Tuesday, May 11, 2021

We All Hide




We all hide.


We hide the depression and anxiety we are feeling. We hide the insecurities, the burdens we carry for those we love. We hide our flaws. Our feelings of inadequacy. We may even hide behind our feelings of not knowing how to be a man, or a woman.


It’s different for each of us. But we still hide something.


What if we didn’t? What if we openly carried those things that we hide? What if we walked around letting everyone know that we cut ourselves? What if we openly shared that we struggle with drugs or pornography?


The feeling of being judged is so great. But if we all shared our weaknesses, our failures, our struggles - what then? Wouldn’t we have a common bond? Wouldn’t we have more empathy and love for each other?


EVERYONE struggles. 


Just because you haven’t talked to someone in awhile, doesn’t mean they are “fine”. Just because someone doesn’t share their heartaches, burdens, or prayer requests with you, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 


It simply means they are kept private.


It grieves me. Oh, how it grieves me.

Oh, how so much pain, hurt, loss, heartache, and loneliness is felt in the dark moments of our lives! Oh how many tears are shed, because we didn’t invite someone into them with us!


I have found that once you bring something out into the light, it loses some of its hold over you. It loses some of that power that holds you in its grip.


But those steps are scary. I get it. I do. For ALL of us struggle.


If I could beg of you one thing - I’d beg of you to not walk your road alone. To not “hide”.

I’d beg of you to invite someone who truly cares, into that struggle with you. (And someone DOES care. Sometimes you have to look harder for them. But they are there). 


Let someone bring you into the light. Let someone love you. Let someone show you, you are everything you want to be and fear you are not.


You are valued. You have value to give.


You matter.


Please don’t stay in the darkness alone any longer. Reach out for help. And reach into someone’s open arms.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

When I Feel I Should Be Stronger




I am weak.  I know it.


I hate going through heartache, pain, confrontation, dealing with difficult people, or anything that is just plain HARD.


I realize these times draw me closer to God. They pull me to Him on my knees, asking Him to spare me.  


Asking Him to remove the difficult challenge, the pain… the battle.


And often, He does.  Sometimes, He does not. I writhe in deep misery for a bit.  I cry.  I cling to Him wondering when that ‘thing’ I’m dealing with, will be over.


And I learn. Always, I learn.


He grows me. He teaches me. He gently reaches down carrying me through. 


Every time.


He is such a faithful God.


And yet, I somehow feel like I should be stronger. That the goal should not be to have God spare me - as much as I welcome it. As much as I cling to that hope.


The goal should be not for me to ask Him to REMOVE the hurts, challenges, and pain. It should be that I am strong enough to ask Him to simply give me strength as I walk THROUGH them.


Oh, that one day I won’t ask Him to remove them. But that I will simply be strong enough to have inner peace knowing that I will be more like Him, because of them.


That is a gift I could give to those I love who follow me. To show them that I can be faithful and obedient DESPITE what comes my way, knowing that my God is good - EVEN through the powerful storms that sweep through my life.


I am not there yet. I don’t feel anywhere close. But I admire those who are. And my heart hopes that someday I can find my feet standing where those before me have walked.


In hope. In peace. And in strength. Not with the storm subsiding, but with it raging all about me - knowing I am safe, I am loved, and I am sealed with His blood.


Nothing this life can ever touch.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

When We Need To Work Things Out On Our Own


I had a really tough week awhile back.

The kind of week where my spirit was truly crushed and broken.

I felt discouraged. Frustrated. Depressed.

I was near tears a lot.

I battled with my inner thoughts and push-pull on my heart. 

What happened you ask? Well, it was just one of those times in a journey where you wonder, “Is this worth the stress”? 

I felt like I had finally achieved the confidence I’d been seeking for most of my life. Only to be toppled over. No. Only to be PUSHED down.

And it hurt.

It hurt A LOT.

No one knew. Not really. Not the extent.  Some had gotten glimpses, or pieces. But no one really understood where I was coming from.

Except my precious man.

Oh, what a gift. God truly gives us our spouse’s in times like these. 

I didn’t need anything to be fixed. All I wanted was someone to say, “I get it. This is unfair. You are right.”

He did that.

I was still a little shattered.

Still struggling with what direction to take next. What words to say.

But I wasn’t alone.

He was patient. He let me work things through on my own.

That’s what our great God does you know. He is so patient with us. So many times, He sits back, with His ever-watchful eye on us - and watches us sift, sort, trip, climb, leap, walk around, and pause as we work things through in our hearts, souls, and minds.

He waits.

He guides.

He loves.

And He understands that we need that.

Then, when we get to that point He needs us at - He directs us where to go next.

So do what you need to do. Figure out your heart. Sift through your feelings. Take your time as you look inside of those many layers you’ve built. Learn. Grow. 

