Sunday, December 29, 2013

Writer's Block Be Gone! (or Happy New Year!)

I've been trying for over a week now to think of something to write that might be worth someone's time, but to no avail...I tend to write only when inspiration strikes, which is fine when it does, but if I hope to finish this book before I'm 98, I need a new plan. I think I've mentioned before that discipline doesn't exactly rank high on my list of strengths, but with the victory I'm experiencing in the health and wellness category, I'm ready for new heights to conquer!

Which means, in practical terms, that I hope to publish at least one blog post each week, no matter what. (I'm not promising they'll all be home runs, but hopefully base hits at the very least :) )There - I've written it down, I have a plan, and you'll help to hold me accountable, right? :) I'm not a fan of accountability in general, but that's mostly because I'm lazy and have an innate aversion to authority, not because there's anything inherently wrong with the concept. I think the basis of this aversion lies in my fear of failure, which is ultimately founded in my fear of disapproval. In my people-pleasing delusion, success equals approval, failure (defined here as not meeting perceived expectations) equals condemnation. However, I am hereby changing the rules of the game! (It's my game, I can do that...) I will strive for excellence (NOT perfection) and try to be content with whatever that effort happens to produce, and I will not wallow in guilt for failing to meet my own and/or others' expectations. ('cause you know it's gonna happen...)

And that brings me to what I've been pondering this week.  In the words of a song (that I really don't care for but serves my purpose here):
And so this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one's just begun
(John Lennon)
Christmas has come and gone and a new year is peeking around the corner. Just what have I done? What do I hope to do (and more importantly, BE) in 2014? While I have pretty much given up on New Year's resolutions per se, to me these questions are essential, this year more than ever. What did I get right? What can I work on? What needs changing or pruning or improvement?  What needs to go? What has earned the right to stay? I know it sounds trite, but we have such a short time in this world to make our mark - what kind of imprint, or legacy, do we want to leave?
Allow me to leave you with one last thought:
Let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus...
(from Hebrews 12)
"The race marked out for us"...that's my over-arching goal for 2014, to run the race marked out for me; on my own racetrack, not competing against any other runner, but running to achieve my own personal best...And how? Here it is again: "fixing our eyes on Jesus".
Bless you, dear Friends - a thousand thousand thanks for journeying with me along this road! I pray that grace and peace would be yours in abundance, and that you, too, may know the real joy of "running with perseverance the race marked out" for you!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Have you ever found yourself caught in the grip of an obsession? Something so distracting, so consuming, that it fills your thoughts and your days, even to the point of affecting your ability to do the things you need to do? An emotional tyrant, it takes control of your feelings and is always lurking in the corners of your mind, forcing its way to the forefront of your thoughts at every opportunity.

