Lego Lesson

As a young mom, clutter was always a battle. The Second Law of Thermodynamics – that all closed systems tend to drift toward a state of disorder – played out daily in my home! (I’m married to an engineer, can you tell?) I cleaned up the house and my four little ones and their mass of toys would bring disorder sweeping in right behind me.

One of the biggest culprits of this toy mess, and my biggest love-hate relationship was with Legos! I loved the creativity they generated in my kids, but hated the chaos on the floor of their room, particularly when I had to walk through there. Barefoot. In the dark! Ouch!

lego-tannerEach morning the Lego bin was dumped. In every spare moment – before school, after school, all day on holidays and weekends – cities and machines, craft and people of all sorts were meticulously assembled by my little horde of creators. Over the course of the day there were frequent requests of “Mom, come look at this one!” After supper was prime Lego play time, no school and often Dad would join in the fun. There were pirates and natives of tropical islands, British soldiers and space explorers and of course every conceivable building, device, or mode of transportation these Lego people might need. As you might imagine, when bath and bedtime approached it was war. “No! Don’t make me put them up!” “Whyyyy? I just got finished building it!” Sound familiar?

After too many bedtime showdowns, I realized something had to change. I’d been going to bed every night wound up from dealing with the kids. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” so I came up with a solution.

Now, I’m not a “perfect house” kind of gal; I want our family to be able to actually live in, play in, and enjoy our home. My goal for picking up the toys was a safety issue. If the kids got sick in the middle of the night, or if there was a fire or other emergency, the children needed to be able to safely walk out of the room and their dad and I be able to safely walk in without crippling ourselves or falling over toys. It dawned on me that all we needed was a safe path through our personal Legoland.

The next night I introduced new procedures to the kids. They could henceforth leave the creations they had built spread out all over their room as long as there was a cleared path between their bed and the door. They readily agreed. That first night I helped clean up in order to show them what I considered a decent “clear path.” After that it was smooth sailing. Each night 10 minutes before bath time “Clear a path to your bed!” would ring out from Mom or Dad, baths would proceed without frustrated gripes (at least the gripes about having to pick up toys), and bedtime became peaceful.

So what does all this have to do with anything spiritual? I think it gives us a glimpse of the love of the Father.

As I saw my children, made in the image of Creator God, creating their Lego landscape, I saw sheer joy and love. Joy in creating them. Uniquely. Joy in talking with them. Joy in planning the whole script of their Lego lives and moving them from here to there. Joy in giving them new homes and cars and hats. Joy in being with them first thing the next morning and spending the day with them. Joy in protecting them from the crawling baby brother. Joy in preserving them from mom who would require destroying (putting up) things each night. They loved the creative process, loved what they made, loved interacting with it, and loved showing it off to others.

earth-blue-planet-globe-planet-41953Just think about the loving care that went in to creating everything we know. Creator God spent thought and energy and love and passion preparing this world we take for granted. What must have gone into his ideas for making the earth a ball and dangling it in space with beautiful heavenly bodies and spinning it and making it of dirt and rocks and water and air? What creative joy did He get out of making volcanos, clouds, hurricanes, and caves? Did He do all canyon-gorge-antelope-canyon-tourist-attraction-87419those majestic things just because one day He would delight in our joy and awe of seeing and experiencing these amazing sights? What about the variety of plants? Couldn’t he just as easily have made one kind of plant to cover the whole earth that fed us all, created all the oxygen, and did everything else He wanted plants to do? And the animals? Again, huge variety. Did He make slugs sticky so little kids would say “Ew!”? Did he make rugged elephants to reveal His strength, downy chicks to show His gentleness, peacocks to reveal His beauty, slug-nature-snail-mollusc-158158marsupials to remind us He takes care of us when we’re helpless? And did He make giraffes just so one day in 2017 He could watch us with joy all come together online to wait on the birth of a giraffe for weeks? On and on I could go. But the question is still Why?

pexels-photo-341971Ladies, just as we get joy from the creative process and the things we make, Father God gets great joy through us, His created masterpiece. What creative joy there must have been when He dreamed up just who we would be and gave us our particularly unique physical appearance, personality and abilities. He enjoys talking with us and being with us. He receives joy each day as He sees us live out the script, the plan, He has set in place for our lives. He rejoices every time He gets to give us something He knows we desire. He loves seeing each of us first thing every morning and spending His day with us. He enjoys protecting and preserving us from the things that might hurt or destroy us. He loves the whole process, from bringing us into being to relating with us to showing us off. He just simply loves us.