And then raise your head. 

Raise your head, lift your chin, and move forward with new insight.

Take a step. And know God is right there walking with you. FOR you, with great love in His heart - waiting to see the tears fade and the smile come out again.

Friday, January 29, 2021

10 Tips From a Social Media Director




I manage Social Media as my job. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.  So I see A LOT of stuff. 


I would love to share with you just a few things that I think will help your time online be more fruitful for you.


1. I realize not all people are literate on social media platforms. Tech can be a bit confusing at times. But my first suggestion would be - IF you’re on one… GET literate.  You won’t feel so confused about what’s going on, how it’s going on, and why you’re getting alerts, notifications, and seeing comments, and posts. Most social media platforms are fairly straightforward and easy to learn. MOST.  So if you have just a little bit of time, go to youtube and watch a tutorial, listen to a podcast on the platform you want to be on, or enlist the help of a young adult in your life - you can get the basics down fairly quickly. I promise. 



2. Proofread your posts. Misspelling is just not fun to read. We’re all human. I misspell at times, too. But misspellings should be the exception and not the norm.  If you wonder why people won’t respond to you? It might start with the fact that your post was confusing, misinterpreted, or didn’t come across well because of a lack of punctuation, incorrect grammar, or misspelling of words.



3. In light of number 1 - BE NICE! Ok, so not all people are gifted at spelling. And a lot of older people are getting online and maybe they weren’t wearing their glasses. But be nice if someone misspells or has incorrect punctuation. It’s the decent and civil thing to do.



4. People know more than you think they know.  People are aware if you block them (most of the time). They are aware if you set up multiple instagram accounts hoping they won’t follow the other ones. They are aware you used a filter on your face to look younger.  People are just digitally smart in this day and age. Especially those young adults who grew up on devices. Be authentic. Be YOU. And if you don’t want that certain auntie to follow you - don’t be on that platform with her, or don’t say those things, or post those pictures. You can look at it as a great way to be kept accountable. You’ll probably regret anything you don’t want someone seeing anyways - so you are better off not posting it.



5. Fact check. Re-posting and re-sharing is easy. But things are so easily altered now. Make sure that photo hasn’t been altered. Make sure that article isn’t “slanted” with their own bias’. If you spread content that people learn is not true or factual, it will affect your word and your reputation in the future.



6. If you want brands to follow you - put your city or state. If you are an influencer and speak at events, are a church, or any type of organization or business - PUT YOUR CITY AND STATE. No one can find you (and no one will take the time to find you), no one will visit or sign up for your event, if you don’t put where you are located. Up front. In your bio or profile.



7.  Be unique.  If you sell essential oils - you may look at other “oil” accounts and post the exact type of pictures they are posting. But if you want to stand out? Do something different. You can be creative. If you want to be remembered - having unique content will make you more memorable. And never bombarde your friends with messages or group invites to buy your product. If you haven’t spoken to someone regularly and then only message them to join or buy what you are selling - it leaves a sour taste. Trust me.



8. Do what you love. If you have a personal account, a blog account, a website, and several social media accounts - that’s great. Only if you can be consistent and keep up with all of them. Otherwise, shut one down and focus on the other. It’s okay to not be on everything. Just be where you enjoy being. Social media is an online gathering place, and sometimes we just don’t feel like gathering. And that’s OKAY. I do highly recommend being online somewhere if you have a brand or organization - but if you are an individual, it’s okay to opt out. But don’t rely on other people to fill you in on what you are missing all of the time. Okey-doke?



9. Remember that social media is SOCIAL. Talk back to people. Engage. Comment. Encourage. Check in. Don’t just broadcast what you are doing all of the time. I mean, you CAN - but it won’t help you in the long run. People want to know they matter to you. That means growing relationships. That means posting AND talking with others.



10.  Social Media gets a bad rap. Yes, there are negative things that happen. Censorship is becoming an issue. People can be inappropriate. But social media is only a reflection of what is going on in people’s hearts. Social media is a GIFT and a ministry. It is a great way to stay connected with people from different seasons of your life, and for some people, it’s the only “connection” they get to others who may understand and care. It’s a great way to stay informed, and although not a replacement for real-life connections, it’s a terrific addition to it. Please don’t discount it just because of some bad apples.




Social media is not going away any time soon. There ARE ways to have private profiles and just connect with close friends. There are ways to filter content you see and hear, etc. And it can be very beneficial as far as knowing what is going on with your local business, or family and friends who don’t live nearby.


If you have any social media questions - please feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer them!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Are You Weary?




A lot of weariness has been going ‘round.  


Emotional weariness.


Physical weariness.


Yes. It’s important to take care of our mental health and to “know when we’re low”.  But, as Christians, there is often a bigger fight and battle going on.