I freely admit that food was once my obsession, but thanks be to God, I'm being delivered from that even as I type. In the past 6 weeks, I've started eating better, eating less, exercising more and am down 10 pounds so far - an encouraging beginning to this journey! And even more amazing to me, my whole attitude has done an about-face!  It was a little Oswald Chambers quote that, with just a few words, did away with all my excuses:
"There is nothing for which Jesus Christ is not amply sufficient
and over which He cannot make us more than conquerors."
Oswald Chambers
"More than conquerors"! How I love that phrase! And walking in victory, day after day, is such a beautiful thing - there's a reason we say "amazing grace"! I want to be a living testimony of God's grace and power; make no mistake, this is ALL Him. He's the one providing the fuel for this change; anytime I've tried to make changes in the past, it was all me - striving, working, worrying, falling, and ultimately failing, over and over again...It's a cycle that really wears on a person after years and years of it. But it seems that victory gives birth to victory, step by step, moment by moment, decision by decision, all given over to the One who gives us the victory, all for His glory!
However, just as I seem to be experiencing some victory in this particular area of my life, another obsession has stealthily crept in, silently claiming territory without my knowledge or consent. (Actually, to be completely truthful, I'm sure I gave permission without really considering the consequences - no pointing fingers here; I must take responsibility for my own actions and decisions.) In any case, it's now firmly embedded in my consciousness and now I'm dealing with the fallout. As with most obsessions, it started out benignly, innocently enough, and even appeared to be something positive, healthy, beneficial - and it could be, had I not allowed it to take me over. By God's grace, I've finally heard the none-too-gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit and can acknowledge the wrong and begin to correct the patterns that have developed as a result. But what a pain in the neck! What a waste of time and energy and effort that could have been poured into something useful, valuable, Kingdom-worthy...
Maybe human nature is prone to obsession; maybe there's a void in each of us that must be filled at all costs? Of course there is - we were made for this! I know, you know - only ONE can fill this need. Only One is worthy of being the object of our obsession - everything else falls so very short.
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." 
Isaiah 26:3&4, ESV
Peace, such a beautiful word, yet so elusive - while our minds are parked anywhere but on our great God. May we seek to continually fix our eyes, hearts and minds on Jesus - to discover true peace, and real joy.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Do you ever get so sick of yourself that you could just scream? No? Just me? (Gotta admit, this character-blogging-in-obedience gig isn't always a picnic - I so often have to write about the stuff I'd rather just keep to myself...) So, you're going along, minding your own business, living your life. You think you're making progress, you're not the person you once were, things are beginning to change and WHOMP! From out of the blue, you get knocked down, turned around, defeated, deflated, back to where you started, or even farther back...I guess I should just chalk it up to being human and move on. But I can't seem to do that; there's something in me that wants to wallow in it, to throw a pity party, to punish and mock myself and mourn my fall from grace...

So I finish writing the paragraph above, wondering where in the world God wants me to go with this, and into my mind pops one of my lie-countering Scriptures (small victory right there!): "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) Today, this tells me that I have no right to condemn myself for anything whatsoever, not even the aforementioned fall.  But I'm curious - whenever there's a "therefore" in a verse, I need to know what comes before to really understand where it's coming from. So, I check out Romans 7, and re-discover one of Paul's most encouraging and entertaining (in my opinion) dialogues; the "I do what I don't want to do and what I want to do I can't" bit (always reminds me a little of the old "Who's On First" skit). His conclusion in it all? "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"(v.25) Because of Jesus' life and death and new life, I have been set free from having to be a slave to all that stuff that holds me back and drags me down. Now to live like I'm free - that's the goal! It's almost comical to picture it: the heavy chains that once held me captive have fallen off, and here I am, running back and insisting on carrying them around! Well, they're familiar, even though they hurt. Moving forward into new territory is always a little scary; it's very tempting, comforting even, to run back to the familiar rather than blazing new trails into the unknown.

Paul also mentions the work of the Holy Spirit in this battle for freedom. He contrasts living according to the desires of the flesh (that's the sin-bondage) with being empowered by the Spirit to live according to what the Spirit (or God, you know, the whole three-in-one thing) desires. I very much needed to be reminded again that I can't do this alone - why do I even try? Thanks be to God, I have another option! And when I choose to let the Holy Spirit lead me and guide me and instruct me, Paul says that I can be MORE than a conqueror! That's very strong language - we're not just conquerors, but even MORE than that! Victory - what a sweet sound!

Thank you, Friends, for journeying with me through all this! Writing it all out helps me to see myself and my life and my God more clearly; it enables me to step back and look at the bigger picture. Perspective, I guess you'd say :)  And to have the honour of sharing it with you - joy overflowing! More than conquerors we are - let's go forth and live in the freedom we already have!  May you know real joy today!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bah Humbug?

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, I find myself in rather foreign territory. I hardly recognize myself these days! Normally, I LOVE Christmas, and have never lost that child-like sense of wild and joyous anticipation of the season; Christmas music, decorations, baking, shopping, celebrating - all filled me with great joy. This year, however, I find my heart humming a very different tune, indeed. At the risk of being pelted with holly and ivy, or worse, eggnog and candy canes, I simply must confess. When our local Christian radio station switched to all-Christmas-all-the-time, I couldn't bear to listen. We still have yet to decorate - and I'm totally ok with that. The thought of shopping and attending Christmas parties makes me shudder. I have no desire to engage in the very events and activities that have never before failed to make my heart sing.

