Do You Fear or Trust When the Road is Scary?

“Guys, start praying. Now!”

Though my husband said these words, I’m confident each of us in that car prayed vehemently on our own before he uttered a word. The situation wasn’t one that left an option other than to pray for God’s hand of protection and guidance.

The silence in the car was loud.

I broke the silence as I prayed out loud. Steve’s hands gripped the steering wheel as he focused on driving our car out of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado through a snow storm that left the roads a sheet of ice covered by snow.

Our van slipped along the road, desperately seeking traction and finding none. Steve’s parents were ahead of us.

At one point we began the ascent uphill and our car slowed to a crawl of no more than 7 mph. Our prayers intensified as we asked God for an army of angels to get us up the hill, to push the van, to not let us come to a stop as we knew once we stopped moving we were done.

We asked for barriers of protection around our cars, to make us untouchable.

The GPS showed 47 more miles of mountainous, snowy, icy terrain.

The silence breaking in between times of out-loud prayer became deafening. My hands drenched the seat I clutched. Then the Lord brought His Word back to me. The portion of scripture I read that very morning during my quiet time before we left our ski vacation headed for home. The verse that hangs above my son’s bed. A verse that calls me to remember – to remember who God says He is.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

My breathing began to slow. My grip loosened on the van seat. I began to instruct my heart and mind with truth. He is here. He is on this mountain with me. He is with me wherever I go. He sees what I can’t see. He tells me not to be afraid. I have the God of the universe with me.

I began to remember.

I remembered who He is. I remembered what He has done. I remembered what He promises. And I remembered the armor He instructs me to put on. I remember reading in Beth Moore’s book Praying God’s Word how she quoted Francis Frangipane in The Three Battlegrounds as saying that our peace is a secret weapon against the devil.

Peace in the face of fear tells the devil he can’t bully us. We are rooted and grounded by the very Word of God, we can’t be shaken because God can’t be shaken.

I remembered that I don’t have to become a victim of my circumstances. I have a choice to rise above the fear.

For 50 miles we prayed. We never stopped. The car was complete silence other than times of praying out loud.

All of the sudden the roads turned from complete ice to wet slush. Our vision ahead became clearer. The falling snow decreased in intensity. We became more confident in our car’s ability to deliver us safely, knowing completely it is the Lord who truly delivers us no matter the circumstance.

A road sign just ahead flashed a message. A message so startling I raced for my camera unable to capture it in time. The neon road sign read “Warning – Bright Sunshine Ahead.”

And just like that the sun shone with all its glory. The roads boasted in their dryness. Every single thing looked 100% different in a split second.

What if I always kept in mind that the road ahead always has bright sunshine when we are led by God?

Life shifts in microseconds.

One minute you are praying for your life in a snow storm, the next you are standing in the sun. One minute you are in the dry land, the next you are covered by the clouds.

If I knew at the beginning of our dangerous journey that within an hour, the shining sun would be the biggest threat, maybe I would have breathed a little easier?

The fact is God guides us for the steps we will take but we can’t see too far ahead. It’s a practice of faith, a discipline of trusting in Him when we can’t see where we are going.

We were never promised this life would be easy or look the way we want. What we are promised is that we have a God who goes with us wherever we go. And on the day we stand with Him in eternity, that is the moment that we will know it was all worth it.

An hour and a half later, we pulled in McDonald’s to meet up with Steve’s parents. Each of us in our own personal state of shock. Each knowing it was the hand of God alone that delivered us.

On the drive later that day, Andrew said, “You know how I got through that drive? I just tried to do like Peter when he walked on the water. I just imagined I was looking into Jesus’ eyes and kept looking there.”


He is here. With us. We know this, but in the heat of the moment, we forget.

May we practice the art of remembrance. Remembering who God is as revealed through His Word. This is the theme of my heart these days. I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that I’m working on a new audio devotion titled Illuminate – Seeing God by the light of His Word. A 14 day devotion intended for us to journey together closer to the very heart of the truth of who God is.

We know Him, yet we forget on a daily basis who He really is. In order to strengthen us in the battle of life, we will practice remembering together.

