Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
– Princess Bride, 1987

I love definitions! Looking up the meaning of words has become a regular habit of mine as I become more intentional in writing my book. Intrigued? Good, but this post isn’t about what I’m writing, it is about what I’m learning.

Some of us, like Vizzini in the Princess Bride, can use words so often, we forget or overlook its actual meaning. I do this, in particular, when reading Scripture. I read a verse and interpret it using what I believe the word means…I know! You need someone to interpret the meaning of what I am writing. So, let me provide an example.

John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. Two words that I have always brushed over are “thief” and “abundantly”.

Depending on your personal experience or knowledge, you can have different interpretations of the word thief. For example, if you have ever been robbed, you have a vivid picture of a thief being someone invading your space and stealing from you. Someone else may immediately associate the “thief” as another name for Satan.

Neither interpretation is incorrect, but because we often read Scripture out of context, and/or interject our own personal interpretations of the words used, we sometimes miss the intended meaning. In this particular verse, we see in verse 8, “thief” refers to “all those who come before [Jesus]”, also known as false teachers.

I do believe in order for Scripture to better sink in for us, we should allow the Holy Spirit to help us find our own meaning to the words. Nevertheless, we should do our do diligence to know the Scriptures’ intended meaning. I am by far a theologian, but I have been known to allow my emotions and experiences skew my judgement in some situations, that I am cautious when it comes to reading and interpreting Scripture for my own life and especially if I intend to share it with others.

This post went a bit long, so I will leave “abundantly” for another post. I do hope that, if anything, we can each learn to read Scripture knowing it can have multiple meanings and we should be prudent to find the truth (that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality), not our own definition of it.


The road to work has a beautiful view of the coastline and the traffic is minimal. However, this picturesque view is often overshadowed by the many potholes along the road. So much so, the beautiful winding road quickly feels more like an obstacle course.

The potholes are not so bad that they would cause immediate damage to my car, but driving over them everyday, could eventually cause some costly repairs to my car’s tires, shocks, and alignment to name a few things. So instead, of driving over them, I maneuver around.

The negative thoughts I allow in my mind are just like these potholes. I may not notice them or any immediate damage they may be causing, but the long term damage can be very costly.

For months, the Lord has been revealing to me that my mind is not His. Like the road I travel everyday, there are so many potholes (negative thoughts) that are stealing from the beautiful journey He has me on. Unlike the road I drive every morning, I have not avoided the potholes in my mind. I have driven over the same potholes for as long as I can remember and only until recently have I realized the costly price I have paid. Broken relationships, stifled dreams, unnecessary anxiety, to just name a few.

In the recent weeks, there have been crews smoothing out the road. Little by little the potholes will be filled up. As any other construction project, I am sure it will take a long time to get the even the smallest piece of road completely filled in to where the potholes won’t even be noticed. God has been showing me that my relationship with Him is what will fill the potholes in my mind.

Similarly to construction jobs, this will not be an easy or quick process. It will take time and dedication on my part to hold every thought captive and be intentional to replace those thoughts with His truths about me. My daily relationship with my Savior and His Word are just what I need to fill in these potholes and make this journey a much smoother ride.

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8

When God is a chatterbox…

If you have read any of my posts, you may have come to the conclusion that I am insecure and riddled with fear. Fear of my unworthiness, fear of success, fear of being found out to be the fraud I am (that is another subject for another day).

As a woman after God’s heart, my deepest desire is to do what God has called me to do, but my biggest fear is that if I do that which He has written on my heart, He will realize the mistake He has made in choosing me for such a calling.

Being a good mom, owning a home, writing books, being a speaker, leading Bible studies are just a few of the promises He has placed on my heart…some which He has spoken for many, many years. But because of my fear to be “found out”, I have been disobedient in all of these. And boy, has my fear and disobedience really ticked me off as of late.

I have been so mad, that my prayers are me yelling in anger. Please know that I am not yelling at God because I am mad at Him, but I am yelling because I am mad at myself. How can I let lies manipulate me into believing them instead of the Creator of the Universe? The Author of my story?