And so, if you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that I can't just leave something like this alone. No sir, I must find the root cause and puzzle it all out. So I've been wondering and thinking, praying and asking, why? Is it just that I've finally grown up? No, not likely...Is it because this Christmas will be on the lean side, gift-wise? No, we've had lean Christmases and it made no difference to me...Is it being away from family after enjoying the luxury of celebrating together for the past 3 years? No, we've had many Christmases away from our loved ones and the joy remained. What, then?

The strangest thing in all this is, I'm not sad or worried. I'm not down, depressed or distracted. On the contrary, I find myself in a very contented state (province?). Yet, at the same time, there's a longing, a yearning after...something. All I can figure is that the traditional Christmas stuff isn't enough for me this time around. I need more.  Or maybe I need less. It's like it hurts me to think of this monumental event that changed everything not getting the attention it deserves. It's a desecration to my soul to not see past the tinsel and lights , the turkey and toys, to the foundation, the reason, the meaning under it all. It gets so buried, and I'm not ok with that this year! (I know I run the risk of sounding judgemental and self-righteousness here, but please hear my heart on this...)  It almost feels as if my soul, acting independently of my body and mind, is refusing to be satisfied with anything less than Jesus. All I want to do is worship, to draw attention to this astounding miracle of miracles, to live and breathe and know God-with-us.

That's where I am right now. I'm finding challenges and satisfaction, joy and questions, in navigating these unfamiliar waters.  Can I ask a favour? Would you help me out with a little feedback? What's your take on Christmas this year? How are you celebrating this season? How do you keep the commercialism in check? What steps are you taking to remember Jesus?  Thank you, Friends! May you know real joy today!

Monday, December 2, 2013


It's happening again...I've been pondering, praying, writing about and trying to figure out how to cultivate an atmosphere of rest in my life, and BAM! I've been hit with such a heavy spirit of un-rest, anti-rest, even; it's almost overwhelming. Worries, fears, doubts, insecurities, questions...I should expect it by now, I know; I shouldn't be surprised when the evil one tries to snatch away whatever good seed has been planted in me. I'm trying to be thankful; the ideal conditions now exist in which to test my rest theories. When my beliefs and convictions are tested by fire and come out intact on the other side, that's when I know they're the real deal; that they'll stand the test of time, too.

I'm learning to more readily identify this kind of attack; I'm quicker to launch counter-manoeuvres to reduce the amount of damage done by the enemy of my soul. While I may get temporarily pulled under, I'm able to get my feet back on solid ground by identifying the lies being whispered to my spirit and calling to mind the Truths I know that will cause him to flee. This is what came to mind today:
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honour depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
(Psalm 62:5-8)
I'll not take the time  today to unpack the many treasures and truths in this passage - I wanted to share it because I know there are those facing similar assaults to your spirits. Whatever hard truth you're being called to live out today - stand firm! He is our strong fortress, our mighty rock; we will NOT be shaken! May you know real joy today!