We can’t just quit because we’re tired.


Oftentimes…. We forget that we are warriors.


God says in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes.”


Put on the ARMOR.  Armor is for battles. And it is used by warriors.


We grow weary and wonder “how long”, Lord? How long will certain battles go on? How long will certain prayer requests go unanswered?


Mark 14:37 tells us, “Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping.  “Simon”, he said to Peter, “are you asleep?  Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour”?


Yes.  We need to take care of ourselves.  But sometimes - when the world says, “take a break” (or in this case, go to sleep), God is saying, KEEP WATCH. For we are in a battle, and instead of “how long”, our question may need to be - “Can we pray for just one more hour of being awake”?


Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be WEARY in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”


The answer to our weariness is not MORE REST. Why? Because we have things going on internally that affect our lives externally.


The answer is MORE GOD. More of God IN our rest. More of God IN our choices.


Experiencing HIS presence is the only way to restore our joy and strengths.


Isaiah 40:29 “He giveth power to the faint and to them that have no might, He INCREASETH strength.”


So if you are weary and low - as many of us have been - as we gaze and focus upon a new year, let us challenge ourselves to wear our armor. Keep on keeping on.


And seek MORE GOD. So that we have the strength - to - stand.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Human Touch-Points




Human Touch-points.


What are they?


They are things like a handshake.  A hug. A touch on the shoulder. Time spent across the table talking, listening, and sharing with someone else. 


A smile.


All of these touchpoints have been robbed from us in the year 2020.


It’s no wonder why I hear the words “mental health” being discussed so prominently in the news, in nonprofit circles, in webinars, and zooms. And in homes.


Because people realize something is missing.


It’s those touch-points. Those very touch-points we need to flourish.


I grew up in school hearing how they ran an experiment with babies and found that the ones who weren’t held and loved on, didn’t grow as quickly. In fact, some didn’t grow at all. And some, even lost weight.


Touch. 


It’s VITAL.


We NEED each other.  Literally.


Sure. We can keep on living. But mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? We NEED one another. We need to be touched. Held. Listened to. Smiled at.


We are not to be afraid.


Wise? Yes. Using common-sense? Yes. 


But we are not to be afraid. Not to stop living.


And most importantly - not to stop loving.


Everyone needs to be touched today. In one way or another. For we are starving for it. 


We are aching for that connection point that connects us to each other, and reminds us we are noticed. 


We are cared for. 


We are loved.


So, go out there. And LOVE. Love well. And love often.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Don't You Miss God?





It’s easy to get into a routine. Life has been so different this year.  


We have been home more. Watching Netflix more. Out in our yards more and taking walks. We’ve gone further when we can, to lakes, rivers, beaches, and state parks.


We’ve ordered take-out more, and played loads of family games.


For most of us, we haven’t had to drive to work, meetings, and at times - even the grocery store.


Most churches have gone online - but have we even watched them?


Have we read the Bible? 


Our devotions?


When was the last time we prayed?


It’s so easy to just push God out of the equation. 


Things aren’t as fun, so we we neglect them all together.


But the thing is - this year? This year has pushed a lot of us to our emotional limits. Stress, depression, and anxiety have found their way into our homes. Into our minds.


We don’t sleep as well.


We’re bored because we can’t travel or get out. 


And I’m just wondering.


Don’t you miss God?


Do you miss hearing from Him?


Do you miss seeing signs of Him?


Do you miss praising Him? Or singing about Him?


Do you miss that feeling of knowing He personally came down to deliver a promise or message to some personal detail of your life?


Do you miss the peace of mind that you know comes only because you handed something over to Him in prayer?


Do you miss the adrenaline or excitement from knowing that He was working in a conversation or relationship you were having with someone else?


Life CAN pause. But God never pauses.


Life CAN change. But God doesn’t change.


God is there. Even in all of this. ESPECIALLY in all of this.


And I’m guessing He misses some of us. A Lot.


Do you miss Him?

Monday, October 5, 2020

How To Hear From The Lord




I am not very good about being disciplined, when it comes to reading the Bible.


Oh, I have a Bible reading plan on my phone. And I read it for awhile, then start skipping days… here….and there.


I listen to sermons via podcast, and when life is “normal”, I try to attend church more often…than I don’t.


I listen to Christian music in addition to my “non-Christian” music.


I pray.


These things keep me focused on being and acting, along the lines of what I believe.  But they are not God’s Word directly. Not all of them. 


I heard someone say once that we rely on God’s people (pastors, bible study leaders, christian authors, etc) to tell us what to believe and think when it comes to being a Christian. But it’s filtered. We are asking God’s words to come to us THROUGH someone else. And that’s not bad. Except if that’s ALL and the ONLY place that we hear from the Lord.