I am getting mad all over again just writing this, so I better move on to the chatterbox part…

The Bible talks about righteous anger. It says in Ephesians 4:26 “to be angry, yet not sin”. God has been showing me that the anger within me, is indeed, righteous anger. I am not angry with the intention to sin, but the intention to make myself better—more more like the One my heart adores!

In His infinite wisdom, God knows I (along with most of humankind) do much better in community. So, He has placed two amazing women to help me along the way; one in Florida and one in Kansas! They do not know each other and it is only because of my job, that I know them. The most interesting part of these two God-ordained friendships is that I have not met either of them in person. Text, phone calls, Zoom has been our mode of communication and yet I love them dearly; and there is no doubt God has hand-picked them to be His voice box in this season of my life.

In the past week, when my righteous anger has been at its peak, both women have spoken truth into my life. They have given me truth in Scripture, empathy, and love. Yet, neither has held back any punches…and if you know me, you know that is my kind friendship. Give it to me in love, but give it to me straight.

Because of them speaking truth into my life, I have been reminded that I am made in the image of God, the blood shed by Jesus covers ALL of my sin, and most importantly there isn’t anything He doesn’t know about me. In fact, He knows things about me that I don’t even know about me. Yikes!

And just because He can, God made sure I heard Him one more time during this morning’s sermon. The sermon title was “Big Promises” and it basically reminded me that “I may be nobody, but the One who holds me is Somebody” and He can and will use me, not in spite of my weakness, but because of it.

I am not sure what God’s intention is or even if there is someone that can relate to this rambling of mine, but the one thing I know for sure is that all of the Lord’s chattering has gotten me to do the one thing I have been afraid to do…write!

Pesky Gnats

Among the several things and people I pray for, my daily prayer for years has been (in no particular order) for finances, Jake, general anxieties, and ETA of my husband. As I journaled this morning, the Lord took over my pen and wrote these words to me. My prayer is they are an encouragement to you as well:

“You don’t trust Me enough to guide your heart. Trust Me in all things. Trust Me to take care of Jake. Trust Me to protect you in the car. Trust Me to provide for you in so many more ways than food or rent. Trust Me to protect your heart and your mind. There are tons of things you covet in your mind. Help Me as we both, together, fight the thoughts that enter your mind. You are so weak mentally. There is no type of protection over your mind. The anxiety you have, the lust you allow, it is because you haven’t given Me your mind. Your husband won’t come until you give Me your mind.

I love you and the plans I have for you and your husband are wonderful! Way more grand than you could ever comprehend. I am excited for you to meet, fall in love with Me as a couple, and walk on the beautiful and hard terrain I have for you, but you need to be ready to walk that road. You need to prepare now so you won’t fall later. You are My beloved. It hurts Me when you fall, when you allow such things to control what you see and what you do. That is not of Me.

I give you desires for you to control not for them to control you. Those desires are a reminder that I have not forgotten you. But I also know a deeper desire is to follow Me, to do as I have designed for you.

Fear. That thought that just came into your mind that you aren’t good enough; that you can’t do it. See how we caught that thought like a gnat flying around? We can catch it and kill it or we just swat it enough for it to fly away for it to come back at some point. Sometimes you think you have killed it, but you weren’t even close. Don’t let the gnat or the thought of it returning distract you.

Let Me handle the gnats of your mind.”

I pray you are able to identify the gnats in your mind!

Closet Cleaning

As I looked at the pile of clothes on the chest of drawers and the bag of new clothes I just got for my birthday in my room; neither which could fit into my closet, I realized I needed to clean out my closet. Confession time: I love clothes. I love buying clothes, but hate shopping for clothes, or making room for them in my closet. In our old house, I had my closet and the closet in the spare bedroom (plus 2 chest of drawers) to keep my clothes so downsizing was never really necessary. However, now that we are in a new home, the closet space is limited and unless I wanted to continue looking at the piles of clothes in my room, I needed to do some serious purging.

