When Waffle House Became Our Mission Field


Zachary and I had a rare 3 days alone together. His choice for dinner on night one was Waffle House.

“Aww, I forgot my sweater. It’s always so cold in Waffle House. I once was told that they keep it cold so you come in, eat, and leave. They don’t want you to stay and take up a table too long.”

His disbelieving eyes turned my direction. “Well, I didn’t say it was true. It’s just what I was told. It’s also usually pretty crowded in there.”

His eyes rolled the opposite direction towards the passenger window, grin spreading slowly.

As we pulled into the parking lot, Zachary shared a story from his last Waffle House experience when he was his dad and brothers. How dad gave him a dollar for the juke box, and he played Toby Mac.

When we stepped inside, no cold blast of air greeted us. That was the first thing I noticed. The second thing I noticed was the empty Waffle House. Well, empty except for the cook and 2 servers.

Zachary raced to secure his special table. Before I was fully seated, he had the menu laid out before him with his finger pressed hard on the picture of the All Star Breakfast.

“Really, Zachary? I mean that is a lot of food and costs twice what I’m ordering.”

“I promise I will eat it all. I’m sooooo hungry right now.”

The server arrived at our table laying down napkin and silverware. I looked up to meet his eyes, but he kept them mostly down. He left to fill our water cups and arrived back within seconds.

“Are you ready to order?”

“Yes, and clearly my son is twice as hungry as I am.” I proceeded to order. Zachary followed up. The young server kept those eyes mostly down. He offered a slight smile, but it seemed to be covered up by something else.

I watched as he quietly went about his job. Sorting silverware, cleaning pots, every so often, he would visit the procedures chart and checklist.

I began to have this “feeling”. This feeling where you wonder if it is your own feeling or the Lord’s prompting. I sort of felt that the Lord had a job for us there, but I didn’t know what it was.

Then there was that inner dialogue that started up between me and God. “Do you want me to tell them about you? What do I say? Do you want me to pray for them? What is their story? Does it matter?” Then the fear excuses began. “Maybe I just think you want me to say something but it’s just my own desire.”

I laugh at that one. I can’t imagine that I believed that really. If the prompting is there to share the gospel, it’s from God. No need to debate if it’s my own desire or His. His desire is always to share Him with the world.

I saw her eyes from across the restaurant. A twinkle. Almost like she knew something. She smiled, and I wondered what she knew. Her smile seemed to say we shared a secret together.

The cook stopped by our table. A kind, older man. He asked if we had a merry Christmas, said his was just fine.

The smile in his eyes looked similar to the one from the lady at the other side of the restaurant.

It’s like their gentle smiling eyes were saying, “Go on. Go ahead.”

Another couple entered. They sat at the bar, familiar with the servers and cooks. Their clothes looked rough. They looked a bit edgy. Maybe young 20s. I wondered if they were the ones I was to tell about Jesus.

I looked back at Zachary. His deep blue eyes, always full of joy and life.

“Mom, can I have a dollar to play Toby Mac?”

We slipped the dollar in, I watched as he selected his 4 songs for a dollar. Toby Mac got 3, Third Day got one.

The lyrics began to sing of Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Our server spread out Zachary’s feast before him. He brought my one plate. We bowed our heads and thanked God for the food and prayed a blessing over the cooks and servers around us.

That’s not part of our “normal” blessing. It should be, but it’s not.

Zachary shoveled food into his mouth. I reminded him he’s not an animal but a boy. I looked around and found the kind eyes of the woman at the other side of the restaurant. She was smiling at me again with those somewhat knowing eyes.

The name of Jesus being sung throughout Waffle House the entire time we were there.

We left without boldly sharing the gospel.

The following morning in Sunday school, a friend shared how he was witnessing to his server at a restaurant. I listened closely. Our Sunday school teacher said that at times he will ask the servers how his family can pray for them, which opens up the door.

I hear you, God. I know it’s no accident I’m hearing this conversation.

After church Zachary and I discussed the Waffle House experience. I said I wished I had been more bold and courageous to share, but that God always gives us the gift of praying for people. We might not have shared the words of the gospel, but we might have shined enough light while we were there to get their attention. Maybe we are to pray for each person there for as long as the Lord prompts, and the Lord will send another to boldly proclaim.

Throughout the day, the faces of the 3 Waffle House employees ran across my mind. I could distinctly see their faces, the expressions in their eyes, sadness in one, a knowing twinkle in another.

I have a precious friend who once said she likes to give the aroma of Christ in her work and in her life. Her words made an impact on me. I often think that when I don’t have the opportunity to share about Jesus that I hope my life gives off enough of His aroma that people will be drawn to Him.