Illuminate is almost ready for you and I absolutely can’t wait! Stay tuned this week as I share details about release dates and what you can expect. Be sure to share with your friends so they can be on the lookout. Illuminate will be released here on the blog, but you must sign up for email updates so you don’t miss it.

audio devotional


Parents – If you can’t put your phone down, why would your kids?

For the audio version of today’s post, click play.

I began writing on the dangers I saw regarding the electronic addiction plaguing our children a few years ago. The first post I wrote on this issue looked from my perspective as a mom wanting to cherish real life rather than watching life slip away lived with heads buried in screens. This post reached viral proportions multiple times reaching millions of people. I realized with this post I wasn’t alone.

Since beginning to write on screen addiction and parenting in an electronic age, this topic has escalated to limits I prayed we’d never see. Studies are revealing the devastation happening to our families and our children.

I read an article this week where investors in Apple are calling on the company to solve the phone addiction epidemic in kids.

The company that has made much of its money on addicting us, we are asking to take the responsibility of curing our addicted kids?

My initial thought when I read the title was, “Wait. Where is the personal responsibility here? Are we now living in a world where we make choices for our family that bring consequences and then we can’t fix them ourselves, so we place the burden elsewhere?”

I’m the parent of my children. It’s my privilege and my obligation to protect them, guide them, nuture them.

It is my job to prevent them from becoming addicted when they are too young to know the danger.

I would never put a cigarette in my child’s hand, or a beer, or a hit of a drug. Yet, we put something in the hands of our babies, toddlers, and children that is equally, if not more, as addictive.

Here are a few excerpts from an open letter sent to Apple by two of their biggest investors:

  • “According to an American Psychological Association (APA) survey of over 3,500 U.S. parents, 58% say they worry about the influence of social media on their child’s physical and mental health, 48% say that regulating their child’s screen time is a “constant battle,” and 58% say they feel like their child is “attached” to their phone or tablet.
  • The average American teenager who uses a smart phone receives her first phone at age 10 and spends over 4.5 hours a day on it (excluding texting and talking).
  • 78% of teens check their phones at least hourly and 50% report feeling “addicted” to their phones.  It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally.  It is also no secret that social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are a primary gateway are usually designed to be as addictive and time-consuming as possible, as many of their original creators have publicly acknowledged.
  •  According to the APA survey cited above, 94% of parents have taken some action to manage their child’s technology use, but it is both unrealistic and a poor long-term business strategy to ask parents to fight this battle alone.”

But here’s the thing, a lot of attention is being given currently to the addiction of our kids, yet it’s the parents I’m most concerned with. We are addicted.

The addiction is coming from many angles, but if we would be so courageous to look into our souls, we will find the root issue driving our addictions.

For adults, particularly women, social media has become a lonely, isolated place of seeking identity. In the social media world we receive affirmation in the form of likes. We feel seen and known, yet it comes from people who really don’t know us at all, leaving us emptier than before.

We use social media as a platform to be heard. It’s a place to put our opinions out there, to use the mistakes of others to elevate ourselves. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch how fast people post how “good” they are when a public figure messes up.

We are desperately seeking love in all the wrong places. Social media offers instant gratification to a soul. But it is a lie which doesn’t sustain us.

Our souls were meant for authentic connection and genuine relationships. When we reach for this on social media, we receive the dopamine surge that will drive us back for more and more. But it’s when we are off, just like a drug, that the lows creep in.

Our social media addiction is depleting our souls of real life. It’s killing our joy, growing discontentment and jealousy. It’s creating an escape from our real worlds that are often painful. It allows us to leave the pain of life.

While much attention continues to focus on curing the addiction of our kids and teens in regards to social media or phone use, if adults are addicted, why don’t we start with ourselves?

A drowning person can’t help another drowning person. If I live my life hours a day scrolling online, I can’t possibly save my kids.

We are feeding a monster. It’s insatiable. It can’t be quenched, this appetite. This desire to be known, liked, accepted. Or the appetite for information. To know as much as possible. Yet the information available has no end.

Where is this leading us? And where are we leading our kids?

