In the moment (grace)…

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on “living in the moment” and “in the now” in popular culture. We ingest messages of “just do it” and “go with your gut” and “YOLO – you only live once” in social media, reality TV programs and even in our social circles where we’re possibly even encouraged to make impulsive decisions.

But what if we don’t only live once?

What if all of our choices and actions have a huge impact on our life and the lives of those around us? It’s actually absurd to believe that they don’t.

Behavioral science 101: You are already being what you will become.

It’s the butterfly effect. Our choices and actions influence others and vice-versa.

Consider how strong habit is for a moment. Consider how difficult it is to change deeply conditioned negative habits. When we are comfortable with a behavior, even if it is maladaptive for our lives, it takes an incredible amount of effort to begin to change or modify the behavior.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

But change it we can, if we allow space for the change. This requires a shedding of the attachments to the behavior that keeps us performing it.

Our daily choices literally shape and wire our brain to behave.

One of the reasons we may find change so difficult is that we try to do it all in our own strength. We use our own effort, our own force and our own ideas and strategies.

We try instead of surrendering.

“I’m trying to eat healthy!”

“I want to go to the gym, but I don’t have time…”

“I try to get along with him/her, but it’s so hard…”

“I tried doing it that way, but it didn’t work.”

Try. Try. Try.

All human effort inevitably leads us back to the futility of our carnal thinking.

In the book of Romans chapter 7 we see the yo-yo reality of trying to accomplish change and right living entirely in our own strength, as it is written:

15 I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. 16 I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them.

18 I know there is nothing good in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. 19 I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. 20 I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me.

21 Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law. 23 But I see another law working in the parts of my body. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls the parts of my body.

24 What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? 25 I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Instead of facing our challenges head on and allowing God to restore us and to lead us through, we often, in fear, turn away to walk down different roads and rely on our own strength. Perhaps an alternative path can give us some space and perspective for a time, but if the problem or negative habit is never dealt with and released, it will keep rising up. If not now, then later. Avoiding the truth only leads us in delaying the inevitable.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

The “in the moment” philosophy of popular culture is beneficial in reminding us to release the need to control outcomes and elements in the external world in order to feel more internally free. However, it in a way deemphasizes the personal power and responsibility in the individual in choosing their own behaviors and responses to the stimuli. Every day we are choosing our actions and our motivations for those actions.


Instead of simply reacting to the world around us, we are actually behaving in ways that create culture and create a tone and pattern for the future.

It’s easy to slip into living “in the moment” and the moral relativism that is intrinsically linked with this philosophy. If anything goes, then we’re under no authority and nothing is required of us.

But, we know in reality, that’s not the case. We have many responsibilities and there is always work to be done.

When I think of what it truly means to “live in the moment” I think of Jesus, hanging from the cross, forgiving right then and there what most could never. It’s that in the moment realization that you control nothing and no one that is the most radical freedom available to human beings. And it’s totally accessible in the cross of Jesus Christ. It’s a free gift of salvation with far-reaching redemptive implications for our lives. Instead of trying so hard to change, it’s easier to surrender space in your heart and allow Christ to move in and work.

The love of Christ is the only love that turns the other cheek, that loosens attachments, that allows us to love and serve and give as unto the Lord and not as unto man.

Man will always be flawed. There will always be people darkened by the futility of their own minds and hearts. Yes, and even believers wander and stray.

But the cross is always there. And the resurrection of Christ is a beacon of renewal that reminds us change and transformation are possible through Jesus. It’s always available when we reach out for it and when we surrender to it…

..and we stop trying so hard.

What a paradox.

What a beautiful mystery.

Love is Freedom.

To let go and heal.

You will find when ready

that your hand opens freely

and loosens the grip

On preconceived reality

Dispelling pain, bitter-root and tears

That flow

from misunderstanding and pain

of always falling short

or being abandoned

or hurt

or beaten with fists, hands, words, looks like splintering daggers.

You will find

that healing

means releasing

what impedes your healing

and turning to the light –

But in your time,

if it be so.

No one can unfold a flower

No man can pry an unripened

Fruit from the skin

Seamlessly or


So, naturally, it will be let go

when it is time to go.

