The Payoff of Patience + Persistence

To listen to today’s post, click play below. 3 Minute Listen.

Are you a naturally persistent person? My youngest son, Andrew, is the most persistent human I’ve ever known.

The dictionary defines the word persist this way: to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.:

Yes, Andrew knows how to continue firmly and steadfastly despite opposition.

How about patience? Are you a naturally patient person? Andrew does not have this gift.

Reading in 1 Kings, I found a story that taught me the beautiful combination of patience + persistence. In fact, I have come to believe it takes a certain level of patience in order to persist. Maybe Andrew is patient after all.

I encourage you to read 1 Kings Chapter 18 fully.

In 1 Kings Chapter 18, Elijah was the prophet, and the land had been under a 3 year drought. Verse 1 starts out “After a long time, the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year: Go and present yourself to Ahab. I will send rain on the surface of the land. So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.”

A lot takes place between the beginning of this chapter and the end. Elijah has a showdown with Ahab to reveal to the people who the one true God was. Afterwards, and before any signs of rain had come, Elijah told Ahab, the king at that time, to go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a rainstorm. Ahab did as Elijah instructed. Meanwhile Elijah went up to Mt. Carmel and bowed down with his face between his knees. He assumed a posture of worship and praise.

While we wait for God, we worship and praise.

Now skip to verses 43-46: And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”

Elijah persisted in prayer and he persisted in belief and trust in God despite what he saw.

Each time his servant came back and reported that he saw nothing, Elijah would send him back again. I imagine Elijah just kept praying and trusting.

I wonder how different the story may have been if Elijah simply lost faith and stopped praying.

Something interesting to note, when the servant finally returned with a positive report, he didn’t report that he saw huge black storm clouds and overwhelming evidence of rain. No, he saw a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming from the sea.

Think about that for a minute. A cloud as small as a man’s hand. Sometimes the evidence of God’s work will come in small packages.God’s work may appear in the smallest of forms, but be watching so you don’t miss it.

When Elijah heard this report he went into action mode in preparing for rain.

In your circumstance, prepare for the rain. Prepare to see the evidence of what God is doing. But first persist in prayer

Elijah persisted in prayer.

Let’s be like Elijah and patiently persist in prayer all the while eyes wide open to even the smallest movements of God. The small movements of God over time accumulate into blessings too big to count.


Why is the invitation to come so hard to receive?

Jesus invites us to come to Him. What an incredible invitation.

Turns out His invitation to come is one of the hardest for me to accept.

Send me an invitation with an attached to do list, I’ll attack that list and come with my productivity to offer.

To simply come means I don’t need to produce or achieve. I need bring no value to the table.

Just me and Jesus.


To come to Jesus means I lay down my idol of productivity and self-sufficiency, and I choose to trust in Him. I lay down my need to solve my problems and figure out the future  – instead I trust Him. I lay down my worried and anxious thoughts – I trust Him.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Come, Take, Learn, Find.

Come to me– Here is the invitation to trust Him.

Take my yoke – this is the metaphor for the burden of sin on us. You see when I trust in myself over God, I’m taking a heavy burden upon myself that I’ll never be able to carry.

Learn from me– this is a gentle reminder of who He is. He is gentle and humble. Learn from Him.

Find rest– We are weary. Our souls cry for rest. It is His will for us.

Lord, Thank you that you invite us to come to you. You desire we place our trust in you not only at salvation but in every moment of our lives. Today remind us that you always have an open invitation for us to come to you, take your yoke, learn from you, and find rest. We love you. Amen


If you would like a visual reminder each morning and night, I highly recommend a scripture pillowcase.

Shop pillowcases here

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween

I’m not going to tell you if you should or shouldn’t do something. I will, however, share my convictions with you.

It’s been seven years since I wrote publicly on this topic. You can read here Why Our Family Doesn’t Celebrate Halloween.

How Halloween Began

Halloween originated as a Celtic celebration in Britain and Ireland. It is a celebration which originated from the festival of Samhain, a festival where people believed dead souls came back to visit. Bonfires were used to ward off evil spirits. Masks and costumes were worn to attempt to hide from ghosts and spirits. This festival was also a heightened time for divination, seeking information on the future using supernatural means such as contacting the dead.

After Rome conquered the Celts, they added to the festival with their own god/goddess worshiping. Six centuries later the Pope established All Saints Day, moving it to November 1, in an effort to remove the paganism and replace it with some christianity. This began christians starting the evening before All Saints Day with All Hallows Eve, which became Halloween.

Time passed and the christian and the pagan celebrations simply merged. More time passed and Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses, which birthed Reformation Day. More time passed, and here we are today. It is projected that we will spend over $12 billion on Halloween this year.

What Halloween Celebrates

Halloween is a celebration of darkness, fear, and death. Christianity is salvation, love, joy, peace, goodness. Jesus is the light of the world. I know the arguments, “But we don’t celebrate those things. We dress up in innocent costumes. We aren’t celebrating death and darkness.” Regardless what we are doing, we are participating with a world system that IS celebrating those themes.

What the Bible says about Halloween

Well, obviously the Bible doesn’t address Halloween exactly, which is why it’s considered a gray area. However, I feel the Bible addresses the themes of Halloween very clearly.