We were created for God’s good pleasure and to bring glory to Him. I encourage you today to bask in His love. Then live out your day in His love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) When we know we are truly and deeply loved by our Creator, we will operate differently in this ole world.

For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—
he says: “I am the Lordand there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LordAnd there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.
But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord
and will make their boast in him.

Isaiah 45:18-25


by guest author Kristi Singletary

When it rains it pours, somehow that is always the case. Have you ever been to that point in life where you thought what else could possibly go wrong? We have had our share lately and we found ourselves overwhelmed to say the least.

In January, my husband had a car accident. I was helping my daughter at her house when we received that dreaded phone call. I was literally stunned for a second unable to believe what I was hearing; I do not do well in those situations. OVERWHELMED!

Thank goodness my daughter was there so she drove us to the scene of the accident. My husband was very dazed with pain in his head and abdomen. An ambulance ride was the only option as he is on blood thinner everyday due to an aortic valve replacement that he had back in 2013 (another testimony for another day) and the scare was internal bleeding. OVERWHELMED!

When we arrived at the hospital, they did a CT scan of his head and abdomen. The results were incredible! His scans were all clear, he was going to be ok. God had protected him once again. OVERWHELMED! Still very foggy headed with a massive headache, he was able to go home that night.

The next few days were difficult as he beat himself up over having an accident. He was upset that we were going to have to make a financial decision regarding a new vehicle as he figured his was totaled. The insurance company called and indeed it was totaled. OVERWHELMED!

main_928pxAs he was home recovering, we received a call from the hospital where he had gone after his accident. The nurse advised that the radiologist had read his scans and that he had a lesion on his right kidney, unrelated to the accident, that needed to be checked out. Seriously??!! Are you kidding me??!! Did God allow he accident to discover this??!! OVERWHELMED!

A few days later, we went to clean out his truck so the insurance company could take possession; the truck that had belonged to his late father for years. OVERWHELMED! It was sad as he cleaned out his dad’s truck and said goodbye to that piece of him.

One week later, he had an appointment to see a urologist about the lesion on his kidney. Upon reviewing the scan, the doctor confirmed that there was definitely a wedge-shaped
mass. OVERWHELMED! We were told about the possibilities including cancer and the only way to know what we were dealing with would be to remove that part of the kidney and have pathology reveal the diagnosis. OVERWHELMED!

february_calendarWe were advised to come back in 6 weeks for my husband to have a repeat CT scan to determine growth or changes and go from there. It was a long, long 6 weeks! OVERWHELMED! In the interim, some days fear consumed us and some days we had incredible faith. And our firstborn got married during this time; we had a lot going on for sure. Six weeks passed and we went to the urologist unsure of the outcome. OVERWHELMED!

The doctor came into the room laughing, just laughing. I wish I had a video to share with you. He said, “Todd, your scan is fine! I don’t know what to tell you, whatever was there is gone. Not only gone, but it left a scar. When I first looked at your scan, I thought why did we scan this guy? It looked like I had done surgery to remove that piece of your kidney. So I went back to read your chart and remembered that you had something there. I don’t know what to tell you, it’s gone, whatever was there is dead, but it left a scar. You do not need me anymore!” Say what??!! Are you kidding me??!! OVERWHELMED!

God had once again protected my precious husband. I’m sure each of you have similar stories, testimony of God’s healing or protection. We are still very overwhelmed by the latest event, the thing is GONE and it left a SCAR. Isn’t it just like God to not only remove the thing, but to leave a scar??!! A scar that appeared that it was surgically removed?! He wanted us, the doctor, and the world to NOT be able to explain it away. God left proof! Undisputable proof! A scar that He had been there. OVERWHELMED!

As I think back over the last few months, I have tried to figure out the purpose in all of this. What was the reason for the accident, for the kidney mass? We will never really know as God’s ways are higher than our ways. He sees the big picture; after all He is the author of our story. We believe that the wreck happened to find the kidney mass. And we believed that God, without a doubt, removed it from Todd’s kidney. He left a scar so that the world would not be able to explain Him away, that we and the doctor could see, without a doubt, a touch from His healing hand, a miracle! OVERWHELMED!

