” Hope and Our Weary World…”

Photo by Abbat on Unsplash

Photo by Abbat on Unsplash

” A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”

We will see this part of the song, “O Holy Night.” –  all over our Facebook, and Instagram feeds on Christmas morning, and it will be met with people commenting “ Merry Christmas.”

It would be interesting to see though, behind the scenes of those who will share and post, what they are feeling and going through right now.

I could share a good handful of people from this week alone who have lost loved ones, who have become sick with Covid, and those who have just found themselves on a rollercoaster of emotions through this whole year. I know my church itself in this year, has lost almost fifty people through different illnesses, and physical complications.

We pray for people for healing, we pray for people to get through their situations, but sometimes the road is long for that, and sometimes healing does not come on this side of heaven. 

“ O Holy Night,” is about the story of Jesus coming into the world.  It was interesting enough also written by an atheist and has a remarkable history of bringing comfort and healing during very difficult times. 

Jesus was born during the time that King Herod had placed a command to murder any child under two years old, and it was because he had word that the child would be born and would be the Messiah. (Matthew 2:1-12)

“A thrill of hope…” This part of the song is about having the expectation in our souls that Jesus will take care of whatever we need, “ The weary world rejoices.” Is the knowing deep down that His joy is our strength no matter what we face.

To have hope is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it is hard to keep doing at the toughest moments but allowing the joy that only comes from Jesus to be what pushes us through, that is the deeper meaning of the song. 

It was Christmas Eve, 1870. The Franco-Prussian war was raging on. In the middle of the gunfire, a French soldier felt led to come out from safety of the ditch completely exposed and there he stood and looked at the stars and began to sing, “ O Holy Night.”  The Germans instead of continuing to fight; were moved to also begin to sing the lyrics. The rest of the evening was decided there would not be a further war on Christmas. 

I can only imagine what it must have been like for that French soldier without fear to get up in the middle of loud gunfire, probably not even able to see very far in front of him, not knowing where the enemy was right at the moment or if he may be shot…but to place full focus on the peace above him and then that peaceful presence moving into everyone on that field that is the power of God, that is what it is to find the joy of the Lord in the middle of our circumstances.

To those whose loved ones names will be missing from gifts under the tree this year, I pray the Lord would be so near to you and that your weary heart would find comfort and peace in this time. I pray you will find a moment to smile and not feel guilty about it, and let the joy of Jesus fill your spirits. 

To those that are fighting covid right now, I pray for healing and that in this time of rest God would show you somethings you need to see about yourself or life, and just whatever your future needs may be after the healing comes.

To those who are just at wits end of what to do right now in your life, I pray you would know you are seen and you are loved and that you are not alone in whatever you are facing right now.

I want to end this with the lyrics to “ O Holy Night,” and let the lyrics fall deep.

“O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviors birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!

[Verse 2]
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the Wise Men from Orient land
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

[Verse 3]
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is Peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us Praise His Holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim..”

I pray that the rest of this year would be reflection and that you would see the goodness of the Lord handprints from the beginning of 2021 and going into 2022.

He will always be faithful. His joy is our strength today, tomorrow and always.


It is a struggle to believe with God we can overcome all things, but then also realize are own humanity is full of emotions and perceptions that zap our joy.

Sometimes we find ourselves at a crossroad between what we thought life would look like and there is a roadblock sign, and then another road that seemingly presents itself as nothing but thorns and thistles.  We choose the road with the thorns and thistles because right now it is the only path, we are able to walk through. We are not even sure what else resides in such a place, but to remain standing at the point of the crossroad and wondering what is beyond the roadblock will not do anything but continue to stir up emotions and the what ifs, we know we have to take the road that is open to us no matter how uninviting it might seem at the time.

I am in this season right now that in some parts of it I feel so blessed, I am walking in the calling that God had spoken over me almost 10 years ago. I lead a bible study class; I have a few people I mentor, and I know what it is to lead by example, and I have seen the future take root for me in regard to ministry…

 There are also some parts of this season that have also been hard…

I just turned 40 years old, and to be silly, I will say I had hoped Jesus would have come back before that happened, but to also be serious, I thought I would have somethings by now that I don’t, but even on top of that I am dealing with some health issues right now that prevent me from being me. I was doing everything 110%, I was working two jobs without issue, I was meeting with people a few times a week to just be present with them and speak into their life, I enjoyed doing life fully, and always knowing that I could be counted on…

It has always been a joy for me to help others, to listen to their stories, to help them rise from where they are, and to watch them shine from the places they never thought they could…

I have always loved helping at church, working right alongside with my friends and being there when I was needed…

I have always worked well under pressure at any job, and anytime I was called to ask if I could cover a shift, I was always up for the challenge…

At this time, while I am going through this health stuff, I am having a hard time just being present at church every Sunday depending how I am feeling…and it is HARD on me.

