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To Be Joyful

I remember singing the song as a child, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  It repeated that line, over and over, changing pitch, but reinforcing those words from scripture: Rejoice, always.

I have to admit, joy hasn’t been coming so easily to me lately.  I felt drug down by work in a retail,  “stuff oriented” setting, especially during the hectic holidays.  And I thought I had done well with masking it, at least while away from home during the day.  Maybe those less perceptive didn’t notice, but one person did – and she called me out on it.  Not in a mean-spirited, “why are you so cranky?” sort of way, but in a “I’ve noticed you haven’t quite been yourself lately” way.

It took me by surprise.  It’s not that I’ve been fake towards others – my smile is typically genuine.  But I didn’t expect someone who wasn’t my husband, mom or dad, or best friend to pick up on my less chipper mood.  And it forced me to think.

Perhaps the retail world is a tough adjustment for me.  However, the Bible calls me (us) to live above those difficult circumstances and tough adjustments.  Philippians 4:4 reads,  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

If there’s one thing I learned in the Bible courses I took in college, when a word or phrase is repeated in the Bible, it should also have a sign beside it, “LOOK AT THIS!  PAY ATTENTION!”  We are told two times – TWO TIMES – to rejoice.



So my goal?  Despite my feelings, I will endeavor to rejoice.  Easy?  Maybe not.  Worth it?  I think so.




What we Share

The other day, I made this great, easy crockpot meal.  All it took to get dinner on the table?  A few sweet potatoes, an onion, chicken and butter (and a little salt and pepper for fun).  It cooked all day, and made the house smell lovely, and tasted just great.  The next day, I wanted to tell everyone (EVERYONE) about this awesome, easy crockpot dinner.  And then it hit me.

What if I shared the Gospel like I shared this?  What if I had passion and excitement for the truth of God like I did for this sweet potato chicken recipe?  I felt ashamed.  I can tell every woman I see about this recipe I learned about yesterday, yet I can’t tell a single person about this life-giving Gospel story I’ve known since childhood.  There is something wrong with this picture,

Have I made vast improvement in sharing about God since this realization?  No.  No I haven’t.  But perhaps this little post will act as a challenge.  Does it challenge you?

Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  All creation.

mark 16 15

What will you share?




I recently spoke with a gal who has some big changes coming her way  – and these changes will bring with them a significant financial impact.  She’s excited for the changes, but the finance piece?  Not so much.

I think we’ve all been there.  That place of knowing our needs will be changing, but seeing no hope of additional cash-flow.  It’s issues like this that I find myself wanting to take into my own hands.  I need to make more money.  I need to find another job.  We look to ourselves for a solution, rather than looking to the One who can actually provide what we need.

There are two promises I try to remember in these situations:

1.  “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

2.  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34)

No where does the Lord promise to make us rich, but in both passages, He instructs us to not worry because He will meet our needs.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  God will meet our needs.  We simply have to seek Him.

The awesome thing is that God provides in unique ways.  Sometimes an unexpected check shows up in the mail, or we’re given an unexpected pay raise.  Maybe God will provide a less expensive apartment, or another job.  God provides according to the “riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6 25

So, dear one, let God provide for you.  The horizon may seem dark and scary, but it’s only a matter of time until the sun rises.




I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point in life: you follow your conscience, do what you believe is right, only to have it turn around and bite you. You’ve been burned. The first time it happens? Eh, we can deal with it. The second time? At least for me, it causes me to be leery to work to do good to others. If you are burned while lighting a match, do you eagerly light the next one?

The other day, I was feeling exceptionally burned. My attempts to be kind and compassionate to people had backfired – two separate times. I was about ready to just give up…to quit trying to do good to others.

But then, out of nowhere, this voice whispered into my heart “Never tire of doing good”. Uh…what?

I hopped on to google to find the reference for the verse so I could actually read it.

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” (2 Thessalonians, 3:13)


In the verses before this, Paul writes about how he has heard that some of the believers in the area had become idle and essentially, weren’t contributing. Paul urges the readers to keep doing good – and to not stop, no matter how tired.  I felt so encouraged after reading this passage.

So I got burned.  Does that mean I should stop sharing the love of Jesus through my actions.  Not hardly.  I think it’s these moments that shape us into who we’re supposed to be.

My goal this week?  To keep doing good (to people).  Regardless.



