much healing since I began this journey.

Looking back at how 2013 happened, without June 2nd, I wouldn’t have September 15th, which will also mark my tenth anniversary of being baptized and set free from bondage. You see, I finally released control only after the accident and asked God what He wanted for the first time—the weight I was carrying lifted immediately and transferred to His capable hands. This is why I can call it a celebration.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Is. 41:10, New Living Translation, emphasis added).

Pedal Power

After several neglectful years of hanging up in my garage, I began riding my bike again. I first noticed how much quicker I reached three miles than when I ran, and it made me appreciate the effort I put into my runs that much more.

But here’s the thing – it took some convincing to get me out the door and on it again. I wanted to ride it, but I kept telling myself it would be weird to ride by myself. I spent a good part of the day with the lyrics I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike  by Queen stuck in my head, but I did nothing about it. I don’t think I have ridden alone very much, even as a child, except for the trips to and from my cousin’s house around the curve so that we could ride together.

The last time I had ridden was with my son when he lived with me, so for some reason, it just seemed strange for me to go for a ride solo. But once I finally convinced myself to do it anyway – it was so much fun! I wouldn’t have known this if I stayed in the house and let those thoughts keep me from trying.

We can miss many blessings by staying in our comfort zones and not going when and where God leads us. I am guilty of that as well, putting off that thing God is nudging me to do because it might feel strange or weird. But we’ll never appreciate the effort that goes into it or experience the joy it brings if we never do it. I am learning to listen to that still, small voice and get out of my comfort zone even when I don’t feel capable.

We are not to measure our abilities by our own strength but by the One sending us.

What is that thing you’ve been putting off that God is nudging you to do? Is it talking to that person down the street or helping that neighbor in their yard? Maybe it’s volunteering at church or visiting the local nursing home – you fill in the blanks – but know, whatever it is, getting out of our comfort zone in these areas is a good experience and will bless us way more than the other person. I bet you will even have fun!

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Cor. 12, NLT emphasis added).

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy” (Ps. 28:7, NLT emphasis added).

Three Eyes?

As I run or walk around my neighborhood, I have noticed most of the kids I speak to do not speak back. The other day I was walking and came face-to-face with a girl on the sidewalk. As I passed her, I smiled and said hello. She stared straight through me and never cracked a smile. I checked the mirror when I got home to make sure I didn’t have three eyes. It was refreshing the next morning when I ran past some younger kids waiting for the school bus and a little boy returned my ‘good morning’ and smiled back at me. I know it must not be the ‘cool’ thing to do, and perhaps it depends on their age, but still.

I wonder if that is how Jesus feels when we do not acknowledge His presence. Sometimes we know He is there but have a blank stare and never speak. Other times, we may not even be aware that He is with us because we are distracted by other things and the clutter of the world around us.

It made me think, is the only time we spoke to our earthly fathers as a child when we needed something or did we run to him in excitement with happy news, sharing a tidbit we learned, showing him a toy or laughing about something from our day so we could enjoy it together.

Our heavenly Father is no different, He delights when we run to Him with happy news and not just when we are pleading for help, perhaps from the mess we have gotten ourselves in. He is always there in good times and bad. Next time we feel alone and don’t have anyone to share a smile, laugh, or something we learned, (or even if you do have others to share it with) let’s try taking it to the One who delights in hearing from us. When we recognize God’s presence, speak and even smile – we can know He is smiling back, and we experience peace in His presence.

Sadly, in the broken world we live in, I realize some of you may not have experienced this type of relationship with your earthly father and it makes it difficult to see God as your Father. I am so sorry about that. But when we accept Christ and the love God has for us, and experience the abundant grace given to us by the blood of Jesus it is more than enough to fill those gaps, soothe our aching souls, and mend our shattered hearts, from whoever it was that hurt us in the past.

