Fear Not

On 3/24/2020

“Don’t worry or surrender to your fear. For you’ve believed in God, now trust and believe in me also.”  John 14:1 TPT

I’ve been reading through the gospels for the first quarter of 2020. A chapter a day. I read through each chapter in 3 translations. NIV TPT and ESV This morning in the TPT this was the first verse. Oh how timely. How quickly I can lean toward worry or surrender to the fear. I haven’t always been that way. Just the past few years. I can start spiraling in my spirit so quickly over worry and fear. But I do know God. I’ve believed God and He has delivered me and answered so many prayers for me so so many times. So yes even in this pandemic, even in job worries, family worries  and fear of this unseen virus Jesus is calling me to trust! 


This verse is still timely to me today.  Hopefully I am a little farther along in the trust department. But am I really? I do know this. The only real combat I have ever found to worry and fear is relationship with Him. I have heard it said that there are 365 times in the Bible that it says “Fear not”, one for every day of the year. But I know it’s easier said than done. Look back at the verse. It says “don’t worry or surrender to your fear” and then it tells you how. “You have believed God, now trust and believe also in me”. You see you need to have that relationship where you have believed Him, the one where you have seen Him work and the one where you know Jesus to be who He says He is. It’s easy to say Fear not, but the foundation of a relationship with Him is what will help you to not surrender to the fears. One of the practices that I started doing as I have dealt with anxiety over the last few years was playing a little game with myself “worse case scenario”. Many times if I think through the “worse case scenario” of what I am worried about rationally, I would still get down to that even if the worse thing my mind could conceive would happen I would still have Jesus and He would still see me through it. There are things that cripple you and bring you to your knees in this life. Things my mind can’t even conceive of, I know. Which is why I need Jesus so much! If I didn’t have the foundation of a life where I have put my trust in Him over and over. A life where I have already believed Him and He has proven to be who He says He is to me over and over again, I would surrender to worry and I would surrender to fear. But believing Him to be who He says He is and building this relationship with Him is what helps me to trust Him. Friends I don’t get up every day and have a quiet time and spend time with Him because I am some super spiritual person. I do it because I am not! I spend time with Him every morning because I would worry myself sick and surrender to my fears and anxiety and I would be a wretched woman to live with and to work with every day. I KNOW I need Him every day to walk with me so that I can be the person that people can live with and so that I can be, hopefully, one step closer to who He has called me to be. 

Hold Fast

Original Post: March 23, 2020

Good morning.  I’m a little late on posting this morning but I have been letting my heart be still while praying for all that is going on in the world today. I, like many others have taken to reading Psalm 91 daily and praying for this virus to stay away from my home and my people! I watch the numbers and I have been watching the communities that are shutting down more and more in an effort to shut out this virus.  Last week I made lists that many people contributed to and I have made me a schedule of my prayer focus every day.  Until this thing is over this will be a focus in my prayers daily.  Monday I will pray for our world, our country, our state, and our community. I will pray for the leaders and I will be glad I am not making these decisions affecting so many but will pray for those making the decisions to have wisdom.  Tuesday I will pray for those in the health care industry.  I have lists of names that I thought about and I have been given names by so many.  I will linger over these names and pray for their safety and well being.  Their strength and perseverance.  Wednesday will be about educators, the administrators, teachers, office staff, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and cleaning staff at our schools.  Thursday I will pray for the students, seniors especially but also all students whose lives have been changed by this.  Friday’s are for pastors who are preparing for and finding new ways to serve their community and bring messages in this uncertain time.  Saturday’s I will focus on small businesses, service people who are now without jobs, travel and hotel industry and I will also include truck drivers who are keeping or country going.  And on Sunday’s I will focus on my thanksgiving to God for who He is and that we are seen. This is just my plan.  I pray that while we are in this new hopefully temporary normal that you will look in your heart and ask God how you can take some of this extra time given to you and draw nearer to Him your plan may look different than mine but it’s ok. That’s part of the beauty of relationship with Him is he will tailor your plan to what will make your heart grow.


Well my prayer time evolved quite a bit over the last year, although I do still pray for all of these maybe not in the same structure. Looking back this has not been as temporary as we would have liked for it to be. If someone would have told me last year that we would still be doing this this year, I would have stuck my fingers in my ears and sung lalalalalalala. I don’t think I could have handled it. But handled it we have, and hopefully we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. I went back and read Psalm 91 again. And while I did get the virus back in December, I am grateful that no one else in my family did and that while I was sick I never had to go to the hospital or even back to the doctor for complications and for that I am very grateful. The last verses of Psalm 91 are what I will focus on today. 

