If I haven’t done the work, I won’t be ready.

Don’t worry, I don’t think my salvation depends on the things I do. It absolutely does not. But, since I am in a relationship with God, communication is important. Stepping out in faith is a part of the package and sometimes it is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h!

Stretching helps me be ready for what is next.

Recently, I tried to do something I have done many times before. This time, however, it took a lot more effort than I care to admit. What happened in the time between when I last did this activity and now? Plenty of nothing.

And just like that, I wasn’t ready for what I wanted to do.

It was discouraging and maddening. And a not-so-gentle reminder of how abilities can disintegrate when not used on a regular basis. It feels like I am starting over.

Of course, life is about starting over — a lot!

And it seems like faith works the same way. I have my core faith. My baptism promise. My confidence in God’s ongoing work in my heart and life. And when I abide in Him, my roots stretch and grow. When I don’t, I can’t expect to have a rich relationship. God always meets me where I am and patiently waits for me. But life will always put demands on me. I would much rather be stretched and molded into God’s perspective so I can choose to respond in a Godly way to the circumstances around me. I want to be sensitive to His guidance and leading and ready to do the next thing. If I always have to stop and start from square one, I won’t be in spiritual shape for what is next.

Naturally, God is there, ready for me. It doesn’t matter if I am two steps forward or ten steps behind. My story is His-story so He uses all of it and redeems it all.

His love brings about my response. Allowing Him to grow my faith and trust is a part of the process!

Even though Paul wrote this to the Thessalonians, it reminds us that growing in faith increases or capacity for other things.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV

God’s blessings on your week!

Hello Friend! Day Fourteen

Hello Friend!

I am thrilled to have two grandbabies added to our family since May and so I have been extra introspective about a lot of things, particularly in how one is “wired”!

The fun (and sometimes frustration) in learning about a new person in your life is understanding them. What are their needs? What makes them tick? What is their communication style?

We all have a lot of people in our daily lives and some people fit with us so easily while others take some getting used to. When I am in the midst of figuring someone out, it helps me to remember that we are all knit together, created by God — even those people that take a lot of effort for me to connect with.

If you have tiny new people in your life, enjoy the process of getting to know them. Pray for them. Love them in the way you know how but don’t be afraid to learn new ways to love!



When my brother was younger he was very industrious and energetic and it was a challenge to keep up with him. He also always had a “catchphrase” that he would use for at least a year. One of them was RESPONSIBILITY. He would say it loudly and then go on to explain to anyone around him, often my kids, what it meant to be responsible. He was a hard worker and he still is.  And he always has little nuggets of wisdom for his nieces and nephews and his own children.

One of my favorite memories is when his “catchphrase” was TEAM. He would always say Together Ernie Achieves More!” If we would just all work together, we could help him get to his goal. What a funny guy!

Teamwork is always about working together but rarely about us doing the exact same job. We each have our own specialties and roles needed to accomplish the goal – and we need to recognize and value each of the roles. The best team is where there is trust and adequate skills for the task and good communication.

But being on a team isn’t always easy. People have different styles of work as well as different paces. Working out the differences in opinion and approach are important. Valuing the different perspectives is also important. As the process moves along it is important not to trample on people just to get to the end goal. Good relationships are important when working on a team.

But, be careful with whom you partner! Sometimes an assignment is made and we don’t have a say in the matter. But other times, we definitely have a choice. Naturally, we can’t know everything about a person before we team up with them but for those lifetime partnerships, it is important to take time to observe them in a variety of situations, spend time in conversation, and connect with them over time. Also, introducing them to family and friends can help get a larger picture of how they interact with the other important people in our lives.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up. [Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV]

May God bless your work and play partnerships!


PrayerPrompt: TOOLS

Word Pictures


Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Word Pictures

Have you ever used “word pictures”?

Word Pictures are entirely written or spoken but vivid enough not to need an actual illustration. I think they are particularly powerful when they are written to communicate a complex idea but tailored into the “language” of the audience. Jesus used parables frequently in Scripture and I think those are pretty comparable to word pictures. Jesus told important Truths using a setting familiar to the those who were listening. Often He was talking to fishermen so he used fishing references when He talked about sharing the Gospel. When you speak to someone in their language and use scenarios from experiences they can understand they can grasp your intent more easily.

A well-crafted word picture can communicate positive or negative ideas and can speak volumes even if it doesn’t use many words.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might want to practice crafting some sweet word pictures for the precious people in your life. Consider their special interests and craft a positive message for them based on that. If you are a natural wordsmith, this shouldn’t be too hard.  For example, if you are talking to an astronomer and you want to express feelings of deep affection you can tell them “I love you to the moon and back” and they will probably get a sense of how much you care.

On a more serious note, when I have an important point to get across to another person sometimes I will craft a word picture to communicate my thoughts. This action serves several purposes:

  • I slow down and think about the best way to approach the situation before I say the first thing that comes to my head.
  • I put myself in the other person’s shoes as I think about what they might relate best to.
  • I consider my words carefully for the best impact.

Practice makes perfect! Well, maybe not perfect, but it does help you get more familiar with using this technique for communicating.

This may sound like a paradox but I think it can be hard for a person who is always thinking to choose very carefully what they will say.  I am a verbal processor and it tends to get me into trouble because I often think out loud. Many times I start speaking in an effort to sort out my thoughts and there have been times as I have talked through things I have completely changed my mind by the end of my words. Let me tell you, this has caused problems in our house through the years. I am married to a great guy who means what he says and doesn’t say it unless it is true. Don is very precise with his words and I am often very general so taking the time to create a word pictures for him has been helpful for me.

Word Pictures create powerful imagery when crafted properly. I love the challenge of using an every day item to illustrate an important truth that I want to share. If you are having a challenge communicating an important idea to someone else maybe a word picture will help.