A Flashlight

A Flashlight

The beam from my flashlight guided my steps as I maneuvered around the unfamiliar hospital room. Finding my Bible and journal, I wrapped the blanket around me and settled down on the corner of the roll-away bed. I tucked the flashlight under my chin and, with its light, I began my prayer time with the Lord.

The nurse checking RJ’s vital signs interrupted my solitude. As she exited the room and turned off the lights, I was again surrounded by darkness – except where the beam from my flashlight illuminated. Thank You, Lord, for my flashlight … and batteries which keep it shining brightly.

Memories of the events leading up to this hospital experience, RJ’s weakened condition, and his four blood transfusions weave their way in and out of my prayer time. They are mixed with thoughts of our three months sojourn in the hotel while the foundation of our home is repaired. Trying to stay focused on the Lord while living out of a suitcase for such an extended time has taught me to join Paul in saying, “Whatever state I’m in, I’ve learned to be content.”

I’m not saying the lessons have come easy, nor have they been sought after. But as He continues to mold and shape me, He’s reemphasized to me that He has a plan … and He’s busy at work on His plan. My job is to trust Him and remain yielded to His hands as He rearranges me. I readily admit to you the realignment process is not always pleasant – change never is. When you try to make wine from unripe, hard grapes, the squeezing produces little juice – and is usually very bitter. To produce sweet, fragrant, beneficial wine, the grapes must be soft, pliable, and fully-grown. The journey to maturity takes time and care.

When the pressures and added responsibilities in my pilgrimage try to engulf me, I’ve learned to find a quiet corner, fall on my face, and pour my heart out to my Daddy. Tenderly, He wraps His loving arms around me, wipes the tears from my eyes, lifts me up, straightens my shoulders, and reminds me that pressures are simply opportunities for others to see where I place my trust – in circumstances or in the One who controls circumstances. And I have a choice. Do I really trust Him … in every situation? He’s not just the God who comforts me in hospital waiting rooms and protects me as I travel, He is All-Powerful God and He loves me! He proved it on Calvary. I know He only wants what is best for me for I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12b). My focus is now on pleasing the Father for I don’t want to be ashamed when He returns.

His strength fills me and I begin again. I tentatively step out in faith – confidence growing with each baby step – holding tightly to His hand, leaning on His arm, and trusting Him to guide my faltering footsteps. Thank You, Lord, for being my Light and penetrating the darkness.

Many of you, too, face challenging situations. The loss of a loved one, a crippling illness, the painful tearing apart of a marriage, a grievous working condition, or a difficult career decision may try to invade your mind and consume you with discouragement and pity parties. Choose to reach for the Light. His illuminating presence will dissolve the clouds of darkness and despair.

The Lord doesn’t expect us to live by our own strength or knowledge. When we came to faith in Christ, He gave us access to His power; and He’s promised to help us. If He wants us to move a mountain, walk on water, learn to use the computer, forgive someone, overcome temptation, teach a Bible study, evidence His love in our lives, or share the Gospel with someone, we can be sure He has already given us all we need to do it.

When we allow His light to guide our lives, He illumines our pathway, one step at a time, and we can experience peace in the midst of any circumstance. And guess what? We don’t have to be concerned about out-dated batteries, used-up batteries, or if we have enough batteries. No batteries are required! He is the Power Source!

We covet your prayers as we continue in the molding and shaping process. May we be found faithful in the journey … reaching for the Light!

In His grip,

Mother’s Day Prayer

Mother’s Day Prayer

Books, correspondence, and my calendar cluttered my desk. Try as I might, things were slowly getting out of control. Knowing and practicing the principles of The Balanced Life, I spent the morning going over my schedules for the next three months. As I looked at May, I was surprised that Mother’s Day was just a few days away.

At that moment, memories of previous Mother’s Day flooded my mind. To be honest, I don’t remember celebrating Mother’s Day as a child. I picked up the phone and called my sister and asked her if she could remember celebrating Mother’s Day when we were children. She thought and thought. Nothing came to either of our minds. It saddened us, but considering our circumstances as children, it’s really not a surprise. As we reminisced, we remembered Daddy sometimes brought Mother a corsage on Mother’s Day.

Our childhood was filled with sorrow, but that’s in the past. Knowing there is no way to correct our childhood, my brother, sister and I have chosen to focus on what we can change, namely ourselves. None of us are perfect. We know we are a work in progress.