If you have not experienced the love your Heavenly Father has to offer because of a hurtful experience with your earthly father or someone else who was supposed to love you – please seek a Christian counselor who can help you unpack it and begin to understand how to accept a relationship with your heavenly Father – it’s life-changing. It may be hard work and painful to deal with those emotions at first, but it is worth it because you are worth it and loved immensely by the only One who can bring hope and healing to that kind of pain.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ” (2 Thes. 3:5, NLT emphasis added).

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom. 5:8, NLT emphasis added).


I could only imagine the dancing, laughter, and shouts of joy heard throughout heaven the day I surrendered my life to Christ. But I also thought I heard one of the angels say, “Finally!” I let my stubborn self linger in my old life way too long before I asked for forgiveness and turned the reigns of my life over to the only One who knew how to lead me on the right path and soothe all my hurts.

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines repentance as “the deeply seated and thorough turning from self to God” (Brand, 2015). Furthermore, it is an experience in which we recognize God as the most critical factor in our existence. This came for me when I hit rock bottom in what some might call the worst year of my life, and rightly so. But I can now see the good God brought out of it and am grateful for the wake-up call it ignited inside my soul. It was the worst and best year of my life.

The act of repentance and forgiveness of sins wipes the slate clean to begin afresh. The first time we accept Christ and allow God to take control of our lives, the weight is lifted, and indescribable freedom ensues. Luke tells us there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than the ninety-nine righteous who need no repentance or are best understood as those who think they don’t need to repent (Luke 15:7, ESV). Repentance is not just for unbelievers or a one-time coming to Jesus moment. For believers, it is a daily conformity to the will of God where we must constantly engage in self-examination and allow the Holy Spirit to point out where we need to change to make more room for Him in our hearts.

I believed in God and Jesus; I was baptized when I was nine but didn’t know how to put Christ first in my life or that a relationship was possible. It is not about religion and checking off boxes; it is about an intimate relationship that is only possible by the grace that comes through the blood of Christ Jesus. Through this relationship, I experienced complete healing from all my past hurts and had hope for the first time. When I tried to control my life, it was a complete shamble. But God…

Justification is an act that happens in a moment, but sanctification is the ongoing process and work of God’s free grace. Our goal as saved sinners is to become like Jesus in every way (Romans 8:2, ESV). If we are on this earth, we are still sinners needing repentance. The sanctification process continues until we die; then, we will be made entirely in the image of Christ. The sanctification process begins the moment we receive Christ. If the Holy Spirit is within us, we have the assurance that Christ’s atoning work will continue to intercede for us.

We are forgiven forever by the grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, and He intervenes for us to the Father on our behalf. But this does not mean we can or should continue in sin. As Paul writes, this is not an excuse to continue sinning. We were buried to death in baptism just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father so that we too will walk in newness of life, set free from the enslavement of sin (Romans 6:1-4, ESV). It may seem like hard work to give up the things of comfort and our old habits, but our suffering, in this way, produces endurance, which builds character, and character strengthens our confident hope for salvation (Romans 5:4, ESV).

I was a mess when I came to Christ. I didn’t need to wait until I cleaned myself up; there was not enough soap in this world to do that. But once I surrendered everything to God, the Holy Spirit helped me by changing my heart and shaping my character.

This verse has become my daily prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10, ESV emphasis added). I also pray for God to reveal any areas in my life that I need to change so I can walk in step with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:25, ESV) and align myself with His will. Working on my relationship with God improves all my other relationships and is the best decision I have ever made.

Do you have an intimate relationship with your heavenly Father? What are you waiting for? To conform our lives to Christ and put away our old selves can seem challenging, and we put it off because we aren’t ready for the change that will occur. I know because I put it off, and at one time, I wouldn’t even take the abusive relationship to God in prayer because I wasn’t ready for Him to change it. I was gripping it with white knuckles. That is until I realized God wanted a better life for me. One I couldn’t see for myself. We tend to stay where it is familiar, even if the situation is terrible but take it from me, I am grateful I took that one step of faith towards God. As soon as I did, He scooped me up in His arms like the long-lost sheep and probably said, “Finally! Come home, my daughter; you are safe now.”