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

I do love my Savior more and more each day and hold fast to Him. I have countless ways that He has protected me and held me up in troubles over this past year and my whole lifetime. I am so grateful for how He has walked with me. It’s not a year I would want to repeat for lots of reasons but it is one that I can be grateful for having lived it and learned in it. Oh I know that we all have battle scars on our hearts from it. At least I do but those battle scars are what grow us into who He wants us to be. I pray that as you reflect you can find good that has come out of it. With your relationship with Him, with your relationships with your people and that you are holding fast to Him the one who will deliver us. 

Be Still!

One year ago today I wrote:  

Today I have had lots of thoughts swirling in my head about this virus and all the happenings going on in the world.  I am off work for the week because I work for a school district.  I’ve had to reschedule a dr. appointment because it wasn’t an emergency.  I’ve not had a typical Monday as I’m sure you haven’t either.  So what can I do? What is it we are supposed to do with this thing that is threatening our lifestyle at least and then for some it’s threatening their very life?  First things first Pray.  Our President called for a day of prayer yesterday and pray I did. And then I woke up this morning and had my daily quiet time and I prayed again.  I prayed for my country, I prayed for my President, I prayed for my state and my state officials.  I prayed for my family and I prayed for my community. I prayed for this thing to get over with soon and for the doctors to find a cure or at the very least a treatment. I also prayed for the kids who are home from school that truly have a better life when they are AT school.  Then after I prayed we got out and picked up a few things that we needed.  But no more than we needed. Please get what you need, but please leave things for others. I tried to put distance between me and people I talked to.  Not because I’m scared but out of respect.  This is hard.  I’m a hugger.  I love people. But we must act responsibly so that we can get this thing behind us.  And the next thing I can do is try to enjoy the down time.  This is what we’ve got.   I want to read more, walk more, maybe paint more, get a few household projects done.  But overall I plan to use this time as a time to Be Still.  I pray God will restore my soul.  And tomorrow I will get up, I will pray again, I will act responsibly, and I will see if I can mark something off my to do list.  And we will hope that we are one day closer to this being behind us.  But that we are better for having gone through it.

Are we better for having gone through it thus far? I think I am. I have a closer relationship with my Savior. I did accomplish some things, one being, I have always wanted to write and I have kept this up. I have painted more. I did mark a few things off of my “to do” list. There is a vaccine now. We may not know much about this thing but I think we do know more. I wish we hadn’t gotten to a year. I wish we hadn’t lost so many people but I can look back and say I am better. I still want to hug my people so I still pray that it will all get behind us one day soon. But through it all, continue to keep your eyes on Him. Continue to ~

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Here I Raise my Ebenezer

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

Samuel took this stone and set it up as a memorial because of the way the Lord had helped the Israelites win a battle with the Philistines. If you have ever heard the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing then you’ve surely heard the line that says “Here I raise my Ebenezer”. For years I didn’t really know what that line meant, but it comes from this verse in 1 Samuel. The word Ebenezer means “stone of help” so Samuel set this stone up and named it Ebenezer so that the Israelites would have something to look upon to remember how God had helped them in battle to defeat the Philistines. 

Well for the past year we have been in a battle with this unseen virus that is attacking us from all sides. So today and for the next couple of weeks we are going to raise an Ebenezer and remember the ways the Lord has helped us. One year ago today, churches had to find new ways to worship, schools were being put on hold and we were all told to stay home and not leave our homes to try to flatten the curve. I am so glad that no one could see into the future, or maybe they did and I didn’t want to believe them, and tell me that this thing would still be going on this year. I remember thinking it would be just a couple of weeks, then oh maybe a couple of months but surely by Mother’s Day, by Summer, by 4th of July, by start of school, by Christmas it will all be over. Yet here we are 1 year later. The numbers I pulled up today say that 29.5 million people have had Covid and 534 thousand people have lost their lives from it. I had it, and I have lost friends from it. Suffice it to say, I HATE COVID. 

But when we raise our Ebenezer, we want to look at the ways the Lord has helped us thus far. I think sometimes reflection is good. It is good to look back and see how far you have come. You see when you are in the middle of the baby steps it is so hard to see the progress. But when you look back and see how far you have come it somehow will help spur you to go a little farther on. One year ago today was a Sunday and it was the first Sunday that all the churches had to close doors and it was the first Sunday for many churches to figure out new innovative ways to HAVE church! Now most of us, where I live anyway are back in church and I think most of us are more grateful for it than maybe we have ever been in our lives. We have always been able to take for granted that we could freely worship and freely go to church. But after the last year, I for one don’t think I will ever take that for granted again. 

