Building Roots for the Future

I remember when I was little and wanted to be big enough to go to school with my sisters.  When I was 12, I longed to be 13 so I could be a teen. When I was 15, I yearned to be 16 so I could drive, and when I was 17, wanted to be 18 so I could be in college.  So my life went, always wanting to rush the future to get to the next step in my life. Now I look back and wish I could slow life down a little!

Years ago I read a post on Jon Gordon’s weekly blog that was based on his book The Seed and one of his points really struck home for me.

He notes, “Don’t rush the future. There is a process that seeds must go through in order to become all they are destined to become, and you must go through this same process to become the person you are meant to be and do the work you are meant to do. You may want things to happen NOW but more than likely if you got what you wanted NOW you wouldn’t be ready for it. The purpose process prepares you, strengthens you, shapes you and grows you to be successful, not in your time, but in the right time.”

The point Jon Gordon was making is we are like a seed that won’t grow unless it has the right environment–the right soil, water, sunshine, and time.  A seed has to go through a metamorphosis to become a plant that serves a purpose. It doesn’t happen instantaneously and is a process that takes an environment conducive to growth.

I think about my spiritual journey and how that applies.  I will never become a mature Christian unless I experience things that encourage my growth.

Credit to David Brooke-Martin- from-unsplash.jpg

Just as a seed dies and takes on a new nature, I die to my old self and become my new self in the Lord.  I must experience the elements in the world around me.  As a tender young shoot I need the nurture and care of someone older and wiser.  As I grow and develop I need pruning to make me strong and purposeful; as a mature person I need to develop and grow fruit to serve my purpose.  As I am exposed the elements over the years I need to grow deep roots to stay strong and gather nourishment.  And when the winds howl and buffet around me, I need to be flexible enough to bend so that I don’t break in the storm.

Thanks, Jon, for the reminder that in order to fulfill our purpose in life, we need to be like a seed, ready for planting, for dying, for changing, for growing, for bearing fruit, and starting the process all over again with new seeds.

And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done. Colossians 2:6-7

To check out Jon’s website go to:

Feeling Less Than, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about my personal struggle of feeling less than others throughout most of my life. The truth of the matter is many people grapple with the same thing. I do not always consciously think about how my less than mentality has surfaced in many ways in my life. However, in part it has shown in my lack of self-confidence, my reluctance to try new things, and my hesitation to believe my opinions and thoughts are valid. I bet if you are struggling with feeling less than, you may be experiencing some of the things I just listed.

But do not despair. There is hope for those of us who have bought into the lies that we are less than others. So let’s start right here.

We have bought into the lies. Satan is a liar and he delights in convincing us we are unworthy, unlovable, and not significant. Every time we hear that insidious voice that tells we are not good enough, we are not accomplished enough, or we are not attractive enough, we are listening to lies. Those lies can lead us to fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, depression, eating disorders, and more.

Do not listen to your negative inner voice. Most of the time it is lying. Every time you start to hear the lies in your head, substitute them with truth, and not the truth as you may see it, but the truth as God sees it. The fact is YOU and I are important to God. He loves us so much and he can renew us and make us into people he can use to do extraordinary things.

I saw this information adapted from “The Sensation of Being Somebody” by Maurice Wagner.

I won’t buy the LIE that . . .

Superstar Performance
+ Great Accomplishments will make me feel ACCEPTED and valued

Good Looks + Admiration
of others will make me feel SECURE

Status + Popularity
Recognition by others will make me feel SIGNIFICANT

I’ll believe the TRUTH that . . .

I am ACCEPTED in Christ

I Am SECURE in Christ


Jn 1: 12 – I am God’s child

Rom. 8:1-2 – I am
free forever from condemnation

Matt. 5:13-14 – I am
the salt and light of the earth

Jn 15:15 – I am Christ’s friend

Rom. 8:28 – I am
assured all works together for good

Jn 15:1-5 – I am a
branch of the true vine, a channel of his life.