Be the leader they need

A mentor mom once told me I could only lead my kids as far as I myself have gone. If my Bible knowledge is surface level, Sunday school stories, that is how far I can lead them. However, if I am disciplined, spending time in His Word, I will lead them by example and with wisdom further toward the knowledge of the heart of God.

This tip applies to much in life as far as parenting goes. It doesn’t mean I’m responsible for their choices or their level of faith. I’m responsible for my choices, including how I choose to lead.

Recognizing that I’m a leader holds me accountable for my own growth.

True leaders never stop learning and growing. Leaders never reach a place of arrival. Room for growth is always available.

Parents, we are leaders who must rise to our higher calling.

Characteristics of strong parent leaders –

  • choose not to follow the masses
  • resist temptation to jump on bandwagons
  • concerned little with what others are doing because they have a vision for their family
  • wise
  • discerning
  • thoughtful
  • long visioned
  • critical thinkers

How can we lead our kids to be different?

We are living in a culture that seeks to devour our kids. I want my kids to be different, to be set apart. I don’t want them to mold and fold into our current culture.

I want my kids

  • to value people
  • connect well in relationships
  • maintain eye contact
  • think for themselves rather than being told what to think
  • push back and challenge ways that are opposed to a Biblical worldview 

To lead my kids to be different in a world addicted to smartphones and social media, I have to lead by example.

If I don’t want addicted kids, I can’t be an addict.

I need to lead my kids with head up, eyes trained ahead. 

How to break the addiction to social media or smartphone usage:

  • set limits and boundaries for yourself and ask a family member to hold you accountable
    • set specified times each day to check your phone. Don’t hop on each time you feel like it.
  • delete social media apps from your phone. Make your phone a tool of necessity and not pleasure or escape
  • create “no phone zones” in your home or family
    • dinner table- no phones allowed
    • car time is for talking
    • watching a movie means watching a movie – no second screening (scrolling while watching tv)
  • Go on a fast. Any fast and increase over time. If you are heavily addicted. Take a one day fast. Then increase to a one week fast. Later take a one month fast. Here is a post on 5 benefits of an electronic fast.
  • fill the time once given to social media with something better. Anytime we remove an addiction, we are wise to fill that space with something else. If we don’t we will run right back to the addiction.
    • rather than scrolling social media while feeding the baby in the high chair, use that time to talk to him/her. Laugh, giggle, be silly. Have fun again. This moment holds more than we could ever know. What we miss out on in the social media world is not lasting like connection with the ones we are called to serve and love.
    • rather than filling carpool time or homework time with scrolling take a real life book or magazine.
    • start a new hobby and fill the social media time with something that is life giving
    • when you are waiting in line, resist the temptation to fill your boredom with scrolling. Talk to someone. Make eye contact. Smile. Ask about their day. Connect in the real world.

God desires to give us life abundantly. Yet we are reaching for the imposter.

How to know if you are addicted to social media or your smartphone:

  • It’s the first thing you reach for in the morning
  • You can’t start your day without seeing what you missed while sleeping
  • You pick up your phone in the cracks of your day. Each downtime you fill with scrolling.
  • You find yourself thinking about people you don’t know day to day.
  • You begin to feel discontent in your real life. A sense of restlessness masked as a desire for more.
  • You feel jealous or cynical towards people you see online.
  • Your mind feels scattered and spins.
  • You have a hard time sitting still with your people.
  • You have trouble making eye contact because your mind is elsewhere in a virtual world.
  • A ding sends you reaching instantly for your phone.


What you will gain when you break the addiction:

  • benefits that can’t quite be measured because they fill areas of the soul that have been dying
  • trust and connection with the people we are called to love and serve in our real lives
  • a reliance on God for our worth rather than the empty likes of the world
  • moments that matter. A smile from a stranger you wouldv’e missed head down. An opportunity to help someone right in front of you rather than watching what everyone else is doing
  • active participation in life
  • an opportunity to lead our family well


Friends, social media we know is here to stay. Smartphones will never die. These companies have capitalized on our weaknesses, but we were created for more.