There was an awesome message today about Jabez, and I heard bits and pieces, but I could not focus, I just teared up between slides.

Everything I have been feeling and thinking, it came to the surface.

After church, I mad dashed home and grabbed the pup and changed and took my headphones and went to walk the park trail.

At first, it felt just like normal exercise was not really in the mood to deal, but as the songs changed, I started to pay attention to the nature around me.

Something I do remember from Pastors message today was that we “sing for joy,” and he mentioned a few of David’s “greatest hits,” or Psalms that were written.

I looked up at the trees, and I noticed how they had their own position of where they stood, the direction the branches were going, and whether they still had leaves…I imagined what the roots might look like underneath…I thought of Psalm 1…

I walked a little further and noticed to my right was a usual looking monarch, it was orange at the base and on the inside a true to form monarch.  It was by itself drinking the nectar of single stemmed small white flower planted there in the middle of the grass.

I walked about another few steps and noticed the colors coming from a single red berried branch…

I realized at that moment; God was speaking to me through what He had created.

The song that had come to my ears was, “Speak the Name,” by Koryn Hawthorne, and as I listened to it, I heard part of the scripture “Because He bends down to listen…”

Psalm 116:2

“Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.”

God was sharing with me that He knows where I am, He knows what I am feeling, what I am thinking, and the fears that I have right now, He knows me so well, that He knew how to get my attention…

When I was driving home and I put the song “Speak the Name,” on again, I thought about Natalie Grant and how when she had cancer in her vocal chords and that once the cancer was removed she had a more powerful voice then she had in the past.

It comes down to this…

God made the trees…He knows that branches will break…He knows exactly the places they break.

Paul had what he called, “a thorn,” in his flesh, God knew what He was dealing with, and He knew how Paul would respond…

At the end of the day, God is not asking us to put on a game face and push through life, He is asking that we stop staying busy and face what we need to be facing…

And He will deal with it with us…

Face to face.


Photo by Marcel Strauß on Unsplash

Coloring in the Lines

Thanks to Senjuti Kundu for sharing their work on Unsplash.



I should provide a disclaimer to this post. It is going to be raw, and it honestly started with a text message to my friend today, its on my heart, and so I am sharing.

We all have fears in our lives. We wake up doing the things we do, and go to bed doing the things we do to either face them or avoid them. We either talk about them, or we keep them deep hidden in the soul. Either way, fears are real, and they are real from childhood, to a traumatic event as an adult…

Here is where it is hard to put words, and my friend was gracious when I confessed what I shared this morning, because I wanted her to be the first to hear it, she deserved to hear it from me.

I used to play with a black girl that lived next door to my grandmother in Camden, New Jersey, We would drink our juice boxes and grandma would let us both have orange jello in these glass goblets, and we laughed and played and were normal kids.

I remember one evening on the Fourth of July, that I was with my parents walking in a crowd of people walking to see the fireworks. To the right we passed a white man and a black man, they were arguing. The white man had a silver boom box and I watched as the black man took a bat to the white man’s boom box. We kept walking, but it stung my sight, and developed a perception that looking back I understand, but I wish young me did not experience that night.

When I was in middle school, I was bullied by a black girl, and I don’t really remember why,  but I was also bullied by white girls too

In high school, I was thrown into my locker by a black boy, and he kissed me sticking his tongue in my mouth, but white boys did horrible things to me too…

When I was in Savannah, Georgia before I moved there, my friend and I decided to go to church, she was white like me, but when I walked in I saw we were the only white people there. I tried my best to ignore that, and so did my friend, and we tried really hard to just be there and try to enjoy the worship and the message.

I remember when the preacher shouted loudly how, “ The black children need to rise up over the white...” and my friend and I realized there were many eyes on us, and we got up and left, but though that was my experience I have also had white people slam a door in my face at a Christian conference, because they were jealous and would say mean things about me behind my back, and I have also had white Christians make me feel less than, make me feel like there something wrong with me, make me feel like I was not accepted for just being me…

After all the experiences I have had, I will not lie, I was afraid of knowing black people, I was used to feeling the way I did with white people, but after those eyes were on me in that church that day, I just felt like there was no way that I would fit in, no way I would be accepted, no way they would treat me with decency…….Maybe they were always going to be waiting carrying a bat.