As I continued to think about Mother’s Day, God placed in my mind that all three of us children, after we had homes of our own, honored our Mother while she was alive. I remember a book that I once gave her. I put aside my calendar and went to see if I could find it.

It’s a small book titled, Mothers are Very Special People. Finding it, I flipped through the pages reading the short stories and poems. And God transitioned my thought from my childhood to the time when I became a mother. Not having had a role model, I made some mistakes. All the emotions, joys, pain, trying so hard to lovingly teach our children about God, struggling to understand what and how the Lord wanted me to rear these precious gifts sometimes overwhelmed me.
Then I remembered a prayer I wrote once…a long time ago. As I read it, I prayed that I had accomplished these requests, and that’s my prayer for you.

O Lord, the Mother’s Day cards and sticky kisses are warm expressions of love that I shall treasure always. They make me even more determined to be a better mom. But as much as I try, I can’t seem to get it all done. It’s been a busy day, as are all of our days. Stories are left unread, and prayers are left unsaid as we juggle our daily schedules. The toys strewn over the house, the laundry waiting to be folded, the bathrooms screaming to be cleaned, and the bills to be paid gnaw at the corners of my mind.

As I check on my children sleeping peacefully in their beds, their innocence, vulnerability, and dependence upon me almost overwhelm me. I need Your strength and wisdom, Lord.

I want to be a mother who is never too busy to work puzzles, throw rocks in the creek, and splash in the puddles with them. O Lord, remind me of my priorities. May I choose the love and admiration of my children over the acclaim of the world.

Be my energy when I’m tired and fill me with a sense of humor. I want my little ones to remember my laughter, praise, and prayer. May they rest peacefully each night knowing that I love them and You love them, too! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have I changed? Absolutely! Am I there yet? Not yet, I am focused on my Savior and following close behind Him. I hope you’ve made that choice and are walking beside me.

May this be a blessed Mother’s Day…full many treasured memories.

I’m praying for you!




Quietly we slipped into the auditorium and found a seat. The service was already in progress. I looked around to see if I recognized any other heart transplant recipients or their families. The group was small so it was easy for me to “check everyone out.” I didn’t recognize anyone.

The speaker began by welcoming all the transplant recipients to the reunion. Because the theme for the reunion this year was Heroes, his remarks revolved around the subject of heroes. The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Superman, Superwoman, and Flash Gordon were all mentioned as heroes from the past.

Heroes from the present included our military, firemen, paramedics, and transplant patients. The speaker noted that transplant recipients—like easily recognized heroes—have an uncommon courage to persevere in difficult, unknown, unpredictable situations. As he continued to speak, my mind wandered to a mini-poster I have on my computer. It says, “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on. It’s going on when you don’t have the strength.” I have seen RJ live this type of courage this past year. In spite of rejection, a deflated lung, a broken hip, and allergic reactions to medicines, I’ve watched as he has literally pulled himself off of a bed and walked…when the world told him he probably wouldn’t walk again. He has pressed on in spite of difficulty and illness.

My mind continued to replay the challenges and miracles we’d experienced this past year. It was a kaleidoscope of pictures, experiences, and emotions. And then Bonnie, a precious single mom, rearing her children alone popped into my thoughts. She was a perfect example of hero to me. Other “every day” heroes flooded my mind. Our granddaughter, Lindsay challenged by dyslexia but persevering to overcome it; little Emma and Hannah diagnosed with childhood diabetes and at the same time determined to be “normal” little girls; Jarrod valiantly battling cancer and continuing to work in the sound booth at church; and my sister, Elizabeth resolving not to allow the threat of possible reoccurring cancer to fill her days with fear.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things are all around us. Look around you. School teachers, nurses, pastors, farmers, clerks, electricians, and so many others may be facing heartaches and pain, but choosing not to complain, they press on in daily responsibilities that would overwhelm the best of us. And I applaud them! They encourage me and spur me on.

But my favorite hero of all times, the one I long to be like, is Jesus. His love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, patience, wisdom and insight cannot be equaled. While they tortured Him, He loved them. While they ridiculed Him and spat upon Him, He loved them. When they drove spikes into His feet and hands, He loved them. When they mocked Him while He hung on the Cross, He loved them. Love held Him on that Cross. When He raised His head and looked at those around the Cross, He didn’t just see those who mocked Him, but also His followers. But I believe His view went further. I think He looked out over the ages and saw a world of hurting people. He saw you and me. His love encompassed you and me! And that love cannot be ignored or forgotten. It demands a response.

