Bible, God, My Story

Secure and Insecure People

“Being Secure Helps Others.” That was the title of that particular day’s devotional. But instead of focusing on the what the title said, my mind immediately turned it around. “Being Insecure Hurts Others.” My mind went back to the previous week when I had gone ‘off my rocker’ or so it seemed. 

The Weekend…

It was a hard week. The COVID restrictions were hitting my small business again and it felt bad. I was losing students and had so many cancelations or postponements come at me that week. I was able to hold out hope in all this until the last work day of my week when I lost yet another student. UGH! “What is going on?!” School closings, business closings, the holidays, quarantine, etc made the perfect combination for a very disappointing work week. I was so down that I got to that ‘stuck’ feeling again that I talked about in this post. I chose to force myself to do something to get through it because I still had to parent, cook, and relate to my family before the evening was done. 

Luckily, I found a way to practice my singing. I chose a sad French Song that talks about waking from a good dream and wishing to go back into it. After many run-throughs, I wanted to sing it like I was drawing others into the feeling too – performance time! So, I made a few recordings, some with my eldest daughter looking on. I was happy to share my ‘craft’ with her. It’s not often that my kids see what I studied after all. When all was said and done, I went from feeling very sad and despondent to a bit more normal again. I proceeded with the rest of my evening and enjoyed the time with my family. What I didn’t realize was that I was feeling a bit insecure about my work and our finances. I didn’t allow myself to did deeper and this weight joined the already heavy feelings of this year. … insecurity.

‘Apres un reve’ by Faure sung by Brittany Putman

But I hadn’t really went deeper with all this and it built on some things that had already been happening and which reared their ugly heads throughout the weekend. One of those was my husband’s new business. He and a friend are trying their hand at a new type of socializing over the internet and it’s taken a lot more time than originally anticipated. This has meant focus and energy away from us for an extended period of time. Of course, not all the time, but just enough that it started to feel like it was dragging on. When things take a long time to get realized (like our adoption dreams right now), it can feel really disheartening. He and the friend continued to chug away at this new venture, but these things just take time! 

Additionally, since we could only invite a few people to join us in BETA mode, I really hoped everyone would jump on the bandwagon and join us. Of course, some couldn’t because they didn’t have the necessary things in place, but others just weren’t interested. This really hurt my heart. Each time someone said, “No, not this time,” it was like I was taking it personally! I didn’t quite realize, unfortunately, and those repressed feelings began to grow. I just pushed them aside and thought, “Maybe next time.” But my heart was thinking, “Why won’t they just help us and rejoice with us?” Another weight added to my heart… another insecurity.

Putty and Andrew’s New Project: Feel free to ask us about it!

The hits kept coming in that particular weekend. Do you ever have times like these? I know it’s all part of the human condition, but we don’t ever want it to be part of our condition! Anyway, the next day my daughter came down with a cold. We were being careful to avoid situations where we might get sick because my husband would be preaching soon and needed to stay healthy (and COVID-free) in order to do that. I also didn’t want to cancel any lessons due to sick kids because I had a responsibility to my students, my husband, and my family to keep teaching. We’ve already had enough change-ups this season, I didn’t want anymore.

So, when my youngest got sick, I felt worried. I knew it was probably just a cold because of the other people that I knew who had it (and tested negative for COVID), but still, there’s always that feeling of wondering and worry. I worried that it would systematically go through us one by one and that my husband would get it just as he was going to preach. That would not be good. Who wants a sneezing and snotty preacher on stage in this time of Coronavirus? No one, that’s who. So, I pushed my feelings aside and focused on helping my little one feel comforted. I watched each of my other kids to see if they showed any signs of sickness too. Yet, I did not take time to really look at how I was feeling. I was insecure about sickness on so many levels. And so was added …. Another insecurity.

The Breaking Point…

Could we just be done now? Nope… the next day was coming and it held the final straw. My ‘back’ broke and it wasn’t pretty. We had to stay home from church that day. Well, the kids and I did anyway. After all, ya can’t take a sneezing kid to church right now, right? So, we tuned in to the Livestream. That was nice. It was a great service and we had a nice family time with online church. But something was bothering me. 

As a person whose husband works in the church, this tense season hasn’t been easy. After 10+ years of my husband working at our church, and over 15 years of attending that church, I’ve become a cheerleader for our church-team. Normally, this is great, but when you come to love something so much, any hurt against it can feel like a hurt against you too. 

To say this COVID time was been a challenge for the Church (at large) is an understatement. Do we meet or don’t we meet? Do we mask or don’t we mask? How do we help the greatest number of people during this time? Is any group of people falling through the cracks? How do we relate to our diverse congregation in regards to the racial incidents? How do we address the election in our politically diverse congregation? There is no one-size-fits-all approach. 

