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Hold on to Hope

Hold on to Hope

It’s so silly. I struggle to hold on to hope. I obsess and question and study to figure out a way to deal with life’s challenges big and small.

  • what to make for dinner
  • how to better connect with a child
  • healing my soul
  • sorting papers
  • how to organize my ideas
  • my life message

There is hope. There are ways to effectively deal with all of life’s challenges. Hope and solutions come by focusing on Jesus who is The Way.

With Jesus beside me every step of the way I can focus on the current step. I can be present and do my best with this step because if He told me to take it than it is taking me one step closer to where He wants me to go. What may seem to me to be steps sideways or even backwards really aren’t if they are directed by Him. And He is so good that even if I miss it or deliberately go the wrong way He still will use it for my good when I come back to Him and His way!

That’s where hope is.

Hold on to HopeWhen I don’t know what step to take next I simply ask Him. He’s right there.

The hope comes from knowing The Way, Jesus.

The directions He gives, the path to take are tools. They are not where to place my hope. With my hope in the path or the circumstances it becomes about my performance. I know myself and my track record. Hope fades quickly.

I often get discouraged and lose my hope because I am trying to figure out the way myself.

I keep my hope when I remember to focus on Jesus instead of my circumstances or performance.

How do you hold on to hope?

Do you ask Jesus what to do when your hope or direction seem unclear?

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5 Ways to Practice Being Thankful

5 Ways to Practice Being Thankful

I wish I felt more thankful. Maybe I’m setting myself up for failure.

I’m told to give thanks, not feel thankful. I guess it seems easier for other people than for me.

Being thankful is a choice. I choose to be thankful regardless of feelings or circumstances, or even natural disposition. I naturally tended to be the Eeyore.

I see what’s wrong instead of right.
I see how far there is to go instead of how far I’ve come.
I see the work and get tired.
I also can see the good in people, in hard things, and I choose to give thanks.

I thank Him in faith for the things He has promised.

Why am I not more thankful?

My “but”

I imagine that is much like the apology “I’m sorry, but…”

  • “Thank You for my husband’s job but I wish he didn’t have to work away.”
  • “Thank You for providing for us to build our dream shop but I wish it would go faster.”
  • “Thank You for promising growth and breakthrough but can I be done with this process?”

If I really believe God is good and working ALL things for my good I have no reason for anything but thanksgiving.

5 ways to practice being thankful

1.    Turns complaints to thanks.

“I’m tired of the snow.”

“I’m thankful, snow helps pay my bills.”

2.    Make a list.

I choose to start my time with God thanking Him for something. Even on days that don’t seem too good He is always good and I can always start there. Some days I just stay there. He is good – always. I’m thankful!

3.    Meditate on scripture, soak your mind and spirit in God’s truth.

4. Get rid of the “buts”.

Listen to your thoughts this week as you give thanks. Is there are but tagging along? Repent, confess, ask forgiveness if need be. Ask God for His perspective.

5. Tell someone thank you. Be specific.

“Thank you for helping out.” is nice. “Thank you for bringing a meal and taking the time to listen. It was really encouraging.” is better.

What helps you be more thankful?

If this isn’t something you struggle with what are you most thankful for?

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4 Ways to Excercise Authority in Faith

4 Ways to Excercise Authority in Faith

You gave them authority over all things. “Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. Hebrews 2:8 NLT

I have been given authority over all things in Christ Jesus. If you are in Christ so have you.

What are we are supposed to do with this authority? What do we have authority over?

  • All things – Ephesians 1:22
  • The world – 1 John 4:4
  • Our thoughts – 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • Our speech – Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29
  • Our emotions – Colossians 3:8-14
  • Mountains (obstacles) – Matthew 17:20
  • Satan and his realm – James 4:7, Matthew 10:1, 12:28

4 Ways to Excercise Authority in Faith4 ways I am learning to exercise my God-given authority

1. Blessing my day

Something I started doing recently is blessing my day. I was listening to a message by Joyce Meyer. She said something to the effect of taking authority over your day by blessing it and everything in it. Blessing is more than a saying, more than “I wish you the best.” Our words of blessing carry power and the authority for God to move in the situation we have blessed.