In one year we now have vaccines that are in place to help us in this battle. We have hope that maybe one day we will not have to wear masks wherever we go and maybe we will all get to hug our people again. I don’t think we will take family dinners and girlfriend trips and sporting events and concerts for granted ever again. I know there are a lot of people not sold on the vaccines and I am not getting into that debate, but I for one am taking it if it will help me to never feel like I did with Covid again. 

I also want to say that as I raise my Ebenezer, I am closer to the Lord than I have maybe ever been. He has helped me thus far by meeting with me daily. He has become my constant companion. Oh I know he was there all along and I have had a daily quiet time for many years but I can tell you that some of the isolation I have felt from people over the last year has fostered a more intimate, more personal, more steadfast relationship with my Savior. I know Him better, I trust Him even more than I did before. I love Him more and I am grateful for His ever present constant companionship. 

So how about it? What’s your Ebenezer? How has the Lord helped you in this Corona-battle thus far? Go ahead, look back, reflect a little, raise an Ebenezer, to look at and remember how the Lord has helped you thus far! 

Search Me!

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

My heart has been on a rollercoaster this week. We did some traveling and we got to go see our favorite little people, as well as our favorite grown people and it was a fun, sweet special time. I also went to visit my best friend who is slowly succumbing to the ugly disease of Alzheimers. We raised our babies together, she had girls and I had boys but they grew up thinking they may as well have been brothers and sisters. She is 8 years into her battle and it is heartbreaking and sweet all at the same time. She is in a happy place right now and that is a blessing to her family and all who love her. But my heart does still hurt because I miss her and the talks that we had. She had such a way of always pointing me back to Jesus. I am so glad that He brought her into my life as a young mama and that He allowed me to have the advantage of her friendship and her wisdom for most of my adult life! 

I am back on my porch this morning with the Lord and my heart has just been all over the place. It is a cloudy day but there is still a hint of color. I am at the end of my spring break week which means I will be headed back to work Monday morning and my mornings will have to have a little more structure to them. As I was praying this morning and asking God what message He wanted to give to me, He led me to this verse and I thought it was very sweet of Him. Isn’t it just amazing how He does meet us where we are? I love that on a morning where I can’t seem to find the words to put on a page because my heart is leaping in so many different directions He gave me affirmation that He knows that. As I read this over and over and then if you know me, you know I went to other translations it was like a balm to my heart. I want to quote you a couple of other translations. 

The ESV says it this way: 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) 

There are those exclamation points I have come to love so much. I love the emphasis of an exclamation point in scripture. 

But one of my favorite translations of this scripture is in The Passion Translation

“God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting way- the path that brings me back to you.” Psalm 139:23-24 

I love the way this one reads like a prayer. You see if we belong to Him, and even if we don’t, God knows our hearts, whether we invite Him in or not. But I find that when my emotions and my thoughts and my heart are all over the place that inviting Him in will help me to get back on the path! I ask Him to examine me through and through so that I can make sense of all the things going on in my heart and in my mind. If I am harboring grievous thoughts or hurts or if I have offensive ways, I want Him to show me. He knows my anxious cares and He knows if I am headed down a path of pain and I need to be redirected back to Him.  

INTO the Wilderness?

“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, ‘Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.’ But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18

The first time I really noticed this verse was a couple of years ago. I felt like I was in the middle of a spiritual battle and I could not understand it one bit. I have walked with Him for years, why would He allow me to have to go through some of the pain that I was going through at the time. The words “God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near… But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness” jumped off the page to me. What? God actually led those Israelites INTO the wilderness when there would have been a shorter route to where they were heading? I wonder if any of the Israelites knew their geography enough that they were wanting to say “Hey Moses, we are going the wrong way!” I wonder if when they got to the Red Sea if they were thinking to themselves, “Uh-huh if you had gone the right way we wouldn’t be hemmed in with this sea in front of us and an Egyptian army behind us!” But God didn’t want them to have the easy way. He knew that the way that they saw as easy would have obstacles too and it would set them up to make an easy retreat too. See God knew that taking them through the wilderness would build some character in some of them AND that it would give Him opportunities to show His glory in ways that the easy way nor an easy retreat would. If the Israelites had never gone by way of the wilderness they wouldn’t have seen the Red Sea parted nor would we have that wonderful story to still be talking about today. God knew that the time in the wilderness was going to give a greater story and give Himself a greater glory! 

