Travel Journal, Week 2

Have you ever been traveling and found yourself completely off the road you thought you were following?

No GPS guidance to direct you.

No map.

Nobody to ask directions.

You knew your way when you started out in the morning, and by noon you were completely lost. Maybe even teetering on hopeless.

You feel that as sure as your destination was in the morning, now you feel lost, confused, and even scared.

I set out on this journey to contentment with you two weeks ago. My path was clear. Sure, it would take commitment and perseverance, but the trail markers were laid out before me.

This week, I have felt that my trail markers have been knocked over, that my confidence has been shaken, and that the society I knew and trusted has been rocked to its core.

There is no way that we can live through the events our nation is currently facing and not feel pushed off our path. Our hearts are broken and our stability is shook, when we see racial injustice and people treated inhumanely.

I found myself laying in a heap on the side of the road, with my head in my hands, crying out to God and saying, “I thought your children had gotten past this. I thought we were better than this.”

How can human beings treat other human beings made in God’s image as less than themselves?

As I picked myself up off the ground with skinned knees and a few bloody scratches, I tried to find my way back onto the path.  However, I felt knocked back off my path again as the decision came down that the “opening” of our churches and businesses was so full of restrictions that it didn’t seem like an opening at all. Our national leading Dr’s, our state leaders, and our county leaders, are all saying something different and contradictory. “Let’s get back to work!”  “No! Let’s keep shelter in place!”  There is dissension and disunity everywhere we look.
How could I possibly find my way back to the right path that leads me to true contentment?

I have to remind myself of some important Truths:

All lives matter to us because each person matters to God.


We are all created equal in His image.

We live in in a fallen world where social injustice is prevalent.

WE live with the Truth, and the Truth is that we are the light and the hope of the world.

We need to be vocal in calling out injustice based on hate.

We need to stand together as one in Christ, red, yellow, black, brown and white.

Everyone matters to God, and every person matters to us!

Jesus is the hope of the world. He reminded us,

In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

John 16:33

We are more than overcomers through Him who loves us!

Sometimes finding contentment is trusting in the Truth I know, even if I can’t see it in the world around me.

So we keep our eyes, not on what I seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, But what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18.

As troubles come and we are knocked off our path, the Truth of God and His word is the only true map we should follow.  No matter how dark it may seem, following God’s word is the only light that can direct our path.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 199:105.  

  Truth Bomb

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We shine God’s hope and light to the world when we treat each other as equals!

Speak Truth Love

TRAVEL JOURNAL TO CONTENTMENT: Week 1

‘On the Road Again!’
These may be the lyrics to a well known country western song, but they also perfectly fit my “on again,”  “off again,” relationship with CONTENTMENT!

Do you feel me?  I’m flying high one day, feeling successful and confident. The next day I feel bucked off the horse and thrown into prickly berry bushes!

Anyone else? Or is it just me?

This journey we are on to live a life Christ-centered and Christ-driven needs a road map and a travel journal.

Good News, we have the road map, God’s Word, The Bible!  God lovingly wrote a love letter to each and every one of us and in it are all the directions we need to live a Christ-centered life.

The not bad, but not so good news is, we have to write our own Travel Journal to navigate our part in the journey. When we do, we can live Christ-driven lives with clear direction. This is the surest way for us to find CONTENTMENT!

Week 1 of my Travel Journal is: 

#1 GOD WILL BE FAITHFUL TO  COMPLETE IT!

I started my week out determined to do my part and put the effort into finding contentment. I woke up earlier and began each morning with physical exercise and Bible reading.

As day 2 arrived I felt my body a bit more tired than the day before, and my legs slightly heavier to pick up as I ran, but my spirit was determined!

By day 3 I felt that old message of discouragement ring in my ears…

You start out strong but eventually you will fail!

I sensed that pang inside me that wanted to quit! Sure, it would be easier. I could start again next week. Truth is, next week never seems to come. The same pattern of beginning well, “flying high,” and eventually getting “bucked off the horse” and quitting seemed to take over and win the day!

I had made a commitment to find contentment and I knew I had to do my part even when it hurt!

I finished exercising and ran to God’s Word! “Help,” I cried! “I need you to show me you don’t give up on me, so I won’t give up on you!”

In the same book of Philippians, only at the beginning of the book, there it was!

Being confident of this, that HE who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it(or to carry it on to the day of completion), until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

It was right there in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, God is in this with me!  I do my part and HE is ALWAYS FAITHFUL to do HIS!

Day 4 arrived and I got up and asked God to help me do my part because I knew HE would do HIS!  My feet hit the pavement with a greater determination that morning.

