Finding Joy in the Journey Again


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

If you have read any of my writings you know that I picture life as a journey. I believe we all are on a journey through life, a path that has been laid out by God for us. I also like to picture life as a race, more like a marathon, a journey in which you are working to beat your personal best time. While I have never run a marathon, I find them very interesting. From what I have seen, they can take you down many different paths and across various types of terrain. It seems to me that a marathon would be taxing yet rewarding in the end. I imagine competing in a marathon is something that is not easily accomplished nor quickly forgotten.

Life is quite the same. There are hills and valleys. There are moments you feel as if you could conquer the world. Yet, at other times you feel overcome by fatigue. You may begin your journey running with a crowd, and then later find yourself running alone. Each of these is a part of the journey we must face.

From what I understand about marathons, each has its own route as well. There is a particular path laid out for the runners. God’s will for our lives is much the same. He has given us a path He knows is best for us. While I believe that God allows us room to move inside of His will, we must also be careful not to lose sight of our calling and step outside of that will. The enemy would like nothing more than to see us take a dangerous detour, become distracted, and possibly get off course.

A couple of years ago I found myself in that exact place. I had gone from enthusiastically running my marathon of life to distracted from my journey and wandering. It did not take me long to realize that I was no longer enjoying my journey. I was indeed lost in the desert. However, God had not given up on me! Today, I would like to share with you how I found the joy in my journey again.

One of the first posts I wrote was entitled Enjoy the Journey. It was about my calling to ministry through writing. I was excited to begin a new phase in my life. I felt honored that God would use me to encourage others. I also looked forward to the challenge of starting something new. I was on the mountain with the wind at my back. I felt unstoppable. After a while, however, I began to get tired. The winds changed and I felt as if I was fighting with every step. I allowed the enemy to distract me. I took my eyes off of the ultimate goal which was honoring God and I began to focus on other things. I noticed I was not moving as quickly as those around me. I was struggling more than some. I felt I was falling behind and I became discontent with my own progress. Giving way to these feelings I began to push myself even harder to keep up. Eventually I lost sight of the finish line and found myself ready to quit. You see, I had lost the joy in my own journey. The very thing I had encouraged others to do, I had failed to accomplish myself. Where once I felt excited and prepared for the journey, now I was tired and discouraged. I had somehow wandered off the path God had laid before me and I had run into the desert.

I have spent the past two years on a detour from my writing journey. I must admit it has been neither easy nor much fun. You see, Friend, there truly is joy in the journey to which God calls you. It may not always be easy, but there is comfort in knowing that we are where God wants us to be. There is joy in knowing that we are honoring God with our lives. Outside of that assurance is a dark, hopeless place. It has taken me quite a long time and many tears to get back to the place I feel God would have me. Praise God, His grace and mercy have been sufficient in my times of need! Jesus’ forgiveness has been a gift when I realized I needed it. Through prayer and God’s guidance I feel that I have found the joy in my journey once again. I believe that I am fulfilling my calling by ministering with my words.

I want to end today with a few words of encouragement. No matter what it is that God has called you to do, find joy in it. If you are a mom who spends all day changing diapers and wiping noses, find joy in it. If you are a janitor who spends his time cleaning up after others, find joy in your calling. If you are the manager of your business, enjoy the role to which God has called you. Whatever your calling may be, I encourage you to embrace it. Whatever journey God has called you to, find the joy in it. If you find yourself lacking the joy that you once had, let me encourage you to pray about it. Maybe you have veered off course. Maybe you are in the desert just as I described. God still cares. He is right here waiting for you to come back to Him. He wants nothing more than to restore the joy that comes from serving Him. Wherever it is that you find yourself today, Friend, enjoy the journey.

God Knows Your Worth

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14a

Have you ever noticed how little children want to impress those they admire the most.

I work with kids every day and I see it many times over. One child brings a new toy to school and what is the first thing he says? “See my new toy!” One child learns to dribble a basketball and he can not wait to show the bigger boys who are on the basketball team how well he can bounce that ball.

I see it with my own children every day. One finally passes a level on a game he is playing (Please, no hate mail. Yes, I let my children play video games 😉 ) and the first thing he want to do is show it to me or his dad. When our little girl learned to put her own hair in a pony tail she could not wait to show me how she could do it herself. Our children love to play music; when they can finally make that chord they have been working to make we must stop what we are doing and listen.

Children are always searching for acceptance in the world. Sometimes it is from friends. “Other times it is from their own siblings. Often times it is from a parent.

As I thought about the need for acceptance, I thought to myself, “Children are not the only ones who feel this way.” Even as adults we often try to prove ourselves to each other. Too many times we work very hard to be seen by those around us. I will not even begin to list the ways in which we do this. I am sure that even now each of us is thinking of one situation or another in which we try to gain the acceptance of our peers.

Do we not do the same thing with God? How many times do we bring our abilities to God and say, “Look God! See what I can do.”

Friends, we do not have to try to impress God. Our worth is not in how much money we make or what car we drive. God does not place a value on us depending on our job or relationship status. God loves us just as we are.