2. Pleading the blood of Jesus

If pleading the blood sounds strange think of a court of law. A defendant is brought before the judge and asked how they plead. They can say guilty or not guilty. Because of Jesus we can say “I plead the blood of Jesus.” Jesus sacrifice makes us righteous, fully adopted children of the Most High God! That carries some major authority. Everything God made available to Jesus is available to us. We are co-heirs with Jesus.

3. Declare my authority

I state my authority, reminding myself and Satan daily that he has no right to me or anything concerning me. I am under the blood of Jesus. My property, finances, family, everything concerning me is under the blood. Jesus provided for it to be safe from the thief.

This changes my perspective. I’m never a victim. I am more than a conqueror in Christ.

4. Over my emotions

I frequently have to take authority over my emotions. Emotions are real. They are not always true and they are even less often a good basis for decisions. I am learning to feel and understand my emotions and what caused them without letting them run my life. Notice I said learning. I still struggle and fail in moments and situations. I will keep learning.

This can look like telling myself to act like the person I want to be instead of how I’m feeling. Get up and make dinner. Sort and file that stack of papers. Go have a conversation and make someone feel welcome.

Have you exercised your authority in any of these ways?

What questions do you have about using your authority?

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10 Tips to Rofocus

10 Tips to Refocus

I can, and do, focus on so many things.

I could focus on my clothes that don’t fit quite right, my body that lumps in the wrong places, where I am going with my writing, and my platform “they” say I have to build. Then there’s ministry and politics and relationships…The list is endless.

The trouble with focusing on all these thing is I can get discouraged, feel overwhelmed and defeated. I have to be careful and I often need to refocus.

I home school my three older children. All of them in high school this year. I can certainly focus on the fact that time is short and I might be messing up. Or I can focus on how precious and amazing my teens are.

We are building a building that is WAY beyond my ability. We need more of everything than we have on our own, more money, more time, more skill, more labor. I can get discouraged or I can focus on God’s faithfulness and provision.

I can focus on my home that isn’t finished and is never clean enough. I can focus on the blessing of no mortgage and  happy memories with my family.

What do I want my focus to be?

I want to be thinking His thoughts, seeing things and people the way He does. I want to focus on His promises and plans instead of mine. His faithfulness, goodness, and grace are a better focus than any of my stuff. When I’m focused on Him I see my stuff more clearly.

So how do I change my focus?


I know very obvious and not very helpful. It’s true though. Right now you are focused on the words in this post. Look up at the ceiling and you are no longer focused on the words on your screen.

Changing life long thought patterns is not that easy. It is that simple. Each and every time you think about or focus on something you don’t want to focus on refocus on something you want to focus on. Eventually you will have created the new habit of focusing on the right thing.

10 Tips to Refocus

  1. Find scripture and what God has to say about what to focus on. I think of verses that say things like: Set your hearts on things above, seek first the kingdom, Bless the Lord, rejoice, and give thanks.
  2. Read encouraging words, quotes, or scriptures.
  3. Hang pictures that God has used to speak to you, that speak to your destiny and His promises.
  4. Sing hymns, worship, and solid scriptural songs
  5. Take a break
  6. Get alone and tell Satan to leave you alone.
  7. Take authority over anything that is not of God in your home or your environment and release the opposite. If there is tension, tell it to go and release peace.
  8. Write. It is a great way for to process, identify lies, patterns, and connections.
  9. Record the truth God reveals so you can go back to it when you need to refocus.
  10. An accountability partner can be a great help to. This doesn’t have to be intense or time-consuming. It can be as simple as letting your friends know you have a new focus and you want them to ask you how you are doing. Give them permission to respectfully point out when you miss your new focus.

Are you pleased with what you have been focused on?

I’d love to hear if these ideas are helpful and how you refocus, too.

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How to Handle Hard Days

How to Handle Hard Days

“It’s been a hard year.” I hear myself say this and hate that it rolls off my tongue. I’m so tired of that being my perspective.