But then I met my friend Jessica, and she was black.

I actually met her through interaction with Beth Moore online over Twitter. We had been discussing something similar, and she replied to us. We started chatting realizing we lived pretty close to one another, and we read our blog posts back and forth and then one day we just met up at a Starbucks in Winter Park, Florida.

All the fears I had about knowing black people went away in knowing Jessica. She is the kindest, most gentle and loving soul you could ever meet. I remember when I received my AA degree on the drive home I received a text from her that said, “ Because no matter what, you don’t give in. You persevere. That’s incredible to me.”
I have never noticed that we have different color skin from after the moment I met her. We have gone to conferences together, she was actually part of my church for awhile before she moved, we have done breakfasts, lunches, dinners, seen movies and plays together….she is one of my favorite people on the planet.

She has taught me what kindness really looks like, she has taught me to let people be genuinely who they are on inside and out

God healed my fears through Jessica, not just my fear of black people but fear of all people.

I will stand for all black people and I will stand for all white people, because we really are all sisters and brothers, and yes, there are evil people out there, but they are also black and white, and I shared my story today, because you might have one too, I share mine, because unless we speak up…

Nothing will change.

Say their names…..George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery…


When you do not feel you are enough


I wonder what everything has been like for you lately.  I wonder what you thought when you first woke up and realized it was morning.  I wonder what your day consumed of whether it was spending time with your family because of “stay at home,” orders, or if you were working from home, maybe you are a student, or if you are one of the “essential,” workers who are constantly changing gloves, sanitizing your workspaces, and adjusting your masks to be sure you were safe from the invisible virus.

No matter where you are right now, I want you to know, that you have value.

You are enough. Right now, Right this moment.

Some days you may wake up and realize the same routine is starting to overwhelm you, you might be a parent who is homeschooling your child and you feel that palpitations of a migraine begin while trying to remember vocabulary words, and math problems.  “Imaginary numbers? I don’t have a clue what they are anymore.” 

But to your child, you are enough, to your child through their tantrums of wanting to just stop school and play video games, they are glad you are there, to the depth of them they miss their teachers, but someone is teaching them.  They are not ungrateful.

You are enough. Right now, Right this moment. Your children and their teachers are glad you are there.

You could be someone who was laid off work because your position was removed for a time, or maybe the entire company itself has shut down, and you sit home and think, of “what ifs.”

You are doing just fine where you are, you did not choose the wrong position, this is an event in the entire world, and you may not see it now, but your work ethic will increase, your knowledge of what you were not sure you knew before will surprise you, whether you go back to the same position or you choose another, you will find a part of you will fit just fine whatever the case.

You are enough. Right now, Right this moment. You have value to add to any position just being who you already are, you possess what is needed for the future going forward.

You could be that person working from home. You may have dogs barking, babies crying, neighbors yelling etc.  You do your best to bring the same dedication to your job as you do while you are working inside the building. You find there are changes day after day to implement due to the CDC regulations, and you adapt, even if it is frustrating, you know that your company needs you right now, you are keeping people all across the country connected in some way.

You are enough. Right now, Right this moment. You are not just a number.

To the High School Senior, you have spent several hours late at night studying to have the GPA that would help get into the best schools, you may be dual enrolled and would be walking for both high school and college…You wanted to go to Prom, to Grad night, you wanted to travel at this time to check out the colleges that gave you offers…but instead you are home with your family, you are able to finish school online, but the joy of the moments you have waited for have been halted or cancelled because of Covid-19.

You are enough. You might feel like you are not seen right now, and that if you talk about how upset you are that you would seem entitled, but you are entitled to have what you should have had in this time and it is unfair that this virus as costed you so much…

But know you are seen, and if you speak you will be heard. You are struggling to make sense of the past few months as we all are…Thank you for being you and working so hard to go after your dreams. Don’t stop dreaming.

Finally, you could be an “ essential worker,” and you leave for work everyday and come home every night wondering if you did, “ enough,” to keep yourself, your co-workers, your patients, customers, and your family safe from the virus.  Some of you do not even see your family because you come home so late and leave so early or cannot sleep in the same room. Some of you are there on the “front lines,” face to face with the virus itself around you. You watch people fight for their lives, you are the substitute family member holding their hands, and you might even be that person that has to make the “tough,” phone call to the family.

