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Lately God hsmall Streets of Stockholm2as me confused. Well, let me re-phrase that. I’m confused because I’m busy trying to figure out God andwhat He’s up to and where He’s bringing me.

Over 6 months ago my husband and I decided to help my friend launch a new church. We took it on as a short term mission project because neither of us felt called to leave the church we were going to which also the place I work.  Within 2-3 weeks God made it clear to both of us that He was calling us to leave our church. I’ve attended this church for 16 years (and on and off for 3 years prior) and my husband had attended for 11 years. We weren’t sure what God was up to but we obeyed. I assumed my job was part of the package and I was to leave it as well. I was grieving leaving my job because I enjoy it and I love the volunteers I serve with. I have at least 150 I oversee and manage.

I started to look for jobs. I came across some I thought would fit my schedule and would work for me. However, I never applied to any of them. It just didn’t feel right in my spirit. Meanwhile, I started helping my husband at weddings. He’s a photographer and had weddings booked every Saturday in June. I got really wiped out and tired. I had no energy and it would take almost the entire week to recover and then it was time to do it again.

July came and the weddings weren’t booked so close together anymore. It was hot and humid for much of the month and again I found I was tired and had no energy. I blamed the humidity.I painted and worked at the space for the new launch church many afternoons a week. Once I painted for 20-25 minutes and was so sore the next day I could hardly move. I began to realize I most likely couldn’t do a job other than the one I had.

During this time, I continued to pray for God to show me my next place of employment. I made a promise to God back when I first got the job I’m currently doing. It was literally given to me. I didn’t apply for it, they just offered it to me. Initially I said no to their offer and they bargained with me, gave me such a sweet deal I realized it was God who was putting the job in my hand.  I promised Him I would hold it loosely and I’d stay until He took it away. I’ve survived numerous staff and budget cuts and I’m still there. I get frustrated at times because God called to leave our church yet it’s difficult to find a new church when I work 3 Sundays a month. I don’t get it.

I kept thinking God was going move me. I would tell myself “I can do anything for five years” and one day I heard back “even do what you’re doing now?” Huh, that was the last thing I expected. I knew it didn’t come from me. I continued to feel that phrase in my spirit whenever I prayed about it.

I went to the Rheumatologist in August and was told my previous blood work showed I’m in a Lupus flare-up. Well, suddenly my entire summer (and winter before) made sense. That’s why I’m feeling the way I am. I told her about my job and asked her what she thought about me getting a different one; she told me “no”, at least not now. She explained that if I had a different job I would most likely be quite sick. She thinks the reason I don’t feel as bad as my blood work shows is because I’ve learned over the years how to rest AND because I have a job that I can work from home – on my couch. I work when I want, for how long I want. small DSC07486_DxO-Edit

About 10-11 years ago my biggest desire was to know God’s voice and hear what He’s saying to me. I realized my prayer has been answered. I clearly know what God is saying to me; I’m never confused about what He says but rather why He’s saying it. I’m incredibly grateful I have learned to recognize and listen to God’s voice in my life. Now my prayer is to relax and quit trying to figure it all out

To Him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  John 10:3-4; 27

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Christian Writing Ministry It’s been almost 2 years since my mom died and sometimes it seems like it’s been forever and other times it feels like it was just last week. What a 2 years it’s been. A few months after my mom died, my 16 year old cat, Titus got sick; he was sick almost a year and then we had to have him put to sleep. That was really hard; Titus was the last cat I had from my “old life”. (I had put my other cat, Brandy to sleep 2 years previously.) He was with me before I got married and moved out to the suburbs. In a way it felt like he was all I had left of what was just me; me when I was alone.  Does that make any sense?  A couple of months after we had Titus put to sleep we got two baby kitties who are sisters and they have been a blessing and such fun!  Less than 6 months after my mom died, my sister-in-law’s husband Chip, died of cancer, he was 58. He went fast. Just a couple of months ago, my favorite Aunt Elsie died, she was 96 and she also went fast.

