Take heart

“A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

Truer words were never spoken.

Once you are fortunate enough to have made it to adulthood, you have undoubtedly experienced a broken heart along the way.  A broken heart can come in many ways and from several sources.

Broken relationships.

Job losses.

Death of a loved one.

Watching your child or spouse suffer in illness.

Your own diagnosis.

World events.

And the list goes on.  

It stands to reason that if a glad heart shows on your face, then a broken heart must show there as well.

Like you, I know what it is to experience a crushed spirit.  It happens in those times when life is difficult, when you can’t change the circumstances in your own life or in the life of a loved one.   When life is challenging like that, you can’t hide it.  Try as you may, it’s more obvious than you may want to recognize.  Your entire countenance is changed, and those who know you best, can tell.  You can speak whatever words you choose, but those closest to you, know when you’re hurting.  Your spirit is crushed.

A broken heart crushes the spirit.  

I like the way The Message translation words this verse, it says “ A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.”  Yup.

I think it is safe to say that we have all, at one time or another, had a hard time getting through the day.  I mean, obviously we “get through” it, we breathe,  we eat, and we sleep.  (Sometimes we do very little of any of those, but we get through).  

Jesus Himself, was not immune to difficulties in life.  

He experienced brokenness in relationships.  When He was close to the truth of the cross, and what it would require of Him, His disciples couldn’t stay awake through the night with Him.  He experienced betrayal when Judas, one of his own disciples, turned on Him for a small sack of silver. He experienced the death of a loved one when Lazarus was still in the tomb. And He certainly experienced the sorrow of a diagnosis, knowing that for your sin and mine, He would willingly suffer a painful death on the cross at Calvary.  

When life was hardest for Jesus, what did He do?  

He Prayed

Sometimes, He left the company of others to have some alone time with The Father.  In Luke 22:39-46, we see Jesus doing exactly that.  He poured out His heart to The Father, and shared with Him all the anguish and grief that He was feeling.  The human side of Jesus sought the Father for another way through this hardship.  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…”. None of us would have done things any different.  

I have done that and more when I have been desperate for a better way through my circumstances, than directly through the minefield of my pain.  I desire an easier way, a way around.  

He surrendered to The Father’s will.  

After His time of prayer, and seeking another way, Jesus submitted to the will of His Father.  He said “Not my will, but yours be done.”  While it is normal, and human for us to seek another way through the difficulties of this life, ultimately, only God can see the whole picture.  He sees the way through and the rewards that wait on the other side of sorrow, more clearly than we ever can.  So while it is normal and expected for us to seek another way through hard times, continuing to resist the trial doesn’t change the trial.  Peace comes when we recognize that God is not the problem, but rather, that He is the answer.  He promises to never leave us.  He didn’t promise that hard times wouldn’t come, only that He would be our shelter in the storm.  

Remember, Jesus had the power and authority to stop His own death on the cross, but He did not.  For the sake of all mankind, His great love is what kept Him on the cross.   He surrendered. John 3:16 tells us “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”.

Lastly, He served others.

Once Jesus changed the water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, His public ministry began.  This was the beginning of His journey to the cross.

And on His way there, He chose to serve. 

He served by healing the Roman officials’ very ill son in John 4:46-47.  He served by casting out an evil spirit from a possessed man in Mark 1:23-28.  He served by healing His disciple, Peter’s mother-in-law from a terrible fever.  He served the unclean, unapproachable leper by healing him from leprosy in Mark 1:40-45.  He served a widow by raising her dead son, and only provider, back to life in Luke 7:11-18. He served by healing an outcast paralytic in Matthew 9:1-8.  There is much more that could be listed here, but you get the point, Jesus served despite His own heartache and personal circumstances.  

Like He did so often throughout His life on earth, Jesus sets an example for us in difficulty.

Jesus prayed and spent time alone with The Father.  He knew that the task before Him would require more than His humanity had to give, so He prayed and asked God for a way out, or a way through.

Then He surrendered His own will and allowed The Father to complete the Best Plan, even though it came at a great personal sacrifice.

And then He served and met the needs of others during His difficulties.  I know from my own experience that doing this helps me feel less powerless and discouraged.  It brings me joy to serve others, and I am certain that serving brought Jesus joy as well.  

John 16:33 tells us this;  “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world”.  

So, this week, as we all struggle though whatever difficult thing that’s in our path,  lets remember Jesus’ example to pray, surrender and serve.

Jesus, I am struggling.  Things are difficult and my life feels like a battlefield.  Thank you that you are The Overcomer.  Lord, I need your help to see the purpose in my pain, but I choose to trust your will.  Help me to be aware of opportunities to serve someone who may also be struggling.  I desire to use what you have given me to encourage others.  More than anything Lord, please don’t let go of my heart as I seek to honor you in all I do.



