Monday, January 27, 2020

Sibling Relationships

Back when my girls were in junior high/high school - they once told me that they knew a lot of kids who didn’t like or get along with their siblings. 

That made my heart so sad.  

At the time, I thought they were probably overreacting. I was sure that there were more siblings who got along than they thought. But then I started witnessing some things that showed me there indeed can be a “disconnect” sometimes between brothers and sisters.

For example, my youngest had a program in which she had a part. We had two showings that particular day. One in the afternoon, and one in the evening. My plan had been to go and get my oldest out of school as she had expressed  an interest in watching her sister. I had always encouraged my kids to support one another so I wasn’t ever shy about taking them out of class so they could watch each other in plays, programs, award ceremonies, etc. I did this because if they showed an interest and wanted to cheer each other on – I wanted to encourage that! I wanted that support and love to flourish. 

On that day, my daughter did indeed watch her little sister in her program. Then we had to go back for the evening show and my youngest didn’t have her big part – she only participated in the big group as a whole, for the evening showing. Still.. I felt my oldest should watch and support her. 

But she had other ideas. 

She wanted to sit with some friends which was okay with me, as she was getting older and I wanted to affirm that. But that was when things started to change. Most of her friends weren’t staying inside for the performance but were going to “roam.” I didn’t like that… and I didn’t allow my daughter to participate. She was not happy with me, and she felt alone (even though she could have come and sat by me), but I held my ground.


For one, I didn’t want to encourage my daughter to be what I term a “hoodlum.” It was dark outside, and I hadn’t wanted her roaming about without adult supervision. I didn’t care how old she was, she was still a minor – and there was still plenty of room for danger and disaster.  I also wanted her to invest in what her sister had invested in. That’s what a family does – you stay and you support one another.

I came to this conclusion: I think a lot of kids might not be close, because they are not encouraged or instructed to invest in each other’s interests. Whether it’s basketball games, plays, or award ceremonies doesn’t matter. We should have our children there to support each other, out of pure love and devotion. Love doesn’t always do the “fun” stuff. It does the boring, the hard, and the inconvenient stuff too. 

Life isn’t always about “us.” If we let our children ignore what is going on with someone else in the family, we are only encouraging them to become more “me” centered. They will always seek “what’s in it for me.”  No, they may not be happy about it, but they will learn to put the time in that is needed, to grow bonds with their brothers and sisters. They will know what their interests are, who their friends are, and how they can help them when they need it the most. Sometimes, they may be our biggest tools, in letting us know when something is wrong or out of character with their brother or sister!

I do understand there are times to give kids a break. If my child has been to every single one of their siblings sports games, and they have a friend show up and can hang out for awhile in a safe atmosphere – I’m okay with that. But that is going to be the exception – not the norm.

For me, I felt that encouraging my children to develop a relationship that would be strong and “other centered” was important. Someday, they won’t have me around. The kind of relationship they have with each other, will be something that will truly be an asset in their life, and something that can be a strong foundation against the tides of the world.

I would encourage all parents to nurture sibling relationships between their kids. Make sure they are taking turns in cheering each other on in their interests and endeavors. After all, that’s part of what being a family is all about,  and if you want a close one--- it takes commitment and time.

Even on the part of our kids.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Dear Friend: I See You

I’m writing today, out of the deep love in my heart for you. If only you could see what I see in you! I see so much potential in you. I see the heart that for some reason, you try to keep behind closely-guarded armed-guards.

I see the sensitivity in you.

I see the smart mind that you have.

I see your desire to be loved, accepted, valued, and understood.

I see how you try to shake off the fears you hold inside of you. I know the insecurities you battle wage their ugly head far too often. They hold you down. They hold you back from relationships.

I know you have been hurt. Deeply. You’ve felt rejected. And you probably swore internally never to put yourself in that position again.

But my heart aches for the days in your life that go wasted. The ones that are devoted solely to protecting your environment - to racing against the time of life… that you’ve forgotten the most important part of it. 