So, yesterday, I decided to tackle my closet and make room for the new clothes I had purchased and the excess clothes that had been in a pile for weeks. With trepidation, I went through the closet. I found myself making excuses for not getting rid of something. Some no longer fitted, but were too cute to get rid of and others which I hadn’t thought cute enough to wear, but someday might be cute enough. I also remembered the last time I cleaned out my closet. I left a suitcase full of clothes in Guatemala, and later was disappointed when I went looking for something I had given away. The reasons were pretty convincing, but ultimately, I had to do it. I needed to make room for the new items and the clothes that I actually do wear. Another reason for purging was because a lot of the clothes were from when I was younger and now that I am much closer to 40 than I want to admit, I need to dress more appropriate to my age.

This event directly coincided with a new devotion I began yesterday (after the purging); Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. In the study, Jennifer refers to our “thought closet” and the need to clean it out in order to make room for the things God has for us. Yesterday, the theme was “Who I am and what I struggle with are not the same thing.” An amazing eye opening thought in itself, but it continued today by jotting down the thoughts in my own “closet”, the thoughts in the “human closet”, and the thoughts in “God’s closet”.

I was asked to list the main thoughts  use when beating myself up, examine the human thoughts described in Scripture, and finally meditate on God’s thoughts towards me, also mentioned in Scripture (and listed below). I realized that in order for room to be made for God’s thoughts, my thoughts and the thoughts we all normally have as humans needed to come out. Now, not all need to come out, but those which don’t fit me anymore or those that were given to me by other people that just don’t flatter me. As much as I believed those thoughts to still “fit”, in reality, I needed to begin to dress as the woman of God that I am and becoming.

Like I said, I am just on day 2 of this study, so I still have lot more purging to do. I’m pretty sure cleaning out my clothes closet will be much easier than cleaning and maintaining my thought closet. But it is a task I will certainly need to commit and rely on my Savior to guide me through for He promises that if I “commit to Him in whatever I do, my plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).

Human Thought Closet

Psalm 10:4 – In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Psalm 56:5 – All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.

Isaiah 59:7 – Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.

Isaiah 65:2 – All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations—

Romans 1:21 – For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

God’s Thought Closet

Psalm 40:5 – Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 92:5 – Lord, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.

Psalm 139:17 – How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!

Isaiah 55:9 – “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.



In the Shadow of the Cross

Let’s make a promise that every time doubt casts its shadow over us, we will run back to Jesus, turn toward the light,
and stand in the shadow of the cross:

When you inadequate, God says: You are CHOSEN.
“‘You are my witness,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he’.” Isaiah 43:10

When you feel afraid, God says: You are REDEEMED.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

When you feel unloved, God says: You are LOVED.
“You are precious and honored in my sight, and…I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

When you feel forgotten, God says: You are REMEMBERED.
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16

When you feel insecure, God says: You are SECURE.
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12

When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”   Habakkuk 3:19

When you feel worthless, God says: You are CALLED.
“You are a chosen [person], a royal [priest], a holy [child], God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

– excerpt from A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Committed to being committed

It is truly impossible to know all the characteristics of such an omniscient God. We could spend all of our days trying to figure Him out, but never be able to grasp and understand His Majesty. His love for us is unimaginable and undeserved; we fail time after time and yet He loves us all the same.

I have failed so many times, in so many areas of my life, but there is one that area that I just cannot learn to “perfect”; financially. I have learned to become a better steward than I have been, but that is still nowhere near the good steward I should be. I tithe regularly, but still overspend and don’t save as I should. I pray about big purchases, but don’t feel it necessary on smaller ones. I can’t seem to process that money doesn’t grow on trees and that if you do not have a job (and even when you do have a job), the money eventually runs out.

Although I have not yet fully learned how to be a good steward and there have been, and possibly will be more, consequences to my actions, my Lord does not keep record of my wrongs. He does not forsake me nor does He leave me to fend for myself. He provides when His children are need. He protects when His children are in distress. What I have learned is that God’s love and provision for me is not dependent on my behavior, but on my dependence on Him. He sees who He created me to be, not who I once was or even who I am. And as long as my heart is fully committed to Him, He will be there to strengthen me. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

I do not claim to be fully committed to Him, but do claim to grow in my commitment to Him more and more every day. Some days that growth is two steps forward and one step back, but if you do the math correctly, that still equals to one step forward. And with each step forward, I come to know another one of His infinite characteristics and His promises to me.