You are enough. You are so enough. Right this moment, in this time and history, you are giving to others in a way they cannot help themselves, you are saving lives as the numbers grow…

I once watched a documentary, “ A Poor Man Shames Us All,” and it talked about a tombstone that could only be moved if “ 100 people gave the same power as one, the same mindset as one…”

To all of us, no matter where we are, who we are, and what we are doing in this time…this is our moment for which we have been created (Esther 4:14), this is our moment to do what we have never done so we can look towards a future we cannot see, but believe with all we have that ….it is there waiting for us.

Thank you for all you are doing right now.



Thank you to unsubsplash.com for image by photographerImage by Kelli McClintock

For those Lost and those Found

daniel-jensen-UDleHDOhBZ8-unsplashImage by Daniel Jensen

I never actually read through, “ A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens, but it could be that the first paragraph of the entirety of the book struck me so deep:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

My friends, we are currently living a tale of two groups of people, and the above quotations can largely describe what we are all feeling like as a nation.

There is a lot of anxiety and fear right now, there is a lot of people that are afraid of the virus and anxious from being out of work that they will not know how to provide for their family.

There is a lot of hopelessness too, and people who just cannot see how if there is a God why He would allow something so horrible into our lives and uproot us fully from everyday life.

There is a blame game of the origin of where the virus began, and also blaming politicians in every nation for not doing, “ more,” to keep it from spreading.

Fear is mostly the culprit in all of this though, because store shelves are not just empty locally but all over the world there are shortages of items that people just hoarded and some of it has no real necessity at the very present moment.

We laugh at memes, we watch news stories, we mock people who do this or did that…

But fear is the real deal, and we should really stop and just check on people daily or weekly, our families, are friends and our neighbors.  Everyone is going through some sense of fear right now, does not matter who you are and does not matter what you believe….it is real, and we are all feeling it.

We do need to further discuss what are healthy and unhealthy fears though, because there is a difference.

Healthy Fears:

I am someone with a history of pneumonia more than once in the last 5 years, and I have asthmatic allergies that can easily bring that on if I do not take an allergy pill daily, but even more so, I have a mother with Crohn’s disease, who I have seen go through more than several surgeries in her entire lifetime, and once with Mrsa that left her in the hospital for a good few months and we almost lost her.  When she goes to the hospital they place her in the cancer wing, because she cannot take any chances of infection happening to her body.

Which is why if she receives the coronavirus it would be really difficult for her recovery.

In this healthy fear though, we just do what we need to do to keep us safe.

I am working from home, I stay indoors, and I have chosen not to see my mother right now, or my friends that need to be away from people because they have other health issues, because I have been working call center and have been around other people that I am not sure whether or not they could have been carrying it, and where I live right now has more “presumptive,” cases then the entire county, and so it is wise to be inside and use precaution as now it is necessary.

People have said, “ I will not let this virus run my life,” but honestly, not everyone has that choice, and we can make a choice to protect other people just by letting our daily routines change for awhile.

Unhealthy fears:

This is also a time that people will be preyed on to create unhealthy fears, and I would say the media is a great example.  It is a virus, we are not living in bomb shelters, and a hurricane is not coming straight for us.  The parks, beaches, Disney etc, they were not closed because you can get the virus from sitting on a piece of grass, they were closed, because people do not know how to stay far enough away and not cough or sneeze on others, and apparently many do not know how to wash hands properly and let us not get started on people who do not know how to use a toilet property…It is the sad truth.

Again, I work in a call center, and I already know that once you hear someone cough, then what ever the virus is at the current moment will travel through the air, it is what happens when you work closely with people, or are too close to people who are sick.

Putting both of these fears aside I want to speak a little more on what I have observed as I have paid attention to people all over the world, and it is not something I know for fact, but is something I have often thought of through the course of watching this virus consume different parts of the world…

Personally, I believe according to my own faith that this is God’s judgement on our world, we can agree or disagree, but it is my belief.

When Donald Trump took office it revealed some deep rooted things in the hearts of the people everywhere, but especially in America.  I am not talking about because he as a person became the president, but the reaction and the response from people since that moment.

I was raised to respect authority, my grandfather would not let me have something unless I said, “ Thank you, May I, or Please?” My parents used to tell me that when I went out into the world I was a reflection of them, at the time I did not really understand that, but now I realize it meant that I am to be in the world who I have been taught to be at home. (No home is perfect, but there are morals and values that are good that all of us have been taught at some point.)

I was taught to stay quiet when adults around me were having a conversation unless it was important.  I was taught to respect people of all cultures and races, I was taught to have respect for the elderly and listen to their stories of the wars, and where they came from…

I am not saying by any means that our president is a stellar example of character, but I am saying if my grandfather was alive today he would say he may not agree with the man, but he would shake his hand because he was the president.