If your life is anything like my old life – knowing what I know now – I would run to Him! It is your choice, but know this…God loves you fiercely and wants the very best for you. In my book, Jesus Christ is the very best.


I woke yesterday morning at 3 AM to a loud pop followed by no electricity. As I lay in the dark, I thought of everything I couldn’t do when I got up – like making my usual oatmeal in the microwave and mixing my protein drink in the magic bullet. I began to wonder what I was going to eat for breakfast.

We sometimes take for granted things like electricity that make our lives easier every day until it’s not there. My strawberry jam sandwich didn’t quite satisfy like my normal oatmeal. Dressing in the dark can become guesswork in whether you put your shirt on backward until you get in the light.

When we unplug from God’s Word, we don’t realize how far we stray from His presence and light until we awaken in the dark. We can substitute the life-giving manna – the bread of life (John 6:48, ESV) – for our own concoctions that don’t satisfy or sustain us. We don’t always realize our dependency on God until we don’t feel His presence and feel like we are in the dark.

Like dressing in the dark, we can’t see how backward our ways are to God’s until we return to His light and let Him lead us and our hearts. In Isaiah 55:8, the Lord declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” For this reason, we need to abide in Him (John 15:4, ESV) and lean not on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5, ESV). This is a good reason to be still, listen to His voice, and ask for discernment and direction from the Holy Spirit.

At the break of dawn, as I ran through my neighborhood, I realized the power issue was isolated to just a few houses, and others around me had power. When we go out on our own without consulting God, we can feel isolated and alone, but the truth is that God is always with us. We must plug back into His wonder-working power and acknowledge that we need Him every moment.

I had the opportunity to thank the repair crew working to fix the issues – how many times do we remember to thank God for what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have, which can lead to self-pity or complaining? We will probably not receive more until we are grateful for what we have now—just food for thought.

Jesus’ Letters

“I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5, ESV, emphasis added).

That can’t be a good thing.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Christ to remove the light within me because I did not hear and heed His warnings to repent.

The book of Revelation holds many mysteries and sometimes seems scary to read, but the book begins with the apostle John, who has been exiled to the Island of Patmos, recording letters from Christ to the seven churches.

Each letter has an “I know” statement from Christ, diagnosing the church’s condition, continues with a warning to hear and heed what the Spirit is saying, and then supplies a solution that graciously comes with a promise and blessings for those who persevere.

Christ invites everyone to examine themselves, considering these messages. We should make sure the light we think we have isn’t darkness (Luke 11:35). An excellent way to do that is to ask God to reveal anything in our hearts that is not of Him so we can declutter and make more room for the Spirit.

The repetitive message to each church is to listen to what the Spirit says – in other words, heed the warnings. Ephesus is warned to return to their first love; Smyrna and Philadelphia are only given praises and encouragement to be faithful to death while promised that faith in Jesus assures access to the eternal kingdom, even in the face of persecution; Pergamum and Thyatira are warned about false teachings and immoral deeds; Sardis is told to wake up and complete her works of obedience; and finally, Laodicea is told to turn from self-deception and repent of their lukewarmness.

Each end with a different promise, a blessing for those who conquer. I won’t list them all here, but I encourage you to reread these passages as if they are written to you personally. These letters may have been recorded to address issues in the churches of their time, but they are a single unified message to the church in all times and places. The state of the churches in John’s time is similar to today (Brand, 2015).  

God still calls Christians to faithfulness and integrity. Those who heed the message will reap God’s promised rewards, and those who fail will be judged. I pray that our lampstand is not removed – I thank God for His mercy and patience. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit’s correction and guidance. In God alone, we can persevere and reap the promised rewards.


Brand, C., ed., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville: B & H Publishing, 2015).


