The Best Mother-in-Law

We’ve all heard them, the mother-in-law stories! Husbands who don’t want the mother-in-law to come over. Tales of rude conversations between in-laws. Sarcastic comments and evil references. Our society seems to accept that type of strained relationship among in-laws.

Here’s a story that goes against that negativity.

When I married, I had in my mind an antagonistic in-law attitude. I felt that was how life worked, at least that was what the culture had taught me. Those first couple of years I did not want to accept my mother-in-law’s help. I guess I felt I had to prove myself worthy of her son. I over-analyzed her comments, was touchy around her, and doubted myself frequently. Fortunately, I am a generally amiable person, so I was never rude or ugly towards her, but my inner dialog was a battlefield in my mind.

After those first few months and years I finally realized that my “other mother” was on my side. She loved me and rooted for me simply because her son had chosen me. Her love for her son spilled over on me!

As I began to change the frame of reference in my mind I settled down. I grew in love for her and our relationship became strong and important in my life. She was a godly woman worth learning from and listening to.

What did she do, or not do? She never judged me. She was a humble servant to our whole family and everyone who knew her. She was honest and forthright without drama, I knew where I stood with her and we were able to work through difficulties without turmoil. She loved my/our kids and spoiled them in a healthy affirming way. She sewed for us, babysat for us, cooked for us, took me to women’s events with her at church, vacationed with us, and never complained, even when you knew her arthritis had her feeling bad.

One of the most important things my mother-in-law did was, she let me be me. I wasn’t skilled and talented in the same ways she was, but she always appreciated my gifts and never tried to get me to conform to her standards. I was more blessed than I realized at the time. She was an example to me of how to be a mother-in-law, and I believe I am a relatively good (though not perfect of course!) “mother-in-love” to my new children who have married into our family.

So why do I write this today? To challenge all of you who have in-laws.

Think about the cultural biases and expectations you have towards your mother-in-law. Are they realistic and just? What if a person had these biases and expectations of you? Would they seem fair then? Make a conscious decision to have a wonderful, close relationship with her. Decide to become one of her closest friends – as much as it depends on you. Find ways to serve, love, and give to this wonderful woman God has placed in your life. Appreciate her for raising your husband to be the man you fell in love with. When you do these things you will learn from her, grow in grace and wisdom, and have a calmer life.

Consider making this a goal for 2022! Let this verse be your theme:

 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

When it comes to in-laws “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” is a good motto!

Emotions Run Amok


The weeks turned to months turned to years of Covid-19 has worn on us. (Anyone remember the “two week” shutdown to flatten the curve?) Here we are two years later still dealing with the ramifications of this contagion on our lives. Death, fear, illness, distancing, shortages, masks, lost celebrations, weakened relationships, all these societal changes wear on us. Daily. To what end? Our emotional and mental equilibrium has been set off balance.

We had signs of this from the beginning. We got “cabin fever” during those first two weeks. We didn’t have our go to crutches of shopping, entertainment, eating out, and meeting friends. How were we going to handle ourselves? Those were our emotional escape mechanisms.

It began to dawn on us in the fall that first year when kids couldn’t go back to school and many of us were still working from home, that we were becoming emotionally fragile. News programs began talking about the increasing rate of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide attempts. Our world had been rocked. Our internal well-being was challenged. All of us were affected to some extent, but those without a strong foundation of faith found themselves simmering in hidden currents of emotional magma that threatened to break through at any moment.

What erupted from that was angry outbursts, hatred, polarization of people, and all the physical signs that accompany feelings of anger, fear and outrage.

Most likely none of us have handled these feelings as well as we wish we would have. But we have learned a lot about ourselves and enough time has passed for us to evaluate and consider how we might live differently. The words Be kind have become a mantra for schools and in society at large. But as Christians we will be helped most if we turn to scriptural truths to tell us how to live. (This was true before Covid, but it has now caught our attention.) So how shall we live ladies? Here are some verses from Romans 12 that speak to these issues. (Share other verses in the comments that have helped you.)