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Following a deep discussion regarding household finances and 9-year-old respect issues the other night with my dear, family-loving, hard-working hubby, I could sense an almost-tangible heaviness descend on my heart. As I sat in the welcome quiet of my post-bedtime living room, a favourite Scripture passage came to mind:
"|Come to me,
 all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
 for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls." 
(Matthew 11:28-9) 
I thought others might benefit from hearing it, so I posted it to face book and went to bed. By morning, over 20 people had taken the time to click "like". Not a huge number by any means, but still an indicator, I think, of how much people are craving rest. Not just a break, not even the physical rest of a stolen nap or a good night's sleep, welcome as they are; but real, refreshing, restorative, renewing, soul-deep rest. A very counter-cultural notion, particularly at this time of year. For most of us, the pace of life is frantic at the best of times; add in a myriad of Christmas-tide activities, events and expectations and it's enough to make me want to sit down and cry!  My brothers and sisters, this should not be!
I wended my way to the world's largest mall recently to take advantage of a huge sale in a certain store for a certain beloved man in my life. It looked as if Christmas had exploded all over West Edmonton Mall - beautiful, but so busy! All the colours and lights and decorations and people, all the hustle and bustle and rushing from store to store...It was not a place of rest; just the opposite - it made me tired just watching the crowd! But, after I had accomplished my goal and was waiting to catch my bus, I stumbled upon an oasis in the midst of the crazy.
Now, maybe this isn't your particular idea of rest, but it was amazing to me what good it did my soul just to sit there, taking in the sound of the fountains, the harmony of the colours, the beauty of the place, the juxtaposition of calm and chaotic. And the experience resulted in a desire to create such pockets of peace in my own celebrating of the Season. As much as I love my Saviour, and as fervently as I advocate keeping Christ in Christmas, I have to admit that my focus has been largely commercial and superficial. So it's no surprise that I invariably arrive on the other side of the holidays thoroughly exhausted in body, mind and spirit. I want things to be different this year; I want to relive the waiting and longing and expectant hope of that first Christmas; I want to know the peace and rest and satisfaction of that long-awaited promise finally fulfilled. My hope is that this practice will produce different results by the time I get to the end of 2013; maybe even provide a more rested, peaceful foundation to start off the new year?
Not so very long ago, I went through a time of deep, dark soul-ache, accompanied by extreme weariness. With several very unpleasant possibilities looming in the near future, there were times when it was hard just to keep breathing. Worry and fear as constant companions will drain you like nothing else. However, it was during this that I learned in a whole new way what the above verses really meant. (Not surprising, I guess - we grow the most in times of trouble, not ease...) Since then, I have determined to respond differently when that familiar feeling of fatigue begins to overtake me. As I become better acquainted with myself, I'm discovering people, places and activities that bring real rest and rejuvenation, and those that definitely do not!
While that list may look different for everyone, maybe there are some common ones? Solitude comes to mind; silence, too. Put the two together and you have a powerful restorative. Except in our day and age, these two things are rarer than hen's teeth! When was the last time you indulged in both of these - or even one or the other? Yet, it's in silence and solitude, with all distractions and interruptions and preoccupations stripped way, that we can truly come to Him for the rest we so desperately need. Allow me to leave you with one more verse to ponder:
"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
 “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength".
(Isaiah 30:15)
 May you know real joy today!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Report Cards

It's report card time at my boys' school - our first in the public school system (having homeschooled for the past 3 years...).  Results to be posted online next week, the billboard outside our school announced. What a flood of memories washed over me as I read that sign's bold black letters! When I was in school (how many years ago now?), I lived for report cards, parent/teacher interviews, assignments and tests - anything and everything that would validate my existence even a little bit. I figured out school at quite a young age and was able to successfully navigate those rough waters with relative ease; high grades and good behaviour combined with just the right amount of helpfulness (read: sucking up) produced a plethora of ego-boosting comments and compliments throughout the years.  How I hounded my parents for information after a P/T conference; I had to hear every word, every expression, every positive utterance - preferably more than once! (My poor dear parents, they were always so patient - I appreciate them so much now, remembering just what I was...) I would read and re-read comments scribbled in the margins of my tests and papers, basking in the warm glow of approval.

I have always been a people-pleaser. I have always suffered from low self-esteem. And I have always gravitated to that which I could do very well, fairly easily. (For more details, see other posts on this blog.) I think it's those three issues that come together to produce the phenomenon I mentioned above. I must admit here and now that, while I have grown and matured in many ways over the years, this has not changed in the slightest.  Now, I live for likes on my face book status or comments on this very blog; in my mind, I replay over and over any kind or encouraging word; I cherish cards or notes or messages that compliment me ever so slightly and reread them again and again...I guess you could say that my love language is "words of affirmation" (see Gary Chapman's "The 5 Love Languages"), and that's fine, but who am I really out to please, anyway? How often do I fixate on God's words of love to me, His endless gifts, His miraculous provision - a thousand things every day that give me everything a bruised and battered image needs to clearly see its' true worth? Because, you see, all the positive reinforcement I've ever received (and craved) has been for the outward, the obvious, the public, for-the-world-to-see stuff. How much do I care about that which only God sees, the real Joy? A quote I read recently by Oswald Chambers really got me thinking about all this: "We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark—the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight." (Oswald Chambers, in The Love of God from the Quotable Oswald Chambers)