And that you are not the only one who has felt what you’ve felt. Or endured what you’ve endured. 

Other people may just have had different support systems. Or different ways of handling those very things that hold you back.

I love you. I want you to be all that you can be. I want you to see that YOU are your own worst enemy.  The very things you fight against - are the very things you need in your life the most.

They are the very things that will free you.





I pray you will find the courage that I know lives inside of you. The courage that will help you say, “No more” to your normal vices and “go-to’s.” 

I pray for you so often! I pray that you will see you can have more for your life.

It might seem scary at first. Foreign. It may be very uncomfortable. 


No more hiding. No more pretending. No more lying to yourself.

Seize your life today. Don’t cuddle in the arms of the lying comforts of the shadows anymore.

You ARE loved. You ARE valued. You DO have something amazing to give this world. 

Step out into the open. 


The world needs you. But it needs you WHOLE.

Fight for yourself today. See yourself as you are. And love yourself enough to get help for those wounds that stay open in your life.

Don’t let anyone say, when all is said and done, “What a waste of a life that could have been so much more.”

Victory is yours - but you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Stop fighting against yourself. 

And start fighting FOR yourself.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Instead of Dream Bigger, Dream Smaller

We are told to “dream big.” We are indoctrinated through movies, television, and the Internet - that “dreams” are made of leaving that job and traveling, or risking it all for that one venture and business you’ve always wanted to own.

Everyone “wishes” they could just escape and go do what they want to do for awhile.

But I think we’ve got it all wrong. Because love can’t be found in these things. True meaning and value is often right under our very noses.

Sure, we can go OFF and minister to a hurting world. But most of us live with a hurting world right in our backyard. I’m betting you have immigrants in your own city. Homeless in your own town. Sex trafficking in your state. So although it’s not BAD to go and experience the world, doing it at the neglect of where we live everyday? Might bear some deeper thinking.

What about taking that leap of faith and risking everything for your dream? Whether it’s a business, or not - it sounds dreamy. But what about our family? What about the sacrifices they have to make for US to dream selfishly for ourselves?

None of these things is bad. In fact, they are all great. It’s great to see dreams come true. Admirable. Inspirational.

But I think more often than naught, we put our wishes, dreams, and hopes in the wrong thing. We think the “dreamy” things are the things far off or that seem untouchable. 

How many people DREAM of having a family?

A house?


How many dream of having a job?

These things we wish to escape from? Are the very things others dream of.

The 9 to 5 job isn’t something to dread. It’s something to be proud of. It takes determination, grit, perseverance, and love to support a family, to steadily hold a job.

Being home on the weekend instead of out DOING something, isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s something to cling to.

You see, we look out into that big expanse of a world and we dream for OURSELVES. But at the end of our lives.. is it just ourselves that matter? What if it’s just ourselves and our experiences left at our death beds? No family by our sides. No legacies left. No one that we discipled or impacted in any way, shape, or form. Just experience.

We dream big. And dreaming big sometimes, is good. It’s what motivates us and gives us hope. And sometimes we are MEANT for big. But for most of us, maybe we need to start dreaming smaller. And see that those empty spots in our hearts can be filled with people living underneath our very roof. See that adrenaline can be found in laughter with the little ones in our lives, or experience can be felt in walking through the ups and downs of life with each other.

We are missing it. We are completely missing it. 

Life is not out THERE. Life is right HERE.  Love is right HERE. With those God has placed in our lives. In the cities in which we live. 

We need to reach for it. Feel it. Experience it. And share it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Are We Family, Or Aren't We?

Families. I don’t think there is anything in life, that brings more laughter and joy, or heartache… as families can.

In this age of social media and technology, the closeness or distance of a family, can become so very evident. It can also show someone just how much, or how little, they truly feel cared for.

I know a young girl. She was lamenting to me how out of her vast expanse of cousins on instagram and facebook, how only about 3 of them followed her or interacted with her.