I haven’t been a part of the decision making in all of this and neither has my husband because of his change in responsibilities this summer, but let me tell you, I know it hasn’t been easy. I’ve witnessed the social media comments both for and against the leadership decisions of the church. I’ve read the fighting and arguing between my beloved church member friends. The divide has torn at me. No one alive today has had to make decisions in a time quite like this, and it’s just been plain hard. I tried complaining. I tried sympathizing. I tried a number of things to get over the feelings of pain that all this has brought to the surface in me, but it hasn’t resolved. Sometimes pain takes a while to resolve and that’s okay. But what I didn’t notice was the feeling of insecurity growing. It was triggered as I watched the Livestream of the service from home. I was feeling the insecurity of the unknown. What will church look like once we can meet together again in a regular fashion without worry of spreading a contagious disease? I just don’t know and so there was heaped on me … another insecurity.

I broke that day. While conversing with people dear to my heart, I felt that insecurity pricked – but I didn’t know that’s what it was. My feelings were triggered by some things that were said and instead of taking time to wait, feel, decide, and respond, I just reacted. My words tumbled out in a passive aggressive way – I’ll say something that sounds good, but really it’s a bit of a jab to you. I knew I shouldn’t be saying it while it was coming out, but I didn’t stop! As soon as I had said my piece, I immediately felt remorse. I knew that I should have waited. I knew that I wasn’t exhibiting love. I knew I had meant to hurt people. That’s not okay and so, I did the hard work of apologizing. I had good discussions about it with my dear people and things are good. I’m thankful they were quick to forgive. I don’t want to do that again.

“Being Insecure Hurts People.” I didn’t realize I had so many insecurities stacked up during this time. Even though I knew something was wrong, I hadn’t put this label on it. And yet, when I read that devotional title, before I even read the text of the devotion, God showed me the truth. I had had so much insecurity that I lashed out and hurt the people I loved! I hadn’t allowed God’s healing to penetrate my heart during each of these circumstances. The insecurities just came so fast, one after another and I didn’t have time to heal. I was insecure.

Becoming Secure…

But how do we become the “Secure People who Help Others” instead? From a counselor’s perspective (my counselor who told me this months earlier)… when we feel that things are insecure and unstable all around us, as is happening all over the world right now, we need to turn our focus and attention to the things that are stable and secure. We can do this by showing gratitude and regularly saying/writing out what is stable and secure at that moment. We can look to the things that are predictable – I will eat breakfast, lunch, dinner today. I will go to work, parent my children, wash the laundry, etc. We can focus on the ‘What Is’ instead of the ‘What If’ of our lives. And as one of our pastors said in her sermon, we can think of the ‘Even If’s.’

Finally, we can look up God’s promises about security in the Bible. And so, I’ll leave you with some Bible verses from Psalms and Proverbs to think on. I hope these will help you and me heal from all the insecurity that comes against us and help us to focus our eyes on the stability of Christ. Ultimately, I pray that we will all become ‘Secure People who Help Others.’

Creator: kalliantas 

Psalm 16:5 (NIV) LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

Psalm 16:9 (NIV) Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure

Psalm 112:8 (NIV) Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

Proverbs 14:26 (NIV) Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.

The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.

Psalm 93:1 (NIV)

Bible, family, My Story


Educational Sabbatical & Homeschooling…

Well, we did it. After much thought and consideration, we decided to take an ‘Educational Sabbatical’ this year in our children’s schooling. All this means is that we pulled them out of school for this year and are… homeschooling!

Yup, it’s a pandemic trend that many are doing and there are so many individual reasons for each family who’s doing this. We ultimately chose to homeschool for the consistency of our schedule. Even up to and past the school registration date, our district still didn’t have a solidified plan for what we could expect for our students. Since I am a person who thrives on a schedule, we decided to make our own schedule this year. As much as I have appreciated what the school district has given to our children over the past years, I didn’t want to be at their will when it came to whether my kids would be attending in-person, virtually, or a mix of both and then, even more-so, to have those plans changed as the system continued to learn all that it means to school while in a pandemic.

A friend of mine said very clearly to me, “You know, you’re lucky to have the option to make this choice.” To which I replied, “Yes! That is not lost on me. I realize that not everyone can make this choice, and I’m very thankful that I can.” As I continued to converse with him, I found myself hoping that an outcome of keeping my kids out of the public schools this year might mean an opportunity for other kids to be in school – if they ended up meeting in-person. I hoped that the burden on the school system would be that much lighter because they’d have a few less children to have to think of what to do with during the pandemic – like one less desk per class to move 6 feet apart. I hope it ends up being helpful for all parties involved.

How it Looks so Far…

So, how’s it going so far you might ask? How am I doing at being a new homeschool parent? How in the world am I fitting this into my already full schedule of working 2 part-time jobs, taking care of the house, and attending to my own self-care? Well, I’m still working all that out! Honestly, it’s been 2 weeks and neither of those two weeks have been the same yet. We are still waiting on some of our curriculum to arrive which means we’re doubling up on some subjects while not even looking at other ones. We’re making use of every situation to be a learning opportunity, right down to a recent doctor’s visit!


It can be challenging for a scheduler like me NOT to have the same expectations day after day and week after week. It can be challenging to teach three different lessons all at once with constant requests for more help. It can be challenging when I worry that I’m not getting enough ‘school learning’ into them. It can be challenging to actually fit in all the education that I want to because I just love learning and teaching! It can be challenging when I face bad attitudes – both my children’s and my own. 


