Do you see these two pictures? I sure do.

It is so hard for me to see the girl on the left because she was so unhappy and covered it up with a smile. It might not look like it, but I was wallowing in self-pity, anxiety, and some really strong demons. My mind was whirling with any bad thing you can imagine and I couldn’t tame my own thoughts, much less anything else.

It’s really challenging to share how horrible I felt about life, my circumstances and my own self-worth. And, I wish I could say this was the only time I struggled, but it would be far from the truth.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

This particular instance was around the same time that I had stopped reading my Bible, talking to God and writing GEM. I had had an experience that rocked my world and I had responded with guilt and shame.

I basically went into hiding. However, I couldn’t hide too much because I still had to be a mom, wife, daughter and friend. 

Not that I was any good at any one of them at this point.  

It was such a low point in my life and just so you know, when they talk about the “dark pit” it’s for a reason…it’s freaking dark!!!

You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Psalms 88:6

When I look at these pictures, I see two people that are very different. And, it’s not even about my weight loss…it’s about the complete overhaul that God did in my body, mind, heart and soul.

He met me right where I was and led me to a place that I could never have dreamed I’d get to be since I couldn’t see two feet in front of me.

I can’t place my finger on the exact moment that changed my life, but I do know God placed strategic people in my life so that I could find hope again for a brighter future.

Today, I want to celebrate and at the same time encourage anyone else that may be where the person on the left used to be.

I have so much more growing and developing to do, but I am truly grateful for God lifting me out of my own “dark pit” and placing me on solid ground that is steeped in worship, prayer, praise and His Word. I will never be able to get very far without my Lord and Savior and I’m so glad that He doesn’t let me!!!

I really hope that if you find yourself in a bad place, you will look to the only ONE who can rescue you from yourself.

Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 27:23 – Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds….

The Lie of Perfection

Perfection is a LIE. A big fat LIE.

And, perfection is exactly what almost kept me from writing this post today!!! GEEZ!!! (Insert eye roll)

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20

However, I am so glad I didn’t listen to the inner voice taunting me with all of my failures and criticisms and ended up just saying, “Screw it! This may not be perfect, but I promised myself I would publish GEM on Thursdays and I AM DOING IT!”

The issue was that I lost a ton of time and momentum from dealing with the Snow Apocalypse in Texas last week. So, I’ve spent the majority of the past four days playing catch up and making sure I tied up loose ends that did not get done last week.

With all that being said, I failed to write GEM earlier because it wasn’t a priority with the list other things on my To Do List. BOOOOO….

However, here it is at 12:45 on Thursday afternoon and I find myself with a few minutes. I struggled to decide if I should continue pushing through my list or take the time to listen for God’s prodding and write my thoughts regardless of what came out.

Clearly, I obeyed God’s calling and here I am.

I think the biggest problem I have in many areas of my life is the perfection expectations of myself. Interestingly, I don’t have high expectation for my family or friends. However, when it comes to ME…that’s a whole different story.

I have lived my life either trying to be perfect or avoiding things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to BE perfect at. As I look back at the time wasted on trying to be perfect and worse, the multitude of things I missed out on, it really breaks my heart.

It saddens me because I would never want that for my children, family or friends. I would tell them to throw perfection out the window and to do the things that intrigue them, make their heart beat faster and ultimately makes them happy. I would tell them that it didn’t matter if they succeeded or failed because they would learn something through the process.

I would never expect perfection from someone else, so why have I always expected it from myself? That’s the million-dollar question.

The truth is that life is a journey, life is messy, and life is far from perfect.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Those three things are exactly what I’ve learned over the past year and I’m so grateful to be learning these life lessons that come with my past experiences and personal growth. One of the most important things I have committed to work on recently is to celebrate my progress and to stop reaching for perfection.

Jesus Christ is the ONLY human that has walked this earth in perfection. He is definitely the example we strive to emulate, but he made it clear that he makes us perfect THROUGH HIM and not by what we accomplish by ourselves.