It caused her pain.

She followed them. She tried to interact with them. But was met with silence. Add to this, the fact that she didn’t live near them, but was trying to keep in touch - it hurt her.

She looked at me, and lamented, “Are we family, or aren’t we?”

I wish I could have told her things would change. But I wasn’t sure they would.

And I understood.

I, myself, have been met with silence online. I am friends with almost everyone in my family on the various social media platforms - but on my public writers page? I, too, am often met with silence. No one in my family really likes, interacts, or shares my writing. I can think of maybe 1, who blesses me with their online support.

It does sting a little.

You don’t want to pressure people in your family to understand, or be involved with everything you do. People are different, and everyone needs to be free to choose what they want to be involved with.

I get that.

But how about just a little support from time to time? A little love? A little something that says, “I’m glad you’re a part of me.”

Is that so tough?

We have families. Not just HALF families. Not just one side of the family we live close to, or have more things in common with. We have WHOLE families. Those who live far away, those who believe differently than us, and those we have maybe, had contentious communication with.

But they are our family. God gave them to us. He CHOSE them for us. And unless they are physically or emotionally a threat to us, we should (at the very least) choose to love on them from time to time.

If that means simply following them on social media, then follow. If that means sending a text to them when we haven’t spoken in awhile, send that text. 

We can so often assume that people don’t care if our presence is in their lives. But they most often do. 

And the rejection of family often hurts more than any other type of rejection.

Do what you can to love on those in your family circle. Make an effort to connect from time to time. Ask how they are. Send a gift. Invite them to that small gathering - even if they live far away - just to let them know they are wanted. (They might surprise you and show up!)

And especially, don’t neglect the aging ones in your family. They might not be on Facebook or instagram - but I bet they have a telephone or can get mail. 

You may have a busy life. I know I do. You may not want to hang out all the time. And that’s ok. You don’t have to. But time passes by, and a little effort goes a long way.

Are we family, or aren’t we?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Facing That "Thing"

That thing. That thing you dread doing. It’s that “something” that causes fear to rise up in your heart and throat. You’d rather do almost anything else… except THAT.

Everyone has a “thing.” At least at some point in their life.  What is it for you? Is it confronting someone about something that is hard to talk about? Is it reaching out to someone in your family, who is hard to love – let alone like?

What is it? And why is it that particular thing?

We are stronger than we think. And we limit our capabilities more often….than we think. 

And fear can be so paralyzing.  It can grow so big that it literally rules our lives and minds.

For me, I’ve had to face fears so many, many times. But each time I conquer something that once conquered me? I feel stronger. Freer. My faith grows deeper, knowing that my God held me up through “it.”

And He can do that for you, as well.

For God is so tender. Never laughing at our ridiculous thoughts. No. He just gently prods us along telling us, “You can do this.”

And we can.

Whatever that ‘thing’ is in your life – that thing that terrifies you? Take a baby step towards it. Then take another. 

You may stumble a little, but trust me, it will feel so good to walk that walk. It can be a shaky walk - and facing that “thing,” that “it” - it can hurt. I won’t lie. It may not be fun at all.  

But you will be stronger for it. And you won’t be a captive held hostage by your fear.

God has given you and I all of the tools we need to make it to the other side of our “thing.”  But so often, we ignore the tools, and we just leave them - sitting there, untouched. We allow ourselves to be captivated by hurt, pain, and fear.


You can be better. 

You can be stronger. Wiser. 

You can be free.

Face your “thing.” Let God guide you through it. 

Do it for yourself.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

When We’re Afraid to Tell Others’ Someone In Our Life Needs Prayers

Prayers.  We all have things, people, and issues in our lives that need prayers.

But sometimes, we don’t ask for them.

We are afraid. If it’s a spouse, our marriage, a child, a parent, or someone else close to us… we are afraid to ask others’ to pray. Because we don’t want them to think badly of the person we are asking prayers for.