Romans 12:1 “…Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Romans 12:3 “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.”

Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere.”

Romans 12:9 “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Romans 12:10 “Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:13 “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”

Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another.”

Romans 12:16 “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Romans 12:17 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge”

Romans 12:20 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.”

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

What Are You Passing On?

As I’m reading through the Word this year, I’m trying to highlight one verse each day from the portion I read. It’s a verse that seems to catch my attention, have a deep impact on me, or stirs a new train of thought or incites new learning.

Today as I read the very familiar Ten Commandments from Exodus 20, I was caught again by the idea in verses five and six: “…For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” These are God’s very own words to Moses. He tells Moses, and us, that His compassion and mercy outweigh His anger and judgment when He says that His punishment to those who hate Him will carry on for three to four generations, but His love will be poured out for a thousand generations to those who love Him.

Wow! Just wow!

The enemy infiltrates our thinking and paints God as a harsh disciplinarian whom we would want to hide from. But that is not at all who God tells us He is. God tells us He loves biggest, judges small and only when He has to, is our rescuer, redeems and restores, and desires to be our friend (among a bunch of other things). Yet we listen to the whispers of the enemy, whispers that lie and divide and alienate.

That’s all just my set up today. My real “meat” of what God showed me was this thought… What am I passing on to my children? Am I so self-focused and short-sighted that I live for myself and never realize that I am passing on sin and punishment to them when I sin? I bestow on them a legacy of harsh consequences with my disobedience. I leave them caught in a web of generational sin that they must work to break out of. I excuse myself with, “That’s just the way I am,” and then I kick the ball down the road for the next generation to deal with and try to fix themselves.

What about when I love God? What am I passing on then?

I’m granting my children and grandchildren a fresh start to walk in their love for God, in freedom, and in opportunity when I choose obedience and honor of God. When my love for the Father affects the way I live, I am showing my children the right path. I am bequeathing a legacy of hope and love. I am setting up the start of One Thousand generations being blessed. One Thousand! Isn’t that worth me denying myself and choosing not to sin? It’s worth so much more than a million dollar 401K, an estate worth mega-dollars, or mama’s jewelry or china. Yet we often focus on things as most important to pass on. Why?

I challenge you as challenge myself today, let us walk with God. Let us seek Him and find Him. Let us know Him and love Him. Let us listen and obey and bring glory to Him. There is no better legacy we can pass on to our children, and none that has such long rang impact on generations to come.

The Blessing by Kari Jobe

The Lord bless you
And keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord turn His
Face toward you
And give you peaceAmen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amenThe Lord bless you
And keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord turn His
Face toward you
And give you peace
Amen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amenMay His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And Your family and your children
And their children, and their childrenMay His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their childrenMay His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with youIn the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for youHe is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for youAmen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amenMay His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with youIn the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you

When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn

“Choose Joy!”

It’s a slogan that is popping everywhere from journals to key chains to wall decor. It’s a feel good slogan and a lifeline to many. But it doesn’t seem enough when life takes those detours.

What do you do when life takes a sudden turn and …

… you end up in a hospital bed with all sorts of scary tests being run.?

… you discover a hidden issue with your child that rips you to your core?

… you get that pink slip out of nowhere with a family to feed and bills to pay?

… that true love of yours is caught in a web of untruths that breaks your heart and your trust?

… ______(you fill in the blank) ______?

You “Choose Joy” right? Nope, it’s practically impossible in those shattering moments. Besides, joy doesn’t have answers for us. Joy is a fleeting emotion hard to hold onto. So what do you do?

You choose Jesus. He has the answers. He knows what lies ahead when you can’t fathom where to go and what to do next. He has the power to restore the devastation and broken things. He can redeem people, relationships, and things. He is the source of true life and true joy. He loves you!

Choose Jesus through the tears.

Choose Jesus through your fears.

Choose Jesus in your pain.

Choose Jesus in your darkest hour.

When we choose Jesus at those unexpected turns, joy comes with the package!