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

While many celebrate in lighthearted ways, Halloween is still a day of darkness. Just walk in any Halloween costume store. Drive through your neighborhood and take note of the graveyards, ghosts, spiders, and skeletons adorning porches and yards. Haunted houses and spooky destinations have waiting times in the hours. The draw of fear and the supernatural is strong.

Fear and death are unfruitful works of darkness. We are to take no part in them.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

How quick the christian community is to call evil good as it relates to our desire to celebrate Halloween. We attempt to make light of the day because as christians we aren’t out casting spells and worshiping satan. But others are. It is a very real day rooted in evil.

“Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thes 5:21-22

“There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God,” Deut 18:10-13

Yes, I know we as christians aren’t telling fortunes, interpreting omens, or inquiring of the dead. But we are told these things are an abomination to the Lord. We are told to be blameless of these things. When we participate in a holiday where these are celebrated and even joked about, we are aligning ourselves against God and His holy ways.

God despises witchcraft in every form.

2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” It’s no wonder we are so confused and have bought into the lie that enjoying Halloween is no big deal. Satan himself dresses like an angel of light. Of course he has made us believe his lie that it’s not a big deal.

Satan also told Eve the bite of apple wouldn’t make her die (Gen 3:1). Satan is a liar.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matt 7:13-14

It’s a small gate and narrow road if you decide to disregard Halloween.

Will Your Kids Be Left Out? What if you are wrong?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Halloween is the way of the world. We stand out when we tell people we don’t celebrate.

I’m not ashamed of the gospel. I’m not ashamed that I want nothing to do with a holiday rooted in death, darkness, and opposition to God.

When God convicted our family, we decided we’d buy our kids candy – lots of it. We ordered dinner in. We watched a family movie. Our kids missed out on nothing. We modeled to them that it takes courage to not conform to the world, and it’s ok to take the narrow path.

Shouldn’t we share the gospel on Halloween?

A common argument is that christians should take the opportunity to share the gospel while you have people knocking on your doors. Do I share the gospel with every person who knocks on my door the other 364 days of the year? Nope. I should, but I don’t. So why would I do any differently on the day where kids want candy and are there for a split second. Most parents aren’t even at the door with the kids anymore.

We don’t have to celebrate Halloween in order to reach people for the gospel.

My oldest son was four years old when we stopped celebrating Halloween. I don’t regret for one second keeping my kids out of that holiday. They don’t feel they missed out on anything. At the same time, the christian life is being ok standing on your convictions and looking different than the rest of the world.

I’m here to encourage the believer who has not felt peace about this holiday to follow your instinct. Or rather, follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.

I recently found this video you may enjoy.

8 Reasons Christians Shouldn’t Celebrate Halloween


New Scripture Pillowcases For Kids

I’m so excited to share my newest pillowcase designs for kids. Well, adults may enjoy them as well, but I had boys and girls in mind when creating these.

My best seller for kids pillowcases to date is Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

The fact is, we all find ourselves afraid at various points in our lives. I want children to grow up knowing in the deepest part of their heart that the God who made them desires they never be afraid because they’ve learned to trust in Him.

I’ve always put scripture around my home so my family can be reminded constantly about what is true. I’ve created scripture pillowcases as a beautiful, tangible way to put scripture before our eyes when we first wake and before we finally drift off for the night.

We need to be reminded we have nothing to fear.

Start your Christmas shopping early for all the boys and girls on your list. Shop my Etsy Shop here.



3 keys to keeping hope alive

The power of our thoughts

Our minds are powerful. The thoughts we ruminate on direct our feelings and actions.

When hope seems lost, we can find ourselves fixated on the problem. You’ve heard the saying, “What you focus on grows.” Focus on the problem, and the problem expands – if only in our imaginations of possible outcomes.

I believe there exists a biblical principle to this idea on the side of hope.

Lamentations 3:21 “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.”

What are we calling to mind?

Some problems are overwhelming. In the waiting season, it’s tempting to lose hope. This is exactly when we need to activate our minds to renew our hope.

Remembering who God is and what He has done is the key to keeping hope alive.

In Lamentations, the author knew the secret to stoking the embers of hope.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:21-25

Develop the discipline

Training our minds to think on the power and person of God rather than the anxiety of our problems takes practice.

  1. Recognize the thought
  2. Redirect the thought
  3. Reframe the thought

Recognize: We become so well-acquainted with our thought patterns, it take practice to recognize the thought that needs to change.When our minds keep taking us to our worries, we must first recognize it’s happening.

Redirect: After we recognize our thought patterns that need to change, we must decide to change the direction of our thoughts towards God. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Reframe: We remind ourselves who God is. We recall His faithfulness and goodness.

Peace and Hope

Lamentations 3:21 reminds us that when we call to mind the character of God, we have hope. Hope is never dead because Jesus is alive and well. He is our hope. We have to train our minds to stay fixed on Him rather than our overwhelming worries in this life. When we do this, we have hope and peace.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

I wrote a 14 day devotional to help you develop the discipline of redirecting your mind toward God. It takes practice to learn the art of remembering the character and nature of God, but when we master it, our lives change.

Illuminate is available in audio or ebook format. Click here to download. 


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.