New tires

I had to buy some new tires for my car this week.

As a woman, I can’t think of too many purchases that are as completely unsatisfying as the purchase of new tires.  Typically, if I am going to drop money on something (especially big money like tires can be), I like it to be seen!  New tires are just straight up unglamorous!

I’d rather buy new furniture, new clothes, or something fun for the kitchen!  Even pretty landscaping is more exciting than new tires!

However, from time to time, it is necessary to spend money on unsatisfying things, like tires.  But I realize that when I do, I have peace of mind.  I know that I am safer on the road.  I worry less about a blowout on the freeway with new tires.  I also get better gas mileage and have better control of my vehicle.  Rough roads or bad weather don’t worry me as much with those new tires.  Sigh. 

Let’s consider something else that might seem unsatisfying (or seem like it gets in the way of more fun and desirable things that we could invest our time in) but also brings peace of mind and preparation for potentially rough roads-reading the Bible.

There.  I said it. 

Watson Lake, Prescott AZ

I know there have been times when I have felt this way, and I bet that you have too.

But I know that If I want safety and security on the road, sometimes, I need to spend some money on tires.

And if I want peace and security in my thought life, and in the struggles I face every day, I need to spend time with God. 


If you and I are going to move from the women we are into the women we want to become, and into the fullness of all that God has for us, we have to invest some time. 

Change does not happen magically, it happens intentionally.

What does scripture have to say about spending time with God?

1 Chronicles 16:11 tells us this, “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always”.  Where can we look to the Lord?  How can we seek His face?  Where can He be found?  In His word, the Bible. 

Mark 1:35 gives us a beautiful example of this in Jesus.  He was fully God, and also, fully man.  And because He was a man, He needed to spend time with His Father in heaven.  Here’s what Jesus did, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  He got alone with God.  This chapter was written during a time when Jesus was healing and teaching often.  It was a very draining time physically and emotionally to be sure.  So, because He knew that He was going to be doing so much within His day, He needed time alone.  He needed time to be with God.

Jesus was preparing for rough roads.  And each time he stole away from the disciples, or the crowds, to spend time with God, He was essentially buying new tires.

Watson Lake, Prescott AZ

Even the sleekest, most beautiful cars, don’t get very far without good tires!  It matters when we use our resources and time on things that are not seen, as well as those that are.

The more time we spend with God, the more closely He will be involved in our lives.  I’m certain that in your life you have had to develop relationships of various kinds.  Spending time together is necessary to get to know someone well.  You may have had to develop friendships, or a relationship with someone you were interested in romantically, or even relationships with new co-corkers.  Deepening those human relationships takes an investment of time.  We seek to get to know the person better through dialog and observation.  We may talk on the phone or even meet up for coffee to become more familiar with that person.  When we do, we learn new things about them.

It is much the same with our relationship with God.  If we want to know His heart, and more completely sense His presence in us, we will desire to spend time with Him.  We do this best through reading His word.  It has been said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us!  He shows us so much about Himself there. 

It’s where He tells us that He loves us in John 3:16.

It’s where He says He’ll keep His promises in Hebrews 10:23.

It’s where He tells us that He is always with us in Deuteronomy 31:6.

It’s where He says that we are His in 1 John 3:1.

It’s where He says that He is working in our lives in Ephesians 3:20.

It’s where He says He’ll give us strength in Philippians 4:13.

God speaks to us primarily through His word.  But we can’t hear Him if we aren’t listening or giving Him the opportunity.  God will most often draw near to us when we draw near to Him.  We cannot truly expect to deepen and grow our relationship with God if we are not reading the Bible.

Don’t believe me?

I double dog dare you to try it for two weeks and see if you don’t notice a change in your heart.  Invest the time you need to, to be road ready, by reading the word of God. It’s like getting new tires.  You can certainly find more glamorous ways to spend your time, but will you get a better and more lasting return for your investment?

I doubt it.

If we want to know God’s will for our lives, we have to look to His word.  And when we invest a piece of our day seeking Him there, we begin to change.  Romans 12:2 says it this way, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Not sure where to read? Open your Bible to the book of John in the New Testament.  John gives us a clear picture of Jesus, who He is and how He loves us.  Or, if you want to read the bible on your phone or tablet, the You Version Bible app has hundreds of reading plans to make it easy. 

Grab your Bible (or app), maybe a yummy warm drink, and go!  Pray, and read.  You may not notice a huge difference immediately, but you might.  However, if you keep it up for a while, you surely will see God at work.  You will sense His peace and presence.  You will notice Him changing you on the inside, where it matters most. 

He’s ready. Are you?

Lord, I want to get to know You better.  I want to give you priority in my day, wherever that fits best.  My desire is that You and I can deepen the love relationship we have into something strong and beautiful.  I open my heart to you now and ask that You speak to me through Your word.  Amen!