Not By My Strength

Tomorrow is the big day!  At early o’clock, I will be hopping on a plane to go train for my new job.  I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous wreck, but my brain will NOT quit racing!  One moment it’s “Yay, I’m so excited, this will be awesome!”…the next moment, “Oh my gosh, can I actually do this?  Am I cut out for it?  And I won’t get to see my hubby for a whole ten days!”  Yeah.

Naturally, those nervous, “can I do this?” thoughts tend to overshadow the excited thoughts.  And I get stuck there, wondering if I will succeed in this new job, or if I will just embarrass myself.  This is a huge transition.  It feels like I’m stepping off of the well-worn road I know so well to a brand-new, unfamiliar place.  My personality likes the predictable.  And this is not predictable.
The other night before bed, I opened my Bible to read Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”
I took a look at verse 12 – context, ya know?  It says, ” I know what is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” 
In that moment, the Lord reminded me that no matter my situation – whether I’m comfortable or uncomfortable, confident or discouraged, in familiar territory or in a new place – no matter what – He will provide the strength I need for the situation.
Philippians 4 13
A concept I’ve heard many times?  Yes.  A good reminder?  YES!
So that thing you’re facing that seems impossible?  That situation that makes you hyperventilate to just think about?  You can’t do it on your own strength – but you CAN do it on God’s.

Step by Step

God is faithful.  When we are willing to listen to Him and follow his lead, he’ll do just that – lead us.  Lead us exactly where He intends for us to go.  Here’s a story for you:

There is a new Cabela’s store set to open up here soon.  I decided I may as well apply, although I wasn’t too interested in working retail.  Constantly changing schedules, working on holidays and grumpy people….no thanks.  I scheduled an interview as I finished up the online application, and put the date in my calendar.  Woohoo.

As the interview date drew nearer, I came this close to canceling it.  Why on earth should I interview for a job I didn’t even want?  But Ron encouraged me to go – it would be good practice.  Even the day before the interview, I just didn’t want to do it….but there was this still small voice inside that said “just go”.  So I went.

During the interview, I mentioned that I have an Education degree, but that I wasn’t stuck on the notion of teaching in the traditional classroom – and don’t large corporations like this have teaching positions?  Why yes, yes they do.

To make a long story short(er), two days after my initial interview, my phone rang.  It was the store manager of our soon-to-be Cabela’s.  They wanted me to come in for another interview.  Cue pounding heart!

The second interview went very well – and just over a week later, I got a call – I had been selected for the position of “Systems Trainer”!  Benefits.  Vacation.  401k.  Year-round employment.  A reliable winter income.

Laying in bed that night, my mind was racing with so many questions.  Where will they send me for my 2-week training?  Where will I stay?  Will I be able to do laundry?  Will Ron survive??!  So many questions.  And then, a whisper in my heart – And step by step You’ll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

Isaiah 30:21

Step by Step

Step by step.  All of the questions?  He’ll lead.  He already showed that He is capable by leading me to this job!

Trust Him to lead you.



A Picture of Priorities

I’m a creature of habit.  I have a morning routine that sets the tone for my whole day.  I tend to read my favorite blogs in a certain order.  And as odd as it may sound, I have routines within routines.  Like I always floss and THEN brush (right, Christy??)  The honey ALWAYS goes on the yogurt before the banana.  And I even put my rings on in a very specific order.

It used to be a mindless activity – putting my rings on.  But as I’ve received and purchased rings over the years, each one has taken on a meaning – and been given a priority.

The first ring I put on my hand is a simple band – but it says “faith”.  On the inside, it says “Live by faith, not by sight.”  Putting this ring on first reminds me of my first priority: to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37).

The second ring I put on?  My wedding band.  It reminds me of the love between my husband and I, and also, that my marriage is second only to God.  Keeping God as the first priority will enable me to ‘Love your neighbor [husband] as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39).

The third and final ring I place on my hand is my engagement ring.  I’m still thinking about exactly what priority it symbolizes.  Of course, it’s a reminder of the initial commitment between my husband and I, and it reminds me of all of the circumstances and events that brought us together.

It may seem insignificant – the order in which I put my rings on each morning.  But every day – whether it’s a hurried affair or a leisurely moment – I am reminded of my priorities.


What in your life serves to remind you of your priorities?