For the past six weeks we've been discovering how to pray with power and purpose. This prayer discovery (which began here) has taken us on a journey through... The Lord's Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. This is the prayer Jesus taught his followers … [Read more...]

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  Romans 12:12   It's been a hard week for me. I won't bore you with the details, but through the difficulties I knew that I could choose joy. And often I did. Choosing to be joyful is a mindset. Some days it's like walking a tightrope with that big long stick.   There's only one way to traverse a tightrope. One step at a time. With our eyes fixed on the finish.     For us as believers... Walking in joy is one step at a time, too. The stick we carry... is … [Read more...]

  You've undoubtedly heard someone say, "I'm doing well, under the circumstances." We're all in different seasons of life. Some of us have some fun and exciting things going on... building new houses, expecting a new baby, an upcoming vacation to a foreign country, or maybe even wedding nuptials and a new life ahead. Others are struggling, "under the circumstances." I know a mom desperately ill in the hospital, others who are experiencing unemployment or underemployment, there are some with empty nests, others with an empty spot at the table, there are many with financial burdens and relationship … [Read more...]

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle - Ian Maclaren Most of us are a fighting an invisible battle. Few friends or family know most of our struggles. You don't broadcast your plight to the world, do you? For the most part, I don't either, except I sometimes share what I'm going through here on the blog to serve as an example of what God is doing in my life.  My story of grace. I'm amazed that since September 2012, just a smidge less than 100 thousand people have pinned this image and verse from the blog... {Joy Day!} A Four-Part Plan That's a lot of people! What's … [Read more...]

I wish I could read the book from which this quote was taken. It's been my pleasure to have read a few of Ortberg's books and they have all spurred me on to a greater depth of thinking and towards the Lover of my soul.     “If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.” – John Ortberg, Soul Keeping There is so much truth in this statement. In fact, I think you'll agree that it resonates with many of my recent JoyDay! posts.     So much of life is outside of our … [Read more...]

  My week was hard. It was one of those weeks I don't ever want to remember. The culmination was to hear untruths spewed out about my relationship with my mother (who died 11 years ago) by someone who has absolutely no idea.  Talk about a kick in the stomach. So what do I do when my head is spinning and things seem totally out of control? Drive to the big lake to see big waves.     And stay until sunset, that in spite of the heavy gray skies, sprang forth with great brilliance.   Or on another day, go to a lakeside park with a bag of tortilla chips and salsa … [Read more...]

  Have you ever thought of your faith as being like a muscle? The more it's exercised... the stronger it becomes. It sounds pretty wonderful doesn't it? We all want to have a strong faith... and a little exercise seems like a good thing. It's all wonderful... until the heat is unbearable, the road seems too steep or never-ending, or the load becomes too heavy to lift. That's when exercise gets hard. That's when we start to give out... our muscles buckle, our resolve dwindles, and we just want to give up and quit. That's the precise time when we need dig in or push through the … [Read more...]

I hate this place where I am right now.     I have a secret. Secrets are hard to carry around.  Some of you know my secret... but really I don't want anyone to know.  It's humbling.  Embarrassing. And I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I'm a blogger who blogs about creating a beautiful home and doesn't live in her own home. No... I'm not renting.  I'm living with another family.  Another family who loves me like family. It's what happens when a job is lost and there's no unemployment and work doesn't come no matter how many times you apply or where you apply. Smart, successful, … [Read more...]

I have several friends going through hard times right now. One trying desperately to regain her footing after divorce, one recovering from a bad fall and brain surgery (with a setback today), another fighting a debilitating virus for 8 months with no end in sight, one struggling through the process of seeing her sister-in-law go from home to hospice, and still another dear friend in the throes of dealing with a family member battling addiction.  Tremendously hard times. My difficulties seem small in comparison. Yours may dwarf those, or possibly you are in a time of calm. When we are faced with … [Read more...]

On a scale of 1 to 10... how would you rate your week? Some weeks are really hard. If you rated your week closer to 1 on the scale would you still be able to say God is good? In the midst of the good and the bad I've been learning... Regardless of my circumstances, God is good. All the time. I want that for you.      But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord  because he is good to me. Psalm 13:5-6 NLT What a great verse to meditate on when you're in a difficult circumstance. It's especially good if you … [Read more...]

Today I sat down to write. I knew I needed to talk about perseverance. There were lots of thoughts running around my mind... but I was unsure where to start. So I did what every good writer does when in that spot.... I went out on an errand.     When I returned home, I again got my laptop out to prepare this post. Before typing a word, I checked my email and saw an email which needed my immediate response. While there, I scanned the other items in my inbox and my eye was drawn to a weekend post which contained a touching video. I am aware this video made the rounds last year, so it … [Read more...]

The questions... "What makes you afraid?"  or "Of what are you afraid?" do not seem to hold the same intensity and emotion as this grammatically incorrect question... "What are you afraid of?" What are you afraid of? Maybe it's surgery, or loss of a job, or loss of a home, or illness, or accident, or... Most of us, if we're honest, we struggle with some sort of fear.  I know I do. I have a friend who is anxious about an upcoming court date.  Knowing that the judge can rule in her favor or not is almost debilitating.  She's asked me to pray for her and I do... but aside from praying all of us feel … [Read more...]

Imagine yourself standing in a large atrium in which there are many doors spaced along its walls and no other hallways in which to exit. In my mind, my life is like that atrium.  It's filled with beautiful plants, some flowers, and beautiful daylight streaming down from the upper story windows.     For too long, invitations to exit into a new world have appeared on countless doors in the atrium.  However, the doors are locked and access to the new world is prohibited through those doors. Remember when you were in high school, standing in the hallway at your locker on the first day of … [Read more...]

  As we enter this New Year there is no doubt, we will face unexpected challenges, disappointments, and heartaches.  I wish it weren't so, but the Bible tells us to expect it. That doesn't mean that we need to live in fear, looking around every corner, or expecting the "other shoe to drop." We need to look forward with great expectation. God has great things planned for us.  He knows where we'll be going, what we'll be facing, and even our opposition. He will provide us with every ounce of strength we need. He wants us to walk victoriously, without stumbling or wavering. The Lord God is my … [Read more...]

Perfect love.  Is there really such a thing? This is the fourth Sunday in Advent. If you follow the tradition of lighting a candle each Sunday in Advent, you will be lighting the candle of love. Love. What can I say about love that hasn't already been said? Nothing. So, this morning as I was lying in bed, quiet, I asked God to speak the verse into my heart that he wanted me to consider here with you. After some silence... it came: "perfect love casts out fear"     I did not expect this verse for Christmas time.  But, as I reflect and consider it with you, let's look at the whole verse in its … [Read more...]

Today is the first day of Advent. It seems impossible for Christmas to be upon us, doesn't it?  The year has gone way too fast.   Do you observe Advent? I know many with younger children click off the days' march towards Christmas with candies or gifts. Others may light candles each night and read verses. And still others decorate a Jesse Tree.   Advent is a time of preparation. A time when we prepare our hearts for our Savior. A time when we await his second coming. And a time when we rejoice in his first coming     Typically I don't follow … [Read more...]

Whatever happens. Keep thanking God. Seriously?     Yesterday I received an email from a sweet friend asking me to pray for her.  She works from home and the company she works for had not sent any work all week.  So, she emailed them to find out why.  Their cold response was, "You are no longer working for us." What would be your response?  To go back to bed, pull the covers over your head, and sob? That's a natural response.  And it is perfectly okay. When jobs and people and homes are taken from us... it's natural to grieve.     Whatever happens, keep thanking God … [Read more...]