Hard things that were, and good things that are

Sometimes life is good.  Sometimes it’s easier than it is at other times. But I think it becomes easier to recognize the good times because we have gone through the rough times.  I am currently in a season of relatively good health, mentally, physically, and spiritually.  But as we all know, that can change without warning. 

In some recent emails with a friend, we have exchanged thoughts about good things for that day.  We have practiced being thankful for things like hot cups of tea, smiling grandchildren, unplanned coffee dates with friends and so on.  I have really been enjoying this practice, because it has forced me to think intentionally every day about the good things of life.

Because of this practice, I have been reminded about the recent times in my life that have been extremely difficult.  Times when my faith felt a bit fragile and trusting in God’s good plan was something I had to work at.  I felt trapped on a merry go round of events that would not stop spinning, and I was literally growing ill from the constant motion of it all. 

In Romans 8:28 we read “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  That’s you and I, sister!  If we know Jesus as our redeemer, then this scripture is for us.  This verse is a feel-good verse, at least it is for me.  It is all wrapped up in hope.  Because, when I read this verse, I know that God sees the whole picture, and that He is working through my difficulty with an end result in mind.  That result is my good, my best interest.

But when we slow it down, and only look at the first half of the verse, it changes just a little bit.  “In all things, God works.”  This implies that there are “things”, difficulties, and hardships in this life.  And I see there that being a Christ Follower does not make me immune to challenges and struggles in life.  I will experience “things” that will cause me to pause and know that, on my own, I am unable to understand it all.  But that God is working.

In the book of Acts, in chapter 9, we read an account of a woman named Dorcas.

Dorcas lived in Joppa, near Jerusalem.  Her brief but powerful life story, is told in just 11 verses.

Joppa was a seacoast town, and the women who lived there were typically married to seafaring men who made their living from the sea.  They were often fisherman.  The sea took the lives of many men in accidents out on the waters. Consequently, Joppa had many widows.  But the women there had a friend in Dorcas.  She was a Christ Follower, as well as the first (and only) woman in the New Testament, to be called a disciple. She loved and cared for the women there, when their husbands (and their support system) were no longer there to do it for them.  She sewed the women garments and undoubtedly put her arms around them in comfort as they mourned their losses.  She put her faith into action.

And then, scripture says, that she got sick and died.  Just like that, with no warning, their situation changed, and Dorcas is gone.

How the women in Joppa must have wept and mourned the loss of their friend.  She had done so much, loved so fiercely, and given so generously.  They were in a difficult time.  The widows of Joppa surely would have doubted God’s good plan for them. Perhaps they struggled to trust God, and maybe felt they were trapped on a merry go round of emotions.  Hard things.

But the apostle Peter was called to come, and God gave him the power to raise Dorcas back to life!  Imagine the great joy and praise happening in Joppa! The women felt joy and hope once again!  God had certainly seen into their difficult situation and chosen to revive Dorcas to prove that He was able to care for them.  Good things.

When the situation changed for the women, they reflected, and realize that there had been hard times before, but that they were experiencing good times right now.  They experienced a time of relief and relative peace in their still somewhat difficult existence as a widow in Joppa.  And many came to know God because of all that happened there.

That can be you and I, too.

The hard things that were, become the good things that are, in time. 

“In all things God works.” 

If you are in a heartbreaking time, I want to encourage you to exercise your faith and not get stuck where you are.  I’ve been there, and I will most likely be there again at some point.  That’s just how life is.  But God is always working.  And He’s working for my good.

He’s working for your good too. 

If right now, you are in a time of hard things, hold tight.  Nothing lasts forever.  We are not without hope when we purpose to let God work.  He will always bring about good in our lives. 

But remember, Dorcas’ story doesn’t end with her death, Paul didn’t stay shipwrecked, Ruth didn’t remain a widow, and Jesus didn’t stay on the cross.

In time, with God’s good plan for you, this too shall pass.  He will work it into something good. 

One day, your hard thing will be in the past, and you will be rejoicing in the good things that are. 

Trust in Him to take you there. Only He can make sense of the spinning, and turn your doubt into trust. God always has a plan, a good plan, and when we trust Him even when we can’t see it, we understand better what Jesus meant when He said “you do not understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7.

Father, when I am in a rough time, and life is hard, draw me to yourself.  Show me in your word where those who love you are comforted and learn to trust you again because you are always good.  When my faith is fragile, wrap your love around my heart and remind me that your presence is always with me.  I want to choose to trust you even when I am still in the darkness.

Bring your anchor

Hebrews 6:19 “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary”

Hope can be somewhat of a vague word. We try to have hope when things are looking rough in life. We try to have hope when we don’t understand what is happening around us. But hope is deep within, and can be difficult to explain. But the picture of hope here is one of strength and security. Hope is described as an anchor for our souls.

