Don’t Flee – Stay

There’s a theme to my bemoaning. Life is hard, and I want it to be easier. When I find myself in complex, trying, or emotionally draining situations, I pray without ceasing and circle back to the same realization each time – I want life to be easy. It’s simple.


Our difficulties lie to us. They tempt us to believe that if this one problem would disappear, everything would be wonderful. If I could just escape this difficult situation, or if this difficult person would change, or if God would just hurry up a process that is taking much too long, then…then all would be well.

But would it really?

Or is it actually well right in the center of the storm? Do I actually believe the songs I sing? That all is well with my soul? Or do I only believe all is well with my soul when life is ticking along the way I want?


In Jeremiah 42, we read a story we can all relate to. A little backstory. Babylon had taken the Israelites into captivity. A remnant remained in Judah. The remnant asked the prophet, Jeremiah, to pray on their behalf and ask God where they should go and what they should do.

We’ve all been there. That place of asking God for direction. Confession: I often know exactly where I want to go and want to do, but I want to receive God’s approval on my plan.

The people even went so far as to tell Jeremiah they would obey whether it was pleasant or unpleasant. They would obey.


Ten days later Jeremiah returned with God’s answer – Stay.

“If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will rebuild and not demolish you, and I will plant and not uproot you, because I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought on you. Don’t be afraid of the king of Babylon whom you now fear. Don’t be afraid of him’ – this is the Lord’s declaration – ‘because I am with you to save you and deliver you from him. I will grant you compassion, and he will have compassion on you and allow you to return to your own soil. But if you say, ‘We will not stay in this land, so as not to obey the voice of the LORD your God, and if you say, ‘No, instead we’ll go to the land of Egypt where we will not see war or hear the sound of the ram’s horn or hunger for food, and we’ll live there,’ then hear the word of the LORD, remnant Judah!This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: If you are firmly resolved to go to Egypt and live there for a while, 16 then the sword you fear will overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine you are worried about will follow on your heels[b] there to Egypt, and you will die there. 17 All who resolve to go to Egypt to live there for a while will die by the sword, famine, and plague. They will have no one escape or survive from the disaster I will bring on them.’ Jeremiah 42:10-17

Wow! It’s as if God was saying, “Listen, I know you are scared. I know you don’t want war and hunger. I don’t want this for you. But obey and trust me. Stay here. If you run away, you will find what you are running from.”

How often have I found myself running from my hard only to discover that hard intensified?

Our natural inclination is to flee discomfort and pain. It hurts. We are scared and can’t see the future and how it will all shake out. We look back and think it’s better where we came from. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as we thought. We should go back.

Don’t go back to your Egypt.


God wanted His people in Judah to trust Him. He wanted them to experience His protection, provision, and comfort. But their fear clouded their vision.

Fear is a great liar. It tells us to run. Run fast to something easier. Yet it’s a lie. There is no “easy” in this life.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

It’s hard, but He’s here. He is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. He draws near to those who draw near to Him.

Whatever hard you are standing in today, pray to Him. Let Him encourage you to fear not. Watch for His provision. The storm may not stop, but He will keep you standing and not let you drown.

It’s when we cling to Him that He develops our character and strengthens us.

Maybe today He’s telling you to resist the temptation to return to your “Egypt”, that place that beckons you to escape what’s hard. Instead maybe He’s telling you to stay right where He has you and let Him fight the battles on your behalf.




Before you solve your problem – Wait

My nature is to problem solve. I’m a fixer and a doer. Recently, I’ve been reminded how my nature, if not tended well,  can hinder the work of God.

When faced with a problem, we know the first step is prayer. When I’m waiting on God to answer my personal prayers, I don’t always wait well.

I have a dear friend I frequently go to for prayer. Her response is always, “Tell me when God does the miracle.” She EXPECTS God to do a miracle every single time. She doesn’t assume to know how He will respond, but her confidence is a steadying balance to my anxiety.

Recently, one of my sons played a round of golf and left a shared family range finder on the golf cart. We didn’t discover he’d left it until 15 hours later when the golf course was closed. If you aren’t a golfer, a range finder is a very expensive tool to help you read distances to select the proper club for your shots. Realizing this mistake at 10:00 at night did not set me up for a good night’s sleep.

