Lord, we receive Your words and treasure Your commandments within us. Help us make our ears attentive to wisdom. Incline our hearts to understanding. We cry for discernment. We seek wisdom as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures. Thank You, Lord, that You promise discernment and knowledge of You. Thank You, Lord, for Your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Thank You that You are a shield for us. Guard our paths, Lord, and preserve our way. May wisdom enter our heart and knowledge be pleasant to our soul. Deliver us from evil. (Proverbs 2)
I started NaNoWriMo early this year as Thanksgiving week will take all my concentration, not only in cooking and cleaning but in welcoming my college aged kids home. (Thank God!) So by the middle of last week, when most of y’all were just starting, my brain was already feeling fatigued. I’d written about 241 words one morning and already felt like I’d hit a ten foot tall, four foot thick wall made of the hardest steel. Ever feel like that? So I had a choice. I could have closed my computer, given up for the day. Boy, did I want to! I could have eaten a few more peanutbutter M&Ms to see if they’d help. Or I could pray. God loves it when we’ve reached the end of our rope and reach for Him for help, and He showed up. It took me less time to write the rest of my word count then it had taken me to write those measly 241 words.
Because I was extending so much creative energy on writing, I didn’t touch my Inspire bible for any journaling time until late Friday night. I had started a page on Monday and decided to finish it. And a verse on the page opposite the one I was working on popped out at me.
“Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.” (New Living Translation)
I also love the translation from New American Standard Bible:
“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”
Don’t you love that? I do! I love words. I love when words are put together in a certain way and they make my heart sing. I thought how this verse is perfect for NaNoWriMo as I write my words for my King of my heart and soul. Let’s write for Him. Let’s pray for His inspiration. Let’s pray that He fills our hearts and minds with His words so they flow out of us and onto the page. Join me?
Father God, thank You for the love of words and stories that stir our hearts. Give us stamina and strength this week as we pour words onto the page for NaNoWriMo so that we can jumpstart our stories. Pour Your words and truth into our hearts and minds that they may fill the pages with what is on Your heart. What may seem impossible for us is possible with You. Make it possible, Lord, that we would stir other hearts to know You. Make it possible, Lord, to finish the books that you have placed on our hearts. Make it possible, Lord. We give You all the glory and praise!
Father God, may we ‘not forget Your teaching, but keep Your commands in our hearts, for they will prolong our life many years and bring us prosperity.’ (Proverbs 3:1-2 ‘Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplication. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. The Lord is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd also, and carry them forever.’ (Psalm 27:6-9) In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen!
It’s an old Bob Dylan song but it rings truer every day. Not only is the world changing, quite rapidly, as I can’t keep up with what the new iPhone is available anymore, but life seems in constant motion and change. Do you ever feel like that? You just want the world to stop so you can get off for a minute. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a big change in your own life: a new baby, a move, a job change, a divorce, loss of a loved one, an empty nest, or retirement. Life is change. It never stays the same for long. And change is hard.
My house is quiet now, well quieter. I do still have dogs that bark at butterflies fluttering past the front door. But where once my daughter was belting out song after song throughout the house or my son was telling me one of his nerdy jokes, the silence is deafening. They’ve gone off to college, and it’s quiet. Often too quiet.
Here’s one thing that I remember and cling to daily: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
That brings me comfort. In the roaring waves and rising tides of change, He is my anchor. He doesn’t change. And He is always there for me to cry out to in pain and uncertainty, in fear and confusion, in worry and strife.
When Peter climbed out of that boat to walk to Jesus (Matthew 14), he didn’t see the waves and depth of the water or the distance to shore. He only saw Jesus. It was later, when he felt the spray of water on his face and felt the weight of water soaking his clothes and pulling him down that he took his eyes off Jesus and onto his circumstances. Suddenly fear overwhelmed him. Doubt began to pull him under. Yet, he cried out to the Lord.
And that’s what we have to do. Maybe change was thrust upon you and you were not expecting to suddenly be alone. Lost. Broken. Hurting. Jesus is there, just waiting for you to cry out to Him.
Or maybe you chose a career change. Maybe change wasn’t thrust upon you but you made the change. Happily. Optimistically. Courageously. But then, maybe things didn’t go as you had imagined. Or maybe you didn’t realize the waves would be as massive. Or a sudden storm swept over you. Outside influences caused you to glance around, to see how scary it was out there, how alone you felt, how doubtful, how worried. It’s okay. Jesus is right there with you.