Think of a boat on a body of water, and there is a storm brewing. The waters on the lake are choppy, the wind howls loudly in our ears, and the oars we have to paddle with are fairly useless because of this great storm. But there’s this anchor in the boat. In this word picture, you and I are the people in the boat. The storm is the challenges and difficulties of our lives. The storm makes the otherwise calm waters of life choppy and scary. They toss the boat and threaten to capsize it. The wind is the voice in the storm. It threatens and creates fear as it whistles and screeches. The wind tells us that we’ll never make it, that we are alone on the water. But hope is the anchor.

When an anchor is thrown overboard from a boat, it does not stop the storm. It does not stop the wind. You are there, in the boat, waiting out the storm. But you are anchored. You are steady. The storm will eventually calm down, and when it does, you will be able to safely use those oars again, and get your boat to shore.

Hope anchors us in this way through our personal storms. When I toss the anchor of hope out during the difficulties of life, I count on that anchor to keep my faith solid and steady as the storm fury’s on around me. “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Strong, and trustworthy.

This hope is not just hope itself, but it is the promise of God in Jesus.

When I allow my trust in Jesus and His word to be my strength, I know that He will anchor me. When the storm passes, and it will, I will not be a drift at sea. I will be safe and secure, and I will have held strong through the storm, allowing Him to hold me steady in my little boat.

It’s not enough to wish we never had to endure storms. We have go go into the storm prepared. We need to bring our anchor.

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

Expectant Hope

It’s the possibility of: 

Something new.   Something better.   

I find the term “Expectant Hope” so exciting

I’m sure that, like me, at sometime, you’ve been in a season of waiting

  • Waiting for direction from the Lord. 
  • Waiting for something to change. 
  • Waiting for rescue.   
  • Just waiting.   

It’s never easy.   I don’t enjoy waiting.   Waiting in line, waiting at a stop light, waiting for Amazon

But in the waiting God is doing something!  He’s changing our heart’s.

He gives us an opportunity to trust Him when all we can do is wait!  In this section of Isaiah, God reminds the Israelite people that He was faithful in the past to destroy Pharaohs armies in the Red Sea. 

He tells them that He’s got even more in store for them.   They need to remember what He has done in the past , to build their faith and prepare them for what He’s about to do in their future! (Isaiah 43:19)

“For I am about to do something new.

    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”

Isaiah 43:19

Expectant Hope.     

Don’t forget that there is a gap in time.   That’s where the waiting takes place

The Israelite’s had to

  • wait 
  • trust
  • pray
  • be faithful
  • and live their daily lives

but they had to do it with Expectant Hope That’s where we put feet on our faith, it’s in the waiting.

God not only sees the “now” of our lives, but He sees the future too.  He will clear a path for us!  He will make a way through the wilderness. 

He gives purpose to the waiting.  

When we see only one way through our difficulty, God is there, doing a New Thing in the land!  When we least expect it, we’ll see Him move! 

Pray.   Trust.   Wait.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Where trust is built

Some things are simple, but they’re not easy.  Like trusting God when life is hard. It’s simple, but it’s not always easy.  

I’ve  faced countless difficulties in my life.  Countless.  

  • Pain in motherhood.  
  • Pain in ministry. 
  • Pain in marriage. 

The simplest action I can take, when I don’t understand my own situation, is to trust The One who knows the end from the beginning.  To breathe and trust Him, because He promises to work my difficulties into something good, to bring purpose to my pain, and beauty from my ashes

And guess what?  He has done this exact thing for me over and over in my life!  His track record is spotless! 

I have learned that when things aren’t the way that I want, or even the way that I like, that I can trust Him to make them good again! 

But…(and its it’s a big but…) I’m human. And even though He has proven Himself faithful time and time again,  I’m faced with the same choice every time a challenge rears its ugly head in my life.   The father says to me “will you trust me?”

  • Will I trust Him when things are rough at work?
  • Will I trust Him when my children are struggling in their lives? 
  • How about when I have health or financial struggles? 

That’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  It’s not enough to say that I trust God. My faith grows when I actually exercise that trust.   Here’s the good news. He does wonderful things.  He sees the big picture.   He desires relationship with me.   And He has awesome plans for me!   (Jeremiah 29:11)  They are to bring me hope and a future!

It’s simple, but it’s not always easy.    And yet, that’s where trust is built.  

In faith.  

What do you need to trust God with today?  That thing that just stepped into your mind right now… that’s your thing.   Why not have a talk with God about that one thing right now?

1. Acknowledge it.

2. Ask for His direction with it.

3. Intentionally place your trust in Him about it.

He does wonderful things! (Isaiah  25:1)

He wants to do  them for you!

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay