I Will Always Love You

I was at the airport waiting to board the plane, when I heard the tragic news: Whitney Houston dead at age 48. How very sad. Only days before her death, Whitney sang about her love for Jesus. How could this have happened?

It is hard to fathom the pressures of being a Hollywood celebrity, raising a daughter, going through a divorce, and having a lifestyle of the rich and famous. Whitney is not the first. I think of others who have died before their time: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson. What a loss for the world of such talent.

There are many voices that clamor for my attention these days, trying to distract me from the path that God would have me travel. “I will lead you in the path of righteousness” (Ps. 23:3). It is so difficult to hear His Voice amidst the hustle and bustle of today’s frenetic lifestyle. But if I want to stay close to Him, I must slow down, tune out these other voices and practice my listening skills.

No matter what life brings, no matter what trials we face, no matter what loneliness we may feel, we can be comforted by the words of Whitney’s famous song, the same words that Jesus is speaking to us today “I will always love you.” Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

Groupon, Coupons and Grace

Everybody likes the word “free”, don’t we? Especially during these tough economic times, a penny saved is a penny earned. Groupon is doing a booming business and coupon clipping is being taken on with renewed fervor. My family used to make fun of me for clipping coupons, but no more. The reality of saving and getting something for free has taken on a new importance here in America.

Speaking of saving and getting something for free, has it dawned on you that’s what God’s saving grace is – free? Grace is defined as ‘unmerited favor’ and that is exactly how the Lord treats us – with unmerited favor. The reality of this is fact is enormous.

When I stop to think about everything the Lord has brought me through in my life, I am utterly amazed. As a child of an alcoholic father, a single-parent, and a working woman, I have had my share of trials to overcome.

Just recently, I completed a huge project that took over four years to complete: the publishing of my first book. My two sons have both graduated from college and are working and independent. I have a great group of friends and have been healed of so many emotional and physical ailments, it’s almost unbelievable.

One of my favorite songs by Keith Urban is entitled “But For the Grace of God”. Talk about someone who has been through a lot. Keith sings his testimony, “Lord, I’d be lost, but for the grace of God.” Isn’t that where we’d all be? Lost?

So, dear friends, if you are struggling with the challenges of life, I encourage you to accept God’s free gift of grace and cast your eyes on Jesus. When we focus on the goodness and grace of God our problems have a way of getting smaller. When you think you can’t do it anymore, speak this verse out loud and I guarantee you will be strengthened and refreshed. “God’s grace is sufficient for me” (2 Cor 12:9). Until next time, keep looking up!

Keep it Simple

Sometimes I think I make life too difficult for myself. After being a single parent for so many years, and being responsible for everything, I still have the occasional tendency to take on too much, do too much, and fret too much. Can you relate?

Think of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus was visiting their home and Martha was running around doing all kinds of hospitality things and complaining that Mary wasn’t helping. Boy, have I been there. Mary, on the other hand, was enjoying the company of their esteemed guest. Instead of “doing”, Mary was “being”.

This past fall, I was dealing with a health issue and didn’t have much energy to do much of anything. Then one day I heard His voice. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) I realized it really doesn’t matter to God how much I “do” anymore. I can only “do” by His grace anyway. “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Living a life that pleases God is simple. It boils down to two words which I am sure we have all heard before: “Trust and obey.” That’s it. Trust God and do what he says to do. Now that doesn’t mean forsaking all my responsibilities, but when I feel anxious, overwhelmed, or overtired, I know I am doing too much.

How about you? What signs show up in your life that remind you to “be” instead of “do”? What are a few ways you can simplify your life? Write and let me know and until next time, keep looking up!

White as Snow

What an unexpected surprise this afternoon! Snow. It’s so beautiful. I love watching the flakes float gently down from the sky and the blanket of white that slowly covers the rooftops. Snow always reminds me of my Heavenly Father’s love, gentleness, and forgiveness.

Isaiah 1:18 says “Though your sins be like scarlet, I will make them white as snow.”
It is a promise to me that no matter what I have done, or said, or how I have behaved the Lord’s mercies are new everyday and he is more than willing to forgive me.

Psalm 103:12 says “as far as the east is from the west, so far he has removed our transgressions from us.” The Lord holds nothing against me because He understands where I have come from and what I have gone through. He understands.

He knows my hurts, my sorrows, my errors in judgement and still He loves me – unconditionally. How great it is to feel the gentle arms of my Heavenly Father wrapped around me on a snowy afternoon. “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3).

The Lord wishes to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and he is faithful to complete the work he began in each of us. Snow is his reminder that although he is in the process of cleansing us, He still sees us through the eyes of love. And that, my friends, is how we need to see each other.
Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

Don’t Waste the Pain

Many people today are struggling with the challenges, surprises, and painful situations in life. What is it that is challenging you today? Is it a financial situation? A relationship issue? A child? Your job? Or perhaps a health issue? What if it’s all of the above?

How do we cope? As odd as it may seem, scripture says this about trials. “Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, when you face various kinds of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence.” (James 1:2)

I am going through something right now at work with my boss. Seems we have a difference of perspective on how to handle situations. Challenging? You bet. Stressful – of course. But I have learned not to waste the pain.

Remember the old saying “No pain, no gain”. I believe it is true. In order to grow in our faith and our character, we must experience trials. There is always a lesson to be learned. Yes, we cry out to God and shake our fist at the seeming injustice. But fret not, the Lord promises us that He will avenge us and to leave things in His hands (Romans 12:19).

How to cope? First, I take a step back and wait for the emotions to settle down. I give myself a few days to pray about the situation and ask the Lord this question: “Lord, what am I supposed to be learning from this?” I read the Word and wait for God to answer. He always does. Just yesterday I received the same direction from two different sources to “love my enemy”. The more I prayed, the more revelation I received about the situation.

After taking it to the Lord in prayer, it is time to take action. I am a firm believer in clearing the air, and yes, it does take courage to confront. I have also learned it is much better to confront than to sweep things under the rug, because sooner or later the issue will resurface and need to be dealt with again. Clearing the air and reaching an understanding prevents bitterness, anger and resentment from building up inside, which is never a good thing.

So, dear friends, the next time you are going through a rough patch, don’t waste the pain and remember to keep looking up!