I knew then that I already had the ROAD MAP, God’s Word, I had used it!  But what I needed was a TRAVEL JOURNAL, a place to record my direction, purpose, and to do my part to live a life Christ-driven and CONTENTED!

So, I began writing my ‘TRAVEL JOURNAL TO CONTENTMENT.’ 

Week One directs me to keep doing my part knowing God will complete what I begin in His name!

TRUTH BOMB

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GOD WILL BE FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE THE PLANS THAT HONOR HIS NAME!

If you feel encouraged to take this journey with me or start your own, I hope you will use both God’s Road Map for you, and a Travel Journal!

HAPPY TRAVELS MY FRIEND, UNTIL NEXT WEEK!

Speak Truth Love

The Chase for Contentment

Friends, God has asked me to write something today that is difficult, painful, embarrassing and humbling. For a myriad of reasons, far too many to write, I have used excuse after excuse, reason upon reason and rationalization on top of rationalization to explain this issue in my life away!

We all have our own issues, and that’s not a slam on anyone. That is called human nature! My issues are not your issues and your issues are not my issues. That is why I hesitate to even write about this. But truth is, God is telling me to! It would be so much easier for me to continue to keep it to myself! True, it won’t come as a total shock to those of you who know me or those of you that have read my blog posts. It is not some thing uncommon to most human beings! It may not be an issue you wrestle with like I do, but it still stands as an irritant to most everybody.

The difference is, the many times I’ve talked about it and shared about it, I have communicated it as a desire, and God has shown me it’s more than that!

I wrote last week about contentment. I shared that I see it as something practically unattainable for me! But after that post, God took me to the mats! That’s right, you heard me, the wrestling mats! The place where God calls my name and gets my attention in anyway He can! The place where I have to wrestle with Him over an issue that is not getting through to my heart! Oh, my head understands it perfectly fine! I know that God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I know it’s true! I know that through Jesus Christ I have eternal life and I will be forever with God, and that’s true! I know that I’m a daughter of the King and that makes me a princess. I am cherished, adored, protected and loved! And because I know that and live that out, God wants me to be the best I can be for Him! In taking me to the mats He was telling me that there’s an issue that is in my head but has not gotten to my heart! And it’s the issue of contentment with my health, weight, age and physical appearance!

OUCH, that hurt to say!

I have read, spoke on and taught Philippians 4:11-12, more times then I can count! If you have ever received an email from me, or visited my home , you know that Philippians 4:13 is my favorite verse!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

I do my very best to live by it and frustrate many people along the way! But as I was on the mats with God this week He wouldn’t let me get to my favorite verse until I dealt with the two verses that come before it!

For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:11-12

I know this passage well! I graduated from Bible college! I’ve studied the apostle Paul! He’s one of my heroes of the Faith after all!

I know he was in prison when he wrote these words! I know that he was bound in chains and didn’t know if he would wake up to see another day on this earth! I get it, I told God! No matter what my circumstances are, I am to be “CONTENT” in where you have me!

It got worse! I started to plead my case! God, I said, I have lived in plenty and in poverty. I have felt love and abandonment! I have moved far from home and left everything familiar to me. I have raised babies on the mission field and felt supported and alone! I have experienced friendships that are faithful and those that are disloyal. I have experienced the indescribable joy of giving birth to two babies and the pain of losing one to miscarriage.  

I have trusted You when you told me to go even though I didn’t know where I would end up and I have been blessed by You providing a home for me and having my family near. I have been healed by You and trusted You to bring me out of a coma and I have known good health most of my life. I have given You my life and declared it is not my own! Yet still I struggle with contentment.

I found myself exhausted and sweating after wrestling on the mats and pleading my case.

I fell to my knees and then to my face in silence.

Then, in the quiet and with a still small voice God whispered,

“Yes, but true contentment my daughter, you do not know. Stop looking for it with your head and find it with your heart!“

I discovered that contentment is not just dealing with our circumstances well and trusting them to God’s care. True contentment asks us to put effort in as well!

TRUTH BOMB

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Contentment calls for me to do my part as well as depend on God to do His!

Paul found himself in prison but instead of sitting there and praying quietly to God trusting that his circumstances would turn out…he shared the gospel! I can’t even imagine the physical pain he must’ve been in, but instead of sitting quietly and enduring it, he chose to share the truth and the good news of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone who would listen!

We may not like where we are, but we do know that God’s in control! And trusting Him in that and enduring whatever circumstance we find ourselves in is demonstrating faith!

CONTENTMENT is taking that circumstance and doing something with it! Paul sat in a prison cell, chained to a wall and not only trusted in his God and had faith, but he found true contentment by sharing his faith with others!