Maybe that was our job at Waffle House. To be His aroma. Lyrics singing His name. We spread kindness and joy while there. But there was something more I couldn’t place. Then Zachary said it.

“Mom, I think we should go back to Waffle House for dinner. Maybe God wants you to go there again.”

“What? Waffle House for dinner two nights in a row?”

Instead of having the debate with God, I had it with Zachary.

“Are you just saying that because really you just want Waffle House again? And you are using the excuse of God because you know that will get me there? Or are you really feeling an urging from God?”

He hesitated a few seconds. “Well, maybe both. I don’t really know.”

I thought back to how those workers had been on my mind all day. From the moment I walked into that restaurant I sensed God speaking to me something. I felt His Presence there. I couldn’t shake their faces and that can only be God.

God may start as a whisper, but He gets louder.

“Let’s go.”

“What? Are you serious, Mom?”

“I’m serious. Now let’s pray because we are powerless without God. Only God can save, only the Holy Spirit can give us the power and courage.”

We got in the car, I turned the ignition, and we bowed our heads. We thanked God that we live in a free country where we can go share the gospel without fearing our lives. We prayed for each employee. We prayed that God would draw them to us and open up the doors of conversation. We prayed that God would make it obvious who we were to speak to. We prayed He would give us all the words and wisdom and that He would flow through us with power and might, empty us of us and fill us with all of Him.

As we got closer to Waffle House, I began to get nervous. How ridiculous. So I poured it all out to Zachary. I told him I felt nervous and that is simply silly. This is eternity at stake. This is someone’s eternal soul. I said the enemy wants me to be quiet. God wants me to speak.

“Zachary, let’s pray again.” He looked at me with questions in his eyes that received no voice, “Ok.” We bowed our heads again and prayed over our time at Waffle House.

As we pulled into the parking lot, Zachary mentioned there were a few people in there. But when I parked, there were two sketchy men sitting on buckets behind the store. They weren’t in uniforms, and they stared at us inside our car. Everything in me wanted to bolt. It was a dark parking lot, I was with my boy, and wanted to get inside quickly or fly out of there.

“Zachary, stop staring at them!”

“Mom, they look scary.”

“Well, just act normal.”

We got out, and walked briskly in the restaurant.

It was like we hit the repeat button. The same older cook greeted us. The servers were different.

The store was warm. 2 lone men sat over bowls of eggs and hash browns.

The server stopped at our table. Quietly he went about setting the place when I asked one question. “Did you have a Merry Christmas?”

He looked up at me, pausing briefly. “I had a great Christmas. I got everything I asked for. And better than that, I got everything for my family they asked for.”

Then the conversation never stopped. It was like a dam had been released. He went on to take our order. Zachary went to the juke box, selected 4 Toby Mac songs.

I noticed the cook bouncing a bit to the tune. He stopped at our table, “I like your song selections. I have never heard these songs played in here.”

Zachary smiled and looked down at his plate. I answered for him, “It’s Toby Mac. He’s a christian singer.”


The server brought our plates, and I took the idea of my Sunday school teacher. “Excuse me, we are going to be blessing our food, is there anything we can pray about for you?”

Right about that time Toby Mac decided to sing louder, the server squinted his eyes, and strained his ears towards me. “What did you say?”

“I said, we are about to pray, can we pray for you?”

A brief cloud came over his face, changing his expression. “Oh, um, my grandmother’s not doing so well, you can pray for her.”

He walked away, we bowed our heads and prayed, then ate.

Moments later he was back at our table. Talking. A lot. I knew immediately, this was the Lord answering our prayers to draw to us those He wanted us to talk to.

We just chatted with him. The cook arrived. Never in my life at the Waffle House or any restaurant have the employees just sat and talked at the table. I mean even at Waffle House they know that you give space for the patrons to talk a bit, but then enjoy the meal.

But when you ask God to draw to you those He wants, all normal procedures are out the window.

The cook began to share about his life. His plans for retirement. His plans for visiting family. We listened. Actually, all we did was listen. Both of the men did all the talking and we just offered a listening ear and smiles.

The meal was over. I asked the older man if I could pray for him. He said, “No, thank you.” Then he came right back and said, “Yes, you can pray for my time with my family.”

As we paid our bill, the scary men from the back of the dark parking lot walked in. They sat right next to the register where I stood and smiled.

We walked to the car, and Zachary said the first word I’d heard him say in about 20 minutes. “Good job, mom.”

“I still didn’t tell them about Jesus. I wonder if I should’ve just asked if they knew about Him.”

He shook his head. “No, I think it was great. I bet Jesus is really happy right now.” He continued, “Mom, do you think God used us to be the seed or to water the seed?”