It’s been a couple of months and I’m still sorting through things in my soul. It has been a hard year. It has also been a wonderful year.

Trying to get out of the “hard” mindset has brought me back to a tool the Lord gave me a few years ago.

This is where I was then and frankly have been again:

First I feel or think something ugly.

Then I beat myself up because

  • I know better.
  • I’ve dealt with this.
  • I didn’t think I was like that.

Then it gets really good because I can beat myself up for beating myself up!

Sound familiar? I hope not, but I suspect for some it does. Not you? Great! Maybe reading will help you understand a friend who falls into this dreadful, downward spiraling trap.

Reaching out for help wasn’t helping. I would feel worse instead of better. Looking through too many dirty lenses to see help or truth perhaps?


Why am I feeling this way? Why do I keep thinking that? Why am I here again? I thought I dealt with this. I had a strategy, what was it? Why can’t I change? What am I missing?


You’ve been teaching people, challenging people to walk victorious and look at you! You should know better. You DO know better. Look at what a mess you are.


This will never change. I will never change.

Through that stack of dirty lenses and massive cloud of lies the Lord gave me an idea I want to hang onto. Maybe you can hang on to it too.

I live each day with my Father.

Focus. Authority. Thanksgiving. Hope. Encouragement. Rest.


Where have I set my attention? My affections?


How do things change when I remember Jesus has given me all authority in His name?


Reflect and acknowledge the goodness of God, the greatness of His character.


Where is my hope? People? Things? Desired outcomes? God alone.


Asking Father to speak. He is always encouraging.


Where do I find rest? In His presence is joy, peace and rest.

No matter the circumstance remembering, choosing, abiding with the Father makes it better.

Nothing changes when I remember I am seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Yet everything changes when I remember.

Nothing changes in my circumstances because I draw close to Him. It doesn’t have to.

I change when I draw close to Him. I find peace. I find rest. I remember He is bigger than it all. I remember He is good, beyond my understanding, beyond my seeing. He is working, always for my good. He has called me to rest. (Matthew 11:28)

I’ll explain each of these keys and how I am learning to use them to frame my day in future posts.

As I wrote out this process with the Lord I could feel stress leaving and peace growing. I often reread it during hard times of the day.

I live each day with focus, authority, thanksgiving, hope, encouragement, and rest.

Please share how you handle hard days.

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Leo the Lobster: It’s TIme to Grow

I’ve been posting about changing our perspective on pressure or stress in our life. I’ve shared how pressure is for our good, our growth and a practical process inspired by a lobster to partner with pressure. I shared three examples I’m walking through with pressure from sin, wounds, and opportunity to grow.

In this post I’m sharing a story. I hope it is enjoyable and encouraging.

Leo the LobsterLeo the Lobster: It’s Time to Grow

Leo is a young lobster who lives with his Dad and Mom at the bottom of the sea.

Leo likes to swim and play. Leo loves Jesus.

One day Leo notices his shell is getting tight. Each day it gets a little tighter. It gets so tight Leo cannot play or swim.

“Mom, Dad, my shell is so tight! I feel like a giant octopus is squeezing me all the time.” Leo explains.

“You’re a growing lobster. Of course your shell is getting tight. You are getting ready to lose your shell. This is a special time.” Dad says.

“That sounds scary. I’ve never been without my shell.” Leo says. “I don’t want to be eaten by a cod!”

“You are wise to know your shell keeps you safe.” Mom says.

“Leo, you were made for this. You can only do the things you were made to do if you grow. You will learn more about who you are and your Creator, too. God loves you and He is always with you.” says Dad

“That helps a little.” says Leo, still unsure about losing his shell.

“Leo, you go into a cave. A cave no cod can get in. You will stay there until your new shell is ready.” Dad explains “We can go look for a cave tomorrow.”

Dad and Leo look for a cave. They swim slowly because Leo’s shell is so tight.  “This is a nice cave.” Dad says “No cod can get in here.” Here Leo can shed his shell and watch the other creatures swim by without being seen.

Leo doesn’t want to stay at the cave. He asks his Dad to stay with him.