God’s names and characteristics all can be found in His Word. Here are only a few of them;

Living Word

“Sometimes I ask God, ‘Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?’ They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, taunting day after day, ‘Where is this God of yours?’ I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down. You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.”

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me. 

“God, you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for you, traveling across dry and weary deserts.So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; my arms wave like banners of praise to you.”

I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back home to the place from which I sent you off. You can count on it. 

“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace—a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them ‘Oaks of Righteousness’ planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.

We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort. He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

Hope is found in knowing that God’s Word is alive and speaks quite clearly to us if we only take the time to listen to what the Lord has to say and understand that sometimes it requires us putting the pieces together; Psalm 42: 9-10Psalm 51:3-6Isaiah 43:18-19Psalm 63:1-4Jeremiah 29:11-14Isaiah 61:1-4,  and 2 Corinthians 1:4-5


“Daddy, it hurts.”

What does, honey?

“Right here.” She said pointing to her heart.

I know, baby. She knew just by the tone in His voice, He did know, but she wondered why didn’t He do anything to prevent it. She knew Him well enough to know that He wouldn’t let her hurt in vain. He had never wasted any of her hurts before and she knew He wouldn’t start now. But didn’t it hurt Him to see her hurting, again…still?

“Did you know it was going to hurt this much?” She asked curious as to His response.

I did.

“So why did you let it all happen?”

So, we could get here.

“Where is here?”

Here is where no one would choose to be or pray to be. Here is where you hurt and I heal. Here is where you seek and are found. Here is where you ask and I answer.

“Well, can you blame anyone for not wanting to be here? I mean, it isn’t very exciting. It’s actually sad and depressing. What is so great about being here?”

You chose to be here with me. And baby girl, when you choose to stand with your Daddy even when here can be sad and depressing, it makes here a very great place!

Not fully understanding all He meant or how long it would be, she snuck her hand in His and chose to remain…here.


And the plot thickens…

Ever imagine a world without trials and suffering; with no pain and heartache? A world where we can be truly happy without risking anything or anyone? A world where there was no judgment, only empathy? Where everyone has enough and there are no Jones’ to keep up with?

I’ve heard lately that our trials are what allow us to grow to know God’s true character and immeasurable love . This can be a difficult thing for many of us to grasp in the midst of illness, death, unemployment, loneliness. We even tend to blame God for allowing such things to happen, especially if we are His followers. We tend to question and doubt His motives. We would never admit to it, but we wonder “is this really going to work for my good?”

We look at situations in our lives and are certain that God didn’t intentionally allow them because they are just too bad or too much for us to handle. We tend to give ourselves more credit than we should. We think it was our choice to go down that road or allow that person into our lives, when it was His doing all along; He allowed it for a reason.

I was watching True Stories in the E.R. today. There was a story of a 15 year old who came in because he had been hit in the side of his head with a baseball during practice. When he arrived at the E.R. he was able to speak, but as time passed, he was obviously losing brain function. A CT scan showed he had hemorrhaging in his brain and needed emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. During the surgery, they noticed that his bones were extremely brittle; he had advanced osteoporosis. Further blood tests showed the reason for the advanced osteoporosis was because his kidneys were failing. He needed a kidney transplant immediately in order to survive.  He had survived one surgery, but now needed another. In ends on a happy note; his father was a perfect match and was able to donate one of his kidneys with no complications.

Ok. Now, imagine if he wasn’t hit by that baseball? His parents admitted that he had not shown any signs of kidney problems or weak bones, but yet his disease was so advanced, he was on the verge of death. He could’ve died at any time and no one would have been able to do anything about it. But because he accidentally got hit by a ball, his life was saved.

How often do we experience the same thing? God often allows such devastation and heartache in our lives in order to reveal something deeper. He brings challenges into our lives, to show us the bigger picture. This world, our lives are not about us. He might make things harder for us just so we can draw closer to Him and bring Him the glory through those very trials He allowed and we survived.

All stories are so much more interesting when there is a twist in it. We are more excited and intrigued in a book or movie when the “plot thickens”. So, why do we shy and squirm away when the twists and the thickened plot happens in our own life? His plan for His children does not include happiness and comfort. Those are just temporary. What He offers, and our trials teach us, is eternal. It’s joy and contentment.