“I don’t know. We rarely ever know how God uses us when he uses us to be the seed or to water the seed. But we do know that we need to continue to pray for them so that God will send others to keep watering.”

The neatest part of the whole experience with Zachary is that we ended up having this conversation about how God’s love didn’t change for us based on if we shared about Him at the Waffle House or not. That God has this unwavering love for us and we can’t earn it by doing “good” things.

Yes, there are times that God is pleased when we obey. There are times that He is disappointed. But His love never changes for us because He sees Christ when He sees us.

It was that freedom that allowed me to walk in and walk out of that restaurant. Nothing I did was going to earn me more love from God or esteem me in His eyes. We do what we do out of a deep love for Him. And His love for us never changes.

And we pray for the strangers because that type of love He gives us is overwhelming.

“Mom, when I said we should go back to Waffle House, it was partly because I wanted to go but just a very small part that felt like God wanted us to go.”

“Well, God’s nudges are often very small.”

“Yeah, I know. He has a still small voice.”

I smiled, “Yes, He does, and the more time we spend with Him, the better we get at hearing His still small voice.”

“Zachary, I don’t know if you noticed this part, but it’s not normal for 2 restaurant employees to stand at your table the entire time you are eating.”

He paused contemplating this.

“Think about it. Has that ever happened to you before?” He continued thinking, slowly I saw his eyes light up. “No, never.”

“It’s just not what you do. You know as a server or a cook to be kind and pleasant, but you are to give the patrons privacy and space, but we prayed and asked God to open up the doors, to draw to us those He wanted us to talk to. And He did it. At night what happens when you turn a light on outside? What happens around the light?”

“Bugs come to it?”

“Yes, but I don’t mean those people are bugs. The light draws us to it. We are drawn to the light. We asked God to draw to us those He wanted. And we asked that He shine His light through us. We got to see God do that.”

I thought through the night that while I didn’t boldly proclaim the gospel, I could beat myself up over that. I could do what the enemy would have me do and focus on myself and my efforts.

Or I could resist the enemy.

Instead of focusing on what I could’ve done (in my own power possibly), I could instead focus on what God did. Only God could draw 2 strangers to stand and talk for 20 minutes at our table. Only God could cause them to comment on liking our christian rock music selections. Only God could do any of that. I thought back to my friend. Maybe we were to be the aroma of Christ.

We got to see what God does when we ask that He allow us to shine His light through us. We got to see Him at work. And I pray we remember that always. What if every day we left asking God to shine His light through us and give us eyes to see Him at work.

I imagine it would change everything.

The Struggle Is Real- For Your Children


I pulled the covers to his chin, caressed his still delicate skin.

“Mommy, when I open up God’s Word, it feels like I’m in Heaven.”

Lord, give me faith like a child.

Matthew 19:14 “Then Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” 

I knelt at the side of his bed, placing my hand on his chest, feeling the rise and fall of the breath of life.

“Lord, guard his heart, his mind, his soul. Protect Him from anything that wars against him. Plant your Word deep in his heart. Instruct his heart with truth even as he sleeps. Keep him following you, never swaying to the right or to the left. Step by step behind you.”

Brushing blonde wisps away, I leaned down to kiss his forehead, and gently closed the door behind me.

Every single day this child shows me the battle that rages in an unseen world. Without the sweet, tender moments, I may forget this truth.

When the tantrums erupt spewing fire on all in its path, I may forget where the true fight is fought. In an unseen world. When behaviors tank, when words dart with deadly aim, the enemy lurks.

But do not fear.

1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

So we fight not against our kids. We fight for our kids. We fight the real enemy head on.

I picked up the boys from school. Long, lanky legs climb over one another, backpacks thrown in heaping piles in the backseat. Three boys begin talking at once. Everyone fighting to be heard.

Andrew spoke the loudest. It’s a baby of the family trait – they learn early on how to be heard above the noise. “Mom, did America turn back to God yet? Because I’m praying that.”

“Don’t stop praying.”

“I won’t.”

A precious window of time is given a parent to see into the bold heart of a child. As they grow older, that childlike faith begins to tuck a little deeper inside. As I listen to Andrew daily pour out his love for God, I’m reminded to cherish this time. It will pass. He will grow older. While I pray he is always tender towards the things of God, I know that with age and maturity, expressions of the heart take a new shape.

And just like that, the child so expressing bold faith and sincere love of God, can lose his little mind in a fit of rage. I get it. I can do the same thing. I can read a devotion to my children over breakfast relishing in the Word of God only to close the book and come undone in a matter of seconds.