If we hang out as couples, we certainly don’t want their opinion of our spouse to change.

If they are friends, we don’t want them to stop liking our children, or perhaps being conduits for success in our child’s life.

And on and on….

But the thing is - if we ask not, we have not.

God says when 2 or 3 of us are gathered in His name - powerful things can happen! So, I have to believe, that He wants us to bring one another to Him in prayer. And that includes, bringing one another in front of those Godly prayer warriors we trust.

Did you notice the end of the sentence I wrote above? “In front of GODLY prayer warriors WE TRUST.”

Yes, it can be dangerous to bring issues about the life of someone we love, to people who can’t be trusted with sacred information. But if we bring them before those who truly honor our trust? They will be powerful prayer allies for us and for our beloved! And not only that, they will rejoice when prayer is answered - never using “said” information against the individual. Because they know we all have things in our lives that can be used against us. 

And we are all recipients of grace, mercy, and second chances.

If we are afraid for someone.

If we are concerned about the choices being made in someone’s life.

If we need to bring spiritual, emotional, or physical things before the Lord - we need (and should welcome) an army to do it!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to enlist the prayers of those trusted warriors in your life.  

And if you don’t have any? Get yourself some! There are so many Christian groups online geared to encourage and help each other in this walk of life. And if you need to start with people you don’t know - start there. But get help. Get help for those precious people in your life.

We have the chance to be powerful influences in the lives of those we love. I don’t know about you - but I don’t want to realize someday, that I could have made a real impact in someone’s heart through prayer……. And failed to do so.

Love with your whole heart.

Pray with your WHOLE heart.

Get an army of prayer warriors to fight with you and FOR those you love.

And watch God move.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Who Are We Listening To?

Satan whispers in my ear more than I’d care to admit.

He speaks to my heart and soul.. and unfortunately, I listen. I listen, because I’m unaware who the speaker is.

He’s so good at deception. So good at lies. So good at forcing me to jump to conclusions, think people don’t care, or cause me to feel inadequate. 

Really good.

But I’m getting better at knowing where the whispers come from. I’m learning to truly decipher whose voice I’m hearing.


Because I’m reminding myself more and more of my Lord’s character. I’m learning to hold God’s truths against the words I find being stroked into my world.

When you know someone’s heart - you know whether they are the author of things. You KNOW, if they are capable of certain actions and words.  And so, I’m having to truly remind myself to not forget who my God is. To seek Him more and more. To take time in prayer, to LISTEN to HIM, so that I know the sound of HIS voice, when it comes.

The more I do this, (and I do get out of the habit and let distractions pull me away, at times), the more I can recognize an impersonator.

The more I can filter out the lies that a voice is trying to tell me to tell myself and believe about myself.

Cunning. Adept. Deceitful. Disguised.

These are satan’s qualities.

We are so good at thinking that evil is always in the form of ugliness. And sometimes - it is. But more often than naught, satan loves to come disguised as beauty, power, success, and acceptance.  He holds those things over us to either draw us into their seduction, or make us feel like we are unworthy of anything of value, at all.

Don’t fall for it.

Learn God’s voice. Spend time listening to Him and seeking Him, so you know His character. 

So you know Him when He comes to you.

When God comes to convict us, Satan comes to shame.

When God comes to heal, Satan comes to victimize.

When God comes to free, Satan comes to entrap.

Know the difference. Know the sound of the whispers you hear, and refuse them when they don’t belong to the One who loves us more than we can imagine.

For we ARE valuable. We ARE worthy. We ARE wanted. We CAN overcome. We WILL learn. We ARE capable. We CAN grow. We CAN change.

But only with the strength, grace, and mercy of ONE.

Know THAT One. And reject the other.

Monday, September 30, 2019

It's Time to Say "No More"

What do you love the most in this world? Is it your children? Your spouse? Are you surprised at all then… that the enemy has gone after your children and their relationship with you? With God? Is it any surprise that he continually pecks at your marital relationship?