But amidst those challenges are many opportunities. I’ve had the opportunity to wrap Biblical history into non-Biblical history – to which my child happily exclaimed, “We get to learn Bible history along with our regular history?!?” I’ve had the opportunity to create a field trip out of getting my son’s cast removed at the Orthopedists office. We read books on bones and saw how X-rays are done and how to read them. We asked our PA why he chose to do this job. I even had a kind woman say to me in the waiting room, “Way to go for taking the opportunity to teach your children through this visit.” She saw (and probably heard) me reading a book about bones to the kids while we waited for our appointment.

‘Field Trip’ to the Orthopedist’s office to learn about bones.

I’ve had the opportunity (and now time) to weave cooking lessons and cleaning lessons into our daily lives. These were things that I didn’t feel like I had the time to do before, but now there’s time and space to teach these life skills. I’ve had the opportunity to invite our parents into the learning process. My mom taught sewing to one child and my mother-in-law taught the kids about different ways we learn while challenging them to try new things at a Horse Ranch!

Perhaps the best thing is that I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about my kids. In just two weeks I’ve learned about what they like to read, how they read, and what I can do to increase that interest in them. I’ve learned how to tell when they need a break and trust that they’ll come back to learning after they take some quick time away or get a snack to re-energize them. I’ve loved seeing my oldest child help her younger sister when I’m working with the middle one. So far, I’ve seen more independence come out in my children and I feel way more empowered to really make sure each of my children are grasping the concepts we’re putting before them.

The Honeymoon Stage…

I know, I know… some might say this is just the experience of the ‘honeymoon’ stage of homeschooling. And, maybe it is. But the benefits I’m experiencing so far are so good that I’m super hopeful they’ll propel me to continue on and persevere through even the hard times this year. 

Also, I love having control of my daily schedule and even though I don’t have as much time to myself, when I do take time for myself, I feel less guilty. After all, I spend a lot more time with the kids and they know and understand that. In fact, when school is done, the kids actively choose to be away from me. They are so excited to play together and run around outside or build their newest creations. It’s great! So, I’m learning the rhythm of our days and what times are open for me to take a few moments to myself or grab a walk (when my husband’s at home) or read a book with the sun shining on my face (or wrapped up in a blanket as the cool weather approaches). I think I’ll be okay with self-care, but it’ll just take some time to find that new rhythm. I’ll give myself some leeway on all this.

Working and Homeschooling…

One thing that has been a surprise is working and homeschooling at the same time. My work schedule actually gives me enough structure to my week that even when our school schedule has a last minute change (like a ‘field trip’ opportunity arises), I’m not thrown off balance too much. My schedule is not wide-open. (Although, let’s be real. No homeschool family’s schedule is actually that open. It’s mostly a perception from those of us who don’t homeschool. I’m guilty of this one.) The schedule is made up of blocks of work, school, and free time. This gives just enough structure and just enough flexibility to actually create balance! Here I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to have a balance in my schedule, but I think I might have more of one now. That was and still is a surprise. 

Gauging Capacity and Interest…

So, all in all. I’m feeling positive about homeschool. I felt positive about public and private education too. For any person making a decision about schooling, I think the important thing is to assess what your capacity is at any given time and also your interest. This year, I have the capacity to homeschool and take the necessary time to plan for it along with the usual other parts of my schedule. This year, I’m very interested in learning along with my kids and getting supplemental books from the library to encourage further understanding. It’s been great so far and I’m looking forward with hope and expectation for the remainder of this year. And you know? Next summer I’ll reassess and decide if I’ll be sending them back to the public schools or continue on with homeschool – because next year will be a different year from this year. 

Bible, God, My Story

Immediately on the Shore

Have you ever noticed the surprising verse of John 6:21 before? I hadn’t. Right now, I am reading through the Bible chronologically and that means that I sometimes get to read the same story three of four times in a row! Well, recently I was reading about Jesus walking on the water towards his disciples in the midst of rough waters and strong winds. The book of Matthew, Mark and John recount this story.

So, the story in a nutshell is: 1) Jesus sends his disciples to cross the sea without him while he finishes up with the crowds. 2) Jesus goes up on a mountain and prays on his own. 3) The wind picks up on the lake, but Jesus isn’t bothered by that and heads out to sea (on top of the water) to meet up with the boat. 4) The disciples see Jesus and think he’s a ghost! They are afraid. 5) Jesus tells them not to be afraid and they recognize him and the wind dies down. 6) According to Matthew only, in the midst of this Jesus invites Peter to come to him on the water. Peter does. Peter gets afraid. Peter starts to sink and immediately, Jesus reaches out his hand to save him. 7) John 6:21 gives one more very interesting part to the story…

Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

John 6:21 (ESV)

When I read this, I had to take a double, maybe triple read through it. Did it just say that they immediately reached the shore where they were heading? Like, immediately, immediately? Well, I’m not going to propose that I’m a studied theologian or make a doctrine out of what I’m about to say, BUT God brought something to mind and I just had to share it with you!