No matter our devotion to God, no matter how long we’ve been a follower of Christ, we are still sinners in a fallen world. And back to the cross I go. Reminding myself that it’s why He came and died. It’s why I’m so madly in love with Him. Because I’m simply incapable of being good enough. Same goes for my little dudes.

Andrew wrestled with Daddy, then lay tucked in bed listening to stories. Dad closed the door sending goodnight kisses and sweet dreams. I read to the older boys across the hall.

Moments later Andrew appeared at the doorway. “I need you to come pray with me.”

“I’ll come pray after I’m done reading to the boys.”

“Praying is more important than reading. I need to you come pray now.”

“Andrew, I will be in there to pray after I’m done in here. Now get back in your room.”

My voice remained calm and gentle (not always the case), and I continued to read. He stood at the door, eyes flaming mad, arms crossed.

He continued calling out, doing his very best to ruin our story and be sure to get his own way.

“Andrew, it’s not that you want me to pray with you. It’s that you want to get your own way. I am going to pray, but I’m going to finish what I’m doing first. You are mad because you aren’t getting your way.”

The enemy is crafty. When he goes to war, he’ll even take very good things and use them as weapons against us. In this case, prayer.

Oh, my familiar friend, pride. Nice to see you again. We’ve had many flings, you and me. You never tire of a visit.

Pride likes to battle itself. It likes to raise up an equal to trade punches with. It blows breath on the fire to create a match of equal proportions. Because pride to pride creates no true winner. If pride goes down, it wants to take another pride down with it. One way or another pride knows it loses. And that’s the thing with pride. Pride will fall, yet it will battle to bring another pride down with it. It knows that if it fights against prayer or the Word of God, it’s gone. Until next time.

Andrew went into his room. I finished with the boys. I opened up Andrew’s door and held in my gasp. He’d destroyed his room in a fit of anger. This is nothing new. It’s what he’s done since he was 2, though it rarely happens anymore.

“Andrew, I came in here to pray with you. I will come back in to pray after you have put your room back together.”

I went into Zachary’s room and prayed with him, giving Andrew a few minutes to collect himself.

Opening up Andrew’s door, the eyes which met mine railed against me.

“Mom, you’ve made me flaming mad.”

“Andrew, you aren’t mad at me. You are mad that you didn’t get your way.”

Pride. Hello, familiar face.

He’d put his bed back together, but he stayed on his chair. “I’m not going to sleep in my bed tonight.”

“That’s fine. I’ll pray over there.”

I laid my body hard on top of him, holding him close as I prayed.

The enemy is not my son. The battle is not between me and him. The battle is over his soul. A  heart that loves God. A heart that we pray constantly to love God more than it loves anything in this entire world. A heart to love God in such a way that it will never depart from God.

It’s not about me. It’s not about him and me. It’s not about the difficult road of parenting. It’s all about his eternal soul. The enemy knows Who holds this child. And while the enemy can’t have this child, he will not stop at tearing him down piece by piece.

So we pray. And we never stop praying for our kids. From before birth until the day we die, we never stop praying.

We must not lose sight of eternity. The battle rages. We play our part. But we are on the side that wins. Praise God. So we pray.

We are our child’s greatest ally. When they fight hard against us, they don’t know that we aren’t the enemy. We know the truth. We cling to the truth. We step on the head of pride and choose the higher road. The road of prayer.

Parenting is for the long run. It’s not for the moment by moments we find ourselves in. Parenting is to sanctify us, to model Christ to our child, to fight for them on our knees, to beg God on their behalf. In this process, we will have beautiful moments where Heaven seems to open up and shine down on our children. And there will be moments where we ask where that child went that once loved God so much. We must not lose sight or hope. The war is won. We have the honor of fighting the battles for our children. Not against them.

And then, just like that again, the tenderness returns. The child who acted out softens. He pours his heart out to God. He opens his mouth and God shows the glimpses of His goodness. It’s worth the fight. We just have to remember who we truly fight.

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Am I Really A Christian?


Andrew has always had a sweet sensitivity to God, God’s Word, and all things Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, the boy isn’t an angel. He isn’t perfectly obedient and free of trouble. At all. He is all boy. And he is 7. But. The boy loves Jesus.

He sleeps with his Bible. He asks me to read the Word to him nightly. He listens with attentiveness to Bible at school. Other than lunch, Bible is his favorite part of the day.

Andrew has asked for at least a year to be baptized. We’ve held off because of his young age. We really wanted him to understand that baptism doesn’t grant salvation. We wanted him to understand that baptism is a symbol of him dying to his old life and resurrecting to new life in Christ, a public profession of his faith, but not a seal of salvation.