My son was immediately apologetic and promised to make it right. He’d either track it down or replace it with his own money. He set his alarm for early the next morning and called the golf course to hear the disappointing news that they didn’t have the range finder. After I returned from the gym, my son was already online looking at how much he would have to spend to replace this range finder. It would be a major setback to his bank account, but he was ready to just go ahead and solve the problem.

I had a thought though. Yes, we could solve our own problem and buy a new one. Or we could ask God to help us. Maybe we should slow down fixing the problem and wait for God’s response to our request. This sounds obvious as I type it, but I have a feeling you can relate.

I urged my son to give God time to answer – to wait on God. I encouraged him to go up to the golf course in person. “You just never know. Maybe the person on the phone didn’t actually look. Maybe he didn’t care that much. Or maybe seeing you there will urge them to look harder. Regardless, we will pray, act, and wait.”

I had full confidence God would answer our prayers to find this tool. Why? Because I’ve seen Him answer every single small prayer to find a long lost treasure over the course of my boys’ lives. We’ve prayed for lost phones, keys, remotes, wallets, you name it – we’ve lost it and asked God to shine His light on it.

When my son left for the course, I began praying. Ten minutes later he walked in the door with a huge grin on his face holding the range finder. “I knew it!” I cried. I absolutely knew God was going to answer.

The oddest part is when he asked the guy running the pro shop if they had one turned in, the guy asked what it looked like. So he pulled out a picture of our exact finder. The guy whipped open the drawer and said, “Here you go!”

When I reflected on this entire incident, I couldn’t help notice how because I was praying for someone else’s problem I was actually expecting God to answer, I was waiting with anticipation, and I was excited to see how God responded. When it’s my own situation I’m praying for, I tend to anxiously wait with no anticipation or excitement. It’s as if I trust God more with someone’s else’s problems than my own.

The other thing I noticed is how quick we can be to skip over asking God and go straight to problem solving. This is especially tempting if we have the resources – money, time, skills. Sometimes we lean into our self-sufficiency while God is just waiting and hoping we will turn to Him and allow Him to bear our loads and solve our problems.

The lesson I learned that day is to pray then wait. Wait for God to answer. Give Him time to work. Be excited and thank God for giving me yet one more opportunity to see Him work in my day.

Some prayers need longer times than others to be answered. I want to give God space to work. I want to invite Him into all my silly needs and my needs that feel impossible and suffocating. He cares. He is capable. He is waiting on us to want to partner with Him.

Where are you waiting for God to answer you? Are you watching with excited expectation? Praise Him and thank Him that He is a God who longs to walk with His people. We can trust Him with our smallest requests. And we can trust Him with the deepest longings of our hearts. He is so good to us.





What is your go-to weapon when attacked?

Stepping through the dark room, I turned on the nearby lamp. I reached for the blanket to cozy up on my favorite sofa spot. With my steaming cup of coffee, Bible, and journal, I was ready to spend a few quiet moments with the Lord. Then my nightmare began to play out in real time.

Right out of the blanket covering my lap crawled a black, eight-legged creature from hell. I froze for a split second trying to determine if I was actually awake. I was.

A scream escaped as I jumped from the sofa watching the blanket and Bible fall to the ground. The spider froze on the floor where he fell from my lap. Just writing it now brings back all the terror feels.

He and I matched each other’s frozen positions momentarily while I looked for the nearest weapon. Side by side lay my Bible and a toy gun. Time to choose my weapon. I hated to do it, to smear his body with my beloved Bible, but I did it anyway. I took that giant Bible and came down with a force to ensure that spider was fully dead. And yes, I did squeal as I killed him.

It took me a minute to settle back in after cleaning my Bible. As I sat waiting for my heart rate to slow, I did what I typically do. I began seeing the spiritual parallels to my physical experiences.

I realized that spider was in fact my enemy. He lay in hiding out of my sight until he didn’t. We have a very real enemy. Sometimes he is so good at hiding we forget to shake the blanket. We are so focused on our comfort and experiences, we forget he is tucked in somewhere nearby, watching and waiting for the moment to break onto the scene.

Just like when I assessed my weapon against the spider, we look at our lives when we face attacks and try to find the nearest weapon. Our temptation is for what we can see and touch. We look for something tangible we can do to fix our situations immediately. All the while we have a weapon with us at all times for every single situation. And this weapon wins every single battle.

“For the word of God never fails.So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10 NKJV

“No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the Lord’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.” Isaiah 54:17 HCSB

While this was written about the Israelites, we have been grafted into their heritage through Jesus, so this promise is for us as well.