Before I went too far into the analogy that God was forming in my mind, I wanted to look up the word ‘immediately’ in the Greek to be sure that I understood it’s meaning. The word is eutheos and means directly, at once or soon, forthwith, immediately, shortly, and straightaway. When I compared multiple translations of this verse, most of them used immediately, and many others used straightaway, or at once. So, I feel comfortable assuming the translation is ‘immediately.’ Well, if that’s so, then are we saying that the boat went from 3-4 miles out to sea (probably from the Sea of Tiberias) and then was all of a sudden (immediately) at the opposite shore? (They were heading to Capernaum and it’s a more than 6 miles trip by boat!)  It really got me thinking about the miracle of a boat, disciples and Jesus instantly going from where they were to be at the place they were going, skipping the rest of the travel in-between. Fascinating!

But what does that have to do with the analogy that God was showing me? Because I read it so many times, a different part of the story ended up standing out to me and that was the beginning of God’s gentle speaking to my heart.

Then they were glad to take him into the boat”  The book of John addresses the heart posture of the disciples in this moment. They were GLAD to take Jesus into their boat! Let’s look further into what their day had been like leading up to all this because I think it would have been hard to be ‘glad’. 

What a Day!…

So, we know that Jesus had been going about healing sick people during the day and that he and his disciples left at some point to presumably be on their own. However that didn’t work. As they were sitting together, they saw that the crowd of people had followed them! Instead of ignoring them or sending them away, Jesus took care of their present need – food. He had his disciples gather all the available food from the crowd (5 loaves of bread and 2 fish) and then he blessed it and sent them to distribute the food to 5000+ people! The amazing thing is that it worked! All were fed and they even had tons of food left over! 

5,000 people! (

After this, Jesus went away to be on his own and when he was finished, he returned to his disciples. It was evening by this point and he sent them over the sea to Capernaum without him. As they made their way across the sea, the weather changed and they found themselves rowing against rough waters and strong winds. Then they see something coming walking towards them ON THE WATER! They were afraid, but when Jesus spoke, “It is I; do not be afraid,” they realized it was him and felt better. They gladly took him into their boat and then immediately they were on the shore! Phew! What a day!

Emotional Roller Coaster…

Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt after a day like that? It sounds like it was a day full of excitement with miracles abounding and mixed with tons of uncertainty. I mean, how did they feel when they saw the crowd following them? Did they get a sinking feeling in their stomachs? What about when Jesus asked them to distribute the meager amount of food? I can imagine they might have felt embarrassed, and been full of disbelief, uncertainty, and frustration! That was probably quickly followed by awe and relief when the miracle of multiplication happened! What a rollercoaster of emotions in just that one gathering!

Or what about when Jesus sent them across the sea without him and the going got tough? Again, human feelings of tiredness, uncertainty, fear, and doubt probably crept in. They might have been complaining that Jesus wasn’t doing this hard work with them. They might have been coming up with their own ideas for why Jesus didn’t come along with them in the boat. They might have been questioning if they heard Jesus correctly, because the way sure wasn’t easy! 

But then they saw something on the water! I bet fear added to their already physically tired feelings of rowing with strong winds. Then Jesus speaks what he always says to his friends during uncertain situations, ‘It is I; do not be afraid!’ RELIEF! They knew that voice. They see their Teacher! ‘Then they were glad to take him into the boat and immediately they were at the land to which they were going.’ They weren’t alone anymore. They were suddenly done with the choppy seas. They got to their destination, safely and quickly! In a non-literal way, this story feels like a parable for our own lives!

Obeying the Voice of God

There are times when Jesus sends us out or calls us to obey him in seasons when we’re already overwhelmed, uncertain, tired, and spent or even cranky. God says, ‘Go there.’ ‘Do this.’ and we have a choice. We can say, ‘Nah, we’ll just wait here on this shore,’ until Jesus is practically the one pushing the boat out to sea or we can obey and take the risk that we heard him correctly even if we’re not sure why it feels like we’re alone at times. 

I think it’s important for me to take a moment to say that Jesus ‘never leaves us nor forsakes us.’ But in our feelings, we can often assume we’re heading out alone or that he somehow disappeared in the middle of our obedience. When our hearts don’t see him anymore and our circumstances change and get tough, it can cause us to question if we heard Jesus correctly. We could just give up and let the figurative wind and waves crash into us again and again. We could just wait and give up and have life happen to us while we wait for our rescuer.

However, I propose a different option. What if we continue to move forward in the direction that God gave us? We will have to be powerful and full of faith, but we will be continuing on course. It does require much strength to push through the ‘winds of life’ and we might find ourselves with a lot of worry and doubt, but… and this is what we need to be looking for… Jesus comes. When we’re in the midst of obedience to God and our circumstances change, we need to look for Jesus. When we see him, our faith rises. When we see him our hearts are lightened. We are reassured. We might even be more excited than when we started, but so much hinges on our attitude. 