“But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all things will be given to you as well. “(Matthew 6:33)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Oh Father, change is so hard. We confess we’re scared and worried and feeling alone. But Your Word tells us You are here with us, that You will never leave us. Thank You that even though the world changes around us, life changes, circumstances change, our families change, our jobs change, but You never do. You are the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Tuck us beneath the shelter of Your wing and protect us from the storms of life. Comfort our hearts. Ease the burdens that we are carrying. Fill us with Your truth and Your word. ‘For we know the plans You have for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11” Make our path smooth and straight, so that we can stand firm on Jesus, our rock, and bring glory to You.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
(The Solid Rock, by Edward Mote)
I love to pray scriptures. God’s Word is powerful!
For those of you who feel weary today:
Lord God, ‘since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.’ (Hebrews 12:1-3) Strengthen us, Lord, with Your strength, with Your love, with Your truth. Uphold us with Your strong right hand. Guide us, Lord, into Your truth. Shelter us and protect us. Help us, Lord, to set aside anything that holds us back from seeking You and You alone. In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.
We are deep into the fall season, although in Texas it still feels a little too much like summer. But the leaves are beginning to change and in the morning there is a coolness in the air. To really tell how late in the season it is, I have to look at the calendar. Sure enough, soon it will be Halloween then Thanksgiving and next… Okay, I won’t say what’s after that. We all know. And in case it might freak you out, I won’t make you spill your coffee in your panic to get shopping.
I love this time of year, the colors of the leaves, the spices, everything flavored with pumpkin, and most especially cooler temperatures. I’m one of those weird people that actually likes change. I get bored easily, so change even when it’s not so positive is often eventually a good thing in my estimation. A couple of years ago, I was looking ahead, as my son was about to graduate from high school with his sister following right behind, and I knew I would soon have an empty nest.
My chicks were about to fly. Even though I knew they were ready, I wasn’t. Since I had placed my writing on hold to help them with college apps and essays and touring colleges and traveling for interviews and auditions, I knew this was not going to be a good change unless I figured out a way to fill up my calendar and days when they were enjoying the college life. And by the way, juniors and seniors often need us as much as if not more than toddlers. It’s a stressful time. So I began to pray about what God wanted me to do. Did He want me to write again? Did He have something else in mind?
The first thing I felt Him press on my heart was a prayer group for moms. Prayer has been a passion of mine for a long time, so it was fairly easy to say, “Yes, God!” But then, I thought I had to invite moms to my house. Of course, that meant I had to have a clean house. God gave me the idea to have a private community of moms on Facebook, where we could pray for our children and ask for prayer when it was needed. “You mean, God, I don’t have to clean my house first?” “Nope,” He said (and sometimes in my head He has a Texas accent), “you don’t.” I was thrilled and immediately started the group. And I haven’t looked back since.
It’s been a learning curve, and I’m still learning and growing and well…praying. My kids are now pursuing their dreams at their respective colleges. I can’t say this change has been easy on this momma’s heart, but I know God has a plan. I love praying for my friends’ families as well as my own. And I’m slowly getting back into the groove of writing. The full scope of God’s plan is a mystery, but I can rest in these changes because I know He is not taken by surprise. He saw the change of seasons, and He has a plan.
Are you approaching a season of life change? What is God telling you?
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Lord, Your word tells us that for everything there is a season. Some seasons of our lives are joyful, some sorrowful, some full of laughter, some full of tears. Lord, we give this time to You now, whatever season of life it is. We thank You for this season, and we know You have a plan for how we are to walk through it, for what we are to accomplish, for the divine appointments that You have set up in advance. Father, we ask for Your guidance as we take the hesitant steps into this new season, that You will guide us, give us strength and wisdom, and that our footsteps will grow bolder and more confident in Your light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
From my heart to yours,
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a bad day (week or month or even a no good horrible year), but I sure have. Sometimes those bad days just catch me off guard and knock me on my backside without warning. Like the day years ago when my husband was laid off work. Sometimes the bad days are because of my own mistakes or thoughtlessness. Like when I stick my foot in my mouth (which happens on occasion). Whatever the reason, external or internal, the Lord is a tower we can run to and find comfort and safety.
The Lord will protect you. When I feel the storms of life swirling around me, threatening me, I can call out to the Lord for protection. I often pray for His angels to guard me and my family. (Psalm 91:11) Every time I fear something, I call out to God for His help because I know that fear is not of God.
The Lord will forgive you. (Luke 7:48) How many times do I flub up and fall into sin? Way too many times for my own good. “But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) Hallelujah!