I want to challenge you to take one small step today. Don’t look at the massive task of breaking the addiction overnight. Start with one thing today and build on it. If that means you choose to turn your phone off at 3:00 when the kids get home from school, let that be the step you take today. Build from there.

Choose discipline. A disciplined life is a free life. A person of discipline isn’t controlled by their phone, instead they have chosen to be in control of that which seeks to control them.

Self-control is priceless. The example we are for the kids we are called to serve holds more power than we realize.

Let’s do real life well. Let’s choose to live free.





It’s a New Year – Be Gentle To Yourself And War On!

‘”I hope you never know how fragile you are, Isabelle.”  “I’m not fragile,” she said. The smile he gave her was barely one at all. “We are all fragile, Isabelle. It’s the thing we learn in war.”‘ Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale.

A lot of pressure rests on the fresh clean slate of a new year. If we aren’t careful, we can lay burdens on this new calendar disguised as hopes, dreams, and goals.

Some of us limped into this new year, while others burst through with zeal and energy. Some soared high almost until the end when news came that brought them to a crashing halt. Still others rang in the New Year with a sense of accomplishment, achievement, satisfaction, or renewed hope.

Most of us can identify with each of these depending on the year on which we look back.

Some New Years have been glorious. Others not so.

Either way we can enter January with hopes so high for a new start that we begin to handle ourselves quite harshly. We forget our souls are fragile and must be handled with care.

Life is war, even when life is in a season of ease. We live in a spiritual world at battle, and we are major players.

Recognizing this helps us to take care of ourselves so we can war on effectively.

Each January 1, My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers reignites my passion to war on with fearless courage.

This year my hope is to war on with fearless courage, while handling my soul with gentle care.

A prayer for the New Year

Lord, we thank You for a new year, a new day. We thank you that Your Word reminds us we don’t have to wait an entire 365 days to start over again. Each breath we take is a new start. If we’ve messed up, may we not walk in shame and guilt. Instead may we confess to You, be cleansed, breathe in a new breath, and receive the fresh start You offer.

Lord, Your steadfast love never ceases, Your mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

We release to You our desires, dreams, hopes, and goals. We ask You to guide us with wisdom.

We release to You our pains, hurts, failures, and fears from this last year. May they not haunt us. Rather, may they be the very things that turn us into Your waiting arms. May we allow ourselves to be fragile in You, tender in Your care. Nurture us and may we allow ourselves to be cared for.

For this New Year, may we learn to see You in new ways.

When the world around us seems too much to bear, may we remember who You are. When the world around us seems almost perfect, may we not forget we still need You.

Let this be a year we accept our fragile soul as You’ve made it, and care for it well in Your Presence.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

I’ve Been Keeping a Secret


“Come and listen, all who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for me. I cried out to Him with my mouth, and praise was on my tongue.” Psalm 66:16

If I don’t tell you soon, I may burst. I feel as if I’ve been keeping a secret from you, and I need to let you in.

I have a new project I’ve been hard at work on! I’ve poured hours into creating, writing, praying, listening, pondering. I’ve wondered. I’ve desired. And Lord willing, I will be releasing to you what the Holy Spirit birthed in me.

I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll back up a bit and give you a little more insight into why this project and why now.

About 3 months ago the Lord impressed on me that He was about to give birth to something new in me. For weeks He poured in idea after idea. My brain was spinning with excitement. But I didn’t know where to focus, which project to start first. I wanted to do them all. And now. Right away.

Then in an instant one day I received complete clarity from the Lord. He gave me the title, the format, and then asked that I let Him lead me day by day.

The next morning I raced away from my quiet time with the Lord. I ran to my writing room while the house slept. I opened my Bible and I opened my journal. And with a speed I’ve never experienced, I wrote as He poured through me.

The writing was by hand, which never happens for me. I always write on my keyboard. But it was as if everything was different with this project. An unfamiliar approach. A different way of listening and creating.

As God directed my time of writing, He brought each day to a feeling of completion. This happened day by day. He didn’t give me the writing prompts and ideas for anything beyond the very day He showed me what to write about.

Before I sat down to begin writing this project, I had a list of what I thought I would focus on. But each day I asked God to fill me with His Spirit and lead me. Each day He directed me in a direction I found surprising.

As I dove deeply into His Word then into my writing, I began to fall more madly in love with God. I found myself unable to stop thinking of Him. My heart felt revived.

What He was revealing to me, I was writing for you. Because I’ve experienced this renewal in my soul, I am literally giddy with excitement to bring it to you.

I don’t have an exact release date just yet, but know it will be soon! And the format is what I’m so excited about it. It’s an audio devotion with a transcript for the reading lover. 14 days reflecting on this question. Who is God? Really.

I’ve walked with God for many years now, but there is so much of who He is I’m still discovering. If I know Him intimately, why do I find my fears continue to drive my thoughts? Why does my anxiety wreak havoc in my soul? Why does my sense of unimportance create a lack of drive in me or a lack of belief that God can and will use me? Or why do I let my past failures and broken relationships define my next steps?

If I know the truth of who God really is, why am I so quick to forget?

I want to remember who God is by the light of His Word. He has revealed Himself to us and given us the power of the Holy Spirit to teach us who He is.

We have relied on the internet to tell us who He is. We have relied on podcasts, books, bloggers, pastors, and teachers, to tell us who He is. While these are wonderful supplements, I wonder if His Word has become the supplement to all else we use to reveal Him to us?

So then why am I not just ending here and saying, “Go read the Word.”

Because as I sat in His Word, He began showing me Who He is and instructed me to take it to you as a journey we will take together. To guide you through this journey you will take with Him.

I will be like your tour guide. For 14 days, I will be your traveling companion. Together we will read His Word, we will pray, we will meditate on His Word, I will share reflections and thoughts with transparency and honesty.

I believe you and I struggle with some of the same things. God wouldn’t cause this passion in me for me to simply experience Him on my own and hoard it all for myself. He’s asked me to give to you out of the gifts He’s given me.

I’m asking for your prayers over me and my family as I bring this project to completion and release it to the world. Writing brings the enemy to alert.

I’m not concerned. After what I’ve just learned in my writing this devotion for you, I’m ready to keep my eyes fixed on the character of God.

I’m going deeper with Him and want you to come along with me!

Stay tuned for release dates and information about how you can help launch when we are ready!

Coming soon…..

written and read to you by me, Renee Robinson.


Why My Christmas Can Be Incomplete

For the audio lover, click the player below to listen to today’s post read to you by me.


We have so many Christmas traditions in our home. Many are small, but size doesn’t matter.

My children are quick to remind me if we are in danger of not checking off our imaginary list. They don’t need to remind me though.

Each tradition we completed this season, I released an internal sigh of relief, knowing that one more thing was complete.

  • gingerbread house – check
  • Seeking Christmas – check
  • Christmas lights – check
  • live nativity – check
  • every Christmas movie ever made – check
  • homemade cookies – check
  • served others – check

I can go on.

I have the same dreams every Christmas. The ones where the family is gathered by the tree ready to open gifts, and I realized I’d forgotten to buy gifts, or I’d bought them but not yet wrapped them. In my dreams, I go racing to all my hiding spots, pulling out tucked away gifts, frantically wrapping.

Once I have the gifts somewhat wrapped and arrive to the patiently waiting family, I realized I forgot to make our Christmas morning breakfast tradition (Pioneer Woman’s Blueberry French Toast Casserole).

In my dreams I failed to bring our traditions to completion.

But you know what? The message of Christmas is the antithesis to traditions. And in the first Christmas, there was no completion. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of the great rescue mission. Completion would come approximately 33 years later when the baby King grown into a man, fully God and fully man, would find Himself murdered on a cross.

On the cross He was completion. On the cross it was finished.

The manger to the cross to the empty tomb, that is completion.

It is a kind thing to do to release myself from the burden of fulfilling all our traditions.

The kinds of traditions we keep aren’t bad ones. They don’t turn us away from Jesus. But if we think about traditions in terms of religion, we see the ones who killed the Messiah. We see traditions being the thing that made it impossible for some to see the Messiah for who He was and is.