No weapon will prevail against us. Some may read this and respond with, “Oh yeah, then how come I feel I’m losing in life right now?” We face many hardships in life, but ultimately, if we are in Christ, we win despite the struggles and battles we face here.

The enemy’s plan is to kill, steal, and destroy. The plan of God is to give us life, eternal life.

Our hope isn’t here in the battle. Our hope isn’t in how every circumstance here turns out. It’s in eternity where everything will be put right. Every wrong avenged, every hurt healed.

When life comes against us, we need to remember what our best choice of weapon is. The Word of God.

Ephesians 6 instructs us how to fight our enemy. Before a soldier goes to battle, he makes sure he is clothed and equipped properly. So should we do the same. Ephesians 6:17 tells us our sword, our weapon, is God’s Word.

A sword is used both defensively and offensively. We battle against the accusations hurled from the enemy with the truth of God’s Word. At the same time, we take ground by declaring the fullness of His Word in the power of His Spirit.

So, it turns out I chose wisely when I picked my weapon against the creepy crawly spider. A toy gun, which was made to look like an actual weapon yet was completely powerless. Or the Bible, large enough to smack down on that spider, crushing him completely. Just as the Word of God breaks through the enemy’s fight against us. It wins every time.

Never leave home without your sword. Keep it tucked into your heart.

With love,






Graduates forget doing big things, go do small things instead.

I read a graduation sentiment advising the graduate to go do great big things, go change the world. A verse popped in my head from Zechariah 4:10. The context is different, so I’m not attempting to make scripture fit where it doesn’t. But the sentiment still rings true. “For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.”

In the book of Zechariah, the Israelites had been back from exile in Babylon for 20 years and were discouraged. The beginning work of the temple rebuilding started strong but tapered off because of much opposition. In verse 10 of chapter 4, he is reminding the people that God is always at work even when we can’t see it. Often God’s “big” works are seen after many years of small acts of faithfulness and steadiness. Zechariah was reminding the people that though they despised their days of small works, they would soon rejoice when they witnessed the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel, the leader of God’s people at that time.

The plumb line could be considered a small thing, but it was crucial in the building of the temple. The plumb line guided the wall building, keeping them lined up properly in order that they last over time. The big work of the temple would have been impossible without countless small acts easily bypassed as unimportant.

Some graduates will go on to do “great” things like find a cure for cancer or invent the next technological advance. But those graduates are in the slim minority. We’d do better to encourage them to build a life doing small things with dedication and faithfulness. Small things aren’t applauded by the world. Small acts of faithfulness create a heart of humility, one who doesn’t seek attention and accolades. We need more of that.

Graduates, go do your small work well.

  • Wake early and make your bed daily.
  • Work with your hands. Scrub a toilet, take out the trash, pull the weeds, build something.
  • Notice your surroundings and fill that need. Even if it’s not your job.
  • Study hard even if you think you don’t need to.
  • Serve someone other than yourself every single day.
  • Smile at people everywhere you go.
  • Open the door for the person walking behind you.
  • Let the car out instead of jetting out first.
  • Bend down and pick up the trash in the parking lot.
  • Tell the person that nice thought you had about them.
  • Master your gift or talent. Practice until the boredom is too much to bear.
  • Listen even if you disagree.
  • Become a person who keeps your promise even to yourself.
  • Read books – they will change your life.
  • Find life work that brings you life.
  • Be kind to everyone. There’s never an excuse to be rude.
  • Look up. See the world around you. Screens offer counterfeit moments of life.
  • Show up on time.
  • Don’t quit because things get hard.
  • Do that thing you don’t feel like doing. Feelings don’t dictate your life.
  • Learn how to problem solve.
  • Love learning. More learning happens outside the education system.
  • Love God with your whole heart.
  • See, really see, the people around you.
  • Be confident in your small work even if culture sees it differently.
  • Tell the truth. Always.
  • Spend time with God daily. It’ll change your life too.
  • Pray.
  • Be a good friend.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone.
  • Whatever you do, do it unto God.

So this list isn’t really about what work one chooses to do, it’s about the person you are becoming as you do the work set before you. That’s what matters most. As you move about your day and your life, do every small thing faithfully, humbly, and steadfastly.

Who am I becoming? Who I am in the Lord sets me up for whatever work I do daily. Small or big, I can celebrate it.

Living an honest life in the Lord, doing small acts daily, will build into a life you simply can’t imagine today.