And so I'm feeling the need to start shifting my focus a bit...While encouragement from others is certainly sanctioned by God and meant to be a beautiful blessing, it should never take the place in my self-image of what my Father thinks of me. And while my outward behaviour/reputation serves as a witness to my God, it's my true, inner, authentic self that also merits constant examination and evaluation. Ah, this chasing after real joy - it's a never-ending digging, exposing, admitting, confessing...not comfortable, but valuable. If you can relate to anything I've said here, I'd love to know (not [just] to stroke my ego, but to see how God might be using these words of mine). May you know real joy! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Do you ever allow yourself to dream? To imagine a different life, a different path, a different purpose? Do you think dreaming and contentment can co-exist? Do you ever wonder if you're in the right place, doing the right thing? I haven't had the courage (or self-esteem) to ask these questions very often in my lifetime, but I've taken some time this week to slow down and start wondering; to do some tentative dreaming (not by choice necessarily, but thanks to the flu, which feels remarkably like being hit by a truck...). I've always found that any dreaming I've dared to do is invariably accompanied by a vaguely guilty sensation; maybe that's one reason I indulge in the practice so rarely? Anytime I think about things being different from my current situation, my conscience starts preaching the gospel of contentment at me - and an excellent concept it is! I am learning the secret of contentment that Paul talks about in Philippians 4; the more impossible situations that I see God supernaturally redeem, the more my faith grows and the more I am able to rest in His care. I KNOW in all cases, and have been permitted to see in many of the same, that what He brings is ALWAYS for my good and His glory. It seems a little trite, but the phrase "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it" is one that's set on repeat in my brain these days. And that brings me back to the concept of dreaming - is it even ok to dream that my life could be different? Or is it all part of the plan, God leading my thoughts and desires in the direction of His will? And what about the dreams themselves? Does everyone get to follow their bliss? How do we know if our dreams come from God or own selfish/lazy/ambitious desires? I don't have any answers, just questions...

As for me, I find that I do have dreams: I'd like to write books that inspire and encourage; I'd like to preach and teach and lead people into the presence of God through music; I'd love to earn an M.Div. degree; I want to record a worship album and a hymns album; I dream of being out of debt, of being a healthy weight, of owning a home, of paying off my student loans (ok, that one might be a bit far-fetched)... And I have other dreams: for my family, my children, my own character... Now, these all sound pretty good to me, noble ambitions - but what do I do about them? Like Laverne and Shirley, do I go out and make my dreams come true? :) Is that the right attitude? Do I try to force them through, to turn them into track-able, measure-able goals and write to-do lists and mission statements and such? Or do I submit them to God, ask for His guidance and wait on His timing? Or is there some ideal middle ground?

I do have one dream, though, that I know will be a reality some day - the dream of Heaven. I've been dreaming of Heaven quite a bit lately; not in a morbid sense, but more of a homesick, can't-wait-until-everything-is-put-right kind of way... I came across a face book post the other day that was talking about how in Heaven there will be no more pain, tears, sorrows, etc...and then it presented the following sentence and invited the reader to fill in the blank as specifically as possible: In Heaven, there will be no more _________. Well, I filled in the first thing that came to mind and it blew me away - I'd never applied the promise of Heaven to my specific situation before! What hope it gave me! I think it was that sentence that inspired this fresh bout of dreaming; maybe knowing that whatever my life holds, it does not begin to compare to the glory that will be revealed on that day, when we will see clearly, when we will know fully! Hooray for hope!

I'd love to hear your take on this - what do you think about dreams? Do you have any? I think God made us to dream, and that hopeful dreaming can contribute to joyful living - may you know real joy today!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Waves of love are crashing over me, submerging me, engulfing me, drowning me...that God would love me like He does in the midst of my mess is astounding, humbling, incredible, unfathomable! And I'm such a mess; hopeless, helpless, worthless, lifeless, meaningless, clueless... Never have I known, really known, His love to such an extent as this. My whole existence, it seems, has been a journey on this path of love and grace and mercy. In His mercy, God hasn't (even yet) revealed the whole of His indescribable love to me; but it's little by little, bit by bit as I learn and grow and fail and love and live that He shows me more and more of Himself. I couldn't take it otherwise; even Moses couldn't handle the whole of God's glory - God hid him in a cleft of a rock, covered Moses with His hand and allowed Moses to see just the back of Him as He passed by. (Exodus 33) To be fair though, Moses was a mess, too - major anger issues, even to the point of murder; disobedient, unbelieving, full of excuses...This gives me hope - just look at how God used Moses! Maybe He can use me, too.