Christmas birthed the trump to traditions. Christmas birthed hope, peace, love, joy, and mercy unlike anything the world had ever known.

I’m reminding myself this season that Christ was born to set the captives free. To release the prisoners from the bondage of sin, religion, and yes, tradition.

We will continue our family traditions with joy and freedom. We will wonder, watch, and wait. We will laugh and play and marvel at the miracles. We will make memories.

We will continue marking off our traditions with freedom and gladness because we can, not because we are bound by them. And when we fail to “complete” everything by Christmas, we will remember that Christmas was never the picture of completion.

I pray you have a very Merry Christmas. Love to each of you from our family.


The Best Gift You Can Give To Yourself This Year

I begin the Christmas season and the month of December excited for the slow unwrapping of Advent. The anticipation builds as I day by day, unwrap and reveal a new piece of the Christmas story.

December gives birth to slow, reflective thoughtfulness. Or crazy, insane, and frantic. Seems there is little in between. I tend to slow during December. In December I say no in order to say yes to what matters most.

We ponder. We anticipate. We expect. We focus.

Maybe we need to allow ourselves to unwrap and hold onto the gift of December.

I like December because I stop focusing on me so much. Daily I seek Jesus. I’m overwhelmed with how a familiar story can continue to dive deeper in my soul.

The unexpected gift of December is a month where I think of others above my own self. I think of Jesus. I think of humanity. I think of buying gifts for my family. I think of serving those who need. I think of who I can show hospitality to. To think of others is a surprise gift of freedom to our souls.

I’m finding I want to hold onto December. I want a year of Decembers.

In December people are nicer, decorations are cheerier, givers are more generous. In December homes are open. Parties are hosted. Invites are extended. Hospitality prevails.

In December we give ourselves permission to slow. We’ve allowed ourself a guilt free pass to stop running pace with the rest of the world. We’ve mercifully tended to our soul in the downshifting of life.

In December we become intentional. We carefully plan activities, moments, and memories with our children. In fact, some of us plan something every day.

In December we have fun. We hide elves, make gingerbread houses, watch cheesy movies, and bundle up to sing carols door to door.

In December we are together.

December is the month that brings the year to an end, yet it’s the month that gives birth to the hope we cling to.

December is remembering. We remember a baby that was born to die for us. We remember the stories from old. And we remember our own lives over the past year.

We begin to look back. Amazing how much can change in a year. Or a day. Or even one minute.

For some of us looking back over the year brings sorrow and grief. We’ve had to let go of hands we wanted to hold forever. We’ve had to accept a diagnosis and learn a new vocabulary. We’ve moved, leaving behind what was known to discover new work, new people, new places. We’ve released dreams unfulfilled. We’ve grieved the ending of a season we will never have again, accepting the new season and learning new rhythms of life.

Despite the pain, grief, and sorrow, for the one held in Christ, December whispers birth and hope. Hope never dies because our Savior lives. We cling to the hope that one day He will wipe away every tear. We will dance and run. We will sing forever.

So December, you are an interesting month. A month of reflection. A month of review. A month of renewal. A month of remembering. A month of rebirth.

Remembering the birth of my Savior, I cling to the birth that happens in my own soul. He is the picture of hope. He is joy. He is love. He is forever and unending.

How quickly I’m able to turn a page though.  The day is over. The month closes. We box it up, flip the calendar. Pack away the advent to countdown His arrival, toss the year’s calendar, and we move on.

We match pace with the world. Our inbox  and newsfeed fills with images telling us we need a new ‘us’.

We begin the purge. The focus on a New Year. New goals. New body. We get back to focusing on our life. And for the next 11 months, that is how it goes.

This year maybe I will treat each month like it’s December.

When it’s January, may I think of how I can love others well rather than simply how I can make my body more pleasing to my own eyes.

When it’s February, may I intentionally create activities, moments, and memories with the ones I love. May February hold a small gift each day of time we spend together.

When it’s March, may I open my home and invite others in. May I release the pressure to have it perfectly decorated or spotlessly cleaned. May I stop looking at the Instagram pictures of how others do it and simply do it the best I can with what I have.  May I let the love pour out of us into the ones who come through these doors.