I actually read a little of God’s Word this morning. HIS word. From the Bible. Not through and filtered from someone else. And do you know what I read?


In Joshua 1 verse 8, God says “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”



MEDITATE ON IT DAY AND NIGHT.


Now how many of us do that?


If we go to church, maybe a sermon here and there sticks with us. But even then, do we meditate on it?


If we are training for a marathon, we meditate on our runs, our eating, our everything. 


If we are preparing for a big presentation at work, throwing a big wedding together, planning a huge cross-country trip - we dwell on it. We plan for it. We think about it all day. We go purchase the things we will need. We are “all about it.”


Yet we don’t do that with God’s Word. Most of us don’t anyways.


So how can we expect to hear from Him? Why do we complain and say, “I never know what God wants me to do. He is silent.”


Why do we WISH we had the kind of faith life and evidence of God in it as someone else? (Maybe they actually open their Bible).


Friends - I’m just as guilty. And I’m convicted.


The Lord means everything to me. EVERYTHING. And I can see in the world today, how His time of coming is growing nearer and nearer. Am I prepared? Are you?


Do I battle fear over what is going on, or do I feel peace knowing He’s got it in His hands? 


Do I know what He’s said? Do I see the signs around me? It would be hard to see them if I never took the time to read them in His Holy Word!


MEDITATE ON IT DAY AND NIGHT.


If we say we believe in Him - why do we not make the effort, take the time, and actually saturate our lives with Him?


You can’t expect to finish a marathon if you haven’t trained for it.


You won’t know what to say for your presentation at work, if you didn’t study.


The same is true for being a Christian believer.


We need to KNOW God’s Word. BELIEVE in God’s Word. READ God’s Word. Ponder it. Digest it. Learn it. Listen to it.


And watch our lives change because of it. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Are You a "Joseph?"







Things are unfair. 


I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with things being unfair. I want to whine like a little girl, “But that’s sooooo unnffaaaiiiir!” I think I internally hope and expect for someone to fix it. I’ve quickly learned life doesn’t quite work that way – as much as I’d prefer it to.

Sometimes life simply stinks.

I think, “Don’t they know how wrong they are being?” or “If they could only get to know me or my child, (or fill-in-the-blank) they’d feel so badly that this happened to us! Again – not the case.

Not everyone likes me. Not everyone likes my kids, or my family. Or they do like us, but they have their own interests in mind and are prioritizing something that matters more to them.

Life hurts.

When my daughter was in high school, something that our family thought was unfair happened to her. We thought she got a really raw deal in a certain situation. It wasn’t the first time, and I was just upset about it all. I did my thing – trying to fix it for her. No go. Then I got angry. Then I pouted. Then I went to the Lord (which of course I should have done in the first place.) God softened my heart and helped me get to the point where I saw that I needed to help my daughter process and grow in this unfair situation, instead of focusing so much on my own feelings, and how I was “ticked” about what had occurred.

He brought “Joseph” to my mind. 

Joseph from the Bible. Heard the story many times. Took it in and let it flow right back on out. Until God showed me how to apply it to that very moment and situation.

I talked to my daughter and I was able to share with her how I felt God wanted her to handle this particular situation. 

I told her that some things are unfair. Very unfair. But I asked her if she remembered the story of Joseph. I said, “Do you remember how Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery?”  I proceeded to tell her how Joseph didn’t deserve that. It was unfair. Many things in Joseph’s life were unfair. Prison was unfair. But Joseph did the best he could in each situation. He flourished in each position he entered into. He continued to be the best he could be, even though he didn’t deserve to be there. And God rewarded him.  We all know how Joseph ended up working for the king, resulting in him saving his brothers and family from starvation.

Joseph turned lemons into lemonade. He didn’t go looking for a reward. He didn’t strive for “better.” He simply did the best where he was, and with what he had. 

That’s what God asks of us. Sometimes we are “Joseph’s.” We are in a place, a situation, or a role that isn’t fair. But we need to flourish where we are, for God has a reason for us being there. We need to have integrity, honor, and pride in who we are as God’s servants – and be faithful.

This was the lesson I shared with my daughter on that day.

I think it helped somewhat. I know it helped me. I’ve not soon forgotten that lesson, and I’ve brought it up several times since that day. For I’m reminded that God knows where I am, and what I’m going through. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a prison, a desert, school, or a home where things are hard and unfair. I need to give my all and BE my all for the Lord.

For if I’m faithful to God He will be faithful to me.

How many other Bible “stories” could help us in our today’s and our “now’s?” How many of them do we overlook?

When their lessons are so deep, so relevant, and so powerful.


SO timely.


Joseph was there for us on that day. Maybe he can be there for you, too.