Will we gladly take Jesus into our boat? Will we put aside the hurt and frustration of the moment, to fully accept him into our situation, even if we feel like he’s the one who ‘got us into this situation in the first place’? Will we trust again? Will we gladly take Jesus into our boat? I hope I will! I hope we all will and that we’ll see our circumstances immediately change. I hope we’ll see our perspectives shift to a focus on him and that everything around fades away and we land where he first sent us. When we openly partner with Jesus, anything is possible. 

What will we do?

So, how about you? Are you in the midst of obeying God right now but it feels like everything’s turned upside down? Does it seem like Jesus isn’t with you in your present moment? What will you do? Will you passively wait until Jesus ‘shows up’ or will you continue on with action to the destination that you were sent by Jesus? When you see him again in your present moment, will you gladly take him into your boat? 

It seems like it’s worth a try at least! I pray that Jesus is with you wherever you go and that you experience him always by your side. But, if you’re at a place where it’s hard to see him, I pray that he comes to you ‘on the water’ and your heart, mind and spirit are buoyed up! I pray that you will gladly take him into your boat and immediately be at your shore.

Bible, family, God, My Story

Let the Son Shine In


I find it amazing how much sunlight affects a person’s mood. Just the other day we had a break from the many days of cloudy gloom when the sun came out. There might as well have been trumpets blowing and confetti guns shooting high into the air, because that’s what it felt like inside of me. Everything was exploding with happy goodness! It never gets old. I’m always amazed at how much of a difference sunlight can make in my attitude.

My kids’ happy drawings on our sunny day

Thinking on why sunlight has this happy effect on people (at least me) and gloomy darkness doesn’t, made me remember something from my childhood. It has to do with light and dark. When I was younger if I heard something said, I took it quite literally. My thoughts were often very black and white, right and wrong, this and that. (on a side note, this made me very gullible)

I carried this same literal understanding when I heard or read something in the Bible. I never took into consideration who the author was writing to or what time period it was being written in. Instead, I thought that every passage was literal and for the exact here and now. So, when I heard the Bible passage of John 3:19-20, I ended up having some interesting concerns. Here is what the passage says: 

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

Darkness and Evil…

Remember how I thought of a childhood memory? Well, here it is. When I was younger, I was really worried for one of my brothers. You see, he really liked watching his tv shows and movies in the dark. He preferred the lights out and darkness. I, on the other hand, did not. I wanted to have as much light on as possible all the time. I recognized this difference between us and thought about the verse. “But people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light.”

Was my brother evil? He loved the darkness. The Bible said that those who loved the darkness were evil, at least that’s how my childlike mind applied it. So, if my brother loved literal darkness, then he must be evil! This just didn’t sit well with me. When I thought about my brother, I couldn’t see him as being evil. This was my kind brother who watched out for me and loved Jesus too. I couldn’t reconcile what I thought the Bible was saying with what my experience was.

Perhaps this was one of my first times of really trying to figure out what the Bible meant in this instance. I admit that at my young elementary age, I did not try to delve any deeper to figure it out. I didn’t ask my parents for help in understanding this – probably because I didn’t want to get my brother in trouble in case he really was evil. I just held onto this question all my life, but usually pushed it aside when it came up and chose not to interact with it. For years, I wondered, but never searched out the answer.

Light in the Dark…

Now, as a grown person, I understand things so differently. God is not saying my brother is evil because he prefers to watch tv and movies in the dark. As an adult, I now know that MANY people prefer this way to watch screens because it enhances the picture. Indeed, it helps the LIGHT on the screen shine brighter! We can see the light better when it is dark.

This too isn’t an all together extra-Biblical observation – light shining in the darkness. There are a few places in the book of Isaiah where we see this. 

Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 8:22-9:2

It goes on to say that the people will have increased joy and shattered yokes from their burdens. It finishes with the well-known passage, ‘For unto us a child is born’ of which Jesus’ government and peace will have no end! Later on in Isaiah it says:

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

 The Lord will guide you always;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Isaiah 58:9b-11a; 12b

So, how does watching movies in the dark correlate with getting out in the sunlight? Well, there are many times when things in the world feel gloomy, cloudy, and dark. It can seem like everywhere we look we see evil. But in the darkness, we have the opportunity to be the ‘son-light’ for others and show Jesus’ light more clearly. Just like the natural sun brightens the innermost being of people, so too can Jesus, the ‘son’ in us!

Arise and Shine…

We can bring the LIGHT! So, when we feel the gloom of the darkness in our world settling upon us, we can remember that we have the SON who shines on us, in us, and through us… living inside us! We can do as Isaiah says

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

Isaiah 60:1

Because we have Jesus living in us, we too can ARISE, SHINE and have THE GLORY OF THE LORD RISE UPON US. Now GO! Shine your light!

Shine Your Way – Owl City & Yuna (The Croods)
Adoption, Bible, family, God, Kingdom, Leadership, My Story, Praise and Worship

Have Fun and Obey

What’s going on?…

It started with a look. I could tell she was processing something. She seemed a little worried, a bit fearful, and agitated. I decided we should try worshiping together (kids and me) and then see if we could do some spontaneous prayer-worship afterwards. It sounded great to me, but none of my kids went for it. As I sang on my own I noticed my daughter drawing ever more inwards focused. Soon she was crying and when our time of singing was done she ran up to her room and locked the door.