Rom. 5:1 – I have been justified

Rom. 8:31-34 – I am free from any charge against me

Jn 15:16 – I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit

1 Cor 6:17 – I am united with the Lord (one Spirit)

Roman 8:35-39 – I cannot be separated from the love of God

Acts 1:8 – I am a personal witness of Christ’s

1 Cor 6:19-20 – I am bought with a price; I belong to God

2 Cor. 1:21-22 – I am established, anointed, sealed by God

1 Cor. 3:16 – I am God’s temple

1 Cor. 12:27 – I am a member of Christian’s body

Col. 3:3 – I am hidden with Christ in God

2 Cor 4:17-21 – I am a minister of reconciliation for God

Eph. 1:1 – I am a saint

Phil. 1:6 – I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected

2 Cor 6:1 – I am God’s co-worker (1 Cor 3:9)

Eph 1:5 – I have been adopted as God’s child

Phil 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven

Eph 2:6 –  I  am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm

Eph. 2:18 – I have access to God thru the Holy Spirit

2 Tim. 1:7 – I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind

Eph. 2:10 – I am God’s workmanship

Col. 1:14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven

Heb. 4:16 – I can find grace and mercy in time of need.

Eph. 3:12 – I may approach God with freedom and confidence

Col. 2:10 – I am complete in Christ

1 Jn. 5:18 – I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me

Phil. 4:13 – I can do all things thru Christ who strengthen me

Wake up everyday and tell yourself “I am loved by the Creator of the world.” Tell yourself, “I am valuable.” Tell yourself, “I CAN do all things through Christ.”

Evaluate your past and things that have contributed to your feeling less than. Wow. That is a hard one. Sometimes it requires therapy to help us look at things differently. Sometimes we can confide in a trusted, wise friend and let them help us process our emotions. Sometimes bringing something into the light instead of keeping it buried, can be a healing process. I know for me personally, that happened when I finally disclosed my abuse to a trusted friend. A huge weight was lifted.

You cannot change your past. You can let it wreak havoc on your life, or you can determine to use it to help make you a better person. Lessons along the way can be painful but God can use the pain and your story for his glory. He can use all the messy details of your life and make you into someone who exhibits Godliness. Just look at Peter–Peter who was impulsive, emotional, a rough and tough fisherman, and who denied Christ during a crisis. God used him to help establish the church. You never know what God can do with your life and your past until you trust him with it.

Stop being your own worst critic. Hopefully, we would never talk to our friends and family the way we talk to ourselves. Be kind to yourself. Instead of criticizing yourself, find something good to say. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God apparently rejected some of David’s better looking brothers and told Samuel that David would be king. He said, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as a man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Instead of saying, I am dumb because I don’t understand this, flip the script and say, “I have an opportunity to learn something new and I will work on it.”

Write positive notes to yourself about the way you look and feel and post them around the house. Post scriptures like John 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:7, and Philippians 1:6 in different locations in your car and house. It is amazing what positivity can do to help get over the feeling that you are less than others.

List your accomplishments. Makes a list of the things your have accomplished and are proud of. List your talents, abilities and interests. List positive things about yourself. This is hard, but sit down and DO it. If you are not sure what they are, take an assessment that helps you identify strengths and gifts (there are plenty of them on the internet). Ask your friends and family about the positive things they see in you.

Stretch out of your comfort zone and try new things. When we think we are not enough, we fear stretching out of our comfort zone. God calls us to step out. Look at Noah, Moses, Esther, Ruth, Nehemiah, Mary and Joseph, Peter, John, and Paul. God called all of them to something they were not sure of, but he provided a way for them to do amazing things. Stepping out of comfort zones provides us with learning opportunities, new friends, and new outlooks.

Avoid the comparison trap. Limit your time on social media. A 2017 study found a whopping 88% of Americans fall into the comparison trap. Just one hour spent scrolling through Facebook can have a significant negative impact on your self-esteem. Comparing yourself to others rarely leads to anything good. It does, however, often lead to envy and jealously, as well as reinforce our negative feelings toward ourselves. Remember that much of what you see on social media is a sanitized version of someone’s life. You are unique and have your own areas of giftedness. Give up the comparisons.

Stay healthy. Believe it or not, your health has a large impact on your feelings of inadequacy. Eat healthy foods. Exercise regularly, even if it is just walking. Find things you like to do that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. It may be an exercise class, hiking, nature walks, growing a garden, or even raising chickens.

There are so many other areas I found during my research and could address for helping diminish those feelings of being less than. But that would require a Part 3. So here they are in a nutshell.

  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Set time aside for yourself (especially you introverts out there).
  • Set attainable goals for yourself.
  • Master a new skill.
  • Do something creative.
  • Help someone.
  • Volunteer.
  • Read something inspirational.
  • Learn from your failures.
  • Set boundaries.