They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

Years ago there was a popular Christian song that stated, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,… and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” It was heart-warming and was sung by youth groups all around to promote unity and love among us all. I imagine many of you sang it at some time.

We live in a very fragmented state here in the US. Differences in opinions over political issues, social issues, health issues, and a hundred other things have led us down a path of separation, antagonism, division, and claims of intolerance and hatred. Are we still Christians who are known by our love, or are we people who are known by our fear, judgment, and condemnation?

We seem to have forgotten that we can have different theological and political views and still love people. Biblical values must be upheld if we call ourselves Christians. The way we hold up our beliefs is what we are considering today. If we aren’t careful, we tend to hold up some sins as horrible. We judge and condemn people who do “those sins.” While at the same time we overlook or take lightly sins that don’t seem so horrendous to us. Sin is sin. God condemns all sin, and He expects us to flee sin, to avoid every appearance of evil, whether it is big or little, murder or lying, robbery or harsh words.

As we Christians operate in society, it is good for us to follow God and declare sinful behaviors wrong. I would not be following Christ if I didn’t. But affirming that homosexuality, abortion, politically correct tolerance, etc., are wrong, does not require me to be hateful or condescending toward the people who believe the opposite of me on these issues. In fact, the love of God compels me to treat these people honorably, with love and gentleness.

At the same time that we stand up against the sin of abortion, do we equally stand up against sins that have broken families down and created environments where people turn to sex outside marriage and end up in a position to desire an abortion? When we boldly condemn homosexuality, do we just as boldly condemn pre-marital sex and adultery? Or are we less verbal in condemning those sins we find tolerable? When we verbalize our opinions on masks or vaccines, do we do so in a way that allows others to hold their own opinions without feeling that we consider them an enemy? When we (rightly) confront our child’s teacher over inappropriate or ungodly material being used in the classroom do we dialog with them with kindness and respect or do we come in like gangbusters demanding and threatening?

I’m reading a wonderful little book by Josh and Sean McDowell called The Beauty of Intolerance: Setting a Generation Free to Know Truth & Love. It has pushed me to examine how I handle issues that go against scripture, and how I treat people who believe differently than I do. In one chapter Sean talks about going to a Christian conference on homosexuality and how he stood firm on God’s Word, yet expressed his theological beliefs to them in loving, acceptable ways.

We need to learn to do that, to express our beliefs based on God’s Word in a way that does not tear down and cause arguing, anger, and hatred. Are we willing to get into discussions and respectful, straight-forward dialog without throwing insults, slurs or jabs? It will be challenging. Are we willing to discuss hard issues without anger and judgment. It will take us out of our comfort zone. It will require us to develop relationships with people very different than we are. But it will open up a door to show God’s love and stand firm in His principles, and will take us as Christians from being seen as judgmental, haters to being respected as people who stand firm but love others unconditionally. It’s a challenge I want to embrace. Will you join me? Let’s let the world know that we are Christians by our love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


Reading The Word in 2022

Have you gotten started? Reading God’s Word this year that is.

Our church, GFBC, is strongly encouraging every member to let this be the year of the Bible and to commit to making reading God’s Word a daily habit. You are invited to jump in and be a part of this! Will you join me and hundreds of others?

You don’t have to necessarily read the whole Bible.

  • You could focus on reading the New testament all the way through. That would involve about a chapter a day.
  • If you’re an ultra-busy mom of littles, you may just want to read the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, over the course of a year to get a glimpse of Jesus each day. Just read as you have time, mark your place, and pick back up the next day.
  • Perhaps reading slowly through a particular book or books of the Bible and taking notes of what God shows you through His Word is more your style.
  • If you’re a retired empty nester with plenty of time you may want to read God’s word cover-to-cover or chronologically all the way through. That usually takes reading about three chapters a day.

There are so many options. The important thing is to have a plan or goal for the year. If we don’t plan up front and set aside time in our busy schedules we usually don’t get a thing done. Check out Bible Gateway for reading plans, or get the YouVersion App, it has dozens of options. Or just google “Bible Reading Plans.” Whatever you choose, the point is to go to God’s Word each day for your spiritual daily bread.