Does a puddle still elicit childhood memories of splashing in your rain boots? Small, seemingly insignificant items can trigger these and many other memories throughout our day. But how do we store all those memories and still take on all the new information we receive daily?

Our brains are like sophisticated filing systems, constantly storing, retrieving, and discarding information. We receive a tidal wave of new information daily – and a lot of insufficient data is included.  So, how do we process it? Where do we store it or get rid of it?

We must counteract it with good by intentionally replacing it with God’s Word.

In the Old Testament, we read that God provided manna from heaven each night with the dew to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. Manna is described as a white or pale-yellow gum resin that resembled a tiny coriander seed and tasted like honey wafers (Numbers 11:7; Ex. 16:31, NLT). It is labeled as bread from heaven (Ps. 105:40, ESV) and was ground and baked into cakes (Ex. 16:13-36).

Manna foreshadowed Christ, the authentic Bread from Heaven (Brand, 2015). Jesus assured the Jews that He, not the wilderness food, was the true Bread of Life from heaven that brings eternal life to those who eat it (John 6:30-58). Jesus Christ nourishes people spiritually and is the only satisfaction for our souls. The Word was with God (interpersonal relationship between Christ and God). The Word was God (Jesus is the same God who created the universe) (John 1:1). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus speaks words of eternal life. The Holy Spirit works powerfully in and through the words that Jesus says (John 6:53). The Triune – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three in one.

Like fabricated memories, our lies can become real if not discarded. They need to be replaced with God’s truth daily to give us spiritual food. It can become toxic and overwhelming if we don’t substitute lies for truth regularly. That is why it is so important to intentionally carve out time to spend in God’s Word, to seek Him above all else, and allow the Holy Spirit to awaken your spiritual life.

After proclaiming Himself as the Bread of Life, Jesus promises never to reject those who come to Him and trust Him for salvation (John 6:35-37). This is manna – food for our souls – a hope to cling to that replaces the magnitude of insufficient data we consume daily.


Brand, Chad., ed. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, B & H Publishing, 2015.

He Isn’t Here!

Would you prefer to receive flowers when you can enjoy them or spread them out across your casket after you’re gone? I would wager that most of us want to give and receive them now while we can see the person’s reaction and smile. At least, that is my preference. I have often said, if you cannot give me flowers while I am here – don’t bother after I am gone.

When Mary, sister to Martha and Lazarus, poured expensive oil over Jesus’ feet from an alabaster jar, she received havoc from the disciples for wasting it (Mark 14:3, ESV). Jesus scolds them for getting on to her and tells them she has anointed Him in preparation for burial. I’ve read this passage many times, but what stood out most recently is the word Jesus uses when he responds – BEFORE my burial (v 8).

I see the alabaster jar and its expensive nard, symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood that was broken and spilled for us; what a precious gift that was and still is something to be cherished. We should be as generous as Mary and give our very best to Christ and others as Christ commands us while they are still alive to receive it.

We also see Jesus washing the disciples’ feet before He goes to the cross (John 13:14, ESV). This act served as a humble example for them to follow. Being humble does not mean you think less of yourself, but you think of yourself less. In Luke 6:31, Jesus tells the disciples that if they want someone to do something for them, they take the initiative and do it first for others. Otherwise known as the Golden Rule.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity in a leadership class to do an exercise where I asked my family and friends to give me a one-word description of myself. Then you ask why they chose that word. I highly recommend this – not so you can solicit (hopefully) kind remarks, but to hear them before you are gone. Please do it for someone else as well. So many times, we don’t take the time to tell someone how we feel before it is too late.

Your challenge this week during Holy Week is to look for ways to show Christ’s love for you to someone before they are gone. What small acts of kindness in love can you do for someone?

I will leave you with this Good News: “He isn’t here! He is RISEN…” (Matt. 28:5, ESV emphasis mine). Celebrate that this week by showing kindness and love to others as a gift to Jesus because whatever we do for others, we are doing for Christ (Matt. 25:40, ESV).