The Lord will welcome you with open arms. I love the story of the prodigal son. Probably because I so relate to the stubbornness and rebelliousness of the son. But also, because I am so grateful that God always welcomes me back into His embrace.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the book of Numbers tells us that Yahweh (God) set up ‘cities of refuge’ for His people. If someone unintentionally killed another, he could run to a city of refuge and be safe. It’s a beautiful picture of how our Lord is our own refuge for when we make mistakes. It doesn’t mean he will protect us from the consequences of sin. But He will love us, welcome us, and guard us.
If you have strayed from the Lord, then all you have to do is turn back. The Lord will open His arms to you. He is waiting. He is longing to be reunited with you. He loves you. If you need protection, He doesn’t want you mired in fear. Turn to Him. He will be your strong tower. Mighty to defend. Mighty to Save. Mighty to forgive.
Here’s a beautiful video with a wonderful reminder of how Mighty our Lord is to save us.
How has God rescued you lately?
From Deep in my heart,
Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
If you’re a mom, then you remember the first butterfly moment you felt your baby move inside you. Or had the hiccups. Or jabbed you with a heel or elbow, which made your oddly shaped belly bulge even more. I remember the first sonogram, that first glimpse of a fuzzy image that was my baby. The little nose. A hand. A foot. Was it a boy or a girl? Ahhh! The anticipation built over the months until it culminated in the most amazing moment when the nurse placed my baby in my arms for the first time.
Such a precious moment. Finally, I understood a tiny bit of how Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt.
Those early days of motherhood blur a bit from sleepless nights and all the years which have passed, but it was such an amazing time. I remember bringing my first baby home, and my husband and I sat wide-eyed on the bed watching the sweetly sleeping baby. We were scared he would stir or cry or need something. We were so clueless. We anxiously awaited my mother arriving to help take care of our newborn.
My mother taught me much in those early days and over the years as I grew as much as my newborn into this new role of motherhood. For years when my little ones were sick, I called her first to get her advice. Sometimes she had just the right bit of encouragement or other times she knew to listen. And she never tired of me calling to share a milestone.
Other mothers have played a significant role in teaching me about motherhood too. One taught me about dealing with hemorrhoids. Yep, you read that right, and I soooo appreciated that advice! Another mom taught me about discipline and being consistent. Another taught me about the creativity and fun of birthday parties. Another taught me to go ahead and use big adult words instead of talking in baby talk to my little ones. Another mom taught me how to pray for my children. I am eternally grateful for each.
Isn’t it wonderful how moms offer help and advice to new mothers? So what is a piece of advice someone taught you? What is a sweet memory you remember of those early days of motherhood?
To all the moms out there–Happy Mother’s Day!
I’m very excited about my upcoming book, The Wildflower Inn Welcomes Mr. Darcy. As a friend said, “Who doesn’t love a Darcy book?” Well, I certainly do. Of course, knowing me, my tribute to Jane Austen and her beloved Mr. Darcy has a Texas twist.
Here’s the blurb for The Wildflower Inn Welcomes Mr. Darcy:
A husband was imperative for a woman of Elizabeth Bennet’s era, but not so much in the twenty-first century. However, that’s exactly what Dixie Belle Tanner believes her three daughters need—husbands. The three Tanner women have their own fortune and seem to have no need for husbands while pursuing their own interests, not their mother’s. After learning even her own father wasn’t trustworthy, LaurieBeth is content to read about the likes of Mr. Darcy rather than search for a flesh and blood variety. But when a twenty-first century Will Darcy drives into Bluebonnet Falls, Texas in a slick convertible, he undermines her prejudice about cowboys, proving to her that real love blooms and grows outside the pages of books.
Tis the season for stockings being hung by the fire, cookies baking in the oven, and books with Christmas themes being opened. This season I am re-releasing a book I wrote years ago and recently updated. It was originally published under the title Open in Nine Months, but the original title was Expecting Santa.
All Sam McCall wants for Christmas is a traditional holiday for his five-year-old daughter, Lacey. The last person he expects to find when he moves to a cozy town in Colorado is the woman who broke his heart: Joy Chase. Joy’s hiding a secret under her grandfather’s Santa suit. When Sam learns she’s carrying his baby, he has to win Joy’s heart fast. But can they learn to trust again? Can Santa deliver a Christmas miracle?
Open in Nine Months (Expecting Santa) is a touching, emotional story, a perfect way to put yourself in the holiday.” Judy Christenberry, best selling author
Leanna Wilson (Ellis) has penned a warm romance with good characterization.
RT Book Reviews