When I think of the authority over our nation right now I think back to the book of Daniel, and how because he honored the Lord so much that even though he was under the King of Babylon as  prisoner he still showed honor to him too, not because he agreed with him, but because he trusted in God, and God wants us to give honor and respect to all authority.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;

he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:

You have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

(Daniel 2:21-23)

King Neb (I can never spell his name, so we are nicknaming him), had a dream and asked for magicians and astrologers to interpret it, but they could not.  Daniel was able to interpret the dream because the Lord revealed it to him.  King Neb, fell down in front Daniel and worshipped him.

Daniel became honorary to the king and lived many years in the palace through king after king.

God does things to help his people rise up, He did not interpret Neb’s dream for the benefit of the king but for Daniel and the Jews.

It is possible that the church was never meant to be a building for worshippers that already know God, but possibly a place for those to go who do not, but want to know there is somewhere to find hope. As Christians, we are to rise up, and not waver under the fears that surround us all right now, we need to be strong for those who really are scared, and really cannot see hope from where they are.  We need to speak encouragement to people who have lost things during this time, jobs and graduations, ceremonies and other events that are not happening because of the quarantines.

People all over the world who are in quarantine are having time to sit and open their Bible for the first time, to listen to messages online, and people are praying who have never before.

We want them to keep reading, we want them to keep listening and we want them to keep praying.

“ If my people who are called by name, would humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I would hear from heaven and I will heal their land.”

(2 Chr 7:14)

God is talking to those who already BELIEVE in the verse above. Yes, he is mainly talking to the Israelites, but  He is calling US to humble ourselves, to pray, and seek HIS face MORE than we have in the past, He is calling US to turn from the ways we have allowed the world to influence us and PRESS IN, and from our example, we will then be able to teach others around us how to do the same.

Whenever God gives judgement He will also bring about grace through it.We will get through this TOGETHER, as long we all stay together.

Words from the Heart

andrew-deslauriers-oUPywYZT88Y-unsplashImage by Andrew DesLauriers


1. Speaking Truth in times of Adversity

My friend Cristina was giving her daughter a bath one day and said, ” Paige, put your whole head underwater.”  Her daughter did just that, and when she came back up she replied, ” Ya know what I was saying to myself mom, when I was under?…”Fear is a Liar, fear is a liar, fear is a liar.”

It reminded me of the example we have in Jesus when He was in the wilderness. The enemy tried to tempt Him into sin, but failed. Each time the enemy would try to tell Jesus to do something to disobey the Lord, and try to ruin His credibility, Jesus would speak up against him.

” If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” The devil said to Jesus, and He replies back, ” It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 3:4)

The devil tried a second time:

” If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, For it is written: ” He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” It easy to picture Jesus speaking very firmly, ” It is also written: ” Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Matthew 3:6-7)

If we look back up at the second time the devil tried to tempt Jesus it is interesting to point out that he spoke the Word of God to Jesus. The only difference was he was out to deceive, and it was spoken out of context.

The devil tried once more to tempt Jesus taking him to overlook everything from a mountain:

” All this I will give you, he said, ” If you will bow down and worship me.”  Jesus then said to him sternly, ” Away from me satan! For it is written: ” Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”  And the devil left him. (Matthew 3:8-11)

2. It’s about what is in the heart

Jesus was able to resist the enemy, because He knew the Word, and He knew it exactly as it was written when He spoke it out. He WAS the Word afterall.

“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Jesus had the word in His heart, therefore that is what He was able to speak.

” I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)

As we see with the devil, what was in his heart spoke of evil intention, but we have to be careful with the words we speak too.

Fear is so easy to speak into existence with our lips. We hide our deepest insecurities in our hearts.

I can think of Moses for example when the Lord called him to speak to the Israelites, and he was more concerned with the fear of what he would sound like then what the Lord was about to do. He went as far as saying, ” Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13) This was after the Lord told him exactly what he would need to do for the people to listen to him. We then see that the Lord has Aaron speak for Moses to the Israelites. (Exodus 4:14-15) We know the rest of the story, Moses was the one that helped the Lord to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, but it was interesting how he tried to talk God out of it from the beginning to choose someone else. Thankfully, God knew his heart and what plan he had for him.

3. We also have times when our words lead us into sin unintentionally, maybe its best to say our words can tempt us.

During the Last Supper, Jesus sat the disciples down, and at point He says to them, ” This very night you will all fall on account of me, for it is written: ” I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” (Matthew 26:31)

Peter than decides to speak up, ” Even if I fall away on account of you, I never will.”