Looking back, it’s been a journey; these last 2 years; well actually 3. My mom needed help the last year of her life so I tried to take care of her the best I could. Funny, when I type those words “best I could” I don’t feel like that’s the truth. I feel like I could have done so much better. There are times I look back and beat myself up for the things I said or did, or didn’t do or didn’t say. There are many things I wish I could take back and do differently. I’ve had to learn to have grace with myself, to realize I’m human and imperfection comes with being human. My mom told people that I was her “right arm” and she told me many times that she didn’t know what she’d do without me. I realize by those statements that I did do a good job taking care of her. She felt loved and cared for and that’s what matters most. I did the same thing after we had Titus put to sleep; I beat myself up for the times that I yelled at him or was impatient with him. Again, I had to learn to give myself grace, forgiveness and accept my humanity. I’ve learned how I can do better in the future with people and animals that need me. Hopefully I will apply what I’ve learned when and if I get another chance to care for someone who is close to the end of their life.

I did apply some of these things I learned when I went to visit Elsie the last couple of times. I sat very near to her, held her hand whenever possible and told her I loved her. I kissed her when we arrived and when we left. I wanted her to feel and to know that she was cared for and loved.

A little while back, I read a book that changed my life. It’s called “Nearing Home” by Billy Graham and the thing that stuck with me the most from the book is that most of us know what it means and what it looks like to die well. But, do we know how to grow old well?  Not really. We don’t hear about that. I realized that I had some really great mentors in my life; my Dad, Mom and Aunt Elsie are all people in my life that grew old well.

All the events of the last 3 years: my mom going into the hospital and needing care for a year; my cat Brandy (17) being put to sleep; my cat Titus (17) being put to sleep; my mom died; Chip died; my aunt Elsie died and I turned 50 (the year my mom died). All these events along with reading the book Nearing Home have brought me to a place of reflection. I am now at the top of the family tree; the top branch. Wow! Am I ready for that? I’ve prayed about this new season in my life. What does it hold for me? How am I to grow old well? This led me to making some changes in myself; I got my hair cut about 4” shorter, cleaned out and gave away all the t-shirts in one dresser drawer (it was packed FULL with band t-shirts, and from places I volunteered, etc), started playing with lighter eye make-up and slowly changing the style of my clothes. I also started looking around at people I respect who are close to my age or a little older and noticing how they conduct themselves, how they dress, their hairstyle, etc. I’ve also noticed a few new things about me: I’m a little bit more patient, forgiving and accepting….just a little. I’m hoping, in time that will grow in me. I’m also hoping that I will grow old well.

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No Place to Move

Christian Writing MinistryThere are times in my life that are like chapters in a book. My life is a book and the different seasons are the chapters. The one I just came out of seems to be one that was titled “no place to move”. I have learned very many things. God seemed to be taking
a jackhammer to my life. He jack hammered everything except one spot to stand, and that spot was “the rock”. That was Jesus Christ, my Lord.

I thought I was doing well, that I was OK. But, in reality, I had drifted so far from where I wanted to be, from where I used to be, from where I should be. I was so close to Jesus and somehow I got so far away from Him. I don’t even know how it happened. Oh, yes I do. But, this is in hindsight. I guess I knew how it happened at the time too, but it was happening so slowly, I thought I could handle it and not let it affect me. I thought I would still stay close to Jesus even though I was doing and allowing things into my life He wouldn’t approve of. I was being deceived. I fell for the lies.

I don’t know where to start with my story, I guess it was when I got a divorce and turned to a friend, a guy in jail. I met him doing prison ministry and he was transformed by Jesus. When he got out, he had no place to go and couldn’t go back to his old life and that was all he knew, so I allowed him to move in with me. This went on for years. I was still in the Word, but not as close as I wanted to be to Jesus.

I had worked at my job since 1977; I had plans for retiring there. I worked for a place that was “30 years and out”, I could retire in 2006 at the age of 46. As I went through the years, I formulated a plan. It included having my house and car paid off several years before retirement and then I would get involved in some kind of ministry.

Well I learned “man plans his way, but God directs his path”. I had all these plans and God just jack hammered around and everything in my life that I was counting on and standing on, crumbled. I lost my job, had to refinance my house and put the car payment on the mortgage, now I was up to 15 years again. My boyfriend had slipped badly, he was drinking a lot and I couldn’t even talk to him anymore. He started out trying to help his sister get free from her habits and got into the same habits himself. Soon, he was doing crack and/or methamphetamine along with drinking. He wouldn’t come home for days and when he did, he would crash out on the couch for days, usually sick and always sleeping it off. He’d get some strength up, go to work and not come home for days again. God had jack hammered out my job, my money, my security, my boyfriend. All I had was Him. Oh, poor baby, all I had was God!