He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…. Colossians 1:22

We will never reach the glory of perfection until we meet our Maker face-to-face and He washes us with His Mercy and Grace.

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…. Titus 3:5

So, in the meantime, stop telling yourself that you have to be perfect. You don’t.

Stop telling yourself that it matters what people think. It doesn’t.

Most of all, stop telling yourself that God doesn’t love you the way you are. HE DOES!

Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 22:11 – One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.

Dancing in the Storm

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

The above quote from Vivian Greene seemed completely appropriate today considering how many Texans don’t have power, water or gas during this 2021 Ice/Snow Apocalypse!

Of course, our dancing in Texas will have to be performed in winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves and snow boots!!

Even in the midst of this natural disaster (don’t laugh northern friends…we are not prepared for this mess down here in the Lone Star State), I’ve been amazed at the amount of love and kindness shown by friends, neighbors and strangers.

It warms my heart to see the light of Christ during a dark time when we are cold, weary, stressed and worried about what the damage will be after all the snow and ice melt away.

Bad things happen. That’s a fact of life that will never change as long as we walk this earth. AND, it’s super easy to get caught in the drama triangle where we believe life is happening TO US versus FOR US.

Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Lord knows I’ve played the victim many times in life and still have moments even now that I’d like to just blame the world for many things. If I’m being completely honest, I might even want to slam a few doors and pull out a few 4-letter words when my day is not going my way. Yep, drama can capture all of us once in a while.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

The key is not to wallow in the pity party.

It’s staggering how much peace we can find even in the worst of circumstances when we keep our eyes on Jesus.  The sky may be falling down around us, but we will be able to resist worry and anxiety if we just trust in our Savior and depend on His leading and guidance.

Definitely easier said than done. Sure, miracles of feeling God’s peace without a consistent relationship with Him happen, but to keep His peace in every moment, we have to practice it, ask for it and believe it will happen DAILY!

God is not a genie in a bottle. Yes, all things are possible with God in any situation, but He wants a moment-by-moment relationship with us…and not just on our bad days. He wants the good, bad and the ugly.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

The problem is that many of us only reach for His hand when we are in a crisis. What’s worse is that we then get upset that He doesn’t rush to our rescue. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why He might let us suffer for a bit. Duh….

Don’t waste another day or wait for another tragedy, start getting to know God today! Read His Word. Talk to Him. Listen for Him.

If you do this, you will be amazed at how much dancing you will be able to do no matter what is happening around you!!!

Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Get Going

Can you believe it’s already almost the middle of February 2021?? Where does the time go?? It’s absolutely crazy how quickly the minutes, hours, days and now years are passing. Ugh!!! I better get going because I’ve got stuff to do before my time is up!!!

Don’t know about you, but I’ve got big dreams, goals and plans so that at the end of my life I can hear…

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. – Matthew 25:21

This brings me to the question: If you made a New Year’s resolution…how’s it going?

The internet says (and you know that Abraham Lincoln said that the internet is always right) 50% of adults in the U.S. make resolutions, but only 10% actually keep them.

Even if the numbers aren’t accurate, I imagine they are pretty dang close.

My theory is that we don’t keep these yearly promises to ourselves because of a few things.

1. We don’t want to make the sacrifices needed to reach the goal we’ve set.

2. We don’t have a plan to achieve our goals.

3. We don’t BELIEVE we can actually ATTAIN OUR GOALS.

Man, oh man, how sad!!!!

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24

Today, I would like to focus on sacrifice.

Sacrifice is a part of the Christian life. We sacrifice time so we can pray, worship, serve and much more. We sacrifice money to tithe, give help the poor, build churches, hospitals, schools and again, so much more.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. – Hebrews 13:16

When we are evaluating the things in our life that need to change, remember that those changes come with sacrifices because most of the time we will have to transform our mindset, desires, routines, and habits.

Giving up old ways will not be easy, but they are necessary to reach the promise to ourselves to change.