We can do this! We are all in this together. Let’s read God’s Word faithfully, encourage one another to be diligent, grow in our relationship with Him, and end this year full of the wisdom we have gleaned from His Word!

“…the Holy Scriptures, … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17

Want to SURVIVE or THRIVE in the New Year?

Alone. Ten-thirty p.m. New Year’s Eve.

The ballgame was over. My sleepy husband and daughter had called it a night, but I was wired up from the exciting game. As I scrolled channels looking for anything entertaining and waiting for the ball to drop, I felt sad.

Extroverted me would’ve loved sharing the evening with family. Friends. People. Any people. I was alone and mopey, feeling sorry for myself. As I sat there in the dim glow of the Christmas tree lights and TV screen I knew I should be happy and content, but I wasn’t.

I wasn’t terminally ill. I had a warm place to live, family, and friends. I was in relatively good health for some over the hill. Why couldn’t I be grateful? I knew so many people who had so many more struggles than I currently did: cancer, Covid19, broken marriages, addicted kids… For several it was their first Christmas without that child, spouse, or parent; death is a thief.

So why did my limping knees and my husband’s sciatic pain send me into an emotionally dark place? I don’t know, maybe I’m just a selfish greedy person. I should be able to put my woes into perspective.

Sitting there, tears blurring the TV screen, I desperately said to myself “What do I need to do to fix this? I need hope. But I need to trust God, too. And I need rest – real rest. My soul is weary.” As those words came out, I thought of those three particular words: Trust, Hope, and Rest. Yes! That’s what I need more of in 2022! The first letters of each word came to my attention: T… H… R… and the word THRive came to my mind. I knew in that moment THAT was my word for 2022 – thrive.

A few minutes later when the ball dropped, I was at a place of peace and able to doze off.

The next morning I got up pessimistically wondering what catastrophes this year might hold. I don’t like myself when I think that way. I really wanted to have a good day, and that required a good attitude which I didn’t have in the moment. So I set to my normal morning routine: coffee, Bible, journal – sip, read, listen, pray.


I’m so grateful that godly people and the Father Himself have taught me the importance of spiritual habits. Bible reading, praying, journaling to listen, and scripture memory all used to be hit or miss activities in my Christian walk through life. I usually did them when I was needy, depressed or emotional, kind of as a bribe to get God to do something for me, I guess.

But after 40+ years of walking with God, He had convinced me to come say Good morning! to Him each (and every) morning no matter what I was feeling or had to do that day. At first it was hard to develop that habit. Laundry, computer work, or the network news shows vied for my attention first thing in the morning. But month by month over the years, I slowly came to see that having that relationship with Him, that routine of meeting with Him, during happy or mundane times would be a lifeline to me in my sad or tragic times.


So New Year’s Day 2022 I set about my morning routine.

Our pastor encourages us to find a watchword and a scripture verse each year. Every year for the past five or six years I’ve known my word going into the new year. Father God has brought it to my attention in the last few weeks of the year, and I’ve been able to start off day one with a focus word and verse. Perhaps that was part of my gloominess the year, I had yet to receive a Word from the Lord and I felt… lost, adrift, sailing into the new year.

As I sipped my peppermint mocha coffee, I thought over the word I’d had dropped in my mind last night. I believed it was my word for the year, but I always pick a word that is found in scripture, and I doubted I’d find the word THRIVE in the Bible. So opening my Bible and journal, I started off a bit skeptical.

And guess what I found! It’s there! The word “thrive” is in God’s word in several places! Who knew?! It is translated as thrive, flourish, or prosper. But the idea behind it is to blossom, break forth, grow, increase, rise, grow fat, push forward, germinate, or bear fruit! Yes! That’s what I wanted for this year, to break out of the dark soil of depression and weariness and grow into a thriving, fruitful vine! A vine pleasing my Maker and bearing fruit that nourished other believers.