All of these things can help us become well-rounded individuals who do not dwell so much on our own feeling of being less than someone else. Dr. Monica Vermani, a clinical psychologist in Toronto, Ontario says, “High self-esteem allows you to develop strong coping skills, handle adversity, and keep the negative and challenging aspects of life in perspective.” When we see things from a view of less than, we often see life from a skewed angle. Having a positive self-image helps us see things more realistically.

Scripture says this,” I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14. Just remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are never less than.

The True Story of Christmas

During this Christmas season we tend to focus on the story of Jesus’ birth as narrated in Matthew and Luke. However, I love to read the story of Jesus as told in John. John doesn’t start his writings with the birth of Jesus, but rather he shares Jesus, who was present as the Word since the beginning. This is so important that the first 18 verses of John focus on Jesus as the Word and the light.  

John 1:1-18  (NLT)

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,[a]
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.[b]

God sent a man, John the Baptist,[c] to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human[d] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[e] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.[f] 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,[g] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.  (NLT)

At Christmas time, it is easy to get caught up in the story of a child born of a virgin and placed in a manger because there was no room at the inn. In many ways the Christmas story is fascinating in its telling. It would actually make a good book, don’t you think? A virgin birth. A skeptical fiancée. A visit from an angel. A journey to Bethlehem. The visit of the wise men. The flight to Egypt. It has all the makings of a gripping story.

Read more: The True Story of Christmas

But when I read the first 18 verses of the book of John, I remember that the story of Jesus is far more than just that of his birth.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Jesus was with God in the beginning and he was the Word and the Word created everything. He was present as the Word of God in the very beginning of the creation of earth. He spoke the earth into being—everything was created through him. Jesus was and is and is to come—he is infinite. Something we have difficulty wrapping our heads around. He existed with God.

Colossians 1:15 – 17 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

In John 14:8-11 Jesus was interacting with the disciples and Philip, who had been with him since the beginning of his ministry said “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.”

Jesus was light and his life brought light to everyone. His light shines in the darkness and the darkness will never extinguish it—no matter how it may seem at times. He came to a world that rejected him. Yet, he still loved us and his light still shines forth.

He brings salvation to a world that needs him desperately. We become children of God when we believe in Jesus and acknowledge him as Lord and Savior. He brings light to our darkened world.  John 12:46 says, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.” So no matter how dark things around us seem, we can count on the Lord to shine in the darkness.

Jesus became human. He left the glory of heaven, left the presence of God, left all of the angels and heavenly beings who worshiped him, to become human. He followed a plan that had been laid the minute sin entered the world. For thousands of years, he knew what his destiny was, and he did not balk. He shed his glory to become flesh. That is pretty amazing when you think about it. I am not so sure I would want to leave the glories of heaven to become a frail human. But Jesus says in John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

This Christmas we need to remember not only the Christ child who was born of a virgin, but also the man who was God in the flesh. We not only need to celebrate his birth, but also his death and resurrection. Because he did all of this for each of us.

.Philippians 2:19 says, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

His name is exalted from the time of his birth when the angels celebrated, to the time of he shed his blood for our sins, to his resurrection. That is the true story of Christmas.

Christmas Traditions

When I was growing up during the Christmas holiday my mom would get together with my aunts and they would make candy all day long. They made divinity, fudge, chocolate peanut butter balls, peanut brittle–and the list went on! But another of our holiday traditions was opening one present on Christmas Eve. I remember carefully trying to figure out which present would be THE one that would have the best gift in it. Inevitably, I would choose the one with socks!

After I was grown, my mother started a new tradition. She collected Department 56 villages. When I say, she collected villages, I mean she had an entire room devoted to them. One of her friends wired the lights up so that all she needed to do was hit the remote for the village to come to life. Setting the village up and taking it down each year got to be such a huge chore, that she decided to leave the room up year round!

My children loved seeing the village and for every Christmas my mom received multiple new pieces as gifts. Her Department 56 club would tour her house for Christmas. Every year she hosted an open house for all the family and friends. When I would bring friends home for Christmas, they would marvel at how much decorating and baking she had done. Quite frankly, I miss my mom the most at Christmas time because she would go all out and decorate her house to the max for Christmas. Honestly, I do not know how old she was when she finally let someone else take over the job of putting up the outdoor lights–but it was well past the time she should be climbing a ladder.

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Seventy Lessons for 70 years

Today I will have reached another decade. When I was younger, I can remember thinking that 70 was ancient! And here I am. I have learned so much through my years and often think it is such a shame that it takes a lifetime to gain wisdom. If only I had known these things when I was younger. So, I want to share 70 lessons I have learned through the years (in no particular order). Not everything was learned from personal experience . . . well, maybe some of them were.