Surrendering our life to God is very similar.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

As you go through today, think about the ways you can alter old behaviors and make new ones that will grow you closer to God.  Only you can make the decision to change your life and you are responsible for wherever you end up at the end of 2021 or more importantly, the end of your life.

And remember, God’s been there. He and Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us even when we were still sinners.

Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 28:27 – Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Stopped and Stuck

It’s been a while, friends.  Three and a half years to be exact.

To be honest I’m not sure of the number one reason I haven’t written GEM since September of 2017, but I do know there are many of them. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is that the devil has been waging spiritual warfare against me since I’ve written and published my children’s book, How Do I Pray.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” – Mark 16:15

The worst part is that I am truly ashamed and angry that I’ve allowed that life-sucking jerk to have his way and I haven’t trusted God to fight the battle for me. Truth be told, I threw a blanket over my head and pretended that I was too busy and that it was a waste of my time to write for pleasure when I should have been taking care of a million other things.  Not to mention that I let others dictate my purpose and poo-poo on my passion. UGH…

You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you. – Deuteronomy 3:2

The fact is that I became consumed with my fear and shame to a point that I spiraled into a hurricane of emotions that kept me from reaching out to the Lord for His forgiveness and help.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t ASK for God’s help, it’s that I didn’t BELIEVE HE WOULD OR COULD HELP ME!

Ever been there?

I’m not exactly sure what happened, but over the past year, I have slowly climbed out of this dark pit of destruction with God holding my hand the entire way. I am positive that He even carried me many times through the day when I couldn’t stand on my own two feet.

The changes haven’t been an overnight success FO SHO, but God did give me the nudge to begin daily rituals of:  reading scripture again, spending quiet time in the morning for prayer, writing down my blessings, caring for myself with good nutrition and exercise, and most of all reading and repeating the TRUTHS about what God really thinks about me.

They were definitely all baby steps, though!!!! (Kinda disappointing, but not shocking!)

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Life does get busy. Life does get scary and overwhelming. And life does throw us for a loop sometimes.

Please know there is hope and we CAN NOT QUIT.

With God we will always find our way. He may let us wander in the desert for a while (so glad it didn’t take me 40 years like the Israelites). He may let us sit in our pain. He may even seem distant. However, God will never leave us or forsake us.

…be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5

So, wherever you find yourself today. My prayer is that you will keep reaching out to God and hold on to the promises that He is WITH YOU, FOR YOU AND LOVES YOU.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Team Work

team workThe first weekend of the NFL football season is one of my favorite times of the year!  In fact, at this moment I can’t think of anything better!! 

Too bad my Chicago Bears lost, but at least is was a close game that came down to the last eight seconds…I about had a heart attack! Sadly, I wasn’t surprised by the outcome because I’m accustomed to them losing…boo!

Anyway, as I sat watching several of the games on Sunday, I realized how vital it is for all of these teams to work together in order to get a win. 

If any of the players try to go solo, they will find out pretty quickly that their selfishness can cost their team a victory.

I immediately recognized the way this is so true for us with our Holiness Team – God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We cannot grow closer to God without a relationship with Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit guiding us to that end.

They each have their individual jobs in our lives and our cooperation ensures we will know what to do in each play of our lives.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26

We have to remember that this Holiness Team is our coaches and we are the players.  As with any good coaching staff, they wait for our willingness to play by their rules so that they can lead us to an eternal win. 

When we try to go it alone in our own lives we will lose every time. 

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17

Unfortunately, I find myself all too often doing my own victory dance in the in-zone without acknowledging the help and work of the Holiness Team in my life.

We may reap some awesome benefits even without following the guidance of our Holiness Team, but it will never provide the win that we long for.  We may be dazzled by what we consider triumphs on Earth, but we won’t feel the peace, love and joy that can only come from the Holiness Team…and we certainly won’t win the Super Bowl of eternity.

For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

Have you signed with the Holiness Team?  Are you practicing on a regular basis and ready to play in any game that is thrown your way in life?