I was isolated. My Mom was the only human person I had in my life. She didn’t want the rest of my family to know I had been fired, so she didn’t tell them and I didn’t either. I didn’t want Mom to be exposed as a liar. What a place to be. The shame I carried was the most unbearable part of this time in my life.

I prayed and asked God to show me how I should spend my time with Him. I knew I needed to lean into Him heavily. It seemed as though He led me to this verse: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be given unto you”. Matt 7:33. So, I spent my days studying righteousness and God’s Kingdom.

For the next year, I was out of a job and fighting for my old job back. I was given unemployment and then it was taken away and I was told I would have to pay back the benefits that I had received so far. It seemed as though things were getting worse instead of better. But, I kept pressing into God and believing that He was all I needed. I continually told God how good He was to me and that if He didn’t do it; it wouldn’t get done. I was in His plan and His will – I had given up mine. I practiced the presence of God in all I did to the best of my ability.

God gave me many other verses and I loved my time in the word. For some time, I memorized one verse a week. I found these verses helped me when I couldn’t sleep. I would wake up at 3:30 every morning and was unable to get back to sleep as I was worried, when I started reciting the verses – I would get back to sleep instantly. There were so many things that I learned during this time of my life. It was the biggest trial and yet it was the time that I learned and changed the most. Thinking back on it now, I see so much that I experienced and learned. I am so much better today because of this time in my life. There was so much, I can’t even contain it all in a single writing.

I learned how to manage and minimize my worrying and anxiety, get closer to my family, trust God in everything – even the things that in the natural seem impossible. I learned humility and to look to God for my purpose and worth in life.

God has blessed me beyond all I could think, ask or imagine since then –I have been transformed by this trial and I am thankful for it.

My prayer is that I can hang on to the things I learned and not have to repeat them like the Israelites going around that mountain again and again. I pray that I continually trust God and have a desperate desire to stay in His word and His presence. To know that I can’t do it – if He doesn’t do it; it won’t get done. He is the author of my life and He will be the finisher of it.

“When I said, my foot is slipping, Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, held me up.
In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul!” Psalm 94:18-19 AMP


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Fall Leaves

Fall Leaves

Raking leaves this week it occurred to me how in the Bible many times there is a reference to trees, roots and fruit in the context of believers. I thought about the fig tree Jesus cursed because it had no fruit. “And as He saw one single leafy fig tree above the roadside, He went to it but he found nothing but leaves on it [seeing that in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves]. And He said to it, Never again shall fruit grow on you! And the fig tree withered up at once.” Matt. 21:19 The leaves on the tree led Him to believe something that was not true. The tree was a fake and had to go. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit but the sickly (worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit. A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits.“ Matthew 7:15-20

As Christians, we are to bear fruit as well. “Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]“ Matt 3:8. “…so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Romans 7:4b There are seasons of our lives that we are dormant and not visually growing, but inside of us, there is something going on. In the spring, the buds show up on our branches, the sap starts flowing and we bear fruit. If we are Christians that do all the “things” on the outside that Christians are “supposed” to do and when someone gets close to us, they find there is no fruit beneath our leaves; we are a fake, a hypocrite and should be cursed and thrown into the fire.

I was sitting on the sofa the other day and I heard a huge gust of wind. I looked out the window and saw the leaves off the trees blowing sideways across the yard. I was reminded that just as the leaves on the trees change colors and fall off, so do the things in our lives that God is through with. There are times the Holy Spirit’s wind blows through our lives to make the things that are dead fall off of us. There are things we sometimes insist on hanging on to. Maybe it is something God once anointed us for and now wants us to move on. Yet, we hang on to whatever it is; teaching Sunday School, working in the Nursery, attending prayer meeting, whatever it is. We hang on because it is a good thing and God really used it in our lives and we think we are to keep it. “Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away; and he cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.” John15:2

There are times in our lives that we need to have some trials happen to us to get the fruit producing in our lives again. Jesus told a parable in regards to this: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find [any]. So he said to the vinedresser, See here! For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up the ground [to deplete the soil, intercept the sun, and take up room]? But he replied to him, Leave it alone, sire [just] this one more year, till I dig around it and put manure [on the soil]. Then perhaps it will bear fruit after this; but if not you can cut it down and out.” Luke 13:6-9

Sometimes it takes a little “manure” to get the fruit growing again.