“Sure I can stay with you, Leo.”

Inside the cave Leo starts to be afraid. He thinks “Maybe shedding my shell isn’t a very god idea.” Then he remembers what his Dad told him. “Leo, you were made for this. You can only do the things you were made to do if you grow. You will learn more about who you are and your Creator, too. God loves you and He is always with you.” Leo begins to climb out of his shell.

When Leo is out of his shell he is a little scared. He starts to ask lots of questions. “Is it really safe?, How long will this take?, What will it be like?, and Will I even like my new shell?”

As Leo waits he runs out of questions. Leo begins to hear the Lord, his Creator. Leo hears the Lord in verses he remembers and songs he sings. Leo begins to hear the Creator in his heart. Leo hears how much he is loved, how special he is.

Leo enjoys his special time with the Lord. He learns the Creators voice in a new way. Leo learns for himself that he is never alone. Leo doesn’t notice his shell is growing and getting hard.

One day Leo doesn’t hear the Lord in the same way he has been. Leo wonders why. He starts to get worried and upset. “God, you said you’d always be here. Where are you now?” Leo asks.

Leo hears the Lord in his heart. “I am always with you, Leo. You don’t always need to be here.” Leo realizes his new shell is all grown and hardened. He can go home. Leo can go back to swimming and playing. Leo also knows the voice of the Lord, his Creator, and His love for him like never before.

Leo swims home thinking his Mom and Dad were right. This was a special time. “The next time I start to feel that pressure I will remember it’s time to grow.” Leo was even looking forward to it.

I’m thinking of making this a children’s book. It still needs refining so I would love to hear what you think and if you share the story with a child what did they think.

What is a story you love that teaches a great lesson? Comment below.

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An Invitation to Grow

An Invitation to Grow

Did I really just say, out loud, that I think I could teach online courses and make good money at it!?!

It’s been a swing between “I could totally do this.” And “There’s no way I could ever pull that off!”

I’m feeling pressure. Like the lobster I’m being invited to grow.

Here’s part of my process (because I’m still in it) of shedding my shell to grow… If you’re wondering why I’m talking about lobsters check out this post.

An Invitation to Grow

Humble yourself before the Lord.

Father I humble myself before you. I want to obey and honor You. I don’t want my doubts, fears, or wrong thinking to stop me from saying yes and obeying immediately.

Ask Him where the pressure is coming from.

I feel pressure to be teaching online courses. It’s a desire to make money, to be a blessing, be obedient. I feel You are telling me it is something I am supposed to do. I feel pressure because I don’t always believe I have anything to offer. Can I really charge people for sharing what I’ve learned? Can I manage to get a course done without neglecting my family, my home, and myself? Questions of my capability in so many areas. Pressure about asking my family to sacrifice for my crazy ideas. Fears of letting them, myself, customers, and most of all You down.

Shed your shell – be vulnerable and honest with the Lord

I don’t trust that I’m hearing You clearly. I don’t trust myself to follow a plan and be successful. I’m not sure about asking my family to help me.

Begin to grow a new shell. Ask Him “What do I do now?”

Continue healing your soul. Keep exploring with Me the wounds that are bringing so much pain around this. You know your healing is more important to Me than your performance. We’ll move one step at a time as you are ready.

Stay hidden in His presence until your new shell is grown

Strategy – Read the books and follow the steps for healing your soul.

Knowing to step back into His presence if you find yourself out of it – seeing your shell isn’t grown yet.

Learn the difference between fear and leading. I’m feeling pressure, some of it I need to embrace and allow it to nudge me to be brave. Some I need to cast down because it is not from the Lord. In learning to cast down the negative pressure I am also growing my shell, growing to a new level of discernment and bring my thoughts under submission to Christ. A lie or thought rooted in fear must submit.

Thank you for reading!

Please share where the Lord inviting you to grow or how your stay in His presence under pressure.

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Let Pressure Push You to Healing

I’m an emotional wreck. I can’t think. I can’t hold back the tears and this intense ache.

A clear thought breaks through the suffocating emotion.