A couple of weeks ago, we were driving down the road when he said he is so afraid he isn’t really a christian. He went on that he loves God and is so afraid he isn’t going to be with God.

We had the discussion on the level a 7-year-old could understand about how we are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ. I reminded him of the verses we’ve learned. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved – Acts 16:31. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved- Romans 10:19.

But I thought to myself that any religion other than christianity, there is always this question of “Am I good enough? Have I done enough?”

In christianity, the answer is No. We aren’t good enough, but He loves us with an unimaginable love anyway. We are sinners, saved by grace. This is not of ourself it’s the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) We couldn’t do enough. It’s why Jesus was born to die for our sins.

Before we accept Jesus as Lord of our life, we have to confess we are a sinner in need of a Savior. My fear for the children of this generation is that they are told so often how good they are. They are praised and esteemed to the point I wonder how they will recognize that they are a sinner in need of a Savior.

Over the last several weeks, Andrew has asked us to pray with him to receive Jesus. Again. We’ve stressed that when we are saved, nothing can pluck us from His hands. He’s afraid he didn’t do something right, say something right. We’ve explained that is religion, not christianity. Christianity is faith. God knows Andrew’s heart.

I’ve shared this before, but I often pray with or over my boys that God would grant them a “different” kind of spirit like He gave Caleb. One that is willing to follow God wholeheartedly. I want to raise wholehearted men who love the Lord more than they love their wives, their children, their life, their anything.

Last night Andrew and I read from The Jesus Storybook Bible (his very favorite). We discussed the story and God’s relentless pursuit of His people. Then we prayed. In the middle of praying, I said, “Lord, I pray you create in Andrew a spirit like Caleb’s, willing to follow you wholeheartedly.”

Andrew’s eyes flew open as he cried out, “Caleb??? Caleb? Oh no, mommy! I’m never going to be with God in Heaven. I can never be as good as Caleb!!”

I looked into his innocent eyes, and ran my fingers over his cheeks. “Andrew, you don’t have to be as good as Caleb. God doesn’t expect you to be “good enough” or like anyone else. He created you to be you.” I continued, “When I pray that, what I’m asking God to do is to make you love Him so much that you will follow Him wherever He leads you.”

He let out a sigh of relief, then he said, “But, mommy, I’m still so worried I’m not really a christian.”

“Andrew, do you love God?”


“Do you believe you are a sinner?”


“Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God sent to die for your sins and He is the only way to God and to Heaven?”


“Did you confess to Jesus that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and ask Him to be the Lord of your life and tell Him that you want to follow Him?”


“God knows your heart. You need to stop worrying. The fact that you even question it shows me that you understand that a life with Jesus is worth making sure you have. And I did the same thing when I became a Christian. I was so worried because it just seemed too easy. There had to be more to it than that. But there isn’t. It’s a gift to us. We didn’t earn it. It’s grace.”

He still didn’t look convinced, so I asked, “Do you want me to lead you in prayer again?”

“Yes, please,” he said sheepishly.

I led him for about the 4th time in prayer asking Jesus to be the Lord of his life.

And for many years to come, I will continue to pray for his faith. That it will be strengthened, matured, and that it will become his own, not merely an extension of our faith.

And this. This is Christmas. Christmas isn’t the season, the day, the gifts, the parties, the food, the decorations. It’s not the Christmas movies by fire with hot cocoa. All fun and wonderful.

Christmas is the most amazing gift we could fathom, given in the humblest of ways. God became a baby to grow up to die for our sins. Willingly. What kind of love is that?

So, I get Andrew. That kind of love is too much to bear, too grand to understand. To receive that kind of love freely? It makes no sense.

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An Alternative to Birthday Parties and Gifts


Fall is birthday season in our home. Zachary kicks off with Labor Day, Andrew ends us on Thanksgiving Day (depending on the year), and Steve and I fall in between.

Rather than hosting birthday parties for the boys this year, we had an experience with each of them. For each child, we chose something different.

As their birthdays approached, we looked at how much money we spend even on the simplest of birthday parties. They receive toys they don’t really need. It’s fun, but it’s over within hours.


Zachary is an adventure-seeker, he’s athletic and loves a challenge. He is also social, which means he would definitely want his brothers along rather than a private experience.

Andrew is not an adventure seeker, so for Zachary’s birthday we took Zachary, along with Jacob, to the U.S National Whitewater Center in North Carolina. Andrew happily spent the day with a friend and thanked us for not taking him along. Happy to oblige as we’ve had years of experience dragging him along on adventures he wants no part of.