Find joy in life

1. Despite my brother thinking my mom had a hard time delivering me because I would not put the book away, I really did not come out reading. Learn to read.

Me and my chubby cheeks.

2. People say, “I could just squeeze those cute little cheeks,” DON’T.

3. Spiders are creepy, crawly, things.

4.  Volunteer to catch grasshoppers for your uncles to use as bait for fishing. They may pay you a penny each.

5. Every 5-year-old covers their face for pictures. Just roll with it.

6. See Dick and Jane run really was a thing. Just change the names and ask my siblings what happened when someone yelled, “Snake.”

7. Some people move a lot. Just learn to roll with it.

8. No, butter really does not make a sunburn better. Use sunscreen and avoid skin cancer.

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No Easy Answer

As with many others, I am shocked and saddened for the people of Uvalde, Texas–a place I had never heard of before Tuesday. There are no words that are adequate to help the wounded hearts in that town. I wrote a post of May 25, 2009 that expresses a lot of how I feel. Just a few months after the original post, my husband passed away unexpectedly and I was left with lots of questions and no easy answers. But love certainly helped me recover and take one step in front of another while grieving.

Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash

I could easily talk about all the reasons I think this happened–none of which make sense in light of the carnage–or all the things we need to do in the United States to keep this from happening again. But I will not in this post. The fact is there are no easy answers for the wounded right now.

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Hidden Potential*

When they were first married, my son and his wife purchased a home that was a short sale. When they first brought me to see the house, it was somewhat difficult to look past the dirt and junk. There were piles of toys, clothes, and miscellaneous items that had been left by the previous owners.  In the bathroom, the tub surround was full of crayon scribbles and the toilets were in dire need of a good cleaning and disinfectant. In the basement the refrigerator still had food in it, and the smell was rank when the door was opened. Even trash had been left in the kitchen can.

The outside had ivy growing unchecked around the entire foundation. The large back yard was full of weeds and shrubs that had been allowed to grow wild, not to mention a pile of cinder blocks that served no useful function that we could see. Dead trees had fallen and the decaying logs were lying on the ground.

Most people would have walked away after seeing the first room, and indeed, at first I just saw all of the surface issues. But on a deeper, second look, I could envision the possibilities they saw in the home. As they worked hard at making the house into a home, a beautiful picture emerged.

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Worry Warts

This past week I was able to vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I have been two other times with my friend, who swears it is her happy place. And I believe her. She makes a better guide than most of the employees since she has been there so often! For a newbie like me that is a blessing, because she doesn’t get lost (unlike I would) and knows shortcuts to take through the parks.

Normally, I would be walking with her ahead of the vacation so that I am not utterly exhausted at the end of each day. About three weeks out, I was having a problem with my foot hurting, but assumed I needed new shoes. So I went to my favorite store and got fitted for my shoes. I picked out a cute (as much as tennis shoes can be cute) corn yellow Hoka shoe and was so excited. But alas, my foot still hurt when I walked.

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The Last Week

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Today is Palm Sunday, but for Jesus it was a week that was just beginning. Palm Sunday is a day that many churches celebrate with waving of palm branches, emulating the people of Biblical times who proclaimed “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” while he entered Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. It is a day when I will be speaking to a group of individuals at an Assisted Living facility. As I wondered about what to speak on, I realized that, of course, I need to speak about the last week of Jesus’ life.

All four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, share the triumphal entry. When Jesus came to Jerusalem the crowds were already being stirred up by the disciples and started chanting together “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” You see the crowds welcomed him thinking he was going to be their earthly king. They were expecting a Messiah who was going to deliver them from the Roman rulers and establish the kingdom of Israel once again.

In fact, they did not recognize that they were actually fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

But that same crowd who cried out “Hosanna,” cried out “Crucify Him” when they realized that their dreams were not coming true. So let’s talk about Jesus’ week and the things he did after his triumphal entry.

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Help My Unbelief

Recently I have been wondering why I ever thought I could retire. I have been trying to avoid taking money out of my 401K until I hit 72, but in all honesty with today’s inflation I am thinking that may not be possible. I went to the store today to buy something to make a dessert for my home team and was shocked when the items cost $18—just for one dessert made with Jell-O and strawberries. Like many individuals on a fixed income, I worry about having enough money to meet my daily needs, let alone all the things on my “want” list.

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