Back to my issue…

This is my heart’s cry to God…

I know it’s going to take a drastic change for me to do some things for my mental and physical health!

Ultimately, mostly for my spiritual health! I know You have been working on me about contentment… And I’m ridiculously discontent! I know it’s me and not my circumstances.

My life could not be more blessed with my marriage, my children and their spouses and my grandchildren-I have truly the greatest blessings in the whole wide world! I need to fix myself! I have many excuses and valid reasons for not, but the bottom line is I am self-indulging! True, it fills my loneliness and my insecurities that I face being in ministry and being in the “spotlight.” These words are really hard for me to say, and I feel like they’re pouring out as a full confession as I’m writing them to you! But I want to be honest and I don’t want to shy away from it anymore! It’s going to take some hard work. I know what the Scriptures say is that it takes hard work to accomplish Gods purposes! I’m going to stop making excuses and I’m going to stop being so sad about the way I look and about getting old. I can do something about it to be the very best I can be, even at 60! And beyond for that matter! I’m going to ask for your prayers and I’m going to gut it out with you God!

Now, I can say my favorite verse…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

I know You will be faithful to me, you always are! I just need to be faithful to You and put the work in!

I give all the glory to You, God for what I know You can and will accomplish in and through me! On my own I am too weak and I can’t do it!But with Your power, there is nothing I can’t do!

So here goes! The results are not what’s important, the effort and work God’s calling me to put in to being truly content in Him, is!

Speak Truth Love

Contentment In The Midst Of COVID

Contentment has never been one of my favorite words.

By definition, contentment means ‘satisfaction and ease of mind.’ In actuality, it is a state of being. I don’t believe there has ever been a time that I have been described as “easy going.” I love purpose, vision, achievement, and all around productivity! To arrive at a state of contentment, where your mind feels at ease is something I can only accomplish through God’s divine intervention.

I have found nothing better to bring contentment in my life, then giving thanks! And nothing better to give me a heart of thankfulness then reading God’s Word! God tells us in the book of Isaiah that we will find His perfect peace when we focus our minds on Him.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3

Trusting in God is the answer to contentment! When we find ourselves in such difficult seasons, as the one we’re in right now during the COVID pandemic, our only hope for contentment is to trust in Him!

God does not leave us hanging in His call for us to trust Him. He has sent us a love letter, His Word! In God’s love letter to us, we are told to give thanks to Him…why? For He is good!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”   Psalm 107:1

I don’t know about you, but when I want to make a point, or emphasize something, I repeat it over and over again. I am trusting that giving thanks to God because He is good, is what He desires from me because He repeats it over and over again in His love letter to me. 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29, Psalm 136:1, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 92:1, and on, and on, and on through both the Old and New Testaments more times than I can record here for us, that we are to give thanks to the Lord because He is good to us forever and always!

So in a time where discontentment too easily replaces contentment, and our mind tends to go to all of the things that are wrong, let’s practice giving thanks!

We just had Mother’s Day, and I was reminded of many reasons to be thankful for being a woman. Today I am thankful that because I am a woman, I can be a Wife, a Mom, a Grandma and a Girlfriend.

Now you go!

Name some things that you are thankful for along with me, as we keep our minds focused on God because He is good, and watch Him keep us in perfect peace and contentment in the midst of COVID!

TRUTH BOMB

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Contentment becomes contagious when we give thanks!

Speak Truth Love

SHE’S A WOMAN: My Grandmother

LOIS, EUNICE AND LELA

Lela was my…Grandmother!

Everyone deserves to have a grandmother like mine! It was not that she took me to Disneyland every day, or took me shopping whenever we were together, or took me on extravagant vacations, or bought me anything and everything my heart desired.

IT WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!

She gave me what money can’t buy…THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST-LIKE LIVING!  

She spent as much time with me as she physically could. She lived in Arizona and I lived in Northern California. She visited every Christmas and brought me to her house each Summer. I grew up going to Summer Bible Camp and Vacation Bible School at her house each year. I sat beside her as she taught Sunday School with a flannel graph board and poster sized pictures of all the Bible heroes. I stood on a stool next to her as she taught me to bake cookies and cakes. I propped myself up on a dining room chair and watched her make breakfast, lunch and dinner. I attended church with her on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night, when I was with her. I helped prepare the jello salad or dessert we placed into the Tupperware dish with her last name printed on the bottom, written over scotch tape, SWITTER!