Sometimes it’s like that for us too. In fact if we let God do the work in us in our wilderness experiences it will always do that. It will build a character in us that we couldn’t get if we always had the easy life and the easy way out. If we lean into Him in those wilderness experiences we will grow in character and in our spiritual lives in ways that won’t happen otherwise. I know that things I have gone through that I hand over to Him, always turn out better in the end. I can’t say that I would want to relive them but I have learned to be grateful for them. When you lean into Him when things are going rough, He can weave something beautiful out of your circumstances. You can know Him on a deeper level and with a deeper understanding than you would ever have known Him if He didn’t have to carry you. And you will have opportunities to give Him the glory. 

What wilderness are you going through right now? What pain do you wish He would just take away? What hurt is so deep that you can’t even see what or how He will ever be able to redeem for you? As you sit back and you think of things that came to mind when you read those questions, invite Him in. Ask Him to redeem the pain and the hurt for His glory. Ask Him to lead you and to guide you and to grow you as you walk out the wilderness He may have you in right now. And if you need to, ask Him to carry you. And then know dear friend that one day you will be able to look back and see where He parted some seas for you so you could walk on dry ground. Have faith and keep on walking. 

Exceedingly, Abundantly, Above All!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

I know I have claimed many many verses in scripture as “my favorite” but this one, this truly may be my very very favorite verse of all time!!  It blows me away every time I read it. I quoted it here in the NKJV because I so love this wording “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”. That is truly amazing isn’t it? That means better than you can even imagine yourself. 

I can honestly say to you I have had it happen. I have had situations I prayed for and I gave God a play by play in my book and it turned out way better. There are so many times that I have been so grateful to God that He didn’t answer my prayers the way I asked because what I ended up with turned out way better than I could have ever thought.  

So why is it, that I still in my hard headedness want to take things into my own hands and I want to give Him the play by play of how I think things are to work out? I am not sure why I still do that. I have seen Him work, I know His power. I know He has better thoughts than me and I know that He has better plans than me and I know that He has a better way than me. I think I am a little like the father of the child in Mark that cries out “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” But still, I say to Him “Lord, I know you can handle this, but this is how I want you to handle it.” “Lord I know you can heal, but this is how I want you to do it.” Why do I have to relearn my lessons over and over again? 

I am so glad that God is patient with me and loves me anyway, and still works in my life even though I try to be the coach sometime. I am glad that He listens lovingly and that His thoughts and plans for me are for His good. So again, this morning I am going to drag my big bag of burdens that I picked up yesterday all day long as the day went on and I am going to lay them at the foot of the cross and I am going to say. 

Lord, I have this thing, that is hurting my heart, but I know that you have a better way, you have a better plan, you have better thoughts than me and I want to lay them down to You and I want You to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond anything my mind can imagine! And I will give You all that glory right now! 


It’s all about Timing!

I was having a conversation with someone very special to me just last night about feeling stuck in a place where you can see your future in sight but you just can’t get there. I am doing a bible study right now, Elijah by Priscilla Shirer. I’ve gotten a little behind on my lessons and I had been feeling a little bad about myself for it, but then this morning I opened my book to the next lesson and the title was “Somewhere In-Between”. It didn’t strike me at first but as I got into the lesson, I couldn’t help but think about my conversation last night. 

In this lesson Priscilla is pointing out all the times in scripture when people had to leave one place to go to another but they had a stop in between. 

For instance Noah built an ark, but then he had to stay in that ark a long time while it rained and rained and rained and then a long time while the earth dried up. 

Abraham set out from his home not knowing where he was heading but just knowing God had called him to it long before he would actually become the father of many nations. 

Moses left Egypt first because he killed a man before he ever returned to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. 

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13-14

“If they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country.” Hebrews 11:15-16

If these men had not spent their time in preparation and had not accomplished what God wanted them to accomplish their stories would be very different and our stories may be very different too. 

And then there is Elijah, in my Bible Study that I am doing, where right now in study he is sitting by a brook, being fed by ravens so that God can prepare him for an experience on Mount Carmel. This story is found in 1 Kings 17: 1-7

I learned two lessons this morning in my bible study. Well it may really be just one. It’s all about timing. You see God called these men to a place of in between. Sometimes God puts us in a place where we feel stuck. But really we are right where God wants us to be at the moment. God was making these men into the men he needed them to be to accomplish the task he wanted them to accomplish. I can relate to the feeling stuck phase. I have some things I see in my horizon but the constraints of time and jobs and responsibilities are keeping me from accomplishing all I want to accomplish. But maybe God has me right where he wants me to be right now and maybe he needs me to stay put to learn more so that I can be the woman he needs me to be in order to accomplish those things. 