On that day as Jesus hung on the Cross, some shrugged their shoulders and went about their business. Others hung their heads and rushed home for fear of reprisal from the Romans. But a few stayed. Even though they didn’t understand all that was being accomplished that day, even though they were weeping and scared, they stood at the foot of the Cross refusing to leave. I wonder, what would you have done?

I pray that I would have stood and tried to comfort My Lord with my presence. And with all my heart that’s what I believe is needed today. Believers must stand up for Jesus, His principles. We must lovingly proclaim His truth to a hurting, confused world. Will you join me? If God’s people who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray and repent, He will hear them, forgive them, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Together we can make a difference.

I’m praying for you.


But I Want It Now!


Your toddler looks you right in the eye, stamps his little foot, and exclaims, “But I want it now, Mommy!” Or your teenager slams his books down on the kitchen table, crosses his arms over his chest, and calls out, “I don’t want to wait. I want it now!”

I want it now. That’s a phrase we hear used by our children, husband, employer, friends, and neighbors. We live in a society that refuses to wait. In a world of fast-food restaurants, one-hour photo processing, and instant soup and pudding, it’s no wonder that we suffer from a lack of patience. If we are stuck in traffic jams, long lines at the post office or grocery store, or have to wait for service at a restaurant, we become irritable and angry. We want what we want… and we want it now! Those around us can hardly distinguish between the tantrum we throw and the ones thrown by our toddlers or teenagers.

I heard myself use that same phrase to my husband just this morning, and the Lord pricked my heart to its very core. I realized that in essence, I was throwing a tantrum. I didn’t stamp my foot, throw anything, or raise my voice. But in God’s eyes, I know He viewed it as a tantrum. God didn’t want to hear my feeble excuses that tried to justify my words. It really didn’t matter to Him how long it took for the repairmen to fix the broken pipes in the back yard. He wasn’t concerned with the huge mess, the mounds of dirt, the demolished plants, or the ruined grass. The fact that my peaceful oasis of a backyard now looked like the ravages of Desert Storm was not God’s main concern. He cared about my response, and He saw straight into my heart attitude … my impatience. Ouch! The Lord has more molding and shaping to do on me.

I have learned to take books or work with me whenever I have to wait for appointments, in airports, or in traffic. Those are areas that I can be somewhat in control of my waiting times and can choose to make them productive. But being completely at the mercy of someone else’s timetable – in this case, the workmen’s – was a stretching experience for me. There was nothing that I could do to hurry them along. There was no magic way to find the broken pipes. It was a trial and error method … with mounds of dirt as the result. The workmen were tired, frustrated, and dirty as the hours turned into days. As I helplessly watched the damage grow, my impatience grew.

My outburst of, “ I want it fixed now,” was evidence of my own frustration. I wanted our haven of shade trees, soft green grass, and beautiful blooming flowers back just as they had been before broken pipes. I wanted my haven of rest returned – the place I escape to from ringing telephones, responsibilities of the ministry, and the duty of laundry and cooking. I wanted to flee to my sanctuary in the backyard and focus on God’s majesty as I listened to the trickling water from the creek and watched the birds building nests. I wanted respite from schedules and daily demands. I wanted my backyard back! Now!

Isn’t that the way we all are? We want our way, and we want it right now. We don’t like our schedules interrupted or delayed. Not only do we think we know what is best, we think our time frame is the only workable time schedule. Bottom line, we are self-centered and selfish. And our attitudes break God’s heart.

As I bowed low before the Father sharing my heart, I began to confess my attitude of impatience. I had taken my eyes off of the Lord and onto my selfish interests. I asked Him to cleanse me and to help me stay focused on Him. I asked Him to reveal to me what He wanted me to learn during this waiting period. I asked Him to fill me with creative ways to make this waiting period productive and count for eternity. I began to wonder how I could share His love with those workmen. And I imagine the Lord probably began to smile. I think He might even have thought, “ Ah, she’s learning the value of waiting. That’s the lesson I wanted to teach her.”

Do you have trouble waiting? Are you known for tapping your fingers or patting your foot in agitated impatience? Could God be trying to teach you the value of learning to wait upon His timing? Could He be giving you the opportunity to choose eternal priorities? Could He be using this situation to stretch you and mold you into the image of His Son? Do you need to join me on my knees in humble repentance?

Do you also need to pray, “Lord, change me”?

I’m praying for you!