You will find that

the right words come

The right people will come

No longer listening to

repetitious lies

Jamming love down throats

In a pious disguise

You will find that when you are ready to…

Your pain flees quickly

to make room for brighter faces

in healthier spaces.

April is national poetry month and I realize I haven’t written much poetry this month. This poem is about healing and the process that we all must go through at different levels when things happen to us in life. I hope you enjoy it.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24

Reflection on correction.

Correction and discipline can carry negative connotation, but both are essential to a spiritual and purposeful life. The many duties, relationships and trials of life often require us to make difficult choices and to assess our values in order to do so. There is a smoothness and a peace that comes when we believe we are doing the right thing in life. Sometimes we are even applauded and encouraged by others and this validates the original feeling and belief we are acting wisely. Sometimes, however, we are called to make unpopular choices or to stand alone, even if we are acting rightly.

Today there is a barrage of messages at our disposal from self~help books, the media and culture. Even in the blogosphere and in social media we find directive memes, influential quotes and well~meaning bloggers and individuals airing their opinions. Today it is very easy to speak your mind instantly to others.

The implications of what this means for us as learning, teachable beings is astounding. We have so many voices, teachers and leaders to possibly learn from. But is it a case of too many cooks in the kitchen? How can we seek wise counsel and weed through the many voices breaking through to us today?

The following excerpt is titled “Thoughts From an Older Woman” on correction from the book Becoming a Woman of Strength by Cynthia Heald.

Teachability is yielding to godly supervision and direction; it is having a willing spirit to learn; it is acknowledging that we cannot rely (only) on our own insight. Being teachable does not come naturally to our prideful nature; that is why I think we need Gods strength to be open to counsel.
Of all the ways of being taught, I prefer to learn from Gods Word and the prompting of His Holy Spirit. Although I am not a fan of receiving correction, over the years I have learned that Proverbs 25:12 is true: “To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.”
So when I am corrected, I go to the Lord and ask Him if there is a kernel of truth in what was said. I do want to know if I’m off track or need to change in any way. Once, after I had spoken at a seminar, a dear lady told me she found fault with something I taught. I was distressed to be criticized, but I graciously thanked her, and as soon as I could, I earnestly prayed, “Lord, did you send this lady? Is there truth in what she said?” The Lord pointed out a kernel of truth and I did need to clarify a particular teaching, so I was able to accept her comment as of it were a gold earring.

On occasion the Lord has answered that the criticism was not from Him and was not valid. When this happens, He reminds me that His grace is sufficient.

It is important to have discernment when counsel is given. There may be times when seeking guidance that what we sense from the Lord and what we hear from others may not agree. When listening to counsel, it is necessary to “compare the counsel of others with what we believe to be right before God.” Even Godly counsel needs to be taken to the Lord.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5


A heart at peace.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Proverbs 14:30


We talk about heart healthy diets and preventing illnesses and heart disease, but we don’t often talk about the emotional and spiritual implications of a healthy heart – a heart at peace.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;

not as the world gives do I give to you.

Let not your heart be troubled,

neither let it be afraid.

Jesus in John 14:27 

The more vital alone time we spend in the word of God, restoring, renewing and knowing and feeling God’s peace… the more time spent with others begins to take on a different temperature. The more time spent with God, listening to Him (instead of all the noise around us) the more time he spends dwelling within, keeping hearts at peace, even in the tumult of a busy day – even in the face of less than friendly people and less than happy circumstances. God is so faithful in his practice of love, peace and mercy. Often, we are very unfaithful in our going to Him to receive such things that He offers so freely for those who ask and believe.

I am so guilty of allowing time, circumstances or people to shift my focus from my “heart healthy” time that I need for personal restoration. Sometimes the pressures of life seem so insurmountable, so many obligations and duties, so busy, that I must grasp to keep up and feel “on top of the game.” But the words of Jesus in this verse remind that His peace is different. He says “Let Not” your heart be troubled… “neither let it” be afraid. He commands us to guard our hearts and minds in Him. Let yourself be peaceful. It’s a commandment. One I’d rather follow.