When it’s April, may I tenderly care for my soul by allowing myself to rest. May I allow myself to produce less, accomplish less, and be in Him more. It’s in this place He will renew me so I can do far more than I envisioned.

When it’s May, may I keep unwrapping Him slowly. Day by day. May I find myself surprised that something I’ve read 100 times times revealed a new hidden treasure.

When it’s June, July, and August, may I have fun. The kind of fun that brings a smile back, a reminder to laugh. It’s good for my soul, but it’s better for the ones who do life with me.

When it’s September, October, and November, may I generously give. May my gifts bear fruit in someone’s life. May I give out of my little or my abundance because what I have isn’t mine to begin with. I’ve only been entrusted to manage it well. It’s easy to be a generous giver when it’s not mine to begin with. And it’s not.

And when it’s December again, may I begin again to remember. May I remember who God is. May I remember that though a year has passed again, a year full of joy mingled with sorrow, He never left my side. May I remember that December brings the calendar to a close, but it gave birth to a calendar that will never end.


When You Desperately Want To Stop Caring What Others Think

“‘Someday,” said Miles, “I’ll find a way to do something important.’ Winnie nodded. That was what she wanted.

“The way I see it, ” Miles went on, “it’s no good hiding yourself away, like Pa and lots of other people. And it’s no good just thinking of your own pleasure, either. People got to do something useful if they’re going to take up space in this world.”‘

Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting.



I believe in our souls there is a longing to do something useful and important.


For some of us, we miss out on because we are looking beyond the place we stand at this very moment.


Do we know that our very important work is held in every breath we breathe? It’s at every turn of our day. Right where we stand. If only we open our eyes to the holy ground we stand on.


We are looking at the work someone else is doing, and suddenly ours feels like the drawing of a kindergartner compared to work which brings in high bidders.


Or worse, we feel we are doing something useful until we realize we are unnoticed, unappreciated, or misunderstood by others.


My husband works at an auto auction. One week a particular car has the potential to bring in $3,000 more than it did the prior week. Same mileage, same condition, similar color. Why the difference from one week to the next? The value has a range, but that one day compared to the other, someone comes in who sees that car and places on it a personal higher value. They are willing to pay more because to them, personally, it is worth more. It’s what they came looking for as opposed to the prior week someone wasn’t looking for it but maybe stumbled upon it.





When you have something to offer, it will be worth more to some than it is to others. And that is ok.


Do you realize your value? Or do you place a value on what you give out to the world based on the rejection you receive?


With God, we hold infinite value. We should know this given the fact He sent His Son to die for us. When we surrender our lives to Christ, He fills us with unique gifts. He created us unlike anyone else.


I wonder if we’ve adopted an auction mentality rather than a proper perspective of our infinite value in God’s eyes.


If we would stop for a minute and realize that God is the only one who can meaningfully value us and then realize that what we have to offer from the gifts He gives us won’t be appreciated or valued by all, then we can move forward with the work He’s called us to.





Use your gifts where you are today in preparation for where He will lead you next.


Do you have leadership gifts yet you find yourself under the thumb of another? Walk worthy where you are and practice your gifts in your small circle of influence.


Give out the gifts. They hold infinite value. Some will discard it as worthless, but someone will receive the gift you offer as a treasure. To them it’s worth $3,000 more than it was to the bidder last week.


When I write, something inside me comes alive. When I fail to write, something inside me withers and fades. The writing doesn’t have to be shared for me to awaken. When I write in my journal or tuck away a document on my hard drive, something is released. I can’t fully explain it. At the same time, in order for this gift to be used to build up others, I can’t keep it tucked away.


Just like Miles from Tuck Everlasting says, if we are going to take up space in this world, we need to quit hiding ourselves away.


We need to walk as the person He created us to be.


When we began homeschooling, writing took a backseat. Full confession, part of me loved, even relished, in this “out” from God. Not because I hated writing, but because of the writing I was called into.


In my heart, I was jealous of the callings and giftedness in the lives of other writers. I would read their words and feel soothed, happy, light. I’d laugh. My days would feel brighter because of their words. And then I would look at my own writing. Some posts brought encouragement and inspiration to people. But sometimes it brought conviction or challenge.