Jesus answers, ” This very night before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.”

Peter speaks up again with his human certainty, ” Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  (Matthew 26:35)

Never and Always they say is the worst two words you can use in any conversation where one is making a promise.

Let’s go back to when the devil was tempting Jesus, the part that we did not read at the very beginning was, ” Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:1-2)

Jesus was led by the Spirit, and He had been prepared because He had fasted, though he was hungry, fasting prepares us for the Lord to use us, it provides an empty vessel in which we can be filled.

After the Last Supper, Jesus tells the disciples to get on their knees and pray so that they would not fall into temptation. The disciples kept falling asleep instead. (Luke 22:40-46)

I see though that perhaps there is a parallel to what Jesus did to resist temptation in the wilderness, and was trying to help the disciples with the same direction. Though they failed, and we know Peter does end up denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed. Again, we know Jesus knew his heart and the what the plan was for his life.

Jesus did not fear the devil when He was in the wilderness, because He was secure in who He was. He warned the disciples what would happen, and instead of being prepared, they fell back into their old ways. The disciples could not resist fear, because they did not pray, and did not know the words to speak to themselves in authority that would help them be more confident. Jesus said in His prayer, ” I did what you have sent me on earth to do. I completed it.” From there, He knew the disciples were on their own until the Holy Spirit would come.

4. Words we say are important to our victory:

I was driving one day and had been dealing with something where I just felt pretty defeated, and I heard the voice of negativity say, ” You will never get through this.”

And I heard it, and I answered back,” You are wrong, because I am an overcomer, and with Jesus I can overcome anything.”

We have to change the words we speak aloud if we want to see a different result. We have to speak words that will encourage ourselves and others and that will help us move our feet to make a difference, to help us have victory over our trials.

And we need people in our lives that will speak to the identity of Christ in us when we forget, when we just need to be reminded who we are.

I loved this little piece Jesus said to the disciples, ” You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” ( Luke 22:28)

The bottom line is in times we feel we are pushed against the wall, it is very important to how we speak to the things we are facing.

Let’s be more like a child like five year old Paige and remember the words we need to declare in times of trials…

” Fear is a Liar, “


tim-marshall-H9K0fOYlFVA-unsplashImage by Tim Marshall



I remember the night of the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes I was texting my friend Cara while her and her family were somewhere safe from the storm.

She had no clue what was happening at her home, and one of the texts I remember I sent said, ” God is going to use this.”

Cara and her husband went to see what their home looked like the next day, but there was not a home. Destruction surrounded her. She went from each part of the house now rubble on the ground.

In the middle of all of it, through the tears, God gave her hope that they would be okay; She picked up a picture off the ground of her with her husband and two children still in a frame. A few days later, they were reunited with their dog that they thought was gone was found in a crumpled pick up truck that was laying on its side.

It is so easy to feel hopeless through our circumstances. It is easy to feel victim to what we go through. It is easy to isolate ourselves from the world and just exist.

But there is always hope.

I know many in Florida Panhandle are feeling what Cara did the day after the storm.

A reporter named “Ginger” from ABC news had tears in her eyes as she described the destruction happening in front of her as a house was removed off its foundation.

People for miles are going to come home and see for the first time what is left of the walls that held so many memories they had with their families.

They too, will find it hard to see hope in the middle of it all, but I pray that God would show them there is indeed hope, that God will use it all for good, that He will use the broken pieces to shape them, and to help them to rebuild their lives.

That they would know through their pain, that God surrounds them with His love and that they will know He is there.

There is a song I listened to a few weeks ago that I cannot get off my heart, It is called, ” Surrounded,” by UpperRoom. The lyrics are, ” I may feel like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.”…”This is how I fight my battles…”

While I listened, God led me to Zechariah 2:5, ” For I, says the Lord, will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

The enemy will try to keep us from seeing hope, and try to deter us from seeing that God is still God and that He still has a plan for us.

This verse above though, ” I will be a wall of FIRE all around her.” This means that regardless of what we go through that God sees it, and He will see us through it. He will help us through our trials, and where we cannot handle with what we are dealing with, that He can, and He will be our strength. It is HE that surrounds us in our time of trials.

“It is when you saw only one set of footprints that I carried you.” (Footprints Poem)

I decided to open my Complete Jewish Study Bible to see what Zechariah 2:5 said in that translation, and it simply says,

” I will be for her a wall of fire SURROUNDING her; and I will be the glory within her.”