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Another Stage of Life

Another Stage of Life

The phone rang; I looked at the Caller ID and answered it. Mom was on the other end. She had a bad day, while trying to cut the grass that morning the lawnmower had quit and wouldn‘t start. She said that she “tried and tried and pulled the rope until she almost killed herself” then she gave up and went in the house.

Sitting in the living room chair, she started thinking about why she lives there. She came to the conclusion to sell her house and move to an apartment. Several of her friends on her bowling league live in apartments and they seem to like it. She said the house is just too much for her and thinks moving is the right thing to do. She had it all planned out, she would keep some money for herself and give the rest to us kids; so she would be alive to see us enjoy our inheritance.

At first, I tried to talk her into staying in the house, I suggested she hire a lawn service, or let us kids take care of things. Because I don’t like living in apartments, I didn’t think she would. But, she had answers for everything I said; she is old and settled, she’d like it etc. So, I decided to support her in her decision.

I started to look inside myself and ask why I was uncomfortable with her wanting to move. I realized I feel as though moving to an apartment is her last stage in life and it brings the realization she isn’t going to be around forever. I mean, I know she has to die sometime, but talking about this move just made it more of a reality. Along with that comes knowing my home will be gone, the family “nest” will no longer be there. Mom’s house is the place I was born and raised. Our holidays are spent there with the family. Mom and her home seems to be the glue that holds us together. Mom’s a Christian, so I know she will go to heaven to be with Jesus, and she has lots of people up there waiting for her; my Dad being one of them. (That’s another story for later…)

The reason I was bothered by this move has more to do with selfish reasons than anything else. I realized it was hard for me to think about, because I’m single and don’t have children. My two sisters have families, so when our parents are both gone, and that family has ended so to speak, they will still have their families. Does this make sense? I think there is a fear of being alone and of growing older myself. Mom was always the one I went to for comfort and strength when I was little; she always took care of things, now it’s my turn to take care of her. That is a hard role to reverse.

So, here I was with all of this inside of me. I prayed and God gave me peace, comfort and acceptance. One day, we went apartment hunting. We saw three different places, they were very nice. I was being positive and encouraging, pointing out all the benefits of living in each one. When we got in the car to leave, Mom said she didn’t think she’d like living in an apartment. It reminded her of a nursing home. She hasn’t lived in an apartment for 50 years and then she didn’t live in one for very long. We agreed she would allow us kids to do the lawn work. I told her she shouldn’t have to do anything at her house anymore, to just call one of us, or let us set up a schedule to help. Since then, my nephew has been cutting the grass for her. I go over Saturday mornings to help clean out the closets, basement and the attic.

God knows what is best. He is so gentle in teaching and showing me the different seasons of life and the adjustments that are needed. This whole experience gave both Mom and me lots of things to think about. I’m so glad it happened because I got the chance to do some soul searching and realize a few things.

There are times in our lives when we think like my Mom did, that we are ready to go to the next season, but God knows different. God had to show Mom that she is not at that place in her life. Mom belongs right where she is, but she needs to learn to accept and receive help from others. I know that is hard for her, she was always the one to give, the one to do without and put the rest of the family first.

Then there are times in our lives when we think like I did, that the time is not right to move to the next level or season, just stay right where we are, don’t change anything. Again, God knows different. There are times to move on and even though this wasn’t one in the physical sense for Mom, it is a different level for her. The role reversal has begun. Often times I either want to run out in front of God, or dig in my heels and not leave my comfort zone.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name. You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isaiah 43:1-2

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, For the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

This life is a journey and we need to keep moving, one step at a time. The reassuring part is that Jesus goes through it all with us. He will never, ever ask us to do or go anywhere that He doesn’t go with us.



Lately God has me confused. Well, let me re-phrase that. I’m confused because...
article post


It’s been almost 2 years since my mom died and sometimes it seems like it’s been forever...
article post

No Place to Move

There are times in my life that are like chapters in a book. My life is a book and the...
article post

Fall Leaves

Raking leaves this week it occurred to me how in the Bible many times there is a...
article post

Another Stage of Life

The phone rang; I looked at the Caller ID and answered it. Mom was on the other end. She...
article post