To be completely transparent with you, social media has made writing from my calling painfully difficult at times. “Friends” back away from me. I notice the strange looks they give me.


The enemy has used this to create insecurity, fear, and jealousy. All kinds of ugly. The Lord has allowed me to wrestle deeply through these sins in order that I emerge stronger.


After my ulcer episode I had a friend suggest I write on lighter topics considering that some of my writing invites such intense criticism.


That only fueled my inner pinings for the calling of someone else. Why can’t I write on topics that simply make people smile?


I believe you know exactly what I’m talking about. You may not be a writer, but there is that one thing, that one area that you find yourself saying, “But God why can’t I have that job like they do, or those kids like they do, or that….”


If only I didn’t have to do (fill in the blank), then life would be easier.


This is a lie from the enemy.


We have a tendency to romanticize and glorify the life of another. All the while, the Lord has given us unique gifts and bents to bring Him glory like no one else can do. Right where we stand.




Emily P. Freeman writes this beautifully in A Million Little Ways. “Our offerings aren’t efforts worked up inside ourselves. Our offerings are unique responses to a living, giving God. As you take the bread and wine from Jesus, you offer it to others. It is not your job to make them receive it in a certain way or with a certain amount of appreciation. It is only your job to offer it.


Live your life like a hostess who serves the people at her table. She looks them in the eye, meets them where they are. She doesn’t spend her time distracted during the party, hiding out in the next room, calling all the people who said they couldn’t come. She doesn’t try to please a group who has already said “No thank you” rather than serve the guests who want more.


Issue the invitation. Serve those who show up with what you have and who you are by offering yourself and receiving the offering they bring as well.”





This entire passage created a shift in me over the past several weeks. You see, God has been speaking to me. He has placed burning desires and passions in me. But I tend to hear the naysayer voices louder than His. I am prone to wander into the path of the discouragers rather than walk confidently where He tells me to go.


I listen to the voices who look at me like I’m crazy, or the ones who suggest I write a different way. These are the voices I hear through the megaphone speaker.


There are other voices I should listen to. The whisper of God who says, “It’s ok, my child, trust me.”


Or the blog readers who send me private messages of encouragement. Or the voices that pull me aside and tell me how the Lord used something I wrote but they didn’t comment or like for fear of what others would think.


We have a choice in which voices we will listen to. Choose wisely. Surround yourself with ones who will boldly speak truth and encourage you at the same time.


The caution here must be stated. Sometimes the words need to be heeded that seem to challenge us. Sometimes this is wisdom speaking. We must use discernment in order to know when a challenging voice is from the Lord or the enemy.


I love Emily P. Freeman’s line to live life like a hostess who serves the people at her table. Those words have echoed in my heart. God did not call me to write for everyone. He didn’t call me to be liked and accepted by all. He didn’t call me to write what feels good and tickles ears. He didn’t call me to write the posts that bring accolades and affirmations. He called me to write out of the prophetic gifts He’s placed in me.


One of my favorite books of the Bible is Nehemiah.


Nehemiah had a task to do. Build the wall. But the Sanballat types were loud. They were sent to intimidate in order to stop the work of the Lord. Nehemiah kept His eyes on his God and His mission.


So he shut out the voices of opposition.


What oppositions scream against you? What gifts, desires, or passions are hiding in your heart? What callings do you hear from God but push aside because it’s hard to live for an unseen God when the seen world shouts with wild abandon?


And possibly, most importantly, don’t discount the daily, mundane, ordinary tasks at hand. These are important works. Don’t look too far beyond the holy moment where you stand. Your life will be most lived when you stand where God has placed you, offering all the gifts freely where you live and work. Always moving with the Lord in practice and preparation for what will come next.


Maybe it is as simple as these two things:
1- Receiving our valuation from God. Infinite value.
2- Living like the hostess who serves the ones who show up


Maybe this is how we stop caring what others think. Because if we keep caring much longer, then the ones we were called to serve at our party will leave empty when all the while we held the tray and the pitcher they waited on.