Jacob loves all things sports and is very much a quality time kinda guy. For his birthday, Steve and Jacob went to the Tennessee/Georgia football game. They woke up at 5:00 am, stopped for doughnuts, tailgated, watched the game, and spent the night in a hotel. Jacob said it was one of his best memories ever. (He says this frequently, but that’s ok. I hope to fill their memory tanks with lots of special times.)

Andrew’s birthday is Thanksgiving. Poor guy spends every single birthday driving in a car either to or from Atlanta. Andrew loves hotels. Any hotel, but particularly hotels with a breakfast buffet, an indoor pool, and an elevator. His birthday we will surprise him with a hotel night with the whole family.

Whenever we give Andrew the option to have one-on-one time, he always begs to bring his brothers along. He would NOT want a hotel night away from his brothers.

We will pack tons of games, a movie to watch in the room, swim in the pool, and eat pizza. He will love it!

We began giving our kids more experience gifts over material gifts a few years ago at Christmas. It is interesting to listen to their reflections. They rarely remember the gifts they open. Rarely. They never forget an experience, which creates a memory.

I’d love to hear how your family celebrates birthdays!

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Lord, help me. I’m about to blow it with my kids.


The whirlwind called morning finally landed us in the car heading to school. As we began our 25 minute commute with christian music filling the silence, I felt my heart rate slow.

My frustration and anger brimming over how 4 of us sinful beings can bring out the nasty in each other when hunger and tired eyes present themselves in the wee hours of the mornings.

Buttons aren’t merely pushed, they are held down with force until the other person can take no more. The cycle begins. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what system we use (and trust me we’ve tried many). We do the whole ‘set your clothes out the night before’, ‘don’t come downstairs until clothes on, beds made, teeth brushed’, ‘pack your lunch the night before.’ We do all that.

We are as Pinterest-pretty organized as humanely possible. We’ve even done the cutesy charts, which my boys dislike greatly.

Sin doesn’t cower or bow to systems, organization, or good intentions.

Sin is present on the inside no matter what we attempt to do on the outside. It’s in the heart the battle is waged.

Since my boys were tiny, all we’ve ever listened to is christian music. K-Love is the only station programmed in my car. Because I NEED it. They NEED it. I need to at every minute be reminded of truth.

The in-between time is when truth seeps in.

In between the battles of sin is when the Holy Spirit begins whispering to me. Often these in between moments place me in the car, listening to truth sung over airwaves.

This morning was no exception. Everyone followed the system. But brother aggravated brother, brother hit brother, brother used words as weapons, brother cried hard. And mother?

Well, mother tried to ignore. She prayed silently the Lord would intervene and grip their hearts. Then the Lord didn’t answer as quickly as one hopes. So sin won out as my tone turned sharp, my blood pressure rose, I proceeded the daily lecture on the attitudes of the heart.

And then we made it to the car. K-Love played songs of the power of the cross, sin has no power. My shoulders began to let go of the tension.

The music ended as the disc jockeys began to speak on their annual fundraising drive. Normally, my boys love listening to this. They love hearing the testimonies of lives changed when people listen to christian music.

Today the D.J asked, “Do you feel the tug on your heart?”

Andrew asked, “Mom, what’s a tug on your heart mean?”

“Well, you know how when you act ugly, then you come to me later and tell me that your heart hurts, and we talk about how that is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, instructing your heart? Well, that is what it means when someone says that God is tugging at your heart. It’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you.”


The D.Js began using analogies of tug boats and they ran hard with the use of the word tug.

Andrew became more and more agitated with each use of the word tug.

“Mom, turn it off. I don’t want to hear them talking about tugging anymore. I can’t take it!”

“Andrew, I’m not turning it off because the rest of us want to listen.”

After asking 5 more times, he realized I wouldn’t turn it off, so he decided he would simply ruin it for the rest of us. He moaned and wailed loudly. He rolled his window down to freeze us out. He covered his ears proclaiming, “I can’t stand to hear about the tug.”

Lord, help me. Please keep me calm and patient because I feel I’m on the verge of exploding.

I tried using reason. But have you ever tried to reason with someone out of their mind at the moment? Reason makes no sense to them.

In a perfect world, I would gently and lovingly talk to my child about how we by nature are sinful creatures and aren’t we thankful we have Jesus. That we are selfish and think more of ourselves than we think of others. Aren’t we glad for Jesus? And for some moms, this works. This would work on Jacob and Zachary. They have completely different personality types.

But when your child is cemented in his ways, no sweet words are going to do the magic trick.

Lord, help me. I need you to make me the parent you want me to be. Because, Lord, right now I’m about to blow it. Help me.

We parked the car. The sweet girl we carpool with and Zachary scurry away inside the building. Jacob hangs with me. Andrew continues digging in. Refusing to walk into school. Anything he can to push me over the edge. I’m tottering. I’m swaying. When will I tip?

Jacob is trying to get my attention. He has big issues. Forgotten homework, lost piece of paper. Big in a 12 year old world. He’s got a mama who is at the school for a conference in her wet hair pulled in a ponytail about to football carry a 60 pound child and leave him at the door of his classroom.

Lord, help me. 

I finally deposited him in the school. I made my way to Jacob’s teacher for our conference. I entered her classroom, which was the most glorious shade of quiet. I sat in the chair, and my shoulders released that tension again. It was the in-between. Praise for the in-between.

The in-between is the gift He gives us. The in-between is when we can release all that tension back to Him, to soak up the silence of that moment – however brief it may be.

The in-between is when we are most likely to hear God speak to us.

The in-between is when we feel that tug. That tug that sent Andrew on a spiral descent.

I ended my conference. I got in my car. Another in-between. Silence to reflect. To pray. To listen.

The tug was physically painful for Andrew to listen to. Physically painful. If you heard how my car sounded this morning, you would get what I’m saying.

The enemy knows the power of that tug. He’s no idiot. He knows that if we obey that tug, he loses in an instant. That tug is the last thing he wants us to be aware of. He wants us to ignore the tug.

Andrew fought the tug. Fought hard.

Normally, I would’ve lost it. This morning, by God’s grace, I didn’t simply because I couldn’t. I had to drive carpool. I had a conference at 7:30 am.

Temptation was great for me to lay into Andrew for his poor behavior. For his selfishness. For his anger outburst. If I wanted I could justify my position. I could do all of that.

When temptation is great to sin, He always leaves a door of escape open for us. I’ve found the door of escape easiest to take is a simple silent, “Lord, help me. I need you right now.”

I can’t control my children. Parenting is the greatest display of my weaknesses. I can write about the Lord. I can sit and speak with women about our need for Jesus. Then my children can push me to the point of questioning why in the world the Lord could possibly use me in ministry.

Fight the temptation to go there, friends. When our thoughts go to how awful we are, we begin to think too much of ourself and not enough of Him. These are the moments to fix our eyes on Him. Off us, on Him.

Eyes off us, eyes on Him.

Then that tug comes. That tug that reminds me that He uses us when we are completely dependent on Him. He’s not looking for a perfect mom. He’s not looking for the Pinterest perfect morning routine. He’s looking for a heart that loves Him and cries out for Him.

So we pray for our hearts. We pray for our children. We let the tugging begin. We don’t resist the tug. We let Him tug us all the way to Him. We let go, falling completely into Him. He lifts us up. He strengthens us for the job. He sends us back out, still holding that rope to Him. Too much slack, He’ll gently tug. In desperate times, He’ll pull with full force. He never lets go.

Don’t let go of that rope today. Hold tight, so you feel His tugs. The gentle and the firm. Loosen your grip so you can fall into Him today.


[Tweet “Sin doesn’t cower or bow to systems, organization, or good intentions.”]

[Tweet “The in-between time is when truth seeps in.”]

[Tweet “Eyes off us, eyes on Him.”]

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Dear Boys, Saying No To Sex Starts Today


Want your teen to stay sexually pure? Here's a conversation to have.

Dear Boys,

We’ve been talking about sex for a lot of years now.

You know how dad said, “I know it’s hard to believe, but one day, all you will think about is girls.” And how you all laughed and said, “No way!” Also, remember how dad said that you would begin to experience feelings and urges that are very powerful? And how you looked at us with confusion?

It’s hard to believe, but one day you will understand what we are talking about.

Right now, at 10 and 11, it’s easy to say you will remain pure. It’s easy to say you will not have sex until marriage. It’s all easy when you aren’t in the situation.

The reason it’s easy is because you have never been overcome by hormones, passion, or infatuation. The forces of these have brought the wisest of men down. (Think Solomon) The forces of these have brought down “a man after God’s own heart”. (Think David)

We can learn from their mistakes. And we can learn from the wisdom of others. The choice to remain pure until marriage can literally save your life.

How do you say no to premarital sex in a culture that shrugs its shoulders?

  • You first recognize you are powerless to say no
  • You ask God to give you wisdom to make good choices and the power moment by moment to say no
  • You decide now, right this very moment, that you will remain pure. Don’t wait until you are facing temptation. Otherwise, it might take you down.
  • You stay out of situations where you might say yes to sex before marriage. When it comes to sexual temptation, God says to flee. He doesn’t even want you in that situation. He knows the power it holds. (1 Cor 6:18). At the same time, if you find yourself in temptation, He provides a way out. (1 Cor 10:13)
  • Choose to obey God. No. Matter. What.