The other point is while I was feeling guilty of getting behind on my study, how incredible that I had that conversation last night and I had this lesson today. It is ok that I got behind because as it turned out the timing of the lesson was more perfect now than it would have been a week ago. I would love to tell you I would have remembered the lesson from last week but I can be hard headed and maybe I wouldn’t have and maybe, hmm probably God knew that too. 

I want to leave you with a couple of quotes from the pages of this lesson. 

“Sometimes, in order to get us adequately prepared for the moments to come, God may not allow us to return to the way things used to be, the place where we could easily become lulled into complacency.”  #ElijahBibleStudy

“Life in the middle can be unsettling, but don’t be discouraged. Stay put. Trust God, and in due time He’ll move you on.” 

Have a great day my friends! 


“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

The other day as I was going through the front gate of our little community I noticed that the Bradford Pear trees were budding out.  Yesterday I noticed the Redbud Tree in my front yard has little sprouts coming out! I love Spring!! But was it really just 3 weeks ago when the whole South it seemed was covered under a blanket of snow and ice?  Well from Texas to Mississippi was anyway. Where I live, we were on the fringes of it. The weather system that brought snow and ice to the south turned northward just before it got to us so we saw very little of it. Just enough to wreak a little havoc but not enough to get very many pretty pictures.   

Anyway seeing those trees bud out has gotten me to thinking about the changing of seasons. I think God was very clever and wise to bring us seasons. It seems that Spring always comes just when we begin to think we are all going to get frostbite and turn into popsicles. I love how Spring brings hope. 

Then Summer! Maybe my favorite season of all. Even though Summer in Mississippi will make you feel like you are about to melt. I love getting out a beach chair and sitting in the sun and reading a good book, whether I am on a beach or on a dock sitting by the lake. I have even sat on our pontoon boat with it docked just so I could feel it sway in the water while I read a good book and took a nap. 

And it always seems that when we get really tired of being so hot, Fall is just around the corner and our thoughts turn to all things Fall, like pumpkins and hayrides and apples and spices. The leaves begin to fall and there is a crispness to the air. 

Winter is probably my least favorite time to be outside. I do not like to be cold. But yet Winter is redeemed because it has my favorite holiday of all. I also like to sit in front of a warm cozy fire and read a book! 

I love that God gave us seasons that change. I think that there is a lot to learn from them. I have had seasons of my life too. The growing up years, the teen years, the young adult years, the raising kids years and now I guess the grandparenting years. I think one of the reasons God gave us the seasons that change year after year is to teach us that things are always changing. If you don’t like one season just wait, the next season is right around the corner. But I also think there is something to savor in every season of the year just as there is in every season of life. The rest of Ecclesiastes goes through a list of things that change. I know you have probably read it, but if not, go back and read verses 2-8 again. Let it do in your heart what I think it is meant to do. At least what God does in my heart. If you are in a season of unsure or hurt or pain, know this that it is a season and as sure as the seasons of the year change the seasons of our lives change as well. Be encouraged that even though you may be in a time of mourning if you keep on clinging to Him, He will bring you into a time of dancing again! 

Lift your eyes!

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”  Psalm 121

I want to end this little series on prayer with this Psalm because I hope that above all that has been said here that we have all come to realize that if we keep lifting our eyes up to Him that He is where our help comes from. 

David penned this Psalm. I found no definitive answer as to when he may have written it. Whether David penned this when he was on the run from Saul or after he became king. Some say it is the “soldier’s psalm” or the “traveller’s psalm”. What we do know is that David was the man after God’s own heart, and if you study David’s life the encouraging thing to me is that even when David didn’t get things right, he knew where to return. He knew where his help would come from. Following Jesus does not mean that we will have a perfect life nor does it mean that we will always do everything perfect. We will fail, we will have circumstances that hurt us, and we will sometimes have no idea what the next step needs to be. But if we keep turning to Him, He will be our help. He doesn’t sleep, He will shelter us from the storms of life and if and when they come anyway, He will carry you through them. He will help us to keep away from evil and He will be our guide to our next steps in the day to day decisions of life. I pray this series on prayer has encouraged you.

Keep lifting your eyes to the hills my friends. Your help comes from the Lord!