Our verse today says that He knew us while we were still in the womb. God knitted us together Himself. God wants us to come to Him just as we are. God desires for us to bring Him all our imperfections and lay them at His feet.

You see, with God all things are beautiful. In our own hands they are nothing more than filthy rags. It is only when we lay them at the feet of our Savior that He will take our gifts and use them to bring honor and glory to His name.

I want to encourage you today. Stop trying so hard to impress those around you. Do not let the world tell you that your worth lies in what you have or what you can do, and stop trying to prove your worth to God. He loves you just as you are. John 3:16 tell us that God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son to die for us. We did not do anything to earn that love, nor can we ever earn it. It is a free gift, given from a Savior who knows we are worth dying for.

I pray today that you will see your worth in God’s eyes. Offer Him your gifts, not trying to earn his acceptance, but as an offering of praise for all that He has done for you.

Book Review: The Beauty of Grace

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I have been reading a book entitled The Beauty of Grace. From the moment I opened this book and began reading I knew that I was in for a blessing.

 Grace. What exactly is it? I was taught as a child that grace is unmerited favor. We are all in need of grace in our lives. Praise God! He knew this, and He offers it to us freely.

The Beauty of Grace is filled with stories of God’s amazing grace in the lives of over seventeen different Godly women.

The very first story I read felt like a much needed hug for my weary soul. However, as I continued to read I found that this book is filled with much more than feel-good stories. The stories that you will find hidden in these pages are like tiny jewels that you will want to tuck away in your mind and heart and hold onto.

Each section of the book covers a different subject matter. As you take the journey through this book you will find stories of purpose, surrender, and hope, each one written from personal experience.

I want to encourage you to read this book and to also share it with a friend. Once you discover the jewels of hope and wisdom that are bound in the pages, you will want to share them with those around you.

I pray today that you will discover the beauty of grace.

You Are My Rescue

“When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.”

Psalm 91:15

Do you like music?

Music, for me, is such a gift. It can express how I am feeling when I can not find the words. It can minister to my heart when I am hurting. Music is also a great way to praise the Lord.

I was raised in a very musical family. Since the time I was just a small child I can remember music being a big part of my life. I have memories of sitting next to my Mama and hearing her sing beautiful harmony along with the music on Sunday Morning. I remember hearing my dad sing the prettiest tenor part of every song. Being missionaries, we would often sing at the churches we were visiting. As my brother and I grew, our parents taught us how to harmonize, and we are passing those gifts along to our children.

I love to read the Book of Psalms. David understood music. Thanks to his gift of music and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have a book full of beautiful songs written to the Lord, some of which are written out of joy, some out of sorrow, and some even out of fear and anguish. It seems even David knew the power of a song.

I often find myself with a song in my heart. At times I will wake up with lyrics on my mind; other times God will place a song on my heart and I will find myself humming along all day. Either way, music is such a gift.

I awoke this morning with a song in my heart that I would like to share with you. It is entitled “You Are My Rescue.”  It is a reminder to us that no matter where we are and what we are going through, God is right there with us. Even when we are having trouble seeing His hand, we can trust His heart and know that He will never leave us.

Friend, I do not know what you are going through today, but you can find rest in the assurance that God does. Just as David did, we can cry out to God and He will hear us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us and we can stand firm on that promise. No matter the storm you are facing today, no matter the struggle, God is there and He will be your rescue today if you will let him.

I pray this song ministers to your heart and you have a blessed day.

Sailing Uncharted Territory


 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Today our family will embark on a new journey.

We are headed into uncharted territory.

We are officially the parents of a teenager!! Today our oldest son, Big D turns 13 years old.

As this day has quickly approached, I have found myself filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for our family and for our son, yet on the other hand I feel a bit unsure and unprepared for what is to come.

This new time in our lives has brought me back to where it all started. 13 years ago, today, I was a 19 year old girl with no idea how my world was about to change. I was young and believed that I knew it all. (You see, teenagers think that for some reason.) I had not really considered the future to any extent and I surely had not thought far enough ahead to realize that one day I would be raising a teenager!

I was a newlywed. My head was still in the clouds.

Even as I sit here now and look back on that time, I shake my head and chuckle under my breath at the naivety. Praise God, He has carried us through all these years!

Today we celebrate this new trek of our adventure. We boldly (and prayerfully) march into an entirely new phase of life. As the shock wears off, I am more and more excited to begin this new journey. I have loved being a mom since that first day, 13 years ago, and I have enjoyed every stop of this adventure since then.

While I do understand that children do not come with an instruction booklet, I am confident in the assurance that God has given us all the instruction we will need in His word. As our children grow, I find myself holding onto God’s promises more and more. I would like to share some of these promises with you this morning.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Proverbs 29:17 “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

I hope that you have enjoyed listening to this overwhelmed Mom ramble on about a new phase in life. I also pray that it has somehow encouraged your heart. I truly believe that children are a gift straight from the Lord. As a parent you think that you are teaching your children life lessons every day, but I must say that I learn so many things from my children on a daily basis. I feel very honored to carry the title Mom to these three “not so little any more” blessings of ours, and I am thrilled to see what God has in store for our future.