Out of this list, I want to stress one decision you must make today. It’s a decision today to remain pure no matter what.

Let’s talk about how ahead of time decision-making played out for Daniel. Daniel, along with others, was brought into the royal court by the king of Babylon. The king instructed that this court be given choice food and wine.

Now Daniel loved God very much. He knew that this food and wine would cause him to sin against God because the food was offered to idols and the wine poured out on pagan altars.

Daniel knew in his head and his heart that he should not take part in this food. Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”

Did you notice that phrase…Daniel resolved not to defile himself.

Before Daniel sat down with a plate of this delicious buffet to tempt his watering mouth, he made a choice to say no. Daniel did not wait to decide when faced with the decision. He took the offensive position. He took the upper-hand. Daniel said no before he faced temptation.

Follow Daniel’s footsteps. Choose to abstain from sex before marriage before you are faced with a girl telling you how much she wants to be with you, and that it’s not a big deal, and everyone else is doing it.

How can you be a Daniel in a sex-saturated teen culture?

  • Decide now to remain pure
  • Decide with friends to remain pure and hold each other accountable.
  • Pray for yourself and your friends

Daniel and his 3 friends held strong together. Together we are stronger. Stand with friends to remain pure together.

Find a friend, find a brother, but find someone today that will walk the road of purity with you.

Now, Daniel was faithful to God. And God was faithful to Daniel. But it still ended up with Daniel being thrown into a lion’s den later in life.

Don’t think for a second that just because you have made a decision for purity that you won’t find yourself in a lion’s den. You likely will.

God will deliver you from the lion’s mouth. Stay steady and sure in your faith. Never waver for one second. Don’t be scared by the lion’s den. Remember, God sends His angels to shut the mouths of the lions.

You have nothing to fear.

Daniel never regretted choosing God.

You will never regret choosing purity.

When you say your wedding vows, the greatest gift you can give your wife is the gift of saving yourself for her. When you take your wife, if you remained pure, I promise you will not look back and say, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t waited for this.”

Listen carefully, you are in your training years. When Daniel made the decision to abstain from the king’s food and wine, he was in his training years. Those are the years that God prepared him to be able to sit among the lions fully confident in the one who held those lions back.

You are in your training years. It won’t be easy, but the places God will take you because of your faithful obedience will blow your mind. What God has in store for you because of your obedient faith, doesn’t hold a candle to a moment of pleasure. One that could very well end or change the course of your entire life.

Be a Daniel.

Decide ahead of time that you will say no to sex before marriage.

Keep yourself out of temptation.

Don’t fear. God holds you secure.

And remember, God isn’t trying to withhold anything good from you. He’s trying to protect you so that He can give you the VERY BEST.

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

I love you with all my heart. I pray daily you will choose a path of purity. I pray you love God more than you love the pleasures of this world. They are enticing and deceitful. If you remember who God is, you can remember that He would only desire what’s best for you.


I highly recommend the book series God’s Design for Sex. We’ve used these books for years with our kids. It gave us the tools to begin the conversations. We started as early as we can remember so that we would always have open dialogue. Ultimately, our kids will make their own choices. As parents our responsibility is to pray them towards purity, to prepare them with knowledge, and to keep open the doors of communication. Kids today are very confused, and they are going to the wrong sources for information.

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How to See God in the In-Between Moments


The doctor placed oversized glasses on his eyes. One lens blue, the other red. The lights dimmed low, she held her flashlight tool inches from his face. “Ok, buddy, how many lights do you see?”

His slumped back straightened, and that dimpled chin I can’t get enough of took a slight turn north, “Three!”

“Great, how about now?” she inched closer to the door.

His shoulders drew back, “Three!”

The doctor repeated at several distances, and each time, his confidence grew. The doctor put her tool away and turned on the lights. The assistant led him outside to the treasure box, as the doctor gently closed the door behind them.

“Put these glasses on. I want to show you something.” She performed the same tests on me as she did my 6-year-old. At each distance I saw four lights rather than the sure three Andrew saw. Taking notice of my confusion, she said, “Now cover your left eye and tell me how many lights you see.”

Despite the questions running relays in my mind, I answered, “Three?” At each distance, with one eye patched, I saw three lights. Slowly exhaling, I removed the glasses and met the compassionate eyes of the doctor.

Join me over at Crosswalk for the rest of today’s post where I’m sharing how my son’s learning disabilities are teaching me more about seeing God beyond the obvious and the “big” and  seeing Him in all the in-between moments. Aren’t the in-between moments where we tend the hang out the most? 

Full post published originally on Crosswalk.com.

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