2017-03-21 08.04.18The doctor was laughing and smiling so big, I think because he too knew the truth and he too was overwhelmed. Whatever your life looks like today, stuck in a season of pouring rain from the circumstances of this life, grab hold of the Savior. Hang on precious one because the sunshine is coming!

When He reigns, He pours!

Much love,


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9


(Originally published on Memory Laine Boutique’s “Beautiful You Blog” – March 21 2017

Mama’s Sifter – Stored Away and Forgotten

A lesson found in the clutter.

It’s crunch time for me! In exactly one month a horde of college students will be at my house for the weekend. My youngest and next to youngest will be bringing car loads of friends for their formal here in our town. So this month I am in mad cleaning mode. Here’s the background.

Mom passed away 22 months ago. I brought all her personal belongings to my basement, and there they’ve sat this whole time.

I’m not lazy.

I’m not a hoarder.

I’ve gone to the basement approximately 20 times since then planning to clean out and throw away. But all of those subterranean excursions have lasted less than an hour. As I begin to sort, I become emotional, overcome with memories and grief. Whether it is a visual memory connected to an item, a smell of my mom’s perfume, or something totally unexplainable to me, something always ignites my emotions and I find myself unable unwilling to continue.

But this year for Lent I heard of the idea of giving up your clutter. (I know, I know, it doesn’t really fulfill the purpose of Lent, but bear with me here.) The idea proposed giving away one bag full of unused items from your home for each of the 40 days of Lent. So I’m trying it. It is not a spiritual thing,… but it is. It is deeply affecting me and teaching me.

IMG_5197Today as I gathered up another bag, I entered the unused bedroom in the basement that contains the leftovers of my mom’s life. Once again the aroma of her face cream, the sight of her old kitchen utensils and the stuff of her life – her address book, her phone, her purse – all threatened to undo me once again. Then I caught sight of her sifter. That precious old kitchen utensil! The one I begged her to let me help with from the time I was 5 years old and that I had seen her use hundreds of times in the past brought a smile. And I thought – I’ll take that upstairs and clean it up and use it in my kitchen. So now it sits soaking in my sink.

Somehow in that sifter I see a spiritual picture of redemption and restoration.

Redemption –  the act of offsetting the bad effect of, making worthwhile, extricating from, or helping to overcome something detrimental

Restoration – the return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition.

You see, Mom had to move out of the her home of forty-five years and into an assisted living about 5 years prior to her death due to a fall and health issues. She didn’t really want to move, so we locked the house up and kept it as it was for a year – just in case she wanted to move back you understand. 😉

After a year locked up and unoccupied, mice, raccoons, etc. had taken up residence in the 70+ year old house. Due to their chewing and nesting and such, most of the things she had left behind when she moved to Lakewood were not salvageable. Those things that held a dear memory for us kids we did try to retrieve and clean up. This sifter was one of those things for me, but it was still in the dirty, forgotten shape it had been in when I brought it from my childhood home years ago.

Anyone else would quickly toss that sifter in the trash bin destined for the dump. But I see its worth. I love it. It is dear to me.

People are like that sifter. Seemingly worthless in the eyes of some, but of great worth and greatly loved and treasured by the Father. Redeemable. He sees our usefulness. He remembers fondly the times we were close to Him and longs for that again. He longs to put us in that warm soapy water and wash us up, scrub us with a Brillo pad and make us shine. He tenderly cares for us as He cleans and restores lest that timeworn wooden knob break or that metal mesh get split open. He gently works with us in our hearts, through His Word, and through people around us who “love us back” to a restored state. You are worth restoring!

pexels-photo-62407He has a plan for us, just like I have a plan for that sifter. You see, this week is my eldest’s 30th birthday, and I intend to teach some of my closest loves (my grandsons) to use “Peppymint’s” sifter as we make their dad a birthday cake. I’m planning a celebration, and that sifter is central to my plan! No, it won’t be noticed by many. And yes, it will end up sitting in my cabinet except for maybe a few days a month when I happen to bake. But it is not forgotten. It is not useless. It is crucial! It is cherished! And so are you!

If you find yourself feeling too dirty to be used, unredeemable, stored away and forgotten, not worth restoring, or old and worn out and wondering if you’re still needed by the Father, Stop! You may have lived through the years of rust and dust of sin and deception coating you over. You may have had your season being stored in the basement, but He’ll bring you out in time to make the cake for the party. He knows how to restore you and clean you up. He needs you for His purposes. We, the body, need you.