This hurts way more than it should. This is just normal teen stuff. They want to be with their friends. It’s a really busy season.

Why is it hurting so bad? What is it I’m really feeling?

I’m feeling SO rejected!

Rejection and I go way back. Way, way back. That’s why this hurts so bad. It’s time to heal.

Let Pressure Push You to Healing

I’m feeling pressure, stress, from other’s choices. I feel rejected. A crazy thing about feelings is I can feel rejection without ever having been rejected. This isn’t about blaming or figuring out who rejected me. It’s about me examining the wound with the Lord and receiving His healing so I can deal with current events as just that – current, present – not clouded and confused by past wounds.

Looking at pressure like the lobster, it’s time to grow.

  1. Humble yourself before the Lord.

Lord, I come before You knowing You want my healing, You want my heart as broken as it is. I ask You to show me my part. I submit to Your loving direction for where to go from here.

  1. Ask Him where the pressure is coming from.

Where is this intense emotion coming from?

This pressure is coming from rejection in your past.

  1. Shed your shell.
    • Identify the wound. Is there a specific memory? What is your earliest memory of this wound or this feeling?

I have so often felt rejected, not good enough for many reasons.

  • Identify any lies you believe because of this wound.

I was too sensitive, too quiet, too smart, too naïve. I am rejectable. There is something uniquely wrong with me. No one wants to spend time with me. I’m no fun.

  • Forgive anyone you need to forgive. This releases them from your judgement. It does not say what they did was okay. It also releases you from the sin of unforgiveness which leads to bitterness.

I forgive those who have rejected me including myself (you don’t need to read my list 😊). I release them and myself from my judgement. I pray blessings and the experience of the Father’s love for each of them.

  1. Begin to grow a new shell.
    • Receive healing for your wound.

Heavenly Father, I receive healing for my wounds of rejection.

  • Ask for the truth for any lies.

What is the truth?

I made you exactly as I want you to be. Being or felling rejected in the past does not mean you are rejected now. I will never reject you. You are accepted in Me and can handle any rejection or feelings that come.

  • Practice believing them, thinking them, speaking them, imagine how you would act if you believed the truth and act that way.

When I believe I am accepted by the God of the universe I can love without fear. I can see where I lack skills to handle emotions and learn them.

  • Ask Him if there is anything He would like to tell you.

Is there anything You want to tell me, Father?

I love you. I not only accept you, I chose you before time began. I paid for you with the life of Jesus. I will never reject you. Be patient and stay in the process of healing.

  1. Stay hidden in His presence until your new shell is grown
  • Ask for strategy for how to stay hidden while you grow. That may include certain songs, journal, a book, study, or a new relationship.

I am reading a couple of books, following their steps for healing and learning skills I lack. I started a Bible study for encouragement, growth, an accountability.

  • Knowing to step back into His presence if you find yourself out of it or feeling more pressure – seeing your shell isn’t grown yet

When feelings of rejection rise up I spiritually step back into His presence and His acceptance.

I would love to hear from you.

Please comment below if this is helpful.

Please ask if you have questions. Messages on Facebook are good, too.

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Put Pressure in its Place

Pressure in its Place

I mentioned last week pressure coming from three sources; sin/disobedience (our choices), wounds (other people’s choices), and an invitation for more or need for maturity.

This post looks at pressure coming from sin. My sin. In this case – worry, lack of trust, anxiety. Whatever nice cultural terms we like to use it’s sin.

Pressure in its Place


Here’s my process to partner with the pressure so I grow instead of just wishing it would go away or remaining a victim to it.

1.       Humble yourself before the Lord.

Lord, I’m feeling so stressed and anxious. I know that’s not You.

2.       Ask Him where the pressure is coming from.

Where is this pressure coming from? What is attacking my peace?

3.       Shed your shell – be vulnerable and honest with the Lord

As I pause to ask and answer my questions I realize I have let a list of things creep in to my subconscious thinking.