I went to the grocery store with her as she greeted every worker from the outside to the inside and they greeted her back. I drove to the post office with her as she walked each letter to be mailed inside. Every employee greeted her by name. She brightened the whole place with her smile! I accompanied her to her Women’s Bible Study and listened as she read from her Bible. I walked into the drug store around the corner with her as person after person yelled out her name. I sat close by as she and my grandfather would finish dinner on Saturday night, clean up the dishes and then fill out their offering envelope and place their giving check inside. I witnessed her dress beautifully for church and wear her black patent leather high heels from September through March, and her white patent leather high heels from April through August. I listened as she answered phone calls and spoke words of encouragement and prayers of blessing over the caller. I watched as she served ‘Meals on Wheels’ to shut-ins, and followed her into nursing homes as she visited those inside. I ate the dozens of Christmas cookies she baked and brought to her family each Christmas. I opened the presents she wrapped in festive wrapping paper and wore the dresses she made me each and every year. 

She led me in prayers, taught me to read, and trust the word of God, told me to shine my light for Jesus and know that I was beautiful because He created me!

My grandmother, by the life she lived, gave me the most valuable gift available on this earth,

to live my life every single day that I have breath, for JESUS!

She taught me life giving lessons when she told me to begin each and every day saying,

This is the day The Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

She would also tell me,

“Always forgive, even if the person is not deserving, because Jesus forgave you!”

She loved bigger than any person I have ever known, because she loved JESUS first and others next!

No book, sermon or lecture has taught me half as much as the life my grandmother lived has taught me. She did not tell me how to love Jesus, she showed me how to love Jesus!

To this day, she was my angel on earth, who now is my angel in heaven who waits for me.

I live my life for Jesus because she showed me how!

In the Bible we read about a young man who began his ministry early at the young age of 18 because of the godly influence of his mother and grandmother.

Timothy was filled with the same strong faith as his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice.

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother, Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.                                                          2 Timothy 1:5

Women, Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Cousins, Friends…we have a life-altering opportunity to set a Christ-like example for all those around us to follow.

As Mother’s Day approaches, their is no greater legacy that we can celebrate or set, than a legacy of following Jesus and loving His people!

My grandmother set the greatest example of all for me at her funeral.

I did not want to go to the funeral home because I wanted to keep my memories of her “alive and vibrant.” But God knew I needed to be at that funeral home.

I sat outside the viewing area in the lobby.  I was alone, and I watched the postman come in and walk into the viewing room, followed by the drugstore worker, and the lad at the grocery store. The streams and streams of children poured in that she taught in Sunday school and countless others from her community. She had touched all of their lives and they wanted to pay her respect!

Truth was, she had shown them JESUS, and their lives were impacted!

Lela, Lois and Eunice lived their lives full of Faith pointing other’s to Jesus. We can do the same!

On this Mother’s Day as we honor special women in our lives, LET’S HONOR THEM WELL, THANK THEM FOR THE IMPACT THEY HAVE MADE ON US AND OTHERS and challenge ourselves to be the women who will impact the next Lisa or Timothy!

TRUTH BOMB

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Grandmothers leave a legacy their grandchildren never outgrow!

Happy Mother’s Day to you friend, whether you are one biologically or have been a Mother to ones who have needed you! We honor and celebrate you, and the Mothers who have gone before us!

Speak Truth Love

SHE’S A WOMAN: My Mother

W O MAN…… I’LL SAY IT AGAIN!  WOMAN!  Remember that song?

How did it go…

“She can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget your a man, cause she’s a WOMAN, W O MAN!

Truth is when we hear the word WOMAN spoken our minds often go to icons of that gender. Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, Julia Roberts, and the top of most people’s all time female icons list…Audrey Hepburn.

Truth is, if we could ask each of these woman if they were or are completely pleased with the way they look or the lives they have led chances are they would find fault with themselves in some way!  

Audrey Hepburn for example carried herself with such grace and poise she seemed to float in her 5′ 7″ frame. She looked as though she could have eaten anything she wanted and never gain an ounce. I mean after all she had breakfast at Tiffany’s! Forgive the pun!

However, when interviewed she stated that she always wanted curves and desired to be shorter than she was. She dreamed of a dance career and she was too tall for it at the time.

Seems like we are never satisfied doesn’t it. Worse yet, we play the comparison game.

If I only had her shape I would be content. If I only made money like she does I would have what I need. If I only looked like her I would be happy…and on and on and on it goes!

Comparison is the enemy of Contentment.
I believe God wants us to be content with who He made us to be.

As we get close to the day set aside in our country to honor our Mother’s, I am ever thankful that God put wonderful women in my life.  