Satan is not talked about enough. He is not a flattering subject. And when we go through difficulties - people don’t like to hear that it’s a spiritual battle, or that satan is attacking them.


It’s much easier to tilt our heads heavenward and go, “Why God?” Or to look outward and blame other people.

But it’s NOT GOD. It’s not always, others.

It’s Satan.

He is evil. Ruthless. Disguised as good. Persistent. Cunning. Heartless.


He is out to attack and destroy YOU. 

If he can get you to struggle with your health, your relationships, your faith - he laughs. He delights. And he is fueled to do more.

God wants to give us HOPE and LIFE!  But we so easily fall into the struggles and traps that satan has for us.

It’s easy to fall victim to our own minds. To let fear, anxiety, and depression so overtake our lives that we don’t know how to function as a normal human being.

It’s easy to write off relationships that have become HARD. To cut ourselves off from anyone who might challenge us.

It’s almost energizing to think about unleashing our anger. Rebelling against society. 

Yet, none of those things are of the Lord. None are GOOD.

Satan is out to STEAL (our mind, our heart, our souls), KILL (our relationships, our loves, our dreams) and DESTROY (our jobs, our self-worth, our families, our communities). 

How do you think he’s doing?

We will only gain ground if we decide we’ve had enough. Had enough of the tears, the fears, the anger, the struggle…..

We will only gain ground and start becoming victorious if we call upon the Lord and claim who we are in Him.

We CAN be strong.

We CAN be wise.

We CAN overcome.

It just takes faith. Belief. Trust. Sacrifice of our own will and pride, at times. And it will take obedience. Obedience to the ONE who tried to spare us from it all in the first place.

It’s time to rise up. Claim who you are and who you were meant to be. Say, “No more” to Satan and call him out. Don’t let him hide in the shadows, lurking and toying with your life and mind.

Victory is only gained through the Lord. 

No more compromising. No more excuses. No more hiding (because what good has that really done?) 

Step forward. 

You are already in a battle. So you might as well grab your armor and battle with your head up, instead of down.

I believe it’s time we start gaining some ground in our lives. 

Let’s be fighters, instead of victims.

Enough is enough.

Satan is real, and he’s out to get you, your children, and your love. 

Don’t let him.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

They Are Different From You. And That's Not Bad.

Sometimes we get frustrated with one another.  We expect those ‘others’ in our lives, to be like us.

And they’re not. They are SO not.

And that frustrates us.

We try to comprehend how someone we care about, doesn’t appreciate the fact that we don’t want to be busy every weekend. Or, we don’t “get” how our beloved is so content not trying new things.

Some of us are introverts. Some are extroverts. Some of us - are somewhere in the middle.

Some of us thrive on adrenaline and we get antsy living life working “normally” like the rest of society.  Some of us…. Feel like we will be strangled if we have to try anything that is risky, fast, or slightly “out of the ordinary.” 

None of it is bad. We need to see that.

None of it is wrong. (Unless you jeopardize marital or familial relationships in the process - or become unwise with money, or your desires become addictions, etc.)

But for most of us - we just need to see that others are different than us. We don’t HAVE to understand why someone is the way they are. We just need to accept that they ARE.

We all fill a void here in life. We all fill spots that no one else can fill.

When we are in leadership, we can forget to teach to the introvert and not just the extrovert. 

When we are married, we can push and pull on our spouse to do things that God has not gifted in their very nature - to do.

Because we think everyone should think and feel… like we do.

I don’t think we do it in a mean way. I don’t even think we often realize we are doing it, at all. But we do. Everything we do, comes from our own prism of seeing life the way WE see and feel it. And in that very fact, oftentimes, comes the misunderstanding that someone else doesn’t see or feel things, as we do.

So what do we do? 

We start in just realizing. Realizing that others are different than us, and it’s not bad. 

They are meant to be different.