You have a purpose in God’s plan as long as you have breath in your lungs. You may be the thing that brings Him great joy as He uses you in the background. Or you may be displayed in front of His closest loves as He teaches them something wonderful. Or you may not be a sifter at all; you may be a Mont Blanc pen, or a Battenburg lace tablecloth, or a latchhook rug He carefully wove together. But you have a place in God’s plan. Never forget the story of the sifter.

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5

Back to Basics: God’s Word 2

Hey! Good to see you again! Grab your Jasmine Tea or whatever your favorite beverage is. I’ve got my cup of Breakfast Blend.

So… have you just been doin’ it? Your personal Quiet Time alone with God each day, that is. Have you? This stuff builds upon itself you know. Walk in obedience to the truth you’ve already been shown.

Enough check up and lecture, on to business. A couple of months back Michele mentioned some of these ideas, but there is much to be gained from examining differing perspectives.

A huge part of our quiet time each day is reading and studying God’s word. I hope you chose a Bible reading plan and are well into it. If you’ve kept up with a monthly whole Bible reading plan, you’re probably about 20% Of the way through! On fifth! Way to go! If you haven’t started but would like to, jump in! There’s never a bad time to begin searching out the Father’s Word.

Here are some tips and ideas that may help you read & get the most from scripture study:

  • What version of the Bible should you use? King James version is lovely and poetic, but difficult for some to read because of its archaic English. NASB, ESV, NLT, and NIV are all quality translations, NIV being the easiest of the 4 to read. Modern day versions (The Living Bible, The Message) are acceptable for reading but more difficult to use for deep study. Choose what works best for you. You can try them out online at Bible Gateway.
  • Always pray for God to open your eyes and heart before you begin studying His word. Ask for a teachable spirit. John 14:26 tells us that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Ask the Holy Spirit to do that for you each time you study.
  • Journal. Write down questions, insights, and things you want to study more later, as well as prayer needs and answers.
  • Mark in your Bible. 
    1. Underline verses the Lord has “written there just for you” or so it seemspexels-photo-38048
    2. Put the date in the margin beside important lessons God has shown you, words of encouragement, or answers to prayers.
    3. Also jot in definitions of words or brief explanations of the test that you pick up from sermons or devotionals.
    4. Put a simple question mark in the margin beside things you don’t understand. As you read scripture day after day, week after week, and year after year, the Lord will instruct you and you will one day look back on that little question mark and think, “Wow, that is so clear now. I remember when I didn’t understand that spiritual concept.”
  • Bible Reading Plans. Consider using one of the many Bible Reading Plans available to keep you on track and consistent. Whether you want to read the New Testament in a year, read the whole Bible chronologically through in a year, read more leisurely savoring every verse, or completely read the Bible in 26 days (Yes! There is a plan for that!), a Bible reading plan you choose to fit your needs and desires will help hold you accountable. Here are a few websites that offer these plans: Bible PlanBible Reading Project, or even check out Pinterest for more.
  • Search for other scriptures on a topic. Use Bible Gateway to search for more scriptures. If you read a verse about “baptism” and think “I need to know more about Baptism”. Then go to Bible Gateway and type “baptism” into the search box at the top of the page. It will provide other verses you can read for more insight.
  • Read commentaries for explanation of a text. Commentaries can be purchased at a book store or accessed online. Precept Austin is a good site that offers in-depth information. There is a search engine for the site on the main page where you can look for more info on a scripture.
  • Do a word study of the original Greek or Hebrew term. What? You don’t read Greek & Hebrew? Neither do I. But Stong’s Exhaustive Concordance contains every word from scripture listed alphabetically. Use it to look up a specific word and find the original meaning. For instance, you read John 16:7 about Jesus going away and sending “another comforter.” You wonder what exactly the word “comforter” implies, so you look it up in Strong’s and find the Greek word paraklētos. You then study the definition and it broadens your understanding of the words of Christ. (More on how to do word studies in a later post.)
  • Memorize it! We are instructed to hide God’s word in our heart. What? You say you CAN’T?! You Can! Here are some ideas:
    1. Write a verse on your bathroom mirror with a marker and read it every day while you brush your teeth. (I’ve memorized whole chapters this way!)
    2. A variation of the above: On day 2 or 3 of reading the verse, erase 3-5 key words and see if you can say the verse. Every couple of days erase a few more words until you can finally say it with nothing on the mirror.
    3. Use the app Fighter Verses on your smart phone, iPad, or computer. It offers memory helps, games, etc.
    4. Set your screen saver or lock screen to display your memory verse until it is learned.
    5. Sing the verse!
  • Listen to it! Either on audio Bible or sermon podcasts. Listen when you commute to work or while you’re working out or cleaning house or rocking the baby. And of course, attend your local church and listen to your pastor teach on scripture, hear Sunday School lessons, and participate in women’s Bible studies available in your area.
  • Live it! “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:21-25

For more ideas check out this article from the Navigators on how to study your Bible.

Mmmm! My coffee was so good! But sharing Bible study tips was even better. What about you? Do you have specific Bible study tips you’d like to share with the rest of us? We’d love to hear from you!

 Hand image courtesy of

Salvation – A Personal Story

by Tera Ferguson

The LORD and the Church have always been a part of my life. I was born into a Christian home. My parents were very active in church. My daddy was always either Chairman of the Deacons, Sunday School director or on another committee, and my mother was active in working with children. Both of them sang in the choir. Needless to say we were at the church every time the door was open. I even remember walking to church in the snow one Sunday when the car was iced in. Of course, we couldn’t find my gloves so I remember that my daddy kept one of his hands in his pocket and let me wear one of his big, leather gloves. I also remember joining the church and being baptized when I was very

Later, when I was a teenager, our youth group was preparing for a mission trip. We were using The Four Spiritual Laws booklet as our evangelistic tool. We were assigned to practice at home so we would not need to read the words but be familiar enough to say what was on each page. As I was practicing in my room, I realized that I did not remember ever praying to ask the Lord to forgive me of my sins and be Lord of my life.

This really began to nag at me. Was I a Christian? The scripture talks about “childlike faith” and “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for of such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14 ESV). So was I saved? I am sure my parents thought I was and that I understood, but I could not remember.

What did I remember? I remembered going to Sunday School and Training Union (the Sunday night classes) and Girls Auxiliary which was the mission organization for girls in my church. My mother always read me Bible stories. I remember walking down the aisle and sitting on the front row. My mother had filled out my membership card. I remember waiting with another little girl to be baptized and wondering if the water was cold. We decided that I should stick my toe in the water, but I don’t remember if the water was cold or warm.

The question remained, Was I saved? I did not like that I was asking this question. I had been in church all of my life. I was going on mission tour for crying out loud. Was I saved!!!

bklt-fourspiritualWell, there was one thing I knew without a shadow of a doubt and that was how to present The Four Spiritual Laws. That afternoon in my own room I went through The Four Spiritual Laws booklet and prayed to receive Christ. I have always felt that I was the first person that I ever led to the Lord. I was baptized to publicly profess my salvation. Was I saved? Yes! There was then, and is today, no question as to whether I am saved. I know that I know.

Do I believe that a person can lose their salvation? No. I do believe that every person should be able to pinpoint the occasion when they received Christ. Maybe you do not know the time or date but you should remember the circumstances of your salvation. Do you know that you know that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Do you remember when you prayed to receive Christ? If not, now is the time to take care of business. Every Christian has a salvation story? Do you have a story?


The Four Spiritual Laws is a booklet by Campus Crusade for Christ – Bill Bright Media Foundation.

The Mathematics of Faith

by Dena Green

2 Peter 1:3-8 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

God has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.  He granted his precious and very great promises that we may be partakers of his divine nature.

With my financial work background, I think of a grant as money given to an organization to be used in a certain way whether for research or to provide a good or service.  It is set aside for a specific purpose and is to be used for only that purpose.  It is for the betterment of society and to benefit a specific need for some individuals or group of people. (food pantry, classroom need, school band, social program, medical testing and research to name a few)

As related to the verses above, all of our needs are granted through Jesus Christ in order for us to glorify HIM.  He granted us precious and very great promises so that we may partake of his divine nature.

  • God gave us faith and we are to grow in that faith.
  • We are to make use of our faith.
  • Our faith is precious and came at a high price to Christ Jesus.

We are to keep adding to our faith –

  • Virtue
  • Knowledge
  • Self-control
  • Steadfastness
  • Godliness
  • Brotherly affection
  • Love

Just like funds given to an organization are to be utilized, we must use our faith.  Our lives will be spiritually richer and better off and those around us will benefit as well when we share and grow in our faith. Unlike a financial grant, the great and precious promises that God has granted to us are eternal.

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1:29

The Fellowship of the Broken

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in ALL our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We sat in a circle. Four of us in our flimsy plastic chairs hands clasped together, heads bowed, tears flowing freely. Two of us had never met before that holy moment of desperate prayer. All we knew is we had a shared sorrow. We had experienced the deep grief of miscarriage.

It’s strange to meet someone and find yourself deeply and instantaneously connected. Especially when it’s a connection you never wanted and hoped you’d never have. For my new young momma friend, it was a grief beyond words. She was raw and vulnerable. As we talked for a few minutes, I realized she lost her baby at the same time I’d lost mine—13 weeks. A time when you feel pregnant and feel safe sharing the news with family and friends. Then a visit to the doctor reveals a silent heart. The rest, for both of us, was a whirlwind of tears and denial and anger and anguish and fear, letting the reality of loss seep into my soul. I remember driving away from the doctor’s office that day thinking even the color of the sky had changed. The world seemed greyer, darker, drearier.

As I held this precious momma’s hand, I knew how to pray for her. I knew the anguish that filled her soul. Oh how I wish she never had to walk this broken path. We talked about all the platitudes people offer to comfort your broken heart. Well-meaning friends and family, who truly only want to make things better, often serve to pour salt into an already pexels-photo-54547agonizing wound. I remember, for me, it was the “Be thankful you’ve got three healthy kids at home” reminder. I was thankful. But I missed this precious soul I would never get to meet this side of heaven. I needed to remember this child and grieve this child—even if I never held him or her physically, I held the dream of them in my heart. Reorienting my life without THIS child would take time and tears.

Right after my doctor visit, I met a dear friend who also walked through this pain. I knew she would let me cry, but she would also speak truth. She reminded me of the goodness of God in the heartbreaks of life. She reminded me of His great love for me and this child. She reminded me of God’s comfort and His promise to never leave me nor forsake me. She reminded me that He is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. And this precious friend, after some time of letting me grieve, reminded me that I was to give away the comfort He had given me during the darkest days.

So there we sat in our little circle. The friend God allowed to comfort me all those years ago and me; offering the compassion and comfort we found through our heartache to this precious one who was now walking through this desert place. Hearts aching, tears flowing, grieving the reality of this sinful world and the death and sorrow that are certainties in this fallen place. Yet as we prayed and openly, honestly laid our sorrows before the Lord, pexels-photo-129859He brought the peace only He could give. He reminded us of His good gifts, even in the midst of our hurt and pain. He reminded us that He uses these moments of grief to draw us closer to His heart. When we find fellowship with Him in the darkest, most broken places of life, we find His love more extravagant, more remarkable, more dependable, more real, more tangible, than we ever have before.

Walking through Job again recently I was reminded of a verse that perfectly expressed the beauty from ashes God gives after deep grief.

“I had heard you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you.” Job 42:5

When you walk through deep pain and loss as a lover of God and follower of Christ, a beautiful reality begins to break through the grief. It’s as if the veil between heaven and earth is lifted and the longing for home, our true home, becomes an ache beyond words. We don’t just know about God, we have fellowshipped with Him. We have walked through a small taste of the grief and pain he experienced in the death of His son. We don’t just have the words, now we have experienced the pain.

It is in the fellowship of the broken, the road we never desire to walk, the grief we never desire to face, that we find how faithful He is. How comforting He is. How real His grace and peace are, and how He truly does carry us and hold us, and catch our tears in a bottle and draw near to us as we draw near to Him. The fellowship of the broken is not a group we want to belong to, but it is a place we find He is. And when we find Him there and experience His comfort, if we let Him, He will use our pain to allow us to comfort others. In the hands of our Abba, our pain always has purpose.


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Back to the Basics: Prayer

So do you have your coffee, tea, or cocoa? Ready to chat? We as women love to talk. We are relational. We thrive on deep communication, being known. With that in mind, let’s jump right in!

Prayer is one of the most important things in the Christian walk. Prayer coupled with the Word of God forms our conversation with the Lord. Communication. He speaks to us through His word; we speak back to Him through prayer. Then we listen…. I personally like to listen with a pen and journal. That way when He impresses something on my heart I can write it down, contemplate it, pray more about it, and obey when He calls for action.

Would you agree that prayer is very important in the Christian walk? Most Christians will agree with that, I believe. Then why do we treat it so casually? Why do we not pray frequently, boldly, and confidently to our Father who loves us? And if we pray intentionally and frequently, daily even, in our quiet time at least, why do our prayers often end up sounding like a child’s Christmas wish list to Santa? Why do few Christians practice walking in the “praying without ceasing” mindset we are instructed to in 1 Thessalonians 5:17? Why do we not have the “peace that passes understanding” that we are promised in Philippians 4:7 after we pray? Why do we pray and then find ourselves surprised when something miraculous happens in answer to our prayers? Please hear my heart here, I’m not asking in an accusing way! I’m asking myself why I do these things too?

A photo by Ben White. believe prayer is one of the simplest yet most profound and powerful parts of our life with Christ. It is beyond our understanding in many ways. Prayer is so simple that a little child can do it, yet so powerful and profound that it intimidates lawyers and doctors. It can be sporadic or a disciplined pursuit. Prayer is earthly words spoken that are then acted on by all the power of our Omnipotent Creator. It is at the same time practical and mystical, in that it is a practical action we are instructed to do by scripture, yet it has spiritual ramifications that are beyond our comprehension. Prayer sets in action the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms and is eternal. When we pray a prayer it is never lost floating around in space. Revelation 5:8 tells us “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people” and they are there in heaven eternally before the Father.

Whole books have been written on prayer. So of course I cannot touch on every facet of prayer in one short blog post. I will mention a few resources I love at the end of this post. So for the rest of the article I will focus on carrying through with prayer in your daily life. I’ll offer some ideas for being intentional and organized in prayer.

Tips for a flourishing prayer life:

1. Make prayer and Bible study a priority.

If prayer coupled with Bible study is a conversation with God, then we need to make it a daily activity, and many times a day. We women would not be pleased if our husband, boyfriend, or best friend, only had a conversation with us on Sunday! So why would we think a relationship with God can be sustained without intimate conversation on a regular basis? God speaks through His Word, and we respond to Him through prayer – that’s the conversation. I love the Navigator’s “Wheel” illustration. It refers to prayer and the Word as the vertical spokes of a wheel – us reaching up to God and Him speaking to us. (I’ll include it at the bottom of this article, and we’ll discuss the 2 horizontal spokes of the wheel in other articles.)  And without these spokes our wheel of life becomes a flat tire to drive on.

2.Start the day off with prayer.

Make it a habit to go to God first thing in the morning. Start your day talking with Him. Set the clock for 15 minutes earlier than you would normally rise, then gradually increase the time you spend. It’s worth every moment.

3.Pray scripture.

One of the most powerful ways to pray is to speak God’s words back to Him. There is power in the Word of God! As Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Just personalize verses that speak to the issue you are praying over.

Example. Praying scripture using Hebrews 12:1-3 might go something like this:“Lord, As I’m facing tough times ahead and since I’m surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, help me throw off everything that hinders me and the sin that so easily entangles me. And let me run with perseverance the race marked out for me, fixing my eyes on you, Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of my faith. For the joy set before you, you endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Father God, remind me to consider Jesus who endured such opposition from sinners, so that I won’t grow weary and lose heart. In my struggle against sin, I have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood as Jesus did! Amen.”

4.Have a plan for your personal prayer time. 

Don’t just give your wish list to God every time you meet (supplication). Spend time in praise, adoration, thanksgiving as well as confessing sins, interceding for others, and listening to Him. I’ve seen the acrostic ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. It reminds us to do more than just ask, ask, ask. In reality, my prayers are very much like a human conversation with a rich flow of comments & questions, speaking & listening, ideas, and appreciation all mixed together.

5.Write out your prayers.

One thing I’ve found very helpful is to write out my prayers. It gives me a glimpse of my motives and what I’m really saying. I use my simple lined journal and write stream-of-consciousness style as my thoughts flow. Many times I will be drawn to my knees when I see my prideful, selfish attitude on paper. And equally as many times I find the resolution to my situation spilling out of my pen as I write. I often write out verses in my prayers and even find myself moved by God in a new direction. It’s shockingly revealing. My prayer journal has taken many forms over the years. My recommendation to you is to Start Journaling! Start with whatever you have. If you aren’t satisfied, research so you can refine or change your format. Check out this article on ideas for a prayer journal.


Here are a few other important things to consider about your prayer life:

A. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) All day, every day keep the conversation open with Him as you go about you daily life. You’ll love it and be surprised at the things the Lord has you pray and do as you go about your job or daily errands.

B. Pray for others on the spot when they ask for prayer.This is a form of interceding. defines interceding as – to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition. But basically interceding is a big word that means praying for others (or yourself). You plead their case to God and ask Him to act on their behalf. And here I am challenging you to do it out loud, in the moment, in their presence! I can see your reaction in my mind. You’re sitting there like, “Oh that makes me really uncomfortable. Won’t it be awkward?” It’s worth it!

So why pray for someone right there on the spot in the church hallway, in the aisle at Wal-Mart, or sitting in the bleachers at the ball park? Three great reasons to pray aloud, on the spot with a person:

1) You won’t forget to pray for them. You are doing it right then. And guess what. When you’ve done it once you’re more apt to remember to pray for them again later when they’re not around.
2) There is power in the spoken word. Having someone pray aloud for you touches the heart. It brings peace, comfort and hope. It lets the person being prayed for know that you actually prayed (and didn’t just say that) and what scriptural promises you prayed over them. 

3) Your personal prayer life will ramp up when you are unafraid to risk or to be awkward or to be vulnerable enough to pray with them in public.

C. Be a part of a prayer group with like-minded people. I’m part of a prayer group for moms of teens and young adults. We come together knowing we are loved and never judged, and that we’re prayed for in our darkest moments. We text each other during the week when a crisis or a praise comes! We cry or celebrate together. I call us Stretcher-Bearers because we are like the lame man whose friends had to carry Him to Jesus; sometimes we are broken moms, and the hurts are so difficult we can’t even get the words out to pray for ourselves and our situation, but our stretcher-bearers take us to the throne. We have prayed each other through major ups and downs.

So find you a group. Start a group. I guarantee someone else is wishing someone would. Your prayer group could focus on praying for: spouses, children, schools, grandchildren, missionaries on the field, the team, the band, the workplace, the pastor… whatever your need is.

D. Remember, the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t know what to pray. Romans 8:26 tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” So don’t let not knowing what to say stop you from praying!

E. An Emergency prayer: “Help me, Jesus!” God knows. You don’t have to explain. When those moments come just shout out His name.

Remember James 5:16 (NIV) “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”


The Navigator’s Wheel Illustration


Resources on prayer:

“Be Devoted to Prayer” a wonderful article by John Piper

Lord, Teach Me to Pray – Kay Arthur  Kay’s Arthur’s website

Prayer Portions – Sylvia Gunter

Sylvia’s website has devotionals, a blog, and a place to order the book.

The Power of a Praying Parent – Stormie O’Martian  She also has resources on praying for your spouse, grandchildren, adult child, etc. Stormie’s website.

Obedience – In “Seuss”-ical Style

by Debbie Stovall

In honor of the birthday of author Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) I share with you a poem the Lord put in my heart several years ago. It is a bit fun and silly as “seussical” things are. But it has a point. Allow God to pierce your heart.


dr-seuss-hat-clip-art-cat_hat_by_2hello2-d32lileI am Sam.

Sam I am.

O Great I Am!

O Great I Am!

I’m not sure I like this, O Great I Am!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you like to obey The Lamb?

Do you obey Him here or there? Do you obey Him anywhere?

Will you obey Him in your house? Will you obey Him with your spouse?

Will you obey Him in peace and strife?

Will you obey Him facing death or life?

Would you, could you in a car?

Obey Him. Forgive them, just as they are.

You may like it, you will see, obeying the One who died on that tree!

Will you tell Him, “Let me be!” or will you obey continually?

In a palace, in the desert, in success and in your failures?

At home, at church, at work or play! Could you, would you, just obey?

In the dark? In the lonely dark? Would you obey Him when all is dark?

Would you, could you, in the sun?

Could you, would you when you’re having fun?

Can you, will you in your thoughts? Will you, or won’t you as you ought?

Up on the mountain, down in the valley?

Around the world, or just next door?

Whether you’re rich or whether you’re poor? . . .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You do not like the word “obey”?

You do not like it so you say.

Try it, try it and you may.

Try it and you may I say! …

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I do so like to obey the Lamb!

Thank you!

Thank you, Great I AM!

(Original poem by Debbie Stovall. Copyright August 1, 2016. Published in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday, March 2, 1904.)