Take a chance of them and you might just win the best trophy you’ve ever imagined!!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 13:15 – Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.



Times of Crisis

relationship with godHow many of us drop to our knees the minute our lives fall apart? 

Eek!!! Lord knows I sure do.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to God in the time of need.  God tells us to come to Him and He will protect us, guide us and love us.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

The problem is that when we are at our lowest we expect God’s immediate attention and for Him to miraculously give us an outcome that we are happy with…however, during every other time in our lives we are okay with dismissing God, refusing to acknowledge Him, and rejecting His commandments.

We want what we want when we want it, but only on our terms.

A real relationship with God doesn’t work like that.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 1Corinithians 11:1-2

Times of crisis definitely bring us closer to God, but this is not the time to work on our relationship with Him.

How can we truly be comforted or attain the peace that is beyond human understanding if we only come to the Lord when we have a problem?

We really can’t be that prepared to accept His help during adversity because we won’t be trained in His wisdom and knowledge of what we should really do or how we should react when tragedy strikes.

The only way to really live in God’s refuge (regardless of what is going on in our lives) is to cultivate a relationship with Him – starting today.

So, where do we start?

  • ·        Ask God to help us draw near to Him.
  • ·        Pray to Him daily.
  • ·        Open up about our lives to Him and be honest with our struggles and sin.
  • ·        Ask for forgiveness.
  • ·        Turn away from our sins and follow God’s leading.
  • ·        Start reading His Word on a regular basis.
  • ·        Have faith that God will protect us in all things even when the worst happens.

It’s easy to blame God when bad things happen, but the world we live in is the result of our choice to turn away from God in the first place.  The fallen world will affect us all, but we can live in faith that our eternal life is secure by the death of Jesus Christ as long as we believe in Him and cultivate a relationship with Him.

What are you doing today to foster a friendship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 18:24 – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.


SafetyAsking how safe someone feels today is a loaded question…especially if we were to judge our security by what we watch on the news or read on our newsfeeds!!

We might not consciously consider how safe we feel on a regular basis, but I’d dare say that our bodies, thoughts and actions tell us what we think more often than we’d imagine.

The dictionary defines safety as the freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss.  What it doesn’t say is that feeling safe is a basic human need that we all have. 

We all pursue safety in diverse ways in order to be protected from the dangers of the world.  The problem is that not all things we turn to will truly give us the protection we seek.

How safe we feel really does define what we do in our lives.  Our experiences of safety or lack thereof have a direct link to the fears, worries, concerns, and anxiety we carry around today. 

Think about it.  If we felt safe…would there be anything to fear? Worry about? Be anxious about?

The answer is a resounding NO.

Unfortunately, we focus more on the things that we fear the most instead of trying to figure out what (or rather who) makes us the safest!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, … Psalm 91:1-16

Considering how many times God tells us not to fear in the Bible, it shows me that He really never meant for us to stress about what is coming next, what could happen or what happens if….

God’s intention is for us to trust Him and allow Him to work our lives out for the best.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:39-40

It’s really hard to place my safety in someone else’s hands and out of my CONTROL!!!  UGH!!

Control is what hits the nail on the head for me.  I want it.  I don’t want to give it up.  And you can have it if you do it my way. 

Ok.  None of those ways work. 

Yes, we will suffer loss, danger and injury on earth, but the fact remains that this is just our temporary home anyway.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. … 2Corinthians 5:1-10

Plus, when we place our safety in God we will never be in danger in His arms or lose Him. 

Have you ever thought about how safe you are and why?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Seeing God’s Blessings

Chase at beachStanding with my feet in the sand looking out across the vast ocean makes me feel very small in this very big world we live in.  It also makes me realize how little control I have as the waves roll in, the sun rises and sets, and the moon and stars shine bright above.

All of these things should make me feel insignificant since my strength is weak, my influence is limited and my beauty is marginal.  However, this is a lie that the devil tries to convince me of. 