God’s Apprentice

When my son was in the third grade, we went to someone’s house to have our car worked on. As we were waiting, their son, who was about the same age, was riding a horse in the yard. It seemed gentle enough. When the boy asked if Bradley would like to ride and offered to lead him around, he agreed. The first round went okay, but when he came around the second time, the boy led the horse over top of the family dog. The horse stepped on the dog, and in turn, it bit the horse, causing it to throw him, landing him on the ground with a solid thud that knocked his breath out and gave everyone a scare. He was sure that with all the adults standing around, someone would catch him, but that was not the case.

As I was reminded of this story recently, it made me think of the reins on our lives and whom we allow to lead us. Is it us, someone else, or the idols that control us, or are we allowing God to hold the reins on our lives and lead us on the path He has designed?

God always prepares the way before us, one step at a time. Some take one small step in their spiritual journey and take three giant leaps backward to where they began. Most of us try to get ahead of God. Sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of our trip, and we are eager to get going, but God knows exactly when we are ready. It takes time to prepare us. I could not have begun my journey working with abused women until I walked down that road and was rescued from that life. I have grand visions for my ministry, but I must finish school to do them correctly and effectively. Perhaps, there are other people involved that God is still working on.

Each of us has a unique gift and role in helping others. Think of it as an assembly line. If one part is missing, the finished product won’t work smoothly. Each person has been trained for their position. They all contribute to the finished product. The final product isn’t complete if one person gets out of line.

We can’t run on a road that isn’t built yet.

We are God’s apprentices, and He equips, shapes, and trains us for the purpose He created us. He sometimes must put blinders on us, so we’ll keep our eyes on Him and not be distracted by the world’s noise. When we think we are in the dark about our next move, we are protected by the shadow of the Almighty’s wing. The path forward has not been prepared. Hope sparks a light for our journey – but we must not rush ahead. We must let Him lead, prepare the way, and look not to the left or right but straight into the eyes of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us lay aside all the weights and sin which clings to us and run with patience the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).

What do we bring to the table? Humble obedience and adoration for our Maker. We must listen well and allow God to speak into our hearts as we learn from Him like an apprentice and empty ourselves. The more we surrender – the more we gain. God is so good to us that even when we go out on our own and fall on our faces, unlike Bradley’s experience with the horse, we can trust He will catch us.

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, ESV Emphasis added).

Jesus Loves You Fiercely

When our thoughts are cloudy, our feelings and emotions have us tied in knots; we can cling to what God tells us because His Word remains faithful and steadfast, never changing and never-ending (Lamentations 3:22; Ps. 136:3, ESV). Recently, I had to remind myself of this and prayed to God to let me hear His truth – that He will always love me no matter what. I knew my emotions were telling me a different story, and even though our feelings are real, the things we tell ourselves when we are down are not to be taken to heart and allowed to fester inside us.

I can trust what God says when everything seems cloudy around me. He knows exactly what I need because He knows me and my heart.

During these times of despair or sadness, we can cling to His promises, truth, and love. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8, ESV). So, cinch on the belt of truth (Eph, 6:14) and guard against allowing your feelings to rule you and take over what we know to be true in God’s Word. “[Jesus] will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment” (Is. 11:5, emphasis mine).

Take it from me, when we are tired, emotionally down, or distressed, it is not a time to make rash decisions or take a quiz, for that matter. Turn to God instead and ask Him to help you see clearly and not lose sight of His love during this season.

Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20, ESV, emphasis mine).

God told Moses, “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14, ESV). He instructed him to tell Israel that “I AM has sent you.” Then in John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (emphasis mine)

With these verses in mind, I want to propose something for you to cling to that helps me put things into perspective: You are because I AM.

I encourage you to meditate on these verses and let them bring hope as you trust in the only One who sees and knows everything about you and still loves you fiercely.