It's amazing and wonderful how God keeps on putting people and thoughts and words and songs in my path at just exactly the right time. He's been setting me up for awhile now to be absolutely blown away by a simple song, one I've heard a few times over the years but had never had any continuous contact with - I had never actually read the lyrics until yesterday. Before I go on, here's the song: (It's 4.58 but it really ends at 3.40 if you're pressed for time)

Here by the Water
Music and Lyric by Jim Croegaert
© 1986 Rough Stones Music

Soft field of clover
Moon shining over the valley
Joining the song of the river
To the great giver of the great good
As it enfolds me
Somehow it holds me together
I realize I’ve been singing
Still it comes ringing
Clearer than clear

And here by the water
I’ll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I’ve found here
I’ll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy

I think how a yearning
Has kept on returning to move me
Down roads I’d never have chosen
Half the time frozen
Too numb to feel
I know it was stormy
I hope it was for me a learning
The blood on the road wasn’t mine though
Someone that I know
Has walked here before

I hope you know I wouldn't have posted the whole thing unless I deemed it worth your time :)  It was through this song that God totally broke me and stormed my heart with His love and acceptance! Steve Bell sings about building an altar with the stones he'd found there by the river, rough as they are, knowing God would make them holy, worthy...I've come to know myself a bit better in the past year or so and through that process have become even more aware of my own rough edges, my failings and inadequacies and shortcomings (yes, pun intended). Ergo, it is absolutely mind-boggling that God would take me and choose me and set me apart and adopt me and equip me and use me!  And it's all Him! He's the one who makes me holy, acceptable, usable! He did it for the stones, which are completely incapable of doing anything to make themselves holy - ditto for me! And it is He that goes before me! At the end of the second verse of this song, he sings of the storm and numbness and roads he wouldn't have chosen (and who hasn't been there?). Then! "The blood on the road wasn't mine though; Someone that I know has walked here before" - that's the part that finished me. The visual of Jesus travelling my path ahead of me just made my soul sing with gratitude and that incredible feeling of being cared for, valued, cherished, loved...

There is within all of us the desire to be fully known; understood and appreciated for exactly who we are; strengths and weaknesses, at our best and at our worst, and every quirk and oddity in between; and even in the most intimate of relationships - spouses, parents and children, siblings, the closest of friends - we always fall short. And every time we seek to meet this need and are disappointed, we lose a little bit of who we're meant to be, until we're so jaded and guarded that we don't even recognise ourselves. It's always and only in God that we will find what we're looking for, what we need. That security, acceptance, peace, love, value, worth, purpose, appreciation - the Bible says that God delights in us, even sings over us! (Zephaniah 3:17) Over you! Over me!

And so I'm coming to terms with my big, beautiful mess :) As I learn to stop looking to people to provide what only God can, there is the joy and freedom and peace that I was seeking the whole time! It's so satisfying to be fully known and fully loved! I've always struggled with the issue of self-worth, but God has really brought the whole thing into glaring clarity over the past few months. I've started a great new job at a wonderful church, working with wonderfully skilled and competent and all-around lovely people. Awesome, right?  But all of a sudden, I'm questioning my value more often and more deeply than I have in years! And even though I know I know better, the comparison games began. (And in my own twisted mind, I never win...) But I see now that God brought me through all that to get to this. I so want to be just me, without fear or shame or worry. He is teaching me how.

Thank you for taking valuable time out of your busy life to peruse these ponderings. I'd love it if you'd leave a note in the comments, letting me know you stopped by :)  And if there's any way I can pray for you or you'd like to chat, you can reach me at thejoyofthelord(at)hotmail(dot)com. May you know real joy today!