Ezekiel 17:24 is the verse God gave me. “Then all the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD. I bring down the tall tree, and make the low tree tall. I cause the green tree to wither and make the withered tree thrive. I, the LORD, have spoken and I will do it.’ ”

Though we may feel like a small, withered tree – the Lord will cause us to THRIVE – to Flourish! God has spoken good for His children in His Word and He will do it! He. Not I. I can’t make myself into a tall, thriving tree, but Father God can. I cannot fix my weary soul, but He, the LORD will do it. I can take joy in that. It doesn’t depend on my trying, fixing, or controlling. Whew!

So what is my part? Nothing and everything. Nothing. Nothing to manipulate or fret over or manage or worry about. But everything. Every single day I must come sit at His feet, read, pray and listen to Him, coming into a closer more intimate relationship that will sustain me through everything: the discouragement, heartache and fear. A relationship based on Trust in Him, Hope in Him, and Rest in Him. A relationship where I Thrive.

That is my prayer this year, for me and for you as well. May we not just survive another year, may we Thrive, germinate, break forth from the dark, and bear fruit.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ Jesus

John 15:5

Almost Missed It

I Almost missed it. I was too worried about myself to even be aware of him. Too busy being about my own business. 

I hardly noticed him sitting across from me, elderly, past retirement age, Bible open in his lap, head bowed in thought and prayer. 

I was looking at my phone pouring over a Google search. His Bible was worn and used marked and highlighted. It fit snugly into a Bible cover. He would turn the pages with a gentleness and ease that I watched intently. I am a page flipper, no grace, no careful touch, just a ferocity and clumsiness that tends to be my nature. My Bible reflects such a nature.

This man though took such care with his most treasured possession, a pang of conviction came over me. He wore no expression of shame and he did not dare attempt to hide his Word. I noted as he read he was towards the back. I assumed a letter from Paul and I fought the urge to ask him what he was reading, what nuggets of truth he was finding in those soft pages. Moments before, I was too worried about myself to even be aware of him and as I sat now enamored and intrigued, I realized for the second day in a row, I’d almost missed something, someone rather, because I was consumed with myself and my own circumstances.

The day before I was frustrated, my day began with a broken pipe that led to a broken ceiling and a broken wall. I am no contractor but I knew it meant trouble. Expensive trouble. As I exited the interstate I was grumbling about the cost of such things and how I was heading into work after crying all morning and I didn’t really want to go but no I had no choice and if God could’ve just not let this happen that would’ve been great and also could that car in front of me just GO!!! 

I was angry and I was so consumed with myself that I almost missed it.

A person sitting on the ground, head down, knees pulled in, arms around them one frail hand raised, but just barely, holding one of those foam trays, meat comes on and written in neat all caps black letters, the word “Hungry.” The sign one of desperation, the posture, one of shame. 

As I sat across from the unashamed Bible reader I realized that I had almost missed them both, the ashamed destitute least of these, and the unashamed Bible reader because I was looking down instead of up.

I had been so focused on me and my stuff that I failed to look around and see the world around me. 

Another pang of conviction and I began to pray. A prayer of repentance and petitioning, I asked for eyes to see others as the King does and to see  less of me and my circumstances.

I looked up after my silent amen just as The Bible reader began to doze.

I’ve done it myself many times, my intention to spend time with my Lord but fatigue takes over and my head once bowed in Prayer now is bowed in slumber. I used to feel bad about that, used to be upset that like the King’s friends, couldn’t I just stay awake and pray, until one day a friend of mine told me she felt sure that the Father would much rather me climb up in His lap and fall asleep than to have never met with him at all. 

Happy New Year!

From the bloggers at Priceless to each of you – May you have a blessed New Year!

We hope to offer encouragement for you each week. To remind you to pray and stay in the Word each day. May your faith and understanding of our Lord Jesus grow as each day passes.

In the words of the apostle Paul, our prayer for you is…

May “…the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. [We] pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…” and we “…pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And [we] pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Amen

[Excerpted from Ephesians 1 & 3]