Photo by Kat Jayne on

Oops. Did I go too far in requiring us all to worship together? Even though I was hoping this would be a moment where we’d all rally together through music, my expectation didn’t happen. What did happen was that the emotions being held down by ‘strength of will’ came to the surface. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I experience that all the time when I’m worshiping Jesus – Smiles and Tears. It was no different in my kids. The emotions of stress rose to the surface and now I had three kids with varying degrees of emotional stress needing me. Worship helped me and the kids finally be ready to talk about what worries they have had over the recent changes in our lives. So, it still turned out to be a helpful time, just different than I expected.

Being Comforted…

As I went upstairs to talk to my daughter, I hoped she’d open up and let me help her. PHEW! She opened the door to me and allowed me to hug her while she cried. Then she shared her worries. It was related to Coronavirus. Through tears she told me that she was afraid that her grandparents and our new (yet to be adopted) baby might get sick. She didn’t want them to get sick. She was worried for them and that caused her to have some pretty big stress hanging around her. I was so surprised at the depth of compassion she had! I didn’t know that was what was worrying her! I thought she’d be more worried about her own health. Not so.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Doing the Right Thing…

It was the answer that God gave me in the moment that stuck with me most. I could tell that my sweet, kind, and oh-so-responsible kid was taking on a load much too big for her. She was wanting to be sure that she was doing the right things to keep others from getting sick. The only problem was that she didn’t know what all those things were. And, as we’re all well aware, the guidelines were/are changing regularly. She felt a level of responsibility over this COVID-19 stuff.

At that moment, I told her that her only responsibility was to have fun and obey her parents. (Yes, I’m sure there are many other responsibilities, but that’s what was needed at that instant.) I then went on to explain that it’s my responsibility to keep track of the guidelines that the government is giving us. It’s my job to listen to the press conferences, check the news, and keep updated on other notifications. Then I would tell her what she needed to know. As long as she obeyed what I said, then she’d be doing the ‘right thing.’ That was her job – obey her parents.

Responsibility: Have Fun and Obey…

As I thought about this a bit more, it became apparent to me that this is a lesson for adults too. In the midst of a constantly changing atmosphere of rules and regulations, it’s our job to obey too. It’s not our responsibility to know all the ins and outs of what’s happening or even how to defeat this disease. We have lawmakers, government officials, and other well-educated-in-these-areas people to do that. If we as citizens listen and obey the guidelines set forth, then we’re fulfilling our responsibility. We can allow the governing officials to do the higher level work in this area.

Then, as usually happens, another area of realization came to mind. I was discussing all this with my sister-in-law when she sweetly pointed out that it’s also like this in our Christian walk. As God’s children, it’s our responsibility to obey God. We don’t have to know all of the information. We don’t have to plan or make perfect decisions. God is the one that has the ultimate vantage-point and information to help us as we go about fulfilling our purpose. He guides us to what’s best and it’s our responsibility to have fun and obey our Parent, God. 

Photo by nappy on

This is so true! When God asked me to start writing this blog, I thought I had heard wrong because surely God wouldn’t ask me to write a blog. That was nowhere near my desire or my experience. In fact, I had tried blogging before and stopped after just one post! But, I obeyed. And now, almost a year later, I can see the trail of good things that have come about because I obeyed – and I even had a little fun. 😉 God knew the bigger picture and I didn’t have to know it in order to obey.

So, what about you? How does this look in your life? I’d be so interested to hear a little story from you. When has God asked you to obey …and have fun?

P.S. My daughter gave me permission to share her story, although I doubt she’d want people to talk with her about it face to face. 🙂

Bible, My Story

Coronavirus. What Else?

Unstable and Fluid…

What do you write about when everything around you seems to be shifting. The things that are supposed to be stable have suddenly become unstable and fluid? If you’re reading this ‘in real time’ then you know what I’m talking about: Coronavirus or COVID-19. So, do I choose to ignore the reality of the general cloud of fear and caution that’s enveloping our society right now or do I give in and write about it? After all, what do I have to say? How could writing about it be a help? Isn’t it just feeding into the crazy and uncertain feelings that are swirling all around?

Well, I’m not sure. I debated back and forth about whether or not to address it and I landed on going ahead and writing about it. I mean, the blog is often read in real time. Not to mention that I’ve chosen to write this blog about ‘the things I ponder’ and right now I’m pondering Coronavirus. I feel like I’m getting a new update or a new email every hour! I find myself incessantly checking my email to see if there’s been yet another update. If there isn’t one I’m left with a funny feeling of being alone. (I was home alone this afternoon, so there wasn’t anyone to reflect with on this face to face.) It seems like there’s been so much ‘connection’ due to the many updates that the lack of them almost feels ominous and isolating!