It’s in these hard times that we must learn to listen more closely.

Be a little more quiet.

Don’t allow confusion, noise or trouble to rule you.

Let peace rule in your heart.

How challenging to carry that peace around with us wherever we go.

It’s comparatively easier to find the peace on a comfy sofa with a cup of coffee.  A reasonably reachable practice.

It’s more challenging to have that peace and hold it – not letting your heart be troubled – at work, at school, with people who unconsciously or not, allow other things to rule their hearts. It’s difficult to find the good in a situation – the small seed of light – when things just appear so bleak.

How wonderful to fill the heart with peace and guard it in all circumstances – letting not thief, darkness or hate drive it out. Always hoping, always praying, always cultivating peace.

Because that’s what Jesus did. And He still does. And that’s what He commands us to do. Lovingly, knowingly, always reassuring that peace is a better choice.


Peace is a practice. And it’s easier (and far more pleasant) to practice with others who reinforce your efforts with encouragement, blessing, praise and reassurance. But often – especially if you are Christian – you will have to go it alone (seemingly, though you are never really alone without God.) But the support of people is not always there. Sadly, even in churches where division, gossip and human failure can creep in when we are not careful watching and listening. Even in family systems, support can fail and falter – we choose to listen to the confusion instead of listening to the peace.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

Women and insecurity… feelings are not knowings.

You don’t have to feel secure to be secure…

You don’t have to feel confident to be confident…

You are more than your feelings.

More than emotion.

Be bold.

Be daring.

Love deeply.

1 John 2:9 – 11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.


Seeds of faith.




(Flower on the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica – 2011)


“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed… Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Jesus in Matthew 17:20)

Service is an attitude.




(My late-night doodles)


“Most of us wait until we’re in trouble, and then we pray like the dickens. Wonder what would happen if, some morning, we’d wake up and say, ‘Anything I can do for You today, Lord?'” – Burton Hills

Being newly married means double the laundry and while my husband does his share of domestic duties, I find that the household work never seems to end. With it being just the two of us this gets me to thinking about how that work would be multiplied with children or other roommates. I also think back to days at home as a child, coming home from kindergarten class, starting up a game with my little brother or building living room forts out of the sofa cushions while my mom sorted through piles of lights and darks in the kitchen. My grandmother was often there to help my mom with the busyness of raising four children and the obscene amount of laundry that goes with it.

I always remember her words, “Stephie, look forward to a lot of laundry if you ever get married!” and then she would laugh. Now when I’m throwing a load into the washer, I often think of her and smile. I think of the small hills of linen on the ceramic floor, of the extra bottles of Woolite she donated to us, of the donation of her time, energy and help to my mom and the family while we were busy building forts. Of course, we were also ordered to carry the laundry upstairs, put it away and sometimes, even, fold. With six people in one house, you can imagine the amount of clothing to take care of.

A chore that never ends, this laundry business.

And as I sort, switch loads and fold, I sometimes get annoyed. “Didn’t I just wash this yesterday?” or “Seriously, where is that matching sock? I don’t understand.” But then I stop and think about the universality of laundry. We all need it. We all do it. How do we do it? How do we do anything we need to do?

Do we do our duties with resentment? Out of obligation? Out of sheer joyless duty?

Or do we do our service in love? For the joy of it? Because it’s necessary? Because it’s valuable?

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18



Make it happen!
February 27, 2013, 2:33 am
Filed under: Behavior, Motivation, Spirit | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Before you accomplish, first you must dream.

Before you meet a goal, you must first have a vision of your self meeting that goal.

Then, with your vision, you start taking the steps to get there. Don’t lose your vision…

So many great goals are unmet because of a lack of vision.

We can’t picture ourselves succeeding.

We can’t picture ourselves with what we want.

Perhaps, we can’t even picture anything good coming to us. What do you believe about your self?

First we must have a vision of what we want.

Then we hold that vision… that faith that the goal can be attained… and never. let. go.

If you would change the pictures in your mind and see yourself the way God sees you… you’ll move toward your goals. But either way, you’ll be moving toward something. But what? What do you want it to be?

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


Love > Hate

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9


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