We compromise for the love of the relationship we have with them - to come to middle ground in the things we choose to do with them, and the things we ask of them.

We learn to enjoy to live life a little bit differently at times. Even if it’s only for an hour - or a week or two. Because we love the people in our life.

And in the process, we enjoy our relationships more. We relax more. We learn that it’s not life-altering, to learn how to accept a different way of going about things. It’s not going to kill us, if we don’t do things OUR way once in awhile.

And we grow. We love more. We LIVE more. And someone else loves us more, because of the lack of feeling pressured to be something they were never meant to be.

Someone can change to be with you - but they won’t enjoy it. And they won’t feel loved by us because they will feel like they aren’t good enough, just… the… way…. they… are.

So for the sake of the loved ones in your life - see and love people right where they stand. In their slowness or their frenzy. In their quietness or their joyful noise. But love them for who they are. 

And you will find your enjoyment of the relationship, will rise up to a new level. 

It’s ok that you are different than others, and that others are different from you. That’s what makes people so beautiful. So learn from each other. Love on each other. Grow from what each other has to give and offer.

That’s the secret to happy relationships.

Monday, August 26, 2019


I hate being misunderstood. It is one of the most frustrating things ever. To have to explain yourself. To have to justify why you said what you said. Why you did what you did.

I just hate it.

I can’t stand it when people have the wrong interpretation, vibe, or view of me or something I’ve said or done. It just really gnaws at me. Yet I have been learning the past couple of years, that sometimes it really has nothing to do with me at all. 

Sometimes a misunderstanding, comes purely from where someone else stands and views life. It comes from how they CHOOSE to see things. And you can’t always change their view or position. 

Of course, that’s hard too. 

But God has been showing me something in a very tender way (for He knows that’s how I need to hear things at times). He’s been showing me that I won’t die if I’m misunderstood. I won’t fall apart. And most importantly – that sometimes I just shouldn’t explain myself.

God is often misunderstood. Sometimes He may choose to reveal a truth to us, other times; He doesn’t. He leaves us to seek and figure things out for ourselves because He know that sometimes in our lives… that is exactly what is needed.

If someone doesn’t know my heart and character; no amount of explaining myself is going to change how they see things. They don’t know my heart and soul, and WON’T know my heart and soul - unless they seek to. They see things on a level that exists because of where their heart currently is based on what has happened in their life, and from their choices of how they WANT to see things. 

I won’t be able to win no matter what I do. It will only cause me great stress to bend over backwards, and take every last breath I have, trying to explain myself. 

It will be like dust in the wind.

I’ve been learning over the years, (the hard and slow way) that sometimes if I know I’ve had pure intentions and motives, and that my heart has been right with God – that I have to be satisfied with that. 

I’ve got to leave the misunderstanding untouched by me. 

God has very clearly spoken to my heart at times about being still and letting Him do the working and moving in my life; instead of the striving coming from me all of the time. That’s a hard lesson to learn! But it’s an important one, for there are great truths and deep meaning to be found in the “still” moments of life where we simply observe and listen.

I will probably always hate being misunderstood. I will probably always be frustrated when someone gets me totally wrong. Because to me - that means they get “ME” wrong. Who I am, and what I’m about.

But it happens. And it will continue to happen.

Life certainly is not fair, and we don’t always get a fair shake – even if we deserve one. 

God can take our injustices, our mistreatments and misunderstandings and He can work in beautiful ways if we hand them over to Him. He will remain faithful to us through every circumstance, and can touch our world in such tender, amazing ways. Knowing my heart is right with Him, and that He is personally letting me know He’s aware of what is going on, and with me through it? That has to be able to override any misunderstanding that may occur in the meantime. 

That has to be enough for us. For me.  

So, I will continue to do my best. BE my best. I will continue to love and try to be at peace with all those in my life. But - when things get tossed and turned about? I will let God stand for my reputation and character. 

And I will rest in the shadow of His loving hands.

“It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you.” Prov. 29:25.