So, graduates, you are free to choose the path of small work. Your small work matters! The things that don’t bring recognition on stage and applause from the masses, God sees them all. One day you will stand before God and see how every small thing accumulated into a treasured life.






The secret to becoming younger inside despite aging outside

On a recent ski trip with my family, I had one of those pivotal moment experiences. The kind that makes you look at your life and decide you will do whatever it takes to make a change. After only a short half day of skiing, my quads tapped out. To be fair to my screaming muscles, they did work harder than normal as I labored to help my son’s girlfriend down her first ever green run. It took us two hours, we were lapped about three times by the family, and I had multiple moments of helping her up and back into her skis while trying to keep myself from back skiing down the mountain.

The remainder of the trip, my muscles reminded me we are aging. I am forty-six years old, but I forget. I feel young at heart and in fairly good shape. The mountain proved to me it was time to make a change. When we returned from our trip, I found a personal trainer and committed to six months of training in the gym with her three days a week. I committed to a strict diet in conjunction with strength training to help me gain muscle mass. I went all in.

After my first training day, I stood on a scale that spit out all types of metrics I know nothing about. However, the one that made me most excited was my metabolic age. 31 years old. I knew it! I knew I felt young for a reason. Inside I feel younger than my outer body lives out on the daily.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 1 Corinthians 4:16

We live in the physical world. We age, our body breaks down; however, if we are in Christ, our inner self is being renewed daily. Just as I work with my personal trainer to strengthen my outer body, when I spend time with God, spend time in His Word, choose to obey Him, spend time in prayer, meditate on scripture, and serve the body of Christ, I am putting my inner self through spiritual strength training.

My trainer coached me through chest presses I would have never done without the pressure of someone standing over me. She knew I could do what I was convinced I couldn’t do. I didn’t tell her, but inside I was telling myself it was impossible to do even one more press. Yet, I did five more simply because she stayed by my side telling me to keep going.

Christ stands at our side. We will not be shaken. We will not be moved. He knows that we are weak, but He is strong. He knows He will give us every bit of strength to walk out this life in a way that makes our inner self strong and lovely.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 1 Corinthians 4:17-18

What light momentary affliction are you facing today? Is it a tantrum throwing toddler, a rebellious teenager, an aging parent, a marital struggle, loneliness, rejection, job loss, financial hardship? Sometimes the weight of our worry, anxiety, and struggle feels too much to bear. And it is. He never intended us to bear the weight alone or stand without our trainer at our side. He is there, assisting you, holding the weight for you.

But the training the Lord has us in is preparing us for eternity. What we walk through here on Earth is preparing us to carry an eternal weight of glory! Just stop and meditate on that for a moment. We will be entrusted in eternity to carry the weight of His glory. So we train now in godliness.

Give little attention to the physical world. Keep your eyes fixed on what is unseen and eternal. This life will be over in a nano-second.

“So we do not lose heart…..”

Lord, Thank you that you promise to renew us day by day as we stay close to you. Thank you for your Word that instructs us how to lift the weight of this world off of us and onto your shoulders. Thank you that your yoke is easy. Thank you that you are always near so we need never lose heart. Strengthen us on the inside so that we can walk in this physical world well. Prepare us to carry that eternal weight of glory. What you have for us, the mind has never conceived. Wow, Lord. You are too good to us. Forgive us for forgetting you so frequently. Keep our eyes fixed on you and the unseen. We love you. 

In Jesus’ name,



Why you can relax about politics, culture, and evil in the world

After the 2008 election, we attended a church service where the pastor preached a sermon about how regardless of who wins elections, God remains on the throne. With our lips, we declare God is sovereign, but watch our actions and attitudes when our candidates lose elections. Our belief statements often misalign with our attitudes.

Fast forward to 2020, the year that traumatized souls at a deep level whether from pandemic living, political climate, or uprises in cities. Now we sit on the verge of 2023 and the anxiety has reached new heights.

I had a conversation recently with someone who was deeply upset about what we are seeing in the world. Culture is changing at a rapid pace and evil seems to have increased. Maybe it has, or maybe we simply see more through media, particularly social media, than at any other time in history. Regardless, it is creating traumatized souls.

I prayed for the person I’d had this conversation with, and later that day my radio station landed on religious talk radio. The pastor preached from Psalm 37. I went straight home and opened the Bible to see for myself. This Psalm has become a soul balm.