  • Troubling thoughts about hard relationships
  • Creative ideas I don’t have time to pursue
  • Comments made on social media that aren’t true and aren’t worth responding to
  • What to make for dinner
  • How to get my baby to sleep
  • If anyone cares what I write
  • Books I want to read
  • Business projects I want to pursue

and on and on and on…

4.       Begin to grow a new shell. Ask Him “What do I do now?”

The idea He gave me was to write the thoughts down. Writing down the thoughts is symbolically giving each one to the Lord. With each thought I record I am reminded of His good character and promises to take care of me and everything concerning me. As a move my focus to the promise and His faithfulness I feel anxiety decrease and peace flow in to my soul. I repent. Changing my thinking to match His. The thoughts that come are a mix of His words to me and my own thoughts.

  • Troubling thoughts about hard relationships I carry peace. I release them from any expectations of them. I bless them in Jesus name.
  • Creative ideas I don’t have time to pursue. Lord I thank you for the wisdom to continue working on my routines so I will have time to pursue ideas You ask me to pursue.
  • Comments made on social media that aren’t true and aren’t worth responding to. I’m thankful for Your faithfulness over the years to show me that the truth always comes out. I’m thankful I don’t need to put any effort into defending my character. You do it better than I ever could.
  • What to make for dinner. Just decide. No really, pause and make a plan. (That’s Him 😊)
  • How to get my baby to sleep. Be consistent and patient. (Him again 😊)
  • If anyone cares what I write. Father I remind myself I am writing for You and I’m writing for me. As I am faithful You will bring the opportunities and connections I need to accomplish what You have in mind.
  • Books I want to read. Set one by the couch. Read when you lay Teagan down. You only need to read a little at a time anyway. You can’t apply everything all at once. One thing at a time. (and again 😊)
  • Business projects I want to pursue. I have so many ideas. I give them each to You. I trust You to give me time and resources and direction for the right time to pursue the right idea. Thank You for providing everything we need; ideas, finances, connections, time, and strategies.
5.       Stay hidden in His presence until your new shell is grown

Every time the anxious thoughts return I choose what to do with them. He is teaching me to put the anxious thoughts away. They do not belong continually in my mind.

Obviously, this shell will be growing for a very long time, maybe the rest of my life. I am getting much better at putting my thoughts away instead of letting them run wild in my head.

How do you deal with anxious thoughts?

Please share your strategies in the comments.

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How to Partner with Pressure

Partner with Pressure

I like peace. I like easy.

As a lobster grows its shell becomes too tight putting the lobster under pressure. When life is bringing pressure on me I want it to go away. Yesterday.

The lobster follows the design of its Creator and goes to a safe place like the cleft of a rock. In the shelter of the rock the lobster sheds the shell that has become too small and grows a new, larger shell.

When life brings pressure I’m learning to take shelter in my Rock.

If I am being continually transformed from glory to glory my shell is going to frequently get too tight. I can complain about the pressure, wish it away, ignore it, and … miss out on what He has for me in this area of growth.

Instead of seeing pressure as a negative I can recognize it and say “Okay, time to grow!”. I can be intentional in asking the Lord for His strategy, His lesson, and who He wants to be for me. I want to come humbly before Him and shed my too tight shell. I desire to stay hidden in His presence as my new shell grows.

I like things cut and dry, black and white. I want to see the process as clearly as a lobster shedding one shell and growing another.  Instead I can feel pressure from many different sources for many different reasons, all at the same time. I can have multiple spiritual, mental, or emotional shells in various stages.

Knowing the time frame and the outcome – that wouldn’t require faith. Without faith I cannot please Him.

How to Partner with the Pressure

  1. Humble yourself before the Lord. This can be difficult but it is so much easier than having to be humbled.
  2. Ask Him where the pressure is coming from. I think there are three sources of pressure, each requiring unique responses.
    1. Sin/disobedience – our choices
    2. Wounds – other people’s choices
    3. An invitation for more or need for maturity – God may invite us, the enemy may attack and God will use it for our good if we are walking in His purposes.
  3. Shed your shell. Be vulnerable and honest with the Lord
  4. Begin to grow a new shell. Ask Him “What do I do now?”
  5. Stay hidden in His presence until your new shell is grown

When has being under pressure caused you to grow?