I have an incredible Mother and had an incredible Grandmother who set the bar high! They taught me to be proud of being a woman, to be confident in knowing I could do anything I put my mind to, and most of all to feel beautiful and not be ashamed of it.

Both women walked tall with grace and poise. They dressed feminine and classy. They were not embarrassed of who they were. Yet, they both had kindness and humility at their core.

My Mother;

My mother is absolutely beautiful physically!  She has deep round brown eyes and dark brown hair that is anything but mousey! She is perfectly proportioned and carries her frame on broad shoulders. Her legs are still shapely even at her age and her thin ankles still accentuate them.  She always dressed classy but with style. She rivaled Jackie O. in her day! However, none of these striking features are what you notice about her. It is her tender heart, her happy spirit, and her lovely smile that greets you.

My Mom loved everyone she met and loved her four girls even more!  She made holidays special, birthdays spectacular, and summer time off of school an adventure.  She never had a a lot of money but created adventure like nature hikes, library days, art museum visits and baking together to make those long days fun.

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What stuck out to me when I was younger and then grown is how many people knew her and admired her at the High School she worked at. My Mom went to work by necessity and ran the attendance office at one of our local High Schools. The students at the High School would beg to help her in her office as their elective class. They just loved being around her!

All of the teachers knew her by name and the coaches would give her free tickets to all of the games! She was a wonderful friend who met needs and she was the best daughter her parents could have had! My Mom never desired to work but did what she needed to do to help provide for her family.

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In the Bible there is a woman that I have never heard a sermon preached about.  She was strong, confident and faithful also. When God asked her to accomplish a hard assignment for Him, she did it!

Huldah was married to “the keeper of the kings wardrobe.”  This connected her to the royal court and palace which gave her residency in Jerusalem. She was a prophetess who spoke for God. When King Josiah ruled over Judah the Lord gave Huldah a very difficult message to speak, but she did it…

She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, ‘This is what The Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the King of Judah has read will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them…”                     2 Kings 22:14

I LOVE to tell people how much God loves them, but I am not raising my hand to be the one to tell people God is very angry with them and will eventually destroy them!

But Huldah was faithful to God’s call on her life and did not back down even when the assignment was hard!

I am thankful for the example of this woman in my life and for the example of my Mother in my life! They were both strong women used by God to bless others in His name!

God uses women just as He uses men. God uses servants just as He uses masters. God uses the rich just as He uses the poor. God uses natives just as He uses foreigners.

We are all made in God’s image and hold equal value in Him!

I thank God that I have examples in and out of the Bible that knew their worth was of equal value and found in God alone!

TRUTH BOMB

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WE ALL BEAR THE IMAGE OF GOD AND THEREFORE HAVE FULL VALUE AND DIGNITY IN HIM!

Speak Truth Love

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE —NOT!

I do not know where you thought you would be on this day, April 21st, six weeks ago if I had asked you. I can bet that you would not have told me that you would be quarantined in your home. If you had asked me where I would be, I would have told you that I would be on a jet plane headed for Harare Africa via Dubai! 

Jim and I had planned this mission trip to visit our missionaries there, and speak to as well as encourage the pastors and pastors wives that they work alongside. There was a ‘Pastor’s Conference’ planned and it was to begin only 2 days from now! All the preparations were made, the tickets were bought and the passports were ready! The location for the conference was secured and the topics to be shared selected. We fully expected to have nothing standing in our way. We did not expect a virus to cause the known to become unknown!

There is someone who knew I would not be on that plane even though the tickets were bought. There is someone who knew that the talks Jim and I were preparing would not be spoken at this time. There is someone who knew that while the preparations for the conference were being made it would not take place at this time.

GOD KNEW!

In Jeremiah God speaks to His people through His prophet and tells them that even though they may be in captivity, exiled from their home in Jerusalem to a foreign land, God KNOWS and He has plans for them!  

You see, they would be in captivity for a time, and they would need to persevere and remain faithful. If they did, God had plans for their good, and HOPE for their future. They just needed to trust and pray!

I KNOW the plans I have for you,” says The Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a HOPE.”  In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

This is not where I planned to be 6 weeks ago! I am guessing it is not where you planned to be either? But knowing that God knew, even when I did not know, gives me confidence to believe HE’S GOT THIS!

I did not expect to be quarantined this long. But I bet the Israelites did not expect to be in captivity for 70 years either!

God is FAITHFUL Friends! If we Trust in His knowing and not our own, and we pray to Him, HE WILL LISTEN!

TRUTH BOMB

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THE UNKNOWN TO US, IS KNOWN TO GOD AND HE’S GOT US!

Speak Truth Love