Some of my emails/notifications from one source in one day

Then there are the times when, YES, I get an update email! I click to open it up and what do I see? Another way that my life is going to be changing immediately. These changes are not by my choice, but by the institutions that lead in certain areas of my life. So, when I see a new change, my mind starts mentally making adjustments to my upcoming routine and with each new change it opens my mind to seeing yet another possible area of change that might be coming down the line. It feels really strange. In some ways it’s reminiscent of other times in my life when things changed without my control, but I’m not going to go in that direction for this post.

Real People…

So, where does all this leave me? What am I supposed to do? How do I manage what’s happening? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. Sometimes, I think the answer isn’t to worry. Other times I think it’s to throw caution to the wind! I mean, after all, I’m young and strong and so are my kids. We have nothing to worry about! Oh wait… my mom and in-laws and even some of my students are in the age range that’s being more negatively affected by this virus. I don’t like that. I don’t want them to be sick.

Me, Mom, Sisters Lynette and Joy

What about discussing travel with my friends? I had a thought just last week while discussing travel with a friend, ‘Well, sure! Go on the trip! Even if you get sick, many people are recovering’ Then immediately I remembered that this friend is immune compromised and now I think of yet another friend who is also in the same boat. These are friends my age who have had to go through enormous health struggles and life changes already! I find myself thinking about them and how this could affect them. I don’t like this. I don’t want them to get sick.

I guess, there’s no easy answer of what or how to think about all that’s shifting and unsure in the country and world right now. But, taking the time to actually think about the different people in my life and their unique situations is bringing more compassion and understanding to my mind. I can see how for some of us, it’s just another illness, but to others it’s actually really scary. That’s not easy. I don’t like thinking about that. It causes me to worry.

The Extreme of Fear…

Due to my past propensity to instantly live in fear, I recognize well when it starts to creep back in. I feel the inner panic start to well up and then I put a lid on it by ignoring the news coverage. I feel the ‘what-ifs’ start to speak and I fight against them by down-playing the losses that others have suffered. Both of these are extremes that I go to in order NOT to go to the other extreme of fear. But is there another way? 

Why don’t I want to look at the bad side of this thing? For me, it’s the icky feelings that come with it. I feel sad that there has been a loss of life around the world. I feel heartbroken that sick people are being seen almost like outcasts and anyone who might be associated with the sick, through appearance or nationality, are also being seen that way (by some, not all). I feel confused. I don’t have enough information to have clarity of what this illness is like. I haven’t seen it up close and personal. I just don’t know. There are a lot of questions and uncertainty.

Inside, I label these feelings ‘bad’ because I don’t like the way I feel when I experience them, but a feeling is just a feeling. It’s not good or bad. A feeling can help me sort through what’s really going on in my mind and heart. A feeling can move me to a greater level of compassion and understanding. A feeling can motivate me to encourage those around me who are in a similar situation as me; what do I do and how do I respond?

The Answer of Jesus & Peace…

The only response I can have is to turn to Jesus. I know, I know, everyone is saying that. Well, why is everyone saying that? Because it’s TRUE! Jesus is my PEACE. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace! 

Through Jesus Christ ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [my] heart and [my] mind.’ (Phillipians 4:7 ESV) When the fears come against my heart and my mind, I can call out to Jesus and His peace will come as a guard! I don’t know how it happens – it surpasses all understanding, including my own. I don’t need to know how it happens, I just need to trust. I need to rest in the One who is called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’

And so, in the turmoil of things being everchanging, I choose Peace over fear. And if I feel myself heading towards fear again, I’ll make another choice for Jesus and Peace. Over and Over until it’s settled into my heart and my mind. I choose Jesus. Who or what will you choose?

Adoption, Bible, God, My Story

Michal & The Joy of the Lord

Quiet Time…

There are times when I read my Bible and nothing notable stands out to me. Yet, I diligently read the Bible over and over again because I know it’s good for me. How do I know? Well, besides, ‘the Bible tells me so,’ it’s because of the times when things in the Bible do stand out to me! I wanted to share some thoughts that came to me while I was reading 2 Samuel 6. 


I always thought Michal, David’s wife, had a real problem for getting so upset with him for dancing and praising the Lord half-dressed in the streets. I mean, wasn’t he praising God after all? God wasn’t striking him dead and it seemed to be portrayed as a ‘good’ thing to do in the text. And even if she was upset with David, he was her king! Kings demand honor and respect whether or not we agree with them. So, why would she put herself in a precarious position by judging the king? This time reading through the story, I saw something a bit different than usual. I saw Michal as a person and considered her history…

Her Story…

…She’s in love with a man who has a rocky relationship with her father. But, he’s in love with her too and he asks for her hand. The father, thinking he can get rid of this suitor sends him on a crazy task in hopes that he’ll die trying or just give up. But he’s surprised. David has indeed done what Saul asks of him and Michal becomes David’s wife. 

Michal and David probably don’t have the easiest of marriages. After all, over and over again, Michal’s dad, Saul, who’s also David’s boss, tries to harm him. Finally, it becomes apparent that Saul does indeed mean to kill David when he has the chance. David seemingly has no choice. Preservation of life demands that he run away, not to mention the godly promise of being the future king! 