God definitely doesn’t want us to feel unimportant because He created us, knows us intimately and loves us much more than to the moon and back!

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:13-16

All too often we focus on the negativity in our lives instead of seeing God’s blessings.

Make no mistake…there are more blessings than we can count even in our darkest days.  The fact that God sent His son to die in our place says that each and every one of us is valuable in God’s eyes.

We are cherished beyond our comprehension and God wants us to live freely and abundantly during our stay on earth.

It’s fascinating to grasp the concept that He knows the number of hairs on our head and cares enough about us to want a relationship with us individually. 

WOW!  Do you know how many people live in this world?  Not to mention all the people who have lived and died before us!!  Geez…talk about feeling blessed that God even knows my name is unbelievable.

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

Refusing to see God’s goodness in our lives only hurts us and pushes us away from God and His benefits, support and help.

God says He will never abandon us, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t turn away and walk into our own desert and leave Him behind. 

I don’t know about you, but I definitely make this decision more often than I should.

Walking by ourselves only produces loneliness, depression, and hopelessness. The lack of attention on God’s blessings drives us further into the pit of despair and creates a void that will never be filled by the things of this world.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Ignoring the inconceivable amount of miracles that God provides us destroys our joy and creates misery that will follow us all of our days until we change our ways.

Please don’t fall into this rut!!!

God’s blessings surround us every minute of every day.  We must learn to see them and thank Him for them if we ever plan to live in the confidence of God’ love and mercy.  Then we will live with a freedom and peace that we cannot comprehend!!!

May you see God’s blessings and know you are cherished!!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 16:7 – When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.



Shark Week

shark1600As many of you know, Shark Week is one of my favorite weeks during the year.  I love learning about these amazing creatures, listening to the shark attack stories (does that make me sick?) and watching the great whites jump into the air to catch their unsuspecting prey.  There are many more things I love about this yearly documentary on the Discovery Channel, but we would be here all week.

As I was watching the fascinating shows this past week, I started thinking about how much sharks can be a metaphor for sin in our lives.  They are beautiful creatures, but if you get too close you can lose a limb.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2Corinthians 11:14

The truth is that sin has a funny way of quietly swimming into our lives when we least expect it.  What starts out as an innocent thought or action (even ones that aren’t sinful) can quickly become factors that turn us from our Heavenly Father.

Sin then shames us and tells us that we aren’t worthy of the Love of God.

I could spend my entire life listing the countless sins that capture us, but it would never be a comprehensive list and we all know exactly what sins we struggle with.

Unfortunately, we are a sinful human race that began back in the Garden of Eden and there will never be another perfect person that roams the world with the Love of God besides Jesus Christ.

We can try all we want to (and we definitely should do our best to stay away from sin), but we will never live up to the perfection God intended for us. The good news is that we don’t have to.

Jesus took our sin away the moment He climbed up on that cross.  He suffered so that we didn’t have to.  His blood washed our transgressions – past, present and future – away.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1Peter 2:12  

The reason why we need to be watchful of sin in our lives is because like the sharks I love to watch, sin is captivating, charming, attractive, interesting and most of all appealing to us individually.

Plus, Satan would like nothing more than for us to sin so that he can berate us and try to convince us that God’s Word and Promises are not true.

Satan is wrapped in a lovely package and he will try to persuade us that we aren’t that bad and that certain sins may not really be sins. 

However, all we have to do is read God’s Word to know what we should and shouldn’t do. 

We may try to assure ourselves that sin won’t hurt us or derail our lives that much, but before we know it, we will be eaten alive by the sharks of sin that we provoke and get too close too.  We may lose much more than just a limb.

As scary as it is to think of our lives away from the light of God, we must remember that God says that He will forget our sin if we will ask for forgiveness and turn back to Him. 

Don’t allow Satan to convince you that you are not worthy of God’s love and mercy.

Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Hebrews 10:17

So, the next time you sin – and you will – be sure to recognize it for what it is and ask God to forgive you and lead you into His Righteousness.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.