The verse literally begins by telling us not to worry about the wicked.

“Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.” Psalm 37:1-2

We are far too worried about the wicked. We are much too weighed down by the evil. As humans we cannot possibly handle carrying the burden evil brings to our souls. It’s time to be done once and for all. God’s Word tells us the reason we don’t need to worry about the wicked, or envy the fact they seem to escape punishment, is they will soon be gone.

Whatever we get rid of, we must replace with something better. If you’ve ever fasted, you realize how important it is to fill what once took your time and attention with something different.

Psalm 37:3-4 tells us what to replace our worry over evil with. “Trust in the Lord, and do good: dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Practically speaking, replace giving your attention to the news and decide to do good. Live your life trusting God. Be faithful with what He’s given you. Go love on your family, serve in your church, talk to your neighbors, smile at strangers, sit for extended times with God in prayer and reading His Word. Delight in Him. Delight in living your life.

Verses 7-8 are key. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”

Don’t worry. Don’t be angry. Be patient. Trust God. Why? Because our anger will only lead to more evil and because wrath is for God not us. Their time is coming. Thankfully, we can simply live our lives doing good and leave the handling of evil to the only One capable of administering justice.

2020 damaged my soul. I allowed myself to fret over evil and to sit in my anger over all the media told me to be angry about. Three years later, I still feel the effects it had and am only now seeing the waste of time and energy it was.

I don’t watch the news. I lost all trust in their reports, which are not much more than fear-mongering and propaganda. All sides of the news. All sides have an agenda. They want our reaction and attention.

Psalm 37 tells us exactly how to handle living in a world of evil: Don’t worry. Live where you are. Dwell. Do good. Keep your focus on Jesus. Trust He will take care of everything in due time.

“In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” Psalm 37:10-11



Where’s Your Focus Today?

My dear friend and spiritual mentor sends a daily Bible verse to a group of people. It’s the one email I open every single day. This morning she sent a verse that is commonplace to anyone who has spent much time in God’s Word. The temptation when we read familiar verses is to pridefully skim. We may think to ourselves, “Oh, I know this one,” and move right on by. Or maybe it’s just me?

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

I memorized this verse years ago. I’ve prayed it back to the Lord. I’ve read it to my kids. I’ve written it on index cards and taped to my mirror. This verse is like a cozy blanket in the dead of winter to me. However, today, the Lord halted my prideful skim.

I am careful not to put words to God’s mouth by claiming “God said to me,” I feel this is highly overused when we want to put authority to our thoughts, plans, or actions. Not always, but at times. But as I read this verse today, I felt God hold up the stop sign. “Are your meditations pleasing to me?”

Meditation, according to, is continued, extended thought, contemplation, reflection.

What am I giving extended thought to? For me it is my worries. I have so many worries for my kids as all parents do. I want the very best for them. I spend countless hours contemplating their lives, futures, current choices, paths, etc.

Your meditations may be different. Maybe you spend extended thought on regret. Maybe it is on coddling your unforgiveness or bitter thoughts. Maybe it’s to the insane political climate. Maybe it’s to your pleasure and entertainment. Maybe it’s to envying what you see around you. Maybe it’s to your future and your path. Maybe it’s to good things, maybe it’s to bad things.

What I’m pondering in my heart, will eventually make its way out of my mouth.

Are the words coming out of my mouth pleasing to the Lord?

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

What comes out is indicative of what is stored in our hearts. Be careful what comes into your heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Wow, above all else. How important does God believe we should guard our hearts. It determines the course of our very lives.

Back to my original pondering today. What am I meditating on? Is it pleasing to the Lord? I may control, to a degree, what comes out of my mouth and feel that is pleasing to the Lord, but what am I tossing around in my heart. Is THAT pleasing to the Lord?

Lord, I confess my pride often when I approach your Word. You are limitless and full truth. Your Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. Thank you for your Word that convicts and guides. You are so good to us. Forgive me, Lord, for the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart that are not pleasing to You. Soften my heart and gentle my words. Create in me a new heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Help me place all my worries at your feet so I’m not tempted to meditate on my problems more than I meditate on the truth of your Word. Amen

P.S. One practical tool I’m using currently is to turn my worries into spoken prayers. I’m trying to retrain my brain to turn to God before myself. Each time I realize I’m fostering a worried thought, I whisper it back to God and pray about it. Worry won’t change my problems. God can. But even if He doesn’t change the circumstance, He will change my heart in the process.