We can acknowledge this truth in reading any of the great wall of faith heroes from the Old Testament, David for example, God delivered the enemies surrounding him into his hands many times, or take it from those who were in the surrounded in a fiery furnace that did not burn no matter how high the heat.

We just have to hold on to hope when things get tough, even if it seems unbearable, still always hope, it is in the times we feel at a loss or have lost everything that it is important to realize it is a stepping stone for a foundation that cannot be shaken.



The Breaking Point

miguel-bruna-qKlUdr1qOR8-unsplashImage by Miguel Bruna



Everything has a point where it can no longer stand some type of force that it finally breaks…

Glass will break above 60 pounds of force. Steel is tougher and can withstand up to 40,000 pounds of force, and the bones in our body can actually withstand more than steel taking on up to 4,000 newtons of force to break the femur for just an example.

Psychology would say that our breaking point would come after dealing with tension and stress until the strain of it is more than we are able to handle.

The last post I wrote I shared about the work out, and how much I endured to reach some personal goals.  I woke up 6:15am four or five times a week and met my friend up at the gym. I was excited to look in the mirror and see the inches dwindle away on my hips, face and legs. I was eating properly, and I became pretty comfortable with sweating and then going home and making my full protein and carb breakfast. It came to a point where people were asking my advice on how I lost so much weight and how I was able to work out so often…and I would give them advice, but it was mostly, ” Just kick your own butt on the elliptical for at least 30 minutes and then get into working out with the weights..”

Little did I know, my daily routine was about to change…

I went on vacation to the Georgia mountains with family. It felt so good to be able to know I had the muscles to do hiking and anything strenuous. Even tubing and hitting the rocks in the rapids was not too big of an issue, I knew I could handle it.

Later one evening, I was getting ready for bed, and decided to walk across the loft to tell my mom something who was in kitchen downstairs. I took one step across, and had forgotten that there was step going down into the loft and I fell. I don’t remember much about how I landed but that I was on my left side and I was in excruciating amount of pain. I managed to get to my bed, and saw my left foot was swelling and started to resemble a mushroom. We did not have ice inside the cabin as there was only well water, so I managed the pain with aspirin and told my family that it was pointless to find an ER this high up in mountains so I would wait until we returned to Florida. (Yes, I know I sound insane, but I knew I could make myself endure until I got to my doctor.)

As we drove home, so many thoughts went through my mind, but mostly I wondered how I would be able to keep up with the workouts if I was unable to walk, and also how could I search for my new home if I could only hobble in and out of places.

The next day it was confirmed with the X-ray, I had broken my metatarsal bones in four places and would need surgery. September 11th, I had the surgery, and have now been in bed 15 days only able to go to restroom or to doctor. I am not able to go to work, and not able to even get to church because not elevating my foot will make it swell horribly.

I have not been able to exercise now for a month, and recovery fully I was told will take 12 weeks.

I want to share that it is extremely easy to be discouraged, it is extremely easy to eat junk food all day and act like it doesn’t matter anyway, it is easy to feel bad for myself that this had fully ruined my future plans….and I have had these thoughts.

I was praying to the Lord in all of this though, believe me, He heard the whining, but something was pressed upon my heart one day that I believe came from Him.

” Stop placing your faith in the unseen and place your faith in the One who can see it for you.”

I sat back and thought about it. Everyone has had their thoughts on how long my recovery will be. Everyone has told me their own stories, one person stating I would be good after two weeks….and all it did was discourage me.

If we put faith in the timeline that has not happened yet, of course we will be discouraged, it leaves room for doubt, it leaves room for failures, it leaves room to bring ourselves down so much that we lose our passions, and our goals.

But if we place our faith in God, and His plan and His promises then that discouragement will not take root and turn to bitterness, that doubt will not take root and turn into unbelief, that feeling of failing will not take root and turn into loss of identity, and if we place our faith in God’s plan, our passion and goals will only grow because we become expectant and we become secure in knowing God knows exactly what should happen and needs to happen.

I cannot say I am thrilled at the idea of being stuck in bed, but I do know God knew it would happen, and I will rest and I will take care of my broken bone so it heals properly, and I will keep myself occupied with Bible study; I have a few that have come in the mail; Reading novels, writing letters to friends, watching movies, and I even bought Sega Genesis so I knew how to play video games.

But the bottom line here, it is just important to stay focused, there is a goal here, and there are goals beyond that after I recover. It is just a minor setback but God knows exactly how it all will work out perfectly. We all have a breaking point, but it is up to us if we break.

” Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup, you make my lot secure, the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16: 5-6)



The Workout


Miguel Bruna

I got up on Saturday and decided that I would finally get the bike out of the shed, it was nearly 95 degrees, but I had a goal, it would be the day after all the tough working out that I would finally attempt to ride a bike again.

After riding about almost two miles, I came to a hill. It was a hill I did dread, because it was pretty steep, and I was not sure I would be able to make it.

As I peddled, I slowly made it up the hill, I felt the top of my thighs to the sides of my knees burn, my muscles were tired, but I had a goal.

I had to make it up that hill, because after that hill, I knew it was down hill, and the ride would be easier, and less resistance….I did make it, and I did ride easier the rest of the way.

Up until that morning, I had done walking outside, I had done running on the elliptical machines, and I had done weight training, I had eaten the foods I needed to, for the most part, let’s just say I learned how to balance what I was eating.  I did all of that for some personal goals, but getting on that bike, I thought as I rode it, how each muscle needs a different workout in order to endure further…and that kept me going, I wanted those leg muscles to become stronger, I wanted to endure further the next time….

The seasons of our lives, and different things that happen in our lives…sometimes we wonder if we will ever get past the tough moments, sometimes we wonder if there is any point of purpose to any of it, something we wonder if God even really sees us from where He is…we become so discouraged, because we can only see what we can see from where we are at that point and time….

But have you ever also experienced coming out of those tough times feeling stronger? Have you ever been able to look back and even see where God was in it all?

Psalm 139 itself, it a beautiful passage of scripture that so helps envision that we are not on this earth to wander aimlessly…

“You have SEARCHED me, and you KNOW me…You KNOW when I SIT and when I RISE….You PERCEIVE  my THOUGHTS from afar…You DISCERN my Going out and my lying down…Before a word is on my tongue, YOU KNOW IT COMPLETELY….You hem me in– behind and before….you have LAID YOUR HAND upon me….Such knowledge is too WONDERFUL for me, to LOFTY for me to attain….WHERE CAN I GO FROM YOUR SPIRIT?…WHERE CAN I FLEE FROM YOUR PRESENCE?…(Psalm 139:1-7)

And at the very end of the Psalm as David continues the declarations of He KNOWS God is always there for him and with him…He ends saying,

” SEARCH ME, O God, and KNOW MY HEART…TEST ME, and KNOW my anxious thoughts…See if there is ANY offensive way in me, and LEAD ME in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

David knows here that God REALLY knew him, and He is absolutely ready to take whatever it is about himself that God reveals he needs to work out…

David started his life working as a Shephard and before he ever had a crown on his head, he went through SO many trials….

Hear this friends, You will see that if you endure through whatever you go through, that God will honor that, because to endure is to be obedient, to endure is to understand that we all are to be disciplined, and that regardless of where our emotions can come and go believing…We WILL be STRONGER at the finish!



Piece by Piece

I will be honest with you, I wanted to get in my comfy pajamas and Netflix some “Scandal,” episodes, as that seems to be my next binge-watching experience, but instead, here I am.

I want to say that many things have happened over the course of the past few months, some of it almost unbearable, but obviously, I lived to tell about it.

I wanted my first real post here to talk about “The Process,” of how God does things, not what He has done, but His way of how it came to be.

I can really only describe this process personally as a mosaic piece of art that intricately the hand of God places where He wants each piece to fit perfectly.

We find Jesus in Luke 22:31, ” Peter, Satan has demanded that he be allowed to sift you like wheat.” and he goes on to add in vs 32, ” But I have prayed for you that your faith would not fail, and when you return that you would strengthen your brothers.”

The beauty of what we can easily miss here is there was “Purpose,” in Peter being allowed to be sifted like wheat, Peter was allowed to be shaken up a bit, and often when we look at this passage of scripture, it does not seem fair.

The purpose is this…We have to be shaken, so that there will be nothing that can shake us.

God has to know He can trust us to remain steady when life happens.

Just like the mosaic, God put Peter back together in grace. Peter started the church, and Jesus was the rock He stood on, and because that was his foundation, He remained steady too.

I want to go back to, Luke 22:32 for a moment.

” And when you return, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus already knew who Peter would become, Jesus already knew that He would have influence, and Jesus already knew the attitude Peter would have before the sifting and how that would change later.

God does not steady us so we can be content living our life, He steadies us to help others in their lives. We learn to be strong so we can help others to do the same.

“ God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works;  I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”  (Psalm 18:20:24, The Message)