Gustave Doré (1865)

In an act of heroism, Michal says, ‘If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.’ She lowers David out the window and when the guards come to the house to search for David, Michal tells them he’s sick in bed, hoping this would buy them some time. It doesn’t work. The guards go to the bed and pull back the covers only to see that a dummy has been made to look like David and placed in bed. David was already out the window and making his get away to Samuel the prophet.

As David stays away from home in order to save his life, Michal is left on her own. Saul eventually decides to give her in marriage to another man. Over the years this man seems to come to love Michal deeply as is shown later in the story. When David’s kingship is being established, he requires that his first wife, Michal be returned to him. As she is being transported to David, her husband follows behind, weeping. The first question that comes to mind is, who would Michal rather be with at this stage in her life? Her first love or the man who she’s currently with? Poor Michal must feel like a pawn being fought over between two kingdoms – Saul’s line and David’s line.

The Hurt and Pain Shows…

We get a glimpse of how she might be feeling when David returns from retrieving the Ark of the Covenant. He’s praising God and dancing in celebration of the Ark being brought to his city that he unashamedly ‘leaps and dances before the Lord.’ The Bible tells us that when Michal saw this from her window, she despised him. That word carries such weight. I imagine that all the resentment, hurt, and pain of her life comes out against David as she sees him full of joy. How long has she held onto the pain of his earlier abandonment, even though she encouraged it? How long has she held onto the hurt of being taken, some might say kidnapped, from her second husband that she had made a life with during the years David was gone? It seems like the hurt, resentment and possible unforgiveness clouded her vision to see the joy of the moment – God’s presence entering the city. The only way she could respond was with disrespect and judgement towards her husband. Still, even with all this backstory, there had to have been a way for redemption.

“David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem” by Darlene Slavujac, 1993

My Own Hurt…

This led me to look at my own life more closely. How often do I have resentment towards other people and miss what God’s doing in and around me? How many times have I judged someone or something (an organization maybe) because of the pain and hurt caused to me. In what ways is that unforgiveness and bitterness robbing me of the ‘Joy of the Lord’?

Let’s bring it to a very real place in my life. During my elementary aged years I had to be interviewed by a DHS (Department of Human Services) worker to determine if a certain person had ever abused me. You see, I was in frequent contact with a man who had an allegation made against him of abusing a child from nearly a decade earlier – this child now being a teenager. I was interviewed by the DHS social worker assigned to the case in a one-on-one meeting – this being necessary so that no other person could potentially influence my responses and answers. The worker who interviewed me made me feel very uncomfortable and unsafe. He asked me questions that I didn’t want to answer or think about. I had not been abused and so it was hard for me to come to terms with and have an understanding of what he was suggesting. In that interview, I felt like my innocence was being stripped from me. I felt dirty just thinking about the things he was insinuating.

That interaction and process put a bad taste in my mouth for Social Services. I held onto a dislike for ‘the system’ for YEARS! I was afraid of the people and didn’t trust the system. I had bad memories and images in my mind from the questions I was asked. I couldn’t get over the feeling of being sullied and I was angry that I had to ‘grow up’ sooner than I should have.

But finally, in my adulthood, God came to me in a new way. He gently prompted me to receive some deep inner healing prayer. Through those hours spent praying, I was finally able to release my judgement of DHS and other social services. I was able to forgive the institution that made me see parts of life I never wanted to know about. In relinquishing my right to judge, God peeled back the layers of hurt and moved me towards freedom. Freedom to trust, freedom to see the good in systems and freedom to regain my childlike innocence.

The Joy of the Lord…

And now, I’m working with social workers and allowing them to privately interview my own kids in order to be approved for adoption. I can tell you, it was really hard to feel comfortable allowing each of my kids to be interviewed privately by our caseworker, but I also have come to trust. Through establishing a relationship with our caseworker, I could see that she is not like the social worker that interviewed me so many years ago. I’ve also learned from others who have been through this before, that the adoption questions are super general and don’t go towards subjects that I had to discuss so many years ago – unless there was a good reason to. After my kids came out from interviewing, each of them was so happy and excited that they got to have a special part in making our adoption approval come to fruition. I’m so thankful that I have presently and will see in the future the ‘Joy of the Lord’ while working with this institution towards adoption!

Trust, Honor, Respect…

Reading Michal’s story and trying to imagine what life might have been like for her really helped me to get a different idea of why she responded like she did. It also helped me to apply it to my own life circumstances. I have had enough negative experiences to be able to feel justified in holding a grudge against people and even against my king, Jesus/God. But if I did that, then where would I be? I’ve chosen to release my judgement of situations because I don’t know all the details. I can’t know all the possible outcomes or all the spiritual forces happening behind the scenes. BUT, I do know that I can trust God to bring about good in my life through the pain and trials. I can choose to see the ‘Joy of the Lord’ in my past, present and future. And even when I don’t understand, I still choose to honor and respect my King, Jesus. I know one thing, when given the opportunity, I will dance with great abandon in the presence of the Holy Spirit/God. 

I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness (joy) of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13